Cahill to Coach Federer?
by Richard Vach | February 18th, 2009

Is world No. 2 (and falling) Roger Federer getting ready to take on a much-needed coach?

ESPN broadcaster Darren Cahill, the former coach of Lleyton Hewitt, has long been tagged as the next best fit for Federer since the Swiss broke off his part-time coaching arrangement with Tony Roche. Now it has been announced that Cahill has stepped down from his coaching position for Australia’s Davis Cup team, citing “business and personal reasons.”

If his business is to be Roger Federer, then that is good luck for the Swiss.

Cahill, a ‘let’s move forward’ coach, is just the aggressive mentor that Federer needs. In his recent five-set loss to rival Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final, the Swiss frequently found himself trapped roaming the baseline while Nadal dictated play, or simply playing passively, seemingly without a plan against the Spaniard.

Federer will have plenty of time to make his decision after this week announcing he would skip the ATP event in Dubai, and the U.S. vs. Switzerland Davis Cup meeting in early March to attend to a back injury.

Also Check Out:
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Caroline Wozniacki: My Dad Is Still My Main Coach
Rafael Nadal Wanted To Wear Grass Sneakers Today In Madrid, But His Request Was Denied
Federer Sacks Coach as Nadal Wins 77th Straight on Clay

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98 Comments for Cahill to Coach Federer?

I like tennis bullies Says:

its hopeless for fed no coach can help him beat nadal

Voicemale1 Says:

It’d be a reversal of position for Cahill if he takes the job. After Federer parted ways with Roche, Cahill publicly proclaimed Federer “didn’t have enough money” to hire him as a coach. And Federer’s history with coaches has always been rocky, and we always hear after-the-fact that it’s Federer who’s tough to work with. Peter Lundgren had said, after parting with Federer and taking over Safin that, “You’d think Safin would be the more difficult..but he’s not”.

Shan Says:

Good, Fed could use a coach right about now.

grendel Says:

“Cahill publicly proclaimed Federer “didn’t have enough money” to hire him as a coach” – oh, dear. That was a joke, mate. Oh ye with literal minds…

I like tennis bullies:

that’s really funny, pretty good as an instant response. I do worry a little about you, though. What the hell are you going to do when Federer retires? Or will you retire from posting yourself, your work complete, as it were?

sarah Says:

is there anything to this speculation besides the fact that cahill quit his job at tennis australia? why assume a link to federer? just wishful thinking?

tenisbebe Says:

Yeah baby!!!! I hope it’s true. Love Darren – very much a forward-looking coach. Also, Darren & Roger seem to have alot of respect for one another, which is critical bwtween coach & player. Darren probably one of the very few people out there qualified to coach the Fed. I will dearly miss him on ESPN though – surely he would have to give up his anchor spot. Crossing my fingers…..

fed is afraid Says:

it’s too late for roger, he should have had a full time coach 2 years ago.

tenisbebe Says:

Never Too Late – and haven’t you voiced this on a couple of other blogs?

Shan Says:

ATTN: naysayers of the world predicting the demise of Federer, Sampras, Lendl, McEnroe, Conners, Laver, etc. etc. Get a life, players achieve excellence and then others take their place, it’s called life and bound to happen to them all as well as you suckers when you are too old to see your monitors. Now stop cluttering my monitor with your meaningless tennis drivel.

daviscupfanmike Says:

brad gilbert is out there 4 sum1 to get 4 a coach

Bigfish Says:

Sounds like wishful thinking though. There isn’t any relative news out there that I could find. But really wishing it is going to be the fact.

Andrew Miller Says:

Cahill is a solid coach – enough said! If he was good enough for Lleyton (guiding him to a number one ranking and one grand slam – the US Open in 2001) and for Agassi (two grand slam finals, US Open 2002, US Open 2005, and the Australian Open 2003 championship), I am sure he will be “just fine” for Federer. Cahill coached a young guy and a steeled veteran, and Federer is in between.

Personally I am just glad that Cahill got another chance with Agassi. After Agassi had “bailed” (tanked) the match between himself and Cahill in the Davis Cup 1990 “dead rubber” match-up in St. Petersburg, you (I) would think that Cahill would never have had another word with Agassi. Yet 12 years later, Agassi turns to Cahill. That’s a lot to like about Cahill – about HIS giving people second chances (though coaching Agassi seems like a once in a lifetime opportunity, I am sure that after parting ways with Hewitt, Cahill had plenty of options.)

Ryan Says:

Just like nadal came to stop federer from acheiving history….guess who is coming to stop nadal eventually from acheiving more history….
Federer’s long lost brother…Grigor Dimitrov…

Ryan Says:

Everyone mark my words……..this kid can thrash nadal….any surface any time….and he is coming for u Rafa…so watch out

Ryan Says:

Wat did u think?….nadal is gonna rule tennis for the next 4 years like fed did….his cinderella fantasy is gonna come to an end soon….either he’ll get busted just like his distant cousin A ROD in baseball or he’ll get wiped off the court wen some real players take the stage.

kenny todd Says:

“Jesus Crisis” Roger gets a Coach!!! Darren “Killer” Cahill has my respect for what he did with Lleyton “the Hitman” Hewitt and Andre “the Giant” Agassi in their years together. When it comes to Federer though I dont’ think coaching is the dam issue, its the physical play of Nadal.. and its obvious now more than ever. Steroids and who is using them has got every dam body wondering about Rafa more than ever, so what proof do we have on Nadal? Nadal may take GNC sanctioned supplements but the smart money is he is on some good old hgh. There is not a dam test for hgh yet that I ever heard of and I would love to get dam my hands on some hgh. I think I could serve 130 with the help I could get from it instead of serving 110. Anybody can challenge me to a match and I will show up at your local court and crush you every dam game at love before I take your girlfriend to my car to get some dam candy for her. kenny todd approved this message.

Ryan Says:

Nadal cant bully and outmuscle all of his opponents all the time….he will be bitch slapped soon by younger and stronger players….

kenny todd Says:

With the use of steroids anything is possible for every athletes who uses them. The long term damage was never worth it for me when I was pro.

Von Says:

I heard Cahill speaking to Fowler and Drysdale at one of the GS tournaments, with reference to his coaching during his stint with Agassi, and his statements perplexed me. According to Cahill, he and Agassi spent long hours discussing strategy. He remarked that he did very little coaching for Agassi. Agassi needed a sounding board and that’s where Cahill was useful. He more or less agreed with Agassi on Andre’s planned strategy with respect to how Andre would play against his opponents.

Cahill remarked that Agassi would outline the whole match to him and he agreed, because that’s exactly how he would have told him to play his opponent. If Plan A didn’t work then Plan B would be there to fall back on. Plan B was a combination of both their strategies, but Andre invariably had to fall back on Plan B, because 9 out of 10 times, Andre’s Plan A worked.

If Fed does decide to hire a coach (Cahill) I hope it works out well for both of them and Cahill would help Fed with respect to achieving his goals, which is winning the FO and matching and surpassing Samprass’ records. I don’t think Cahill would be helpful to Fed at the FO though, which is where Fed desperately wants to win. If my memory serves me correctly, it was Gilbert who helped Agassi win the FO. I could be wrong, but I don’t recall Agassi winning any GS titles under Cahill’s tutelage. And, since this is Fed’s main purpose, I doubt whether this relationship would be mutually satisfactory. Tony Roche, imo, is a far better coach than Cahill is, followed by Gilbert. There’s also the matter of remineration for Cahill, who was vociferous as to Fed’s desire to pay for a coach of Cahill’s caliber. HJowever, we’ll soon know the answer to that situation.

At this point in Fed’s career he definitely needs an additional pair of eyes to watch out for his pitfalls and an intelligent voice in his ears. During Samprass’ final days, it was stated that Anacone was more of a shoulder to cry on and someone to whom he could vent, because Pete was hurting from all of the bad press and Anacone’s function was that of listener, consoler, and a deflector.

Abol_Tabol Says:

Ryan: Nadal won’t have to worry about any youngsters. Uncle Toni will work out how to tear them limb from limb.

Ezorra Says:

“Uncle Toni will prolly give 2 more injections to nadal’s ass to see if that makes any difference.”

Do you really thing people will laugh after reading you comment? You’re very annoying and so not funny! What a shameful clown!

Nadals… drugs… a few brilliant opinions…rubbish talks… rubbish talks ~ cliché Ryan!

Colin Says:

What is happening to this forum? It’s starting to look like the responses on YouTube – infested with aggressive, nasty-minded, ignorant adolescents. Can’t anybody do some moderating?

Gordo Says:

Amen to that Colin.

This website used to be a home for intelligent discussion, but lately – over the past few months – it has slipped a lot.


1) Vulgar, coarse language posts,
2) Entries not to point – for example – this thread is supposed to be about Federer’s possible new coach, not about Dimitrov beating Nadal(!),
3) Racist, sexist insults, and
4) Comments which could get someone sued if said in public or printed with a by-line in a paper, such as “I know that Nadal uses steroids.”



….. Thank you.

Naydal Says:

When you get 16-20 break point chances in most matches against Nadal I think it’s less game plan and more mental. In most of Federer’s recent losses to Nadal he should have won relatively easily. Federer just needs to get over his mental thing with Nadal, but that is easier said than done.

PietjeP Says:

Spot on analyses Naydal…

Federer is the better tennis player. Nadal the better fighter.

I completely disagree with Richard Vach that Nadal dictated play from the baseline in that AO final. I think Fed had the upperhand. He created many chances. But as always when facing Nadal…. mentally falls apart, doesn’t convert chances and end up losing.

Fed doesn’t need a coach for tennis. He needs a coach for his brain… Although not so far ahead anymore.. he is still the best tennisplayer.

Voicemale1 Says:


Let’s remember something when you talk about Federer being the better tennis player. Federer is 27, Nadal is 22. One thing you have to say that’s indisputable is that Nadal at 22 is a far better player than Federer ever was at 22.

Moreover, the big difference between them today is simple to understand: Nadal does nothing but talk about improving his tennis, and then he goes out and does the work to improve it. Federer hasn’t. Nadal’s serve and backhand have become infinitely better than they were even a year ago. He’s fully aware of what he needs to do to improve on faster surfaces. That ethic is what will propel Nadal further in his career.

Federer’s game itself hasn’t changed much. That said, it’s tough to “improve” a game that’s pocketed 13 majors in 6 years. But it’s clear that Federer hasn’t been able to cope with an improving Nadal, and it’s not just a mental block. Nadal’s getting better, it’s really that simple. And because Federer’s game is still essentially the same, there are now a lot of guys on the tour have coaches who have become adept at developing plans of point construction to maximize the opportunities in the Federer game.

The truth is Federer, coach or not, is unlikely to learn or adapt any “new” shots to his game. If anything, at his age, any changes in his game would be in tactical execution. Which may or may not work, especially if his back is troubling him..

Polo Says:

It may be difficult for Federer to change his game at this point in his career. His game has brought him so much success in the past and even today except when he plays Nadal and Murray. He reads his press so much which says he is the best ever and that to make this indelible, he has to beat Sampras record, win the French Open, etc, etc. He should be satisfied with what he has achieved which is already incredible. Then just play without worrying about beating previous players’ records. He is consumed with that which probably affects his game. He should play happy and worry free. Every match or tournament or major event he wins from now on, he should just consider a bonus. Stop worrying about being the GOAT because when people talk about the GOAT, he will definitely be included in the conversation. Nobody is the GOAT because they all play in different times. It is an illusion.

Gordo Says:

Good point Voicemail.

That being said, so much of tennis is mental, and Nadal has proven to be superior to Federer lately.

Federer’s usually great first serve was nowhere to be seen at the AO, and so many times it is that serve that has won him titles.

Even so, there is something strange about Federer when he gets into tight matches with Nadal. Every time Nadal has beaten Federer in 5 set matches (AO 2009, Winbledon 2007, Rome 2006) Federer has taken the 4th set. The mental toughness seems to favor Nadal.

I do not know if Federer can regain the number one spot without a serious collapse from Nadal, but I feel that, like Sampras did a decade ago, he is going to focus more on the grand slams, even to the point of excluding himself from other major tournaments and getting fined for his lack of participation. This was a standard Sampras move in his latter years.

A lot of people deny Federer his place in the game of tennis – they don’t want to believe he had mono last year and they don’t believe his back has been affecting his play.

There are even some who are predicting his fall from the top 10 this year.

I say we can’t sell the man short. The biggest obstacles are the ones that produce the greatest satisfaction when cleared, and you can be sure we have not seen the last of champion Federer yet.

Who knows – a proper adjustment that a knowledgable coach could bring may be the ticket.

But rather than make dire predictions without any proper insight – let’s just wait and see.

kenny todd Says:

With or without a coach, Federer will make the finals in majors and go head to head with Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, and Roddick… along with the rest of the field beneath those I mentioned. Now.. listen carefully, Federer is the underdog after being king for so long. You guys act like he is getting knocked out in the 4th round also Rafa just may be the G.O.A.T. and Roger is losing 5 set battles to him. Davis Cup fans who are bashing Federer need to stop it now. His injured his back and you all know his record on injuries, never once quitting a match like Novak does. The Fed Express will be in the final in Paris and Nadal will have to beat him again because Roger will be ready and Cahill might just be the spark to set fire to his game again.

Ojo Says:

Cahill won’t be able to help Roger. Only Roger can get Murray and Nadal out of his head.

Gordo Says:

Kenny -

I hope you are right. I fully expect him to be in the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open. I would bet on Fed being there (in both) ahead of Nadal.

GOAT talk was premature last year when the chatter was about Federer and it is even more premature to hang that tag on Nadal.

Serious talk of being the GOAT gets applied only when one of the following occurs -

1) Federer gets his 15th title (or more), with or without a French Open championship,

2) Federer only wins one more GS title, but it is a French Open (I know – highly unlikely!!)

3) Nadal wins more grand slam titles than either Sampras or Federer, and this could take some time.

Let’s shelve the GOAT talk for now, shall we?

Nadal has yet to prove to us that his body will stand decades of wear and tear. If it does and he wins an average of 2 slams a year for 4 years then he rightfully belongs in the GOAT discussion.

But that’s a looooooooooong way away, no ?

ferix Says:

Knowing now that Federer is resting the back injury which affected him at the end of last year, I think it is entirely possible that Federer was hampered by this injury in the AO final (which would explain his poor serving display throughout the entire match). However, he did not mention it because it would have snowballed in the same way that the mono did last year. We will never know whether this is true or not, but I think it’s a possibility that tennis fans should entertain.

Finally, Nadal has a very reliable and effective play when he is break point down. On the AD court, he has a reliable swinging serve to Federer’s backhand which sets up a power off forehand and allows him to save many break points. Full credit to Nadal and is a deserved champion for pulling it off time and again. For Federer, it’s not entirely mental and we should give Nadal his dues for executing a great play.

Graeme Says:

Nadal is the GOAT as he has won grand slams in all three surfaces. At least he has proven that he is a better tennis player than Federer. So those who thought a couple of years ago that Federer is the GOAT must accept that Nadal is now the GOAT.

Voicemale1 Says:

All this talk of GOAT is nonsense. It’s nothing more then Tennis Media Driven hype. As Sampras put it, the most you can say is that when someone dominates a generation, that’s enough said. It’s not a Zero Sum Game about who wins however many number of Majors. If that were the case, then any one’s numbers today would have to carry a huge asterisk, because Laver’s Pro Status excluded him from playing in 20 Majors; Ken Rosewall was excluded from over 40 Majors for the same reason.

And as for Nadal’s wear & tear, it’s true, and now it’s Federer who’s given us a lesson in what playing a lot of tennis can do, if his back’s flaring up. But it’s understandable. He’s won 50 ATP Titles, including 13 Majors in a mere 6 years. That’s a LOT of tennis in your legs crammed into a very short period of time. No matter how fit you are, or what your “style of game” is, sooner or later the body starts to revolt. No one can consistently withstand ATP Tour Tennis at the highest level without some kind of physical repercussion at some point. Not even Federer. If Nadal’s not careful, he’ll end up the same way, and probably sooner.

coach brown Says:

Rafael Nadal is not the GOAT!!!!! It’s either Pete Sampras or Roger Federer??? End of discussion!!!

jane Says:

“All this talk of GOAT is nonsense. It’s nothing more then [than] Tennis Media Driven hype.”

Amen Voicemale 1!!

Ojo Says:

Fed, Nadal, Verdasco, Roddick out of Dubai I read on another board

Mary Says:

“Fed, Nadal, Verdasco, Roddick out of Dubai I read on another board”

If that is true, maybey Kenny Todd should get back into the pro game.


[...] mark any bigger, I would. I got all excited when I first read the headline at the popular blog, tennis-x, and then I realized that it was mostly wishful thinking. Here’s the story: ESPN broadcaster [...]

Sean Randall Says:

Nadal has officially withdrawn from Dubai. Roddick, Djokovic and Murray are still playing.

marron Says:

Gordo said: ‘Nadal has yet to prove to us that his body will stand decades of wear and tear.’

First time poster, sometime reader… what kind of statement is this? Who else on tour has ‘had to stand DECADES of wear and tear’?

Does Gordo know what time frame a ‘decade’ is? Or has the metric system not reached him yet?

fed is afraid Says:

nadal is not the GOAT at this time, but if he keeps playing like he has been, he will be.

Anna Says:

“Number 2 and falling”???? What on earth is that about? Roger Federer is actually pulling away from 3rd rank Novak Djokovic and is quite clear of him. The media are running with a certain storyline, I get it. But come on. Have some respect for your profession and at least get some facts straight.

Fed-Up Says:

Did any of you watch the Australian Open final? Federer has a dodgy back. Or do you think he’s suddenly decided it’s fun to hardly bend his knees or back when serving? Suddenly double faulting and failing to get a first serve in at the same time as his back is an issue. Coincidence, right? But sorry, I’m clearly a moron who thinks the problems is in his body and not his head. Honestly, people are so busy writing and talking about his demise that you can’t see the obvious.

Mina Says:

“Nadal is the GOAT as he has won grand slams in all three surfaces”

So has Agassi (and he’s also won each Slam at least once too) and does anyone consider him to be the GOAT? Nope.

If Nadal continues to win more Slams then maybe one day he can be considered the GOAT (I personally, don’t think that there can be an ultimate GOAT). There’s no doubt that Nadal is the best player AT THE MOMENT, but to label him (or even Federer) as the GOAT is way too premature.

Von Says:

When Roddick hurt his back at Rome, he was laid up for close to two months. When he began playing again, it was obvious to a perceptive few that all was not well with him. He was double-faulting a lot and not serving very effectively. However, the headlines stated differently and the in-house doctors were quick to dismiss him as being ineffective and stinking things up. Roddick’s back problems prevailed until the USO and after, but many refused to believe the obvious. There are times when I see him struggling presently, I often wonder if his back is flaring up and he’s not saying. It seems that people feel once an athlete or a person is standing on their two feet, all is well. That’s no so, most of the time, but if you look OK then you’re supposed to be OK.

In view of what I saw happen with Roddick’s serve and game, I can attribute Federer’s poor serving at the AO to his back being not up to par. It’s difficult for us to understand the impact of pain and discomfort an athlete faces when his/her back/body is injured. They have to compensate for the problematic back or body part and in so doing, their whole game is thrown off.

Federer does have psychologicl problems when playing against Nadal — no question there, because if you lose as many times as he’s lost to Nadal or any player, it becomes a mind problem, and the athlete always remembers the last match, which wreaks havoc on their minds. And, that coupled with a physical problem can absolutley cause a player to make mistakes he wouldn’t normally make, and render him ineffective.

We should have a fair idea of where Federer’s fitness stands in Miami and thereafter.

Ryan Says:

“Entries not to point – for example – this thread is supposed to be about Federer’s possible new coach, not about Dimitrov beating Nadal(!)”

To Gordo:

Then could you please explain how cahill coaching federer is related to “who is the GOAT” discussion.
I know ur disappointed bout ur favourite player being suspected of steroid use or getting beaten by other new players….but unfortunately its something you’ll have to live with.

Tennis Fan Says:

Forget Cahill. The best coach for Federer is Martina N. She’s been there and knows how to reinvent herself. Her commentary during the Australian Final was insightful.

Twocents Says:

“All this talk of GOAT is nonsense. It’s nothing more then [than] Tennis Media Driven hype.”

Kudos, Voicemale 1! If only Fed realizes this. Fed sure needs to take a page from Book Toni but change the sentence “Federer is the best player” to “Nadal is…”


Fair point, again. It’s hard to completely separate physical issues from mental, especially for top tie human sports like tennis where all factors play in together in N-th order nonlinear partial differential deratives bluh bluh bluh…I bet this time even politics MAY be part of Fed’s withdrawal too.

One thing I like about Roddick is the smart yet courageou way he deals with media. He knows the winner always gets all credits, and losers only have excuses. But he still manage to tell media his truthful thinking with great humor. Go US with DC!

Twocents Says:

Sorry for the typo “deravative” not derative”.

Von Says:

Two Cents:

Hey, thanks. There’s a very fine line between the physical and the mental. It’s what makes up human psyche — the whole thing, and they go hand in hand, somethikng like one hand washes the other. How ya doin? How’s the phone tennis going? I don’t suppose you’ve been using too many minutes this week, if any, due to non-broadcast of the tennis matches in the US.

I agree with you on the political aspect for Fed skipping Dubai. I did hazard a guess that Fed could possibly have withdrawn from Dubai due to the politics, and that coupled with a bad back, why push it. This way he’d avoid the ridiculous press on the whys and wherefores of his attendance, were he to do so, and the deliberations would be very intense, which I’m sure would be very outlandish and to a point worrisome.

One of the reasons I like our Andy Roddick is his press savvy. He knows how to back the press vultures into a corner and leaving them there guessing. In Psych we call it ‘disarming the opponent’, and our Andy is very adept in so doing.

I’m looking forward to Davis Cup. In the meantime save your phone minutes for that occasion. GO USA.


ADHE.Net is broadcasting the Memphis matches presently. I just saw Roddick/Ginepri quite by accident and they are now showing the Querrey match. Look at their 2:00 PM EST slot for Memphis, click on it and … walla … you’re in.

jane: I know you like bothSam and Baggy, so if you’re reading the threads … enjoy!

jane Says:

Thanks for the heads up Von; I’ll try to catch some of it.

Andrew Miller Says:

Agassi won the AO 2003 under Cahill after making the 2002 USO final (beating former Cahill-coached Lleyton Hewitt).

So, he beats the Wimbledon champ to get a shot at Sampras, and because Agassi played the late match and had a MUCH harder time slaying Hewitt than Pistol Pete’s V over the worst serve in tennis…Mr. Sjenk Schalken (find me a worst serve on the ATP tour…I dare you! Maybe Jay Berger…maybe)…Agassi loses in four and the Sampras mental edge wins out.

Honestly, Federer needs an X and O guy – Federer has all the shots, he just does not have the “ok my plan is failing and it’s obvious. What to do next?” We saw a good glimpse of what he’s capable of at Wimbledon (running around that backhand and whipping some forehand winners). He could use someone to remind him that that tactic can come in handy on more than one day.

I like someone low key who’s also engaged. That sounds a lot like Cahill or Annacone. Annacone has been in the euro system, and Cahill speaks to Federer’s south african (regional – i know darren is aussie) sensibilities. Like someone else pointed out…hire both of em and let them battle it out in figuring out some a, b, c, d options for Federer.

aaron Says:

Roger is not even close to done if you watch the matches with nadal he has enough chances to win its his own fault he doesnt win. A Coach would help

T.Ks Says:

The article is quite good, but I hate the beginning of your article (Mr.Vach)”Is world No.2 and (falling)….!. Do you enjoy satiring people by using your own ideas?

Twocents Says:

Hello, Von.

No worry for cell phone bill till FO — only watch slams on it when there’s nothing else available. Glad there’re only 4 of them :-)).

Good answer on my Nadal quiz, although Nadal fans may disagree.

Ryan Says:

“One thing you have to say that’s indisputable is that Nadal at 22 is a far better player than Federer ever was at 22″

To Voicemale :

That maybe the case but let us not forget that nadal has a federer to look upto and and try to improve whereas federer at that age had no one left to conquer. He thrashed players of his generation and set the standard. If nadal is a better player than federer at 22 its because federer forced him to be one in order to be number 1.

margot Says:

Although most of us seem to think that Fed needs a coach, none of us really know who would suit him best because, correct me if I’m wrong, we actually know very little about him as a person. He can be a little unwise in some of the things he says, but hey, wouldn’t we all be with the kind of press he has enjoyed? I also think I know he likes nice suits, but what else?
I’ve no idea if Cahill would help or Brad Gilbert or Martina or, as some have suggested, he really needs a shrink or a decent chiropracter,or whether time has taken its toll and its irrelevant anyway.
It’s just not clear cut.

grendel Says:

Ryan, you make a good point, but surely, this whole business that so and so is better than so ans so was at his age (and have you noticed that this scenario, which could be about any two players in theory, in practice is always about Federer and Nadal, and to Fed’s disadvantage of course) is a nonsense in any case.

And why is that?

Because, of course, different people develop at different ages. Bjorn Borg, for example was phenomenal at 17. By 26, he was finished.

And so on, and so forth.

Mark Nicholas Says:

Nadal may have been benefitted by chasing Federer, but Federer had the likes of Sampras and Agassi to look upto as well. So it isn’t anything new. There are dominant players in almost every era.

jane Says:

Apologies but I am going off thread topic, only because there are no threads about any of the current running tournaments.

Von, it’s too bad that Roddick and Querrey will have to play each other, but I was surprised to see they’ve played only once, in 2007. Roddick won but it was a tight two setter. So their match should be fun to watch tonight. But wow – Querrey made amazingly quick work of Baggy.

In France, it’s looking like it’ll be a Tsonga vs. Djokovic semi, and maybe Simon and Youz? The big names are still alive in the clay event, with Nalbandian and Ferreo, plus Robredo and Monaco playing today.

So there are lots of matches going on – even while controversy swirls and the top two withdraw.

MMT Says:

Von: to your question (although it may have been answered already), Agassi won just one grand slam w/ Cahill, the 2003 Australian Open. He won the AO in 2001 with Gilbert, and got injured before the 2002 event that was won by Thomas Johansson – remember him (one-slam wonder that didn’t make TC’s list?)

Voicemale1: respectfully, I must disagree with the contention that Fed has not improved – only that Nadal has improved a lot more than him. This is natural at his age, and the basis from which his game builds. But that’s really the point, isn’t it? Between the two Nadal has improved far more. Also, let’s keep some perspective, he’s only missed 2 grand slam finals since 2005, so I hardly think he’s stagnated – perhaps relative to Nadal in the last year, but if you even compare clips from 2004 to today, he’s a far more complete player.

And on the Laver/Rosewall matter – I’m not convinced that turning professional didn’t help their slam numbers – after all, had they remained amateur and won slams, they’d be treated like Emerson (unfairly in my opinon). And had the all the pro’s been allowed to play slams, perhaps they wouldn’t have won as many as they did. And if you played the 5 best players in your club for a year, then played the rest of the club the next, don’t you think you’d clean up too? At least until everyone catches up with you.

Polo: if Federer loses his desire to break Sampras’ record (he’s on record as saying he doesn’t believe in a GOAT, himself), then he will never win again. For someone who has won as often as he has in the past, the only thing that would keep him going is that record. Otherwise, in terms of motivation, there’s not much else out there for him to accomplish – well, maybe the French Open, but that goes hand in hand with Sampras’ record.

Gordo: couldn’t agree with you more – writing off a guy who in his worst year in 5 years won the US Open, reached 2 of the other 3 slam finals is ridiculous. People were writing him off before the US Open, and look what happened.

Mina: on the Nadal as GOAT question – you must consider the source when you read these comments, but Connors and Wilander also won slams on all surfaces. Almost nobody considers them the goat (they also each have more slams than Nadal and Connors was ranked #1 more weeks than anyone in history, and he was ranked in the top 3 for 10 from 1974 to 1984 – nobody else comes close).

TennisFan: nice shout out to Martina – there is precedent for a lady coaching a man – BJK consulted for Tim Mayotte in the last year of his career and Connors was coached by his mother.

Grendel: you’re right – it’s no point comparing the age of champions – Graf won her first slam when she was 17, her last when she was 29, Pancho Gonzales his first when he was 20, a second the next year, and went on to become probably the greatest professional player (of the amateur era) in history winning his last tournament when he was 43 years old (beat a 24 year old, Georges Goven, in the final). In fact he beat Jimmy Connors that year (in another tournament) on clay when Connors was 19 years old.

So, you never know.

ojo Says:

Sean, Roddick is out, told ya.

Ryan Says:

“Nadal may have been benefitted by chasing Federer, but Federer had the likes of Sampras and Agassi to look upto as well. So it isn’t anything new. There are dominant players in almost every era”

U are ignorant.Federer came out after sampras left the game and agassi was in his early 30′s. He didnt have these players ranked above him.
And guess wat …….federer did turn out to be a better all round player than agassi and sampras ever was in their peak anyways.So I dont understand this whole “wat is the big deal?” statement.
In fact the level of tennis standard that federer has set after coming to the scene has been the highest set by any number 1 in the past including wen agassi or sampras was number 1.
Besides federer was a better all round player at 23 than sampras was at the same age and dominated more. So theoretically if sampras has 14 slams then federer was supposed to have around 18 slams…..thats wat some analysts used to say…saying is easy…doing is the tough part.Same goes for nadal.Everyone is like….imagine how many slams nadal could win.
Let him do it first….

Von Says:


Thanks for the info on Cahill/Agassi. I should have remembered that one.

Yes, I remember Tomas Johansson, one of the one-slam wonders. Did you watch the ‘biggest upsets’ which was aired this week? It broke my heart to see Roddick’s dejected face. He looked stunned. I heard after that loss he asked that his name not be linked with “mojo”.

You’re correct regarding Federer’s motivation to win more slams. He has to believe in something and focus on it, or else it would be extremely difficult for him to keep on winning. Sometimes it’s best to be the tortoise instead of the hare.

Polo Says:


You are correct on what you said about motivation which serves as a driving force to continue for anybody who has already achieved so much.

Von Says:


FYI, Tsonga v. Djokovic will be broadcasted on live streaming tomorrow morning at 8:00 am EST on ATDHE.Net. Hopefully it won’t be cutting into your beauty sleep. That should be a match worth some sleep deprivation. Enjoy if you watch. :P

With so many threads running concurrently, sounds like a prison sentence, we’ve not had the opportunity to chat regarding the ’5 best tantrums’. Did you see them, and what are your opinions? Feedback?


The foregoing applies to you too.

Mark Nicholas Says:

Ryan: I think people like you who consider other people ignorant without even knowing anything at all can take part in any logical discussion.

If Federer proved himself to be a better all round player than Sampras and Agassi, then Nadal has not only proved himself far better than Federer in all surfaces but also has raised some serious question marks about whether Federer was really as good as he was considered to be in his absolute peak. Federer has struggled against really talented players.

tenisbebe Says:

Hi y’all. I tried the website and couldn’t upload the live streams but did have luck with the following:


jane Says:

Thanks Von – I think Tsonga will win this one. He’s got the better H2H against Djokovic and he’s got the crowd behind him, which we know he loves! Plus he had more of a test against Lopez than Djoko had against his quarter final opponent. So I do expect Jo-Will to come through, and it to be an all French final (probably Simon on the other side). We’ll see. Djoko can beat Tsonga, but circumstances favor Jo-Will this time. Probably won’t get to see the match live as it’s too early here.

I am curious to see how Hewitt manages against a resurgent Roddick. I am sure Leyton will fight but the favorite is clearly Andy. Also curious to see how long Stepanek can keep up this good form…

Voicemale1 Says:

MMT Said:

Voicemale1: respectfully, I must disagree with the contention that Fed has not improved – only that Nadal has improved a lot more than him. This is natural at his age, and the basis from which his game builds. But that’s really the point, isn’t it? Between the two Nadal has improved far more. Also, let’s keep some perspective, he’s only missed 2 grand slam finals since 2005, so I hardly think he’s stagnated – perhaps relative to Nadal in the last year, but if you even compare clips from 2004 to today, he’s a far more complete player.

And on the Laver/Rosewall matter – I’m not convinced that turning professional didn’t help their slam numbers – after all, had they remained amateur and won slams, they’d be treated like Emerson (unfairly in my opinon). And had the all the pro’s been allowed to play slams, perhaps they wouldn’t have won as many as they did. And if you played the 5 best players in your club for a year, then played the rest of the club the next, don’t you think you’d clean up too? At least until everyone catches up with you.”

When I say Federer’s game hasn’t improved much, it was really a tongue-in-cheek sort or statement. The point, ostensibly, was to say his game was at a high level anyway and “improvement”, as such, is only marginally available. And that’s something I do see – marginal improvement. His First Serve is still essentially what it was; maybe his 2nd serve has more kick than it used to. His Forehand hasn’t changed much at all – but then again, why would he do it given what it is? His Backhand is still pretty much what it’s always been since he reached the top of the game. If anything has “changed” for Federer it’s been in match tactics or point construction, not his individual strokes. This is in sharp contrast to Nadal, whose actual strokes that have improved, and it’s given him more options on court. Nadal always had the greater room to improve, and he’s making it count. For example, its’ far easier for Nadal to make an adjustment in flattening out his forehand than it is for Federer to impart Nadal-like topspin on his forehand. It’s Nadal who had the room to adjust and play far more often in the forecourt, which Federer already did. And Federer still, after 4 years, hasn’t done much to solve the problem Nadal’s shots pose to his single-handed backhand. Conversely, Nadal’s backhand today is almost Agassi-like, whereby he’s shortening the back-swing and just ripping the thing everywhere. His backhand will be even more effective as time goes on, since he’s naturally right-handed and that gives the extra power to drive it through the court.

Regarding Laver & Rosewall, again, you missed the point. My point is a mere total of Majors tallies is not of itself the standard of the ridiculous title of GOAT. It’ wasn’t a statement about Laver or Rosewall, but more about Federer’s “GOAT status” based on accumulating more Majors than Sampras. So what if Federer gets to 15, or however many? This doesn’t make him the automatic “GOAT”. It was a point to illustrate that this “GOAT” hype is sheer nonsense. As I pointed out, Sampras weighed in correctly on the issue saying the most you can celebrate is when a player dominates his own generation for 3 years or more. The idea of “Dominance” is what the measure of a player is all about – NOT who was better from what era. Sampras was dominant, as was Laver. Sampras himself also includes Lendl in the discussion, because from 1985-mid1988, Lendl stood virtually alone at the top of the game. In fact, Sampras himself was also one of the first to point out Nadal’s achievements on clay as of 2008, 115-2 losses in 3 years was hugely underreported and undervalued – especially given that today features a lot more guys that play well on clay than there were in his day. And even Laver said Nadal’s run at Roland Garros was most remarkable for the same reason – Laver’s day featured even fewer clay court specialists than the Sampras era, let alone today. Given Nadal’s changes in his game to date allowing him to achieve even more on other surfaces, there’s a clear potential for Nadal to stay parked at the top for another year or two yet.

Federer was dominant for 4 years, so he meets Sampras’s standard on that alone. But Federer as a GOAT?? Nope. I’d posted before on another thread topic that a lot of Federer’s triumphs have come because of the timing of his arrival. His generation of players (the 25-30 set), looked at as a group, have been a huge collection of underachievers – a large number of this group have been Top 20 (many Top 10) who never reached a Major Final in 6 years. The advent of Nadal, Murray, and even Djokovic & Simon will ensure Federer willl no longer be dominant, but just one of several candidates to win the big prizes.

Polo Says:

Tsonga has been steadily showing that he belongs to that mix of dominant players at this time along with the big 4. I want to include Roddick but he still tends to falter to lesser players more than any of those 4 + 1. Djokovic, though, is in danger of losing his footing the way his year has been going.

Von Says:

Von Says:

I hope you’re happy, your guy won!! He played a very good match and the crowd was very suportive. I hope he’s not over-playing though.


Sorry, Djoko lost, but it seems that Tsonga has got his number. Djoko had a resigned look on his face during the entire match, as if he expected to lose. The fire was not there, also, absent was the after-the match embrace at the net.

Von Says:

The Dubai draw is out which favours Djoko and/or Murray to win the title. Aside from the top two, who are on the Disabled list, also absent are Roddick, Davydenko and Tsonga, which should be a very easy tournament. Cilic is in Djoko’s jhalf and could present Djoko with some problems.

Murray doesn’t have anyone who could pose a problem for him in his half of the draw.

Here’s the draw:


grendel Says:

Voicemale 1 says: “I’d posted before on another thread topic that a lot of Federer’s triumphs have come because of the timing of his arrival. His generation of players (the 25-30 set), looked at as a group, have been a huge collection of underachievers”

This is an example of someone who doesn’t understand how logic works. Even if it is true that Fed’s generation of players etc, you cannot conclude from this that this is the reason for Fed’s “triumph”. It may be. Or, it may be that Federer would have triumphed whatever the opposition was. Or perhaps something in between. You can never know. All a player can do is beat the opposition available.

But, in any case, how do you measure the worth of the opposition? One has little confidence in Voicemale 1′s criteria. He, for example, got Philippoussis’ age completely wrong (to try to show he was an ageing has been etc – I pointed this out at the time, so there is no need to go over it again). Roddick was dismissed as Federer’s rabbit or something – a gross simplification, to put it mildly. Was Hewitt over the hill? In age terms, quite obviously not, though I think you can certainly argue he had lost some of his intensity.

This attempt to denigrate Federer’s opposition has been done over and over again, counter arguments have been put forward endlessly and it is clearly an unprofitable line of thought, particularly when you can’t even get your facts straight.

That’s not to say you can’t propose that the state of tennis looks somewhat stronger in one period rather than another. You do it tentatively, and not shouting at the top of your voice – because such propositions are inherently iffy – but the standard of tennis at the top does seem particularly strong at the moment, and that happens to coincide with the start of Federer’s decline. Is there a causal connection? Again, it behoves one to be cautious.

That said, the whole concept of GOAT is pretty silly. We know that anyway. We don’t need to go to fairyland to find our evidence.

jane Says:

Yeah, not sure what’s up with Djoko Polo and Von. I mean I expected Tsonga to win this one anyhow. But I had though, maybe after winning in Shanghai, Novak would begin this year well. Instead it’s not looking too good. Early exit at Brisbane, another retirement, as defending champion no less, and now another loss in an event he potentially could’ve, maybe even should’ve won. Hmmm…doesn’t bode well. Is he doing enough to improve or is he side-tracked by the things like the tournament in Serbia, new racket contracts, etc.? Is he stagnating with his coach? Hope not – they’ve seemed to have a really solid relationship. But one wonders nevertheless. I have a lot of doubt that Novak will even be able to defend IW, though he could stand to gain points at Miami. Anyhow, we’ll see how he takes it from here. He needs to toughen up, imo, both physically and mentally. I hope he can as I find his game very exciting to watch when he’s on his best form.

tenisbebe Says:

Why are Davydenko and particularly Tsonga, not playing in Dubai? Anyone know?

jane Says:

Just a comment on the Federer vs. Nadal rivalry, as I’ve been re-watching the AO final as respite from marking. I record the Slam finals, generally, as they are interesting to revisit. Anyhow, the commentators gave a telling stat with regards to the rivalry between Roger and Rafa: Federer’s break point conversion against Rafa is not good; he’s converted only 6 of 42 break points against Rafa in the last 4 grand slam finals they’ve played!

Also Fed’s shots, in general, were too short. It seems as though he should be hitting deeper, trying to push Rafa back, but he hit a ton of balls into the mid-court: nicely angled but still too short. That allowed Rafa to take control of the rallies, and often he did.

When Roger hit a strong forehand return, he did much better and indeed broke Rafa with this strategy more than once. Also when he hit aggressive / flatter backhands he often won the rallies. It’s not only his one-handed backhand that is a problem because he hit some wicked backhands against Rafa that won him the rallies. It’s when he allows himself to get stuck in a defensive position hitting backhands. What else can get him in trouble is when he hits short backhand slices to construct a point; these don’t work against Rafa like they do against others. Rafa’s fast and he also anticipates Roger’s game really well.

Finally, there is the timing problem; Fed shanked a number of balls, in the first set for instance. If he’s off a bit, then that means more errors, making his job tougher. Nevertheless, Federer moved really well, so the back injury didn’t seem to impede him in this regard, nor in hitting through both his forehands and backhands. It was only the serve which was noticeably off compared to usual.

Having said all this, I don’t think either guy was at his best in this final. Of course we always see excellent points when they play each other. But clearly Roger’s serve was off and Rafa was tired and made more errors than he normally would.

Probably all of this is obvious to most people, but it was interesting re-watching the match so I thought I’d comment.

I believe there is a mental element, and Rafa has the confidence in this match up, but there are many other factors that play into the losses and wins. There are clearly things either player could do to improve.

Voicemale1 Says:

grendel Says:

“This is an example of someone who doesn’t understand how logic works. Even if it is true that Fed’s generation of players etc, you cannot conclude from this that this is the reason for Fed’s “triumph”. It may be. Or, it may be that Federer would have triumphed whatever the opposition was. Or perhaps something in between. You can never know. All a player can do is beat the opposition available.”


I’m the one who doesn’t understand logic??? You yourself claim in this very paragraph that the statement I made “may be” true – that Federer’s reached what he has because of the mediocrity of his opposition within his generation. So tell me, genius, how much of grasp on logic do you have when you tell me the claim I made has no relation to logic, while simultaneously acknowledging that very statement you decry “may be” true???

So lemme get your “logic” straight: you say my claim has no relation to logic, but it “may be” a true, and therefore a relevant statement. Right? Question to you: if you a pronouncement and say it’s an untrue statement, and therefore illogical, why hedge and say it “may be” true?? Sounds to me like you’re not all that certain I’m wrong – while simultaneously trying to say I have no clue what I’m talking about, inferring I’m unequivocally wrong. So which is it, pal?

I’ll grant you might be incorrect in my premise, but at least I’m clear about what I say. You ought to be as clear in what you say – if you can.

grendel Says:

Nope, I didn’t say, Voicemale 1, that your statement had NO relation to logic – that would be quite an achievement, even if – shall we say – a negative one. What I said was, you didn’t understand how logic works. That’s different.

Here’s how it works. You make a statement A . And then you make a statement B. And then you say, as it were from the Church pulpit, that statement B follows from statement A. It just does. But actually, unless there is a logical connection between the 2 statements, so that they are bound together in their very structure, you are not entitled to say that.

For instance one might draw up the following argument: Voicemale 1 loves Nadal; all Nadal lovers are mad; therefore Voicemale 1 is mad. Now this is a valid argument, replete with flawless logic. It may, however, be untrue. Perhaps all Nadal lovers are not mad. And so perhaps, after all, Voicemale 1 also is not mad. The concepts of logic and truth are not interchangeable. You can be truthful whilst being illogical, mistaken whilst being logical.

With me so far, old fruit? So w.r.t.the above A and B, you cannot infer that Federer enjoyed his triumphs because of the lack of quality of opposition (that’s A and B in this context). There is no necessary connection. It may, all the same, be true as a matter of empirical fact. But you have to argue your case, provide evidence and so on. Even then, you won’t prove anything, but you may well demonstrate that you have a strong case. Or you may not, as the case may be. But you did not argue your case. You just pronounced your conclusion as if it were perfectly clear to everyone. But it isn’t.

So I repeat. You may be correct. But you have failed, abysmally, to make your case. As a matter of actual fact, I think this is quite a cloudy issue, and even if very strong arguments were made from both sides, it is unlikely that a definite conclusion would be reached which would satisfy even neutral observers. So it is important, in this kind of scenario, to be very careful as to how strongly you pitch your claims. Otherwise, you might end up with egg on your mug.

jane Says:

Well, syllogisms are not the only form of logic, but yeah…

Ryan Says:

Here is the logic.Federer dominated a lot during his peak years so obviously if someone dominates that means the others are not good enough to beat him or he is too good for them.Some people say the former and some the latter.
For those who think federer dominated coz of weak opposition should apply the same logic for nadal.His clay record is some 106 wins and 3 losses. I think he just beat a bunch of players with no clay court talent and federer has always been his bunny on clay like roddick is federer’s bunny everywhere else.So there u go…..nadal also has an era with weak competition on clay…..thats why he wins so much.
Is there a kuerten , Is there a vilas , Is there a borg in today’s tennis…..if these players were around do u think nadal would have won so much. Ofcourse not.
He just playing a bunch of dumb ass players on clay.

Mark Nicholas Says:

I think there is more competition on clay nowadays than ever before. You mentioned Kuerten, Vilas and Borg. I think Nadal is a better clay court player than all three of them combined. And you know what, althoough I’m not a great admirer of Federer’s talent, I believe Federer is also better than each of them. Federer, for me, is the second greatest clay court player of all time. And yet he can’t come close to Nadal on clay. That shows you how great a player Nadal is.

Von Says:


You’re correct in saying the competition on c lay is weak — in fact it’s a ration of 4:1 on clay. The “1″ being the specialist and the “4″ the non-specialists. Hence, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out where a player’s strengths are and how to fully use and exploit the odds.

Ps: Please don’t call Roddick Fed’s bunny. Roddick has fought some very good battles with Fed and he never give up. Unfortunately when a player loses a few times to another player, a chip forms in his memory banks and that’s disastrous. Fed’s has gotten to that stage now with Nadal. It’s just that some match-ups are not ideal for some players. e.g., roddick can beat Simon easily, but Fed hasn’t been able to do so.

grendel Says:

Yes, alright Jane, I was having a litle bit of fun, but still made a point about logic and truth. I’ll make it again more directly relevant to the case in hand (I did make it actually, but I’ll be more explicit here).

Two events are said to occur. To say that they are causally related, first of all they must both occur. Well, Federer definitely triumphed, so Voicemale 1 is spot on here. The other alleged event is that the opposition was weak. Here, Voicemale 1 is on more shaky territory, as I pointed out at some length when he said the same thing a week or so ago, making contentious statements (eg the Roddick one) as well as outright mistakes (eg Philippoussis’s age, relevant in this context).

But: suppose Voicemale 1 is right also in the second event. That is: despite error, wild assertion and so on, nevertheless, the opposition can be shown to be weak. You then have to show that the two events (now established as fact) are causally related as opposed to there being merely a correlation. For instance, Nadal wins the AO, and Federer cries. Definitely these events occured, and definitely there is a causal connection. Nadal wins the AO, and half an hour later, the skies open up, as if in thunderous disapproval. Let us suppose both events happened; some people, ardent Federer lovers with a superstitious streak say, might be tempted to suppose that there was a causal connection here. Most of us, however, would be content to say the events are coincidental, even if perhaps appropriately so.

This is the illegitimate move that Voicemale 1 has made (leaving aside error). Nevertheless, although he has made an invalid inference he may, fortuitously you might say, have stumbled upon the truth. For it MAY be the case that the opposition was weak and, given this weakness it MAY be the case that it was responsible for Federer’s triumph. It may not, of course. Federer may have triumphed anyway.

So even though Voicemale 1 has been guilty of a)error, b)wild allegation and c) impermissible deductions he may, even so, turn out to have made a true statement. Rum, eh?

Von: Voicemale 1 made the Roddick remark in his first post on this subject, a week or so ago. I went to some length to show how wrongheaded this was.

This is the

Ryan Says:

To Von:

“The “1″ being the specialist and the “4″ the non-specialists”
Yeah, competition on clay is miserable….there are no good clay courters out there. I’m sure if kuerten was around he could have taken nadal out.Oh yeah and wat bout bruguera…and ur rite bout the match ups.
Whenever I see nole playing federer I always tend to overrate his abilities….Whereas wen he plays someone like tsonga then I feel like as if he is not that great .The same thing happens wen federer plays roddick.Federer looks as if he is invincible but he appears vulnerable wen playing simon or murray….Del potro was made to look like a school boy wen he played against fed eventhough he is a solid player.Thats wat this whole game is bout.

Voicemale1 Says:


For as smart as you wannna believe you are, your “explanation”, such as it is, begins by trying to “explain” one claim of Federer’s opposition being weak, then morphing into the Federer breakdown (bizarre and muddling a morphing as it is anyway), while trying to claim neither satisfies your “definition” (spurious as that is) of “logic”. You basically say you cannot determine a causal relationship with any kind of certainty (Federer’s Triumphs or Federer’s Tears), and as such, the “logic” of these events is questionable. So your issue is one about causality, as such.

Your high-falutin’ pompousness boils down to this ridiculous assertion: essentially I’m not logical because I don’t agree with your assessments. Absurd. This dreck you wrote is nothing more than pure Hume Skepticism, philosophically speaking. Since you yourself said my claims may or may not be true, but no arguments I put forth qualify as sufficient according to you, then it’s up to skeptics like you to make the bizarre claim that causality in these instances is just a guess, or a puzzling coincidence. Much like Hume’s oriented skepticism, since he thought it was just a puzzling coincidence that the sun came up every day. Events happen, and you say there’s really no way to know why they occur with any kind of certainty (i.e., unless Federer were to openly say why he broke down), so you’ll live in your cocoon and claim no causality can be determined about anything with any certainty, so therefore, any attempt to do so is riddled with nothing but error.

So, according to you – even if I’m correct in my assertions (which you yourself allow as possible) you maintain it’s a serendipitous event on my part. But what difference does it make, then? If I’m right, I’m right, no matter the pathway, accidental or not. Your claim here is that none of the arguments I offered have any relation to your skepticism, but I could still be correct anyway. This is truly bizarre – your essentially say I may or may not be right, in which case I have no idea why you’ve been blathering on about me. I could understand it if you were to unequivocally say I’m wrong in my conclusions – but you don’t. You bleat on and on about whether the arguments I’ve made have a causal relationship – which again, you claim they may or may not. Your sweaty collar and wadded panties seem to be centered on YOUR inability to accept or disregard such arguments fully, for whatever reason. This ridiculous obfuscation by you is the hallmark of a pure skeptic. Congratulations, genius. You’re the perfect embodiment of the pointless Bertrand Russell gibberish that “no one can be certain of anything”.

That you write endlessly about my error on the age of Phillipoussis is a fine example of digging your teeth into minor point to diminish an entire argument. Fine. Weak, but fine. However, your absurd statement about my claim of Roddick’s mediocrity in relation to his matches with Federer as “contentious” is an evasion on your part so enormous it’s laughable. If even a skeptic like you finds it questionable to determine Roddick’s inferiority to Federer when he’s lost to him 16 of 18 times in 5 years (allowing Federer to collect 3 of his Majors in the process), then it proves you are the one having trouble discerning what’s logical and what isn’t, not me. But then again, a complete skeptic like you essentially always will have this trouble.

If you feel the need to undermine me, especially in regard to Federer’s emotional breakdown, fine. But those of us that have been through enough of life’s experiences are wise enough to know better. We know, understand and recognize when some event has a dimension to it beyond what’s apparent to the eye. And maybe when you grow up, it’s a wisdom you yourself might reach some day. But until you do, the rest of us don’t need a skeptic like you to pompously tell us what’s logical and what isn’t.

grendel Says:

Voicemale 1

No, I don’t think I am particularly smart,and if I convey the impression I do, then I am a poor communicator. I have trouble in thinking you are smart, since you seem unable to get what is quite a simple point. Instead, you descend into abuse, namecalling and so on. This at least gives one an idea as to how sure you are of your own position.

The position of general scepticism to which you refer of course is quite irrelevant to the case in hand. Even if I believed it – and you don’t even begin to know what I might or might not believe – it would be pretty strange to bring that sort of stuff onto a tennis site.

I’ll try again. You make two claims in respect to Federer; namely that he was a)triumphant at a particular period and b)that the opposition in that period was weak. You assume a causal relation between the two. It is actually quite natural mistake to make, you certainly aren’t alone here, but it is – logically – wrong. That is because there is no necessary connection between the weakness of opposition and Federer’s triumph. This has nothing to do with scepticism. On the contrary, I am appealing to the very notion of causes. For, it just is the case that even if the opposition had been hugely tougher, Federer might still have triumphed.

You might, however, want to argue that the balance of probability is that if Federer’s opposition had been much tougher, it is unlikely he would have achieved such success. I would agree with that – although, one would want to ask, how much tougher, and how do you judge. It is a grey area, partly because it depends on just how good was Federer in his great years. This is quite subjective, isn’t it, and I took exception to your dogmatic, not to say ranting tone. It just isn’t appropriate. So much for logical relations. There is nothing in the least bit vague or controversial here.

An entirely seperate point, which is about matters of fact (albeit rather difficult matters to interpret) is: is your second claim, that Federer’s opposition was weak, is it true? It is perfectly reasonable to suggest it was, plenty of people have done so, but it is reasonable to hold the opposing view, too. Certainty is notoriously difficult in this kind of area – again,note: this has nothing to do with scepticism; certainty is often fitting, for instance without any doubt, Federer was dominant for a brief number of years. But you rush in, making huge generalisations without so much as a blush, determined to hammer home your point. It’s as if, the louder you shout, the more chance there is people will believe you. That’s poor psychology, I suggest.

You say I write endlessly about your error w.r.t. Philippoussis’ age. Well, 7 words in the post above. I went into more detail in the original post, obviously, but then I don’t agree that it is a minor point. Philippoussis was born to play on the grass, and when he got it right, he was as formidable as anyone; as I said originally, Sampras conceded he had “dodged a bullet” when Philippoussis was forced to retire at Wimbledon after winning the first set. It was a very fine performance by Federer to beat him so easily, and in fact that victory, imo, shows Federer’s strength, not luck. And then you talk about my absurd evasion in calling your remarks about Roddick “contentious”. But you know quite well that I went into considerable detail as to why I thought you were wrong about Roddick in my initial post. I just felt it was unjustified to repeat all that.

I suppose I’d better, a bit here. You called Roddick Federer’s “hapless whipping boy”. I’m not going to object to the language – you enjoyed writing that, and I have done similar hatchet jobs myself, so I see where you are coming from. But you make the assumption that because Federer has a huge winning record over Roddick, this somehow diminishes Roddick as a worthy opponent. But just the opposite case could be made. The fact that Federer has such a fine record against such a formidable player indicates just how good Federer is. That is at least as respectable a position as the one you take. Therefore, it behoves you to make your claim with rather less bluster, with a little more humility, shall we say. For the record, Roddick came close to beating Federer in one Wimbledon final, he was extremely competitive in the US Open final for a crucial part of the match, before fading towards the end. But the result was in doubt for a while. And this January, Federer came off the court after the Roddick match sweating unusually, and saying soberly in his immediate post match interview that it had been a “difficult match”. There was no question but that he meant it. It is notorious that statistics can be very misleading, and simply to produce the Roddick/Federer h2h without comment or elaboration is crude and unhelpful.

When I said that Voicemale 1 might, despite the severe inadequacies of his arguments, nevertheless be right, I was not being quirky, sceptical in an anything goes sort of manner, nothing in the least like that. It was just a simple statement of fact. Perhaps, in short, it is true that Federer’s “triumph” was due to the weakness of opposition. I don’t happen to believe this, but I do believe it is a reasonable position to hold.

But I am also certain that it is a difficult area, full of subjectivity, and those holding opinions about it (as I do) need to be quite cautious as to how they express them.

Ryan Says:

Voicemale and grendel…..its funny the way you guys explain to each other bout wat logic is and all that.Once people start believing in something then its tough to change their beliefs.
You wanna believe fed’s opposition was weak…go ahead.You dont wanna believe it….who cares anyway.Facts are objective but how people analyse it is entirely upto them.But as of now fed has won 13 slams and nadal has won 6 slams.Thats all that matters.We cant make if statements in the past coz its of no use and we dont know the future so screw it.

Von Says:


Don’t forget how very good Coria was on clay. He nearly beat Nadal in the 2005 Rome final. It’s a pity most of the good clay courts got into problems with drugs or other stuff. I personally find the clay season to be boring and it’s probably because I don’t like clay. I also dislike the grinding clay court game. It’s return, return, return, on and on, until you begin to get an eye turn or cross-eyed. Another thing with clay, it’s difficult to see the ball on TV and the point analysis becomes difficult.

Mark Nicholas Says:

I’ve always preferred the clay court game. Somebody once called it chess on a big scale and I very much agree with that. None of the quick points…ace, ace, non returnable serve, ace…game. No, give me two players patiently trading shots, mixing them up, varying the speed, using various tactics to outsmart the opponent while playing the cat and mouse game until the umpire utters the words “game, set and match…”.

These are not my own words, but they are so true.

tenisbebe Says:

grendel & voicemail1 –

not to muddy the waters but, if you’re going to go there, couldn’t a similar argument be used for Sampras’ dominance? Maybe there has been one over the years & I missed it. btw, ck this out if you like:

grendel Says:

Ryan – all I was basically saying, but I think I chose a poor way to say it since it has been productive of so much misunderstanding, is that you are on iffy territory once you start claiming the standard of a particular era is weak. That’s one reason, b.t.w., why the GOAT idea doesn’t work. Therefore, it is sensible to be a little tentative in pushing your claims. Voicemale 1 wasn’t, and not surprisingly was caught out. These kinds of discussions are entertaining over a pint or two, but can never generate firm conclusions. And yet Voicemale 1 has admirable expertise – far more than I do, I have never claimed to have any technical knowledge – and writes with real authority when discussing something he knows about, Nadal’s serve, say. I remember agreeing with what he had to say on this a few months ago, but knowing I couldn’t put it anything like as well. That’s the difference between homing in on the particular, and holding forth vaguely on the general (standard of play of a particular era, say).

Von – I remember that match with Coria, it was a classic. Coria’s skills were truly amazing, superior even to Nadal’s on clay at that time imo. His serve, however, was absurd for a top flight player. In the end, the warrior won this match. It is sad that a player of such very, very high quality should just disintegrate. Clearly, we are talking about problems of character which are not easy to understand or resolve, so snap judgements are out of order. But he was so entertaining, such an inventive, unusual player, that he is much missed.

Von Says:


Coria was very good on clay. His serve, unfortunately, mirrored Dementieva’s or vice versa. He injured his shoulder rather badly and his serve consequently deteriorated. Same scenario for Dementieva, but fortunately for her, her shoulder has healed and she has been working with a couple of coaches in Florida during her off-season to remedy the serve problem. That’s been the big difference in her game which has gotten her the Olympics gold and also winning some other tourneys.

Coria disintegrated due to his shoulder and then after that the drug problems. Apparently, the drug problem was due to a vitamin company which was using drugs in the manufacturing of his vitamins, unbeknownst to him. He sued the company and received an out of court settlement. However, by the time the case was settled, which I think was approx. 18 months ago, his game had deteriorated so badly, that a comeback was out of the question. End of another great clay court player ….

grendel Says:


yes, I was aware of the shoulder problem, but I think I am right in saying Coria’s serve was always weak. Dementieva, on the other hand, has and had a very good service action. She would serve stunningly in practice (so we were informed by watchers like Joe Durie) – and then fall apart on the court.

The drug problem was no doubt symptomatic of Coria’s difficulties – definitely didn’t help – but you have to look much deeper to find what was really wrong.

One of Coria’s coaches gave up on him, saying he was too lazy to do the necessary work. I recall a friend telling me that when he was a student, and just not doing any work, bunking off all the time apparently (having been known for his diligence at school) he was sent to a psychiatrist. Which gentleman delivered himself of the memorable line :”There’s no such thing as laziness”. The jauntiness with which he pronounced this unlikely dictum still has my friend smiling.

Of course, the psychiatrist’s point was that “laziness” is not to be taken on its own terms, but could be covering a multitude of sins. No doubt sometimes you just want to say a person is slothful and leave it at that. But I think there is a lot more than meets the eye with Coria – but as to what it is, we are all in the dark.

And – which was my main point – this is all a shame. Because Coria was a one off, a unique entertainer.

bharath Says:

way to go fed u need a coach

Cahill Coaching Federer; Ongoing Dubai Problem; Chiudinelli Surprise Says:

[...] Federer Has a New Coach As reported a couple weeks ago, Roger Federer has a new coach as Darren Cahill has been spotted in Dubai. Dubai is Innocent, [...]

Sheila Says:

Go Roger, I’m sure with a coach giving you a few good tips of strategy play, you will do brilliantly. All the best.

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