Federer Pulls from Stockholm, Return Uncertain; Nadal Nears No. 1
by Sean Randall | October 1st, 2008, 7:22 pm
  • 389 Comments

Roger Federer announced today that he will forgo the upcoming Stockholm event which begins next week.

In a statement on his website, Raja writes, “2008 has been a tough year for me as I was always playing catch up after being diagnosed with mononucleosis at the beginning of the year. I feel fortunate to be healthy again, but I want to remain at the top of the game for many more years to come and go after the #1 ranking again.

“At this point, I am not sure when I will be ready to play again, but I hope to be back at some point before the end of the year,” Federer added.

I said after the Open that Roger should take some serious time off, and he’s doing it. But “hope to be back at some point” leaves it a little mysterious and open to interpretation. My guess is he’ll also miss Madrid, which is the week after Stockholm and then return in about three weeks for Basel then Paris.

That said, I wonder if Roger’s year-end money grab is still a go? If he’s going to skip anything in preparation for 2009 that should be it.

Of course Rafael Nadal has to be smiling somewhat on this news. With Federer potentially pulling from an event like Madrid, Nadal could officially wrap up the year-end No. 1 ranking at the Spanish Masters event. What a celebration that would be!

And if Novak Djokovic wants to get to No. 2, now is his chance. Djokovic will likely have two extra events over Fed in term of picking up points as we head down the stretch, Vienna next week and then Madrid. And the Serb is currently just 22 points behind Roger in the race for No. 2.


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389 Comments for Federer Pulls from Stockholm, Return Uncertain; Nadal Nears No. 1

jane Says:

Sean,

That was quick! But then again, you always are fast off the draw.

Your title makes it sound as though Rafa isn’t *already* number 1, which, of course, he is. I know you mean year-end number 1 after reading the article, so that’s a quibble.

Djoko doesn’t seem to be playing in Vienna (which is surprising since he won the title there last year), but this may be because he added Bangkok this year. I thought he was a lot further behind Roger than 22 points, but I am probably thinking of the rolling rankings, wherein Roger seems pretty comfortable at number 2 for the moment. The race, however, is different.

Does year-end race ranking affect anything? Seeding at tournaments or the like? Isn’t it only the 52 week rolling rankings that are any consequence? Just curious.


NachoF Says:

jane,
“Does year-end race ranking affect anything? Seeding at tournaments or the like? Isn’t it only the 52 week rolling rankings that are any consequence? Just curious.”
The thing is, year end race rankings are supposed to be exactly the same as the regular ranking at the end of the year.. year end is the one time they are the same… not in points but in position…. otherwise it wouldn’t make any sense.


NachoF Says:

This is so weird… he decides not to play when he looks healthy but keeps on traveling and playing tournaments when he looks tired and sick….. Federer makes such wild decisions.


tennisontherocks Says:

“Does year-end race ranking affect anything? Seeding at tournaments or the like? Isn’t it only the 52 week rolling rankings that are any consequence? Just curious.”

well, its a nice feeling to #1 going into off-season and you are guaranteed to enjoy that for like 6 weeks. Usually the sponsor bonuses are tied to the year end rankings, so Rafa can count on some extra $$$. besides the cash, historians do keep track of these things, esp after Sampras’s 6 year run.

But yeah, I think Roger will skip madrid too. I am glad that he is taking the break and not chasing the rankings in short run.


zola Says:

Sean,

It will be costly for Fed to pull out from Madrid. He has 350 pointd to defend there. But he has nothing (almost) to defend in Paris.Maybe he plans to rest and come back and sweep Paris and Shanghai, which is not impossible for him.

This is what the big three have to defend by the end of this year:

Rafa:675
(Madrid: 125+Paris 350+ Shanghai 200)

Fed: 1325:
(Madrid 350+ Paris : 75+ Shanghai 650 + Basel 250)

Djoko; 480:
(Madrid: 225 + Paris : 5+ Shanghai:0 + Vienna:250)

Current ATP points:
1-Rafa:7000
2-Fed: 5930
3-Djoko: 4960

if Fed drops Madrid and Djoko drops Vienna the ranking points will be:

1-Rafa:7000
2:Fed: 5580
3-Djoko:4710

If Fed withdraws from Madrid but wins Paris and Shanghai and Basel and if Rafa withdraws from Madrid, Paris and even Shanghai and if Djoko just defends his points, the ranking points will be like this:

1-Rafa: 6225
2-fed: 5855
3-Djoko:4710

and the race points will be:

1-Rafa:1265
2-Fed: 1070
3-Djoko: 945

I think it is very likely for Rafa to finish the year as number 1.

Djoko has 5 points to defend in Paris and 0 points to defend in Shanghai. This means that a good performance in Madid and Paris by Djoko and a slip by Fed, can bring Djoko to no 2.


steve Says:

Nacho: I think he wanted to wait until after the US Open.

If he’d pulled out before the Open, the press would have had a field day crying up the “fall of Federer.” There would have been speculation that this break was really a prelude to early retirement and that his confidence was totally gone, etc. etc.

Having won Grand Slam #13 and silenced the critics for the time being, he can take a couple weeks off without being absolutely hounded by the media.

He did say he didn’t feel he was playing his absolute best at the US, that he could play a bit better. And I’d say that was accurate–he was at about 80% in the semi and the final.

I heard somewhere that his usual training regimen was to block off three solid chunks of practice time during the year, at precisely scheduled times. My guess is that his mono and the Olympics really disrupted his schedule, and that he’s the kind of person who has to have a regular training routine or he’s going to be off during match play. It’s also possible his confidence was dented early in the hard court season, but we’ll never know for sure.


rafan Says:

I’m sorry, but does this seem like a bit of a cop out to anyone else? Have a shaky start to the year, announce your mono diagnosis, claim you’ve recovered, win Estoril & Halle, but lose every match-up you have with Rafa this season (including 2 Grand Slam finals), have a so-so hardcourt season (up until the US Open of course), lose the No. 1 ranking, mention your battle with mono a couple more times and your suspicions that you likely had it once before during your career, lead the Swiss team against Belgium in the World Group Davis Cup play-offs, and then bail out on the rest of the year? What?

Come on, Fed. I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem right to me. But maybe that’s because I know what will come of this (assuming this is not just a pull from Stockholm): he will forever have an “excuse” for why he didn’t end 2008 as the No. 1 ranked player. “Oh yeah, I had mono that year. And I didn’t play much after the US Open.” Ugh, own up, you’re not the best player this year and it’s NOT just because you got mono and you’re tired. I’m sorry, but I’m irritated. I feel like more and more these days his attitude is that of finding reasons to explain why he lost, and not why someone else won. I don’t think he’s as humble and gracious and classy as seemingly everyone claims him to be. I think people thought that because he used to “win everything.” I think he’s pissed off. I think he’s irritated for having a so-called crappy season (by Fed standards, as people have been saying). I think this is a cop out. And I think it’s pretty lame.


rafan Says:

steve Says:
“He did say he didn’t feel he was playing his absolute best at the US, that he could play a bit better. And I’d say that was accurate–he was at about 80% in the semi and the final.”

This is exactly what I’m talking about. I read elsewhere that he said he was playing the kind of tennis where he felt invincible again, unbeatable. Well which is it, Fed?? Are you tired and dragging yet so amazing that you can win a slam playing sub par tennis (the very same year that you had mono, by the way – cool!)? Or are you fit and confident and capable? What gives?


steve Says:

Guess he didn’t silence all the critics.

judging by Rafan’s username, I suspect he’s looking for every opportunity to cast aspersions on Federer, in the misguided hope that it will boost Nadal’s stock.

He made it to one Slam semifinal (while he unknowingly had mono!) and three Slam finals, one of which he won. For any other player, that would be an excellent season.

Nadal’s the first player to win the French and Wimbledon back-to-back since Borg, the #1 player, and has a great chance to finish @ #1. His incredible accomplishments this year speak for themselves. I didn’t see anything in Federer’s statement to disparage those achievements.

It’s a pity some of Nadal’s fans can’t simply enjoy his success this year, but have to pile on Federer to get any pleasure out of it.


steve Says:

I’m not going to parse Federer’s statements with a microscope trying to look for consistency.

I don’t really care what he chooses to say in public to keep his spirits up. We all know athletes, especially in a sport like tennis where the responsibility rests on one person’s shoulders alone, have to fool themselves sometimes to keep going when things are tough. I’m not going to begrudge him that.

Federer’s smart enough to know that the trophy is what matters at the end of the day, not what narratives people may or may not feel compelled to construct for reasons of their own.


rafan Says:

Oh Steve, calm down. Being a fan of a particular tennis player doesn’t mean you hate everyone else. Nadal doesn’t need any stock boosting from me or other fans, he’s had a great season. All I’m saying is that it’s unfortunate that Federer looks to be bailing on the end of the season, where all the top players will be looking to compete with each other. And I’m confused by his wishy washy statements, and the way he chooses to explain his triumps and defeats.

And for the record, I referred to his season as a so-called crappy season (by Fed’s standards) because I agree with you, he’s had great results this year.


Marina_26 Says:

The most probable cause is that the adrenalin effect is gone after the Olympics, US Open and Davis Cup, and that he now feels the fatigue again…

Federer realize that if he wants to start 2009 the right way, he needs to take a break and rest, otherwise he will not be at 100%.

Just a thought…


sensationalsafin Says:

Someone mentioned in a previous article that they judge Federer’s year not by the results but by his actual play, and I completely agree with that. Federer has not been the same all year. Mono or old age or just champion’s fatigue, doesn’t matter. He hasn’t been the same Roger Federer. If he was, would Nadal be number 1 right now? Impossible to tell. I think if the old Federer had been in that Wimbledon final, he would’ve won. The FO final would’ve been closer, straight sets still imo, but closer sets. Maybe he would’ve still had a crappy summer and still had lost the number 1 ranking, but it’d be a closer race than it is.

Rafan, you’re accusing Federer of copping out. It’s funny, people have been giving Federer all types of advice from how to beat Rafa to what to do with his mono. He’s never really listened. So when I first read Sean talk about Federer taking time off, and then saw Jim Courier say the same thing, I thought, no way will Federer do that either, even if it’s a good idea. But he’s doing it and it is a good idea. He’s not the only saying he should be taking time off. I’m a little disappointed because I’d like to see Federer add a few titles to his name this year, but I’d rather see him win 100s of more titles in the next few years than 2 or 3 more in the next few months.

The one thing that should be taken away from 2008 is that Rafael Nadal is one of the best players in history. No matter what happened or was happening to Federer, Nadal has been incredible this year. I’m not a fan but I have the utmost respect for everything he’s accomplished. I think Federer is still a lot better but Nadal is clearly the best player of 2008. If there’s any excuse for Federer not finishing this year number 1 it’s Nadal. No matter how bad or good Federer played, it was up to Nadal to win all those matches and he did. When Federer was losing in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of every tournament during the summer, it was up to Nadal to steamroll his way to every title and he did. And Nadal’s win at Queens had absolutely nothing to do with Federer, it was all Nadal.

So yeah, Federer was sick and has all these excuses, but Federer’s always given Nadal the credit he’s due. Federer has admitted to knowing Nadal would be amazing and after last year’s Wimbledon final, Federer knew his time was limited and Nadal was going to take over soon. Federer said he wanted someone to really have to dominate the game in order to take the number 1 ranking from him (which is kinda weird because that means Federer expected to dominate…) and he was glad Nadal was able to do it. Not glad that he wasn’t number 1 anymore but glad that it was Nadal and not some other shmuck who did it and did it in an incredible way.

You’re a fan of Nadal so you give Federer all this shit. It can be argued that Federer is a better player thanks to Nadal because of how much of an obstacle he’s been. But what about Nadal. For so many years Nadal has dominated clay, gotten close on grass, and had some good results on hard. Still not enough. And no matter how many times Nadal beat Federer, Federer was still 1000 points above Nadal in the rankings. So all these years, Nadal has worked on improving his game on every surface. He dominated the FO like it was nobody’s business. He dug as deep as he could to claim the most prestigious title in tennis, Wimbledon. And he dominated the summer hard court season almost as much as he dominated the clay. 1 MS, the Olympics, 1 MS semi, and 1 GS semi. He’s been number 1 on every surface this year and it’s because he had to be in order to dethrone Federer. So before you criticize the shit out of Federer like he’s some sort of demon, say thank you to him for helping Nadal achieve more than anyone ever thought he would.


steve Says:

Rafan:

“Being a fan of a particular tennis player doesn’t mean you hate everyone else.”

You said:

“I don’t think he’s as humble and gracious and classy as seemingly everyone claims him to be. I think people thought that because he used to “win everything.” I think he’s pissed off.”

How is this not a personal attack?

Federer was blindsided a bit by the media’s readiness to shove him aside after one less-than-perfect year.

They needed a new narrative to hype up and keep interest high after four years of praising Federer: the fall of Federer. And that narrative they sold ad nauseum, all year long.

I think Federer was a bit annoyed by how mercenary it all was, and how efficiently and seamlessly they switched from praising over him (like in David Foster Wallace’s ridiculously over-the-top piece in the NYT) to burying him.

After Wimbledon, McEnroe mouthed off about how he thought Federer was done, that he’d never win another major, never be number one again.

If you’d won five Wimbledons in a row, wouldn’t you be just a little pissed at hearing that kind of talk? And he talked about how he got tons of letters and voicemails and even self-help videos from people, telling him what he should do to recover. It can’t have been easy for him to hold his tongue in the face of all that.

As for Federer’s temperament, I think he’s got a realistic appraisal of his abilities and his place in tennis history. He’s not going to go around boasting and putting down other players, but he is confident of his prowess and proud of his accomplishments, and rightly so. He certainly isn’t going to put on a phony show of fake humility to make people think he’s a stand-up guy. That’s even more obnoxious than outright arrogance.

Recall James Blake saying that the only tennis player who paid him any attention at all while he was in hospital, recovering from a broken neck and wondering whether he’d ever have a career again, was Roger Federer. That, to me, is the conclusive proof of Federer’s class and graciousness.

Whether that’s enough for you, is of course, up to you. But your comment certainly showed neither class nor grace.


sensationalsafin Says:

It’s really annoying to hear fans say Federer isn’t classy and this and that. I’ve read dozens of his interviews and I still don’t know where the hell he came up with so much bull shit in most of those interviews. Even in his dominant days, Federer was never one of those players who was just like “I lost because he was so great and blah blah blah, I was helpless…” Except for against Nalbandian last year when he said he really felt he could do nothing against him in the rallies. But that doesn’t make him an awful person. Blake is one of the players who’s always praised Federer. Ljubicic, too. And even Roddick, who has always had great things to say about Federer. Roddick’s defended Federer this year JUST LIKE Federer defended Roddick back in 2006 when everyone was giving Roddick shit. And even the almighty Rafael Nadal has always had great things to say about Federer. Besides Roddick and Blake, these players aren’t all best friends who came together and said “Let’s pretend we love Federer for whatever reason”. Federer doesn’t always come off as the classiest guy but he’s gotta be at least somewhat decent for all these players to love him so much.


Sean Randall Says:

Jane, according to the front page of atptennis.com, Djokovic’s next tournament is Vienna. That’s what I’m going by.

Zola, I’m not looking at the 52-week rolling system, just the 2008 Race points which eventually will match the 52-week points following the TMC.

Rafan, Fed’s withdrawal doesn’t give him an excuse for not finishing No. 1. Fed has no excuse. And remember, right now he’s only withdrawn from one event. And like I said my guess is he’ll play Basel then Paris. Rafa on the other hand will play Madrid then maybe Paris. So who knows, maybe Fed will play more events ahead of Rafa pre TMC. Who’s really the one bailing if that happens?

sensationalsafin, good point. Had Roger just been just an also-ran kind of player, would Nadal be where he is today? It’s debatable.


sensationalsafin Says:

…What’s an “also-ran” player?


rafan Says:

WOW! You guys are crazy pissed off that someone has something to say about Fed’s decision. And what is this demon talk? Demon? Demon?! Can’t people have opinions anymore? I’m not demonizing him. I’m question the reasons behind his decision! I’m not calling him a demon! My GOD. So, judging from these posts, you guys are apparently allowed to express your opinions. But what about everyone else? Do we just have to accept what you say as truth, as fact? Is that how this works?

Steve, you of all people should be aware that people have opinions. Man, look at you unload here! Why can’t I?

I have my own opinion on his announcement. You have your own impression. Fine. Deal with it.


steve Says:

Rafan:

Why so defensive? If you think Federer is an arrogant prick who’s always making excuses for himself, own up to it! Don’t weasel your way out–yell it from the rooftops as loud as you can! Why shouldn’t you be proud of your opinion? It is, after all, as valid as the next person’s.

Saying you aren’t a fan of an athlete is one thing. Saying he’s an asshole and a fraud and lazy is something quite different and you oughtn’t to be so shocked that people respond strongly to that kind of personal attack.


Von Says:

Well finally, Federer is listening to his body and doing what should be done, he’s taking a sabbatical. I’ve mentioned previously that I would have liked to see him culminate this season at the USO, and forget the ranking, then start fresh in 2009. What he’s doing now is close to that and hopefully he’ll have the much needed rest his psyche craves. His overall feeling of reclaiming the No. 1 ranking is still upper-most in his mind, per his statement in this article, and he’ll only be able to attain that with the appropriate R&R. I’m in favor of anyone treating his/her body with respect and not abusing it for the sake of money or glory. My respect for Federer has gone up some notches to see that this man cares about his log-term prospects and his longevity in the sport, and has thrown caution to the wind by doing that which is most necessary. Good for Fed, and his fans should feel happy and relieved that he’ll be back with renewed vigor and purpose in his game. Who knows perhaps the old Roger Federer will again, be more prominent/visible in his game when he returns — shades of mastery. I’d like to see that spark return for him and several athletes who are just burnt out from stressing over their ranking and the publlic’s opinion.

There are some comments about the defense of the TMC points. I had asked this question previously as to what happens to a player’s ranking points if he doesn’t qualify for the TMC and the answer I received from Noel, was to the effect that the points are usually taken off, hence there’s nothing to defend. With this scenario in mind, coupled with the small amount of points Fed has to defend, at Madrid, it would appear that Fed doesn’t have anything to be concerned about, due to the fact that whether he defends or does not defend those points, he’ll still end the year as the No. 2 player. Considering the foregoing, and Fed’s statement: “At this point, I am not sure when I will be ready to play again, but I hope to be back at some point before the end of the year,” it’s obvious that he’s hazarding some thoughts to return to playing at the TMC while skipping Madrid and Paris, rest for another 6 weeks and be fresh for the ’09 AO. If I were Fed that’s the scenario I would be mulling over in my mind. He’ll be rested, relaxed and eager to go on, keeping as the focal point in his mind’s eye the No. 1 ranking, which he is determined to regain.

______________
An “also-ran” is one who is in the race but has not won the coveted first-place prize. It’s a term mostly used in the equestrian field with respect to thoroughbred race horses. “Come on Rover, move your bloomin arse”. This is what Eliza said to her favored horse at Ascot in “My Fair lady”. :P


fernando Says:

It’s funny how fed’s fans and rafa’s fans pull each other out with arguments when neither of these two arguably classy players dislike each other. Much the opposite.
I guess they would be really LTAO if they happen to read what fans at both sides of the spectrum are saying about them.
At the same time, I do believe a large number of fed fan’s have been spoiled for so long due to the unquestionable domination and “best ever” status roger deservedly won over the last five years or so. It seemed he couldn’t lose at all to ANYBODY, because, well, he was so much better than ANYBODY it is simply unacceptable. The other guy got really lucky or roger was so unfortunate to be injured!!
On the other side, it seems to me an escalating number of rafa’s fans see their guy as the one who brings justice to this world, tired of the King of Everything who couldn’t find a proper kryptonite to his forces. It seems Superman can’t possibly get a blister!! So what mono??
Me, I’m hoping and wishing Djoko and Murray, and possibly Del Potro and Cilic, and who knows who else make them both run for they money at the Majors pronto. And with consistency.
I say this because the fights and arguments over this two can become really annoying sometimes.


rafan Says:

Steve, you don’t have to keep trying so hard, I get it – you’re obnoxious and like to cuss on posts in order to “really get your point across.” Well done.

Never weaseled out. Never called Fed an arrogant prick or an asshole. Those are all your lovely words. I maintain my valid opinion.


zola Says:

interesting discussion.

Sean,
so you are saying that Rafa would not be no 1 if Fed didn’t have mono?

Is there a beginning and an end to the mono strory? or is it going to be there forever?

Fed played an excellent match in Wimbledon. did he have mono there? Did he have mono in FO? US Open? the olympics? MonteCrlo? Indian Wells?
You have to decide on the mono story.

According to Fed, it was at the beginning of the year. he has never used it as an excuse for losing. So I hope his fans follow the example. Rafa is no 1 because he worked hard on his hard court game and he is now a better player.

All these aside, I think it is wise for Fed to take some time off. It was a grueling season and he has played lots of matches. Same goes for Rafa who has played at least 20 matches more than anyone.

My guess is that Fed wants to put his schedule back in place and get ready for Paris and Shanghai and 2009.

About the ATP points,
I know you are talking about ATP race. If Fed drops out of Madrid, he will lose a potential 100 race points and won’t be able to get to no 1, unless he plays and wins some other tournaments.


zola Says:

Steve
***Saying you aren’t a fan of an athlete is one thing. Saying he’s an asshole and a fraud and lazy is something quite different and you oughtn’t to be so shocked that people respond strongly to that kind of personal attack.****

where exactly rafan said those words? can you provide a link please?


jane Says:

fernando – I hope the same sorts of things, that others continue to rise and challenge the top two, not because of the arguments over the two top guns, however, but because it’ll make tennis more and more exciting, the more who can challenge for and win major titles.

————–

Sean, thanks for the clarification; I could’ve sworn after Bangkok I read that Djoko’s next up was Madrid in those same little boxes at the ATP website, but maybe I misread.

————–

Thanks, too, to NachoF and tennisontherocks for your replies to my question re: end of year race versus rolling rankings.


gulu Says:

Steve , first of all many thanks for defending Roger! I see Rafan seems to b doubtful about Fed’s sportsmanship,honesty and integrity.So wat? I also honestly believ dat except Nadal,most of d other guys may lose 2 Fed even when he’s at his 80%.


mem Says:

rafan, you are getting a taste of what I’ve experienced on this board. That is one of the reason why I didn’t return. fact is, its pro-federer. woe unto anyone who points out any kind of weakness in federer. don’t take my word for it, read the day-to-day comments carefully. according to the majority, there is always a legetimate reason for what federer does or doesn’t do. the concenus is, how dare you speak negatively of the great federer! federer fans just might rip your head off and feed it to the wolves! you’re right! federer is not the classy and gracious player that everyone exalts. he disguises it well!. revisit the 2008 wimbledon finals, check out federer’s facial expression toward rafa doing the presentation. truth be known, he’s envious of nadal because rafa pursued his dream of becoming #1 during a time when federer was declared king. do you actually think this didn’t devastate roger? matter of fact, roger was reported saying earlier this year that being ranked #2 or #3 didn’t mean anything, the only thing that mattered was #1. he leads everyone to believe that its ok that he’s #2, but its far from being ok. I’ve observed him for a long time, and I don’t take anything away from him incredible ability, but my goodness, there are other players who deserve credit when they perform well! tennis is not all about roger federer. if everyone played like roger, how boring do you think the game would be. differences in styles is what makes tennis exciting! thank goodness that a player like rafa nadal is in the mix, as well as djokovic, del potro, murray, verdasco, nalbandian, and others! by the way, don’t waste your time blasting me about my comments, it won’t change a thing!


Sean Randall Says:

Zola, as I’ve said before we’ll never know the full details/timeline/story of Fed’s mono until his “book” comes out. Until then it’s all up for debatable speculation. But I’ll call it from the start of the year until the start of the clay season.

As for No. 1, no I’m not saying that Rafa’s No. 1 because Fed had mono.


gulu Says:

And yes, mono has really affected Fed from d beginning till now. Yet Fed’s classy enough not 2 hav taken d excuse of mono during any of his losses.Yes,I mean try in ur imagination 2 put urself in Roger’s position as then only u will understand him!


fernando Says:

Jane

Isn’t it funnier? I’m old enough to pick my “best time ever” as a tennis fan. It was circa 1983 trough 1987. There were like five, six or seven candidates to take slams. Seven!!

And I don’t mean the laughable smorgasboard that has become the WTA today, with even Dementieva with a chance to take over at year’s end (no offense to her, mind you)

I mean five or six or seven legitimate, consistent players with a chance. Although Lendl dominated a great part of that span, he was as far as a “sure thing” a winner in slams as Fed has been the last few years in almost anywhere (but the French)

Of course, you’ve got Lendl. But then you’ve got Becker, and Edberg and Wilander winning time and again over him in slams. And refreshing surprises like Noah and Cash (again, over Lendl). You’ve got bohemian artists like Mecir, throwing some corpses when he cared and his body let him, entertaining the hell out of everyone. And even erratic ones like Leconte. And don’t forget about the old Connors and McEnroe who were fading but still threatening.

If a seem like a nostalgic, I could’ve pick the 70′s too. But that span in the 80′s was the best in variety and styles. And consistency too! All the players I mentioned were consistent top-tenners and multiple tournament winners (or at least davis cup winners in the case of Cash), but not flashes in the pan or opportunists. They won over each other quite a lot (nobody was like 2-13 against the other. -Hello Andy?:-); not at that level.

Of course, no “best ever” were throw in at that time and, believe or not, tennis as a whole was so much entertaining for it. At least for me.

Because…What’s so funny about two cats fighting alone? Or one pummeling all the “competition”? Their fans?

I can certainly enjoy a match like this year’s Wimbledon final. And who wouldn’t?

But I wish we had more people in the fight.


rafan Says:

Mem, thanks for the support! It’s crazy up in here :D


jane Says:

fernando – ah, I see were both “old enough” to remember the mid-80s in tennis lore. I recall that time well, and like you, I enjoyed it thoroughly. I loved the Lendl vs. Mac battles – classic baseline versus serve and volley affairs. But Mac wasn’t the only volleyer – you had Edberg too. And then the workmanlike efforts of Connors. Variety in talent, styles, and winners – that was what I liked too. But I am not nostalgic; there are a number of great players now, and I want to see more of them winning.

“More people in the fight” – excellent last words. Let’s hope for precisely that in the next few years of tennis.


steve Says:

Rafan:

These are your words:

“But maybe that’s because I know what will come of this (assuming this is not just a pull from Stockholm): he will forever have an ‘excuse’ for why he didn’t end 2008 as the No. 1 ranked player. ‘Oh yeah, I had mono that year. And I didn’t play much after the US Open.’”

You read highly unsportsmanlike motives into Federer’s withdrawal.

He could, of course, just be tired after a tough year. But you’d rather assert–with no evidence, of course–that he’s just doing it to provide himself with an “excuse” why he’s not going to end the year as #1.

“I don’t think he’s as humble and gracious and classy as seemingly everyone claims him to be. I think people thought that because he used to ‘win everything.’”

Two aspersions there: one: that Federer’s really a jerk, and that his offcourt reputation as a nice guy is a fraud perpetuated by Federer himself, the media, and/or his fans. Two, that his fans are so shallow that they only support him and think well of him because he’s been so dominant.

“I read elsewhere that he said he was playing the kind of tennis where he felt invincible again, unbeatable. Well which is it, Fed?? Are you tired and dragging yet so amazing that you can win a slam playing sub par tennis (the very same year that you had mono, by the way – cool!)? Or are you fit and confident and capable? What gives?”

You’re implying that Federer’s either deliberately talking out of both sides of his mouth or is confused and inadvertently contradicting himself. I don’t see any other interpretation of your statement, though I am willing to be enlightened, should you care to explain yourself.

Your opinion of Federer, as a person and sportsman, is clearly very poor. You’re welcome to it, but don’t fault me for saying what you would obviously love to say but don’t have the guts to say.

And by the way, the word is “curse”, not “cuss.”


Von Says:

“It’s funny how fed’s fans and rafa’s fans pull each other out with arguments when neither of these two arguably classy players dislike each other.”

I love it! As a tennis supporter, and one who is not a fan of the top 3, this is fun for me to watch this scenario and absolutely enjoy the fireworks emanating from this comedic play. Now we’ll see the true personalities of those who were play-acting to win friends and influence people and towing the line, while speaking from both sides of their mouths — absolutely hilarious. This is the real deal!

“They won over each other quite a lot (nobody was like 2-13 against the other. -Hello Andy?:-); not at that level.”

I’m a Roddick fan and believe me I’ve had my share of disappointments, which were so many, that I feel I’m now marinated in the sauce of it all! In all fairness to Andy, who seemed ill-fated 80 percent of the time to be placed in Fed’s side of the draw, his lopsided H2H against Fed is a lot more attributable to the weak competition Fed faced en-route to his matches against Andy. It was the weak competition that is responsible for Fed progressing to the QFs, SF, and finals in the MS and GS tournaments. Not one of those competitors were able to challenge Fed, and had the competition been stronger prior to Fed’s match-up with Andy, where one of Fed’s opponents had beaten him, then there would not have been so many Roddick v. Fed matches, and Roddick’s H2H would have been considerably more respectable than what it is at the present time. Anyway, such is the nature of the draws and the competition as it was then, but hopefully, this will be changed due to the emergence of the younger crop of players who are probably not viewing Fed with his past aura. I’ve been harping that 2009 will be a revolving door in the Top 10 with unpredictability, and in view of what we’re seeing, this will realistically be the case. Furthermore, I don’t see either Nadal or Djokovic becoming dominating players as Fed was, which is due mainly to the present crop of players who are all-court players, and also are more conscientiously working toward improving their game — they are hungry. I see tennis reverting to the ’80s era where every player in the top 10 will be a force with which to be reckoned — there’s a sort of expectancy and unpredictability in the air as opposed to the days of yore of predictability which were devoid of anticipatory pleasure.


Von Says:

steve:

‘You’re implying that Federer’s either deliberately “talking out of both sides of his mouth”

Gosh, darn it, I used those exact words “talking out of both sides of your mouth”. I’m sorry, but please don’t think I’m guilty of plagiarism. I wrote my post probably while you were writing yours. It’s something I conscientiously try to avoid, not using another’s speech or writing style — we should be original, but it’s an accepted fact that when we put out our style of writing on a forum then it loses it’s originality — it’s fair game for others to use. sorry, but I’m not guilty.


Von Says:

A footnote to my post, as I’ve already stated, I’m not a fan of the top 3, I’m a Roddick fan, and am unbiased in my opinion, ergo, I can emphatically state, that both Federer and Nadal fans are equally guilty of the type of behavior they they abhor in each other. You are all on the same rung on the ladder. So go for it!!


Von Says:

I need to quality my post, viz: “You are all on the same rung on the ladder.” Not ALL, BUT SOME of the Fed and Nadal fans. In both categories there are SOME very nice fans of each player.


gulu Says:

Dear Von, I m indeed happy 2 know dat Fed’s takin a break. I’d love him 2 b fresh n revitalised before d next year starts,so dat he may again play carefree.
Nice post by u w.r.t. Fed pullin out of St.Open.
BTW,r u able 2 watch Tokyo match telecast?


steve Says:

gulu: Thanks for getting my back. I don’t see why so many of the Nadal partisans in this thread have to personally attack Federer. One can be a fan of one (or both, or neither) without doing so.

As far as the mono goes, it clearly did disrupt his whole season, especially when combined with the Olympics. A lot of people assume that simply because Federer’s play appears so effortless, that he must not put any effort into it. But he’s human too, and if he doesn’t put in the work, his level will drop. His usual practice schedule was severely disrupted, and I think at one point he said he just hadn’t practiced enough. But of course, it’s on him to find the time.

It remains to be seen if this year’s poor form was mostly due to the mono + Olympics + some other factors, or if he really is slowing down slightly because of age. The fact that he beat Djokovic and Murray, the world’s two best hard-court players after Federer himself, in back-to-back matches, reassures me a bit, but it’s still too soon to tell.


steve Says:

von: No offense taken, no apology needed. It’s inevitable that people are going to use the same expressions once in a while.

Regarding your previous post: I hope you don’t think of me as one of those “comedic” fans. I’ve never unduly slagged any player’s sportsmanship or insulted them personally; certain posters on this thread, however, show no such restraint.

I agree with you that the men’s game is very fluid for next year. The newer players to watch include (besides the top three) Murray, Tsonga, Gulbis, Cilic, Del Potro, and Nishikori. Of these, I would give Murray and Tsonga a credible chance of winning a hard-court Slam next year.

It’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out. As long as Federer and Nadal remain, however, I don’t see the #1 and #2 rankings changing hands every week, as is happening in the women’s tour.


Von Says:

gulu:

Did you see my post to you on the other thread? NOOOO, I can’t find anything on the Tokyo matches for live streaming. THIS IS AN ABOMINATION!! I have not been able to see OUR Andy, hope you note the emphasis on “OUR” Andy — you’ve been adopted. :P I’m beside myself with disappointment at not being able to see the Tokyo matches — this is preposterous. I scheduled my work day to accomodate the viewing of those matches and now there’s nothing. Can you tell that I’m angry?? That’s putting it mildly. I’ve yet to see one of A-Rod’s matches. For both Wednesday and Thursday his matches were played in the evening Tokyo time, and JustinTV stopped streaming just before his matches, so I was relegated to watching live scores and was sweating bullets from the scoreline. It’s the worst feeling trying to envision what’s happening. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to go to sleep, but now I’m full of tea caffeine and can’t do so. Who said life was fair? Was it you? Well, enough of my complaints, let’s talk about YOUR Rogi.

It’s a good move on Fed’s part with respect to his sabbatical. He needs it big-time. Nothing like some R&R to enhance the immune system. I don’t know how much you’ve read in the past of my posts, but I’ve been stating that Fed needs to rest and forget the whole business of ranking points, No. 1 and playing tennis, period. Now that he’s doing this, it appears to me that he’s come to terms in his mind, that this is the best course of action to take. He’ll be revitalised and one of two scenarios will emerge and/or be manifested: (1) He’ll be revitalized and inject new energy into his tennis, which will be demonstrably visible in his level of play and his enjoyment; and/or (2) he’ll do a Sampras after Pete won his final USO GS, and think to himself, “this is good, why bother”. I don’t think he’ll do a Sampras or a Borg scenario, but one never knows does one, what his feelings are on the whole matter of playing competitive tennis, and how much he’s saturated, but to coin a phrase: “Only time will tell ….”. What do you think? Now you don’t have to suffer through Stockholm, Madrid, etc. I had enquired about the TMC points a while back, and one of my adversaries mocked me for so asking, because he thought I was scared for A-rod, but the truth of the matter is, I was thinking about Fed if he were to end his season at the USO. Isn’t that hilarious? Which just goes to show we shouldn’t jump to conclusions because we don’t know what another is thinking. I had picked Fed to win the USO, and I had stated it would be wise for him to culminate his season with the USO, which is somewhat akin to what he’s doing. Good for him and happiness for you, gulu. Keep smiling, and here’s the usual smiley for you. :D :)

I’m going to try to find some live streaming which is a chore for me because I’m not computer savvy on this sort of thing. Call me a slacker, et al., it’s just that I prefer TV viewing any day to sitting at my computer. Some time this week I’m going to go shopping for the largest LCD/HD computer monitor I can find. Bummer, this tennis thing is becoming too addictive and expensive at the same time. I wish I were rich instead of a proletarian, but again, who said life was fair, eh? :o


sensationalsafin Says:

You guys are full of crap. I don’t wanna say I’ve never done this, but after the years I’ve spent commenting on this blog I’ve learned not to overly criticize the players I don’t like, and there are plenty of them. Nadal is one of my least favorite players but I’ve been praising him pretty much all year because of what he’s accomplished. I don’t have a problem with Nadal fans who are just proud of their guy. They have every right to be. But then there are people, I don’t care who’s fans they are, who constantly bash Federer for this or that. Quite frankly, when you’re 27 with 13 Grand Slam titles to your name, you have every right to be an arrogant piece of shit that everyone hates. Yet most people don’t hate Federer because he’s not that. Federer spins his words so much and so often that I don’t even care what his motives are. I think he does it so that people don’t know what they are and have no idea. So of course there are gonna be people who think his motives are good and others who think they are bad. It’s none of our business. If you’re a Nadal fan then you should feel happy that Federer isn’t going to try to overtake him in the rankings before the year ends. But of course this makes Federer classless. What about your precious Nadal? He’s so perfect right? Always makes himself the underdog and whatnot. I don’t say anything, though. He can do whatever he wants if it makes him play his best tennis because in the end that’s what really counts.

Von, you’ve always thought Federer was arrogant and I’ve always defended him. But lately I’ve been thinking Federer’s pretty arrogant, too. Although, in his defense, again when you have 13 slams you have every right to be. I think you compare him a lot to Roddick, which is why you see Federer as such an arrogant person. I can’t blame you. If I knew Roddick personally, he’d probably be the most genuinely good-hearted person I’d know. It just amazes me with all his charities and fundraisers and giving away $25,000 after winning a tournament. He started his foundation at 18, I’m 18!!!! I have no intention of doing anything like that but he did it and it’s just amazing. At the same time, Roddick doesn’t have those 13 slams to fuel his would-be arrogance.


Von Says:

steve:

On the use of the same words, I suppose the phrase “great minds think alike, and fools seldom differ.” I suppose it’s inevitable people will use the same words, i just don’t want to be labeled as as a plagiarizer.

Don’t worry, you’re not one of the comedic bunch. My words were carefully chosen, and I know those who are. As a matter of fact, I haven’t seen you posting frequently, that said, I haven’t formed an opinion as to who or what you’re like. I love humour and these situations make me laugh, because the true personalities of the slaggers cannot be restrained when they’re arguing over their faves — it’s funny. Believe me, as a Roddick fan, I’ve suffered from both groups of posters, so now it’s my time for just sitting back and watching as it all unfoulds and to learn some more about those who enjoy shredding and blowing A-Rod to smithereens.

I don’t think the top 10 will change like the WTA, but I do think there will be movement, and they can’t be cited for “moving violations”, because it will happen. Nadal won’t be able to sustain his current form over 4 years like Fed did, and Fed is not going to be the dominabt force he once was, but still very, very dangerous. He’ll still cause knees to quiver. :P That’s my humour you’re seeing. However, I feel that the competition will be very strong from the younger players, especially, those you mentioned. I’ve yet to be bowled over by Nishikori, Cilic and Gulbis. Nishikori seems to have a fitness problem. His run at Del Ray was impressive and he did beat Ferrer at the USO, but now he’s out of Tokyo. Both Gulbis and Cilic are big, flashy hitters, go for broke guys. I love to watch the ball bashers, but to me, they expend so much enegy bashing the ball, which renders them bereft of sustaining focus and then wilting in the final stages of the match, and that’s where they’ll be vulnerable. The UEs will pile up as the energy wains. However, Murray is on a different rung of the ladder all by himself with respect to his game — he has so much unexplored raw talent that it’s mind boggling to envision the sort of player that will eventually emerge when he matures a bit more. He’s on my list of faves BTW. I suppose I love the Andys. Del Potro, I don’t know why I’m hesitant to give the green light on his game in my mind, because he’s demonstrated he can hang tough by his results thus far, but I still want to see some more to place him as a fixture in the top 10.

“It’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out.” You’ve said it, and now, go for it in your defense. I’m a protester BTW, and a very controversial one at that, with humor injection. :P


Von Says:

sensationalsafin:

Yes, I’m guilty as charged, and it’s the arrogant bit that has kept me from being a Fed fan, together with the vacillation. However, he’s not the only one who’s guilty of that type of behaviour. It’s not a characteristic I like that’s all. His tennis is another story, and that’s where I’ve been able to disassociate my thinking about him. I’ve come a long way baby, that much you can give to me, and I’ll tell it like it is. I’ve been told many, many times, I’m honest to my own detriment, but I hope I’ll never be accused of speaking from both sides of my mouth or kissing butts, as I’ve seen demonstrated here. I suppose that’s why I like you — we’re similar in that respect and we love the same guy, Marat Safin. That bloody big lug nut has broken my heart so many darn times and has equally disappointed me, but I love the guy and always will. Which brings me to my Andy Roddick. I refer to him as ‘my Andy’ because there aren’t too many of his fans here — they’ve high-tailed it outta here. No, I don’t always compare Andy to Fed, only in the speech department. How could I their H2H in the slams department is ridiculous. All Fed has to do is be consistent with what he says, and when he says it. You’re correct that Roddick hasn’t won 13 slams, and damn Roger Fedder for stopping Roddick. :P Fed’s been the only one who could have done that, and more power to him, but he’s broken my heart many times too on account of that factor. BTW, Andy stated his foundation at 17 — that’s one for the books for the Roddick bashers — he’a a class act. I don’t think Roddick would be arrogant, because he’s a different personality from Fed, but different strokes for diferent folks. What I’ve seen of Fed recently is that he’s a kid at heart and not as matured in his thought processes like Andy. Moreover, underneath that facade there lies a little boy who is just asking to be noticed and accepted, and that is why he has won 13 grand slams. He’s winning fans by his work ethics and when he realizes that, he’ll understand there’s no need to be arrogant or be a bit of a braggadocio, his tennis is talking for him. It’s been that way all of the time, Fed has to understand that. You’ll see some shades of his past magic when he returns from his sabbatical. Hey, he listened when you asked him earlier in the year, Rog, just one big one. He did iit!! Now be happy and don’t worry; he’ll be back stronger and more relaxed/happier. :P


gulu Says:

Hi Sensationalsafin! I think u r cool ! U got n interesting nickname I must say. U made a good point in ur post. Sometimes I also think dat Fed’s been
arrogant.May b his great achievements hav made him a bit more proud.Yet I’d say he’s a nice guy.


gulu Says:

Oh dear Von,u r so sweeeeeee…..t ! Sending me lots of smiles! Well I think it’s difficult 4 Fed 2 play as wel as he used to.Still I hv confidenc in his ability 2 entertain us with his classic tennis n I hope all his wishes r fulfilled b4 he quits.


sensationalsafin Says:

17, my bad. Even more incredible. I agree that Roddick and Federer are different and I’m not saying Roddick would be arrogant like Federer if he had all those slams. I’m just saying he doesn’t have those slams to really know if he’d be arrogant or not. It’s like getting a lot of power. You think you’d use it for good and not become power hungry, but you don’t know until you actually have that power.

I find it hard to agree that Federer’s just a kid beneath everything and Roddick’s more mature. I mean I’d see it as Roddick has had to go through a lot of hardships in his career that would make him mature whereas Federer was just a struggling young gun who eventually came into his own, nothing unusual there. But Federer’s coach died back in 2002 which definitely made Federer think about things. In a way, maybe that made him mature too much. Like he had to face reality at such a young age and he became so focused that he never got the chance to enjoy his youth as much. He became a workhorse and did everything in his power to achieve his goals.

Think of these people as a part of your group of friends. You have Roddick, the hard working honest guy who everyone likes. Then you have Federer, the hard working, super achieving guy who everyone likes to hang out with, but don’t like certain things about him or the way he carries himself. Lots of players have said Federer is a funny guy who jokes around a lot and likes to pull pranks. When you start playing a sport like tennis at a young age and are sent away to play in academies and stuff, I think it’s easy to lose out on some of your childhood. So if Federer’s a kid underneath, it’s not his fault. The thing is, though, Federer has matured. The guy’s a perfectionist, you can see it in a lot of the things he does. And the reason he used to be a hothead on the court was because he’d play imperfectly and that drove him nuts. He was quoted saying in an interview when he was like 15 “I should always be able to play perfect”… Or something to that affect. It’s in the prologue of The Quest for Perfection (I don’t have it on me). You can see this quest for perfection in his tennis. When he’s playing his best, everything is working in sync. He plays perfect tennis. When he’s off, well, we know what happens then and although he controls himself, it’s gotta drive him nuts. He deserves some time off the tour. He’s been so consistent over all these years and he’s played in so many tournaments and matches, he needs a little extra break.


Federer is betterer Says:

Can somebody explain to me why it’s more prestigious to be year-end-#1 than #1 at any time of the year (I’m talking ATP ranking, not Race)? Since it counts points accumulated from the last 52 weeks, no matter what the date is, it encompasses a full tennis year (4 Slams, all Masters Series events, etc).
December 31st ranking has the same representativity as, say, March 15th!
Maybe they can do stats on month-end rankings: which player has been the most (total and cumulated) month-end-#1?


gulu Says:

Dear Steve,you are always welcom.I’d say u expressed ur view honestly n without prejudice.I think u did d right thing.Nobody can question d credibility of Fed overlookin his situation/plight.At times I really feel we should hit back.Keep posting.


Jeff Says:

Why look at month-end rankings? That seems artificial. Plenty of stats are kept on weekly rankings. Federer is #1 in consecutive weeks at 236 while Sampras is #1 for total at 286.

I would guess that year-end #1 is just prestigious because it is the natural breaking point in the season. Also it fuels the whole end of season points race promotion the ATP does.


Federer is betterer Says:

Thanks Jeff. I was just being scarcastic about month-end rankings, to illustrate how arbitrary it is to consider year-end rankings.
The ATP race exists just for that reason, even though it would mathematically possible to have a different year-end ATP Race winner and year-end #1 (because the ATP race/ranking points are not awarded in the exact same proportion for a given tournament).


Von Says:

sensationalsafin;

“I’m just saying he doesn’t have those slams to really know if he’d be arrogant or not. It’s like getting a lot of power. You think you’d use it for good and not become power hungry, but you don’t know until you actually have that power.”

True, we’ll never know if Andy would have been arrogant. But you are correct about power — power corrupts. Power causes an avarice in some people which is akin to that of money, and it never becomes enough. They want more of it and become so insatiable that it will drive them to destruction. Look at the lives that have been destroyed by power and the unquenchable thirst for it, and there you have a prescription for destruction if you’re seeking one. Power causes a heady feeeling, where people begin to think they’re invincible. This is where one’s spirituality helps to put things in perspective and gives us a reality check. It’s as though the Almighty steps in and says enough, no more idolatry and wrong use of power. However, we can only realize this if we’re believers that there’s someone greater than we humans. It’s a very deep topic.

“So if Federer’s a kid underneath, it’s not his fault. The thing is, though, Federer has matured. The guy’s a perfectionist, you can see it in a lot of the things he does.”

I didn’t mean it as anything derogatory when I stated Fed’s a kid underneath the facade. It’s meant as a compliment, and a fact that I think people overlook when discussing him. People tend to see him as an elder statesman or something to that effect, but in reality he’s only 27. He’s old in terms of tennis years, but so young in terms of growth. He still has developmental stages through which to pass to match his tennis maturity. My mention of Roddick being more matured in mentality, hinges on how clearly defined his parameters are and his outlook on his life as a whole. I don’t see that in Fed as yet, but he’ll get there. I’d say part of Fed’s problem could be due to his separation from his family at such a young age. Roddick on the other hand has had his parents and his older siblings to help mould his character and nothing can replace that in a child’s formative years. That’s where I see the deficiency in Fed and this is so clearly exhibited in his seeking out older friends such as Tiger Woods and Pete Sampras. Fed misses that bonding and security of having a strong family unit around him — he wants to be coddled, and that’s the kid showing through. A young person feels secure when they’re nurtured by an older adult. This is also the difference between Fed and Nadal, who’s had a similar lifestyle in terms of family closeness like Roddick. There’s no doubt that Fed lost out on that bonding in his formative years, and then the loss of his coach was the greatest blow of all. This is where Fed can identify with Sampras who lost his coach at an early age too. And, both these guys took their losses and used it as the energy force that has driven them to greater heights and what has made these guys the great champions they’ve become. It’s sad and yet profound at the same time. We’re all kids underneath. Fed’s pranks are a testament to him being a kid and playful at times. I’m a big kid at heart, and I wouldn’t want it any other way; it a characteristic that keeps us young at heart instead of becoming stodgy old farts.

With regard to perfectionistic tendencies, if astrological signs are benchmarks for our qualities, then I can say it’s true to a cetain extent for Leos. I’m a Leo, the same as Fed, and a perfectionist that could drive people crazy. I’m a work-horse, and expect others to perform equally the same. So believe me, I can understand his frustration. I’m glad we both agree he needs some time off the tour, and I hope he’ll not change his mind and come back sooner — he absolutely needs that R&R. I hope this doesn’t mean you’ll be taking a sabbatical from posting too, hope not, cause i’ll miss you. I won’t have anyone to keep me on my toes. :P

Well, from the scorecard Roddick’s in the QFs of Tokyo. I need to watch a few comedies to calm down my caffeine high and get some much needed sleep. TGIF tomorrow, and enjoy. :D


Von Says:

gulu:

News flash — Andy won his match against melzer and is now in the Tokyo Qfs. Have been able to watch anything on TV — none from my end and I’m so mad. Anyway, I’m happy Andy won. I don’t know who’s his next opponent.

“At times I really feel we should hit back.Keep posting.”

Are you trying to cause trouble? That’s my department. Shame on you. :P That was meant to be funny. I’ll talk to you later — this is it for me. Smile. :D


Ryan Says:

Federer is arrogant……it is true but he acts like he is not.I really agree with that.But thats what champions are and always will be.If u want to be a champ u have to believe that u r the best and everyone else is below you.Frankly I like djok’s arrogance and the way he walked but the public didnt.Nadal is also arrogant…its just that he disguises it well and keeps saying his opponent is the best and he is nothing when everyone else knows he is faking it.If he really believes that then he is not going to win a single match.


gulu Says:

Von, it’s nice to that Rod’s is in
QF of Tokyo open. But I’ll b fully satisfied only if Rod goes all the way to win it. Best of luck Rod, go n get it !


Just trying to be objective here Says:

If no longer protecting a #1 ranking, and your closest #2 competitor isn’t playing particularly well or consistently, what better time to take a break?

If Federer follows the top prize money, he will be at Madrid and the two year end masters tournaments.

I don’t know if it is significant, but the remaining tournamants are indoors. Federer was last seen outdoors on the USO hard courts.


rafan Says:

Steve says: “And by the way, the word is “curse”, not “cuss.” ”

Excellent closing argument. You’re such an idiot. Cuss is a word, look it up. And when used as a noun, it can also mean “an annoying or stubborn person,” which suits you perfectly.


MMT Says:

So Fed’s taking some time off, so what? It’s obvious that no matter what the circumstances, Nadal has been the best player in the world this year, and he has earned it on the court.

There are no excuses in tennis, only results. Injuries, illness, scheduling, fatigue, they are all factors, but at the end of the day, results are what matter, and Nadal’s results are far and away the best of any player in the world.


gulu Says:

Hi Ryan! U r right.Big champs do n gotta believ in der superiority.They’ll obviously sound confident,may b even over-confident orarrogant! Fed ruled tennis 4 mor than 4 yrs. I too lik d confidenc of Nole.He’s not dat arrogant as some’d claim.


bob22 Says:

I found excelent article you should read since this will never be posted on Tennis X:

http://daily.stanford.edu/article/2008/9/16/fansBetrayDignityOfUsOpen


zola Says:

MMT
nice post at 11:15 am.

Ryan,
All the players think they are better than everyone and they can beat anyone when on their best day and each of them expresses it in a different way. It is fine for me, as long as it is not a direct attack on another player or accusations.

Fed wasn’t always nice to Rafa, but I think the respect that Rafa showed to him helped developing a mutual respect. I can understand if Fed is not joking around after a difficult loss or after losing no 1 ranking. I also understand if he wants to stay positive and motivated by bringing up the positives instead of negatives. I think all the players do that and I don’t see that as arrogance.

bob22
that was an interesting article. We discussed that matter in lengths! here. The NY crowd was very rude towards Djoko. I completely agree with that and while that speech was a PR mistake in my opinion, still it was a gutsy one.


Daniel Says:

This break is probably the best thing for Fed (in long term). But to me (a person who plays tennis regularly), staying without play for more than 2-3 months are very risky, the damages could be catastrophic. I hope he plays at least Paris before Shangai as a match play tourney, with no high expectations, saving those for Shangai, where it will matters the most.

Part of me is kind of disapointed, I thought he could put some pressure in Nadal if he would have won a couple of tourneys before Shagai, minimizing the difference in rankings points for next year. This way Nadal can play free for the rest of the season with a sence of mission accomplieshed.

Btw, someone mentioned that the rankings will not change if Fed doesn´t play, that´s false! Djoko can overtake number two, he has 0 points to defend in Paris and Shangai, and none expects him to not win a single match in Masters Cup again, at least I don´t. Fed need to play Shangai in order to stay n. 2!


andrea Says:

as always, one article about federer or nadal and everyone swarms in with opinion. hilarious. myself included.

my take on it? fed lost the #1 ranking and he still won a Grand Slam. now he’s only one shy of matching Pete. he’s made no bones of wanting to beat that record.

all in all, he knows he still has it. he just reproved it again to everyone (which he didn’t really need to do anyway…..but we all know how quick the media is to turn against someone…)

why not take time off, recoup some energy and come out blazing in 09? it’s unlikely he would gain back the #1 ranking this year anyway. shelve it and get better.


Skorocel Says:

rafan said:

“But maybe that’s because I know what will come of this (assuming this is not just a pull from Stockholm): he will forever have an ‘excuse’ for why he didn’t end 2008 as the No. 1 ranked player. ‘Oh yeah, I had mono that year. And I didn’t play much after the US Open.’”

Uhm… So you think Nadal’s year end No. 1 position (which is virtually a lock now) could be STILL threatened by Fed playing tourneys like the one which he just skipped? Really? Do you know some math basics, rafan? The truth is, the year end No. 1 position was a FOREGONE CONCLUSION already after the Wimby final! In case you don’t know, Nadal currently has more than 300 points of a lead in the Race, which is plain IMPOSSIBLE for Fed to catch up (moreover because the Swiss, from all the players on the Tour, has clearly the most points to defend in the remainder of the season), so why the hell are you complaining?

As for Fed’s mono, it’s just pointless to bicker about what would’ve, could’ve, should’ve happened if the Swiss didn’t have the disease… The FACT is, Nadal’s been CLEARLY the best player in 2008 and deserves the year end No. 1 ranking like NO ONE ELSE. He beat the living daylights out of Fed in that FO final, and then got the Swiss one more time on his “home turf” at SW19 (which was perhaps THE match of the entire Spaniard’s career, and THE loss of the entire Swiss’ career), so better enjoy these successes rather than cast some paranoic doubts over it, because it may not last for too long…

P.S. You can complain zillion times over Fed’s mono, but then tell me, WHEN did Fed say (even by a hint) that his losses in 2008 occurred BECAUSE OF MONO? Just tell me one single example, and I’ll listen… The FACT, rafan, is, that he’s HAD the disease, and also (as you may know) that it can linger for several months, even years… Those are 2 FACTS that you just CAN’T deny… Whether the guy is completely recovered or not is of course another question, but I strongly believe he needs at least 3 months off the game – because it’s more than obvious that he’s BURNT OUT. Whether it is because of the mono or not doesn’t really matter… What you and I see – that’s the only thing that matters; and I (unfortunately) see the guy is burnt out… He simply needs some rest – else he’ll forever lose the interest for the game… Personally, I’d be only glad if he doesn’t play a single match in the remainder of 2008 (I’ve actually wanted him to scratch the season already after that Wimby final), because it’s more than obvious that, despite his recent USO triumph, he doesn’t seem to be enjoying himself on the court as he used to… Some of his fans could argue that he could still play at least the TMC, but in my opinion, it’s not worth it…The truth is (as I’ve already said), Nadal became the formal No. 1 already after his Wimby win, so whether Fed will now finish the year as a No. 2 or No. 3 doesn’t really matter… It’ll maybe cost him some points in the end, but that shouldn’t worry him too much, as he could easily catch up the Spaniard in the following season…


gulu Says:

I liked the article by you,it was really interesting with some valid points in favour of Djokovic.I’d also have liked the New York crowd to exercise more restraint.I have really felt sorry for djokovic.Yet that simply doesn’t mean Djokovic should hav won it.God gave the U.S.Open trophy to the guy who deserved it the most and we can do nothing about that.


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

sissy boy federer out for rest of the year.
awesome news. :)


zola Says:

Daniel,
I don’t think Fed’s break will be for 2-3 months. I agree that a short term break is good, but 2-3 months without match play is not. My guess is we will See Fed in MAdrid or Paris.


gulu Says:

Oh dear Skorocel,your last post is amazing!This is one post for which I’d take my hats off!Really hats off to you! You r just spot on in the analysis of the current situation about Fedex!Ther ain’t a single word in ur post to which I may (even think to) differ! I too would be relieved if Fed decides to pull out of the remaining tournaments of 2008.He in my opinion looks tired enough to have rest for at least the remaining part of this year coz lik u mentioned,Fed indeed appears burnt out.I don’t really care whether he remains at No.2/3/10/100.I personally wish Fed to be fully rested and get rid of (even the shadow of!) the stupid mono.I just want him to be soon healthy and in best shape to be able to play his natural game once again from 2009 onwards as long as he can and also become world no.1 .That’s all for this time.


zola Says:

andrea
***as always, one article about federer or nadal and everyone swarms in with opinion.***

you nailed it. awsome!
Isn’t great how we all can give tennis lessons to the world top players? I love that! But what are we without our opinions?… .:)


johanne Says:

Fed’s fiery fans throw another temper tantrum. pure entertainment!


tennisontherocks Says:

all these ‘Roger is arrogant vs Roger is the such a great guy’ discussions are quite entertaining, but really folks, how much do we know him (or any other player)??? we have seen his matches, some post match pressers and some interviews here and there and trying to understand a person from that. Fans or even the media have limited access to locker room or hotels where player stay/hang out, where I am sure a lot goes on. So if Roger is consistently winning sportsmanship awards from fellow players, I bet there is something good about that man.


grendel Says:

Zola:

I’ve only just seen your post (a late reply to me) of Sept 29 4:46 on the Sept 23rd thread. I hope it is acceptable to respond myself so late on diff. thread. You said:”so we agree that he [i.e.Davydenko]did not carry that form to the rest of the season. I do not remember him having a great form before Miami either. So, I still want to stay with that argument. I understsad that you want to believe otherwise. I guess I would have done the same”.

As for Davydenko’s form, it’s not quite so cut and dried as you imply. In the tourney following Miami (Estoril) he got to the final, and really pushed Federer until he retired, right out of the blue, with some mysterious injury.

Nevertheless, his form was broadly speaking disappointing. My point was – and I’m very much sticking by it – that this is irrelevant to the argument. It is perfectly possible for a player to play out of his skull in one tournament, and then revert to relative (by his standards) mediocrity subsequently. Happens quite a bit, actually, tennis players are not robots, and Davydenko in particular has been going through a torrid mental time, which certainly might account for his inconsistency.

I say that Davydenko played a blinder in Miami, and that the reason he beat Nadal is that he was the superior player on the day. If Nadal was defensive, it’s because Davydenko forced him onto the defensive. This is no BIG surprise (although I concede it is A surprise) because at his best, Davydenko has the tools to beat a top flight Nadal on hard court. Nadal did not beat himself – which is really what you are saying, Zola – on that sunny day in Miami. Davydenko did – and he deserves the credit.

I agree with Ryan, b.t.w., all champions are both arrogant and ruthless – or they wouldn’t be where they are. Of course, they are not just that. No one is JUST anything, outside the cartoon strip. We’re all a bundle of contradictions – eh, Zola? I see plenty of genuine modesty in both Federer and Nadal. But I see other things, too. Federer tends to shoot from the hip, so a)it is easy to misinterpret him and b) he is not being misinterpreted, he just forgets to conceal the arrogance or conceit which goes with the job. I daresay there are exceptions to this sort of thing among champions, but Nadal is not one of them, imo. Nadal – among other things – is a very cool and calculating character, although of course, we don’t quite know the role of Aunty in his public pronouncements. But Zola – that “humility” stuff: strictly for the birds. It is strategic, both in terms of the forthcoming match, and (more generally) of image.


TD (Tam) Says:

Evening everyone,

What is going on with Roger is he not playing for the rest of the year?? If so then WOW that is very surprising, to see Federer give up the number one rank so meekly. I thought he would have put up more of a fight but instead he just gave up and conceded to Nadal. wtg Rafa!

I have not been able to watch any matches either on tv or on the internet but I came here to post this wonderful article for Von about our favourite guy Andy Roddick, I know you will like it. :D

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article4843380.ece


Ryan Says:

Many people claim this site is pro federer. Thats true if u have a lot of people challenging ur anti federer opinion and when they have nothing to say then they end up saying its a pro federer site..So when people come out in this day and age and say that the world is flat then they need to justify why they think the world is flat.Fed is a great champion and has good sportsmanship. This is an accepted fact because it can be proven and is not subjective.So if anyone thinks fed is overrated or is not who everyone thinks he is then they have to prove it as well.I think its the same case with nadal.When I said before that nadal became no.1 because of fed’s downfall, I had everyone against me because I couldn’t prove it.So thats what its about.


zola Says:

grendel,
who is Aunty? you mean uncle Toni?
Would you tolerate if I invent a name for Mirka? don’t worry. I won’t , because I respect her and I expect you to respect Rafa’s family. I hope it is not too much of an ask.

You want to think that Davydenko was in supreme form on that day in Miami and for some reason that form disappeared and you say that can happen to any player. I would agree. But the top players own their rankings to their consistensy. Davydenko has been consistent enough to be no 3 or no 4. That’s it. He has never been to a GS final and that Miami was his second MS title. If that was Djoko I would have accepted your argument. But for Davydenko, I don’t. Because he has not shown that he is a better player on hard courts ( or clay) than Rafa. Rafa beat him in Shanghai 06 when his hard court game was nowhere near his 08 performance. I can argue that Rafa did not play his best, perhaps because he could not focus properly. That happened to him in Rotterdam as well.
I guess there will be no way to know that until they meet again on hard courts which might happen in Shanghai!


sensationalsafin Says:

Zola, you’re like I was back when Federer would lose once in a blue moon. I would come up with excuse after excuse. In tennis, anyone can beat anyone on any given day. That’s just the way it is. Davydenko was playing extremely well, the best I’ve ever seen him play and probably the best he’s ever played. Nadal? Imo, he was playing SOME of the best hardcourt tennis I’ve seen from him up until this summer. During the time, he was playing really well. He beat Blake and Berdych after all, two players who have owned him on hard in the past. Against Davydenko, he was outmatched. The strategy against Nadal on hardcourts is very simple, hit every ball flat and through the court. Blake style tennis, basically, Berdych, too. When they’re playing well, that is. When they’re able to sustain a high level of consistency of flat shots. It’s very, very hard to do. Davydenko was able to do it and very well, I might add. He deserved that win. I think the Davydenko we saw in that final would be able to push the current Nadal, too. The only difference is Nadal is able to put forth more resistance now.


Mono!!! HIS ARSE!!! Says:

Roger is full of shits! I am pretty sure that, he would not does as well next year as the way he played this year!


johanne Says:

sensationalsafin ***In tennis, anyone can beat anyone on any given day. That’s just the way it is.***

Exactly! There’s no certainties in the matches. Sure, some athletes make it much harder to beat them than others, but we’re talking about professional tennis players who are all capable of winning. That’s what makes tennis fun to watch (at least for me). You get that one-on-one match-up and you go, okay, what’s going to happen today between these 2 guys? Is it going to be close? Straight sets? Intense tie-breaks? 4 hour battle? Five set grinder? You just don’t always know, and that’s what’s exciting – to watch these amazing athletes compete with each other.


zola Says:

sensationalsafin

Surely there are two in a match and there are two sides to it. In any tennis match you can argue that one played so good that the other one was paralyzed and couldn’t play his game and also you can say that one’s poor play let the other player implement his game plan.

So which one is true? No doubt that Davydenko played great. What I am saying is that an “in-form” Rafa could have beaten him. Because he beat Blake twice and Tsonga as well and of all the players on hard, those are the ones who know how to play Rafa on hard courts.

As I wrote above, I am waiting for a re-match on hard courts in Shanghai.


Von Says:

I can’t believe what I’m reading about that Davydenko v. Nadal match in Miami. Davydenko played sublime tennis in the SFs, where he beat Roddick, whom he had NEVER beaten before, and then really took it to Nadal in the final and made Nadal look just ordinary. It wss more difficult for me, as a Roddick fan, to understand how Davydenko could play that kind of game on that day, to beat Andy. Davy looked so crisp, in form and focused. Hence, why is it so difficult to give credit where credit is due, in this instance, to Davydenko. Davydenko deservedly won that MS shield with victories over two good players, and that’s the sum total of it all.

Seppi’s win over Nadal in Rotterdam is now being diminished to Nadal’s lack of focus. Then, I suppose the next we’ll see is Roddick’s win over Nadal in Dubai was due to Nadal’s inability to FOCUS or he was TIRED. This is so ridiculous and humorous at the same time. In a nutshell, from what I’m reading here, Nadal is so good, in fact too good, for anyone to beat him unless he decides on a given day that he’ll be merciful to his opponent, throw him a morsel, be generous, and let his opponent win. Gosh darn it, this is too much for my cluttered mind to absorb; I don’t understand such generosity. Perhaps if I get rid of the cobwebs in my head or get some more sleep, I’ll be able to see the reasoning behind this argument that Nadal lost due to his lack of focus and NOT to the FACT that he was soundly beaten by Davydenko. This ridiculous focus/tiredness argument made me go back to the thread on that match, and the following are a few posts on that match.

“Von Says:
Zola:

Sorry about RAfa. I had a bad feeling about Davy v. Rafa, after Davy pushed Andy back behind the baseline consistently. His court positioning was excellent v. Roddick and he took time away from Roddick by pushing him behind the baseline. Davy did to Rafa what he did to Andy, he dictated play and took their time away. Not much one can do about that sort of strategy, unless they are prepared to play within themselves, and be the one dictating play. Andy was very sure of Davy’s game, I guess so sure that he probably never bothered to view the tapes of Davy’s previous matches to see if Davy changed any strategy. (The Tipsy match was a batting practice for Davy.) That’s being too over confident. I suppose Rafa may have made a similar error. ….”
Posted April 6th, 2008 at 4:18 pm

“Zola Says:
Von,
thanks for your nice words. I had a bad feeling too. I had the same feeling before Ferrer match in US Open.

“I know Davydenko is under investigation. But that has nothing to do with this match. Neither should be used as sympathy for Davydenko or as something to attack him. Today he won because he played better. he pushed Rafa to the back of the court and played his game. Rafa did not. I am very sad and it is still in my mind. But Davydenko deserved to win.

“nevertheless, Rafa had a fantastic two weeks. Rolled over his old nemeses, beating three of them in a row. I would have been happy with just one of those wins. He reached the semi in one and the final in the other. I hope he can play great against Germany with his team and then on clay and wimbledon. The clay season is very brutal this year and I hope Rafa can get past this period with minimum injury.

“Win or lose, I like Rafa. He is a great sportsman and a precious human being. Vamos RAfa! all the time!”
Posted April 6th, 2008 at 11:46 pm

“Tejuz Says:
Davy played a great match.. infact his last couple of matches were great. No wonder he has been Top 5 for last 3 years. He is also under-rated cuz of his inablity to beat Nadal or Fed. But not many have that distinction either. He had come close to beating Federer on a few occasions and his nerves let him down then. He could be a threat on clay as well. I like his game better than that of Djoker, but personality-wise he falls short.

“Anyway.. am glad he won… after reachin endless QF and SFs these last few years.. especially a tournament where all the top-3 played(The Paris victory in 2006 dint have top players in the draw)”
Posted April 7th, 2008 at 2:54 am

“Zola Says:
Tejuz,
I agree that Davydenko has always played very well. His matches with Rafa in Rome and shanghai were close. I have read that he had a couple of close matches with Federer too. He has been 3 or 4 for ages. He is not as handsome or charismatic as Safin, but he is consistent. He needs a good clothing advisor. That’s it.
I like it that he is laid back and reserved and doesn’t take things for granted. I am very disappointed at Rafa’s loss, although I know it is a game and Rafa has a tough season ahead of him, etc. etc….but after 12 hours, a crappy movie, tons of discussions with other fans , it is still on my mind. Although I discovered that the real reason was not Davydenko’s fantastic play or Rafa’s absence on the court, but predictions by a certain writer that always come tru, but on the opposite side!”

“Hopefully Rafa can put this defeat behind and concentrate on the clay season. There are losts of positives for Rafa to take away from IW and Miami.”
Posted April 7th, 2008 at 3:12 am

From the foregoing, wasn’t it originally a concession that Davydenko won because he played better than Nadal, and it wasn’t because Nadal was unfocused. Whatever results Davydenko had prior to Miami and after Miami, has no bearing whatsoever on how he played in the Miami tournament. He was in excellent form throughout the entire tournament, and that’s what counts. This post mortem/post Miami, close to 6 months after the fact, is not going to change the stats and it’s not going to put a crack in Davy’s MS shield. That said, we can talk until the cows come home or when it begins to snow in Florida (God forbid) the arguments/excuses are moot and the stats are written in indelible ink.

There’s another argument I’ve seen recently, viz, that Nadal has played a lot more matches — 20 to be exact more than Federer and a lot more than the other players, which is correct, however, that stat shouldn’t be in the book of lamentations, because realistically had Nadal NOT played those 20 extra matches, he would NOT be No. 1 at the present time. The simple truth, those 20 matches gave Nadal the extra points to tip the ranking and race points in his favor, and those are the FACTS. There seems to be a very subtle implication that Nadal is some sort of superior being and superman for playing more matches than the other players, and he excels in every area of tennis, hence the belaboring of the point. Get ready for a reality check — many other players have gone this route before and many more will. Additionally, several top 10 players have experienced great break-out seasons in their tennis careers, similar to Nadal’s and I’m sure history will repeat itself again, and again, in the future. The draws are made up of great players, not just the super 1, 2, and 3. Let’s give ALL of the players a pat on their backs for a job well done, or else tennis will be one helluva boring sport.


zola Says:

Von
what is this? another trial of Zola? So whenever I say something you will go back and find all my quotes in the hope of finding something? How much time did you spend for that? for what purpose really? How miserable are you?

You are still full of hate! Only because I am not backing off of my opinion on Roddick’s insult of the umpires can be irritating. Guess what, I will not change my mind and you of all people will not be able to bully me.

for the sake of all those good poster here, I want to clarify this.

I am not saying Davydenko played bad in Miami. he played great. What I am saying was that Rafa did not play his best. Contrary to you, I never disrespected Davydenko. I never called him a Tarzan as you did to Nadal.some of your own posts should be really fun to read! so once again, go get a life.


gulu Says:

Mono!!!HIS ARSE!!!, ur post is so disgusting ! Don’t u hav anything good to offer? U think Rogi’s gonna play even worse next year,don’t u? Hmmm, wishful thinking! Speculat about ur own future,don’t bother about Fed,ok?Wat you’d say if Fed proves u wrong?


Ryan Says:

Some people’s comment on posts as if nadal is invincible like fed once was and any loss of nadal is because nadal didnt play well.But nadal is not invincible on hard courts.He is beatable.He may have improved this year.But even that could also be attributed to his success in wimbledon.After all tennis is all about having confidence in ur abilities.


zola Says:

gulu
ignore hateful comments.
I don’t think Fed can repeat his dominance of 2005-2007. He is getting older and his motivation might change. Also, there comes a time for every great champion to pass the torch to younger ones. As Sampras and Borg did but that does not take away anything from their greatness.
Even in his worst year since 2002, Fed was in the final of 3 GSs and semis of one and won one GS title.
I think he has a few more years on the top with a possible shot at No 1. As long as he is healthy and motivated, he will have good results.
I am not his fan, but I am aware that it might be years before we can have players like Fed and Rafa. This is a lucky time for us tennis fans.


zola Says:

Ryan,
If by some people you mean me, I have always accepted that my opinion about Rafa is not unbiased. So I accept that! I know Rafa is not invincible on hard courts. There are players who can win him on hard courts most of the times ( fed, Nalby, Djoko, perhaps Tsonga and in near future maybe Gulbis and Nishikori..). But Davydenko…I don’t know. Maybe that was Davydenko’s day, maybe it was a bad day for Rafa….That’s why I want to see a re-match!


Von Says:

TD(Tam):

Thanks for that great link for Our Andy; it left a lump in my throat. It shows that there are SOME writers are cognizant of his great sportsmanship and the beautiful human being underneath the tennis attire. He’s quite a guy!


Von Says:

Isn’t it logical to assume that a player has to be in good form in a tournament for him to beat 3 players in the same tournament, one after the other, who have beaten him in the past? Then, by that same logic that he’s in-form, can he just suddenly go from being in-form, without any injuries, to being out-of-form when he gets beaten in the final? I’m sorry, but I can’t buy that argument. Davydenko played an in-form Nadal in the final, and he beat him with emphasis; same for Roddick.

The information in my previous posts were to prove a point that many others, including the poster who’s saying Nadal was not in form in the Miami tournament final, have conclusively agreed that Davydenko was the better player because he played sublime tennis in his match.


gulu Says:

Mono!!! HIS ARSE!!! You arrogant fellow,where the hell are you!Come on, tell me, why did you say Roger is full of shit? Justify ur statement.Don’t try to be oversmart,you idiot!Tell me,what’s d basis for ur saying so? You r not fit to give such value judgements about these great achievers.I am not saying this because Roger is my favourite ,but I hav all the time held the other tennis players too in high esteem.Nobody would claim that I have ever spoken ill of Rafa or Djoko or Roddic or anyone else for that matter.I may not have many favourites,but that doesn’t license me to insult other guys.In fact only I know that I heartily respect and admire other persons for their talents and people lik Roger,Rafa and others are no exception.So who on earth has given you the freedom to write shits about Fed? I m not gonna leave you unless I have got d answer.Come on Mono!!!HIS ARSE!!! Tel me. I want ur reply on this matter.


gulu Says:

Zola my friend, Thank you very very much for ur response and good advice.It’s so nice of you!Your post calmed me down and saved me from becoming depressed. You have told me to do the right thing and I would always try to follow what you say.But what can I do? It really hurts to see such hateful stuff about my Roger.But be sure I’d hav defended even Rafa or Djoko or whichever player’s there against such disgusting comments.I aplolgise to all of you for having lost control over myself,so please forgive me!And Zola,I promise you that in the future I’d never respond to such comments and ignore all such hateful posts.But again I m really sorry!


gulu Says:

Zola ,eagerly waitin for ur reponse.


sensationalsafin Says:

It was Davydenko’s day, simple as that. Nadal wasn’t at his playing his very best, but he was playing as well as he could have on that day. His form was pretty consistent in the first few months. It was great, solid, etc. But it wasn’t spectacularly great the way it has been since then. In a rematch, based on current forms, I’d easily give the nod to Nadal. On paper and on form and based on anything, Nadal is the favorite. I don’t see Davydenko reproducing that form and focus, although I wish he would.

Who knows if Nadal and Davydenko will even play in Shanghai? What I’m looking foward to more than anything else is Nadal vs Nalbandian in the DC finals. I mean, Nalbandian has lost 7 games to Nadal in 2 matches. That’s 1 game over a set! He absolutely dismantled him last year in the 2 MS. Nalbandian is not playing like that now and probably won’t (I wouldn’t be TOO surprised if he did, however), but in DC he’s always motivated. On a fast indoor surface, no less. That’s going to be interesting. But what about those matches? Was Nadal not focused? Not at his best? He was definitely focused but not at his best for sure. Again, he played solid enough to get to the finals and semis in those 2 MS. But Nalbandian WAS playing his best, and, had Nadal been playing his best, too, the way he has this year, Nalbandian would still have won, would still win, and would always win.


Roy Says:

“jane Says:
……….“More people in the fight” – excellent last words. Let’s hope for precisely that in the next few years of tennis.”

Yes, excellent words indeed- 2009 promises a lot of hope for good, fighting tennis.


Von Says:

gulu:

Some tennis updates for you. A-Rod beat Troicki and is in the SFs where he awaits either Berdych or Gonzalez. On the other half of the draw will be JMDP and Gasquet. I see that your countryman Leander Paes is in the QFs in doubles with his partner Dlouhy. Good for them.

I’m shouldn’t be the one to give you advice, because God knows I’m as wicked and hateful as they come, many times over. However, I do feel that it is only fitting to defend one’s fave if the occasion warrants it, without any remorse or apologies. Very few can, or will ignore accusations leveled at their faves, and for those who are adept at so doing, all I can say is God bless them. I’ve mentioned in one of my earlier posts to you to be discerning, remember to bear that thought in mind when you are about to post. To reiterate, don’t be so hard on yourself for defending what you feel in your heart is unwarranted criticism. However, feel free to do as you deem fit. I doubt whether anyone can point a finger at you, because guess what, it’s done all of the time, and we’re not here to win the Ms/Mr. Congeniality/popularity award. Don’t worry, be happy. :P


Von Says:

sensationalsafin:

“But what about those matches? Was Nadal not focused? Not at his best? He was definitely focused but not at his best for sure. Again, he played solid enough to get to the finals and semis in those 2 MS. But Nalbandian WAS playing his best, and, had Nadal been playing his best, too, the way he has this year, Nalbandian would still have won, would still win, and would always win.”

Whether a player is focused or unfocused and playing badly or not, what matters is how they played against their opponent on a specific day. Unless, of course the losing opponent sustains an injury during the match, or has been injured for a few months and is playing in his first tournament since his injury occurred, then it is obvious the match-deprived player will not be playing at 100 percent, and if he loses it will definitely be attributable to his prior injury, e.g., Ancic, Roddick, and Tsonga. But in the case, where a player is beating all of his opponents en route to the finals and faces another opponent who’s competing at a higher level than he is, then there shouldn’t be any excuses, — he was simply outplayed by a better opponent, and his opponent should be given credit for the win without reservation. A player can be 200 percent focused and if he’s not as skilled as his opponent then he’ll certainly lose. Too much emphasis is being placed on focus nowadays, which seems to be the new buzz word, and very little is placed on the opponent’s skill. What’s being said is that focus is the alpha and omega of tennis. I’m sorry but I find that exceptionally hard to understand. then if that’s the case, where does skill fit into the equation? Has anyone ever heard of playing by rote or auto-pilot without focusing? It happens, and some players win despite not being focused. it’s similar to driving your car and you arrive at your destination without remembering taking the right exit.

I feel that looking for a Davy/Nadal rematch to prove that Davy’s Miami win was a one-off is ridiculous. Also, it’s obvious to everyone, I would hope, that the Miami Davydenko is just a shadow of himself at the present time. Sure, if there’s a rematch Nadal will win, but then will he beat an in-form Davydenko? I don’t think so. Then I suppose, based on the argument of in-form, lack of form, focused v. non-focused, we can attribute Federer’s losses to Nadal and Roddick’s losses to Federer to the losers NOT being in-form and unfocused. Oh what a tangled web we weave.

I posted on the other thread that I’m beginning to think of DelPotro as the real deal and he’ll certainly give Spain a headache when they meet in Davis Cup.


gulu Says:

Hey dear Von,congrats! Good news as Andy bt.Troicki in straight sets 6-3 6-4 and now is in the semifinal.Go Andy go n win the semifinal too!


gulu Says:

Dear Von,Thanks 4 such a nice post! Actually I mean,I just got so disgusted that I couldn’t control myself.BTW, ur post has made me happy again and now I m back to business which I think is posting to you on this site!However I’d really try not to pay much attention to the meaningless posts in the future coz by dat I may contribute in making those posts even more noticeable which is contrary to what I actually intend.It was a mistake on my part to do that today.The post by dat Mono!!!HIS ARSE!!! irked me so much that I forgot that everyone isn’t fortunate enough to be able to appreciate the greatness of exemplary achievers . However the silver lining for today is dat Our Andy seems to be on a mission!Go Rod and win ,win ,win!


Von Says:

gulu:

Now you’re on the right track. :P As I’ve said, discernment is the key word, and we can’t take away anyone’s freedom of speech, can we? Also, not everyone sees things as we would like them to view such, which is why we’re all unique human beings, and we argue. Yes, Our Andy won and will face Berdych in the SFs, who’s a tricky guy BTW. I know I sound like a broken record/CD, but it’s so dreadful not being able to watch any of Andy’s matches. I have the Tennis Channel in my TV Sports package, and you’d think they’d have a feed for the viewers to see these matches. Well, wrong, that’s not happening. Instead there has been about 4 re-broadcasts of the Jankovic final last week, and numerous RG and MS clay matches. I don’t enjoy the clay matches at all, because most of the time it’s difficult to see the ball. That being the case, it takes away from the enjoyment of viewing. OK, gulu, have a nice day and don’t worry, keep smiling and be happy. Here’s the usual dose of smiles for you. :P :D :o :) four different smiles. BTW, did you read the link TD, who loves Roddick as much as we do, posted? If you didn’t read it — it’s a beautiful tribute to A-Rod.


gulu Says:

Yes Von,I have already read the link given by our good friend TD.Loved it,to say the least! I always love such thoughtful,truthful,logical and impartial pieces of writings.Nobody deserves the tribute more than our Rod.


gulu Says:

Von, feelin very bad that u r not able 2 watch the Tokyo tennis action,thanks to the good-for-nothing tennis channel in your tv package!


Ryan Says:

I just feel that djokovic and roddick are genuinely honest guys with a good heart and are less deceptive.They leave it out there for the public.I think they are even better than nadal and federer.What do y’all think?


jane Says:

Ryan, I agree with you. I hated that altercation at the USO precisely because I like both these players so much! But I believe Andy and Nole are the type of guys who will put it behind them and move on.

Speaking of Andy, he’s into the Tokyo semis, wherein he’ll play Berdych; Del Potro will meet Gasquet in the other one. Wish I could see these matches! Anyone know of a feed or link?


jane Says:

Thanks to bob22 and TD for sharing articles on two of my faves: Djoko and Roddick. One article pits them against each other a bit, which I didn’t really like, but both pieces shore up the fact that these are two earnest and yet funny champions who have a lot of heart.


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

pathetic to see federer just give up and throw in the towel. I thought he was supposed to be a great mental warrior? rafa has beaten federer again. now nadal can relax the pressure is off, federer has easily conceded.


grendel Says:

Zola: the crux of your argument seems to be this: Whilst you now accept that Davydenko played a blinder – and this is not contradicted by his subsequent lack of form (not immediate, as I pointed out), a change from your previous position – you don’t accept he could have beaten Nadal on pure merit “because he has not shown that he is a better player on hard courts ( or clay) than Rafa. Rafa beat him in Shanghai 06 when his hard court game was nowhere near his 08 performance. I can argue that Rafa did not play his best, perhaps because he could not focus properly.”

The logic doesn’t hold, you know. Whether he is or is not a better player than Rafa on hard court is not decisive. All that matters is: does he possess the tools and the ability to beat Rafa on a given day despite his lack of slam titles (which you also, irrelevantly, bring up)? The consensus to this is surely “yes”, the doubt residing largely in the matter of Davydenko’s resolve. Nadal was undoubtedly the favourite. But in tennis history, it happens again and again that the legitimate favorite is beaten by a player who plays, as it were, above himself,and proves to be just too good on the day.

You say “I never disrespect Davydenko”. But you are doing exactly that by attributing Nadal’s defeat to Nadal’s temporary deficiencies rather than to Davydenko’s superior play. This is not a matter which can be proved one way or the other, but elementary sportsmanship dictates that – in the dearth of other evidence – the nod should be given to Davydenko.

The business of a rematch is a nonsense, as Sensational Safin and Von have pointed out. Of course Nadal would be hot favourite, as he was in Miami, and his winning would have no bearing whatsoever on the Miami match.

You’re a bit of a terrier, Zola, where Nadal is concerned. You never let go – sort of admirable in a way, but it means you will encounter a lot of opposition. I hope you don’t think anyone’s ganging up on you, though.

b.t.w. It was Tennis Planet, so far as I know, who first alluded to Uncle Toni as Aunt Toni. I was quite taken by this, and contracted it to Auntie. I think you are being a little heavy in going on about “disrespect” to Nadal’s family and stuff. Come on, Zola, where’s that chirpy grin you write with sometimes? Uncle Toni does seem to be a somewhat Svengalian presence behind the scenes, and I thought Tennis Planet got it just right and was funny in the process. Surely the Nadal family can handle a bit of knockabout? As for Mirka, call her what you like, none of my business, but make it relevant. She’s quite a presence in the matches, isn’t she, and a good satirist could have a bit of fun, no doubt. “Disrespect” indeed! There’s only one type of disrespect that counts, and that’s when you don’t give credit where credit’s due.


johanne Says:

Zola, I feel your pain. If you like Rafa here you have to plead the case for why your preference is valid. You can’t just be a fan.


jane Says:

It’s worth pointing out too, not that I love Davy, but regardless of the fact that he hasn’t won a lot of titles, he often has gone deep in hard court (and other) events:

06 & 07 USO – he got to the semis both times and lost only to Fed.

06 & 07 AO – he got to the Qs both times and lost to Fed in 06 and Haas, in a barn-burner match, in 07.

07 MS events – he got to the semis in Cincy, losing to Blake, and to the Qs in Canada, losing to ? can’t remember.

So he’s no slouch on hardcourts, & there’s no doubt he deserved his Miami win. Yes, Rafa did play too far back behind the baseline; however, we have to give credit to Davy for stepping up and pushing him back. Djoko did the same thing to Rafa in Cincy, particularly in the first set. It takes two to tango!

AND, every single player is fallible. NO PLAYER, EVER, has been invincible. They can all be beaten, and wins and losses depend on myriad factors. But, nevertheless, the winner wins for reason.


zola Says:

gulu dear,
whatever some ignorant postr says does not change the fact about a player. we can praise or curse a player all day, but in the end their game makes them what they are. No one will remember if someone called Fed a S**t or another called Rafa a Tarzan. It only reflects on the poor character of those who post things like that and get personal with the players.
10 years from now, the new players have to break the records set by Fed and hopefully RAfa and that’s what is important and should matter.


jane Says:

And, btw, I was cheering heartily for Rafa in that match, so I am not trying to say anything against him, but to point out that Davy is in fact a very good hard court player, with a decent record, and on that day he played a better match. That entire tournament, his ground strokes were blistering and even his serve was clicking.


zola Says:

grendel,
I have written always that when it comes to Rafa, I am not very objective.
I wrote to sensationalsafin too. Davydenko played great and a win is a win. On that day he played much better than Rafa. I am not sure if Rafa played his best tennis. So maybe it is just the fan in me who thinks that on another occasion if Rafa plays his best he can win Davydenko even if he plays his best.

About Uncle Toni, I agree that he is the man behind the scenes. He is a genius and so much of him you can see in Rafa. The discipline, the behavior, the confidence. I don’t get it why you call him “Aunt”? What is the purpose? How is the fact that someone on tennis planet used it makes it right?
Remember, the players don’t read these pages. The fans do.


zola Says:

Johanne,
Yes, there are not many Rafa fans on this board.Still it is possible to discuss tennis on mostly a friendly basis even if we don’t support the same player.

The post you see above has nothig to do with tennis. It is purely personal for the reason I wrote above. Apart from her and some occasional trolls, this is not a bad place to post. So I hope to see you here more often.


zola Says:

sensationalsafin
***It was Davydenko’s day, simple as that. Nadal wasn’t at his playing his very best, but he was playing as well as he could have on that day.****

I guess that’s what I was trying to say!I don’t think Rafa played his best on that day, but Davydenko did. nothing against Davydenko’s superb play.

The Rafa-Nalby match in DC should be very interesting.But we might see them clash before that in Madrid and Paris. The beatups last year were pretty bad!


grendel Says:

“I don’t get it why you call him “Aunt”? What is the purpose? How is the fact that someone on tennis planet used it makes it right?” Not someone – it was Tennis Planet himself (or herself – nobody seems to know quite who “TP” is). Of course it doesn’t make it right. I just didn’t want to claim – er – original authorship.

What is the purpose? How about that it just sounds right and is funny at the same time? There always seems to be something faintly ludicrous when you see someone “minding” a great big beefy adult like that, and a bit of mockery doesn’t seem amiss. That’s not to downplay the importance of Auntie in Nadal’s life and career, though. Look, Zola, there is always something funny about the “great and the good”, and please do include Federer in that category. And if you want to charge me with inconsistency? Oh, guilty!

b.t.w., I see you still haven’t quite got it (imo). Because you now say:”on another occasion if Rafa plays his best he can win Davydenko even if he plays his best.” But who would disagree with that? The odds always heavily favour Nadal to beat Davydenko. But that does NOT mean he will always win, even if playing at his best. With a player as good as Davydenko, you just never know. As we saw in Miami.


zola Says:

grendel,
why is it funny to call a man “aunty”? You are not a Nadal fan and I can say you don’t even like him. So this mockery does not seem friendly at all. If you want to discuss Rafa’s game with me, it is fine but is it too much to ask to stop mocking Rafa’s family?

I think we have to agree to disagree on Rafa-Davydenko. The match is done and the result is there and as a Rafa fan, I feel how I feel. I want to believe that he is capable of winning on any day if he is in his best form.


sensationalsafin Says:

I find it hard to respect players who have hot tournaments and then fade. I’m not huge on Davydenko but I root for him at times most likely because he’s Russian. But I have lost a little respect for him after he just faded following Miami. Especially considering he IS a top 5 player who’s more than capable of playing high level tennis. Maybe not as high as Federer or Nadal, but imo, if Davydenko is having a good day against either one on a bad day, he SHOULD win. But he usually doesn’t because he’s a choke.

Nalbandian did the same thing last year in blitzing through the draws at both MS tournaments but then he just faded. It’s like a coward being crowned king for a lucky win in a battle. It’s stupid. If you’re going to win a big title and do it by destroying… uhm… everyone (in Nalbandian’s case, atleast) then don’t fade into nothingness immediately afterward. Don’t mistake me for saying that one player should win everything because he deserves it more or something, I’m saying if some wins 1 or 2 MS titles, then at the next one they should at least make it to the quarters, or semis. Consistent deep runs. I love the way the summer MS played out. In Toronto, Murray def Djokovic in the quarteres, then Nadal def Murray in the semis and went on to win the title. In Cincy, Djokovic def Nadal in the semis and Murray def Djokovic in the finals. And then at the US Open, Murray def Nadal in the semis, Federer def Djokovic in the semis, Federer def Murray in the finals. All of these matches EASILY could’ve gone the other way. I’m not saying each one was close or anything like that, just that it could’ve been the reverse in each outcome. Add in Del Potro and Roddick and a few others winning every now and then and you have high quality matches with unpredictable outcomes all the time. I was so excited when Roddick beat the top 3 in the beginning of the year and hopefully he’ll regain that form despite his injury to continue threatening like that. I always say Roddick’s game doesn’t compare to theirs but he’s still capable of beating them because, after all, he’s a pro tennis player. Djokovic hasn’t won a title since May and while that SEEMS like a big deal, would anyone say he hasn’t been a consistent contender in every tournament he’s entered? He’s reached at least the semis in all but 2 of his tournaments since, I think, Miami (starting with Monte Carlo that is, excluding Miami itself).


jane Says:

sensationalsafin,

I like the way you put this a lot:

“I love the way the summer MS played out. In Toronto, Murray def Djokovic in the quarteres, then Nadal def Murray in the semis and went on to win the title. In Cincy, Djokovic def Nadal in the semis and Murray def Djokovic in the finals. And then at the US Open, Murray def Nadal in the semis, Federer def Djokovic in the semis, Federer def Murray in the finals. {…} Add in Del Potro and Roddick and a few others winning every now and then and you have high quality matches with unpredictable outcomes all the time.”

With regards to this:

“He’s reached at least the semis in all but 2 of his tournaments since, I think, Miami”

Djoko lost at Wimby early and in Canada in the quarters but otherwise you’re right, he’s been in semis and finals in pretty much everything, even though (aside from the bronze medal) he hasn’t won a title. So he has been pretty consistent and he’s put himself in situations where he could’ve won a title he’s just come up a bit short in the finals he’s played. I was most disappointed in his loss to Rafa at Queens; he was so close, and he was up so far and then he let go a little. I concur with what Noel said about Nole on another thread – he just needs to play the big point a little stronger.

Anyhow, good post ss.


sensationalsafin Says:

Yeah I actually thought Djokovic was the favorite in that match at Queens. A shame he didn’t win but credit to Nadal, definitely. I actually think that match made the difference in Nadal’s grass season. Had he lost that final, people would’ve probably started saying Djokovic is the favorite to win the whole thing. Maybe if Djokovic had gotten that win, he would’ve beaten Safin and gone to, atleast, the semis like he was seeded to do. His confidence must’ve been shaken after such a loss. Whereas winning it had the exact opposite effect on Nadal. Amazing how just a few points can have such a profound affect.


gulu Says:

Zola, I think Davydenko must hav played some extraordinary tennis to beat Rafa. I too believ lik u dat if Rafa n Davydenko play against each other,wid both playin their best tennis,then Rafa’d win.Whatever may b d surface,Rafa’s better than him.


jane Says:

“Amazing how just a few points can have such a profound affect.” You can say that again! Excellent point about a win versus a loss and how drastically it can shake a players confidence. Djoko had played a couple of good matches against Rafa on clay, first at Hamburg and then taking him to a tiebreak in one set at RG (more than most did there), but I think even those losses would’ve affected Djoko’s confidence going into his match with Rafa at Queens. These sorts of things – consistent winning and losing streaks, even for short amounts, not over years like with Rafa-Fed, or Fed-Roddick – can really play on a player’s mind. It must be SO difficult to try to enter each match with a fresh, or renewed, mindset, not to mention revised tactics.

Hats off to these great players who do it week in, week out.


johanne Says:

Grendel **There always seems to be something faintly ludicrous when you see someone “minding” a great big beefy adult like that, and a bit of mockery doesn’t seem amiss.**

I don’t see what’s so hilarious about a tennis player having a coach, but whatever floats your boat…


zola Says:

sensationalsafin,
The players are so close to each other especially in top 10 that many matches are decided on a few points. The consistency and hard work ( and injuries!) are what keeps them in top positions and what makes a difference.

Davydenko is a consistent player but has not been able to up his game to get above No 3. He had a patch of bad and one of good time during 07 and o8. Now with all these young guns emerging, he will have a harder job staying there. But no question that he can give any player a very hard time.

Nalby, I am not sure if it is injuries or distractions, but perhaps he has not been around much this year. He was just on fire in Madrid and Paris last year. Although he beat Rafa very bad but still was very interesting the way he could commad that ball. quite amazing.


myopia Says:

Not all but quite a few Fed fans’ have black-and-white views regarding their idol.

mem put the case very well regarding Fed. And no posts followed to try to find fault with mem’s post. Hard to find fault actually…


sensationalsafin Says:

Nalbandian at his best is just a joy to watch, just like many other players. But there’s just something about Nalbandian’s game that sets him apart from the rest.

I don’t see Davydenko staying in the top 5 for much longer. By next year, it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s out of the top ten. But that’s if and ONLY if the young guns actually rise to the occasion and perform up to their potentials. If Del Potro loses his fire and starts losing again, well, I’d lose respect for him, too. It’s hard for me not to just say because Roddick’s game is inferior to many of the up and comers, he’ll be out of the top 10, but I doubt it. He’ll stay there for sure. But as the years go by, he’ll be finding it harder and harder to actually qualify for the TMC. You don’t have to be in the top 8 to be in the top 10, as stupid as that sounds.


gulu Says:

Thanks Zola for ur great response to me!I need good friends like you to remain happy.


Von Says:

“thank goodness that a player like rafa nadal is in the mix, as well as djokovic, del potro, murray, verdasco, nalbandian, and others! by the way, don’t waste your time blasting me about my comments, it won’t change a thing!”

No point bothering to say anything if someone states: “by the way, don’t waste your time blasting me about my comments, it won’t change a thing!”, is there?

“but my goodness, there are other players who deserve credit when they perform well!”

Indeed, so why can’t Davydenkop be given the credit for a brilliantly played match when he beat Nadal in Miami, by the Nadal fan. The answer is simple, Davydenko did the unthinkable, he had the chutzpah to beat Nadal which is a No, no. No player beats Nadal and is given credit, there’s always an excuse for Nadal, he’s either “tired”, “unfocused” or not “in-form”. What’s all the hoopla about on this thread, Davy’s win over nadal in Miami

“if everyone played like roger, how boring do you think the game would be. differences in styles is what makes tennis exciting!


Von Says:

“It’s hard for me not to just say because Roddick’s game is inferior to many of the up and comers, he’ll be out of the top 10, but I doubt it.”

Do you have the numbers for the lottery? What makes roddick’s game inferior to the the up and comers? sometimes, i just don’t understand these supernatural powers.


Von Says:

So much angst because a player dared to beat one higher ranked than himself and had the gumption to take the coveted trophy home. All of this nonsense is not about who’s the better player, but about which player lost.


grendel Says:

Johanne:” don’t see what’s so hilarious about a tennis player having a coach, but whatever floats your boat…” Oh, come on. Uncle Toni is hardly your every day coach. There’s a huge amount of baggage attaching to him – he’s a huge personality in his own right. And Zola, I mock Aunty because of his pretensions, and his somewhat bizarre, and sometimes baleful I suspect (I refer to all that unassuming nonsense)influence on Nadal – not because he is family. That Aunty is also a very clever coach who really has done his homework on other players goes without saying. If you put yourself in the public eye, you’ve got to learn to take the brickbats as well as the compliments – and there’s plenty of the latter for Toni. This just goes with the territory.

You’ve made a decent point, however; I don’t like Nadal, so mockery comes perhaps a bit too easy. It’s how most of us are, though. There’s a poster on TennisX who has been mocking Federer for about a year now, it’s more or less all he does – and I have no objections to it; first of all, he is sometimes funny and even stylish, and second, he puts things into perspective if ever one is tempted towards idolatry. The main thing is, and should be, Nadal the player: for him, I have the utmost respect and admiration.

Again, Zola, you have missed the point imo on the Davydenko business- it’s not just a question of “agreeing to disagree”. Because you say:”I want to believe that he is capable of winning on any day if he is in his best form.” But we ALL want to believe that about somebody or other, or most of us anyway. The point is, it’s a fairy tale. Sometimes, Nadal is going to be playing at his very best, and he’s going to get beaten, and there’s quite a few tennis players who can do that to him (on non clay surfaces). It’s never likely on any one occasion – I think this is where the confusion lies – but overall, it is not just likely, it is certain. And there is absolutely no shame in this. You talk about how “as a Rafa fan, I feel how I feel”. Fair enough, but then you can’t claim to be talking about truth. I’m not saying an ardent fan can’t talk about truth but, whilst engaged in an attempt at objective analysis, he must put his feelings, to a degree anyway, behind him. Otherwise, he simply becomes an apologist for his man. Plenty of people do this with their eyes open, and that’s fine. We know where we are. But to me, you want a foot in both camps, Zola. And that just causes confusion in the end.


johanne Says:

Grendel, you’re entitled to your impression of Uncle Toni and his antics, if that’s what you’d call them. But to say he has a “baleful influence” on Rafa seems a bit extreme to me. I don’t think he’s a menace, and I certainly don’t think he’s been a destructive force in his nephew’s career. If anything, he’s been the opposite. So this “baggage” you speak of seems more like some media fluff, just something to talk about, rather than any true detriment to Rafa and his tennis. But I guess only time will tell. We can wait for his E! True Hollywood Story, huh? :)


siva Says:

I think Roger Federar had bad time with Rafeal Nadal.Because Nadal is good player on clay pitch where as Roger is king of grass pitch.As i think Nadal will reached top.
——————-
siva

sreevyshcorp


jane Says:

johanne,

All this talk about Uncle Toni has me envisioning /The Godfather/ with Rafa kissing Uncle Toni’s ring while Uncle warns “Never go against the family”; meanwhile, the door slowly closes on Rafa’s island girl, as she looks longingly in, knowing she’ll never truly be “one of them”.

I prefer this sort of fantasy scenario to the E! story. But either way, just having a little fun.

Zola – ;-) You know I admire Rafa.


grendel Says:

Well, I did say “sometimes” baleful, johanne. Clearly, Uncle Toni has been an astonishingly successful coach for Nadal, from a long, long time ago. The story about how he persuaded him to play left handed is amazing – slightly spooky, but what foresight! What imagination! I’d put him alongside Papa Williams as an original creative force – I can’t abide Papa Williams, b.t.w., but there’s no doubting his uniqueness.

Aunty is a big man, in all sorts of ways. I think you do him an injustice, Zola. He can handle a bit of the old mickey taking I should have thought. And if he can’t – well, tough shit. Like I said, the guy’s in the public arena, and as such, he must expect a few tomatoes to be chucked at him. But anyway, I think he can take it….


zola Says:

grendel,
I doubt uncle Toni reads these blogs. So the tomatoes you are throwing are towards the fans not the players and I see you somehow enjoy this. Well, maybe someone could find a nickname for Mirka or papa or mama Federer, but that won’t be me. Then perhaps I better stay out of your way. Let me know when you want to discuss tennis.


zola Says:

Jane,
lol, its OK. If we “must” find a fault with Rafa, let it be him being a family person. Rafa is a package. His tennis, his family values, his attitude, his work ethics,….they all part of his appeal for me.


zola Says:

grendel,
About Davydenko, I think the facts and the question are a bit mixed up. What are we arguing about? I am just going to write these points so that we are on the same page. Feel free to add to them or change them.then we can talk about the reasons for each. And please no mockery.For me that’s a killer.

If you say on that day in Miami final 08 Davydenko was a better player, I agree.

If you say Rafa played his best at Miami, I don’t.

If you say overall davydenko is a better hard court player than Rafa, I don’t agree with you.


zola Says:

Johanne,
Uncle Toni is a genius and a respectable person with very strong values. I think after Rafa’s career is over, people will discuss Uncle Toni as much as they would discuss Rafa.
Those who have been to tournaments or even to Mallorca,where Rafa practices in a local club, always talk about how friendly Uncle Toni is towards them. I think having a stable family and team around him has been a great help for Rafa and maybe that’s why he is so happy and well-grounded.

gulu dear,
Fed should be very happy to have such a nice fan like you. I am sure this rest will be good for him and he will make you happy with some great wins.

You might enjoy this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is-JCJCUy18


Daniel Says:

grendel says

“There’s a poster on TennisX who has been mocking Federer for about a year now, it’s more or less all he does – and I have no objections to it; first of all, he is sometimes funny and even stylish, and second, he puts things into perspective if ever one is tempted towards idolatry”

I totally agree with this, he and the Roddick is a donkey guy are just hillarious and I like both Fed and Rod, they just don’t offend me, but that is me, some take it personal…

sensational safin says:

“Amazing how just a few points can have such a profound affect.”

Another great true! If we look at the Fed-Nadal rivalvry, after Nadal beat Fed so many times he thought: If I am beating the best player in the world I should be the best player in the world, and once he started believing in that, we all know what he made.

Regarding loop sided HxH, it is just impossible to forget the history you have with a particular player, and sometimes things just work right for the underdog. Last time I played with a friend of mine, who never beat me before, I lost 6-1, 6-2! Everything was working his way and even though deep down I knew I should win, I simply collapse as time and points were played and nothing worked my way.

Anyone can beat anyone and each tourney is a different story, even with the top players favorite on paper. Who would have thought that Fed would lose to Karlovic without having his serve broken?! That’s the beauty in this game!!!


sensationalsafin Says:

Danial says,

“Who would have thought that Fed would lose to Karlovic without having his serve broken?! That’s the beauty in this game!!!”

Ehhh that’s not beauty. Not to me, at least. The Karlovic beating Federer part is whatever, but with Federer not losing serve? That’s just… I don’t know what to call that.

Zola that video was just awesome!


Daniel Says:

Yeah, now that I re-read it, sounds awfull! :)
But the point was the unpredictability of the game.


FoT Says:

Wow, you guys have been on a roll today even though some of those post were….well… just wild.

There is no secret that Roger is my favorite player. I’m not ashamed of that. He is my all-time favorite player – ever. Sometimes we can’t help who we like and I make no excuses. There are several players I don’t like, but I would just rather talk about my favorite and what I do like about him vs pulling down the other players I don’t like.

I guess that’s where I differ from a lot of others. I mean, if you don’t like the player – why waste your time writing about him? Why not write about the player you like? I believe in the fact that if you can’t say anything good about someone – don’t say anything at all! lol!

Nadal is not one that I just love to watch, but I respect him and understand that he has had an amazing year this year and deserves the #1 ranking based on how he played this year. Fantastic year by Nadal and well deserved #1 ranking. That didn’t cost me anything to say that as a Federer fan! Some fans of both do get along (believe it or not).! lol!

I just try to over look those ‘trolls’ that you’ll have on every board! lol!


Von Says:

Leftykick:

Where are you? You disappeared after the USO. Your girl Wooz is kicking up a storm with her tennis at Tokyo. I thought of you when I was watching her yesterday. She’s playing now and won the first set. I guess you’re sleeping also — it’s probably 5:00 a.m or thereabouts in your neck of the woods.


johanne Says:

Zola, I hope you didn’t think I was dissing Toni, quite the opposite – I think he’s been an amazing coach for Rafa! I have absolutely no problem with him and strongly believe that his influence has helped make Rafa the amazing person/player that he is.

**The Karlovic beating Federer part is whatever, but with Federer not losing serve? That’s just… I don’t know what to call that.**

SS – tell me what’s up?? Is this a “bad moment” for Fed or did he just get beat – straight up? Curious to hear your opinion, as excuses are not your favorite thing…


sensationalsafin Says:

Any loss is a bad moment for anyone. Was he playing bad? Honestly I didn’t see the match, but he clearly wasn’t in greatest form this summer. I saw the way he lost to Simon and he was spraying errors like it was no body’s business.

From what I’ve read and understood from the match is this:

The match went to 3 sets, 2 went to tiebreakers. The only time Federer was able to break Karlovic was in the second set and he closed it out without a tiebreaker. Karlovic said Federer was playing pretty much the way he always has, which means he was better off the ground than Karlovic. I’m assuming the one break Federer did get was a service game in which Karlovic maybe missed a few first serve that gave Federer a chance. As for the losses in the tiebreakers, well, Karlovic has a huge serve, it’s an undeniable fact. So Karlovic probably just served really well in the tiebreakers and took some chances on Federer’s serve and things happened to go his way. If you honestly believe Federer was at his best in that match, well, I don’t know who you’ve been watching all this time. But did Karlovic manage this win because he was playing the best tennis of his life? Maybe, but I doubt it. He was serving extremely well, no doubt, but he usually does. I think the difference was in his head in that tournament. He was SO confident in his serve that he took chances on his opponents’ serves and things just fell into place for him.

I was disappointed Federer lost and I still kinda am, but, to be perfectly honest, I’m surprised this was Karlovic’s first win over Federer. I know Federer’s a great returner and all (used to be anyway) but all of their matches have gone into extreme tiebreakers and Federer won them all. Somehow, every time things went right for Federer. This time they went right for Karlovic.

I’m sure Federer wasn’t playing awful in this match because he wasn’t broken at ALL! I mean, that’s incredible. But he still lost! Not only that, but he even broke his opponent once… and still LOST! It’s just a shame. It’d be a shame for anyone. The most important thing in tennis is holding serve and Federer held it 100% of the time and still LOST. It’s demoralizing. Whenever I play a set or match against someone, my top priority is holding serve. One of my biggest pet peeve’s is when, say, my opponent serves first and I’m destroying him. So I’m up 5-0 and serving for the set. I end up winning the set 6-1. Yeah I’m glad I won but the only game I lost happened to be my serve. It drives me nuts!

There’s no excuse to make for this match. Karlovic was serving well and it finally worked. Should’ve worked a long time ago, imo.


johanne Says:

SS – thanks for your response. OK, so I’m just going to say this, and I’m prob going to get beat down by Fed’s fans, but in any case, why does it matter that Fed got beat without his serve being broken? What does that have to do with anything? He lost the match because he lost the match. You mention that perhaps Fed wasn’t at his best in this match. ** If you honestly believe Federer was at his best in that match, well, I don’t know who you’ve been watching all this time.** What does that have to do with anything? He lost because he lost. He wasn’t the better player. Anything of this sound familiar to any fans of non-Federer players? Why are we talking about why Federer lost? Why not why Karlovic won? Devil’s Advocate is a b**ch!


gulu Says:

Thank u very much dear Zola! The video from the link you provided was amazing.My eyes almost has tears seeing it.It touched my heart,so thank you! To say d truth, I was praying to God throughout the 2008 Wimby final for making Roger the victor just becaus of the reason that I feared too many hurting comments to follow if Fed loses the Wimby 2008.I wanted a champion’s performance from my Roger and thank god!,Roger indeed played lik a champion.I expected people to accept that he’s still a champion even thou he lost the 2008 FO very badly; after the 2008 Wimbledon final,even the naysayers agreed that ,yes,Roger’s a champ.Never have I loved Roger more than this year.Roger this year has showed that he’s indeed ‘THE ROGER FEDERER’.He proved that none can kill his spirit,none can doubt his fighting qualities.But then I hav always felt from d day I first saw the great ‘RAFAEL NADAL’, way back in 2005 while watching news, when he fell to the ground after winning his first French Open trophy dat he deserves the trophy of ‘Championship Wimbledon’.Don’t know why but I then actually felt that this 19 year old Roland Garros champ is going to make as well as break history.And Rafa proved me correct.So congrats to you for being a Rafa fan! And congrats to me as well for being a Fed-fan!


sensationalsafin Says:

I told you why Karlovic won, because he served very well and things went his way in the tiebreaker. That’s why Federer lost and that’s why Karlovic won.

It doesn’t matter if Federer’s serve wasn’t broken. It’s just a shame to lose a match like that. Karlovic lost to Nadal without losing serving back in Queens. That f*cking blows. Nadal was clearly the better player and played a great third set tiebreaker. It still sucks that Karlovic lost even though he held 100% of the time. This was the first time in Federer’s career that he lost like this. But he’s not the first person to ever lose like this. It sucks for anyone to lose like that.

1991 Wimbledon semifinals: Michael Stich def. Stefan Edberg 4-6 7-6 7-6 7-6. Stich lost serve once in the first set and lost that set. He was never able to break Edberg in any of those 4 sets. It just sucks losing that way. I don’t care about who played how well or how bad or even who won or lost. The fact is that the loser lost even though he managed to get the only break of the entire match.

2001 US Open quarterfinals: Pete Sampras def. Andre Agassi 6-7 7-6 7-6 7-6. Neither player lost serve throughout the match. For 4 full sets, both Agassi and Sampras held 100% of the time. Agassi went home the loser that night. Both played really well but Sampras played extremely well in the tiebreakers (he blew a few set points in the first one, might’ve been a straight set win for him). But it doesn’t matter. My point is IT SUCKS TO LOSE A MATCH AFTER HOLDING SERVE 100% OF THE TIME. I think the most common score in tennis is 6-3 6-4. That’s 2 breaks. Which ever player got those breaks won. Whoever managed to hold serve while the other faltered won. But when you manage to hold serve and lose, it must sting a little more. Not so much sting, but it’s a real heart breaker. I don’t know how much clearer I can get on this subject.


johanne Says:

SS – no reason to get mad at me, I was just bringin up a point about excuses. This site doesn’t like excuses, so I just wanted you to delve a little bit deeper into that point. Thanks for doing so. Yeah it for sure sucks about losing that way, but thems the the rules!

Can I ask – how do you feel about the US Open being the only Slam that has a 5th set tiebreaker? I honestly am not the biggest fan of tiebreakers to begin with, so I do NOT like this. What do you think?


Von Says:

“zola Says:
Von
what is this? another trial of Zola? So whenever I say something you will go back and find all my quotes in the hope of finding something? How much time did you spend for that? for what purpose really? How miserable are you?

“You are still full of hate! Only because I am not backing off of my opinion on Roddick’s insult of the umpires can be irritating. Guess what, I will not change my mind and you of all people will not be able to bully me.”

My response is late, but I didn’t want to deal with your remarks yesterday. First let me state NO ONE CAN BULLY YOU, YOU ARE TOO MUCH OF A BULLY YOURSELF TO ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN. Your posts speaks volumes as to your character, incongruence and what’s going one with you mentally. You love to use the word “hate’. If I or any poster does not fall over backwards praising Nadal, you’re offended, but not just offended, you begin to hate them, and resort to using guile, transposition and projection of your behavior onto them. You’ll use whatever arguments you can find to justify your position, even though at times, you’re incongruent. You stated you never read my posts, to which I replied, that’s not true, you read every word of everything that’s written. And your post to me yesterday revealed that you do. This is your life right here, and your statement to me to get a life, is what you need to do. Surely, there must be something more to your life than scouring the internet for Nadal related information. You’re very street smart, and even though I deal with people of your caliber sometimes in my job, I’m not into using your type of argument to win a point. You’re a master at changing directions and those posts prove how incongruent you are, and that you speak from both sides of your mouth. You like to slander others and trivialize your statements whenyou’re confronted, but I suppose in your heart you know you’re being dishonest. In that post I quoted to you about Davydenko, demonstrates how kind I have been toward you and Nadal in the past whenever he lost. I always tried to console you because i detected how much Nadal’s losses affect you, more than you reveal, which is not what you do for me with Roddick, and had it not been for your incessant slagging of Roddick, which you have watered down to the 100th exponent, BTW, I would have continued to overlook your childishness, because I feel there’s some good in everyone. However, the one salient point that stands out about you in my mind is that you have absolutely no respect for any other player, or anyone for that matter, save Nadal and you want everyone to ignore how much you discredit their favorite player and continue to praise Nadal despite it all. Well, that stopped for me a few months ago and I decided to give you a small dose of your own medicine, but you didn’t like it and it blew your mind. Just read that post about Davydenko after he beat Nadal and what you’re saying now — two different mindsets are visible. You’re not just content to talk about tennis as you try to imply, you get personal about the players, and with the posters too — I don’t even think you’re aware of what you do, because your anger blinds you. In that Davy post, you talked about his clothes and compared him to Safin’s charisma, etc.,. that was utterly superfluos. What has Davy’s clothes and facial beauty got to do when we’re talking about the sublime tennis he played to beat Nadal? Absolutely nothing, but that’s your style, you just can’t compliment someone who beat your darling Rafa. I remember one time you mentioned Blake after he beat Nadal, and your comment has always stuck in my mind. I’m not quoting you verbatim, however you stated something to the effect: I don’t like him, his baggy shorts, his butt and sweaty headband. Next, when Murray won at Cincy, your gushing praises were somewhat along the lines of: now he needs to get a haircut, a shave and fix his teeth; and another: I’m glad Djoko won, even though he was walking around shirtless on the court.. And, there are countless such statements by you pertaining to other players. Are those statements necessary after a player has just won a huge match? You would go into full-blown hysteria if anyone were to mention such about Nadal. You know what hate means, because whenever a player beats Nadal, you automatically hate that player. You hate Soderling,Bberdych,Bblake and Youzhny, even though you’d never admit to such. After any player beats Nadal, he becomes a marked man, and you become unrelentless in your vicious attacks. After Roddick beat Nadal in Ddubai your attacks have been relentless toward A-Rod, to the point of ad nauseam. You have a serious problem of displaced anger. You are still angry from Davydenko’s trashing of Nadal in Miami, as is manifested presently, and you are, if though you won’t acknowledge it, suffering from a huge let-down and significant anger that Nadal lost at the USO. Search your heart Zola, and you’ll see that I’m speaking the truth. You are a polemic type of extremes. You love as strongly as you hate — an all or nothing type of person.

Zola, for whatever it’s worth, I don’t hate anyone. and you can believe this or not, I forgive very easily. any tiffs I have with any poster is forgotten very quickly, and I truly feel very badly for you, because I feel deep down you could be a very likeable person, but you are allowing anger to rule your life, which distances people. Let the anger go — it will destroy you. You crave attention and want so badly to be accepted and be the popular one, hence the reason you get into every post agreeing and disagreeing when it suits you to score kudos. I have nothing more to say to you, I’m done. Write whatever and whenever you want about me, but I’m not going to answer you, and it’s not because I’d be bereft of a response or am unaware of what you’re doing, it’s because I don’t really care and life’s too short to be bogged down with anger all of the time, and that’s why I love humour. Just a little tidbit for you, humourous people are not people who harbor hate. I wish you well!!


Von Says:

“zola Says:
Von
what is this? another trial of Zola? So whenever I say something you will go back and find all my quotes in the hope of finding something? How much time did you spend for that? for what purpose really? How miserable are you?

“You are still full of hate! Only because I am not backing off of my opinion on Roddick’s insult of the umpires can be irritating. Guess what, I will not change my mind and you of all people will not be able to bully me.”

My response is late, but I didn’t want to deal with your remarks yesterday. First let me state NO ONE CAN BULLY YOU, YOU ARE TOO MUCH OF A BULLY YOURSELF TO ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN. Your posts speaks volumes as to your character, incongruence and what’s going one with you mentally. You love to use the word “hate’. If I or any poster does not fall over backwards praising Nadal, you’re offended, but not just offended, you begin to hate them, and resort to using guile, transposition and projection of your behavior onto them. You’ll use whatever arguments you can find to justify your position, even though at times, you’re incongruent. You stated you never read my posts, to which I replied, that’s not true, you read every word of everything that’s written. And your post to me yesterday revealed that you do. This is your life right here, and your statement to me to get a life, is what you need to do. Surely, there must be something more to your life than scouring the internet for Nadal related information. You’re very street smart, and even though I deal with people of your caliber sometimes in my job, I’m not into using your type of argument to win a point. You’re a master at changing directions and those posts prove how incongruent you are, and that you speak from both sides of your mouth. You like to slander others and trivialize your statements whenyou’re confronted, but I suppose in your heart you know you’re being dishonest. In that post I quoted to you about Davydenko, demonstrates how kind I have been toward you and Nadal in the past whenever he lost. I always tried to console you because i detected how much Nadal’s losses affect you, more than you reveal, which is not what you do for me with Roddick, and had it not been for your incessant slagging of Roddick, which you have watered down to the 100th exponent, BTW, I would have continued to overlook your childishness, because I feel there’s some good in everyone. However, the one salient point that stands out about you in my mind is that you have absolutely no respect for any other player, or anyone for that matter, save Nadal and you want everyone to ignore how much you discredit their favorite player and continue to praise Nadal despite it all. Well, that stopped for me a few months ago and I decided to give you a small dose of your own medicine, but you didn’t like it and it blew your mind. Just read that post about Davydenko after he beat Nadal and what you’re saying now — two different mindsets are visible. You’re not just content to talk about tennis as you try to imply, you get personal about the players, and with the posters too — I don’t even think you’re aware of what you do, because your anger blinds you. In that Davy post, you talked about his clothes and compared him to Safin’s charisma, etc.,. that was utterly superfluos. What has Davy’s clothes and facial beauty got to do when we’re talking about the sublime tennis he played to beat Nadal? Absolutely nothing, but that’s your style, you just can’t compliment someone who beat your darling Rafa. I remember one time you mentioned Blake after he beat Nadal, and your comment has always stuck in my mind. I’m not quoting you verbatim, however you stated something to the effect: I don’t like him, his baggy shorts, his butt and sweaty headband. Next, when Murray won at Cincy, your gushing praises were somewhat along the lines of: now he needs to get a haircut, a shave and fix his teeth; and another: I’m glad Djoko won, even though he was walking around shirtless on the court.. And, there are countless such statements by you pertaining to other players. Are those statements necessary after a player has just won a huge match? You would go into full-blown hysteria if anyone were to mention such about Nadal. You know what hate means, because whenever a player beats Nadal, you automatically hate that player. You hate Soderling,Bberdych,Bblake and Youzhny, even though you’d never admit to such. After any player beats Nadal, he becomes a marked man, and you become unrelentless in your vicious attacks. After Roddick beat Nadal in Ddubai your attacks have been relentless toward A-Rod, to the point of ad nauseam. You have a serious problem of displaced anger. You are still angry from Davydenko’s trashing of Nadal in Miami, as is manifested presently, and you are, if though you won’t acknowledge it, suffering from a huge let-down and significant anger that Nadal lost at the USO. Search your heart Zola, and you’ll see that I’m speaking the truth. You are a polemic type of extremes. You love as strongly as you hate — an all or nothing type of person.

Zola, for whatever it’s worth, I don’t hate anyone. and you can believe this or not, I forgive very easily. Any tiffs I have with any poster is forgotten very quickly, and I truly feel very badly for you, because I feel deep down you could be a very likeable person, but you are allowing anger to rule your life, which distances people. Let the anger go — it will destroy you. You crave attention and want so badly to be accepted and be the popular one, hence the reason you get into every post agreeing and disagreeing when it suits you to score kudos. I have nothing more to say to you, I’m done. Write whatever and whenever you want about me, but I’m not going to answer you, and it’s not because I’d be bereft of a response, or am unaware of what you’re doing, it’s because I don’t really care to argue with you. Life’s too short to be bogged down with anger all of the time, and that’s why I love humour. Just a little tidbit for you, humourous people are not people who harbor hate. I wish you well!!


Von Says:

Oh no, a double post. Sorry folks.


rafan Says:

Von, you’re so bitter and so transparent. **After Roddick beat Nadal in Dubai your attacks have been relentless toward A-Rod, to the point of ad nauseam. You have a serious problem of displaced anger. You are still angry from Davydenko’s trashing of Nadal in Miami, as is manifested presently, and you are, if though you won’t acknowledge it, suffering from a huge let-down and significant anger that Nadal lost at the USO.** I think you’re more concerned with Nadal’s fans being distraught from his losses. We’re not all like that, you pathetic excuse for a tennis fan. I think you’re just pissed that Andy can’t do sh** these days.


sensationalsafin Says:

Von, shhh, it’s ok. Relax a little. But I think you’re right. Hell, if not for you I’d still be doing the same thing with every player that beat Federer. And in one of Fed’s worst year’s, I’ve been pretty calm (except the Wimbledon final, but who WAS calm during that match?).

This place really has become an excuse-fest. To sum things up, whenever a player loses, it’s because on that day, their opponent was better. Regardless of injuries or anything. Nadal was injured in Rome, really injured, and lost to Ferrero. The commentators were saying how Nadal’s footwork wasn’t very good and his forehand was falling short. Yes, this was a factor. But it was up to Ferrero to take advantage of the opportunity and he did so with quite some flair. He played a brilliant match to subdue Nadal. If Nadal was at his best, I’m sure he would’ve won. But on that day, Ferrero was better and that’s all that matters.

johanne, I’m not mad I just don’t want you to confuse me with these excuse makers because that’s not what I was trying to do. As for the tiebreaker question, well, it’s a little complicated. I guess I’d call myself a fan of tiebreakers. I like to know there’s an end. But I really like the way everything is right now. I like that the US Open is the only slam with TBs and I hope it stays that way. TBs fit the US Open. To me, it’s really exciting when you’re watching a really tight match and it’s the 5th set tiebreaker and you know that the whole match is about to be decided by 2 or 3 points here and there. If only Wimbledon had 5th set tiebreakers, Federer might have actually won it then ;P. No, but seriously who can forget the Agassi-Blake tiebreaker. The whole match was great, then the tiebreaker was great, and it was decided on about 2 points. Tiebreakers are great because, no matter what any player says, that is when they feel the most pressure. How can they not? In a set you know if you’re down 1-5, you have a realistic chance to still ease your way back into the set. If you’re down 1-5 in a tiebreaker, well, holy shit you’re screwed! I think the way everything is set up now is good. I like tiebreakers but seeing Nadal win 9-7 in the fifth set… I can’t find words to describe how awesome that is. I’m not saying I’m glad Nadal won but winning in an epic way like that is just fantastic.


Von Says:

You’re right Andy can’t do sh** these days, but I’ll wager one thing, he sure can do a lot better than you’ll ever do. Nice name change BTW. Amzing how you just appeared out of the blue with your new name and style. And, as I stated previously, some of you Nadal fans are just as bad, or even worse than the Fed fans. The same behavior you accuse the Fed fans of, is the same you engage in, with a lot more vulgar language V. Anyway, don’t let me stop you. Go for it. I prefer a player who can’t do shit, I’ll spell the word out for you, because you’ve said worse before, than one who’s pretentious and is politically correct, while feigning lack of comprehension.


Von Says:

BTW, enjoy Nadal’s sweet ride this year, let’s see how much more he’ll do next year. Who knows Roddick might do a lot better next year than the mighty one. Slow and steady won the race.


sensationalsafin Says:

Von, ignore rafan, he’s a douche. But check out this video I found. It’s top 10 shots from this year’s AO. Unfortunately no Andy, but Safin’s is on here twice :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkomuQy_7s0&feature=related


johanne Says:

SS – tiebreakers make me spazz out! I don’t know, they just make me nervous :) As far as Wimby goes, I’m sure you’ve come to realize that I’m a fan of Rafa, so the fact that there was no tiebreaker in the 5th, I was like OH HELL YEAH. I was definitley happy to see it play out. But regardless of who you wanted to see come out victorious – WOW, what an exciting finish! Somehow it seemed just a little bit more special than a tiebreaker may have. Maybe because one of the players HAD to break serve?? In any case, epic indeed.


sensationalsafin Says:

Oh and thanks for that link with the live feed. I watched parts of the Gasquet-Del Potro match. Now THAT is what I’m talking about! 2 up and comers slugging it away go the freaking distance!! Del Potro has really won me over. Now I’m hoping Gasquet FINALLY starts living up to his potential. He’s so freaking talented. I hope his doesn’t quiver with fear all of next year the way he did this year.


sensationalsafin Says:

Yeah I agree with that. I think if I had to choose between all the slams having tiebreakers or all the slams having no tiebreakers, I’d easily go with the latter. Tiebreakers are supposed to make you nervous, that’s the exciting part :P. I completely agree that finishing without a tiebreaker the way they did made it more special. Again, not glad Nadal won but kudos to him. I’ll never like Nadal because I honestly think he’s fake but I’m a fan of his accomplishments. That much I can admit. I definitely wanted Federer to win the FO-W double but Nadal beat him to it and f*cking kudos to him because he deserved/deserves it. It was really weird to see Nadal’s name at number 1 just because I’ve grown so accustomed to seeing Fed’s name there, but it’s not THAT weird. Nadal IS the best player in the world. There’s no arguing it. Mono, shmono. Nadal has proven himself at least a dozen times this year to be the very best. Last year, you would’ve never heard me saying this but Nadal is a truly great player and, while I’ll always root for Federer to beat him, you just can’t take anything away from his accomplishments.


gulu Says:

Well, I hav seen that match which Fed lost to Karlovic.That’s one of the few matches where I hav seen Fed losing despite playing well.Roger’s movement was ok,he hit some really brilliant shots too against Karlovic,but the match for sure was extremely close and Karlovic came throu safely in the end to my disappointment.I really wanted Fed to win that title as winning for him was very important then to be able to continue as the no.1.It was like whoever was to be luckier on that day,would hav won the match.Still Ivo deserves credit for the fact that he did his job quite well that day and didn’t let Fed score too many cheap points over him.So it was a well-deserved & hard fought victory for Ivo,so happy for him.


johanne Says:

SS – I must give you snaps for being so kind to Rafa on this board. It takes some guts! I’m sorry you feel he’s fake, but what are you going to do?? We all have our preferences. I hope your boy Safin can continue to “surprise” people in 2009. I’ve always thought he was bad-ass and have always wanted him to do well. Best of luck.


gulu Says:

Come on dear Von, ignore Rafan!You needn’t clarify anything to him.He has already used the term ‘sh**’,dat’s d way some are going to express themselves.So plz don’t respond.


Von Says:

SS:

You’re welcome. that Delpotro/Gasguet was a good match. I felt bad for Gasquet — it seems he had a bad call when he had the opportunity to break JBDP and ended uplosing his concentration in the last game. However, he’s showing that he can keep his concentration going for longer periods of time in his matches and that’s something that will help him going forth for 2009.

Thanks for sharing those 10 best shots with me. My big, beautiful lug nug, looked so elegant when he was diving for the shot at the net, and when he was running. Gosh, is he dreamy or what! gimme a glass of ice cubes, somebody please. Did you see the sign “I love you Marat, marry me”. He’ll always tug at my heart strings. He’s so fine and sump’n else, as the kids would say. :P

The Roddick/Berdych match is not on live streaming, so I’m relegated to watching the live scores, which is going to make me sweat bullets. Catch ya later, and behave yourself, as if I could. :D


jane Says:

sensationalsafin – good video; thanks for posting it. Safin’s stab/dive volley was a classic. That Baggy v. Safin match was good: makes me miss seeing both those guys at their best.


jane Says:

Von, I posted a thx re: the link on the other thread. That was a nice match. Wish we could see the OTHER semi live. Sigh. I think sleep is in order. ZZZZZ…..


gulu Says:

Hi Sensationalsafin!The video which u referred was awesom.Safin n Djoko played d best shots I guess.


gulu Says:

Dear Von,I m so sorry as it’s bad news. Roddick has lost in the semifinal to Berdych.Rod was leading in the 3rd set 3-1,so I thought he was gonna win it,but to my shock n surprise he lost d match.He should hav won it.Still it’s not the end of the world I guess.I’ll post 2 you later.


gulu Says:

I m sure dat Del Potro will win Tokyo title.


zola Says:

Von,
Guess what, I don’t even read your angry posts. So you can jump up and down and scream and as loud as you want. I won’t be bullied by you. I will write whatever I want about whoever I want.If Roddick once again curses an umpire I will write that I didn’t like it. If he wins I will congratulate him. I don’t need your permission to write here.

All these because I criticized Roddick for cursing the umpire. Quite pathetic indeed.Get over it! Get a life!


zola Says:

gulu dear,
I love that video too. I guess they made it at wimbledon and both Fed and Rafa suit that poem so perfectly. I understand your feelings. I was the same in wimbledon 07. I was sad that Rafa lost, but they both played so well that it was OK.
I watched the wimbledon final last weekend and they both played great. I think Rafa had the edge but Fed fought it to the last point.quite a match and quite a rivalry.

FoT
**waves**

*** guess that’s where I differ from a lot of others. I mean, if you don’t like the player – why waste your time writing about him? Why not write about the player you like? I believe in the fact that if you can’t say anything good about someone – don’t say anything at all! lol!***

really nice comment. btw , check my post above. You might like that video too:
http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2008-10-01/623.php#comment-49880

Johanne,
I didn’t think you were dissing uncle Toni.Quite the contrary, you were defending him. Thanks a lot!

rafan,
Don’t even waste your time on her posts. She is what she is and we can’t change her. We are here to discuss tennis. let’s do that.


zola Says:

sensationalsafin
Thanks for that AO best shots video. Some great shots! My favorits were 2 and 4. And there are two shots from Tsonga. I forgot how dangerous he could be. He was on fire!

******
gulu
seems DelPotro and Gasquet will play in Tokyo final. I didn’t see the Berdych-Roddick match, but read that Berdych came back to win the match. Roddick has been playing since the DC semis without a break. I guess a trophy and a semis is not too bad.I think he will make it to Shanghai.

Del Potro also has that Shanghai motivation and that might be the extra factor to motivate him against Gasquet.


gulu Says:

Question-Is Fed a tennis sissy? Answer-No,not at all! Fed can’t b called a tennis sissy coz his rivals r always afraid of him.Fed’s one of d biggest bully in tennis history who’s been in news since long 4 defeating his opponents ruthlessly !


Vulcan Says:

Hey Pim Pim is making a comeback!
I hope he can pick up right were he left off because he was top 5 material.


jane Says:

zola – just to clarify, in Tokyo Del Potro beat Gasquet in the semis; he will play Berdych (who edged out Roddick) in the final tomorrow.

—————


gulu Says:

Zola, Del Potro n Gasquet hav already faced each other in d Tokyo semi. Del Potro won it. Berdych bt. Roddic in d other semi. So d final is betn Del n Tomas. I pick Del 2 win it. As far as Rod’s concerned,I’d lov him 2 b at Shanghai n hav a great run ther


jane Says:

I thought Pim Pim, aka Joachim Johansson, retired this year; did I miss something?


Vulcan Says:

Guess hes becoming the Lindsay Davenport of the mens tour…hes gotten a wildcard into Stockholm.


gulu Says:

By d way I also lik d bullies of various sports; 2 name a few- Mohd. Ali in boxing,Undertaker in wrestling, Zinedine Zidane in football,Tiger Woods in golf,Michael Schumacher in car-racing n ROGER FEDERER IN TENNIS ! ROGER’S MY FAVOURITE TENNIS BULLY !


grendel Says:

Zola:
first, mockery. I come from a country which has a long tradition of using ribaldry and satire to expose the pretensions of the rich and famous. I take your point that it is the fans rather than the big name people who get the mud. That said, there isn’t really any way round it, and I think mockery has its place. “I see you somehow enjoy this” – yes, you’re right. That’s more or less human nature, Zola, most of us have a cruel streak and just denying it doesn’t work, you know, it’ll come out in other ways and you’re stepping pretty close to the prig zone if you try to claim otherwise. As ever, it’s a question of balance, and perhaps common sense. I do think there is quite a lot which is phony about both Nadal and Uncle Toni, and a little mockery is not really so dreadful. As I said to you before, there is an inveterate mocker of Federer on here, and so far as I am concerned, he has his place, a good place, and I hope he goes on posting. btw., I disagree with most things he says, including his latest about time off, he annoys me sometimes, but that’s life you know Zola. Like anyone who has achieved great fame, Federer can be deeply, deeply absurd – but anyway, that’s enough of that.

About Davydenko: you persist in not getting the point, and since you are a smart person, I believe it’s because you are in a kind of denial. Yet again, a little wearily, one climbs onto the old war horse. You say: ” If you say on that day in Miami final 08 Davydenko was a better player, I agree.

If you say Rafa played his best at Miami, I don’t.

If you say overall davydenko is a better hard court player than Rafa, I don’t agree with you.

Take the third statement – I did not say that. I said something very different. I said Davydenko has the weapons to beat Nadal on hard court however well Nadal plays. But given that Davydenko rarely uses those tools especially against the very best players – he generally falters, lacks resolution and so on – you would normally expect Nadal to beat Davydenko on hard. But in Miami, for once, Davydenko did not falter. And he used his weapons to magnificent effect.

Now for the 2nd statement – to repeat:”If you say Rafa played his best at Miami, I don’t”. Let’s unpack this, because this is pure Zola. Actually, I don’t know whether Rafa played at his best, and I very much doubt if you do. How do we know if a player is at his best? So much depends on what the fellow on the other side of the net is up to, doesn’t it? Davydenko, playing at the height of his powers – which he was , and don’t lets forget you started off by denying this until it became too implausible – could very well have shocked Nadal, and simply not allowed him to do the things you are accustomed to seeing him do. But I’ve said before, Zola, you tend not to take account of Nadal’s opponent – but it really does take 2, not 1, but 2 to tango. So what you do is, if I understand the mechanism correctly, is set up a situation in your own mind whereby Nadal is eternally protected, using various layers of defence. And at the root of it all is something surprisingly like a religious dogma: it is not possible to beat Nadal unless something is wrong with Nadal, tiredness, lack of focus, whatever. Like all religious dogma, this is essentially circular, and one just can’t break through with rational argument. So I’ll just conclude by saying: Davydenko was certainly at his best, so good was this he may very well have prevented Nadal from playing his best, and so he earned a notable victory and it is unsportsmanlike to try to rob him by making qualifications. It may seem like a paradox, but it is the case that sometimes a very great player (which is what Nadal is) playing at the height of his amazing powers, is beaten by a lesser player. It is strange but, if you take the trouble to think it through, reasonable.


Vulcan Says:

Im also guessing Federer will pull out of Madrid for the sole reason that he will want to avoid being sprayed in the eyes with Champagne again by Fernando Gonzalez!


grendel Says:

b.t.w., I watched the Karlovic/Federer. One thing VERY noticeable; Fed could do little with his serve. And I have seen Federer before not exactly taming Karlovic’s serve, but coming to grips with it in the important moments. When Murray played Karlovic, however, he simply destroyed the Croat’s serve – I’ve never seen anything like it. There was quite a debate at the time, some people insisting that Karlovic just wasn’t serving as well as against Fed (tired, you see – it’s not just Nadal), others equally insistent that Murray didn’t allow Karlovic to serve as well. I lean to a mixture of the two – but I want to insist that Murray was very, very impressive in his return of serve, and Federer frankly abysmal on this occasion.


jane Says:

Maybe we need Black Adder on Tennis?

Speaking of absurdity, no offense to those who enjoyed it, but I thought the “If” reading / video was a little, er, pretentious.

I am not sure what Kipling, the Imperialist, would think of it. Maybe he’d love it, and thus he’s rolling around in his grave with glee. Or perhaps he’d hate it, and he’s rolling OVER in his grave, groaning with pain. On the other hand, there is a very good chance he’s now living as a vampire, haunting India, most likely.

Sorry, I digress.


sensationalsafin Says:

Roddick lost to Berdych in, score-wise, quite an epic match. Shame for Roddick but he’s gotta be running on reserves right about now. Still, I’m surprised. I didn’t think Berdych would do it. He certainly has the game but not much going on in between the ears. I’m a Berdych fan so I’m not upset, quite pleased actually. Both Berdych and Gasquet are actually showing a DESIRE to win. I guess there’s a first time for everything :P. Now it’s Del Potro vs. Berdych. That’s a great match-up. Hopefully these 2 put out a valiant effort and we get a high-quality match. I predict JMDP to take home the trophy but hopefully he’s gonna have to work real hard to do it.


Von Says:

Roddick said earlier in the week that he had played a lot of tennis and also did quite a bit of travelling and his first match was difficult — jet lag or time zone changes, etc. Anyway, he did play a very good match and had the match on his racquet, but got broken, and credit to Berdych for hanging in there to capitalize on the break when he got the opportunity. Both guys played very well except for the few lapses by Roddick. I’d like to see Berdych win this title because he hasn’t won anything in a long time, and DelPotro already has 4 titles for this year thius far. So Berdych, my money’s on you and I hope you take advantage of this golden opportunity and win the title.


Von Says:

“gulu Says:
By d way I also lik d bullies of various sports;
2 name a few ….ROGER’S MY FAVOURITE TENNIS BULLY !”

Don’t forget Andy Roddick — he’s the worst bully of all. It’s gone from bullying younger players, to umpires, to now cursing at the umpires. I suppose the next he’ll be slapping hawkeye silly. I bet Fed would like to have a go at hawkeye too. Gawd, but do I love bullies. That’s why I’m such a BULLY, and I specialize in bullying the innocent behemoths.


Von Says:

jane:

“Speaking of absurdity, no offense to those who enjoyed it, but I thought the “If” reading / video was a little, er, pretentious.”

The words of the poem “IF” are inscribed on the walls of the AELTC.


jane Says:

Yeah Von, I am aware of that; personally I find it rather ironic. Kipling has been deeply criticized in academic circles for his colonialist and racist rhetoric; he wrote things like “The White Man’s Burden” for goodness sake, though he was, like all of us, a product of his time.

But regardless, I still thought that youtube video was absurdly pomp. I like to see the players playing rather than trying (!) to recite poetry. Again, no offense to those who loved it.

BTW, I posted a comment re: Andy’s semi on the other thread, where you posted the link.


Von Says:

jane:

“BTW, I posted a comment re: Andy’s semi on the other thread, where you posted the link.”

Sorry, I didn’t see it, but to be truthful, I haven’t been reading much on that thread — you seem to have your own little chat room going on there. :P As a result of which, I scroll over some of the posts; I feel as though I’m invading your privacy. :D I’ll look for it now.


Vulcan Says:

mem Says:

tennis is not all about roger federer.

That may be true…but I think the inverse is true…Federer is what tennis is all about.

I for one…cannot fathom that anyone in their right mind can accuse Roger Federer of being unsportsmanlike or anything along those lines.
He is, has been, and likely will continue to be what tennis is all about. As Patrick McEnroe said, its not what he accompished…its the WAY he accomplished what he accomplished. He is the epitome of tennis excellence and sportsmanship.


zola Says:

oops, my post was gobbled by the typepad!

Jane,
I think that video is a promotion by Wimbledon. I don’t think either player wanted to pretend anything. We know them anyway!

About Tokyo, you are right! How can Berdych win the semis and is not in the final? Perhaps too early on a weekend morning for me! Thanks for clarification.

Grendel,
I appreciate the fact that you are so honest about yor feelings. It’s Ok with me if you don’t like Rafa or find RAfa and Uncle Toni phony. I think it is the difference of opinion and I stated mine earlier.

About Davydenko discussion…I wrote those statements just to lay out the points. Not to imply that they are your opinions. I acknowleged Davydenko’s win many times. You say ” Davydenko has the weapons to win any player on any surface”, but his results against Rafa and fed does not reflect that. Anyway, Perhaps we can agree that Davydenko used his weapons better than Rafa in the Miami final!

Sensationalsafin
Berdych is not consistent.I think a well-rested Roddick could have won that match. DP is on a roll and I agree with you that he is the favorite in that final.

btw,
JJ won Venus who won Safina….. I think she can get Petrova too (if she is not injured).


zola Says:

Vulcan
**Im also guessing Federer will pull out of Madrid for the sole reason that he will want to avoid being sprayed in the eyes with Champagne again by Fernando Gonzalez!***

that was funny! I thought Fed might be out of Stockholm and Madrid to get some rest. some say that he might be out for the rest of season, because he has to wn everything and Rafa has to lose everything for Fed to get the No 1 back. So he wants to rest and train and come back next to fight for No 1.

That makes sense too. Still, I am more for shorter breaks because without match play , it takes a bit longer for the players to get used to the tour after they come back. But this is Fed.

So the end of the year is getting exciting. Beginning of 09 should be fantastic!


zola Says:

gulu,
sorry, just saw your post about the Tokyo final. Thanks for than. My pick is DP too. He is just too hot right now!

so as if Nalby and the Argentine crowd were not enough, now I have DP to worry about in the DC final too!


Vulcan Says:

Zola, hehe yeah that was a precarious moment in the history of tennis when Federer got doused with champagne by Gonzo…when he started rubbing his eyes as if something had really gone wrong im sure a few tennis fans held their breath.


grendel Says:

Well, we don’t want to be flogging dead horses, do we, the animal rights brigade ‘ll get to hear about it, but:You say ” Davydenko has the weapons to win any player on any surface”, but his results against Rafa and fed does not reflect that”. Of course. This, nobody doth deny. But, very occasionally, the mould is broken. And it was in Miami. For hundreds of years, it was stated as an article of faith that all swans are white. And then some inconvenient bugger went and discovered a black swan, and all the old dogmas had to be revised. This tale is often cited to point to the failure of inductive reasoning. That’s what you suffer from, Zola. You are a believer in inductive reasoning. You must shed this false faith – and the truth shall be granted unto you. For instance, shocking everyone, especially Nadal and himself, Davydenko did his tremendous talents justice. Noone could have predicted it. But it was -undeniably – so. I don’t know what happened to the person who brought back the dreadful news that black swans existed. I daresay he had his head chopped off. Sometimes, the truth is painful.


grendel Says:

I happened to turn the telly on one day, and there was old Agassi, winning comfortably against a very tall, Olympian looking fellow, who didn’t seem at all overawed by his famous opponent. As I idly watched, having no idea who this Greek God of a fellow was, I suddenly became aware of his tennis. Agassi was, as ever, thrashing the ball as if it had done him an injury and he was intent on teaching it a damn good lesson, but the Greek God seemed unfazed by this, and would calmly stroke the ball back. Yes, that was the word, stroke. I sat up and took notice. This chap seemed to have all the time in the world, he would caress the ball tenderly, one thought of cream somehow, and you had this funny illusion that he could place the ball wherever he wanted, so you found yourself slightly surprised when the ball failed to find the mark, which admittedly was quite often. The other thing about the Greek God was that sometimes as he applied his velvet technique, you couldn’t help noticing how fast the ball sped to the other side. Agassi was pounding away with all this vigour and energy, whilst the ball just flowed from the Greek God, effortless power – God, it was mesmerising. Who was this chap?

Well, it was Berdych, of course. You can bet I kept my eye open for this fellow, and was gratified to see him steadily climb the ranks. He beat Nadal as if it was quite an ordinary matter, and denied poor old Liubicic his one masters title in a tremendous display of power.

And then it all stalled. Why do these things happen? Any chance he might make it after all?

I liked Gasquet’s remark about del P now being just behind Fed, Nadal, Djoko and Murray. This was true modesty, unaffected I mean. Bear in mind he has twice beaten Murray quite soundly, and the occasion on which he lost – Wimby this year – he was just wiping the bloody floor with him, it was a masterful performance – until he got frightened by the sight of the winning post.


zola Says:

grendel,
As you said, it is against animal rights to beat the dead horse ( even a live one!). I think you are a victim of your reasoning too. You say that Davydenko has the weapons to beat anyone. Then you say “but he doesn’t use them” and then you say on Miami final he surprised himself. I agree that he played great. But I add that Rafa did not play his best. Either it was because of Davydenko’s superb play or something about Rafa, or both, we will never know, because every coin has two sides!


jane Says:

grendel, Did you know that white swans have black skin? Sometimes the “truth” must be revealed through an unmasking, or plucking, as the case may be. Maybe, since Davy had been tarred and feathered by the ATP… wait, I am getting ahead of myself here.

Did you watch Gasquet lose yesterday, btw? Another classic example of being “frightened by the sight of the winning post”‘; he was playing lovely tennis in that last set, and then, somehow, the stall. And you can bet JMDP was ready to take the charge.


grendel Says:

Yes, has the weapons, but generally fails to apply them (against the very best) – did on one occasion. Wherein lies the failure of reasoning? Forgive me, for I am not trying to be obstreperous, but there is something slightly slippery about your argument. You say Rafa did not play his best, and now concede that perhaps it was due to davydenko’s play but then, you backpedal to the old mantra, (Nadal’s something or other), and say perhaps after all it was that. It is always difficult to prove a negative, and we can’t say with absolute finality that Nadal wasn’t this, that or the other.

But the point is, given Davydenko’s masterful play on the day, it just doesn’t make sense to bring it up. Nadal was beaten fair and square, and there was not a damn thing he could have done about it – on that day. If davydenko could always play like that, then perhaps HE would be #1. But of course, he can’t. We all know that. But it does not follow from that – oh, I give up!


grendel Says:

Jane, no, I am green with envy of those who managed to watch those semis – they sounded terrific.


zola Says:

grendel,
ok, that’s the gist of it; I say Rafa did not play his best on that day. Davydenko did. And if Rafa plays his best he is capable of winning a Davydenko who is playing his best. I think we can go on forever…but thanks for the discussion.


Von Says:

Sensationalsafin:

I forgot to give you the link to the berdych/Delpotro match. here it is. Score is 6-1, 4-3 berdych.

http://www.justin.tv/el_enano_buonanotte


Von Says:

Sensationalsafin:

Yes, yes, and yes, Berdych did it!! He took down DelPotro in geat form 6-1, 6-4. I’m happy for him. This is his first tile for quite some time. Godd job Tomas!!

—————
Skorocel:

Your countryman Berdych won!! Great. Today all of your newspapers will be filled with his victory. He was my pick to win due to how well he played against Andy yesterday; not to mention the fact that I like him too, and he’s your compatriot, which goes without saying. MAS. :P :D


Von Says:

gulu:

I’m not posting on the other thread because I can see it will turn into a nasty American bashing fest for the Americans and Roddick in particular. These people thrive/enjoy tearing down other players, except their own. Ignore that post — it’s the same Mono/arse poster. There are many of them around, with several post names.


gulu Says:

Hello dear Von! Oh u r right ! Berdych won it.I thought Del Potro’ll win,but he didn’t.I was rootin 4 Our Andy 2 win it.But after he lost, I wasn’t much concerned over who’d win. Our Rod has lost 2 eventual winner,so it’s not dat bad.


Skorocel Says:

To Von:

Well, Tomas maybe isn’t my countryman in the right sense, since, as you may know, we’re split up from the Czechs for already some 15 years, but anyway, I’m very happy the guy won! Really, too bad Eurosport wasn’t covering the Tokyo matches… They only did so with the WTA event in Stuttgart, but that doesn’t interest me at all…


Tejuz Says:

Del Potro could make it to the Master’s Cup if he plays like this for the rest of the season.. and there we’ll know if he hold his own against the BIG BOYS. Since it will be 3-setters til the semi’s, am pretty sure we’ll see a few upsets from him at Shanghai.


grendel Says:

“I say Rafa did not play his best on that day. Davydenko did. And if Rafa plays his best he is capable of winning a Davydenko who is playing his best. I think we can go on forever…”

But Zola, we can only go on for ever because you do not take into account the arguments, but simply go on repeating the same stuff.

“Isay Rafa did not play his best on that day” – but this particular mantra has now become meaningless. The question is: did he not play his best because he was, in true Nadal tradition, tired, lacking in focus, wondering whether or not to two-time whats her name, practising his French verbs, thinking of Zola and one or two other things or: did he not play his best because DAVYDENKO DID NOT ALLOW HIM TO. That is what is at issue. Note that if the latter is the case he was, in a true sense, playing at his best – he was playing as well as Davydenko allowed him to play, and that might very well look unrecognizeable to someone accustomed to a rampaging Rafa. If you have some idealised view of what constitutes the Nadalesque optimum performance, it’s going to be quite easy to dismiss any defeat he has to his own shortcomings of the day rather than to his opponent’s superiority. Pure cop out.

“And if Rafa plays his best he is capable of winning a Davydenko who is playing his best.” This adds nothing to the foregoing. Because it hasn’t remotely, not remotely, been shown that Rafa was not playing his best in the qualified sense outlined above – i.e.playing as well as he was able to given that Davydenko was simply too good for him.

I don’t believe, Zola, you are seriously interested in the truth, because your attitude is essentially religious (it is based upon faith, and not reason). The idea that Davydenko actually has the weaponry to beat a Nadal in his absolute prime is obviously deeply repugnant to you, and not to be countenanced. So you bring up irrelevant things like,Davy’s record against Nadal and Fed is poor (disastrous, I’d say), Davy has never won a slam or even got to a final, Davy did nothing after Miami, etc, etc.

All that matters is what happened on the day. There is not the slightest evidence that Nadal was tired, was this, was that. Therefore, although it is not absolute proof, the empirical evidence is overwhelming that Davydenko can beat a Nadal in prime form. We can certainly qualify this by saying that it is always extremely unlikely that he will do this, but Davydenko has shown beyond reasonable doubt, as the saying goes, that he has been able to do it at least once. He may never do it again – and this, once more, is irrelevant.

In this sense, it is just wrong to say “we can agree to disagree”. Some things are right and some things are wrong, and there can be no accomodation. You can’t choose whether the earth is flat or round. Reason is not democratic. The evidence overwhelmingly points in one direction. Not to accept this is irrational in the extreme, and is clearly all about emotional need. It’s also bad sportsmanship.


zola Says:

grendel,

I think you said it here:
***The question is: did he not play his best because he was, in true Nadal tradition, tired, lacking in focus, wondering whether or not to two-time whats her name, practising his French verbs, thinking of Zola and one or two other things or: did he not play his best because DAVYDENKO DID NOT ALLOW HIM TO. ***

this is the difference in our opinions.

Please note that I adhere to the discussion. I do not attack your character. But you constantly try to find a fault with me or the way I think. That is a killer.

So we agree that RAfa did not play his best. Your reasoning is that Davydenko didn’t let him to do so. My reasoning is that Rafa was not at his best on that day, but Davydenko was. How do we know which one is right?

To fond that out, I look at other facts. They played once on hard courts when Rafa was not playing anywhere close to his 08 form and Rafa won Davydenko.

Also after that match, Davydenko was not able to duplicate that form, but Rafa cruised.

So, maybe it was a power surge for Davydenko on that day ( he played great and won), or maybe an off day for Rafa. I guess we will never know.


zola Says:

Tejuz,
I think DP is now 9th on the Race list right after Blake and the point difference will be single digits! I think one more good performance and DP will be in Shanghai.


grendel Says:

I have not attacked your character – or if, by being carelees, I have seemed to, I apologise. But what I have said is that you are not being rational. Now either that is true or it is not. I have tried to show that it is.

You say “my reasoning was that Rafa was not at his best that day”. And what are your reasons? They are to do with prematch stuff and post match stuff. I have contended, at some length, that these are not reasons, that they are not relevant. They are interesting, yes, particularly for the light they throw upon Davydenko, but they do not impinge upon the case in hand.

That really is it. You have to look at the match itself – nothing else counts, and that’s what you refuse to accept, and that’s why I have called you irrational. There is no evidence that Nadal was harbouring an injury or anything else. The presumption must be, then, that he was not allowed to play his best by Davydenko.

I think it is extraordinary that you cannot accept that Nadal can be beaten by a lesser player even though he was at his best. These things happen from time to time to all the great players, there is nothing hugely unusual about it, although it is certainly noteworthy. This is why I submit you are being ruled by your emotions, in this instance. I think generally, that is not the case. But you have a blind spot where Nadal is concerned. I’ve been the same, as you very well know, with Federer, and I’ve sort of recognised it, how successfully, I don’t know.

Some people might argue: what does it matter? Well, let me be honest, Zola; I like you, as a matter of fact, but I find it incredibly irritating how you cast this protective blanket over Nadal, which invariably entails making excuses for him. He doesn’t need that. He is a very great player. But even the greatest can be beaten, fair and square, by somewhat lesser players, even though they were at their best. It’s not so difficult to work out, if you really are interested in the truth. Davydenko’s skills are formidable, in their way as impressive as Nadal’s, certainly on hard court. But as everyone keeps saying, tennis is a mental game – and in that department, Davydenko is obviously nowhere near in Nadal’s league. But that doesn’t mean to say he cannot, very occasionally, maybe only once, get his act together and overwhelm Nadal. And that’s what you find so hard to accept – I believe on emotional grounds. Absolutely nothing wrong with your character. Plenty wrong with mine, as it happens. But: that is irrelevant to the case in hand.


Von Says:

Grendel:

I’ve been meaning to commend you for so artfully incorporating the following into your discussion:

“I take your point that it is the fans rather than the big name people who get the mud. That said, there isn’t really any way round it, and I think mockery has its place. “I see you somehow enjoy this” – yes, you’re right. That’s more or less human nature, Zola, most of us have a cruel streak and just denying it doesn’t work, you know, it’ll come out in other ways and you’re stepping pretty close to the prig zone if you try to claim otherwise. As ever, it’s a question of balance, and perhaps common sense.”

I’ve been wondering for quite some time now, whether I had been imagining these characteristics or they are indeed there, however, it didn’t seem as though anyone else saw them until you mentioned your observations. Anyway, I’m happy to see that there is one other intelligent person who has seeen through the pretense and is also gutsy enough to disclose its development.

When the Davy discussion started and the excuses began pouring forth, I mentioned that the next we’ll hear is that Roddick’s win over Nadal will be subjected to the same excuses, however, I didn’t think it would happen so quickly. There’s a post on the “American Tennis: USTA, Fans Asking ‘Who’s Next?’ and ‘When?’ thread as follows:

“zola Says:
CKY
“It is a big accident to beat the top three one
after another. Roddick has a big serve and on fast courts he can use it very well. Combine that with a bad day for a player and a win is not improbable at all. Remeber he was No 1 and has been in top 5 or a long time.”

So, going from the above, Roddick’s win was an accident because Nadal, Djokovic and Federer were all having bad days. I doubt whether she cared at all about defending Djokovic and Federer, but couldn’t very well leave them out, or else the defense would have been too pronounced. Nadal is the main focus of her defense because as has been established no one can beat a focused, in-form and/or uninjured Nadal — a thing that’s out of the question. Further, even though I’ve ignored her, she has gone out of her way to ensure that she demonstrates even further to those who are discerning that she is rather cantankerous, bellicose, closed minded and repugnant, bearing in mind that my discussion with the poster CYK did not in anway involve her, but her overbearing desire and classlessness to cause an altercation was too great to control, as follows:

“Btw, don’t be detered by headcases who go crazy if you criticize Roddick! There are also many who can conduct a civil conversation.”

If you have the time read the “”American Tennis: USTA, Fans Asking ‘Who’s Next?’ and ‘When?’ thread, the posts and my answers is self-explanatory. I’d like your opinion, please. I think you are knocking your head against a brickwall, because there isn’t any way you’re going to pemnetrate the thick gray matter that’s rusting in the hippocampus. Good luck. I’ve had my laugh for today. thanks.


zola Says:

Oh, grendel, no need to apologize. I have enjoyed this discussion with you.

I accept my own fault, in that I may not be rational when Rafa is concerned and I am sorry if you think that I find excuses for Rafa when he loses and I am sorry if that irritates you. I will try to be more careful from now on.

I can also accept Rafa’s loss to a lesser player. He was clueless against Tsonga in AO and Youzhny in US Open 06. You could see it in his face.Blake in Shanghai 06, Berdych Madrid 06 …

To me, Rafa is capable of winning most(not all) of his matches. On hard courts he does not have that invincibility factor as shown by Blake, Berdych, fed, Tsonga,… and many other players. (Davydenko was not one of them) They attacked his short balls and his forehand. Rafa was trying to change that trend and was somewhat succeddful. He played more aggressive and played closer tothe baseline.

The fact that he retreated to his old habit of standing far behind the baseline prompted me to think that he was not able to focus properly on that day. You say it is something that Davydenko did that did not let Rafa play his game. So, what new tactic did Davydenko use? Something that Blake and Tsonga did not? what was Davydenko’s special weapon?

Maybe that will help me understand what really happened.


jane Says:

Berdych won…by a mile! Congrats to him. This is irrelevant, but sheesh he looks cute in those trophy presentation photos.

I hope this surge (semis last week, trophy today) continues. I’ve often thought it’s a confidence thing with him, as he can play crucial points badly, but that win against Roddick, coming back from 2-5 in the 3rd set, suggests a belief that’s powerful. Who knows? Maybe we can add him to the growing contingent who can challenge for major titles next year. He’s always been there, lurking around as a potent force, much like Gasquet. But I believe this has been a poor year due to injury, so he has a reason for his drop from inside the top ten last year. Don’t know if Richard can say the same.


zola Says:

Von,
that was a typo, but no surprise to your hostile reaction.

It should be
**it was not a big accident***

I have commended Roddick on many occasions for being the only player to beat the top 3 this year. If you care to read the rest of my comment you will see how I talk about Roddick’s consistency and his big serve. No one can stay on top 5 for years by accident.


zola Says:

Jane
***This is irrelevant, but sheesh he looks cute in those trophy presentation photos. ***

he has gorgeous blue eyes!


Von Says:

ZOLA:
“This is what you wrote, bearing in miond the post was between myself and another poster:

CKY
It is a big accident to beat the top three one after another. Roddick has a big serve and on fast courts he can use it very well. Combine that with a bad day for a player and a win is not improbable at all. Remeber he was No 1 and has been in top 5 or a long time.”

You further went on to state, because I answered his post:

:Btw, don’t be detered by headcases who go crazy if you criticize Roddick! There are also many who can conduct a civil conversation.”

Who’s the headcase to whomh you’re referring — me. I was the only person who had an exchange with CYK. so please don’t make matters worse by changing it around.

Then after you realized I saw it you stated:

“Von,
that was a typo, but no surprise to your hostile reaction.”

As if you would have remained calmed. You DELIBERATELY wanted to cause an argument — JCF once mentioned to you that you like to bait me, and he thinks you shouldn’t do so. I suppose you don’t think that’s what you’re doing right now.

Further: You wrote the following a couple of minutes ago:

“**CKY
It is NOT a big accident to beat the top three one after another***

“I have written that before many times and commended Roddick for being the only player to beat the top 3 this year. I see that VON is trying to use this against me in the other thread! no big surprise!”

Did thid man/woman ask you anything? Even if you wanted to correct your statement, there was absolutely NO NEED TO INCLUDE MY NAME, much more stating that “I see that VON is trying to use this against me in the other thread! no big surprise!” You are just out and out looking for an argument. Do you think I would be able to do my job if I were incompetent in discerning motive. You are looking just looking for teouble.

Do know know what i fee is your problem, you don’t like for any persoon on these threads to have any interaction whatsoever with other posters, it has to be just you and you alone. Your insecurities and so blatant and it makes me pity you. Anyway, if this makes you happy, carry on smartly. Your other froends, will be posting soon, so ythe four (4) of you can all gang up on me. Maybe the new friend you just made will chime in also. God, help me, I’ve yet to meet your kind.


zola Says:

Von,
I wrote here and on that thread that it was a typo.
It was to clarify your misleading and venemous post. Your obsession is quite amazing!don’t you have anything else to do?


Von Says:

grendel:

Please ignore my post of October 5, at 12:58 pm. Thanks.


Von Says:

Zola:

As I’ve said before you’re street smart, and I see it more and more, each time you write something. And, if you knw the full meaning of those words, you’d know it’s not something complimentary. What business is it of yours whether I do or don’t have anything to do? Is it because you DON’T? The only person who had the courage to really let you know what you’re like was Shital Green, and he didn’t hesitate to tell you in no uncertain words. If there were a few more like him, you wouldn’t be able to get away with the trash you write. But enjoy it. This is your home and I’m just crashing your party.


zola Says:

Von,
I want to ask you seriously to reconsider your behavior. See where it all started. When I wrote that comment that Roddick’s on-court behavior was irritating. Maybe it was offensive to you, but I did not mean to offend you or anyone. You became so hostile, leaving very strange messages on that board and it all started from there.

Sometimes comments can be interpreted more or less than what we mean. I have nothing against you or Roddick or any player. I just want to come here and post about tennis. Nothing more or less. But I get offended by your attacks.

You went to incredible lengths to go and find my comments about Davydenko and post it here in the middle of my discussion with Grendel, *which had nothing to do with you*. why did you do that?anything but hostility? but why?

I won’t give up. As long as you do this, I will retaliate. If you go by your own business, I will do the same and you will be invisible to me.

I think we all have the ability to enjoy tennis and the discussion on this board. So let’s do that. Perhaps we should both ignore the other one and let people here discuss tennis.


zola Says:

Von
I am also willing to give you my e-mail so that we can discuss our differences without disrupting this forum. let me know.


grendel Says:

“So, what new tactic did Davydenko use?” (Zola)

I doubt if I’m competent to pronounce on that – but how about: Davydenko played his game, that’s all. Hard, flat hitting to the corners and never letting up – which he usually does at some stage. Plus his serving was unusually good in that tournament, I recall Roddick remarking upon it. The point is, you don’t really need an explanation, once you appreciate that Davydenko is good enough physically (but has hitherto been wanting mentally) to take a top flight Nadal on and beat him, as are Roddick, and Tsonga (I believe); Blake and Youzhny no more. The reason Nadal is better than Roddick, Tsonga and Davydenko on hard is a matter of consistency. If Roddick is firing, he can beat anyone, same for Tsonga. I would actually back Roddick or Tsonga or Nalbandian(but not Davydenko) to beat Nadal, on hard court, if each player was in top form. (That’s not a contradiction about Davy, I just don’t trust him mentally – he did it once; that may be his lot) Nevertheless, I would always bet on Nadal simply because you can rely on him to play pretty near his best, and you can’t so rely on the others. I’d take this further. If Berdych and Gasquet can finally believe in themselves, they too are better than Nadal on hard court. And there are others….Nadal has led a charmed life on hard, imho, I think there are a lot of players who are basically better than him. It is testament to his tremendous mental fortitude that he has done as well as he has. On grass, it’s another matter, though. It hurts to say it, but for the moment, he’s the best in the world. I hope this doesn’t last…

Von: I suppose you were referring to me, but I don’t actually have friends on the site, I am a loner by nature. Which doesn’t mean I can’t exchange the odd missile. You were an enemy once – no longer, I hope.


Von Says:

Zola:

I’m willing to put what has transpired between us thus far behind me. The problem lies within me. What has happened all along concerns my mind-set, whereby I forget at times that this is a tennis forum (I’ve not had much practice at this prior to posting on Tennis.X), and there aren’t any friends here, some acquaintances. In the past you’ve expressed your dislike about anything that disturbed you with respect to Roddick, while I, on the other hand, remained closed-mouthed about Nadal’s shortcomings and praied him despite your Roddick criticisms, which were many, because for some ridiculous reason, I viewed you as a friend, and didn’t want to upset you. Howver, the one-sidedness of the situation began piling up and resentment took over. Therefore, in my mind it became an unfair situation to me, and all it took was the proverbial last straw to break the camel’s back, which happened during the Toronto MS, and as a consequence, we now have the situation that’s before us. Now, I’ve come to the conclusion that you are entitled to speak up as much as you want about Roddick, and I’m putting you on notice, that I’m not going to withhold my speech on whatever I perceive to be Nadal’s shortcomings; this way it won’t be a one-sided situation and no resentment will build up. I believe this is only fair to both of us. In summary, it will be a two-way highway — you’re free to mention whatever it is that you dislike about Roddick, and I’ll do the same about Nadal. I hope that you’ll find this a very fair situation, and I can assure you that whatever criticisms or observations I have regarding Nadal will be fair, based on fact not fiction. In other words, nothing I say will be a fabrication, but it will be based on tangible fctual evidence. For instance, if I see him being cited for a time violation, I’ll speak up, but I’ll ensure that I have a Youtube clip to back up my statements. I’m not saying I’ll mention his time violations per se, but I just want you to have an example of what I’m endeavouring to convey to you. And, I expect the same from you in return, to speak up about Roddick’s umpire, player problems, etc., proffering facts not hearsay. You can let me know if this is acceptable to you.

I don’t view anyone on this site as an enemy nor do I hate anyone. Some might find this hard to believe, but I don’t harbor hate. We are not enemies but adversaries, and when a topic is over, it should be that way, over, and there shouldn’t the need to perpetuate it. An example of this — There was a time I disliked Fed for some of what he said and did, and I found it coloring my views on his tennis. However, I came to the realization that it was very stupid to do so because all I was doing was depriving myself of enjoyment — the enjoyment of watching his beautiful tennis shots and mastery of the game, hence, I made a concerted effort and began disassociating my dislike for his statements from his tennis, and now I can truthfully say I enjoy his tennis. Presently, I enjoy his tennis so much, that I wanted him to win the USO. I still have a problem with some of his statements, but it doesn’t bother me as much as it did in the past. I’m sure those who knew me back then can see the difference in my thinking and my statements.

Zola, that’s it for me. I hiope the foregoing is satisfactory to you and we can again interact on the topic of tennis.


Von Says:

grendel:

“You were an enemy once – no longer, I hope.”

You were never an enemy to me — we were strong adversaries, but never enemies. Anyway, that was then and now we’re just two people who support and love tennis, endeavoring to co-exist in peace with objectivity not subjectivity.


Von Says:

gulu:

Thank you for letting me know the meaning of your name. Cute, eh? :P And, thanks for being so nice/sweet to me. i appreciate it.

You’re making me laugh so much with regard to your bounty hunting tactics of that anti-Fed poster, viz., Fed/shits, Mono/arse. He’ll never answer you. He’ll write those one-liners, and then move on with another name, repeating the same pattern. The reason a lot of these people use those post names is because they want to hide — they’re gutless. Just give up the chase — I’ve learnt one thing about you, and that is, you’ve got a spicy personality/temper. No pretense about you. I like that! :D


Ezorra Says:

At last! Oh God! Seriously, i feel very touched with Von’s suggestion;

“…Zola, that’s it for me. I hiope the foregoing is satisfactory to you and we can again interact on the topic of tennis.”

Von, I think you should proud of yourself for signifying a very brilliant and humble suggestion. I hope after this I can see both of you @ two great posters (in my opinion) discuss about tennis in their great style of writing about their tennis again! I really do! :)


Ezorra Says:

Sorry Bad english huh?…

“Von, I think you should BE proud of yourself…”

“…discuss about tennis in YOUR great style of writing about their tennis again…”

Sorry!


Ezorra Says:

I mean;

“…discuss about tennis in YOUR great style of writing about tennis again…!

Ezorra! whats wrong with u?

Sorry again!


Von Says:

Ezorra:

Thank you. Don’t worry about how the sentence turns out — I understand the meaning behind it and I’m truly touched. I’m proud of you for speaking up, being non-judgmental and so forthright and honest. BTW, are you male or female. :P


Ezorra Says:

Male…


zola Says:

Von,
well, I hope you go back and find those ridiculus reasons that made you think I was your friend. Maybe the times that you were tired of the trolls and were about to give up posting. Or the times that I congratulated you for Roddick’s wins.

You can always tell me in a civil tone if a comment that I make or made bothered you. Jane did and I tried to stay colse-mouthed about Djoko. I am not here to offend people. I want to talk about a sport I love.

I don’t think I have made any unsubstantiated accusations about Roddick. His insults to the umpires are on youtube. But I like him as a player. Neither Rafa, nor Roddick are void of mistakes. We are all humans. Criticizr any player you want. But do it to state your opinion not to get back at people. That makes a whole lot of difference in the way you put your words and that’s all I want.

Anyway, next time you want to argue with me, let’s do it out of this forum. Let me know and I give you my e-mail. We can discuss things among ourselves.


zola Says:

grendel,
I think we will discuss this till the end of the world…it is geting a bit funny!
I think we are now back at square one. I say Rafa at his best beats Davy at his best and you say the reverse. I am asking for the reasons and you can’t give me a clear one.
I think ATP TV has the finals on its site. I will watch the match again and tell you what I think about both players, perhaps around Wednesday.

Rafa’s weakness on hard courts comes from his timing, his positioning and his short swings. Players like Yopuzhny and Nalby, Blake and Tsonga took advantage of that by attacking his forehand and taking time away from him. Besides players with double-handed backhands or those who can get around Rafa’s forehand and send it back to him ( like Gonzo) had lots of success against him.

Rafa has started to work on these. Again, I don’t agree with you that Roddick and Davy at their best can beat Rafa at his best. But I think Tsonga, Fed, Nalby and Djoko can. I am hoping for Rafa to improve further to make this list shorter.


Von Says:

Zola:

There won’t be any future arguments with you. I’ll ensure that doesn’t happen. In the future we will both need to remain within the parameters of expressing our opinions, bearing in mind, that we’re all entitled to do so without retaliation, because the bottom line is, we’re all entitled to our opinions, right? Ok then, now that’s been cleared up, and we understand each other, let’s move on to the business on hand, and that’s stating our opinions on the topic of tennis, which should be devoid of personal assaults.


Von Says:

What about Murray? I think he’s going to pose some problems for Nadal too. It’s just a matter of time.


Tejuz Says:

Jane, Even i wish we could add players like Berdych, Gasquet, Baghdatis.. to growing contingent to threaten at next year’s Grandslams.. but i just dont see them winning seven 5-setters… especially beating 2 of top 4 in back to back matches. They are capable for sure.. but they lack consistency and most of all, Belief. They could win a few Master’s series though.. but i doubt if they could win a GS.


grendel Says:

Zola: it was your logic I was attacking. You were looking in the wrong place – i.e.not the match itself – to try to save Rafa’s reputation. And by the way, even if you watch the match again, what makes you think you can tell whether or not Davydenko subdues a top flight Nadal? Certainly the commentators – for the most part high class players in their own time – cannot give definitive answers on this kind of quite subtle question, much less agree on it (unless of course it is glaringly obvious – a knee injury being carried e.g.). I repeat, unless there is evidence to the contrary (injury etc), Nadal was beaten because Davydenko was too good for him, not because he was out of focus in some mysterious way. Only you, Zola, are making this matter controversial. It is actually cut and dried, which does not mean the truth is certain – but it is as certain as we can ever know, and that is why you can just go on and on and on. Imo, it is incumbent upon the Nadal fan – in these circumstances – to give way; or to accept the charge of poor sportsmanship.

“I am asking for the reasons and you can’t give me a clear one”. Now you have hit an important nub; is this site purely for tennis experts – in which case I, certainly, should make my exit. Or is it also available for people who like to watch a great deal of tennis? I have had the latter impression, but of course I may be wrong. But look at it this way. You don’t have to be an opera singer to be able to discern a fine performance – always providing you have watched enough; you may even see things that some experts don’t, because you develop a feel. You couldn’t explain it technically, but you can certainly develop a very sensitive ear. Opera is just an example, take your pick, really.

There is another possibility. Some arguments go on for ever – if the people concerned have the stamina – and the reason for that, sometimes, is that the terms are ill defined or even don’t make sense. The GOAT discussion comes to mind – that will never be generally resolved (even if it is in some peoples’ minds) and not just for reasons of personal prejudice but because the whole concept seems to be so hopelessly vague, in tennis anyway.

So what do we really mean by “Nadal at his best”? When Roddick beat him, are you really suggesting that Nadal somehow gave the match to Roddick? No, of course not, not openly. But think about it. When Roddick is on, he is a fearsome customer – ask Federer, he has never been in any doubt, regardless of the h2h. Roddick was on in Dubai, clearly. What can possibly give you the right to suggest that Nadal could have played better and beaten Roddick? This may seem irrelevant, but I remember the handshake over the net – funny how these things can stick – and there was an odd look of respect on Nadal’s face. He has beaten Roddick in the past quite easily, and he clearly didn’t expect this. On this day, he was a well beaten man, and it is just wrong to say that it was because he was not at his best. And – broadly speaking – that is my case for Davydenko in Miami, though it is not quite so clear cut, perhaps.

Von: yes, I agree Murray, I was rather taking him for granted, Djokovic and Federer also. But I don’t think it’ll be too long before people like Cilic and del Potro will prove a handful for Nadal on hard court. I agree with Jane – the AO represents Nadal’s big chance for a hard court slam – after that, it’s going to be tough.

That’s my expert opinion.


zola Says:

Grendel,
I am definitely not an expert and that’s why I think I have difficulty in identifying the factors in that match.

Sure I can go on with this discussion as long as you want. But we need to find a way to quantify what we are talking about. To find a measuring stick (within our limited expertise!)to evaluate the performance of each player and then find out weather they were at their best or not. To me that is the difficult part, that we go back to our opinions and start all over again.
If we accept that we rely mostly on our opinions about the players, then we have to accept that we can have different opinions.

what do you mean by :”When Roddick beat him, are you really suggesting that Nadal somehow gave the match to Roddick? No, of course not, not openly.”?

I didn’t suggest anything. I did not see that match and did not have any opinion on that. But based on the fact that Rafa won Roddick in IW on a slower hard court, and the facts about Rafa’s game that I mentioned, I think Rafa lost because Roddick played better than him on that faster surface.

I think too that Murray is going to be very dangerous for everyone. He has worked so hard on his fitness and his mental attitude that it is almost scary. That’s another reason Shanhai this year is going to be very interesting. Not to mention Del Potro who is 2 points behind Blake in the race.


grendel Says:

“Sure I can go on with this discussion as long as you want.” – I know you can, Zola. I called you a “terrier” before, and it wasn’t meant as an insult, although it wasn’t entirely a compliment, either. You’d be a good person to have with you in battle, though, I’m thinking.

“But we need to find a way to quantify what we are talking about. To find a measuring stick (within our limited expertise!)to evaluate the performance of each player and then find out weather they were at their best or not”. Well, I am partly to blame here for going along with all this. You see, rather late in the day, it has occured to me that this idea of a player “at his best”, although it sounds reasonable, doesn’t really make sense. I think I understood that dimly earlier on – when I said you couldn’t isolate a player’s performance from the player across the net – but it seems clearer to me now. To give an example, you sometimes see Federer roll all over a player and look like a god – surely he is at his best? – and then in the next match he looks ordinary (is it likely he will have dropped his form so much in just a couple of days?). Think of Fed destroying Santoro in the AO and then just barely escaping from the determined atack of Tipsarevic. (there may have been a match in between, can’t remember, but my point more or less holds). So perhaps Fed, after all, had NOT been at his best: he’d basically put on a show due to rather weak competition. But he fooled the experts, not just the likes of me.

So I don’t think you are going to find this “measuring stick”. It’s just too complicated to unravel. That’s why I maintain that unless there are other obvious explantory factors such as injury, when a player is beaten in an important match, the default position must be that he was “at his best” – whatever quite that means.

“what do you mean by :”When Roddick beat him, are you really suggesting that Nadal somehow gave the match to Roddick? No, of course not, not openly.”?

I didn’t suggest anything. I did not see that match and did not have any opinion on that. But based on the fact that Rafa won Roddick in IW on a slower hard court, and the facts about Rafa’s game that I mentioned, I think Rafa lost because Roddick played better than him on that faster surface.”

Implicitly, you DID suggest something, because you said: “I don’t agree with you that Roddick and Davy at their best can beat Rafa at his best.” It must follow from this that Nadal was not
at his best in Dubai. But I want to reject this notion utterly, or the philosophy underlying it. Of course, it may be true that a good Roddick can only beat a good Nadal on a fast, as opposed to a slow hard court. I have no idea, but again, I just reject the idea that you can draw conclusions which are buried in concrete as it were on the basis of one match (Rafa winning Roddick at IW). Furthermore, fast hardcourt is still hardcourt, and personally, if I knew Roddick was in excellent form, I would back him to beat Nadal on this surface, regardless of Nadal’s form. If Nadal was playing very well (let’s drop this “at his best” rubbish), it could go either way, admittedly. But Roddick would be in with a very good chance, imo.

Much safer just to stick with individual matches except in very exceptional circumstances. e.g. Nadal’s superiority to everyone on clay is so undeniable it would be stupid too, er, deny it – so here, it is safe to generalise. Not otherwise, though.

Well, have we finished, then? Guess where my money is.


gulu Says:

Zola, If Roddic’s at his best in a hard court match against Rafa, then there’s every chance of Rafa being defeated in spite of playing his best tennis. I can pick Rafa as d fav against Rod only in a clay court match.


gulu Says:

Hi Von! Why hav u not send me any post today? I am missing my dose of smiles.


zola Says:

gulu
interesting point.
what do you think about the IW 07 semi between Rafa and Roddick?

Grendel,
One thing I agree with you that the match is played by two players and it involves both of them. I agree that a very lop-sided match may not be just because one played supereme tennis. Perhaps because the other one did not play a good match.

I don’t what “at his best” means for other players because I don’t watch all their matches ( I watch a lot of Fed’s though). For me Rafa at his best is when he is physically 100% and without injury and has not played many difficult matches, because that wears him out mentally. To me Australian Open is a very good example of Rafa being defeated at his best by Tsonga. He had a relatively easy draw and it was the beginning of the year. Also his losses to Nalby happened when he was back from a month of rest.So he should have been fine. His loss to Youzhny in Dubai 07, US Open 06…I can go on.

Don’t read anything “impliciltly” to my comments. I like to be explicit! I explained in my comments why I think Roddick could have won the match at Dubai. It was a fast surface and Roddick is a good player with a huge serve. So he has an advantage on fast hard courts. I think if they meet again on fast hard, Rafa will have a hard time. But if they meet on a slow court, I will give the edge to Rafa.

****Much safer just to stick with individual matches except in very exceptional circumstances***
I agree. I think maybe we are over-generalizing. The matches are so complicated. Two players, with different physical and mental conditions on that day, ….I really think it just goes back to individual opinions. Davydenko won that match and played great. The reasons are irrelevent now.


grendel Says:

“Don’t read anything “impliciltly” to my comments. I like to be explicit! I explained in my comments why I think Roddick could have won the match at Dubai. It was a fast surface and Roddick is a good player with a huge serve. So he has an advantage on fast hard courts. I think if they meet again on fast hard, Rafa will have a hard time. But if they meet on a slow court, I will give the edge to Rafa”. (Zola)

That’s fine. Not what you said originally, that’s all (” don’t agree with you that Roddick and Davy at their best can beat Rafa at his best.”). That is an explicit point, from which it is legitimate to draw the conclusion that Nadal was not at his best when beaten at Dubai – in fact, logically, you must draw that conclusion.

Looks like you have now shifted your emphasis, which is an honourable thing to do, and gives some point to these discussions.

One caveat (not a disagreement as such):” For me Rafa at his best is when he is physically 100% and without injury and has not played many difficult matches, because that wears him out mentally.” But I suppose you could say that about anyone. It looks like you are asking for perfect conditions. Surely, one measure of the greatness of a player is that he plays at his most commanding in the face of trials and obstacles. Just a thought, not a point of contention……


gulu Says:

Sorry Zola, I hav not seen d match between Rod n Rafa. But I m surely gonna see d clip n then will giv my opinion about it.


Von Says:

gulu:

Hi/hello, bon jour mo cher. How ya doin’? Sorry, I’m slipping up, bit I’ve just begun my day. I was up until 3:00 a.m, and am now rubbing the sleep from my eyes. I did leave you a post early this morning about your fiery, bounty-hunting tactics to draw out your offender out, which i found to be humourous bTW, but it seems he’s not responding — don’t hold your breath he won’t. I’m trying to assimilate all the financial turmoil that’s happening with the stock market and the bailout our couintry is presently going through and the picture is a dismal one. That said, you have to excuse my slipping up in the humour department. Anyway, here’s my usual complement of smiles for you today, which I hope will hold, until I can chat with you some more later this evening. OK? :P :D :) :o .

I’m in agreement with you on Roddick v. Nadal on hardcourt. I honestly feel that both players at their best, I give the edge to Roddick, even on grass. This year Nadal beat Roddick at Queens when Roddick was injured, and it was just one break of serve in each set, 6-4, 6-4. Queens was Andy’s first tournament after being laid up for 7 weeks with his back injury, and he was playing match-deprived. I feel had the circuumstances been different for Andy, he most probably would have won; but Nadal won and credit should go to him for so doing. I don’t like these deliberations about who’s in-form/focused and playing at their best, because the only person who can determine those conditions for a fact, beyond any reasonable doubt, are the players themselves. It’s impossible for an observer to determine what’s going on in a player’s body on any given day, and we can only surmise that one player is feeling better than the other, except in those cases where there is an established injury, then there’s no doubt that the injured player will not be competing at a 100 per cent level. With the density of the field in men’s tennis at the present time, it’s absolutely impossible to say for sure that when a player goes on court, even if he’s playing against a lower ranked opponent, that the higher ranked player will win, and that’s why we have what’s called “upsets”. I feel that a win is a win, and regardless of how we look at it, that’s what the stats will reflect. I don’t think the stats are conditional. It’s cut and dried, e.g., on October 6th, 2008, X beat Y in the first round of Stockholm, 6-4, 7-5. I feel if the players accept they’ve been beaten by their opponent, then we the fans should do the same.

Well, gulu, I have a 2:30 pm appointment, and I’ll be gone for several hours, so I’ll catch up with you later this evening. Here’s something to keep you happy. :P


zola Says:

grendel,
I am not sure if I shifted my point. I just decided not to comment on anything about the match. Because it is over now and the winner is Davydenko. If I bring up a reason for Rafa’s loss, it will be seen as an excuse for not honoring Davydenko for his win and I don’t want to do that. And I see that my reason is based on my opinion and it is hard to prove it right or wrong. So I am giving it a rest. I also decided not to comment on any of Rafa’s losses from now on. Maybe that’s my lesson.Let’s see how much I can stick to it in practice!

***It looks like you are asking for perfect conditions.***
well, what else can be the definition of someone at his best?.. :)


zola Says:

gulu dear,
It’s OK. Just let me know if you had a chance to watch it. If I find some highlights, I will send them your way!


gulu Says:

Dear Zola, thanks. It’ll b great to watch some highlights of the Rod v. Nad. I’ll enjoy it 4 sure. Don’t worry, be happy!


gulu Says:

Dear Von, I just wanna tell u that yeah, d Wim 2004 final thou a 4-setter was really close.D rain in dat match might hv swung d momentum a bit in Fed’s favour as Rod wasn’t abl 2 play as wel as he did 2 win 1st set.So Rod’s very good on grass too.


Von Says:

gulu:

Andy has won 4 titles at Queens. Hewitt has won 3. So I’d say these guys are good on grass.


jane Says:

Re: Roddick vs. Rafa –

IW 07: It is extremely hot and dry there and was perhaps even more so in 07. Rafa was able to play that court similar to how he can play on clay; the ball was bouncing very high and the top spin was clicking. So he neutralized the fast surface somewhat.

Queens: Rafa won, but not easily. The score was 7-5, 6-4 so only 1 break each set. Roddick was just coming back from an injury here too. This suggests that had his shoulder been well, or had he been slightly more match prepared, he might have won, or certainly the score could’ve been tighter. Rafa played great at Queens but I think the incredible confidence he must have gained after thrashing everyone on clay could have helped in his wins at Queens and SW19.

Dubai: Roddick really kind of cruised through there; sure he played tiebreaks against both Rafa and Djoko but no one took a set off him until the final. Rafa was pushed to three by Kohls.

I don’t think it’s easy to conclude, therefore, that Roddick cannot beat Rafa on hard courts when they’re both playing well. In fact, Roddick is 2-1 on hard against Rafa. Take out the 2 Davis Cup wins on clay, and their overall H2H would be 2-2.

There are still a number of players who can challenge for titles, especially on hard court, on any given day.

That’s my 2 cents – probably all it’s worth.

——————————————

Von, Zola,

Happy to see you’re moving on…bygones and all.


johanne Says:

Jane: This is not so much specifically directly at you, but inspired by your last post. And for the record, I respect your 2 cents. :)

If I were to venture a guess, based on past postings/arguments/heated discussions re: who won a match and why, and who could beat someone theoretically, and who could win if they weren’t injured, or what would have happened if they weren’t capitalizing on the confidence of previous wins, or if they were playing their absolute best level, or if they were competing on their preferred service, etc. etc. etc., a poster who defended/rationalized/examined/justified Rafa’s losses/wins, in same manner that Roddick’s have just been examined, they would get a royal beat down, to say the least. And I’m sure the word “excuses” would be brought up a number of times.

For what it’s worth, I really do not have a problem with people examining matches, and talking about why they think it went a certain way, or why a particular player may have won or loss on that day, but I’m just saying, if this can be done for certain players (who may be more popular, granted, on this blog) why so much wrath towards Rafa? Just a question.


jane Says:

johanne,

I’ll venture a first response, since I was the “inspiree” ;-)

First, let me state for the “record,” I have no wrath towards Rafa; he’s among my favorite players to watch (as are Murray, Roddick, Djoko, Safin, and more).

However, it’s fairly clear Rafa’s weakest surface is likely a hardcourt, although he’s done exceedingly well on hard nonetheless, which says much about his tennis abilities.

I merely wanted to weigh in on the Rafa/Roddick H2H on hard courts in particular because at one point above zola mentioned that she couldn’t see Roddick beating Rafa on hardcourts if they were both playing equally well, and not laboring under injuries. With that comment, I disagreed. However, I think she amended her comment to “fast hard courts”. In any case, I just wanted to show that the distinction between their abilities on hardcourt is by no means lopsided and may even weigh to Roddick; I believe he’s won more hardcourt titles to date, including the USO.

All that said, I agree with you that, at times, Rafa receives undue “wrath” or is certainly not alway given full credit for his achievements at this site, which is very pro-Fed, but then again, what tennis site isn’t? And perhaps that’s fair enough given what Fed’s accomplished!!. Can’t shake a racquet at that!

But back to the point, when Rafa won Wimbledon this year, thus proving he is not a “clay court specialist,” a label with which he’d been stuck, some people concluded the grass is no longer really grass, it’s dirt, hence Rafa could win against Roger. I completely disagree with this; it’s poppycock.

My comment about riding a wave of confidence can apply to any player, not only Rafa: look at JMDP or Murray this summer, both parlayed big wins into their best results at the USO. Or Djoko at the beginning of the year, even into the clay season. Or look how losing a few, and definitely facing confidence issues, impacted Fed’s results this season.

There are just so many mitigating and exacerbating factors to consider when a player wins (or loses) a match, that it’s probably best to just be a sport and acknowledge that “the winner played better” on that day, whether by a smidgen or a mile!

So let me post an addendum to my above post: Rafa outplayed Roddick at IW and Roddick outplayed Rafa at Dubai. Rafa also beat the entire field at Queens, regardless of chokes, match preparedness, confidence, or whatever, and he deserves a “vamos” for that!

That’s probably 25 cents worth; sorry for blathering.


johanne Says:

Jane: **There are just so many mitigating and exacerbating factors to consider when a player wins (or loses) a match, that it’s probably best to just be a sport and acknowledge that “the winner played better” on that day, whether by a smidgen or a mile! **

I totally agree. And that doesn’t mean there can’t be discussions about why people think someone won/loss. I just think if we can have those discussions in regards to some players, that means all players are fair game.


jane Says:

johanne,

“I just think if we can have those discussions in regards to some players, that means all players are fair game.”

Indeed, well said.


johanne Says:

Well Jane, now that we have that all squared away :) …I’m definitely looking forward to talking about some tennis that I can actually watch! This has been brutal. Definitely looking forward to Madrid being broadcast next week.


Von Says:

jane:

Thanks for your input on the Roddick/Nadal matches. Your comments are well-noted.


sensationalsafin Says:

I think if you look at most of the Roddick-Rafa matches, you’ll notice that one of them is always extremely hot (excluding their first 2 encounters).

At IW last year, Nadal played incredible tennis. Some of the best tennis I’ve ever seen him play, hard court or not. When he played Roddick in that semi, Roddick was overwhelmed. He was playing good tennis going in and decent tennis in that match, but Rafa was on fire.

At Dubai this year, Roddick was just on like he hasn’t been in a long time. This time Nadal was playing good tennis going in and during the match, but Roddick was just on and Nadal was overwhelmed.

Then at Queens, Roddick was playing mediocre ever by his standards. I watched the match and it was pretty clear that Roddick wasn’t ready for such a clash so soon after his injury. I honestly believe if he hadn’t been injured he would’ve won that match. But Nadal was still hot from the clay season and I like how Roddick assessed the match in saying that Nadal was just on cruise control because he played soooooo many matches already.

Their match in DC was a case of an Awesome Nadal Day. Again, some of the best tennis Nadal’s ever played, and Roddick didn’t play all that bad.

I don’t know if Roddick could beat Nadal on clay no matter how well he’s playing, but I’d say grass and hard are 50/50. This is a perfect example of how the winner is whoever plays better on the day. It’s pretty simple to see that in their matches.


Von Says:

Sensationalsafin:

Very fair assessment. I also feel if Roddick was not injured at Queens, he would have won. He played 2 matches for the tournament. Fish retired and Murray had a walk-over due to his thumb. Roddick came into Queens after being laid up for 7 weeks — match deprived, whild Nadal was match grooved.

I’ll say this much, if I were in some kind of situation and was told that the only way I’d be able to get out in one piece would be to pick a player to defend me in battle on a fast, tennis hardcourt, and I had the choice to pick my bdefender, of one of two opponents, Nadal or Roddick. I certainly would pick Roddick to be my defender. :P


gulu Says:

Hi Dear Von! Hope u had a very good day of work! Well, I think it’s impossibl to say that Rafa this year would hav surely been beaten by an injury free Rod. Rafa’s too good a tennis player to mak such guesses !


Von Says:

gulu:

I should have said that A-Rod probably might have won. But, yes, Rafa was very good this year. :P

Are you still chasing that fella? :D You’re making me laugh so much. :P


Von Says:

jane:

“All that said, I agree with you that, at times, Rafa receives undue “wrath” or is certainly not alway given full credit for his achievements at this site, which is very pro-Fed, but then again, what tennis site isn’t? And perhaps that’s fair enough given what Fed’s accomplished!!. Can’t shake a racquet at that!”

I’m sorry, disagree, I don’t see that happening at all. What undu wrath are you talking about, and from whom? Nadal’s fans are very vociferous as to his achievements moreso that most of the other players fans.


grendel Says:

One thing to bear in mind is that Rafa is very much a big match player. He dropped a set to Nishokori in the 2nd round of Queens – and Nishokori frankly looked as good as him – and yet somehow you knew Nadal would win. He dropped a set against Karlovic, too, never broke serve – but again, you knew he’d win. He did what was necessary. This is what a really confident big match player can do. He did what he had to do against Roddick – win. He did not pull out all the stops until the final – Djokovic forced him to. That was tremendous match. Djokovic was superb. Nadal was better. I was rooting for Djokovic all the way, livid at the way he “threw away” his lead. And yet honesty compels the admission that actually, Nadal wrenched the lead away from the Serb, rather as we have seen him do against Federer. My feeling – a very reluctant feeling – is that Nadal is currently the best grasscourter in the world. If Federer – or anybody else – is to beat him at Wimbledon 2009, they’re gonna have to do something special. I’m going to repeat my mantra: Nadal’s serve on grass is lethal. Federer in particular seems completely bemused by it and Murray – who dealt so wonderfully with Nadal’s serve at US Open – could do nothing with it on grass.

It is very odd that the two greatest claycourters of all time seem to have such an affinity for grass. For all that, their experience has been quite different.

When Borg came to England after winning RG, he’d go straight onto the grass (no pre-Wimbledon tourneys) and just practice solidly for 2 weeks. According to Roger Taylor – the Yorkshireman who actually beat Borg in his first Wimbie quarterfinal – for the first few days of practice, Borg was unbelievably bad. A novice could have beaten him. But he just persevered, like the nut he was, on and on and on, until by the first round at Wimbie he was, you could say, presentable. Still beatable, though – if he’d had had a difficult draw in the early stages, he’d have been out. By the second week he’d have played himself in, and was starting to look what he was – the favourite. A remarkable story about a very strange man – and utterly different to his fellow claycourt great, Nadal. Nadal seems to have developed a genuine affinity for grass. Borg, through sheer sweat, blood and tears forced himself to be great – and incidentally, he served and volleyed (on grass) with the best of them – unlike Nadal. Which does suggest, Jane, that the grass has changed very radically. Borg was no more a natural s and v man than is Nadal.


johanne Says:

Von,
Jane was responding to my opinion that sometimes I feel it’s harder to “defend” a win or a loss by Nadal on this site, because it can be misinterpreted as an “excuse” or what not. That’s not to say that everyone feels that way and that he always get attacked. It’s just an observation on my part. Just a feeling I get. Kind of along the same lines where you feel that Roddick can get slammed for his efforts.

As with any player’s fans, there’s bound to be a few bad apples. But come on, not all Rafa’s fans are bad! :)


sensationalsafin Says:

I disagree with the notion that Nadal is the best grass courter. Nadal had to do something spectacular to dethrone Federer. And he did. I don’t think Nadal is a better than Federer now on grass courts. Federer still has 5 Wimbledon’s to Nadal’s 1. I just think this was Nadal’s year in every way. But I don’t think he’s a clear cut favorite to defend his title next year, not with Federer around. And if Djokovic gets his act together, I think his game is better suited for the grass courts.

Nadal’s serve is strangely unstoppable on grass. But Federer has a tremendous record in tiebreakers over Nadal at Wimbledon. In their 3 meetings, Federer is 5-1 in tiebreakers. So should they meet again next year, instead of day dreaming during the first 2 sets, Federer should focus on holding serve and getting to tiebreakers. The good-old Pete Sampras method.


Von Says:

johanne;

I’m sorry to have butted in, but I honestly feel that it’s not true that Nadal gets unfairly attacked. I’d say there’s an equal amount of Nadal and Fed fans on this site, followed by Djokovic’s fans and the least of all Roddick fans. Roddick has the least amount of fans here, that’s why I’m always defending him. In each set of player’s fans, there’s bad and good. anyway, sorry to have added my two bits. :P


jane Says:

Von,

Well, maybe “wrath” is too harsh a word (I was simply echoing johanne’s word); but more to the point of your question: On these boards, Rafa has often been called explicitly or implicitly a clay-court specialist even though he’s proven his merit on grass and, to a slightly lesser degree perhaps, on hard court (he did win gold in singles!). I gave an example of that just recently: how his Wimbledon/grass prowess was called into question by many here because they consider the grass to be “slower” which is a justification for a “clay-courter” winning on “grass”. Don’t you remember JFC vociferously defending Rafa on this point? There have also been people here consistently saying he’s not a shot-maker, he’s not this, he’s not that, basically calling his game “ugly,” for quite a long time. People are entitled to ALL of these opinions, but to me, these criticisms seem a little over-the-top; he makes some great shots from where I am watching and he’s proven his mettle on grass.

However, I think there is a strong caveat that will support your view: for as to Rafa’s personhood, or demeanor, which I find overly and overtly demure (he’s a bit like Hyde on the court and Jekyll off it; I like the Hyde version better), most people are extremely complimentary – go figure!! Also, people, for some reason, overlook his time violations and injury timeouts, while hopping all over Djoko’s (bouncing, faking, etc), just as they ignore Fed’s more recent displays of anger towards the crowd, umps, fans, hawkeye, etc, but attack Roddick at the first sign of any “outburst” on his part. So for SOME posters, there’s a double standard where both Fed and Nadal are concerned with regards to on/off court behaviour.

You’ll notice that I said “at times” in the above statement with regards to Rafa? The reason I qualify my statement is this: as of this year, wherein Rafa has been dominant, some of his critics have been silenced. Have a look at older posts and there’ll likely be more criticism of him; I recall defending him more often back in 2007.

Finally, it would be easy to make the same statement — “at times, X receives undue “wrath” or is certainly not alway given full credit for his achievements at this site” — for many players, if not all of them, because we are all supporters of different players and see things differently given our specific perspectives.

Nevertheless, from what I think is a fairly objective point of view, some players obviously receive more negative posts here than others; that goes almost without saying. And we know who they are.

:-) But they have supporters, if fewer, right?


jane Says:

grendel,

“Which does suggest, Jane, that the grass has changed very radically.”

It’s true that SW19 switched to rye grass in recent years purportedly because it’s easier upkeep. But that doesn’t explain Rafa’s win at Queens. So I concur with you giving Rafa his due on grass, and will be watching that serve closely. I’ll also concede that the grass is different at SW19, but it’s different for ALL the players, including Roger, who won on it so many times.


Von Says:

grendel:

“Which does suggest, Jane, that the grass has changed very radically.”

I’ve heard a few commentators and players mention the grass coupled with the larger balls has changed the Wimby courts and it’s no longer a grass specialist court. Unfortunately, I can’t quote names because I don’t have any factual evidence to prove my point, so I’ll just have to speak in general terms. roddick mentioned something about the balls too and stated that they are using a different type of grass.


johanne Says:

Von, no apology necessary. Just putting in my two bits as well!

SS: It will definitely be really interesting to see what happens at Wimbledon 2009. Whether Nadal defends, Fed reclaims or someone else steps up to the plate, I really don’t know how to call it. But one thing’s for sure – it will be as exciting a tournament as ever. Can’t wait.


gulu Says:

Von, the fool (Roger-is-full-of-shits) is nowhere to be seen. May b d fool’s busy buildin a fools’ army !


Von Says:

Hey jane:

We both posted on the Wimby grass at 4:28 pm. Now that’s an example of great minds thinking alike. :P


Von Says:

oh gulu my friend, you are looking for a needle in a hystack. Be careful you dont’t start eating hay for dinner. :P


jane Says:

Von,

Indeed!

I responded to your question at 4:22 b.t.w.


Von Says:

Now hear this, And at 4:33 pm we have gulu searching for a an army of fools in a haystack. :D


gulu Says:

Nadal won d Wim dis year doesn’t mean he’s d best grass courter.Fed without doubt is d best grass court player n he needn’t do anything extraordinary 2 win Wim 2009.If Fed’s at best,n as sensationalsafin said,doesn’t daydream,he’ll win Wim next yr.


gulu Says:

Oh Von,you r so sweet! I lov thos smiles from u!


gulu Says:

Djokovic lost 2 Nadal at Queens coz he gav up mentally against Rafa.But Rafa never gav up against Nole.Thus we really shouldn’t blame Rafa if he beats our fav ones 2 win at Queens/Wim or anywher else. Rafa’s attitud most of d time is ‘Never say die’!


Von Says:

gulu:

did you see my 4:44 pm post to you? :P


grendel Says:

No, of course from the perspective of history, Federer will (I am sure) be seen as much the greater grasscourt player. But at the moment, I suspect Nadal edges Federer. The tiebreak idea is an interesting one. What do you mean, b.t.w. that Fed daydreamed through first 2 sets? That he was overconfident or something? (I have heard that suggested).He shouldn’t have been! He did not look at all good in the semis against Safin who, for long stretches, controlled the rallies.

Yes, Henman commented on the balls changing size as well, and one of the Woodies, I think Woodbridge, kept a ball from each tourney over the years which he says proves the balls have changed (evidently the powers that be were in denial mode). I understand the change, and to the grass also, was a deliberate ploy to slow the game down, because the authorities were afraid spectators were becoming bored with the “biff-bang” serve game – as exemplified by the Sampras/I vanesevic duels. I’ve never come across the idea that the change is in service of easier upkeep.

A slow grasscourt quite obviously favours Nadal as against Federer. On the other hand, a fast court would probably favour Roddick more than Federer. And so on…


jane Says:

grendel, ” I’ve never come across the idea that the change is in service of easier upkeep.”

This is from a quick Google search – found it at irishtimes.com – I knew I’d read it somewhere, but I don’t know if this was where.

“Much has been made of the surface at Wimbledon being slowed down. Organisers started to use 100 per cent perennial ryegrass seed in 2001 to provide a stronger bind more able for the wear-and-tear of two weeks of continual usage.”


zola Says:

Jane,
This double standard is an interesting idea and I am sure every fan shares that regardless of who they support.
The time violation is something that has been discussed a lot. Both regarding Rafa and Djoko. We even talked in length with SS or Vuclan, if I remember correctly, about alternatives to control time violations. Injury time outs are different. While both Fed and Roddick spoke against Djoko’s time outs, I have not heard suggestions from Fed or Roddick or other players complaining about RAfa’s injury time outs. He took a time out in Wimbledon because of his knee which was obviously in bad shape and we saw the aftermath in US Open 07. In Rome, the blister and the shape of Rafa’s foot was on TV! It wasn’t a fake. So I don’t understand why RAfa’s injury time outs should be an issue. If you think of an instance that he has done this unfairly, it would be good to mention it. Otherwise I don’t think it is fair to Rafa.

Thank you for bringing up the somewhat unfair treatment to Rafa’s wins sometimes on this board. An interesting notion is the concept of “slow grass” now that he has a Wimbledon title. We forget that Fed has won Wimbledon 5 times before RAfa. I never heard anyine use the “slow grass” against Federer. I don’t think the grass suddenly changed in 2008!Rekated to that ( and this is a serious question), is the grass in queens faster or slower than Wimbledon?

But I have to add here that reading grendel and SS’s comments, I thought they tried to stay fair and give Rafa credit, which I appreciate a lot.

I agree with the momentum factor. Coming from clay season and the final of RG, Rafa was very confident and very match fit as Roddick said. That can make a huge difference. Similarly I think his win in Wimbledon helped him with his success in the hard courts of America.

I also think Fed’s defeats in the US hard court season could be mostly a result of his defeat in Wimbledon. Perhaps if he had not won the doubles Gold in Beinjing, he might have been out early in US Open as well. Confidence and momentum , positive or negative, are huge factors. Until last year, Rafa had the negative momentum coming to the US Open series and this year Fed had to bear it and both suffered from it.

wrt Roddick-Rafa, I don’t think I ever said that Rafa at his best can win Roddick at his best on hard courts. I made that comment about Davydenko. About Roddick, I said that on fast hard courts I give the edge to Roddick and on slower hard courts to Rafa ( if they both play great), based on their results. But I am hoping to see Rafa improve his game on hard courts and work on his weaknesses. We will see next week in Madrid.

Johanne,
Great to see you posting. :)


jane Says:

zola,

With the double standard thing, it be simply because Roger and Rafa have more adoring fans than most players due to their intriguing rivalry and being numbers 1 & 2 in tennis at present; people may be more forgiving of winners? It may also be that people like Djokovic and Roddick are more out-spoken. It is what it is with them, so they rub people the wrong way. The are blunt publicly, like Safin is, so they often draw humor or ire. Me? I like people who speak their minds honestly with less PR intervention and political correctness, etc. So you’re right that it’s a personal thing to a degree.

And listen, I don’t think many can argue that Rafa didn’t earn his stripes this year; the man has been on fire.

I am looking forward to the last few year-end tournaments too, but even more so to 2009! I am grinding my teeth over all the potential scenarios. There’s something so wonderful about the void, opening up to the possibilities. I like the uncertainty of it all. Endings are much less fun. Even the glory of a win, that fades. But the process of watching a player get there? That’s the best.


jane Says:

P.S. If I am not mistaken I believe Queens grass is faster (and more slippery? Or this may be because of the quick transition from clay to grass?) than that of SW19; Roddick’s success on fast courts might back that up; he’s won FOUR! Queens titles – not many have done that in the history of the tournament.


Von Says:

Zola:

“Injury time outs are different. While both Fed and Roddick spoke against Djoko’s time outs, I have not heard suggestions from Fed or Roddick or other players complaining about RAfa’s injury time outs.”

I beg to differ on the subject of Roddick’s remarks on Djoko’s injury time-outs. I don’t recall Roddick ever speaking out against Djoko’s medical timeouts. His comments at the USO did not focus on Djoko’s medical time-outs, but on several types of maladies. I believe when Roddick was kidding around, mentioned he didn’t care if Djoko had “sars or bird flu”, etc. Since you’re very good with retrieving YouTube and clips, perhaps you could find it and check out exactly what it is that Roddick mentioned about Djoko, which was done jocularly, BTW. that said, I don’t much emphasis should be placed on Roddick’s remarks.


Von Says:

I believe that one of the reasons Nadal has been able to do so well on grass is due to the feel of the grass under-foot, which is somewhat akin to clay — slippery. The clay specialists are able to slide on grass just like they do on clay without incurring injury, and since sliding is a natural part of their movement, they are able to transition onto grass without any problems. I’m of the firm opinion that’s the reason Borg did so well at Wimby.


Ezorra Says:

I think, the person to watch in Madrid next week is Berdych. I really think he will provide a very significant impact to other players. In addition, I strongly believe that if he lands in Nadal’s side and manages to put himself in the semifinal, there is a big opportunity for him to be in the final.

Nalbandian will be another factor of the event. But his inconsistency makes me pick Berdych over him.

Other cliché choices should be Nadal & Federer (due to their superb current performance and ‘defending champion’s’ factor), Djokovic & Murray (who can diverge these 2 young talented boys, right?).

Other players would be Tsonga, Del Potro and Roddick. (because they were not winning their recent title for nothing, no?).

Anyway, that’s my pick :)


Ezorra Says:

…(who can diverge these 2 young talented boys, right?)…

diverge = overlook

sorry…


Von Says:

jane;

“With the double standard thing, it be simply because Roger and Rafa have more adoring fans than most players due to their intriguing rivalry and being numbers 1 & 2 in tennis at present; people may be more forgiving of winners?”

This is very true. As I’ve stated in the past, everyone likes a winner. I also believe that Djokovic has his fair share of adoring fans too, which was evidenced by the overwhelming support he received from his fans on behalf of his statemnts at the USO. However, Djoko’s fans are somewhat a little subdued now, due to his lack of winning any titles since May.

“It may also be that people like Djokovic and Roddick are more out-spoken. It is what it is with them, so they rub people the wrong way. The are blunt publicly, like Safin is, so they often draw humor or ire.”

Roddick and Safin shouldn’t be lumped together with Djoko in the speech department — they are very dissimilar in their choice of words and statements in general. Djoko, forgive my bluntness, uses his interviews as a platform to be somewhat of a braggadocio and critical of his opponents, e.g., ’08 AO v. Federer, and he can at times, become an apologist for his poor performance, e.g., most recently at the USO. Also, he is on some accasions, very sarcastic, which riles up the crowd. Safin and Rroddick on the other hand, are not braggers, they have a natural sense of humor and are devoid of serious sarcasm. theirs is a witty sarcasm, which comes to them naturally. Additionally, they do not make excuses for their poor performance. At times, i find Roddick to be hard on himself, which gives the anti-roddick group more ammunition to use against him. I know you are looking for parallels in your defense, but you need to be wary of drawing others into the equation as a means of strengthening your arguments. Sometimes when we use parallels we open those people to criticism and then a whole new scenario takes place, which becomes a far cry from the true intent and purpose of the subject matter. Anyway, I can’t say I blame you for trying to make your guy look good, we all do so, mea culpa. :P

I’ve always


Ezorra Says:

Von and Jane, can I say this?

- Roddick, when he says something, he may just make a joke and doesn’t really mean it. (which sometimes makes him easily misinterpreted)

- Djokovic, when he says something, it mostly came from his heart and prefers not to keep it to himself. (which sometimes makes him looked tooooo outspoken)

- Nadal, when he says something, he says them too carefully which sometime makes him look faked.

- Faderer, when he says something, he (unintentionally) combines everything that Roddick, Djokovic and Nadal has and makes his speech more interesting.


Von Says:

Ezorra:

You are so correct to pick Berdych. He’s now on a roll and has the momentum and belief that he can win again. That belief was missing for quite a while, but I see it slowly returning. He stunned me, and I suppose Roddick too, who at times when he’s ahead, suffers from a small dose of over-confidence, and it cost him at Tokyo, big time. Credit to Berdych for his sagaciousness and taking advantage of his opportunities.

BTW, I don’t think Fed is playing at Madrid. Don’t count out Blake, but with Blake it’s dependent on whether he’s up to snuff, or still suffering from the psychological warfare that’s happening in his mind. I don’t think Nalbandian will be a threat due to his problematic hip, but who knows what will happen. Nalby is somewhat of a mystery and I suppose he likes to keep his opponents guessing. I hope he goes deep in this tournament because he has 500 points to defend. If he doesn’t he’ll be free-falling out of the Top 10 to somehwere in the top 15/20. I don’t want to see that happen to him. So I’m hoping his hip won’t act up and cause him problems.

I’d say the finals could be a Nadal/Murray/Tsonga/DelPotro/Djokovic/Berdych and/or Nalbandian scenario, which is dependent on which side of the draw they land. Some nice, mouth-watering matches in store for us. :P I know the Tennis Channel will be broadcasting the tournament, and going from precedent/format for their other MS tourneys coverage, I don’t think I’ll have any complaints. Are you going to be able to see the matches? If yes, enjoy! :D


sensationalsafin Says:

A fast court would favor Roddick over Federer? Really? So Federer needs medium courts…?

By daydream, yeah, I guess he was overconfident. Maybe he thought it’d be like in previous years where Nadal challenges him for a bit but Federer prevails. I stopped watching the match when Federer was up 4-2 in the second set and came back after he lost the set. I don’t know what happened. I refuse to re-watch it because it’d make me too angry. But he really did just float through those first 2 sets like nothing. I don’t really get why, though. Nadal had thrashed him at the FO and came so close last year, Federer should’ve been more prepared. Then he stepped up his game and started smacking forehands, but he still couldn’t break Nadal. So next year he should start smacking forehands from the very beginning and win 7-6 7-6 7-6. That’d be epic and awesome because I love Roger Federer!!


Von Says:

Ezorra:

You’re so bang-on in your assessment of those guys.

In all sincerity, and not because I’m a Roddick fan, but I don’t think he is a mean-spirited person at all. He doesn’t hold grudges and wishes everyone well. He’s not one for bragging and finding excuses for his losses. This is one of the reasons I like the guy. At times, dependent on who’s listeneing to him, his wit can be misconstrued, but I doubt whether he intentionally wants to hurt his colleagues.

Djoko is young, but he holds on to animosity, which is why he’s so outspoken at the wrong times. His anger is uppermost in his mind and he just let’s it all out. He’s going to have to learn to let the animosity go, and be more alert to the pitfalls, or else he’ll always get trapped by the media. At the USO, he fell so badly into that trap, which cost him big time. However, it was obvious that his anger/animosity towards Roddick was the governing emotion. Djoko also tries to be witty like Roddick, but his is not a natural witticism as compared to Roddick. These traits are innate and can’t be emulated.

Nadal is caught up into the politically correct web, and I can see this is his uncle’s influence on him. He is yet to speak for himself. He’s been groomed to answer questions with a certain amount of falsity, and it’s clearly visible. Some people think his statements are due to lack of comprehension for the English language, but it’s not so. His politically correctness comes through even in the Spanish to English translation, and it’s obvious that’s it’s a learned habit.

I’ve always had a problem with Fed’s statements at times. I’ve heard some commentators state that you never hear the true situation from Federer when he speaks. He’s not a natural speaker and he vacillates at times which causes him to be criticized. At times, he speaks like a politician, without the wisdom and suaveness. There’s also a certain amount of discomfort that’s visible when he speaks, and I sometimes wonder whether it’s becuse there’s an underlying shyness that accountable for the uneasiness.

They’re all a bunch of interesting characters and young men who should be commended for their commitment and zeal for the sport of tennis, which provides us with hundreds of hours of enjoyment. Could you envision your life without tennis? I can, but it will be very boring at times. I sometimes think I’m addicted, but ssshhhhh, don’t tell anyone. :P


Von Says:

Sensationalsafin:

“A fast court would favor Roddick over Federer? Really? So Federer needs medium courts…?”

Who said that? bite your tongue. No surface favors Roddick over Fed when they meet. It’s all about the mind-set. When a person gets burnt a few times by fire, it automaticlly sets up a Pavlov’s bell, and the only thing that can change that for Roddick, would be TM or hynosis. I think it’s too late to change Roddick’s mind-set now — it’s ingrained in his memory banks.

Next year, Fed needs to play serve and volley at Wimby, and smack hawkeye silly.


Von Says:

TO: gulu:

Wherefore art thou, mon ami? I suppose you’re still bounty-hunting that Fed/Mono/Fed/Arse, guy. :D Take a break and cool it — it ain’t gonna happen, got it? Anyway, this is it for me for tonight. Time for my beauty sleep and replnish my warrior brain cells for tomorrow. Here’s your complement of smiles that you so enjoy, until we post to each other again. Bon soir or bon jour (dependeds on your time zone) mon ami. Be good, if not be careful! :D :P :) :o Is that enough? I hope so, because that’s all I have. :(


Ezorra Says:

“Could you envision your life without tennis?”
Definitely not!

“I sometimes think I’m addicted, but ssshhhhh, don’t tell anyone.”
Me too… hehehe… :)

Anyway, I have to tell you this. I feel very regret for all the rubbish that I wrote about you few months ago. At that time, I was very emotional and acted foolishly to you.

To be honest with you, I really meant it when I said that you are one of my favorite posters. I really do! Why? Let me tell you why. When you talk about tennis, you talk it very seriously and full of excitement. On top of that, you can also talk about other stuffs other than tennis too (like food and holiday vacations) like what you did with NAchoF (if I’m not mistaken).

I may not a “so good” person but I am not “that bad” person either. Therefore, Von, please accept my apology for what I’ve written about you a few months ago. Please… :(


gulu Says:

Hi dear Von! Ya, I m cool as long as your smiles are cheering me! BTW my friends also know dat I m a very cool customer.


grendel Says:

“I believe that one of the reasons Nadal has been able to do so well on grass is due to the feel of the grass under-foot, which is somewhat akin to clay — slippery. The clay specialists are able to slide on grass just like they do on clay without incurring injury, and since sliding is a natural part of their movement, they are able to transition onto grass without any problems. I’m of the firm opinion that’s the reason Borg did so well at Wimby.” Von, I’ve long believed something like this, but I must say, you put it very well, and I am grateful to see my thoughts given clarification. I’d also add, without knowledge but observation seems to bear it out, that the heavy spin of the great claycourters is more effective on grass than on hard court.

Certain questions naturally arise.1) Whereas Nadal makes the transition from clay to grass seemingly without effort, as I mentioned above for Borg it was kind of a heroic endeavour. Perhaps the fact that he had to contend with a much faster surface than Nadal is the explanation – but I have no idea.2) Why is it rather rare for claycourters to make the leap? I wonder how much confidence was a factor. Keurten, for example – a true rival to Borg and Nadal for claycourt prowess – always looked at sea on grass, as if he didn’t expect to win. On the other hand, the 4th great claycourter (and hardcourter), Ivan Lendl, made a really determined effort to win Wimbledon and was very unlucky not to make it (to have to meet Pat Cash and Boris Becker on grass, in their primes,was a pretty raw deal).3) And then, what about the other way: which natural grasscourters have done well in Paris? McEnroe certainly should have won, but choked memorably against the hard man, Lendl, who does NOT give you second chances. And there’s Federer – but he’s a bit of a special case since he was, after all, brought up on clay. Anyone else?

Zola: sorry to nitpick but (in the interests of the historical record, you know) you did say: “I don’t agree with you that Roddick and Davy at their best can beat Rafa at his best.” (3:24 post). You amended this in later posts to distinguish between slow and fast hard courts. Your point about the grass for Nadal being the same for Federer in his 5 wins – one which Jane implicitly makes as well – is a fair one. Nevertheless, it is not quite the whole story.

If you think about it, what people must mean – and the water has undoubtedly been muddy here – is that although Federer has won his grass court titles on slow grass, he would have found it actually easier on fast grass – his wins would have been even more emphatic. The obstacle to this argument is that other people then come into the picture, especially Roddick. Despite a certain scepticism on the part of Sensational Safin, I would have thought that in the year Roddick really pushed Fed in the final, he’d have had an even better chance if the grass had been faster. Who knows? And of course, if the grass had been faster, Federer would have been more likely to have beaten Nadal this year. Again, who knows? But that is the argument. It is not negligible, and is not answerable by simply saying
the surface is the same for everyone now.


johanne Says:

Von:

“Djoko also tries to be witty like Roddick, but his is not a natural witticism as compared to Roddick. These traits are innate and can’t be emulated.”

Do you have any idea how hard it is to be funny in a language that is not your own? To even have a personality? I think Djokovic does well for himself and I definitely think he’s been witty. At the time of his outburst at the USO, I admit I cringed a little bit. But I knew the guy was just frustrated with the crowd and frustrated with the whole situation. He knew he took it a little too far and impulsively lashed out at the crow. But he apologized, Andy apologized, and that’s enough for me. And I even thought it was pretty cool that Djokovic stood up for himself, even if he chose a somewhat poor outlet for doing so.

As far as your accusations towards Federer and Nadal’s intentions when they talk to the media, total speculation. You, nor I, nor anyone else not immediately involved in their lives really truly knows. But why are you letting Roddick off the hook so easily? How come his dealings with the media can be explained/forgiven, whatever, but Fed and Rafa are false and wavering, unnatural speakers, wrapped up in political correctness? I’m not buying it.


jane Says:

I was trying to remember when Fed beat Pete at Wimbledon; was it 2001? 2002? If so, that is right around when the grass was changing over, so I wonder if it neutralized Pete’s serve? I’m not suggesting it would’ve helped Roger so much as hurt Pete. It makes sense too that Roddick might’ve had a better chance if he’d been playing back when it was faster grass; he was so close in 2004.

Does anyone know if Queens is faster than Wimbledon?

It’s hard to know whether Fed would do better on faster, slower, or medium grass because he plays well on all types of courts. After all, it’s mainly, if not only, Rafa who’s held him back at most clay tournaments. Yet he’s won consistently on indoor, super fast courts too. So who knows; maybe if would not make any difference either way for him.

——————————————-

Ezorra,

Thanks for your input on player personalities above; you make a lot of sense!


jane Says:

johanne,

“You, nor I, nor anyone else not immediately involved in their lives really truly knows.”

You make a good point here; we can only go by what we see, and our resulting impressions, as what we see is public, so who knows what’s going on behind the scenes? i guess without a tell-all interview, we can’t know.


Von Says:

johanne:

To begin with, I was merely elaborating on Ezorra’s analysis of the players and added my few bits/bips worth. After, I submitted my comments and read them, I thought to myself, maybe I shouldn’t have said anything, because someone will be offended, and I can see I was correct in my assumption. However, what’s done can’t be undone.

“Do you have any idea how hard it is to be funny in a language that is not your own? To even have a personality?”

No, I don’t know. I’m only fluent in English (well, hopefully) and some French and of course, Latin, for my work. Apart from the above, I’m not very good with foreign languages, except for a few words here and there. Speaking for myself, I’m the type, unless I’m very proficient at something, I’d rather refrain from engaging in any public display thereof, because I’m cognizant of my deficiencies. For example, I’d refrain from trying to be witty in Italian, due to my inherent ignorance of that language.

With respect to having a personality; I don’t believe in-fluency of a language renders us devoid of having one. Each of us has a unique personality that is reflective of both our genetic make-up and our life experiences. Our personality develops over the years, and is a vital part of what makes us who we are and how we interact with others.

You say, you’re not buying what I’ve stated, and why I’m letting Roddick off the hook. I’m not asking you to buy anything, neither am I letting Roddick off the hook. Those are my opinions.

Let’s start with Roddick. Without a doubt, and I’ve seen it mentioned by those who like and dislike him many times over, that he’s very good with his pressers and on-court interviews. He’s got an innate adeptness for public speaking. You’re privileged to give examples of anything you can find to discredit him, bearing in mind, this topic concerns only speech, so let’s hear it.

Next up Nadal — I’ve seen many statements corroborating what I’ve said. As a matter of fact, on several occasions, jane has repeatedly stated she thinks Nadal kowtows to Federer too much, or something to that effect — I’m not being verbatim, and the same has been stated by several others. Several people have mentioned he comes off as being too politically correct and is overall pretentious. Consequently, I’m just adding to what I’ve observed about him and what I’ve seen written.

Federer, vacillates, and I’ve heard the commentators state likewise, and that it’s difficult to really get to the truth of what’s happening, and I’ve also seen similar written here on this site and elsewhere. Hence, I’d say, I can’t be that much of an exaggerator.

And, finally, Djokovic. I’ve written on many occasions that he does have an engaging personality, but I’m sorry, to state, and I’m sure there are some who would agree, he’s not as witty or as glib and smooth in his witticism as Roddick, who by far outshines him.

johanne, I didn’t start this discussion, jane did, I gave a counter opinion, Ezorra added his impressions, and I elaborated on that. You’re free to disagree with whatever I’ve stated, which you have done, and if you feel so inclined, I’d like to hear what, in your opinion, I should have mentioned about Roddick’s short comings with respect to his speech.


johanne Says:

Von,
I wholeheartedly disagree with you on the idea that being fluent in a language and thus having a personality (in that language/culture) do not correlate. If you’re not able to express yourself as easily in one language as you’re able to do so in your mother tongue, finding an identity in that language can prove trying. Not impossible, but it can be very difficult. And in this day and age, with many many interviews being conducted in English (as well as the players’ native language(s)) you’re bound to have a little miscommunication and a few misunderstandings every now and then. But as far as I know, there’s not very many players on the tour who refuse to conduct an interview in English, no matter how little they speak it, so the notion of refraining from engaging in any public scenario where the language you’re not the most proficient in is being used (as you say you prefer to do), seems, well unlikely in the world of professional tennis.

“You’re privileged to give examples of anything you can find to discredit him [Roddick], bearing in mind, this topic concerns only speech, so let’s hear it.”

You’re missing my point, Von. I’m not on a youtube hunt to find Roddick’s press conferences. And I’m not saying that Roddick has “short comings with respect to his speech,” as you say I’m suggesting. My point is, that all this talk about Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Roddick, etc. and how they deal with the media and what they say, and what it “really means” if you read between the lines, is all a matter of opinion. It’s not factual. It’s not a matter of me finding some clip of Roddick talking to the media, so that I can “prove” to you that he’s witty or not. Or to “prove” that Djokovic is witty or not. Or to “prove” that Nadal is too politically correct and is overall pretentiou, or not. Or to “prove” that Federer vacillates or not.

I don’t care that Jane said something, and other people said some other stuff some other time. Fine, whatever! My point – again – is that you, nor I, nor anyone else not immediately involved in their lives really truly knows. It’s all speculation. So my question to you, again, is why does Roddick get gifted with explanations for what goes on with him and the media (good and bad), but Fed, Nadal, Djokovic, and others are just screwed?

None of these guys are stupid. They all know how the media works and they all deal with the media in their own way. Whether you prefer one guy’s behavior over another is fine, but don’t act like everyone else’s behavior (which you may or may not like) cannot be explained or rationalized in the same manner that you do so for your favorite player.


sensationalsafin Says:

Federer is too special a case to say what surface would favor or go against him. Only Nadal has a special edge on slower surfaces. The surface doesn’t matter for other players. I find it hard to say grass is someone’s best surface because they play 2 grass tournaments all year. This year Nadal happened to be the best on grass, just as Federer had been before, but that doesn’t mean it’s THEIR best surface. It’s really a coin toss between hard and clay. Over the years, Federer’s best surface has been hard. This year, of all years, it was definitely clay. If Nadal wasn’t around to subdue Federer on clay, I don’t think people would ever talk about clay being a weakness or anything like that.


Von Says:

jane:

Johanne stated: “You, nor I, nor anyone else not immediately involved in their lives really truly knows.”

To which you replied:

“You make a good point here; we can only go by what we see, and our resulting impressions, as what we see is public, so who knows what’s going on behind the scenes? i guess without a tell-all interview, we can’t know.”

From your above statement regarding our impressions, beginning with what goes on behind the scenes and ending with a tell-all interview, wouldn’t you say the following statement of yours, which is the crux of this whole discussion, is somewhat contradictory? And, not only is it contradictory, but we need a tell-all interview to give an opinion?

“It may also be that people like Djokovic and Roddick are more out-spoken. It is what it is with them, so they rub people the wrong way. The are blunt publicly, like Safin is, so they often draw humor or ire.”

Clearly, you were being emphatic that Roddick, Djokovic and Safin are outspoken, and due to that tendency, they thereby elicit humor and/or ire because they rub people the wrong way. But then you later vacillate and contradict yourself by agreeing with johanne’s statement that unless we are really involved in their lives we can’t say for sure what’s happening. Forgive me, but I don’t understand what our involvement in their lives has got to do with our opinions on their public statements. I am non-plussed! And to further add to my confusion you wrote the following to Ezorra:

“Ezorra, Thanks for your input on player personalities above; you make a lot of sense!”

So which is it to be jane, you’re saying Ezorra makes a lot of sense with respect to the player’s statements, which BTW is a precis of what I’ve stated, but then you agree with johanne’s statement: “You, nor I, nor anyone else not immediately involved in their lives really truly knows.” Gosh, I tell you what, you guys have really got me confused. To me the bottom line is that both johanne and yourself don’t like my opinions, and I’m OK with that, but don’t you think you guys are really going to an extreme with the involvement in their lives and a tell-all interview scenario, for me to state my opinion?


johanne Says:

Von: “In all sincerity, and not because I’m a Roddick fan, but I don’t think he is a mean-spirited person at all. He doesn’t hold grudges and wishes everyone well. He’s not one for bragging and finding excuses for his losses. This is one of the reasons I like the guy. At times, dependent on who’s listeneing to him, his wit can be misconstrued, but I doubt whether he intentionally wants to hurt his colleagues.”

THAT sounds like an opinion, Von.

“Nadal is caught up into the politically correct web, and I can see this is his uncle’s influence on him. He is yet to speak for himself. He’s been groomed to answer questions with a certain amount of falsity, and it’s clearly visible. Some people think his statements are due to lack of comprehension for the English language, but it’s not so. His politically correctness comes through even in the Spanish to English translation, and it’s obvious that’s it’s a learned habit.”

THAT sounds like an accusation. You lay this out as truth.


Von Says:

johanne:

“My point is, that all this talk about Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Roddick, etc. and how they deal with the media and what they say, and what it “really means” if you read between the lines, is all a matter of opinion. It’s not factual.”

How much talk johane, a few sentences on each player. You’ve answered your question — I’m merely stating my opinion, just like you or anyone else, as to what I hear and read with respect to the players’ interviews/pressers. You state I’m giving Roddick a free pass, to which I stated, give me an example of anything he’s said that you don’t like, and feel should be brought to light.

“My point – again – is that you, nor I, nor anyone else not immediately involved in their lives really truly knows. It’s all speculation.”

“So my question to you, again, is why does Roddick get gifted with explanations for what goes on with him and the media (good and bad), but Fed, Nadal, Djokovic, and others are just screwed?”

I think you’re reading far more into my statements than is needful. I’ve given an explanation for each player, and what in God’s name are you talking about when you say Roddick is gifted with an explanation for what goes on but the others get screwed. This is why I said, tell me what you have found offensive about Roddick’s pressers/interviews. I don’t need a YouTube clip, just a statement. What is it you don’t like about his speech — I’m all ears. That’s all. You’re behaving like I’ve tarred and feathered these guys in the worst way. Sheesh.


gulu Says:

I think Pete lost 2 Fed in 2001 due to 3 factors- Fed tried his best,d hyp about surfac might hv destabilised Pete’s mindset 2 some(or may b 2 a significant) extent n lastly d most imp of all was Pete’s U.F.errors at d most crucial points.Pete was unlucky


johanne Says:

You didn’t read anything I said. It’s like talking to a brick wall. Waste of time.


Von Says:

johanne:

“At times, dependent on who’s listeneing to him, his wit can be misconstrued, but I doubt whether he intentionally wants to hurt his colleagues.”

“THAT sounds like an opinion, Von.”

So, it’s an opinion, and what’s wrong with that. Are you saying I’m not entitled to give an opinion.

“His politically correctness comes through even in the Spanish to English translation, and it’s obvious that’s it’s a learned habit.”

“THAT sounds like an accusation. You lay this out as truth.”

This is an opinion also, my opinion, to which I’m entitled, BTW, but if you want to change it to an accusation, then mea culpa.

Is there anything else, johnanne, that you’d like for me to answer? If not, then let’s just drop the subject, or you can elaborate some more.

For your information, Roddick is one of the most tarred and feathered players on this site, and many of his firecest critics are Nadal fans. I have to suck it up, so I suggest you suck up what it is you don’t like that i’ve said about Nadal.


Von Says:

johanne:

No, it’s not a waste of time, and I’ve read and digested everything you’ve said, but one salient point stands out, and one which you’re not addressing, so I’ll ask it again, WHAT IS IT THAT YOU FIND OFFENSIVE ABOUT RODDICK’S PRESSERS/INTERVIEWS? Spit it out, so that it can be addressed. I don’t know how much clearer you want me to be.


Von Says:

grendel:

“Who knows? And of course, if the grass had been faster, Federer would have been more likely to have beaten Nadal this year. Again, who knows? But that is the argument. It is not negligible, and is not answerable by simply saying
the surface is the same for everyone now.”

I believe I have some insight about the grass which I will touch on later this evening, as to grass types and my observation from the time the grass was changed at Wimby.


johanne Says:

Von,
Again, if you would have read anything I said, you would have understood that I was saying your comment about Roddick DID come across as an opinion – something that you believe, that you think, that you feel, which is all very WELCOME here. What you call an “opinion” about Nadal, did not come across as such. You were spewing those words out as fact. That’s the impression I got, and I guess I’m welcome to my opinion.

Also, if you read anything I said, I was not criticizing Roddick – I was criticizing you. But you haven’t read anything, so you don’t know that. But you can continue going off about Nadal fans all you want. If it makes you feel better.


johanne Says:

And I don’t know how much clearer you want ME to be: “And I’m not saying that Roddick has “short comings with respect to his speech,” as you say I’m suggesting.”

It’s obviously more fun for you to be hostile and say things like “spit it out.” Ridiculous.


Von Says:

Ezorra:

Thank you for your kind statements. All’s well that ends well, and I bear you no ill-will. Life’s too short for agonizing over unpleasantries. You’re a very big-hearted and humble person, which is a very admirable trait, that i admire immensely, truthfully. This world would be a lot nicer place if we were all so humble. Don’t worry, be happy. :P


Von Says:

johanne;

What is it that you want to hear from me. You’re going around in circles, but you’ve not given me one CONCRETE point to answer. Why am I being ridiculous, by saying “spit it out”. It’s an expression, which means, speak up, and say what you mean. How many more times do you want me to ask you the same question. Your reasoning is baseless if you don’t qualify your points. I’m a factual person. give me ONE fact and I’ll give you an answer. Thus far, I’ve heard none. You know you remind me of another poster, but I’m not going to say more about that.


johanne Says:

There’s no having a rational conversation with you, is there? You still do not understand what I was saying to you, and you’re never going to get it, no matter what I say. I answered your question, you just chose to glaze over it. But thanks for explaining what “spit it out” means. I’m glad you chose to address that. You can quit this bullying routine that you’re so fond of. You hear what you want to hear and that’s that. Absolute waste of time.


Von Says:

No problem, johanne, I’m So sorry, I’m so deaf and dumb. We’re not all perfect. If anyone’s being a bully, I think it’s you. All I’ve done is give an opinion on the players in question and I’m accused of being unfair, and being a bully, and then you end with a nasty parting shot. Thanks for the discussion and the character evaluation. For someone just posting here one week you surely know a lot about me, don’t you? I’m not that dense that I can’t read through the lines. You sound an awful lot like someone else BTW.


Von Says:

One final point johanne, the problem here is not about Roddick, Federer and Djokovic, it’s just really about NADAL. My opinion of the other players is really irrelevant to you; they’re just thrown in to add some spice to the argument. The big problem and focal point of this whole situation is as I’ve said before is NADAL. Ythe more you write the more visible you’re becoming to me. Anyway, I’m done. I’m entitled to my opinion and you are entitled to yours. You’re never going to stop, are you? Name change, but same person.


johanne Says:

Von,
If you’re accusing me of being someone other than myself, come out and say it! Or wait, should I say “spit it out!” ?? I’m not anyone other than Johanne…. BTW! Believe it or not there can be more than one person in this world who disagrees with you. Shocking, I know. I’ve followed this blog for a long time now, but have not posted until recently. So sue me. Thanks for the discussion as well. You sure play the victim well.


Von Says:

My 2:51 pm post answered your statements. To reiterate what I stated in gist, my statments on both Roddick and Nadal were my OPINIONS. You claim my statement on Roddick was an opinion, but my statement on Nadal was an accusation. I elaborated it was my opinion on both counts, to which I’m entitled. How much clearer could I have been? I got your point of contention, which changed from I’m gifting Roddick with explanations, to your criticism of me. No problem, I’m fine with that. In summary, you were no longer interested in any explanations regarding Roddick or any of the other players, save Nadal. You were offended by my statement regarding his political correctness. Mea culpa, but I’m still entitled to my opinion just like you’re entitled to yours.


grendel Says:

Jane: all this talk of Borg (I’ve been getting into a bizarre argument concerning Borg on another site) has given me an idea concerning the labelling of Nadal as a claycourter – something to which you object. But I think there is a sense in which it is not a limiting title.

I think we regard Bjorn Borg today as a great claycourter. This is the man who has won Wimbledon 5 times, actually won more successive matches at Wimbie than anybody, including Federer (1 more). He also has a very fine hard court record, certainly far better than Nadal’s (as of now – of course this may change).

Nevertheless, we think of him as a great claycourter – because that’s what he was. Lennart Bergelin, the devoted personal trainer of Borg, once remarked sighingly, other people might one day surpass Borg for his grass court achievements (or something like that – we’re going back many, many years), but no one could ever match his claycourt play. Well, it is dangerous to predict, and perhaps at last Borg is matched.

Borg and Nadal are claycourters extraordinary, simply out of this world. On other surfaces, of course, they are very, very good – but, nothing special in terms of the elite of the game (and I say this despite Borg’s 5 W’s, ludicrously contentious Iknow but I’m sticking with it; Borg was a hero, but he was never really a natural on grass, and it is no surprise that a great grass court natural like McEnroe had his measure on the green).

Borg and Nadal, Nadal and Borg – two unimaginably great claycourters. That is how they will be remembered.


johanne Says:

Von,
You’re obsessed with trying to get me to say something bad about Roddick, just so you can go on some tirade – but even without it that hasn’t stopped you. You missed my entire point about interpreting the media’s interviews with the players and how of course, as a particular player’s fan, one will be able to explain anything that is said or anything that happens during those interviews. I was challenging you on your opinions and saying that I didn’t think you were being very objective towards the other players, or giving them the benefit of the doubt. It was all very black and white with them, where there was more of a gray area for Roddick, who happens to be your fave. Fine, yes, that’s your opinion. But recognize when you say stuff like that about other players, it’s on the floor for discussion. And I said, Von, I disagree with your opinions about Fed and Nadal and Djokovic. And yes, highlighted your statement about Nadal. I did NOT, however, say that what you said about Roddick was BS. But that’s what you chose to believe I was saying and that’s what you focused on. Do you see the distinction? I’m guessing not?

And this paranoia you have with Nadal fans is totally exhausting.


jane Says:

Von,

” wouldn’t you say the following statement of yours, which is the crux of this whole discussion, is somewhat contradictory? And, not only is it contradictory, but we need a tell-all interview to give an opinion?”

Yes Von – busted. I made that comment quickly this morning while half asleep – excuses, I know, but true – so it wasn’t clearly thought out. I was just re-reading the thread and gulped and turned read when I read my comments.

Sorry for the confusion in my logic. Let me try to unpack it because there was some sense under there somewhere! I think ;-)

When I read what johanne wrote, I thought there’s merit to what she said; **none of us REALLY know what goes on behind the scenes, or even what the players are TRULY like personality-wise.** We know their public personae. So you’re 100% right that a “tell-all” interview would only be more of the same. (It’s like “reality t.v.” – how much “reality” is there!?)

HOWEVER, we can **definitely get a sense of the players from how they act on the court and even in some of their interviews.** There’s a consistency in how they express themselves that, as Ezorra put it “comes across” to us a certain way, though the same thing may come across differently to different people depending on personal taste, likes, dislikes, etc. But we can ask, do they act calm on the court, or let out their emotions etc? Perhaps on the courts we see a closer version of who they are since it’s so “in the moment”. But their interviews also reveal aspects of who they are if we see enough of them. So again, we can get “a sense” of things, but we don’t know **for sure what they’re TRULY like or what goes on behind the scenes.** That’s the distinction I meant to make, but I did so flippantly and tiredly.

Again I apologize for that.

An example may be that, personally, I dislike Nadal’s humility, but it’s not so much because I think it’s fake, but because it’s a little much imo. It’s merely a subjective taste thing for me. It might very well be his “true” personality for all I know? Maybe it is partly a language barrier or whatever, as johanne points out? (I have a lot of ESL students and I do see this difficulty.) Or maybe Rafa’s humility is Uncle Toni’s mentoring or pulling the strings? BUT, regardless, I like the feisty guy on the court as opposed to the (seemingly overly) humble guy in interviews, and they do seem a rather sharp contrast in Rafa.

Hopefully that somewhat clarifies the logical discrepancies you fairly called me on.


jane Says:

Grendel,

“I think we regard Bjorn Borg today as a great claycourter. ”

Actually I don’t. I always think of Borg more with regards to grass. Maybe that’s because I remember those matches more, but that’s how I think of him. When you say “we” to whom do you refer? The general tennis-watching public? His record? Not sure. But honestly, I picture the green behind him usually.

Does that throw a wrench into your argument?


jane Says:

Nadal, however, so far anyhow, I see covered in the red stuff. So maybe I will remember him that way because I have watched him emerge, and where he emerged and ultimately utterly dominated was (or at least has been up to now) clay.

I don’t so much object to the “great claycourter” label as opposed to the “claycourt specialist” label; to me the latter seems more limiting, like he can’t play on other surfaces, whereas the latter merely comments on his “greatness” on one surface. It’s subtle, I realize, but maybe relevant.


jane Says:

TYPO – **whereas the latter merely comments on his “greatness” on one surface** – should say “former” instead of “latter.”

Sorry, long hellish work day today. Can’t seem to type or make sense.


jane Says:

Von,

Just read this post from earlier – “but you need to be wary of drawing others into the equation as a means of strengthening your arguments.”

But I actually DO see a similarity in Djoko, Roddick and Safin – where perhaps you don’t – hence the parallel I made. Sure, they are different in some ways, but to me they all *seem* pretty blunt, like they are shooting from the hip. They also all show their emotions, sometimes strongly, on the court and in their interviews, in my opinion.


grendel Says:

“Does that throw a wrench into your argument?” Not really, because we all know how perversely individualistic you are!

Seriously, though, I think most Europeans, anyway, see Borg as the archetypal great claycourter – who also had an amazing record on grass. This was due of course to his skills, but also to a tenacity unmatched, really, – before he fell apart – until the advent of Nadal. On grass, Borg tended to struggle, but he was able impose himself by sheer force of will.

Clay was his home. Here, he was the cold predatory shark who took on allcomers with a kind of royal disdain. He could have won far more than 6 RG’s if he’d put his mind to it.

Nadal, too, of course he is a great player on any surface. But – on grass, and on hard court even more, he’s just up there with a lot of other great players. He’ll win some and he’ll lose some.

On clay, he is supreme.

THAT’s what I meant. Borg and Nadal are great claycourters, and that is how they will always be remebered – although we must allow, of course, for a few North American eccentrics.


jane Says:

Grendel,

“perversely individualistic” – Hmmm never been called that before.

I was quite young when Borg was playing (10, 11?) so I honestly don’t remember much of his tennis career, just the tail end of it I suppose. The 80s I remember better. Anyhow, it seems to be Borg’s grass court match which are replayed here, or during rain delays at SW19, though that might change now. So that’s been etched into my memory. It was not meant to be an “eccentric” comment on my part.


jane Says:

Grendel says…”But – on grass, and on hard court even more, he’s just up there with a lot of other great players. He’ll win some and he’ll lose some. On clay, he is supreme.”

Okay, I can agree with this regarding Rafa; it makes sense. I’d like to see, though, how he makes out on grass next season; i.e., can he win the same titles again?

Borg won so much on grass too, but I don’t know that there were many grass tournaments back then either. There are, however, so many clay ones. I wonder if there were more grass tournaments now how/if the landscape of winners would shift.

You make the “tenacity” connection between Borg and Rafa, too; I wonder if that is what it takes to reign supreme on clay?


grendel Says:

““perversely individualistic” – Hmmm never been called that before”.

You haven’t? Kind of a compliment really, you know. Hints at incorruptibility, plus a certain love of argument…

Yes, but suppose Rafa does win same grass titles again. He’ll simply be creeping up towards Borg’s amazing record. But Borg was not a grass court player. He was a little fortunate in his Wimbie finals, b.t.w. First victim – Nastase, a claycourter par excellence. Connors, twice – a baseliner, at any rate, who adapted well to grass. Roscoe Tanner – a genuine grass courter, or s and v man, but not a that good a player once you take away his serve. (Think of Kendrick, a good s and v man who so nearly beat Nadal at Wimbie, but just wasn’t quite a good enough tennis player.) Then of course, McEnroe – well, it just shows how great Borg was that he could beat McEnroe on grass, but it was sort of a perverse result, which McEnroe overturned the following year – and certainly Borg would never have won on the green again had he not retired.

So suppose Nadal wins W again. Testimony to what a great player he is, undoubtedly – but you can bet that if he does it, it will be one helluva struggle. And I can’t see him doing it more than once again – although, like all predictions, this is worthless.

“You make the “tenacity” connection between Borg and Rafa, too; I wonder if that is what it takes to reign supreme on clay?”

Well, up to a point. But surely Borg and Rafa are one-offs – monsters, really.


jane Says:

Oh I am corruptible – or as Tracy says at the end of Manhattan “Everyone gets corrupted.”

Anyhow, I am inclined to agree that Rafa will have a tough time winning both Queens and Wimbledon again next year. Roger will be around for W, plus Murray, and, if he gets his act together, Djoko. Roddick looms as a threat, always, on grass. And big servers like Cilic, Gulbis. There is a strong possibility for upsets I think.

I think he’ll still be king on clay. I can’t see anyone yet who could take him. I don’t know if JMDP’s particularly great on clay, but he did do well in DC and he beat Gasquet to win Stuggart, so maybe he’ll step up and challenge in a year or two.

And Roger and Djoko are palpable threats in 3 set ventures.


gulu Says:

Mc Enro was n extremely good player on grass,but not better than Borg. JohnyMac beatin Borg then was just d same as Rafa beatin Fed or Fed beatin Pete.Borg won Wimby 5 times, how many of d grass court specialists hav done it? Borg,u r a genius!


gulu Says:

Borg was d master on clay,by far d slowest surfac.He was d master on d grass courts of his time,which hav been touted as lightning fast by past players lik Boris Becker,Mac Enro,Ivanisevic,Pete etc.N it’s d reason why Borg’s Mr.Versatile !


gulu Says:

Dear Von, don’t worry too much about a few things. You are a very good person.So just be as happy as u r whil sendin me smiles,I m with u !
By d way,are u able to watch live telecast of Stockholm Open? I am dying to know which is Fed’s next tournament.


grendel Says:

“JohnyMac beatin Borg then was just d same as Rafa beatin Fed”. In terms of how the numbers go, yes. Otherwise, it seems to me to be the other way round. McEnroe was born to play on grass: Borg, painfully, learnt to. If Borg had continued, McEnroe would have gone on beating him – on grass. And Federer is surely a more natural grasscourt player than Nadal, so Nadal beating him is a bit like Borg beating McEnroe. Still,you can’t push these analogies too far.


MMT Says:

grendel, are you saying that Borg’s list of Wimbeldon final opponents was fortunate? I would beg to differ.

Nastase won the French Open once, but reached 2 Wimbledon finals (’72 and ’76) and won the US Open in 72, all on grass.

Connors reached six Wimbledon finals in his career (won twice) and won 1 US Open and Australian on grass. He also happened to be #1 in the world when Borg beat him in the finals.

Roscoe Tanner won the Australian Open in 1977 on grass, and you can’t simply discount his serve -that’s a big part of any players game, including on grass.

As for McEnroe his credentials on grass are impeccable, so beating him can’t count against Borg’s, can it?


MMT Says:

Jane: “You make the “tenacity” connection between Borg and Rafa, too; I wonder if that is what it takes to reign supreme on clay?”

In addition to tenacity, I think there are 3 ingredients to players who succeed on clay, and Borg and Rafa were/are in abundance of all 4:

1. The ability to hit good shots on the run
2. The stamina to outlast your opponents
3. The tactical sense of how to construct a point

You put these three together, and you get Borg and Rafa, and why they’ve been the best (in their eras) on clay. The two departments in which Federer has been inferior to Rafa has been hitting on the run and point construction.

I don’t think he could be much better on the run in the future (as he ages he won’t be as strong in that department), but his point construction has left much to be desired, particularly in the last two finals.

I don’t see anyone beating Rafa in Paris in 2009.


jane Says:

MMT,

Thanks for your input (b.t.w., I admired your political acumen on the other thread).

I’ve always thought Roger hits so well on the run, but maybe that’s on hard-courts in particular?

As far as point construction against Rafa on clay, it does seem Roger often gets stuck in that corner hitting backhands until Rafa finishes him off.

But both Djoko and Roger pushed Rafa well at Hamburg this year, but Djoko didn’t have the stamina, and I am not sure what happened with Roger there. What made the difference? Any thoughts?


MMT Says:

From what I could tell that was a very tight match, and Hamburg is the place Roger beat Rafa on clay in 2007 – some suggest the surface is faster than Paris, but I think Rafa may have just been a little tired.

The thing about Rafa on clay is that nobody pounds winners on the surface, from all positions, like he does, and that does a lot to his opponents psyche.

His winners to errors ratio is always good, and one more thing that’s often ignored on clay: Rafa’s serve is like trying to hit a butterfly. The movement on the ball is extraordinary, not unlike the rest of his strokes, and he tends to take care of his serve quite well.

The movement on all his strokes are exacerbated by imperfect surfaces like clay and grass. The difference on clay is that you usually have a little more time to adjust, whereas on grass it’s all over the place and on top of you before you can “get out of the way”.

I think Rafa’s serve is the most underrated part of his game.


grendel Says:

MMT: I stand corrected. I wasn’t particularly convinced by my own position here, I was trying to reinforce an arguing point – that Borg was not a natural grass court player – and have been caught out. Always a salutary experience.


MMT Says:

I agree 100% that Borg wasn’t a natural grass court player. I think it was John Lloyd who used to practice with him between the French and Wimbledon and said normally he was just awful in the beginning.

But what a grass court player he turned out to be!

Borg v McEnroe at Wimbledon in 1980 was the first tennis match I ever watched (I was six), so both of them, aside from their quality as players, will always be my favorites.

Well…I throw in (I know it sounds crazy but) Henri Leconte as well – he was never the sharpest knife in the drawer, but boy could he ever hit that ball.


jane Says:

MMT: “The thing about Rafa on clay is that nobody pounds winners on the surface, from all positions, like he does, and that does a lot to his opponents psyche.”

Inspired by this discussion and because I don’t want to mark essays, I’ve been re-watching bits of the Hamburg semi & final. As you mention above, Rafa’s shot making from seemingly everywhere and anywhere on clay is superb. Maybe excellent court coverage is another “reigning” clay-courter prerequisite.

Djoko was able to challenge Rafa by hitting hard and deep a lot, whereas Roger used short angles very well. Both made nice plays at the net and hit some excellent thumpers down the line. But both kind of faded in the third set. Rafa outlasted, outran, and ultimately outplayed them, using and reaching pretty much every square inch of court.


MMT Says:

Hey Jane:

Why do you think Roger has his best results against Rafa in Hamburg? Language? Surface speed? Rafa’s always tired?

Also I didn’t mean to say that Roger doesn’t hit well on the run on clay – his defense is as good as anyone…except Rafa. That man is ridiculous.

I would say he is equally tenacious (although he appears to play dismissively, he fights as hard as anyone – I would cite Tipsarevic in Australia as my favorite example, but Wimby 2008 final as well.)

Where Rafa gets him is in point construction. Fed typically cedes control of the point on the return, and even on his second stroke after he serves (where he’s often hitting off balance), but Rafa does no such thing.

Nobody in tennis bullies his opponent around the court from the first stroke to the last like Rafa – not even Roger.


jane Says:

Yes, I noticed that about Roger’s returns versus Djoko’s returns against Rafa; Djoko’s were much more aggressive. At times Roger backhand looks, well, rather weakish on this returns, even though he does hit through the ball so well (it’s not a cracker like Gasquet’s). But Roger covered the court really well too, but not quite as well as Rafa.

As to Hamburg, I don’t know. I’ve heard conflicting things about the surface there. But I am sure I read that the ball doesn’t bounce quite as high. Plus the place is definitely not Rafa’s comfort zone, whereas I think Roger has a really strong following there and a lot of crowd support. That’s gotta help. Although he had that in Monte Carlos too and it didn’t help in the choke-department.

Speaking of choking, why do players do it against Rafa so much. Or is it actually not a choke, just a letting up, which Rafa senses and pounces on?

Both Roger and Djoko had leads in Hamburg and blew em. Or lost em. Or they were wrenched away? And on grass at Queens Djoko lost his lead, and Roger in the 08 final in the 2nd (or 3rd) set, lost a lead.

What’s the deal? Any thoughts?


MMT Says:

I had a tennis partner who beat me the first 6 times we played and the 7th time, as I was down 2 breaks in the second, I told myself, “To hell with it – if I’m going down, I’m going down swinging.” He proceeded to make 3 errors up 40-0 and, lose the game and his next game, and lose the set. Eventually I won in 3. Basically he choked.

I think it has to do with Rafa’s defense and determination. When they’re already nervous about beating a player as good and tough as Rafa, it doesn’t help that he doesn’t give up. The closer they get, the harder he tries, and (sometimes) the harder they try, the more they start to miss. Then it gest tight, you take a little off your shots to make sure they go in, and he’s on it like white on rice.


jane Says:

Djoko has shown the ability to actually “dominate” against Rafa, but only ever, it seems, for a set, like the middle one in Hamburg or the first one in Cincy. Clearly he needs to work on endurance.

But maybe it’s a little of what you say above; you describe the scenario very clearly. Djoko figures that to win against Rafa (a very tough opponent to say the least) he has to go out (or in) swinging, and once he gets that lead or levels things, he gets tight. At Cincy he was able to stay with Rafa and close the match out in two, but at Hamburg, after two hard fought sets, he basically faded in the third. If he hadn’t gotten tight in that first set, he could’ve likely won the match. Same with Roger. It’s a fascinating thing – the psychological stuff on the court.


grendel Says:

“The closer they get, the harder he tries, and (sometimes) the harder they try, the more they start to miss”. The psychology here seems to be that when Nadal tries harder, he doesn’t miss (unlike his opponent) and that’s because it is, for some reason easier to try hard without choking when coming from behind. Then, having caught up and overtaken, the momentum is with Nadal, the opponent is at worst demoralised or at any rate angry with himself for missed opportunities (and therefore not fully focused) and the set is gone. That was clearly to be seen at Queens, against Djokovic.

On the other hand, this doesn’t account for why, when Nadal is ahead, he doesn’t usually lose (Hamburg 2007 being an exception, and it being generally accepted that Nadal was blown). Presumably, that is a combo of confidence and toughness – because he doesn’t miss when ahead, doesn’t seem too bothered by THEM trying harder. Or, perhaps it would be better to say that in this situation (on clay), when Nadal is ahead, psychology only comes into it as a secondary factor, that is, as something which inevitably follows from his own superiority. He’s just better, he knows it, the opponent knows it, he knows the opponent knows it and the opponent knows that he knows that the opponent knows it – that’s it, it’s over. This might answer the question not why Nadal won his matches at RG – given his weapons, he was bound to – but why he won them so ridiculously easily.Really, most of those matches at RG were barely more than a formality.

Having said all this, I’m slightly uneasy. It all might be simpler. It might just be (on clay, again) that when a player is leading Nadal, he (Nadal) simply hasn’t got into his stride, for whatever reason. Once he does get into his stride, then that’s it, he’s just better, so he wins. No need for any depth analysis.


jane Says:

“It might just be (on clay, again) that when a player is leading Nadal, he (Nadal) simply hasn’t got into his stride, for whatever reason.”

This could be true some of the time or maybe even most of the time, but at Hamburg, both Djoko and Fed were in it for both of the first sets. And judging by those matches, Rafa was in his stride. He won both first sets 7-5, both times overcoming a deficit. Then he lost the second set in both matches – with Roger it was tight, in a tiebreak 6-7, but he lost to Djoko 2-6.

I like the way you put this but I had to read it twice!

“He’s just better, he knows it, the opponent knows it, he knows the opponent knows it and the opponent knows that he knows that the opponent knows it – that’s it, it’s over.”


Von Says:

gulu:

“Dear Von, don’t worry too much about a few things. You are a very good person.So just be as happy as u r whil sendin me smiles,I m with u !
By d way,are u able to watch live telecast of Stockholm Open? I am dying to know which is Fed’s next tournament.”

You are making me do what I really don’t want to do, and that is to post here on this site, but I didn’t want to be unmannerly to you because, you have shown me only kindness and brotherly/sisterly love, and for that I’ll always remember you.

I’m not worried about what immature people say about me personally, and they do like to become personal with their name calling, which is a testament to their immaturity. That coupled with their relentless belaboring and beating a point to the death shows their character, but that’s the only way they know how to win. I know who and what I am, and I’m confident of my abilities and my character, and for me that’s all matters.

BTW, I noticed Ryan mentioned Fed will be in Madrid. Is that a definite or just rumors. If so, his rest period was very short. If it’s true, that will make you and the Fed fans happy, and it will make the tournament much more exciting. Fancy hearing that from me a non-Fed fan. You’d never hear me say that 6 omonts ago, but I’ve grown to like his tennis. I only hope he doesn’t beat up on our Andy. Sorry, but I’ve not been able to watch any live streaming of any of the tournaments. I read on the ATP website that DelPotro retired from his match. In his match v. Gasquet in Tokyo, he had a trainer/injury time-out for his back, and then he was later walking around in a mopey fashion, but I thought that was because he was losing in that set. He did the right thing in his present tournament, retire, which will give him some extra time to recover for Madrid. This is exactly why I have difficulty believing he can play with the big boys. He had a problem in LA and then in Cnnnecticut he pulled out of that tourney, and now again. Maybe he’ll get stronger, but he’s too young to be having so many physical problems this early in his career.

OK, gulu mon ami, here’s my complement of smiles for you. :P :D :) :o :( I hope that’s enough to keep you until I post again.


gulu Says:

Dear Von, again I m smilin readin ur post. May b even laughing lik Ha Ha Ha! These smiles are just cute!:-)
And I m really happy 2 know dat Roger’s comin back after some rest and relaxation. I also want Roger 2 win Madrid,Rod winning it’ll b great too!


gulu Says:

Grendel,u believ dat Mc Enro was a more natural grass courter than Borg,but I believ dat how Borg’s/JMac’s playin styl seem 2 ppl isn’t imp,it’s d win dat counts.N don’t forget dat d age diff certainly may hv played its their matches.


gulu Says:

Grendel,u believ dat Mc Enro was a more natural grass courter than Borg,but I believ dat how Borg’s/JMac’s playin styl seem 2 ppl isn’t imp,it’s d win dat counts.N don’t forget dat d age diff certainly may hv played its part in their matches.


gulu Says:

Grendel,I think dat after 1980,Borg might not hav won as many matches against JMac on grass as he’d b able 2 win b4 b’coz by dat tim Borg had already been at top for 5-6 yrs n was on downslide,but JM was on verge of start of his win steak,dat’s all.


gulu Says:

While John Mac Enro was a great grass court player, Borg was even better on grass.We can’t assume things lik MacEnro had a measure of Borg on grass.Even Pete Sampras wouldn’t believ himself as fav against Borg on grass, what to speak of others?


gulu Says:

Peopl often claim Borg has failed to win a hard court slam. But I say he has always been pretty close to winning it,yes he’s unfortunat not 2 hv won a HC slam.But then he has won back 2 back Wim-French 3 consecutiv yrs,it’s something extraordinary !


gulu Says:

All said, I don’t need to lose my sleep over d grass court credentials of Mr.Borg.So Bye Bye Mr.Borg !


gulu Says:

Finally lik John Mac Enroe said, ‘you can’t be serious’ !


grendel Says:

Well, Borg and McEnroe were one all on grass, and I watched them both – rabidly supporting Borg, who was my first hero. The first match, notoriously, could have gone either way. After McEnroe won that phenomenal tiebreak, he was the strong favourite to pull the whole thing off – but we all reckoned without Borg’s tenacity, which was just something else.

The second encounter, after the first set, it was obvious to me – a Borg fan – that McEnroe was going to win. Given that I always tend to assume the worst, this doesn’t necessarily mean very much, but McEnroe was certainly the deserved winner. Borg was still relatively young – younger than Federer is now although, to be fair, some people say he was already showing signs of burn out. McEnroe had not yet reached his peak. Why, after destroying Connors in the Wimbledon final, McEnroe never won another Wimbie title, is one of life’s mysteries. I am no judge, I really know I am not, but even so, I just cannot imagine the McEnroe who beat Connors on that day being beaten by anyone. His was a fire which burnt brightly, but all too briefly.


Von Says:

grendel:

Eat your heart out! Today is RGIF day (Thank god It’s Friday) and presently the Tennis Channel is showing the 1982 McEnroe v. Connors Wimby match. they are in the 3rd set. I’ve never seen these 2 play at Wimby, so this is a treat for me. However, where’s the grass? It’s a dirt court! There’s hardly any grass, except where the linesmen are standing. McEnroes is doing his usual – cursing and berating himself. The commentators said he was fined $500 for inecent language at the semis, but as they state, the fans expect it, and would not want it any other way. I don’t know who won, but I’ll soon find out. 3 Wimby Classics will be shown today and my DVR is working overtime taping. I have work to do for my office and I’m torn but I’ve got to eat ya know and am a proletarian, so duty calls. I’ll watch the matches in earnest tonight, and give you all of the news. Its’s funny watching them play in those skimpy shorts, which I would assume are uncomfortables, and their racquets look so funny. :P


grendel Says:

“McEnroes is doing his usual – cursing and berating himself” – Von. It’s a while since I watched it,although the BBC do put on these matches during the endless rain intervals which disfigure most Wimbledon championships. The match you refer to, of course, was the first McEnroe/Connors. In the second one, when McEnroe simply executed the unfortunate Connors – considering the class of Connors, I think this has to go down as the single most devestating demolition job I’ve ever seen – my memory is that McEnroe kept his mouth shut. He was absolutely in the zone, knew it, and didn’t want any interruptions. Somebody else has pointed out that a few more points won in the 5thset of the first match against Borg, same again in the match you are watching against Connors, just a few points – and McEnroe would have won 5 Wimbledons on the trot. Destinies and reputations can hang on the slenderest of threads….


jane Says:

Mac wasn’t given the usual “membership” to the All England Club after his first title, I believe, and it was because of those “berations” and curses. Apparently he therefore shunned the Champions dinner saying something to the effect of “why should I eat with a bunch of stodgy 70-80 year olds who insult me when I can eat with my family & friends who have supported me?” By the time he won his second title the powers-that-be had to give him the membership. I guess he’s been booed walking onto the court, more than once, dear old John. I don’t remember that though I remember all the booing during matches and outbursts.

That Mac/Connors final was a demolition; the scoreline was very lopsided. The French Open this year is close with regards to scoreline; both times the loser won the same amount of games.


grendel Says:

Von – oops, I’ve just realised I’ve told you the result of the match which you say you don’t know. Very sorry, purely inadvertent. Perhaps you won’t be looking at this site till after the match is over.


MMT Says:

Von: please don’t take this the wrong way, because I’m really just very envious of you, but I just think it’s ADORABLE that you’re watching McEnroe v Connors, ’82 Wimbledon final for the first time, and don’t know who won!

I WISH I could look at a great match like that as if were the first time. Tennis was so much more exciting for me in those days – maybe because I was a kid and I idolized McEnroe (his behavior notwithstanding). Or maybe because I really had no clue who was going to win (unlike today where every big final I watch seems suffocated by my own expectations of who will win). Who knows.

Enjoy it, it’s a classic encounter.


grendel Says:

“That Mac/Connors final was a demolition; the scoreline was very lopsided. The French Open this year is close with regards to scoreline; both tmes the loser won the same amount of games”. That is true, and I thought of mentioning it, but didn’t, because they didn’t seem the same at all. McEnroe’s victory was far more emphatic, even though the score line so similar. 1) Connors had already won Wimbledon twice, beating, among others, McEnroe. Therefore, he had to feel he was in with an excellent chance. You reckon Federer felt that before the match? I don’t – and there were signs of it in his overnight interview, where he was sounding fairly resigned between the lines – imo. 2) Connors kept on trying, waiting, perhaps, for a lull in the onslaught. Do you think Federer kept on trying? That he can do in dire circumstances was shown a month later at Wimbie. But in Paris, I think he gave up. Nor do I think that’s a disgrace. Suppose he hadn’t have given up? Would it have made any difference, even to the scoreline? A philosophical shrug of the shoulders, it’s not my day, seems about to cover it…


Von Says:

From what I’m seeing, they’re now in the 4th set and Connors has 11 double-faults and zero aces. Om the other hand, McEnroe has 8 aces and 8 doublefaults. I suppose that was their specialty. :P Maybe their pants were to tight. :D

In comparison to Fed’s/Roddick’s matches, the Connors/McEnroe matches pale in excitement. Connors used to use a lot of those loopy shots, and McEnroe played his net volleys, and some serve and volleys as if he was just flicking a butterfly. Both guys weren’t great servers. A-Rod and Fed serves a lot better. Connors told A-Rod when he was coaching him that A-Rod had a serve he would have loved to have. Serving for Mc and Connors was a labored affair. Their grunts were sounds of pain. I’m having fun looking at the contrasting styles then and now and even the commentators needed some umpf. At least it wasn’t raining. But the grass was such a painful sight to behold.

I’m spoilt, we have beautifully manicured lawns here in Florids with St. Augustine grass. When the lawn is mowed it looks like carpet. The grass runs on the ground similar to a vine and each spay/leaf gets intertwined with the next runner. it’s so strong– similar to basket weaving. That’s the type of grass they need at Wimby, but it’s very expensive to purchase abd maintain. The grass they use is what we call crab grass or field grass and is very perishable — it’s a weed. The lawn maintenance people ususally kill that inferior grass (crab grass) with weed killer. Grasses are a whole sifferent part of horticulture.


jane Says:

True about Connors having won before and definitely thinking he’d be in with a chance. The same can’t be said re: the French Open final (I mean the winning part), though Fed had taken sets off Rafa and had played so well against him at Hamburg. For some reason, maybe because everyone said he wouldn’t win, I thought Fed might this year. But Rafa wasn’t having it. It was kind of the reverse with the Djoko / Rafa semi, where Djoko came alive at the end of the third and decided to go out swinging. Fed gave a concerted effort in the second set I thought, and then the “shrug”, as you put it, in the 3rd.

Hopefully the French will be at least a little more competitive in the final stages this year. As MMT says, expectations as to who the winner will be do suffocate the excitement a bit.


MMT Says:

Von:

It’s okay – I’m looking out for you…Grendel and Jane (with all due respect, because I love your posts) are a little off on their memories, so you can still enjoy the match like a kid again.

1981 was the year McEnroe wasn’t given the customary honorary membership in the all-england club. Not because of his behavior, but because he wanted to attend only a few minutes of the the champions ball, and the All England club said, don’t come at all if you’re going to leave early. He didn’t come, so they didn’t offer him the membership. Membership has since been offered and accepted.

1984 was the year McEnroe destroyed Connors in 90 minutes without so much as a whimper from the latter. It was Connors last grand slam final and boy did he ever go out like a punk.

1982 (the final you’re watching Von) was a classic encounter between the defending champion and #1 in the world McEnroe (following Borg’s retirement), and Connors, who was seeded #2 and hadn’t been to the final since 1978. That year, was also the latest slam winning year for him (US Open over Bjorn Borg, no less) and the last time he had been ranked #1.

Would McEnroe repeat and consolidate his hold on the crown of world champion, or would Connors return to the pinnacle after years of as a softly burning ember of envy at the dominance of the Swedish master, or the precocious ascendance of his American rival?

NOW GO ENJOY THE MATCH!


jane Says:

Haha Von – “Maybe their pants were to tight. ” Personally I liked those short shorts! :-)


Von Says:

MMT:

“Von: please don’t take this the wrong way, because I’m really just very envious of you, but I just think it’s ADORABLE that you’re watching McEnroe v Connors, ‘82 Wimbledon final for the first time, and don’t know who won!”

Why would I take it the wrong way. I’m just a baby!!. I didn’t even realize that Connors used a two-handed backhand and was a leftie also. I’m from the Sampras era.

“Or maybe because I really had no clue who was going to win (unlike today where every big final I watch seems suffocated by my own expectations of who will win). Who knows.”

This is what I dislike about tennis at the present time. There isn’t any bated breath expectations, — it’s a foregone conclusion as to who the winner will be.

“Enjoy it, it’s a classic encounter.”

My Dad once took me to see a match between Billie Jean King and Virginia Wade at wimby. I was about 6 years old, and I thought Virginia Wade was so elegant and stately looking. I gaped at her. Those were the good days.

TC will be broadcasting 2 nore matches today. But sadly I’l just have to peak because I have work to do, and Monday begins the Madrid Masters.


Von Says:

MMT:

“Von: please don’t take this the wrong way, because I’m really just very envious of you, but I just think it’s ADORABLE that you’re watching McEnroe v Connors, ‘82 Wimbledon final for the first time, and don’t know who won!”

Why would I take it the wrong way. I’m just a baby!!. I didn’t even realize that Connors used a two-handed backhand and was a leftie also. I’m from the Sampras era.

“Or maybe because I really had no clue who was going to win (unlike today where every big final I watch seems suffocated by my own expectations of who will win). Who knows.”

This is what I dislike about tennis at the present time. There isn’t any bated breath expectations, — it’s a foregone conclusion as to who the winner will be.

“Enjoy it, it’s a classic encounter.”

My Dad once took me to see a match between Billie Jean King and Virginia Wade at Wimby. I was about 6 years old, and I thought Virginia Wade was so elegant and stately looking. I gaped at her. Those were the good days.

TC will be broadcasting 2 nore matches today. But sadly I’l just have to peak because I have work to do, and Monday begins the Madrid Masters, and according to the reports I’ve seen Fed will be playing.


Von Says:

jane:

I mentioned before, I don’t know how they played in those pants — they were to tight.

__________
MMT:

So are you saying you don’t like my posts because I wasn’t from that era of Borg and McEnro?. Shame on you. I’m hurt. :P That’s why I don’t join in the conversations, on those eras — you guys sound like you’re talking Greek and I get lost.


MMT Says:

Hah! No, Von – your posts are great too! I was just prefacing my contradiction of Jane and Grendel.

The Connors, Borg, McEnroe era was something special – those three won a total of 26 slams between them over 10 years – a staggering total. They played each other in finals an amazing 9 times, but ironically all at either the US Open or Wimbledon.

Final interesting information – one of those 3 players was ranked #1 in the world from 1974 until Ivan Lendl picked it up for the first time in early 1983.


Von Says:

OOOOHHHH: I’m so nervous I can’t type. The camera zoomed in on Elizabeth Taylor, I loved her beautiful face, and there she was so beautiful in her bright yellow dress. OOHHH. They are now in the fifth set and there’s a kind of hush. Got to get back now. My boss is going to fire me if I don’t complete my brief by the end of the day.


grendel Says:

Von: you say: ” Both guys weren’t great servers. A-Rod and Fed serves a lot better”. Connors, certainly, had no kind of serve at all – and I remember him referring to it disparagingly at the time. You had the feeling he just lumbered into it on the sole grounds that this was the tried and tested means of getting the game going – and then the real stuff follows.

I am surprised you should think poorly of McEnroe’s, though. I always thought it was a very difficult serve to do anything with – he had an amazing slice on it which would just run away from his opponent. So it wasn’t a killer serve, as was, for instance, that of his contemporary Kevin Curren, or even Ivan Lendl. But it seemed to me to be at least as effective. Nadal’s serve slightly reminds me of it – not least, for the endless build up they both put into it….


Von Says:

And the winner is: JAMES SCOTT CONNERS 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-7, 6-4. Connors had his 13th double fault at Championship point. And, John McEnroe sat on his chair staring on the ground with his head bent and red cheeks burning a bright red. Poor baby. I hate to see them lose at the finals. McEnroe’s serve does remind me of Nadal’s serve, especially when he sets up to deliver. But I gotta tell ya, My boy Andy Roddick is the best for the serves. He just cranks it up without any muss or fuss and up, up, and away it goes. What a thing of beauty — but of course I’m as biased as they come. I couldn’t be a judge for Roddick and Safin. I’d cheat.


MMT Says:

McEnroe had one of the hardest and most feared serves in tennis in those days. True, Kevin Curren and even Roscoe Tanner attained higher speeds, but the combination of speed, spin and placement were deadly. Borg would stand 12 feet behind the baseline to return it.

I read in his book, “Serious” that one of his early coaches taught him to conceal the direction of his serve by calling out where he wanted McEnroe to serve after he tossed it. Plus, to this day, nobody begins their delivery with their back to the court the way he did/does.

I think that if they hadn’t gone to composite racquets, McEnroe could have had an even longer career – 1984 was the second year he went away from wood, but by 1985, the power brokers of tennis (led by Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Jimmy Arias and Aaron Krickstein) had already altered the game in a way that makes it nearly impossible for a player of McEnroe’s special tennis abilities to be anything other than a side-show.

But oh how he served in those days.


Federer Ready for Madrid; Nadal, Djokovic Await Says:

[...] Roger Federer is one curious cat, isn’t he? A week after withdrawing from Stockholm and then using statements like: “At this point, I am not sure when I will be ready to play again, but I hope to be back at [...]


grendel Says:

From some questions to Rafa Nadal just before his semi with Murray:

“How do the top tennis players learn to deal with returning fast serves? Tennis Machines in training?” José Mastrangelo, England
RN: “There is no way to practice that. Intuition and try to read the opponent. Not easy to learn how to return Roddick, Djokovic, Karlovic and Federer. Believe me.”


jane Says:

Good post grendel – returning is such a skill in itself. Reading the other player’s disguises, the direction, the type of serve etc, must be a chore! That’s why I admire good returning almost as much, or maybe equally as much, as good serving.


Noel Says:

MMT,
With due respect,I think Edberg appears a bit misplaced in that list of power brokers.I somehow never saw him as a power player.He had sublime touch and was probably the last great volleyer.Henman and Rafter volleyed well but Mac and Edberg took volleying to great heights and were in an entirely different league.
___________

“That’s why I admire good returning almost as much..”

I actually admire good returning a bit more although it is not as ‘obvious’ as a good serve and a difficult skill to hone esp in this era of power servers.It is the return game that really separates the men from the boys as it were.Rafa is very consistent but Nole has a very aggressive return game and looks spectacular when he is ‘on’ with his drive returns on both the bh and fh side.And then you have someone like Murray whose return game is probably still stronger than his service game.He can leave you spellbound with his returns on certain days and probably has the best combination of block and drive returns in the game today.


jane Says:

Hi Noel,

I was going to say I admire returning almost more, but then I stopped myself because a great serve goes such a long way in any match, from getting out of jams, through winning easy points, all the way to dictating one’s own service games.

On the other hand, a good return can also set up who dictates a point, and can lead to more breaks of serve for the returner.

JMDP should be noted for his returning skills; he’s still honing them but they’re already pretty sharp. There’s Ferrer, of course, too, and even James Blake hits some ripping returns when he’s firing on all cylinders. And Djoko, Rafa and Murray are all consistently excellent returners, as you say.

What do you make of Fed’s returning skills Noel? Do think this is an area in which he’s floundered a bit this season? You must be glad to see him back on tap for Madrid.


Von Says:

MMT, grendel and jane:

Thanks ever so much for your insightful comments on the McEnroe/Connors Wimby matches and their era. MMT, a special ‘thank you’ for watching out for me with regard to the dispensing of the match info — you were very thoughtful. I felt like a kid today. I thoroughkly enjoyed watching those two play today and am keeping those recordings. I have to admit that tennis has evolved tremendously since those days, especially in style of play. Not to mention the prize money. Connors received 41,000 British Pounds (US$75,000) for his championship victory. What a far cry from the $1.2 million US dollars the champions now receive.

I watched an interview with Michael Chang on the Tennis Channel sometime last year, and according to Chang, the present day tennis players are very spoilt; they are treated as royalty and work less for their fat cheques. In some ways I have to agree with him. I’m still angry that the MS tournaments are only 3 setters for the finals, as compared to the Sampras/Agassi era, even Roddick/Safin/Fed, wherein they won their shields playing 5 sets. I mean when you come to think of it, the fans are being robbed. The tickets are very costly and the most they get to see are three (3) sets, if they’re lucky; sometimes, only 2 sets. Not to mention the players receive US$500,000 and 500 points. The top 8 also receive a bye, and the winner plays only 5 matches. Sorry, but to me, that’s a big time rip-off for the fans who have to pay for those tickets. I feel robbed and I’m only watching on TV, much more if I had to pay for the ticket, sit on those hard seats, and brave the weather elements. No, siree, a rip-off I say. :P Anyway, guys/gal, thanks for the wonderful, stimulating, enlightening and insightful discussion. I’m brain-dead, and can’t think of more descriptive words to add. :D — but you get my drfit don’t jya.


Noel Says:

Hi Jane,
I didn’t intend to make a list of the best returners and that is why I just mentioned the top players only.I will add Hewitt and Davy to the list as well.People used to consider Hewitt’s returns even better than Agassi’s.He was extremely sharp in his glory days and still returns very well.Davy has been brilliant with his returns over the past few years.His serve lets him down so badly.As does Ferrer’s.I think Nalby also returns very well on HIS days.

I agree-I think I have said it before- that Ferrer returns very well and JMDP is very sharp too.James’ returns-like the rest of his game-are a bit hit and miss imho.He just goes for them and it looks spectacular when it comes off but such a high-risk go-for-broke approach has its pitfalls and a more nuanced return strategy probably will help him more.

I agree completely regarding your assessment of Fed’s returns this year.Somehow,I forgot to bring this up in a more direct manner in our last interaction.In fact,his failure to convert the numerous break point opportunities he creates has cost him big time.He wasn’t all that great for most of 2007 either.However,the fact that he is creating those opportunities does point to the fact that he is not returning badly.It is the sharpness needed on the break points that is missing.I’d again say that his returns-esp the drive returns-could be much better for a player of his stature.I just get the feeling that he is not aggressive enough with his returns when he needs to be in certain situations.I know his block returns have delivered him good returns(don’t mind the pun) over the years but he needs to be more aggressive and take some chances esp against Rafa.A block return just allows Rafa to take control through his second shot and then he becomes the big favourite to win the point on most surfaces.Fed has some serious work to do on his drive returns.
From the foregoing,it is clear that I don’t think that he has a great all-round return game.However,that is probably true for almost every aspect of his game.He is not the best in the business even in one department.No obvious in-your-face sort of weapon.Even his fh is comparatively ‘subtle’ if you know what I mean.With Fed,the whole is always so much more than the sum of its parts and when it all comes together,the product is sheer poetry in mo……I know you’d prefer real poets.Apologies for the ‘gush’ again. :)

I am not too surprised about his return in Madrid.I did think that “before the year end” meant Paris and Shanghai at best although I had expressed my surprise about him missing the mandatory Madrid and the ‘home tourney’ Basel.It does appear that he thinks it is realistic and worthwhile having a crack at the top rank and if he is after that,I am afraid this is the way he will have to go.The R&R will have to wait until after the end of the season. Playing four tournaments on the trot was always going to be very tough and I don’t know how Fed added Stockholm to his schedule.He is normally so careful with his scheduling.

I am happy that he doesn’t have any health issues and we can expect some good performances in the remainder of the season if he is indeed motivated enough.Madrid promises to be a cracker of an event esp if JMDP and Tsonga recover from their injuries.Monfils and Nalby are playing well and Safin seems to be in reasonable touch.Rod had a good Asian stint and even Gasquet showed glimpses of his talent.I just hope all these players can rise to the occasion and make the task of the big four as difficult as possible.


jane Says:

Yes I agree Noel – Madrid should be a great event. Quite the line up of players. I didn’t know JMDP has an injury; what is it? Can you fill me in?

It does seem to be with Roger that the whole of his game, when it’s clicking, is the magic, although his forehand, along with Rafa’s, is often touted at the best at the moment.


MMT Says:

Hey Von – what other old matches were broadcast last week?


Von Says:

MMT:

Hello, thanks for asking. Gosh was I disappointed!! The The Tennis Channel pulled one on me. They rebroadcasted the same match 2 additional times. What a bummer!! There I was, all relaxed after sweating bullets to finish my brief for my deadline, with my bag of popcorn, only to see the same match repeated. Anyway, it wasn’t for naught, since I was able to watch the 1982 match more in-depth and appreciate those players even more. I’ll let you know when next they broadcast additional Wimby classics, (so that you can eat your heart out) which they do periodically. Today they are broadcasting the first round Madrid matches, and will be re-broadcasting them again this evening. The feed I receive with Robbie Koenig and Jason Goodall is fabulous. It’s such a treat to listen to those guys. I hope you’re able to watch Madrid also, and if you do, enjoy. :P


MMT Says:

Hey Von – what other classic matches did they show on tv last week?


Von Says:

MMT:

I saw the ’07 Nalbandian/Fed Madrid final also.


Von Says:

MMT: Sorry for the many posts. The TC also showed the current seniors tour matches with Wayne Ferreira/Todd Martin/Courier. I’m becoming very tennis savvy. OH WOW. I’m a late bloomer for tennis. I became a serious tennis supporter watching Pete Sampras and Agassi.


MMT Says:

The Outback Champions Series is fun to watch. Those guys still look like (if they got in shape) they could play on the regular tour, but of course that’s not the case.

Anyway, I think this is McEnroe’s last year on the senior circuit. It’s a shame, because he’s still fun to watch. He is playing with guys that were probably first-time ball boys when he was just winning his first slams.

In fact, somewhere out therre, there’s a photo of McEnroe signing an autograph for Krajicek circa 1983.

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