Federer Breaks the Curse; Sampras as Pioneer
by Dan Martin | June 14th, 2009, 10:35 pm
  • 168 Comments

To Boldly Go Where Others Failed to Go

Roger Federer’s victory at the French Open is something that will be an integral part of how his career is judged. Roger is still a moving target so it is not entirely clear how to judge his place in history, but his win in Paris is a cornerstone if not a keystone for his career.

Federer’s French Open title is that important because he succeeded where others failed. Roger Federer is more baseline oriented than John McEnroe, Stefan Edberg, Boris Becker and Pete Sampras were. Still, aspects of his game are descendants of these fore-bearers. McEnroe’s artistry, Edberg and Sampras’ movement and at times Becker’s emotions are encapsulated in Federer.

I want to quickly examine the best showings that these four champions had at Roland Garros. In 1984, McEnroe likely should have won the French Open before losing a two set lead to Ivan Lendl in the championship round. In 1985, McEnroe meekly bowed out to eventual champion Mats Wilander in the semifinal round. In 1989, Stefan Edberg should have won the French Open as he dropped a two set to one lead to seventeen year old Michael Chang in the final round. In 1991, Edberg entered the French Open as the #1 seed only to lose a four set quarterfinal match to eventual champion Jim Courier. Boris Becker reached the semifinal round on three occasions losing to Mats Wilander in 1987, Stefan Edberg in 1989 and Andre Agassi in 1991. Pete Sampras lost quarterfinal matches to Andre Agassi in 1992, Sergi Bruguera in 1993 and Jim Courier in 1994. In 1996, Sampras lost a straight set semifinal match against eventual champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

With the exception of Becker’s 1989 loss to Edberg, all of those who failed before Roger lost to a patient player with more consistent ground strokes and better clay court stamina. Sound familiar? This was Roger Federer’s fate between 2005-2008. Rather than spreading his losses among the best defensive players of his day, he accumulated four losses to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros along with a slew of losses to Nadal at various clay court events. Repetition of opponent did not buck the overall trend. Roger Federer faced a French Open curse that had not been solved by previous greats.

Roger is more baseline oriented than his fore-bearers, but clearly more similarities exist between Federer and McEnroe than between Federer and Courier. Similarly, Nadal shares a grinding philosophy with Courier, Lendl and Wilander. Federer succeeding where his kindred players failed is a great measure of his career. He did so by being consistent enough to take advantage of an opportunity. McEnroe could perhaps have won in 1982 when Bjorn Borg was retired, Guillermo Vilas was old, and Mats Wilander was green. No one forced Mac to make his charges in 1984 and 1985 only. Becker was in serious contention three times and came up empty. Federer put himself in contention five times and eventually hit pay dirt. Clay rewards consistency; my guess is history will too.

Pete Sampras Changed the Horizons of Men’s Tennis

Pete Sampras won his twelfth major with a straight sets victory over Andre Agassi at Wimbledon 1999. Sampras and Roy Emerson were tied for the most Grand Slam singles titles. Sampras played excellent tennis during the 1999 Summer only to have a freak back injury force him out of the U.S. Open. At Wimbledon 2000, Sampras was hobbled by a foot injury but worked his way through the draw to reach the final. Patrick Rafter was points away from a two set lead, but Sampras managed to level the match in a strange second set tie breaker. Sampras then pounced and took the remaining two sets and sole possession of the all time singles Grand Slam title record with thirteen. Pete did not win another tournament for over two years.

September 2000 saw Marat Safin pummel Sampras in the U.S. Open final. In 2001, Roger Federer eliminated Sampras at Wimbledon in the round of 16, and Lleyton Hewitt made Sampras look slow and old at the U.S. Open. Whispers and doubts mounted as Pete headed into 2002. He lost to Marat Safin at the Australian Open and somehow crashed out of Wimbledon with a loss to a less notable Swiss player, George Bastl.

Sampras ended his career with a magical run to his fifth U.S. Open title and fourteenth major title. Along the way he silenced Greg Rusedski, avenged a Summer loss to Tommy Haas, took his only victory over Davis Cup buddy Andy Roddick and ended his career with a thrilling win over his peer Andre Agassi.

When Sampras decided to retire in 2003, he had to feel that his record number of major titles would stand unmatched for quite some time. Since the 2002 U.S. Open 26 majors have been held, Roger Federer won 14 of those events. Pete’s record being matched numerically and surpassed in terms of variety in under seven years has to be a bit of a shock. Yet, this is no reason to not appreciate what Pete did.

Becoming a legend in a sport is not a zero-sum accomplishment. Usain Bolt’s 2008 Olympics does not erase Carl Lewis’ sprinting career. Roger Federer’s career numbers are already gaudy, but that does not diminish the legend of Pete Sampras. This is true on two fronts: the raw numbers of what Pete accomplished still stand and the psychological horizons Sampras opened for younger players will continue to impact the game.

Here are some of Sampras’ accomplishments. Sampras is the youngest ever U.S. Open champion. He won seven Wimbledon titles in eight years. He finished a record six years at number one. He was ranked number one more weeks than any other player in the Open Era. Pete Sampras played with class, oozed respect for the history of the sport and won big while suffering from anemia.

Prior to Sampras, a young pro might have set an arbitrary ceiling for his career. Ivan Lendl and Jimmy Connors won eight majors. John McEnroe and Mats Wilander won seven. A young player might think to himself that is what excellence allows for in men’s tennis. Maybe an exceptional player would look at Bjorn Borg’s eleven major titles and think this is the ceiling. After all, Emerson’s twelve majors were won when the pro tour and amateur tour were separated. Pete Sampras sent the message that if a player were talented, self-disciplined and professional, he could exceed the seven or eight majors that seemed to be the best one could hope for in a career.

I think Federer winning fourteen majors on three surfaces in such a short period of time is an almost unreal accomplishment. Federer has achieved the sublime. I am not sure Federer ever would have done this without the knowledge that it could be done in a career. For that knowledge, Federer owes Sampras a thank you.


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168 Comments for Federer Breaks the Curse; Sampras as Pioneer

huh Says:

Kudos to Dan Martin ! For me, this is the best tennis article Ever! A Perfect piece for tennis lovers.


huh Says:

Pete and Fed are my FOAT !


Dan Martin Says:

Thanks. I love tennis history. I met Bud Collins in 1999 when i lived in Rhode Island and came away liking the guy a lot. I think he may be a little less sharp in his observations these days, but maybe I can be the new historian of the sport. History is what makes these achievements mean something. Thanks! Best compliment ever for a tennis article.


TejuZ Says:

Dan.. this is nice article :-)


Dan Martin Says:

I do think it would be cool if Federer and Sampras entered the doubles draw together at Indian Wells next year.


skeezerweezer Says:

Dan,

Great article, kudos to you, I enjoyed it also!.I think it is very cool you and Bud met!

However, I have always had a soft spot for Bud since i grew up wathcing him and his insights and interviews, so until he is gone, you are #2. ha!
BUT, when he is gone I will look to you!

And, you are right on about seeing Fed and Pete playing some doubs together. How about against Mac and Martina? Whoa! I won’t go there. I’m out


Von Says:

Dan, as usual, a very nice article!

“To Boldly Go Where Others Failed to Go”

Seems like you’ve watched your fair share of Captain Kirk’s and Captain Picard’s explorations. Watching Star Trek re-runs is part of my nightly routine, aside from Tennis, of course.


Dan Martin Says:

Von, I have not seen the latest film, but I have watched enough late night TV to also have a soft spot for several of the series.


Von Says:

Dan:

I’ve been able to see some Star Trek movies recently, such as ‘Nemesis” and ‘Generations’ but like you, I’ve not seen the new movie and am eagerly awaiting its showing on TV — I don’t like crowds, and cinemas have crowds. I like Mr. Data’s character best of all. i don’t like bald headed men, but I do find Patrick Stewart to be somewhat sexy. Of course, I don’t expect you to agree with me, because your wife might begin to have some doubts about her husband, and we can’t have that happening, can we? I’m just being facetious and mischievous here. LOL. I certainly wouldn’t say this to Sean Randall, but you’re more, well, unlike Mr. Data and seems to be a teddy bear sort of guy. I know Sean will chide me some more now. LOL.


Dan Martin Says:

Not sure what to say, but I think my style is less confrontational than Sean’s. I have some views on tennis players etc., but outside of Vince Spadea few pros really irk me. Sean did a tremendous job of having so many write ups during Roland Garros. I also think too many non-controversial postings might leave tennis-x needing a new name.


Von Says:

“When Sampras decided to retire in 2003, he had to feel that his record number of major titles would stand unmatched for quite some time.”

I’ve seen Pete in an interview on the Tennis Channel wherein he stated he felt fourteen (14) majors was enough for his record to hold up. His crystal ball clouded up, and he didn’t see Federer in the background, wagging his finger saying: ‘Just you wait Pete Sampras, just you wait’. I stole that line from My Fair Lady, Eliza to Professor Henry Higgins.

I disagree that Federer accomplished his fourteen majors in a short span of time. It’s a matter of yes and no. Considering Federer has been on the tour for 11 years, I don’t think that’s a short span of time, however, it’s his four (4) year domination, which is a major accomplishment, by winning 12 slams in that period of time, is what most people focus on and consider a short span of time. As a whole, a player’s accomplishments are based on his entire career and NOT on a four-year period. It’s similar to what some people say of Nadal that he’s only 22, now 23, and has won 6 majors, but they are not looking at the whole picture and/or his entire career as a pro, considering he’s been a pro for 9 years, hence the ‘Only 22 years old’ is not so significant if we were to look at the bigger picture. Sampras’ slam record would have looked more impressive had he not been on and off the tour from injuries, for the last two years prior to his 14th slam win. Sampras most probably could have won his 14 slams in a lesser amount of years.


I can kick your a** on the tennis court Says:

Dan, what a refreshing piece. From a reader’s perspective this site often goes a lot into the negatives of the sport which has its moments of unapologetic criticism, fun and gut-twisting reading — hence the “extreme”. But sometimes it’s a bit overkill with all the knuckleheads posting here.

Your article is pure appreciation and admiration, vivid insight and to the point. The site needs more journalism like this: “extreme appreciation”!

Thanks, dude.


Von Says:

Well, this slogan’s site is: Dysfunctional Tennis Blogging at its Finest, hence it’s alright for ‘Mr.’ Randall, (notice the handle) to be confrontational.

Seriously though, Sean’s articles are very timely, and most times to the point, generating a lot of comments while raising the ire of many, myself included. I admire his very glib answers and his imperturbability — he sure can dish it out and can handle the criticisms that ensue, with guns a blazin’ or is it blazing saddles. LOL. Way to go Mr. Randall! He’s going to get me for this!


Von Says:

correction: Well, this slogan’s site is:

s/b ‘this sites’s slogan’.


Sid Says:

Nice article. Surely one of the more intelligible one I have read. Most other ones are just taking sides in “Is Fed the GOAT?” argument…. which is really redundant to ask

You have done a nice balance. Maybe you could put Rod Laver into the comparison too. I think Federer has still not given up on the calender grand slam dream. Roger sees Laver as an inspiration for doing that.

In my opinion Fed’s 4 year run and 20 straight grand slam semis’s record is brilliant and should last for a long time… But the best part of his game is the way he plays. I was just seeing the 2004 US open final highlights at youtube. You just cant help falling in love with his style of playing and his domination.


Shan Says:

Federer is da bomb


Dan Martin Says:

I should have been more clear that Roger won 14 in a short period of time from winning the first to the 14th. He won 14 out of 26 slams. Add in 5 runner-up finishes and that is a scary performance over 26 events. In 2002 Federer lost to Haas in 5 sets who subsequently lost to Safin who lost to Johanson at the Australian Open. I always wondered if Federer had beaten Haas if he would have won the event. Then again Roger before his period of dominance had that 1st round loss at Wimbledon 2002 and first round losses at the 2002 and 2003 French Opens.


Kimo Says:

Dan:

It’s interesting that you’d mention Fed’s losses in the first rounds of Wimbledon and the French right before his era of dominance began.

Losing to Ancic in Wimbledon 2002 was a little upset, but Ancic is a formidable on grass. No one was surprised, however, when Fed lost in the first round of the French, because at that time his game was clearly not suited to clay. It shows you how Federer is not just a man who was blessed with extra-ordinary talent, he’s also a fighter. It’s sometimes easy to forget that because his game is so fluid and effortless and because his nemesis is the ultimate tennis warrior. Fed has come a long way when it come to his clay court game, a fact that demonstrates his genius.


MMT Says:

Kimo: “…when Fed lost in the first round of the French, because at that time his game was clearly not suited to clay.”

Federer is so good that his very good clay results pale in comparison to hard court and grass court results, but I wouldn’t say his game isn’t well-suited to clay – just not as well suited as Nadal’s. After all, 3 of his last 6 titles have been on clay and nobody has reached more finals at the french open consecutively than him – he is even with Borg and Nadal at 4.


TejuZ Says:

MMT said “After all, 3 of his last 6 titles have been on clay and nobody has reached more finals at the french open consecutively than him – he is even with Borg and Nadal at 4.?”

:-) and his streak is still alive .. he can extend it next year.. whereas Borg and Nadal streak have ended. Same with his streak of 6 successive wimbledon finals(currently on tie with Borg again) .. and 5 consecutive US Open finals (tough one that since he still needs 3 more to equal Lendl)

His semi-final streak of 5 at Roland Garros is unmatched even by Nadal :-)


MMT Says:

BTW – I saw today that Wimbledon have moved to curb grunting at the Championships in 2009 – speaking specifically to the worst offenders in the game and I couldn’t agree more with the stance.

Is it any irony that some of the best players in the history of the game never made a peep as they struck the ball with ferocious effort and intent? Sampras and Federer are good examples of it, but I don’t recall Borg, Edberg, Wilander or anyone else in an impeccable record of sportsmanship, do anything like that in their careers either.

Good riddance to the noise.


Gordo Says:

TejuZ Says:

:-) and his streak is still alive .. he can extend it next year.. whereas Borg and Nadal streak have ended. Same with his streak of 6 successive wimbledon finals(currently on tie with Borg again) .. and 5 consecutive US Open finals (tough one that since he still needs 3 more to equal Lendl)

=======

Yes, Lendl’s impressive 8 consecutive would be tough to equal, but winning 6 in a row and tying Tilden for most number of US Opens in a row would stand as a major accomplishment on its own.


Dan Martin Says:

I remember I really liked Federer’s game after watching his QF loss to Corretja at the 2001 French Open. When I saw the draw for Wimbledon 2001, I said to a few friends that if Sampras is not careful he is going to lose to Federer in the 4th round. So those next two French Opens were a little puzzling for me. After 2003, I sort of thought Federer might become a right handed Henri Leconte: a player with such artistry and yet really patchy results. Halle 2003 and set point down to Roddick in the 2003 Wimbledon semis was a turning point for Roger as he won that first set and started to show his potential in the next two sets. The final of U.S. Open 2004 was just really something to see.


Dan Martin Says:

Sorry about my conjugation of “to be” in that last post.


Dan Martin Says:

The argument that gets thrown out there that Fed grew up on clay cuts both ways. If we assume no one really grew up playing on grass primarily, Fed growing up on clay makes his all-time lead in hard court slams more impressive. He has 5 US and 3 AUS, Sampras has 5 US and 2 AUS and Agassi has 2 US and 4 AUS, Lendel 3 US and 2 AUS … So Federer might have had a less daunting task on clay having grown up on it, but his climb to the top of the hard court list was longer than Sampras or Agassi’s.


jane Says:

Thanks Dan. I like the way your article uses Pete’s accomplishments as inspiration for Federer’s rather than pitting the two against one another as is often the case – cheers!

Also, just wondering how old Bud Collins was when you met him? Like you, I have reems of respect for the man and think our culture devalues the wisdom and knowledge of the elderly way too much. I know his comments these days are not super sharp, but I still love hearing/seeing Bud. If you can follow in his footsteps, wow! All the more power to you.


Dan Martin Says:

Jane, Today is a good day. I am listening to music from scores done by Ennio Morricone “The Mission”, “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, and “Cinema Paradiso” to name a few while I take care of my daughter and get to type about tennis when she naps. Not too bad today.


huh Says:

Thank God, the Wimbledon and the English are again ready to play the lead role, this time to restore the aesthetic appeal of the game of tennis by preparing to take action against the grunters who’re destroying tennis’s charm by their bloody grunting !


huh Says:

Completely agree with Jane.


PietjeP Says:

Good article Dan. Interesting to see that with a balanced article, the ranters and flamers seem less interested :) However I think Sean is doing a great job on this site too. He really creates a buzz and a lot of traffic and fierce discussions. And his frequency of posting makes the site always on time track with the actual developments.

I’m interested to see if Federer will walk the same path as Sampras now (after his Wimbledon 2000 win). Everybody talks about the pressure being off, including Fed himself.
But isn’t that pressure and those goals of what they want to achieve exactly what motivates them? What makes them put in the hard word, the blood, the sweat, the tears….

Having said that; if Fed does find the motivation and can play without pressure; everybody needs to watch out. Even Rafa on clay! One of the reasons he has lost on RG is the huge pressure he faced many times (remember: 2x a possibility to make the Grand Slam)

It will be interesting to see what will happen over the next few years. Fed in the autumn of his career. Nadal, Murray, Djoko, Del Potro and I’m sure there will be another talented youngster.


Kimo Says:

PietJep Said:

“Fed in the autumn of his career.”

I’m not so sure about that. Sure he isn’t the man he was in 2006, but he’s still not arrived at the autumn of his career. He is still reaching at least the semis in most of his tournaments, he just won two consecutive tournaments on his least favourite surface, he almost certainly will take over the no. 1 ranking no later than august, so I think it would be hasty to say he’s at the autumn of his career.

He isn’t in his prime anymore, but it’s not like he’s on a downhill slide.


scineram Says:

Where can I read about SW19 and shrieking?


PietjeP Says:

Kimo;

I meant it just as a time phrase. The guy just has relatively little time left as the absolute top player. I didn’t mean it performance wise… the guy made it to the last 5 slam finals :)

Hopefully he has 2 years left where he can compete at his best! That would be great. But again, I’m a little doubtful about his motivation factor. What will be should he win Wimbledon and/or the US open. What has the guy to go after for. What is left to motivate him?


MMT Says:

“scineram Says: Where can I read about SW19 and shrieking?”

Anti-Grunting Campaign:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article6493899.ece


Joe Says:

Hi Von – let me explain the attraction to Patrick Stewart for you. You wonder is it his height or build? Is it his shorn head? Is it his good looks? No, its his voice. As distinctive as Sir Larry’s, as debonair as Michael York, and as masculine as Charlton Heston or Robert Mitchum. Yes his voice is what captures you girl. However, there is only Capitan Kirk. The one who can handle his business with fists, with phasers, and with the foxy green ladies. Yes, William Shatner.


Kimo Says:

PietJep Said:

“What has the guy to go after for. What is left to motivate him?”

Isn’t it obvious? What is the only blemish on Roger’s resume?

His H2H against Nadal and Murray. If he can get his H2H against Nadal to be around 10 or 11 to 13, and his record agianst Murray to 4 or 5 to 6, no one will be able to say “He might be the greatest player to ever play the game, but why can’t he beat those two players who are in his own era?”

Improving his H2H against those two would seal GOATness for him.


Von Says:

Joe:

You’ve hit the nail on the head — I’m a Brit turned American, and I’m very partial to a well-modulated British accent. Patrick Stewart’s voice, is so very, very sexy, the guy oozes pure class in just his voice alone. As I’ve said, I don’t usually see bald guys as sexy, and also short guys are not my cup of tea, but I’d overlook those in Captain Picard. BTW, I love Michael York, who reminds me of James Mason (do you know of him), and I also love Richard Chamberlain, but I don’t know where he fits in, except that he’s an older actor, who’s very handsome and classy too. I’m not in those guys’ age group, but I’ve watched a lot of old movies with my Dad, and it’s the reason I happen to know of them. Heston has been an all-time fave too, especially in the Ten commandments and El Cid with sophia Loren, another fave.

Captain Kirk was definitely a ladies man. He was so handsome and debonair, suave and rogush, in the Star Trek series, but has gotten fat and not so pleasing to the eye anymore. Having said all of the above, you’ve now got a fix on my taste for the opposite sex. Maybe I’ve let on too much of my personality — but heck, classy guys will definitely make my senses reel. LOL.

BTW, did you watch that video? I thought it was funny and cute. Please don’t hesitate to say when you’re feeling down and I’d gladly post some more laughs for you. I’m very acquainted with the down times illness can create. Cheers.


Elwin Says:

Nadal will play, I’m sure. I personally think he/his camp needed some attention, or excuse, his knee wasn’t worse than the last few months, when he won titles non-stop!!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/8085394.stm

Great article, Fed’s the greatest.


Von Says:

PietJep:

“Good article Dan. Interesting to see that with a balanced article, the ranters and flamers seem less interested.”

I don’t think that’s a fair assessment of some of the posters who post here on a regular basis. This kind of topic would be more interesting and/or appealing to Fed and Sampras fans, but more so to Fed fans, hence, it’s one of the reasons why not many posters outside of the Federer realm would be willing to post. Ever since Fed won the FO, most of the threads have been dedicated to him and his accomplishments, ergo, by now, many of the posters are saturated with the Federer mania and find little or nothing more to discuss. for Fed fans these types of discussions are wonderful to add affirmation of his accomplishments.

Dan has done an excellent job of keeping this topic on Federer alive, and kudos to Dan for such a beautifully written piece, however, it’s one that will most probably not ignite many sparks in the non-Federer posters, for the obvious reasons I’ve mentioned in the foregoing paragraph.
_____________________
I can kick your a** on the tennis court:

“But sometimes it’s a bit overkill with all the knuckleheads posting here.”

I’m one of the knuckleheads posting here, and I take umbrage to your remarks. Ponder this for a moment, had it not been for the ‘knuckleheads’ who post here regularly, how, and where, would you have been able to derive the laughs, because it’s not like you post here frequently. Bottom line, don’t knock us down until you’ve excelled above us.


Dan Martin Says:

Just heard a clip of De Brito grunting and that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. It is obvious gamesmanship.


steve Says:

Federer is partly an artist, he delights in creating beautiful tennis. I think he relishes the challenge of playing different players and figuring out how to create new and beautiful winning shots against them. In that he’s different from Djokovic, Murray, etc. who are motivated primarily by the desire to win titles and glory. He isn’t satiated just by winning titles.

And now that he has a kid, he has extra motivation to devote himself to the game and to continue fighting.

He’s achieved something very rare and special: he can afford to play purely for love of the game. And that’s when he plays his best.


sports fan Says:

Nadal is going to play Wimbeldon, and I believe he will be fit as a fiddle come June 22……I believe Nadal does have some tendonitis in his knees, but I hesitate to believe there any worse off than they were this time last year….We seem to forget that not one year since 2003 has Nadal gotten through a full year without having problems with his knees…..This year it seems is no exception……My problem with the Nadal camp is that we tend to hear about it after a big defeat like what we saw in Paris 2009…….I for one have been watching tennis for nearly 30 years and have also followed Nadal with great interest for the better part of three years, and I believe he is an exceptional tennis player and probably the greatest competitor we have ever seen in tennis next to Jimmy Connors, but I will tell you that I did not think Nadal was injured in Paris when he played Soderling…..He seemed to be moving fine and competing fine…..What I did notice was that Soderling was outplaying him from the first point until the last point of the match, and I think that scared Rafa and worried his camp alot especially because it happened at Rolland Garros……..This is where I believe the knee thing came into affect……..Like I said, I do not doubt that Nadal has some knee troubles, but there is nobody on the ATP tour that is 100% fit throughout the whole year with the way this brutal schedule is……..Also, has anyone thought that maybe it took everything Nadal had to catch Roger Federer and take over that #1 ranking, because he spent the better part of 4 year trying his heart out to get it…….Basically, I believe that because of the effort it took to catch Roger, the poor scheduling from him and his team, and the fact that his pride was hurt from this loss in Paris Nadal is suffering mainly from fatigue and from being disheartened a bit from this loss……..I hope that he gets it together in this week that he has off so he can be at his best for Wimbeldon because it is alot of fun watching him at Wimbeldon……Having said all this I have never seen anyone play tennis like this Federer guy and I believe he is probably going to win his 15 major at Wimbeldon…..I hope we have a Federer vs Nadal final 2009………Prediction

federer def. nadal

Final 2009


huh Says:

Federer mania’s not more intolerable than Rafa mania. Thanks to Rafa’s +ve H2H against Fed, Murray and Djoko, it’s the Rafans who can become most dangerous if Rafa gets too much success. That’s why Fedophiles’re needed if we’re to balance Rafaphiles.


Von Says:

Dan, when DeBrito’s opponent complained to the umpire about her screams, Debrito very quickly retorted, they should talk to Sharapova. That response reminds me of Sharapova’s answer to a reporter at Wimby a few years ago in an interview, where Sharapova was asked about her game, screams, etc., and if there’s anything she’d change. Sharapova stared at the interviewer and calmy said in a very clear voice, that there’s nothing she’d want to change. The reporter later had a few chosen words on her impression of Sharapova when discussing her with the ESPN commentators. All of this translates to these girls think of themselves as God’s gift to tennis, and will definitely refuse to amend their behaviors.


Von Says:

huh: I didn’t say that the Federer mania was intolerable. I’m merely pointing out that except for Federer and Sampras fans, this topic will not draw out the non-Fed posters. I think it is an excellent topic for Fed and Sampras fans, but I can also understand why a Nadal, Murray, or Djokovic fan would not have much interest in the discussions. I happen to like it because I’m a die-hard Sampras fan, and I find the posters’ comments to be very interesting..


Joe Says:

Von – I love the way you communicate your sensibilities so please don’t stop (at least with me). So you like tall guys with full heads of hair and a sexy voice huh? Happen to know someone like that…

Yes I was referring to the bill shatner of the 1960s, not the current chariacture we see in the priceline ads. I’m vaguely familiar with james mason. Now that you mention richard chamberlin, hope I’m not getting him and michael york mixed up. Michael York played the basel character, autin power’s boss in the austin powers series, no? Did I stump you with Sir Larry? Ask your dad who that is. Sophia Loren is international babe of the 20th century who happens to also be a pretty good actor. Is El Cid the movie where heston portrays michael angelo? I’ve been wanting to see that (been watching lots of movies lately).

I missed your video? Feel to keep them coming jpwhit@yahoo.com


Joe Says:

Von – it seems to me that the umpires have relaxed their enforcment of time violations in the last years. And overall the players have become more boorish with the grunting and the stalling and the med timeouts. I say nix them all.

BTW, I used to hang out with a brit born american and he told that july 4 was considered “good riddance day” in the uk. Funny guy…


Joe Says:

Jane – have you hugged your students today? Do any of them deserve to bestowed with “mashed potato brains?”. Btw, I never did receive that “compliment” from my PS 101 professor, so I must in fact have mashed potato brains. What happened to your boy over yesterday??


jane Says:

Hey Joe – bizarrely, I did hug an ex-student today! I met him to fill out a scholarship form on his behalf. But as it’s my non-teach term I have no students at the moment – bliss, really.

As for Djoko, he wasn’t playing too sharply the whole tournament (other than in the Melzer match), slipping and sliding, hitting the net and the like, so I was happy he’d gotten as far as the finals, all things considered. Haas was the deserving winner. I don’t have much hope for Djoko’s chances at Wimbledon, to tell you the truth; if he can get to the quarters (or better), that’ll be great.

Hope your back is good. And you know what? You don’t have mashed potatoe brains. :)


Shan Says:

Jane, potato without the “e”


Andrew Miller Says:

hi Dan,

Would Federer have won other titles if he had not lost those matches?

I kind of believe that everything adds up – losing early and other at Grand Slams must have forced Federer to do something, and once he did what he felt he had to do to prepare for a grand slam tournament, it must have proved to him that there was a way to prepare well for EVERY tournament, thereby lifting him to more and more titles.

I think hindsight is always tough – Federer got his clay lessons from the best clay player ever, every time out since 2004 (loss to Gustavo Kuerten). The 2003 loss was basically before Federer made his march to the summit at Wimbledon for his first title.

Novak Djokovic’s victory at the OZ Open does not seem to have made him better out there – it’s almost as if one were to pick a big tournament to win, win ANYTHING but the OZ Open. Maybe it’s the Davis Cup commitment that follows on the OZ heels, who knows.

So, just throwing something out there – who would Federer be without his losses? As Nadal says, he hates losing, but losing gives value to the wins. Federer’s win at the French Open did not make him great, but he certainly must have felt it was memorable after three straight finals appearances and four straight years of losing to the same opponent.

Whether or not he wins Wimbledon, to me, is not a valid argument (no one made it, but it doesnt matter to me).


Von Says:

Joe:

I was referring to the YouTube automatic confession clip I had posted to you previously. At the time you mentioned you couldn’t watch it on your Blackberry but needed to do so on your computer. I was just wondering if you’d gotten around to so doing.

Re; my sense and sensibilities — So you’re tall with a full head of hair, eh? Is there a twinkle in your eyes when you speak and have a sense of humor to match it all? That’s my kinda guy. Remember handsome is, as handsome does!

I’ll forward the funny stuff by email later on this evening.


Joe Says:

Jane – novak is such a great athlete its surprising he hasn’t performed better on grass? Murray looks very sharp. Can’t wait until next Monday. The draws come out Friday, which are sure to generate some discussion on the X


Joe Says:

Von – no I didn’t get a chance to look at that but I will.thanks

Too bad about Andy Roddick. Murray/roddick would’ve made for an interesting final. I wanted to see how Andy R would stack up against Mr. Andy Pants. Think he’ll be 100% by next week?


jane Says:

Thanks Shan – I had it pluralized initially (mashed potatoes) and when I revised it to singular I must not have proofread.

Joe – Djokovic has gotten to two grass finals (Queens and Halle) and the Wimbledon semis in 07, so he has performed pretty well on grass. But this week he looked shaky. Hard to say how he’ll do at SW19?

Speaking of which, I can’t wait either. I am trying to order all my texts for the fall this week so I can sit back and enjoy the tennis!


I like tennis bullies Says:

fluky win. federer would not have won if he were facing nadal in the final and not soderling (who?)

federer isnt goat if he cant beat the best players.


TejuZ Says:

PietjeP Says:”It will be interesting to see what will happen over the next few years. Fed in the autumn of his career. Nadal, Murray, Djoko, Del Potro and I’m sure there will be another talented youngster”

Well that talented youngster could be Gregor Dimitrov, reigning junior Wimbledon champion .. exactly 10 yrs after Fed won his junior wimbeldon. He is coached by Fed’s and Safin’s ex-coach Peter Lundren. He has a beautiful one-handed backhand, taller than Fed, his forehand somehow resembles more of Safin, than Federer. His serving style is a mix of Fed and Sampras(though not as consistent) .. and he is good at net as well.


xmike Says:

hi there everybody

about the screaming/grunting in tennis, I absolutly hate it and they should prohibit it all together or put some kind of decibel mesauring machine on court and desqualify a player after a couple of warnings; there are so many high-tech-stuff at tournaments these days that this one should be easy to implement!

after all, if you can’t use “verbal obscenities” or smash a raquet without being warned or desqualified, which only bothers spectators and adversaries for a few seconds, why allow constant yells that add nothing to the game and are a distraction for the other player and headache giver to the fans?

I hate watching Sharapova or the Williams sisters on tv because of that and, at the 2008 estoril open, in portugal I was OUTSIDE the stadium waiting for Federer’s match and got a headache from hearing half an hour of de Brito’s screams; i don’t care if she is portuguese like I am, I hate here game and here screams, i can’t understand how Wimbledon gave her a wild card after all the noise she made in Rolland Garros

Justine Henin, wherever you are, please come back and bring back a little class to the women’s game again..

mike


FoT Says:

Great article Dan.


xmike Says:

Just a few Federer facts and curiosities with Wimbledon just around the corner, maybe everyone out there has some spare time and has constructed these stats, but now that he already has almost all the main records in tennis, and assuming he will start going after the longevity records, here is how he stands at the moment:

Grand Slam wins (tied in first place):

1 – Roger Federer – 14
1 – Pete Sampras – 14
3 – Roy Emerson – 12

Grand Slam finls (tied in first place)

1 – Roger Federer – 19 (14-5)
1 – Ivan Lendl – 19 (8-11)
3 – Pete Sampras – 18 (14-4)

Grand Slam semi-finals (open era only)

1 – Jimmy Connors – 31 (15-16)
2 – Ivan Lendl – 28 (19-9)
3 – Andre Agassi – 26 (15-11)
4 – Pete Sampras – 23 (18-5)
5 – Roger Federer – 22 (19-3)

Grand Slam quarter-finals (open era only)

1 – Jimmy Connors – 41 (31-10)
2 – Andre Agassi – 36 (26-10)
3 – Ivan Lendl – 34 (28-6)
4 – Pete Sampras – 29 (23-6)
5 – Stefan Edberg – 26 (19-7)
5 – John McEnroe – 26 (19-7)
7 – Roger Federer – 24 (22-2)

Grand Slam round of last 16 (open era only)

1 – Connors – 43 (41-2)
2 – Agassi – 42 (36-6)
2 – Lendl – 42 (34-8)
4 – Sampras – 36 (29-9)
5 – Edberg – 33 (26-7)
5 – McEnroe – 33 (26-7)
7 – Becker – 31 (23-8)
8 – Federer – 30 (24-6)

Assuming he plays until the US Open of 2012, like Pete Sampras did in 2002, that would be still another 14 Grand Slams, and that he continues to perform as well and is injurie free, he could possibly have all the records to himself except most overall quarter finals (he would need to reach the quarters at every GS until US Open 2013 for that).

He has also said in an interview that he has a great admiration for Agassi’s longevity and would like to play that long as well so maybe he will play untill 2014 or even 2016 so there would be even more chances, if not to win everyhting, at least for a few more quartes and semis to ad up the totals.

Finally, Mirka has said she wants him to play at least until their son/duagther is old enough to watch, so family support whould be there also for him to continue.

Lets hope he keeps on going; it would be a sad day when he retires; Navartilova once said that champions are only apreciated after they retire, in this case I think it’s fair to say he is highly enjoyed while he is still playing :)


jane Says:

Von says, ” Ever since Fed won the FO, most of the threads have been dedicated to him and his accomplishments, ergo, by now, many of the posters are saturated with the Federer mania and find little or nothing more to discuss.”

What I take issue with is not so much Dan’s lovely piece, which actually I commend. But the fact that there were hardly ANY threads last week dedicated to Halle or Queens. And one wonders if Federer and/or Nadal were playing if there might have been more. Instead, we discussed those tournaments and matches on some of the threads you mention above.

steve says “Djokovic, Murray, etc. [...] are motivated primarily by the desire to win titles and glory. He [Federer] isn’t satiated just by winning titles.”

Well it’s very interesting that you know (a) what fulfills and motivates Djoko, Murray and “etc” (the “etc” encompassing presumably all players besides Federer?), which is merely winning titles and/or glory and (b) that Federer isn’t satisfied by merely winning titles and/or glory, but rather, in your own words, “relishes the challenge of playing different players and figuring out how to create new and beautiful winning shots against them.”

Perhaps, steve, you might see, via my reiteration, how this sort of reasoning might seem a little (oh what’s the right word here?) presumptuous on your part? I mean, how do you know what motivates and fulfills “Murray, Djokovic, etc” versus Federer?

And not only could such rhetoric sound rather presumptuous, but it may (?) sound even offensive to some of the fans of the “etcetera” players, who apparently do not also relish “the challenge of playing different players and figuring out how to create new and beautiful winning shots against them.”

Sigh & Sheesh.

Perhaps Djokovic’s drop shot & lob combos or down-the-line drives, or Murrays most beautiful running passing shots and incredible touch are not about beauty and creating winning shots, but are merely about “winning titles and glory”. Since that’s all that motivates these two peons.

Or maybe, they, too, love the beauty and artistry of the game, and maybe they, and ALL the etcetera players, are motivated by that very fact: Roddick’s amazing serve, Nalbandian’s breath-taking backhand, Gonzalez’s nuclear forehand…

And so on and so forth — lest we forget.


Twocents Says:

Dan,

I’m with you on that Federer’s game smoothly integrates many good elements from JMac, Edgerg, Lendl, and Becker etc. It’s only natural though, as tennis the game evolves. Imho, Fed’s most striking achievement, as a pro teeenis player, is not the magic 14 and career slam. It is the weird combination of 237 weeks at no.1 and five Sportsmanship Awards from his peers.

Sampras had many more weeks of no.1 holding. Edberg won five Spt Awards in eight years. It never stops amazing me that Fed’s peers voted him five Edberg Awards in a row right when Fed was taking away their own breads and glory day in and day out. credits to all ATP pro’s and Fed. This is tennis the gentleman’s game at its finest.

And this does translate into Fed’s on court results: his 20 semi streak, 10 final streak, etc. At RG, if only Haas had half of Soderling’s feeling towards Nadal against Fed,he may have knocked out Fed in the 4th round. Same goes for Roddick, he’d have won many more sets and matches if only he hates Fed just a little bit.

Nick Bolliterri (sp?) said long ago:”There’s no fun in beating the Fed.”


steve Says:

jane: You are free to take my opinion, or not.

There is an aesthetic dimension to Federer’s play. As a teenager he gave an interview where he stated that one of his ambitions was to play a perfect game of tennis, and he has repeatedly said that he wants to play beautiful tennis.

I didn’t say that other players don’t take pride in their craft and in developing their trademark shots. They surely do. But I don’t think they consciously see the game in aesthetic terms. Roddick’s spectacular serve, or Tsonga’s delicate volleys, or Gonzalez’s huge forehand, are all great and lovely shots and much work went into perfecting them, but their owners don’t have that artistic worldview that distinguishes Federer.

There is one other player whose motives are a little anomalous: Nadal. He is in it for love of the battle. He has said once that he likes the process of fighting to win more than he likes winning itself. Once he has the trophy it’s almost like he loses interest.

I think that’s one reason he was able to meet his loss at RG with such equanimity: once the fight’s over and done with (win or lose), he’s already looking to the next one. Like Huck Finn, he’s always itching to light out for new territory, never satisfied with where he’s at.

Nor did I once denigrate the motives of titles and glory. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s what drives most players, including the great ones. Federer and Nadal certainly have the desire to win titles and make history, but there’s something a bit more elemental about them. They are almost avatars of opposing primordial forces, like the yin and yang. I think people sense this and that’s why their rivalry is so special.


sports fan Says:

I like tennis bullies……… I think Roger Federer’s dominance over the past 5-6 years has really clouded your judgement……Like my momma always said,If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all……


jane Says:

steve says,”their owners don’t have that artistic worldview that distinguishes Federer.”

I guess I just don’t see how it is that you know this; how do you know they don’t have an “artistic worldview” (a very nebulous phrase in itself)? You state it like it’s fact steve, not opinion. But how do you know that other players aren’t specifically interested in the aesthetics of the game rather than merely their “craft” and “trademark shots”?

And whether or not you intentionally denigrated the motives of the other “etc.” players, the implication is there.

You see, “crafts” and “trades” are generally seen as lower, or more “common”, than “art”. Because, after all, anyone can learn and do a “craft” really well, but to make great art, one has to be an “artist.” One has to have “natural” talent. Natural being above clinical or learned, or workman-like for that matter. And sorry, but here I have to rebel a little because I don’t like elitism.

Thus we enter into slippery slope territory – what is art? What is aesthetically pleasing? What looks good? In the end, it’s really quite subjective. Did Duchamp create art? Warhol? Or only Michaelangelo? Maybe, just maybe, they all did. But in different ways, using different aesthetic criteria.

I see the aesthetic value in most players’ games, and I gasp – yes I really gasp – when almost any professional player is playing his or her best, and hitting shots I could only dream of in my imagination. Guess that’s why they’re the world’s best players. All of them.


tennisfacts Says:

I like tennis bullies Says:

fluky win. federer would not have won if he were facing nadal in the final and not soderling (who?)

federer isnt goat if he cant beat the best players.

Totally agree 100%.. but fans of fed in here will never admit it, even if they know its the truth.

You can say that to all mediocre players that have met federer in the final over the years, with the exception of nadal, and djoko. All play good tennis leading through each round but then crap themselves when facing fed in the final and been there first grand slam appearance with no GS final experience! wow great competition. laughable.


steve Says:

jane–I’m pretty sure that very few tennis players have explicitly aesthetic aims. Certainly Roddick would never say anything like “I want to play a perfect game” or “I want to create beautiful tennis”, though he sometimes makes beautiful shots.

If you asked most tennis players whether they would rather play winning tennis or play beautiful tennis–whatever that may mean–I suspect they would answer the former. Except Federer, who would answer, “For me those are the same thing.”

You seem to be arguing that all sports are also aesthetic activities, because there is an audience that perceives and responds, just as in art.

But that’s a tricky position to defend, because in sports there is a clearly defined concept of “winning”, which is spelled out according to strict rules. And that is the primary goal.

My point is that most tennis players set out to win as a primary goal, and hitting shots that make people “gasp” is a byproduct. And as nebulous a discipline as aesthetics is, most would agree that the primary object in art is to evoke some kind of response from the the observer, not some external goal like “winning”.

But yes, I do take pleasure in watching the shots of all the great players. And I’m sure they take pleasure in making them.


Kimo Says:

I kinda agree with steve. During one of Fed’s matches during Madrid, a commentator said: “Fed doesn’t like winning ugly.”


Scottish Says:

Dan, great article. I too am very interested to see how Fed does the next few years. TBH, I’m kind of nervous for him. I really hope he doesn’t lose motivation or heart and crash out of the picture. I hope he has a few more years of #1 tennis in him and he goes on to smash open the tennis records. There thing I love about him is his character. And that is no less shown in the other players complete admiration for him. I mean pretty much every other player was cheering for him to win the FO. You don’t get that kind of love by being a jerk and Fed has shown he is a really great guy.

Jane, I also agree with Steve that from watching many interviews of all these guys that Fed and Nadal do seem to be in a different category and they have a different passion for the game than Djoko and Murray etc. That isn’t to say that those other guys don’t have good motives. I just feel that along came Fed and Nadal (after Sampras) who brought something great and extra special to tennis that really is unmatched in other players.

“It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” Sorry had to throw that one in there. :-)


Damien Says:

Federer actually won his Grand Slams on 4 different surfaces; Clay, Grass, Hard (US) and Rebound Ace Hard (Australian).
Only him and Andre Agassi have done this both winning the Australian before the surface was changed to the same type as the US Open.


PietjeP Says:

Von;

It was indeed a great assesment of posters here. There are many people with great views on tennis. Sometimes I agree with some and I disagree with some. It’s more the “your dude sucks, mine rulezzz” kind of comments I can sometimes do without. Seems almost more a debate about religion… No arguments will ever convince the other :)

You know with which of your posts/ideas I disagree the most? Your anti fan idea :) I think it’s the foundation of the sport and it’s future!


MMT Says:

“Kimo Says: I kinda agree with steve. During one of Fed’s matches during Madrid, a commentator said: “Fed doesn’t like winning ugly.”

That was Robbie Koenig, and he first said in Miami as he was falling apart against Djokovic, and I think this is a variation on the argument that Federer was unwilling to adjust his game to account for his opponents. Some cite it as an example of his arrogance, while others explain it as a natural conclusion a player with his record would develop (i.e. “If I play my game and play it well, I can beat anyone.”).

I think he made a few adjustments against Nadal in Madrid that contradicts that – he heavily employed the drop shot, he targeted Nadal’s backhand, and he attacked Nadal’s second serve – all things he hasn’t done particularly in the past. In the end, he didn’t face Nadal at the French Open, but I think the drop shot in particular and going after the serve (first and second in Paris) helped him get through the tournament.

What adjustments will he make at Wimbledon? Well, the drop shot will work, although he’ll have to practice it on grass as he won’t make contact very often on it above the level of the net (as he does on clay – it’s a very different shot), and going after the serve may also help him (recall match point in the final in 2007 against Nadal), but to me, the biggest adjustment he’ll have to make is the natural adjustment to come forward every chance he gets on grass. That’s something everyone needs to do, including Nadal.

He has experimented with serving and volleying on clay, but on grass, if I were him, I would increase the frequency, particularly when he’s in a position of advantage like 30-0 or game point. That would alleviate some pressure from his baseline game, and put pressure on his opponents to come up with better and better shots to beat him.

BTW – Haas is looking very strong on grass, and is one of the few players on tour that is capable of serving and volleying. Speaking of which – whatever happened to Taylor Dent – is he going to get a wildcard or does he have to qualify. Seems like the surface is perfect for his knees/back and his style of play.


Von Says:

Pietjep:

Please elaborate — what do you mean by my anti-fan ide?


scineram Says:

Rebound Ace is hard court.


jane Says:

steve, I agree with you here: “in sports there is a clearly defined concept of “winning”, which is spelled out according to strict rules. And that is the primary goal.”

And frankly, I believe the ultimate motivation for Federer is the same as any other player: winning, or as you put it earlier, “titles and glory.”

I think Fed HAS learned to “win ugly” and be quite content with that. Many of his matches in his title bid for the French were filled with “ugly” patches; they were scrappy. But he won — and that’s what he wanted. There was no “perfect tennis” to be had.

Similarly, in his last two slams prior to the French – The USO and the AO -there were plenty of ugly moments. Fed looked sloppy and flat against Berdych at the AO and in some of his USO matches also. BUT he fought through it to win.

Because contrary to what you said above re: Federer’s motivations, he wants to win titles – especially the big ones. He wants to break records and be “the goat”.

That’s my opinion on the matter anyhow.

But it was interesting discussion. I just don’t think this “aesthetic” business, like art, is easy to pin down. But the goal of winning is straightforward. And it’s the whole point of sports, more or less.

Scottish evokes this cliche “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”

But come on – of course, THE bottomline for Sampras, Nadal, Federer, all the greats, is this — WIN, WIN, WIN AGAIN. And then retire. :)


MMT Says:

“…THE bottomline for Sampras, Nadal, Federer, all the greats, is this — WIN, WIN, WIN AGAIN. And then retire.”

Bullseye.


vared Says:

Murray challenges Federer at Wimbledon

Andy Murray says his superior record over Roger Federer gives him confidence ahead of Wimbledon• Andy Murray has beaten Federer six times out of eight
‘[Federer] has been very frustrated playing against me’

“A lot of the times I’ve beaten him he has said negative things about my game so it doesn’t really bother me that much,” Murray said.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/jun/16/andy-murray-wimbledon-roger-federer


huh Says:

Fed’s one of the greatest artists of tennis. But tennis is not all about artistry, winning’s more important. I’m more of a buyer of success and victory than of art and aestheticism.


huh Says:

By the way, all have to accept that Rafa and others are handsome winners against Fed and they’d by no means beaten Fed in any ugly manner. In other words, the know the art to eclipse Fed-the artist.


vared Says:

Wow, Murray regarding Fed. LOL

http://www.live-tennis.com/category/…-200906160015/

“Much of the time, I think he has been very frustrated against me. That shows the style and tactics I play against him are working. He’s not used to losing very often and, when you’re upset, you sometimes say things you don’t mean,” Murray added.


jane Says:

Well, let’s face it; this is exactly the right attitude for Murray to have about Federer. Why should he kowtow? He wants to win, and he does have a style of play that works against Federer, as their H2H shows: Murray leads it 6-2. That’s a 75% winning rate against Federer. And Murray has beaten Fed at his peak in 2006 and he’s only getting better. So there is nothing untoward in his comments as far as I can tell. Other players have to believe they can win or they have no chance; and given his record, surely Murray has every right to believe.


vared Says:

Federer doesn’t like Murray’s game and it shows. Murray was favorite at Wimbledon ’08, USO ’08, AO ’09 Let him win a major and then we see, until then he is a Safina.

It’s very amusing though. My two least favorite players trying to destroy each other with words.


I like tennis bullies Says:

whatever happened to people claiming that federer was in decline due to age? is he no longer declining? or aging?


PietjeP Says:

Von;

You seem opposed to people supporting one player greatly… Especially when you have the idea that he or she is watching/following tennis mainly because of that individual player.

Hope it’s more clear now :) Otherwise I have to search back in previous blogs, but it’s a statement you have made on a regular basis I think…


vared Says:

Safina is starting now at Ordina.


vared Says:

Why should he kowtow? He wants to win,

jane i remember a lot of people bashing the djoker for saying stuff like that about fed. LOL


jane Says:

Yes, but I do think Djoko might’ve been even more brash and he hadn’t yet beaten Fed; Murray has a decidely winning record over him. In any case, imo, t’s not a bad thing for the players to psyche themselves up to play against those players ranked above them, and if that means talking up their chances, then I see nothing wrong with that, even if it’s unrealistic or overly optimistic or even boastful. I’d like to see more players rise up and really go for it against Fed and Nadal: already Murray, Djoko, JMDP and Roddick are doing so. And maybe more players too, like Haas and Soderling at Roland Garros. We need that kind of excitement and effort to keep things unpredictable.


Kimmi Says:

Jounalist are asking stupid direct and leading questions, and then take quotes out of context and present them so that “we” experts can all disect what it all means.

Murray knows how difficult it is to win a grand slam. He has reached a GS final before and grass is not as bad as clay to him. The british media now is hyping him up as much as they can. He has to reach the semi first to have a chance of playing Federer, and even that… there is only 50% chance that he will be on Federer’s half.

I actually think he is handling things very well with the amount of pressure he is getting, and I hope he wins his first grand slam soon so that people that dislike him can stop bashing him just for a little while.


Dan Martin Says:

Murray has a great game. He hits deep but does not aim for lines per se so plays low risk tennis while also putting his opponent on the defensive. He returns well, has great feel and has added a serve. Murray can win any event he enters. I may favor Federer’s style over that of a lot of his contemporaries, but a player would be a fool not to play the style that gives him or her the best chance to win. Also, If the entire tour were playing Federer or Federer-lite styles it would be dull. Variety is great. Nadal is a heavy topspin grinder extraordinaire. Murray is like a taller more muscular Wilander. Federer is Federer. Djokovic has a brutally efficient and impressive game when it is all clicking. Roddick has the canon serve and nice forehand. JMDP is like a 6’6″ monster when it is clicking. Cilic or someone else will emerge. I like where tennis is precisely because there are few clones. In the early 90′s you had the huge servers, the Nick B. baseliners, and Edberg. As that decade progressed Sampras distinguished himself from Stich etc. and Becker rebounded but 1990-1992 was a pretty dull era in my mind.


Dan Martin Says:

One other thing, Murray being a bit unkempt compared to OCD Rafa & the stylish Federer is a nice contrast.


jane Says:

Dan, to your last point, apparently Murray has launched a new Fred Perry clothing line, or will be wearing such at Wimbledon or something. I think one of the articles/links that vared posted mentions it. I wonder if he’ll still be “unkempt”?


PietjeP Says:

Damn TejuZ; the guy even looks a little like Federer……. :)


Dan Martin Says:

Well so long as Murray doesn’t need his socks at the exact same height on every point of every match he would be a contrast to numero uno. I don’t mind the OCD side of Nadal, but Murray with the scragly beard was kind of cool. I am no Ted Tingling. I am rather unkempt myself on a lot of days. Slackers need to unite at some level. For tennis, I think Murray winning Wimbledon would be a huge story regardless of his fashion or lack thereof.


margot Says:

Dan Martin: I think I’m in love…..


Dan Martin Says:

As for Fed not beating the “best” players it seems like rewarding players for crashing out on their worst surface. Federer has made it to the final weekend in Paris 5 times and 4 times he got beat in either the final or semi. Federer is 3-1 in Aus finals, 5-1 in Wimbledon finals and 5-0 at U.S. Open finals. If Federer crashed out in the early round in paris over and over again he’d be sitting on 13 majors and a 13-2 in GS final record. Is that better than actually threatening at a place you are likely to struggle and being 14-5 in major finals?


Kimo Says:

As for Murray’s winning record against Fed, I must say that their matches were a lot closer than their H2H suggests. Remember their match in the TMC last year, where Fed got his back massaged every chnage-over? I think it was one of the best matches I’ve seen in the TMC for years. It was a very close match despite Fed’s obvious discomfort. Their matches this year have all been three setters. Murray and Fed have played what? 5 matches or something like that in the last 8 months or so, a period where Fed seemed to go through patches where he played terrible tennis for no apparent reason.

And Murray would be advised not to bad-mouth Federer before Wimbledon. He’s been lucky not to have played Federer on grass yet, and when and if he does, Murray won’t enjoy it.


Kimmi Says:

“I think Murray winning Wimbledon would be a huge story regardless of his fashion or lack thereof.”

Dan, I agree. How huge this will be in the UK. The last Brit to win a GS was Fred Perry in 1930s, it was just too long ago. If this happens at Wimbledon this year or in the next few years it will be the icing on the cake.


margot Says:

Dan Martin: of course with you…..we’re brought together by a mutual admiration for Andy M, dishevelled or not….


Dan Martin Says:

Margot Mrs. Martin might be annoyed, but I do love Murray’s game. His tennis IQ is off the charts.


Kimmi Says:

Nadal is in the Trunk…

“1.Rafael NADAL Too much claycourt season = no French and no Wimbledon titles.”

Tennis-x, How do you know Nadal not winning wimbledon ?


Dan Martin Says:

Kimmi for the record I am not “staff” or Junk/Trunk guy. Until I see a draw, I won’t hazard to say who has good and bad chances on the grass.


vared Says:

but I do think Djoko might’ve been even more brash and he hadn’t yet beaten Fed;

Djoko had reasons since Fed started the feud at Davis Cup 2006. It all came back to that remark from Fed.


jane Says:

I don’t know about that feud vared: enlighten me?


Kimo Says:

It only makes sense that Borg backs Fed to win. Fed is imho the best player on grass ever. There is no one currently on tour who even comes close. Rafa threw the kitchen sink at Federer to win last year, and he had a mental edge after he demolished Federer in the RG final. Now it’s Fed who has a clear mental advantage, not to mention his natural talent on grass.

The reason why I enjoy lawn tennis the most is that for a very short period of time we can watch Fed’s best tennis, and that’s saying something since he’s good on all surfaces, but on grass, all I can do is sit back and watch in awe what Fed is capable of.

My prediction is that Nadal won’t make it to the semis, maybe even the quarters. It all comes down to mental and physical fatigue.


Von Says:

PietjeP Says:
Von;

“You seem opposed to people supporting one player greatly… Especially when you have the idea that he or she is watching/following tennis mainly because of that individual player.

“Hope it’s more clear now :) Otherwise I have to search back in previous blogs, but it’s a statement you have made on a regular basis I think…”

You are waaay off and wrong about your impression of my thoughts concerning people who support only one player. I don’t have a problem with that at all. My remarks were in response to yours concerning ‘ranters and flame-throwers’, who’d not be interested in this article, and I gave my reasons therefor. I also took umbrage with respect to the other poster calling the regulars here knuckleheads. I hope you understand where I’m coming from, and if you don’t, let me explain.

Your comments were directed towards the article where you felt it was not a topic for the ‘flame throwers and/or ranters’, and I was in a way agreeing with you by pointing out where a non-Fed fan (‘ranters/flame-throwers) would not be interested in such a topic. Does that mean I’m against any poster who backs just one player. No, I don’t think so. Then there was another poster who referred to the regular posters as ‘knuckleheads’, and I thought it was unfair to the posters who post here regularly, and it was to only that remark to which I alluded. Thus, I find your statement that “You seem opposed to people supporting one player greatly… Especially when you have the idea that he or she is watching/following tennis mainly because of that individual player,” unwarranted. where’s the basis, and let’s not talk about previous posts, let’s deal with what’s happening right now.

The mistake I made was in defending the remarks made by you and the other poster. This type of thread should be ‘hands off’ for me, because whenever there’s a Federer topic, I’ve learnt that it’s best to keep a distance, and in case you’ve not noticed, I did mention that it was not an article on which a non-Fed fan would debate. Case in point, how many non-Fed fans posted comments on that article? As far as i can see, very few, except for myself. You brought it up by using sarcasm, and I gave a response, now how you want to interpret my response is your prerogative … all’s fair.


skeezerweezer Says:

Dan.

Thanks for answered remarks on “tennisfacts”, although, he must be for Nadal, and nothing else matters. I genuinely like Nadal , think he is great for the game, and may have a career winding up being better than Feds, who knows?

But hey, it’s his guy so he wants to figure out a way to make him better by saying FED is not GOAT cause he “hasn’t beaten the best”. So let’s look at the opposite scenario. Your guy Nadal is the best since he has a winning record against FED? Right? That’s it? Sooo( as mentioned before ) even the great 14 GS winner Pistol Pete and a losing H2H in his career.

Are we going to continue to have posters up here whittle down who played whom when at what time of the day and H2H losses etc, etc,?

You can’t be serious! as Mac would say, where are your “tennisfacts” or do we all need to point you the the Roger Federer “Wiki” page again?

What matters in the end when all is said and done is GS Titles baby, on all surfaces, and how many. History will tell the story, and right now Roger is writing it. Someday maybe someone else will ( Like Nadal ), but for now, the “tennisfacts” speaks for themselves.

You can’t be serious! as Mac would say, where are your “tennisfacts” or do we all need to point you the the Roger Federer “Wiki” page again? Posters help me out here.

MMT: Nice read June 16th, 2009 at 9:43 am

I’m out

I’m out


Kimo Says:

One more thing, regarding the mental edge people claim Murray has over Fed, I think it’s all hot air.

Going into Wimbledon 2006, Rafa had beaten Fed four times already that year alone. Sure, Murray is better on grass than Rafa was then, but still, Fed has a mental edge over everybody but Rafa in Slam finals.

And I believe Murray may be feeling a lot of pressure from his home crowd.


skeezerweezer Says:

Von,

So Kevin Costner is a no go for you? As for a brit( or Scot I believe? ) Connery? at any age? Just checking your boundaries,, lol


Von Says:

skeezer:

“You can’t be serious! as Mac would say, where are your “tennisfacts” or do we all need to point you the the Roger Federer “Wiki” page again? Posters help me out here.”

It’s “You can’t be serious, man, you CANNOT be serious”, the ball hit the chalk. ….” yada, yada, yada. LOL.


Von Says:

skeezer:

“Von, So Kevin Costner is a no go for you? As for a brit( or Scot I believe? ) Connery? at any age? Just checking your boundaries,, lol”

What are you trying to do to me, turn my knees to jello. LOL. I love, love Sean Connery, that mouth and dark eyebrows. I mean the guy is an Adonis.

Kevin Kostner, not really, he has that all American boy look, but Matthew McDonghaney’s (sp) boyish charm, and Pierce Brosnan’s too, will do the trick.


Von Says:

skeezer:

“Just checking your boundaries,, lol”

I’m going to put you on the spot here, what do you have in mind, if you’re just checking my boundaries? Is this leading somewhere. I suppose those luscious, red lip gloss mwahs, mwahs, on the cheeks and forehead, have still got your head reeling? OK here’s some more, picture, strawberry flavored red lip gloss coming at you, with a mwah, mwah, on both cheeks. LOL. did you feel it? LOL. BTW, I work with more guys than gals ….. get my drift? LOL. I hope you know that I’m just kiding around here, so wake up.


Dan Martin Says:

This thread has turned into tennis-x after dark …


Von Says:

“This thread has turned into tennis-x after dark …”

Sorry Dan, I started this with my Star Trek on Patrick Stewart, where I was just kidding around, and I shouldn’t have done that. Don’t worry, it wont’ happen again, and i’m offf this thread.


skeezerweezer Says:

von, if you are still around, my apologies. I will keep in on tennis. I’m out


Tennisfan Says:

I know you all seem to have great respect for Bud Collins .. but the guy has completely lost it … he an embarrassment to himself. Keep him off the TV … pls….


TejuZ Says:

Borg now adds to the list of past greats(Agassi, Sampras, McEnroe) who declare Fed is the best ever …..”For me Roger is the greatest player ever who played the tennis game. It’s always good to see him play and win and we are going to see so much more of Federer in the future, he is going to win more grand slam tournaments.”


skeezerweezer Says:

Tennisfan,

I agree he is losing it, I think for us that have been around a long time Bud was always there, the first one to get the interviews as the players walked off the court, and he actually had some great tennis history and knowledge of the game. You could tell he actually “studied” the game, especially players we never heard of that were great, and should be mentioned and remembered. It is nice to see him back as it brings back great memories but his contribution now is for sure “long in the tooth”, and losing its revel ency, and is not the same guy in the upstairs department we all loved. I’m out


skeezerweezer Says:

TejuZ,

Thank you thank you thank you. Can you post the link of that quote from Borg? Thanks


TejuZ Says:

PietjeP Says:”Damn TejuZ; the guy even looks a little like Federer……. :)”

Yeah.. he does and Dimitrov’s game is a mix of Fed and Safin. He even took Nadal to a deciding set at Rotterdam. I watched that match on you tube.. Nadal cam strong at him initial with a break of serve and hitting winners and pounding that single-handed backhand of his with his lefty top-spin. It took a while, but Dimitrov then showed his talent and broke back Nadal. He looks impressive.. but he still have a year or two before he can really challenge the big guns.

Btw.. he is offered a wild-card for this years wimby… he could cause a ‘Ancic’ like upset of any of the top-8 players. I hope he joins the fray .. cuz we need someone after Fed who can dominate with that single-handed backhand.


TejuZ Says:

Steve, that link is already in one of the posts above. However i will add it again.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/16/AR2009061601646.html


skeezerweezer Says:

TejuZ,

Thanks for the link…


TejuZ Says:

Kimo Says: “And Murray would be advised not to bad-mouth Federer before Wimbledon. He’s been lucky not to have played Federer on grass yet, and when and if he does, Murray won’t enjoy it.”

Murray has the right to say that because of his H2H records… but yeah, its ill-advised. The last few times Murray beat Fed, it was quite close and it was more of Fed losing his head than Murray beating him convincingly. And Fed did have loss of confidence after that Wimby and AU Open 5-setter losses to Nadal. But now.. Fed is on a 12 match win streak on his least favoured surface which also includes a win over his nemesis Nadal.. and thats when he can really be dangerous.. Confident and winning-streak. Plus he has come through 2 tight 5-setters at the French which will only add to his confidence, especially if he down 0-2 or 1-2 at wimbeldon. Anyway..for me … until Murray beats Fed in a grand-slam, he is not the big-favourite.


TejuZ Says:

skeezerweezer, sorry.. i addressed you as Steve :p apologies


skeezerweezer Says:

TejuZ,

No prob, I figured so :)


vared Says:

It took me awhile…
Jane in 2006 at Davis Cup when Djok was 18-19 years old, Fed made a remark about Djok’s timeouts during the match with Wawarinka which they won.
Here are Novak’s remarks after that match.
“Today I played against the best player in the world, so it’s a special match,” said Djokovic. “I tried to play my best tennis which I did, but I was aware before the match that he’s the best player in the world, he has a game for everybody and I was just trying a lot of things, but nothing worked.”

“In some deciding points when he made some incredible passing shots, some incredible sliced backhands , some incredible forehands I was just wondering is he human? is he from this planet? It’s unbelievable when you try everything and you play your best tennis and somebody beats you 63 62 63. You have to question what is going on, what you need to work on to be the player like Roger,” added the Serbian.
———-
After that fed said in his presser

“You know I don’t trust his injuries, no it’s not funny,I mean I’m serious, and I think that he’s a joke when he comes down to these injuries. The rules are there to be used but not abused and that’s what he’s been doing many times. That’s why I wasn’t happy to see him doing that and then running around like a rabbit again. Yeah it was a good handshake for me. I was happy to beat him.”
—————————————-
Compared to Novak’s highly complimentary presser, Fed’s wasn’t very nice. Fed started the whole “feud” and I hope people can see this now. He could have handled it better. Mrs. Djokovic probably thought it was in poor taste by a “champion.” Thereafter they disrespected Federer. I’m sure Djok was happy to shake his hand at Montreal and AO.


vared Says:

but I do think Djoko might’ve been even more brash and he hadn’t yet beaten Fed;

Jane that explains the brashness. The awe Djoko had that day for Fed at Davis Cup died. His parents said he cried about it. You know Fed gets into these little feuds with people all the time. He even attacked JJ for being number one without a GS. So I don’t think he thinks too highly of Murray. Djok has one GS and fed has mentioned it before.


Dan Martin Says:

Von and Skeez I thought it was funny. My dry humor must not translate well in pixels.


jane Says:

vared – thanks for filling me in. Wow, Djoko was extremely complimentary of Federer there, so yeah, it must’ve felt like a slap in the face to read or hear about those kinds of comments afterwards, especially being just 18 or 19 years old, and having someone whom he admired so openly and greatly say them. Nothing new, though, coming from Fed. He’s often said things about players, their games etc., that can be construed as insulting, negative, sour grapes, or what-have-you.

I don’t see this lack of respect in the comments from Murray though; I see Murray as quite fair and level headed in his comments. He can get distracted and angry on the court, but that’s gotten a lot better too, imo.


Von Says:

Dan:

Thanks for the clarification, I thought it was a put down, and I felt hurt. Everything’s alright now! Probably if you had added a ‘LOL’, I would have picked up on the humor. It’s the reason I mentioned to skeezer that I work with men, thus I’m able to trade little quips of that nature with the oppposite sex, but it’s all very harmless and clean fun, on my part, and I know he’s got a great sense of humor too, so it’s kinda fun to have someone around who can lighten up things, once in a while. Unfortunately, the Internet has not progressed to the point of being able to add intonation and inflection into the written word, and therein lies the problem. It’s one of the reasons I’m so verbose in my posts, and I always ask for clarification of one-liners. I try to be explicit, thereby erasing any misinterpretations that might ensue. Did I ever tell you that I’m very sensitive? Oh yeah, big time!!

Anyway, thanks again Dan, and, ‘All’s well that end’s well’. I stole that line from : ‘As you Like It’, from Shakespeare, or is it Baard, who should be given the credit since Shakespeare has been dubbed a few times as a plagiarizer. LOL?


vared Says:

I think the animosity has lessened since Djok beat Fed a few times and esp. since he cheated him out of the AO. He prob. feels he got even. He got it out of his system. Fed was asked about his relationship with Novak last year and Fed said, it’s ok, everything is fine. Actually, Fed mentioned at AO 09 that it was wild that Murray was the favorite since Novak was defending champ, Rafa had 2 in 08 and Fed won the last one. I guess he was implying that they all had a GS but Murray, which of course is true.
Anyhow I am rooting for Rafa, Roddick, Tsonga, Delpo or Djok, not in that order necessarily.


jane Says:

vared, yes I think you’re right; Fed and Djoko seem to have a mutual respect now and their relationship, while not “friendly”, seems totally fine. That’s good. They need to put that stuff behind them.

I’d be happy if any of those players you mention win or go deep, but I’d add Murray, and even Safin too.


skeezerweezer Says:

Dan & Von,

Ditto here. We’re all good. Really enjoy the conversations up here with tennis. It’s only natural sometimes as Von says things can get misinterpreted. Ala, “I think I am in Love” from Margo. Dan’s response ” with me? ” Lol. I know it’s all in good fun of being up here talking tennis. And I do respect the person that thinks lines are crossing, I would be the first to want to here it. Don’t want to go there :)

On a side note, FED is GOAT. I’m out. :)


TejuZ Says:

Yeah, Fed and Djoker have some mutual respect now. I remember Djoker mentioning somewhere in his past interviews that its was Fed and Nadal who had invited Djoker for the position in ATP Players Council. Both Fed and Djoker have tempered down in the post-match comments to each especially since both have been mauled by Nadal is past one-year.

Even with Murray… Fed has tipped Murray as a fav at wimbledon last week.. he has even said, he finds Murray’s game the most difficult to handle compared to the rest… however he also did suggest that he would take Murray in a 5-setter anytime than a 3-setter.

And next time they meet at wimbledon, Fed will be motivated and have something to prove .. to reverse his H2H against Murray and Nadal.


Von Says:

vared: “Anyhow I am rooting for Rafa, Roddick, Tsonga, Delpo or Djok, not in that order necessarily.”

I think by now I/we know the order. LOL.
_____________________
skeezer;

“Ala, “I think I am in Love” from Margo. Dan’s response ” with me? ”

Yeah, that one seemed to have shaken up Dan a wee bit — I could hear it through the Internet: “With me?”. He quickly let margot know that there’s a “Mrs. Martin”.

Sorry, Dan, I couldn’t let that one pass. LOL.

skeezer: “On a side note, FED is GOAT. I’m out.”

You couldn’t let that opportunity pass, eh? ha, ha.


Von Says:

I don’t know if there’s mutual respect, or just both of them doing what’s politically correct, but it’s in the best interests of the sport and their own well-being for them to be civil and polite to one another, so it’s good thing. Just recently I read Fed mention in an interview that he’s aware that the younger guys (Djoko) try to mess with his head. I think I posted the link on another thread. Anyway, all’s fair in love and war, and might is right, and the weakest goes to the wall ……


No GOAT Says:

I like tennis bullies Says:

“fluky win. federer would not have won if he were facing nadal in the final and not soderling (who?)
federer isnt goat if he cant beat the best players”

Totally agree 100%.. but fans of fed in here will never admit it.

You can say that to all mediocre players that have met federer in the final over the years, with the exception of nadal, and djoko. All play good tennis leading through each round but then c*&p themselves when facing fed in the final and been there first grand slam appearance with no GS final experience! wow great competition!

To Kimo:
The best ever grass court player is not roger federer, it is Pete Sampras. The Wimbledon King.


Dan Martin Says:

Would Sampras have won the U.S. Open in 2002 if Hewitt had beaten Agassi in the semis? The If-ing game is fun, but you play who is in the draw. I am sure Sampras never complained to get Shalken in his semi at the 2002 U.S. Open as opposed to Hewitt who was clobbering him in 2001 and 2002. Also, Sampras tore up his foot at Wimbledon 2000 vs. Kucera, a solid player, and got to play Gimelstob, Gambil and Vlotchkov to make the final on one foot. Sure winning on one foot is a great deed, but those 3 guys were not exactly Budge, Laver and Borg.

As for Margot and love – the old saying is that a man only uses the word love when talking about pizza or when playing tennis. I guess talking about tennis clears the bar so Margot it is ok.

I was just thinking about the old SNL skit Dukakis after Dark following the 1988 election and thought what would tennis look like with a studio 54 feel then again we could just throw in late 70′s tapes and interviews.


Dan Martin Says:

NO GOAT let me throw this out since it is late. What is better not beating the best players on clay (Federer is 13-2 in non-clay court slam finals so) vs. not beating anyone on clay?

Add up Federer’s career wins and losses at Paris, Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg/Madrid and compare them to Sampras’ at those same events. To penalize Federer for losing to Nadal in 2005 is also to reward Sampras for a 1st round loss in 1995. the two guys are almost 10 years apart in age. My guess is on the faster surfaces you would see a similar quality of wins and losses and on clay you will see 1998 Sampras lost in the 2nd round to Ramon Delgado and 2008 Federer lost to Nadal in the final. How can anyone say Federer can’t beat the best so he is crap when Sampras could not beat a journeyman to get a shot at the best players at the same stage of his career on clay? Also, Fed won over 90% of his matches in 04, 05 and 06 and Pete never won over 90% of his matches in any single year. Who was beating Pete, the best or lesser players I don’t know, but he was losing more often than Fed. How does that get explained? It seems that losing to lesser players in early rounds is worse than losing to elite players in later rounds. Then again I am sure I am biased to think this way because I actually play tennis and the general idea is to advance in the bracket. I probably can’t overcome that bias.


Twocents Says:

I like tennis bullies Says:
“whatever happened to people claiming that federer was in decline due to age? is he no longer declining? or aging?”

I said it. And still hold to it, bullies. That’s why I flew to Paris to catch Fed’s RG final. None of my previous fav guys won it except Agassi at 31. What a treat! Like wine, the older the better, sometimes. But, I didn’t say Fed’s dead. Nor did I want to bury him alive.

Fed himself also said last week that he’s older now. Shame that Feds aging is not fast enough to miss a chance of stealling a FO. No worry. Fed won’t have the same luck at WO — you hear it here first. He’s in decline, with ot without FO. He just tries to slow it down, and steal a couple of more slams along the way. Nobody beats time.

Q: Are you old now?
RF: I am older and that’s why I think twice if it makes sense to play even more so if you have had a problem with your back, like in my case, or with your foot or shoulder. All of a sudden you are more cautious. Besides there is also mental strain. I had to keep my focus all the time in the last 3 weeks. Therefore an easy week like the one that I had now in Switzerland did me quite good. I can’t afford this often but when I need it I must have it. I enjoy extremely my time in Switzerland.

After IW
Q. What makes him difficult?
ROGER FEDERER: He’s a great counter puncher and reads the game really well. He’s got great feel, you know, so he’s he’s very confident at the moment. You can tell the way he plays, you know. He knows he doesn’t need to play close to the lines because he knows he can cover the court really well.
I think that calms him down mentally. I think that’s why he’s playing so well.

Q. That was a turning point?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, he played unbelievable in the end. I made many mistakes. My fault, you know.
No, I was worried for him. You know, went down badly. I didn’t see the entire fall because I was following my ball. But, you know, he screamed, so I hoped he was fine.
I was happy to see that he got back up. That was good that he’s not injured.

Q. It’s four times now that you’ve played him at one set all and come away behind in three set matches. What makes the difference?
ROGER FEDERER: Fitness. I’m old. He’s young, you know. Makes a huge difference. No, I mean, those are best of three set matches. I think in the last few matches I always felt Andy came on strong, as the match went on, you know.
This time was different. I think I played well in the second. Forced the issue a bit more and then played a shocking third set. It was one of those matches where it was very up and down from both ends, and today the better player won.


huh Says:

No GOAT, it must be so tough for you right now as Pete, Agassi, JMac and Borg’ve termed Fed as the GOAT, no? This makes you appear further unacceptable, no?
Btw, who told it to you that beating Rafa/Djoko/Murray’s more important than winning a GS?
Ha ha!


petrol rc cars Says:

Federers French Open win was astonishing in the way that he competed and showed his steely reserves and will to win.

Many times in the past, Federer has used his sublime talent to win tennis matches but at this years French Open, he has shown us different qualities.

He was down and struggling against Acasuso, Haas and Delpitro but in all cases showed his fighting spirit and will to win to drag himself to victory.

But going back to the original question, I do believe Sampras set a new bench mark for the future players and most certainly federer.

I think there is an old saying that fits here; “It is easier to follow than it is to lead and set the standards”.

So in that respect, Sampras is a true legend and has in many ways created the monster that is Roger Federer.

Grant


TejuZ Says:

Dan.. well said.. cudnt have put it any better. Fed’s achievements on clay has been overshadowed by his achievements elsewhere and Nadal’s dominance on clay. had the same been achieved by any other like say Djoker or Coria or Gaudio etc.. they would have been called one of the best clay courters after Nadal.

Fed’s achievements on clay..

1 One French Open(including 4 consecutive finals, 5 consecutive semi-finals)
2 Four Hamburg titles
3 One Madrid title
4 Three consecutive finals at Monte Carlo
5 Two Rome finals

All these in last 6 years.


TejuZ Says:

Twocents, thanks for getting those quotes form Federer. probably it needs to be shown to Murray than anybody else. Fed was critical of Murray during Dubai, but that actually made Murray work harder on his aggressive game and results are there to see. After that, Fed was not critical of him.. though he did say that Murray should be called favorite ahead of Fed, Nadal and Djoker.. and well.. he was proved correct.. Murray dint even reach the Quarter-final.


PietjeP Says:

Von;

I didn’t mean on this blog; I meant in previous blogs where there was fierce debating going on between fans of different players… but never mind :)


Polo Says:

I never give too much attention, much less analyze, what players are quoted to have said during interviews. The press is very good in spinning things and has a way of setting up questions that pin athletes into a corner and force them into coming up with answers that eventually appear controversial, sound ungracious and oftentimes derogatory to the other players.


Dan Martin Says:

I am sure some of these guys don’t like each other that much. However, the animosity on the ATP is much lower than on the WTA. Goto an ATP event and you are likely to see players hitting with one another on the practice courts while their coaches mention what each guy needs to work on to the other player. Go to a WTA event and while their may be a lot of logic in having male hitting partners a lot of the female pros won’t even practice near one another. Consider Shaq and Kobe with the “how my a** taste” freestyle after last year’s NBA finals. Somehow I can’t see Soderling who had some bad blood with Nadal asking “how my ludafish taste?” Finally, I think Jimmy Connors probably was the guy with the most animosity in the locker room. McEnroe said before their first Wimbledon semifinal that he wanted to say hello to Jimmy in the locker before the match and all Jimmy did was stare at the floor and would not acknowledge or speak to Mac. Finally, I think in winning ugly Brad Gilbert mentioned that he beat Jimmy once and after the match when Gilbert entered the locker room Connors was standing in nothing but a jock strap pointing at Gilbert yelling “you can’t beat me!” over and over. Fed-Djok-Murray stuff is pretty tame. Even Nole’s wedgy routine at Flushing Meadows in 2007 that did not please Rafa was not that bad.


vared Says:

I think Roddick or Nole Need the win more than any others.


vared Says:

The all england club have agreed to play this corny song on “Murray mount” during the tournament

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lVzmtPHBr8

FULL LYRICS TO ‘VOLLEY HIGHWAY’

First place with an ace he moved around with grace
read a newspaper cutting blowing round in space
and it tells of the tale where Murray without fail
tried for the finals to beat all his rivals
and play the game in his own way
be the champion……..He,s someone you can write about

Come on Andy Andy Murray sing Caledonia wild frontier
Come on Andy Andy Murray
One day you can have no fear
he,l be King of the centre court bathed in cheers

Net ball came the call…..Murray stood tall
though the court looked massive his racket so small
as he drove his way through volley highway
with cuts and passes like lightening flashes
where the points were long…. Murray held on
for a big return
He,s someone you can shout about

CHORUS

And now were counting down from Murray mountain
to a date with destiny’s champagne fountain
going all the way to make this Summer day
a time of victory….sublime ability
all alone the loser goes home
feels like time to die……but winning
there’s something that’s so good about

CHORUS


huh Says:

petrol rc cars Says:
“Federers French Open win was astonishing in the way that he competed and showed his steely reserves and will to win.

Many times in the past, Federer has used his sublime talent to win tennis matches but at this years French Open, he has shown us different qualities.

He was down and struggling against Acasuso, Haas and Delpitro but in all cases showed his fighting spirit and will to win to drag himself to victory.

But going back to the original question, I do believe Sampras set a new bench mark for the future players and most certainly federer.

I think there is an old saying that fits here; “It is easier to follow than it is to lead and set the standards”.

So in that respect, Sampras is a true legend and has in many ways created the monster that is Roger Federer.

Grant”

Hey, you are absolutely correct friend! Just spot on in your analysis!


huh Says:

FULL LYRICS TO ‘VOLLEY HIGHWAY’

First place with an ace he moved around with grace
read a newspaper cutting blowing round in space
and it tells of the tale where Murray without fail
tried for the finals to beat all his rivals
and play the game in his own way
be the champion……..He,s someone you can write about

Come on Andy Andy Murray sing Caledonia wild frontier
Come on Andy Andy Murray
One day you can have no fear
he,l be King of the centre court bathed in cheers

Net ball came the call…..Murray stood tall
though the court looked massive his racket so small
as he drove his way through volley highway
with cuts and passes like lightening flashes
where the points were long…. Murray held on
for a big return
He,s someone you can shout about

CHORUS

And now were counting down from Murray mountain
to a date with destiny’s champagne fountain
going all the way to make this Summer day
a time of victory….sublime ability
all alone the loser goes home
feels like time to die……but winning
there’s something that’s so good about

CHORUS

Hey, it’s sort of cool…….:)


huh Says:

vared, Nole already has a slam. So it’s not him who needs the win more, but it’s Andy Murray, who’s quite in need of a slam otherwise he’ll be under much more pressure in this year’s USO. And if Murrayt doesn’t win a slam this year, he’d find it very difficult to continue playing with confidence in 2010 and that’d very much hurt his Wimbledon prospects. And it should be you who must be the first person wanting to see Murray winning a slam beating Fed and Rafa enroute coz Murray’s the only one with the game who can constantly beat Fed and Rafa otherwise the monopoly of Fed, one of your most disliked of guys in tennis may just continue. Moreover Murray fading away’d lead to Rafa also benefitting a lot, may be more than even Fed and in that case, they’d have one formidable rival, which is Murray, taken out of the scene, which means it’ll only be a bad news for your Djoko. So think about it. The bottomline is-Roddick and Murray are the guys who are in maximum need of Wim win.


jane Says:

Huh – Still waiting for your reply on the other thread – “Haas shocks”. I answered your doubts about the “freefall theory.” I’d love to know what you think based on those results I posted.


vared Says:

The bottomline is-Roddick and Murray are the guys who are in maximum need of Wim win.

Huh: Novak has one and so does Roddick so where’s your logic?
IMO They both need another now more than ever for confidence. Besides I like them.

BTW Murray was not on my list.


vared Says:

you who must be the first person wanting to see Murray winning a slam beating Fed and Rafa enroute coz Murray’s the only one with the game who can constantly beat Fed and Rafa otherwise the monopoly of Fed, one of your most disliked of guys in tennis may just continue.
HuH:
No not really, I don’t mind Rafa taking it for a few more years. I don’t agree that Murray can consistently beat Fed and Rafa in 5 sets. Yes I don’t like Fed for his past comments in 2006 but he seems to be directing his BS to Murray lately.


jane Says:

I think Roddick could use another slam because even though he’s still a great player, he’s in probably the last third of his career and he won’t have a ton more chances – he needs a little luck in the draw and a break! He’s long overdue for a win.

I think Djoko could use one to turn around the “free fall” and start moving in a better direction at the slams. A semis result would be great for Novak too. Even quarters – please!

As for Murray, I think he could use a slam win to silence the doubters and to reward the Brits with their first since 1936.

Who doesn’t need one the most? Federer. He has 14. He just won. And he’s tied for most all time. Isn’t that enough for now?
It’s someone else’s turn imo.

Similarly, Nadal has several (6) and he won one this year too. However, Nadal has half the number of slams of Fed, and his career may be shortened due to the knees, and his early loss at the French was likely crushing. It’s not like he lost in the finals, like Fed at Wimbledon last year or AO this year! So if Nadal won a second Wimbledon that’d be nice, but then I’d definitely want someone else to win the USO.


vared Says:

Murray has 5 years to do it. Roddick has ? years. Djoko won’t be around too long either, IMO. I give him three years. He has always said, Tennis comes second to my health. So he must have some probs.Jane have you heard about the restaurant chain he is opening in towns where his tennis schools will be?


jane Says:

vared no I didn’t hear that. How do you find out this stuff?! Do you have an inside source? Maybe Marko? LOL. BTW, I agree. I don’t think Djoko will have a super long career. Maybe 26 yrs he’ll stop. I think it was sar who told me his goal was to have a couple more slams if possible, esp. the two European ones. I think he should go into theatre or media of some sort once he’s done with tennis.


Von Says:

“BTW, I agree. I don’t think Djoko will have a super long career. Maybe 26 yrs he’ll stop. I think it was sar who told me his goal was to have a couple more slams if possible, esp. the two European ones. I think he should go into theatre or media of some sort once he’s done with tennis.”

Oh my lord, jane, you have worked yourself into quite an overly negative state of mind with respect to Djokovic, and you now have convinced yourself that: (1) he’s free-falling, and (2) his career will be a short one. I don’t think there is any legitimate reason for the ‘free-falling’ theory at all, because it’s not like he’s playing with a serious injury or a chronic illness like Nadal or Sampras (thalassemia); he’s perfectly 100% healthy. Djoko’s protected to a certain extent by his ranking which ensures he’ll at least get to the QFs in tourneys, unless he meets up with a hot player who’s demolishing the competition, left and right, e.g., Soderling. However, that’s not usually the norm, but mostly a ‘one-off’.

Approximately, 90 percent of all athletes have ebbs and flows throughout their careers, and there is just about a 5 to 10 percent, if that much, who are untroubled, posting consistently great results continuously. Djoko seems to fall into the 90% category, which is the ‘norm’ for most athletes, and that being the case, he will definitely experience the ups and downs. How he handles the bad periods, will be up to him, but your worrying over the situation is not going to change his results.

I personally don’t feel there is any need for concern at the moment, even though he hasn’t matched his GS results of previous years, but again, that’s sports. We’re dealing with humans, not computers, whereby no two days are going to be the same, hence the good and bad results.

I think the time for concern should be if, and when, Djoko begins his descent through the rankings and falling out of the top 10. But anything else, falls under the ‘unnecessary concern’ category. His ranking protects him to a certain extent, whereby he won’t face another top 10 player until R16 in the GS, and that shouldn’t be a problem for a No. 4 ranked player, who should be demolishing his competition left and right. So he hasn’t been as consistent as he’s been in the GS department last year, but he has made up points in other areas, thus enabling him to remain in the top 4, and overall that’s what matters. The season is only one-half over, wait and see how he performs in the other half before embarking on the ‘free fall’ scenario taking place. As the situation stands, it seems you’re concerned about every player he faces, regardless of whether the competition is ranked 30 or 180, and that to me is needless worrying, because even though there have been upsets occurring where a lower ranked player knocks out a highly ranked player, the odds of that happening consistently are very slim.

BTW, thanks for your reply on my posting of the tennis news links, but in view of the situation as it now stands with Djoko, I’ll refrain from so doing in the future, because it’ll only heighten your frustrated state of mind.


jane Says:

Von,

LoL perhaps I have.

However, (1) “because it’s not like he’s playing with a serious injury or a chronic illness” – we don’t know this for sure. In fact in one of his most recent articles he mentioned he takes the heat poorly due to “some health problems” so there may be an underlying condition.

And (2) it was sar who had mentioned to me that Djoko only wants to try to win a couple more slams and doesn’t anticipate having a lengthy career like some. Besides, as he started pro-level at 16, if he plays until he’s 26, that’s a decent length of a career in pro-sports.

But as to this “but your worrying over the situation is not going to change his results.”

You are 110% right. And you’re also right that they all have ups and downs and I should just chill out. :) Maybe because I am not teaching at the moment I am throwing that energy into worrying about Djoko instead of my students. I apologize for annoying people and will try to cut the “unnecessary worrying” out. I do have a tendency to do this, admittedly.


Von Says:

jane:

No we don’t know if Djoko has a serious injury, but I’d say 90% that he doesn’t. I’d venture to state that someone who can go skiing is not living with a serious injury or illness.

“Besides, as he started pro-level at 16, if he plays until he’s 26, that’s a decent length of a career in pro-sports.”

I can’t resist this one, but jane the worrier, has Djoko at the age of 26 with the body of a 60 year-old. Sorry, but you know my humor by now. LOL.

You’re not annoying me in the least bit, it’s just that I think you’re expecting waaay too much from your fave by being overly concerned, and it’s manifesting itself in your comments. You strike as one of those fans who would be holding onto the chair during his matches, not to mention break point. OY VEY time for sure!! Chill, baby, chill, and don’t worry, be happy. My famous last words. LOL.


jane Says:

Yep, I am a chair holder. Now, what I’ve learned to do instead in close matches or moments is clean. I start sweeping or walking around and dusting or mopping, whenever the match gets tense. So when my husband and son come home to a sparkling house they always ask “how close was it?” “did your favorite win or lose?” Ha ha. It’s true. And so I sometimes tape the matches so I can rewatch them in case I missed great points while I couldn’t look and was vacuuming.


vared Says:

“I’m a little, sensitive, tiny guy,” he smiled. “Unfortunately every time I come back from a long trip and experience a change of climate my body reacts. Everybody’s different. Some people are more sensitive and I get sick pretty often, so I’m surprised when I’m healthy. No, I’m joking. I just have to be very careful about everything I do in between tournaments because I really want to be 100 per cent ready for every tournament I play.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/now-we-are-three-833617.html


TejuZ Says:

More on Grigor Dimitrov by Peter Lundgren..

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2009/jun/18/wimbledon-peter-lundgren-grigor-dimitrov

Funny coincidence.. he is 10 yrs younger to Federer… just as Fed was 10 yrs younger to Sampras. He has beaten Berdych already and stretched Nadal and Simons to deciders. He is good on grass.. has won juniors last here. Wild Card.. he cud cause an upset the 1st couple of rounds.. though i dont expect him to go past 2nd or 3rd round.


Twocents Says:

No problem, Tejuz.

No point to show the quotes to Murray, and anyone for that matter. The young guns and their fans have been waiting too long for their turn. Only Fed’s losses can quench their thirst. Besides, who gives much to stuff printed by the Fleet Street of London :-)).

I actually was just showing the quotes to “bullies” that Fed knows he’s aging too :-)).

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ATP - Aug 25 WTA - Aug 25
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
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6 Milos Raonic6 Maria Sharapova
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