Djokovic Claims Masters Cup; Pros Hit Exo Circuit; Tennis Week Tanking
by Staff | November 16th, 2008, 11:24 pm
  • 77 Comments

Djokovic Ends Season with ATP Tennis Masters Cup Title

Serb Novak Djokovic announced his intentions for 2009 on Sunday, ending his 2008 campaign with the Masters Cup title and finishing a mere 10 points behind world No. 2 Roger Federer on the ATP Rankings.


Djokovic was sharp in jumping all over Nikolay Davydenko 6-1 in the first set of Sunday’s final, then holding off the Russian 7-5 in the second set. It was the 21-year-old’s fourth title of the year following the Australian Open, and Masters Series crowns in Indian Wells and Rome.

“I would put it in the same league as a Grand Slam because the best eight players in the world are participating here,” Djokovic said. “I feel very happy. End up the season the way I started it, with a win in a big event. So it’s a great boost up for upcoming season.”

Davydenko’s year included three titles, but the Russian failed to reach the quarters at any of the Grand Slams.

Nestor-Zimonjic Beat Bryans, Clinch No. 1 in Masters Cup Final

The Canadian-Serbian team of Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic topped American twins Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6(3), 6-2 on Sunday to capture the Tennis Masters Cup, winning the final that determined the year-end No. 1 ranking.

“It’s pretty unusual that that No. 1 ranking comes down to one match, that’s probably one in a million,” Bob Bryan said. “With all the points out there, having it hinge on a few points at the end of the season is pretty amazing. But they had some good results. We all won big tournaments. I think they deserve it. They won the season-ending championships. I guess got to tip our hat to them.”

The Bryans were attempting a record-setting four consecutive year-end titles, and what would have been their fifth overall. Instead the Canadian-Serb pair walked away with the coveted year-end No. 1 on the strength of a Wimbledon championship and a runner-up finish at the French, among other results.

The 36-year-old Nestor also finished as the year-end No. 1 team in 2002 and 2004 with Mark Knowles.

“We have had a great year,” Nestor said. “At times a little inconsistent. But when we’ve played well, we’ve been very tough to beat. We really get on a roll. I think when we’re playing well, we’re deserving of the No. 1 ranking.”

For the Bryans it was an odd season of coming up short that ended much like it began. The American twin tandem lost in their first four tournament finals at Sydney, Delray Beach, San Jose and Las Vegas before finally breaking through for their first title at the Masters Series-Miami. The Americans then lost in Davis Cup play to the French team of Clement-Llodra before reaching the final in their next three tournaments, winning at Barcelona and Rome (d. Nestor-Zimonjic), but losing at Hamburg (l. to Nestor-Zimonjic).

After a quarterfinal at the French and a semifinal at Wimbledon, the twins again lost to their nemesis’ Nestor-Zimonjic in the MS-Canada final. They then rebounded during the summer hardcourt circuit, winning titles at the MS-Cincinnati and the US Open. After the US Open they won only one match in two tournaments entering the Masters Cup.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS

SPA OR TENNIS COURT? Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga may be a new name added to the rarified air of the year-end Masters Cup, but the 23-year-old is already a veteran when it comes to acting the part of a pampered star. Tsonga lost a three-setter to Russian Nikolay Davydenko in his opening match in Shanghai, then in his post-match conference blamed the ball kids for adding to his fatigue by making him take extra steps toward his towel.

“When I ask for my towel, my towel didn’t come,” Tsonga said. “Sometimes I have to take my towel alone. So for me it’s maybe 10 meters more. But if you count at the end of the match, it’s like one kilometre.” Hopefully the Frenchman can add two minutes onto his 45-minute training runs during the offseason to counteract the fatigue brought on by the extra towel effort.

SHOW US THE EXO $$$$$: Rafal Nadal withdrew from events at the end of this year citing knee tendinitis. Roger Federer likewise with a bad back, and other top players with similar ailments. All complain about the length of the ATP calendar — so what to do during the off season? Apparently their injuries are unaffected by playing non-ATP exhibitions, lured by the millions offered by the oil-rich Middle Eastern and Asian nations.

Abu Dhabi has yet been unable to secure a date on the ATP calendar, so the oil-flush capital of the United Arab Emirates is simply offering the top players ridiculous amounts of appearance money to play an event Jan. 1-3, 2009. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko, Andy Roddick, and James Blake will compete at the Capitala World Tennis Championship in the tiny Zayed Sports City’s 5000-capacity Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex.

Greg Sproule, managing director, IMG, Middle East, was not shy about their event bypassing the ATP and getting a jump on the official start of the year, with ATP events kicking off on Jan. 5. “We view it as the year is starting with us.”

The Grand Slams, Masters Series and Davis Cup remain the biggest events on the tennis calendar, and with tennis players essentially being free agents, what they do in between is up to them. Next time a top player complains about the rigor of the ATP calendar, pull up their exhibition schedule. Then again, as Rafa might, say, ‘Is difficult to turn down $2 million to play three days, no?’

This Tuesday Federer will meet fans in Kuala Lumpur where he is playing the Showdown of Champions exhibition with James Blake, John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg. Cha-ching.

SERENA SLIDES TO ONE POST-US OPEN WIN: From tennis writer Ravi Ubha: “All that surfing — and acting — must have taken a toll on Serena Williams. For the second year in a row, Williams bailed during the year-end championships, this time skipping her final group match in Doha, Qatar, against Russian Elena Dementieva because of a pulled stomach muscle. Bizarrely, Williams, who hit the waves in Hawaii and filmed an episode for MADtv in October as she recovered from an ankle injury, suggested the stomach problem affected her little in a 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 defeat to sister Venus a day earlier. As one might guess from the score, the encounter lacked the drama of their classic U.S. Open quarterfinal in September, when Williams saved 10 set points and prevailed 7-6 (6), 7-6 (7). “I never felt anything on court, although it was hurting by the time I got back to the hotel,” Williams said.

BRYANS VS. WILLIAMS: The Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, will play a doubles exhibition against the Bryan brothers at the Andy Roddick Foundation charity event on Dec. 7 in Boca Raton, Fla. The Bryans will follow with a Dec. 13 exhibition against the former French Open-winning Jensen brothers in Atlanta.

TENNIS IS CLEAN: At the Masters Cup, Russian Nikolay Davydenko said tennis is a clean sport when it comes to players throwing matches, even though Russian (allegedly) mobsters dropped $7 million+ plus on one of Davydenko’s opponents after Davydenko had won the first set. Davydenko eventually retired from the match, handing his opponent a win. “I don’t think tennis really has any problem with gambling,” Davydenko said. “Tennis is clean because they tried to investigate every player, not just me.” The key word there is ‘tried.’ So how come so many players have come forward saying they were asked to throw matches? Clean…

ANYONE CARE ABOUT THE REIGN IN SPAIN?: Rafael Nadal was devastated that injury is keeping him out of the Davis Cup final when Spain travels to Argentina. The rest of the Spanish squad. Apparently not so much, as Reuters put it, “Higher-ranked players like Carlos Moya, Tommy Robredo and Nicolas Almagro were tired or had already started their holidays ahead of pre-season training for next year.” This after the Spanish team appointed Marcel Granollers, ranked outside the Top 50, to replace Nadal on the squad. Nice effort. I guess we missed it, but what have Moya, Robredo or Almagro done for anyone lately that has made them tired? Is Almagro tired from not reaching a quarterfinal since the French? Granollers? C’mon, way to phone it in.

MISC: Roger Federer when asked if he missed the ailing Rafael Nadal at the Masters Cup in Shanghai: “We’re not dating, so no.”…Andy Roddick on the injured Rafael Nadal skipping the Masters Cup in an effort to compete in the Davis Cup final, his tendinitis-ridden knee allowing: “Rafa’s earned every right to pick and choose what he wants to prioritize. He’s also responsible to his teammates and his country.”…2008 ends with two surprise year-end No. 1s: Jelena Jankovic and Rafael Nadal…The USTA announced that Brian Hainline, M.D., has been named to the newly-created position of Chief Medical Officer, USTA. Hainline will “develop and oversee medical policies affecting all aspects of the sport, from recreational programs to professional tournaments, with an eye toward promoting and developing the healthy growth of tennis.”…Billie Jean King is the recipient of this year’s NCAA President’s Gerald R. Ford Award, the award named in recognition of the late President Gerald Ford that honors individuals who have provided significant leadership as an advocate for higher education and intercollegiate athletics…Shahar Peer has a new coach in Pablo GiacopelliSerena Williams was in Johannesburg last week to, according to local papers, “endorse Hewlett-Packard’s product line” and support the Starfish Great Heart Charity for orphans infected with HIV. Serena later in the week visited Kenya to open a school she funded in collaboration with the Build African Schools Initiative and Hewlett Packard…The “Kings of Tennis” exhibition event scheduled in Asia during this past weekend featuring eight former world No. 1 players was cancelled due to an apparent funding issue (aka organizers couldn’t come up with enough appearance scratch). Due to appear were Ilie Nastase, Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edberg and Mats Wilander representing the European team, and Roy Emerson, John McEnroe, Marcelo Rios and Pete Sampras representing the Americas side…Stefan Edberg will make his debut on the Outback Champions Series circuit this week at the “Emirates NBD’s The Legends “Rock” Dubai”…Andy Roddick says he has a short list of possible coaches he will be speaking to in the coming weeks. We’re sitting by the phone Andy. We can fix that transition game. Really…Former player David Wheaton writing for The Christian Worldview right before the U.S. election: “But for now, tomorrow, Election Day, the choice may not be everything we want (it never is), but the choice should be extremely clear for Christians: John McCain will bring much more of a Christian worldview to the White House than Barack Obama and that is the criterion that matters.”…Radek Stepanek played at the Masters Cup for the injured Andy Roddick, but the Czech, who was on vacation in Thailand, had his luggage held up in customs. “I had the racket from Novak Djokovic and socks from Andy [Murray],” said Stepanek after losing 7-6, 6-4 to Roger Federer. He also had to buy new contact lenses, also held up with his luggage…Andy Roddick on the ATP requiring more mandatory tournaments in 2009: “I think too much is asked of us as far as playing 11 months of the year, and now they’re imposing more mandatory tournaments. It doesn’t make a whole a lot of sense. It’s unfortunate for someone like Rafa [Nadal] that goes out there and does things the right way. No one is ever going to question how much effort he gives every time he’s on the court. I don’t think anybody wants to be on the court more than he does, so at a certain point you would hope they start respecting our opinions a little bit more.”…Serbian media is reporting that the country will have a new 2009 ATP event to be held in Belgrade in May. “The final approval is still subject to a few details that are being finalised between now and the end of 2008,” an ATP official told Eurosport. “It’s been approved in principle and we need to sort out a few details and then we will announce its spot in the calendar and the prize money and so on.”…According to TennisReporters.net, Tennis Week publisher Randy Master has left the publication and has returned to the Tennis Channel. Sources say that IMG, which owns the publication, is considering Tennis Week’s future viability. IMG bought the publication about two years ago.


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77 Comments for Djokovic Claims Masters Cup; Pros Hit Exo Circuit; Tennis Week Tanking

Ezorra Says:

To Zola;
I am very proud of you. I think you’re one of the most sincere and determined Nadal’s fans. I also believe that you are very honest in defending Nadal and the rest of other players in the issue of injury. I’m with you in it!

To Jane;
Congratulations on Novak’s win :P The win has confirmed us that he’s still in the same class with Rafa, Roger and Andy. Additionally, I also prefer and adore his attitude at the present, very positive but humble at the same time. With that kind of attitude, I am very sure that he will add more fans next year!

———————————
I would also like to tell all of you the first word that comes in my mind when I watch certain players perform;

Nadal – Unique (sometimes “Tiring @ Demanding”)
Federer – Unique
Djokovic – Sharp
Murray – Nadal + Djokovic
Davydenko – Unpredictable
Roddick – Speed @ Fast
Tsonga – Passion
Del Potro – Nada’…
Simon – Effortless Backhand


zola Says:

***SHOW US THE EXO $$$$$: Rafal Nadal withdrew from events at the end of this year citing knee tendinitis. Roger Federer likewise with a bad back, and other top players with similar ailments. All complain about the length of the ATP calendar — so what to do during the off season? Apparently their injuries are unaffected by playing non-ATP exhibitions, lured by the millions offered by the oil-rich Middle Eastern and Asian nations.***

You think whoever writes this has to read some tennis news.

Whatever the writer wants to imply ( that the inhuries are fake? or the players care only about money?) RAfa lost $1.5 million by not showing up in Shanghai. All he had to do was fly there, hit a ball and withdraw!

Since then he withdrew from the Davis Cup final and the Malaga masters ion December ( if you don’t know, it is an exhibition!). He has agreed to play in Doha in JANUARY! and still it is not definite. Even his participation in AO is not a given.

You have completely twisted the players’ arguments. The back to back master series ( obligatory) on hard courts is not good for the players. Now suddenly Rafa, Roger, Roddick, Murray, Blake, ….are money-hungry monsters? and what is the ATP management? Dalai Lama? What a shame!


TD (Tam) Says:

Yes congratulations to Jane and all other Djokovic fans on their favorite player’s big win this weekend!

Thank goodness it’s the off season at last.


zola Says:

Ezorra,
Thanks for the nice comment. It means a lot to me because I value your comments a lot too.

I like your list. I have to think about mine. But I can say that for RAfa , watching him brings the words” passion” and “will” to my mind. Federer, when he is at his best “perfection”, when not, “impatient”!

I like the “fast” for Roddick. For Djoko, for some reason, I always think of “trunk rotation” after I read it in a Bodo article. That’s so true. He generates lots of power that way.

Murray, I can’t find a word yet. Maybe “talent’ and “will”. The rest I have to think!


jane Says:

Thanks TD (Tam), and Ezorra, and Von ,and Zola, and all the other well-wishers here. I am really happy that Djoko was able to end the season on a better note than it had been since Wimbledon, which wasn’t horrid, but was tumultuous and a little angst reason.

Now our faves can all take a break – well, except for those Davis Cup finalists.

I think I am with you TD – it’s time for a break, at last.


jane Says:

oops “angst ridden” not ‘angst reason” – see I need a break. My fingers are protesting!


andrea Says:

“Federer didn’t win a Masters event this year. I won one in Miami. OK, he won the US Open, but who cares about the US Open?”

yet another reason for me to believe novak is a first class weenie.

maybe one day when you actually win a US Open then you’ll start to care.

sheesh.


zola Says:

Andrea,
I actually googled to find that quote, because it seems so out of proportion and arrogant. But it is made by Davydenko ( he won Miami , not Djoko) and it was a joke.

http://sports.inquirer.net/breakingnews/breakingnews/view/20081117-172665/Roger-and-out-for-Masters-Cup


Ezorra Says:

andrea!!!! shame on you!


Ezorra Says:

andrea:

Just kidding. Next time, please be more careful… Make sure the source is correct before you put any quotations in your post ;-)


NachoF Says:

From the article:

“However, as the 27-year-old’s powers start to fade, his absence will increasingly be felt by fans, tournament organizers and sponsors.

In Sunday’s final, the Qi Zhong Stadium crowd showed their indifference with a Mexican wave as Djokovic served for the match.”

Further evidence of what I have been saying lately…. Federer’s fading is gonna hurt tennis greatly.


NachoF Says:

Its also worth pointing out that Federer completely destroyed Ferrer last year so that final also turned out be pretty short but you didnt find the crowd to be indifferent about it at all.


gulu Says:

Dear Zola and Ezorra, tennis must be proud of having gracious fans like you ! Dear Zola,using the word ‘perfection’ for Fed is the ultimate compliment which a Nadal fan could have given to Fed,thanks for admiring Fed so much ! :-)


gulu Says:

Finally kudos to Gulbis for being the only player besides Fed to snatch a set from Nadal at Wimby ! Sam Querry of US played bravely in the DC semi on clay court in front of a partisan Spanish crowd
& pushed Rafa to 4 sets ! So 3 cheers for young Sam !!!


gulu Says:

2008 is one of the greatest years in tennis history which’ll be remembered for the downfall of ‘My Dearest Rogi’ :-( and rise of Rafa :-o to the top, emergence of the exceptionally talented Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic !


gulu Says:

Welcome back TD (Tam) ! :-) Nice to see you back again!


MMT Says:

Ezorra said: “Congratulations on Novak’s win The win has confirmed us that he’s still in the same class with Rafa, Roger and Andy.”

Which Andy are you referring to here? I think either Murray or Roddick need to prove they are in the same category as Rafa, Roger and Novak – Murray hasn’t won a slam, and should have won in Shanghai, and Roddick…ahh…Roddick.

I know Djokovic has his detractors, but neither Andy is currently in his class, never mind Rafa and Roger!


anel Says:

Zola and Ezorra:Thank You girls/guys,if all tennis fans are like YOU world would be much happier and our life’s more easier.
ANDREA,stop hating Novak,but if You cant do not allow that hatred to take Your brain off.
NachoF,You should ask crowd what they showed by their “Mexican wave” indifference is your assay.
Gulu:You are first of RFs fans to accept that this year he had small fall,but really do not be unhappy he has already so much and all these talented guys maybe never reach there.


gulu Says:

Ohhhhh……… MMT !!! So do ya really wanna see Murray win a slam? :-) If you so wish,then Murray’s gonna do it! His Cincinnati & Madrid wins and to top them all,his epic victory v Fed at Shanghai are good enough indications that he’d soon win a slam !


gulu Says:

MMT,if you really think Rod’s so far behind Roger,Rafa & others,then you certainly are wrong !! I’m really surprised what exactly makes you put Fed,Rafa and the rest so ahead of Rod !!! ???Who knows what’d have happened without rain in 2004 Wimby Final?


gulu Says:

I usually felt that Rod’s been a fighter against Fed even though the H2H says a different story ! However I’d say ,Fed’s enjoyed good luck against Rod & has gained some mental edge; but as far as others are concerned, Rod’s never been in the backfoot !


gulu Says:

If someone tells me that Rod’s less talented than the rest,I’d beg to differ! He’s shown his talent many a times this year beating everyone & has lost only close matches at US Open,Paris & TMC !


gulu Says:

One can argue that Rod’s got weak nerves; then I’d say,in his better days,they were strong against all the players,the only exception being Fed ! You all know this for sure ! Even Fed & Rafa’s nerves betray them against strong opponents,do ya need prove?


gulu Says:

anel, I’d not call this a small fall,coz it’s been significant fall in the level of Fed’s game in comparison to previous years,otherwise none could have been able to stop him from winning at least 2/3 Masters trophies & may be an additional slam even !


gulu Says:

The 6-1 6-3 6-0 demolition at the hands of Rafa speaks for itself about the form of Fed this year ! We,the Fed fans’ll always like to forget the straight sets loss of Fed in 2008 at Aus Open & RG ! None could have routed an in-form Federer like this !


MMT Says:

I’m just saying that before we put either of the Andy’s in the same category as the 3 grand slam winners of 2008 (in fact the only slam winners in the last 4 years) I think they should…dare I say it…win a slam! Fair enough Andy R won the US Open in 2003 but that was a long time ago. And Murray hasn’t won a slam yet.

Until then, there are 3 (Rafa, Roger and Novak) and there’s everyone else.


zola Says:

gulu dear,
when Fed’s game is on, there is no other word. I like watching his slow motion ground strokes. what footwork!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNPaZj4yn00

They are just perfect and I also like the way his face is so calm during the most difficult shots. Of course I don’t like some of the things he says sometimes, but that’s irrelevent.

I won’t forget the Wimbledon 07 too. You know I have never watched that match again. It is just painful. Neither the HAmburg 07 match! But aren’t these two just so great and awesome to give us fans such thrillers. Now with these young guns, we can’t ask for more!

anel,
Thanks a lot.
I don’t think Andrea wrote that out of hatred. The article is written in a way to make the reader make that conclusion. The whole article is about Djoko, then at the end, somewhere Davydenko is mentioned and then the quote is given in a separate paragraph. It is very easy to make a mistake.


jane Says:

Thanks to zola for pointing out andrea’s error. I knew it couldn’t have been Novak because he won IW not Miami!! And besides, quoting players out of context, and not taking into account tone, as in this case Davy was joking, isn’t really fair.

Speaking of sheesh!!!


gina Says:

Tennis Weak — they ruined that magazine after Gene Scott passed.


anel Says:

Zola,sorry if You think that wasn’t hatred but Andrea is doing that for long time.Just looking for some Novaks words out of context to show haw bad Novak is.I really cant understand if You do not like someone why You pay attention on his words and doings?


anel Says:

By the way I know that there are many articles written to Shaw Novak as bad guy,to make more people hate him.WHY I do not know maybe some of YOU know.


RG Says:

BTW, I just read the transcript of Davydenko’s interview after the Shanghai final. Usually, he appears so stoic; but I never realized that he had a wonderful (and sometimes self deprecating) sense of humor.

Maybe, that is the key to his success. He already has all the tennis shots in his arsenal (save a great serve). If he lightens up a bit.. smiles from time to time.. it might just help his game.
Anyways, the interview is worth a read!


RG Says:

Ezzora:
“Djokovic – Sharp”

Hi! I am a huge Djokovic fan. But when I think of Djokovic – the first thing that comes to my mind is -
“immense potential but still mentally fragile”.

He did win the Masters Cup. But even in AO, where he won the final, he allowed the crowd to get to him.. We all know what happened at the US Open.

In the future, I hope he can use the postive energy of the crowd to motivate himself. At the same time, if the crowd gets negative, learn not to allow it to become a distraction.

Hopefully,


RG Says:

I meant – Hopefully, In the future…


jane Says:

RG,

I agree with you; I hope Novak is mentally focused next year, because when he is focused he is great, as the Masters Cup final showed. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call him “mentally fragile” as he can play the big points well most of the time, but he’s sensitve or maybe reactive as times, and it can throw him off track, take a lot out of him. I think he’s got a good heart and a lot of it so I hope, like you, he can use it to his advantage, and then let his tennis do the talking!

I also agree with your comments about Davydenko – on a previous thread, a few days ago, grendel and I had discussed the sometimes “wooden” quality of Davy as perhaps being a detriment to his game or success. So it would be nice if he’d let “loose” a little, and then let it rip!


sensationalsafin Says:

I haven’t read everyone’s comments so idk if someone already mentioned this but here’s one of Djokovic’s quotes after his win regarding reaching number 2 and 1:

“Certainly, I believe that I have quality to reach the top spot in the upcoming year or, you know, whatever, next couple of years, 10 years,” he said. “That is my lifetime goal that I’ve been always trying to achieve.

“But I learned a lesson. If I pay too much attention on rankings, it doesn’t go the right way. So I just want to improve my game.”

I think I’m getting too used to writing papers because I have the urge to analyze this quote but it’s pretty self explanatory and I’m so glad to hear Djokovic say this. I honestly hope Federer wins the AO and FO next year so he gets that 15 and then I don’t care if he never wins a match again. Go Djokovic!!!


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

so let me get this straight, davydenko has got the funk because he lost the shanghai title to djokovic? lol most other players would have got the funk for losing- the good bully players that is


gretchen Says:

sensationalsafin:

That quote from Djokovic is a sign that he is becoming a lot more mature, in my opinion. There’s a big difference between being confident and being arrogant; feeling entitled to something and feeling you’ve earned something. It’s good to see D talk in this manner. For the most part I’ve enjoyed watching him play, but there was something about his attitude that would at times put me off. I felt like he needed to let his racket do the talking. And hopefully he will.


jane Says:

sensationalsafin – I’ll attempt a little analysis. I think this year, when Djokovic was so close to overtaking Rafa at number 2, he got too heavily weighed down by mental pressure thinking about that, how close he was. And then all his matches with Rafa — from Hamburg, through RG, to Queens were pretty close (well, not RG as much but still). I think this affected him at Wimbledon and then throughout the latter part of the season.

I am guessing (?) – could be pure crap – that maybe that’s what Djoko’s talking about in that quote.

I really liked that he said that too, and like gretchen I think it’s a sign of his maturation. His game is evolving and so is he as a person; I hope the absolute best for him in the future.

GO DJOKO!


zola Says:

Since last year AO’s mishaps I thought Djoko was under lots of pressure from his family. My impression was that he needed to prove himself to them not to himself and that took the joy of playing tennis out of him. Now after one more year in the top and all ups and downs, I see that he is the one doing the talking and not the Mom or dad. When he is by himself, he hugs players, takes photos of Rafa after being beaten in IW, jokes around, but when his parents are present, he gets into another mood. I seriously think they do more harm to him than good.

I am too, happy that he is growing both as a person and as a player.

Jane,
Thanks for your comment.
About Djoko, I thought the same thing many times. That he was so close to become No 2 in HAmburg and yet it did not happen. Later on, all the attention was diverted to Rafa in RG and wimbledon and he also lost a close match to RAfa in Queens. I think he is a more emotional player than it shows. If he can keep his head together like he did in Shanghai, he can be far more dangerous to RAfa and Fed in 2009.


sensationalsafin Says:

Yeah I know Djokovic’s reasons behind it. Wow, Sean was actually right when he said Djokovic is a smart guy and will learn from his mistakes. I’m glad he bounced back so soon. First Federer had to redeem himself and now Djokovic. It just goes to show that they’re both real champions. I like how MMT said that it’s the top 3 then everyone else.

Murray’s got all the tools but he has to prove himself. Beating Federer for the third time in one year is obviously a great accomplishment but I don’t think he should say it means as much as winning the tournament. Imagine if Djokovic had said that at the AO. Nadal can’t say that because he always beats Roger in the finals…

But yeah. I also feel like Murray is following in Nadal’s phrase-steps by always saying how Federer is the best ever and blah blah blah. Who cares, Murray clearly thinks he’s better than Federer and he goes out and proves it 75% of the time. Why can’t he just leave it at that? I think it’s interesting to note that in all 3 losses Fed’s had to Murray, he won the first set… Similar to the way he’s lost to Simon both times this year, up a set and a break and then breaks down and loses. It goes to show counter punching is still an effective style but Murray and Simon definitely do a good job of taking it to another level. I didn’t see the Murray-Fed match but Simon was playing really aggressive as the match went on and I really enjoyed it, despite Federer losing.

However, when Murray and Simon clashed, Murray won easily. I didn’t see that match either so idk what to make of that. It’s really interesting though, how all these styles match-up. I think if Federer has a really good tournament sometime next year, he’ll beat Simon and Murray in straight sets. I feel like when the play is decent but not incredible, Murray/Simon will win in 3 sets. If Federer is playing great, he’ll win in straights. Not because he’s that much better but because of the way the games match up. Counter punching is a break-down style that takes more time. That’s why Nadal didn’t win any straight setters off of Federer until he became really aggressive. Now it’s usually in straight sets.

Anyways, Go Djokovic!!!!


andrea Says:

error noted and retracted!


gulu Says:

While all are seeing things from one angle,I’d like to see things from another angle.I agree that a cool mind will make Nole very dangerous for Fed & Rafa.But have you even bothered to think for a moment how deadly can Fed & Rafa become if they focus !!!


gretchen Says:

gulu:

I don’t think anyone would refute Fed and Rafa’s mental strengths. Arguably the best in the business. Djokovic struggles more in this department, but when he does find a way to maintain his focus he is very dangerous on the court. Afterall, he’s number 3 in the world! Obviously he knows what he’s doing. The question is, can he climb higher? Only time will tell. But for now he’s got 2 tough customers in his way…


zola Says:

andrea
lol. :)

sensationalsafin
I think players really appreciate the good play by another player. It is hard for us to understand, but they know how much effort is put into becming a champion for 4 years or winning so many grand slams.

Uncle toni once said to a reporter ( I think Neil Henman) that ” we respect Federer, but doesn’t mean we are afraid of him”.

Saying someone is a good player, doesn’t take anything of a player like Rafa or Murray. It is appreciation for hard work and beauty. Roddick said the same about Rafa just in Shanghai. Blake says that about Federer. I like it that these guys can appreciate each other so much and then can come on the court and fight them off.

Steven Tignor wrote an article about Paul Newman a while ago and wrote about the movie “hustler”.

http://tennisworld.typepad.com/thewrap/2008/10/the-tragic-hust.html

I watched that movie again this weekend. One of the several great moments is when Newman ( or fast Eddy) talks to his girlfriend about how he feels about playing pool and how he feels about it. He talks with such a passion that the girl says at the end: and another one is when he watches the Minessota Fats and talks to his pal about him. He is full of admiration for the way his opponent is playing. Look at this clip at about 2:00 . No one can describe the Fats better than eddy” He is Great! look at the way he moves, like he is dancing…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEP2lDjps0o

I think no one understands a professional tennis player better than another pro. That’s why the genuine admiration comes from them. I see no harm in appreciating the strengths and efforts of an opponent. To me it is fascinating and admirable.


NachoF Says:

“That’s why Nadal didn’t win any straight setters off of Federer until he became really aggressive. Now it’s usually in straight sets.”

I think they played each other just 4 times this year… one five setter, one three setter (Federer took one set), one 7-5, 7-5 at Monte Carlo that Fed could have won had he not choked and the lopsided RG final… both straight set wins came on clay also… my point is, I dont think its a fair statement to say that Nadal usually now beats Federer in straight sets


gulu Says:

A player who intends to win against Roger’d & should always praise him ! Trust me, whoever makes the blunder of declaring himself better than Fed, would really wake up the demon inside Federer & no power can save him from being defeated
by Federer !


gulu Says:

Agree with you completely dear NachoF ! Now that Fed’s playing level has come down so significantly and he’s got a little bit unlucky, people have all of a sudden started writing how Simon’s gonna tame Fed next time they face each other !


NachoF Says:

I know… its like people also forgot Federer completely destroyed Murray at the US Open final and only talk about how Murray has beaten Fed at some smaller tournaments.


gulu Says:

I mean what’s the use of working so hard & winning so many slams & titles for a guy if a couple of defeats at the hands of a young player’s enough to conclude that the newcomer tennis player’s almost the same as or even better than the legend !!! Heck !


ugh Says:

so… you don’t like it when people critique roger. noted.


gulu Says:

Dear NachoF, again thanks a lot for reminding me about the US Open 2008 final,even I have forgotten ! ;-) BTW,for the kind information of the pundits,the Fed who beat Murray in that match was only decent and by no means incredible (Rest is History) !!!


gulu Says:

Keep noting whatever you want ! But I shall defend Federer with regards to whatever’s good about him ! But I’d never defend the bad qualities of
Fed ; e.g. his arrogance,ugly statements & pride, moreso coz I’m a real fan of his & a true wellwisher !


gulu Says:

Dear Zola,this is however the end of me for today as it’s 3 o’ clock at night here in India and I’m absolutely drained emotionally,one thing at least in which I can be said to be at par with Roger and Rafa ! ;-) Write to you later ! :-) :-o


gulu Says:

Dear NachoF, again thanks a lot for reminding me about 2008 US Open Final,even I have forgotten ! ;-) BTW, the Federer which beat Murray in that final match was decent only & not at his incredible best (Rest is History) !!! :-)


zola Says:

gulu dear,
get some sleep.Roger has done more than his part for tennis history. whatever else he wins or does is just icing on the cake and you should be very proudl of him.

I hope he gets 100% next year. The great thing is that he knows he is great and he is not ready to give up!


Ryan Says:

Djokovic’s game brings 2 words to my mind :
Swift
Energetic


Danica Says:

Roddick brings one word to my mind – explosive. Pure TNT :)


Von Says:

Danica:

“Roddick brings one word to my mind – explosive. Pure TNT.”

Agreed — add “E” for electricity and “P” for personality to that. When he plays it’s contrary to the song “There’s a kind of hush …” Is it any wonder he’s still a marquee night match. Whew baby — Let’s go A-Rod! :P


sensationalsafin Says:

Smaller tournaments. Dubai is small but Madrid and TMC are pretty big. Not as big as a slam but still. I think the US Open loss had some to do with Murray being overwhelmed by the moment but mostly because Federer was playing with real purpose and wasn’t about to let Murray stand in his way of continuing his slam domination. Hell, Federer wanted to play Nadal in the final so obviously he was ready to dismantle whoever he played.

But Murray is 3-1 over Fed this year and 4-2 overall. I’m sure Murray would prefer to have the 1 win that Fed has but it doesn’t change that Murray troubles Federer a sh*tload.

Federer should be praised but it’s really annoying to constantly hear “I won today against the greatest player ever.” Great job! You’re awesome! We know he’s the best ever. If someone asks you, fine, say that. But I don’t wanna hear, “yeah I won but he’s the best ever so my victory isn’t THAT big a deal,” when they’re obviously trying to say that perhaps they’re capable of being the best ever having beaten the best ever. And Federer’s not the best ever, he’s one of the best ever. That’s what I like about Djokovic, he praises Federer when he needs to but when he plays him he’s just like, “yeah, I beat him, wanna fight about it?”


kofi ofori Says:

hey nadal, stop right there! you’re never gonna get me fed, um, djok!


RG Says:

jane:

Maybe on second thoughts, “mentally fragile” may be a bit extreme. Essentially, the point I wanted to make was that – unlike the top players like Federer and Nadal, he allows the crowd to affect him/weigh on him when they are not rooting for him.

One other point, I wanted to make is along the same lines of mental toughness – when he is down in a match by a set or two, he does not seem to fight as hard (or impose his will), especially against the top players. You can never say the same about Nadal or Federer. Except for the RG final where Federer was decimated, they never seem to give up till the bitter end.

Maybe, I am being unduly hard on him. After all, he has won his first Grand Slam title and now his first Masters Cup title this year. But, after such a promising start to the year, I expected him to make bigger strides at the other Grand Slams.

Anyways, as I mentioned in my earlier post, I hope he has his confidence back and has a great 2009!


Ezorra Says:

RG and Jane;

Maybe the word to describe Djokovic is “mentally maturing / mentally growing,” I don’t know… (Do those words exist in the first place? Sorry, my English isn’t that good)…


RG Says:

Ezorra:

I agree with you. He is definitely exhibiting more mental maturity – his post match comments yesterday certainly reflect that.

Now, on a more postive note – as jane mentioned in her previous post, he definitely has a good heart. On numerous occasions, I have seen him applaud his opponent for a great shot. Also, the warm embrace at the net after a loss shows that he is not a sore loser. Last, but not the least, he does a great impersonation of Sharapova.


Ace Says:

Hi everyone!
Just wondering whether Fed is allowed to change his two scheduled exibition tournaments before Melbourne or does he have to go to them. They offer no ATP ranking points for Roger to gain at these exibition tournaments and Djokovic is nipping at his heels with only 10 points from no.2. Taking into account that Djokovic is going to Brisbane before the Aus. Open, which could mean he will be seeded 2nd going into the GS if he has some success, it seems logical that Federer would want to gain points simultaneously. I am not sure that you can opt not going to an exhibition tournament as easily(if at all!) as a regular ATP event.


gulu Says:

Sensationalsafin,you are bang on target this time ! You are not the only guy fuming when Nadal and Murray describe Federer as the greatest ever,of course he’s not(I have always said) !!! Nole speaks his heart out,is surely more honest than Rafa & Murray!


gulu Says:

If any player (Fed’s included) starts thinking himself as the Greatest Ever,then it’s a pity !
God’s so great that He’ll produce exceptional talents in every field & at a continuous rate & tennis is no exception ! So fellas,forget about the TENNIS GOAT !


gulu Says:

Why to talk of GOAT when I’m a vegetarian ! ;-)


gulu Says:

All said, I’m incined to repeat that Murray’s no mediocre player,he’s I think an exceptional talent. However he along with the rest must not forget that there are the unknowns waiting for the kill ! By 2011, surely a new guy’d have arrived, unnoticed !!!


jane Says:

Hi RG,

I missed your post yesterday I guess; thanks for responding. I take, and agree with, both your points, with a caveat on the second one.

Djoko does have that tendency to get distracted and let the crowd irk him; he needs to focus on the match itself in those moments, not let himself be pulled out of / away from what is important – winning!

Djoko is a better front-runner than someone who can come behind for sure. However, I think we’ve seen signs of him fighting “until the bitter end” this year, as well as last year, and I hope it’ll translate into the future. For instance, in 07, at both Wimbledon and the USO Djoko played some brutal 4 and 5 set matches against Hewitt, Baggy, and Stepanek; Novak even earned the moniker “marathon man” at the USO in 07.

Certainly in 08, too, he fought Rafa hard at RG, almost taking the 3rd set and forcing a 4th, which was more than Roger did against Rafa there. Novak fought hard in the finals at Queens, Cincy and Bangkok against Rafa, Murray and Tsonga, as well, and against Rafa at the Olympics. However in some of these matches (not all) perhaps one did get the sense that once Novak sensed defeat he gave up the ghost a little.

This was not so, imo, at the Masters Cup. There were a couple of matches where Novak stumbled or began slowly (Simon, 1st Davy match), but he fought through his blunders, and pulled out the win, almost, imo, “willing” the win. This is key for him, and on that I agree with you 100%. I’d like to see Novak continue to grind out wins even when not playing his best.

It’s notable, too, that most of the matches Novak lost this year were to top 10 players (one big exception being Safin at Wimbie); against them he has to believe in his quality most strongly – it was evident in his matches at AO & IW against Roger and Rafa respectively, and he won both. He needs to keep that belief when he meets up with a tough competitor, and as you say, fight on and impose his game AND his will.

Here’s hoping!!


Ezorra Says:

Jane;

I admire the way you defend Novak. Instead of putting excuses for his defeats (like he loss because he got blisters, he got jetlag, his opponent was healthier than him, his grandma was dying, his iguana had heart attack, blablabla…), you enlightening more positive value of him like he is a better front runner and a good fighter! Personally, I think it’s good and very responsible statement. Anyway, good luck! Hopefully both Novak and Nadal will do better next year!


Tejuz Says:

Well..i guess Fed wouldnt mind being seeded 3 for Australian Open. He would probably meet Nadal instead of Djoker or Murray in the semi-finals and he probabaly fancies his chances better against Nadal… on the non-clay surface.


gretchen Says:

Ezorra:

You’re funny! :)


Ezorra Says:

gretchen;

;-)


Roy Says:

Jane,

The TMC Final 2008 once more shed light on a very appreciable quality of Nole: he consistently applauds his opponent’s note-worthy play on Court.

For example, at least twice during this match, I saw Nole applaud Davy’s shot-making. And I have seen him do the same in Bangkok 2008 Final, when he appreciated the wonderful shot-making ability of Tsonga, again at least twice, if I remember correctly. And of course, the same quality was on display in earlier years also.

Really, such graceful behaviour,makes Nole a wonderful top-quality Tennis-player, in my eyes.


jane Says:

Thanks Ezorra – I think!? :-)

Roy – I agree with you; and he’s exhibited this since I can remember, too. He’s gracious in defeat and even in the face of other player’s great shots. Plus he’s a very fun winner too. Barring a few difficult wins and losses this year, that is – but then again, it’s that very human part of Novak that I am drawn to. Anyhow, imo, he has all the makings to mature into an excellent player and champion of the sport.


Von Says:

I came across the following regarding the mandatory tournaments.

“The ATP also plans to be more stringent in its examination of players who withdraw from 1,000 Series events. Each player who withdraws will be examined by a medical panel. The ATP plans to fine, and even suspend, players who disregard these rules.”

In gist, the conequences only apply if a player refuses to be examined by an ATP medical panel, at which point the player will be fined, and/or even suspended.

Top story: Raonic Toilet Adventure; Federer Tested Wed. in ATP Paris
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ATP - Oct 27 WTA - Oct 27
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 Tomas Berdych5 Ana Ivanovic
6 David Ferrer6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Kei Nishikori7 Eugenie Bouchard
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9 Marin Cilic9 Na Li
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