Federer Masters Murray, Seizes Fifth US Open Title
by Sean Randall | September 8th, 2008, 7:16 pm
  • 353 Comments

So who picked Andy Murray to win that one? I did. I was wrong. Very wrong. Murray, who had looked like a world beater in wins over Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro this last week, was no match today for Roger Federer in the delayed US Open final, with the Swiss easily prevailing 6-2, 7-5, 6-2.

Federer, who was playing in his very first hardcourt final of the year, cleaned up his game and really destroyed Murray to pick up his fifth straight US Open crown and his first Slam title of the year.

The match was never in much doubt from the get go with Fed jumping out early with an easy first set behind a couple of breaks and strong serving numbers.

The second set got a little more interesting as Murray, a three-time winner on the cement in 2008, began to play better even breaking Federer, and had the Scot challenged on a crucial break chance who knows?

And the third set was all for Federer, who evened the series with Murray 2-2 after losing two straight.

I thought Federer moved exceptionally well and his ball striking was spot-on. Murray, meanwhile, looked like a guy playing in his first Slam final. Edgy, uncertain and out of sorts, with a lot of that having to do with Federer’s level. Murray also was troubled perhaps by a knee he tweaked in the second set.

But in the end Roger was simply just the better player today. Reports of his demise…well, you know the rest.

Murray of course was trying to become the British man since Fred Perry in 1936 to win a Major. And he’ll have many more chances and eventually I think he’ll break through.

With Slam No. 13, Federer shuts up the critics for the time being and puts Pete Sampras and his plane(?) on notice come January as Rog now stands just one behind Pete’s mighty mark. And while he’s not likely to finish the year No. 1, the win sends a clear message to the rest of the field that Fed’s run is not done yet.


Also Check Out:
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Indian Wells SF Pick And Pans: Will It Be Federer v Djokovic In The Sunday Final?
New World No. 2 Murray Beats Del Potro for Montreal Title
Roger Federer Confirms Shanghai Participation
Federer Reverses Monte Carlo Decision, Will Take On Nadal

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353 Comments for Federer Masters Murray, Seizes Fifth US Open Title

Mary Says:

While watching the match and the ceremony, I found myself wondering “I wonder if Federer’s father has wandered off and got lost.” CBS allayed my fears, and I’m sure yours, by showing the man nonstop, safe and sound in his seat.
Yay for Roger! Madison Square Garden?!


Vulcan Says:

Way to go Federer!
That win will certainly rekindle the discussion of him being the greatest of all time.
The match was no contest…but Im not sure even a well rested Nadal could of beaten the Federer that showed up in the first set. Murray played about as well he could for the 2 sets but Federer was just too good.


Giner Says:

The way Federer played today, he would have beaten anyone, Nadal included. He completely dismantled Murray’s power game. Does anyone hit the ball as hard as Murray does? It amazes me that Murray doesn’t hit more errors than he does.

I like Federer more than Murray but I was indifferent to who wins. I was 50/50 on who I’d like to see win. But I picked Murray simply because Fed had not been in a GS final all year. Boy was I wrong. This was the Federer of old; the same Federer that was missing for most of this year. That third set was just untouchable. You can tell at 5-0, Fed was trying for the bagel finish. Credit Murray for sticking around, but I still would hate to be the guy on the other side of Federer on that performance, and we are talking about a guy who beat the two hottest players of the last few months.

I’m sure Fed would rather have been playing Nadal, for a chance to redeem himself against his greatest nemesis. Nadal should be lucky he keeps his 12-6 record against Fed by not making the final. I’ve never seen Nadal play as good on hard court as Federer did today.

My chum JCF cried tears of joy at Fed’s reaction to winning his 13th slam and rolling to the ground. It’s a big moment for Fed, even though he’s been there 12 times already. This one was under special circumstances. He had something to prove, and he did: Never write off Federer. Ever.

Here’s a question: If the Australian Open was played next month, who would be favourite for it?


NachoF Says:

He’s back!


Vulcan Says:

Sean, the main reason why you were so far off is because you read way too much into Murray’s win over Nadal. Nadal was absolutely spent. I realized that when I watched how Federer moved today by comparison…Nadal was a step behind compared to his normal movement and just looked like he was groping for everything. I dont think its wise of him to even try to play Davis Cup if hes that tired…but Im guessing hes going to try to do it anyway.


zero Says:

@Vulcan: You may be true, with the talent of Roger Federer, he can absolutely destroy anyone in any matches on any surface. But he’s worried when he meets Nadal. That’s why Rafa has a shot in the battle with Federer :D


Vulcan Says:

Zero, I agree…a FRESH Nadal does…Nadal relies heavily on his movement and retrieving so if hes even just a little sluggish hes in big trouble.
He doesnt have a big serve to win free points and I dont think hes quite as sharp as Federer at the net.


tennisontherocks Says:

Roger did come to the net a lot and that was really successful there as Murray was standing 10 feet behind baseline.

Rafa is still the ‘player of year’ for me and will finish year as #1, but Roger shows that he is the factor at all the big events.

I may have to put his 5 straight US open achievement slightly ahead of 5 wimbledons. Wimby may have more prestige, but lot of players don’t play well on grass. In comparison, hard courts are more democratic, have longer matches and are harder on the body.


NachoF Says:

tennisontherocks Says:

I may have to put his 5 straight US open achievement slightly ahead of 5 wimbledons. Wimby may have more prestige, but lot of players don’t play well on grass. In comparison, hard courts are more democratic, have longer matches and are harder on the body.

Agreed completely… Fed might even care more about US Open 09 than Wimbledon 09


tennisfan Says:

Congratulations Federer! It would have been nice to see Nadal on the other side of the net … but it wouldn’t have been a contest either way today … Federer was too on. I have always felt that Nadal’s style would never work so well on hard courts … and it was also interesting to see Murray come up with a game strategy that neutralized Nadal. You need the skills of a Murray to pull it off … but it might also help Federer gain an edge in his next match.


Gordo Says:

The irony in all of this is that had Federer prevailed in a couple of matches that he lost earlier this year, had he held on to that number one spot, this would have been the rain delayed semi-final match up, with a rested winner from Rafa vs Djokovic on the other side.

No one could have beaten Federer today, and he was not on all the time. His serve was off a bit in the second set but he has that relaxed air about him.

Drama! Ain’t it great?


Ryan Says:

Nadal lost on purpose to murray because he knew will lose to federer in the finals and he didnt want the H2H to improve.This is what happens all the time in hard courts.Nadal ducks out and fed cant improve his H2H against him.That shows Nadal is a pussy.


tennisfan Says:

Don’t count Federer out for Wimbledon ’09 … I hear little steps behind me !!


NachoF Says:

We will probably still get that Fed-Nadal hardcourt final that we have been longing for…. at the Masters Cup in Shanghai(?)


Gordo Says:

Nacho F

Of course he is going to care More about US Open 2009 – it will put him 2 Slams above Sampras. Wimbledon will only put him one up.

One year from today even Sean may be forced to either call Federer the G.O.A.T., or possibly to start following say… water polo or darts.


tennisfan Says:

Who thought Murray was going to win???


NachoF Says:

Gordo Says:

Nacho F

Of course he is going to care More about US Open 2009 – it will put him 2 Slams above Sampras. Wimbledon will only put him one up.

One year from today even Sean may be forced to either call Federer the G.O.A.T., or possibly to start following say… water polo or darts.

:) :) :) If we are going to be that wishful Im gonna say that US Open 2009 is gonna put him at 17 slams!…. :)


Vulcan Says:

All Federer needs is one French Open and hes there. Who knows maybe Nadal will decide to focus on becoming a better hard court player with a subsequent dropoff in his clay court game.


Wayne Says:

I think many people are forgetting is the fact that fed is facing new competition…..he beat djokovic, he beat murray.Critics used to come up with the excuse fed can only beat the hewitts and roddicks to win slams.So this shows that fed can beat anyone out there……even new guys even if they have an all court game..


Vulcan Says:

About Federer vs Nadal on hard courts for the upcoming Indoor season…I forget how the RR format for TMC works but I dont think were guaranteed even a RR match between the two there.


J.Hens. Says:

I think for the the difference between this Slam, and easily every other one, but possibly at some points in the French, and in the Wimbledon Final, I could really see Roger emotionally involved in the points. And not just that, generally more positive emotion than normal.

He just was motivated here. His forehand returned as an accurate weapon, and his cross court forehand was ridiculously effective. There were several points where you could see his gameplan in action, and witness how he was able to move Murray into vulnerable positions with his return of serve, and even his backhand today.

I felt he only really folded in certain points, and most of them were once the pressure would begin to creep up, but at the same time, he was extremely effective breaking Andy, and was able to seize the moment and prevail in the close situations, mainly there in the early 2nd set.

I see him come to net in other matches, but he was so much more accurate, and definitely seemed more assured about his decision making as far as his movement and shot selection. He didn’t make alot of bad decisions.

It will be fun to watch him in Shanghai, as he will be able to play Nadal, but I have to put Federer as the favorite at the Australian and the US Open next year.


Spirit Says:

Sean R: “Murray my pick to beat Fed and I am right in 52% of cases!”
Homer Simpson: “$100 on Murray”
… match…
Sean R: “Khm… Well, I should also state that I am wrong in 48% of cases.”
Homer Simpson: “WAIT A MINUTE! Why didn’t you say that… d’oh…”


David Says:

Congrats Roger! What a great effort. I have to say though, his movement and net play won it while his normally stellar serve and forehand were a little shaky- how many easy shots did he hit into the net? Murray was just not in his class. I really believed that it was as much Nadal’s tiredness as anything that allowed Murray to win that SF. Can’t wait for the TMC now!

In the meantime, for those who need a tennis fix, please check out the podcast and video series of the fictitious underground tennis legend, at
http://www.TennisVagabond.com

with the 1st video also here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tepi_31yFYA

I’d love to hear back from tennis fans!

Mazel tov Roger, GOAT!


mem Says:

mark my words, no amount of wins will change how intimidated federer is of nadal! you have to remember before nadal became a factor, federer had every other player believing that he was untouchable! they were defeated before they stepped on court against him. nadal opened the belief door and other players began to believe that they could do it too. don’t let this win deceive you! nadal is fearless and federer knows it! believe me, federer doesn’t want to take the chance of playing a 100% nadal in the final, doesn’t matter what surface.


tennisfan Says:

I think Nadal’s a great player and a class guy … but I for one am not convinced his style of play will work on a surface like the US Open. Yes, he may have been tired … but I think Murray’s game strategy helped that along. You should expect to win on a hard court against a player that can hit hard to the courts and volley at the net … unless you can do it yourself. I don’t think Nadal can change his game enough to be effective in that style … and if he were to try … would his clay court game suffer? Probably.


Vulcan Says:

If Federer is intimidated its because of the way his game matches up with Nadal’s.

Ive said this ad nauseum but tall players with 2 handed backhands that move well are the best suited to deal with Nadals spin. Thats the main reason why 6’3″ Murray spanked so many backhand winners against Nadal whose ball was coming up right into his strike zone.


SG Says:

Have to give Roger credit tonight. He played lights out tennis. The best I’ve seen him play in at least 2 years. He was taking it to Murray.

I am surprised about some of the comments that Murray hits so hard. I actually thought that it was Fed’s power that was much more visible and effective. Fed’s shots were more penetrating and offensive.

I don’t think this wins signals a return to outright dominance for Federer but it certainly makes a statement that great champions can never be counted out. He has the game to be a threat at each and every major. He’ll probably tie/break Pete’s slam record next year. After that, who knows. Murray, Nadal and Djokovic will have a considerable youth advantage tow years from now.


Ryan Says:

Federer can and will beat nadal on hard courts.In fact nadal is the one who is scared to face federer.This is why he always loses to other guys on hard courts so that he wont have to play federer and narrow his H2H lead.


tad Says:

asterisk*.. the usta wins they fixes the scheduling so that federer could have an entire days of rest before facing an exhausted opponent in the final.


Ryan Says:

This is where fed shows he is not scared of losing.Eventhough he keeps losing on clay to nadal he doesnt duck out to someone else like nadal does.


MelMeg Says:

This is for Mary, Federer played Pete Sampras in March at Madison Square Garden and won that match!


Vulcan Says:

Ryan Says:
Federer can and will beat nadal on hard courts.In fact nadal is the one who is scared to face federer.This is why he always loses to other guys on hard courts so that he wont have to play federer and narrow his H2H lead.

Fascinating analysis of the situtation.
Also, when they give you a lobotomy are there any other after-effects besides having the IQ of a 2 year old?


Tk Says:

Nadal is all about physical fitness. In fact people who are fitter than Nadal can beat him.For example Tsonga.He has a solid physique and he beat nadal is his own fitness game.He could have beaten Nadal even on clay.Whereas Fed is all about magical tennis and nobody can fuc with that.


Ryan Says:

To Vulcan: Well I think that is a very valid and logical point.It makes perfect sense.Why should Nadal narrow a H2H lead with a player considered to be GOAT….Its obvious why he loses to people like tsonga, youzhny ,murray etc.He would have beaten murray and won the US open had fed lost early.


angel Says:

I think Nadal will never win a hardcourt slam, if he hasn’t done it yet then is pretty unlikely that he can make it in years to come with murray and djokovic getting better. So he would never win more than two slams per year and he would definitely won’t be the same player when he turns 26, so that leaves him with what? 12 grand slams at tops and won’t be able to pass Federer who will superpass Sampras and become The Greatest Of All Times. Good Night.


mem Says:

Well, Ryan. I suppose rafa was so afraid of meeting federer until he said to himself I need to get to the finals of miami, to the semis of indian wells and cincinnati, and by the way, I guess I’ll win toronto and beijing. Ryan, I guess we all see what we want to see!


Ameliè Says:

“[...]Murray who if he can stay the course, keep his head, should win this one in four or maybe even in straight sets.”

Sorry Sean, but next time I think you should remember of who roger federer is. And you should only post something after the match because the way you wrote you seemed to be convinced of murray’s win. Now you might be having dinner, eating the words you said a few ours ago.
Roger is back to shut many people’s mouth!


mem Says:

angel, the same was said about nadal winning wimbledon! he loves to defy the odds! we’ll have to wait and see.


Tejuz Says:

Great match and tournament by Roger .. beating the 2 most successful players in hard courts this season.

well.. Roger certainly has an equally good year at Grand slams as Nadal. Both won 24 matches out of 28. Nadal.. slightly ahead because of 2 wins and beating Fed himself twice. But look at Rogers record..

Finalist in 13 of the last 14 Grand slams.
Won 15 of the last 18 Semi finals..
Won 11 and lost 7 in last 18 Grandslams.. always losing to the eventual champion whose on a roll (Safin, Nadal(5), Djoker).


Ryan Says:

To mem : Rafa might be vulnerable to other players on hard courts.That might be true.But when fed is very near he’ll make sure he is kicked out by someone else.The only place where he cant escape is the masters cup coz he doesnt want to make it obvious to everyone.


Tejuz Says:

I loved the way Fed broke Murray to love at 6-5 in the second set. He was being dominated from the baseline for a brief period till then and faced numerous break points himself. But that game was awesome.. he attacked the net consistently and rushed Murray to make error. After that, it was business as usual and Murray dint back himself to win from 2 sets down.


Ryan Says:

To mem:
Nadal winning wimbledon this year can be compared to federer winning against nadal on hamburg 2007.You just know its not gonna last.Nadal was lucky it turned out to be a slam final.
Nadal won wimbledon because fed was not a 100% and didnt play well in the first 2 sets.Then it became too late because fifth set it came down to energy and nadal had more of it coz he is 22 and fed was 27.


mem Says:

Ryan, thank you for informing us of what a scary chicken nadal is! that’s probably why he’s achieved so much at the age of 22.


Ryan Says:

Nadal is scared of fed on hard courts and ducks out before facing him.Thats all that I’m saying.He won 5 slams.So wat? Wimbledon this year was pure luck. He wont last after 25.That’s a guarantee.


Ryan Says:

Look at hewitt for example….where did he go after 25….same thing for nadal….he will be conquered by the young guns.


JCF Says:

“I may have to put his 5 straight US open achievement slightly ahead of 5 wimbledons. Wimby may have more prestige, but lot of players don’t play well on grass. In comparison, hard courts are more democratic, have longer matches and are harder on the body.”

That’s an interesting way to look at it. I agree with that. But I look at it in reverse. It’s harder to play well on grass than on hard court for most players, so Wimbledon for me is a bigger achievement.

“Fed might even care more about US Open 09 than Wimbledon 09″

Nothing will ever replace Wimbledon for him. He was asked about it at the Open actually. The interviewer commented that the US Open was like his home, and he corrected the person by saying that Wimbledon was really his home, but that the US was still special to him. The French means nothing to him, as he has reiterated many times.

“The irony in all of this is that had Federer prevailed in a couple of matches that he lost earlier this year, had he held on to that number one spot, this would have been the rain delayed semi-final match up, with a rested winner from Rafa vs Djokovic on the other side.”

Here’s how I see it. The Rafa-Murray match started over an hour later than the Djoko-Fed match. If they were played concurrently on different courts, why not start them at the same time? The extra hour or so should have been enough for the Murray-Rafa match to not get delayed.

“No one could have beaten Federer today, and he was not on all the time. His serve was off a bit in the second set but he has that relaxed air about him.”

I’ll have to agree to that. He saved his best tennis for the last match as he always does.

Ryan Says:

“Nadal lost on purpose to murray because he knew will lose to federer in the finals and he didnt want the H2H to improve.This is what happens all the time in hard courts.Nadal ducks out and fed cant improve his H2H against him.That shows Nadal is a pussy.”

Not you again. Do you remember what you said a few months ago, that Nadal would get no further than he did last year (4th round)? You even added “mark my words.”

Are you also aware that the difference between them in hard court matches is only 3-2? You’d think it would be 5-0 if he was that scared of Fed.

“Of course he is going to care More about US Open 2009 – it will put him 2 Slams above Sampras. Wimbledon will only put him one up.”

Not if he wins the AO as well.

“Who knows maybe Nadal will decide to focus on becoming a better hard court player with a subsequent dropoff in his clay court game.”

Not likely to happen. The three masters series are mandatory events, and he plays Barcelona because it’s at home. He’s already cut Valencia out, which is also at home. But in 2009, Madrid will replace Hamburg, making it even harder to skip. Even if he skips Monte Carlo, it’s still going to be a very densely packed clay season. It’s the calendar’s fault. The AMS are too closely packed together.

“I think Nadal’s a great player and a class guy … but I for one am not convinced his style of play will work on a surface like the US Open. Yes, he may have been tired … but I think Murray’s game strategy helped that along. You should expect to win on a hard court against a player that can hit hard to the courts and volley at the net … unless you can do it yourself. I don’t think Nadal can change his game enough to be effective in that style … and if he were to try … would his clay court game suffer? Probably.”

Goodness. What surface was his first 5 matches played on? What surface was Beijing played on? Toronto? Has he beaten Murray on this surface before? He took a loss at the US (as 126 other players did) and suddenly he doesn’t have the game to play on the surface? (I’m reading your words carefully). Djokovic lost to the same guy he did, twice this summer!

Ryan Says:

“Federer can and will beat nadal on hard courts.In fact nadal is the one who is scared to face federer.This is why he always loses to other guys on hard courts so that he wont have to play federer and narrow his H2H lead.”

So now you’re telling me, every time Nadal loses on hard courts, it’s deliberate and not because his opponent outplayed him? I think he’ll take that as a compliment. All season, Federer did not make a hard court final (the only place he can face off against Nadal) until now. Who’s the one that’s scared?


Women play tennis too, you know Says:

Fed was still having trouble dumping the forehand into the net, even when not pressured. That remains a chink in his armor. He’s back when that great forehand is back.


JCF Says:

Ryan Says:

“To Vulcan: Well I think that is a very valid and logical point.It makes perfect sense.Why should Nadal narrow a H2H lead with a player considered to be GOAT….Its obvious why he loses to people like tsonga, youzhny ,murray etc.He would have beaten murray and won the US open had fed lost early.”

Ryan, I notice you like to disappear for long periods of time, and only surface when Federer does something big. Then you go all out with your volleys. I’m sorry that he didn’t give you many chances to come out this year, and being in the closet for so long can be difficult. If Nadal tanked all his losses, then he has pretty good acting skills, because I didn’t notice it.


Mary Says:

Someone mentioned up the page about Federer going to the net more. It’s nice to see someone adjust their game.
McEnroe mentioned that Federer was playing again in ten days and still has quite a few tournys to go. I was suprised he and Mary C. did not offer an opinion on that. I guess if Fed is back in his groove it’s a good thing.

Carlos did a splendid job in the chair today- as always. I shall drink a glass of wine from some beautiful vintage to him.


grendel Says:

This was a strange match. Fed came out against Murray exactly as he did against Djokovic, only even more aggressively. It was glorious to watch for some of us, a bit tedious perhaps for those in search of a good scrap. Then – just as the Djoker did, Murray came back in the second (after the first 2 games) and sort of looked on top. I was trying to figure out what was going on. For instance: the kind of flat out tennis of the first set was presumably only sustainable for ten games or so. Absolute focus and absolute relaxation – that must be a difficult double act to hold onto for any length of time. So when Fed was broken, it seemed careless, but I suspect he’d just come to the end of that particular “wind”.

After that, he played really carefully, and you could see Murray’s eyes glinting as he looked to dominate in his turn. He should really have broken twice, and (a la 2nd set Djokovic) taken the set, but at love -40, well, to be honest, I can’t remember how Fed got out of that one. But Federer somehow kept Murray at bay, and then pounced with Murray serving at 5-6 – it was a highly aggressive, predatory game, absolutely against the run of play, and it caught Murray cold. Energy conserved over the last few games was suddenly released in a violent onslaught; and yet it was quite different to the controlled, carefree hitting of the first set. Can you be “controlled” and “carefree” at the same time? Apparently, if you’re Federer on a good day.

Poor Murray was just about done now. What must be heartening for Federer is that today (unlike against Djokovic) his serve did not come to his rescue, indeed it was no more than respectable. I can’t agree with David, though, about the forehand – looked pretty good to me.

It was not a great final by a long chalk since Murray just couldn’t deliver; his tremendous matches against Melzer and Nadal had taken their toll. But he showed enough in that second set to indicate he’s a future slam winner. Federer certainly took him seriously. Incidentally: how does he play such ordinary stuff in the first matches, and then put on such a performance to day? I realise it’s called pacing yourself, but it’s dodgy isn’t it? I mean, you could get it wrong, and you’re out of the tournament. It was definitely touch and go with Andreev. It’s a high wire act, isn’t it? Surprising it works so often, really.


Ryan Says:

To JCF : Federer did not make a hard court final (the only place he can face off against Nadal) until now. Who’s the one that’s scared?

That is retarded.He has made so many finals with nadal on clay.He is not scared to play nadal on clay with so many finals , monte carlo , french open ,hamburg and ur telling me he ducked out to nadal on hard courts.Thats the joke of the year.The reverse could be true.

“So now you’re telling me, every time Nadal loses on hard courts, it’s deliberate and not because his opponent outplayed him?”

Go read my other posts.


mem Says:

Ryan, speaks nonsense! I’ve never seen a championship trophy engraved with why a player lost. a win is a win! in any case, the winner played better. in other words, saying that a player lost because, one player was younger than the other, their games don’t match up, it was too windy, too hot, too dark, the court was too slow or too fast, etc. these are excuses. playing under these kinds of conditions defines just how great you are! it defines your will to win. this is what being a champion is all about, overcoming tough situations!


Ryan Says:

To JCF :
“I’m sorry that he didn’t give you many chances to come out this year, and being in the closet for so long can be difficult.”

Well fed was ill in the beginning of the year and the site was full of fed bashers like some nameless bastard that comes around here.Now I have the last laugh…..hahahahahaha


Ezorra Says:

Guys… please ignore Ryan. None of what he had posted in this blog can really benefit Federer’s and Nadal’s fans as a whole. It is completely not worthwhile to keep arguing with someone like him. Let us see what will happen if we ignore him.

Congratulations to all Federer’s fans as well. Keep smiling! :)


Ryan Says:

To mem: I’m sorry but you speak very wise words.

“mark my words, no amount of wins will change how intimidated federer is of nadal!”

Thats bullshitt…fed was ready for nadal.Nadal is the one that lost after shaking hands with fed for grapple in the apple and all that.we’ll see in next year’s wimbledon.
Nadal’s game is like a pain in the ass for other players.There is no genius in his sick game.


Sean Randall Says:

Vulcan, true, Nadal may have been a step slower than normal, tipping the scale in favor of Murray. The same though could be argued for Novak so I call it a bit of a draw in that regard.

Again, going in I thought Murray was playing better tennis, but Roger raised his game to a higher level, while Murray got caught in the moment and floundered.

tennisontherocks, I would agree with that as well, that winning 5 straight US Open is tougher than 5 straight Wimbledons. Many players play their best on hardcourt while very few can say that about the grass.

Spirit, doh is correct!

Re: Nadal, i think if he plans his schedule properly the US Open is well within reach. Had he skipped the Olympics who knows, maybe he would have won it this year. He’s only 22 so he should have many more opportunities ahead.


Ryan Says:

To Ezorra:

Hey, I’m one of tennis-x elite bloggers along with grendel , von, tejuz and sensationalsafin.People like you just came yesterday.I might cause controversy with my comments but its all about freedom of expression.


zola Says:

Congratulations to Federer and to all Fed fans here. What an achievement! 5 US Open and GS numero 13. 2 more to go!

Again, I was not able to watch the match. I have it on tape though. I caught the last game and the trophy ceremony. Andy was obviously disappointed, but het, Djoko reached the final here and then won the Aussie. So, don’t worry Andy, I am sure this is just the beginning for you.

congratz to both champions.
congratz to Rafa for a great year of his own.

what a time to be a tennis fan.


Ameliè Says:

“Again, going in I thought Murray was playing better tennis”

are you serious?


Ezorra Says:

So I guess my suggestion should be perceived as the expression of freedom of expression, don’t you think so?

elite? I don’t think people who equalize people to a duck can be considered as “elite”? Grendel, Von, Tejuz, sensationalsafin- they might be elite to me but you? Duh!!!


Sean Randall Says:

Amelia, you bet. Federer struggled a bit with Muller, played better against a flat a Djokovic. While I thought Murray really played well against Wawrinka, Del Potro and then Rafa. He was playing the best he has ever played.

Fed though played much better today.

Zola, give it another two years when Monfils, Gulbis, Cilic and the rest of the young guns mature. It’s good now but I think it’s only going to get better.


grendel Says:

When I said “his tremendous matches against Melzer and Nadal”, I knew there was something wrong but couldn’t figure what. That’s how failing memory hits you. Of course, I should have said “del Potro and Nadal” – Melzer was earlier. Amazing comeback, though (against Melzer, always a dangerous player).

Tejuz: I’m glad we’re agreed on that last game in the 2nd set where Fed broke Murray out of the blue as it were. Yes, it was terrific. Just so unexpected. And yet, on reflection, just what one should have expected……


mem Says:

Ezorra, thanks for your advice. I can see that Ryan is incapable of seeing the truth. whatever makes him feel better! I don’t have a problem with it. the records for federer and nadal speaks for themselves. Ryan seems to know next to nothing about the nature of tennis. nonethe less, I won’t dignify his comments with a response! I should have known better!


Ameliè Says:

Oh, ok Sean. I thought you were talking about today.
But look, I know murray played an unbelievable tournment, but Del Potro was extremely tired and so was nadal. Not trying to take his merit, I never thought he could really defeat Roger.
Many reasons for that: Roger wasn’t playing the perfect tournment but he knows what it’s all about to be done in a slam final. He’s only lost 4 of his 17 slams finals. He could have had a bad season, but you never see hm playing a bad slam, principally when he’s playing semis or finals. And I knew Murray would feel the pressure of his first GS final.

As our commentator said this year: “The lion is sleeping but is not dead. Be careful. When you less expect, he can attack you.”


JCF Says:

“That is retarded.He has made so many finals with nadal on clay.He is not scared to play nadal on clay with so many finals , monte carlo , french open ,hamburg and ur telling me he ducked out to nadal on hard courts.Thats the joke of the year.The reverse could be true.”

Hard court is Federer’s surface, no? Why is it he made fewer hard court finals than Nadal did? Surely he couldn’t have been ill all season? Is he only ill when he underperforms?

“Well fed was ill in the beginning of the year and the site was full of fed bashers like some nameless bastard that comes around here.Now I have the last laugh…..hahahahahaha”

As a Federer fan myself, I’m embarrassed every time you speak. Can you not revel in your man’s win without making baseless accusations about other players? If he’s that afraid of playing Federer, he wouldn’t have two wins against him on hard already. What I fear is that other people might think that all of Federer’s fans are like you. There are some intelligent ones too, but you sound like a typical guy you can pull out of a hat from RF’s website.

I notice you’re really busy posting here now that he won the title. Where were you a few days ago? How long before we see you again if he didn’t beat Murray? Do you post with other aliases?

“tennisontherocks, I would agree with that as well, that winning 5 straight US Open is tougher than 5 straight Wimbledons. Many players play their best on hardcourt while very few can say that about the grass.”

For a specialist, that is true. A grass specialist could win Wimbledon easier than a hard specialist at the Open. But if you’re going to take some random, average guy, they’ve got better chances on hard courts. Federer of course is an exception since he’s good on every surface (including clay).

“Hey, I’m one of tennis-x elite bloggers along with grendel , von, tejuz and sensationalsafin.People like you just came yesterday.I might cause controversy with my comments but its all about freedom of expression.”

You’re an elite blogger Ryan? I want to know which definition of ‘elite’ you use. You are a troll. End of story.

When you look good, you rub it in as much as you can, and when you don’t, you simply vanish. Are you Joker? I haven’t seen him since Queen’s.

“Zola, give it another two years when Monfils, Gulbis, Cilic and the rest of the young guns mature. It’s good now but I think it’s only going to get better.”

There is more depth in men’s tennis right now than I thought there would ever be, post-2003 Federer.

“Federer struggled a bit with Muller, played better against a flat a Djokovic. While I thought Murray really played well against Wawrinka, Del Potro and then Rafa. He was playing the best he has ever played.”

He usually saves his best for the finals. Watch 04 USO vs Hewitt, and 05 Wimby vs Roddick. In the early rounds he struggles a bit unless he gets qualifiers. Players do say that the 1st round is always tough, and that surviving the early rounds is not a given. I don’t quite understand it — maybe it’s to do with adapting to conditions and match fitness — but he played as good in the finals as I’ve seen him play.


grendel Says:

There’s nothing “elite” about me, mate! But about Ryan: he’s posting some pretty aggressive and questionable stuff at the moment but, for my sins, I can understand the anger which drives him. It is fruitless, though. But what I remember most about Ryan was a superb post he did nearly a year ago, analysing just what it was in Nalbandian’s game (when on) which gave so much trouble to Federer. It was very illuminating.


Ezorra Says:

Federer on Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Del Potro and Baghdatis…

Q. On that note, you always seem to speak with tremendous sportsmanship, especially about some of the younger players coming up through the ranking. Is that something maybe as a statesman now you feel a responsibility to do?

Roger Federer: No, I mean, it’s up to me to be honest, you know. I’m a very honest guy. If I think a guy is good, I’ll let you know. If I think the guy is average, I’ll let you know that, too. I think the guys coming up right now they’ve sort of broken through, and I was maybe expecting them to break through maybe half a year or year earlier. You know, but it was only really Rafa and Novak who broke through from the group earlier, you know.

I mean, Rafa I always knew he was going to be a great player from the first moment I played him on. And I think Novak’s done a incredible job of improving because I wasn’t that impressed from Novak in the first place when I played him in Monaco. But Rafa, from the first moment, I knew he was going to be unbelievable.

So with Murray I always had the feeling he was an incredible talent, as well. And it was going to take him just a touch longer than the other guys because he had to figure out some things, you know, in his life and I think now it’s all looking good for him.

Then new guys like Del Potro or Baghdatis. There’s a bunch of guys around. So I think the men’s tour is looking great. They also have good sportsmanship, which I think is important I look forward to playing them more often.
———————-


Von Says:

And, all the Brits simultaneously said, OUCH, including this American poster, as the last point of the match went Federer’s way. I guess since my “gut feeling” that Fed would win the USO, was spot on, I should in the future, take up predicting as a part-time job or to pass time, but I don’t have the luxury of time, so i’ll stick to just writing down my picks.

Anyway, my heartfelt CONGRATS TO THE FED FANS, (ESPECIALLY MY SWEETIE, SKOROCEL, WHO PUTS UP WITH MY BLUNTNESS), FOR YOUR GUY ‘S 13TH SLAM WIN. it was the pre-13th that caused the let-down. Now that it’s over, the rest will be a breeze, unless Roddick :P beats Fed at the AO. I’m dodging the bullets!! –
______________
Sensationalsafin: Your Rog listened to you he gave you that one big “f—-ing” win as you asked him to do before Wimby> I hope you’re happy. :) What’s with the Roddick bashing though? How did he get into the mix. Be nice to my little guy, will ya. Remember we share the love of another guy, Marat. How many did you already have? Have one for me — I’m a teetotaler. Enjoy the warmth of the brown stuff travelling down to your feet. I hope you’re still able to stand. :)
______________
Ryan:

So now you’ve placed me among the elite “Fed fans” and have made me an elitist? Remember, I’m just a little guppy, but guess what, I’m a lion like Fed too, a Leo. We are perfectionists and stars, stubborn as hell and our worsst enemy!!! Whoop-dee-doo, the whole of of the tennis world says, oi vey!! You’re entitled to celebrate today, but stop pulling the posters chains, OK. That’s like asking a leopard to change its spots, yeah man and/or go man. :D


grendel Says:

“If I think the guy is average, I’ll let you know that, too”.(quoted from Ezorra’s post) Well, well. Wouldn’t it just be fun to know who Federer thinks is average? Perhaps an enterprising journalist might submit a list to him. Or perhaps that is a bit cruel. Just imagine, a player has sweated his guts out to rise from around #80 to get to the top 30. And as he opens the sports column over breakfast, feeling justifiably pleased with himself, he reads that Federer thinks he is “merely average”. He finds himself in a quandary. Should he call a lawyer – or perhaps a therapist?


Ezorra Says:

New lesson for today;

Commemoration = Bashing other players to obtain self-actualization.


Ezorra Says:

Sorry for my poor English;

Celebration = Bashing other players to obtain self-actualization.


AfriendofAfriend Says:

I have always stuck with my boy Federer. Murray didn’t stand a chance. The US Open totally fucked the schedule and Murray didn’t get a fulls day rest. What a bummer. Even if so, Fed was on his forehand, in my opinion, and showed that he still had a cannon. Backhand was consistent to me too, didn’t see too many go into the net, he played very well. Can’t wait for Wimbledon 09′.He’s gonna own that.


zola Says:

Sean
I heart Gulbis. He has the game. He is getting better with each tournament. So is Cilic. Of course Del Potro is ahead of them now.

Where is Ancic? I hope he gets better and can play again. A great talent.


zola Says:

oops i have to add this. Gulbis has the game AND personality. Go back and watch his video of interview after playing roddick on the US Open site. He is clever and funny and everything….

for those who think glorifying Fed means bashing Rafa, just read his own words and see how he repects Roger and Andy:

*******
from Rafa’s blog:
http://timesonline.typepad.com/rafael_nadal/2008/09/murray-was-bett.html

Andy played better than me both yesterday and today and he deserved to win. No excuses, no complaints. Some have asked if I had something to say about yesterday and the match being changed of courts, etc. The conditions are the same for both players and he simply played better. I had said on my previous blog that I knew this was a very, very difficult match. That Andy was playing great and that I knew this could happen. Well, it did.

Tomorrow it will be his first Grand Slam final and I am happy for him. it will be difficult for him since Roger is still Roger. I remember when lots of people were saying he was finished. I always said that Roger deserved more respect, and that he is still there, the favourite always. Well, he is in the final, again. Good luck to both and let’s hope we see a great tennis match.

****************


Mary Says:

“Federer on Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Del Potro and Baghdatis”
With every new generation an old one goes out. Who are these guys replacing as a group?

Federer is being replaced by Nadal- I know one of you wants to post that; I saved you the trouble.

I don’t want to add Roddick to the out list, only because I honestly think he is one of the very few of the old guard who actually steps on court wanting to win. He trained hard for the USO, but, as you know fell short.

I would like to read names of people who go into slams expecting to win, at least in their own mind.

I’m booting out Safin and Hewitt.
What the hell is a Marco Baghdatis doing on any list of the “new guard”? Also, please don’t add French players.


hiding behind our keyboards Says:

Murray has improved tremendously since the start of the year. He’s playing more smartly than previously, making better decisions in his shotmaking. It was a straight-sets loss today, but he reached a slam final and lost to some guy named Federer, who also may have a bright future ahead of him – that guy can play! A very good hardcourt season for Murray (one match from taking the US Open Series prize), he’s got respectable results to build upon.


sensationalsafin Says:

I like Roddick I just don’t know why people argue that he’s not living up to his potential. I have no expectations for Roddick. When he does well I’m overly impressed and generally pretty happy (even though I wanted Gulbis to win because I like his personality, too, and he has a better game).

But boy am I happy. Rog, you just proved so many different things to everyone. The one I was most curious to see was how he’d respond to being dethroned. There was an article I read earlier in the year that said the third part of Federer’s career (the part he’s entering now) will reveal his true character; is he a real champion worthy of the GOAT discussion? Or did he happen to be a fairly talented player who happened to experience the craziest 4 years any player ever has by chance? He’s proven to be a real champion. He says he won’t stop at 13, and I don’t think he’ll stop at 15 either. Roger Federer will end his career with 17 Grand Slams. No more, no less.


King Roger Says:

Nadal had the choice to either go for the Olympic gold medal or the US Open title. He wisely chose the Olympics as it comes once every 4 years. He will have many more shots at the US Open in the future. Besides, he’ll be my favorite to win the Australian Open in 2009. If he can manage to win the AO, I think he will go on to win all 4 Grand Slams next year.
As for Federer, it will be nice to see him pass Pete Sampras’ record as it will give Nadal something to focus on in years to come.


Von Says:

Mary:

“I don’t want to add Roddick to the out list, only because I honestly think he is one of the very few of the old guard who actually steps on court wanting to win. He trained hard for the USO, but, as you know fell short.”

Thanks for not counting out my guy, Andy, as yet.

Unfortunately, even though there were some who stated he gave up the Olympics for the USO and still didn’t make it in a negative bashing way; what was Andy supposed to do? Go the Olympics with a bad back? I think he made a very UNSELFISH DECISION, for which he has my respect, and he gave another American an Olympic opportunity. Even though Andy was endeavouring to train for the USO, his training was sporadic. His back injury flared up after a few matches and had to stop. it was a stop and go thing. Additionally, he was condemned by those who like to criticize, when he made some remarks in response to the interviewer’s questions regarding Djoko. It was stated he shouldn’t have said ‘those words, and should have had the game to back it up.” I don’t know what bearing his remarks had on his game, but those who like to nit-pick will find anything to spout off. And to those who do, I would suggest every time you have an overwhelnming urge to criticize, place an uncooked egg in your mouth abd bite down hard on it, then savour the taste, because that’s how sick some of us feel from your awful tasting comments.

“What the hell is a Marco Baghdatis doing on any list of the “new guard”? Also, please don’t add French players.”

I like Baghdatis, but he doesn’t have a champion’s heart. He’s a flash in the pan. The same way I feel about some of the French players and some of the wave of younger players. Some will make it, and some won’t. But, only time will tell….


Sanjeev Says:

I was at school but this was one HECK of a performance by Roger Federer. If he plays like this there is no doubt he will solidify a position at number 1. However, Nadal still has room to improve..but I think Federer can hold. Anyways check out my website for tennis (and NFL, NBA, MLB updates/opinions)

at: http://www.talkaboutsport.blogspot.com


Daniel Says:

Well, now I can post my last hope for this season (math moment)! :)

Nadal – 7000 pts
Will play Madri and Paris
Has to defend:
- Madrid: 125 pts (quarter-final)
- Paris: 350 pts (finalist)

Federer – 5930 pts
Will play Stockholm, Madrid, Basel, Paris
Has to defend:
- Stockholm: o (can gain 225 pts)
- Madrid: 350 pts (finalist)
- Basel: 250 pts (winner)
- Paris: 75 pts (round of 16)

My point: If Nadal makes quarters in both MS, he will lose 225 pts – 6775 going to Shangai.

If Federer wins everything (Stockholm and Basel are sure ones and at least one masters series I think he will win this season), he will be 6730 going to Shangai.

Shangai pts:
- Nadal: 200 (2 wins and a lost in semis, can gain 550 points if winning without losing any match)

- Fed: 650 (winner, one lost in RR,can gain 100 pts if win without losing any match)

This means that Fed can still regain number one this year, not very likelly but possible. If Nadal happens to make one slip in one of those MS and Fed wins some titles, they can come to Shangai with a possibility of an exchange. Of course with more competiton this year it will be harder to win without losing any match, harder for Fed to gain extra 100 points, but easy to think that Nadal can lose 2 matches, cause there will be Davy, Ferrer, Djoko, Murray, Roddick, all player wiht hard court wins against Nadal.

So, the number one race is alive and Fed still has a shot. It´s all in Nadal hands to finish it soon (just winnig Madrid), but if Fed happens to start a run again, who knows…

Just one important win and I am all hopes again!!! :) :)


Ryan Says:

thanks a lot Grendel………..never really expected anybody to remember that.I just wanted to piss some people off,question some ideas so that people dont take things 4 granted.I know nadal came on this earth 4 a reason……his forehand was made to attack fed’s backhand….fed needs nadal just like day needs night. If there is a batman there must be a joker


mel Says:

FEDERER YOU’RE THE MAN!!!!!


mars Says:

Sean Randall’s 9th september blog is shorter than 8th september blog. The reason is Federer cut it off
as he did it to murray too.


S Green Says:

Tribute to Posters from 2005-2006 who are still around:

(1) Daniel
(posted on Sat Jun 18, 2005 9:44 am)

“just wondering who people thought would win the match between nadal and gasquet at wimbledon. i would go for gasquet, especially after his performance at nottingham beatin mirni 6-2 6-3. and nadal hasnt had much practice on grass lately.
hope federer also gets more competitive matches this year as well, although its probably highly unlikely anyone will be able to stop him regaining the title for a 3rd straight time.”

(2) TejuZ Says
(Posted October 29th, 2006 at 10:08 pm ): Seems like Nadal chickened out .. cuz he anyway had very tough draw with Safin, Gasquet, Haas and Blake in his quarter. Wow, that was the first time he had got such a tough draw and 2 years and now hez pulled out.

Am sure he wont even play Masters Cup, just like last year.. cuz he knowz hez more likely to lose againt the Top 10 players and he doesnt have to bank on luck to have a good draw.

I really wanted to see Safin hammer him down in 2ns round of Paris TMS, but Alas!!!!”

(3) TennisFan Says
(Posted May 15th, 2006 at 2:51 pm):

I for one don’t think that saying Rafael plays a one-dimensional game is rude or malicious. I think people have always said that about Roddick and the Williamses and Sharapova and others. Having a one-dimensional game is not necessarily bad, especially if you can do it well, like Nadal does.

I think right now Nadal is in Fed’s head. Will be interesting how it all plays out, if they are to meet at Roland Garros. I think it will really help if Rog doesn’t have to play long matches like he did in Rome, prior to the final. I was expecting Nadal to give him a sound beating, especially given Nadal’s form coming in. I am a bit surprised it was so close.”

(4)SG Says:
(Posted November 16th, 2006 at 12:43 pm)
I don’t think the edge will fall to Federer merely because he “figures out” Nadal’s game. When Fed and Nadal, the match becomes far less about tennis and much more about a mental war between the two.

Nadal does not enter the match expecting to lose. He enters the match knowing that Fed will be brilliant and he accepts that before he steps on the court. So, when Fed does play brilliantly, he doesn’t look at his opponent in awe. Nadal takes this as part of the challenge. When he beats Fed, he beats him mentally because he brings so much competetive intensity to the court with him. Often, it’s this competetive intensity that Fed cannot match.

Everyone of Fed’s shots is more explosive than Nadal’s. And he an all-court game that dwarfs Nadal’s as well. And yet, he’s 2-6 against the guy and he is in his prime. Why? Nadal never flinches. He never backs down. He never gives up. After being smoked in the first set in final at Roland Garros, he could have packed it up and gone home like many players do when they play Fed. Not Nadal. He battens down the hatches and ratchets up the intensity. It’s an incredible talent. Even at Wimbledon (…on arguably his worst surface), after Fed blew him away in the first set, he didn’t go quietly into the night. He ratcheted up the intensity and gave Fed one hell of a fight.

If Nadal can bring that intensity into 07, there’s no reason he won’t enjoy similar success against Fed. If he doesn’t, it looks like a potential grand slam for Federer.”

(5) skorocel Says:

(Posted November 18th, 2006 at 4:45 pm)
“Ziad, you know who you are… Remember – such cheaters like you, along with Nadal, will once go down, forever…”

(6) Giner says
(Posted October 26th, 2006 at 12:19 am)
The main thing is… would Pete have won 14 slams against a strong top 100 competition like there is today? Or would he have taken upsets from players ranked 90? I think he would have had more upsets. His serve volley game certainly would have been less effective with slower courts.

(7) Ryan Says
(Posted October 13th, 2006 at 4:41 pm):
I think Federer is the ultimate champion of all time. But then again only time will provide solid evidence.However I wont underrate Sampras’s acheivements simply because he managed to win more slams than the others.So if he has not won the French he has compromised for it by winning more slams in the other tournaments.So Sampras might not be the greatest but atleast he is one of them.C’mon give him some credit for numbers(14 slams).It’s not fair to call him apeman because he knew how to control his emotions on court and played when it mattered but maybe not as polished as Federer.Anyway Fed vs Sampras……..Fed wins simply because he has a better all round game than sampras except maybe the killer serve.Nick has posted some nice records as to why Fed is the greatest ever and also has shown that Sean Randall doesnt have a clue about Tennis(Lendl has won 11 slams it seems!).”

(8) JCF Says:
(Posted December 17th, 2006 at 6:49 am)

“Croatia will never pick a clay court to host anyone.

And calling the Aussies underdogs against Belgium is pure idiocy. Hewitt may not be a star on clay, but the Belgians have no stars on any surface. He will win both his singles matches (he has beaten clay stars on clay before), and they will likely win the doubles also. The Belgians will beat the Scud or whoever Aust fields as second singles player twice, that is given. But Hewitt isn’t going to lose to the likes of Rochus or Malisse.”

Posters from 2007 who’re still around:

sensationalsafin, Zola, grendel, andrea, Jane, Von


Joe Says:

All I have to say is that its a relief having Federer back playing the kind of tennis we never see otherwise, and at least having an alternative to watching players bash each other senseless from the baseline.

Even if he doesn’t win every match from here on out, at least he’s playing tennis that’s great to watch.

Welcome back!


S Green Says:

A segment from Murray’s interview.

Q. You said on court that you felt Roger was the best of all time. If you had to boil it down just to one or two things that really allowed him to step up and be a player, what are those one or two things?

ANDY MURRAY: It’s tough to say, I guess, that someone is outrightly the best player of all time. I mean, Sampras is obviously great, as well, and had some unbelievable runs, but I think ‑‑ I mean, I was looking on the ‑‑ I was watching on the TV when he was playing against Andreev, and it came up and said when he won the first set and matches and Slams, he’s won 144 matches and only lost 4. And he’s only lost in his whole career I think, you know, 23, 24 matches in Slams.

You know, in the big tournaments, he never has early losses. He’s been so dominant, you know, in terms of ranking for the last five years, even when I think Nadal might get very close to winning the same amount of Slams as Federer and Sampras. You know, even when someone as good as him who is right behind him, you know, he’s still a long way ahead in points, and it’s only been until this year that Nadal has caught up to him.

So I think that sort of five years of dominance, the runs here and at Wimbledon, winning five in a row, and even at the French, he’s definitely a better clay court player than Sampras. He’s coming up against I think the ‑‑ well, definitely the best clay court player of all time in Nadal. That’s why I think that, you know, there’s a very strong argument for him being the best player.


mem Says:

can someone please explain to me what criteria determines “the greatest player of all time” because I haven’t figured it out. To me, being called the “greatest ever” is the ultimate, which means there’s is no one in the history of the sport who can match your overall achievements, especially when it comes to achieving what is considered almost impossible; i.e. rod laver winning all four majors in a year, but he did it twice. then, there is pete sampras currently holding 14 slams, but has never won the french open, then, there is federer with 13 slams, but has never won the french open. without question, all of this is extraordinary, but what would make one greater than the other?


Ryan Says:

Well rod laver cant be counted because 3 tourneys were on grass and one on clay.There were no hard courts.And besides the competition cannot be compared between today and the laver days.So the laver slam is overrated.The GOAT is the player who has the most complete game, has won the most slams and their best performance in their least favourite surface.So then federer is the GOAT now or soon will be.


NachoF Says:

Daniel,

Thank you for giving me hope!!


TennisMasta Says:

Rafa played out of his mind and body the match of his life at Wimbledon. Still he had to be extremely lucky to escape from 12 out of 13 break points he faced to win the match.
Had Roger converted one or more of those break points, he would have won the match as anticipated.

The most overlooked fact of the year so far:
How unlucky Roger was in not winning Wimbledon. Even after loosing 12 break chances, even after himself getting broken four times, he takes the match to 7-9 in the fifth set and narrowly looses the match. Stats below show that Roger is equal or better than Rafa in most of them.

Federer Vs Nadal
Sevice Statistics
Aces 25 6
Double Faults 2 3
1st Serve Percentage 65% (127/195) 73% (160/218)
1st Serve Points Won 72% (92/127) 69% (111/160)
2nd Serve Points Won 57% (39/68) 58% (34/58)
Break Points Saved 69% (9/13) 92% (12/13)
Service Games Played 30 30
Statistics on Return
1st Return Points Won 30% (49/160) 27% (35/127)
2nd Return Points Won 41% (24/58) 42% (29/68)
Break Points Won 7% (1/13) 30% (4/13)
Return Games Played 30 30
Statistics on Points
Total Service Points Won 67% (131/195) 66% (145/218)
Total Return Points Won 33% (73/218) 32% (64/195)
Total Points Won 49% (204/413) 50% (209/413)


sensationalsafin Says:

I’ve been around since 2006, thank you very much.


Anne Says:

Roger: I still have every faith in you as the world’s #1 men’s tennis player. I knew you were still #1 and will remain so for a while yet.
So Roger, keep up your great playing. Good luck at the Australian Open in 2009, you can still do it. I knew you were not doing so well at the start of 2008 because you have been sick and it takes time to recover, but you are looking in great form again.Take care of yourself and stay healthy.


Anne Says:

For the pessimistic people, I think Roger will regain his #1 ranking, especially if he wins the 2009 AO. He was not in top health in early 2008. His illness was serious and it took many months for him to completely recover. Admittedly there are many exceptional younger players coming up, who in time will attain the #1 ranking, but for now my support still lies with Roger, he has some good years ahead of him yet. I agree, Rafa is also a great player, and will eventually surpass Roger, and maybe Djokovic also, all three are class players.


Von Says:

Many seem to overlook the fact that Nadal has been on the tour for eight (8) years, which is a long time. Yes, he’s only 22, but in tennis years, he is at his peak as of right right now, whereas, people like Fed, Roddick Blake and a few others joined the tour at a later age and have peaked a year or two ago. The normal age for a player to peak is around 25/26. Considering the foregiing, it would be interesting to see how many more good years Nadal has left on the tour as compared to Fed, Roddick and the other “veterans”. Djokovic also has been on the tour for quite a few years and probably needs another year to fully peak. I’d say by age 25 both Djoko and Nadal will have been on the tour much longer than Fed and the other ‘veteran players were at their age. This is why the comparisons in terms of achievements is somewhat unfair.


Samprazzz Says:

Fed’s chip and charge off Murray’s second serve made me wonder why Federer doesn’t use that play more often, and made me wonder why other players don’t use that play more often.
Fed’s footwork was really impressive. He was noticeable quicker to the ball than Murray, in the same manner that Murray looker quicker to the ball than Nadal a day earlier.
It didn’t help Murray that his first serve went off. But Fed was too good: power, speed, touch,…


grendel Says:

Daniel: you might be interested to know that Wilander opined that Fed will never be #1 again, on the grounds a) the structure of the tennis calender (unfortunately, he did not elaborate) and b)he will mainly focus on the slams. Having been proved wrong about a number of things concerning Fed, I hesitate to give an opinion here. But I’d have thought it’s a bit of a slog relentlessly going through all the tourneys in an attempt to recapture ranking, particularly since it might adversely affect his focus on the slams. He’s not getting any younger, after all. My best guess is that he will prepare almost exclusively with a view to winning slams. If, in the course of this, his rivals slip up and he regains #1, well, that’s a very acceptable bonus!

Sensational Safin: I’ve always found Roddick a puzzle. I do believe he has underachieved: after all, someone who has reached so many semis and finals has been a bit unfortunate to gain only one slam. The point is, he seems to me a very difficult player to define. He can often look quite ordinary, as you implied in your post on him on another thread. The undeniable fact is, though, that he is always potentially dangerous. He looked very good in the early part of the American season, and I then predicted that in this form, the big 3 would not be keen to meet him. And sure enough, he beat Nadal and Djokovic next up in Dubai. In this tourney, for a set and a half, he outplayed Djokovic, and if he hadn’t delivered those unaccountable double faults, he would have had the momentum going with him into the 5th set.

In sports that I am at all familiar with, you often get a guy who is sometimes very effective, but nobody quite knows why, since he is unorthodox and also capable of being very bad. Roddick seems to fall into this category (apart from the serve obviously). Outside the serve, and an underated defensive game, his chief attribute seems to be intensity. When he beat Federer earlier this season, what SG said of Nadal vis-a-vis Fed (quoted above by S.Green), was very evident. Federer would deliver a brilliantly unexpected winner, and Roddick would just turn his head as if it hadn’t happened and settle down for the next point. When Roddick is like this, he is very dangerous – and I am sure this competitiveness communicates itself to the other player. The only trouble is, unlike Nadal, he doesn’t keep it up. On another occasion, he will start shaking his head at a Fed flash of brilliance – and then you know he is done.

That said, Roddick always has the POTENTIAL to cause a shock, even if it doesn’t happen very often these days. That’s why I think he is still a contender, if an outsider, for a slam. And do you know what – I bet the top 4 agree. Nobody really wants to face Roddick, just in case….


TennisMasta Says:

If Roger moves well, he can hit his forehands (and other shots) at will and against anyone as we saw against Novak and Andy. If Roger is healthy he moves well as it became clear to us this year. And he will not have a lot of points to defend next year except in slams. So every match he plays when he’s healthy that will be a big step toward regaining his #1.

But it is definitely exciting to have Andy in the mix. It’s all a matter of belief for him. If he believes in himself like Novak does, let alone Rafa, there is no stopping Andy. He definitely could become #1 at least for a while.

As the US Open showed we need some fast courts here and there to build excitement in tennis. It is indeed lamentable that LTA has made Wimbledon almost as slow as the French Clay. To see serve and volley, chip and charge, and the variety game as we saw from Roger in the US Open finals, we need Wimbledon to use fast balls for a start. Then they should consider changing the grass.

Why would you not want to have a surface that suit your players? No wonder Fred Perry some 100 years ago was the last UK player to have won a slam.

Back to Roger. It will be interesting if he will maintain his overly full schedule or throttle it down a little to focus on the slams. I don’t think he needs to play Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Cincy, and Paris. He can add a few international series tournaments if he wants more match practice. He already committed to Davis Cup and that should be plenty along with 4 masters series and the masters cup and the four slams. He should take a page from Tiger Woods – it is more important to take care of yourself than the obligations to the tournaments.

As to the Fed haters. I know they won’t be lying low for long. The next match he looses they will be back to their doomsday predictions. But as New York showed, he has more fans than he has detractors.


MMT Says:

Okay, okay, I admit it…I picked Murray in 4. Boy was I ever wrong. The funny thing is, I don’t even feel Fed was 100% until the second week, but that’s when it counts. His fitness and versatility have shone through in a big way. I’ve always felt he needed to shorten his points like he did in Shanghai last year when he blew away the field, including Nadal, so maybe some changes to his game will continue to help him.

He’ll never be a serve and volleyer, but he’ll always have the option of putting pressure on his opponents. I still think he’s an average volleyer, and improvement in that area would make him much stronger.

Now I’m very curious to see what happens with the indoor season. As for 2009, I don’t think the top players can skip Miami, Indian Wells or Cincy, but he could drop Dubai. He only played one match in Dubai and Toronto, and just 2 in Cincinnati so I’m not sure what that gets him in terms of easing the schedule.

Should be interesting to see if he can regain #1 if he plays Davis Cup. I was laughed out of the AllCourtGame blog for suggesting it, but I think the ATP is considering giving points for Davis Cup, so that may help if Switzerland does well.


sensationalsafin Says:

Cincy, Indian Wells, Miami, and Paris are mandatory. They’re masters events, Federer should play them. His schedule is generally fine, whether he’s focusing primarily on the slams or not.


Zman Says:

Does anyone think I’m crazy by predicting Federer will win the French Open next year. I think the lows he hit this year, ending with the high of winning the US Open, will have a slingshot effect into 2009. He’s going to come into 2009 with a renewed sense of confidence and purpose. I have a hard time believing Nadal can play any better than he did in the 2008 French Open. There’s really nothing else to prove for Federer except for winning the French. That will be probably be one of, if not, the most important goal for him the rest of his career – establishing himself as the undisputed GOAT.

In the long term, when his career is over, his mono may prove to be the most critical and motivating factor of his prolonged supremacy. I can see him winning the next 6 of 8 Slams before the inevitable slowdown of the greatest career in the history of tennis.


TennisMasta Says:

As Zman says, ironically “his mono may prove to be the most critical and motivating factor of his prolonged supremacy.”

Due to it one thing we saw from Roger in this US Open are his emotions. And it was absolutely fantastic to see. Turns out watching him emote is as captivating as watching his breathtaking tennis. And that’s great for the fans and the TV. I hope he lets out his emotions a bit more often on the court – how about on great shots (even though his shots speak for themselves, but he makes them look too easy), and may be on break points too!


TennisMasta Says:

We just have to imagine what tennis would like without Roger.

The grinding two handed baseliners (even tough better than in the past) slugging it out on courts that are all being slowed down.

Sure, the two handed baseline versions of Rafa, Novak and Andy are not too bad to watch, but without Roger you woundn’t have the one handed backhand and its sublime shot making at the same level and quality.

We have Gasquet, Haas, Gonzales and others but they are not in the same league.

To see all around versatile tennis with magnificent one handed shotmaking at the very highest level we needed Roger all these years and will need him in the future.


tennisontherocks Says:

Roger can be back at #1 if he really puts his mind to it, but I would rather see him focus on big events. He has been very very good about maintaining his fitness, but he is not getting younger. If he wins say 2 slams next year, he will be the ‘player of the year’ (and may be the GOAT) no matter what the rankings say.

Rafa has patiently waited for #1 spot for almost 3 years now, so I would love to see him enjoy the view from top a bit longer. With Murray’s addition, we have the one of the best top 4 group. If Gasquet/Del Potro/Gulbis/Nishikori find their way to top 10 in next 6 months, the new ATP chief will be sitting on a gold mine.


Shayna Says:

I am so happy Federer won. I cheered for him. yeah!!!!!!!!!


PJ Says:

I really hope Roger wins the Aussie Open next year. I would love to see him go into The French/Wimbledon time period looking to break Pete’s record; just to add a little more interest in the mix.

I also hope that his winning the gold medal in doubles at the Olympics gave him the confidence to come into the net more; and, overall, play better.


grendel Says:

Gasquet and Haas not in the same league as Federer in the one handed backhand?

??????


JoshDragon Says:

Congratulations Roger. You deserved it.


Vulcan Says:

Top 3 one handed backhands in current/recent history in no particular order:

Federer, Gaudio, Gasquet


Guga's backhand Says:

is better than Fed’s. Gasquet, Guga, Gaudio.


Vulcan Says:

The reason I think Federer’s has to be in the top 3 is because of his flick and half-volley backhand shots. Guga and Gaudio had better drive backhands but Gasquet is the only one (with a one hander) that comes close to Federer in the dept of hitting flick backand winners.


Fed could Says:

give shanking lessons with his backhand. Out of the top 3 for that reason alone.


SG Says:

Best backhand I’ve ever seen…Stefan Edberg. Smooth as silk and completely lethal. It was that scintillating backhand that covered up a very average forehand and enabled him to win 6 majors. I truly don’t think any of the giys listed other than Gasquet have a backhand that is comparable to Edberg. His backhand was just sick!


kamret Says:

YES, Fed’s run IS done! That was his last one! He will never win another one again. With Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, and soon Del Potro at his neck, he will never win another one. HE IS DONE!


TennisMasta Says:

Wilander also said that once Roger beats Rafa on Clay, he will never loose to Rafa again (on clay, and conseqently on any surface).

Well Roger was the one who stopped the 80+ win streak of Rafa in 2007, but it hasn’t helped him develop a winning formula.

Wilander suggested (experimenting) rushing to the net on all points, but I don’t think that will work. Mardy Fish tried it at the US Open and failed. If you can’t do it on hard courts then you can’t do it on clay.

Whereas the strategy of Querry and Murray seem to hold promise. Stay well back, get Rafa’s serve in (first things first), then use power to either manouver Rafa or hit outright winners.
Querry pushed Nadal far. Murray beat him. This strategy holds promise. Roger should try.


vp Says:

So with Murray I always had the feeling he was an incredible talent, as well.

Here’s what Roger said in Dubai about Murray.

Federer slams Murray’s tactics after Dubai defeat

Roger Federer has criticised Andy Murray’s tactics during the Scot’s victory over the world No1 in Dubai yesterday, and questioned whether Murray is progressing as a player.

Murray knocked Federer out of the Dubai Championships in yesterday’s opening round, but Federer today said he was unimpressed by Murray’s lack of attacking intent, and does not believe that the British No1 has developed since they first crossed paths in the final of the 2005 Thailand Open.

“I don’t think he has changed his game a whole lot since the first time I played him and I really thought he would have done,” said Federer. “He is going to have to grind it very hard in the next few years if he is going to play this way. He stands way behind the court. You have to do a lot of running and he tends to wait for the mistakes of his opponent.

“I gave him the mistakes but overall, in a 15-year career, you want to look to win a point more often, rather than wait for the other guy to miss. Who knows, he might surprise us all.”

Yesterday’s victory was 20-year-old Murray’s second consecutive win over Federer after beating the Swiss in Cincinnati in 2006. Murray won 48 of 53 points on his first serve and Federer, who is six years Murray’s senior, failed to push him to break point in any game. Murray faces Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in the next round.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/mar/04/tennis


sar Says:

I agree, Rafa is also a great player, and will eventually surpass Roger, and maybe Djokovic also, all three are class players.

Anne, J McEnroe said that by the end of the year Djok will be number 2. Can anyone figure out wonder why he thinks that? Not that I would mind.


Tejuz Says:

S Green… thanks for the tribute by bringing out the posts from 2006. Well its been almost 3 years since we have been blogging here. New players have come and gone.. the only constants in our discussion have been Federer and Nadal.. and i guess they still will be in years to come because they are the ultimate rivals in tennis.. bigger than Sampras-Agassi.


Tejuz Says:

well.. sar…

J Mac made that assumption on the fact that Djoker would do better than Fed in the US Open. DJoker is still not that far behind though.. less than 100 points behind.. So.. if he does well that Roger in the next 3 tourneys he has a great chance of ending the year as No 2. But have you observed, this year Djoker had atleast 3 chances to reach No 2.. 1st time against Nadal at Hamburg.. 2nd time again against Nadal at Paris and the most recent time was last week against Roger at US Open … and he has come up short each time. So based on that, i dont thin he is going to do any better this time.


Tejuz Says:

vp…

Yes, i remember Fed criticizing Murray’s tactics.. but i guess Murray did heed to what Fed said.. and the reason why he is winning these big matches is because he is taking the attack to the opponent. Murray couldnt have won matches aginst someone like Nadal or Djokovic waiting for them to make mistakes. He seems to have changed a lot in last one year.. looks more mature and composed. Also his press-statements are good to read. He gives credit where its due. I certainly like him more than Djokovic and would like him to win atleast one slam next year.


Tejuz Says:

I still think Fed’s volleying is not up to the mark, even though it did help him in the final.

I remember, his volleying was much much better when he beat Sampras in 2001 wimbledon.. or even in 2003/04. He still has a lot to improve especially in the forehand volley department. I guess only then will he have the confidence to rush the net against a great passer like Nadal. So there is still hope since there is lot of scope for improvement in fed’s game.. STILL.

Am really glad to see him back to winning big Titles, this should be BIG relief for him and a MAJOR confidence booster. And there is no-one like a confident Fed(except Nadal) when he soon starts to go on match winning streaks.


Gordo Says:

Well, well, well…

It took a Grand Slam victory to shut up the Fed-bashers in here – for about 24 hours – but now you have crawled out of your holes and are predicting he will go away. How predictable.

You want a prediction?

Roger Federer is going to go on a tear, and not lose another tournament before the 2009 clay season begins.

There is NOTHING in sport like a healty, confident Roger Federer – he doesn’t lose, and his acting in his commercials is much better too.

Watch for it – Roger regains the #1 spot no later that in Miami next year, and he will keep it for the rest of the year.

Of course, this is assuming he remains healthy. But as Nadal himself might say – “In 2009 Roger – he does not have that many points to defend, no?”

Get out the GOAT trophy and prepare to award it next year.


Tejuz Says:

This years Master’s Cup event should be interesting. We’ll have the top-4 divided into 2 groups and lets see how they fare against each other. I think the Master’s cup is on par (if not a little less) with a Grand Slam. So Fed’s 4 master’s cup titles must be counted along with his 13 Grand Slams when measuring Greatness.

Currently in Masters cup matches against top-8 players
Fed is 26 – 3 in last 6 years
Nadal is 4 – 4 in last 2 years (lost twice to Fed)
Djoker is 0 – 3 last year

So lets see how it goes in the Masters Cup. I guess people should not be referring to tiredness as reason for any failure.. because when Fed compiled his 26 – 3 record.. he must have played a average of 80 to 85 matches per year.


NachoF Says:

I predict a glorious Fed-Nadal final at Shanghai to end this very interesting year.


Von Says:

“New players have come and gone.. the only constants in our discussion have been Federer and Nadal..”

This is the reason why so very few people of other players blog on this site. If you’re not a Fed or Nadal fan, what’s there to talk about? And, if you do mention anything about Fed or Nadal, you’d better be careful what you say and/or how you write it. For example, how many posters are blogging today since Fed’s victory yesterday? Mainly the Fed posters.

What will continue to happen if anyone dare mentions another player, then they will be shut up, and their player will be open to ridicule as to their inferiority compared to Federer and Nadal. When the theme of a thread is pertinent ta another player it turns out to be a huge bashing ordeal for the player and their posters.

“It took a Grand Slam victory to shut up the Fed-bashers in here – for about 24 hours – but now you have crawled out of your holes and are predicting he will go away. How predictable.”

Does this mean from henceforth you’ll be biting at every poster’s oankle if they mention Federer, except if they were to laud praises on Him? Just be thankful he won, and wait and see what happens before taking off on a tangent. It would be wise to stay humble because you never know what’s around the corner. Did anyone thik Fed would have only one slam this year? I don’t think so. That said, be careful with the predictions. Realistically speaking, Fed’s not playing up to his previous form. Will he get back up there? maybe, maybe not. Then what’s going to happen with the predictions.

The whole situation is very new now, but after a few days I’m sure Fed’s recent win will be old news. Tennis.X has lost many bloggers and now nearly all that remains are the Fed Nadal posters which should be an atmosphere devoid of “Fed Bashers”. There’s always more fun when there’s some friction. If it weren’t for some dissention to upset Gordo, his 11:03 pm post would have been obsolete.


Tejuz Says:

Another thing that i observed from Fed in his semi and final match is the way he was attacking the second serves. No wonder Djoker and Murray dint hit many aces cuz they were under pressure by Fed returns.. something that we havent seen Fed do very often.


Tejuz Says:

Von: “This is the reason why so very few people of other players blog on this site. If you’re not a Fed or Nadal fan, what’s there to talk about?”

well… That is because they(Fed and Nadal) are THE players who are achieving something out there in the tennis world. They are the ones who constantly appear in the finals of big tournaments. Slowly we see Djoker fans coming up and Murray’s as welll once he starts performing well in GS. When Fed wins US Open, which player do u wish to talk about in this blog??? Blake ?? or Roddick.??? we already had heaps of talk about him and Djoker the past few days. Right now.. the moment belongs to Federer.. just like it belonged to Nadal most of this year. And if you divide the fan base around the world.. i guess Fed and Nadal’s fans would add up to 70-80% of total tennis fans in this world.


Von Says:

Tejuz:

“i guess Fed and Nadal’s fans would add up to 70-80% of total tennis fans in this world.”

That’s very true, but all of the players make up the draw and my point is even though they are “inferior” to Fed, or whatever that means, when their names are mentioned, they shouldn’t be discarded as meaningless. I’d like to see more posters posting with their viewpoint.

You’re correct, over the past 6 months, all we’ve seen were the Nadal posters singing his praises and reciting his CV ad nauseam. And, if I thought Fed’s fans were bad, well the Nadal posters, are up there too — maybe a tad worse. I suppose a poster has to be either a Nadal or Fed fan to fit into a discussion.

“And if you divide the fan base around the world.. i guess Fed and Nadal’s fans would add up to 70-80% of total tennis fans in this world.”

I wouldn’t doubt it, but I’ve never visited either of their websites, so I’ll have to take your word for it. :P


Murray was tired yesterday! Says:

Really! He has to play two days. And Federer got to rest! And you’re calling this fair?


NachoF Says:

Von,
I disagree…. people are talking more about Federer right now cause he just won….. but over the past 2 weeks we have been talking about plenty of players of the US open… Murray, Del Potro, Gulbis, Querrey, Djokovic, Roddick, Robredo, etc…. Federer just won, of course hes the hot tennis topic of conversation around the whole world.


Von Says:

NachoF:

Von,
“I disagree…. people are talking more about Federer right now cause he just won….. but over the past 2 weeks we have been talking about plenty of players of the US open… Murray, Del Potro, Gulbis, Querrey, Djokovic, Roddick, Robredo, etc…. Federer just won, of course hes the hot tennis topic of conversation around the whole world.”

You’re right that it will be the hot topic right now, and that’s understandable, but what I’m trying to say that other posters should be able to air their views without SOME of the Fed fans becoming angry to the point of calling them bashers. If that continues, people will not want to post and then nothing will be discussed. Believe me, I’m happy for you guys — Fed’s career for a while has been very uncertain, and this slam win is a very positive thing for all concerned, Fed and his fans, so you’re entitled to celebrare, but leave room for some controversy, don’t shut down everything. OK? :P


Tejuz Says:

yeah true..Von .. obviously we all share the same view how would there be a debate???


Von Says:

Tejuz:

“yeah true..Von .. obviously we all share the same view how would there be a debate???”

I’m sure you remember all those arguments earlier on this year after the AO. “You’ll be shocked twice”, only twice”. Remember that one, it was so funny. You haven’t been shocked, have you? :P

BTW, I missed you — you used to keep me company at night whenever I worked late. I thought you had stopped posting, but now I know why, nothing was happeneing with Fed – it must have been frustrating. You know there are some Aussies posting regularly here too, JCF and Giner. Aye .


NachoF Says:

Von,
Thats true…. not everyone deserves to be shut down… the only one I personally feel like bashing is S Green… his “Im a reborn Fed fan even though I called him a loser a week ago” attitude makes me sick to my stomach… but other than that I would also hate it if this site was only visited by Fed fans… it would certainly make it very dull.


Tejuz Says:

well.. that was part of the reason.. and also i was quite busy with work for 5 months in between.

Btw.. i didnt get shocked twice, did i??? when i made that comment.. it was after Djoker had registered his wins against Fed and Nadal early on in this season. I had predicted that he wouldnt win against both of them again for the rest of this season. Well.. he never won against Fed.. and he lost 3 of the 4 matches that followed against Nadal.. ;-)


Von Says:

“NachoF Says:
Von,
Thats true…. not everyone deserves to be shut down… the only one I personally feel like bashing is S Green… his “Im a reborn Fed fan even though I called him a loser a week ago” attitude makes me sick to my stomach…”

I understand your anger, but you also have to forgive and forget. Blame me for that situation, in a way I caused it due to my joking around. He’s a nice guy, and I feel you should cut him some slack. Human nature being what it is, we tend to get tired (at least I’m like that) holding on to a grudge. By next week you’ll forget your anger and the whole scenario.

“but other than that I would also hate it if this site was only visited by Fed fans… it would certainly make it very dull.”

That’s what’s happenening right now, and it’s what I would like to NOT HAPPEN. TRUST ME IT WOULD BE VERY BORING AND DULL if everyone is singing the same tune — you know like the Christmas Carols at Christmastime, after a while you don’t want to hear them. There’s nothing like a good debate to get the juices flowing. So fire away when it happens. :D BTW, I lived in So. America for 2 years when I was a little girl in Guyana. My Dad was a Project Engineer/Overseer, and was assigned to Guyana. I loved the sunshine and the nice So Aerican people, they’re fun loving. Brazil and Venezuela are right on Guyana’s borders. I love all the different So. American foods. You could say for two (2) years I was a “spicy” South American Senorita. Paella, and Empanadas, and the plantains were my favourites foods. Yummy!! :P


Von Says:

Tejuz:

“Btw.. i didnt get shocked twice, did i??? when i made that comment.”

No, you didn’t get shocked twice, but it was so much fun. Everynight, he wrote the same one-liners, “you’ll be shocked twice, you’ll see”. Then you’d say, “only twice?” I got a kick out of it. :D


NachoF Says:

Von,

Really!?


NachoF Says:

Sorry, I submitted enter by mistake.

Anyway, I dont know if you knew this but according to many people in my country you lived here in Venezuela!… cause you can still find that region on many Venezuelan maps as a Reclamation Zone…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guayana_Esequiba


Tejuz Says:

Yeah.. it was funny :-) … it was more of an impulsive response to those posts by the Djoker-fan. .. dun remember the name.. was it Branimir somethin.


TennisMasta Says:

Folks,

By now everyone knows that Rafa played as well as he possibly can (I am sure he wants to further improve), and Roger had the worst year in a long time (even though by his own standards)

But if you look at the stats below you would not know that. You cannot explain the results of 2008 from these.

Player stats as of: 9/8/2008
Nadal Vs Federer

Service Record YTD

272 Aces: 573
111 Double Faults: 63
70 1st Serve %: 65
72 1st Serve Points Won %: 77
982 Service Games Played: 870
88 Service Games Won %: 89
358 Break Points Faced: 290
66 Break Points Saved %: 67
68 Service Points Won %: 70
60 2nd Serve Points Won %: 58

Return Record YTD

35 1st Serve Return Points Won %: 33
56 2nd Serve Return Points Won %: 53
734 Break Points Opportunities: 562
45 Break Points Converted %: 41
974 Return Games Played: 848
34 Return Games Won %: 28
43 Return Points Won %: 41
55 Total Points Won %: 55

They both won exactly 55% of total points. That is incredible in a year where everyone couldn’t rave any more about Rafa and could not any more dismiss Roger.

Even though Roger himself says he is fit, close observers of the game know that he either had mono or lingering effects of it all year. Consequently he was half a step slower. Ask Courier or Becker if you’d like. Imagine what that would do to a game that is built on precision and timing.

Still, despite all that, Roger matches up almost equally on the overall stats with Rafa. What that shows is how close Roger was to winning most of the matches he lost.

He was only a few points away from winning his 6th straight Wimbledon. Rafa escaped (or Roger squandered) 13 of 14 breakpoints. If Rafa looks back he’ll know how damn lucky he was. I bet the probability of that happening again is very small.

Roger lost to Karlovic without loosing his serve in Cincinnati.

The one stat that may explain why Rafa won 8 and Roger only 3 titles is:
45 Break Points Converted %: 41

Rafa converted more breakpoints while escaping out of the same overall (66 vs 67) on his own serve, but escaping out of a ton of break points in key matches like Wimbledon. If Rafa saved 66% of his breakpoints at Wimbledon, Roger would have it in straight sets.

That how close their years have been so far.
A far cry from the perceived world of difference as portrayed in the press.


stop USTA draw fixes! Says:

Federer gets another asterisk * on a trophy
- he didn’t beat Nadal,
-Djokovic was busted by the NY crowd in the semis and barely put up a fight,
-plus Federer got a whole day off while Murray was rushing to finish his semifinal with street fighter Nadal.
Did Federer beat any good healthy opponents to win? No. I rest my case.


TennisMasta Says:

Hello “stop USTA draw fixes”,

Are you able to post anything interesting for others to read?
It is clear to me who you loathe, but do you like anyone?
Can you write anything good about some player you like?
Something we may not know.


JoshDragon Says:

Federer, would have beaten Nadal even if he had made the finals. Nadal won 75 out of 78 matches and was just too tired. Even if he had found a way to beat Murray he wouldn’t have had the stamina necessary for Federer.

It’s too bad. Had Nadal, been fresher I think that he could have won the US Open and maybe been the first person since Steffi Graf to win the golden slam.


Vulcan Says:

Nadal couldv’e won the “Career Golden Slam” but not the “Golden Slam”…the latter term is reserved for someone who wins all five events in the SAME year.


SG Says:

I’ve always felt that Fed was better on a hardcourt than on any other surface (…including grass). The way Fed played those last two matches, I don’t believe that a weary Rafa could have handled him.

A fresh Rafa could have kept Federer on the hook longer and pressed him into more errors at critical times. And then there’s that high bounding ball from Rafa’s forehand to the Fed backhand. There isn’t another player out there that can create the high kicking action that Nadal does. It would have been a great match. But it didn’t happen and could not havr happened.


Allan Hardy Says:

It will be interesting to see if Murray can make the next step. I always feel with tennis that it’s those players who have the energy and mental toughness to string two great matches together at the top level, not just the one, who win grand slams.


sar Says:

J Mac made that assumption on the fact that Djoker would do better than Fed in the US Open.

Tejez
Mac said he would get to Number 2, maybe not after this USO but by the end of the year. He also mentioned that Novak would win a few more slams in his career.He must see something in Novak.


andrea Says:

stop usta tennis fixes:

if roger gets an asterik beside the trophy, then all the media, and especially, mats wilander and bjorn borg, get an asterik beside any sort of ‘federer insight drivel’ that comes out of their mouths in the future.

the asterik would indicate “read with caution. egotistical, blowhard opinion not based on any evidence or fact”.

yeah, federer is going to retire after this year’s wimbledon. that’s really insightful there bjorn….


zola Says:

Sean

who writes the funk/trunk?

***
5. Novak Djokovic
Big win over (a tired) Nadal in US Open quarters.

****
first of all Rafa never played Djokovic in US Open. second, Rafa lost in the semis, not the QF!


;o Says:

I noticed that too.

I believe its supposed to be Murray in the SF


sherose Says:

mem says: 100% nadal would beat federer. i agree on clay court, but 100% federer on grass or hc would definitely go to roger. also the competition isn’t only w/federer vs djokovic, murray, nadal. its also competition w/djokovic, murray, nadal vs cilic, gulbis, del potro. if these guys start getting into the mix, they’re the next newer generation of players. as a diehard federer fan, i simply would like him to go beyond sampras’ 14 slams. if he can play the way he did against murray then he can do it. hopefully his confidence has reignited and he can continue to play well for next couple of years. i was blown how murray played nadal. nadal is most vulnerable on hc especially fast hc if you are taller than him and have a really good serve. nadals winning record against federer: is that mainly clay or does he have a winning record w/him on hc. i know federer has taken it to nadal at the last 2 masters events in shanghai. i think if federer plays the way he did in the first set against murray, nadal won’t win him. also, i must say that i gained a new respect for andy murrays game. i think he is the most diverse of djokovic, nadal and himself. once he gains more confidence, not only will federer be at the shortend of the racquet, but so will nadal and djokovic. djokovic, once again complained he was physically and mentally exhausted. he claimed the same think at wimbledon. so what, the other guys were sitting on their asses all season and their not tired? i’m also glad federer shut djokovic’s parents up. the snied remark his mother made saying the king is dead long live the king was uncalled for. you don’t hear federers parents or nadals parents or any other parents saying snied remarks against other players.


sangredecristo Says:

“But have you observed, this year Djoker had at least 3 chances to reach No 2..”

TO Tejez: Much like Federer trying to take the FO year after year and not doing it.


Von Says:

NachoF:

Thanks for the Guyana map. Your country tried, but they weren’t successful. I believe that has been an ongoing battle with the Venezuelan/Guyana Border fight. That area has a lot of gold and precious stones that’s why there was so much fighting over it. I think it was finally resolved and Guyana got to keep it. Did you know Guyana is a coluntry the size of England , Scotland and Wales, 480,000 sq miles huge, and it also has the largest waterfall in the world, Kaiteur — 741 foot drop of the heaviest flow. Venezuela has Angel Falls which is the highest, but it becomes a trcikle before it hits the ground, whereas Kaiteur (Guyana) has one steady, powerful drop. It’s so beautiful, but very inaccessible to reach. BTW, I couldn’t have been living in Venezuela because I lived in Georgetown (Demerara) which is thousands of miles away from the Reclamation Zone. I miss the Empanadas and the Portuguese rice with the cheese on top. Yummy. :)

Did you know about the Jim Jones Massacre in the Guyana jungle. Gosh that was so awful. It happened sometime in the 70s.

Thanks for sharing on Guyana and helping me reminisce on a couple of my childhood years. Thoss were fun times — especially waking up everyday to sunsine. :P :D rnjoy some Paella, Portuguese rice, and Empanadas for me!!


zola Says:

Allan Hardy Says:
It will be interesting to see if Murray can make the next step. I always feel with tennis that it’s those players who have the energy and mental toughness to string two great matches together at the top level, not just the one, who win grand slams.

**********
I think he can. The hardest hurdle for him was to get over those emotional outbursts on court and be able to concentrate on playing tennis. He has worked hard on that and on his fitness and on his game and he is still 21. lots to improve. I think he can be very successful if he keeps this attitude.
Many players can’t put it together mentally on court and just lose it. Gulbis, Roddick, Safin, sometimes Blake,….they get distracted too easily. Murray went a step ahead of them and he will see the results.


Vulcan Says:

Im not sure Murray has the mettle to consistently be in the conversation at the highest level. He completely went away for most of the 3rd set against Federer and then decided to go out with some fireworks at the end. Many of his matches seem to be see-saw affairs.
Hes crafty for sure but he really doesnt have any single facet of his game that is exceptional. Im franky surprised he has made it to 4.


zola Says:

vulcan,
I think he needs some time. He has achieved a lot this year. If he can follow that curve, he wil be fine. I don’t think it was easy to overcome all that negativity, injuries and the pressure from the british press. I am willing to give him some time and see how he does.

I am also waiting for Gulbis!


Vulcan Says:

Gulbis…reminds me of a young Mark Phillippousis…I think we have to start calling him Scud II or something because he is absolutely lethal off the ground. Talk about bringing down the thunder.


Vulcan Says:

I just read that Blake has been replaced by Sam Querrey for Davis Cup. Interesting choice because I recall that Querrey was the only American to show up for Monte Carlo this year.
Im shocked that Nadal has elected to play but I guess Davis Cup is very important to him.
Also McEnroe mustve liked what he saw in the way Querrey was able to keep Nadal off balance in New York. It will be interesting to see how much the high altitude in Madrid helps the big servers.


zola Says:

Vulcan,
I think DC is very important for Rafa . ALso him and other players wanted their ET to be replaced and it did. So I think it is now like a moral obligation for Rafa ( like Hamburg 07). But the good thing is that it is at home and he will probably play one match ( hopefully).
I think Querrey is a good choice. He reached QF ( I Think) in one of these clay tournaments. It is good to give him a chance. I can’t wait to see the matches. I guess PMac and Querrey will see a better Rafa in MAdrid. He will be well-rested and he will be playing on clay.


zola Says:

I hope Gulbis won’t become another Phillipousis. He’s a player I never warmed up to. Gulbis is the opposite. His game has been much better this year. How old is he? 19? I will giv him some time too. I would love to see him in top 10.

what about Gasquet? where is he?


Von Says:

I was about to ask if anyone had any info on the upcoming Davis USA v. Spain tie. So sorry Blake lost out, but he’s not been playing very well this year. Sam on the other hand did keep Nadal on his toes at the USO, but Sam doesn’t have enough experience for DC, especially in Spain. Anyone know if clay is still the surface of choice? Madrid should help the big servers.

I don’t think we can place Roddick and Safin in the same conversation as Gulbis by saying they can’t put it together mentally. I suppose this lack of ‘mental’ whatever, concerns their umpire tussles. Becoming angry with an umpire, is a far cry from ‘putting it together mentally’ whatever that means. Both Safin and Roddick have won slams, MS shields and several titles, which shows they have what it takes to ‘put it together mentally’ on court. What has Gulbis won? Nada.

Murray, in time, will win a slam. He’s not been on the big stage with the slam experience prior to the USO, but he will get there and when he does it will be a joy to behold, and the brits will say ‘By George, he’s got it!” come on rover, move your bloomin arse!!


matt Says:

Hello guys,

You know I said in the QFs that Federer would win the tournament. (Well, I said as well that I wouldn`t be surprised if Roddick or Murray won it).

The thing is that in that stage I saw Nadal was physically spent, and I said it several times.

Djokovic looked physically tired as well.

And I felt that no one else could beat Federer (outside Rafa and Djoko) if Federer played well.

And I was right.

In my mind, from the begining of the tournament, I was afraid of Nadal. I was expecting Roger to play well and go deep, as he always does in GS tournaments. But I felt that Nadal was the one who could defeat even a great Federer.

But as the tournament went on, I could see Nadal was not moving as well as he did in Toronto and Olympics. He was still winning his matches, but he was slow, he looked really tired from the Querrey match on.

So I saw the chance for Roger to win a GS again.

And he didn’t disappointed me. First he beat Muller, then Djokovic, and in that moment all I wanted to see was how Rafa was looking in his match against Murray.

When I saw Rafa’s slow movement and tired face, somehow I knew Federer WAS the champion.

¿Wasn’t I afraid of Murray?. No, I don’t see him defeating Federer in a GS final yet.

Murray’s improvement is great, no doubt about it, but no one has ever defeated Federer in a GS final, except for Nadal of course.

Federer played great in the final and showed one more time that he is one of the greatest players of all times.

He has won 13 GS, which is impressive.

You know the GOAT thing doesn’t make sense to me, but in my mind Federer is one of the greatest tennis players that ever lived (along with Sampras, Borg, Laver, Gonzales, Kramer, Budge, Tilden,…)


Von Says:

According to Johnny Mc, Laver is arguably the best there ever was. Chris Evert said the same thing and slso elaborated on the GOAT argument and/or comparisons, being unfair due to the new technology the younger guys have available to them, and several other things that have changed in tennis. For me the GOAT thing is a very difficult subject and one which should be shelved due to the many variable sthat will have to be factored into the equation. It’s a topic that provides a substantial amount of debate material among we the fans, but is not ranked high up on the list of the pundits, past champions and the tennis experts.


zola Says:

matt
***You know the GOAT thing doesn’t make sense to me, but in my mind Federer is one of the greatest tennis players that ever lived (along with Sampras, Borg, Laver, Gonzales, Kramer, Budge, Tilden,…)***

It doesn’t make sense to me either. Different eras, different surfaces, different players. Even watching Borg-MeEnroe isn’t the same as watching these new guys. I think each player should be compared and respected in his own era. The way Fed dominated the men’s game for 5 years is just amazing. Did laver or Tilden or borg play these many matches on these many different surfaces in one year? To me GOAT is a meaningless discussion.I like comparing master series and slams though.
And I think Fed will break Sampras’s record.


TennisMasta Says:

When tennis legends talk of GOAT they are talking about the most complete tennis player.

They are not just talking about who won the most singles slams only. This is a pure creation (or atleast insinuation) of the US media to call one of our own the GOAT. If Laver were American then unquestionably he would have been anointed the GOAT. He not only won 2 grandslams(which everyone agrees will take a superhuman effort to replicate), but 11 slams plus many professional slams between 1962 and 1968 that are not counted. If some one told Jimmy Connors that the criteria for GOAT would be the number of slams he might have played more AOs.

Also Great is a very subjective term. Unless you define in a rule book what statistic(s) to use, popular (nationalistic) sentiments will drive the discussion. Until China (officially) takes over as the world superpower that sentiment will be the governed by the US public(nothing wrong with it perse, but we need to realize it is not objective).

The one thing most tennis legends agree is that Roger Federer is the most complete tennis player ever. Interestingly, that assessment is also shared by most tennis players past and present, pundits, and tennis fans regarless of nationality.


sensationalsafin Says:

Federer is the most complete player ever. But he can’t be the GOAT because there was someone in his own era he could never fully beat (Nadal). Even though I’m a Federer fan, I don’t see Federer ever holding a winning record over Nadal. And, I think it’s a good thing. There can’t be just one GOAT, no such thing. And it’s because of all the different criteria with titles and matches and slams, etc. But since he can’t beat Nadal, it’s really simple to say he’s one of the greatest, easily, but not THE greatest ever.


Ezorra Says:

Can someone who win all the grandslams considered as the GOAT?


blah Says:

There is NO GOAT. There are players who dominated in their eras and are considered among the greatest, but there are too many factors and variables. Racquet technology from past to present, the changing surfaces tennis is played on, the different resources available to a player, training, fitness, competition, etc.

And to use “the most complete player” tag to determine the GOAT is absurd. You judge a player by his dominance in his era. Federer is considered dominant because of his slams, not because he is “complete.” You are saying someone who has an all court, all around game is the best. I guess we don’t even have to play matches then, just give every match to Federer because there is no way that someone who has a “one-dimensional” can defeat him.
Oh wait.


NachoF Says:

But what would be a considerable argument against Federer being the GOAT if he is to win 20 GSs!.. if he does that, could anyone argue against him being the GOAT??… right now we cant tell, but if Federer resumes his winning ways I just dont see a counterargument against that many slams.

Ps. Jesus, Von, you definitely know a lot more about it than I do… it definitely is not a hot topic down here anymore, not even in high school history classes… and yes, I do enjoy our food very much.. and I miss it every time I travel overseas.


Erwin Says:

sensationalsafin you’re wrong. He fully beat Nadal 6 times already. Exposes you immediately as a non-Federer fan. At least stay honest about that. There are enough trolls on the internet as it is.


Von Says:

Sensationalsafin is as true a Federer fan as the Queen of England is the head of the House of Windsor and George Walker Bush is the President of the United States. Most of the people who post here, are genuine fans of their favourite players, especially Sensationalsafin, who is a true-blue Federer fan, and has absolutely no reason to be dishonest. People are dishonest/lie when they’re afraid of others, what has SensationalSafin got to lie about. There aren’t many trolls on this site. Moreover, there isn’t a GOAT in any sport.

SS, please don’t let loose with a barrage of ‘WTFs’. :P The only problem I have with you is that you wanted Gulbis to beat Roddick. I’m, very hurt. :D


Von Says:

NachoF:

“Ps. Jesus, Von, you definitely know a lot more about it than I do… it definitely is not a hot topic down here anymore, not even in high school history classes… and yes, I do enjoy our food very much.. and I miss it every time I travel overseas.”

My Dad loved Hitory, especially Tudor History, and World Affairs and he used to read to me a lot when I was a little girl, so I know a lot of history and world events, prior to my birth.

What I loved beides the food during my 2 years in Guyana, was the high standing pipe in the backyard, which I loved to sit under, and cool myself down after climbing the trees — no air conditioning. My mum hated it because I ruimed my clothes.

Did you ever visit Kaiteur or Angel Falls? Remember me everytime you eat an Empanada, and if you get indigestion from it, it’s because of my jealousy. :D


Roy Says:

Hi, I am a tennis fan from India and it feels nice to exchange my views with the knowledgable fans on this forum.I must say I felt privileged to see some rivetting tennis during the course of US Open 2008: some of the five-setters & four-setters were really superb.Alas, the same can’t be said about The US Open final between Fed and Murray : the match started at 2.30 am in the morning as per Indian Standard Time and I had to set alarm for getting up,hoping to see a potentially huge match.While it was awesome to behold the great Fed display his stunning talent in far-away New York in the wee hours of that morning here, but the starkly one-sided nature of the contest was a big let-down for a tennis-fan like me. Not the way, a Grand-slam final should end: after-all, it represents the pinnacle of that event.


NachoF Says:

Von,
Unfortunately, I have only had the chance to visit the big cities in Venezuela (Caracas whichs is where I live, Maracaibo, Valencia, Barquisimeto, Merida, etc)… oh, and the tropical islands that are nearby (Margarita Island, Aruba, Curacao)…. other than that my tourism has been limited to a few places/cities in the US… but hey, Im still on my very early 20s so I eventually will get to know my country a lot better…about the empanadas, I guess i’ll be remembering you on a weekly basis :) … they are very common.

Roy,
I have to say if it hadn’t been Federer who was completely dominating I would have felt just like you… had the final been played by two different guys it would have been as boring as it can get for me…. but watching Federer return to his old winning ways just made me very happy throughout the whole match.

Everyone,
Do you guys think/feel that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING a player can do to unquestionably be considered the GOAT??….


Ezorra Says:

I think there is no way to measure who deserve to be the GOAT. In fact, there are some possibilities that the factors to be conflicted one to another.

One example, if we want to reward the GOAT to the player who had won the most slams, is it rational to do so if that particular player has never won one (or two or three) of the grand slams? Make sense, no?

However, I believe that the best player since 2004 until now is Mr. Roger Federer.


NachoF Says:

Ezorra,

Thats the point… IMO right now it would be unfair and inaccurate to consider Fed the GOAT cause he hasnt wont enough slams and has never won the French…. but what if he does!??.. say he gets to 18 slams with 2 French Open trophies…. wouldnt that be enough?? …. my point is everyone is saying its impossible because of the eras and whatnot… Im saying it is too difficult to call (right now) but that could very well change if Fed keeps winning.


Von Says:

The USO final would have been more exciting had Murry been able to get some much needed rest like Federer did. He played on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I honestly felt, Murray was very exhausted becuse he played somee vey tough 5 setter matches prior to the semis. I believe his time on court exceeded 5 hours playing time, as opposed to Federer. Tiredness does play a factor, but Murray fought very hard especially in the 2nd and 3rd sets.
__________________
NachoF:
I’don’t profess to be a tennis professor/historian like Joel Druckker, but considering the many advances in technology and several additional factors that have been instituted into the sport, it’s hardly likely that any one player can be considered to be the GOAT. Even the introduction of Hawkeye has brought about changes whereby the stress and anger of a bad call are eliminated leaving the player to be able to concentrate on his game. Many players lost matches due to bad calls. Blame it on technology and the changing times.

The present players have more opportunities, better equipment and they don’t have to sweat the hard stuff. Look at the MS tourneys for example, they only have to play 2 of 3 sets; prior to 2007, it was 3 of 5. Now there is a tie-break in the 5th set of the USO, before that they played games. Not to mentionm the huge prize money. Years ago the prize money was not enough to pay for hotel and, meals etc. The true designation should be “one of the greatest players” but not the “greatest of all time”.

Last night we mentioned that there’s not much to debate since the USO ended, well tonight that’s all been changed — everyone can debate on the GOAT theory, which is not something that will happen, but it is fun speculating. I’ll thorw this out, Fed can’t be the perfect complete player either — he doesn’t hold the best serve. Ha, ha, got you there. :P


Von Says:

Another point, Fed would have to win all of the MS sields on clay, and the FO. There are gaps in his CV.


Roy Says:

Nacho F:

While I can certainly reciprocate your sentiments in saying that I also felt happy, as the match progressed, in looking at Federer returning to his trade-mark sublime form, but at the same time, I still recall the pungent taste of acute disappointment that was left in my mouth due to the fact that a Grand-slam final, of all matches, should be so devoid of competition, especially considering that fast HC was the favourite surface of both the players in the match.


Kiwi Says:

GOAT is kind of a popular subject for diehard fans to flame. Nevertheless, it is interesting in it’s own way. For me, i can’t really apprechiate the old players of the game, like Laver or even Borg, as much as history does. The obvious reason being they are handicamped by their time. How many people played tennis in Laver’s time?

Probably a thousand times less people were trying to make it as tennis player back then, if not less. The war was not long past, recovering economies, tennis being a hoch sport, and the level required to compete (phyisical) were nothing compared to today. The whole Russian block was praticaly shut off as well. So that makes the difficulty index of that age go waaaay down, and only little has improved by Borg’s time.

Old players like to bring the old time back, so J Mac talks of Rod Laver. Sure it was a great achivement, even if it was in those time, but lets not forget in Laver’s time we had amateurs that could palyer Slams, and pros that couldn’t. All the best players turned pros eventualy, so Laver was playing with fellow amatuers in those slams, not the best player in the world, as Laver himself pointed out. That’s why it’s so funny when people cry “clown era” about Fed’s achievemnt, and then list some old geezrs like Lever. So no way is any of those old guys the GOAT, if a GOAT even really exists.

Like Lever himself said “I’d be proud to be even compared to Roger Federer”.

Fed is certainly the most complete player ever, so if he gets results to mach it, there should be no doubts.


Ryan Says:

When it comes to all court games these days the younger guys have all court games like djokovic for example or cilic or tsonga ,berdych…..all court games are not something thats common now.
I think gasquet or murray has almost the same complete game as federer.Player completeness is not even a big deal anymore.Its like the minimum requirement for tennis players today.
I think GOAT, if there is one should be about the total number of slams and the players best result on his weakest surface.If thats the case then fed rulz once he reaches 14 slams….


Ryan Says:

Federer has too much genious to outsmart even todays complete players and I think he can definitely beat pete’s record.It’ll be much easier for him if he could win ao 2009….


Gordo Says:

C’mon Von – a GOAT discussion in an individual sport is probably more valid than in a team sport such as soccer (football to you Euros) or baseball (what the hell is that? to you Euros).

It is human nature to compare. Look at the Academy Awards – is an actor’s performance REALLY ‘better’ than others and so he deserves the Oscar and what goes along with it? The best of anything is always a discussion – that’s the way we humans are.

But no GOAT discussion in tennis comes without “what-ifs.” I am sure that there are some who consider Fed the GOAT already. McEnroe is ready to annoint Federer with the title should he win a French Open. There are others who will give it to him once he passes Sampras’ Grand Slam total.

Andy Murray already called Federer the best on Monday.

I am a huge Federer fan, but I always have problems reconciling those 5 years when Rod Laver was at his prime and he was ineligible to enter the Slams because he was a professional. Meanwhile rich boy Emerson stayed an amateur and cleaned up, which is why he has so many slam titles. He won a Grand Slam before and after. How many of those missing 20 slams would Laver have won? Incidentally – Emerson was 2 years younger than Laver, and when he turned pro he beat Laver once in 15 matches.

Of course, he was 5’7″. Today he might not be in the top 10 with the change in equipment and technology.

And speaking of height – Fed is 6’1″, but I am not sure if he played anyone shorter than him at the US Open. It seems the average height of the top players is certainly rising.


Gordo Says:

Kiwi – learn a little more about your tennis history. Your facts on Laver are skewed – see my previous entry.


Gordo Says:

The other thing to remember when comparing decades past, is that for the past 2 decades we have had 2 hard court surfaces (Australian, US Open), and one clay (French) and one grass (Wimbledon). But back in Laver’s time a hard court was considered something you parked your car on. Except for the French Open (always clay) the other 3 were played on grass!!! Imagine how a Federer or a Sampras would have thrived in that environment!


zola Says:

NachoF
***Everyone,
Do you guys think/feel that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING a player can do to unquestionably be considered the GOAT??….****

I wrote before that I think the conditions/surfaces/equipment/game changes so much that it is hard to compare players with each other. To me it is difficult to say Fed is better than Laver or Laver is better than Fed or sampras.

Each have achieved a lot during their own time and I think each should be acknowledged as “one of the greatest of all times” or “OGOAT”!

For someone to be the “GOAT” of his own era I think he should be able to dominate all other players on all surfaces. Fed has been close to that during 2006/2007. But even at his best he was not able to dominate on clay. So to me the GOAT discussion is still open. But no question that he is one of the greatest who has ever playerd tennis.


NachoF Says:

if Federer werent here and we were supposed to pick a GOAT then I would say there is not one that stands among the rest of the best (Sampras, Borg, Laver, etc) but since we have Federer right now (and still winning slams obviously) I say we have a guy that’s achieved pretty much the same as this guys already, and if he keeps on winning there is no question in my mind his achievements will award him the GOAT.
Like I said, if Federer wins the French and his slam count reaches numbers that blow Sampras away then there is no question….. but as of right now I agree its too difficult to tell.


MMT Says:

Von:

I find it difficult to accept that because Murray had more trouble getting through the draw that somehow diminishes Fed’s achievement in the final. If he took 5 sets to beat his opponents where Federer took 3, that’s his problem, not Fed’s. As for the schedule – Federer did the same 4 years in a row, and playing 3 hours over 2 days is hardly an insurmountable obstacle, but one that he has to overcome if he wants to win the US Open – just like Fed has.

As for the GOAT argument, I would be so quick to dismiss Laver. Fair enough the competition wasn’t there when he wons his slams, and only one of them was on clay, but unlike Fed and Sampras he did win on clay, so that’s a big plus for him.

It’s true that Laver couldn’t play in slams when he was a pro, but that’s true of Rosewall, Gonzales, Trabert, Hoad, etc. Who knows how Laver would have done if ALL the pros played in the slams when he did. I also feel that Laver gained an advantage by playing against pros all those years that he wouldn’t have, had his competition been watered down by an earlier open era.

Imagine that you play ever week for a year against 5.0 players or better and you’re a 4.0 player yourself. When you suddenly start playing with 4.0 players again, you’re going to feel like a million bucks for a while, until your skills, physical ability diminish and your opponents improve.

The most you can ask anyone is to compare his performance against his contemporaries and between the 3 of them Fed and Laver were more dominant than Pete. But total slams obviously tips in Pete’s favor. I think if Federer wins the French Open AND passes Pete’s record, there can be no question he’s the GOAT.

Big if’s…


Vulcan Says:

Winning the French Open should be enough to get the GOAT job over and done with for Federer.
His achievements at that point will have surpassed Sampras’s. Ironically Federer, after he lost Wimbledon, when asked how it compared to his French Open defeat, replied something along the lines of “Oh, I don’t care about that”.


Peter Says:

I think what Fed said is that losing at the FO was a pin-prick compared to losing at Wimbledon.


sensationalsafin Says:

Von, thank you very much for defending me. I’ve been posting for a while now and I’ve never ever been called a troll, let alone be questioned about my loyalty to Federer. I’m just stunned. I’m anti-Federer because I don’t think he should be declared the GOAT? It’s not my fault there’s no such thing.

I never said he’s the GOAT because he’s got a complete game. Again, THERE IS NO GOAT. But Federer does have the most complete game. Doesn’t mean he’s unbeatable, obviously.

Wow, he beat Nadal half as many times as Nadal’s beaten him… Honestly if their matches weren’t ridiculous thrillers then I wouldn’t even call it a great rivalry. But the matches they have produced are just top notch. Oh and btw, in 2008 Nadal is 4-0 vs Federer. Even Djokovic and Murray have beaten Nadal more than TMF. And there are very few players who got their asses handed to them by Nadal the way Federer did in the FO final. Again, I’m a huge Federer fan, but facts are facts. I wasn’t happy he lost, disgusted if anything. And then Wimbledon? What a tough year it’s been for Federer fans. But he’s still one of the greatest players ever. To me, say what you will about how tired everyone was and all that bull shit, but the US Open really cements Federer’s greatness. This year questioned his true resolve and he showed it. I couldn’t be more proud.

How in the world can someone talk about an epic loss barely months after the way Federer talks about Wimbledon? After the match he was so bitter. “Are you proud of the epic?” “No.” “Does it make you feel better it was someone as great as Nadal that dethroned you?” “No.” But look at him now! Incredible.


grendel Says:

All the arguments people are making against the very concept of GOAT are very good ones. But they are not quite watertight.

In Cricket, for example, there very definitely is a GOAT batsman (we can’t really compare batsmen with bowlers) and that is the great Australian Donald Bradman. He has an average of over 99, and if he hadn’t scored a duck (0,i.e.) in his very last innings, he would have had an average of a 100. To put this in perspective for those who don’t follow cricket, a 100 in just one innings is regarded as a great achievement. Bradman averaged it. I don’t have the stats to hand, but the next in line had an average of round about 60. That’s so much lower than 100 that the mind can barely take it in. Bradman was the GOAT period, there are no rivals. That’s not to say that there weren’t batsmen who were more enjoyable to watch; that’s where taste comes in, (plenty of people found Bradman too clinical, a sort of sooped up Lendl) and that’s a different ball game altogether.

In football, there is a very considerable consensus, bordering on unanimity, that Pele is the GOAT. I daresay there are legitimate candidates for GOAT in other sports – how about Phelps for swimming, e.g.?

For some reason, well, the reasons bloggers here are adducing, tennis doesn’t seem to lend itself to the GOAT game. But although that is true in practice, it isn’t in principle. Nacho F for example wonders if Federer got 18 slams including two French Opens, would that entitle him to GOAThood? Well, if those two French titles entailed beating a fit and in prime form Nadal, I suggest yes, it would.

But of course, we all know that Fed will not beat Nadal at the French, never mind twice.

It’s for reasons like this that tennis goathood is virtually, but not quite, impossible. There may be at this very moment a boy of 6 to 7 years old lurking in the back streets of some 3rd world shanty town, and if you look very closely at his forehead, you will see two little swellings which look as if they’re going to break out some day……


zola Says:

sensationalsafin,
great post at 1:36 pm. I have hardly seen people who can be so objective even when talking about their favorites.

there is no question that during 2006 and part of 2007, Fed was the dominant force in tennis.Winning everything tirelessly. But he is not dominant 100%, because there is a guy called Rafa.

I love the matches they play. Shanghai 2006 was where I discovered how great Fed was playing! ( shame on me! I know! .:))…but they bring the best out in each other.
I think I will see that in Djoko/Rafa and Murray/RAfa matches too. Still, nothing like a Rafa/Fed match.


zola Says:

grendel

***It’s for reasons like this that tennis goathood is virtually, but not quite, impossible. There may be at this very moment a boy of 6 to 7 years old lurking in the back streets of some 3rd world shanty town, and if you look very closely at his forehead, you will see two little swellings which look as if they’re going to break out some day……

***

loved it!


grendel Says:

“But look at him now. Incredible.” (Sensational Safin). Here is Federer talking after his win:”“I feel, for a very long time, that I’ll always be able to win Wimbledon, always going to be able to win the U.S. Open,” Federer said, his latest silver trophy sitting inches away on a table. “The first thing that’s probably going to go is the French Open, even though I think that should also not be a problem, you know—having a shot there—because I’m such a good all-arounder and I’ve proven myself so much over the years there.”

You could say this guy’s confident, huh? I do think the words are open to misinterpretation. e.g., when he says ” for a very long time,I’ll always be able to win Wimbledon” of course he doesn’t mean he thinks he’s going to win the next 5, say. Just that he’s going to have a legitimate shot for the next 5 years (say). He has also said that when he doesn’t think he has a shot at winning a slam any more, that’s the day he’ll retire. No Borg syndrome here.

But I have to love that “..French Open..having a shot.. should not prove a problem..” This, from someone who received the thrashing he did in Paris! There’s something naive and open in Federer which means you don’t, or I don’t anyway, take offence at what might seem outrageous boasting. I find it kind of funny – but warming, too. And then, that bizarre smash-lob (which he’s done before, b.t.w., against Roddick – saw it on You-Tube), which Fed calmly described as “shot of the tournament”. “Very modest”, remarked Rusedski (never one to shun the lights himself of course) – again, I find it funny. It’s the absolute refusal to undulge in pretend modesty, which is the current practice, which I find refreshing – although i can well imagine some find it unbearable.


zola Says:

grendel,
one thing you don’t need to worry about Fed is “modesty”!

He certainly likes to refer to himself with confidence and more. I think people take it differently.


Vulcan Says:

Regarding Federer and his assertiveness…the main thing is that he never seems to say anything “immodest” which someone else hasn’t already said or isn’t already thinking. His main objective seems to be as sincere as possible in his remarks. Relative to the all of the praise that has been directed his way I would say that his remarks are still somewhat modest by comparison. Federer has invested quite a bit of time in satisfying the media and it seems to me that his approach is basically to be as transparent as possible.


sensationalsafin Says:

Federer said it himself, he’s an honest guy. He tells it like it is. And if someone wants to argue that his overhead lob thing wasn’t the shot of the year, then they’re retarded. The best shot he ever hit was that shot against Roddick and that was way back when. Now he did it again. It’s just unbelievable. Although in this case I think Djokovic had another chance to put it away and was a little surprised it went in.

Yeah he got thrashed by Nadal but at this year’s French, who didn’t? I expected Almagro to test Nadal and he got rocked. The only one who somewhat pushed Nadal was Djokovic, but he had to be down 2 sets and a break to do it.

Federer has every right to be confident. Even after this year. He got to all but 1 slam final. Who knows, if Federer wasn’t sick maybe he’d have this year’s AO under his belt. At the same time, I think Djokovic was just too good there, for any player.

But he still made it to the French and Wimbledon finals and won the US Open. If it was, say, Andy Murray who had reached the French and Wimbledon final and fell to Nadal or whoever both times, one could question whether he has what it takes to really WIN a slam. Federer is 13-4 in slam finals now, not 0-3 or 1-2. This year, yeah, but he’s clinched it 13 times. So there’s no doubt he has what it takes therefore if he can keep making finals then he can keeping winning them, too.

All this talk about a slump really is irrelevant. The only complaint I have about Federer this year is how crummy he’s played in some matches. He played like crap in Toronto and Cincy. The FO final was just like, who was that imposter and what’d he do with the real Federer. And in the Wimbledon final he seemed to be asleep for 2 and a half sets and even after that he never reached top gear. He’s had some god awful days this year. And I think he’ll have even more in the future. But, whether he goes Masters-less this year or not doesn’t put any doubt in my mind that he’ll someday surpass Agassi’s record. Although I think Nadal will end up with about 1000 Masters series titles.

In the end, I think Pete Bodo is right when he says that after a certain time, even the greatest champions begin to lose interest in every-week tournys including the Masters. Federer’s GS performance this year was nearly great really. Elsewhere he looked beyond disinterested. And I’ll admit it right now that every time he loses matches to players like Karlovic and Simon I will tear him to shreads. But his legacy is already established, all he can do now is add what little there is left to add.

I’m getting more interested in Nadal now. I still don’t like him but I think it’s hard to argue that if there were no Olympics, Nadal may very well have ended up the US Open Champion. The 2 Masters and the TMC will be very interesting. I think going in, Nalbandian is the clear favorite in Paris and Madrid :P. At the TMC, there really is no favorite. The Big 4 are already qualified and I believe every single one of them is starving for the title. Federer, obviously, to defend his title and continue to disprove his doubters. Djokovic probably wants to make sure last year was just a fluke and that he is more than capable of beating the top 8 players. Nadal wants to win it just because he wants to win everything. And Murray’s now going in wanting to prove his US Open run was the real thing. If he plays Nadal he’s gonna wanna prove to everyone he can beat a I’m-guessing-he’ll-be-healthy Nadal. If he plays Federer he’s gonna want revenge. And if he plays Djokovic, well, now that’s a great rivalry. The slams are fun but the TMC is just so exciting when you know everyone is a top 8 player wanting to come out on top.


zola Says:

sensationalsafin,
well, as I said, some people like the way Fed talks, some people don’t and I am one of them!

About his disinterest in anything other than slams, I think it is not a bad idea, if it does not ruin his form. Seems fed gets enough practice befor the slamsthough.

He has had a great run in everything. now all he needs to do is to break more records and GSs seems to be the right target.

he is not going to get younger, so it is a wise move to conserve his energy for the big events.


NachoF Says:

I dont think its impossible for Federer to win the French…. Nadal cant always be in complete full form domination… also, Federer already beat Nadal on clay once… 2006 and 2007 finals were definitely tighter than 2008…. and this year he got close to beating him on clay prior to the french but he choked…. anyway, dot rule him out completely.


grendel Says:

Zola: “one thing you don’t need to worry about Fed is “modesty”. But I was trying to suggest it is not so simple. Would you agree that Federer (like Nadal) is a “superstar”? You may think, I certainly think, that the whole business of superstardom is repulsive – but there it is, we’re stuck with it, and people don’t choose to become “superstars”, and nor can they choose not to be, either. As “superstars” go, I do believe Federer is remarkably unassuming – if you compare him, for instance, with Hollywood “superstars” or some of the divas in the W.T.A. He is known to be affable with much lower ranked players, in a pally not condescending way, and apparently outside of tennis he has few airs – so I have heard, perhaps someone can correct me.

But where tennis concerned, he believes he is uniquely gifted, and has no qualms in saying so. It is a tricky one this, but it is possible to insist on the gifts you have, should you obviously have them, without being overbearing about it – after all, you didn’t earn the gifts, you just happened to be born that way. Why deny it? It’s a thin line here, though, and if you think Fed has crossed it from being a simple realist into being a braggart, you are obviously entitled to do so. But before you jump to conclusions, you need to take on board (imo) the kind of things Vulcan and SS have said.

And bear in mind that though I think Nadal (with whom you always contrast Federer in your mind, I suspect)is likely enough a comparatively honest and decent person, the reticent line he takes regarding his own remarkable gifts has nothing to do with modesty. He knows he is extraordinary, he knows other people think he is, and he is clearly happy that this is so. He prefers to underplay his prowess, and I believe this is strategic. Pressure is a huge problem in big time sport, and Nadal has evolved a pretty clever way of dealing with it. Nothing wrong with that, but I wouldn’t interpret that as modesty myself. He may well be modest “outside the ring” as it were; where tennis is concerned, he is every bit as much a giant ego as is Federer.

Nacho F says:”I dont think its impossible for Federer to win the French…. Nadal cant always be in complete full form domination”. Agreed, but you can’t just assume that it is Fed who will then get the advantage. There’ll be plenty lining up…But in any case, I think this idea that Fed is the GOAT if he wins the French is nonsense. As Sensational Safin has implied, he’s got to be able to beat a Nadal right at the top of his form in the final at the French, and at least twice. A near impossible task? Certainly. To become the GOAT, surely it is precisely the near impossible you have to achieve.

Actually, I’m more interested to see if Fed can beat Nadal at Wimbledon next year. I’ve noticed that Nadal fans are more or less assuming that Wimbledon is his for the taking. I sure hope not!


TennisMasta Says:

grendel says “Well, if those two French titles entailed beating a fit and in prime form Nadal, I suggest yes, it would.”

Here is the (perhaps unintentional) trickery in that argument. When Roger beats Rafa certain people will always say that Rafa was either tired or injured.

Remember when Roger beat him at Hamburg, Rafa was “tired”. When Ferrero beat him on clay this year Rafa was again tired. When Murray beat him at US Open, once again Rafa was tired. I do not recall the last time Rafa lost and he was not “tired”. Haven’t you noticed that when a player is loosing their body language changes. In Rafa’s case when he realizes he’s being outplayed he looks downright lost, and “tired”.

A second point. Did anyone ask whether the people Laver or Sampras beat were fit and in prime form, let alone the class of Nadal. It is a utterly illogical to go down this road. And then there are the vagaries of the draw. You don’t always play certain players.

When you win a slam you beat the players in the draw. The most fit and in prime form players rise to the semis and finals. Basically you beat the best players in that two week period.


TennisMasta Says:

Von Says:
“Another point, Fed would have to win all of the MS sields on clay, and the FO. There are gaps in his CV.”

Why, until Roger came along, the 14 slams were perfectly satisfactory accomplishments to be the GOAT. Let alone the fact that Pete made to just one semis at FO in 13 attempts. Compare that to Roger’s three staight finals and four straight semis beating everyone except the GOAT on clay.

When in the last two years Roger seemed like he’d overhaul the #14, then suddenly Laver’s name was being brought up. The same Laver and his two GSs were of no significance when Pete thought his #14 would be safe for a long time.

Let me make a prediction. Even if Roger wins 15 slams, the same people for whom #14 was sufficient will find all the gaps in #15.


sherose Says:

i think 2009 season will tell us alot about federer, nadal, djokovic, murray, roddick, etc. and all the newbies: gulbis, cilic (nobody has mentioned cilic), del potro, etc. roger’s my guy and all i hope is that he breaks samprass’ record. he’s come this far. i think nadal has the possibility of getting up there in slams. djokovic, maybe 10 slams. obviously nobody will know until history continues to be made by all these great players.


Von Says:

WOW, NachoF, Tejuz and Gordo, who would have thought our trite conversation of 3 nights ago would have blossomed into nearly twice the amount of comments posted on this thread? Tennis.X should pay us. At that time, Gordo got a little hot around the collar concerning, what he perceived to be a negative Fed comment, and then it was decided that we need the dissension in order to have a debate going, or else there would be nothing else to talk about. And, wallah, we now have the GOAT debate, which is in full swing. Did I ever say that Modesty was never my best virtue, well it sure as hell isn’t.

And, speaking of modesty, I tried to view the following ‘without prejudice”, but something leaps out at me, which I find to be borderline sarcastic in a very guarded way, vis-a-vis:

“grendel,
one thing you don’t need to worry about Fed is “modesty”!”

“He certainly likes to refer to himself with confidence and more. I think people take it differently.”

Maybe an elaboration of this statement would be in order. I see a dagger here, somewhere, which was blatantly enlarged upon as follows:

“sensationalsafin,
well, as I said, some people like the way Fed talks, some people don’t and I am one of them.”

Very guarded statements, but nevertheless, the meaning is clear, at least to me, that the poster feels Federer is not a modest person, and is one of those who DON’T LIKE the immodest way Federer talks.
______________
Gordo:

“C’mon Von – a GOAT discussion in an individual sport is probably more valid than in a team sport such as soccer (football to you Euros) or baseball (what the hell is that? to you Euros).”

Have you ever heard or read anything on the GOAT topic by golfers? I haven’t. Why do we need to have a GOAT? Can’t we be just satified that each player has some GOAT qualities and leave it at that, instead of choosing or wanting ONE player to encompas all of the best, thereby crowning him with the GOAT crown?

Baseball — what the hell is that to you Euros. Surprise, surprise — baseball’s orogins goes back to the Brits — the English to be more precise, who invented the sport. It’s a girls’ school sports, called ROUNDERS, which I played at school in my glorious youth. The Americans, God love them for their creative minds, enlarged upon Rounders by adding some technicalities to the game, and it is the most favored of all American sports, and it’s somewhat synonymous with America, hence the saying, Baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet. All great American favourites. So there. :P
____________
MMT:

“Von: I find it difficult to accept that because Murray had more trouble getting through the draw that somehow diminishes Fed’s achievement in the final. If he took 5 sets to beat his opponents where Federer took 3, that’s his problem, not Fed’s.”

I wasn’t in any way, form or fashion, trying to diminish Fed’s victory. What I maybe should have said, had Murray not been so tired, we probably would have seen a more hotly contested match by Murray. I wanted to see Murray put up more of a fight, which he did in the 3rd set, but that took all he had, as was evidenced in the 4th. Fed did play sublime tennis in the first 2 sets, but I just wonder, what it would have been like to see a fresher Murray. Fed deserved the win, no doubt about that.

BTW, you got off pretty easy with the promise you made to me about Roddick, the piece you would have written as a dedication to him if he got to the QFs at the FO. He made it easy for you — he withhdrew. Gosh, darn it. :P
_________________
Sensationalsafin:

“Von, thank you very much for defending me. I’ve been posting for a while now and I’ve never ever been called a troll, let alone be questioned about my loyalty to Federer.”

You’re welcome. Any time, the pleasure was all mine. I’m still miffed at you though, you wanted Gulbis to beat my Andy. Shame on you. :P
_______________
TennisMasta:

“Another point, Fed would have to win all of the MS sields on clay, and the FO. There are gaps in his CV.”

“Why, until Roger came along, the 14 slams were perfectly satisfactory accomplishments to be the GOAT. Let alone the fact that Pete made to just one semis at FO in 13 attempts. Compare that to Roger’s three staight finals and four straight semis beating everyone except the GOAT on clay.”

Well, to be the greatest of all time, which means better than, and excelling in all areas, then Fed has to excell in every category, which is a superhuman task, and since he won’t be able to do that, we can’t very well call him the “Greatest” can we? The slam count is just one category, there are many others, and then all of the different variables have to be factored in to show a profile on who is the greatest, and then we need to ask ourselves, does Federer meet and/or exceed all of them. I think you’d see an emphatic NO. Maybe, some ambitious soul would want to do a breakdown of the champions by doing a comparative analysis. Perhaps Joel Drukker would have some idess. He’s the tennis professor/historian, and he even said there’s no such thing as the GOAT. It’s a great topic which can fill in the lull that takes place after a GS.


JCF Says:

(8) JCF Says:
(Posted December 17th, 2006 at 6:49 am)

“Croatia will never pick a clay court to host anyone.

And calling the Aussies underdogs against Belgium is pure idiocy. Hewitt may not be a star on clay, but the Belgians have no stars on any surface. He will win both his singles matches (he has beaten clay stars on clay before), and they will likely win the doubles also. The Belgians will beat the Scud or whoever Aust fields as second singles player twice, that is given. But Hewitt isn’t going to lose to the likes of Rochus or Malisse.”
————–

ho ho! I remember that quote. I don’t believe in jinxing, but I said it in the hopes that I would jinx Hewitt into losing. You probably know I don’t like the guy and never have. I’d rather not see Australia hold the Davis Cup than to see his hands on it.

I still stand by my comment now, even though we did lose to Belgium in that tie. Hewitt ended up losing to Vliegen, in 5 sets, which was uncharacteristic for two reasons… He lost in 5 sets (his record was good in 5 setters), and secondly, he lost to Vliegen…

Aust lost, but I would call it an upset. They weren’t underdogs to Belgium. I think the result might have been even worse than 3-2 if they used Malisse.

Great collection of quotes by the way S Green. Are you saving these? Gosh I can’t imagine what words of mine might be dug up 3 years from now.

Anyway, now that the slams are over, I’m not going to be around as often as before. I’ve lost all interest until big events like D-Cup or TMC. I’ll pop by every now and then, but I’m no longer going to read every comment.


JCF Says:

stop USTA draw fixes! Says:

Federer gets another asterisk * on a trophy
- he didn’t beat Nadal,
-Djokovic was busted by the NY crowd in the semis and barely put up a fight,
-plus Federer got a whole day off while Murray was rushing to finish his semifinal with street fighter Nadal.
Did Federer beat any good healthy opponents to win? No. I rest my case.

————-
None of this was Federer’s fault, or even the USTA’s. No one had any control over who Nadal would lose to or what Djokovic would say in front of NY fans.

Give him the credit he is due. He’s won slams against worse opponents than this. Whenever I thought he would come up short, he kicked it up a gear. I feel he had a few more gears he could have gone up to but didn’t need it. He didn’t play his best tennis at this Open, but it was enough to win.

The most impressive match he’s ever played was the 04 final against Hewitt. I rewatch that match all the time. One, because it’s fun seeing Hewitt get mauled, and two, the tennis from Federer was incredible. Hewitt remarked that he’d never seen a guy play that good in his life.


NachoF Says:

I dont understand why the GOAT has to be the best in EVERY CATEGORY…. when a baseball team has the best win/lose record during the regular season and then goes on to easily beat everyone during the playoffs you can call it the best/greatest team of the year… but that does NOT mean they were the best in ABSOLUTELY EVERY STATISTIC…. the best player of all time is the one that was most effective…..a guy that serves aces 100% of the time does not need to have a good second serve, right??


Ezorra Says:

As I said before, I can’t see any methods that can imaginably be used to verify someone as the GOAT. However, I believe that some people are very interested to label the player as the GOAT because several reasons.

1. They want to set a benchmark to the rest of other players of what they should achieve to be the best tennis player / somebody in the history of tennis.

2. They want others to recognize their favorite as the best.

3. etc.

“Great” itself is already a huge word (I can’t imagine how gigantic the word ‘great’ + ‘…est’ + ‘of all time’ is!) and therefore, if someone is to be honored as the GOAT, he should be flawless means, he, at the end if his career should’ve won all slams on all surfaces, won the most slams & MSes ever, be number one in the world for the longest time ever and so on and so forth). Possible but difficult!

Since there is nobody has achieved what I mentioned above, I personally think that there is no GOAT at the moment. Yet, we still can claim some players as the best in particular areas. For example, Sampras as the best grass court player ever, Nadal as the best clay court player ever, Roddick (or Ivo, or Isner – I don’t know!) as the best server ever, etc.


Von Says:

A baseball team with the best win/lose stats is the best for the year, just the same as a tennis player with the best win/lose stats for any one year, but you can’t flat out say because a baseball team or a tennis player had the best year or a number of years will make that team or player the Greatest of all time. From the above it clearly shows why the GOAT handle is very unlikely for any player. If a tennis player for the duration of his time on tour had the best stats then he arguably can be the GOAT of that period of time, but this has not happenend for any player. They have a few good years out of a 10 year period and the rest was just so so or maybe junk.


NachoF Says:

Still…. what Im saying is that the GOAT has nothing to do with a particular statistic… the fact that Federer has the most elegant game has nothing to do with it.. the fact that his forehand is “feared by all” has nothing to do with it either…. its the accomplishments, the # of tournaments, slams, medals, etc…. just because the subject is not the best in absolutely every category does not mean he isnt the best… GREATEST does not equal PERFECT


Von Says:

JCF:

“Anyway, now that the slams are over, I’m not going to be around as often as before. I’ve lost all interest until big events like D-Cup or TMC. I’ll pop by every now and then, but I’m no longer going to read every comment.”

I’m so sorry you won’t be around often. It’s fun to post when the GS , MS and DC is happeneing, but apart from those, what’s there to talk about. After DC, which is around Sept. 14th, It will be pretty boring. The season usually takes a nose-dive after the USO. Now I can catch up on some of my work and reading. This is the time when the Tennis Channel comes in handy.

BTW, Go to the Serena Williams thread; I embedded a post in another post to someone else there for you on Sept. 9th at 4:40 am. I don’t know if you’ve already seen it, if not then you’ve got all the information. I’ll miss your insightful comments and the fun we shared. :P


Von Says:

NachoF:

“..the fact that his forehand is “feared by all” has nothing to do with it either…. its the accomplishments, the # of tournaments, slams, medals, etc…. just because the subject is not the best in absolutely every category does not mean he isnt the best… GREATEST does not equal PERFECT..”

How many medals are we talking about? Fed’s forehand used to be feared, but nowadays, it goes off at times. Greatest is premature because it can only happen after the fact. To be the greatest of al time, would have to wait until tennis has ceased to exist and then we can look at the accomplishments of all the champions, and then and only then, will we be able to arrive at the conclusion as to who was the greatest. But if it will make you happy, I’ll agree with you that Fed is ONE of the GREATEST CHAMPIONS. :)


Ezorra Says:

NachoF said;

“GREATEST does not equal PERFECT”

I completely understand that. I think what you’ve meant by the great is maybe “the best of the best.” However, how can we evaluate “the best of the best” if every factor to support it is open to be denied by another factor. It will endless every time we discuss about it… For example, can we say someone who have won 20 grand slams but never win any MSes titles as the GOAT? It arguable, right?


NachoF Says:

haha, I repeat, Im not saying Roger Federer is the GOAT… Im saying he could be… but Nadal could as well…. what Im disputing is that notion that it is “impossible” regardless of the accomplishments because of the different eras or whatever…

Ezorra,
I think if someone wins 20 GS and its closest contender has just 14 then of course that would be enough!!…. you dont agree with that??


Ezorra Says:

I take back my word that the GOAT has to be flawless / perfect, but I adjust to the GOAT has to be THE BEST IN EVERY DEPARTMENT. (Department here is referring to the tennis events and not the statistic of his winners/aces/backhand/etc.)


Ezorra Says:

NachoF, my discussion has got nothing to do with Federer. I am talking about the GOAT in general.


Ezorra Says:

I repeat my statement.

GOAT is… “Possible but difficult”.

means that its achievable.


Ezorra Says:

“…what Im disputing is that notion that it is “impossible” regardless of the accomplishments…”

I’m completely with you!


Giner Says:

Ryan, could you explain why a guy who is World No.1 should be afraid of playing a guy who he owns a 12-6 record against? Two of those wins came this year on the biggest stages of the game (Wimby and RG final, which happens to be the only two matches they’ve clashed in this year). One of those took heart to win, the other was a rout.

I could understand if it was Ivanovic fearing a match against Serena, but this is ridiculous. Are you even for real, or just trolling to elicit a reaction? Do you actually believe the things you say? You’ve claimed some other moronic things like Federer gifting Nadal the Wimbledon title because he didn’t want Nadal to feel bad losing thrice in a row to him. What?!


Tejuz Says:

Von : “Well, to be the greatest of all time, which means better than, and excelling in all areas,”

Dont really agree with that… to be GOAT, you have to be better than the rest of the contenders in most of the areas.. not all.

If thats not the case… there is no way Phelps can be a GOAT or Pele or Tiger Woods or Bradman…

And the best people to testify about the GOAT are the contenders themselves.. Sampras, Laver have themselves praised Fed as the most complete player and the Greatest.

But if he is ‘One of the Greatest’ .. he already very well is…


NachoF Says:

Ezorra Says:

I take back my word that the GOAT has to be flawless / perfect, but I adjust to the GOAT has to be THE BEST IN EVERY DEPARTMENT. (Department here is referring to the tennis events and not the statistic of his winners/aces/backhand/etc.)

Wait, I dont understand… please give some examples for this “Departments” you speak of….


NachoF Says:

In any case, I find it hard to believe that if Federer wins 20 slams, including two French Opens, that someone would actually come out and say that that is not enough to undoubtedly (word?) call him the GOAT… just because he wasnt the best on clay.


Ezorra Says:

NachoF, what I’ve posted below is just my personal view on how the GOAT should be decided. I am not here to debate or anything. You might have better opinion than me.

To say someone’s forehand / backhand / unforced errors as the best is very subjective. Therefore, those elements should not be used as a medium to measure whether he deserves to be the GOAT or not. To me, the best approach to define the GOAT is someone who owns the most grand slam titles IN EACH SURFACE and has the most MS as well as other titles. (Departments refer to the Grand Slam, MS and ATP titles as well as how dominate he is in each surface)

As I’ve mentioned before, GOAT is a very huge words. I cannot simply award someone with the GOAT title because this will lead others who are not in favor with him to easily question about the recognition given due to the existence of other people who has better record than him in any the departments.

That is why I’ve come out with the statement “…if someone is to be honored as the GOAT, he should be flawless…” so that nobody will have any opportunity to deny the recognition. In other words, the the recognition has to be accepted by everybody, not only his fans, but also others as well.

In addition, I also believe that the Greatest of All Time should be awarded to not more than one person at one time. Until someone is managing to break his record, he is entitled to keep the title until he dies.

In the case of Federer, I believe that he is one of the best players of all time (which is not bad at all!). In fact, he is the best player after Sampras’s era. However, for me, he is not the GOAT at the moment, and probably will not be the GOAT anytime in future. So does Nadal. I don’t think he can be the GOAT due to the fact that he has to break 7 Wimbledon titles, 6 French Open titles, 6 US open titles and 4 Australian Open titles. Ridiculous huh?

NachoF, I might sound crazy but that is just my personal view of what the GOAT should be. I believe that you should have much better and wider view on how to recognize someone as the GOAT. Just follow your heart.

NachoF: I am so sorry because my English (especially my grammar and preposition) is so terrible. Please correct me if I’m wrong.


Ryan Says:

To Giner…….fed giving wimbledon to nadal was a joke which anyone with half a brain will understand.But nadal ducking out is serious.nadal would obviously want the best h2h against fed.So why should he play fed on hard courts when fed has the best chance to win.fed was foolish to keep playing nadal on clay all the time and because of that the H2H is ridiculous.As if nadal is better than federer……..my ass.The clever thing for fed to do would have been to lose before facing nadal.On grass nadal and fed are now almost equal but on hard fed does have the advantage.Dont give me the H2H record on hard courts.Just look at their last 2 matches.Are you stupid to say that u dont understand wat i’m talkin about?


grendel Says:

TennisMasta Says:
grendel says “Well, if those two French titles entailed beating a fit and in prime form Nadal, I suggest yes, it would.”

Here is the (perhaps unintentional) trickery in that argument. When Roger beats Rafa certain people will always say that Rafa was either tired or injured.

Remember when Roger beat him at Hamburg, Rafa was “tired”. When Ferrero beat him on clay this year Rafa was again tired. When Murray beat him at US Open, once again Rafa was tired. I do not recall the last time Rafa lost and he was not “tired”. Haven’t you noticed that when a player is loosing their body language changes. In Rafa’s case when he realizes he’s being outplayed he looks downright lost, and “tired”.

You could also add, Tennismasta, that when Djokovic beat Nadal recently,Nadal was tired – that’s what they said. Yes, it’s quite humorous, but perhaps not entirely fair to Nadal. I think Tsonga’s victory was conceded as legit, and also most of Fed’s on hard court. Of course, it’s been a while since Fed met Nadal – I do hope he manages to play Nadal again before the clay season – or that h2h is gonna look ridiculous.

Let me then put it more simply. If Fed can beat Nadal in a French Open final TWICE, then he has some quite powerful ammunition to be considered the GOAT, especially if he also won 18 slams, and bearing in mind, too, that all GOAT attributions are provisional in nature (you never know what’s round the corner) – even though that doesn’t make sense, since the “AT” of GOAT means for all time. But there’s no need to be fussy or pedantic, is there. Yes, I think we can assume that a Nadal who plays in the French final will not be tired.


TennisMasta Says:

NachoF Says:
“I dont understand why the GOAT has to be the best in EVERY CATEGORY…. ”

I’ll tell you why. This is called the different rules for different people principle.

We gain nothing by simply giving away the GOAT to a foreigner. We are the superpower, account for most money on the tour (don’t have stats, but believe so), fans in this country spend a lot of money and time to support their players (I did fly to the US Open this year).

Before we ask what has the US done for Roger, we’ll have to ask what has Switzerland done for him. It appears he’s treated just as a top tennis player, not a whole lot more.

Just imagine if Roddick were in Roger’s shoes – winning 13 slams, 5 US Opens in a row and all these unbelivable things. The hype in the US would reach such proportions that it would have completely subdued anything else going on in the country and tennis as a sport would have grown by leaps and bounds(around the world).

Can Switzerland match that? It appears the next country that can match this popular support, PR and hype would be China. I won’t be surprised at all if the next GOAT would be from China in some 20 years.

Still there are many fans like me in the US. Roger got a standing and the loudest ovation on Monday night Open era celebration of champions. Fans were with him in all his matches. I wonder if the Swiss can match the affection that NY has shown him.


Daniel Says:

Current Records to GOAT debate:

- Total Grand Salms: 14 (Pete Sampras)
- Total Titles: 109 (Jimmy Connors)
- Total MS: 18 (Agassi, nobody won all the 9)
- Weeks as n. 1: 286 (Sampras)
- Year end n 1: 6 (Sampras)
- Grand Slam (all in same year): 2 (Laver)
- Gold Medal (need 1 in single)

Considering the above Fed can surpass or equal all, except I think 109 titles (unbeatable) and Laver’s Grand Slam (which some have already shown margins to debate over here). But, he was close to do it and one French Open will be enough, nobody will remember if he beats a healthy Nadal or not, as long as he wins one. Nobody mentioned who Agassi beat when he won it, just that he did!

I think is kind of difficult to call someone
GOAT, but if Fed end 2010 with 15 Slams (including French), 19 Master Series (he now has 14 and still are two left season) including the 3 he doesn’t have: Monte Carlo, Rome and Paris, more than 70 titles, more than 286 weeks as number one and with 6 year end n. 1 (already discounting this year), I think will be really hard NOT to think of him as GOAT.

The point is that he is in a position to break a lot of the GOAT records, and he is still running, we’ll have to wait. Right now we can’t say it, beacuse he needs more, but if he keeps achieving then…


Gordo Says:

Von -

You crack me up. I love your long dissertations. When do you get the time to eat???

Nice analysis… Rounders? That was hilarious.

Now…

My favourite comment from everyone above had to be the one who said that it (The US Open) was unfair in Federer’s advantage because he wasn’t on court throughout the tournament as long as Murray. Hmmmn – Rog can’t win the GOAT title easily… can he?

So here are the 10 things I believe Roger Federer has to do in order to be procaimed the GOAT by all bloggers in here. Tell me if you agree -

1) Win at least 15 Slam Events.

2) One of those must be a French Open.

3) Win more Master Series crowns than Agassi.

4) Have a greater amount of weeks at number 1 than Sampras.

5) Never be sick again.

6) Win an Academy Award for Best Actor (Not a Supporting Actor Oscar, mind you. That is too simple. That is as commonplace as winning a Gold Medal at the Olympics in doubles).

7) Invent a non-polluting fuel that will replace fossil-burning fuels and help conquer man’s contribution to global warming.

8) Locate and capture Osama Bin Laden, or provide proof that he is no longer alive.

9) Find a cure for ONE of Aids, cancer, MS.

10) Find a way to have Mikra cut down on the gum chewing while watching him play.

If he can do the above I am sure you will all agree with me that Rodge Federer is the GOAT.

No wait – I suppose for #9 he should find the cure for all three diseases, no?


Tejuz Says:

well.. i agree.. he still isnt the GOAT yet.. but certainly has very good shot at becoming the GOAT. And as of now.. he is one the top 3 GOATs.

Well.. if he wins the French(once or twice)… regardless of if he beat Nadal or any other player.. he will lay claim on the GOAT. Nobody remembers if he beat a fit or a tired Nadal. Btw.. its so rare to see a TIRED Fed.. even at the end of any seasons.. but we always see a tired Rafa or a tired Djoker.. Rafa was tired when he lost to Youzhny 6-0, 6-1 at start of this year (dun remember Roger losing like that).. Rafa was tired when he lost in Rome and Cincy and now in US Open. Am tired of these excuses for Rafa. Well.. when Rafa gets outplayed.. he just cant reach the balls, thats the reason why he is losing.. but since we all have this notion that a fit Rafa can chase down any damn ball.. we think he is tired or slow.. instead of giving credit to the opponent for man-handling the bull.


zola Says:

Grendel,
You are right, I take Federer’s way of referring to his own “greatness” a bit braggy. But I am used to it the same way you are used to Rafa’s way of talking about himself. It is just part of him.

To understand Rafa, you have to read more of uncle Toni’s interviews. He is the man who has moulded Rafa to this player and he is very much the same. Of course they all have a big ego. If they don’t believe in their own abilities, they can’t stay on a court of 5 hours and fight. Or they can’t remain 1 or 2 for so many years. I guess the different way they express it, appeals to different people. nevertheless, takes away nothing from the fact that they are both tennis gineuses and bring out the best in each other. I want both to be around for a loooooong time.

one more thing about the GOAT. I read somewhere up here about the fact that other sports have GOATs. like Pele for soccer.
Thinking about it, it just crossed my mind that in soccer, the main factor is the player. The surface is the same, the ball is the same. MAybe the players can get fitter. That’s why it is easy to compare one factor, just the player. (speed, technique, etc.)
In tennis, the surfaces and the equipment have changed a lot. I find the game right now much more faster and more exciting. I certainly don’t want to compare Lever, playing on grass and clay with a wooden racquet,to Federer, playing on hard/clay/grass with a nanosomething racquet.

I wrote in the other thread too. I am happy with a bunch of GOATs and to me Federer is one of them.


TennisMasta Says:

Gordo, you are right on!
But it still seems too easy for Roger, no?

Oh! wait, we can always pile on more requirements once he gets closer to your laundry list, no?


grendel Says:

Tejuz: let’s agree that the “tiredness” business with Nadal has become silly. Nadal expended a huge effort to become #1, and he deservedly achieved his goal. If, in the course of this, he became tired, that’s just tough. Just as a player has to pace himself thru a tourney, so he has to pace himself thru the season, and if he gets it wrong, whining about it is sort of beside the point.

However, the point that Sensational Safin makes is surely valid; it is bizarre to call a player the GOAT when he is fairly consistently beaten by a particular contemporary. Doesn’t make any sense to me. Just before his last Wimbledon, Agassi alluded to the #1 player – a huge star – being dominated by the #2, and that that was a whole story in itself. This is true; painful for Fed fans, but undeniably true. That’s why I think winning the French is not enough – it’s got to be Nadal he beats. And I do think that if Fed wins the French without having played Nadal, people will remember that if the GOAT thing comes up. Of course, winning the French, even if you don’t play Nadal, is still a tremendous achievement. Just not in the GOAT category.


jane Says:

It’s true that the word “tired” often accompanies Rafa’s losses; I wonder why that is? Is it connected to the style of tennis he plays? Counter-punching? Very physical? I mean all the players get tired, so there’s truth to it, and Rafa did play more matches than most this year. Still, I am not sure that addendum is attached to the other players so readily.

Gordo – your list would satisfy me. If Fed does all that, I’ll concede, even though I dislike that fact that we have this dire need to categorize and hierarchalize to try to “order” history, be it sport history or other. I guess, to a degree, it’s the nature of sports, though, since it’s all about skill and competition. BUT, to me it’s better to remain in the present, when discussing achievements.

Gotta agree with Von – when / if tennis ceases to exist – or if 2012 really will be the end of the world – only then we can tally up and claim someone is the “Greatest of All Time.” I wonder if the ice age will come before or after the Olympics in 2012? That might really play a role in the GOAT discussion.

Of course, if Roger manages to invent the fuel Gordo mentions, then maybe he can stop the arrival of the end: “to infinity and beyond!”


zola Says:

Tejuz,
just giving the facts here. Rafa’s style of play is different to Federer. But a tired Fed? maybe AO, when he played a 5 setter with Tipsarevic and then lost to Djoko!

Rafa’s loss to Youzhny came after he played for 4 hours with Moya the NIGHT before and had less then 12 hours to recover for the final at NOON. Youzhny said” I did not play the real Rafa today”. of course you are entitled to your opinion.

In Rome, he had to be treated fora blister. Fortunately the footage of the torn foot in on youtube. no need for me to elaborate.

If you think someone should not be tired after playing 84 matches, still you are entitled to your opinion, but I don’t agree with you. But I agree with the fact that if Rafa had to do it to stay at No 2 and then beat federer to be No 1.Yes, he is tired and he can lose when he is not 100%. That’s how Rafa is. that’s just a fact and no excuse. I think a lesser Murray could not have won him even if he was tired. Murray showed tremendous courage, composure and game. Stayed on course and won that match.

I wrote before. I don;t think there will be a tournament where all the players are 100% ( maybe AO). That’s part of the reason why someone cannot execute a good game. If you want to hear that Rafa was fit and 100% after playing 84 matches, I don’t think that will happen though.


zola Says:

I can tell you as a Rafa fan when he lost and he was not tired.

Rafa’s losses to Djoko in IW, to Seppi in Rotterdama and to Davydenko in Miami. To Nalbandian in Madrid and Paris…..there are probably more that I can say,…perhaps Shanghai 06 to Federer, Canada 06 to Berdych….I can count many….

I think it is mostly some “other” fans who do not want to accept that a body can be tired after playing 84 matches ( 20 more than Fed and Djoko, 30 more than Murray). Or that a torn foot is really painful to step on. I guess we have to accept that players are not machines. They are humans too.


Vulcan Says:

zola Says:

I wrote before. I don;t think there will be a tournament where all the players are 100% ( maybe AO).

Please don’t mention this to John McEnroe or we’ll have to listen to another spiel about how the tour is too long and demanding and how it should be shortened….also if necessary his father should be made commissioner in order to make the necessary changes.

I for one, am completely against the idea of shortening the tour’s schedule. Its part of the challenge for the players and the argument that the quality of the tennis has suffered to me is unfounded. Also, and most importantly, a shortened season means less tennis for us the spectators to enjoy.


zola Says:

Vulcan,

Yeah, JMac and PMac! but I like them both!

The injuries tell the story. Do you want to see a player for a short time and then gone or do you want to see them play for a longer time?

I have read from severl players that the tour is too long. Apart from that, the hard courts are the hardest on the body but most od the tour is played on the hard courts. Then the back to back master series are not right for the body either.

Was it Simone and Kiefer who played the semis in Toronto on Saturday and had to play in Cincy on Monday.

If we want to watch tennis, I think we would like to see healthy players and for that some changes in the tour are necessary. I love to see tennis all year, but I prefer a week between the master series and more tournaments on grass and clay.

I am sure still then all the players won’t be physically the same in all tournaments. Who would have thought Fed come to the AO with mono?


zola Says:

Vulcan
what is your take on the GOAT? how would you “normalize” the factors like surface, racquet, fitness, etc., throughout the years?


TennisMasta Says:

Gendel says, “it is bizarre to call a player the GOAT when he is fairly consistently beaten by a particular contemporary. Doesn’t make any sense to me.”

But if Roger had beaten Rafa then you’d turn around say that there is no competition to Roger, no? Roger can’t win in this scenario.

See, if we don’t want to give the credit Roger deserves then we will always find reasons.


TennisMasta Says:

Johnny Mac is dead wrong about the tennis season. It’s up to the top players to balance their goals and ambitions with their physical fitness and health. Reducing the tennis calendar does not guarantee everyone is 100% fit all the time and that no players ends up with injuries. Go tell Mario and Roger that they would not get mono with a condensed schedule.

If top players play less tournaments then there will be room for more players to play the tour and more players to become top players.

Look at what Gilles Muller did. Some 130 ranked qualifier can go all the way to quarters at the US Open beating the top ranked players.

The depth in mens tennis is very deep. We need to get the 100-200 ranked players chances in more ATP tour events. You never know there could be colorful personalities out there that will be good for tennis. That will give the well deserved rest thru the season to the top 10-20 players. Fatigue is not just physical, there is also the burn out factor.


TennisMasta Says:

The only two time NCAA champion Somdev Devvarman wasn’t given a wild card to the US Open. He has beaten players like Sam Querry, John Isner and others we see on the tour. It’s a huge loss to serious fans of tennis not to see the likes of Somdev more often.

So instead of complaining that the tennis calendar is too long, we should find ways to get top talent like Devvarman into more tournaments.

One solution is to have a tour in the US. Like the ATP tour of America. The global PGA tour umbrella is a good model to follow where there are some six world wide tours with four common majors.


sensationalsafin Says:

The most fit player in tennis over the last few years and even now is Roger Federer. Now there’s a machine. He played through fuggin mono!! Ancic was out of the US Open AGAIN for mono. Then there’s the fact that Federer has played some of his very best tennis at the end of long, grueling seasons. In 2006 he played 97 matches losing only 5. Was he tired? Probably, but he sure didn’t show it. In fact, he went on a tear after losing to Murray in Cincy, winning his next 41 straight matches! Nadal looks big and his game is based on outlasting his opponent, but I don’t think he’s as fit as Federer.


zola Says:

Tennis Masta

***If top players play less tournaments then there will be room for more players to play the tour and more players to become top players.***

can you explain please?

Rafa has played 20 tournaments. The same as Tsonga and Nalbandian.

Roger/Djoko have played 19 tournament . The same as Soderling.

Almost every other player has played more tournaments than top 3.Andreev has played 30, Oscar Hernandez has played 35.

http://www.atptennis.com/3/en/rankings/entrysystem/default.asp

I don’t think the number of tournaments they play matters. They have to play deep in the tournament and you can’t “ban” a top player from doing that.

As far as the length of the tour goes, top playes like it to be shorter too.I remember Rafa, Roger and Blake saying that.

What JMac says is too let the playes play the tournaments they want. Then they can make a schedule around their own game and fitness and I think it makes sense.


zola Says:

Tennis Masta
***The only two time NCAA champion Somdev Devvarman wasn’t given a wild card to the US Open. He has beaten players like Sam Querry, John Isner and others we see on the tour. It’s a huge loss to serious fans of tennis not to see the likes of Somdev more often.***

could he play to qualify?


Vulcan Says:

Zola, thanks for giving me the hardest question to answer;)

I think the single most important factor which one has to look at in comparing eras is depth.
And I think its safe to say that there is more depth in the Men’s game now then there ever has been before. Maybe there isnt at the very top but I think overall…from the top to the bottom there is more than ever. So the dominance and accomplishments of a player from today’s era have to be weighed heavier than that of a player from Laver’s era. Thats why so many people are ready to say Federer can be the GOAT even though he hasn’t achieved THE Grand Slam as Laver did (If he had accomplished that last year I doubt we’d even be having this discussion because it would simply be “Federer is the Greatest of All Time”…end of story). I’m not sure any of the other things like racket technology and court surface etc need to be considered. They may increase or decrease the overall ease or difficulty of the sport but they have no bearing on the ability of one player to be more dominant than all the rest.
Also, Rafa’s dominance over Federer has absolutely nothing to do with Federer being the most dominant player of his era and thus the most dominant of all time. If a guy came along and bagelled Federer at Wimbledon and USO it would NOT make him the GOAT or even the most dominant player of this era. Its all about overall dominance weighted for that particular era.


zola Says:

vulcan
I asked because I knew you would come up with a brilliant answer.

I think depth just normalizes the racquet/surfce factors. because all players are in the same boat. But then how can we compare the depth?

will it be the points? the number of masters or slams ortournaments?


grendel Says:

TennisMasta says:”But if Roger had beaten Rafa then you’d [i.e.me, grendel] turn around say that there is no competition to Roger, no? Roger can’t win in this scenario”.

A fellow shakes his head in bewilderment. I am trying, with difficulty, to be objective. It is one of the very curious facts of our time, so curious as to amount to an anomaly, that by far the greatest player of this era regularly gets beaten by another player (who is nowhere near as gifted as him), and even when he does manage to beat him, it is not often convincing. It is, as Agassi acutely said, a story in itself.

But be in no doubt. When Federer beats Nadal, I personally am elated. And I haven’t given up on the idea that Fed will ultimately come to grips with Nadal’s game. He is utterly determined, and I wonder if we might not see a different story next year. And no, I am not one of those who thinks the competition for Federer has been weak. Not at all.

Zola: it’s not a question of being tired or not being tired after 84 matches – as a matter of fact, Federer regularly used to play that amount, and we never talked about tiredness. Nadal cannot have it both ways. He’s had a terrific season, but he has proved a little wanting from time to time towards the end. Nothing wrong with that, but why make excuses for him? If he is tired, then he has overextended himself, and that’s nobody’s fault but his own. I daresay that plenty of players who were beaten by Nadal have excuses of their own. We are not interested in listening to them, and I don’t think we should be interested in listening to excuses made on behalf of Nadal.

If Nadal is to win the US Open – and remember, he is not likely again to receive such a friendly draw – he may need to reschedule. That’s the way to do it, not go on endlessly about how tired he is.


jane Says:

I think there’s merit to JMac (and possibly Mac-daddy’s) idea that maybe some of the MS events should be optional.

Maybe players could be mandated to play ONE MS event on each surface – so darn it, they should add 1 on grass!!! – and the slams would remain mandatory as well.

Then the players would still develop on all surfaces (ostensibly) and would have MS prep for each slam. BUT they wouldn’t have to compete in EVERY MS event or be fined.

It’s not bad.

It would also mean the tour wouldn’t have to be shortened, and thus fans could still enjoy a long season of tennis. Players could finagle with their schedules more based on their own games, style and fitness-levels.

However, let’s face it, that the tour is largely about money and fans, and if all the top players are at a MS event, it means more money and more fans. Sadly, it’s not the best scenario for the players, who are the reason for the money and fans. ARRGH. I just hope the new head of the ATP can work it out.


zola Says:

grendel,
I understand what you are saying. But these are facts. not excuses. It is a fact that Fed lost to Djoko in AO but also a fact that he had mono. Also a fact that he lost to Murray in Canada, but again a fact that he had played how many matches. How many times did I read about Fed’s mono? and not even in AO, but the olympics as “effects of mono”…

I am not interested in hearing those either. I want to read that Fed was beaten fair and square be this and that but there are factors that make such losses more predictable ( or say inevitable) than a loss to say Canas in IW or to Volandri in Rome.

we like it or not, that’s the reality.


TennisMasta Says:

grendel, I share your quandry some what. But I disagree with “regularly gets beaten by another player (who is nowhere near as gifted as him)”

First let’s see how regular.
Rafa leads the match up 12-6. So it is not regular. Rafa beat Roger regularly at FO. But Roger beat Rafa regulary at the prestigious year end Best 8 tournament. Roger also leads Rafa on grass.

Back to 12-6. Ten of those matches are on clay. Rafa leads 9-1 there. So, take out clay then you have Rafa trailing 3-5.

Ok, let us take out grass. Then you still have Rafa trailing Roger 2-3.

So Roger is the victim of his own greatness on clay. If he were only as good as Sampras was on clay, he perhaps would never have run into Rafa and the record would be 3-5. No one would be talking about Rafa beating Roger ever.

Second, Rafa being “nowhere near as gifted as” is absolutely incorrect. To win 5 slams you have to be super gifted. To beat Roger in the slams (even on clay) you have to be equally gifted if not more.

The thing is Roger makes the game look so easy as Tiger does. Rafa has his unique way of playing that – interestingly – seems to appeal to a larger fan base than even Roger’s. He is gifted in much different ways than Roger is. It’s as different as right versus left.

Simple facts show that no #1 has been haunted so closely and for so long by anyone, let alone the talent of Nadal. Roger had to win 2-3 slams a year just to say barely ahead of Rafa. No #1 in the past had to do that. That’s testament to Rafa’s greatness.

Also, this whole slam count may be a moot point. Rafa could eventually very well overhaul any of Roger’s slam count. He’s only 22, won 5 already, could win five more French, and who knows may be some on hard courts.

But I still like Roger’s style of tennis more.


Vulcan Says:

zola Says:

But then how can we compare the depth?

Zola, that one is pretty straightforward…its just the total quantity and quality of players in today’s era vs other eras. There is no question about the total quantity…tennis’ popularity has spread throughout the world and the “player pool” has increased dramatically. The quality is much more difficult (or impossible) to compare quantitatively. The main thing is that assuming the quality *distribution* of players today is the same as what it was in Laver’s era, then the fact that there are more players today means that overall there are more *better* players than there were in Laver’s era.


matt Says:

Imagine Federer (or Nadal or Djokovic or whoever) wins 20 GS, finishes 8 years at nº1, and wins 150 ATP tournaments.

Does it mean that this player would have been better than Laver, Gonzales, Hoad….had he been born forty years earlier and had he learnt to play a totally different game (wooden racquets with small head, more grass tournaments, different style of play…)?

For example, imagine Nadal ends up winning 20 GS.

If Nadal had been born forty years earlier, I’m sure he would have learnt to play a totally different style. With wooden racquets with very small head, he probably would have learnt to hit flat, or maybe serve and volley, because that was the game back then.

Perphaps he would have been great as well, playing serve and volley, but NOBODY KNOWS.

Imagine Jimmy Connors had been born 40 years later.

Would he have learnt to hit that flat-backspin off both wings today?.

No. If Jimmy were a young kid today, trying to be a professional tennis player, he would be taught to hit with more top-spin, he would be taught to play a different style.

Perhaps he would be a great player today, playing a totally different style, but NOBODY KNOWS.

That’s why I can’t compare players from different eras.

I may say that player X won more GS tournaments, or finished more years at nº1 (or whatever) than anybody, but THAT doesn’t mean that if this player X had been born forty years earlier (or later) he would have been as good or better than the best players of that time. Because nobody knows even what style of play would he be taught in that situation.


Vulcan Says:

Wow, when I made the comment at the beginning of this thread that Federer’s win would certainly rekindle the GOAT discussion I had no idea of what was to ensue.

Matt, here is my long winded, verbose, pedantic response to your question:

Imagine Federer (or Nadal or Djokovic or whoever) wins 20 GS, finishes 8 years at nº1, and wins 150 ATP tournaments.

Does it mean that this player would have been better than Laver, Gonzales, Hoad

Answer: YES


grendel Says:

TennisMasta – about “regularly beaten”; I am familiar with the argument you make, which is a good one. I meant, though, recently – Fed has lost the last 4 encounters. “Second, Rafa being “nowhere near as gifted as” is absolutely incorrect. To win 5 slams you have to be super gifted. To beat Roger in the slams (even on clay) you have to be equally gifted if not more”. Yes, I accept that – I was just a bit irritated to be honest, and went over the top.

Zola: when you repeat a fact often enough as a way of qualifying your man’s results, this becomes an excuse. Of course, people also make excuses for Federer – but so far as I can see, that’s relatively recent, and this whole “mono” business, the disruptive effect it has had on training (even when the symptoms have gone) seems to be shrouded in mystery. One thing is for sure, there can be no excuses for Federer next year if it’s a bad one. And I hope we might hear a little less of Nadal’s “tiredness”, which is bound to come up, since it just always does.


sensationalsafin Says:

Federer didn’t have a bad year!!! If he ends up with 3 semis and 1 win people are gonna say he had a bad year. That’s not bad!!! I don’t even think that’s likely. Before this year’s AO I said it was impossible to get 3 sets off Federer in a slam outside the French. For the most part I was right. Excluding the French, it took Nadal everything he had to get 3 sets at Wimbledon. At the AO one could say Federer was sick but I think Djokovic was playing the best tennis he’s played to date. I’m surprised it didn’t go to 4 but maybe the match with Tipsarevic caught up to Federer. And no one managed to do it at the US Open. So 2 players have done it in the last 3 years. That’s just ridiculous.


Ezorra Says:

When someone who has hold the no.1 position for nearly 4 years has to give away the position to his contender, that’s a bad year!


Giner Says:

“Dont give me the H2H record on hard courts.Just look at their last 2 matches.Are you stupid to say that u dont understand wat i’m talkin about?”

Their last two were split one apiece. Fed leads 3-2. Not a huge advantage. One of those was a 5 setter where Fed almost lost.

If Nadal is going to avoid Fed just so that he can maintain his H2H, then what’s the point since H2H will become meaningless anyway? What does he get out of it? Bragging rights?


Tejuz Says:

Giner: “Their last two were split one apiece”

Not really.. Nadal was leading 2-1 in that series.. and Fed won the last 2, both in the semifinals of Masters Cup 06 and 07 in straight sets.

Grendel:
I agree with tennis-Masta.. Nadal has this lead only because of his exploits on clay where he has a 9-1 lead .. and this coming at a time when he lost only 2 matches in 4 years in that surface.. and Fed was one of them(where the last set was a bagel). This year Fed got bagelled back .. no big deal. Laver and Borg have been bageled before.
There is no second guessing when it comes to annoiting Rafa as the undisputed GOAT on clay. So..Fed is THE next best thing on clay at least for this generation.

As we have discussed before.. Fed has this trouble against Nadal because of their match up… Nadal’s high-kicking forehand to Fed’s backhand on clay. Nadal would have eaten alive Sampras or Laver had they met on clay. The fact that Fed was still the No 1 for 4 years (by a huge margin) when someone like Nadal was behind him.. is a testament to his domination. Murray explained that in his post macth interview. I have never heard Murray saying Fed being the GOAT prior to this year.. it seems like even he got convinced after the beating he recieved in the finals.


Von Says:

Tejuz:

Ok, we’ll have to agree to disagree on the GOAT excelling in every area of the sport.

“And the best people to testify about the GOAT are the contenders themselves.. Sampras, Laver have themselves praised Fed as the most complete player and the Greatest.”

I don’t know about Laver, since I haven’t heard him say anything, but Sampras, who is my all time fave, has wavered in calling Fed the best. Sometimes I wonder about some of Sampras’ remarks. Only time will tell what Fed will achieve, but he’ll definitely go down as one of the greatest to play the game of tennis. Of course, you know that only player ever to end up as the GOAT will be Andy Roddick don’t you? Write that down. :P Who said that?


Tejuz Says:

In the last few years .. had fed lost the finals of RG to some other players (like Coria or Ferrero.. but not Nadal).. and still won the rest of the GS like how he has done.. everybody would have been quick to say he is the GOAT. But now.. he loses to this one guy who is not actually a tennis player but an animal on clay repeatedely.. some of us starts questioning.


Ezorra Says:

I think at the moment:

The best on clay – Nadal
2nd best – Federer

The best on grass – Federer
2nd best – Nadal

The best on hard court – Federer
2nd best – Djokovic


Ezorra Says:

Tejuz said:

“…who is not actually a tennis player but an animal on clay repeatedely…”

please clarify…


Von Says:

Gordo:

“Von – You crack me up. I love your long dissertations. When do you get the time to eat???

Nice analysis… Rounders? That was hilarious”

I’m so glad to know that I crack you up and you love my long dissertatations. You have to read my theses abd briefs. And, when I’m angry I include the whole Book of Hebrews too. :P Hmmm, When do I eat? All day long, except when I’m sleeping. You’d never know it though, from looking at me, I’m just a little person. I love to eat; why do you think I’ve been smooching up to NachoF in my posts, and hinting about Empanandas? Do you really think it was because I wanted to discuss the GOAT theory? No way, I wanted him to take the bait and offer to send me some Empanadas, instead all the guy did was tell me he’d think of me every week when he eats one. How cruel can a person get. :P I’ve been salivating ever since.

I have been on an eating binge today because my ‘weetie” JCF, posted last evening that he won’t be posting often only sporadically, and now I’m heartbroken. Whenever I become heartbroken I eat, and eat, and eat. NachoF, I guess you can take a hint, can’t you, send me some Empanadas, or do i have to grovel?. LOL. :D


Von Says:

I become tired just reading about which player is tired and who’s played more matches than whom. Playing tennis is the players’ job, and if they are tired, then they have a choice, don’t play too much — take a sabbatical. It’s wonderful to gobble up all of the titles, but then if they become tired in so doing, then so be it. They are old enough to know how to pace themselves and when to pull back, when tiredness or not feeling 100 percent becomes a problem for them. We, the sedentary, have to do so in our day-to-day lives, and we are cognizant of the fact that if we overdo it, we’ll have a huge price to pay; our health suffers, and so does our job performance. So too, with athletes, if they refuse to pace themselves and/or listen to their bodies, then it’s too bad if they lose a match — they’ve only got themselves to blame. We, the tennis fans, are the ones making these excuses for our favourite athlete, and we are also the ones making these ridiculous assumptions that they lose because they are tired. I believe some of us are judging them by our own yardstick, as to what will make us tired. This is a far cry from what’s really transpiring with the athletes and it would be wise if we would refrain from jumping to conclusions, of which we are totally ignorant. These athletes are trained to perform at high levels each and every day. Some more than others, but it all comes down to the same thing, they need to know their strengths and weaknesses and work around them. If we enjoy watching them win without complaining and making excuses, then we shouldn’t be making excuses when they lose. Every action causes a reaction.

On another topic, I believe Laver won around 167 titles, which is inhumanly possible for any player to do given the way the sport of tennis has evolved.

With regard to the players having to play too long a season, that’s subjective. There are those players who would like to play all year, so whether the season is shortened or lengthened those players who like to play will play every tournment. And, I’m positive we’ll see players whose ranking begin slipping will be playing more tournaments. Initially, the players play a lot to get their ranking up higher and for the money too, but when they accumulate enough of each, they begin tapering off, however, when their ranking is in jeopardy they usually try to make up the lost points by adding tournaments to their schedules. They make a conscious choice in so doing knowing full well that they’ll be adding more stress to their lives.

I believe I read somewhere in January that Federer was not going to play the indoor season this year, however, now that he wants to regain his No. 1 status, I’m sure that he’ll be playing the indoor season. Nadal will always have a too crammed clay season, because he’s not going to give up the huge amount of points he gets from playing in the clay season. Hence, if he gets tired from so doing, that will be his problem and the too tired excuses should be shelved. We’ll just have to wait for the ’09 calendar and the players schedule to see who’s going to do what.


TennisMasta Says:

zola asks if the “greatest player in NCAA history” Devvarman trid to qualify for the US Open?

I had the same question and looked up the qualifiers draw. Was disappointed not to see his name. I don’t know whether he is not even eligible to qualify or whether he chose not to. I will not rush to blame him or the USTA for instead giving umpteen chances to players like Skoville. I am sure Devvarman will cause some major upsets once he starts playing in tour events.

clarification for:
***If top players play less tournaments then there will be room for more players to play the tour and more players to become top players.***

For sure there can only be 20 players in top 20.
What I mean is there could be more rotations in the top 20 and top 50 if the 100-200 ranked players could play more tournaments. But more qualitatively, the more the interesting personalities (and playing types) we could find the more the players who can enter tour events.

If you look at the total count of players on all the regional PGA tours it is about 7 times the number of players who play on the ATP tour. Clearly more people in the world play tennis than they play golf (in the narrow tennis age group). I think we can afford a US tennis tour.
So many US cities are starved of any tennis tournament let alone a 1000 series or 500 series one.


Gordo Says:

Tejuz said:

“As we have discussed before.. Fed has this trouble against Nadal because of their match up… Nadal’s high-kicking forehand to Fed’s backhand on clay. Nadal would have eaten alive Sampras or Laver had they met on clay.”

You DO know that Rod Laver was left-handed, don’t you?

Are we giving them both wooden racquets? And in Laver’s time 3 of the 4 slams were played on grass.

You young uns!!!


Von Says:

Gordo:

Here’s a footnote to my Rounders ‘dissertation” from Wikipedia:

Rounders
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rounders (Irish: cluiche corr) is a sport played between two teams, each alternating between batting and fielding. The game originates in England[1][2] most likely from an older game known as stool ball.


Von Says:

Gordo:

Here’s a footnote to my Rounders ‘dissertation” from Wikipedia:

Rounders
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rounders (Irish: cluiche corr) is a sport played between two teams, each alternating between batting and fielding. The game originates in England[1][2] most likely from an older game known as stool ball.


Von Says:

Gordo:

Here’s a footnote to my Rounders ‘dissertation” from Wikipedia:

Rounders
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rounders (Irish: cluiche corr) is a sport played between two teams, each alternating between batting and fielding. The game originates in England[1][2] most likely from an older game known as stool ball.


Tejuz Says:

Ezorra:

What i meant was that Nadal.. is like an animal on clay.. he devours his opponents.. running them down.


Tejuz Says:

Gordo:

What i meant was if Sampras or Laver had played against Nadal on clay with the new racquet technology.. they wouldnt have fared better than Fed. thats for sure.. even though Laver is left-handed.


Ezorra Says:

thanks Tejuz, thats all i need to know coz in my culture, animal will usually brings different / “not so good” meaning.


Fedex Says:

First of all, what an outstanding win from Federer! He has the heart of a champion, alright! We talk about how Nadal keeps coming back in matches like losing that 4th set in Wimbledon after having match points. Federer is like the big-picture Nadal. To come back, and win the US Open after that brutal Wimbledon loss, shows how great a champion Federer really is – to anyone who had doubts about that, that is.

He has been doing that year after year – the way he salvaged 2005 after losing the 1st 2 GS. The way he coolly won Wimbledon in 06 after a heart-breaking FO loss. In 2007, when the whispers started, following his falter in the american hardcourts, he put together a mighty season. It is beyond amazing how Federer can combine such aesthetically beautiful game with such never-before-seen domination in a cut-throat competition filled sport like men’s tennis.

Beyond doubt, he is a phenomenon who joins the Greatest Athletes of all time club – along with muhammad ali, pele, phelps and carl lewis.

Take a bow, Mr. Federer, you are one heck of a champion.


Fedex Says:

Regarding the GOAT, I would say Federer is in prime position to surpass Sampras in that race. One more FEDEX year and the only 2 champions one could argue are better contenders than Federer would be Borg and Laver.

Federer is just 1 short of Pete’s GS number and he is miles ahead of Pete on the clay court. As great as Pete is, he cannot hold a candle to the achievements of Laver, Borg or Federer on clay. While on Grass, they are all on the same page, on the hard-courts Federer and Sampras are the only contenders (as hardcourts are a relatively new surface) and Federer edges ahead of sampras on that surface.

As for Federer winning the French, what does a title or two (especially if he does not beat rafa) tell us about Federer’s ability on clay that we dont already know? He has 3Finals a semi and quarter at FO and 4T/F at Hamburg, 0T/2F at Rome, 0T/3F at Monte Carlo.

During his generation he is 2nd only to the Greatest Player ever on clay. Sneaking one FO title under Rafa’s nose does not change the above scenario. Ofcourse it will improve Federer’s clay court credentials but by not so much.

My question would be where does Federer rank in the all time greats on clay?

A few contenders would be Borg, nadal, lendl, laver, wilander, kuerten, bruguera, muster, agassi, courier. Has Federer done enough to knock one of these guys out of the top 10? If not how many FO titles/finals and/or MS titles/finals can change that balance?


grendel Says:

Tejuz, about the Nadal-Fed h2h, I have used TennisMasta’s argument myself – so not surprisingly, I agree with it! I was talking in a slightly different context. It is subjective (and so I stand to be corrected) but I always get the feeling – and not just on clay – that Nadal feels more at ease playing Fed than the other way round. Hewitt once said that Nadal had Fed’s number – that was an exaggeration which I’m sure he enjoyed making, but, you kinda see what he means. There is JUST enough truth to make you think. Now that Federer is the hunter and Nadal the hunted, this may turn around. It will be very interesting to see.

As you say, we’ve discussed before that :”Fed has this trouble against Nadal because of their match up… Nadal’s high-kicking forehand to Fed’s backhand on clay”. Yet you know, I’m uneasy about this on 2 counts. 1) Nadal just cannot use tiredness as an excuse for losing – if nec, as I said before, he has to rethink his schedule. But nor can Fed’s fans complain that his backhand can’t cope with the high kicking forehand – he’s got to adapt, or accept 2nd best. 2)this is my ignorance, but is it impossible by the time you get to your midtwenties to refashion a stroke to deal with a specific problem? Is your body too set in its ways? It’s not as if having a onehanded bh is necessarily a handicap – look at Blake and Youzhny, they never experienced Fed’s particular difficulties. I’d be interested to hear what knowledgeable people have to say on this one.

Earlier, I agreed with TennisMasta ( I having said something foolish in an earlier post in this respect), that “to beat Roger in the slams, you have to be equally gifted, if not more”. I should have added that the converse is also true (logically, it doesn’t have to be) – i.e. federer is at least as gifted as Nadal, if not more. TennisMasta puts it expressively;”he is gifted in much different ways than Roger is. It’s as different as right versus left”.

That said, the following is tendentious: “When tennis legends talk of GOAT they are talking about the most complete tennis player. They are not just talking about who wins the most singles slams only. This is pure creation (or at least insinuation) of the US media to call one of our own the GOAT” (TennisMasta, 11th, 12.36).

There is an interesting point in here, but it is overdone. The numbers game, unfortunately, resonates with everyone, including tennis legends (I’ve heard enough of them in this matter). Suppose we agree Fed is the most complete tennis player, but only won 4 or 5 slams, or even 8 or 9 – would we be tempted to say he is the GOAT? If we wanted to be regarded as extreme eccentrics, we might. So “the complete game” argument is important – but not conclusive. Numbers are important – and definitely conclusive if they are big enough (what shall we say; 27 slams?); otherwise, again important, but not conclusive. All surfaces? Same again, imp. but not concl. That’s why I argue (it’s only an opinion – but I’m sticking with it) that winning the French is not enough for Fed. He has to beat Nadal – and this is crucial – in the light of their particular rivalry, in which thus far Nadal has the edge.

In the end, we accept terms like GOAT – if we do at all – on grounds which are not sophisticated, and which do not take any great tennis knowledge. The ordinary man in the street, one who knows a bit about tennis and likes it quite a lot but has no expertise, he will never accept that someone could be called the GOAT when there is a player around who tends to beat this alleged “GOAT”. In the end, a term like “GOAT” has to gain acceptance from the general public, or it will just wither away, a curiosity for the archives.


TennisMasta Says:

grendel says “So “the complete game” argument is important – but not conclusive. Numbers are important”

I totally agree. Paper talent is not going to make you a GOAT. My tennis partner often talks about Safin being very talented and bemoans if he only worked hard enough, or put his mind to winning, or something else he would beat everyone.

You have to harness your talent to produce results. No question about it.

Roger has achieved unparalleled results. By now it is clear to tennis legends and critics (not just to adoring fans) that 13 slams show beyond any reasonable doubt that Roger has harnessed his superb shot making, and all around game, to produce the expected results. And much more.

When Roger started out he did not have the support systems that are out there in the US (the cheerleading media, the unabashed support from people to do everything to have one of their own become the best). Consequently even though some said Roger was talented he did not develop the self-belief that he could be a world beater. Even Roger’s dad wasn’t very encouraging. Roger had to fight serious odds starting at home (the opposite scenario for Rafa and Novak where they were told they would become world #1 when they were barely about 16 years young).

Believe it or not the Swiss public did not instill into him that belief even after he beat Sampras at Wimbledon. That’s how much the Swiss cared about anything but cheese and watches (and banking).

It took Roger many years of playing on the tour – and loosing – to one day get the epiphany on his own- That he could hang with players like Hewitt from the baseline.

That was the absolute turning point. The rest is history. As Johnny Mac and others said the tennis world hasn’t seen the kind of four year domination that Roger was able to produce. Some like Sampras were so stunned that they couldn’t hide their envy and uttered those foolish lines of weak competition. Inadvertently only confirming the domination, which by definition if you perform much better than others then others appear weaker relative to you – Newton’s equation for dummies. Did we ever say that after over 7 years of domination Tiger still has no competition? Did we say after 8 straight Gold medals that Phelps has no competition? When Ali was “The Greatest” did he have any competition? Why, even when Sampras utterly dominated at Wimbledon no one said he had no competition there (with not a single classic final as a McEnroe-Borg or Roger-Rafa). Why, because none of them were from Basel.

When Roger started to dominate he did not have a clean start like great ones before him did. He had to overcome loosing records to Nalbandian, Hewitt, Henman who had his number until then. Imagine how difficult it is to have to conquer the guy who has always beaten you to win your first US Open? Roger had to dig himself out of a hole to turn around the H2H against his generation of players. That shows how great he is not just in stroke making but also between the ears.

No one in the open era (where everyone was competing in the same tournaments) has compiled anywhere close to the results that Roger has done on all surfaces and against all opponents. He has been consistently the best player on hard courts and grass and second best on clay for over four years. His consistency streaks will take a long time to break. Just as one of many examples he reached 18 straight slam semis and continuing. Sampras in his fifteen years reached a maximum of 3 straight semis. The chasm is wide between Roger and former greats. That is why even Laver said he’d be honored to have his name mentioned along with Roger.

Legends know the special greatness Roger has achieved relative to former greats. Whether you call it GOAT or something depends on many cultural factors as I wrote earlier. But any number of stats at this point will neither add nor subtract from the pinnacle Roger has climbed in the pantheon of sporting greats.


TennisMasta Says:

A testament to Roger’s unmatched mental resolve.

McEnroe did to Borg what Rafa did to Roger – beat his opponent in two straight slams that mattered to them most. Not just giving two knock out blows, but crushing the spirit in the opponent.

The great Borg did not get up. Even at a young 25 he simply gave up, and dropped out of the tour just like that.

Johnny Mac felt that might happen to Roger after his devastating Wimbledon loss – a match he should have won.

But Roger didn’t leave the fight as Borg did. Only to get a third consecutive knock out punch at his much awaited Olympics.

Roger gets up yet again. This time also facing a tsunami of doomsday predictions and disrespect totally drowning his consciousness, he fought like a valiant soldier on the biggest stage once again, endeared himself to the greatest fans, and achieved the ultimate slam glory once again.
There are absolutely no stats to reflect the mountains Roger successfully climbed that the Great Borg did not even attempt to. The chasm between one all time great and another couldn’t be wider.


SG Says:

I do find it amusing that everyone is throwing so much praise at Roger over his latest win. Did he deserve to win? Yes. Did he face a tough draw to win? He sure did. But, before this tournament there were people out there doubting “The GOAT”. Including Sean Randall and many bloggers on this site. He won a major. Something he had done a dozen times before. It’s not like he wasn’t going to win another one. All this waxing poetic about Federer would not be if he had lost to Nadal in the final. I think there needs to be some balance to all of this. I don’t think you suddenly forget how to win majors (…until your body lets you down).

One of the reasons that Roger has not been as dominant this year is the level competition around him. Djokovic, Nadal & Murray are all better players than they were a year ago. And they have tagged Roger with some losses that they could not have earlier in their careers. If anyone thinks that Federer will suddenly go back to losing 3 or 4 matches a year, think again. Roger had somewhat of a free pass from 2003 to 2006. His competition at that time was not nearly as formidable as it is right now. By extension his years of outright dominance are therefore at least slightly explainable. My point is this: You can’t give the guy all the credit for beating a top field with out at least being honest enough to admit that some of the fields he beat in the past were not as formidable as this one. The top level players he played in 2005 for example, are nowhere near the calibre of the top 4 players right now. Admitting this is no ways demeans Federer. He has no control of who he plays. He can only beat the guy that’s in front of him on that day. And he still does this better than anyone.

While I’ve never had much of a liking of Federer, I do respect the guy. He went out and won this US Open. He beat guys who had beaten him. He played attacking positive tennis. He played his best tennis on his best surface. And his best tennis is still the best tennis in the world.


grendel Says:

I assumed at the time that McEnroe effectively finished Borg’s career. On the other hand, some Borg fans deny this, claiming that Borg, who had been on the tour since he was 15 (?), was burnt out, had a troubled private life, and would have retired anyway.

I wonder what the truth is – and if, indeed, it is discoverable.


Von Says:

“I do find it amusing that everyone is throwing so much praise at Roger over his latest win. Did he deserve to win? Yes. Did he face a tough draw to win? He sure did.”

I too find it somewhat amusing to see the many accolades being thrown Fed’s way for his USO win. From the very inception I mentioned it was my gut feeling that Fed would win considering the draw he got. In fact, the top 3, got very easy draws, especially Nadal, who I thought would certainly be a finalist. Federer deserved to win, and I’m happy for him and his fans that he won, but now it appears that this win has moved some to build some sort of a shrine to Fed’s greatness. It’s quite alright to celebrate Fed’s win but I’m beginning to think that it’s now gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.

TennisMasta, are you the same person as the poster NK? I base my question on your statements from previous omments written by NK on Federer’s lack of acceptance by the Swiss as to his greatness, etc, and his comparison regarding the US players, especially Sampras. NK once mentioned that in Switzerland there’s very little acknowledgement of Fed in his country and there was more attenton given to their watches, similarly, to what TennisMasta is stating. NK’S previous statements were similar to the following:

“Believe it or not the Swiss public did not instill into him that belief even after he beat Sampras at Wimbledon. That’s how much the Swiss cared about anything but cheese and watches (and banking).”

TennisMasta, you seem to want to paint a picture that Federer had to overcome great difficulty to become the superstar he is now. However, in all honesty, so many other players have suffered hardships equal to or greater than Federer and made it to the level of a champion. Do you feel that elaborating on your perceived Federer hardships will make both his fans and non-fans more appreciative of his USO GS victory? The trophy speaks for itself. Everyone has acknowledged Fed’s victory and have expressed their delight, consequently, I feel this elaboration of his hardships, is somewhat superfluous and totally unnecessary.

“Did we ever say that after over 7 years of domination Tiger still has no competition? Did we say after 8 straight Gold medals that Phelps has no competition? When Ali was “The Greatest” did he have any competition? Why, even when Sampras utterly dominated at Wimbledon no one said he had no competition there (with not a single classic final as a McEnroe-Borg or Roger-Rafa). Why, because none of them were from Basel.”

The above statement is very unfair to Tiger, Phelps, Ali, Sampras and McEnroe. It clearly depicts an American bias, and why? This is so uncalled for. You want to praise Fed for his accomplishments, do so by all means, but you’re taking away from his win by degrading the Americans. Do you feel it’s absolutely necessary to pull down these great champions to build up Federer? I certainly don’t think so. There’s enough room in the sports world to recognize and accept Federer’s greatness without making comparisons as to who had it made and who didn’t. As I’ve previously mentioned to you a few months ago, the United States, the same country you’re lambasting, is the country that has embraced and/or shown more generosity to Fed than his own country, and in all fairness, do you think the Swiss would embrace the American players as the Americans have done for Fed? I don’t think so.

TennisMasta/NK(?) build whatever shrine and write as manny accolades you want for Fed, but do so with some restraint, since no one is disacknowledging Fed’s triumph, but by the same token I feel some modesty could be employed.

BTW, I’ve asked you this before, do you ever comment on the sport/game of tennis itself, other than that of lauding praises on Fed, and pointing out your perceiced unfairness towards him?


Gordo Says:

Okay – let me break out my calculator and do some numbers, because yes, Roger has to win a couple more slams to stir up the GOAT discussion even more than it has arisen in here (if that is possible – lol).

But forget all time, Roger also has to overtake Rafa and become #1 again. This is not going to happen anytime soon unless Roger goes on a crazy tear and Rafa collapses. If you have followed my entries from other blogs we all know it is really unlikely that Federer can end the year at #1.

Why? – here we go.

Currently the rankings are:
Nadal: 7000.
Federer: 5930.

Combined points the men have to defend from now until up and including the Tennis Masters finale in Shanghai…
Nadal: (Madrid 125)(Paris 350)(Masters Cup 200) = 675.
Federer: (Madrid 350)(Basel 250)(Paris 75) (Masters Cup 650) = 1325.

So by subtracting ahead of time here is what they have with only points to gain from here on until year end -
Nadal: 7000 less 675 = 6325.
Federer: 5930 less 1325 = 4605.

Now, for argument’s sake, lets suppose Roger goes on a tear until year end and wins everything he plays from now until then – (Stockholm 225)(Madrid 500)(Basel 250)(Paris 500)(Shanghai 650) = 2125.

This would give him 6730 points, meaning Rafa only has to collect 405 points from Madrid, Paris and the Masters Cup to finish #1.

And interestingly enough, in the next 3 big scoring tounaments of 2009 – the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami – Rafa and Roger have identical points to defend, so this should really be interesting!!!


Tejuz Says:

Ezorra,

Sorry about that.. it was unintentional.. i was just using a term which many writers use to describe Nadal (again.. not as an insult to him.. but more out of appreciation).. and he certainly looks like predator out there on clay.. his intensity.. his movement… his brute force.


Tejuz Says:

Gordo..
Agree with you .. fed cant surpass Nadal till next year’s clay season.


Tejuz Says:

Grendel: “He has to beat Nadal – and this is crucial – in the light of their particular rivalry, in which thus far Nadal has the edge.”

Do u mean he has to beat Nadal on clay?? or any other surface… I hope you are mentioning clay.. cuz he already leads Nadal on other surfaces. It took Nadal a super human effort to win against Fed on a non-clay surface after more than 2 years of losing to him (since Dubai 2006, which again was evenly matched).

Everybody including Fed have agreed that Fed is second-best on clay to Nadal.. Fed has accepted that long back. Regarding beating Nadal on clay finals.. well..if they meet certainly i agree Fed will have to improve on his H2H record.. but if he doesnt meet Nadal and ends up winning 2 French, nothing should be taken away from Fed’s wins.

Regarding overcoming that Nadal forehand cross-court.. well its tough.. and Youzhny and Blake had early success against Nadal.. but only on hard courts.. Fed has fared better than them in last 2 years against Nadal.. so he knowz how to counter it on non-clay. Clay is different.. and Nadal has lost only to 2 players .. Fed and Ferrero.. so.. Fed wont get much tips there to improve that single-fisted back-hand of his…to overcome Nadal.. probably Gaudio could help.


Gordo Says:

It is amazing how crucial that 5 set loss in Wimbledon was for Federer. Had he won that there would be a 1000 point swing in my above calculations.

Instead of 7000 to 5930 Nadal would be leading in the rankings by 6500 to 6430 and we would truly have a race until the end of the year.


jane Says:

“it took Nadal a super human effort to win against Fed on a non-clay surface”

I am not sure I agree with this if it’s referering to the Wimbledon final.

Rafa was cruising, I mean cruising, against Roger at Wimbledon.

If it wasn’t for the rain delays (although arguably the first one helped Roger and the second one helped Rafa) and especially Rafa’s nervous choke while serving for it in the fourth set, this would’ve been over in 3 or 4 sets. That it went to 5 was partly Rafa’s fault for choking when he had the set & match on his racquet. On one point Fed hit a great passing shot, but Rafa was making too many errors in that 4th set (that’s why I think the 2nd delay helped him re-group).

From my perspective, it took a super-human effort, a little luck in the 1st rain delay from mother-nature, and a choke by Rafa for Roger to even force that final to 5 sets. The match was definitely exciting and tight until the end, but the way I saw it, this was Rafa’s (not Roger’s) match to lose.

Perhaps this’ll be contentious, but that’s the way I saw it.


Tejuz Says:

Jane:
Rafa was not exactly cruising.. infact he faced the exact same number of break points as Federer.. It was Fed who choked on some of the break points.. had he not.. he could have won the match in straight or 4 sets. And anyway.. to be leading 2-0 and then choking match points.. he certainly had to put in super-human effort to even even stay focussed .. especially when he faced break points in the decider.

So this wimbledon final was as mach Nadal’s to lose .. just as the Monte-carlo 08 final or the Rome 06 finals were Federer’s to lose.

Well.. clearly.. Nadal hasnt beaten Fed squarely on a non-clay tournament… but Fed has thumped him number of times… with couple of bagels and 6-1, 6-2 scorelines.


Tejuz Says:

But still .. as i said.. it took a greatest match ever .. for Rafa to beat Roger in last 2.5 years on a non-clay surface…


zola Says:

****From my perspective, it took a super-human effort, a little luck in the 1st rain delay from mother-nature, and a choke by Rafa for Roger to even force that final to 5 sets. The match was definitely exciting and tight until the end, but the way I saw it, this was Rafa’s (not Roger’s) match to lose.
***

nice comment.

It is not only you. Borg, McEnroe and many other critics said that RAfa played much better on that day.

Tejuz
Rafa bagled Roger in FO final and he was 2-0 ahead in the Wimbledon final. If it was not for the rain delay and Rafa’s nerves, there would not have been a 5-setter and the greatest match in history!

I know it is hard, but sometimes you need to give credit when it is due!


TennisMasta Says:

Von, I am not NK. But I commend you for finding a link since I also found out that my close friend is posting as NK (and he is also an avid reader). Kudos to you.

It was Sampras who very uncharacteristically for a great champion tried to undermine another great one (now it appears he totally warmed up to Roger) with his peevish “weaker competition” comments. Then his surrogates and fans joined in on the bandwagon for the biggest ruckus on the boards for a year or so as you well know. Did you expect tennis purists and Roger fans to simply shut up and not point out the lunacy?

But more importantly I don’t take credit for pointing out why the press even went along for a little bit with these “unwanted” looser comments. Frank Deford from Sports Illustrated was the first one to point this out. And I completely agree with him on this.

“If it’s not our star and our sport, U.S. just doesn’t care”
“If Roger Federer (left) were American and Tiger Woods weren’t, would our attitudes about their respective sports be different?”

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/writers/frank_deford/09/20/usa/index.html

Not once in reference to Nicklaus, Tiger, Jordan, Sampras or any of our heroes we ever (rightfully I’d say) questioned their competition. Why then with Roger?

As to:
“BTW, I’ve asked you this before, do you ever comment on the sport/game of tennis itself, other than that of lauding praises on Fed, and pointing out your perceived unfairness towards him?”

My posts should answer your question I hope. I also follow closely golf and other sports. If I see bias (with Roger now, perhaps a Devvarman tomorrow- hope not) I’d think tennis fans want to talk about it.

My question to you is why do some people spend so much time trying to qualify/spin/ undermine Roger’s accomplishments rather than use it to write more about tennis? Why do they manufacture so many imaginary hurdles to convince themselves that Roger is not what he is?

I will try to ignore and not defend as many as possible :)


grendel Says:

Tejuz: the line before the one you quote from me says:”winning the French is not enough for Fed. He has to etc”. I agree of course that winning the French is a tremendous achievement who ever you play. I simply meant that if we insist on going along the GOAT route, then Fed – imo – must beat Nadal at RG. Nobody has to agree with me, that’s just how I see it.

b.t.w., what about Gasquet on clay: that year he beat Fed in Monte Carlo, he very, very nearly beat Nadal in the final. Can’t remember much about it I’m afraid – but obviously his one handed back hand was coping. This is just a guess, but the way Gasquet plays his backhand, often leaning back slightly and on tip-toes, you get the impression he is better equipped than Fed to deal with the high bouncing ball. Puerta now, I just can’t recall – did he have a one handed backhand? He certainly had no fear of Nadal.

I have to agree with Jane about Wimbledon. My only consolation – I think it is a consolation – is that Fed played so badly in a lot of the first two sets that he can’t really do that again. Pressure and fear, which he seemed to suffer from, are surmountable if acknowledged, and we have to assume that whatever Federer says in public, in private, he knows the score perfectly well. And since he has no intention of running away from the battle, I do believe we’ll see a different Fed next Wimbledon. Nadal fans seem to be very upbeat about their man’s chances next June, and you can see why. But they may be underestimating Federer. We shall see.


jane Says:

Well, personally, I give Murray a shot at next year’s Wimbledon. He played some beautiful grass tennis against Santoro, Haas and Gasquet this year; that Santoro match was a treat. And if he straightens out those mental lapses, which he has seemed to do during this year’s summer hardcourt events, then he’s got at least a good chance.

Cilic won’t win it, but he could surely cause an early upset on grass, with his serve, as could Gulbis.

Not sure whether JMDP’s game is suited to grass, but look out for him (and hopefully Monfils) on clay next year. I honestly don’t know what to say about Gasquet or Tsonga anymore.


Vulcan Says:

jane Says:
“it took Nadal a super human effort to win against Fed on a non-clay surface”

I am not sure I agree with this if it’s referering to the Wimbledon final.

Rafa was cruising, I mean cruising, against Roger at Wimbledon.

My opinion is that that match would of been over in staight sets if the rain delay didn’t intervene.

It would be very interesting if Nadal or Federer were to meet at either Halle or Queens for a change in 2009..where the grass is faster. Imagine the signal it would send if one of them decided to change their schedule and invade the other’s territory. It would probably have to be Rafa because I doubt Federer would do it. If the ATP were to make Halle a grass court Masters as they have hinted they might it would definitely make things interesting.


grendel Says:

Zola, you always see everything through Rafa’s eyes. There are two players out there. Rafa choked. But not nearly so spectacularly as Federer choked in the first set. The first rain break helped Federer? Probably – but it was hardly the decisive thing you made it out to be. The match was clearly going into a tie break anyway, and it’s not as if Fed won that tie break easily. So he may perfectly well have won that tie break without the rain. Who knows? You make it sound so simple, so obvious. But like I say, there were two players out there. Federer, having more or less disgraced himself in the first two sets, was fighting in that third set, and you just can’t tell who was going to win it. Sorry to disturb the fairy tale.

That said, I thought Nadal was superb in the 5th set. Federer very nearly sneaked it; if it wasn’t for a somewhat passive return of serve when he had break point, in other words if he’d risked going for it, he might have found himself serving for the match. If, if, if. On balance, it is better that he didn’t. He deserved to lose, Nadal deserved to win – after Fed’s break point, he never made any inroads whatever on Nadal’s serve, it was just a matter of time, I thought, before Nadal secured victory. But this is a different story to the simple black and white version you tell, Zola. I look forward to next Wimbledon. Nadal fans seem to just assume Nadal will win.

That may prove presumptious.


zola Says:

grendel,
I made it as black and white as Tejuz did. I agree that there are two players on the court. There are always buts and ifs but the reality is what we wee that happens.
In reality, Rafa cruised the first two sets, Fed came back the last two and the Rafa won the fifth.

I give credit to both RAfa and Fed for that but I expect that from other fans as well.


zola Says:

***what we wee that happens.***

oops, I meant: what we see that happens.


Gordo Says:

The fact that we are going over and over that Wimbledon final really shows how important it was. Was it the best match ever? I have to say no, because Federer was not playing his best. I think he was still flubbing around in his head over his Roland Garros spanking.

I think these two may be capable of producing the best match ever – when they are both playing awesome, but that wasn’t it.

By the way – an interesting comparison to be made regarding the live crowd at both tournaments.

At the US Open, because they had a paying audience to watch both semis, the organizers waited until Djokovic had won a set before they sent Murray and Nadal off to Armstrong, much to the displeasure of the ticket buyers. Had both matches started at the same time the semi-finals would have both ended that day, and the final would have been played Sunday, with Federer having no greater rest than (probably) Murray.

It might not have made a difference in the end, the way Fed was playing, but it sure seems that because of the US Open’s initial consideration for the live audience it gave the eventual winner a resting edge.

And in Wimbledon it was so dark they should have suspended play and continued on Monday at 4-4 in the fifth set. Federer was saying he couldn’t see Nadal let alone the ball. Now he only said that once, and has never worn it as an excuse badge, but we can only speculate what would have happened had Federe and Nadal played each other the next day after a breather.

It might also not have made a difference in the end but it sure seems that because of Wimbledon’s consideration for their live audience it gave the eventual winner an edge.


grendel Says:

Jane, Gilbert always said that grass should prove Murray’s best surface, and funnily enough I think Nadal said something similar recently. Murray, however, has always kept whatever he thinks about his chances at Wimbledon close to his chest. He is mindful, I’m sure, of the horrific pressure poor Henman always laboured under. He’s a canny lad, our Andy.

Gasquet’s game seems to be ideally suited to grass. You have to think like this: just because a player has always gone to pieces just when his greates opportunity arises doesn’t mean that he always will. Gasquet will never be consistent – but that suggests he can win as well as lose.


Vulcan Says:

Gordo Says:

Federer was saying he couldn’t see Nadal let alone the ball.

This was clearly an exaggeration.
Federer said a couple of things after the match during the press conferences which I think showed he was maybe for the first time ever off-balance after losing a match. He also said that “Oh, I dont care about that” in reference to his loss at the French Open.


grendel Says:

In reality, Zola, Nadal did not cruise the first two sets. He had considerable difficulty closing out the first set, it was within a whisker of being 5 all. Nor did Nadal cruise in the second – if you recall, Fed was 4-1 up.

I’ve already said Nadal deserved to win – and also (which is a bit different) Federer deserved to lose. But lets deal with reality, not fairy stories. And lets see what happens next June/July. Maybe it will be Andy versus Andy…..


Daniel Says:

Gordo,

Two mistakes:

1 – Fed can gain 750 points (winning without losing a match) in Shangai, as he did the previous years.

2 – Miami Rafa has to defend final (350 pts) and Roger quarter-final (125 pts)

Dubai was played before IW and Miami and Fed can regain 300 points there )he has 0 pts to defend), 500 with the changes in atp 2009.

The way I see it, depending on how this year finishes, if Nadal leads by less then 500 points, every tourney they play next year would be a possibility for shiftings in rankings starting with AO, sooner then clay season.

There is still a slight chance for Fed to regain n. 1 this year, he has to win everything and Nadal has to lose earier at least in Paris, very narrow and with the pattern of last few months almost impossible to think that Nadal won’t make semis in next MS. Will see…!!!


grendel Says:

“Rafa choked. But not nearly so spectacularly as Federer choked in the first set.” Oops – I meant second set. Actually, it was reminiscent of Hamburg. So much so, you have to wonder how much it’s the surface, how much the fear of Nadal which just totally inhibits Federer whenever he gets going. If he can’t address that, the Nadalfans may be right about Wimbledon 2009. Sorry to post yet again – correcting an error. Am off now. Computer to bed.


jane Says:

Fed does have choking issues against Rafa; that is true. There is no disputing this. There are too many examples. Rafa doesn’t have it so much against Fed, but he did have blips in last year’s fifth and this year’s fourth at Wimbledon.

Fed, in the fifth this year, blew a few forehands – right into the net – smack! Reminded me muchly of Rafa’s into-the-net-shots on break points in last year’s fifth. I thought, considering everything, that Rafa did well to hang tough in the 5th. But again, I think it was his match to lose.

Maybe I should take blame / credit for the 1st & 2nd set “cruising” comment since I uttered it before Zola. And maybe it wasn’t the level of control that comment suggests. But it just seemed to me Rafa had the upper hand until that 3rd set – even when he was down in the 2nd I believed he could come back.

Which goes right back to the choking comment I made at the beginning of this post.

—————-

Grendel,

I didn’t actually know Gilbert had said that about Murray; Gilbert is brash, but I believe he’s got a decent record on predictions. He picked Nadal (“Ralph Nadel”) to win Wimbledon this year.


jane Says:

Gasquet – the next Nalbandian? Always a potential threat or a potential bomb depending on which Guessquet shows up; this theory’s got at least some merit I suspect. I wish we’d see consistency from him (that first set against Rafa in Toronto was fantabulous!), but unless it comes next year, I am thinking it won’t ever come. He’ll be the next phat or fat Dave.


Gordo Says:

Daniel -

Thanks for the catch. You are right – it does not look as bleak for Federer as I may have painted it.

And Vulcan – despite what Fed said post-match – I spoke to three people that were at the finals in Wimbledon. Two of them said the match should have been called because it was so dark. The third said – “I didn’t care about the darkness – I just wanted the whole thing to be over. I had things to do the next day and didn’t want to travel all the way back just to watch 3 or 4 games and a trophy presentation. But yeah – it was getting hard to see.”


zola Says:

Jane,
you are too kind. I am also guilty of using some strong words….

Gilbert is funny. He predicted Djoko to win FO this year. I didn’t look at his predictions for Wimbledon. If him and Sean start a betting company, I can tell they won’t profit a lot!

I don’t think Gasquet is the next Nalbandian. Nalby is more of a threat. Unfortunately Gasquet is not. You can always tell he will be defeated against a better player. Nalby, you can’t. He needs to look at Murray and Djoko and just work hard and get over his emotions. I am so impressed by Murray, I am almost becoming a fan. Look at him a year ago and look at him now. With all the expectations of the British media….just amazing.


Vulcan Says:

Gordo Says:

Two of them said the match should have been called because it was so dark.

OK, but whats your point?
That the darkness some how helped Nadal?
What…does he have bat sonar or something?
It’s an adverse condition that both players have to deal with…similar to windy conditions.
Is your argument that Nadal has proven himself historically to be a better dusk player than Federer or what?


TennisMasta Says:

My last two posts haven’t posted…
And I am not NK.


Tejuz Says:

Gordo: “Was it the best match ever? I have to say no, because Federer was not playing his best.”

well.. If Nadal is playing his best, Fed is taken out of his comfort zone and makes error.. and if Fed is playing his best.. Nadal is taken out of his comfort zone has not much chance, especially on grass and hard courts.

So.. i dont think we’ll ever have both of them playing their best tennis in a single match.

But the wimby match was still a great match because it had all the drama, the ups and downs etc ..cuz both players choked and regrouped and hit some awesome shots during break/match points. And especially because of the occassion itself..A third staright Wimby finals featuring the same players..one trying to break a 5 year old streak… and reminiscence of J. Mac beating Borg.

But yeah… i do feel the AO Semi between Safin and Federer was a better contested match than the wimby finals… in that match.. both the players were playing at their peak. Even their Rome 2006 finals was better.


TennisMasta Says:

Check out Rafa’s web site. There is a nice video with Rafa and uncle (he’s everyone uncle now) Tony. Apparently the only use of Rafa’s left hand is to play tennis. He does everything else with his right hand. Not only that but he cannot even throw a ball well or write with his left hand. Incredible! And Freakish!


Tejuz Says:

yeah.. Refa’s left hand is there only to trouble Federer with his top-spins :-) .. he uses his righthand to rip those backhand cross court winners… His back hand is more like a hook shot in cricket


zola Says:

Tejuz,
I love Shanghai 06 match between Rafa and Fed. Although fed won the match, I thought they both played great.
Also Rome 06. Fantastic match…not to mention Dubai 06….The only one I never watched again was Wimbledon 07. That was too painful!


Von Says:

Tejuz:

I wholeheartedly agree with you, deja vu, we’ve discussed this before, the Safin v. Fed ’05 AO SF match was a much better quality match with considerably more drama and great shot-making as compared to the Wimby ’08 final. Personally, I thought the Wimby ’08 final was boring for the first 2 sets, then came the rain which in itself was a drama scenrio. The 4th and 5th sets were the only 2 hotly contested sets in the whole match, and the drama was due more to the darkness. Now, I’m neither a Fed nor Nadal fan, but this much I saw in the latter part of the 5th set when it became so dark, that Fed DID have great difficulty seeing the ball, there were times Fed was hitting his return shots purely from instinct — it almost looked like he took a rip at the balls hoping they’d fall in. He was hitting out like a blind man at a target.

As for the Wimby match, being the best in tennis’ history — no way. Take a look at Andy Roddick v. Younes El Ananouyi ’04 AO match, that was more a match for the best in history than the Wimby ’08 final.


Von Says:

“And lets see what happens next June/July. Maybe it will be Andy versus Andy…..”

Oh no, my two little guys beatig up on each other — my heart can’t take this.

On another topic re Roddick, I doubt that Roddick will even be around next month since he’s labeled as “mentally can’t hold it together’, and will be “out” of what I don’t know, but presumably the top 10, or tennis as a whole. I wonder how he wn 26 titles. probably borrowed Nadal’s serve. I love these people who know it all and have such fuzzy crystal balls. OK, wanna hear what my crystal ball tells me, Nadal wouldn’t even make it to any final next year, much more defend Wimby. He’s toast!! That sure as hell hurts doesn’t it, oh insightful one? Roddick is the whipping post — Roddick this, Roddick that, blah, blah, blah. Just incessant, childish babble.


sensationalsafin Says:

Sorry, Von, but the El Aynaoui-Roddick match was ’03, not ’04. And while I have not seen it, I did see the match point and it was a helluva lot better than the match point at this year’s Wimbledon final.

The Wimbledon final was probably the most suspenseful match ever, but not the greatest. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks Federer just wasn’t at his best. The Safin-Federer AO semi was just incredible in every aspect. It went beyond drama. It was just 2 of the most talented players ever trading shot for shot in a Grand Slam. Sure the AO isn’t as prestigious as Wimbledon. And it was a semi, not a final, but cmon. Safin’s power vs Federer’s finesse at the very top of their games, there’s just no topping it. Nadal is incredibly talented but if Safin had ever lived up to his potential, he’d be a lot better than Nadal. Maybe even Federer, at this point I’m not too sure, but it would’ve been those 2 with the most amazing rivalry and trading the top spot back and forth.

Here’s an interesting hypothetical. No one doubts how naturally talented Safin is. Let’s say Safin had managed to stay consistent the way Federer had and won multiple slam titles and ended years number 1 and everything. At the SAME TIME as Federer. What if from, say, 2002-2008 it was the Federer-Safin show, with both of them performing at their best, not just Federer. Would we call either one a GOAT if, say, Federer had ended every other year number 1 while Safin claimed the other years number 1. And instead of just Federer having 13 slams, Safin had also had 13 or so slams from 2000 till now. What if it was like 10-10 between them both now? Would this GOAT discussion even exist? Or would it be a debate over who’s greater? Or would people just admit it’s a tie that can’t be broken unless one ends up with more slams than the other or something along those lines? Basically, if Safin was as consistent as Federer, what would the debates be?


Tejuz Says:

well.. if Safin was as consistent as Federer,

1.Nadal would have still had his clay streak going on..and would have won atelast 3 if not 4 french open titles.

2. Safin and fed would have traded other slams… so effectivelt they would both have around 7 slams each.

3. so.. there would have been a GOAT argument at all here.. but we would have talks like great rivalries.. just like how we have with Roger-Rafa.

4. Obviously.. Fed wouldnt have records like 10 straight slam finals in a row.. or 3 slams in a year 3 times…etc etc .. so that would obviously hurt his chances of being the GOAT.

The reason why he is GOAT is because he had risen above just being a BIG potential to a consistent Match Winner day in and day out. And its crazy looking at how consistent he is.. just like how Rafa is… especially on clay. It has been total domination by both of them


Tejuz Says:

well.. the match point and the point before when Nadal set up that match point were both great passing shots by both players… it was of highest quality. Fed hitting that backhand down the line pass to a Rafa’s extreme cross court forehand.. it cant get better than that.. cuz we know Roger has problems executing that shot against Rafa. But to do it on a match point and then forcing the set to a tie-breaker was awesome.

The match is greater than the rest because it feature 5 times wimbledon champ who was on a Roll.. The No 1 and no 2 players playing for the 3rd staright finals.. and 6th straight finals in 3 years if you consider French Open and Wimbledon only … and also because when everybody thought Fed would lose in straight sets.. he fought back to take it to a decider and eventually succumbed at 9-7


Skorocel Says:

SG said:

“The top level players he played in 2005 for example, are nowhere near the calibre of the top 4 players right now.”

———————–

Really? I think they were the same, if not better. Or do you think guys like Djokovic, Murray, del Potro, or Monfils are indeed better than Hewitt, Roddick, Nadal, Berdych, or say Safin? Excuse me, but I feel that someone is once again trying to diminish Fed’s achievements by simply stating that his competition in his prime years was “weaker” than the one he is facing now… Get over it, man! Your competition is only as good as you appear it to be…

In my opinion, the losses which Fed suffered in 2008 (and to a certain extent also in 2007) occured NOT because of his competition was/is suddenly that much better, but because it was simply impossible for Fed to maintain such a high rate of succcess – especially when the Swiss would only get older and older… The truth is, his competition is THE SAME as in 2005, but unfortunately for Fed, he is burn out – which is, however, pretty logical after 4 years of utter dominance…


jane Says:

sensationalsafin’s hypothesis raises an interesting point and/or throws a wrench into the ongoing (and incredibly dull, in my humble opinion) “greatest ever” debate (and meanwhile players are playing, tournaments are happening, etc…but we don’t comment on those):

Safin is -arguably- as naturally talented as Federer, but in a different way, as ss points out – his game is more powerful. So to call someone the “greatest ever” tennis player obviously is to name who won the most or who has the greatest measurable achievements. It’s not talking about raw talent.

Because we all know there are players, like Safin, like Gasquet, like Nalbandian, like several others, who have the talent to beat the best, but for whatever reason, are not motivated, are injury-prone, etc. In other words, different human beings with different strengths and weaknesses – AND YET, equally talented on the tennis court.

BUT obviously, too, consistency IS a measure of greatness, for it is those who are the most consistent who win the most consistently. And therefore, they get called the “greatest” by those who like to toss around such hyperbole. “Greatest” is a ridiculous label, given all the variables the non-GOAT believers have rightfully thrown around here. The fact that the debate about greatest player or match cannot be settled means it’s non-settleable. Sure, if Roger wins the French, some will say “there it is, he’s the greatest!” For others, when Roger wins his 15th slam, they’ll declare “GOAT” status on their man.

So factor in subjectivity – can we? Who might be the “greatest” player to one fan might not be the “greatest” to another, **regardless of hardware.** Some people thought (think) Agassi was the greatest, not Sampras. So be it. Certainly he had the best eyes, was one of the best returners. These people might measure greatness on length of career, or talent even, a very difficult thing to “measure”.

The point is, unless you go solely by numbers, “who has the most” sort of thing, the GOAT debate is moot. It cannot be settled. And going solely by numbers, in my opinion, is severely flawed for a number of reasons, notwithstanding those already mentioned (eras, technologies, surfaces, competition, and so on).

It’s very much like the “greatest match” debate, which has now become the latest “greatest” debate; some of you are so convinced it’s this one or that other one. I find all this rather unbelievable. Now I know Johnny Mac pronounces these “greatest” comments on a regular basis, and, much as I love the guy, he contributes to these crazy theories. But I believe he’s doing this in part to promote the sport.

I’ve been watching tennis for around 30 years; I can’t possibly deign to name ONE match the “greatest ever!” I would find the task insurmountable. Obviously some are more memorable than others. But sheesh. There are so many great tennis players, and so many great matches, that to try to “rank” them would be, to me anyhow, pointless. Why not just enjoy it as it happens?!

Apologies for my long rant. I’ll say no more on the “greatest” tennis player and/or the “greatest” tennis match because to me those things don’t exist in reality. Only in people’s minds. Not mine of course.


sensationalsafin Says:

jane, how right you are. I mean, I’m not gonna lie and say I’ve never declared a match the greatest or Federer the greatest, but it really is impossible to peg just one person or match. It just can’t be done. If you wanna go by numbers, then to determine a greatest match wouldn’t we have to count the winners and UEs and aces and games, etc, etc. How can it be determined. Right now, the only thing that makes the Wimbledon final the “greatest match ever” is that it was the most recent. Simple as that. Because in reality, any epic 5-setter between 2 of the best players (and it’s not always 2 of the best- Stepanek-Djokovic for instance) is a great match. How about the Becker-Sampras 96 final in Germany? That match had like 2 breaks of serve! Speaking of ups and downs, Federer-Agassi 2004 USO QF? Not the greatest match but surely thrilling and impressive to watch how 2 great players coped with ridiculous wind. Ancic and Roddick played a very high quality 5 setter in Australia last year when Roddick went on to make it to the semis.

Then you have to factor in the racquet technology and whatnot, even when it comes to matches. I have the Borg-McEnroe 81 final and I’ve watched bits and pieces of it, but to me it’s not as pleasing to watch as modern day matches. You don’t have the same power and they can’t hit all the ridiculous shots players hit today (mind you they hit some just not ALL).

I know I’ve said it a thousand times that the Safin-Federer is the greatest match, but I think I did a pretty good job of proving why there is no one greatest match. It is very subjective. So let me clarify. Of all the great matches I’ve seen, the Safin-Federer is my FAVORITE because it was an epic clash between my 2 favorite players at the top of their games with my super favorite prevailing by an inch. Doesn’t get much better than that. John McEnroe is a pretty big Nadal fan in case anyone hasn’t noticed so, while the Wimby final wasn’t the ALL TIME GREATEST, I can bet that it was his favorite great match because he saw his favorite player prevail in a high quality encounter.


Tejuz Says:

agree with you SS and Jane.. There isnt any yardstick by which you can say this is the greatest match or player of all time. its more personal opinion. Currently as per the opinion of most people, players and writers around the world is that Fed is the GOAT (or almost there) and wimby final is th greatest match.. For me.. Fed is certainly GOAT but i liked the Fed-Safin match better .. it was awesome. The opinion ofcourse will vary for others…


Von Says:

TennisMasta:

“Von, I am not NK. But I commend you for finding a link since I also found out that my close friend is posting as NK (and he is also an avid reader). Kudos to you.”

My apologies for branding you as “NK”, but reading your coments puts me in memory of him. This is a true case of “Great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ.” The fact that you’re both good friends is reflected in your comments and his too. NK, most probably has mentioned to you that in the past we have butted heads several times, and I on one occasion asked him whether he ever discusses the topic of tennis or is it only the topic of Federer. To which he truthfully acknowledged that he does read the posts, but only comments when there’s a need to defend an unjust characterization of Federer.

On the topic of Sampras’ comments with reference to lack of depth in tennis, I become angry over that too, even though he has been my all-time fave. I mentioned this previously a few days ago, that Sampras is not a very complimentary person. Whenever he played against another American player especially the younger guys, he enjoyed showing them who’s boss and putting them in their place. I personally feel Sampras could do a lot more to help American tennis than put down the younger players with his criticisms.. Agassi, Courier, Navratilova, Evert and King have all contributed much to promoting the sport and helping the youth, except for Sampras and Connors. Sampras is content to plays Exhos and accumulate more and more money.

Finaly, I do think you’re a bit unfair to the American media and the tennis fans concerning Federer. The US has embraced and accepted Federer, as was mnifested at the recent USO, much more than some of our own players, and more by Fed’s own country. I doubt whether the Suisse would be minutely as generous to our US players.

“My question to you is why do some people spend so much time trying to qualify/spin/ undermine Roger’s accomplishments rather than use it to write more about tennis? Why do they manufacture so many imaginary hurdles to convince themselves that Roger is not what he is? ”

That’s human nature, and is in great part due to each fan has his/her own favourite and want their fave to be on the top of the ladder. This is so similar to parents who discuss each other’s children. Some even make up stories to prove their point. Everyone likes to know they back and/or have a winner and will go to any lengths to prove their point. In those cases it’s always best to defer to the strongest whiner — lead the fool a little further.

“I will try to ignore and not defend as many as possible.”

Same here. :P But, at times it’s easier said than done.


Von Says:

Sensationalsafin:

“Sorry, Von, but the El Aynaoui-Roddick match was ‘03, not ‘04. And while I have not seen it, I did see the match point and it was a helluva lot better than the match point at this year’s Wimbledon final.”

Thanks for the correction. I’m not one for checking stats — I commit some things to memory and then at times I’m a little off.

That Roddick/ElAnaouyi match was a great match point and the longest in history. Previously, Tejuz and I had agreed on the ’05 Fed/Safin match as a much better quality match than the Wimby ’08, and am glad you’re of the same opinion. I think the USO 2000(?) Safin/Sampras match was another great match. Safin crushed Sampras — I think Pete was reeling from shock for weeks after. As I’ve stated before, contrary to what a few might think, the ’08 Wimby match was NOT the greatest of all time. Each great match has something special that makes it stand out as ONE of the best, but certainly not THE VERY BEST. The same goes for players.

When Djoko won the AO, people were saying that he’s the hardcourt king, which I thought was humorous. It would be very difficult to pick out one player and designate him to be the hardcourt king, since so many players had and are having huge sucess on hardcourt nowadays, and Djoko has certainly not lived up to his potential.

We’ll always have these debates because everyone likes to know that his/her player is the best, and the same will apply to the matches. Would the Fed and/or Nadal fans be saying that the ’08 Wimby match was the best ever, if their faves weren’t the finalists? I doubt it, because they’re biased. The only unbiased and objective opinion will have to come from a tennis fan and not the players’ fans.


sensationalsafin Says:

I was very quick to call Djokovic the hardcourt king because I thought he was there since last year’s US Open. And he backed it up by winning IW. But I was wrong, and not about Djokovic, but my statement was a little too much. I blame it on Federer. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s gotten used to Federer dominating so much that he was the legite “king”. He was the king of hardcourts and the king of grass. So when Djokovic was winning everything on hard, I called him the king. After this crazy year, it’s clear that there really is no king. Nadal is the king of clay, god of clay even, but that’s it. He’s not the king of grass, not even close. Hardcourts? Let’s see, the big 4 are all great on hardcourts. They each have big titles on hard this year. Hell, Davydenko has Miami, commonly referred to as the 5th slam. So there is no king.

Now cmon, Von, I think you’re being a little harsh in saying Djokovic hasn’t lived up to his potential. He’s had a great year. 3 outta 4 slam semis including 1 title. 2 Masters titles (1 on clay and 1 on hard). 2 wins over Nadal, 2 losses to Nadal that were incredible matches (Hamburg and Olympics). Win over Federer. He’s number 3 in the world and has had 3 chances this year to become number 2. Who was the last player to be that close to number 2 since Nadal has claimed it? Nadal was able to claim the top spot after all this time, I’m sure Djokovic will get there, too, someday. He’s got plenty of great tennis ahead of him but he hasn’t exactly underperformed. I don’t think anyone questions whether he deserves to be number 3. I don’t. Not even a little.

Next year, I hope that things even out. Seeing Nadal with 7000 points and everyone else in the top 10 with barely 2000 isn’t fun. Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, and Murray have the potential to create the greatest quadrivalry ever. Going back and forth in their matches would be so exciting to watch. Imagine if all 4 of them made the semis of each slam next year. How many “greatest matches ever” do you think would be produced? And it’d be real interesting to have a different 1, 2, 3, and 4 each week. Not Nadal always at the top, not even Federer always at the top. But all 4 having their time at 1, 2, 3, and 4. Omfg imagine how spectacular tennis would be!!!!!!!!


Von Says:

Sensationalsafin:

“Now cmon, Von, I think you’re being a little harsh in saying Djokovic hasn’t lived up to his potential. He’s had a great year.”

By my saying Djoko has not lived up to his potential, I’m referring to the “hardcourt king” designation. To be the king of a specific surface, in my opinion, one has to win all or at least 75 percent of the titles of the tournaments in which that player has competed. This hasn’t happened in Djoko’s case. He’s won 2 hardcourt titles out of how many for this year? That’s my point. Apart from the “king of hardcourt” topic, Djoko has had a good year thus far. Last year he didn’t have a good indoor season, perhaps he’ll do better this year. Djoko deserves to be No. 3 without question, but to hold onto that spot he’s going to have to be more consistent.

“Next year, I hope that things even out. Seeing Nadal with 7000 points and everyone else in the top 10 with barely 2000 isn’t fun>’

Well, Nadal gets the bulk of his points from the clay season, that’s why he’ll always have a crammed clay court season, and some of his fans want to see more clay tournaments as opposed to hardcourts. If that happens then he’s assured of remaining at the top. He’s not going to forego playing in any of the clay tournaments; that’s his bread and butter portion of the whole season. The question is will he be able to maintain that lead next year and compete as much as he’s done this year. If he doesn’t then the No. 1 ranking will be snatched out of his hands. Murray is close on Djoko’s heels, and the same scenario could happen to Djoko. As I’ve stated several times previously, the Top 10, will be a revolving door in ’09. I would like to see the revolving door sceario and not just four players dominating, then tennis will funnnn…… again with the unpredictability and nail biting. :P don’tyou agree?


Von Says:

Ten questions Sampras answeres about his lack of interest in tennis toward the end of his career. I believe Federer is slowly approaching this dilemma.

http://tennisplanet.wordpress.com/2008/09/13/ten-questions-for-sampras/


Ezorra Says:

I don’t think anyone who hates a particular player deserves to give any opinion about the player due to the possibility if them giving a biased and partial opinion. The only unbiased and objective opinion will have to come from a tennis fan and not the players’ fans or those who hate the player.


Ezorra Says:

Sensationalsafin said;

“But I was wrong, and not about Djokovic, but my statement was a little too much.”

I like to read your post. To me, you are honest and not prejudice. Everything you have posted is based on facts. More importantly, you have no problem to admit your oversight. Keep up the good work!


Roy Says:

On this board, there are quite a few posts which convey a palpable sense of being highly excited about unpredictable nature of Men’s Tennis in 2009, when quite a few players can potentially win majors in well-contested matches. A perfect example of this sentiment will be the concluding remarks in one of the post by Von:

“Von Says:
……..As I’ve stated several times previously, the Top 10, will be a revolving door in ‘09. I would like to see the revolving door sceario and not just four players dominating, then tennis will funnnn…… again with the unpredictability and nail biting. don’tyou agree?”

I am happy to reciprocate these sentiments in full measure as I am eagerly looking to the remaining part of this season as well as next season, starting with AO 2009, with great deal of anticipation.

But alas, there are are quite a few Fed fanatics, who are desperately hoping for Fed to reclaim his year end # 1 and thus letting the same boring domination, seen over the last four years, continue ad infinitum ( and what rabid fans: hardly a few weeks has elapsed since 18th August when #1 & #2 exchanged places ). While such vice-like grip on # 1 ranking by a single player no doubt furthers his cause for that mythical GOAT crown and keeps his ‘fan’-atics on the perpetual seventh heaven, at the same time, it does nothing at all to increase the excitement quotient for us, the nuetral fans of Tennis, who would like to be a part of competitive canvass. Let us see, which scenario emerges.


Tejuz Says:

well.. the top 10 is already a revolving door … and has been for many years .. except …No 1 and 2 (and also 3 for last 1 year) have been constants. Certainly i wouldnt want 1,2 and 3 to be moving out of top 10 often … cuz these players are exceptional… and they are the reason why Tennis has become popular again. I dont want a scenario like 2001 or 2002 when No 1 position was like musical chairs.

Regarding Fed Fan(atic)s .. yeah we want him back at No 1..and why not.. wouldnt you want your favourite player to be No 1.

And being a Neutral fan.. Roy.. if there is a Fed vs Murray match .. and a wawrinka vs Simon match and a Karlovic vs Melzer match side-by-side.. which one would you watch???


Tejuz Says:

And certainly i dont see ahead of the top 3 ( and 4 including Murray) even for next year … these are the only 4 who can produce consistent results… Del Potro and Cilic could be the new addition. Just look the Grand Slam records.. these 3 are the only ones reachin the semis of the GS.. and for how many years now.. I dont see that changing.. not next year for sure.


zola Says:

Roy,
I understand hat domination can be boring if you are not the fan of the dominant player. But the excitement we lived this year was partly because the old order changed. I guess it might be equally boring if the ATP tour was like WTA and no one was good enough to stay no 1 for more than a week.

The quality in men’s tennis is owed to the hard work each and every player puts into tennis. Reaching top 10 or top 20 is not easy. That’s why we see such good quality matches.

The reason the top 3, top 4 or the dominant 1 and 2 are there, is because they work harder and by doing that they improve the standards of men’s tennis. All the players are talented. But the one with more improvements in his game jumps ahead. Godd examples are Fed and Djoko last year and RAfa and Murray this year.


grendel Says:

Apart from the 10 questions to Sampras, for which Von provided a link, Tennis Planet also recently posted a video interview with Sampras. One story particularly struck me. These days, we are used to the idea that top tennis players are naturals at other sports, too, and even might have chosen a sport other than tennis for a career. And this chimes in with our experience of youngsters, either our own or, if we can bear to look that far back, our schoolfellows. People who are good at one sport tend to be good at another. But Sampras claimed he never had any interest in any sport other than tennis even as a small child. I found this fascinating to contemplate. As other boys prepared to play baseball, hockey, football, whatever, the young Pete dreamt only of tennis. There is a kind of monkish absolutism here which is rather moving. You wouldn’t want everybody to be like this. But it’s good that a few are.

To Roy: I think most of us can agree that the coming year looks exciting. This is largely because at least two of the new youngsters are very tough as well as talented – I mean, del Potro and Cilic. (Gulbis has the talent, but.) Contrast Monfils, Gasquet and Baghdatis – extraordinary talents, especially the first two, but sadly tending to disappoint. Not just neutrals are keenly anticipating; as a Fed fan, I’m truly glad there is challenging new blood. I would say this, for those who are bored with Fed’s old dominance and view with distaste his attempt to regain #1. There is excitement to be had in supporting those who resist Fed’s attempted return. Nothing like having a devil figure to vanquish to raise the spirits. Although, of course, there is always the possibility of a plunge into gloom. But what is life without risk?

Zola: I have thought a bit about this business of “tiredness” – which seems to surround your man – and I think misunderstandings can develop because of mixing up two somewhat different contexts. Thus if Nadal is beaten late in the season because he is “tired” this is no more an excuse than if his forehand, say, is misbehaving itself (in the latter circumstance, we say: too bad. We don’t say: his forehand isn’t what is usually is, so really he deserved to win. That would sound strange even to the most frenzied fan). But in the “tiredness” case, although the fan doesn’t actually go so far as to say his man deserved to win, that would be a little too blatant, there is, nevertheless, an unspoken implication that it is so. Somehow, the fan has convinced himself that because of the sheer unfairness of his man’s being “tired”, his defeat is not a defeat in the normal sense of the word.

But, in fact, there is nothing unfair in the player being tired. Either he has taken a calculated gamble in his schedule which has backfired. In this case he must pay the penalty, although he may of course have derived advantage earlier in the season – so overall it’s hard to say. Or he may have run into the inherently chancelike nature of a tournament – the draw, the weather, maladroit organization and so on; where our man is concerned, we tend particularly to notice this when one or more of these factors is disadvantageous. When circumstances favour our man, somehow we are disinclined to harp on them too much, or we may not even notice them. Such is human nature.

However, there is a sense in which it is legitimate to bring up the case of “tiredness”. There should be no hint of complaint, but it is quite reasonable to say, in a descriptive sort of way, our man is “tired” and that partly accounts for his subpar performance. You accept absolutely that your man has only himself to blame for his tirednes (risky scheduling etc) or he’s had a bit of bad luck which cancels that bit of good luck he had last week – that sort of thing.

The tricky thing here is, it is easy to mix these two accounts up. Difficult not to, in fact, unless you’ve got your eyes wide open. Hence, misunderstandings, arguments and so on – none of which are strictly necessary.


jane Says:

I was kind of surprised Pete said he’d want his kids to play tennis. I guess I expected him to say “no” for some reason. i could relate in a weird way to what he said since, after several years in one career, I quit, at 31, and went back to school to try a new road / career. It does involve a reinvention of self. But I had to do it out of necessity. Pete of course has enough money to do nothing.

Has he reinvented himself? I compare him to someone like Agassi with his school and philanthropic focus, or someone like J-Mac, with his media career, and I can’t think of what Pete is now (besides his important job as father of course).

He doesn’t seem to have established any kind of new focus. Maybe I am wrong; haven’t read his book.

Anyhow, thanks for posting the link Von; that’s a funny website.


Von Says:

Roy:

“….it does nothing at all to increase the excitement quotient for us, the nuetral fans of Tennis, who would like to be a part of competitive canvass. Let us see, which scenario emerges.”

I’m all for variety, which is the spice of life. We will indeed have to wait and see what scenario emerges for ’09. For tennis to be exciting, each and every player should be in the mix, after all the draw comprises of 64 players in an MS tournament, and I’d like to see some of them be rewarded for their hard work. There’s a lot of depth in the top 50 and it will bolster their spirits if they can gain some recognition for their hard work instead of just being in the draw to make up numbers. I don’t buy into the argument that those who are ranked higher is principally due to them working much harder than the others. Talent, better coaching and sometimes even luck in the draw are all contributing factors for some players excelling more than others.

As Sensationalsafin very aptly stated in his Sept. 14, post at 10:25 pm, vis-a-vis:

“And it’d be real interesting to have a different 1, 2, 3, and 4 each week. Not Nadal always at the top, not even Federer always at the top. But all 4 having their time at 1, 2, 3, and 4. Omfg imagine how spectacular tennis would be!!!!!!!!”

As you can see, there are some tennis fans who embrace our thoughts with respect to a different scenario for ’09. Personally, I think it will be fun and exciting, and will definitely spark more interest in the sport of tennis as a whole, and not interest in just a few players playing in the sport of tennis. However, but only time will tell ….


TennisMasta Says:

This is from Andy Murray’s interview posted on his site:

Q. You said on court that you felt Roger was the best of all time. If you had to boil it down just to one or two things that really allowed him to step up and be a player, what are those one or two things?

Answer:
It’s tough to say, I guess, that someone is outrightly the best player of all time. I mean, Sampras is obviously great, as well, and had some unbelievable runs, but I think ‑‑ I mean, I was looking on the ‑‑ I was watching on the TV when he was playing against Andreev, and it came up and said when he won the first set and matches and Slams, he’s won 144 matches and only lost 4. And he’s only lost in his whole career I think, you know, 23, 24 matches in Slams.

You know, in the big tournaments, he never has early losses. He’s been so dominant, you know, in terms of ranking for the last five years, even when I think Nadal might get very close to winning the same amount of Slams as Federer and Sampras. You know, even when someone as good as him who is right behind him, you know, he’s still a long way ahead in points, and it’s only been until this year that Nadal has caught up to him.

So I think that sort of five years of dominance, the runs here and at Wimbledon, winning five in a row, and even at the French, he’s definitely a better clay court player than Sampras. He’s coming up against I think the ‑‑ well, definitely the best clay court player of all time in Nadal. That’s why I think that, you know, there’s a very strong argument for him being the best player.

It’s one thing when arm chair fans like us opine on greatness with our own biases, but it’s another thing for players to talk about it about their fellow players.


TennisMasta Says:

Von, I accept your apologies. No problem at all.
I will tone down my defense of my current idol (I used to watch all of Pete’s matches before I got on Roger’s bandwagon) as long as I don’t see the “weak era” type slander (of not just Roger, but of all the players since 2003 that include Rafa, Novak, Andy and Andy and so many other great ones).

I will try to ignore even this as long as it does not come from people I admired like Pete or his surrogates like Bodos or other well published writers. Then someone has to set the record straight, right?

I am also with you on Pete’s small mindedness. He and Connors got so much out of the US Open but they did not show up for the Open era celebration (even I was there :). Players flew in all the way from Argentina, Australia, and Europe, but these greats could not even take a short flight to NY (And Connors was even there on a later day).

Roger’s friendship with Pete is certainly bringing the better side of Pete I think. That’s the thing I like most about Roger. His classy personality and reverence for players before him, and his reverence for even his worst nemesis – Nadal.


SG Says:

TM…There is nothing small minded about Sampras. He never sought the attention. He just wanted to win more than anything. The fact that he did not show up for this US Open celebration shows that he is the same guy he always was. There wasn’t any pretentious year long good bye party like the one Agassi and others put on. He was done and then he left. One ceremony in ’03 and that was it. Sampras and Laver were two of the classiest guys in the sport.

Federer has never quite held the #1 mantle with the class of Sampras. One other thing: MOST DOMINANT DOES NOT NECESSARILY EQUAL BEST EVER. Federer is in the argument for best ever. But he is by no means a shoe in.


Federer, Nadal and the Future Says:

[...]  Federer Masters Murray, Seizes Fifth US Open Title [...]


Von Says:

TennisMasta:

“I will tone down my defense of my current idol (I used to watch all of Pete’s matches before I got on Roger’s bandwagon)”

Good for you. I’ve made a concerted effort myself to refrain from being too outspoken, which in the past got me into some ridiculous arguments with some posters. I was a huge Sampras fan and it took me quite a while to warm up to a few players, in the form of Safin, Andy Roddick and within the last 18 months Murray. I’m more defensive of Roddick because more criticisms have been shovelled his way, and sad to say not many Roddick fans post on this site, and as a result, I feel as the odd-man/woman out. Consequently, due to the scarcity of Roddick fans it seems as though I’m always at war defending A-Rod, and it makes posting difficult at times. No one with whom to commiserate. Anyway, you won’t have that problem due to the many Fed fans posting on this site.

“I am also with you on Pete’s small mindedness. He and Connors got so much out of the US Open but they did not show up for the Open era celebration (even I was there :).”

Both Pete and Jimmy Connors should be ashamed of themselves for not attending the Champions Night, which was such a memorable occasion. But I wasn’t too shocked since they are both very selfish and very odd too. I’ll probably start something by saying I think Jimmy’s presence at Roddick’s match accounted for Andy losing the match. Roddick kept looking at Jimmy and I think it made him nervous. I shouldn’t make any excuses for Roddick’s loss but the mind can play some terrible tricks on our performance. I was so angry seeing Connors there, and said to my daughter,”What’s Connors doing there showing off his ugly mug right up in front of Andy’s vision.” I know it sounds childish but that’s how I felt at the time. So you were there eh? Well, I hope you had a good view and enjoyed the NYC ambiance, which I feel is unmatched.

“Roger’s friendship with Pete is certainly bringing the better side of Pete I think. That’s the thing I like most about Roger. His classy personality and reverence for players before him, and his reverence for even his worst nemesis – Nadal.”

It’s a two-way, one hand washes the other scenario for both Pete and Fed as far as that friendship goes. In terms of mentoring, I do believe Tiger is a much warmer and more of a big brother type than Pete could ever be to Fed. However, Pete would be more helpful with the tennis aspect of the acquaintance, that is if he would willing to impart his knowledge freely.


Von Says:

“The fact that he did not show up for this US Open celebration shows that he is the same guy he always was. There wasn’t any pretentious year long good bye party like the one Agassi and others put on. He was done and then he left. One ceremony in ‘03 and that was it. Sampras and Laver were two of the classiest guys in the sport.”

I suppose it’s how we want to look at Sampras behavior. Yes, he was always one who kept out of the limelight and didn’t like the glitz and glamour, and I liked the manner in which he ended his career. I didn’t like that display Agassi put on with the whole crying scene et al., when he said goodbye — he put a damper on balance of the USO that year. My only beef with Sampras is his refusal to help the disadvantaged American youth. Instead of being so critical of them he could help them and at the same time give back something to tennis. In that respect, Pete is so unlike Agassi who gives back so much. ayway, to each hiw own.


Von Says:

grendel: I believe this is the Sampras video of which you spoke.

http://tennisplanet.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/sampras-leno/


grendel Says:

Yep, that’s the one.


SG Says:

No athlete is perfect. Not Sampras. Not Federer. Should Sampras give back? Absolutely. Has he given back? I actually think he already has. He displayed true sportsmanship on and off the court. A welcome change from the era Connors/Mac era of foul mouthed yanks. He proved that you could be all business (…like Lendl) and win a whole lot of majors while not sucking on the press for attention. Maybe he doesn’t have all of Andre’s charities. Maybe he does. I don’t really know. I suspect that he’s far more generous than people believe. He just does it with less fanfare. Much like the man and his tennis.


Von Says:

SG:

Why the country slur “foul mouthed yanks”? Aren’t there foul mouthed Canuks? I think every country has them — no need to place the emphasis or superfluous words on the Americans. How about foul-mouthed brats?


Roy Says:

“Tejuz Says:

….And being a Neutral fan.. Roy.. if there is a Fed vs Murray match .. and a wawrinka vs Simon match and a Karlovic vs Melzer match side-by-side.. which one would you watch??? ”

Well,if ridiculously/utterly/completely/extremely
(or any such adjective that can do justice to my emotion of dismay and disappointment at)one-sided nature of this US Open Final “Match” ( can it be called as such when one of the player seemed to physically present on court but mentally absent??) is anything to go by, then I can only say, thank you very much, but not another Fed-Murray match.

In continuation, I would like to quote from one of my earlier posts on this thread

“…..I must say I felt privileged to see some rivetting tennis during the course of US Open 2008: some of the five-setters & four-setters were really superb.

Alas, the same can’t be said about The US Open final between Fed and Murray : the match started at 2.30 am in the morning as per Indian Standard Time and I had to set alarm for getting up,hoping to see a potentially huge match.

While it was awesome to behold the great Fed display his stunning talent in far-away New York in the wee hours of that morning here, but the starkly one-sided nature of the contest was a big let-down for a tennis-fan like me. Not the way, a Grand-slam final should end: after-all, it represents the pinnacle of that event.”

Thus to re-cap, as nuetral tennis fan, all one asks and hope for, is nothing but the unalloyed thrill of competition and contest.


SG Says:

Von,

You are correct. I probably should have said brats. My only point was that Sampras was a great American player without the hijinx. He proved that you didn’t need to be outrageous to be special like Connors, Mac or Agassi. For a while, in the 80′s, you had to be wild for the US press to notice you. Sampras proved a US player could be noticed for his tennis instead of his attitude.


Von Says:

SG:

“Von,

You are correct. I probably should have said brats. My only point was that Sampras was a great American player without the hijinx. He proved that you didn’t need to be outrageous to be special like Connors, Mac or Agassi. For a while, in the 80’s, you had to be wild for the US press to notice you. Sampras proved a US player could be noticed for his tennis instead of his attitude.”

Thank you, SG, for the correction. I’m a little sensitive to American slurs. Even though, I wasn’t born here, (born English), I have two American born children (brats). Believe me all of those sweet little darlings behave as ‘brats’ sometimes, the whole world over. You wanna love them and slaughter them at the same time. :P

With respect to Pete, he let his tennis do the talking, and that’s what I loved about him. He wasn’t boastful, or wanted to be noticed, as you so aptly stated. He was the perfect US tenis representative. I was never remotely fond of Johnny Mac nor Jimmy Connors. and because of that dislike for Johnny Mac, I don’t like to listen to his commentaries. Talk about being prejudiced, mea culpa. Just a little tid-bit, not all Americans are Yanks. The Yanks are those in the North USA. Don’t ever call a Southern belle or Gentleman a “Yank”, you’ll make an enemy forthwith. :P


Tejuz Says:

Roy:
“is anything to go by, then I can only say, thank you very much, but not another Fed-Murray match”

Does that mean you think a Fed-Murray match will always end up one-sided??? Everybody wants to see a competitive match.. All tennis fans do… but then most of us also have that soft corner for one of the players (normally the favorite ones). I would enjoy a match more if i am supporting one person over the other in a particular match-up… rather than watching two players whose style of play i just dont like. I wouldnt watch a Karlovic vs Isner match cuz they would just be bombing aces. And i am pretty sure… 99% of the tennis fans have a soft corner for some of the players.. even though they might be more neutral than others.


Roy Says:

Tejuz Says:
Roy:
“…Everybody wants to see a competitive match… All tennis fans do”…am in full agreement. Looking forward to 2009 season to roll in as the year of the exciting and the unpredictable. Amen.

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