Newly Married Federer Honeymoons in Monte Carlo, With Rafa, Novak and Murray
by Sean Randall | April 12th, 2009, 12:05 pm
  • 118 Comments

What a life-changing, perhaps game-changing 45 days or so it has been for Roger Federer. Federer was shunned by prospective coach Darren Cahill; he withdrew from the U.S. Davis Cup tie; he announced that he and Mirka were expecting a baby this summer; he obliterated a racquet on court for the first time in many years; he looked hapless in a two final sets defeats to rivals Andy Murray at Indian Wells and Novak Djokovic in Miami; he failed to shake the umpire’s hand after the Miami loss; he teared-up in the post match Miami presser; he took a wildcard into Monte Carlo and if that’s not enough, he’s announced that he and Mirka were just married Saturday in Basel. Wow!

What’s this guy going to do for an encore, win the French Open? Well, let’s not get too crazy here.

First, congrats to Federer and to Mirka. Truly what a difference a month makes. Federer is now a husband and in just a few short months he’ll be a dad. What most pro tennis players go through in a decade if not a lifetime, Federer gets it done in about 45 days.

And as Federer seems to have found happiness off the court (I hope!), his on court game is still mired in misery. And that’s been really apparent in the final sets of matches when the Roger’s game has really fallen apart on at least three occasions this year (Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open and the two Masters losses), four if you include the Andy Roddick match.

For me, that indicates a confidence issue that hasn’t yet to be righted. And while he may have lost some power and quickness overall, we’ve seen patches of superior play from Federer throughout the season, so we know it’s there. But he just needs to find that consistently and be at that high level to compete with Nadal, Murray and Novak.

And when you are in a slump as the one Federer’s currently in, there can be two schools of thought. One is to just take time off, get your emotions in check, get the motivation and energy back and renew your love for the game especially after that devastating loss to Rafa in Australia. The second is to just keep playing through it in hope that the new wins will wash away the taste of those sour losses. Right or wrong, Federer has chosen the latter path.

I had also said in an earlier post and it’s worth repeating, that Roger might benefit from a spark of some kind to get him out of this funk. And that spark can come in many forms: A new coach, new racquet or a big match/tournament win – the Olympic Gold provided a launch pad to his US Open title run. The announcement of the baby didn’t seem to work, but maybe the racquet smash and his now marriage to Mirka will light the fire. We’ll see.

That said my feeling remains is that he really needs a coach.

Unfortunately for Federer, the timing of his marriage and “honeymoon” could have been better. While I admire that he will play Monte Carlo just days after getting tying the knot, I don’t particularly like his chances of walking away from the tournament a happier man a week from now. Not with Nadal, Murray and Novak all in the draw.

In fact, nine of the top 10 players are entered into Monte Carlo with the only absentee being Andy Roddick who himself is rumored to getting married in the coming weeks.

But after what we saw last from Federer on hardcourts – spraying groundstrokes all over the court – how will the 13-time Slam champ find the patience and consistency required for the clay?

For his sake, Federer received a wedding-gift of a draw. The second-seed’s cush path will likely take him through Andreas Seppi, Stan Wawrinka and Tommy Robredo, who I think will upend Gilles Simon. It won’t be easy, but I think he’ll manage.

The top seed and four-time champ, Rafael Nadal, was afforded no such luxury. Nadal, who’s been in a pseudo funk of his own, will deal with Igor Kunitsyn and Radek Stepanek before a heavyweight showdown against Juan Martin Del Potro in the quarterfinals.

Of all of the storylines heading into to this clay season, seeing how Del Potro and Murray fare intrigues me the most. And I think both will hold up very, very well.

In the second quarter, Murray will meet Cilic in the third round before David Nalbandian clash in the quarters. I think I like Mr. Nalbandian in that match-up.

And to play Federer in the semifinals, I’m going with David Ferrer who upsets Fernando Verdasco then Djokovic.

My semifinals then are: Nadal v. Nalbandian and Ferrer v. Federer. In the final I’m picking Nadal beating Ferrer, and Rafa resuming his King of Clay status. However, I think this dirt season will be Rafa’s toughest since becoming the clay God that he is.

If he picks up right where he left off from his 2008 French Open run and destroys everyone in Monte Carlo this week, then all bets are off and he’ll run the table yet again. But I think this year Rafa’s in for a much bumpier ride than before. I know he won Indian Wells and reached the quarterfinals in Miami, but I just didn’t like the way he’s been hitting the ball the last month and I think some of that patchy play bleeds into the clay season. We’ll find out soon enough.

Happy Easter everyone.


Also Check Out:
Tennis Hot as Stars Roddick, Federer Take to Wedding Altar
Federer Reverses Monte Carlo Decision, Will Take On Nadal
Rafael Nadal: I Have Amazing Feelings When I Play Monte Carlo [Video]
Novak Djokovic Was A Busy Man After Winning Monte Carlo [Video]
Djokovic Withdraws From Monte Carlo

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118 Comments for Newly Married Federer Honeymoons in Monte Carlo, With Rafa, Novak and Murray

Andrew Miller Says:

Hello Mr. Randall, I like what you wrote! Here are some questions – my first two paragraphs are the questions and then I put some more info behind it (lots and too much) but my main questions are in the next two small paragraphs about Murray and Federer:

Murray: Sounds like you feel Murray is about to enter a disaster of a clay court season, from what you feel? Do you see that because of the clay court specialists and Murray’s bad results in past years (despite developing his game in Spain, like Safin who has bad results on the dirt) How did McEnroe, another clever player a la Murray, fare on the red stuff?

Federer: Questions – doesnt Federer need to work on (1) his game and (2) his gameplans vs. opponents as well as (3) his attitude out there?

Those are my questions – I provided a lot more information below but it’s just to reinforce the questions. Thank you for considering! – Andrew.
========================================
For# 1: Why isnt Federer getting some help in making his forehand better and fixing his tendencies and habits during matches? The guy listens to no one and his stubborness is getting in his way!

Correct me if I am wrong, but Federer’s shots are just not there in those late sets (fifth set of a five-set final, third set of a three-set semifinal, second set of a tough best of three set match). Why isnt he consulting a STROKE DOCTOR, someone who can identify what the heck Federer’s habits are during those third sets and give him some feedback and a development plan to strengthen that part of his game?

Sorry but Federer flying solo is just not working right now – sure it worked fine for the US Open in 2008, where without question Federer won it outright (and with some help from a tough semifinal that Murray had to take out Rafa Nadal) – but now that’s not happening, Andy Murray is winning his matches with more ease and doesnt have to go through Rafa in some draws to get a matchup with Federer.

I read that in basketball, for any single shot there are as many as 41 possible problems that can take place for it to go wrong – and from what I’ve been seeing (and correct me if I am wrong) but Federer’s forehand is looking downright “shaky” at crunch time (whether the Wimbledon final last year or when he played Roddick in Miami and LOST in 2008, I was at that match and Federer’s forehand, though brilliant, was the shot that LOST him the match as much as Andy Roddick’s confidence unnerved Federer a little bit.) Why the heck doesnt he work with Robert Landsdorp a little and clean up his forehand? There’s some junk going on – either that or Federer’s not physically strong enough and his opponents are taking him out on his fitness – it’s SLOPPY!

You mentioned a racquet switch as possible – I LIKE THAT IDEA A LOT.

But my question on him relates more to his preparation for the upcoming season and the things he needs to work on. Clearly, whatever way Federer’s been practicing hasnt been sufficent, because as you noted he is NOT PLAYING WELL DOWN THE STRETCH. It showed up in Australia vs. Nadal in what should have been a “barnburner” of a fifth set; he bombed out in his match against Andy Murray in Indian Wells in the semifinals; he nearly lost to Andy Roddick in Miami and played a horrible match against Djokovic, who supposedly during that match did nothing more than “observe” how Federer was playing, adjust and beat him. That leads me to #2

#2 What the heck is Federer’s game plan out there? Federer – who in the US Open in 2007 said he only needs 15 seconds to come up with a plan against an opponent, doesnt seem to have ANY Plan these days. Here’s a quote from the press conference after his 2007 match:

Q. How do you prepare for your opponents? Is it systematically perhaps looking at DVDs, notes? Is it all up in your head? It looks like in this tournament your first sets have been your feeling-out period. Can you discuss what you do in those first sets, too?

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, look, I have sometimes tournaments where that happens. I have other tournaments where I start really strong. It’s got a lot to do with the opponents, too, usually. It’s all in the mind for me.
You tell me a name, and I have so many things going through my head about this just one player. Basically I don’t need to sit down and talk about an opponent for an hour. Takes me basically 15 seconds. I know everything I need to know and I’m ready to go.”

“I’ve kind of changed my approach a little bit about how I prepare mentally for an opponent. Because back in the day, maybe four, five, ten years ago I would be so specific what my opponents would do best and not so good. Now I know right away, so it’s changed quite a bit.”

Sorry, sounds like he is relying, or at least, WAS relying on “old information” to beat opponents – his “memory” and some nostalgia rather than PAYING ATTENTION! Federer is relying on bad intelligence and bad scouting to me. Why second guess the best player of all time? Well, because his results this year are not that of the best player of all time, they are that of someone relying on past glory to do the hard work of the here and now, and clearly it’s not working.

Last question, #3 of 3: WHY ISNT FEDERER ADOPTING A HEALTHIER ATTITUDE? I am cherry picking here, but looking at his last press conference, absolutely everything is distracting Federer during his matches. That is strange for someone who used to play tennis and stay “in the moment” with excellent preparation and excellent FOCUS.

MIAMI:
“Q. It’s obviously very tough for you to come in so soon after a defeat like that. The emotions are obviously very strained. Is it getting tough to just appreciate the matches like this sort of drifting away? We watch them and we can’t believe sometimes. I suppose it’s even more difficult for you.

ROGER FEDERER: You kind of try hard and then it’s just not working. Today it is different just because there’s so much wind, as well. Once you start feeling bad, it’s kind of tough to regroup, you know.
On top of that, it made it more difficult as well from the one end because you had the sun in your eyes. It was really tough on the ball toss, you know. Between 1:30 and 2:30 it’s really tough.
But, I mean, it’s the same thing for both players. Once one guy gets the upper hand, the other guy is a bit uncertain. It’s tough, but he struggled bigtime in the first set.
So, you know, I finished worse than him. He played so bad in the first set, I had a great effort by finishing even worse than him. It was good.”

Federer mentioned the WIND twice in this match, but come on, Federer is a tennis player and the best ever, and shouldnt have problems with the wind. Is there something going on with his movement out there? If not with his movement, then there is something going on in his movement – FEDERER SEEMS TO BE BOTHERED BY EVERYTHING. Compare this with his press conference in 2004 against Andre Agassi. What’s surprising for me, is that in 2004 Federer, though scared of losing, DEALS WITH THE CONDITIONS AND ADJUSTS. In 2009, Federer is overwhelmed by the conditions, and DOES NOT ADJUST – things just collapse – it’s like he’s lost out there. I know it’s tough to say that and to justify it – Again, it’s not as if Federer’s having a bad year, but in his losses his last sets LOOK AWFUL! It used to be, just play as well as possible and you might have a shot against Federer at the last moment. Now, it’s “just get to a point where Federer might lose, like the last set of the three set match or the last set of a five set match, and Federer will get so worried that he wont know what to do”.

Well it seems that’s working well!

September 9, 2004:
Q. Have you ever played in such windy conditions? How did it bother your game?

ROGER FEDERER: Well, usually you only experience such winds on outside courts, really, because on big courts it’s usually covered and the winds are very different. But today it felt like you’re playing out on a field, you know, where there is no windbreakers, whatever. So this has been one of the toughest experiences I’ve had with the wind in a match situation, especially in such a big one. The tough about it was also that we had totally different conditions last night, you know – playing in the night with no wind, coming to day session with huge winds, you know. So I’m happy to have coped well with that.

Q. It was tough for you, but you handled it. What was your game plan? When you got up, you knew the wind would be there. Did you think, “What am I going to have to do?”

ROGER FEDERER: I warmed up for a half an hour on the outside courts. The weather there, it was unbelievable windy. I didn’t think like on Stadium Court would be too bad. I had my game plan, play aggressive, try to play same way as last night. I realized, “Well, this probably won’t work. You have to play more safe, make sure you get your first serve into play,” these kind of things. Confidence can slip away very quickly in such conditions. I had one game where I served three or four double-faults and totally lost my game. But the winds were so strong, it was tough to play especially with the wind. You would touch the ball and the ball would fly a long, long way. So in the end it was more just trying to wait for the opponent’s mistake and, you know, I guess the difference today was that I was up two sets to one, you know. He made one mistake and he loses the match. I make one mistake and I lose only one set. So that was my advantage today.

Later in the Press Conference

“Q. When this match restarted today, it looked for a time as if you felt more comfortable in the wind than Andre did, which was surprising. Many people consider him the best wind player in tennis. It began to change in the fourth set. You looked a little uncomfortable – maybe a lot uncomfortable in the wind. Did there ever come a point in that fourth set where you began to wonder seriously if you were going to be able to win this match?

ROGER FEDERER: You know what, I had the feeling I actually started well the fourth set. I was hitting well. I had a couple of breakpoints. I thought, “Well, if I can make the break here, I’m probably going to win this in four.” But, you know, he hang in there. Then I had this one bad game. Also when you serve it out, I just tried to chip it back, but the wind was so strong at that point I really lost all my confidence – if I should actually hit through the ball or just push it in or should I chip and charge, should I come at him and make him hit passing shots. But when I would come in, he would pass me, you know. So I lost little bit of confidence. Obviously, the beginning of the fifth was extremely important not to be down because then I think I would have lost the match.


Andrew Miller Says:

Last item from me I promise: maybe Federer will gain some confidence on the clay. He is after all the 2nd best player on the dirt – he should be able to use that to his advantage should he play Djokovic or Murray – Federer “should” beat those guys on dirt. I think he “would” take out Murray at least, whose comfort on dirt seems to be missing, and Djokovic, who is in as much a funk as Federer.

I still like the racquet switch idea – a racquet head that’s a little larger seems like it might help out. Agassi made racquet switches (Sampras never did but admitted lately that he should have taken advantage of tennis technologies). The racquet switches helped Agassi and with Sampras, we’ll never know but he FEELS that they may have (and the racquet sampras plays with now is 6 sq inches or 7 sq inches larger than the one he played with back in the day). It might help Federer get back another 5-6 balls per set – that could be significant.


Voicemale1 Says:

So you’re resurrecting the “Federer needs a coach” stuff again, eh Sean? Let’s be very clear about a few things. First, Federer has a “coach” in this Luti guy, who seems to travel with him almost everywhere. Second, Federer has had more than a few very high-profile coaches who’ve come & gone: Lundgren, Roche & Higueras. So “need” in this case is a pointless term. The fact is Federer can have anything he wants, including a coach. Money is no object. So the issue here is: does Federer want to employ yet another high profile, “name” coach?

But we might find more truth looking at it from the other way: does a coach want Federer? Meaning, does a High Profile, “Name” Coach want to take him on as a client? The “Star” coaches out there are very few in mumber, and have sterling reputations and careers to protect. In four months Federer will be 28 – not exactly a long term career trajectory in the offing from a coach’s point of view. These famous coaches might be much more inclined to scout out someone like Grigor Dimitrov, who has his entire career ahead of him – which translates into a much better earnings potential for the coach.

Moreover, the nature of the coach’s objective with Federer as a client is far more risky to the coach. Over at one of the Tennis Magazine blogs, Sergio Cruz (a Tennis Trainer with an impressive resume) argued that Federer’s essential problem now is the same one that he says that Federer’s always had but is more exacerbated these days: mediocre physical fitness & conditioning. Federer got away with it for years because so few of his generation exploited this aspect, agrues Cruz – and notably excepts Nalbandian, who DID exploit this from Federer. That’s why Nalbandian had a winning record against Federer all the way up through the Fall of 2006, when Federer already had 9 Majors in his account by then. Even today their H2H is extremely close, 10-8 with the edge to Federer. Nadal was the next & Murray the latest to do this same exploitation. Cruz says Federer’s being forced to run from side to side far more often these days than he used to do, and that’s why he’s framing so many forehands and making so many errors. He suggests that if Federer commits himself to a ruthless fitness regimen today as Agassi did during his “Second Career”, he’d be back to domintaing all of these guys again, even Nadal. But Cruz, sadly, points out that Federer never was all that interested in achieving that level of fitness. Like John McEnroe (who never saw the inside of a gym in his whole ATP Career), Federer scaled his heights on his incredible talents & gifts as a player. He just gets away with that much less often these days because of the mediocre conditioning Cruz suggests he has.

Which brings us to the coach dilemma of taking on Federer as a client. If we give Cruz the benefit of the doubt, we have to assume any name coach out there understands this about Federer also. No coach is going to teach Federer any given shot or stroke he doesn’t already know; Federer already does everything technically superior to everyone out there. All a coach can do for him, or any other already established player, is get him obscenely fit & physically ready so he can do what he does a lot more often. No better example of that exists today than Stefanki’s very first directive to Roddick before agreeing to sign on as his coach: lose 15 pounds. If Federer hasn’t been willing to do the extended physical work before, he’s probably less inclined to do so now with a baby on the way. So any “name” coach is in a dilemma taking him on.

The goal with a young player for a coach is simple: it’s about development. And the more they can shape a player’s development, with improved results to accompany that development, the coach gets a reputation that he can cash-in on for a long while to come when the next pehnom will seek him out. Federer at 28 presents a different challenge: it’s not about developemnt, it’s about resuscitation. If a coach works with Federer and his legendary results do not return, it’s the coach who looks like the failure, and therefore the coach’s reputation gets tarnished. Resuscitation is a much lower percentage play for a coach than development. Especially if Federer is reluctant to put in the truly “Hard Yards” Cruz talks about.

There could well be some truth to the Cruz statements when we consider the two “Name” coaches Federer employed and then released: Roche & Higueras. Tony Roche is often credited by Lendl as the one who encouraged him to get as physically fit as he did become. And Higueras was also exemplary in this regard, having developed Courier into a Fitness Machine. Both players dominated as a result of their work, and less so because of their innate talents & gifts. So again I ask, is it that Federer doesn’t want a coach, or does a coach not want Federer?


Shan Says:

Good – thank you Roger and Mirka for setting this wonderful example!


Joseph O'Brien Says:

Great post.
I really feel that the racket has at least some part to play in some of Federers losses.
I think when the pressure moments come, he doesnt trust that he can win the point.
Correct me here if I am wrong, but i read beore that the racket head is smaller than the racket he used pre-2007. It favours him when hes playing well, but makes things difficult when hes not.
I also agree that Federer is certainly the 2nd best player on clay. Theres something special about the way he plays on the dirt and I really think hes going to have another fantastic clay court season (1-title,two masters finals, masters semi-final and a final appearance at the FO, a highly underated clay season)


Andrew Miller Says:

VoiceM1: That was awesome! I appreciate the discussion of the tough physical training that Federer may be less inclined towards this days. Sounds like Federer is a head case – sure, he’s the best ever, but his actions seem to indicate that he’s “getting by on talent”. Why would a coach take on someone who “doesnt want to do the work.” Wants the results, not the work that comes with it – this is not the federer of yesteryear who didnt seem to sweat. This Federer is sweating and he’s approaching Andre Agassi’s age of 29, where the reinvention of Andre took place. Basing it on fitness would be a good idea.

However – I dont think it’s fitness alone – I think Federer’s becoming predictable and I think his strokes are breaking down at the wrong moment. That’s habit based. He now lacks the skills at the later stages of a critical match, and is not putting himself in position to “close the deal”. He’s not losing 7-6 in the third – he’s just losing, period.

He’s not “turning the tables” on anyone. But Agassi has done this – noticed what the opponent was doing, and then turn the tables and adjust. There is no better example than Agassi drilling Moya in four sets at the French Open in 1999. Has Federer done this before? Certainly. But before is not now, and he needs to do it NOW.
====================
EXCERPT, NYTIMES and AGASSI BEATS MOYA

”He was hurting me, just giving me a beating,” said Agassi a runner-up here in 1990, when he lost to Andres Gomez, and again in 1991, when Jim Courier outgunned him. ”At 6-4, 4-1, I decided that if I’m going to lose this, I needed to lose it executing to the level that I can hit my shots, just start playing bigger, and once I got the offense, I actually believed I could win.”

Agassi had been apprehensive about facing Moya, whom he had never played before and who had briefly held the No. 1 ranking earlier this year.

”Today was a huge obstacle in my way; I felt good not just about winning, but about how I won,” said Agassi, who bedeviled Moya’s game, especially his suspect backhand wing, in the process of beefing up his own artillery.

Agassi, who reduced the forlorn Moya to rubble with a backhand lob at match point, added: ”I felt like a quality first serve and a quality first shot was putting him in a world of trouble — I was quite confident that the match had turned my way.”

Moya couldn’t quite run Agassi’s lob down and had to fire off his reply with his back to the net and his racquet between his legs, a trick shot Agassi had converted with aplomb in his third-round match against Chris Woodruff. But Moya, who entertained visions of Agassi’s straight-set demise once he had gone up, 6-4, 4-1, dribbled his shot into the net.


Colin Says:

The final word on the Federer’coach question was posted on the BBC website forum last August by some keen student of the game:

“fed has a caoch
y every1 says fed needs a caach when he has one higures ginepri coache?
fed was winnin when he didnt have a coach rememnber
i think fed has just passed his peal, coah wull mak no differnce
fed is yeseterday man”

I think that sums it up pretty well!


Andrew Miller Says:

Fine…Federer doesnt have to call the guy a coach. He can just call them, “the person who makes sure I am in tip top shape and can execute the shots I need to. The person who is responsible for making sure I am prepared for a tournament and able to do battle in the later rounds and make the final. I dont call him a coach, just my preparer”

why is the word coach such a “curse” for Federer?


Andrew Miller Says:

Hail the word “handler” from spy novels could even be used by Federer,

“yeah I;ll take that up with my handler.”


Sean Randall Says:

Andrew Millar, I actually think will have a very good clay season. A few semifinals. Maybe even a title would not surprise me. (I don’t know his exact schedule)

At the French, right now I’d put Murray at least to the last eight, maybe semifinals. We’ll see.

Regarding his issues, I don’t think there’s one pinpoint stroke deficiency so that’s why I say for him it’s between the ears. And that’s where a coach can make the difference.

Thanks for all the added info!

Voicemale1, remember Federer was actually seeking a coach but Cahill turned him down. In my mind he needs to keep on that pursuit. Severin Luthi is just not the guy, sorry.

Federer needs someone he will listen to, respect and learn from.

True, the other side of the coin is who would want to coach Federer? Well, Cahill aside I’m sure many, many coaches would line for Roger. Coaches coach and more often than not they want to coach the very best. Of course there are issues like travel, location and personal differences, but for the most part I would say any available coach right now would jump at the chance to coach Federer if offered. Then again, who’s available? And perhaps the money Federer is offering just isn’t right. I don’t know.

To add, I don’t think fitness and physical strength is a major issue right now for Roger. A coach as I said above would most help Fed between the ears. That simple. Get his head straight, that’s what he needs the most. As Agassi use to say, just have another set of eyes on the situation.

Joe/Andrew, Sorry, I don’t know the particulars of Fed’s racquet compared to his prior frames.


Ra Says:

Andrew:

“why is the word coach such a “curse” for Federer?”

Probably because Peter Carter died in that accident in 2002.


Fedfan Says:

Sean,

Did Cahill “shun” federer, or is it just your way of slanting federer whenever you can, putting everything in with a negative “bias”? Would love to see you provide some evidence (any new story or something else) of that. What was reported in the press was that their partnership didn’t work out (so it was neutral). Or do you travel with Federer to know the inside details?

This is the year when Murray takes over No 1, and Nadal starts to fade. Federer has partially faded anyway. Djokovic was never really shining that much.

I still think Wimbledon is federer’s to lose. And he has a pretty good shot at the US open.


ladyjulia Says:

Sean..

Thanks for the summing up the first 45 days!
I think the guy needs a break.


Sidmore Says:

So stupid. Nadal will rule on dirt. Yall always forget he is the CLAYGOAT and come every Spring and Summer he most obligingly reminds you that he is. LOL!


Sidmore Says:

Fedfan,

Have you checked Murray’s record against Nadal. He can’t beat Nadal so how is he going to take over number 1? There is no way for Nadal to lose the number 1 this year- check the ranking math. He would have to have a total collapse for the rest of the year for that to happen. Seriously, you guys are getting just as delusional as Federer when he said he had Nadal’s game figured out (I guess that’s a different thing from knowing how to beat him! LOL!).


fed is afraid Says:

fed needs some new brain cells, the ones he has are not working.


Vared Says:

Only one problem for poor Murray. He’s number 4 with no GS but will be number one at the end of the year by skipping quickly over Djokovoc, Federer and Nadal? Rubbish. Murray is insane if he really thinks this will happen. Oh yes, Daily Record says he vowed to do it. Hey Andy, only eight months to accomplish this feat. LOL


Shan Says:

Former world number one JCF just won his first tournament in 5 years.

Fed could be destined for the same fate.


sensationalsafin Says:

Uhm, why is Fed gonna lose to Ferrer? And, Fed switched his frame size back in 03 or really early 04. He used to use the Hyper Prostaff 95, which has a 95 sq in headsize. His nCode and kFactor both have 90 sq in. Sampras made a good point in his autobiography that if he had switched his racquet he may have even won the FO. Sampras used an 85 sq in heaad, which is just ridiculous. Great on grass, bad on clay. Nowadays, with everything slowing down, Fed should be using atleast 95. Nadal’s headsize is 100 or 102, I forget. Djoker’s used to be 95 but he might have a 98 or 102 now. Murray’s is either 98 or 102. Roddick’s is 100 or 102. Basically, Fed’s a dumbass.


sensationalsafin Says:

Shan, did you just compare JCF with RF? Did I miss 12 slams that Fed won to have that many more than JCF or what?


Sean Randall Says:

Fedfan,

http://www.smh.com.au/news/sport/tennis/cahill-turns-down-federer/2009/03/12/1236447367692.html

Sounds to me like Cahill turned him down. You?

That said, I will say again that Murray will be the next player to rank No. 1 after Nadal. Your timeline is a bit earlier than mine however.

Vared, Murray has a lot to gain this clay/grass season. Between both French and Wimbledon I’d give Murray 10 match wins. That means SF at both or QF at one and finals at the other. Very doable and he’d pick up a heap of ranking points if he does it. And right now, he’s my pick for the U.S. Open.

Sensationalsafin, why can’t Ferrer beat Federer? Ferrer’s been quietly playing decent tennis. He blew out Novak on clay at Davis Cup so that leads me to think he’ll have a strong dirt season.

And we’ve seen Fed have trouble the longer the rally goes, and we know Ferrer can keep the ball in play with the best of them. It’s a long shot, but we’ll see.


Voicemale1 Says:

Sean Randall Says:

Voicemale1, remember Federer was actually seeking a coach but Cahill turned him down. In my mind he needs to keep on that pursuit. Severin Luthi is just not the guy, sorry.

Federer needs someone he will listen to, respect and learn from.

True, the other side of the coin is who would want to coach Federer? Well, Cahill aside I’m sure many, many coaches would line for Roger. Coaches coach and more often than not they want to coach the very best. Of course there are issues like travel, location and personal differences, but for the most part I would say any available coach right now would jump at the chance to coach Federer if offered. Then again, who’s available? And perhaps the money Federer is offering just isn’t right. I don’t know.

To add, I don’t think fitness and physical strength is a major issue right now for Roger. A coach as I said above would most help Fed between the ears. That simple. Get his head straight, that’s what he needs the most. As Agassi use to say, just have another set of eyes on the situation.

Sean:

You’ve made my point by disagreeing. We don’t know Federer hasn’t tried to find a coach – they may have ALL been like Cahill and turned him down. And I don’t buy for a minute that many of the more famous coaches would “jump at the chance to coach Federer”. If that’s the case, then why haven’t they? I doubt it’s the notion that Federer is some kind of cheapskate. Or anything of the kind. As I stated – a really good coach knows what Federer needs, and it’s not anything to do with development, nor any of these Convential Wisdom Platitudes about “getting in his head” – that’s just bunk. It’s about reviving a game that is techinically flawless. And there’s only one way to do that: commit to running up and down mountains, etc. No coach can make Federer want to do that.

And well, the fitness issue and physical conditioning is THE problem for him. Federer in his prime spent most of his time controlling the Middle of the Court. He doesn’t do that anymore because so many guys have started running him side to side, and when they do his Forehand is no longer a feared weapon that it was because he hits it defensively when he’s on the run. And your comment regarding Agassi is hardly the essence of his revitalization, as he himself said many, many times in his career. Had he not employed Gil Reyes to basically beat him into the ground physically and improve his fitness manyfold, it wouldn’t have mattered how many eyes Agassi had on his game. He got to where he was after age 29 because of the hard work he put into being more fit than anyone out there. To ignore that as the true essence of his revival is completely dishonest. And that work he did is precisely what Federer needs.


Joe O'Brien Says:

sensationalsafin:
Thanks for the info about the racket sizes!
Very interesting, I also think Federer should be using a bigger head size. I a huge fan but lately when hes playing badly I almost cringe when I watch him about to hit a topspin backhand.


Sean Randall Says:

Voicemale1, then we are clearly of different minds. You think Fed needs physical work, to put in the hard yards. On the other hand, I think physically he’s fine, he just needs a lot of help between the ears.

I agree he’s lost a step, but he’s still among the fastest players out there. And I don’t think at his age – he’s coming up on 28 – he’s getting that back. I just don’t. That’s God given speed.

That said, he can get fitter and physically stronger, much like Agassi. But unlike Agassi, Fed’s never had issues with fatigue and fitness. Maybe you see that but I really don’t. Outside of mono, a turned ankle here and there, and a back problem, he’s been a physical marvel throughout his career.

In time, perhaps in a few years, he’ll have to put his feet more to the grindstone, a la Agassi, but right now I don’t think that’s priority No. 1. That’s between the ears.

Regarding his coaching, maybe “they” have all turned him down, I don’t know. But for me again, a new coach, a new face, a new pair of eyes on the same problem would do him good. The fact that he tried with Cahill tells me that he’s open to that.


sensationalsafin Says:

Paul Annacone is the coach for Federer. I don’t get it, Federer has spent plenty of time with Sampras, their careers are practically mirror images (minus the clay), WHY hasn’t Fed listened? And if Sampras just hasn’t said anything, Fed should read his book and use it as his guidebook of life or something. This whole “Fed is stubborn” thing is really overlooked. Saying he’s stubborn with coaches is one thing, lots of people are stubborn. But this is ridiculous. Sampras said Annacone helped him believe in who he was again, that he was Pete Sampras and no one stood a chance. Annacone could help Fed the same way because that’s what Fed really needs. A reminder of who he is. And Sampras said Annacone was good at talking to Sampras the way he wanted to be talked to because Sampras said he was “possessive” about his game, much like Fed probably is. Jeez Fed’s a real dumbass.


Sean Randall Says:

Sensationalsafin, if Annacone is available and willing, that would be a great!


Giner Says:

This is quite a shock. Federer is a spontaneous guy. He does things in style and doesn’t have to deliberate. Did it in secret, didn’t announce it, no one even knew until it was already done. No fuss no muss.

Hopefully Mary can rest easier now knowing that Mirka’s security is in good hands.

Sean:

“Federer was actually seeking a coach but Cahill turned him down.”

I used to buy the ‘family’ excuse, but now I’m not so sure. It doesn’t sound right. According to Fed’s manager (Godsick), it was Cahill that approached Federer and not Federer approaching Cahill. Then Cahill says, “nah, I changed my mind.” That sounds a bit unusual. You wouldn’t accost someone and then decline. If Fed approached Cahill and Cahill said no, then that would be understandable. But since Cahill was the one who initiated discussion, he would have had a fair idea of what was expected of him and it doesn’t sound right that he would tease somebody with an offer and then back out once he drew them in.

There is more to this than meets the eye.


Sean Randall Says:

Giner, I don’t know the details (who does?), but that does sound really odd. Perhaps the money wasn’t right.


TennisObserver Says:

Two things. Regrettably, I agree with Sean that Rafa will have a more difficult road in 2009. He isn’t hitting the ball with the same power and accuracy, and his mental focus seemed quite off in Miami He’s lost about 15 lbs to alleviate knee stress in the past few months. The guy is almost 6′ 2″ and now weighs about 175. He’s never played at this weight as an adult. Stands to reason he has lost power, stamina, consequently mental strength, and the ability to outlast opponents in 5 sets or the rough and tumble of clay. When the chips are down on match point in the fifth, it is all about mental toughness. Witness the Verdasco double fault in the OZ SF and the Rafa tears in that 5th set. Never saw that before. I hope I am wrong about this, but I fear not.

I don’t see Murray overtaking #1 this year, but Rafa will lose points on clay and I doubt a repeat of Wimbledon is likely. USO – probably not at all. Losing that weight for Rafa is tantamount to Samson losing his hair (and putting Rafa in sleeves, BTW).

On Federer/Cahill. Cahill LOVES Fed. Probably discovered as has been commented on so often, Fed is too stubborn to take advice and additionally not sufficiently motivated to improve fitness. Baby Federer may provide him an out from an embarrassing season, although I think he will perform better than expected at the upcoming clay Masters. Fed is very good on clay. And since I don’t think Rafa will be his usual juggernaut on clay this year, we may be seeing an upset, if not at Monte Carlo, further down the line. I would love for Rafa to win RG for the 5th time, but this year due to his less than robust physical condition and 5 clay matches he’s committed to, it’s possible he won’t. Sad for me because I love the guy’s spirit – on and off the court.


sensationalsafin Says:

…What? I know Fed’s been real dumb lately but I’m pretty sure if Nadal was playing so bad he wouldn’t have won the AO and IW and totally owned in the DC tie. I’m no Nadal fan but he’s looked pretty unbeatable so far. Every year Nadal’s come into the clay season with a poor second of the last year and a poorish first quarter of the season. People say he’s done, he’s vulnerable, blah blah blah. And then he owns everyone on clay like they’ve never played the sport before. Expect no different this year. He’s number one in the world, he completely owned at last year’s FO, he’ll do something very similar if not the same at this year’s (hard to see him really doing better unless he doesn’t lose a single game or something).

As for Fed, this isn’t exactly an embarrassing season. He’s made 3 semis and 1 final in all his events, so far, it’s better than last year’s start. He’s only having trouble during crunch time. As bad as that is, last year he was HANDING OUT victories to Blake, Karlovic, Fish, Roddick, etc. He needs a couple of titles under his belt to get his confidence fired up again. And as for the clay, I do expect another great run from him this year considering he is the greatest clay courter to never win the FO.


Voicemale1 Says:

Sean Randall Says:

Voicemale1, then we are clearly of different minds. You think Fed needs physical work, to put in the hard yards. On the other hand, I think physically he’s fine, he just needs a lot of help between the ears.

I agree he’s lost a step, but he’s still among the fastest players out there. And I don’t think at his age – he’s coming up on 28 – he’s getting that back. I just don’t. That’s God given speed.

That said, he can get fitter and physically stronger, much like Agassi. But unlike Agassi, Fed’s never had issues with fatigue and fitness. Maybe you see that but I really don’t. Outside of mono, a turned ankle here and there, and a back problem, he’s been a physical marvel throughout his career.

In time, perhaps in a few years, he’ll have to put his feet more to the grindstone, a la Agassi, but right now I don’t think that’s priority No. 1. That’s between the ears.

Regarding his coaching, maybe “they” have all turned him down, I don’t know. But for me again, a new coach, a new face, a new pair of eyes on the same problem would do him good. The fact that he tried with Cahill tells me that he’s open to that.

Sean:

OK..we agree to disagree. But I have to say, reading what you write about this subject, what I notice is that you just say what you think – but offer nothing else beyond, well, that it’s just what you think. There’s no offering from you as to why you think it – just that you do, period. In fact, some of it is contradictory. For example..

You’d said earlier that you think there would be “many” coaches who would “jump at the chance” to coach Federer, yet you name Cahill and his refusal to do just that. So quite obviously, NOT any coach would “jump at the chance” to coach Federer. Cahill sorta undermines you’re whole point, doesn’t he?

And this baffling quote from your last post above:
“That said, he can get fitter and physically stronger, much like Agassi. But unlike Agassi, Fed’s never had issues with fatigue and fitness.”. Uh, Sean…how is it that in this very sentence Agassi can be both fitter & stronger yet simultaneously have issues with fatigue & fitness??? And still, if you claim Federer has in fact lost a step, then you obvously don’t think that has anything to do with his losses, which is just an amazing non-sequitir. That’s like saying he’s slower but it doesn’t matter during his matches. He just needs a psychiatrist. Truly bizarre. And incidentally, when Tennis Channel re-bradcast the AO Final this year, both Martina Navratilova & Gimelstob concluded that in the 5th Set, Federer had “lost his legs” from fatigue. I’d trust that Martina would know a thing or two about that, having been in Major Finals before.

In the last 15 months Federer experienced at the Grand Slam Events something he heretofore had not been through: 5 Set Matches in the early rounds. It began with Tipsarevic in the 08 AO; continued in 08 against Andreev in the US Open. And now he had TWO 5 Setters in a Major during the AO 09: Berdych & Nadal. This was unthinkable from 2004-2007, and has been due mostly to more and more guys exploiting his fitness limitations – unless you’re ready to propose that all of these guys have gotten “into his head” too, albeit just to a smaller degree. He got through most of those last year because he’s so enormously talented a player – that’s what saved him. But that increidible talent alone will not continue to carry the day for him.

If he had a full fledged case of mono last year, then one of the logical and inescapable consequences of that (since he continued to play) was his training time would have had to have been curtailed. His body (or any body) under that virus could not have sustained both full training and full matches combined. And again, if his back is an issue today, that would further explain a lack of fitness too. A troubling back is a condition, not an injury, and subject to a mandated rest period to recover. Which could make life in his matches harder if he shows up with any lack of fitness, for whatever reason. If his back trouble is that serious, it would also explain why no coach would be that eager to take him on. And none of this has anything to do with the simple matter of “fresh eyes”. Indeed, this claptrap of the problems being “in his head” constantly perpetuated by first class underachievers like Patrick McEnroe or media gas bags like Peter Bodo is actually enormous disrespect to Federer, making him sound like some neurotic malcontent. Federer’s issues are real and tangible problems that exist on the court – not a bunch of boogeyman lurking in his subconscious.


TennisObserver Says:

LOL, okay, sensationalsafin, I sure hope you’re right about Rafa. I’ll sleep better tonight having read your comments. But I’m a pretty close observer of the guy and unless he puts back some of that weight, some of that blah, blah you mention may have some credence. Agree Fed is the greatest clay courter never to win the FO – always there is Rafa. Well, as Rafa likes to say, ‘anything can happen, no?’


Sean Randall Says:

Voicemale1, ’tis true. I often do give my thoughts, my opinions as opposed to hardcore facts. As such, I maintain “many” coaches would jump at the chance to be with Federer.

If you polled the current coaches today in the men’s game, I would guess over 90% would take on Federer if they were out of a job and the circumstances were right.

Cahill is obviously not among the group, and he really isn’t coaching any one single player at all – he’s since signed on with adidas as a “group” coach in you will.

And just because Cahill passed doesn’t mean the rest will as well.

As for Fed’s fitness, EVERYONE can get stronger or fitter, even Rafa. That’s a fact.

Fed, IMO, doesn’t need fitness to be priority No. 1. I think he’s been remarkably fit. True, his final set lapses may on the surface could lead some to think otherwise, but when you watch the matches I don’t see him winded or fatigued which would indicate fitness issues. Instead I see him mentally collapse!

Re: Agassi. Early in his years Agassi wasn’t the fittest guy out there. That’s what i was referring to.

I guess when you watch Fed you see a guy struggling with his fitness. Again, I simply do not. I see a guy having a hard time getting it right in the head.


Von Says:

I have to agree with Voicemale1, with respect to Federer’s lack of fitness. Yes, in the past Federer won his matches with ease because of his ability to control the middle of the court. At that time, very few players had an all-court game, and/or a running game, which allowed Federer to move through the middle of the court and conquer. An opponent hitting a ball short up the middle of the court allowed Federer to get to it quickly and hit it for a winner.

With the advent of players who are more physical in their games, hitting the ball deeper and at different angles, has now rendered Federer’s middle of the court strategy somewhat ineffective, and Federer has now been placed at a deficit, because what was once his territory/real estate, is now obsolete, and has slowly led to him becoming ineffective and winning easily. Federer in order to win a point that’s hit deep or at an angle, has got to put his running game into action, and that is where the holes are showing up. He’s not physically up to the task of keeping up. The more balls he’s got to chase down, the more stress is placed on him physically, and the more vulnerable he has become to losing and becoming absolutely frazzled and/or physically worn out.

What did Fed do in the past? He stood at the baseline and like a director of that piece of real estate, he was able to push other players around, moving them from side to side, tiring them out in point rallies, without Federer taking two steps to the left or to the right. The end result, very little energy was used up by him, and his opponent, out of sheer tiredness, relinquished the point = Federer wins. This mode of operation from Federer allowed him to remain at his former level of fitness due to the non- physicality of his game without ‘sweating’ and eating into his energy reserves. Unfortunately for him, there are now players who have brought much more power and physicality to the sport and are able to exploit the one flaw in Federer’s game, his fitness, by making him run, keeping more balls in play, running him from side to side and all around. The table has been turned. The present players are doing to Federer what he did to them previously. And, now the side effects are being manifested in the form of mental tiredness, which has plummeted him to the edge of effectiveness. He’s no longer the victor in long return rallies and therein lies his flaws. When the long rallies leave him devoid of energy, he becomes frazzled, probably panicked, which has been manifested in his mental breakdown.

Factors such as speed, agility, muscle power, eye-hand coordination, and eye-foot coordination are labelled as aspects of “motor” fitness, which is linked to our brain. These factors most affect a person’s athletic capability. Appropriate work on it can improve these factors within the limits of their potential, but it will not turn them into supermen. A practical fitness plan seeks to make better or hold all the components of physical and motor fitness through sensible, progressive, mission specific physical training, and with that kind of regimen the mental outlook becomes brighter. The light bulb becomes turned on so to speak.

When someone loses their physical edge they quickly become mentally tired and as such are prone to outbursts of temper, frustration and several other negative behaviors which they have been able to keep as dormant. Their ability to think fast, move fast, and keep everything coordinated is lost. Hence, we see errors in Federer’s fore-hand, and backhand. This all goes back to the physical aspect becoming mental. Federer’s forehand woes are mental, those motor skills problems, eye/hand/foot coordination. It’s simple but true, physical=mental=eye/hand/foot coordination. It’s impossible to separate the physical from the mental.

“As for Fed’s fitness, EVERYONE can get stronger or fitter, even Rafa. That’s a fact.” Sean Randall.

Yes, anyone can become fitter and stronger within the parameters of their body’s endurance. We can’t expect a small-boned person to suddenly become large boned, however, the small boned person can pack on muscle but only as much as his genetic makeup will allow him to do so. Anything more than is genetically allowed becomes counterproductive and fitness is jeopardized. For example, Jelena Jankovic.

Sean Randall: “Fed, IMO, doesn’t need fitness to be priority No. 1. I think he’s been remarkably fit. True, his final set lapses may on the surface could lead some to think otherwise, but when you watch the matches I don’t see him winded or fatigued which would indicate fitness issues. Instead I see him mentally collapse!”

We’re back to square one here. It’s the physical tiredness that causes the mental collapse. Fed does a good job of disguising his physical problems, but physicality has a huge impact on mental stability.

Federer, as an athlete does not fit the bill presently of one who is physically fit. His posture is poor, he carries a slight paunch, and has lost a considerable amount of muscle mass,which is not the image of a fit specimen. As John F. Kennedy said, “Physical fitness is the basis for all other forms of excellence.” In essence, take away physical fitness and all we have is a sub-par mentally weak athlete.

Sean Randall: “I guess when you watch Fed you see a guy struggling with his fitness. Again, I simply do not. I see a guy having a hard time getting it right in the head.”

Again, physical fitness = mental sharpness. They’re akin to two peas in a pod.


Twocents Says:

Sean,

I agree with you that Fed will not get his half or one step back, and is “having a hard time getting it right in the head”. But the main reason for all these is not purely mental. It’s aging, change of guards.

I was in the stadium for both Miami QF btw Roddick and Fed in 2008 and 2009. The 09 mtach quality was so much worse than 08 match. In 08 match, Roddick was out on a mission and never weavered. Fed was solid thruout too. In 09 match, Roddick was neverous and Fed was testing. The only reason Fed hung on in the 3rd set was because he was pissed off by that Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter, who yelled “out” on Fed’s shots non-stopping, sound just like a linesman.

My conclusion: they both are aging, mentally and physically. Roddick can take aging much better, obviously. Whereas Fed can not accept that he, the immortal, can aging and fading, just like all mortals. I blame neither of them. Their love for the game is enough for me to go with them all the way till the end. Sunset is as beautiful, if not more, as sunrise.

Boris Becker said that one year on ATP tour is equal to seven years in normal life. To stretch that line: evey year on no.1 is like ten years in normal life. Nothing lasts forever. Seems neither Fed nor most his verdicts and fans can live with that. By court side witnessing him put his heart in battling out the Olympic double after the crushing WO, US hard court and Olympic single defeats in summer of 2009, Fed never has to prove a thing to me that he is a fighter. But I do like Fed more this hard way down, rampant and chaotic, than the other easy way if he’d just quietly receded. Human struggling and defiance against call of nature is no crime. It is inspirational, rather.

You just can’t assume he can get his game together by just fixing mental block. Mental lapse is part of aging too. A good shoulder may slow aging down but there’s no way back. Fed’s a sophisticated Swiss. It’s hard to perceive him cry on a stranger’s shoulder. The Cahill incident was more a help to Cahill’s terms in his Adidas contract than any reall interests from Fed camp.


osazone4real Says:

I am getting a bit confused here,first Federer woes where attributed to nadal discovering his weakpoint his backhand,then comes along murray,djoko and co.,then it became that he didnt have competition all the while,after some time it became that he was sick(mono etc),
This year it has become become his forehand is gone,oh sorry also he needs a coach.The latest one now is he is not physically fit.
i am not a tennis guru but a great man once said a genuis is the ability to see the obvious.

I am not saying I am a genius but I think Federer has had a stellar career and the obvious is that he is growing older.


osazone4real Says:

All said and done i dont think fed is finished he still has a couple of GS and ATP 1000s and a longgggg shot at becoming no 1 again


Von Says:

TwoCents:

Agreed, Fed is getting older which means he’s losing a step and physical fitness. Question: what happens as one ages? They lose their former physicality that was so very dominating in their prime. It’s not easy to regain that lost youth, and it’s why most athletes retire when they feel they are losing what was once their main weapons. For a sprinter, he loses speed and endurance. For a tennis player, the flexibility, endurance and coordination are the first to begin sliding along with the timing and/or coordination. Hence, can we not say, Federer is not as physically fit as he once was, considering what we’re seeing and diminishing before our eyes? It’s also the manifestation of what’s going on between the ears. Age produces an inability to think and react as quickly as opposed to youth. The writing is on the wall….


Colin Says:

Vared appears to be the only person around who doesn’t know the truth, which is that Murray did NOT “vow to be No 1 this year”. That has been established quite satisfactorily.
Sidmore – Andy can’t beat Nadal? What a short memory you have. Somebody beat Nadal in the semis at the last US Open. Wonder who it could have been…


Sean Randall Says:

Twocents, good post. I agree with most of what you said. Interesting angle on the Cahill affair.

Von, one could easily argue the other way. Weak in the mind, weak in the body…When you get nervous or get tight, you often do lose your legs. If you play tennis, you know. Everyone’s had it happen.

Back to Fed’s fitness. He is slower now than he was three years ago. He’s lost a half a step, maybe more. But that’s off a level where I think he’s was among the quickest players to ever play the game. I have no proof of this dropoff other than what I see, and I see that he just doesn’t get to balls he use to, but he’s still faster than 90% of the players. As twocents says and I agree, that to me is an irreversible factor of aging and in my mind it’s contributed to this slide.

But I will say I just don’t see any visible fatigue issues. Yes, falling apart in final sets do ring alarm bells, but again, I don’t see Fed breathing heavy, struggling with heat, looking ill, taking extra time, running into the shade, calling for the training or looking exhausted. Maybe he does have a great poker face or disguise.

And in those final set matches, being fit does not equal victory, just like lack of fitness does not equate loss.

You can run a thousand mountains, train for hours on end, but you still have to get the ball over the net and all the work you put in will not help if you are not mentally sound.

Just ask James Blake who has a horrendous five-set record. Ask him how much his fitness helped in those losses. They were mental.

On the flip side, there’s David Nalbandian who many would argue is among the least fit, yet he has one of the better five set records on the tour.

How so? Mental. Yes, there’s an important physical component but for me tennis at the highest level is really a mental game.

Von/Voicemale1, if what you are saying is true, then Fed’s gassed after two sets nowadays, right?

I will keep a closer eye on it, but I doubt I see any evidence of physical fatigue from Roger.


di-10S Says:

Of course Rog will start winning now – he’s got Mirka chanting in his ear “Baby needs a new pair of shoes”…..


di-10S Says:

oh and a matching cardigan and over sized man-bag


Voicemale1 Says:

Sean:

To be clear: Federer’s fitness isn’t gone, just mediocre when compared to the demands of the tour today. More guys are successful, as Von points out, in getting him to run much much more then he’s ever had to during a match from side to side. Federer just doesn’t hit his forehand on the run anywhere near as well as he does when he’s in the middle of the court (then again, no one does).

Murray said in his press conference at IW after beating Federer that Federer’s numerous errors these days are due to his attempt at Low Percentage Shots. That’s what’s changed for him. Murray, Nadal, and a lot of others are forcing him into positions where he MUST try to make those. None of this has anything to do with being a “mental” issue, per se. If there are any repurcussions mentally for him, it’s due to the fact that what used to work for him doesn’t work as well as it once did.

Steve Tignor once reported on his observations of a typical Federer Practice session he witnessed in Rome a couple of years ago. It consisted of “just hitting some balls” 70% of the time – meaning no rhyme or reason or drills guiding the hitting. Just – hitting. And a lot of time jawing with Wawrinka (his hitting partner that day) at the net. And the remaining 20 % of the time was spent equally between practicing a second serve, and then he & Roche (who sat silently through 90% of the practice) Shadow hitting some backhands. That’s it. Tignor was both struck by the cavalierness of the session, along with the understanding that Federer is intimately aware of his enormous talents and how & when to use them. He didn’t need to work that hard at it. The point that Cruz was trying to make is that this is what doesn’t suffice as it once did anymore.


Jonno Says:

Would it surprise you Sean, if Nalbandian finally won a slam or even two this year? I can’t help thinking that if he got the initial win he could stampede the rest? Am I right in saying he has roundly beaten the top 4 more than once recently and the only other serious top flight mover, Del Potro aswell. He really is a one off, at his best isn’t it fair to say he is actually the best and I do actually mean the very top player – yet his inconsistency is legendary isn’t it? What a crazy case he is.


MMT Says:

Voicemale1 makes a great point about Fed’s fitness. I just played a match on clay for the first time in almost a year, and I was absolutely gassed between some points, and invariably made silly errors on the next ones. Once I caught my breath I was fine. It means that fitness is not really like a gas tank that goes in one direction – down – where the only impact to your game is when you’re completely out of gas. For example, I would argue that the AO final wasn’t nearly as close as it appeared. Nadal’s fitness went in and out, but his ability to recovery allowed him to play well when it mattered. It may have been a 5 set match, but I think that was a bit generous for Fed. Had Nadal been 100% I doubt he would have won a single set.

Agassi has always said that his overall game was better when he felt confident in his fitness – it prevented him from ending points before they “naturally” (that’s my quote, not his) should. I think a reason why Federer is running out of patience and hitting “low percentage” shots is his fitness.

I wasn’t convinced before, but I am now, upon reflection. He’s going to have to do something very different to make him the patient versatile player he was in his prime. The good news for him is that he’s still relatively young, and it’s not he’d be doing it long past his ability to win majors.

BTW – Hats off to a couple of old boys winning titles on the ATP in Lleyton Hewitt and JC Ferrero.


Colin Says:

About the mental/physical interaction:
I remember, many long years ago, Gabriela Sabatini was playing at Wimbledon, and was heading for defeat in a match. Billie Jean King (who knows a bit about tennis) was doing summaries on BBC TV, and she said Sabatini was tired. Not because she wasn’t fit (she was, said King), but because she was tense, and when you are tense you get physically tired more quickly.


Colin Says:

Nearly forgot to pass this on – someone posted on the BBC website forum to say her computer had picked up a trojan from the ATDHE streaming site and suffered much harm. I’ve no idea if this is true, but it’s worth bearing in mind. Channelsurfing might be safer for those who need to watch online.


jane Says:

Wow – well, congrats to Roger and Mirka. May they be happy and enjoy their soon-to-arrive little one.


FoT Says:

I just wanted to say Congratulations to Roger and Mirka on their wedding! (well, ‘official’ wedding) because we know they have been ‘married’ for years! I’m happy and I hope they will be happy for the rest of their lives!


jane Says:

I’ll echo MMT to congratulate Hewitt & Ferrero on their recent title wins. And thanks to Colin for the atdhe.net warning also.

Finally, the mental/physical weakness, “which comes first?” debate over Roger is very interesting, but seems a bit chicken and eggish. It’s hard to say if the mental weakness leads to physical tightness, or the physical decline leads to mental implosions, probably it’s a bit of both. But the bottomline does seem to be what Twocent posted about aging and a natural decline. If Fed wants to stave that off for a while, a la Agassi, perhaps he could do so by upping his fitness, which would allow him to stay longer in points, which may allow him to win more, which would boost his confidence, which would lead to more wins, and so on and so forth, at least for a little while longer. Maybe until nanotechnology makes us all live forever uploaded into our computer consciousnesses. LOL. Okay, seriously – even though they’re younger, look at the boosts both Andys (Roddick and Murray) recently got from improved physical conditioning; it does seem to set off a chain reaction within limits.


jane Says:

Sorry, that should be Twocents not Twocent.

And one addendum: I suppose Federer’s opponents deserve a little credit for their recent wins and almost-wins over him as well! They’ve no doubt done some homework, some gym work, some figuring, in order to figure out ways to beat Roger, so they’d have to figure in somewhere between all this evolution talk. (I think osazone4real said something to this effect above.)


Ra Says:

I also want to congratulate Hewitt & Ferrero… so wonderful for both of them to be the last man standing once more. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch even a glimpse of either’s matchplay.

Regarding some of the assertions about the relationship between mental and physical functioning, I think there’s kind of a misapplication of science going on here in general, and it strikes me as even more emphatically so considering the age range being discussed.

First of all, yes, Federer is getting older and it shows. However, he certainly appears to be in outstanding “shape” from a physiological standpoint and is within the relative peak age range for a male. He may no longer be at the top of what’s possible for the highest of elite athletic standards, but based on the information available to the general public (or to me, at least), it would be a stretch among stretches to think that his organic mental processes are pathologically affected because he is perhaps not at the top of the elite. I’m not saying that his patterns of thought couldn’t (apparently) stand to improve, but I’m not seeing any neurological symptoms that would indicate an organic issue (unless one concludes that he is suffering depression/anxiety, but in that case it still could not be attributed to lack of being in shape because he is far beyond the threshold of lack of physical activity as a cause for those disorders); patterns of thought and the ability to have thoughts are two different things. None of this is to say that he couldn’t benefit in other areas from being in better shape, though.

While I do agree the he’s lost a half step (or so) and that age is in itself a factor there, I also wonder how much of it is due to his struggles with his back. The spine is so fundamental in movement, that when there is pain, restriction, or fear of pain/injury in that region, the body actually begins its movements differently in order to compensate. And for someone who’s had such phenomenal and efficient movement to begin with, that type of compensation can be much more obvious in the end result. We aren’t talking about someone who’s gone from one inefficient pattern of movement to a different inefficient pattern of movement that may be slightly better or slightly worse; we’re looking at someone whose movement has been heralded by some of the most accomplished athletes of all time as some of the most amazing movement ever seen in an athlete (whether or not one agrees with the latter portion of that assertion) – and this person now initiates their every movement through an altered process which has as its basis protecting an unnatural condition of the spine rather than just getting from here to there and striking the ball as intended.

I could go on, but I have personal matters to which I must attend. I hope that made enough sense in itself, though.


Ra Says:

Oh, but one more thing…

In my opinion, I didn’t see anybody consistently play all that high a level of tennis (comparatively) in Miami, and I would go so far as to speculate that, had Davydenko played with the same form as last year, he’d have been the last man standing.


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“Von/Voicemale1, if what you are saying is true, then Fed’s gassed after two sets nowadays, right?”

Wasn’t it obvious from the meltdown we saw in his match v. Murray and the more recent one v. Djokovic? He was so melted down, he didn’t know if he was going left or right.

Why do you think he was becoming so frustrated in the third sets? He just didn’t have the energy to fight through the rallies. The long rallies leave him winded, but he does an excellent job of hiding his energy-less state. I mentioned at the Djokovic match, all an opponent needs to do with Federer nowadays, is run him around, embroil him in long rallies which knock the wind out of his sails, and if despite it all he wins that set, that’s OK and fear not, because the subsequent two sets will be a piece of cake for his opponents to win very easily. I hope Andy Roddick realizes this soon, and stop becoming so nervous when playing against Federer. The idea is to work Federer hard, until he’s just happy to relinquish the battle. Nadal does it all of the time.

Sean : “Von, one could easily argue the other way. Weak in the mind, weak in the body…When you get nervous or get tight, you often do lose your legs. If you play tennis, you know. Everyone’s had it happen.”

Ahh yes, but if one has the tools to do the job, one need not become nervous, should one? In sum, if an athlete is fit, and knows he can keep up with his opponent, and/or out-play him, is that not a mental advantage? Isn’t this what Nadal has thrived on for the past 4 years. His physicality has produced confidence, which has kept him in long rallies, because he knows he CAN and WILL
outlast his opponent, by tiring them out into submission. There’s a war of gladiators tkikng place before our eyes. “Might is right, and the weakest goes to the wall.”

In the past, when Federer was directing traffic from the baseline, wasn’t he confident? Was his physical confidence not also mental? Hence, now that he’s lost that physical edge, wouldn’t you say his mental problems are due to his lack of physical prowess? I think so. Whatever happens to the physical body translates to the mind. It’s not the other way around, that only happens when someone has a mental/organic problem that’s genetic then his mental state will affect his entire decision-making process, and that problem is fixed by the use of mood-altering drugs. But that’s not what’s happening to Federer, is it? He is suffering from an overload of fear having to put out physically that which he’s incapable of so doing at the present time.

You say you’ll keep an eye out for the physical weakness, put on your glasses and keep an ever watchful eye. You probably won’t see the physical problems until Federer gets to the QF or SF, because he’s got one very sweet piece of the cake draw, without a soul to push him. ATP should have just bypassed the exercise in futility or sham, giving him that poor excuse of a draw and inked him in for the QF. I’ll say it again, I think the draws are manipulated.


Kimmi Says:

Von: ” I will say it again, i think the draws are manipulated”.To say this is ridiculos because I don’t think you have proof. I watched various draw ceremony in some grand slams in the past, actually the last AO was done live on Redio and TV by Mauresmo and Blake. The draw was completely random, Amelie and James picking numbers off the basket. Now I have not seen the draw of MC being made so I cannot comment on this one.I am actually curious to see why you would say this… is it because you feel federer got very easy draw in MC, Seppi is always a tough customer for 1st round. He always give fed or any other top palyers a tough match. 
Maybe I should ask this way, do you think federer always gets easy draws ?  Then who in your mind is always fixed to have difficult draw ?

 


Ra Says:

“The long rallies leave him winded, but he does an excellent job of hiding his energy-less state.”

I’m not saying this is right or wrong, but with what would he hide it? His mental strength, perhaps?

“Ahh yes, but if one has the tools to do the job, one need not become nervous, should one?”

I’m not sure how this is relevant. I’d guess that if those were the only considerations in determining confidence, the world would be a very different place. History (and the present) is replete with examples to the contrary.

“In the past, when Federer was directing traffic from the baseline, wasn’t he confident? Was his physical confidence not also mental? Hence, now that he’s lost that physical edge, wouldn’t you say his mental problems are due to his lack of physical prowess? I think so.”

This requires one to assume that correlation equals cause; that is not an intact assumption.

“Whatever happens to the physical body translates to the mind. It’s not the other way around,”

How do you figure? Both science and religion show/say otherwise.

“that only happens when someone has a mental/organic problem that’s genetic then his mental state will affect his entire decision-making process, and that problem is fixed by the use of mood-altering drugs.”

Ok, so maybe you’re saying it does happen the other way sometimes, but that is a problem of genetics that can be fixed through mood-altering drugs. An interesting and questionable standpoint, but I don’t see how saying that one thing isn’t happening supports that another thing is; It’s not as if there are only two possibilities and they are mutually exclusive.

“He is suffering from an overload of fear having to put out physically that which he’s incapable of so doing at the present time.”

I’m wondering if you believe that performance anxiety exists at all – or that hierarchies of dominance exist that can affect an individual outside of the realm in which dominance was established.

While I agree that Federer has some physical problems that he did not in the past and that those physical problems have had mental consequences, I can’t at all grok the supportive argument for those physical issues being the exclusive source of his difficulties.


Ra Says:

Wait, we’re back to the draw being rigged in Federer’s favor again?

Statistically speaking, a player who has established a high level of dominance will always appear to have an easier draw than players who have not. Why? Because such a high level of dominance means precisely that the player is (comparatively and relatively) rarely defeated by the players who comprise the rest of the field. This has been elucidated time and again (even so despite the fact that it is simply implicit).


Sean Randall Says:

Voicemale1, you write “Federer just doesn’t hit his forehand on the run anywhere near as well as he does when he’s in the middle of the court” so we agree.

However, your contention is that this deficiency could be corrected with proper training geared to increasing his quickness in getting to the ball.

My argument is no amount of training will get him back to his peak speed. The aging process is irreversible. Therefore, a coach is needed to tell Roger to lay off the tempting winner shots in favor of better percentage plays.

In some ways I look at it like his mind has not got the message that physically he cannot no longer hit the shots he use to hit.

As stubborn a man as Roger is, I’m sure he listens to his mind, not his body.

That’s what I see in some cases.

Von, so Federer now gets frustrated in third sets? If that’s the case how’d he win all those third sets at the Australian Open, or at the US Open last year.

If he were indeed fatiguing at a certain point during a match, let’s say after two hours of play, that pattern would be there match-in and match-out.

To me, Federer looked physically fine for the most part in Melbourne beating Roddick, Del Potro, Safin even Berdych. Hell, how could Federer have won the fourth set against Nadal if he gets gassed as you say after two sets?

There’s no real pattern to suggest that he gets tired after two sets of tennis. There is, however, a pattern of poor play against top players in final sets. And just because you make awful errors or your game falls apart at the seams doesn’t immediately mean there’s a fitness issue.

I can’t rule it out. But I just don’t see it.

That said, if your theory is true then clay courters like Seppi should really eat Fed up this clay season, wearing him down early with long rallies, taking out his legs in the second set and going for the kill shot in the third provided it even gets there.

Again, we’ll find pretty quickly this week.


Sean Randall Says:

And to backup what Ra says, can you explain how the draws are rigged?

I just rattled off above a fairly tough Australian Open draw for Federer which took him through in succession Safin, Berdych, Del Po and Roddick. Was that draw rigged in his favor as well?


Twocents Says:

Stubborness is one key, Sean. Fed’s mind is still telling himself that he’s The One, but his body does not follow like it used to. Fed can not trust his body any more. Hence, the frustration and collapses. To make the matter worse, that 10 year contract with Nike says that Nike pays Fed 15 million a year as long as he plays the tour. That means Fed does not want to risk his body — he needs to prolong its facilities as long as possible. When you can not play like there is no tomorrow, and yet you hate losing, you do get frustrated :-)).

From court side, I heard Fed’s loud groan during shots in the YEC RR against Murray in Shanghai last November. I highly doubted he can get that back all fixed well before AO. This time in Miami, rumors were that Fed did go visit a back specialist again in LA after Indy Wells. If one read thru lines of all his own words this year, he never said the back was all fine — it’s always “I feel fine” “it’s ok” kind.

Back to my aging conspiracy, mono, back, legs, etc, is all forms of aging/times. But seems Fed thinks they are incidental. Or his Nike/Wilson contracts do not allow him to acknowledge it? Either way, he has his choices. He needs no sympathy from us fans.


Vared Says:

Colin please read the Daily Record with that exact title. Murray Vows….


Ezorra Says:

According to Nadal, sliding is one of the most crucial things for every player to possess in order to play well on clay. To me, he is one of the few players who can slide with either foot, leading with his right when playing a backhand and his left when playing a forehand. He defies most conventions: naturally left-footed and right-handed, he plays golf right-handed and tennis left-handed.
Murray also said similar thing regarding the importance if sliding well on clay to win the match.
“I don’t find it difficult sliding either way, it’s just that I slide every time with my right leg,” he said. “I’m trying to get used to the movement and the feeling of changing direction on clay because it takes a little bit more time than on the other courts.”
- Andy Murray


Von Says:

WOW, I’ve said this before, and I’ve made a liar of myself, again, that I won’t comment on any of the threads pertaining to Federer. It’s not a fair argument, a one-on-one sort of scenario, but several attacking at the same time. Perhaps, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. I could answer each and every one of the questions proffered but that would entail writing volumes I, II, III and the sequel thereto. I’ll do my very best to sanswer the questions directed to me personally and if the writers of the general questions are not offended, I’d like to leave those alone without answering.

Kimmi: With reference to the draws, NO, I don’t have proof, but I do have two eyes and I can see a pattern. Whether you were present at a draw or not, is of little importance to me, that was then, this is now. Can you guys in all honesty, look at the draws and say a No. 2 player pitted against a (let’s pick a random number) No. 106 ranked opponent is fair competition. If there is some degree of fairness here, why is this an on-going thing. Federer had an easy draw at the USO also.

You asked who in my mind gets the tough draws. I mentioned a few days ago, on another thread when some Nadal fans were stating he had the worst draw, that the top 4 have it made to the QF. That’s more or less always been the norm, hasn’t it with a few exceptions? The players who are the most challenged are the 5 through 8 seeds. Take a look at who they face in their 2nd round through the QFs and do a comparison, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Sean: You stated previously in one of your threads that Federer is receiving kinder draws which is helping him (not verbatim). And, in staff’s recent article it was stated that as a wedding present Federer got a soft draw. I don’t have the time to back-track and write verbatim, but that’s about the gist of it. How is this not obvious to some of his fans that now his performance has dipped, he’s being given these ridiculously soft draws. And, why are you asking this question when you made mention of the draw previously? I suppose, the next I’ll hear is that I’m being biased. However, I’m wondering it the easy draws federer is given is not very blatant, then why would there be such comments from you and Staff, or were those comments just thrown is as space fillers?

Sean, without raising your ire, I cannot but help saying you vacillate so much that you seem confused and you even confuse me. Take a look at the following sentence you wrote in your 9:22 pm post:

“In some ways I look at it like his mind has not got the message that physically he cannot no longer hit the shots he use to hit.”

Well if his mind cannot assimilate that he cannot hit the shots he used to hit, isn’t it logical to assume that his physical fitness has deteriorated, and it’s the cause he cannot do what he once did? I believe that’s the simplest of answers, isn’t it? It’s just a matter of time for Federer to accept the reality of what’s happening to him.

and then: “Von, so Federer now gets frustrated in third sets? If that’s the case how’d he win all those third sets at the Australian Open, or at the US Open last year.”

“If he were indeed fatiguing at a certain point during a match, let’s say after two hours of play, that pattern would be there match-in and match-out.”

Sean, again, it’s happening right before your very eyes. Lapses in physicality/endurance begin little by little, then become more and more pronounced, as the problem begins to take root. It’s similar to dementia or any neurological condition, a drip, drip situation that becomes full-blown eventually. He will go through periods of unblemished performance, and then there will be those fraught with blemishes. It’s a prelude of the beginning of a problem that’s being manifested in small doses.

A very simple analogy would be that of his FH misfiring. This began since 2006. Some say 2007, but I’ve watched his 2006 MC tourney and his FH was misfiring back then. Now, it’s completely off. However, there are times he reverts back to a smidgen of his old form, but then it goes off again. And, going by that analogy, wouldn’t you say that he had periods of exhaustion at IW v. Murray, where he just blew off the third set. In Miami v. Roddick, you mentioned if Andy had more patience, and kept himself in the match, Fed would have imploded in the third set. In Miami, in his match v. Djoko which culminated with the racquet smashing, then a total collapse in the third set, to what would you attribute that third set collapse? Wasn’t that physical fatigue or a fitness problem?

Sean: “I just rattled off above a fairly tough Australian Open draw for Federer which took him through in succession Safin, Berdych, Del Po and Roddick. Was that draw rigged in his favor as well?”

If a no. 2 player cannot beat the players ranked lower then he’s not fitting of his No. 2 ranking. What has Safin, and Berdych done recently or during the past year? How difficult was that draw for him? Fed had a day in between his matches to recoup/revitalize his energy stores. Let’s see what he’ll do when he has to play every day for 3 sets, and only then can you see the pattern. It perhaps might not happen at MC but it WILL happen, eventually.

“I’m wondering if you believe that performance anxiety exists at all – or that hierarchies of dominance exist that can affect an individual outside of the realm in which dominance was established.”

Yes, performance anxiety exists, but it happens most often when one is doubtful as to his ability to perform under extenuating circumstances, or even in cases where the min d becomes over-loaded. The conditioned response after a failure would be panic, and the questioning of one’s ability to do that which he experienced a problem previously, even though he’s done it hundreds of times before. The hierarchy or next stage in that scenario, is failure to act on the stimuli, maybe a sort of freezing/cramp of the brain happens. The next stage follows with a total breakdown or a blunt refusal by the individual, where he mentally tries to veer away a much as possible to that which is the source of the anxiety. Some people invent excuses and some use totally inappropriate behavior as a means of avoidance. And, those who are brave to face the problem despite their anxiety often times fall apart in the attempt.

I don’t see how hierarchy dominance can be attributed to Federer’s physical problems. There isn’t a correlation here. However, hierarchies can be developed, in evolutionary terms, for the sake of efficiency and in order to reduce the likelihood of injury among group members who may share genes. As with the case of altruism in animals, the voluntary abbreviation of hostilities into symbolic form remains something of a Darwinian Puzzle. Anyway, this is taking us far from the crux of the matter and opening a whole different can of worms.

“While I agree that Federer has some physical problems that he did not in the past and that those physical problems have had mental consequences, I can’t at all grok the supportive argument for those physical issues being the exclusive source of his difficulties.”

Then if the physical issues are not the exclusive source of his difficulties, what is it, mental? In his matches v. Nadal, which is purely physical, how is it that he falters so badly? Also, bear in mind, what happens to us physically translates mentally. If one is severely physically drained, it’s totally impossible to even think coherently. I’ve had periods where I’ve been extremely physically challenged, and found it extremely difficult to think logically, or come up with a solution. Then on the reverse, I’ve had periods where I’ve become mentally drained and found it totally impossible to put one foot in front of the other. For those whose profession is 75 percent thought, they’d probably be able to identify with that situation. As I’ve mentioned before, the two are intertwined, but it’s been proven by definitive studies that physical endurance solves most of the challenges we face.

With reference to the draws, you can judge for yourselves. I suppose you can attribute it to just a hunch. And, again, I should have refrained from commenting on this thread. Now I’ll take myself out on the porch and render a good whipping for being the fool who rushes in where angels fear to trod.


Von Says:

“Statistically speaking, a player who has established a high level of dominance will always appear to have an easier draw than players who have not. Why? Because such a high level of dominance means precisely that the player is (comparatively and relatively) rarely defeated by the players who comprise the rest of the field. This has been elucidated time and again (even so despite the fact that it is simply implicit).”

Why not make it fairer and pit them against players who are closer to their own ranking beginning from round one, than one who is placed zenith and nadir, e.g., 1 to 129, 3 – 89, etc. It’s ridiculous. The lower ranked guys will NEVER be able to emerge out of the first 2 rounds and go deep. That’s unfair competition but it sells tickets and keeps the higher ranked players in the SF and finals. If it’s so wonderful, why is it the stadiums are so scantily filled during the early rounds? The answer is simple, people want to See high quality competition. The lower ranked players are just their to go through the motions and to make the higher ranked players appear “imperious”. Nothing difficult about that, my Dear Watson.


Von Says:

“Fed can not trust his body any more. Hence, the frustration and collapses. To make the matter worse, that 10 year contract with Nike says that Nike pays Fed 15 million a year as long as he plays the tour.”

My draw theory proved in part. There’s too much money at stake and everybody gets his cut. Gosh, this is a world where money talks and things are not as simplistic as we’d want to believe. Even though the draws are randomly picked, player one gets a player from Nos. 70 – 200 ranking for round one, then round two, 50 – 70, then round 3, 30-50, round 4, 11-30, etc. A fair draw would be to put all of the players in a basket and then pick any 8 players for the No. 1 ranked player to face, instead of players from different groups. This way, if No. 1 pulls the No. 3 ranked player for the first round, so be it. If he’s that good, he should beat the lower ranked player and move on. If the draws were done that way, we’d very rarely see Nos. 1 and 2 in the final.


Sean Randall Says:

Von, you are really serious about draws being rigged. Thanks for the comedic break from doing my taxes.

It was me who wrote that Fed got a wedding gift of a draw. But it was a joke. Draws are not rigged. I judged for myself, and really the judgement is you need to cut down on the the koolaid.

Regarding Fed’s fitness. There are some isolated shots Fed use to hit (like the wide forehand i was referring to ) that he doesn’t hit quite as well anymore. Just because he can’t hit those shots like use to doesn’t mean he’s not fit. For me, he’s just not as quick as he once was. There’s no fatigue issue.

And you write on Fed’s forehand, “Now, it’s completely off.”
Really? And he still be your guy Roddick? How could that be?

“wouldn’t you say that he had periods of exhaustion at IW v. Murray”
No, I wouldn’t. I would say he had a mental collapse.

“In Miami, in his match v. Djoko which culminated with the racquet smashing, then a total collapse in the third set, to what would you attribute that third set collapse? Wasn’t that physical fatigue or a fitness problem?”
No again. Fed didn’t look tired or exhausted at all. He looked plain bad. It was an absolute mental meltdown.


Sean Randall Says:

“A fair draw would be to put all of the players in a basket and then pick any 8 players for the No. 1 ranked player to face, instead of players from different groups. This way, if No. 1 pulls the No. 3 ranked player for the first round, so be it. If he’s that good, he should beat the lower ranked player and move on. If the draws were done that way, we’d very rarely see Nos. 1 and 2 in the final.”

I think it’s clear, Von, you’ve lost the plot.


Von Says:

I just happened to read the topic of this article and it’s very funny:

“Newly Married Federer Honeymoons in Monte Carlo, With Rafa, Novak and Murray.”

Are they all honeymooning together?


Ra Says:

Von,

I was reading through your post partially in agreement and partially in disagreement when I got to the portion about “hierarchy dominance”. I think you have taken my phrase “hierarchies of dominance” as “dominance hierarchy” in an evolutionary sense, and that was not to what I was referring. You did get me curious, though, so after I read your post I decided to see what Wikipedia had on the subject. What do you suppose I found under primates?

“These hierarchies may have developed, in evolutionary terms, for the sake of efficiency and in order to reduce the likelihood of injury among group members who may share genes. As with the case of altruism in animals, the voluntary abbreviation of hostilities into symbolic form remains something of a Darwinian Puzzle.”

This just leaves me feeling that you’re interest in supporting your position for the sake of clarity is secondary to your interest in making yourself appear smart while clouding the matter at hand. I’m can’t seem to articulate quite how that leaves me feeling, but it suffices to say that I’m not inclined to the rest of your post at the moment.

If you’re going to lift direct quotes from external sources, you should probably cite them (whether or not they have any relevant relation to the topic at hand).


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“Von, you are really serious about draws being rigged. Thanks for the comedic break from doing my taxes.”

We’re all entitled to our opinions, no need to make fun of me. Maybe, one day, I’ll prove my point.

“It was me who wrote that Fed got a wedding gift of a draw. But it was a joke. Draws are not rigged. I judged for myself, and really the judgement is you need to cut down on the the koolaid.”

Koolaid, i don’t drink that junk. I drink green tea, it’s full of antioxidants. Try it you’ll like ikt. Seriously, no problem, cease and desist will be the order of the day — no more discussions from me on Federer.

“wouldn’t you say that he had periods of exhaustion at IW v. Murray”
No, I wouldn’t. I would say he had a mental collapse.

“In Miami, in his match v. Djoko which culminated with the racquet smashing, then a total collapse in the third set, to what would you attribute that third set collapse? Wasn’t that physical fatigue or a fitness problem?”

“No again. Fed didn’t look tired or exhausted at all. He looked plain bad. It was an absolute mental meltdown.”

I wonder who’s more in denial, you or Federer. So going by what you’re saying, everything that’s happening to him is all “a mental collapse”. OK Sean, have it your way, you are one hundred percent right. Then the story about the back, mono, and every other physical ailment in the past and henceforth, will all be placed under the umbrella of “mental collapse”? On second thoughts the back, mono, etc., are just a figment of his imagination or yours, considering how mentally collapsible he has become?

By Geoge, Higgins, I think he’s got it!

I’m done with this topic. So sorry ….


Ra Says:

Please forgive the grammatical errors as they are due to that fact that I’m feeling a bit exasperated from having wasted precious time and effort.


Von Says:

Ra:

What are you talking about Wikipedia. Please don’t accuse me of what you don’t know. I was referring to Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs in developmental psychology where Darwinian theories are made part and parcel of those needs and referred to as a puzzle. What you have read from Wilkipedia is a coincidence. It could have been picked out from Human Developmental Psychology. From my studies on Human Developmental Psychology, Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs, and Ericsen’s also, the comnclusion of it all, is that it’s a Darwinian puzzle. The fact that it’s there in Wikipedia proves I’m being truthful, and it could have been taken from the Developmental human Psychology library.

I don’t know if it’s your mission to try to make me look like a phoney, since I’m your focal target, but i would caution yolu that’s in poor taste. Do I pick out anything you write and try to disprove it? I was decent enouigh to answer you considering your post was directed at a nameless person.

I don’t need to convince you, so please thin k whatever you want. I know I have nolthing to prove. Thank you.

Ps. you really do become bent out of shape whenever defending fFderer. Too bad.


Ra Says:

Von,

you can bait me all you want, but what i become “bent out of shape” for is having my time wasted by ulterior motives. Dropping names (with which I’m already familiar, thanks) will neither impress nor persuade me in such a situation. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter to me from where you’ve lifted your direct quote; I just think that sources are to be cited to give credit where it’s due and to protect the intellectual assertions of the author from skewed misapplication. I’m left to wonder how many of “your” words have even been your own over the past year and a half or so.


Von Says:

Ra:

“If you’re going to lift direct quotes from external sources, you should probably cite them (whether or not they have any relevant relation to the topic at hand).”

Considering I didn’t lift anything, your point is moot. I have several books in my library on the topic of Human Developmental Psychology which gives me the info I need, and is the reason why I can understand mental as opposed to physical problems. Read it, you’ll be in for an eye-opening experience and maybe you could learn something from it, before jumping to conclusions.

I said: “I don’t see how hierarchy dominance can be attributed to Federer’s physical problems. There isn’t a correlation here.”

You brought up the subject matter and the above was my answer to you.

“This just leaves me feeling that you’re interest in supporting your position for the sake of clarity is secondary to your interest in making yourself appear smart while clouding the matter at hand.”

I don’t need to make myself appear smart for the likes of you, so please take yourself out of the equation. You ain’t that important! I don’t even know you, so why would I do that? You are faceless to me. Is that what you do when you write, and seek answers, to make yourself appear smart? The two eyes looking throgh the keyhole again? You’re way too much.


Von Says:

Ra;

“you can bait me all you want, but what i become “bent out of shape” for is having my time wasted by ulterior motives. Dropping names (with which I’m already familiar, thanks) will neither impress nor persuade me in such a situation. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter to me from where you’ve lifted your direct quote; I just think that sources are to be cited to give credit where it’s due and to protect the intellectual assertions of the author from skewed misapplication.”

Why would I want to bait you. Again, this self-importance. You’ve wasted your own time. did I ask you to read what I’ve written? No. You did so to start a witch hunt. You can ponder whatever you want, and you’re entitled to your own thoughts. I didn’t do anything wrong and I don’t need your approval as to my credibility.

“I’m left to wonder how many of “your” words have even been your own over the past year and a half or so.”

ZERO, I TOOK THEM FROM YOUR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH. You are waaaay too much. Can anyone become so dagger-like for the sake of a tennis player. Geez. You attacked me the last time I made a comment on the thread about Fed’s baby. I ignored you after your first comment, but I see we’re back to square one again.

I tell you what from now on you can check every word I write. Do you want to check my law books too? Les Miserables.

PS: For the sake of argument, who left you custodian of the Internet, quotes, et al. What business is it of yours, whether people take statements written by other writers. My god, if you look at some of the comments on this board, you’ll see the arguments bisecting and dissecting the game are just the comments of the tennis writers of various articles, but I suppose the posters seem to think it’s alright and I don’t see those writers given credit. I see Bonnie Fords strategies, Bodos’s and Tignor’s, Cheryl Murray’s and Bob Larson’s words all here. Why aren’t you disgusted by those comments being plagiarized from other sources? I know I am, but I just steer clear of them, because it renders their arguments meritless, and were i to engage in the discussions would be hypocritical. Do you think some of the people who offer suggestions on what player A should do to beat plyer B, are strategies born of their own minds? Get real, some are, but some are just lines taken from other posters and writers. I see my olwn words used right here on these threads from time to time. Once in formation is put out there it’s public knowledge to be used. No one has the right to stop anyone from so doing. anyway, youi can start now.

I like how you always turn the tables — good strategy. you’re bating me, but it’s I’m baiting you. I hope you enjoyed the baiting.

I’m going to forget about you and this incident. Think what you will. You’re just out to perpetuate a vendetta, have fun.


Ra Says:

Von,

I’m sorry that you are in this position, but I did not put you there. I feel nauseated by this, and whether you believe it or not, that’s not something I’m enjoying. Perhaps you have a photographic memory and happen to have inadvertently typed an identical sequence of sentences that are the work of another, but I’m hardly inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt there when you’ve always attacked my character when I’m not in complete agreement with your assertions. If you seriously do not believe that you’ve done something that constitutes theft and fraud, you can look into it at plagiarism.org or the likes under unintentional plagiarism. I did not invent the rules, but I do understand why they exist. I don’t know what (if anything) else to say about this unfortunate circumstance.


sensationalsafin Says:

I think this argument needs to go back to Federer, not Ra vs Von. Or at least something tennis related. Federer never looks tired probably because he really isn’t. I looked at Federer’s matches this year and he’s WON 1 five setter and 2 three setters. In the 5 setter against Berdych, he was being dominated, Berdych fell short, Fed came back, and dominated the 5th set. Where’s the physical problem here? He got through and took Nadal to 5 until he mentally collapsed. He beat Gonzo 6-2 in the third in IW, no where was he tired. Then he plays a great second set against Murray and just goes away in the third. Barely beats Roddick in the third set but he looked mentally shaky, like he was afraid of winning. He still won because he’s better, but he wasn’t about to lose because he was tired. And then against Djokovic, he just gradually got worse as the match wore on. And it’s not like Djoker player great, Federer broke him plenty of times. But Federer just withered away mentally because he’s afraid of winning. Why is he afraid of winning? Because he’s a dumbass.


Von Says:

Ra;

“Please forgive the grammatical errors as they are due to that fact that I’m feeling a bit exasperated from having wasted precious time and effort.”

Speaks volumes as to your insecurities, and portrays you as one who is so self-important, busy and looking for consolation. Frailty of mind personified here, because someone has supposedly copied a quote, that has lead to exasperation. At least you used the right word “exasperated” and not “aggravated” as most people often do. Busyness is a state of mind. Quote taken from Human Development — a Lifespan Approach. John P. Dworetzky and Nancy J. Davis, but constructed from memory.

What really bugs me is why the hell should you care about the authenticity of what anyone writes? Do you know that many people who blog are schizophrenics, and are abnormal? Some use blogging as a conduit to release their frustrations, hence the troll pots. WOW, you are really off the deep edge. It’s an obsession with you. Well my book also told me that descent into madness is preceded by obsession, and I suppose the precipice looms. Check Wikipedia to see if that’s there also. I don’t check Wiki so I don’t know what’s out there. I’ll check it whenever I see your posts for correctness henceforth.


Von Says:

Ra:

“but I’m hardly inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt there when you’ve always attacked my character when I’m not in complete agreement with your assertions.”

Always, Ra, please show me where. I answered you when you attacked my character, on the Fed Baby thread, but never before that. Aren’t we too old to use words like ‘always”? That’s for kids.

Well, I suppose I’m a thief and a plagiarizer now, so I can look forward to being sued.


Ra Says:

sensationalsafin,

Gladly, thanks. While I can certainly appreciate the possibility of Federer being afraid of winning, his being a dumbass doesn’t really satisfy me as an explanation. If the pattern concerned related to just the FO or to GS number 15, I could understand that because, as I understand, some people are afraid to meet their ultimate life goals because they may unconsciously feel that there will be nothing left to live for. I mean, I suppose that could still play into it even at 14 and in non-GS tournaments… As an alternative, if it’s been too lonely at the top (as the saying goes) for him, that could be another reason to fear winning. All in all, though, it seems to me that there are a whole lot of factors involved with his consistent inconsistency these days – getting older, illness and ailments, having lost his aura, expecting a child, getting married, the field having changed around him, etc.


Ra Says:

That last list was meant to include mental factors, too.


Von Says:

sensationalsafin:

“And then against Djokovic, he just gradually got worse as the match wore on. And it’s not like Djoker player great, Federer broke him plenty of times. But Federer just withered away mentally because he’s afraid of winning. Why is he afraid of winning? Because he’s a dumbass.”

I agree that Djoko did not play great in that mtch also, but I don’t think Fed’s a “dumbass’, and I don’t think he’s afraid of winning. He was ecstatic when he won that match against Roddick. Maybe, it’s a mental thing, a mental collapse like Sean says, but he’s the only one who knows what’s happening inside his mind. Perhaps you’ll have a clearer idea when he plays his second round match.


Von Says:

Ra:

I checked Wikipedia and found the following embeded in a paragraph under the heading of primates, hence the credit should go to Wikpedia as the source, and not Human Development – a Lifespan Approach. I hope this is satisfactory to you.

Correction: The following cite used in my post can be found in Wikipedia:

“These hierarchies may have developed, in evolutionary terms, for the sake of efficiency and in order to reduce the likelihood of injury among group members who may share genes. As with the case of altruism in animals, the voluntary abbreviation of hostilities into symbolic form remains something of a Darwinian Puzzle.” Cite: Wikipedia;

I suppose you should notify all bloggers that they are plagiarizing when using other posters’ words and tennis writers strategies too.


sensationalsafin Says:

I never said he didn’t want to win, of course he’s going to be happy when he does. He’s just afraid to. And I’m not saying it as a general statement. He’s afraid of going for his shots. He’s afraid to rally. He’s afraid to run with the Big Dogs. He’s just scared. It’s like, I don’t know. I read an article the other day that said Federer needs to stop acting like a champion and start being one (or something along those lines). Another words, enough of what he’s accomplished. He’s gotta start accomplishing again. Tennis is one of those what-have-you-done-for-me-lately sports. Who cares if he won the 08 USO, he lost the 09 AO! Who cares if he won the IW-Miami double twice? He lost in the semis of both this year! His stubbornness is really grinding my gears. It’d be one thing if he just sucked a la Safin, but he doesn’t, he’s still fully capable. As Sampras says, if you can win a set, you can win 2 sets, and if you can win 2 sets, you can win 3 sets. In the last thousand times Murray’s beaten Federer, all the matches went the distance. In Fed’s last 2 devastating losses to Nadal, the matches went the distance. If Federer can lose 7-9 in the 5th, he can win 9-7 in the fifth. If he can dominate for one whole set, he can dominate for 2 whole sets. So on and so forth. Sean’s right, it’s not physical, it’s mental. Fed’s having these dumbasses mental collapses like HE’S the up and comer getting nervous beating his idols or some bs. He won’t admit it, but he hates Djokovic and he dislikes Murray (although he likes Murray’s game). He hates Nadal’s game (Fed’s all about the beauty of technique and Nadal’s technique isn’t aesthetic enough for TMF) but he has a lot of respect for the kid (thank God). And he thinks Roddick’s a joke of a tennis player but respects the guy for working his ass off. 2005 Cincy Masters, Fed plays like crap throughout the whole tourny then wipes the floor with Roddick who was coming off his second ever win over Hewitt (in straights no less). During the press conference, Roddick was like “I don’t know what to say, he’s just too good”. Federer couldn’t even find words, he was just laughing at the situation because he knew he was playing well below his best. Right now, Fed’s a dumbass.


Von Says:

“And he thinks Roddick’s a joke of a tennis player but respects the guy for working his ass off. 2005 Cincy Masters, Fed plays like crap throughout the whole tourny then wipes the floor with Roddick who was coming off his second ever win over Hewitt (in straights no less). During the press conference, Roddick was like “I don’t know what to say, he’s just too good”. Federer couldn’t even find words, he was just laughing at the situation because he knew he was playing well below his best. Right now, Fed’s a dumbass.”

Sometimes, it’s called poetic justice. When we laugh at those less gifted than us, we become much worse than they, despite all of our wonderful sttributes. It’s similar to the guy with the masters degree who looks at his friend a lowly highschool drop-out working as a bus-boy, and thinks to himself, what a loser, but then the same guy with the masters degree can’t find a steady job. Poetic justice — a very humbling experience. That’s now the difference between Roddick the ‘joke of a tennis player’ and the once touted “TMF” who can’t hold his nerves together — poetic justice.


Ra Says:

Sean Randall Says:

“Regarding Fed’s fitness. There are some isolated shots Fed use to hit (like the wide forehand i was referring to ) that he doesn’t hit quite as well anymore. Just because he can’t hit those shots like use to doesn’t mean he’s not fit. For me, he’s just not as quick as he once was. There’s no fatigue issue.”

This is somewhere I wonder if the notorious back injury may be coming into play. I wondered if local muscle fatigue (rather than lack of overall fitness level) eventually caught up with Federer during the AO final and showed itself most obviously in his serve. Also, in his past two tournaments, I thought I observed him often underhitting forehands that weren’t necessarily crucial but would’ve been point-winning opportunities in the past and forcing forehands long in crucial moments; I conjectured that perhaps his spinal rotation was inhibited so he couldn’t generate the same easy power, and then when he tried to he would overcompensate with his arm and shoulder; but I really don’t know. Additionally, it’s been pointed out a lot that he hasn’t been getting low enough for half volleys at the net, but it can look to me like he doesn’t even try to, and the fact that he can look so casual about it doesn’t strike me as a lack of quickness (in which case I would expect to see him try but not execute in time); I wonder if it could be that he just simply has not been able to drop down to do so because of limited range of motion.

As I said before, I definitely believe that his decline has been multi-factoral. It does, however, still look to me like he could be playing a lot better than he has been even considering injuries accrued or quickness lost along the way, and I agree that mental (and perhaps strategic) improvements could be huge factors toward that end.


Ra Says:

Hmmm… I wonder if Federer has hit even a single ball since the Miami semis with all that must have been going on in his life between then and now. An early exit wouldn’t surprise me, but then neither would a deep run.


Nadal on clay Says:

test


Nadal on clay Says:

Ha Ha! Good to see some smart people put Von in her place. Total bias and absolute BS, thats what Vons posts are all about.

Draws are rigged? That is just hilarious. I am sure Santa is going to get you a new brain this Christmas for all this comic relief you provide in between some serious discussions b/w wise people like Sean, Voicemale, Ra and MMT….


Nadal on clay Says:

Your hatred for anyone not named rod-dick is an inspiration for people like TD, i am a sissy and i am so afraid or are those all your aliases?


sensationalsafin Says:

Federer hasn’t lost a match to anyone outside the top 4 so far this year. What he has done in the last half year that would imply he’s going to make a random early exit?


MMT Says:

Sensationalsafin: “Federer hasn’t lost a match to anyone outside the top 4 so far this year. What he has done in the last half year that would imply he’s going to make a random early exit?”

This is a great point – we do tend to draw things out to what appears to be a logical conclusion to trends, and the trend for Federer appears to be playing worse and worse.

I think the issue is the consistency with which he’s losing to Murray and Nadal that is disconcerting, and given that they are both clearly still on the ascent in their careers, it would appear it is only going to get worse. But then again, he could raise his level on clay, as he probably has the best record on tour on the surface aside from Nadal.

BTW – is anyone watching Safin v. Hewitt? What a fascinating match up of former champions. Their career head to head is almost even at 7-6 Hewitt, but Hewitt has had the better of the Russian in the last 2 meetings.

I’d give the slight edge to Hewitt because of his form and recent record, but the fact that he’s just coming off a plane from a final in Houston could give Safin an early advantage.


sensationalsafin Says:

MMT, WHERE ARE YOU WATCHING THE MATCH??? I just got back from an exam and, much to my delight, I see Safin up a set but there’s no live feed on channelsurfing.

Tennis Channel was replaing the 2006 Monte Carlo final where Nadal beat Federer in 4 sets. I watched Fed win the second set and in that match he was hitting with more power and running around like the freaking Flash compared to his play now. He’s definitely gotten worse but considering HOW great he was, he’s still got more game than almost anyone… when he’s on. From what I saw, the reason Nadal won all those matches, despite Federer being an overall better player, was the Nadal just played within himself but Federer went for too much. He’d clip the top of the net so often because he was hitting so flat. Maybe if he was luckier and was able to just play like god for a longer while it would’ve been different. Or maybe it was just that Nadal was too mentally tough for Fed. It’s hard to say. Nowadays, Nadal is definitely the worthiest of champions and his latest results allow me to accept his clear dominance over Federer because he has truly become a complete and great player.

Murray’s definitely at the beginning phase of his GREAT career. The very beginning was kind of a crap shoot. Now he’s in the beginning of creating his legacy. I have high hopes for Murray that he could easily fail to comply with, but that’s besides the point. Right now, Murray’s only rising. Federer’s declining. It’s very similar to when Sampras and Fed played, only Fed has more time to play Murray. The problem with these matches is similar with the Nadal matches. Of course both these guys match up against Federer really well since they have strong strokes to attack his backhand with. But Federer should take Murray’s advice this time around (the way Murray took Fed’s last year, even though he beat him anyway). Murray said he doesn’t have to do anything special against Fed, primarily because nowadays Fed’s just gonna explode by himself. Fed should try that tactic against Murray and Nadal. Nothing special doesn’t equal playing like a pansy though. You can play aggressive without trying to be special. That doesn’t mean special things won’t happen, but that shouldn’t be the objective. Stand close to the baseline, control points, come to net, hit a couple big serves, flatten out your groundies when you have to, but do it the right way. Be patient. Fed’s to Murray/Nadal is like Gonzo to Fed. They both go for broke because that’s what they THINK they have to do to win. Fed, of course, throws in some pansy shots, though. So he’s like a go-for-broke pansy who plays inexplicably bad. Why? Because, Federer’s a dumbass.


momotoom Says:

MMT,

I’m also watching the Safin v Hewitt match and enjoying it thoroughly. But then again I am a huge clay fan – imo it really separates the men from the boys.
Hewitt is really feeling the effects of that long flight. Apparently he arrived at 2:30pm local time and starting playing 2 hours later. If he pulls this off I’ll be really impressed with his stamina. Safin is hitting some pretty great shots.

I’m looking forward to Nadal’s and Federer’s matches tomorrow; mostly to see how well prepared they are – especially the Fed. I can’t believe that Almagro and Robredo lost today. These guys are supposed to be hot on clay.


sensationalsafin Says:

WOOT WOOT, Safin owns. The rivalry of the geezers stands at 7-7. Kinda cool.


sar Says:

He won’t admit it, but he hates Djokovic and he dislikes Murray

Sensational:
He hates everyone and only loves himself, that’s the problem. Who started the whole Djok/Fed thing in the first place? Federer, the great,mature, Federer. In DC 2 years ago Fed said I think he’s a joke, I don’t trust his injuries, etc. He ordered his wonk Wawrinka to beat him. He did that to a 18-19 years old. But why? He knew Djok was coming up and would challenge his game eventually. You think Djok is ever going to forget that slight?

Von: I agree that somehow the draw is always fixed in Fed’s favor. Mr Cupcake just got a break again with Simon losing today. Djok has the whole Spanish armada to fight.


Ra Says:

sensationalsafin Says:

“Federer hasn’t lost a match to anyone outside the top 4 so far this year. What he has done in the last half year that would imply he’s going to make a random early exit?”

sensationalsafin,

I agree with MMT that you’ve made an excellent point, but I speculated about the possibility of an early exit not because of what he has done but because of what he may not have had a chance to do since Miami: practice.


Ra Says:

sar,

That is just awesome! Thanks so much for the link.


JoshDragon Says:

I think that’s a good prediction for Monte Carlo. Although, I don’t think Nadal, is going to a very difficult clay court season. I don’t see anyone who can really step up to challenge him.


jane Says:

OMG sar – that’s hilarious! It’s like a Bollywood movie or something: not much left out. And it’s definitely a little self-deprecating in its humour. LOL! Thanks for the link. I missed his match today so I hope I can catch some of the later ones.

I finally looked at the draw, and personally I don’t think Rafa has anyone who could challenge him substantially except maybe JMDP, although this is clay, so come on! Murray has a potentially tough little quarter, imo, with likely Cilic waiting next, then possibly Nalby, or maybe Karlovic? Tough to say. I see Davydenko is back in the mix this week too. sar, as you say, Djoko has a load of clay-courters waiting for him, in Montanes, Ferrer or possibly Verdasco before even equaling his last year semis result. Hmmm. Fed’s quarter does look pretty easy on paper, but Monaco, if he plays well, could be a threat. Only he’s awfully unpredictable. Honestly, the way the draw looks to me, it seems like yet another Nadal vs. Fed final is in the cards. We’ll see how it all plays out.


sar Says:

What on earth happened to Monfils?


jane Says:

Holy crow! Did anyone see the Cilic vs. Fognini match? I am surprised Cilic went out so meekly.


MMT Says:

Sensationalsafin: I sucked it up and bought the tennistv package for the year. As for Fed vs. Nadal, again I go back to voicemale1′s comments on Fed’s fitness. I think in match fitness against Nadal, the points are too much for him and he goes for broke too often and too early. He also appears to lack the confidence to finish points off at the net consistently because he gets passed so often, so he goes for more off the ground. The best I’ve seen him play against Nadal was at the YEC in 2007 – he totally dominated that match and attacked relentlessly for 2 sets, beat him 2 & 4. That’s his only hope if he doesn’t pick up his fitness to match him.

Safin’s playing again today against Lapenti – watching it now.


jane Says:

And now another young gun goes out – JMDP lost a dogfight to Ljubicic! That’s a really nice win for Ivan, who also pushed Murray at IW too. And Safin’s winning at the moment as well; I’d like to see Safin give Rafa at least a good fight. Maybe the “older” guys who have experience on clay have more to bring to this surface? Interesting, since the fitness issue usually plays out strongly on clay as well, which you’d think would favor the younger ones…


sensationalsafin Says:

Why must Ljubicic insist on ruining my bracket???? And since when does Ljubo have clay experience… oh yeah, FO semi not too long ago. Wow, how times HAVEN’T CHANGED!! How do you beat Nadal in one tourny then lose to old man Ljubo in the next? God damn this sport.


sensationalsafin Says:

Marat Safin is the biggest dumbass I’ve ever witnessed. Watching him play is like stabbing yourself in the face repeatedly. Why is it so difficult to close out a match you are dominating. Has there ever been a player who was more prone to losing than this bafoon.


jane Says:

I am so sad Safin lost; he shouldn’t've. Doh!!!


margot Says:

If you watch “Heroes” Delpotro looks just like Sylar in profile!……..frivolous comment number 9,000000…!!


sensationalsafin Says:

Sylar doesn’t have a uni brow and his hair isn’t that long and he doesn’t have dark skin. Besides, Sylar wouldn’t have let old man Ljubo beat him.


vared Says:

Fognini may take out Murray.


momotoom Says:

Safin only has himself to blame for loosing that match. I’m not taking anything away from Lappenti who played really well but Safin should have won that match. He really is a headcase. Too bad, I was looking forward to watching him play against my fav Rafa. I think it would have been an interesting match.


MMT Says:

Jane: “Interesting, since the fitness issue usually plays out strongly on clay as well, which you’d think would favor the younger ones…

Very interesting point about experience on clay – recreational players love it as they get older because the surface is slower, the bounce is higher and it’s easy on the joints.

Among the professionals, 11 of 40 French Open champions in the open era were older than 25 when they won including 5 since 1990 (Gomez was 30 in ’90, Muster was 28 in ’95, Agassi was 29 in ’99, Costa was 27 in ’02 and Gaudio was 26 in ’04).

3 champions were older than 30, but none of these occurred after 1972 (Rosewall was 34 in ’68, Laver was 31 in ’69 and Andres Gimeno was a staggering 35 in ’72 – imagine Fabrice Santoro finally winning the French Open after 20 years inprofessional tennis) That’s a pretty illustrious list!

Since then the oldest have been Andres Gomez (the uncle of Nicolas Lapentti) who beat Agassi in 1990 when he was 30, and Agassi himself who was 29 in 1999.

Funny story about the Andres Gomez victory in ’90 – in those days the FO was covered by NBC and never one to miss an opportunity to jerk tears from the audience, old Dick Enberg and NBC must have zoomed in on a certain woman in Gomez’ box who was really having a go at cheering for him as he came closer and closer to victory. NBC made a point of captioning the image as “Andres Gomez’s wife” every time, just in case you weren’t getting the picture (only slightly figuratively).

It was fascinating because she looked about 15 years older than Gomez and, if I may say so, not quite the picture of pulchritude you would expect from the wife of the probably the most famous individual sportsman in the history of Ecuador.

After he won his match point, he sauntered over to his box in that easy Latin way that only Gomez could do, like he had all the time in the world, climbed up a couple of rungs on the back fence and positively snogged a real beauty of a woman who had sat quietly throughout the match.

It turned out the shameless emotional pimps at NBC hadn’t quite done their research – not only did they not know his wife’s name, but the woman they were highlighting was in fact a (much) older lady who just happened to be in his box.

Nice work, NBC :-)


Mary Says:

“Nicolas Lapentti”
I’ve never really watched him. Give the guy credit for still winning that match against
Safin, despite blowing all the match points.

MMT: Was Bud Collins involved in the telling or research of the story?


jane Says:

MMT – That’s totally true, about the “older” players historically being able to win the French Open, and also about clay being easier on the joints; I noticed Rafa’s knees weren’t taped today, for example. But I hadn’t really thought of it like that until today, and so I had expected the young guys to continue to cruise like they did on the hard courts. Meanwhile Davydenko, Ljubicic, Federer, and Nalbandian are all still alive and well in the draw, while Cilic, JMDP and Monfils are sent home.


vared Says:

Fognini oust the Snowman please.


Shan Says:

@sensationalsafin:
“Shan, did you just compare JCF with RF? Did I miss 12 slams that Fed won to have that many more than JCF or what?”

I said it is possible that Federer might not win another tournament for the next several years – who knows – it is a possibility.


Nadal and His Victims Descend on Magical Madrid Says:

[...] said at the start of the clay season Nadal would have a tougher time this year than in the past. Well, looks like [...]

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