Federer v. Roddick XX Friday in Madrid; Nadal, Djokovic, Murray Also Scheduled
by Sean Randall | May 14th, 2009, 8:09 pm
  • 215 Comments

For all the talk of his downfall and decline, I’ll say it bluntly: If Roger Federer loses tomorrow to Andy Roddick on clay it’s then time to firmly push the panic button if you’re Federer.

Federer and Roddick will convene for a 20th time Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Tennis Masters. Federer has won 17 of 19 career meetings with the American but this will be there first as married men. Any significance to that? Doubtful. What is significant is Roddick’s lack of clay preparation – he’s played one clay match this year after receiving a walkover today from Nikolay Davydenko which won’t help his cause – and the fact that clay is not his surface, so it’s hard to see Andy getting a third scalp on the Swiss.

Stranger things have happened of course and the “pusher” Roddick will likely be able to keep the ball in play longer which will illicit a few more errors from Federer than usual, but Roger should get through in straight sets.

While Federer-Roddick is the marquee match on the card here in the U.S., in Spain the focus will be on Rafael Nadal’s test against local boy Fernando Verdasco. The altitude, perhaps a quicker court should aid Verdasco but Rafa’s still the clear choice in that one.

Arguably the most competitive match may very well turn out to be Andy Murray’s tussle with Juan Martin Del Potro. Murray’s my pick because I just don’t think DelPo’s best surface is clay. I still expect it to be a hard-fought, competitive match and if Murray tries to get to cute the Argy can pull the upset.

And Novak Djokovic has quietly been dismantling the competition once again, and that should continue Friday against the re-born (?) Ivan Ljubicic. We often think of Ljubicic as a fast court player, but the Croat posted his best career result on the clay with a semifinal at the 2006 French Open and he’s beaten Novak before.

So if the four matches goes according to form Friday we will have the top four players into the semifinals. And as I said before, that’s a rarity. So my gut still tells me someone is going to get picked off, question is who?


Also Check Out:
Andy Murray Withdraws From Madrid Due To A Back Injury
Andy Roddick Isn’t Playing Madrid Or Rome Because He’s Busy Shaving Eyebrows? [Video]
Andy Roddick Withdraws From Madrid With Stomach Illness
Roddick, Fish Out Of Madrid, And Possibly Remainder Of Clay Season
Stomach Virus Forces Rafael Nadal Out Of Abu Dhabi

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215 Comments for Federer v. Roddick XX Friday in Madrid; Nadal, Djokovic, Murray Also Scheduled

jane Says:

Well Sean this is an intriguing way to end your piece; couldn’t you at least give us your opinion as to who will be “picked off”? I am curious. It is a little tough to say innit?


Giner Says:

Sean, I asked you this before but you declined to comment.

Do you still stand by your tarot reading here?

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2009-01-12/706.php

Year end standings:
1. Federer
2. Murray
3. Nadal
4. Djokovic

You can have until after the result of tomorrow’s match to answer if you need to.


vared Says:

I think Delpo will pick off Murray.


jane Says:

Well I’ll comment – no way Rafa is dropping down to number 3; is it even mathematically possible? I mean besides if he is injured or something? i guess if he lost out of all of the remaining slams fairly early, but I can’t see it. I see Nadal maintaining number 1 this year. I guess if Fed were to defend his RG finalist points, win Wimbledon AND defend his title at the USO he could get back number 1?


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

I see you’ve found a lovely nick for Roddick ‘pusher”. Well, Federer is a pusher too, just watch his backhand. And, let’s not even mention the on again, of again, forehand. What shall we call the forhand? “Errant” “, ‘disobedient” “undisciplined”, NDG?


jane Says:

Von, how about “Federer’s fickle forehand”, if only for the alliteration? :)


Sean Randall Says:

Jane, I honestly don’t know. I think they all stand an equal chance of losing.

Verdasco has the altitude in his favor.
Del Potro because Murray’s worst surface is clay.
Ljubicic has beaten Novak and he has nothing to lose.
Roddick has to know if he can get Federer deep into sets anything can happen.

Giner, sorry. I no longer stand by that. Right now I see 1. Nadal, 2. Murray, 3. Djokovic, 4. Federer with DelPo possibly pushing Fed to #5!

Von, pusher. Yes. Last I read you had Haas in this round. What happened?


Giner Says:

jane:

He predicted Murray to not win a Slam in 09, but have consistent enough results to still get to #2. He also predicted Nadal would continue to own the clay season and win the French again like in previous years, but would get injured and miss a good chunk of the season (or lose early).

Readings done at the beginning of the year ought to be revisited at certain milestones, such as mid year or after a Slam. Sean didn’t expect Federer to start a family, or Nadal to finish first in the early HC season.

What would have been even more illuminating is for Sean to provide the safety ‘cushion’ that he expected Fed to have over the #2 player. Would it have been close, or will he run away with it again? The latter is looking unlikely now.


Sean Randall Says:

Giner, right now my picks are Rafa for the French, Federer for Wimbledon and Murray for the US Open.

The upcoming Federer baby really hinders his chances at the US Open. I could do the opposite but given the tougher landscape (with DelPo, Murray, etc.) I just don’t think once the baby comes he’ll put in enough court time to win the US Open.


Giner Says:

Sean:

“Verdasco has the altitude in his favor.”

Can I ask your reasoning? Why is altitude and faster court speed to Verdasco’s favour? Is he a better fast court player than Nadal? They’re both dirtballers from Spain, but one of them has a better record on faster surfaces than the other, and it’s not Verdasco. They have also played each other on faster courts (I would presume) than Madrid’s clay, with the result being 8-0. I don’t see why a little bit faster clay should be to Verdasco’s favour when he has lost matches on hard courts to Nadal.

“Jane, I honestly don’t know. I think they all stand an equal chance of losing.”

Do you really believe this? Equal chance? Exactly equal? I would give Murray a higher chance of losing out of the 4, and Nadal the least. Verdasco is good, but he’ll be overcome.


jane Says:

Giner – this is a great suggestion for Sean: “Readings done at the beginning of the year ought to be revisited at certain milestones.”

Perhaps post-French Open Sean would care to write an update for all of us dysfunctional bloggers? I’d be interested to read it at the mid-way point.

————————————————

Sean,

Yeah I know – I was thinking along similar lines. It’s possible for any of the “top four” to go out here for various reasons. No offense to Von or Roddick fans, but I’d be most surprised were Andy to get the upset, only because he’s not played much on clay and Fed has the confidence factor against him. In addition, Fed is a little on the desperate side for a title in 2009, isn’t he? Or maybe others don’t see it like that.

Ljubicic and Djoko haven’t played since 08, and I think Ljubicic got his win in 06, but there’s no doubt Ljub is on a bit of a roll and as you say “nothing to lose”. Djoko may also be getting a little fatigued. He’s playing doubles too, as is Delpo.

Which could work for or against JMDP against Murray. Delpo has more clay experience and if the doubles helps him hone his net game he could be more dangerous.

Verdasco may also have the fact that Rafa has to be getting tired … oh wait, he’s pummeled his last opponents and just got a walkover, AND he had last week off didn’t he? Rafa should win then.


Sean Randall Says:

Giner, of the eight remaining, Verdasco has the biggest forehand in terms of mph. Nadal’s is heavier and better but Verdasco can really flatten that out. And he’s got a powerful serve should he choose to use it. Plus, as I said where did the guy grow up? Madrid! Just image if Roddick had a Masters in Austin and he was playing Federer. That would be a huge lift for Andy. So in this case I do give Verdasco some “extra points” for the match taking place in his hometown.

Murray has won all three meetings over DelPo so that’s a big mental edge. Yes, DelPo’s managed a set in each so there is room to operate for the Argy.


Giner Says:

You think Federer will win Wimbledon and still finish 4th behind Djokovic or possibly 5th behind Delpo (both of whom you project to be slamless)? I guess you don’t expect Fed to win any other titles of note, and for both of these guys to clean up on the 1000s?


jane Says:

“Murray has won all three meetings over DelPo” True Sean, but in their only clay match, it was tight and Delpo had to retire with I think a back injury, so that’s why this meeting on clay is an interesting one. I still give the edge to Murray given current form but it wouldn’t be *that* shocking were JMDP to win it.


Sean Randall Says:

Giner, yup. The baby really is the “X” factor. And I speculated before the arrival of his child may really disrupt his summer/fall schedule.


Sean Randall Says:

To be honest, it’s tough to pick who’ll be upset among the four.

From a distance the toughest match to call is Murray-DelPo. But when you think about it further each of the underdogs in the other matches have merit.


Sean Randall Says:

I guess the biggest surprise for me would be Roddick winning in straight sets tomorrow.


jane Says:

Yeah, after I posted that, and thought about it further, Roddick has nothing to lose, whereas Fed has lots to lose in a way, so if Roddick can hang tough like he did against Haas, Fed could easily collapse again. It may depend somewhat on how well Fed serves, but on the other hand Haas hammered a lot of aces the other day and still lost. Plus, while Von brings up the fitness issue on the other thread (i.e, that Fed is more challenged against the fitter players) Andy’s fitness is most improved this season right? In a way that’s been notable about his great season so far. So I thing perhaps a Roddick win in three would not be the least likely upset after all.

But as you say Sean, if Andy were to knock out Fed in straight sets that’d get the boards a buzzin!


jane Says:

“thing” s/b “think” – doh.


Sean Randall Says:

For Federer-Roddick, fitness will play no issue. If Roger has the confidence he’ll win. But if he has a lapse, gets pushed to a third…then…


ladyjulia Says:

I don’t think this time lucky net cords will save Fed…if he dosen’t bring his A game and serve tomorrow, he will lose.


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“Von, pusher. Yes. Last I read you had Haas in this round. What happened?”

So, you actually read my posts? Alright, the light bulb just flashed. That type of “pusher”, I get it, and I can live with that. I thought you meant the other one you used to use, meaning he’s just pushing the ball, hence my mention of Fed’s FH. Sorry Fed.

For Roddick to win, he’ll have to stop being so hyper and exercise patience. Push Fed hard, and keep the ball in play as long as possible. He’s forgotten Connors’ strategy, “keep the ball in play”, and draw the error from Fed. We’re not interested in low UEs now or playing pretty, win dirty, nasty, whatever, just WIN. Can Andy do it? YES, HE CAN, but the question to be asked, will he? Playing like this Andy might lose the first set but by the middle of the second, Fed’s lights will begin dimming, and then Roddick will be able to beat Fed. I wish someone would tell ARod to quit the hyperactivity and just chill.


chippydog Says:

I usually scream at the TV and tell Roddick that I’m going to contact Blanche if he doesn’t behave. I was very impressed with how he reacted to losing the 1st set to Haas. He dug in, changed his tactics, came forward(finally), and expected Haas to start missing. Hopefully, some of his hyperactivity and brattiness will now be soaked up by his sexual activity with Brooke. I really think I’ve been seeing an improved Roddick in ’09. Sad to say, sex with Mirka is not doing the same thing for Roger. Of course, after 8 3/4 years, it isn’t quite as exciting! Seriously, even though I’m a long time Roddick fan, I do hate to see Roger completely meltdown in the 3rd set as we have been seeing him do lately against both Murray and the Djoker! However, if it goes three, expect Roddick to come out on top(of Roger)!!


jane Says:

lol chippydog “Hopefully, some of his hyperactivity and brattiness will now be soaked up by his sexual activity with Brooke.”

And the “on top” pun was good too. haha.


TD (Tam) Says:

Boy I hope Roddick the pusher picks off Federer so to aggravate Sean further, sheesh.


chippydog Says:

Yep! It’s all in the zone for these guys! As in, “testosterzone”– : qualities (as brawn and aggressiveness) usually associated with males : manliness

We’ll see how it all goes!

Thanks, jane, for the lol!


Von Says:

chippydog: “However, if it goes three, expect Roddick to come out on top(of Roger)!!”

I’m so glad you qualified that sentence. LOL. So much sexiness going on here that it reminds me of “You’re Too Sexy for My Bus”.

I’ve often wondered why Blanche and Jerry aren’t physically present at Andy’s matches. I’ve seen Blanche and Jerry once at Cincy where Andy won and then the 2007 Davis Cup. Apart from that, they’ve pretty much remained home. I suppose Jerry is too busy investing Andy’s money, and Blanche takes care of his foundation. I wonder how much of an allowance Brooke will be given. Enquiring minds want to know, you know. I took the ‘you know’ from Fed’s interviews, etc., you know.


Von Says:

TD(Tam):
“Boy I hope Roddick the pusher picks off Federer so to aggravate Sean further, sheesh.”

Just a guess, but I think Sean likes A-Rod a lot. I mean, come to think of it how could he not like A-Rod since they’re so similar. He writes negatively to provoke us, but I think deep down the guy luvs our Andy; as I said it’s just a guess.


jane Says:

chippydog, keep posting those quips – I think I can sincerely say, most of us love em here (“testosterzone” is another classic).

I’ll root on Roddick to turn that H2H in a less lopsided direction, but if Fed wins, then so be it. I hope it’s a good match, like the one with Haas, and that Andy stays focused on the W.


Mia Says:

If on faster surfaces, Roddick only managed to get two wins (as against 17 losses), how is he going to win on clay — his worst surface — against Federer? Reality check, people.


NachoF Says:

Lets see how Federer does tomorrow… I couldnt stand watching another one of those “OMG where in the world is Federer?” third sets.


sensationalsafin Says:

No way can Roddick beat Federer, especially not on clay.


Colin Says:

The way things have been with Fed the last year or so, I’m surprised anyone even tries to forecast the result of a match, WHOEVER he’s playing!
Of course Roger’s wildly erratic form might in itself give Roddick problems. Suppose Fed has a really bad day and starts spraying the ball all over the place. Don’t they say it’s hard to get into a rhythm against someone who’s playing badly?


Tj Says:

I also think Fed will have a very good chance against Roddick, although a lot of talk about his current form, still not easy to beat Fed. In Madrid, Fed has been playing very good.


margot Says:

Hi Colin: Our man’s doing rather well isn’t he? Especially as it’s clay. I think they’re playing 8-9 tonight but ATP doesn’t seem to be showing it. don’t have Sky, any ideas?
Good luck to Andy R, Novak and Verdasco! Let’s have some upsets at the top!


Sean Randall Says:

Almost-to-form first set. Federer recovers from a 0-2 early hole to win 7-5. Both players are hitting it well, not great. Federer getting a lot of points off drop shots.

Now let’s see if we get some drama in the second.


sam Says:

Sean:

Who are you supporting in this match……….


Sean Randall Says:

I’d like to see Roger get through if only to make the weekend that much more interesting.


Sean Randall Says:

Federer miss hits a sitter BH pass on break point for 5-4. Both guys serving big. Tiebreak time.


NachoF Says:

here we go… third set


Daniel Says:

Fed played an almost perfect second set with no threat to his serve only to play bad on the tiebreak, go fogure! He forced a second serve wide after an aoe in 5-5, weird.

Both are serving great, but they are not going for to much.

What I like about FEd is his backhand, a lot of winners on that side.


Al Says:

That is great that Andy is in a third set. Ihope he can stand firm!


sam Says:

why does Federer serves this well when playing against Roddick…?


Daniel Says:

sam, he only started to serve well in the second set. His first serve percentage in the 1st set was less then 50.


NachoF Says:

Roddick is such a douche….


Daniel Says:

Finally Fed put a first serve in to go 4-1. When he gets nervous his serve desert him, same as tiebrek when Rod leveled at 3-3 after an excelent retun. He has to worj mon this to win against “you know who”.


jane Says:

Fed has been serving a fair number of aces at this event, but his first serve percentage hasn’t been that great/consistent. Even now, well into the third set, it’s only at 60%. Well, it looks like Fed’s got the advantage in this third set now at 4-1, though Andy almost got the break back in the previous game. Regardless, I am glad to see Roddick make a match of it and at least get take Federer to a third set – on clay!


jane Says:

Federer’s not “go away” in this third set. It seems quite clear.


jane Says:

Well congrats to Federer and fans, and good try to Roddick; he made a match of it by pushing things to a third set, so it was a nice effort all things considered.


jane Says:

Fed finishes with 58% first serves, 15 aces (!), and 2 doubles – a strange mix of the fantastic and not-so-great. I wonder how he’ll fare against a really excellent returner if he serves like this? I mean will he still win as many points of his second serve? Hmmmm… maybe as he has a great second serve and if his other shots are more consistent then he could be just fine. I am thinking especially of Murray as an opponent.


Daniel Says:

It seems Roddick spent all of it to win the second set. But for a guy who only played one match in clay in the last 1 and 1/2 months he did great.

Now Fed needs a win over Murray in the semis to boost his confidence in a final.
I don´t think Del Potro has any shot against Fed yet. And Fed x Murray on clay will be more interesting to see.


Von Says:

And, once again, Federer’s confidence gets a boost by beating Roddick!!!! Too bad for Roddick who should have converted in those two games he had break points in the third, not to mention the first set he gifted when he was leading by a break. All things considered, I’m happy Roddick won a set on clay v. Federer, even though it’s his worst surface and was playing match deprived.

Seems like Murray’s angry at Djoko with respect to Djoko’s remarks on the ranking system. Oh wow. I’ve stated previously, and i’ll say it again, Djoko should avoid the press as if they were the plague. Here’s the link:

http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/15052009/58/murray-defends-ranking-system.html


Von Says:

Daniel:

“It seems Roddick spent all of it to win the second set.”

I don’t think he was tired, but angry and began hitting very wild in the third set. No reason why he couldn’t convert on those two games.


Von Says:

“Now Fed needs a win over Murray in the semis to boost his confidence in a final.”

Only to be demolished by Nadal? Why would he want to let that happen again?


Von Says:

jane; “I wonder how he’ll fare against a really excellent returner if he serves like this?”

I think Fed is relying very heavily on his serve to bail him out. I suppose his back’s now OK because his serve is fine.


jane Says:

I do think, as Daniel suggests, that if Federer were to beat Murray, it would be a huge boost to Fed’s confidence since he’s lost several matches to Murray and has one of his worst H2Hs with him. But I don’t know if the fact that this is clay would make much of a difference? Hard to say. But anyhow, Murray needs to get by JMDP first.

I agree with Daniel that if JMDP beats Murray, Federer will win their semi easily.


jane Says:

Von “because his serve is fine.” – Well I don’t know if it’s “fine” in the sense that he’s giving his opponents a lot of looks at second serves if he’s getting in only 58% first serves. However, he is able to slam some aces in there, which helps, but I would think that a really top-rate returner, like Murray, or Nadal, could punish some of those second serves. Federer places them very well but they are not scorchers, so if the returner can get a read on them, then Fed will be pushed into more and more rallies. Which means his game might be more likely to break down.

As for his back, I agree with you; if he can hit that many aces and second serves, it’s got to be fine.


Von Says:

jane: I’m not talking about his service percentage, which is not very bad at all, but the aces and second serves, which he’s able to hit very well, and to me, this is indicative of a back that’s healthy.


margot Says:

von: I thought Roddick played really well considering how little clay court practise he’s had and he was serving very effectively. However, I think he was giving Fed far too much pace, that’s not the way to beat him, you have to slow the game down don’t you. What do you think?
Fingers crossed for Andy M please, no love lost between those two, so should be an interesting match!


Al Says:

Too bad Andy couldn’t hold his nerve or concentration in the third set. Mentally he is just not tough enough. When you really think about it though, he really did well. Andy on clay, he hadn’t played a tournament in a little over a month and then played only 1 match. So I do not think that this match should give Fed a whole lot of confidence at all. After all of Fed’s hard work and playing the top players on clay he really should have won easily in straight sets. I think if Andy M gets passed JMDP, which I suspect he will, he should have no problems with Fed.


I like tennis bullies Says:

I’d like to see Roger get through if only to make the weekend that much more interesting.

::::

whats so interesting about federer losing to murray djokovic or nadal again? the crybaby excuses he makes afterwards?


Von Says:

margot:

I agree Roddick played very well and could have won in straight sets, had he not gifted the first set to Federer. I think Federer will have to think a lot more when next he meets Roddick.

But, of course I’m rooting for Andy M, you can count on it, and I think he’ll win.

Al: “After all of Fed’s hard work and playing the top players on clay he really should have won easily in straight sets.”

I agree Fed’s got to think he’s not playing that well and he’s not going to be brimming over with confidence in his future matches, unless he gets lucky. He should have demolished Roddick considering how Roddick came into their match with so many negatives. I didn’t give Roddick much hope at all going into Madrid, but he made it to the QFs.


jane Says:

For anyone interested: nice, clear streaming for Djoko’s match (not English commentary but the image is great):

http://zulu.mk/kanal5-plus


andrea Says:

roddick and federer matches are usually a battle and especially best of 3…roddick knows he has a chance in 3 to beat fed. in fact, the only 2 times he has beaten fed has been in a best of 3 scenario.

over 5 sets, it’s impossible. correct me if i am wrong but no fed/roddick match has ever gone 5 sets?


jane Says:

“no fed/roddick match has ever gone 5 sets?” Yeah, you’re right andrea. However, I don’t agree with the “impossible” statement, especially the way Federer’s been playing lately. I think if Roddick could get Fed to a 5th it’s possible he’d win.

I am inclined to agree with Al, though, that it’s partly a “mental” thing with Roddick, that under pressure against Roger he may be more likely to cave, just as Federer is likely to cave in a 5th set against Rafa. It has to do with history, and rivalry, and who has the edge. 5th sets are so much about who is playing better. Even sometimes that’s the case with third sets, although I think less so.


jane Says:

Sorry that should be “5th sets are NOT so much about who is playing better.”


Voicemale1 Says:

Murray will outlast Del Potro in a long match, and Federer will crush Murray into the dirt. Djokovic is now up a Set to Ljubicic, so he should move on to the Semis.

Nadal – Verdasco. Brewing minor brawl, IMHO. Not a lot of love lost between these two in real terms. Verdasco has Cahill there supposedly drawing up his X’s & O’s, but I never thought Cahill was as great a coach as most thought. His work with Agassi was about maintenance; Gilbert did all the hard work with Andre. Verdasco will try to rip through the Nadal Forehand with huge flat shots, but the guy has no real touch or feel. And look for him to try a ton and Serve/Volley when serving out wide to the Nadal backhand. Bad news for Verdasco is that Nadal can still get the ball pretty high to his backhand, and he’s famous for Double Faulting. Add in that Nadal has played just one match in 10 days and he doesn’t even get a fatigued Nadal. Hard to see Nadal losing unless he inexplicably beats himself with a ton of errors. The more error free Nadal plays, the more pressure Verdasco will come under to hold his nerve. Having had a walkover to get here, Nadal might be in the mood to start making a statement about his readiness for The French.

In the event of a Nadal-Djokovic Semi you have to like Nadal even more, given that Djokovic is playing for the third straight week – not the ideal time to be facing Nadal on clay. So Nadal should be all set to face Federer, who’s obviously been practicing teeing off from the backhand on the 2nd Serves taking the ball way early.


Colin Says:

Here’s something I hadn’t realised: Not only is today Andy Murray’s 22nd birthday, but May 18th is the centenary of the birth of Fred Perry. I remember when the eldely Perry used to be one of the BBC Radio team for Wimbledon (he had an American accent). A fact about Perry that doesn’t often get mentioned: before his tennis achievements, he was world table tennis champion. Let’s hope Andy won’t be a centenarian before we get another top 5 player!


NachoF Says:

“and Federer will crush Murray into the dirt.”

lol, I wish it was that certain… well see.


jane Says:

Voicemale1, I agree with your assessments re: Rafa/Verdasco and Rafa/Djoko, if that materializes. Djoko’s playing doubles here also, so he’s likely to be somewhat tired in the legs, if not mentally. Djoko needs to try to have more positive body language when he’s leading, even if he makes and error or whatever. He’s got to stay if not more positive and least more even keel. Mind you, for some players the “venting” helps them to focus and move on.

However, as to your other predicitions, I am not so sure that Federer will “crush” Murray; he may have the edge on clay, but that’s an overstatement in my opinion. Murray has a great H2H with Fed and knows how to get under his skin, so to speak. Now, if JMDP gets by Murray today somehow, then perhaps the “crushing” you speak of will come into the picture…


jane Says:

Ljubicic is fun to watch; I like his backhand; he hits it with a lot of ease and gets good clearance on all of his shots.

Happy Bday to Mr. Murray, b.t.w.; I hope he wins today.


Von Says:

jane: “Djoko’s playing doubles here also, so he’s likely to be somewhat tired in the legs, if not mentally.”

When the singles players play doubles they use that match time in lieu of their normal practice time, which shouldn’t make them ‘tired in the legs’.


Voicemale1 Says:

Jane:

No worries. Federer will absolutely dismantle Murray. The bad bounces are gonna bother Murray’s attempt to junk ball Federer far more than they will Federer. And true, if JMDP manages to send Murray packing (which is entirely possible), Federer’s day at the Semi’s Office will be even shorter.


Von Says:

Voicemale1: “but I never thought Cahill was as great a coach as most thought. His work with Agassi was about maintenance; Gilbert did all the hard work with Andre.”

I’ve heard Cahill mention many times that his coaching stint with Agassi was more of a sounding board relationship. Cahill stated that Agassi would outline his game plan prior to a match, and he(Cahill) would say OK. That was a very nice and easy way to earn a paycheck.


jane Says:

Well Voicemale1 it’ll be a bit of a surprise to me if that happens, but i can see what you mean about the bad bounces; Murray should not play passively against Federer, like he did in the first set against Robredo.

Von, it’s true about the doubles in lieu of practice and frankly i think it’s helping Djoko too. However, he’s played a lot of tennis in the last month – reaching finals in the last 4 events and winning one of them, and playing for 3 weeks straight. Against Rafa, that’s not necessarily a recipe for success! Having said that, Djoko played a really nice match against Ljubicic today; he hit some stellar drop shots and at the right moments. He didn’t overuse them, and played great from the back, defense to offense. Good match for him I thought, though he needs to cut down on the errors big time if he faces Rafa next, which, I am almost 100% sure he will.


jane Says:

About Gilbert, I sometimes wonder if he deserves a little more credit for where Murray is at presently in his game and in the rankings. Gilbert had the right ideas with Murray I think.


Von Says:

I think Ljub was extremely tired from his match v. Simon. At times, Ljub couldn’t run after some balls and just let them go. The commentators mentioned his tiredness also.

I think Djoko will have to up his level of play when he meets Nadal or else ….


NachoF Says:

I actually think the easiest way to beat him is to play passively… wait for him to make the errors, he probably will… at some point… thats how Murray has always been able to beat him and thats how Simon has done it as well.


Al Says:

Jane:”About Gilbert, I sometimes wonder if he deserves a little more credit for where Murray is at presently in his game and in the rankings. Gilbert had the right ideas with Murray I think.”

You think so? Many people accused him of not properly training Murray and that is the reason he had so many injuries early in his career when he was with him. I also remember Murray commenting on people not understanding that there is a difference in training a teenager because they are still growing. I got the idea that Andy did not particularly care for him. He seems really content and confident with the present crew that he has.


jane Says:

Lujbicic played an excellent first set and didn’t seem tired to me until the second set, but as Dimon predicted at Tennistalk, Ljub let himself get embroiled in long rallies with Novak, which gave Djoko the edge. In addition to that, Ljub didn’t hit enough aces or have enough easy service games to stay in it. Either way, it was a great result for Ljubicic, and he continues on a roll, and Djoko totally earned his win today in my opinion. That said, what are his chances against Rafa on clay? Not many.

http://www.tennistalk.com/en/previews/20090515/Djokovic_battles_Ljubicic_for_semifinal_spot


jane Says:

Hi Al, ah well, training is something slightly different; I am thinking about strategy. Gilbert encouraged Murray to improve his serve, 1st and second, and also tried to get him to play his opponent more and play more aggressively when he needed to. I think it was Gilbert as well who encouraged Murray to see a sports psychologist to try to rein in his outbursts. Then Murray fired him and hired his current entourage who focused on the lacking fitness, which I think built upon the strategic planning that Gilbert had helped him with. That’s opinion of course, but having listened to Gilbert commentate on some of Murray;s matches, that’s just the feeling I get. Maybe the two had a bit of a personality clash. Gilbert’s somewhat overbearing in that regard (!) but he’s got ideas and an eye for the game imo.


jane Says:

NachoF, you may be right, although those wins by Simon and Murray against Fed were on hard courts. I don’t know if it’ll work to play passively against Fed on clay?


NachoF Says:

It would make a difference if we had reason to believe Federer makes less unforced errors on clay but how does that make any sense?… the bounce is less uniform.


Sean Randall Says:

Bullies, Federer losing to Murray is far more interesting than Roddick losing to Murray, agree?

For his part, I thought Roddick played well today and he should feel encouraged about his performance. Federer should have have closed that out in straights but at least he didn’t go away in the third.

I would say the top players serve well against Roddick because Andy really doesn’t pressure the return much.


jane Says:

If that’s the case NachoF, what do you make of Voicemale1′s claim that the less “uniform” bounce will actually negate Murray’s “junk balling” style against Federer? Just curious. Fed faces only 3 break points today and saved 2 of them. I don’t know about his winners to UEs ratio in today’s match since those aren’t posted on the ATP scoreboard and I missed it on the telecast; did you see those stats? Were his errors really high today?


Sean Randall Says:

And what happened to the talk of Roger not being fit enough for three sets? I guess he must have gotten himself into shape the last week. Good for him.


jane Says:

Today’s third set would support the notion that Fed’s latter set losses are at least partially, maybe even primarily, “mental” since he didn’t “go away” and start spraying balls against Roddick. Rather, Federer still seemed to believe he’d win it and kind of ran away with the third set. It’s true that Fed’s serve wasn’t as consistently pressured as it sometimes is against some of the better returners. One does wonder if the same would have happened against Murray or Nadal for instance; i.e., if Fed would’ve been able to take the third set in that fashion? I guess we may get our answer soon enough. Maybe Fed really has improved his fitness, though? Or perhaps he’s going for a different return strategy as Voicemale1 opined above?


jane Says:

Roddick put up a very spirited challenge today but one thing Fed’s next opponent could take away from today’s match is not to play too far behind the baseline, but to step in and take away time from Federer. At times I thought Andy was too far back and so his shots couldn’t always penetrate the court deeply and force Federer to come up with some serious defense. Still I think Roddick will take away a number of positives from this match and Stefanki and him are sure to work through it.


Daniel Says:

I was just checking the rankings and if Murrays wins this tilte he will be n. 2, 10 points ahead of Federer:

- Murray 9840 pts- Federer 9830 pts


jane Says:

Fed will definitely have more recovery time since he was scheduled first today whereas JMDP/Murray is scheduled last. Djoko and Nadal are in the same recovery boat more or less since Djoko will be playing doubles while Rafa’s playing Verdasco.


NachoF Says:

Daniel is right…. i hadnt noticed how close Murray actually is… even if it doesnt happen here itll happen at the French cause Murray did terribly last year and he probably will do much better this year…. so yes, Federer will be seeded no. 3 when Wimbledon comes.


NachoF Says:

Fed-Nadal Wimbledon semifinal would be the WORST that could happen to tennis….


Giner Says:

Sean, didn’t Sampras and Agassi have children during their careers as well? They still did well toward the end, with Agassi regaining the no.1 ranking from Hewitt in 2003.


jane Says:

Children coming into the picture does seem to prompt, at the least, a dry spell though. Hewitt hasn’t yet bounced back (mind you he had injuries as well). Ljubicic is just now getting into the form he was in a few years back. Samprass slumped after the marriage/kids as did Agassi, initally, didn’t he? It seems to me that the same could happen to Federer though he may bounce back. Anyone know of players – particularly male players and particularly those who’ve been in the top ten – who’ve had children and NOT had it affect their career, at least for a little while?


Skorocel Says:

Sean Randall: “I would say the top players serve well against Roddick because Andy really doesn’t pressure the return much.”

Could be it, but in my opinion, the main problem for A-Rod is that he’s had (and still has) some difficulty with reading the Fed’s serve. If you look closely at some of Fed’s aces today, Roddick didn’t even bother to move when Fed hit them… I mean, it’s maybe nice to hit 15 aces in 3 sets, but let’s face it, Andy’s never been THAT good on return as he was (and still is) on his serve… In other words, with this kind of poor 1st serve pct., one has to wonder how Fed will fare against Murray or Nadal (?)… But then again, when you’re playing Nadal on clay, all it takes for the Spaniard to win the rally on clay (and basically on every surface nowadays) is to just return the serve back – and the rest is nothing but a battle against a wall for his opponents…


jane Says:

That would be a HUGE boon to Murray if he is seeded number 2 for Wimbledon! Wow. And it does seem entirely possible considering he has very little to defend at the French and I don’t think he went too deep at Queens last year either, as he had a wrist (?) injury and gave Roddick a walk-over if I am not mistaken. Plus he won’t lose any Madrid points until October. Meanwhile, Federer has to defend finals results at the FO AND a title at Halle, where both Djoko and Tsonga are headed this year. Hmmm… be very interesting with these new shifts happening.


Skorocel Says:

To Von:

Actually, I’m a bit concerned about that Fed’s back… Don’t know if it’s only my assumption, but I can’t help myself – some of his ball tosses in this particular week seemed somewhat weird… As if he was trying to not go for too much, kind of “saving” himself from a possible pain or whatever…


NachoF Says:

Actually they are “defending” their points at Hamburg.. where Fed reached the finals…


tennisontherocks Says:

‘jane Says:

That would be a HUGE boon to Murray if he is seeded number 2 for Wimbledon!’

Murray could be second ranked in world by then, but Roger could still be #2 seed as Wimby uses special seeing formula. If that truely happens, I can totally see the street protests there to end the special seeding :)


jane Says:

tennisontherocks: “Roger could still be #2 seed as Wimby uses special seeing formula”

What’s the “special” seeding formula? Do tell? I seem to recall something about this but it’s murky.

NachoF: “Actually they are “defending” their points at Hamburg.. where Fed reached the finals…”

I am confused: then why do they say Murray is “defending his title” this week? If they are defending Hamburg? Sheesh, all these changes this year are making following the rankings/points rather difficult.


Sean Randall Says:

Giner, I don’t think Pete had a child when he won the ’02 US Open.

Agassi did win the Australian in 2003 with Jaden I believe.


NachoF Says:

What I mean by it is that if Federer were to reach the finals again this year he would see no change in his points by next week cause at this time last year he was playing Hamburg and those points are gonna get dropped on monday….. points last for a year, thats the only thing you need to understand to get the rankings… 365 days ago they were playing Hamburg so those points are gonna get dropped this monday.


jane Says:

Sean i think you’re right about Pete; it was his marriage to Bridget, then, and not kids, that some of the pundits were blaming for his slump, wasn’t it? I know there was something.


jane Says:

Pretty important that Verdasco held on when he was love-40 down there, but he’s living dangerously if he’s not careful with his serve against Rafa. Credit to Rafa for checking the mark on a first serve the umpire called out, which was in.


NachoF Says:

Just found this article about Wimbledon seedings… apparently Murray complained about them last year…. if hes world#2 and is seeded #3 there really are gonna be riots.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/atptour/2303616/Wimbledon-Seeding-upsets-Andy-Murray.html


ladyjulia Says:

Wimbledon takes into account the performance of the players for the last few couple of years in addition to the ranking..

since Fed has done much better than Murray in that respect, he will be seeded No.2 come wimbledon, whether he is ranked 3 or still 2.


I like tennis bullies Says:

Bullies, Federer losing to Murray is far more interesting than Roddick losing to Murray, agree?
:::

federer losing to anybody is far more entertaining than roddick losing, yes I agree with this.

And what happened to the talk of Roger not being fit enough for three sets? I guess he must have gotten himself into shape the last week. Good for him.
:::

he wont be fit enough once he loses to nadal and the mono/old age excuses come rolling off your tongue


Giner Says:

jane: “Djoko’s playing doubles here also, so he’s likely to be somewhat tired in the legs, if not mentally.”

He’s already admitted to being tired both physically and mentally. This was after his match against Seppi:

“I’ve been playing a lot of tennis matches lately, so certainly I’m exhausted, physically but more mentally,” explained Djokovic. “I think I’m in quite good shape and I worked hard on my fitness prior to this clay-court season and I think it’s paying off with the results. I’m really happy with what I’ve been achieving so far.”

It’s only May. It’s going to be a long season.. Let’s hope he refreshes himself mentally and quickly.


jane Says:

Giner, yeah I think I read that. I hope he can refresh mentally also; otherwise, as you say, it’s going to be a long season. He should be able to bounce back physically with the help of his new trainer, but he needs to stay positive, even after what looks like another likely loss to Nadal tomorrow and a drop 1 ranking place. We’ll see how he handles it; hopefully better than last summer.

I wonder what this means for Djoko’s Wimbledon seeding since he went out early last year; mind you he got to the finals at Queens and the semis at Wimbledon the year before that so hopefully he’s still seeded fourth there.

NachoF – thanks for posting that article; yes I think we may hear grumbles from the press if Murray is seeded #3 at Wimbledon and he has overtaken Fed to # 2 otherwise. However, it sounds like, based on that system, it would be fair enough, considering Fed won Halle and was in the Wimbledon finals last year.


Giner Says:

NachoF Says:

“Daniel is right…. i hadnt noticed how close Murray actually is… even if it doesnt happen here itll happen at the French cause Murray did terribly last year and he probably will do much better this year…. so yes, Federer will be seeded no. 3 when Wimbledon comes.”

I was about to hit the “OH SHIT!” button, but then I remembered that Wimbledon tampers with the seedings. Fed having won Halle and made the Wimby final last year, might still be seeded 2nd even if Murray is ranked 2nd, provided the difference in points is not too great.

Some years ago Hewitt was angry at being seeded 3rd when he was ranked 2nd. Roddick was seeded 2nd though he was ranked 4th, and Nadal dropped to 4th seed (ranked 3rd). Roddick leapfrogged 2 spots courtesy of a Wimbledon final and maybe a Queen’s title the previous year.

NachoF Says:

“Fed-Nadal Wimbledon semifinal would be the WORST that could happen to tennis….”

It wouldn’t be the worst — the worst would be two unseeded finalists. If this was the only way to guarantee a meeting between Fed and Nadal, I would take it. But it really does change the mood of the encounter. They’ve met in GS finals 7 times. It’s a classic rivalry. A semi takes a lot of the drama away.

Even still, it’s a 50/50 chance of them landing in the same half.

Will dropping to 3rd in the world motivate Federer to improve and show Murray (and Nadal) up? His two greatest rivals (as far as head-to-head goes) would both be the two in front of him.

Today’s match against Roddick was a close call, so Fed does have his work cut out for him.

jane: “What’s the “special” seeding formula? Do tell? I seem to recall something about this but it’s murky.”

Ranking points are modified by grass court performance from the previous year, and from the year before that (but only half of it counts). If your lead is big enough, then it won’t affect you. Nadal was seeded 2nd in 2006 despite having more or less zero grass points factored in, while Roddick had plenty. This was because Nadal’s points were just that far ahead of the #3 of the time.

It could go either way with Federer if he’s #3.


Giner Says:

jane:

“yes I think we may hear grumbles from the press if Murray is seeded #3 at Wimbledon and he has overtaken Fed to # 2 otherwise. However, it sounds like, based on that system, it would be fair enough, considering Fed won Halle and was in the Wimbledon finals last year.”

There were a LOT of grumbles from Australia when Hewitt went from 2 to 3 in seed (he never complained about the seeding system in any previous year, strangely enough). The grumbles were so big in 2001 that Kuerten decided to boycott the event when he wasn’t seeded 1.

If this happens to Murray, we’ll see if the All-England Club will stand by their principles or not. I think they will. They are extremely traditionalist. It was amazing that they caved in and awarded women equal prize money. If they change the seeding system, the double standards will hurt their credibility.

“a drop 1 ranking place”

Fed got heat for saying this, but I maintain that it’s true. The difference between 3 and 4 is nothing really. Between 2 and 3, or 4 and 5, there is a functional difference. But 3 and 4 are the same when it comes to seeding. Between 1 and 2 there is only prestige and bragging rights, but that counts for a lot.

He seems to have had solid results lately and looks like he will continue to do so, so he will remain within touching distance of Murray and Federer. The battle for 2nd place may still be raging by the end of the year, which would provide some excitement at least. They’ve all had solid enough 08 points to defend that no one is going to run away with it.

I can’t wait till Fed plays Murray in Madrid. I just can’t call it.


Al Says:

Jane.. what you said about Gilbert helping Murray out tactics wise makes sense. One of the problems that Murray has is he gets way to passive in points sometimes–I do not know if it is his nerves or what. He has to force himself to be aggressive. I feel the same way about A-Rod as well. Way to passive, with his big serve-why does he not come to the net. Especially on grass.


jane Says:

Giner, “I can’t wait till Fed plays Murray in Madrid. I just can’t call it.” I think after watching Murray vs. JMPD, whom you’re perhaps overlooking (?) we’ll know more about Murray’s chances vs. Fed on clay, but I agree with you that it should be an exciting semi.

Also agree that the “battle for year end #2″ could be an exciting one depending on how all these guys continue to play – especially at the slams coming up imminently.


Al Says:

I do believe major changes in your life can cause problems in terms of focus–but I also think the quality of people around you has a lot to do with it as well. I thought that Sampras was very lucky to win the US Open that year-with Andre in the finals. My thinking was mens’ tennis was going through a transition and the younger players had not come into their own yet. I do not think that is the case now. But we will see.


jane Says:

A long but fascinating article on Federer and Nadal’s rivalry and their different approaches to it:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/sl_price/05/14/federer.nadal/index.html

Voicemale1 – you called it on the double faults; Verdasco has more doubles than aces late in the second set. He has to work on a safer second serve tactic.


SG Says:

Scary that Roddick pushed Fed so hard on a surface that doesn’t really suit him. 2 years ago Roddick may have been fortunate to win 3 games a set off Fed on clay. Federer’s return game is starting to slide significantly. He relies an awful lot on his serve these days. Even a tennis genius can’t defy age & pressure forever.


Milo Says:

Funny to see Unc Tony biting his nails and dropping brown ones in the players box. He never looks that worried when The Rafa Bull is playing pretty boy Rog. He knows Fernando has the same secret sauce going that Raf chomps for breakfast. Strange, two Spaniards have the highest racket speed of all on tour. It’s Alex Rodriguez versus Manny Ramirez. Anyone who doesn’t thing its in tennis is deaf, dumb and blind — or an apologist for cheating who doesn’t care about cheating.


SG Says:

Al,

Love this revisionist history stuff. Sampras wasn’t lucky to win the Open in ’02. If you want to take that route, Fed was lucky to win the Open in ’07 when Djokovic basically handed it to him with a Chokovic. Hell, in ’05 Agassi, well past his prime went toe to toe with Fed until he ran out of gas. The Agassi Sampras played in ’02 was better than the Agassi Federer played 3 years later.

Some Federer fans just love to bash Sampras. Maybe Federer’s been lucky. Seems like now that he is confronted by talent comparable to his own, he doesn’t win very much. Maybe his 13 majors are product of some weak competition.

It’s not good to throw out a line like “he was lucky”. Sampras beat every person in front of him at that tournament in ’02. Just as Fed has done in winning his 13 majors. You don’t win 7 matches in a row at the pro level “luckily”.


Milo Says:

Verdasco…el choko! I never said having a steroid and epo cocktail didn’t mean you couldn’t still gag. I guess that’s why it works better in “all engine” sports like cycling. At least there is one guy on the planet who can go toe-to-toe with the bull…before sadly going away like all the rest.


Sean Randall Says:

By the simple process of elimination, this means Murray loses otherwise we get the anomaly of having the Top 4 ranked guys in the Final Four.


jane Says:

Sean, I know it’s early in the match, but if Delpo’s first serve percentage stays around 33%, then we may have that anomaly after all.

Anyone know when the last time the top four guys made the semis was?


Voicemale1 Says:

Jane:

The Verdasco Double Faults are as regular as a time clock. He tries to do way too much way too often.

Great link to the SI story. The author spent 3 pages answering his query of “How Nadal Humbled Federer” when it really can be summed up much simpler, and he even unwittingly proves it in his own piece. We all know how Federer has been his own biggest fan of how artistic, ethereal, and unique his game is. And that’s where he’s now gone wrong: if he truly believes that (and I think he does), then it’s no wonder it’d be extremely difficult for a consciousness that holds such thoughts to see that any changes that must be made, let alone agree to them. So he never really put in the work he needs to do. Conversely, Nadal is nothing but work, so it’s no mystery why he got to where he is.

And his match today will leave a huge dent in the Verdasco confidence. The most amazing thing about Nadal is is refusal to concede anything. When he held in the 2nd Set to go 1-4, he still believed in his heart & mind he could pull this out in two sets. Like Wilander said in the SI piece, with a mind like that and his commitment to keep improving, the sky’s the limit.


jane Says:

Murray’s looking a little lackadaisical since Delpo got the break back; he’d better pick it up. But on another topic, Murray should stick to the black; it looks better than all white on him, imo.

Voicemale1 – yeah the article is a little long but it traces the trajectory well and offers some interesting commentary from other players and pundits.


Kimmi Says:

C’moooooon Murray !!


Daniel Says:

Another math fact, if Murray loses today (as it seems he will – Del Potro is the one being agressive all the time) and if Djoko wins against Rafa (peace of cake!), Djoko will regain his n. 3 ranking.

Other fact, last time Nadal was chasing the clay sweep (winning all 3 Masters in the same year), Fed was the one stopping him, Hamburg 2007. Maybe this will be a redemption tourney for Fed: What would be greater than winning against Nadal, on clay, one week before RG, when it really seems like mission impossible (his come back today from 0-4 was a scary statement)?!


jane Says:

Daniel some interesting speculation there; you’re out local mathematician and thanks goodness for that!

I am surprised at how passively Murray has played thus far, well except for this last service game where he seems to be going for his shots, hitting some lobs, and coming into the net; what’s up with that? Why only now?


jane Says:

“out” s/b “our” thanks s/b thank – sheesh can’t type these days


Kimmi Says:

I am sure Fed will be happy he gets del potro. I don’t think he like Murray’s game.

Murray needs a lot of work on clay. Anyway a round better than last year.


jane Says:

Okay Sean – you’re starting to freak me out with your accurate predictions.

Too bad for Murray today, but JMDP was the fighter throughout almost the whole match. Maybe Murray wanted to get off to his birthday celebrations or something? ~:-O

This was a big win for JMDP as he’s not had many big wins against the guys ranked above him, although he did just beat Rafa in Miami. I wonder if he can beat Fed? Not likely as their H2H is 4-0 in Roger’s favor.

It’s looking like a Rafa vs. Federer final unless Djoko or JMDP can pull off a big upset tomorrow.


Kimmi Says:

Del Potro, another masters Semi, he beats Murray for the 1st time. Can he do the same with Fed ? Federer vs Roddick, what happened to Roddick on the 3rd set, did he collapse or was Federer too good ?


tennisontherocks Says:

good win for JDMP. I was expecting bit of sophomore slump from him this year, but has been super steady and notched another good win after beating Rafa in Miami. Murray has lot more work to do on clay.

JDMP does not have much of a defense, so will not give too much trouble to Roger. everything JDMP does, Roger/Novak do it slightly better. But JDMP has better chance to really impose his game against Nadal (on faster surfaces only) or Murray (if he remains passive).


Von Says:

“We all know how Federer has been his own biggest fan of how artistic, ethereal, and unique his game is. And that’s where he’s now gone wrong: if he truly believes that (and I think he does), then it’s no wonder it’d be extremely difficult for a consciousness that holds such thoughts to see that any changes that must be made, let alone agree to them.”

I believe Fed’s idol was Susan Lenglen, the balletic queen, even though Fed never says so, because she’s a woman. Just a thought. — he does love to extend that backhand, holding it out for a second, and stand in the middle of the baseline like a maestro conducting an orchestra with his baton, oops I mean tennis racquet. Watch the dip of his right toes when he serves, ballet all the way, ha, ha, and narcissism in full view.


gordon Says:

Congratulations to JMDP on well deserved win! Unfortunately, the “No.2 player” is not smart enough to understand how stupid his comments were when he compared himself with Djokovic.
Again “thanks” to the ranking that is consistent from year to year, a “defending” champion will not lose any points, but instead he will gain an additional 30 and if Novak loses tomorrow he will lose 90 points.
But that is ok, since time will show who is better.
We can all learn from Jason Goodwill and Robbie Koenig how to gossip, trash, and cheer for only one side…


Andrew Miller Says:

Eh if Federer plays lunchbucket tennis in Paris I will be happy. I’d like to see him bag Roland Garros.

I would be happier if Roddick bagged Paris, but Paris usually bags Roddick.

I would be ectstatic if the Bag-man himself, Baghdatis, bagged Paris. But the Bag-man usually self-bags these days at Grand slam tournaments.

As for the big bagger, Nadal, well he’s already bagged enough Roland Garros’ for a lifetime. He’ll probably take care of the garbage this time too.


Kimmi Says:

Gordon, Sour Grapes. Murray is # 2. Deal with it !


Andrew Miller Says:

As for bag-ladies, I’d like Miss Safina to take out the trash in Paris.

Maria Sharapova will always bag in Paris, but probably because of the great shopping, not love of the red dirt.

Serena is talking too much trash, so she cant possibly take the haul this time.

Where’s the world’s greatest bag handler, Justine Henin, when you need her?


Kimmi Says:

Sorry, I meant to say “# 3″


Von Says:

SG: “It’s not good to throw out a line like “he was lucky”. Sampras beat every person in front of him at that tournament in ‘02. Just as Fed has done in winning his 13 majors. You don’t win 7 matches in a row at the pro level “luckily”.

Sampras played his heart out in ’02. He was unseeded ad had an extremely tough draw, not to mention the tongue lashing he was receiving from the media, eg., McEnroe and Carillo. they literally made fun of the guy on national TV. then there was Rusedski, who was playing his own bashing games, but Sampras put Rusedski in his place and showed him who’s boss. I doubt the Federer we’re seeing unravel could win a GS being unseeded, because his EASY draws are what has helped him out, especially the ’08 USO.


jane Says:

Andrew Miller – keep em coming; I love the extended “bag” metaphors!


Von Says:

Gordon: “Again “thanks” to the ranking that is consistent from year to year, a “defending” champion will not lose any points, but instead he will gain an additional 30 and if Novak loses tomorrow he will lose 90 points.”

Yes, Djoko should be thankful for the ranking system, because even though he feels it’s cruel, it is fair.


gordon Says:

“Murray is # 2. Deal with it !”

“Sorry, I meant to say “# 3″”

Quite a convenient slip of the tongue.


Kimmi Says:

“I doubt the Federer we’re seeing unravel could win a GS being unseeded, because his EASY draws are what has helped him out, especially the ‘08 USO.”

What was easy about USO 08 ? and all other 12 GS he won ? Hard to accept, I know. Federer 13 GS, you can compare Eras, players, draws etc but what matters is – he won them all.

Now, what he needs to do, is to shut up all his haters and bag another one, easy or not. But I am sure nothing about fed will shutup his haters…so life carries on.


Al Says:

Jane thanks for the article. My goodness, I did not know that Roger made statements about himself like that. That is just awful. I mean you can believe it but why say it.

Poor Murray he just didn’t have it today. I guess he should feel good about getting this far. All in all a good tourney for him.


andrea Says:

clay is becoming murray’s achilles heel. too bad. i was hoping for a fed/murray semi. about time that fed turned things around against murray.


FoT Says:

To all you guys who already had Murray in the SF… that’s why we play the game. *wink*


Von Says:

Kimmi: “Now, what he needs to do, is to shut up all his haters and bag another one, easy or not. But I am sure nothing about fed will shutup his haters…so life carries on.”

Why is it when anyone speaks the truth, which is not what you want to hear, they automatically become ‘haters’. Is that the only word you and those who use it, can come up with if it’s not what you like to hear? Don’t impose on me your limited thought processes, it doesn’t work, and BTW, lose the tantrums, will ya.


Kimmi Says:

Von, I am talking about federer haters and thats is not insulting you but you on other hand you are insulting me.

“Don’t impose on me your limited thought processes”

I don’t need this, but thanks anyway.


Skorocel Says:

Milo said: “I guess that’s why it works better in “all engine” sports like cycling.”

LOL :-)))))


Von Says:

Kimmi: “What was easy about USO 08 ? and all other 12 GS he won ? Hard to accept,…

Isn’t that insulting me? You’re implying I can’t accept the reality of the situation, but that’s where you’re way off. Then you further write about ‘haters’. Why would you arrive at such a conclusion? Is it only ‘hate’ that’s the motivating factor and one which drives people to analyze and comment? I’m a tenis supporter and I see good and bad in all of the players, hence my good and perceived bad comments. I’m sure you wouldn’t have come to the conclusion of people or ‘me’ being ‘haters’ had I not mentioned the easy draws.


Voicemale1 Says:

Kimmi:

I agree with Von – you’re the one who needs to shut up about “haters”. Just because we don’t incessantly fawn over Federer’s every flatulence doesn’t mean we hate him. In fact, most people here treat him with the respect he’s earned.If anything, it’s he himself who opens up the scrutiny by saying what he says.

Read just about any transcript of a Federer press conference after he loses a match. He routinely attaches blame to either illness, his tender back, the other guy was lucky – a whole host of “external” forces. In a way, it’s the same manifestation of what the SI article speaks about. Federer deeply believes that his game is so technically and artistically superior to anyone out there that when he loses, in his mind it’s inconceivable that someone else just played better than him. So ergo, why would he see the need to improve when he sincerely doesn’t feel like any of his losses are because someone else played, or is, better? How else to explain his continuing losses to Nadal in the same way: letting Nadal brutally break down his backhand ad infinitum? Or more accurately, breaking down his right shoulder from the backhand side, so that when he has to hit his favored forehand his shoulder can’t even function right because it’s exhausted and numb. The longer he clings to the notion that his virtually unchanged game will somehow resurrect and again start destroying those out there now with no real effort on his part, the more the mounting losses will continue to baffle him. Pointing this out in various ways does not make someone a “hater”. What it does is make someone who labels such a person that way ( like YOU) a blind Federer sycophant or apologist. A Federer Kool-Aid-Drinker, if you like.

Federer has carved out a career that’s not likely to be equalled in any of our lifetimes. A record 237 consecutive weeks at #1; 10 Major Finals in a row; and what I think is his greatest achievement – 5 straight titles at the US Open, given how many guys play their best on hard courts. And what’s more, not even Sampras managed to stay in the thick of every tournament year round as Federer did at his apex, 2004-2007. Hard Courts, Clay, Grass, Indoor – Federer made it deeper more often through the whole calendar than just about anyone before him. However, it’s not a blindness, and it’s not hatred, to say that a run such as that is sunsetting, as it always must. As I’ve said before, the game of Tennis is bigger than any of it’s practitioners. And that includes Federer.


Skorocel Says:

Voicemale1 said: “How else to explain his continuing losses to Nadal in the same way: letting Nadal brutally break down his backhand ad infinitum?”

The question is, CAN he really do something to solve this? As you may know, stylistically, this is the most fundamental problem for Fed when playing Nadal – and it’s of no surprise that it works against him the way it does… Nadal’s lefty FH “ubertopspin” (as you like to call it) to Fed’s BH will ALWAYS be a major problem for Fed, no matter how good his onehanded BH may or may not be… You may think he’s stubborn (which he may indeed be), but the real question is: IS there anything for Fed which can be done to solve this problem? I doubt there’s something… He can’t change his BH to a double-handed one at 28 or start suddenly hitting BH winners of that Nadal’s topspin – it’s just impossible for him to do that! It’s just a BAD MATCHUP for Fed, and it’ll ALWAYS be, period!

People often tend to talk that Fed’s best vs Nadal’s best is better and so on, but that just ISN’T the truth. At least certainly not on clay… I mean, it’s not as if they’ve played 2 or 3 matches against each other. They’ve met 19 times, and 13 times Nadal came out as the winner… In other words, it’s not as if Fed didn’t try to change something… Indeed, he did try, but it just didn’t work – simply because there really isn’t that much he can do…


Voicemale1 Says:

Skorocel:

To answer your question of “..CAN he really do something to solve this?”, I turn for an answer to Robert Landsdorp, the most dedicated proponent of the Reverse Forehand, the very shot Nadal keeps burying into Federer’s backhand. Landsdorp advises that the Reverse Forehand’s spin is somewhat different than a traditional Topspin Forehand; the ball isn’t sitting where Federer thinks it is when he starts his swing towards it. This is what messes up Federer’s timing. Landsdorp suggests what Federer needs to do is hire a lefty that hits an pretty solid Reverse Forehand, and stand out on the practice court for hours and hours and hit “a thousand frickin’ balls to his backhand and take it early every single time” (Landsdorp’s quote, not mine). He says Federer too often waits for that shot to come to him so he can get to hit it at waits level rather than shoulder level.

So according to one of the legendary developers of talent, there is a way. Federer just hasn’t done it. And Landsdorp also suggests that the reason he hasn’t done just that is because it’s the “work” Federer either stopped or never did want to do, which is again reflected in the SI piece Jane posted here.


Kimmi Says:

Voicemail1 – I agree Federer has issues about his personality – arrogance, stubbornness etc – people have come up with a lot of expressions. But personally i don’t care about that, what I am/was watching is Federer’s Tennis. I think during his heydays he was sublime to watch.

My only issue is the easy draw excuse that keeps comes up very often, trying to discount Federers achievements. The guy won 13 GS, easy draw or not – I think we should give him credit for that. A lot of other players had the same opportunity during his era but he was the last one standing.

So you see, that was my only issue, I would never try to justify about what he said because I would not have a clue. I hope I am clear.


Von Says:

Voicemale1:

Thank you for clarifying that situation. A wonderful voice of reason! If it’s one thing I’m not and that is a ‘hater’. I don’t even like to hear the word spoken because the emotion attached to it is extremely potent and damaging to all concerned.

I’m beginning to think my boss is correct when he stated several weeks ago that “I’m way out of my league posting here”, after my perceived Wikipedia plagiarizing act, which was very hurtful considering I don’t have an appreciation for wikipedia and never use it. I thought when he mentioned that, he meant I didn’t have enough tennis knowledge to comment on a forum, or I wasn’t adept at dealing with some people. However, he elaborated that I was at a disadvantage with some who are of different mind-sets, etc., and from different professions.

Even though I might not choose other players as my ‘faves’, I still see good and bad in all of them, and I give compliments and criticisms as I see fit. If I can’t do this, then I’d say I should quit my job, because I was thought to view all angles and come to an unbiased conclusion, which is what I try to do here. However, God knows this is an extremely difficult task when interacting with the fanatical and linguistically challenged, or those who are comprehension deficient. Hate seems to be the alpha and omega in how they interpret comments, which they don’t like.

I was annoyed with the ‘hater’ designation emanting from Kimmi, because if there’s any one person who truly manifests that in many ways, it’s Kimmi. She openly wishes that someone should emerge to ‘beat’ and or probably demolish Nadal. Now, I’m not a full-blown Nadal lover, but by the same token, I’m not a hater, and the same goes for Fed and Djokovic. I do however, champion their causes as I see fit, and on the other hand, comment when I feel they are wrong. I, at times, root for them to win, as I did in the ’08 USO for Fed, and Nadal to win his last two matches v. Verdasco, becuse I felt he’s deserving of title more than some of his opponents, unbeknownst to his fans.

I’m thankful that there are some tennis supporters who can comment logically here without blind worship, e.g., you Voicemale1, MMT, Giner, Kroll, and some others. It makes all of the discussions more meaningful. After all we can’t sound like a chorus of all fanatical praisers can we? It would be tantamount to blind worship, which is only reserved for a higher power and not mankind.

‘As I’ve said before, the game of Tennis is bigger than any of it’s practitioners. And that includes Federer.’

Mazeltov, and again thanks for being an unbiased voice of reason.


Voicemale1 Says:

Von:

You’re welcome :)


Von Says:

Voicemale1:

“Landsdorp suggests what Federer needs to do is hire a lefty that hits an pretty solid Reverse Forehand, and stand out on the practice court for hours and hours and hit “a thousand frickin’ balls to his backhand and take it early every single time” (Landsdorp’s quote, not mine).”

Funny you mention practicing of that shot by Federer. I once read where Federer stated after he fired Lundgren that he began studying the shots of the greats before him, e.g., Sampras, Edberg (who he claimed was his idol, but changed that to Pete after their friendship began) and a few others. He went about his incorporation of those shots by practicing each one until it finally began to take root in his repertoire. He practiced and then incorporated, practiced and incorporated, until he manifested an artistically and technically sound basis, and the end result, he manufactured a style that befuddled his opponents = Federer wins. I know most of his fans ooh and aahh about his genius and his artistry, but I beg to differ that Fed’s not that much more superior in the genius department than his colleagues, due to what I’ve read. Also, Nadal is a sound manifestation of someone who took his limited game and has now evolved it into a weapon beating and demolishing all others — A case of where practice makes perfect.

I know you’ve probably seen that Landsorp tip on the Reverse Forehand from the Tennis Channel, where I’ve seen it too. Question: don’t you think Murray uses Tarrango’s change-up drill, aka, Santoro’s game style, in his repertoire? Some of Murray’s no pace shots reminds me of Santoro.

Speaking of Lansdorp, I always wished Roddick would have spent some time under the tutelage of Lansdorp. With Andy’s gifted arm (and that’s a natural gift) coupled with Lansdorp’s tactics, I think he would have made a heck of a super athlete, e.g., Sampras, Davenport and Tracy Austin, who are all Lansdorp’s serve proteges. Oh well, wishful thinking, will make beggars ride ‘horses’ (NachoF note, right spelling) wouldn’t it?


blah Says:

Federer will beat Del Potro then go on and most likely lose to Nadal(unless Djokovic pulls off an upset) in the final again. Del Potro seems to give Murray some problems, a harder match up for Murray than Fed, but I still don’t buy him being a slam contender. His backswing is long, his attack game isn’t that great, he can’t cover court as well as the top defensive guys, and he doesn’t have a serve a player his size should have.

The gap between Roddick and Federer is closing- in another year or two Roddick may be the better player if he can keep his fitness up. For me the biggest question right now is can Federer reach the wimbledon finals this year- one would be able to really get a close look at just how far his game has declined come grass season. You also have to wonder whether Nadal’s body can hold up during Wimbledon; ao, hard court title(s?), four clay titles, fo, and then queens, that’s a pretty tiring run for anybody.

Murray still has too many lapses; the thing with him is concentration, and sometimes you wonder why he returns to his former passive-defensive form. He’s on the rise, though I don’t think he’ll do a lot in FO or Wimbledon this year. Also, people should take off their homer glasses and see that the ranking system is entirely fair. The Djokovic fans complaining about it right now wouldn’t be complaining when u.s. hard court season comes and when Murray has a bunch of points to defend. Oh,and Djokovic will also gain on Murray in wimbledon, as long as he doesn’t doublefault every service point in a game and lose in the second round like last year again.


blah Says:

Ha, I see the ranking predictions were brought up in this thread. The biggest error Sean made (and I made this error as well) was predicting Gasquet as #8 player by the end of the year. I think I’ll stop rooting for any french players for a while. Their game tease and excites and then they go on to disappoint.


Kimmi Says:

Von, if little things like “haters” makes you go so uptight, then I have run out of words to say. My discussion was mainly about his easy draw in the GS. Now if words “federer haters” makes you feel like I have insulted you then sorry man. was not my intention. But you know what, i do hate Roddick sometimes when he bullies umpires and I bet he would not even lose some sleep on that.

Hate them, love them i don’t care. I just want to duscuss tennis.


vared Says:

Fangirl Kimmi strikes again. LOL


Kimmi Says:

vared LOL LOL


Von Says:

Kimmi: “My only issue is the easy draw excuse that keeps comes up very often, trying to discount Federer’s achievements. The guy won 13 GS, easy draw or not – I think we should give him credit for that. A lot of other players had the same opportunity during his era but he was the last one standing.”

Who says anyone is discounting Federer’s achievements. Here again, a manifestation of your preceived bias, and what’s the basis of your conclusion? It’s called constructive criticism and you should be open to it. Don’t preach that which you don’t practice. It’s a known fact the top 4 do get easy draws, whether you want to admit it or not. Fact: Federer had a very easy draw in the ’08 USO, and that’s the truth. He was further enabled by the rain.

It’s very easy for a No.1 player to beat a player who is ranked 180. There’s a reason why that player is ranked 180. It’s one of the reasons i don’t like the draws because I don’t feel that a top player beating someone who’s such a poor opponent is fair competition. It’s also why I don’t see it as any great demonstration of where a player is at in his game if he beats someone 10 years older. I think the fair competition begins at the R16 in GS, but more at the QFs level, where they face seeded and/or top 10 players. Anyway, that’s just my train of thought, and I feel I’m entitled to voice my thoughts.


Kimmi Says:

You know what Von, forget about what I said on my previous post. Because I just realise I am not sorry after reading your post still insulting me.
I start to understand slowly what kind of a person you are and maybe just maybe I should stay far far away. Have a good night.


Von Says:

Kimmi: “Von, if little things like “haters” makes you go so uptight, then I have run out of words to say. My discussion was mainly about his easy draw in the GS. Now if words “federer haters” makes you feel like I have insulted you then sorry man. was not my intention. But you know what, i do hate Roddick sometimes when he bullies umpires and I bet he would not even lose some sleep on that.”

First off, DON’T call me MAN, when you know full well that I am a WOMAN, be civilized. I don’t think you of all people should talk of becoming uptight. You jumped at me for saying: boy meets girl, then they get married and then babies. According to you I was slamming Fed. Everyone else was saying some of that stuff, in jest, or otherwise, but you chose to PICK ON ME.

“Hate them, love them I don’t care. I just want to duscuss tennis.”

Then talk tennis ONLY, the game that is, and leave out the personal hits, if that’s what you feel is necessary. Thanks for telling me you don’t like Roddick, no problem, I can live with that, and I won’t discuss him with you. it’s one olf the reasons I didn’t answer som e of your questions pertaining to his fines, etc., because I saw you were looking to take a swipe. another was, why Nadal complains, and you din’t like my answer that you should ask him. Anyway, the question you should ask yourself, can you live with anyone else’s criticisms of your darling Federer? BTW, don’t go there with the umpires, they ALL do it. Find Youtube on Wimby ’07 final Federer v. Nadal, and you’ll see bullying, where even HE was cursed with some F bombs. Also, you ant to see Fed’s baby behavior, watch MC ’08, Hidalgo -Ramirez v. Fed. Live by the proverb: let he who is without blemish, cast the first stone”. Can you do that, MAN?


Kimmi Says:

Von, I am talking about your post at 9.28pm.


Voicemale1 Says:

Von:

My Landsdorp information came from an interview he gave to Tennisplayer.net, John Yandell’s site. Since Landsdorp is a contributing writer to that site, Yandell thought he’d ask him about the current Federer-Nadal situation. Yandell is a professed Federer fan, but this interview, taken shortly after the Australian Open this year, is one where Landsdorp was rather harsh on Federer. In fact, it was a step short of just plain scathing of Federer for his crying jag. What struck me about it was that Landsdorp is an “insider” of professional tennis (unlike the rest of us who view from the outside looking in). If he had thoughts such as these, I wonder how many other former players and other insiders let Federer know exactly what they thought of his break down too?


Von Says:

Kimmi: “I start to understand slowly what kind of a person you are and maybe just maybe I should stay far far away. Have a good night.”

Why, because I’m not feeding your addiction? E.g., the “I want for someone to beat Nadal” hate train. I realized a while back what you were like, e.g., your interaction with Zola, and it’s the reason why I backed off, and told you I didn’t want to get into any discussions. I love the transferrence of guilt nonsense ala those who’ve gone before you, keep it up, and you’ll see how far it will take you.


jane Says:

blah says, “Oh,and Djokovic will also gain on Murray in wimbledon, as long as he doesn’t doublefault every service point in a game and lose in the second round like last year again.”

LOL blah. It’s true Djoko played a brutal match against Safin last year; it was painful to watch.

But why do you think Djoko will gain on Murray at Wimbledon? I guess he can gain a little if he goes deeper than the second round, which he should, but Murray could, probably even should, go deeper than the quarters on the SW19 grass this year. Plus Djoko has to defend a Queen’s final last year, whereas Murray only has quarters.

All in all I agree with what Giner posted above, that the “number 2 battle” could rage on until the end of the year. There could potentially be ups and downs all the way through the fall if all of the guys in number 2 striking distance (Fed/Murray/Djoko) play fairly well and consistently – defending and gaining bits.

It’s true the ranking system is fair; it’s important to be able to defend as well as win points, and much as I like Djoko he hasn’t defended any titles yet from last year. So he’s lost some ground. Meanwhile Murray’s picking up new points, and as you say is “on the rise” (sounds like bread, lol). Thus, the rankings reflect that.


Von Says:

Voicemale1: “My Landsdorp information came from an interview he gave to Tennisplayer.net, John Yandell’s site.”

Sorry, I thought you were talking in general with respect to Landorp’s serve drill, tips, etc., as shown on TC. If you play tennis, I think the tips that are shown are extremely helpful to amateurs. I’m sorry I didn’t have TC when I was learning to play, and now sadly, I can’t play at all — I’m ala Sharapova’s injury.

“If he had thoughts such as these, I wonder how many other former players and other insiders let Federer know exactly what they thought of his break down too?”

Certainly makes one wonder, doesn’t it? I think this is where Pete, as a true friend, should talk to Federer, but I’ve a feeling they are not as close as we’re led to believe and it’s somewhat lopsided.

thanks for men tioning that site. I’ll try to find it and bookmark and/or subscribe to it.

I suppose then my question on the Tarrango change up drill wouldn’t make any sense to you since you don’t watch Tennis Channel. Perhaps MMT could give me some input here. I see Murray’s game somewhat similar but much more powerful than Santoro’s. What do you think?


blah Says:

To be fair, Fed didn’t have that easy of a draw in u.s. 08 now that I’ve checked it. Even though I mentioned the draw helping him out in that particular tournament in another thread, it looks like it didn’t help him out that much. He would have had to play 5 seeded players had Davydenko or Gasquet made it to the quarters. (he ended up playing The Worm (28),Andreev (23),Djokovic and Murray(rain did help him here, but no one saw that coming)

I think we may have memories of him having an easy draw because he played an unseeded Muller in the quarters. Meanwhile, Nadal had an incredibly easy draw. Every player he faced was unseeded until he got to Murray. Sampras was brought up, and he faced five seeded (33-Rusedeski, Hass 3, Roddick, a #24 player who I have never heard of, and Agassi(6) in the finals.

I doubt Federer can win a slam if he’s unseeded and playing anywhere outside USO or Wimbledon, but if you switched him with some other players in last year’s draw, (if you put him in the 17 seed that pete was in, or if you switched him with Roddick -yes Roddick had a tougher draw ;), I could still see him getting to the finals.


jane Says:

Von, not to interrupt, but you raise an interesting point about Murray emulating some aspects of Santoro’s game, and sure enough Murray himself has stated in past interviews how much he loved to watch Santoro play. Their match at Wimbledon last year was a fun one to watch – don’t know if you saw it.


Von Says:

blah: “The biggest error Sean made (and I made this error as well) was predicting Gasquet as #8 player by the end of the year.”

I think the majority of us made wrong predictions with respect to Gasquet. He was a player just in the wings waiting to burst onto the scene big time, however, he just couldn’t mentally do it. So sad for such a huge talent. Now he’s talent, but what good has it done for him?


Von Says:

jane; No, I didn’t see Murray v. Santoro, but I would imagine it was fun. It’s sort of looking in the mirror, a younger version of a fantastic player. I also didn’t know Murray likes and admires Santoro, so thaks for sharing.


blah Says:

Jane- I think if Djokovic’s head is in the right place, he’s a better player, in my opinion, than Murray when one is talking about clay and grass. He only has to defend 70 points on wimbledon and even though he got to the finals, only 310 in queens. That’s say they both reach the semis in wimbledon; Djokovic would gain 400+points on Murray. I think the key is to see if one of them can take the u.s. open with the tired Nadal and the declining Federer this year, then they would really be challenging Federer for the number two spot.


jane Says:

Blah, Fed faced two qualifiers (#118 and 137) before he got to the worm.


Skorocel Says:

Voicemale1:

Well, Landsdorp certainly knows a lot more about tennis than we, mere mortals, do, but still, I’m not quite sure there’s something which could help Fed to overcome that eternal problem which he faces everytime he plays Nadal… I admit, I’m not quite into all those discussions about reverse / traditional / whatever type of forehands, eastern, southern and whatever grips, and other technicialities (since I’ve never played tennis neither on a club nor any other level), but that doesn’t mean I can’t see the most obvious…

I mean, it’s easy for Landsdorp to say Fed do this and do that, but the fact is, thus far, there hasn’t been even one single player who could cope with that Nadal’s shot ON A REGULAR BASIS… We’re yet to see a player who would simply walk on the court and say: “F.ck off your ubertopspin, I’m gonna rip 1000 winners right through it!” Nadal’s FH is just that good…

One would say – let’s look at Blake and Youzhny. They, just like Fed, both have onehanded BHs, and used to trouble Nadal in the past, but well, what’s the score now? Gaudio? Indeed, this guy is actually the only living soul who owns 2 or more wins against the Spaniard on clay (3 to be precise), but that was before Nadal became Nadal… Nalby? He bagelled Nadal in Paris 2007 only to be bagelled in their most recent encounter at IW 2009… The same for Murray or Djoker – they, just like Nalby (who too plays a doublehanded BH), may have a certain edge over Fed in the BH department, but still, they’re yet to beat Nadal on a CONSTANT BASIS – even on hard courts… Actually, Nadal’s 5-2 against Murray and 5-4 against Djoker in matches played outside clay, and that pretty much says it all… As strange as it may sound, Fed is actually the only player who has thus far managed to win 5 or more matches against Nadal (6 to be precise), of which all but one were outside clay… Of course, a lot of this has to do with Nadal’s mental strength – which is simply made of steel, to put it mildly… In other words, we’re yet to see Nadal’s ultimate nemesis – a guy, who will have absolutely ZERO fear of the guy, just like Nadal has no fear of Fed, Murray, Djoker, and others… We’re yet to see a guy who would come on the court and say: “No matter what you do Rafa, this forehand / backhand / serve / whatever of mine will be THE LAST SHOT in the rally!”

As much as I like Fed, I just don’t think there’s anything which would help him to solve that Nadal’s FH… He can hire thousands of sparringpartners, even Nadal himself :-), but that onehanded BH will sooner or later crack in the rally… And even if he reduces the UEs (which in itself is more than difficult against Nadal, whether it’s your BH or FH or whatever), he will NEVER be able to hit winners or put a constant pressure off his BH when facing Nadal, NEVER! In 90 % of the cases, it will always be a defensive shot (or a shot which simply does no real harm) and sooner or later, Nadal will exploit that and start taking the initiative in the rallies… I may be wrong on this one, but that’s how I see it…


Kimmi Says:

Jane; With DJokovic good run of form, he should gain quite a bit of points at Wimbledon. He has shown before he can play on grass. I don’t think he will again come up with somebody like safin in his draw and even if he meets Safin, he is has a 80/10 chance of beating him this time.

Murray and to some degree Djokovic have not shown great consistency yet at Wimbledon but things look like – this could be their breakthrough year.
If Fed reaches the final in Madrid, at least it will help him to maintain his lead for a little longer. The draw here seems to have opened up for him. But still, a final in FO and Wimbledon will be tough.


jane Says:

Okay blah, I can see it now that you give me the math; I am an English major, so unless someone gives me the numbers, it’s all “Greek” to me? I don’t follow points too much (i.e., what events/ rounds are worth), though I am aware what results/rounds players are defending as I remember how the tournaments play out pretty well.

BTW, it’s true about the Frenchies being big teases. I keep expecting big things from Tsonga, but alas not yet. Not since that AO final run last year have we seen him totally on fire, although he played some nice tennis to win some indoor hard events, including his home Paris Masters Series.


Skorocel Says:

Correction: “they’re yet to beat Nadal on a CONSTANT BASIS – even on hard courts…” should read “they’re yet to beat Nadal on a CONSTANT BASIS – even outside clay…”


blah Says:

Jane- I think it’s one unseeded and one qualifier, but most seeded players get the same treatment. (two unseeded or lower.) I don’t think that’s enough for one to say he won mainly because of the draw, whereas if he had gotten Nadal’s u.s. open draw last year and won the whole thing with the rain delay help thrown in, one can say it was more luck than performance in that particular tournament. I do remember Fed getting easy draws in past French Opens though,and that’s the one tournament where I would say that if he were to get a bad draw this year, I could see him not reaching the second week.


Von Says:

blah: “Meanwhile, Nadal had an incredibly easy draw. Every player he faced was unseeded until he got to Murray.”

He did, and I remember stating he could take a seista and wake up at the QFs.

“Sampras was brought up, and he faced five seeded (33-Rusedeski, Hass 3, Roddick, a #24 player who I have never heard of, and Agassi(6) in the finals.”

Sampras had to work magic at that slam. I was, (and still am), a huge Sampras fan at that time, and I can’t tell you how badly I felt when Johnny Mc and Carillo were making fun of Pete on TV. I rooted for Pete to beat Roddick, so you can tell how much I loved Pete and wanted him to win. My heart went out to him. The media and/or some so-called friends can be so cruel.

“I doubt Federer can win a slam if he’s unseeded and playing anywhere outside USO or Wimbledon, but if you switched him with some other players in last year’s draw, (if you put him in the 17 seed that Pete was in, or if you switched him with Roddick -yes Roddick had a tougher draw ;), I could still see him getting to the finals.’

I don’t think Federer can, and I’d like to be proved wrong, but he’s been spoilt with playing easy early rounds competitors, which makes me wonder how he’d fare in an unseeded GS draw. Only time will tell though ….


blah Says:

Jane- no problem, the new rankings breakdown feature on the atp site is quite helpful. Speaking of Nadal’s one handed backhand crushing topspin forehand, there is still one single handed backhand that can give him trouble, but unfortunately he is now facing a possible suspension. Nadal actually stayed away from Gasquet’s one hander when he played him, now how many people can make Nadal do that? Ugh.


Von Says:

jane: “I keep expecting big things from Tsonga, but alas not yet.”

Be careful what you wish for considering he’s a very formidable opponent for Djokovic and has somewhat got his number, when he’s feeling healthy. ha ha.


jane Says:

Oh wow. I still can picture that Gasquet vs. Nadal night match in Canada last year where Gasquet won a scorcher of a tiebreaker. It was so fun to watch; what a shame he’ll be suspended if all pans out accordingly. Mentally, though, Gasquet could never get it all together and he broke down playing against Rafa in that match. I thought that perhaps after he beat Roddick at Wimbledon in that super entertaining 5 setter in 2007, that it might be his break through party, but it was not to be…


jane Says:

Von, yeah Tsonga can push Djoko but then it’d just be a challenge for Djoko to overcome. And who knows? Maybe he would? Their matches have often been very close and Djoko did win the most important one. :)


jane Says:

blah, thanks for this tip – “the new rankings breakdown feature on the atp site is quite helpful.” – I’ll check it out.


Von Says:

“Nadal actually stayed away from Gasquet’s one hander when he played him, now how many people can make Nadal do that? Ugh.”

I’ve noticed one very stark commonality with the one-handed back-handers, and that is how very impotent their back-hand becomes as they enter their mid-to late twenties; it becomes their albatross. Look at Blake, Youzhny, Federer, and Haas, they have all become pushers of the ball when hitting their back-hands. It’s the reason Nadal just keeps peppering the BH in these guys and have been able to demolish them with his two-handed BH plus his power. This is where Gasquet has the edge due to his youth.

Nadal is scared of Nalby’s two-handed BH too, but for a different reason. he knows Nalby doesn’t posses his power, but Nalby is technically sound and very spot-on hitting his two-handed BH.


Skorocel Says:

blah said: “Speaking of Nadal’s one handed backhand crushing topspin forehand, there is still one single handed backhand that can give him trouble”

——————

http://www.atpworldtour.com/tennis/3/en/players/headtohead/default.asp?player1=nadal&player2=gasquet

Still not enough?


Voicemale1 Says:

Skorocel:

Love how you oh-so-gratuitously give Landsdorp his due as more knowledgeable, then go on ad nauseum to tell us you really don’t think he knows as much as you think you do. I’ll need to remember you think your opinion outweighs a professional’s observations :)

First of all, the single handed BH’s of Blake & Youzhny are NOT what troubled Nadal. On hard courts when they beat him they were successful when hitting through his forehand with THEIR forehands, not their BH’s. And he never played Blake on clay, which would have been a disaster for James had that happened. The reason the H2H’s have turned is simple. Nadal has improved his serve, and has flattened out his backhand, true. But his biggest change, believe it or not, has come on the Forehand side. High Speed video shows that up until late 2006, Nadal’s takeback on the forehand was deep: his elbow was literally behind his back on the FH windup. This made it MUCH easier to force him to hit the ball late on that side. Starting in 2008 at IW, video showed a marked change: Nadal’s takeback on the FH side was considerably shorter – much more in line with his torso and no longer behind him. So he not only was able to take it earlier, he still was able to impart his heavy topspin with little trouble. No longer could Blake, Youzhny Berdych or anyone else hit though his FH anymore like they could, and he’s been able to beat them on the hard courts where he used to lose to them. THIS is the kind of adjustment that Nadal continually makes, and it’s the kind of adjustment that will keep him exactly where he is for a year or two yet. It’s also the kind of adjustment Federer feels like he doesn’t need to make, so he doesn’t. But he’s paying the price for it now. Because let’s remember, it’s not Just Nadal who’s troubling him. Murray has beaten him in their last four matches, and Djokovic in their last two. Federer has lost his last 11 matches collectively to the three other guys in the Top Four.


blah Says:

Von- I agree. If one wants to hit back a ball with power using the one hander, one has very little room for error, one also has to get there a bit early to start the backswing, especially in this era of higher bouncing balls and topspin heavy strokes, to connect on the shot. Once you lose a few step- it’s either block it back or slice, slice, slice. Even though backhand is often cited as Sampras’ weakness, the shot could hold its own in his earlier days, and he could hit a few winners and even last and win some backhand to backhand rallies. As he got older, it truly became a weakness. The difference between him and Federer though, Sampras had a big serve and volley game to bail him out in the later days, Federer doesn’t.


blah Says:

Skorocel- I never said Gasquet is a better player than Nadal, but if you watch the matches you’ll notice Nadal dislikes going to Gasquet’s backhand, and I can’t find another case of Nadal actually avoiding the one-handed backhand side of another player.


Von Says:

blah: Yes the slice back is what Fed is trying to do now in lieu of his one-hand BH; he used it yesterday v. Roddick and a couple of times it went into the net or just sailed. He gets away with his BH and slice when playing the slower movers, where he has some extra time to set up, but not so with Nadal and Murray.


blah Says:

Haha I just read up, and see why Skorcel is being so defensive:

“there hasn’t been even one single player who could cope with that Nadal’s shot ON A REGULAR BASIS… We’re yet to see a player who would simply walk on the court and say: “F.ck off your ubertopspin, I’m gonna rip 1000 winners right through it!”

Now that you mention it, I think that’s exactly what Gasquet’s backhand says. Nadal’s forehand forces one handers to make an error and also to block it back right to his forehand, but Gasquet makes less than five errors on his backhand side per match and can direct the shot wherever he wants- cross court, straight ahead toward his opponent, inside out. He doesn’t even have to use the slice shot. Keep in mind he hits these remarkable winners while being far back in the baseline most of the time.

Gosh, has it gotten to the point where saying Nadal’s forehand can destory all one handed backhand strokes except one player’s is considered an insult to Nadal? If I recall, the first round player Nadal played last year in a slam, Phau, also had a jumping one handed backhand that smacked winners off of Nadal’s incredible god-like can do no wrong forehand. =)


blah Says:

Also- I guess I am done bringing up Gasquet. No use in thinking what could have been. Hopefully he can overcome his drug problems and turn his life around. It is obvious now that the fragile mentality exists in his life, not just tennis. Hopefully he can come back in two years and pull off a great story or something. Even if he does not return, best of luck to him.


jane Says:

“Even if he does not return, best of luck to him.” Indeed blah. I hope it all works out for Gasquet, come what may. He’ll be missed, though, if he does not return.


Giner Says:

blah: “You also have to wonder whether Nadal’s body can hold up during Wimbledon; ao, hard court title(s?), four clay titles, fo, and then queens, that’s a pretty tiring run for anybody.”

People are quick to point out that Nadal’s seasons typically trail off after Wimbledon and his hard court credentials leave a lot to be desired. Can anyone not see why?

It’s not because he’s inept on hard court. It’s because he does very well in the first half of the season instead of just ‘well’ all year round. If the clay season traded schedule with the US hard court season the results should be different.

Von: “Fact: Federer had a very easy draw in the ‘08 USO, and that’s the truth. He was further enabled by the rain.”

‘Draw’ may not be the correct word. I think you mean to say that the opponents he faced were weak. This is a debateable point, after all he did have to beat Djokovic and Murray back to back. How much tougher can it get? But the point is, the tough people in his ‘draw’ are not necessarily the ones he ends up meeting, if they go on to lose to someone else (e.g. Nadal). That’s not really his fault and he has no control over their ability to make it to him. He could have faced better opponents in the later rounds, they are there, but they lose and you can’t take anything from him because of it.

Lleyton Hewitt winning Wimbledon, now THAT was a flukey draw. His opponent was some very low ranked 20 year old Argentine kid playing his first ever grass court tournament. An Argentine in a Wimbledon final? Your guess is as good as mine. He made it to the final because.. he too was given an extremely fortuitous series of opponents on the way to the final.

The only noteworthy opponent Hewitt had was Tim Henman who he routed in the semis, but Hewitt owned Henman. Henman was just an easy matchup for Hewitt. He had a 7-0 or 8-0 record against Henman before Henman finally won one (and only one).

I can’t be bothered checking who was in Federer’s quarter in 08 USO. You can argue that he had weak players in his quarter, but he is meant to. That’s how seeding and draws work. Even if he had a number of good players in there, he can’t meet them all because they eliminate each other. The tough opponents he was expected to meet would come in the semis and finals, and he got Djokovic and Murray, which is tougher competition than Hewitt had at Wimbledon.

A slam that Federer really deserved to win was the 04 Australian Open where he faced a number of foes who had superior records against him (Hewitt, Nalbandian, Ferrero) followed by Safin.

I will concede that Federer gets lucky with rain however. At Wimbledon in 07, rain delays made players play back to back in the second week. Wimbledon refused to play on the middle sunday because of ‘tradition’ even though they were behind schedule. Federer always being first out got all his matches done and then had a walkover against Haas, so he had about 4 or 5 days of rest before the final, while Nadal whose matches were delayed had to play every day during that period.

Thankfully Centre Court has a roof this year.


funches Says:

This idea that Del Potro is better on hard courts than clay needs to be consigned to the waste basket.

He won the first two titles of his amazing four consecutive tournament victories last summer on clay. This is his first clay-court season since he became a great player. I love the way his game sets up for clay – huge forehand that he can hit for winners on any surface, and slower courts that allow him to get to balls he can’t reach on faster surfaces. HIs lack of speed really hurts him against the big guns on any other surface.


Milo Says:

Skorocel,

Your comments concerning the bad pattern, bad match-up for Fed versus Nadal are so based in reality. Your analysis also tops Lansdorp’s “lying eyes” view of what Fed might do at this stage. Lansdorp is not really a teacher of creative, tactical tennis — his plan with students like Austin, Davenport, Sharapova & Sampras was to make them the dominant ball-striker of deep corner golden arrows (sort of what we saw Del Potro accomplish against Murray yesterday). Very repeatable no frills stuff. I seem to recall Lansdorp was not a fan when Pete Fischer decided Sampras was going to dump his best shot — a two-handed backhand — for a classic one-hander. Lansdorp was right. There is no reason Pete couldn’t have kept an on-the-rise Agassi-style two-hander and stayed in attacking mode. Pete with an Agassi two-hand return and that serve would have cashed in 23 Majors.

Nadal’s crosscourt superspin forehand is essentially exploding up off the court like a dynamited topspin lob. In the history of modern tennis, no one-hander with an eastern backhand grip used by Fed & Sampras, has ever been able to handle that. Because an eastern grip prefers to hit at waist height, they are forced to take Nadals ball where it is carrying the most mass and spin. Forget it…turn out the lights.

No matter how much he practices, Fed will never beat that shot with his eastern. The inherent weakness of the arm, the weakness of the grip, and the inability of one-handers to whip the forearm windshield wiper with a wrist snap (as all the top forehands do), means the problem is far deeper than buying a ball machine, or hiring some lefty basher as a hitting partner. It’s like that kids game…scissors beats paper every time.

Now the only one-handers which have a chance on Nadal’s crosscourt forehand employ at least a semi-western grip, where you can still snap it pretty well at shoulder height (Gaudio, Guga, Gasquet, Mauresmo…with Amelie having the strongest shoulder of the bunch). Even then, to say these players ever dominated Nadal with their backhands is a huge stretch.

Really only Nalbandian has the modern snap and pure technique to trouble Rafa. Nalbandian is actually Rafa’s superior, but is hindered by a bit of the doughnut belly and too many $$$$ already in his Swiss bank account. Not to “go Frankenstein” on everyone, but Nalbandian’s game style on a fitter, hungrier athlete, would be handling Nadal and taking Majors. Only Davide looks comfortable playing Nadal (I’ll throw in Verdasco, but he’s not in the discussion as a lefty). Only Davide consistently exploits Rafa’s ping pong style court positioning, where he’s always cheating to get forehands.

I’d say Del Potro is Nadal’s worst match-up in the coming years. To trouble Nadal, you have to be able to snotbust a two-hander crosscourt, right back to his forehand, where he’s daring you by leaving that side 60% open. Fed cant’s do it. Murray’s two-hander crosscourt doesn’t have enough heat. Novak can sort of do it. So JMDP serving up to his heights potential, and ripping big one-dimensional deep corner balls, will be the match-up to watch in the future.

There have been the odd wins, where Fed, Blake and Youzhny copied Rafa’s silly forehand runaround style and beat him to the punch with inside-out forehands to Nadal’s forehand corner, before he could start grinding his forehand to their one-hand backhands. But that strategy is dangerous since you are giving up court position to a guy who has proven he will fight and run. Better to play balanced court positioning like Davide and Del Potro, then torch the ball.

All that said, Fed has let down the purists, or tennis fans of the classic game, by not finding new and interesting ways to lose to Rafa. Merely losing the same way seems a waste. He is one of only a handful of players with the skills required to even attempt creative tactics to frustrate Nadal.


PietjeP Says:

Milo;

I think Fed has his negative H2H Rafa based on a couple of things. And it’s not especially the lefty, topspin forehand vs backhand talk.

- Nadal is the better fighter, more mental power. I can name about 5-6 matches Fed should/could have won (even a couple on clay), but he didn’t so credit to Rafa. Specially that AO final, where he looked to be on the ropes a couple of times, but still emerged a victor.
- Many of their first 10/12 meetings were on clay, which kind of defined their rivalry early on. Say they would be on grass, hard courts, things would probably look different. Although it is surface bound, it still gets to your head losing 5-6 matches in a row.
- A lot less pressure for Rafa always. Even today when Roger loses to Rafa, all eyes turn on Roger. Like it’s not acceptable. Nobody “blamed” Nadal for losing the first 2 of their Wimbledon finals, but for Roger to lose the French open finals, it was opposite. Even if Rafa would lose the next FO final to Roger, I think there will not be much negative. As opposed to Roger losing the next Wimbledon final again to Rafa. The pressure difference was understandable early on, but the last 2-3 years a little odd if you ask me.

I liked that article in SI about their rivalry, it pin-pointed the problem for Roger 100%. But he is a stubborn guy… so I guess nothing will change. If you do what you did, you’ll get what you got.

I think he got the skills, he got the talent. He needs to find a game plan and believe in himself. But like Mats Wilander sad already in 2006; he doesn’t have the balls to play Nadal.

Pietje


Milo Says:

PietJep,

I don’t necessarily disagree with you, but the left-hand patterns Nadal presents are especially damaging to Roger’s runaround-his-backhand style. Roger is a master at running around and tagging second serves from a righty (usually a kick serve). He lives on this play, but because Nadal can easily carve a slice 2nd serve that is bending away to Roger’s backhand, one of his main winning ploys is totally taken away.

Roger, in the Sampras mode, counts on his well disguised serve to garner cheap points in one shot. Rafa (and Murray) gets a ton of his serves in play. Roger really wants the returner to “go big” and give him cheapies.

Roger likes to dump in short chips and draw his opponent forward awkwardly — but Rafa gets there so fast and has a safe nuclear forehand that can hit clean winners. This play kills Roddick but is worthless against Rafa.

Roger loves to run around his backhand in a rally and hit inside/out forehands to a right-handers backhand. When he does this play, he hits it inside/out about 80% of the time. Rafa knows this and the shot is coming right in to his lethal forehand which he can whip both ways while Roger is now out of court position. Here again, we have another bread-and-butter Roger play that works great against righties, but is far less useful agaisnt a lefties forehand.

So yes, clearly Rafa is the superior grinder/fighter, but Roger never planned to go dig it out of the dirt. He designed himself to win with high tech Star Wars shotmaking. The problem is, all his best plays are greatly negated by Rafa’s leftiness…and yes, superior strength and fight.

Tale of the tape:

Heart: Rafa
Forehand: tie (both heavyweight forehands)
Backhand: Rafa (Nadal’s backhand can handle Roger’s forehand far better than Roger can handle his)
Serve: draw (Roger has the better serve, but since Rafa can force Roger to only hit backhand returns…he earns a draw)
Volleys: Roger (but rarely does he get to the net, so this is usually meaningless)
Tactics: Rafa (he creates better winning patterns in this match-up)
Post match crying: Roger (by a mile)

On paper, Roger shouldn’t beat this guy. On my TV he doesn’t either!


Voicemale1 Says:

Milo:

The One Handed Backhand Grip is not called Eastern. “Eastern” by it’s definition and nature is a type of Forehand Grip. The Backhand grip is called exactly that: the Backhand Grip. And it’s either Classical (Index Knuckle and Outside Palm resting on the First Bevel) or Extreme (Index Knuckle and Outside Palm resting on the 8th Bevel – like Guga & Justine).

Federer certainly could make changes in dealing with the Reverse Forehand he keeps getting. Guys like Djokovic, Murray, Davydenko and now Verdasco have all played Nadal much more tightly because they don’t wait for his topspin to get too high. And I don’t know you, but I’ll be confident that Landsdorp has probably forgotten more about tennis than anyone who posts here will ever know in their lifetimes.

And agree on Nalbandian, in my opinion the greatest underachiever in tennis. He could have been a very rough customer for Nadal when healthy & fit. Just like he has been to Federer. Nalbandian owned Federer for the longest time. He’d won six of their first seven matches, and only in the Fall of 2006 did Federer edge ahead in the H2H – by which time Federer had won 9 Majors. Their H2H is still extremely tight today, one match away from being deadlocked: 10-8 in favor of Federer. Nalbandian’s backhand could diffuse anything, even the two best forehands of the generation; Federer & Nadal.


Kimmi Says:

I hope Novak make a close match today or even a win, the conditions here should allow him to go for it.

To those people that I have offended on the comment I posted on May 15th, 2009 at 7:27 pm. I went back and read thru again and realize that my comment was probably out of order on that occasion. I know that I cannot take it back so the only thing I can say is sorry. Thanks.


Kimmi Says:

A double fault on breakpoint?? from RAFA ?


PietjeP Says:

Milo;

You are mostly right in your analyses about their strokes. But it depends on the surface. (Roger’s serve is better than Rafa’s on hardcourts and grass)

Having said that, most of the advantages or being equal in some departments is because of Rafa being a lefty in this situation. I think if it would be cross backhand versus cross backhand and forehand vs. forehand, Roger would have the better strokes, certainly on the forehand side.

Now; then we would come back at the lefty stuff. Sure it makes it a little more difficult for Roger, but with the right game plan and the right mindset he should get the job done. I’m not saying the H2H should be the same as with Roddick (Rafa is too good of a player for that), but it should have been in Fed’s advantage and he should have bagged a couple of more clay court victories even.

For me the winning solution for Fed against Rafa is to move him around the court. Mind you; the full court, not just left to right. Front and back. If he could mix it up with some changing attacking and defense tactics and he reaches a good 1st serve %, he has a good chance.

Anyway, Fed needs to change something. But deploying the same tactics and mental lapses against Rafa, he will get the same results…

PietjeP


Skorocel Says:

Voicemale1: Thanks for putting me in the right place… The game of Tennis is indeed bigger than any of it’s practitioners or followers, except you and Landsdorp, that is.


Voicemale1 Says:

Skororcel:

Any time.


Giner Says:

Peitjp:

“I can name about 5-6 matches Fed should/could have won (even a couple on clay), but he didn’t so credit to Rafa. Specially that AO final, where he looked to be on the ropes a couple of times, but still emerged a victor.”

By the same token, you can also argue that Rafa should/could have won Miami 05 and Wimbledon 07. It’s even. You win some tight ones, you lose some.

“Many of their first 10/12 meetings were on clay, which kind of defined their rivalry early on. Say they would be on grass, hard courts, things would probably look different. Although it is surface bound, it still gets to your head losing 5-6 matches in a row.”

It would look different, but would it be in Fed’s clear favour? I’m not so sure. He only leads 5-4 when you discount all clay matches. The first time they met was on a hard court where Fed was newly minted #1, but Nadal broke him 3 times and never offered Fed a look at a BP of his own.

“A lot less pressure for Rafa always.”

This is because Nadal is a master at rejecting pressure. Fed was always under pressure because he was the one chasing records, while Nadal was just a rising up and comer. Even in Paris Nadal would call Federer the favourite even though the rest of us knew better.

Nadal called it a ‘dream’ winning 5 MC titles. If that’s a ‘dream’, then winning a 5th RG title would be pure fantasy. If he loses, he’s already given himself a license not to be disappointed.


Milo Says:

Voicemale1,

Your issue with the grip is just semantics. Even with a one-hand backhand, you can phrase the grips in the exact terms as a forehand. You could hold it with an actual eastern forehand grip and have a really crappy backhand (or use that and flip it over with an elbow leading push like Franciose Durr). You could use McEnroe’s continental style. You could hold it between a continental and an eastern backhand grip and enjoy hitting knee-high balls. You could have Roger’s eastern and want to hit at waist-high, or you could crank it a notch stronger and love to whack it at shoulder high with what could be phrased a semi-western. All this basically a statement of where your grip would feel most comfortable hitting the ball. Now I’ve never seen it, but I guess you could even try the equivalent of a western one-hand backhand grip…though you’d have to immediately drive one-handed to the emergency room to save your dying elbow. I’ve got tons of tennis instruction books often speaking of Kramer’s or Lendl’s “EASTERN” backhand grip (i.e. a grip that wants to hit the ball naturally at waist high…just like the eastern forehand).

Call Lansdorp a genius if you like, but having watched him teach and viewed the best players he’s produced, it’s obvious that his thing isn’t really about Einstein tactics and creativity. His players employ boring tactics and very little spur-of-the-moment strategy. He loves to teach deep driving groundstrokes hit from a strong forward position on the baseline. To say he has some great understanding of artistic, deceptive, court aware tennis is flat out wrong. I’ve never seen a smart heads-up Lansdorp player. Never an ounce of McEnroe or Rios magic. Since he always wanted his players controlling the point, they all were terrible at reading and reacting when put on the defense.

Look at his best students?

Tracy Austin — Little Tracy, a deep steady backboard with zero imagination and court sense. Tracy would even moonball with Chris to the point where the oldest members in the crowd would beggin to die of old age (or hope to die to end the misery).

Lindsey Davenport — High tech deep corner first-strike bashing, with the fight and passion of a “Peace Cow.” Lansdorp made her a champion with her ballistic ball-striking. All her points played out in the same pattern. Did she have any sense to read the opponent like Hingis or Murray? NO! Did she have any clever plays? NO! Was she the most boring player ever? Yes. I’ve got blow-up Swedish stewardess dolls that bring more imagination to the table.

Maria Sharapova — Do you want me to go on? Mindless basher who has to control the rally from shot number one or she’s lost. Nice career, but in trying to over-swing since you were eight years old, it has a way of blowing out one’s shoulder. Great idea for her to copy Nadal’s awkward forehand follow-through against Lansdorp’s better judgment. Try teaching that to the Yankees pitching staff and they’d have you arrested. And again, Britney Spears finger-painting in Kindergarten showed more flair than any shot sequence Maria ever thought up. Or more likely never taught by the one-dimensional Lansdorp style.

Pete Sampras — Lansdorp as the groundstroke legend was one of many coaches for Pete, so he’s not that relevant to Pete’s overall style. But that said, Pete was a beautiful swinger of the racket, yet employed very basic, almost mundane patterns.

Tell me who taught Mecir, McEnroe, Rios, Hingis, Murray, how to play, then you have someone who is “in the know.”


Milo Says:

PietJep,

I go along with that. Fed at Hamburg a few years ago worked some patterns that looked like he could milk into the future — but strangely he left them in his next few Nadal encounters.

Never underestimate the power of even a crappy slice lefty serve on grass. The low hop and score so favors a southpaw. A righty only gets two game winning scores in the deuce box, where he can slice the ball wide (40-15, 15-40). And he’s usually playing another righty, so it is less damaging going to the returner’s forehand. In the ad box, the lefty can swing a righty off the court and force him to hit a backhand on SIX game winning scores (40-love, love-40, 40-30, 30-40, Ad-in, Ad-out). When players are separated by very little, this adds up to a lot.


Von Says:

Milo: Thanks for not bashikng Sampras.


Voicemale1 Says:

Milo:

I didn’t call Landsdorp a “genius”. I said he had a lot more insight about Tennis than anyone who posts here. That’s one of the downsides of message boards: people prove that their extremely limited knowledge are relatively equivalent to someone who actually does know. On this message board, Skorocel is the greatest example of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.

As for your list of comparisons of Landsdorp students to your own “artistry” list, it makes me laugh. Every one of Landsdorp’s students is a multiple Majors champion, while three on your list have zero Majors Championships on their resume. So for all of what you claim is Rios’ “artistry”, or Mecir “artistry”, it never did him much good about winning Grand Slam events, did it? By the way, there is another more accurate moniker to apply to of people like Hingis, Mecir and Murray – and it’s not “artistry”. Every tour player will call what they did/do exactly what it is: Junk Balling. Hingis & Mecir were blown off the court by superior aggressive power every time. No matter how “artistic” you think they were, the Landsdorp type of flawless power ball striking (which all of his students you listed here could do, ad infinitum) crushed these people just about every time.

Most idiotic about your critique of Landsdorp students is that you find them “boring”. This is just pure stupidity. These players are not out there to entertain you. They work harder in a day than most people work in year or more. This is the spotlight of the Message Board Opinion Syndrome: it’s a Petrie Dish of equating Opinion (you, Skorocel) and Insight (Landsdorp, and people who’ve actually made a living through Professional Tennis). I’ll guarantee Landsdorp knows now, and has already forgotten more, about tennis than you will ever know. At least if you reply to my post is any indication.


Skorocel Says:

“On this message board, Skorocel is the greatest example of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.”

Indeed mate, this is a message board. If you don’t like it, then too bad… Anyway, keep posting your tennis lessons, I can’t wait! I’m sure your friend Landsdorp will be enthralled by the insights of the “greatest example of a too much knowledge being a dangerous thing”…


Skorocel Says:

“Flawless power ball striking” = ouch!

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