The Two Andys Try to Thwart Nadal, Federer Today at Indian Wells
by Sean Randall | March 21st, 2009, 1:51 pm
  • 195 Comments

Could one ask for a better, more star-filled Final Four at Indian Wells today? Apologies to Novak Djokovic, but with Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick the Indian Wells semifinals features the four biggest global names in men’s tennis right now. I just hope it lives up to the billing. And I think it can.

Interestingly, I think all four enter the semifinals not on their strongest of footing. Top seed Nadal wasn’t 100% on his game yesterday but still managed to hammer Juan Martin del Potro 6-2, 6-4. Scary.

Roddick punked Djokovic for a second straight time, and while Andy played very solid tennis, it was Novak really doing himself in by completely coming apart at the seams. Novak’s going to have to do a lot of soul search after this latest loss, and the pattern holds, when the big boyz show up, Novak’s not winning a title.

On Thursday, Federer was lucky to avoid a third set against Fernando Verdasco who once again showed his nerves failing to capitalize on set points. Federer didn’t looked especially sharp either in his earlier wins during the week.

And while Murray is the only player yet to drop a set, he hasn’t really beaten anyone of significance.

Now I’m not saying they are all playing badly, hardly, but they’ve all seen better days, and maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe they are saving their best for last, and saving it up for this weekend.

Onto the matchups.

First, it’s Federer and Murray. Murray leads Raja 5-2 in their head-to-head, winning three straight (four if you want to include that exo at the start of the year) since his U.S. Open setback. Oddly, in four of his five losses to Murray, Federer actually won the first set. So maybe Roger should try “tanking” the first set as he joked about the other day.

For me, the jury is still out on Murray. I mentioned he had a pretty cushy draw and given his recent virus and his lack of play, I’m not convinced he’s at 100% yet. If he is, he’ll beat Roger meaning I think this match rests on Murray’s racquet. But I just don’t think Andy’s in peak form so I’m picking Federer in this one. Plus, if it stays hot I think that also helps Federer.

In the second semifinal, it’s a rematch of a last four encounter from 2007 IW between Nadal and Roddick. In that contest Nadal pretty much breezed past Andy if I remember correctly, and I think the Spaniard wins again today. But it’s going to be tougher. Nadal has won 10 of his last 12 sets against the American and while I think the courts favor Nadal, Roddick is probably playing with a little more confidence, just enough to keep it closer than before and maybe even enough to sneak a set out.

For Andy to do that, he’s absolutely going to have to serve huge and stay within the court. Hanging well behind the baseline works against guys who are spraying errors, but if Nadal’s on his game Roddick’s going to be in trouble with that new pusher mentality of his. Andy’s also been volleying really well this week so if he can maintain that level, serve big and crank that forehand then he certainly has a chance.

But in this case the match is really up to Nadal. If Rafa’s playing at his best there’s not much Andy or anyone else for that matter is going to do about it.

So if things go according to my picks, that’ll leave us with a nice Nadal v. Federer clash Sunday. Of course there still a lot of tennis left to be played for that to happen. Let’s just hope it’s good tennis.

And if you are planning to watch either or both matches here in the U.S. during this NCAA March Madness basketball weekend, things are rather sketchy with Fox Sport Net (FSN). While the weekday coverage has been consistent (yes, consistently bad if you will), this weekend with the local and regional sports mixed in, FSN’s tennis schedule has become a crapshoot. So check your local listings.

To watch live online streaming from Indian Wells of the Federer-Murray, Roddick-Nadal matches, click below for a day or a tournament pass from the ATP:


Also Check Out:
To Rest His Knees, Rafael Nadal Might Not Play Indian Wells
The Nightmare Is Over: ATP Finally Approves The Indian Wells Prize Money Increase
Andy Murray: The Courts At Indian Wells Are Very Slow, They’re Also Very Slow Here In Miami
Andy Murray Won’t Play Dubai In 2013, He’ll Focus On Indian Wells
Poll: Djokovic, Federer, Murray Or Nadal, Who’ll Win Indian Wells?

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195 Comments for The Two Andys Try to Thwart Nadal, Federer Today at Indian Wells

jane Says:

Weather wise I read that it’s supposed to be cooler (coolest day of the week in the desert) and windier today at IW.


Sean Randall Says:

Cool & windy. That works against Fed.


tenisbebe Says:

Yes – he doesn’t like windy conditions ala Miami.


Von Says:

The conditions doesn’t bode well for Nadal either. he likes it hot where the ball bounces high. Roddick also likes it hot, but he adapts quite easily.
_______________
Sean:

I don’t know why you’re saying Roddick is “pushing” the ball. Are you seeing something other than the commentators or other players and even poor amateur me, is seeing? I’m just wondering …


Von Says:

Margot et al.:

Here’s another link in the event ADTHE.net freezes up:

http://www.justin.tv/tiuniaseng8888888888

Enjoy the matches.


Sean Randall Says:

Von, just what I’m seeing. Roddick’s been playing like a pusher in his first three matches.


Von Says:

Well, FSN disappoints again, they are showing a documentary on Jackie Robinson, even though their guide says IW BNP Paribas. I think the USTA should take some kind of action to ensure tennis TV coverage is of some importance here in the US. It’s abominable how tennis is shunned in lieu of other sports. I suppose I should be thankful for the small mercy of not having to listen to Gimel.
______________
Sean: Thanks for the response. I think Roddick played a very good match against Ferrer, which was a very exciting match, if i might add, and has been playing better than the other three considering they’ve been pushed with less difficult opponents.


Sean Randall Says:

Five games in and Fed’s already got double digits errors. That’s not going to work against Murray.


Von Says:

Fed, stated in his on court interview after the Verdasco match that Murray’s is a player of “normal” talent, has impoved and things are now coming together for him. He also spoke of tanking the first set against Murray, in order to pick up his play in the other two sets, and I suppose win it. So maybe he’s running true to form. Additionally, he mentioned he’s the only guy Gimel listens to when others are around. I suppose they complement each other.


jane Says:

Well Murray is in control here. He looks so calm; he’s mixing the pace and flummoxing Roger. I think some of the errors are more forced than unforced because of Murray’s mix-master style. Murray reminds me a little of Nalby, in his unpredictable shot selection and variety.


Sean Randall Says:

17 UEs in the first set for Fed. Very poor performance since going up 0-40 on Murray’s serve.


jane Says:

Why on earth would Fed tank the first set? ! Did he really say that Von? That’s a really risky strategy, it seems to me, against Andy, who is beyond “normally” talented imo.

But anyhow, we’ll see. Maybe it’ll work! Murray just got broken to start the 2nd set!


Sean Randall Says:

Fed said it. I heard it as well. He was joking but oddly it can now help in this situation.


Von Says:

jane: As confirmed by Sean, Fed said that; he seemed to be joking, but I never can tell with jokes, because many using jesting to actually express themselves. When quoting anyone, I do try my very best to ensure I quote them correctly — I don’t want to be sued for defamation. Ha, ha.


TD (Tam) Says:

I agree Sean this is an unexpectedly exciting semifinal lineup! I think it’s going to be another Nadal-Federer final although I wouldnt mind at all to see the Andys ruin their party. ;)

Novack had no reason at all to play so below his standard and come apart at the seams so all credit to Roddick for making Novak fall apart. Lets hope Andy can make Rafa fall apart too! -wishfully dreaming-


TD (Tam) Says:

Sean- “Novak’s going to have to do a lot of soul search after this latest loss, and the pattern holds, when the big boyz show up, Novak’s not winning a title.”

Well that’s a interesting thing to say Sean. Since when did you or anybody in the media ever consider Roddick to be one of the Big Boys? Is this a new development?


Von Says:

There’s also a ‘method to the madness’ of tanking the first set — winning the first set puts the player into a comfortable mind-set which makes him relax his guard, and that helps his opponent when he shifts into a more aggressive mode to begin attacking succesfully, going for the jugular so to speak. Interesting … .


jane Says:

ha ha – Von didn’t mean to imply you should be sued. Only I was a little surprised Fed would say such a thing even in jest. Murray’s broken back now so he still could finish this in straights.

BTW, the forecast I read was clearly wrong; it looks hot and not windy at all.

TD – in truth Novak’s been falling apart for more than in that match. He only scrapped by Stan. So I am not surprised in the least that Andy – the on-form player – won. May he give Rafa a tough match later!


Sean Randall Says:

TD, Roddick’s up there, but I’m more referring to Fed, Murray and Nadal.

Things again not look good for Fed.


zola Says:

when a player talks too much he puts the pressure of living up to his words on himself. So, let’s see if Fed’s strategy will work here.


jane Says:

Good forehand to get break back by Fed. He may take this second set yet.


tenisbebe Says:

Von says:
“He also spoke of tanking the first set against Murray, in order to pick up his play in the other two sets, and I suppose win it. So maybe he’s running true to form.”

I listened to most of the on-court interview, so heard the questions & subsequently the tone & manner in which Fed responded. Sam noted that Fed had won the 1st set but then had gone one to lose the match in their last few encounters. Fed responded, laughing, that yeah, maybe he should try losing the first set & see if that worked better. Too me, he was clearly kidding.


Von Says:

Never mind the media, some posters are STILL saying Roddick is not a good player and it’s only due to Djoko’s lower standard of playing that Andy won. A very good case of sour grapes. What was wrong with Djoko when Roddick beat him at Dubai, wasn’t he playing in his prime, just after he won the AO. I don’t like the excuses — we had a lot of those after the AO and it threw a shadow on Roddick’s win, placing him in the position to prove all over he could have won the AO match outright without the retirement. Andy said in that YouTube link presser that he wanted to play out the match; he told Novak he respected him, and again I wonder if he was not being sarcastic due to his previous statement that he wanted to complete the match.

Additionally, I heard the commentators discussing the new racquet yesterday in their match which has been mentioned many times as the cause for Djoko’s decline, to which I disagreed. The commentators mentioned that it shouldn’t be an excuse because he’s had ample time to get accustomed to the new racquets and we see players do it all the time. I’m not a professional and I mentioned previously that the racquet is only a smidgen of the equation, and I’m glad the commentators confirmed my thinking. Only Djoko knows the answer though.


Von Says:

tenisbebe: Yes, he was kidding, but sometimes, as I mentioned, there’s a stragey and some truth in kidding around, as we’re seeing before our eyes.


jane Says:

It is looking like Fed feels focused so Murray better up his intensity if he wants to have a chance.


tenisbebe Says:

I saw comments by hard-core Djoko fans, some being Serbians, that yesterday’s match showed that, even with good conditions in Oz 2 months ago, Djoko could have/would have lost the match vs Roddick. I was very surprised they revisited that topic after such a crushing lose & reversed their previous opinions.


tenisbebe Says:

Sorry “such a crushing loss”.


Sean Randall Says:

Well, what started as a joke has become a plan. Or maybe it was a plan all along.

Ok, Fed didn’t plan set out to lose that first set, but when he did he may have took comfort in knowing that he had spoke about doing just that as a way to beat Murray.

Downside is Fed’s never beaten Murray in a third set, best-of-three.


Sean Randall Says:

Entering the third, advantage Federer.


jane Says:

Well Von, maybe Roddick was sarcastic and he has no respect for Novak, and maybe Djoko’s racquet has nothing to do with his decline, or only a smidgen.

But personally I see both of those interpretations as somewhat negative and uncharitable not only to Novak but to Roddick also. Isn’t it seeing him in a better light when you take what he says about respecting Djoko’s game or respecting him professionally at face value? Roddick said this again in his presser at IW, that he respects Djoko’s game regardless of the fact that they may not be best friends.

I agree that the racquet may be only one factor in the many things going on with Djoko right now, but to rule it out as a non-factor is wrong imo. He’s only played about five events with it (Sydney, AO, Dubai, DC and IW – not counting Brisbane since he lost 1st match). Any player who changes a racquet would have to make adjustments to his/her play, which are tough to make while in the throes of a match, where players are more likely to revert to their old style of playing, especially under stress. And therefore, in Novak’s case, since this racquet purportedly hits with more power, he’s more like to over-hit.

However, that said, Novak was clearly struggling even last year, before he switched racquets, and I think that was due at least in part to the pressure he felt after winning the slam and the hype about him overtaking number 2 etc. Now, maybe he can go back to the drawing board and sort some things out.

I am not meaning to stir anything up but just to address the issues since I am a fan of Novak’s AND Roddick’s.


jane Says:

Fed’s forehand is on fire today; not too many misfires from that side. Murray should be going to the backhand more as that’s been exposed once again as the weaker wing in this match, with more errors off that side.


TD (Tam) Says:

Von, your analysis about tanking the first set is coming to fruition Roger is much more aggressive now in these finals sets while Murray is off his heels.


Sean Randall Says:

Feeble game from Federer to get broken. And what a strange yelp from Murray after he slipped and fell.


jane Says:

Well I wonder if Murray can keep the break this time? Hmm…


Sean Randall Says:

Since the slip-and-scream, how many points has Murray lost?


TD (Tam) Says:

Just as I was typing my response Murray broke Federer, I guess this is over for Roger now.


ertorque Says:

almost certain the match will go to Andy now….


Sean Randall Says:

Question answered. Murray’s won 8 of the last nine points since the slip as we go to 4-1.


Sean Randall Says:

Well, Fed’s doing his best Novak imitation.

Murray’s won 12 of the last 14 points post-slip. Incredible how badly he’s collapsed.


jane Says:

Margot and Colin you must be please with the way Murray has held it together here.

Federer has simply unraveled; it’s almost inexplicable. Wow.


jane Says:

Very funny Sean – even I am laughing at that one.


tenisbebe Says:

Now Fed’s attacking again and has a break chance. What gives?


jane Says:

Very weird momentum swings; it’s true tenisbebe.


Sean Randall Says:

Murray dealing with the nerves. But with two breaks he can’t possibly choke this away, can he?


tenisbebe Says:

Lordy, lordy. Muzza can’t close it out here.


tenisbebe Says:

OK – I have half of my wish: Andy vs Andy in the final!!


Sean Randall Says:

Murray through. Another strange match. Did Murray win or Federer lose it. Peculiar stuff. Fed doesn’t win another game after the Murray slip-and-scream.

Fed desperately needs a coach.


jane Says:

Well Congrats to Murray fans; he had a hiccup or two closing it. But he didn’t do a Nalbandian!

Federer’s forehand was nice today; that’s a positive. But the backhand errors were too many, and the focus very much in and out. It was strange the way one minute you sensed this was Roger’s match, and he seemed to be really aggressive and the next minute he’s out of it. Strange.

Oh well, onto the next one! Hope it’s another 2 -setter.

One Andy has made the thwart. Will another?


tenisbebe Says:

Amen Sean – get that man a coach!


zola Says:

Congratulations to Andy and fans. Sorry Fed fans. I think he lost Murray fell. That was a very strange third set.

Well, onto Rafa-Roddick. Come on Rafa. Play your best.


margot Says:

OMG guys, my nerves are shot to pieces, I thought Andy M was down and out in the third set. Whatever happened to Roger? Yeeeha! All good luck to the other Andy.


tenisbebe Says:

Congrats Margot, Colin, etc!!!


jane Says:

And by the way, I was not meaning to make excuses for Novak’s loss, only to try and account for his clearly subpar play.

The reality is this – Roddick OUTPLAYED Novak. Roddick served a beauty of a game, he moved well, he kept returns in play, and he was focused from the get go. He deserves to be in the semifinal more than Novak would’ve based on the form I had seen from both players at this event.

I wonder if Rod can put a dent in Rafa? Rafa certainly hasn’t been playing his best here, in the last two rounds, but he is tenacious. I can’t see him unraveling like Roger just did. I think this Roddick / Rafa match will be even better and more scrappy than the last match, though there were great moments of tennis from both Murray and Roger there.


Colin Says:

Well, that was really weird, wasn’t it? Anyway, Murray won and, thank goodness, didn’t rupture himself, though the replay of that fall made me wince!
Where’s the guy who said Fed was obviously going to win? No doubt, if he shows his face again, he’ll claim that Roger didn’t really care about this match. Furthermore, he’ll probably say Murray’s fall was a cunning bit of gamesmanship.


zola Says:

oops, part of my sentence is missing. I meant that
Federer lost concentration when Murray Fell.

and apparently could not regain it . That was a very lopsided set.


jane Says:

margot – good one for your guy; Roger has made a spot in his head for Andy next to the one reserved for Rafa, I hate to say. It was a very strange 3rd set. I hope Andy didn’t hurt himself there, it was an odd fall, but he bounced back fine.


margot Says:

Cheers guys, good luck to Andy R.


Von Says:

jane;

Yes, I suppose I’m being uncharitable to BOTH Andy and Djoko, but I’m only speculating. No need to take the unbalanced path to say Andy doesn’t have any respect for Djoko. IMO, you see even a smidgen of truth as uncharitable and negative towards Djoko. Respecting someone’s game and respecting the person is a whole different can of worms, IMO.

Why is it wrong to rule out the racquet as a non-factor? It’s neither right nor wrong, and it’s called exploring the possibilities and speculating about what’s the norm for players. I suppose the commentators are wrong too, considering they are professionals and we are not, right?

I often wonder about your being a Roddick fan. There’s some inconguence there. You don’t defend him and you don’t show much interest in anything he does except when Djoko’s not around. If they are in the same side of the draw you complain how tough Djoko’s draw is, and I have to remind you that Roddick’s draw is tough too. You probably were a strong Roddick fan in the past but what you state nowadays tells me you are just a Djoko fan. For example, when TD mentioned that sentence in Djoko’s presser negating Andy’s performance, you very quickly changed it around. That was very wrong IMO, borderline uncharitable, but it’s your right to say whatever you feel, hence I didn’t say anything. Additionally, you’ll submit links and articles to enforce anything for Djoko to show him in a good light, you don’t do the same for Roddick. I see more objectivity emanating from his other fans, e.g., Danica, than from you. the only thing you harp on is his first serve percentage being down. Wel jane, players win matches with very low first serve percentage, e.g., Fish serving at 38% in Miami and still beating Federer, so that argument does not always hold true, same as winners to UEs.

I often wonder how you would react if the RIAD poster were to insert Djoko’s name instead of Roddick’s in his post, because you told me to ignore him, and has not once defended Roddick when he is attacked by that guy. However, I’ve in the past seen posts where you have asked some posters to call Djoko by his name. Hence, why the double standard if you’re a fan of both guys? It doesn’t bode well for me. tenisbebe and others have defended Andy, while you have remained mute.

I try very hard not to mention anything about Djoko in the slightest way that’s negative, and I even apologize beforehand, because jane, whether you believe it or not, you are extremely touchy on the subject of Djoko, as in the case of your retort at tenisbebe’s comment a few threads ago wherein you mentioned she was harsh to Djoko. It seems to me when there’s a hint at the truth from anyone, they’re considered as ‘harsh’ where you are concerned. Well believe it or not, from what I have observed, tenisbebe wasn’t being harsh, she was being blunt but there was some truth to what she said. Anyway, jane I don’t want to become embroiled in anything further with you with respect to Djoko, and have kept very closed-mouthed on the subject, but when you lash out as you have just done, I feel you need to hear my thoughts on the matter, after all, that’s what the blogs are all about, iksn’t it?. We can’t have sweetness all of the time, can we? Funny, we have been condemned in the past for being too ‘sweet’ to each other, so I’m deviating, and all’s fair in love and war.


jane Says:

if it’s Andy and Rafa in the final (sorry zola), I am rooting for Murray. If it’s the two Andys I don’t care which one gets the trophy but will just enjoy the tennis.


Von Says:

Margot and all Muray fans, including moi, congrats on Andy M’s win. Colin there will be more excuses, you can rest asuured it will happen.

Margot: I’ll break out the Louis Roederer if both Ands win. Ahh, zee bubbly, good stuff.


Colin Says:

Margot, in reply to your query on the earlier thread, I watch (from UK) on Channel Surfing, the one that was suggested. I started watching Murray-Fed on that, but the sound was all over the place, so I switched to ADTHE and eventually back.
I’ve now remembered the confident Fed fanatic – it was Fed AlltheWay. I hope he feels properly chastened.
Not only is Murray in Federer’s head, he’s moved in permanently, re-decorated, and hung new curtains at the windows.


jane Says:

Wow- didn’t think I lashed out Von. I just thought saying Rod was being sarcastic was maybe undermining the fairness in his comments, that’s all.

True, respect for one’s game is different than for one’s person. Maybe here is the difference; Roddick respects Djoko’s game but not his person; that seems fair enough given what’s transpired between them.

I am not going to say too much more re: Roddick vs. Novak fandom. I do like both guys a lot. I think I commend Roddick a lot on these boards. Novak is my fave (and so I am admittedly sensitive where he is concerned) but I still very much like Roddick. I only said to ignore RIAD because he’s a troll. But if you look back to the link where I said that to you, you’ll also see that I posted that understood your frustration and that “vindication is a lovely feeling”.

As you know I like a lot of players. Djoko’s the fave, but I like a lot of players in addition to him.

Regarding the racquet, maybe wrong was the wrong word (LOL); I probably should’ve just said, like I did before, that I disagree with the commentators. I’ve read Blake’s comments on changing racquet and how he couldn’t adjust even over 2 years, and have read how changing racquets have arguably ruined player’s games. But Novak has only himself to blame for this. Hence I will try not to bring it up again.

Enjoy Roddick’s match.


zola Says:

Jane,
I know you prefer Andy to Rafa. It’s fine.
Andy is my second favorite too and he is very respectful to Rafa and other players.
But first Rafa has to go through Roddick . I think Roddick now is a better player than two years ago. Rafa has improved a lot too. so there are no guarantees. we have to see which one plays better.


Von Says:

What is Jimmy connors doing there. He’s just bad news.


jane Says:

Andy means business. He is returning much better. I notice a little more wind now than in the previous match, if Rafa’s hair is a good inidication. LOL.


jane Says:

Von I wondered the same myself, but I supposed Connors and Andy must keep in touch. Likely Connors is there to watch his previous pupil.

Great forehand from Andy there.


Sean Randall Says:

Still very early, but Rafa’s making a few errors he doesn’t usually make so that’s a good sign for Roddick as Rafa doesn’t seem to be playing 100% at his level. Andy’s been steady.

Just five games in though…


Von Says:

That’s the same linesman Andy blasted and now we see why. And, what is Lahyani doing, staring into space as usual. He’s in a good enough position to see that shot Nadal made was in, but has done nothing. Same as Bercy in the third set and his negligence caused Roddick to lose his serve. terrible.


Von Says:

Andy needs to assert his forehand more, he can’t allow Nadal to hit those running forehands.


jane Says:

Both are holding fairly easily now, half way through the first set. Andy is playing excellently. His volley is better, movement, returns. It’s nice to see.

Commentators said he was getting married in clay season. I didn’t know they’d set a date already, but in his presser I noticed they were bugging him about when his bachelor party would be. Andy blew them off in typical Andy style, calling the interviewer “dude.”

Oops that missed backhand may cost him; Andy, serve well here.


Von Says:

Dammit, Andy’s serve is letting him down. Nadal is returnnin g down to Andy’s feet which is making it dificult to pick up the ball,.


jane Says:

Oh that’s crappy. I want to see a competitive match. Well maybe Andy can break back but he has to dictate and not let Nadal do so. He’s had some break points already so…


Sean Randall Says:

Some poor approach shots, poor volleys from Roddick give Rafa the break.

Roddick again is playing back behind the baseline, and without that power he once he had, it’s going to be tough for him to make an impression on Rafa from that position.


Sean Randall Says:

GimelSLOB added earlier that Nadal was the best matchup for Roddick of the three semifinalists. I would argue otherwise. Maybe Fed.


jane Says:

Nice job Andy…use that forehand!


jane Says:

Rod can return Nadal’s serve better than Fed’s Sean, as is already clear in this match. He just has to stay aggressive against Rafa… and not play too far back as you say.


Von Says:

That’s how it’s done Andy, don’t play hanky-pan ky with the ball, pulverize it. Maybe next set. But, he had breakpoints in the first game, so maybe he could do it again, if only …. C’mon Andy.


Sean Randall Says:

Pulverize it…That’s what he used to do, agree? Now he’s a pusher.

To beat Nadal, and he can, he needs to open up that forehand and let it fly like he did in Dubai last year.

These pusher-type rallies won’t work against Rafa because Rafa can kickit to Roddick’s BH and almost always (re)gain control of the point.

What’s scary is Rafa doesn’t look that sharp, either.


Von Says:

Well as the commentators said, the difference in that: Roddick was unable to convert on his breakpoint opportunities, while Nadal was able to do so. One lousy break is all it takes, forget how well a plyer plays.


Von Says:

C’mon Andy, reassert yourself. Remember Dubai except that IW is so darn slow.


rose Says:

hi everyone.. score please??


jane Says:

Very little to separate the two in that set. Just 1 break point. Rod had one and didn’t convert; Rafa had one and converted. So very close. It’d be nice if Andy could get his serve percentage up just a little more in this second set, and hold easily, so he can keep creeping into Rafa’s games and put his energy there.

Well, it’s not over yet! 50% points each at this juncture.


jane Says:

Hi rose,

Rafa won the first set 6-4, and it’s 1-0 for Roddick in the second set.


tenisbebe Says:

Ist set Rafa 6-4, 2nd set 1-0 Roddick


Von Says:

No Sean, he’s not pushing, his forehand is a little less potent,yes, because he hasn’t been using it in the past couple of years, but now that he’s re-instating it, and that takes time, it will be a hit or miss and he’ll lose a few matches, but overall he’s doing the right thing. Let’s forget about pushing, he’s hitting.

Nadal iks not playin g sharp either, I agree, and he’s double-faulting, hitting long, etc. It’s windy, and to Nadal’s advantage because his ball can fly through the court.


tenisbebe Says:

There say the wind is picking up which favors Rafa – rats.


tenisbebe Says:

25mph winds


sar Says:

Just signing on:

Fed, Fed what can I say.

Good luck to Roddick in this match. I hope he can pull it out. He’s got to be thinking how good it would be to not face Fed.

Too bad for Bryans but they will break the Woodys in due time. Meantime, Fish/Roddick look great and they should get it.

Hey did anyone notice Gavin Rossdale cheering wildly for Fed over Murray? I know they are friends but still, Murray is a Brit and Brit fans won’t appreciate his “disloyalty.” Maybe I am wrong.
UGH that idiot Gimelslob is making me ill again.


Von Says:

The wind is helping Nadal and Andy is bothered by the wind as can be seen from the agitation on his face.


Von Says:

Nadal is cognizant about the wind interfering and is just putting the balls in play and then the wind helps him. sheesh.


Sean Randall Says:

“now that he’s re-instating it (forehand)”. Really? I haven’t seen any hint of that.


tenisbebe Says:

I turned the volume down on the telly & up on the streaming so I don’t have to listen to Slob Boy – try it Sar.

I wonder if the wind is affecting Andy’s serve? It would have to, yes?


tenisbebe Says:

C’mon Andy – break here.


jane Says:

Andy’s serve could be a little better today; perhaps the wind is a factor there. Keep fighting, it’s only one break.

Is the doubles final today too?


Von Says:

This match can be summarized as one player being able to adapt to the weather conditions better than the other.


tenisbebe Says:

YEAH!!!!!!


jane Says:

There – the break right back! Good focus from Rod!


Von Says:

Atta bioy Andy, now let’s have a match.
____________
Sean, open your eyes, or put some bi-focals on, it’s a happenin’.


jane Says:

Sean, I have seen Andy hit some ripping forehands at IW alone. Haven’t you? One early on in this match had even the commentators (streaming) ooohhhing and ahhhhing.


tenisbebe Says:

There was a nice combo!


Von Says:

Sean, did you see that one. no pushing, but hitting.


jane Says:

Better serving too – more aces from Andy now hopefully will make this set go to tiebreak, if he doesn’t break again. And then we’ll have a 3rd and deciding set; that’s what I wanna see.


tenisbebe Says:

He was serving against the wind there so we’ll see how it looks when they switch. I feel for these guys. I loath playing in windy conditions – an exercise in frustration.


Von Says:

Whatever happens in this match, and I’m still hoping, but I will hold on to one positive thought, and that is, Roddick can hang with the supposedly ‘big boys’ as they are called, and can have an impact on their games. C’mon Rover, move it!!!


Sean Randall Says:

Andy gets the break and follows with a strong service game. Rafa making lots of errors now.

Wind has impact of both guys. Hard to say who it hurts/helps more.


rose Says:

score please?


Von Says:

That ball should be challenged. it looked good to me.


jane Says:

My streaming keeps cutting out. Ugh. Rod’s getting into Rafa’s service games quite effectively now.


tenisbebe Says:

Arod’s not hitting thru at all right now. Got to be the wind. He can’t frustrated NOW. FOCUS!!!


jane Says:

rose, it’s 3 all second set


tenisbebe Says:

I thought he should challenge too Von but they never showed replay so….


Von Says:

Nadal keeps pushing Andy back and pulling him wide making him play defensive.


Sean Randall Says:

Maybe it’s just me but it doesn’t really look that windy. Sam and Gimel are making a huge deal of it.


Von Says:

Gosh, Andy falls for the bait in coming in. What Nadal is lacking in his game, he’s making it up by luring Roddick in. Cat and mouse.


Von Says:

When is he going to learn, this is stupid. He needs to stop coming in. Nadal does this to Federer and he is successful. Get the damn serve going and blast it.


jane Says:

Hold Andy!


tenisbebe Says:

Yes Jane & Andy is also making terrible approach shots.


jane Says:

Oh crap, it’ll be hard for Andy to break again, but he has to keep digging in. He’s done it already; he CAN do it again. He can definitely get a good read on Rafa’s serve. But Rafa has been a little stronger at tactics so far in this match.

Rod has to stick to controlled aggression. He’s best when his hitting with power, and using his slice to mix up pace when necessary.


Von Says:

Same garbage again, Andy falls again for the bait.
_____________
Sean, it’s difficult for you to see anything, even the FHs when they are zinging. The comm entators, Goodall and koenikg said the wind is definitely frustrating Roddick and it’s to Nadal’s advantage. Andy is fighting though and I’m proud of him. What a pity his wasn’t the first match.


tenisbebe Says:

He hasn’t been able to do anything with Rafa’s 2nd serve either. You can’t win that way.


Von Says:

Andy is in every one of Nadal’s service games, which is not easy for most players to do.


tenisbebe Says:

Here goes another break chance…


jane Says:

Well the ump called Rafa on his time violation so that was good. It’s that weird shadow / sun time on the court.

Andy’s sure trying here – Go!!


tenisbebe Says:

Holds at love but too little too late I think…


Von Says:

Where was that pick-up when Andy needed it before, and the darn serve as well.


Sean Randall Says:

Well, FSN has spent the last 15 minutes have Justin live up to his name by disregarding the tennis action so he can slob all over in-studio guest Kate Walsh.

As for the wind, I just see a lot of people with those big hats in the crowd and they don’t look worried about it.


Von Says:

Andy looks a little disappointed, and I feel very badly for him as it seems he really wanted to beat Nadal.cheer up Andy, there’s Miami and many other tourneys, because you’re playing fine tennis.


Von Says:

One other thing I’m seeing too much time in between Nadal’s serve and that can disrupt another player’s rythm. Andy likes to play fast.


jane Says:

He has one last chance to break back here. You have to give Andy credit here for fighting in pretty much all of Rafa’s service games, particularly in this second set; it’s testament to how he’s seeing the ball well and returning better.

But i agree tenisbebe, his serve needed to be stronger sooner so Rafa wouldn’t have been able to break back.


tenisbebe Says:

Now that’s more like it!!!


tenisbebe Says:

Oh my – another chance in this set!!!!!!


jane Says:

He did it! Andy’s feeding Rafa a little of his never say die attitude. Nice to see it.


Von Says:

Come on Andy, blast the serve, kick it out and …


tenisbebe Says:

OK – Rod’s play at 15-30 in that last game was MUCH better – dictating play. Let’s see if he can keep it up.


jane Says:

HOLD Andy!!! Hold!


jane Says:

Going for another “thwart” here are we??


Sean Randall Says:

Now there’s the Roddick swagger. Rafa’s awoken the lion…


Von Says:

Ok, either Andy breaks here or it will be a tie-break and i only hope his serve is kicking. IW is a tempermental surface, it naturally slow, but the wind cools it down and it’s difficult to get Andy’s serve blasting.


tenisbebe Says:

OK Andy – Let it rip!!!!


jane Says:

Stay pumped Andy.


tenisbebe Says:

Nice point from Rafa. 1-1


Von Says:

Andy should really challenge those serve calls down the T, some of them look very close to me, but it’s something he overlooks a lot of times.


tenisbebe Says:

Rafa took WAY TOO MUCH time on the changeover. hmmmmm


Von Says:

Why is it Nadal always pushes the time rule. Damn it’s not fair and it was clear that Andy was angry.


Sean Randall Says:

Ump not going to call a point penalty against Rafa there.


jane Says:

There he hit with some purpose!


Von Says:

Did you see that one Sean, a real drive through? Keep watching now.


tenisbebe Says:

Rafa played within himself, despite the wind and errors. Not the prettiest but he got the job done. Congrats to Rafa! Andy – Good luck in the doubles!!


Sean Randall Says:

Roddick did very well to hang in there, keep fighting and not go away. Rafa just too strong in the end.

That leaves Rafa v. Murray in the final. Right now Murray’s playing better but Rafa is so tough in finals.


jane Says:

Well, a VERY well fought match and tournament from Andy, and he can STILL win the doubles title. Would’ve been nice if he could’ve taken it to a 3rd set. Oh well.

Von, TD, Andrew Miller, tenisbebe, hope you all enjoyed a great match. Clearly Andy is hitting the top form of his game again. He broke the world number 1 a number of times today; that’s great effort.


Von Says:

I’m proud of Andy. he didn’t lie down and play dead. He fought valiantly and that’s all I can ask for as a fan. Many more good things to come from A-Rod. Andy was very disappointed.

I think Murray will win tomorrow if nadal doesn’t up his play.

Anyway, congrats to Nadal fans, he got the job done and that’s what counts.

Hopefully Roddick/Fish can win the doubles and Andy will have something to compensate for the loss.


jane Says:

Congrats to zola, Ezorra, and other Rafa fans; your guy toughed out the win in the wind and when he wasn’t at his best. Now he has another Andy to face! =D


Sean Randall Says:

Ok, Rafa just said it was very windy, so I stand corrected. It just didn’t look it on TV.


rose Says:

score ???


Von Says:

Thanks jane. Yes, Andy has done well breaking nadal a number of times and we all know how difficult a task that is, and that’s a good thing.

Now onto doubles which the lousy FSN won’t show.


tenisbebe Says:

Murray’s will have had more rest too but Rafa his insanely tough in finals.


Von Says:

Sean, change your glasses. I tell you the eyes are the first to go with age, then the brain. This eye thing is a sign though, beware …. Ha, ha. Kudos for admitting the obvious though.


Von Says:

tenisbeeb:

Only a couple of hours more rest. That’s not anything significant, and considering Andy M. played 3 sets against Fed, he exerted more energy. Which makes it even.


Von Says:

I’m wondering if the wind will be a problem again in doubles for Andy or it will die down. Here’s hoping and dreaming ….


zola Says:

pheww……..
Thanks Jane and Von,
Sorry Roddick fans, but he played very well. He made it a close match and I thought it will go to the third set. I hope he can take the doubles.

Something is wrong with Rafa’s serve and forehand. He played some really poor games. He should have closed it out when serving for the match.
Credit to Andy for not giving up. It was difficult for both to play in the wind and of course with those shadows creeping in.

Murray played much cleaner today and I agree that if Rafa continues to play like this Andy will win tomorrow.Come on Rafa!


rose Says:

i guess nadal won!!!..tough match for nadal tomorrow considering that he havent won against andy this year yet!!!


zola Says:

tennisbebe,
I don’t think a couple hours more rest will be a factor because this was not a very physical match and ended under 2 hours ( I hope I am not wrong). So physically Rafa should be fine. But maybe mentally he is tired and loses concentration too easly on some points.
Testerday against Del Potro and today against Roddick. He cannot afford to play like this in the final.


sar Says:

Too bad for Roddick fans on singles. I was pulling for him. He will get the doubles trophy though.

As for the wind, Roddick did say yesterday the wind was a factor in the Djok match too. Tough luck.

BTW Fed is out of Monte Carlo.
http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/news/story?id=4000285&campaign=rss&source=TENNISHeadlines


Kimmi Says:

sorry for fed, but now c’mon murray take everything tomorrow.


Von Says:

Sar:
Thanks for that article. I noticed Roddick is not playing also at MC — the bachelor party and wedding, I suppose. I need to do some serious talking to that young man, I mean why haven’t I received my wedding invitation as yet? Ha, ha. Roddick doesn’t have any points to defend at MC but Fed does, and being a non-mandatory tourney it gives them an opportunity to rest, have frolic and fun, which is good thing.


sar Says:

Yes, where is that invite?

I will watch the Ana/Vera match tomorrow and enjoy it as I want either one to win it.
Will miss the other one but will tape it. Time to take a week off and do things around my house before the other tournament starts when I turn into an obsessed TV nut again.

S. Green where are you?


tenisbebe Says:

Zola & Von:

I don’t know what I was thinking when I typed that about Murray having more rest. I was having a brain malfunction, getting yesterday & today mixed up. Thanks for setting me (and my brain) straight.


jane Says:

Von,

Do you know when the date for Andy’s wedding is? The announcers said he was getting married “during the clay season” so perhaps that’s why he won’t be at MC. Fed’s reasoning I am less sure of since he usually does well there, but I guess he’s got some exciting personal things going on as well!

sar,

The last time I spoke with S. Green he was busy trying to finish his PhD. But he is missed! I hope he’s well.


jane Says:

Wow – 11 to 11 in the doubles, this is a marathon. Very close. Come on Andy and Mardy.


jane Says:

Well well – congrats to Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish for winning the doubles title!!


Von Says:

Yeah!! Roddick/Fish are the doubles winners, with a nice fat paycheck of $225,000, to boot. Good job guys and I hope this win will help to cheer up Andy for his singles disappointment.


tenisbebe Says:

Woo Hoo – they won the doubles! Congrats to Andy & Mardy. What a shame they didn’t televise it. Oh well.


tenisbebe Says:

Von – don’t forget the POINTS too. How many do they each earn for the doubles? 500 each? And Von, do they split the $225K?


Danica Says:

Congrats to the Americans for winning the doubles!


Von Says:

sar: Whoever wins in the women’s match is fine with me since all of my faves are gone. May the best woman win. I need the time off to obtain some much needed sleep plus get caught up in my work.
_______________
tenisbebe: Don’t worry about the brain problem that’s nothing, wait until you become like me, I get the rounds mixed up and years too, but that’s because I’m lazy and try to commit everything to memory. As I said to Sean, the eyes first, then the brain goes next.
________________
jane: I don’t know about Andy’s marriage date. I suppose it will probably be on his website, but I don’t read players’ websites, so I guess I’ll just have to wait to hear it on TV from the commentators. LOL. I’m thinking the bachelor party will be during MC and then he’ll probably get married during Barcelona or the smaller clay tourneys considering he has SF points to defend in Rome, and Madrid is mandatory. I have this feeling that he should wait a little longer to get married. His fiancee is so young, only 20 or 21 and mental maturity can sometimes be a problem for the young people. I suppose it’s my maternal instincts kicking in. Ha, ha.


Von Says:

tenisbebe:

I know they split the paycheck, but I’m not sure about the points, however, considering doubles’ teams are unstable I suppose the points will sbe split also. I’m only speculating. I’d bet the 1,000 points would definitely have helped the other doubles team in their race, and one team will benefit from Andy/Mardy’s win.


tenisbebe Says:

They say that she is a very mature, kind & genuine young woman. Andy has probably met alot of phonies & hanger-ons in his travels and she is probably very refreshing


jane Says:

Yeah, well I wish the best for Andy. I agree she’s young, but she’s not been sheltered by any means, so maybe she’s more mature than her years. She’s a lucky gal!


Abhi Says:

In my humble opinion, Federer is currently not even the second best. He is behind Nadal and Murray, and the rankings will soon reflect that. He has lots of clay court season points to defend, and Murray has none. Forget number one, he will struggle to hold on to number two come US open (which he ain’t winning again). His only chance is at Wimbledon this year. If that is not his 14th, he will be staying at 13.


Ezorra Says:

To Von, congratulations on your man’s win in double with compatrion Mr. Fish but sorry for his loss againt my fav, Nadal in single event. No shame though because from what i read through the blog is that Roddick has played his best and shown a very tremendous improvement in his game. Bright future for him!

Unfortunately, eventhough Nadal had won the match, I still thinking that I’m one of the unluckiest person on earth right now for my inability to watch ANY OF THE MATCHES last night due to poor health condition. I got fever that made me feel very weak to even watch the television. Gratefully, I feel better right now and hopefully i can watch the match if they reboradcast it anytime today (or tomorrow or next week or even next month!)

To Jane, thanks for your nice words and the wishes. I hope Novak will recover very soon and become the great player as he always be!

To all Nadal fans, congratulations! I hope he will win the trophy (which is not an easy task at all – in fact, I’m typing this comment by using 5 fingers only (one hand) because I use the other hand to do ‘crossfinger’! – just kidding!)


zola Says:

Ezzora,
hope you are feeling better now.

tennisbebe,
lol! maybe you mixed it up with the US open or AO. it is not unusual for one of the finalists to have more rest than the other…no malfunction here!

Congratulatios to Andy and Mardy and their fans for their doubles title. lots of energy to play a semifinal and then go and play and WIN a final.

I wish the ATP TV starts showing doubles. The players are more relaxed and have fun playing. It is great to watch them.

Abhi,
I agree that Murray is now really HOT. Perhaps the true No 2. But I would never underestimate Federer. Remember he came back and won the US Open, just after winning the doubles in Beijing. I never thought winning a doubles title can give the life back to him, but it did.


sam Says:

Fed is way past his prime , so its natural for younger players to beat him. Andy is doing that consistently beacause IMO he is the best player in the world at the moment. Nadal is going loose badly to him tomorrow.

I think von is on mission to drive away every poster who happens to come here. In the end she will be the only one left here. Well done, keep going Von.


Von Says:

Ezorra:

thanks for the congrats. I’m so sorry you were ill and couldn’t see the match. I hope you’ll be well enough tomorrow to watch it and good-luck to your guy.


Andrew Miller Says:

Hello Mr. Randall – I think your analysis 100 % on. You mentioned Murray needing to be in form – certainly seemed like it. I am surprised that Federer wilts to anyone who “dictates” in such an unorthodox way – in the 2005-2007 era, Federer did not seem to conform to any opponent’s game plan. If I were an opponent in a third set in a best of 3 set match against Federer, I would be pretty happy right now, especially if I knew that Federer was playing according to my plan.

As for Roddick, I appreciate the observation about the lack of heat on the forehand side and the increased pushing. It is not certain that that was not calculated in Indian Wells because of the wind issue – I am not sure what works in the wind, but I know the wind makes an enormous difference out there. I remember seeing a match between Baghdatis and Nadal in 2006 at Indian Wells and noticing how strong the wind could be there.

You seem to be making a general comment though about Roddick’s adopted style on the forehand side and I AGREE – if that arsenal does not include a forehand shot that punishes opponents consistently, then it is going to be tough to get breaks against Nadal, Federer, Murray and More. Hopefully one of Larry Stefanki’s goals is to have Roddick practice that shot and unleash the forehand when necessary.

That would be opposite James Blake’s style, which is “punish your opponent with the forehand, and punish thyself with the forehand, and see what happens”. Now I love James Blake – either his forehand or Ernest Gulbis’ forehand (or maybe Fernando Gonzalez, but I dont think so) is the “hardest hit” non-serve shot in tennis. The speed on those forehands is just incredible (Federer too of course) but I think Blake whips the shot just a tick faster. However, Blake seems to let the shot control him, rather than use it to construct his matches. And I think that’s a strategy for disaster, and it’s clear that James Blake’s results for the past two years, outside of a nice olympics, an Aussie QF, and some great davis cup matches…

has been lackluster.


Andrew Miller Says:

Hello again Mr. Randall – I was reading about Nadal in time magazine and was astounded by it. I have quoted it extensively here and left the link at the bottom – TIME MAGAZINE JANUARY 2009.

This is what it said:

Nadal: “I’ve always liked the competition more than the tennis.”

“Nadal — who first picked up a racquet aged 3 — and his coach found their own solutions, developing a style of play concerned less with form and technique than with results. What matters is winning.”

“Nadal — who first picked up a racquet aged 3 — and his coach found their own solutions, developing a style of play concerned less with form and technique than with results. What matters is winning.”

“All athletes develop their own mix of style and technique. But Nadal’s peculiarity is quantifiable. San Francisco–based tennis researcher John Yandell has used video-capture technology to record the topspin of Nadal’s forehand. He found that Nadal’s shot rotates at an average of 3,200 times a minute. Andre Agassi, one of the game’s great shotmakers, generated 1,900 rotations per minute in his prime, and current world No. 2 Roger Federer, whose forehand is considered among the game’s best, generates 2,700. As U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe has said of Nadal, “His normal safe forehand is the toughest shot in the world.”

“Rallying with Nadal, says former Top 10 player turned coach Brad Gilbert, “is an education in pain.”

“Nadal and his coterie of physical trainers know that the flip side of his heavy topspin is that it forces him to engage in bruising rallies. His muscle-bound physique — which Nadal says is down to genes rather than weight-lifting — adds an extra burden: the explosive forces those muscles generate put his body under increased strain.”

That one confused me. Nadal gets bigger every year so I have to think the kid is in the gym.

And of course…the fatal flaws:

“Ask his trainer, Rafael Maymo, what parts of Nadal’s body are under strain when he plays, and he answers: “Shoulder, feet, legs and back. Oh wait, that’s every part.” Sampras is even more direct: [Nadal] puts so much effort into each point that eventually something will break.”

But while Nadal gripes about too many matches, Toni has been reworking his nephew’s game to make it less physically demanding. In recent months, the pair have focused on increasing the velocity of Nadal’s serve in the hope of earning more aces, and improving Nadal’s net play in the hope of shortening rallies. More drastically, they have begun altering Nadal’s trademark forehand. In Paris, I spent two hours watching Nadal practice forehands with a follow-through that came around his body in the traditional manner rather than whiplashing behind his head. Toni barked complaints if his pupil unconsciously reverted to his old follow-through. At one point, unhappy with the results, Toni pointed at a promotional picture of Federer on the JumboTron above the court, a post-forehand action shot of the Swiss player with the caption hit that back if you can! See, like that!, Toni seemed to be indicating. “Federer is a wonderful player,” Toni says later, before making a gesture with his hand in imitation of a painter’s strokes. “He plays with [this],” he says, hand brushing up and down. “His spirit is so easy.”

“”Rafael must play like himself but better, [less spin], quicker points.” But how can Federer be too good when Rafael is ranked No. 1? “There is a difference between who is better and who knows more,” says Toni. “Better now is Rafael, he is No. 1 in the ranking. But who has the best game? Federer.”

“But so much of his success stems from his resistance to tradition that Toni’s plan to make his charge more orthodox may dim Nadal’s aura among fellow pros. When I asked the American player Andy Roddick about the changes, he couldn’t believe that Nadal would voluntarily reduce the spin on his forehand. “One of the things that is difficult about facing [Nadal] is the extreme topspin he gets on the ball,” Roddick told TIME. “If it’s true, I don’t think it would make him more effective.”

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1870373-2,00.html


Andrew Miller Says:

One last parting shot: NADAL EATS COOKIES.

Q. I’m surprised to see you eating cookies. Are they chocolate chip cookies?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah.

Q. I was wondering if you have things like that quite a bit? I always think athletes have a very regimented diet and don’t indulge.
RAFAEL NADAL: Not me. (Laughter.)
My opinion, you can eat everything. Well, before the match maybe don’t have five cookies or one stick, but my opinion, you can eat everything in the right time and with — well, if I eat right now, twenty cookies, maybe I gonna have indigestion tonight.
If I eat two, three cookies, maybe it’s okay. Maybe not for the stomach, no, but for the head it’s better. (Laughter.) In the end, the important thing is be mentally okay.

Q. Better mental preparation?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah.


Andrew Miller Says:

LAST: I ENJOYED THE COMMENT ABOUT “GIMELSLOB”

That guy really does need to be removed from the broadcast, or his Mic turned off. He is just not professional and he doesnt show much self control.

I have no idea what’s going on in his life but it seems like Corina Moraiu left his because of this stuff! First the Kournikova incident, now the flirting during one of the best matches and only matches broadcast in the U.S. this year. Thanks, Gimelstob.

Could someone please either put this guy through some training and make him study commentators who actually had a feel for the game (rather than just a desire for its’ WTA players) or recruit someone else who respects the sport?

ANYONE! PLEASE! Retrain him or fire him.


jane Says:

Andrew,

Thanks for the link; those are some fascinating details – esp. Federer’s face up on the jumbo screen as a training tool!!


Andrew Miller Says:

I read more about Gimelstob. Really, one of tennis broadcasting’s elder statesmen should sit Gimelstob down and tell him that he has a great opportunity to be a great broadcaster, rather than a creep.

I wish I had Gimelstob’s opportunity, to comment about tennis and do these interviews and things like that. It’s the lack of perspective that really gets me – the viewers are not looking for what Gimelstob’s providing, they are looking for an enhanced experience of watching tennis – for those that don’t know much, some information about what’s happening; for those who know a lot, some commentary about something we may not know (example: the wind; or what happens if a high bouncing ball in the wind is kicked into the backhand side etc).

Gimelstob is adding less value than he’s taking away. He needs retraining and a conversation with some excellent sports broadcasters. Either that or find another passion, because he’s treating it like a joke.


Andrew Miller Says:

Sure thing, Jane. I am not sure whether Uncle Toni is right about all this, but he seems to be a student of Nadal (meaning, he studies Nadal’s game and how it clashes with other players’ games) and then figures out what modifications are needed.

It is pretty cool, isnt it? Uncle Toni seems to give Nadal the bird’s eye view, and I dont know if anyone is providing that to Federer (how Federer’s game clashes with other players’ games, and what changes are needed in order to exploit weaknesses).


jane Says:

Andrew,

I liked how the article began with the allusion to Darwinian evolution; Nadal, or rather Uncle Toni, seems to be a master adapter. “Survival of the fittest” rings true. The article points out that Nadal just does what he has to to win, so if that means altering this or that, he does it. Toni comes up with a plan. But in the end it’s Nadal’s competitive drive that makes the plan come to fruition.

I think the clothing make-over and re”branding” (ugh) is more silly. They should be themselves in this regard and let Rafa mature at his own pace. Although another interesting thing was how the article talked about the players being like kids still due in part to the atmosphere around them.

Finally, yes, one wonders what Federer could achieve if he had an extra pair of eyes; but Roger is a different animal altogether from Rafa. He’s like a stubborn artist who chooses to go it alone, and if that means the end, well one almost gets the sense he’s somewhat prepared to accept that. Maybe I am wrong here. But Federer seems to have reached a different level of maturity and becoming a father will add to that. He’s still a fantastic player, as his match with Murray showed, but he is a bit stuck against Rafa and Murray, and like Grendel mentioned on the other thread, one gets the feeling that probably won’t change. Though he’ll get wins against them here and there nevertheless, when all of the arsenal is firing.


fedster Says:

I agree with Rafa regarding cookies. Even I feel having a cookie or two before the match or exam’d stable your nerves and you won’t feel the pressure. I surely have stuff like cookies(something deliciously sweet but in a very limited quantity) before I go to sit in exam. It makes you feel better to hit the question paper after a cookie dose! ;-)


Andrew Miller Says:

Hi Jane,

I totally agree…Federer will be changing. I just am so unaccustomed to him being bewildered out there: where is the Federer who, in 2005, solved Nadal during the Miami Masters’ final in Key Biscayne?

Where is he? Where is the Federer who was curious about whether he could see himself through that situation, or even wondering whether he could find something within Murray’s game to use against Murray?

Sure, we’re discussing an unbelievable player – the Australian Open finalist and US Open champion – but why is he bewildered out there?

And why isn’t he improving? I was hoping that the fired up Federer from the 2008 wimbledon final (yes, where he lost) would decide that “enough is enough”, and run around that backhand to punish opponents. Federer’s forehand is still better than any other player’s forehand, including Nadal.


Giner Says:

“But it’s going to be tougher. Nadal has won 10 of his last 12 sets against the American and while I think the courts favor Nadal, Roddick is probably playing with a little more confidence, just enough to keep it closer than before and maybe even enough to sneak a set out.”

A hard court favouring Nadal? Who would have thought anyone would say that a year ago? How things change. Yes it’s a slow hard court, but not long ago people were saying the hard surface hurts his vulnerable knees.

“And why isn’t he improving? I was hoping that the fired up Federer from the 2008 wimbledon final (yes, where he lost) would decide that “enough is enough”, and run around that backhand to punish opponents. Federer’s forehand is still better than any other player’s forehand, including Nadal.”

Andrew Miller, when you have a game as good as his, there are not many ways you can improve really. As critical as people are about him, he is still the second best player in the world right now, and only one guy has delivered better overall results recently. His game is still better than just about everyone’s, despite a lack of improvement. That’s because his ‘unimproved’ game is already so good.

Fed will like his chances at a GS. Since 2004, the only players to have beaten him are Kuerten, Safin, Djokovic, and Nadal (x6). That’s only 4 players. And 3 of them have been #1′s. Djokovic’s game in 07-08 was good enough to get him to #1 if he was around during the Hewitt/Safin/Kuerten years.

Fed could be better, but he’s good enough the way he is. You can have him in the smaller tournaments, but at the Slams, Fed will have the last laugh. Sure, Murray has won the last 4 or 5 matches in smaller tourneys against Fed, but when it counted most (the US Open final) he was utterly crushed. I believe it’s mental. These guys who can beat him lose their belief when a Grand Slam is up for grabs. Nadal is the exception.


fedster Says:

Improvement is not what is required of Fed as he still has the best game now, believe it or not, accept it or not! What Fed needs is sticking to his instinct and playing his natural game. He can beat everyone else on more occasions than not including even Nadal in the clay court tournaments/Roland Garros. But the question is whether he’s hungry enough to eat up all the titles being served on the ATP bancquet as he once was??????? To me……. the answer is…….. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So he’ll win lesser number of titles than he and we are used to.

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ATP - Sep 15 WTA - Sep 15
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Rafael Nadal2 Simona Halep
3 Roger Federer3 Petra Kvitova
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Maria Sharapova
5 David Ferrer5 Agnieszka Radwanska
6 Milos Raonic6 Na Li
7 Tomas Berdych7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Kei Nishikori8 Angelique Kerber
9 Marin Cilic9 Caroline Wozniacki
10 Grigor Dimitrov10 Ana Ivanovic
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