Federer v Nadal in 1st Rd of 2010 Davis Cup
by Jeremy Davis | September 23rd, 2009
  • 119 Comments

Would there be anything sweeter for Roger Federer than strutting into nemesis Rafael Nadal’s homecountry of Spain and beating him on his own red clay in Davis Cup?


We’ll see on March 5-7, 2010, as Switzerland has been drawn to visit Spain in the first round of next year’s Davis Cup.

“I truly enjoy playing for my country but I’ll also have to see where I have my priorities for next season,” Federer said after leading Switzerland to victory over Italy this month and keeping the Swiss in the World Group. “Of course, there are the Grand Slams but there is also [maintaining the] No. 1 [ranking], which is a bit of a dilemma. Like in the other years, I will see after the Australian Open how I feel and if I play the first round.”

In their six-year rivalry the Swiss and Spaniard have never faced each other in Davis Cup competition.

Federer has historically let the Swiss squad flounder in World Group play, then swooped in to save them from falling out of the World Group Qualifying, as he did this month. Now with a strong No. 2 player in Stan Wawrinka, Federer could have the impetus to attempt to capture his first Davis Cup for Switzerland in 2010.

Other match-ups in the first round of the 2010 Davis Cup World Group are Germany at France, India at Russia, Argentina at Sweden, Ecuador at Croatia, USA at Serbia (Andy Roddick vs. Novak Djokovic), Israel at Chile, and Czech Republic at Belgium.

Spain will likely enter the tie versus the U.S. as two-time defending Davis Cup champions. They host the Czechs this December in the 2009 Davis Cup final on red clay, where Nadal is expected to again keep the Cup in Spain.


Also Check Out:
Roddick, Blake Just Say No to Davis Cup in 2010
Here Is Video of Novak Djokovic Injuring His Back During Davis Cup
Isner v. Mahut Match Setting Tennis Records, But It’s Not Over Yet
Nadal Withdraws from Davis Cup Final
Nadal Bails on Davis Cup Tie Against U.S.

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119 Comments for Federer v Nadal in 1st Rd of 2010 Davis Cup

Polifka Says:

Somebody needs to pull the plug on this waste of resources called the Davis Cup.

What tennis needs is exposure to the masses. This isn’t being done when you have set tournaments in set cities. And TV is not working. And the Davis Cup is like reading one chapter in a book per month.

So tennis needs a tournament that is set up like the NCAA basketball tournament. The tournament would start in many cities around the US and then ends at a final four site. This means cities like Minneapolis, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, Milwaukee, etc. would be exposed to top quality tennis. One of the current US tournaments could be morphed into something like this. Other parts of the world could also do something similar at a different time.

Facilities would be an issue but if basketball and ice hockey can be played in the same facility within hours of each other then I think tennis can be done.

Depending on what time of the year this is done, college tennis and/or lower level pro tennis could be incorporated into each tourney site.

Getting rid of the Davis Cup would help free up resources to do something like this.


Maxx Says:

I disagree with your proposed format. A format as you suggest would completely penalize any player/team who had an injury at the time of the tournament. At least the way it is now an injured player can miss a tie and play the next round if their team wins. I think it is fine the way it is now.


topspin Says:

never gonna happen.


Polifka Says:

It wouldn’t be a team tournament. Completely get rid of the Davis Cup and the concept.

I am talking about a 500 or 1000 level tournament.

The idea is to expose people around the country to top quality tennis and reward people around the country for their interest in tennis.


Kimo Says:

Fed vs. Rafa in a best-of-five match?

YES!


blah Says:

Hopefully one team hasnt already won 3 rubbers by the time they get to fed-rafa. They’ll probably be matched up in the fifth rubber but I could see Spain winning in 4.


Giner Says:

$1000 says Federer would not have played 1st round anyway. He never does, and his excuses still hold (too tired after AO, want to focus on Indian Wells and protecting my #1).

Doesn’t matter if it’s vs Spain, he isn’t going to be there.


Giner Says:

“I truly enjoy playing for my country but I’ll also have to see where I have my priorities for next season,” Federer said after leading Switzerland to victory over Italy this month and keeping the Swiss in the World Group. “Of course, there are the Grand Slams but there is also [maintaining the] No. 1 [ranking], which is a bit of a dilemma. Like in the other years, I will see after the Australian Open how I feel and if I play the first round.”

^He’s making provisions for skipping it already. I’m quite confident based on these words (the same gist as what he’s said every other year) that he is highly unlikely to be playing. This year he was #2 and still didn’t play, so it’s more than just retaining #1. The guy just can’t be bothered. There’s not much to gain from DC at a personal level (rankings points are negligible and no money). If it paid $1 million like a Slam, you can bet he’ll be there.

“Now with a strong No. 2 player in Stan Wawrinka, Federer could have the impetus to attempt to capture his first Davis Cup for Switzerland in 2010.”

They’ve had a strong No. 2 player for 2 or 3 years now. Hasn’t made a difference. Nadal or Del Potro could be on the Swiss team and he still wouldn’t bother. If anything, it would give him more of an excuse to miss it, since he’d have good ‘backup’.

Maxx Says:

“I disagree with your proposed format. A format as you suggest would completely penalize any player/team who had an injury at the time of the tournament. At least the way it is now an injured player can miss a tie and play the next round if their team wins. I think it is fine the way it is now.”

It has pros and cons. His suggestion helps teams that are dependent on one particular player. The current system favours teams that are strong all around. If a player that the team depends on is unavailable for the first round, it’s no different from them being injured at the time of the proposed format. But if they happen to be available at the time the new format tournament takes place, it would be like being available for all 4 ties during the year, which is a feat in itself.


Voicemale1 Says:

Yeah..this potential match-up may be more wishful thinking than anything. It’s hard to believe Federer is itching to play Nadal in a Best of Five Set match in Spain on clay under the Davis Cup atmosphere: millions cheering for Nadal. Then again, he keeps saying winning the Davis Cup is a goal of his. Well..if he’s not willing to play under these conditions, then he’s unlikely to ever take the Cup back to Switzerland. He begged off the Davis Cup match against the USA in the first round last year, and he owned all of those guys he would have had to play. This kind of match would be a far worse match up for him.

Now, if for some reason Nadal has to withdraw because of yet another injury – then you’ll likely see Federer happily suit up and take the court.


MMT Says:

I would have to beg to differ – I don’t think Federer is as concerned about losing to Nadal as the rest of us are. I take him at his word (the one about seeing if it fits his schedule). I think a more likely scenario is that if he’s won the Australian Open, he’ll probably play regardless of whether Nadal is available, because he would have tightened his grip on #1. If he loses the AO to Nadal (again) and/or loses early, then I’d be surprised to see him play.


MMT Says:

To be fair to Federer, Sampras and Agassi went through this type of dance of seduction over Davis Cup when they were competing for #1 10 years ago. Neither would committ before they knew what the level of effort would be to gain the #1 ranking.


toodle pip Says:

Stan will be a dad at that time and will bow out. So will Roger man up?


Giner Says:

Voicemale1: “Then again, he keeps saying winning the Davis Cup is a goal of his.”

He’s been saying that for years. He says it only to keep the door open in case he changes his mind and does want to play some day but probably wasn’t planning to. He doesn’t actually mean it. To me his goal of winning the Davis Cup was about as sincere and convincing as Brit Spears’ chastity vows some years back when “Hit me baby one more time” was the rage.

“Now, if for some reason Nadal has to withdraw because of yet another injury – then you’ll likely see Federer happily suit up and take the court.”

I don’t think Nadal has anything to do with it. A few years back, Lleyton Hewitt was his nearest rival with Roddick, and there was a first round tie between Switzerland and Australia. Hewitt had hurt him bad in their last meeting when Hewitt came back from 2 sets and a break down. Fed was serving at 5-3, 30-0 and lost in 5 sets. Hewitt was in his face the entire match and afterward, being the general dick that he was known for with his gestures and really really loud come ons. Fed (first time Wimbledon champ at the time) was clearly rattled by him.

This was a chance to get even, and he didn’t bother. When Hewitt pulled out, he still didn’t bother. So it was an anticlimactic meeting without the best players from both teams. He was the AO champ that year I think.

“I think a more likely scenario is that if he’s won the Australian Open, he’ll probably play regardless of whether Nadal is available, because he would have tightened his grip on #1. If he loses the AO to Nadal (again) and/or loses early, then I’d be surprised to see him play.”

He won the AO in previous years and was #1 by a massive margin, and it didn’t make a difference. He doesn’t like the scheduling of the first round, which is understandable. But it’s the same for everyone else.

“To be fair to Federer, Sampras and Agassi went through this type of dance of seduction over Davis Cup when they were competing for #1 10 years ago. Neither would committ before they knew what the level of effort would be to gain the #1 ranking.”

I actually don’t think it’s about #1 for Federer. He was so far in front in years past that playing it couldn’t have hurt his grip but he still didn’t anyway. For him, there’s just not much to gain from it. If they handed out a gold medal or some individualised and prestigious piece of silverware as recognition, you can be sure he’ll be there.

Hell, if they paid GS level money, he’d play.


sensationalsafin Says:

Federer is not about the money.


grendel Says:

When Federer concludes his days as #1 are finally over and that the likelihood of his winning another slam are minimal, then I daresay he will commit to the Davis Cup.

I believe Giner’s views on this matter are overly cynical. I have no doubt that Federer would love to be part of a winning Davis Cup team, and that therefore he is reluctant to overtly rule himself out even when, frankly, the likelihood is that he will not play. This kind of indecision seems to me a pardonable, not to mention universal, human weakness.

It is a question of conflicting priorities. The idea that money plays any role here is not a sensible one.

As I understand it, Federer’s training schedule is exquisitely prepared. This is why it as least reasonable to suppose that the relatively slight onset of the mono did disrupt, detrimentally, his game. And that, put into proper perspective, was never an excuse. Every player has to put up with all manner of health niggles, and if they succomb, that’s just how it goes. Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Federer – all have suffered, but only Federer’s “injury” has proved controversial.

Those who want to think he was, in some way, faking it, will not be persuaded otherwise. But for the rest of us, the incident was instructive. It suggests Federer’s fitness is incredibly finely tuned, and that the least disruption to this is likely to prove harmful to his two primary ambitions being realised.

People, not necessarily people who like Federer, often acknowledge Federer’s extraordinary consistency in grand slams. But of course, his 22 successive g/slam semis etc does not in itself mean that he was that much better than anyone else in the history of the game. It might, it might not. What it certainly means is that he has maintained an extraordinarily high level of health, i.e. peak fitness, over a number of years.

Federer often refers in his interviews to his “luck” in maintaining “good health”. On the face of it, it seems a truism, scarcely worth attending to to. Obviously, he must have been “healthy” (i.e. supremely fit)to win so much. But this is deceptive. There is “luck”, in the sense that nature has endowed Federer with a near perfect physique from an athletic point of view, and that the nature of his game puts far fewer demands on his general health than that of most players.

Apart from that, though, luck does not come in to it. The preparation and foresight on the part of the “Federer team” is unstintingly thorough. The Davis Cup – by and large – is deemed to be an unaffordable luxury.

Federer undoubtedly would like to overtake Sampras in number of weeks as #1 – a very difficult task indeed with Nadal right on his heels. And Federer would love to win more grand slams not just because he is greedy for more, though that’s natural enough. But of course he is aware, more so than most given how soon he himself appeared after Sampras, that his record will one day be broken. So the more slams he can win from now on, the longer that day can be put off.

Although some Federer fans seem to think 2 or 3 or even more slams are just there for the taking, I believe Federer is aware that winning just ONE more would be a monumental, and extremely difficult, achievement. Two more, even more so, and so on.

Hence, where tennis is concerned, any ambition or goal is assessed in the light of the following criterion: will it impede the two primary objectives?

If it is adjudged to do so throw it – however reluctantly – onto the scrap heap.


sensationalsafin Says:

Well said Grendel.

I just wanna add to what you said about how tough it’ll be to win slams for Federer. When Federer won his 5th US Open, it was said to have been the toughest slam for Fed to win. I think Bodo was the one who wrote this article. And he said that every slam is only gonna get tougher. There are tons of factors for why this is that don’t even need to be mentioned. But since 08 USO, Fed’s won 2 slams. From my perspective, the 08 USO looked like a cake walk compared to the 09 French. 2 5 setters and 2 4 setters for a total of 6 sets lost, playing from behind in BOTH 5 set matches. The freaking Jimmy dude who ran on the court in the final!! Number 14 was EASILY the tougher than 1-13. Then came 15. His Wimbledon path was made to look easy because Federer is just the Achilles of grass courts. But once it came down to crossing the finish line, winning for the 15th time, beating and extremely hungry opponent AGAIN, it was the toughest final he had ever won.

I don’t have much of a point except that I agree with Grendel and I wanted to expand on that one thing.


jane Says:

grendel says “but only Federer’s “injury” has proved controversial.”

Disagree – Nadal has been accused of faking the degree of knee injury repeatedly, including here, by Sean Randall to name one. Nadal is often accused of “making up” or “exacerbating” injury announcements. Djok, of course, has taken much flak for his retirements, some rightly so, some not so much, imo. He has been accused of faking to get out of losses. Yet rumor has it that he has asthma, some sources (e..g tennistalk) have come right out and said he does, in which case his immune system will be compromised and he is more likely to suffer due to the elements and viruses. And just recently, Murray went on record about the pressure he feels to play through injuries, because people don’t take them seriously or think he’s only making an excuse, and also when he lost to Verdasco at AO he was reluctant to mention the virus he had at the time.

So no – the other top guys have faced controversy due to illnesses and injuries also.

“Apart from that, though, luck does not come in to it. ”

Disagree – only insofar as you’ve not overtly mentioned genetics. Sure, Fed may have a great athletic physique and an economic style of play; however, he also seems to have very healthy genes. He rarely is ill or injured, so he probably has naturally strong bones/joints and a great immune system, considering how much these athletes travel and to what they are thus exposed. Of course, good genes is also down to “luck” of the draw, since we don’t choose our parents or genes (not yet, anyhow – sheesh).


i am it Says:

not everyone can be like Bill Tilden, whose middle finger tip got infected and later amputated. Plus, he had chronic knee problem that would flare routinely. But he kept both concealed from the public, let alone make excuses for his losses.


sensationalsafin Says:

I did not know that about Tilden. Wow.

Jane makes a good point. If anything, the only person who HASN’T been accused of controversial injuries is Murray. He’s got that wrist thing and a couple other ailments that seem to be pretty real considering he’s had surgery and stuff. Nadal knees did seem like an excuse this year until he ACTUALLY skipped Wimbledon. There’s just no way Nadal would pretend to be injured to skip Wimbledon of all tournaments. And when he came back, he got re-injured which means he probably did miss a lot of tennis. I don’t think Djokovic has been accused of fake injuries when not playing but his retirements and injury time outs are sketchy.


grendel Says:

Yes, I overcooked it; even so, on this site at least, Federer’s mono generated far more heat and fury than any one else’s injuries. So it’s relative. I really must learn not to exaggerate, though. Or jane will instantly be on my case….

However, on the question of genes – that’s just nitpicking, jane. I’m quite happy to incorporate that into Federer’s general good fortune, one can’t mention everything, and it doesn’t in any sense materially affect my point about the fine tuning of Federer’s training. Federer has had luck, yes; but he has also had the wit to know how to use it – and that’s the point.

Federer strikes me as a man on a mission to extract every last ounce out of his phenomenal talent, and he has certainly been blessed by nature for this endeavour.

There are other players comparably gifted- Safin, Lew Hoad, no doubt others – whose approach was diametrically opposite. There are those, actually, who would opine that their more “casual” attitude is more healthy, so to speak, than Federer’s relentless gunning for the two big records.

I don’t see it that way. There be different types in this world, that’s all, and that’s a blessing…. The Safins and the Hoads, buccaneers extraordinary, are as integral to the world of tennis as are the Federers and the Nadals.

Records have a certain undeniable charm. It is fascinating to watch someone who has both the talent and a degree of good fortune set himself huge longterm goals; goals which call for outrageous tenacity. Like it or hate it, this provides drama of a very primitive and compelling kind. The resistance to this drama is, in its way, almost as much a testimony to its power as the delight in it. You rarely see indifference, where Federer is concerned.


jane Says:

grendel, not sure if you were around between the French and Wimbledon, but Nadal was facing A LOT of heat.

Anyhow, am not meaning to be “on [your] case”, or to be perceived as such, but just pointing out a couple of points with which I disagreed. Overall I agreed with much of what you said earlier.


Giner Says:

sensationalsafin Says:

“Federer is not about the money.”

He’s not, but it sure helps, because without it, there’s no other reason for him to play at all. Offering money is better than not offering it, if he is to play.

Grendel:

“As I understand it, Federer’s training schedule is exquisitely prepared. This is why it as least reasonable to suppose that the relatively slight onset of the mono did disrupt, detrimentally, his game. And that, put into proper perspective, was never an excuse.”

That’s the way the schedule is, and as long as it doesn’t change (I don’t see why it would), he’s not going to play.

“Every player has to put up with all manner of health niggles, and if they succomb, that’s just how it goes. Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Federer – all have suffered, but only Federer’s “injury” has proved controversial.”

For some reason the bad scheduling of DC only affects Federer and not other major players. I wonder why that is.

I want to ask: In which scenario is Federer more likely to play DC–

A. He loses 1st rd of Australian Open.
B. Wins Australian Open title.

It’s three days of tennis, four times a year. It’s not going to kill him or cost him his #1 ranking. For a guy like him, he’ll breeze through most of his matches in three easy sets, so he won’t even be pushed too much.

grendel Says:

“Yes, I overcooked it; even so, on this site at least, Federer’s mono generated far more heat and fury than any one else’s injuries. So it’s relative. I really must learn not to exaggerate, though. Or jane will instantly be on my case….”

I don’t doubt that mono affected him in some capacity, but for a guy affected with mono, he made 3 GS finals (winning one) and a semi final. In one of those finals he lost 9-7 in the fifth set (to his greatest rival no less), in a match that he could easily have won. That’s a pretty stellar year for someone enduring a debilitating virus. Look at the effect mono had on Ancic, Dokic and some other high profile WTA player who’s name escapes me at the moment (Sharapova?). These people weren’t even able to play much less make finals.

Fed himself didn’t play up his mono, so we can only guess just how badly it hurt his chances at winning titles.


jane Says:

Isner was out for a while with mono this year: there were 2 months maybe (?) that he couldn’t play. Also I think that was partly what lead to Vaidasova’s utter derailment from the WTA. (That and the curse of Stepanek? After all, Hingis was caught with coke after being with the wormy worm. LOL). Maybe that’s who you meant Giner? Sharapova didn’t have mono as far as I know; she was out for shoulder surgery & recovery for almost a year.


margot Says:

We still live in a world where injuries are poopood unless you can see ‘em. Particularly so for mental illness, but fortunately we don’t usually discuss that in tennis terms. Regarding tennis we’re more likely to discuss a kind of fragility that many players exhibit and OMG aren’t they slated for such human fragility? So, if only Fed had broken his leg he’d have got humungous sympathy, whereas mono….has he really….?


grendel Says:

” because without it, there’s no other reason for him to play at all. Offering money is better than not offering it, if he is to play.”

There are, I submitted, two overwhelming reasons for Federer to play (leaving aside his passion for tennis, which is irrelevant in this context), and neither of them have anything to do with money.

I brought in the mono business not to stir up controversy again, or to claim he would have won this if not for that, and isn’t it amazing that he did what he did despite what he had even though so-and-so says he hadn’t, and so on and so forth.

It was to emphasise the nature of the (apparently) exceptionally fine tuning of his training. A man intimately connected with his physical preparation wrote at length, towards the end of this period, of the delicate margins involved. Subsequent events seem to have borne him out.

“For some reason the bad scheduling of DC only affects Federer and not other major players”. This is irrelevant. Federer has made a choice – some would say a bad one – and he will have made it in consultation with his physical trainers. They know what the score is, Giner and I do not.

“For a guy like him, he’ll breeze through most of his matches in three easy sets, so he won’t even be pushed too much.” That is highly tendentious, even ludicrous, given what the opposition can be these days. I repeat, the Federer team have, in the past, made a choice, and it relates to Federer’s overwhelmingly most important goals.

You can question this choice, on moral grounds. You can argue against it – without knowledge – on technical grounds. What you can’t do, in any way which makes any sense, is bring in money as a motivating force. Not, of course, that I am suggesting Federer is not keen on money. Clearly he is, but he has it in overwhelming quantities, and he stands to make a great deal more very easily (adverts and so on).

He will not allow money to play any role whatever in his quest to add to his slam record (with the view of putting it out of reach for as long as possible) and to catch up with Sampras w.r.t. number of weeks as #1.


Rick Says:

This is pretty boring I must say! I am getting sick of the twos playing each others again! Espeially on clay. Zzzzzzzz


bob Says:

I believe the “controversy” surrounding Federer’s bout with mono was that it was he was thought to be past his prime and would never win another major. No one has ever accused him of faking it as with the others .I care care how talented or physically and mentally perfect anyone thinks Federer is. Everyone has good days and bad days. All the stars must align to win a major much less to win 15 majors. I think the cost/benefit ratio decides which top players participate in davis cup. the regular season just takes too much out of a player for them to risk injury and/or rankings playing for national pride.


toodle pip Says:

I did not know that about Tilden.

SS and I am it

Bill Tilden was also a disgusting sexual pervert. Why people idolize him or speak highly of him is beyond me. According to Charlie Bricker a tennis writer,
He was also a pedophile who no doubt destroyed the lives of dozens of children.He was a criminal who perpetrated one of the most disgusting of crimes. Somehow, he was elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1959, even after he had spent jail time for his sexual involvement with children. That obviously doesn’t matter to those people who run the Hall of Fame.


sensationalsafin Says:

I didn’t know that about Tilden either.

I’d like to make a point that when a player retires during a match, or withdraws before it starts, or pull out of several events, etc, have serious injuries that should never be taken lightly. Fans seem to think that if a player has an injury that’s announced, that must be the only injury he has. Players are never “100%” even when they claim to be. There’s always something bugging them. A good example is Federer who DID participate in DC last weekend. He’s pulled out of 2 events!!! So does that mean he suddenly felt tired after his 2 matches? No. He’s been tired probably since the beginning of the Open. But he played through it. Nadal played through his stomach injury. Roddick’s been playing through his hip injury all summer. When they are forced to actually pull out, that shows just how serious it must be. Federer and Nadal are both taking some time off right now because they have injuries that have gotten a little out of hand and need time off in order to calm down. How Federer managed to play through mono is amazing, but not impossible.


Voicemale1 Says:

Giner Says:

“Fed himself didn’t play up his mono, so we can only guess just how badly it hurt his chances at winning titles.”

- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -

It didn’t prevent him from winning ANY titles. It’s sheer stupidity to suggest or claim that somehow Federer managed not to be bothered by his “mono” to win say six out of seven matches at a Major only to have his “mono” kick in at the most inopportune moment to him and therefore rob him of the title match. But such a claim is exactly what’s purported by this ridiculous statement. And the one who seemed to suggest how costly this “mono” seemed to be was basically Federer himself. He spoke of it repeatedly after every LOSING match he played.

Federer never withdrew from one single event duirng his whole “mono” period, which he claims began in Australia of 2008. If you go back and check his schedule of 2008 vs. 2007, you’ll find he actually played in MORE tournaments during his “mono” year of 2008 than his “healthy” year of 2007. For him, or anyone else, to make such a claim as “mono” costing him titles yest he actually logs MORE miles on court needs to come back down to earth. Federer may have been suffering something, but it likely had to do with a shattered confidence after the fright of his life to Tipsarevic, then subsequent losses to Djokovic and then a First Round Exit to Murray, losses to Fish, Roddick and then the hammerings he got at the hands of Nadal in that Spring of 08. But for anyone to suggest that he could go as far as he did in events he played, often winning matches in his usual routine fashion, and then trot out the “mono” BS when someone beat him is just bunk. Federer Mono is like the Loch Ness Monster, or Big Foot. One of the biggest myths of the century.


been there Says:

“…and he stands to make a great deal more very easily (adverts and so on)….”

This is true. It is my belief that the likes of Federer, Serena & Sharapova currently earn a great deal more out of there commercial endorsements than from playing tennis. And with his language skills, he’s marketable in many countries….. Federer has an endorsement with Netjets which he’s now using to ferry young family around the world at will…like hailing a taxi across the street…. sweating for two weeks on a tennis court, with the assumption that he’s definitely reaching finals, will hardly cover the costs. Also, he’s already the highest earning tennis player (both in ATP & WTA) in the history of the game. It is also my understanding that he’s got a lifetime contract with Wilson (I think).

He may be criticized for missing Davies cup matches…but the suggestion that it’s ‘coz of lack of a large cash price is a ludicrous joke. If money is a problem, then he’d better ditch tennis all together & concentrate on business investments ‘coz he’s hardly going to hit the billion dollar mark by playing tennis (seeing that he’s already past £100m from ATP & endorsements at only 28yrs). And the truth is that apart from the tennis & related endorsements, we do not know what investments he & Mirka (& many other players) are involved with…..Middle East real estate? Major shareholder in certain companies? Who knows. We only know what they likes of Serena & Venus are involved with ‘coz they’re in show business. But one thing is for sure, unless there is a catastrophic depression, much worse than the one experienced in the last year, the likes of Federer, even if he retired today, are already set for life money wise….but these monetary catastrophes never seem to affect Switzerland, so either way, he’s gonna be ok. Lol. Pete Sampras, who earned less than him by the time he retired seems to be doing ok.


been there Says:

Re: Davies Cup

I’m also of the opinion that it should be scrapped all together. Even most avid tennis fans do not care for Davies cup & casual fans do not know either of it’s ecxistence or how it works. I’m of the opinion that nationalism doesn’t translate well in a game as individual as tennis. Instead, perhaps the national anthem of the event winner could be played at all events much like in athletics….will definitely give the player & country involved national pride. In this case, the likes of Murray & Federer & Del.P carry some national pride with them instead of waiting for DC where a country may have only one top player, hence never rewarded.

And let’s face it, players also don’t care much about DC (& not just Federer…he’s high profile, so obviously receives most scrutiny & criticism for this. A player missing DC is ok with it….but with a slam or even masters, it is a big big deal. Murray, who has previously missed DC, has now gone on record as saying that he will only play DC if the captain really really wants him to….translation, he doesn’t want to, but will only do so if begged or highly criticised by the British public & media.

Also, the money spent on Davies Cup could be better used to promote tennis for it to catch up in popularity with he likes of football, baseball, rugby cricket & athletics. It is an embarrassment that outside of slams, the tennis stadiums are hardly ever full. And if they are, it is dependent on which player is playing. i.e. is it Federer or Nadal or a home player? And sadly, this sometimes also translates in slams where only the two or three show courts are full…also depending on which players. Wimbledon organisers stooped to previously unknown levels by putting ‘pretty girls’ on centre court to attract viewers (who were in turn disappointed by the lack of quality tennis. hopefully they revise this next yr, otherwise, as with this yr, ‘record’ viewership will only be seen at the men’s finals.

I’m not convinced though that the lack of high popularity in tennis is due to lack of funds to promote it. Maybe it’s a management thing or just maybe tennis is not just as lovable to the majority of worldwide public as the other games I mentioned. In this case, I could be using DC as a scape-goat.


i am it Says:

Tilden was not a “disgusting sexual pervert” and he was not a “pedophile” unless you subscribe to hetero-sexist extremism. the writer Bricker is a homophobic nazi, ignoratio elenchi, indulged in red herring.

tilden was a victim of homophobic regime and its conspiracy. yes, Tilden was homosexual, but the society and legal system could not tolerate his sexual preference and tried to contain him under false charges, sort of twisted McCarthyism, a common practice during 50s.

as far as i know Tilden was not just one of the best in tennis history, he was also one of the best men ever lived, with multiple talents outside tennis: a tennis author, playwright, Broadway actor, and aesthete.
for further reading (trust me it’s worthwhile), check out http://www.answers.com/topic/bill-tilden


been there Says:

Why is this mono talk back? Are we the doctors who tested & treated him? are we his physiotherapists or trainers who know how his training was affected? a little google has shown me that mono affects people differently….& as someone pointed out above, some players miss a month or two of tennis while others a whole 6 months to a year. it is relative. does a cold affect everyone in the same way?

As someone mentioned, does someone have to carry a visible injury & be treated on court for people to believe. if we’re going to go down this route, then it is BS to suggest that Nadal’s lack of form (after two months of not playing or practising due to knee injury)& subsequent abdominal injury at Cincinnatii and the US open cost him a single match ‘coz he reached the semis of both events beating players in the most routine manner. See how ludicrous that sounds?


i am it Says:

more on Tilden
“If an official incorrectly made a call that unfairly favored Tilden, he often deliberately missed his next shot in order to restore fairness to the game. In the Davis Cup, he once allowed Australian, James Anderson, to win a whole set in order to make up for a bad call that had wrongly given Tilden a set point.”

“He was a devout believer in sportsmanship at all costs and above all other aspects of the game, including the final score; he would readily (and dramatically) cede points to his opponent if he thought the umpire had miscalled a shot in Tilden’s favor. He still remains the only known professional tennis player, perhaps the only professional at any sport, to have refunded money to a promoter when the gate was not as good as it should have been, and the promoter was going to lose money.”
Sources:
(1) Schickel, Richard. The World of Tennis (1975).
(2) Deford, Frank. Big Bill Tilden: The Triumph and the Tragedy (1976).


grendel Says:

You never know what a player, any player, might have done if he had been in better shape. Fruitless to speculate, I’d suggest.

“And the one who seemed to suggest how costly this “mono” seemed to be was basically Federer himself. He spoke of it repeatedly after every LOSING match he played.” Is this true? Federer is certainly a sore loser,as I have often said (not that it matters what people like me and Voicemale1 say) but this is not such a terrible thing in my book – rather natural, actually. Still, you can take these things too far, and if Federer really did “repeatedly” bring the mono up after losing, that would be a disagreeable trait, without doubt. Perhaps a spot of documentation would be in order?

Meanwhile, to suggest that the mono itself is a myth is indicative of wishful thinking. That it was mild is undoubtedly the case, but my point in bringing it up was not to wonder how much he would have won had he not suffered from it. Please, please. As Been there has, in a pained way implied, we’ve been there before.

I was drawing attention to the extraordinarily detailed manner of Federer’s physical preparation. In this scheme of things, even a mild dose of mono can set him back quite away. I can see how this could be taken as an attempt to excuse his losses, but that really was not what I had in mind. It was an analogy, no more, to show why skipping the Davis Cup could well be justified simply in terms of Federer’s physical preparation. At least, it couldn’t by me, since I don’t know anything about it, but I am fairly sure that this is the thinking behind the Federer team.


Gordo Says:

I’m thinking we need Grendel to write a book with Jane as his editor. This indeed would be a winner.

Grendel writes great comments and Jane – who does also – is always there with the checkes and balances.

The ITF and the ATP do not fit in well together. The Davis – note spelling – Cup does indeed provide a disruption for those who participate in the event. The fact that so may of the world’s top players has to make one believe that the majority of the pros want to see it continue.

And although it may just be 3 days, one has to take into account finishing up at the AO, flying to Spain and then returning to California for Indian Wells, it is not the ideal scenario for Nadal or Federer.

But here’s the thing about the Davis Cup. For fans of tennis who live in towns and cities that get to host Davis Cup events, this may be the only time they get to see world class calibre tennis. So what’s wrong with that?

I know for a lot of the bloggers in here watching tennis on the tube with their bowl of popcorn and Tennis-X blog page up on the computer so they can make comments like “Wow – did you see that serve?” or “What’s wrong with (insert name here]? it doesn’t make any difference, but for true fans of the sport, and of their countries who live in places that normally do not get to see these guys play – places like Porec, Tel Aviv, Buenos Airies, Calgary, Birmingham, Malmo, Sibiu, Benidorm, Lima and Quito – why should they be deprived the chance to see the best players in their country and possibly some of the best in the world play?

‘Been there’ says “Even most avid tennis fans do not care for Davies cup & casual fans do not know either of it’s ecxistence or how it works”

Really? Sounds like someone who is tired of his or her country losing in the DC constantly.

If you have ever seen a Davis Cup match – especially the rubber match when it is tied 2-2 – nothing in tennis compares to it. I believe that this why the world’s top players participate in these events.

In my opinion the Davis Cup is an asset, not a hindrance to our sport.


Von Says:

I’d like to comment on what’s perceived to be the writing of *great comments*, which I feel is subjective, and are perceived as such depending on who’s reading, their interpretation and the amount of vested interest one has in those comments. To me, most of the posters on this site write *great comments*. To name a few, viz., Voicemale1, Giner, MMT, blah, Veno, Vulcan, sensationalsafin and jane. However, from the consensus of opinion on a selected few posters’ comments, we know why some would find some of those posters’ comments more favourable and perceived as *great* more than others. The reason being, they write, affirm, and validate, what we feel and/or want to hear. And, these affirmations in 9 out of 10 cases, emanate/gush from Federer fans on another Federer fan’s comments.

This site is predominantly a Federer fan based site, therefore those posters who bissect, dissect every sentence, put forth passionate responses which are favorable to Federer will always draw agreements and consensus of opinion from fellow Federer posters as being *great*. The other eloquent non-Federer posters are *also rans*, and their eloquent comments are overlooked. I doubt it will take a rocket scientist to figure that one out, or would it?

On the reverse, we see SOME of those same posters who write favourably *great* Federer comments, nitpick, lambaste and shred other posters’ perceived character traits using the most despicable verbiage, but nary a comment is made. Are we to assume that those comments are perceived to be *great* as well?

Question: Is an exaggeration a lie?

*******************
Giner: The following was addressed to you and I’m surprised that you didn’t answer it, or did you not see it: “It is a question of conflicting priorities. The idea that money plays any role here is not a sensible one.” I thought you were being told “you’re stupid” very subtly. LOL.


Von Says:

I disagree with those who feel Davis cup should be scrapped. I also agree with Gordo that it’s the only time that some countries are given the privilege of seeing the top tennis players participate in high quality tennis matches. However, it’s a shame that some players do not place as much emphasis on playing Davis cup as they would for an individual titled tournament and one has to question why this happens. Some claim that it’s not due to money. Well, if that’s the case, why then only a few top players can find the time to play in Davis cup and others can’t? Regardless of where a top player lives, Davis cup entails travelling back and forth. Some players’ schedules are flexible or they make it flexible and a priority to accommodate DC and we see others who supposedly deem it an inconvenience. Why is this so? And, what makes one player’s training more exquisitely timed than others? Is player X more human than player Y?

In sum, all things considered and despite the inconvenience to some players, I’d like to see Davis Cup continue and prosper, taking tennis to all ends of the earth, fostering goodwill among nations, and adhering to the true intent, purpose and mission of Dwight Davis.


toodle pip Says:

He began traveling with hand-picked teenaged ball boys. Some McCarthyism! Spending months in jail instead of years for plugging ball boys.

Read ‘Morals charges’ and “Nabokov”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Tilden

Iam it,
The guy was a pedophile. Old men boinking underage youths is illegal and immoral. You may idolized such a person if you wish.


i am it Says:

i don’t engage in arguments with posters here, but, pip, i could not let this one go because i know enough about Tilden to form a judgment about him as well as social issues. what is at stake here is both tilden’s legacy and social issue.

i know who Frank Deford is. the excerpt in wiki acknowledges his book as the source.

remember

23 years after Tilden died, Deford visited Tilden’s small, modest tombstone, and wrote, “It is the only monument of any kind anywhere in the world – at Forest Hills, Wimbledon, Germantown, anywhere – that pays tribute to the greatest tennis player who ever lived.”

why would the same author say this? Think. Because he is not McCarthyist.

also in 1949,
Associated Press released a poll of the greatest athletes in the first half of the 20th century. Tilden was tops in tennis, taking his place in the sports pantheon with Jack Dempsey, Bobby Jones and Babe Ruth.
————-
thanks for prodding me. now wiki has this:

Despite those charges and conviction, according to contemporary George Lott, a great player and later tennis coach at DePaul University, and authoritative biographer Frank Deford, Big Bill never made advances to players, be they other adults or his pupils. Art Anderson of Burbank, who took lessons from Tilden since he was eleven years old and remained a life-long loyal friend, reported nothing of Tilden’s sexual advances[6].

“Bill had all the rumors floating around about his sexuality,” Jack Kramer said[7].

The question remains if Tilden’s prosecution was based on those rumors and heterosexual biases of the time.

In an era when homosexuality was not tolerated socially, there is enough room to suspect that Tilden was made victim of the homophobic society of the time.

———————–

i am gonna say once more if you did not understand what i said. tilden was a victim of homophobic regime, ten times worse than castor semenya has been treated by the same regime. just imagine how a gay would be treated in the 40s and 50s.

it’s mccarthyism precisely because anyone you did not like would be submitted to false charges or unrelated labels like commie or gay or similar, to ostracize and prosecute the person.

i’d appreciate if you stop defaming tilden and stop spreading your homophobia.

you may idolize hetero-sexist social terrorism if you wish. that’s your choice. you can hold on to your beliefs. i have no problem with that. let me hold on to mine.
i am well-informed and i have capacity to think and form judgment about an issue. i don’t need a preacher or a proselytizer.

For me Tilden will remain forever the greatest player and sportsman that ever touched a racket.
————–
i rest my case.


margot Says:

Agree with Giner and von re Davis Cup and as I’m from a country whose team is slipping fast down greasy poll, feel able to comment objectively. Davis Cup is held in different cities and there were loads and loads of kids at the last one. If one of those is fired up enough to take tennis seriously then it’s worth it. And for them to see Andy M winning must’ve been extra special. Also I feel tickets to DC matches are probably cheaper than normal too which encourages young fans. Tickets for Wimbledon and O2 are horribly expensive, plus going to them from other parts of the country, you have to add travel, hotel etc.


margot Says:

Oops, sorry it was Gordo!


sensationalsafin Says:

Davis Cup is a lot of fun, imo. I think they should change when it’s played though. I can see why it would make sense for the players to make it the weekend after a slam since no one wants to play an actual tournament after a slam, but that’s worse for the fans, I think. Everyone gets so built up and worked up during the slams, by the time it’s over, even the fans want an emotional break. And then DC is suddenly played and I’m just like, wtf, when did this happen. I still pay attention and stuff but I could be more into it. When the US won the final in 07, that was real easy to get hyped about since it was several weeks after the tour and I was begging to see some tennis.

Von says: “And, what makes one player’s training more exquisitely timed than others? Is player X more human than player Y?”

The only way to know the answer is to go out and watch how each player trains and prepares. I’d say there’s gotta be something about Federer’s training that’s unique compared to all the others considering how well he’s fared in the last few years. And it’s not like the guy hasn’t been injured at all, yet it’s so easy to overlook when comparing how much everyone else was injured. He had year end injuries in 04 and 05 but he still made the won the TMC in 04 and reached the finals in 05. He had the ankle brace throughout the 06 AO but still won. And then he didn’t have any serious injuries until 08. For almost 2 years the only thing he had were blisters. Compare that to Nadal who had big injuries in 05, 06, 07, 08, and 09. Djokovic has pulled out of his fare share of events. Murray missed the FO and Wimbledon? because of his wrist. Del Potro had a lot of injuries. Roddick missed months at a time, too. When playing a professional sport, it’s more than luck in your physio that allows you to stay injury free for so long. And Federer has been injured before he reached number 1. So it’s not like he’s exempt from injury. But again, the only way to know what exactly it is that makes his training different or special or whatever is to watch him train and to watch other players train and compare.


been there Says:

Gordo says: “Really? Sounds like someone who is tired of his or her country losing in the DC constantly.”

Gordo, sorry to dissapoint you but my country (or countries-seeing that I have a dual nationality & currently live in a country different from these two) does not have top players & doesn’t participate in DC so I have no vested interest to be ‘tired’ of my country losing in DC constantly. Lol. In my country, there is only one lowly ranked top100 player, yet I’ve been watching DC & tennis (both ATP & WTA) and supporting players from different countries for a number of years….alas, none from my countries!! Surely, as a tennis fan, you ought to know that not all countries participate in tennis, let alone DC. Perhaps it would be wise for you to *personally* know a poster before making such unsubstantiated remarks. Or if a poster addressed you in a way that you felt was in bad taste, then by all means, go ahead & write true or false stuff as you wish.

I have re-read my comments & nowhere did I address you. It was my opinion. FYI, I watch tennis throughout the year, including DC. But it is a fact that slams & masters are at a higher level to DC. This is why top players, e.g. Fed, Murray, Nadal, Djokovic can afford to miss it without it being a big deal. And it is also a fact that most people do not know the DC structure. If you check other threads on this site (& if you visit other tennis sites…& for me, just from talking to work colleagues & friends), there are people asking ‘how does the thing work?’, i.e. it’s structure in terms of world groups, zones, promotions, relegations & rubbers etc. Following DC means more than just sitting & watching a the match without knowing the consequence to the loser in the match ‘coz it is not the same as a knock-out event as with other tennis events like slams & masters. The reason for people asking is ‘coz compared to slams, masters, etc the DC structure is a bit complex…also due to the fact that it’s held at different times of the yr as opposed to a straight one or two weeks.

It is also a fact that more people watch slams & masters, either in stadiums or on TV as compared to DC matches-quite easy to ascertain from level of TV ratings. I didn’t say anything about DC not being exciting as you’ve alluded in your post. I for one wish that the DC atmosphere of the OTT fanatical crowds could be present in other events where the crowds can be quite boring…with some even nodding off in the middle of a match!…very common in 250 events & was surprised to see a few people at FO matches sleeping in some matches. lol. A vocal crowd can only make the match more exciting. & Yes, as others have pointed out, the cities involved have a great chance of seeing top players.

But this doesn’t change my initial views about DC, i.e. that it is not as important as other events either to most tennis fans (not just those typing away on blogs…there are more tennis fans worldwide than the 30 or so regular posters on tennis-x) or to the players themselves as compared to other ATP events. FYI, these are my opinions, nothing to do with my ‘country losing constantly in DC’. LOL. If this were the case, then maybe only people from countries with top10 players should watch tennis, & not just DC. And seeing that only Fed & Nadal win most events, then perhaps Switzerland & Spain should start hosting at least 50% of all ATP & ITF matches seeing that, as per your post, people from other countries with non-winning players are so bitter.

Everyone is free to make an opinion & anyone is free to passionately disagree with those opinions without having to make some unsubstantiated false remarks like you did.


toodle pip Says:

i’d appreciate if you stop defaming tilden and stop spreading your homophobia.
—————————-
I’m it
I am quoting sources not free-lancing here. It’s common knowledge that Tilden had a “problem” with young, underage boys. I will say what I want about Tilden. If you feel a certain kinship with Tilden regarding his peculiar tastes that’s your problem.


jane Says:

I don’t know much about Fed’s training, admittedly, and I agree with you sensationalsafin that no one, even Fed, is exempt from injury. However, I don’t think Fed’s longevity, and relatively excellent health and fortitude, is down to his training. I really don’t. I think it’s more (a) his physique, as grendel already mentioned above, which is not to tall or too stalky or too gangly and thus his movement (a key factor in his lack of injury – his movement is one of his best assets!) is great and he doesn’t compromise himself in over-exertion, as, say, a tall guy might in getting down to low balls; and (b) genetics: now I know grendel said I was “nitpicking” to bring up genes/biology, but I disagree. I think it’s actually one of the most important factors that Fed has going for him. I know some people at work who just never get sick or injured, even though they are exposed regularly to the student germ fray; meanwhile, others who have less robust immune systems, or less sturdy skeletal frames, are sick all the time or out on disability due to back/neck injuries from constant computer/desk/marking work. And it’s not that they don’t exercise; in fact one of the teachers off due to a back injury is a marathon runner in her spare time. But maybe she has weaker bones, and those who get sick often may have weaker immune systems. I think Federer, based on his years of health, must have a very strong immune system. He doesn’t seem to be ill much and he also played through mono, and many other players have not been able to do so.

So that’s my 3 cents.

As for Davis Cup – similar to Gordo, Von, margot, I like it. I think it should continue, as it’s a rare occasion to see the players play as a team and revel in that atmosphere of support and national competition. And players who don’t always get the big wins at the tour events sometimes have tremendous success at Davis Cup. Perhaps the timing is difficult, as sensationalsafin points out, but with such a packed ATP tour, I guess it must be tough figuring out when to hold these events.


jane Says:

As for Fed’s more recent back troubles? I think that’s due to two things: 1) years of wear and tear due to going deep, often winning, every event he played, and 2) age.

His back may’ve been a factor in his loss to Delpo based on his poor serving. And he “trained” properly all year, and even commented on how well he felt from Rome onwards due to the fact that his training had been fine tuned and he was raring to go. And yet, unlike previous years, where his training kept him fine, he still may’ve tweaked his back and has now pulled out of 2 events.

This’ll likely happen more now that he’s getting older. And if he does carry those little girls around a lot, look out. I know so many new parents who’ve had back troubles, esp. mums, who do a lot of the lifting. But some dads too. I suppose it’s probably a non-factor since the Fed’s likely have 4 or 5 nannies working round the clock, and lifting those babies into their jet seats. LOL. :)


grendel Says:

The business about “training” was not intended to refer to longevity, but to the maintenance and /or regaining of peak form at the key moments of the season. This was the burden of the long message delivered by someone closely associated with Federer’s training (it was actually reproduced on tennis.com).

In common with most other posters here, I don’t of course have the knowledge to subject this claim to analysis. But for me, it felt right. Only a subjective impression, I appreciate.


been there Says:

grendel says:
“…but to the maintenance and /or regaining of peak form at the key moments of the season….”

I think this is the difference between between Fed & other top5 players…knowing when to stop if he feels that he’s in a very bad shape such that he’s in top form for slams. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that he necessarily has to go deep…he may be in top form but still capable of being knocked out in rnd2. Not everything has to do with fitness, but is is key.

I also think the same point can be applied to a player like Roddick, who despite not being in the same caliber as Federer in terms of slams, masters, etc wins also manages to schedule his calender well such that he has managed to staywithdraws from events if he has an injury. I believe this is one of the reasons why he’s managed to stay in the top10 for such a long time while his peers, e.g. Hewitt, have long dropped out.

I think Del Potro also took a similar approach where he withdrew from Cincinnati due to fatigue & a minor shoulder injury. At the time, many posters on different websites criticised him & questioned his fitness. But seeing that he knows how much his body could cope with (& perhaps he knew he’s not fit enough to play in Cincy & go deep in US open), he wisely withdrew from the event to rest & allow the shoulder to rehabilitate & three weeks later, he was holding the Flushing meadows trophy. Had he played in Cincinatti, who knows if he’d even have managed to reach qtrs in the US open.

Nadal on the other hand, who is commonly hailed as the fittest player on tour (when fully fit!) is constantly out with injury….many think it is due to his scheduling of events as much as perhaps as his playing style & constantly playing with injury. He can definitely do something about the scheduling bit….playing style, not so sure.

So, imo, if a player decides to miss an event, be it DC or whichever other because they feel it interferes with their training, will exacerbate an injury or need time to rest after going deep in slams & masters, then that it is their prerogative. Each individual player knows what they can cope with, & how much rest they need or if playing will exercabate a previously small injury. Since DC has negligible ranking points & is not a part of the ATP mandatory events, then surely, given a choice, then a player, e.g. Fed or Murry or any other, would more readily miss a DC match than say even a 250 event. At the end of the day, tennis remains an individual sport & DC will only revolve on how well a player can fit it into his/her ATP or WTA shedule.


been there Says:

correction on paragraph three:

….Roddick….. also manages to schedule his calender well such that he withdraws from events if he has an injury…


jane Says:

“Each individual player knows what they can cope with, & how much rest they need or if playing will exercabate a previously small injury. ”

Ideally yes; although some seem not to know how much they can cope with.

Scheduling is key to how well a player copes with the long season, for sure.

The point about peaking at slams, that both been there and grendel have raised, is a very relevant one. I wish Djok would clue into that! He expended an enormous amount of energy and mental focus during last spring’s clay season, only to bow out of RG early. Hopefully his crew and/or he learned something from that experience – and not simply that Nadal is unbeatable on clay.


margot Says:

jane: I’ll second that and relate it to Andy M. Johnny Mac said, after USOpen, he thought Andy should take a leaf out of Fed’s book and pace himself more, also practise less! Be less serious I guess, though Andy seems to have lots of fun in training.
Djko and Andy M have lots to learn don’t they?


been there Says:

“Hopefully his crew and/or he learned something from that experience – and not simply that Nadal is unbeatable on clay.”

First, lol@ what his team learned. imo, I think his scheduling was rather ok…& he takes time off for breaks. Physically, he’s not been injured much this year, yes?

He simply had the misfortune of being good enough to run into Nadal so many times @semis & finals during the clay season. And this meant that he played 3+hour (sometimes 4 hr) matches, & being on the losing end, this weighed down on him.

For as long as Djokovic remains good/excellent on clay, & assuming that Nadal is back to fitness by next clay season, the trend is unfortunately likely to continue. Perhaps while playing Nadal, Djokovic should attack more on clay (like what he did at Cincy) & shorten the match instead of trying to grind it out, in which case a best of 3set match will prolong into 4hrs! & Djoko will most likely be the loser. Fed tried it in Madrid while Soderling at FO & got their wins….Nadal, on top of being the no1 clay courter all happens in the no1/2 grinder (maybe Murray is no1?)…no need of competing with him in that aspect of the game.

Better still, maybe Djok should ask Fed how he mentally coped with so many final loses at clay master & RG yr after yr, only to bounce back at Halle & Wimby. lol. Djok always seems to put himself down & reflect on loses many months after they’ve passed. But that’s the goodness of youth…hopefully he’ll grow out of this…though speed os of essence, new players are coming up..I believe Del.P will be a force to reckon with on clay, in which case players will have to be wary of him & Nadal.


jane Says:

been there, I think Djok overdid it during the clay season mainly because he also played Belgrade, and kinda had to. But yeah, thems the breaks. I hope he grows out of it.

margot, indeed. Murray’s got a good team and seems pretty headstrong so I think he’s less likely to get down on himself than angry. But who knows? These are merely speculations from afar.


Veno Says:

Hi Jane: concerning Fed’s training(of which I do know quite a bit) it is because of his meticulous training regime and the excellent timing of it as well as the supreme combination of fitness, strength, stamina and FOOTWORK training which made him less injury prone.

His immune system as you call it is so good just because of his extremely well suited and personalized training methods and nutrition and because he followed them rigorously through the years.

Fed is one of the most underrated hard workers on tour, especially during the off season.
I am still convinced that Rafa and Fed are the fittest and best trained players on tour.

The fact that he moves so well is a combination of natural ability, recognizing that ability and extreme training to develop it further.

When he was 20(after losing a DC match against Rusty leading 2-0 in sets) he came to realize that he never wanted to lose because of a lack of stamina/fitness again and that’s when he started to train like an animal.

Furthermore the mono last year took a lot of physical strength out of him(just compare his frame now to his big frame of ’07 and prior, he easily lost 15 lbs)

But age catches up with us all, like you rightfully said Janey, and Fed is 28 now, and will continually have to watch out for nagging pains and injuries.


MMT Says:

Footwork is a key component to avoiding injuries, and it is not something that occurs naturally – there is as much technique involved in that as in stroke production.

If you look at the player on tour with the most consistent injury problems, they have a few commone characteristics: 1) they slide on hard courts a lot 2) they slide after their shots on clay 3) they’re crap on grass.

While Nadal’s footwork does a number on his body, I would argue that his footwork on grass is as good as anyone in the game – Federer included. It’s the reason he’s done so well at Wimbledon.

For that matter, Nadal’s game on grass, if translated to hard courts and even clay, would prolong his career a good deal because he intentionally shortens is stride, strokes and the points.

I look forward to seeing what adjustments Nadal makes to his game going forward, both in terms of preserving his body but also taking less time on the court to take care of business. If he can do that, he’ll be back at the top of the game for sure and I would place a bet on him returning to #1 long before any of his contemporaries reach it because I know he has it in him.


grendel Says:

been there’s point re scheduling a propos Roddick and Hewitt,(why Roddick in top 10 for so long, Hewitt floundering).

Not sure about the Aussie. 1)Terrible injuries (but: symptomatic of style of play?)2) Hewitt at top for near 18 months largely due to ferocious intensity. No big weapon. So when the intensity dims down, Hewitt loses the edge. Still tremendously good – frequently NEARLY beating players like Federer and Roddick. But: miss as etc.

Question: can any human being maintain the high octane int. year after year after year? (n.b. whither Nadal? agree MMT he’ll be back at top soon – sorry, Fed – but will he be able to maintain it?) Intensity to Hewitt like serve to Roddick. Hare and the tortoise. The one fades, the other goes on and on.

re scheduling: nice quote from Venus Williams this week in Tokyo:”you gotta take time off to be any good at tennis.”

‘Nother nice quote, this time from Monfils following his Metz victory, this time quoted just because it’s nice:”This is an encouragement but not a relief. I’ll feel relieved the day I win the French Open”.

Don’t you love these spot on verbal distinctions? And isn’t it good to think that Monfils has the French in his sights. Hope he believes it. The day he wins, Paris will explode, and rightly so. When you think about it, there are a surprisingly large number of absolutely huge tennis oneoffs playing today. Leaving aside delightful eccentrics like Santoro and imminent retirees like Safin, we have: Federer, Nadal, probably delPotro, possibly Murray, and imo definitely Monfils.


jane Says:

Veno, I am hesitant to reply because I don’t want the “trophy” you awarded me on the other thread. lol. Seriously, I think I need a break!!

But I take your points re: Fed’s training, and as mentioned, I don’t know loads about his routine. I do agree with everyone who mentioned his footwork as being a great asset to his injury-free period. I guess I just think an important element in all this is what a player is born with, his natural proclivities.

———————–

MMT – Long time no see you around here.

You said “If you look at the player on tour with the most consistent injury problems, they have a few commone characteristics: 1) they slide on hard courts a lot 2) they slide after their shots on clay 3) they’re crap on grass.”

Did you mean 1 player or players? And if so, may I ask whom you had in mind? Maybe Djok fits all three categories, although he hasn’t been injured much. Monfils might fit too. Don’t know about Tsonga. Am trying to think of players who have had the “most consistent injury problems” and who are guilty of each of those points.


margot Says:

Excellent interesting discussion and no-one taking pot shots- wow! I too am waiting your response MMT but isn’t Rafa one of the most injured players around at mo. and yet you are predicting gr8 things. And also from my point of view, what’s Andy M doing to get these wrist injuries? Or just a physical weakness?


MMT Says:

Yes Jane, I did mean multiple players, and I was referring to the likes of Monfils, Tsonga, Davydenko, Blake and to an extent Nadal (with an exception for the crap on grass comment, which I tried to explain). Djokovic also has some of the characteristics I described, but he’s not bad on grass, nor does he get injured that often – his footwork seems to cause him tactical/strategic problems, in that I think he’s a little too quick to defend in points putting him at the mercy of his opponent too often – particularly opponents that he should beat based on his record.

I don’t know if I’m predicted Nadal will return to #1, as much as I’m putting my money on him more than anyone else on tour to displace Federer (again) because I see how his grass court game has changed over time and I think mentally he’s the strongest on tour. Nobody else comes close.

As for Murray’s wrist injury – I have no idea about that one. Connors and Agassi both got pretty bad ones over the course of their careers as well, and it’s not uncommon in tennis, like shoulder and elbow problems. Connors had already been playing for about 17 years when his blew up, but Agassi got his pretty early one – sometime after his first Wimbledon, if I’m not mistaken. That said, I think Murray’s doing everything he can to get as fit as he can. There may be an element of misfortune or it could be something mechanical that’s particular to him.

I guess my main point is that Nadal would benefit the most from translating his strategy and tactics on grass to other surfaces (to some extent even on clay) and if he can do that he’ll be as tough to beat on all surfaces as he is on grass, and he spend less time and effort on court to get his wins.

Djokovic too would benefit from better footwork, because he defends so well, sometimes he’s a little too quick to conceded that he’ll defend against players that put forward pressure on him. His results against Nadal are best when he attacks him constantly, even on clay, but to attack well, he needs to reduce his unforced errors, and a lot of that is down to his footwork.


grendel Says:

MMT repeats his point that if Nadal could translate his grass strategy and tactics to other surfaces, say hard,then he’d be as hard to beat there.

Surely Nadal knows this, though? And he has, has he not, evolved on the hard, so that now he is very hard to beat by almost anyone. Probably Delpo is favourite against him even when his (Nadal’s) serve his fully functional, so the question is: does Nadal need to change more? Or is there something about the nature of hard courts which renders any further change too difficult? After all, no player is equally at home on all surfaces. Style and manner of play is not infinitely adaptable, one wouldn’t have thought.

This is the logic of the situation, which is easy enough to see. But what about the practicalities? Over to the experts…


MMT Says:

grendel: Unfortunately we don’t have too many “experts” here, so I’ll take a stab at this.

The million dollar question is this – assuming my analysis is correct, does he “know” he needs to make nearly as drastic changes to his game on hard courts as he does on grass? I don’t think so. In some ways he doesn’t have to

If you’ve ever played on grass you know that some changes you have to make without even realizing it. What I’m talking about conceptually is similar to what happens when a hard court get slick from the first few drops of rain. You do it naturally because if you don’t you’ll fall on your arse.

Because the surface is so esoteric, grass has a way of forcing a player to change whether he likes it or not. So, on grass, Nadal would have no illusions about having to change his game. If he slid around on it like he does on clay, he’d wind up in somebody’s lap in the front row, or hit a divot and turn his ankle. If he took huge strides and stopped suddenly like he does on hard courts, he’d spend more time on his arse than his feet.

But on hard courts, there is a comfort in the familiarity of some of his natural footwork technique, so he’d have to make an EVEN MORE conscious effort to make adjustments. In any case, if anyone can do it, it’s Nadal, because while some of the changes he’s made on grass are natural, many are the result of analysis and experimentation – his serve, flattening out his forehand, standing on the baseline and attacking the net whenever he has a chance.

I think those changes are key to (even) more success on hard courts and a return to #1.


margot Says:

MMT: is abs injury, to Nadal, result of misfortune, knee injury change of tactics or? Murray’s wrist injury worries me, seems a weakness of his physique, as you know has happened b4, though apparently not same as b4.
PS You seem v. v. expert 2 me!


jane Says:

margot – agree with you, great discussion.

MMT – thanks for your response and analysis; as always, I learn loads when you post here. Your interpretation of Nadal’s learning curve on grass as being somewhat forced and somewhat calculated makes so much sense, as does your reasoning as to why he should try, at least, to transfer that over to hard. But hard courts, fittingly, are much harder on the body than grass (or clay) aren’t they? Maybe that’s why Nadal has a more difficult time succeeding on hard, because the nagging injuries and conditions he has seem to flare up during hard court season and thus might prohibit the experimentation? Yet he was so great on hard courts in 08 and beginning of 09 – one wonders if the Olympics hadn’t've happened last year if Nadal could’ve won the USO and then completed a calendar slam as well as holding all slam titles at the same time (assuming he still would’ve won the AO)…

It does seem that Nadal is the likeliest to replace Fed (again) as I am not sure Murray or Djokovic have what it takes mentally.

And b.t.w., MMT, I meant to mention this before – I loved your adaptation of “Yesterday” on your blog.

margot, I wonder if Murray’s wrist injury is a mechanical thing? He does seem to really use his wrist to flick the ball, especially for his on-the-run retrieval shots, where he turns defense to offense. If so, then it’s probably something he can fix. So that’s good.


MMT Says:

Hi Jane:

Glad you liked “Yesterday”. A little comic relief never hurt anybody.

As for Nadal – I think we’re discussing two different things – Nadal’s natural game can be very effective on hard courts for sure, as his AO victory and good results in hard court MS series competitions would suggest.

I was saying that he could prolong his career and reduce injuries if he adopted a more grass-court style of play (footwork and stroke production technique) on hard courts, as it seems the greatest burden on him physically is on hard courts, and there are so many hard court tournaments.

I would love to see him play as successfully as he had for another 10 years, but I doubt we will if he continues to break down as it has. He’s a great champion, but history is replete with what-if’s due to career shortening injuries, and I really hope it doesn’t happen to him, because he’s fantastic to watch in top form.

BTW – my abs are indeed quite sore, so I think I need to work on my own ball toss!


MMT Says:

Margot:

I think I discussed Nadal’s ab injury on another site, so let me reitterate here. I played for the first time in a while last night, and my ball toss on the serve was all over the place. As a result, to keep my body going forward and into the court I had to squeeze hard in my abs to keep the point of contact in front of me. The serve is the stroke that puts the greatest strain on my abs, and I suspect Nadal’s injury may have had something to do with continual experimentation with his serve. Experimenting with the serve is a good thing, but you can over do it and cause problems as your body compensates for changes in the point of contact.

But that’s just a guess!


grendel Says:

quite a circle! Ball toss experimentation causes problems in the abs, MMT says. Problems in the abs then proceeds to do weird things to the ball toss. I was amazed at some of the ball tosses of Nadal, in his match against delPo.

Where does it all end? ever decreasing circles…..

MMT, forgive my naivety, but i understand you to be saying that Nadal is lulled by the superficial similarities of clay and hard to declining to making the uncomfortable changes required to put his game beyond the reach of just about everyone. (Think of Federer’s wry comment that better get what slams are available till Nadal sweeps the lot). But there are those who say that grass these days has a certain similarity to clay – hence the relative comfort claycourters nowadays experience at Wimbledon, compared to yesteryear. Where do you think the truth lies?

But if you are right about Nadal w.r.t. hard, this raises an interesting point. You remark that nobody comes near Nadal for mental strength – everyone tends to say this. But I suspect such blanket appraisals are a bit misleading. Mental strength, after all, like everything else mental, has many guises. Thus Nadal is definitely the toughest warrior on the court.

But what about the mental strength required to assess your game overall, plan and refine accordingly, and then put into operation without backsliding? That takes courage of a different sort. Is Nadal #1 there? I doubt it.


MMT Says:

grendel:

“Ball toss experimentation causes problems in the abs, MMT says. Problems in the abs then proceeds to do weird things to the ball toss.”

Yes, it is a bit of a chicken and egg question isn’t it. Since I know Nadal tinkers with his serve, I assumed that’s where his ab problem started – it could also be a function of his kneed problems, bending at the hips rather than the knees to compensate for pain – but for all I know he could have hurt it reeling in a big one fishing off Mallorca! And my toss was everywhere yesterday and my abs are sore today, so for me the chicken came first (or is it the egg – I don’t know). Of course, Nadal’s abs are probably in a lot better shape than mine.

“MMT, forgive my naivety, but i understand you to be saying that Nadal is lulled by the superficial similarities of clay and hard to declining to making the uncomfortable changes required to put his game beyond the reach of just about everyone.”

No naivete – you’re spot on…just one adjustment – these changes are required to prolong his career – I think he’s already way ahead of 99 out of 100 players on tour, and his natural game is more than sufficient for hard courts – it’s just that he won’t last long if he continues to break down, and I think he can avoid that by making adjustments.

Lew Hoad is probably, purely in terms of talent, the best player ever to play the game (maybe him and Ellsworth Vines, according to the late great Jack Kramer – father of the out and out serve and volleyers) but he was almost too explosive and his career was cut short due to a series of debilitating back injuries. I’d hate to see that kind of thing happen to Nadal.

“But there are those who say that grass these days has a certain similarity to clay – hence the relative comfort claycourters nowadays experience at Wimbledon, compared to yesteryear. Where do you think the truth lies?”

I think the bounce is truer on grass today than it was 10 years ago, certainly 20+, but grass is still grass and the physics of a ball sliding through the court on grass, as opposed to leaping out of it on clay, remains basically the same.

Also, the footwork on the two surfaces are very different. Sprinting on grass is similar to sprinting on clay – it’s a like a car with traction control – you’ve got to manage your power or you’ll wind up looking like the road-runner.

Stopping on grass is more like a car with ABS – watch a clip of Nadal on grass vs. clay and you’ll see he’s learned to do it with baby steps, whereas as on clay it strictly drifting to a stop. The key is to start sliding into the stroke early enough that you stop soon after the point of contact.

Now, try sliding into a stroke at Wimbledon any time before the quarterfinal, and I would recommend wearing a helmet, because who knows how/where you’ll end wind up.

“But what about the mental strength required to assess your game overall, plan and refine accordingly, and then put into operation without backsliding? That takes courage of a different sort. Is Nadal #1 there? I doubt it.”

Nobody in the game does this better than Nadal – purely in terms of mental toughness, nobody on tour is better than Nadal. But the adjustments you refer to – well, let’s face it, before Nadal, Agassi was the last man to even win both Wimbledon (’92) and the French (’99), let alone in the same year like Nadal in 2008. Nobody’s been able to make those adjustments over their career (Connors, McEnroe, Edberg, Becker, Sampras, Courier, none of them…)

Borg did it 3 years in a row, and like Nadal, it took him a few years to hone his grass court game. I don’t see anyone on tour honing their game at all for any particular purpose like Nadal courageously did to pursue his Wimbledon dream.

Of course, Federer repeated Nadal’s feat this year, but I would say between the two of them, Nadal had a much longer way to go on grass than Federer did on clay.

On a side bar – if I had to school a junior on the mental approach to the game, I’d show them Nadal first and Federer second. Nadal first because talented as he is, you can get lost in the aesthetics of Federer’s game and lost sight of his mental qualities, but it’s almost impossible to do that with Nadal.

In fact Nadal reminds me a lot of what Peter Lundgren (Federer’s former coach) was like as a player – all positive energy, almost no negative energy. So you get the benefit of raising your level of energy with positive emotion, and none of the consequences of showing all your suseptitibility with negative energy. Personally

I like the strong silent type (like Borg) but that’s a purely subjective preference, and does not “necessarily” have any bearing on performance.


grendel Says:

MMT – as a young child, I very much remember Lew Hoad as personifying genius in tennis. Ken Rosewall marshalled respect, Hoad just floated in the stratosphere. I always picture him with this blonde quiff of hair, a daredevil grin, and a dry Aussie attitude – you win some, you lose some, what the hell – how about a beer? And then a swim? Or perhaps a spot of bed….(that, admittedly, was a later interpolation on my part).An unfeigned nonchalence about his extraordinary gifts pervaded his sunburnt ambience. That was the impression. How accurate this was, I have no idea, since I never read these things up.

You mention Jack Kramer – you might like to know that Frew Macmillan, the great South African doubles specialist, said that many older players had opined to him that Kramer was the best they’d seen.

I take your point about Nadal, but by your own reckoning, he has failed to adjust to hard court in such a manner as enhance longevity. This, then – if true – must be a mental lapse. Perhaps the sheer effort involved in converting his game to grass was so draining that he just couldn’t face doing it all over again w.r.t.hard. Who knows? Incidentally, he has been showing much more negative energy recently, but this may be simply a result of playing with injury and knowing he cannot give of his best – always a deeply frustrating experience for a perfectionist. Remains to be seen.


jane Says:

Just to interject and add 1 point – grendel mentioned “without backsliding” and I do think Nadal has shown a tendency on hard, not on grass for whatever reason, to “backslid” into old habits – playing too defensively and especially too far back behind the baseline. Sometimes he recognizes this within a match and makes the adjustment to play more aggressively (partly what happened in that shocking turn-around against Nalby at IW, although that was partly down to Nalby’s choke and go-away too). So I’d add that caveat.

Overall I agree with MMT that Nadal is tops for analysing his game, recognizing short-comings, and making the necessary adjustments.

Roddick, too, is someone who has been willing, time and again, to adjust, to work on something, in order to “stay in the conversation” – and Stefanki seems ideal in this regard.

Of course Uncle Tony likely deserves some credit for Nadal, too, no?


grendel Says:

In this respect, what about Soderling? I remember his volleys used to be laughable; you’d think, a club player wld do better. He always seemed very uneasy if, by some unfortunate turn of events, he found himself at the net. (Although the funniest person i ever saw in this respect was Seles. She’d be drawn into the net by a short ball from Graf (at Wimbie), and rather than hanging around to deal with the attempted pass, she would scamper backwards in a frantic attempt to reach the base line; the net was regarded with the deepest suspicion, not a place, every twitching nerve on her face informed you, where any sane person would want to spend time. Not surprising the poor girl barely won a game).

But now Soderling manouevres to the net, it is not a kind of dreadful accident that he finds himself there. And his volleys seem pretty competent to me. And then Magnusson has done wonders with Soderling’s mental approach.

It is very curious how a player who used to be flaky can turn himself around. Roddick, after all, was always highly competitive. Soderling was spiky, so the competitiveness was there, but he couldn’t harness it. So if something went wrong, he’d waste his energy in gesturing to the heavens, as if they had deliberately targeted him out of some malign and not very amusing purpose of their own. But now, he oozes calm resolve. That’s how I see it, anyway.


jane Says:

Very good points about Sod grendle. He used to come out all guns a-blazing and then peter out or melt down (see his early scorelines against Fed – tight 1st set and then an easier second, for Fed that is). But look at his USO match vs.Fed as a complete contrast; comes out, is immediately, it seemed, bageled (!) but continues to find a way, doesn’t let up, gets closer in the second, and then does what he hadn’t in eons – takes the third set, and very nearly two sets if it weren’t for that eye-sore of a miss in the 4th set tiebreaker. And if it’d've gone to 5, I’d've plunked down some money on Sod probably, although his winning would’ve meant I’d've had to eat my sock, as promised to my husband and son during the match. lol.

I didn’t like the whole Soderling/ Nadal business at Wimbledon in 2007; it was awkward anyhow and seemed to be done in spite rather than fun from what I saw. He also really lose his mind at the umpire in Rome vs. Nadal too. But he seems to have found a better, calmer, more focused place, and that has made a clear difference in his demeanor and resolve, not to mention his results, judging by his runs at RG, Wimbledon and the USO – where he was stopped by Fed every time.


jane Says:

And now he’s edging towards a spot in the top ten and maybe even a spot in the final 8 YEC, so you could watch him live.


i am it Says:

as far as I know from my reading and stories from elderly people, Hoad was not all-out serve and volleyer.

Hoad had big serve. he would volley. but also he had great groundstroke.
here is what Kramer had to say of Hoad, “I’d marvel at the shots he could think of. He was the only player I ever saw who could stand six feet behind the baseline and snap the ball back hard, cross-court. He’d try for winners off everything, off great serves, off tricky short balls, off low volleys. He hit hard overspin drives… Hoad could serve with Gonzales, and he was just as quick, and much stronger. And he had a tougher overhead and he had better ground strokes.”

Source: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1093226/5/index.htm

from NY Times: “Vines was that rare combination, a precision power player who not only aimed for the corners but hit them often enough with such blistering force that there are those who still maintain tennis has yet to see his equal…Vines, in long pants with his little wooden racket, served and stroked as hard as anyone before or since. Quicker Than the Eye.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/03/20/obituaries/ellsworth-vines-tennis-star-of-1930-s-dies-at-82.html

From Hall of Fame page: “he had one of the best serves, if not the very fastest serve ever turned loose, with almost no spin. He had as fast and as risky a forehand as ever seen, a murderous overhead, and a skill in the volleying position to compare with the best…his disposition and temperament were foolproof.”

“He hit his forehand flat, with all his whizzing might, and closer to the net and the lines than anyone dared…his margin of safety was so thin.”

I wonder if Vines’ forehand was similar to del Potro’s or overall style !

in the context of Rafa’s gaining no. 1, my guy dePo could pose a serious hurdle. like he said, he wants to be the no. 1, and i don’t doubt him.


i am it Says:

roddick and tsonga are certain to make the cut for the YEC.

i’d like to see Soderling as the 8th player, for his power game and indoor ability. but he may not make it this year.

since gonzu is not gonna make it, i’d choose verdasco over davydenko as my 8th man.

that’d be my ideal 8.


Gordo Says:

I am it – interesting stuff on Tilden; you have a wealth of knowledge on the man.

The problem is that history gets rewritten so quickly and so often by people who do not have a grasp on it that slowly everything gets distorted.

A recent poll of people under 25 who were coming out of a cinema showing Tarantino’s new film, when asked how Hitler actually died 32% believed it was as depicted in the fictional film – that he was machine gunned in a theatre.

Lord help us when we get old.


grendel Says:

Yes, I hope Soderling makes it to the final 8, though it seems a long shot. I specially hope Davydenko’s not there, since – although it sounds harsh – he’ll just be there to make up the numbers. There’s always at least one, isn’t there, who’s like that. One year it was Gasquet, another it was Djokovic – simply because he was exhausted. You’d think with the top 8 in the entire universe, you’d have 8 potential winners. But it never seems to be like that.


MMT Says:

i am it said: “as far as I know from my reading and stories from elderly people, Hoad was not all-out serve and volleyer.”

The sentence I wrote on Hoad was a bit convoluted so I can see how you misinterpreted. It was, in fact, Jack Kramer, who was the father of the out-and-out serve and volleying, not Hoad. I was only “loosely” quoting Kramer’s assessment of Hoad.

And Kramer did have a pretty good record against everyone he played, including Gonzales.

And Jane – to this day, I really can’t understand why it is that Soderling gets a bad rap for that Nadal incident. All that guy did was forget that they were playing with new balls and Nadal (rather uncharacteristically, and rather cynically I might add) showed him up…but somehow he was the bad guy.

In every interview I’ve seen of him he seems like a perfectly nice fellow, and even that incident to me was just giving as good as he got.


Veno Says:

Gordo says:

A recent poll of people under 25 who were coming out of a cinema showing Tarantino’s new film, when asked how Hitler actually died 32% believed it was as depicted in the fictional film – that he was machine gunned in a theatre.

With all due respect, that may be true in the United States(almost a continent of its own) but not here in Europe.

I’m astonished with the lack of historical knowledge the average American possesses about the world outside their beautiful country, as compared to the average European’s knowledge of the world outside Europe.

But this is a cultural difference which has historical merit to the forementiones discrepancy


i am it Says:

as for Kramer’s record over Pancho in 1949-50, it was more like Hewitt’s record over Federer before 2004, one at his pick and the other up and comer. Kramer was pro-seasoned, at the top of his game, and Poncho had just joined the pro tour.

obviously i have my biases against Kramer for several reasons, one being pro tour promoter as match fixer. remember Gussie-Pioline tour? and Kramer admits, “There were three occasions when you might say there was a little hanky-panky.”

Bobby Riggs was the master of the art that Kramer copied when he pitted Pancho against Rosewall and Trabert (you can add Sedgman, Segura and Budge) in the infamous 7-year contract, which led to lawsuits and all. Right before this contract Pancho’s wife Henrietta said, “Jack completely demoralized him.”

to me, Kramer signed Pancho more out of vengeance (and of course money) than anything else. then in ’58 Kramer trained and prepared Hoad before throwing him to Pancho. Kramer admits, “If Hoad could beat Gonzales, this was my chance to get rid of that tiger. Gonzales knew what I was doing, too, and he was furious.” Kramer’s goal was to have “a new champion.”
but that did not last much longer once Pancho started beating everyone, including Kramer 11 times in their 16 (fair?) post-’53 matches.

anyway, many of those pro h2h tours were “hanky-panky” and hard to conclude which ones were fair and which ones hanky-panky. overall, i consider Pancho better player than Kramer on fast surfaces.


jane Says:

MMT “even that incident to me was just giving as good as he got.”

Well, that’s why I said it was for “spite.” But regardless, there was clearly tension between the two and it was awkward to watch. In the past I’d've definitely taken Nadal’s side, but I’ve read yours and others’ points of view on the incident, and in addition I myself have warmed to Soderling as I’ve seen him break through and heard him interviewed more this year. He does seem like a nice chap.

Bygones I guess.


i am it Says:

add this to my 1st sentence: if you leave aside age difference.


Vulcan Says:

MMT Says:

I really can’t understand why it is that Soderling gets a bad rap…In every interview I’ve seen of him he seems like a perfectly nice fellow, and even that incident to me was just giving as good as he got.

That may be true but according to Nadal he basically acts like an arrogant prick in the locker room. Nadal mentioned that he tried to be cordial and had said hello to him many times in the locker room only to be completely ignored.


MMT Says:

i am it:

While I appreciate your interest in the history tennis, I think you may want put aside your bias, and review the full story between Kramer and Gonzales – it is more complicated than you’ve presented.

Gonzales was extremely immature and unprofessional when he first toured with Kramer in 1950. Gonzales drank cokes during matches, smoked heavily and slept irregularly, which contributed to his failure on the tour, and basically didn’t take it very seriously. The tour depended on competitive matches, and Gonzales didn’t measure up and was cut. It was purely a business decision: and by the way, in 1950 Bobby Riggs ran the tour, not Kramer, so it was Riggs’ decision to cut Gonzales, not Kramer.

When Kramer took over the tour from Riggs, it was KRAMER who gave Gonzales a second chance and signed him to a full time 7-year contract (starting in 1954) after some good results during his semi-retirement from 1951-1953.

When Tony Trabert turned professional in 1955, he was the big draw, not the current touring professionals, including Gonzales, who signed the contracts available to them when they could.

Trabert was given more money than Gonzales in order to lure him away from amateur tennis and not intended as a slight to Gonzales, although this is precisely how Gonzales took it.

2 years later, Gonzales sued Kramer to be released from this very contract, citing Kramer’s INCREASE in his salary (in exchange for carrying Ken Rosewall whom he was pummelling at the time) as an indication that the original contract was invalid. In fact, Kramer released Gonzales from the request to carry Rosewall after only 4 matches, but allowed him to KEEP HIS INCREASE in the gross receipts, which was in addition to the base salary he received per the original contract. Eventually Gonzales lost that suit.

It is also worth noting that the contract called for players to engage in promotional activities, which Gonzales regularly eschewed, much to the dismay of Kramer and the other players who did their share. This is the biggest issue Kramer had with Gonzales, not to mention his generally unpleasant demeanor.

As for the player comparison, Kramer beat Gonzales fair and square on their tour in 1950. By alluding to their “primes” you’re making an irrelevant argument. Whether EITHER was in his prime is debatable – what is not is the results – Kramer won that tour 96 matches to 27. And by the way, Kramer won the US Championships in 1946 and 1947 then turned professional, while Gonzales then won it in 1948 and 1949, and there are plenty of players older than Gonzales that he beat to win the US Open, so this argument about staggered primes is largely irrelevant.

Kramer did make a few brief appearances as Gonzales’ opponent after their initial tour, but not enough to allow Gonzales to even their record, although it is likely that he would have had they “played it out”. Nevertheless, we should’t set aside Kramer’s dominance over Gonzales, as Kramer appeared to be the only man on the planet able to beat him so comprehensively even when he was relative immature and new to the tour.

Jack Kramer deserves the respect of everyone watching and playing professional tennis today, because he, more than anyone, made modern tennis possible with his tireless committment to professional tennis and the push for open tennis, among many other contributions.

He is also the father of the out-and-out serve and volley strategy that gave us so many wonderul champions hence, including Neale Fraser, Laver, Ashe, McEnroe, Cash, Edberg, Sampras and Rafter.

They all followed his example.


Vulcan Says:

I would add that Soderling’s mockery of Nadal’s pant tugging was in very poor taste. Anybody that would mock someone who has OCD (Nadal seems to have a mild form of this) is clearly an insensitive self-centered jerk. The only thing I found more disgusting was the crowd’s reaction which was to cheer and applaud Soderling for his actions.


Von Says:

That whole incident was a case of two wrongs does not make a right. Even though Nadal’s actions could have been perceived by Soderling as one of a mockery, I believe Soderling took it waaay too far with the pant tugging, et al. However, I don’t think the crowd applauded Soderling for his actions, but mainly the humor they derived from the scene taking place before their eyes. Anyway, to reiterate, the whole scenario was in poor taste IMO, and should not been prolonged, especially since they are both colleagues.

It’s amazing how some events are selectively condoned and others are frowned upon, not to mention the vacillation that transpires. Soderling is one of those players that I could take or leave, with absolutely no appeal in personality for my tastes.


been there Says:

Re: Sod vs Rafa 2007:

Seems like back to memory lane! From what I remember (can also be found on man youtube along with commentary), Soderling was just giving as good as he was getting from Rafa. Throughout that match, Nadal had been wasting time, with endless ball bounces, too much time between serves, not to mention the other odd habits (socks, pant picking etc) before a serve with his opponent waiting.

The particular ‘insensitive’ part came when Rafa had wasted so much time that he had not even noticed that Soderling had now gone to change raquets. Rafa got mad, ‘forgot’ to show the balls….said news balls after his opponent was in position to receive, thereby going through the service motions again…more ball bounces, pant picking etc; then seems to me that in Soderling’s mind, it was like ENOUGH already!! here goes….then he imitated Nadal’s pant thing….the crowd had a good laugh….the remainder of the match was quite tense.

For me, I found the whole incident quite entertaining. High quality tennis with dose of drama with both players getting upset at different points of the match. imo, it was clearly tit-for-tat, but obviously, Nadal is the angel….so Soderling took the rap.

I also don’t see the big deal if Soderling doesn’t want to say hello to Nadal (or whoever else) in the locker room. And for that matter, why air dirty laundry from the locker room to the media, calling soderling weird, strange etc? imo, Nadal lacked tact in handling that…..he got pissed at the Sod’s mockery of him and decided to seek revenge via the media. This was in poor taste yet he wasn’t criticised for it…or maybe I just missed those reports?

As always, there are two sides to every story. Most of the press was about Rafa’s hurt feelings. Here is Soderling’s take on the whole situation…..sheds a very different light to the incident seeing that he waas the opponent suffering from having to wait endlessly between serves for Rafa to be ready.

http://www.asapsports.mobi/interview/44037.html

…..in summary, in answer to nadal’s critisms of him in the locker room. he simply said Rafa ‘seemed to be in a very complaining mood today’ & to the pant picking, he says he had already waited for what seemed like 200 times & had just had enough…….

I suppose that each individual will see what they want to see. For me, I saw a tit-for-tat ‘coz fair is fair…for others it was all Soderling is insensitive, etc.

Perhaps after two years with a little bit more maturity from both players, they have surely let bygones be bygones. If they haven’t well, I suppose the French Open match was sweetest revenge for Soderling….dethroning Rafa on his own backyard. His profile has sky rocketed, which in turn has boosted his confidence, & on his way to top10 :)

But as usual, I’ll balame the unpire for this incident….had the umpire enforced the rules of time between points, Rafa could have tuck to the time limit, the Sod would not have gotten irritated from having to wait & perhaps this would have been avoided. But again, tennis players are human beings with emotions, not robots; hence, if someone feels too irked, then by all means, I’m in support of letting it out (raquets, curses, mocking opponent, etc…..but all within limits!!). It is after all a sport…not dinner with the queen.


Von Says:

Veno: Mon ami, give us Americans a break will ya. We are not all as dense as you perceive us to be. Believe me, many of us keep track of world events, but it’s just not our focal point that’s all. Our country is large enough to provide us with the entertainment and news we seek, hence why look elsewhere? Also, to bash Americans, which is a country made up of many immigrants from countries world-wide, is also bashing those countries. One hand washes the other, mon ami.

Anyway, I think Gordo was speaking about the Canadian public, since he lives in Canada. So my friend, it seems that you’ve bashed the Americans prematurely and/or wrongfullly in this particular case.


Von Says:

Well, this kind of deja vu seems to happen a lot here, when there’s not much to be discussed, therefore it’s prodding and probing time. I personally don’t see why the situation had to be brought up in the first place, but I suppose I’m one who dislikes post mortems so it could be assumed that I’m odd man out here. I believe in talking about the present unless one needs to reference a past incident for the purpose of making a point or to reinforce an argument, however, the topic on this thread is Davis Cup, where Federer meets Nadal in the first round, and nowhere is Soderling mentioned. Therefore, I’m at a loss as to how, and why, that Soderling/Nadal incident got drafted into this topic, and it’s somewhat of a mystery to me. anyway, to each his own isn’t it? ….. Moving on ……


been there Says:

Re: OCD in tennis

“Anybody that would mock someone who has OCD (Nadal seems to have a mild form of this)…..”

I think most tennis players have their little quirks before serving…which they repeat throughout the match, which may or may not be seen as OCD. And to be fair, if the type of OCD is not harmful to health, e.g. scrubbing hands till one starts to bleed, then I don’t think too much attention should be given to it.

How is playerA to be judged as having OCD while not playerB when they both have their repeated quirks? e.g. Are we to categorise Roger’s constant hair flicking or Roddicks shoulder rotation(& something else which I’ve recently noticed but will have to watch more of his matches to confirm. My eyes are open in his next tournament…won’t mention it now at risk of being highly out of line!) as OCD? And if a player bounces the ball so many times before serving,e.g. Djokovic is this OCD?….many other players can be used as an example.

The problem seems to arise when these quirks interfere with the flow of the game & I believe that’s the reason why Rafa gets the most rap for his quirks. i.e. he is criticised for the pant-picking, adjusting socks (seems to have reduced this one) & many ball bounces because these make the opponent wait…which after a while clearly infuriates the opponent & in some cases, he’s given a warning. On the other hand, his other quirk, i.e. arranging bottles, is simply noticed as opposed to criticised because it rarely interferes with the flow of the game…much like Roger’s hair & Roddick’s shoulder.


i am it Says:

so you really think those tours were fairly played, contrary to many others who think they were mere “exhibitions” and “rigged”? when Kramer was forced to admit that three of them were “hanky-panky,” there is definitely something more.

you say: “Jack Kramer deserves the respect of everyone watching and playing professional tennis today, because he, more than anyone, made modern tennis possible with his tireless committment to professional tennis and the push for open tennis, among many other contributions.”

Kramer claimed all the credit for ushering us into the Open Era, but this is questionable, though he deserves full credit for his conception of Grand Prix in 1969, which included a cumulative point system, and advocacy for the open-era.

But keep in mind, in 1971, the majority of the best players in the world played mainly the WCT circuit, not the Grand Prix circuit, which consisted of the independent professionals. Also, the 1970 WCT-NTL merger was the real deal, and it ran 20 events plus YEC, though it had only Australian Open under its jurisdiction.

The antagonism between ILTF-Kramer’s Grand Prix and the WCT resulted in Rosewall, Gimeno, Laver, Emerson and other WCT players’ withdrawal from the U.S. Open in 1971.

Where was Kramer at this time when ILTF banned WCT contract pros, basically majority of the top players, from the Grand Prix circuit that included SW19, US Open, and French Open?

more bluntly, which side was Kramer at this point, anti-professional and pro-professional groups?

during Kramer’s directorship, why were there 4 competing circuits in 1973, WCT circuit, Grand Prix circuit, the U.S. Indoor circuit, and European Spring Circuit?
even his directorial position appeared to be a thank you from the ILTF. it was sort of power alliance between fading Kramer and weak ILTF, which approved his Grand Prix plan?

Why were WCT and Grand Prix circuits were separate for 9 years until 1977?

After 4 years of integration, in 1982, the WCT broke up again. why?

Under Kramer, Grand Prix was bureaucratic and commercial, with no inclusion of player’s voice.

ATP replaces MTC only in 1990, under Hamilton Jordan’s, Jimmy Carter’s ex-COS, leadership, giving us the ATP Tour.

My question to Kramer: Why could not he hold a similar conference to the now-famous “press conference in the parking lot” that Jordan did, recognizing players’ voice?

The Pro Era began in 1926. One could say it started with the ILTF’s promulgation of rules in 1924 and barring pro players. Since then, a number of promoters contributed to professional tennis, for instance Charles C. Pyle was first to sign pro players like Suzanne Lenglen and Vinnie Richards for a tour in North America (1926).

if Pyle’s contribution was pioneering at the beginning, the co-founders of WCT Lamar Hunt and then David Dixon’s were paramount at the end. if it not had been WCT and NTL’s oppositional roles, i don’t know if players would ever receive adequate cash prizes or if we’d ever see a true Open Era.

When George MacCall (NTL) and Lamar Hunt (WCT) tried to do the same as Kramer, run pro tours, albeit of much larger groups of players, it was a problem for Kramer. Why? because he was outsmarted, and Kramer found a way to be part of ILTF.

Remember it was MacCall who pushed through a rule that allowed the players to be paid, in addition to a $28 per diem. It was McCall’s move that would ultimately force the United States Tennis Association to drop their demands that players in their tournaments be amateurs.

at the ’72 U.S. Open all the players entered and created their own institution, the ATP.
enlighten me Kramer’s role at this particular event.

The question if Kramer’s pro tours led to open era is complicated to answer, though Kramer claimed it did, so that his contribution as a pro tour promoter would receive most of the credit for the birth of Open Era. not so fast, as we saw above.

later Kramer contradicts this by saying his stepping out would result in the Open Era: “No,” I said—but wearily, this time, the fight having gone out of me. “I tried everything and nothing ever worked. I’ve got to leave, or we’ll never see an open game.” It took another six years, but then they opened it up and all the good things happened to tennis that we’d always figured would happen.

honestly, i cannot accurately evaluate Kramer’s contribution to tennis, though he was one of the figures that was in the forefront.


Von Says:

I think we ALL have our little quirks, not just tennis players, which is something that’s akin to human nature and is part and parcel of us as humans. Thankfully, not many are ala Howard Hughes, then we’d have millions of bubbles around the globe in which to live. LOL..

But, speaking of tennis players, one only has to take a look at Sharapova and there we have a myriad of quirks and then some, all rolled into that 6’1″ woman: bouncing the ball a few times, hair fixing, lip wetting, staring at the horizon, bouncing/jumping up a few times in place, then bouncing the ball some more, ball toss and set up to serve ala Sampras with a screech/scream, as ball makes contact with racquet = a serve. LOL.


MMT Says:

“so you really think those tours were fairly played…”

Yes I do. The absence of proof is both the cornerstone and the weakest argument for a conspiracy theory.

“Kramer claimed all the credit for ushering us into the Open Era, but this is questionable…”

He did no such thing – he in fact gave up his control of professional tennis in an effort to facilitate open tennis 6 years before it actually happened.

“though he deserves full credit for his conception of Grand Prix in 1969, which included a cumulative point system, and advocacy for the open-era.”

By the time he conceived grand prix tennis, open tennis did not require his advocacy – what it required was a structure to allow tennis players to operate as independent contractors and play in a format that would determine who was the best player in the world, which is a pre-cursor to the current ATP tour.

“The antagonism between ILTF-Kramer’s Grand Prix and the WCT resulted in Rosewall, Gimeno, Laver, Emerson and other WCT players’ withdrawal from the U.S. Open in 1971.”

It was THE WCT that withheld ITS contracted players from playing the US Open in 1971, NOT KRAMER. The WCT and NTL withheld their contracted players from playing the slams if the slams didn’t meet their terms, long before Grand Prix tennis – THIS HAD ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH KRAMER.

Kramer envisioned and proposed Grand Prix tennis to the ILTF to facilitate INDEPENDENT PLAYERS who wanted the steady income of an organized tour, but also the right to play in the slams. Grand Prix tennis belonged to the ILTF AS A RESPONSE to the control the WCT (and previously the NTL before it merged with the WCT) of their players.

“more bluntly, which side was Kramer at this point, anti-professional and pro-professional groups?”

The ATP tour was formed in 1972 to give players the freedom to play as they pleased as independent contractors – do you know who they chose as their first manager – JACK KRAMER. They wouldn’t have done this if he was the malcontent that you have portrayed him to be.

Kramer was on the side of allowing professional to be independent contractors free to play where they wanted, and when they wanted. That was his reason for proposing and managing Grand Prix tennis.

“during Kramer’s directorship, why were there 4 competing circuits in 1973, WCT circuit, Grand Prix circuit, the U.S. Indoor circuit, and European Spring Circuit?
even his directorial position appeared to be a thank you from the ILTF. it was sort of power alliance between fading Kramer and weak ILTF, which approved his Grand Prix plan?”

The WCT existed long before Grand Prix tennis – that had nothing to do with KRAMER. The US Indoor circuit was a circuit created by Jimmy Connors’ manager Bill Riordan, purely as a vehicle for Connors to play the central role and reap the majority of the benefits – it had nothing to do with KRAMER. The European Spring Circuit again had absolutely nothing to do with KRAMER. In those days, anyone with some money and a star player could start a circuit and the European circuit had Nastase.

“Why were WCT and Grand Prix circuits were separate for 9 years until 1977?”

They were separate because the owners of WCT wanted to keep control of their tour, which was their prerogative since they put up the money for it.

“Under Kramer, Grand Prix was bureaucratic and commercial, with no inclusion of player’s voice.”

Then why did the player choose him to manage the ATP? Non-sense.

“After 4 years of integration, in 1982, the WCT broke up again. why?”

The WCT’s dissociation with the slams dulled even further the luster that they lost as the star players they originally contracted began to fade. By 1982, none of the original Handsome 8 were playing professional tennis. This had NOTHING TO DO WITH KRAMER.

“My question to Kramer: Why could not he hold a similar conference to the now-famous “press conference in the parking lot” that Jordan did, recognizing players’ voice?”

Again – Kramer did his part for the ATP by managing it in the beginning in 1972.

“at the ‘72 U.S. Open all the players entered and created their own institution, the ATP. enlighten me Kramer’s role at this particular event.”

He managed the ATP in 1972 when it was formed – THE PLAYERS chose him to do so.

You are correct that a lot of people contributed to professional and open tennis. It is my opinion that Kramer’s role was the most important and pervasive, and you may beg to differ. But the notion that Kramer was just out there trying to dominate professional tennis for his own purposes is absurd. He loved tennis and felt the best players in the world should be able to play as independent contractors and make a living from it – end of story.

“honestly, i cannot accurately evaluate Kramer’s contribution to tennis, though he was one of the figures that was in the forefront.”

Well, you’ve certainly painted quite a negative picture of his role!

I’m not saying he was perfect – and a lot of people didn’t like Jack Kramer – but the picture you’ve painted of him, that somehow HE was the biggest impediment to open tennis and professional tennis, is absurd. I really don’t know what your problem with him is, but you’re really twisting history to suit a very negative picture of a man who contributed enormously to professional tennis.

There’s a lot of people on this blog who don’t know a lot about Kramer, and I don’t think it’s right for you to paint such a poor picture of him, using just some facts and a mountain of innuendo and empty evidence as a part some grand anti-Kramer conspiracy theory.


Vulcan Says:

been there Says:

I also don’t see the big deal if Soderling doesn’t want to say hello to Nadal (or whoever else) in the locker room.

I completely agree that its not a big deal and completely his prerogative if his primary objective is to solidify his reputation as an inconsiderate twerp. In the interview he also discusses his feeling that the courtesy wave for let cords is BS. So basically all formalities and routine courtesies are out the door with him…which is fine…it just doesn’t surprise me that Nadal would mention that he doesn’t have very many friends in the locker room. This guy doesn’t seem to believe in the golden rule, or perhaps he just finds it annoying and perfunctory when someone treats him with common courtesy.


Von Says:

Vulcan: “This guy doesn’t seem to believe in the golden rule, or perhaps he just finds it annoying and perfunctory when someone treats him with common courtesy.”

To reiterate, I don’t like his personality — he’s boring, and now I’ll add, he’s a classless jerk to his many boring qualities. It’s obvious he’s not one for forgiving slights, which is where Nadal excels. Nadal was big enough to overlook that incident and extended an olive branch, but Soderling showed his true classless self, by turning away and refusing to accept the hand of civil courtesy. Anyway, as I said to each his own, and despite it all, e.g., classless behaviour, he’s now got some ‘new’ fans who seem enthralled with him, so it’s best to leave the matter alone.


Veno Says:

Von:

I love the States and Americans. But just from personal experience it’s not really a far fetched conclusion in stating that the average level of historical knowledge measured over 300 million Americans is low to say the least.
I didn’t talk about the reasons why it is so low. Nor did I attach any value judgement to it.

It’s just remarkable to me in interacting with Americans both here and in your beautiful country how little they know from the world outside the US. The main reason is that they just don’t care(most have said this to be the reason) and that’s their prerogative.

As people you score extremely low in your understanding of other people, countries and cultures.

On the other hand, if we as Europeans would try a little harder to understand Americans and their culture we also could put a lot of things better in perspective.

One thing I experienced is that in almost everything the US is a land of extremes and the distance between these extremes is very large. This has both benefits as well as negative sides.

I, by no means mean to attack the US or her inhabitants cause I love the place and her people so please don’t feel offended. By no means was that my intention mon amie. Just want to clear that up!


Von Says:

Veno: Thanks for your detailed response. I’m not offended at all, but I just wanted you to know that some of us, Americans that is, keep track of world events. I watch BBC News on PBS and CNN. Those are my sources for world news, and keeping in touch with my European friends who live in this country and abroad. At least when I go to parties I can talk sensibly to them, if that’s at all possible. LOL. I have to agree with you though, that most of our American youth are unconcerned with world geography and current events. I think it’s somewhat connected to our country’s size and wealth with the general feeling of why bother to look elsewhere when we’ve got it all here.

Catch ya later mon ami, je t’aime bien.


Vulcan Says:

Von Says:

he’s now got some ‘new’ fans who seem enthralled with him, so it’s best to leave the matter alone.

Yes, I have to admit that for the first time ever I actually enjoyed watching him play against Federer at the US Open. Federer was lucky to get through that match as Soderling seemed to really push hard at the end. His windmill windup on the forehand and his awkward and unexpected big serve were pretty spectacular when he was on.


i am it Says:

You say, “I don’t think it’s right for you to paint such a poor picture of him, using just some facts and a mountain of innuendo and empty evidence as a part some grand anti-Kramer conspiracy theory.”

that ends the civil discussion when difference of view is labeled “conspiracy theory.”
if i were to follow your direction, then, the question would be: what about your subtle conspiracy theory against WCT-NTL and all professional players of the time as if they did not play any role, as if they were subordinate to one person called Kramer?

however, let me add this before bidding good bye to this topic.
in my view the spirit that WCT-NTL embodied was the one that ATP materialized in 1990 when it was able to have more power and control than ITF. in a sense before ’65, the same spirit Kramer also carried but abandoned much of it during the negotiations with ITLF in ’67-’68 and even after that.
even at a crucial moment in his tenure, Kramer did not play as active role as Cliff Drysdale did, the then President of ATP, in the ILTF’s Pilic suspension and ATP’s Boycott of Wimbledon in 1972.
this boycott was against ILTF ruthless rule but for ATP’s right over its players and players’ rights.
WCT’s restriction embodied the same sentiment on behalf of players: better prize money guarantees. it was WCT’s stance that forced ILTF to go open in 1968. and Kramer did not play any role except forging a compromise (Grand Prix) and please both sides, the pros and ILTF.

now you claim Kramer did a lot. what did he actually do between 67-77? besides the flawed Grand Prix, can you list the things he did and make a case that they were substantial and essential without which we’d not have the open era and ATP Tour free from ILTF (ITF)?

Kramer was not even present at the Stairwell Meeting of the 1972 US Open to discuss the players’ need for an association.

between 1967-1977, Lamar Hunt, Donald Dell, Cliff Drysdale, George MacCall played equal, at timesor better, roles to Kramer’s.

Read these from the vault, if you have not already:
i.
sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1086133/index.htm

ii.
sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1085818/index.htm

iii.
sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1087513/index.htm

iv.
sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1086795/index.htm


jane Says:

Von, do you like Soderling’s tennis though, even though you think he’s a jerk? I recall you were cheering him on to win the FO because he’d beaten Rafa.

————————————————–

Vulcan, Soderling was impressive in his run to the final at the FO; that’s what caught my attention, and I’ve been watching his matches when I can. His USO match against Fed was interesting, because he didn’t go away but kept going for his shots – big time! – and building momentum, in the end turning that into quite an exciting & competitive match. Who’d've thunk it after the first set bagel?


Von Says:

jane: “Von, do you like Soderling’s tennis though, even though you think he’s a jerk? I recall you were cheering him on to win the FO because he’d beaten Rafa.”

I remember saying it’d be fitting for him to win the whole thing since he did the hard work and dirty deed of taking out Nadal, but I was certainly NOT cheering him on. To be truthful though, I was secretly hoping Federer would win the FO, because I thought he’d gotten to so many finals and this was the ONLY and best opportunity he’d have to win the trophy. I also didn’t want to see him cry any more. ha ha.

I’m not one for being easily swayed, adding on, and changing faves, jane. I see people do that here for many reasons, known only to themselves, and sometimes it’s obvious why they do that. I’m loyal, in that I stick to my faves until they retire. When my fave isn’t in a match, I usually root for one player over the other due to several criteria, one is usually their appeal. However, at the FO, I secretly was hoping Fed would win when I realized that the finals would be between Federer and Soderling, and my reasons are those I stated above.

——————
Vulcan: I liked Soderling’s performance in the USO match vs. Federer. I think he really proved his mettle and showed belief in his abilities to win that match and/or against Federer, as a whole. That said, I doubt I’ll ever become a fan of his, due to his boring personality, coupled with his off-hand attitude with respect to the ‘let’ courtesy, and being friendly on the tour. he’ll never win the congeniality award. LOL. Also, his inability to overlook and/or forgive a slight against one of his colleagues, speaks volumes as to his mind-set on prolonging a grudge against a a fellow player, and I personally don’t like people who hold onto grudges.

I suppose you know by now that I’m not one who cares about umpire tussles, because I feel the umpires can at times be very difficult, trying, and at times, could push a player to lose their cool. However, I think players could try to be more amiable and forgiving toward each other, because they are involved with each other all year round, and camaraderie should be the spirit on the tour. Soderling seems to me as someone who could care less about his fellow player. I was a bit turned off from Safin for that same reason recently, when I read an article wherein he stated he didn’t have any friends on the tour or cared to have any. Anyway, those are just my personal feelings.


jane Says:

Thanks for your clarification Von.


Von Says:

MMT: “There’s a lot of people on this blog who don’t know a lot about Kramer, and I don’t think it’s right for you to paint such a poor picture of him, using just some facts and a mountain of innuendo and empty evidence as a part some grand anti-Kramer conspiracy theory.”

While I agree with you that many who post here are unfamiliar with Kramer, myself included, I disagree that many would blindly jump to a conclusion, form an opinion and/or be influenced negatively against Kramer or any other player, based only on what another poster, and in this case *I am it*, has stated and/or written. I think some of us should be given more credit for not blindly following anything and everything.

I know that there are some posters who take people and/or what they write at face value, for many reasons. One of which is just to become embroiled in a discussion and for the sake of expounding on some facts; a second, ingratiating themselves with another poster, or to just impress others of their massive tennis knowledge, and/or a ton of other reasons, known only to them. In some cases, it’s very transparent why some enjoy these discussions. I usually don’t like to become involved in such discussions, and try to avoid them at all costs. However, if I do need information, and/or to ascertain facts proffered in discussions, I like to first google same to check out the credible sources of information available, before arriving at a conclusion. and, I am sure many do the same.

In sum, I think you are being a bit unfair to ‘I am it’, by accusing him of “using just some facts and a mountain of innuendo and empty evidence as a part [of] some grand anti-Kramer conspiracy theory.” I am it, has given/proffered several sources of information as the basis for his argument, and a lot of those sources seem to solidify and/or give credence to the information he has submitted. Therefore, I’d have to say, contrary to what you feel, that I am it has every right to his opinions, and is not painting a distorted picture of Kramer.

MMT, you have a vast amount of knowledge on tennis and its history, and I think, if I’m not mistaken, I’ve been one of the first to compliment you on that knowledge, expressing my appreciation and thankfulness of your willingness to share that information with me and others on this site, and to point out your blog, also. Others, have subsequently followed along those lines. However, while I appreciate your views and knowledge, I think you should remember that we all have a right to our opinions here on this forum, (even though many perpetually try to stifle that right on this site) and as such, I think there’s room for those opinions and theories to be entertained, even though they might be perceived or appear to be somewhat conspiratorial on the surface. I like to look upon the *conspiracy theories* as another person’s ability of exploring and expressing their thought processes, which ultimately opens the door to many discussions, some good and some not so worthwhile.


Von Says:

Staff: Where’s my post to MMT of 10/1/09, posted around 6:58 pm? It was there @ 9:15 pm last night and now it’s disappeared. I doubt there was anything in it that should be the basis for its removal. This is a first for me, and I’m at a loss as to why it has happened.


Von Says:

Staff: Something rather spooky is happening here. The lost post has just appeared after I posted my question @ 6:12 am. Please delete the 6:12 am post and this one also. Thanks.


margot Says:

MMT: thanx 4 your reply re Rafa. Sorry to be late with this but different time zone plus work sometimes interfere. Love your so knowlegeable posts BTW. Where’s your blog?
been there: agree with u re Rafa and Soderling incident, half a dozen of one etc but Rafa is now close to sainthood so Soderling has no chance.


MMT Says:

i am it said: “if i were to follow your direction, then, the question would be: what about your subtle conspiracy theory against WCT-NTL and all professional players of the time as if they did not play any role, as if they were subordinate to one person called Kramer?”

I have implied no conspiracy against WCT or NTL or anyone or anything. I find conspiracy theories to be unfair to the subjects and I don’t engage in them.

I stated the facts: the WCT (and NTL before it merged with WCT) withheld their players from the slams long before Jack Kramer’s Grand Prix tennis – THAT IS A FACT. Whether he caused them to continue to do so AFTER the initiation of Grand Prix tennis is a matter of opinion. My opinion on that matter is that if they did so of their own volition for their economic purposes, and the blame should be put squarely on Kramer’s Grand Prix tennis, as you have suggested.

“now you claim Kramer did a lot. what did he actually do between 67-77? besides the flawed Grand Prix, can you list the things he did and make a case that they were substantial and essential without which we’d not have the open era and ATP Tour free from ILTF (ITF)?”

I covered his contributions, as did you; he proposed Grand Prix tennis and managed it in 1969, he was chosen by the professionals to managed the ATP in 1972. These are not his only contributions to open tennis or professional tennis, but those were in my opinion significant. You may disagree, and you’re free to do so, I have in no way disputed that other deserve more credit, I have only indicated my own opinion that Kramer’s contributions were the most significant.

What I take issue with is the theory that he was trying to block open tennis, control players, and control the game at the expense of the players. This is totally incorrect. WCT represented a subset of some of the most luminous players in the game, but Grand Prix tennis was open to ANY PLAYER ON TOUR. That’s a significant distinction that I think contributed to the players choosing him to manage the ATP when it was envisioned as a players union.

You are correct that he was not present when they chose to create the ATP in 1972, but THEY CHOSE HIM AS THEIR LEADER – that is a fact. That’s a significant dent in the theory that he tried to control the game at their expense, as you’ve portrayed.

“between 1967-1977, Lamar Hunt, Donald Dell, Cliff Drysdale, George MacCall played equal, at timesor better, roles to Kramer’s.”

This is your opinion and nowhere have I disputed it at all. I have not in anything I’ve written denied anyone the right to their opinion on subjective matters such as whose contribution was greater. I have offered my own opinion and you dispute it – well within your (and anyone else’s) rights. It is even within your rights to write what you pleases about Jack Kramer, and insinuate what you want about Kramer.

But it is also my right to state where I believe the picture painted is inaccurate, incomplete and unjustly portraying Kramer in a very poor light. This is what I’ve done. Anyone is free to espouse any opinion they wish in a public forum, but anyone is also within their rights to dispute those opinions, and the fact presented to support them. And it also my right to state I think it’s wrong of you to portray Kramer in a poor light given YOUR STATED BIAS against him.

Of course, none of this matters in the grand scheme of things. I never met Jack Kramer, and have no vested interest in defending his record other than being someone who enjoys the history of the game, and wants to see those who have contributed to it, and in my opinion extensively, get the full credit they deserve.


i am it Says:

MMT, when you say “Kramer’s contributions were the most significant,” it only states opinion, not fact.
That’s not what I was looking for.
Officially, three of the biggest names in ushering us into the open era are Herman David, Derek Hardwick, and Robert J. Kelleher. The reason I did not pull out this one was because they have been formally recognized as most significant, factually, in the Hall of Fame. Two of them are already Hall of Famers, and Hardwick is nominated for 2010, all three for their indispensable contribution for the creation of Open tennis. The ’68 proposal for Open tennis was made by Herman David, chairman of All England Club at the time.

by the way, players did not get to choose Kramer for the ATP directorial position. he was hired, not elected by votes.

my intention was not to test if you knew landmark events in details of tennis history or malign kramer’s reputation.
i was only hoping that you’d fill in the gaps and help improve my knowledge but sadly that did not happen.

i was looking for something along this line from you: the first vote on open-tennis was held in 1960 when the proposal missed the necessary two-thirds majority by five votes. USA at that time was for it.
But in the 2nd vote of 1963, USLTA reversed its position. Its narrowly passed resolution opposing open-tennis, while UK, France, and Australia were for the open.
In the 3rd vote of 1968, people had doubts because majority of USLTA officials were against it. Many had doubts if Robert J. Kelleher, the newly appointed rebel USLTA chairman, would be able to convince “the old goats,” his term for conservative faction. He lost the 1st round, 22-21, but he persisted and did it. Open materialized in the ILTF Luxembourg meeting.


MMT Says:

I did not state as a fact that Kramer’s contributions were most significant – that was my opinion and I stated it as such.

You have indicated Herman David, Derek Hardwick and Robert J. Kelleher were the “biggest names” ushering open tennis: that is not a fact either, but another opinion.

That they are in the hall of fame (as is Mr. Kramer) is a fact, and I have not disputed that.

“…the first vote on open-tennis was held in 1960…”
“…But in the 2nd vote of 1963, USLTA reversed its position…”
“In the 3rd vote of 1968, people had doubts because majority of USLTA officials were against it…”

This has nothing to do with the subject of my comments, which was whether the picture you painted of Kramer’s role in tennis is a fair one. These are also facts, which I don’t dispute.

I have in no way attempted to dispute the contributions of anyone EXCEPT your CHARACTERIZATION of the contribution (or lack thereof) of Jack Kramer.

That is what I have disputed and nothing else, and none of what you said you expected from me in anyway supports your contention that he blocked, impeded open tennis at the expense of the players for his own gain or for the gain of the ILTF.

And according to the ATP website (http://www.atpworldtour.com/Corporate/History.aspx) your contention that Kramer was imposed on the players is incorrect. Kramer was elected, just as Cliff Drysdale was.


JoshDragon Says:

Wow that’s awesome. I would love to see another Nadal vs Federer, match. I was kind of disappointed that there weren’t that many of them this year.


MMT Says:

Thanks Margot – I’ve linked my blog to my screen name here – it’s http://tennis-column.blogspot.com/.


Von Says:

MMT: “Anyone is free to espouse any opinion they wish in a public forum, but anyone is also within their rights to dispute those opinions, and the fact presented to support them.”

And, is it your MO to ignore those who differ with your opinion and/or offer a rebuttal? I commented on your statement:

“There’s a lot of people on this blog who don’t know a lot about Kramer, and I don’t think it’s right for you to paint such a poor picture of him, using just some facts and a mountain of innuendo and empty evidence as a part some grand anti-Kramer conspiracy theory.”

In that statement there was a subtle hint that some of us are ignorant of some facts,(which I found to be somewhat insulting to mine and/or others’ intelligence and it’s the principal reason for my comments) with which I agreed to a point, but I also pointed out that we’re not all of us that gullible and/or so dumb as to follow blindly. However, you chose to ignore my comments and seemed to deem it inconsequential by not dignifying same with an answer. I suppose unless one is lavishing praise, then one is subtly ignored. I had a feeling you wouldn’t reply considering our last interaction of some months ago, wherein I disagreed with you also. Anyway, the picture is now very clear, I get it, and I can assure there won’t be a repeat performance ….


MMT Says:

Von: I think I was pretty clear in my 2nd and 3rd responses to i am it as to what specifically I took issue with with regards to his characterization of Kramer. I think it was fair because it was very specific and not generalized beyond the concluding passages, one of which you took issue with. You also mentioned the articles corroborate i am it’s characterization of Kramer. I beg to differ.

The first link, an article about the WCT final in 1972, makes 1 mention of Kramer as being anti-Hunt – that’s it. I respect Mr. Kirkpatrick’s opinion, but that’s a far cry from supporting i am it’s characterization of Kramer. It is also the opinion of one writer, not a matter of fact. My opinion is that Kramer didn’t have a problem with Hunt (the owner of WCT) per se – only the restrictions he effectively placed on the players under his contract by insisting on compensation to his organization for their participation in tennis tournaments.

Grand Prix tennis went in a different direction, compensating the players directly for their participation on a graduated scale, with no money going to middle men, middle men that included Kramer. That is hardly corroboration of Kramer working against the interest of individual players.

The second article on the dispute between the WCT and ILTF makes no mention Kramer at all. It corroborates that the ILTF banned WCT players, but it also corroborates that the WCT insisted on compensation aside from that which is given to the individual players and this was the reason for banning the players, not a desire to control those players, or any other players for that matter, by Jack Kramer.

One could argue that the ILTF wanted to control players as well, and that is a reasonable argument – but the WCT had those players under contract and the ILTF took a pre-emptive strike against that organization to draw a line in the sand about compensation of some group to which players belong, rather than the players themselves.

All this is largely irrelevant to my point that Kramer was not the mastermind behind these machinations as has been suggested by i am it.

The third article refers to the boycott of Wimbledon by 81 members of the ATP. Here Kramer is mentioned as 1) the leader of the ATP and 2) negotiating on behalf of the ATP. Both corroborating my characterization of him and contradicting i am it’s.

The fourth article details the experience of foreign players, particularly members of WCT, plying their trade in the US. It makes absolutely no mention of Kramer at all, and certainly nothing at all to corroborate the potrayal of him as a man who pulled the strings of professional tennis to the detriment of professionals.

I’m a fair person, and I read a bit about tennis, and while I’m open to various opinions about the history of the game, I too have the right to tell someone that I think they’ve got their history wrong.

You may be wondering why I care – just one reason – I love tennis history, and I think it should be recapitulated accurately and fairly. I never met Jack Kramer, who just passed away on September 12th, but by most accounts of him, he was a down to earth man who cared deeply about the development of professional tennis. And I don’t think it’s fair to him to characterize him as having manipulated the game to the detriment of either players of fans of the game.

I don’t know if he’d care about being castigaged, judged, defended or aggrandized by anyone so vociferously on a blog as i am it and I have done here.

But I care, and that’s why I write about it. And I’ll continue to do so as long as I’m allowed on this site. If I’ve said or written anything that is unfair or unjust to anyone in the game, I’ve done so in an open forum where everyone has the right to contradict me as they please.

I reserve that same right.


Von Says:

MMT: “I think it was fair because it was very specific and not generalized beyond the concluding passages, one of which you took issue with. You also mentioned the articles corroborate i am it’s characterization of Kramer. I beg to differ.”

In my initial post, I wrote:

“I am it, has given/proffered several sources of information as the basis for his argument, and a lot of those sources seem to solidify and/or give credence to the information he has submitted. Therefore, I’d have to say, contrary to what you feel, that I am it has every right to his opinions, and is not painting a distorted picture of Kramer.”

If you will notice, I mentioned “seem to solidify and/or give credence to ..”. I was not being emphatic, as in 100 percent positive, since everything pertinent to the discussion was not spelled out in detail and left room for reasonable doubt. However, from what I was able to glean from the information in some of those articles, they did appear to validate I am it’s stance on the matter. In other words, some of it was down to speculation and/or filling in the blanks and left room for ‘reasonable doubt’. Therefore, I felt I am it’s points were validated.

“You may be wondering why I care – just one reason – I love tennis history, and I think it should be recapitulated accurately and fairly. I never met Jack Kramer, who just passed away on September 12th, but by most accounts of him, he was a down to earth man who cared deeply about the development of professional tennis. And I don’t think it’s fair to him to characterize him as having manipulated the game to the detriment of either players of fans of the game.”

Believe me, I never wonder and/or question about your love for the sport — it’s manifested in your writing. I know you care and I’ve always complimented you on your passion for the sport. I remember telling you that your passionate responses seem to ignite your love on the pages. You exude a certain amount of aura that’s unmatched by some writers, which is to be commended. it also bespeaks of some one who’s been following the sport for years and has made a study of it, which in itself is a labour of love. I’ve observed that there are many who just get into discussions for the sake of having something to talk about, by probing and prodding, but not so with you, there is definitely an underlying fire and it burns brightly. In essence you come alive in your writing. Additionally, your love for the sport transcends your liking for a specific player or players, hence the passion that will never die. Yours is a passion that will be burning brightly throughout the generations of the sport.

I may be off on this, but I think I am it, appears to have somewhat some of that same passion, and whether you both are open this or not, bearing in mind that I’m only writing from my observation on your passionate comments, I think the two of you are a perfect fit. You’re both detail-oriented, take the time to do the necessary research for your arguments/discussion, and not just talk off the top of your heads or argue for the sake of so doing. You’re both passionate and no-nonsense type personalities. I am it is somewhat a bit more subdued, but you MMT are unrelenting. You sometimes remind me of myself. LOL.

“I don’t know if he’d care about being castigated, judged, defended or aggrandized by anyone so vociferously on a blog as i am it and I have done here.”

I don’t think either of you are castigating Kramer; it’s a healthy discussion, and who knows, maybe Kramer himself might be thrilled to know that he was worthy of mention.

MMT, keep up the good work and thank you for your response. BTW, do you have one of those voice oriented gizmos that transcribe as you talk? I ask this because I struggle to type quickly, and I noticed your response to my 5:12 pm post was fired back at me in 6 minutes. It would have taken me about 30 minutes to do the same, as I’m a two-finger typist.LOL. what’s your secret?


i am it Says:

in my mind the argument has revolved around your “most significant” and my “significant.”
but at times you seem to have taken it personally while i have been trying to elicit more facts from you surrounding not just Kramer but also the inception of Open Era and its major contributors. i admit i may not have been able to convey that intention, though i stated it in my last post.

the three principle figures i called most significant was on the basis of the Hall of Fame’s attributions.
check this out:
http://www.hofmag.com/content/view/1449/190/

keep in mind Kramer’s induction was in the player’s category, where as Derek Hardwick, Herman David, Robert J. Kelleher’s was based solely on their contribution to the inception of Open Era. it should not be difficult to see the distinction.
in an espn article “Remembering Lamar Hunt,” Peter Bodo called the ATP Tour as a shadow of the WCT model.
Hunt was not only one man in the late 60s. he was an institution, WCT itself, like Kramer was in the ’52-’62 but more organized, innovative, most significant in negotiating prize guarantees for players and their rights. this is not an opinion. this is a fact because there was a consensus on this at the time.
i have never questioned Kramer’s legacy as a player and promoter. i only expressed my preference of Poncho over Kramer.

i only questioned Kramer’s work between ’66-’77, during which there were many who contributed more significantly than Kramer. even Donald Dell was more influential figure.
then you cited one atp history page that characterized Kramer’s appointment as election, a kind of terminological error. in the entire history of ATP since it took a corporate form, no CEO or President has been elected by players. in fact, in corporate practice, institutions do not elect CEO or Director or President by popular votes of all stake holders. it is hiring, and in some instances you could call it an election by Board Members. you know this players only get to choose their council members and send 3 representatives to the Board. that’s it.

Look ATP site also has some errors. For instance it does not list Borg’s ’72 participation in the US Open, but the ITF cite shows he was in the draw, the largest of all time in any tournament, 148 players.

However, here is the fact, 8 Sept. ’72 NYT article on this subject, ATP at the time was a players’ union, not a corporate institution, and in an informal setting, 28 independents and 32 WCT pros asked Kramer and Drysdale to lead the ATP. remember Kramer was TV commentator at that time. There was no voting procedure or candidacy declaration or anything that happens in a formal election.
after they took office, Drysdale was more active than Kramer. here is a piece on Drysdale’s leading role on the ’73 Wimby boycott, written by Drysdale himself for ESPN: http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/wimbledon03/story?id=1572812
i read couple others that said the same thing.

I based most of my post on the ’72 NYT articles. if you are a subscriber, you can access the Archive and verify yourself.
i guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. but i am genuinely interested to know the micro details surrounding the Open Era inception and major contributors. if you find something, i’d appreciate if you post the link.


i am it Says:

“I think the two of you are a perfect fit.”
that’s what I thought and still think. i have been trying to get something from MMT and share with him what i know.
thanks for seeing this.

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