Nadal Survives Another Three-Setter in Beijing; Serena Falls But Gets Naked
by Sean Randall | October 8th, 2009, 11:37 am
  • 160 Comments

A win is a win but is a three-set win for Rafael Nadal the same as a two-setter? I ask because when Nadal goes the distance in a hardcourt match – three sets or five sets – alarm bells usually go off and the vultures begin to hover amid the worry and speculation that Rafa’s knees, abs and/or whatever ailments he or may not have won’t hold up for the next round.

Well, for the second straight match Nadal needed three sets to win in Bejing, this time defeating James Blake 7-5, 6-7, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.

Nadal served for the match twice in the second set, at 5-4 and at 6-5 but failed. Then Blake, who is working with new coach Kelly Jones, had chances at 2-2 Nadal serving at 0-40 in the third set but he couldn’t convert.

“Every match is important; every win is very important,” Nadal said afterward. “Every win gives you confidence. I feel it was a very good win. I didn’t have a lot of bad shots with the forehand, so that’s important.”

Next up tomorrow for Rafa, who’s now a perfect 13-0 in Beijing, is the soon-to-be-retired Marat Safin. The big Russian upset Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 6-4 for one his better wins in a very long time.

Safin’s flat, power game which is anchored by a lethal backhand really sets up well against Nadal. But will Marat be able to maintain it mentally?

On a hunch, if Marat’s playing well I actually think he’ll beat Rafa, especially if Nadal is psychically feeling the six sets that he’s already played.

Also in China, perhaps the biggest news of the day was Nadia Petrova actually getting a win over a decent player! Petrova somehow, someway kept it together long enough to beat new No. 1 Serena Williams 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) in the third round.

After zero breaks of serve in the third set Petrova led Serena 5-0 in the third set tiebreak. But that’s when Petrova naturally went “Petrova” and in a blink it’s 6-5 when controversy crept it.

Down a third match point in the breaker, Serena slapped a forehand winner that was called out. But the call was overruled and the replayed point was ultimately won by Petrova giving her the match. I can’t recall the last time Petrova, who always loses to the top girls, ever had win of this magnitude. Credit to her.

As for Serena, mission accomplished. She got her No. 1 ranking back and she can now head home to prepare for Friday’s release of ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue” which features a naked Serena on one of its covers.

Now she’s No. 1 and she’s nude on the cover of a national magazine. Now way they can suspend her now!

Serena’s loss also leaves the $6.6 million dollar event with just three Top 10 players in the quarterfinals, and none among the Top 3. Aren’t you glad you put up that kind of money now, China? Unfortunately on the WTA these days you often don’t get what you paid for.

In Tokyo, we’ll have some interesting quarterfinals tomorrow. Stanislas Wawrinka tests my man Gael Monfils and Jo Tsonga, a winner today over Richard Gasquet, gets Ernests Gulbis. The top half features Edouard Roger-Vasselin v. Lleyton Hewitt and Mikhail Youhzny v. Tomas Berdych. Youhzny upset Gilles Simon in three sets.


Also Check Out:
Djokovic Needs Three In Beijing; Murray Survives 18 Aces From Karlovic In Tokyo
Serena Williams Pulls Out Of Tokyo, Beijing Remains On Her Schedule
Vera Zvonareva Gets Naked For ESPN’s Body Issue [Video]
Nadal Saves Matchpoints, Survives Troicki in Tokyo; Djokovic Reaches Beijing Final
Novak Djokovic: “I’m Not Getting Naked For Anybody, Except My Girlfriend”

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160 Comments for Nadal Survives Another Three-Setter in Beijing; Serena Falls But Gets Naked

i am it Says:

2 sets or 3, rafa is playing great tennis. against Safin, it’s hard to predict, though. we know Safin at best can beat anyone. when at the top of his game, he is a beauty to behold.

thanks to Youhzny for beating Simon. this helps Soderling inch to the top 10 should he beat Ljubicic tomorrow. it won’t be easy because he won’t be bed before 1:00 am and won’t get enough rest for tomorrow’s match, which is scheduled for
3:00 pm slot, Beijing time.

with another victory over Melzer, R-Vasellin has proved he is not as bad as i thought. ranked as high as 87, R-Vasellin has beaten several well-known players in the past, including Stepanek, Chela, Benneteau, Rochus, Clement, Schuettler, etc. Hewitt will have to be careful.

dj-verdasco and tsonga-gulbis match will be equally thrilling.


Vulcan Says:

Well at least at the end of his career Safin appears to have lost or at least minimized his reputation as a “headcase”. Seemed like for a while there you couldn’t visit a tennis blog without somebody referring to him in that IMO exaggerated way (at least based on his on-court behavior I can’t speak for his personal life). As far as Nadal v Safin goes I’m looking for a Nadal victory there as Beijing is a very special place for him.


jane Says:

I don’t know for whom to root: on the one hand, I’d love to see Safin go out on a high note and be re-recognized and remembered for the brilliant player he is; on the other hand, Rafa needs every win he can get to help him build confidence heading into the last few remaining tournaments of the year, which are important for him if he wants to regain the number 1 spot eventually. Being that he sat out the YEC last year, he stands to go only up, if he plays well. So for Nadal, a lot is riding on this next match and the next few events.

I think I’ll just sit back and enjoy. :)

i am it – thanks for advising re: the schedule of this match, and also noting some other mouth-watering matches to come. I wonder if Gulbis has a shot against Tsonga? Ernests working with a new coach may help him to a new, more focused place? I read on Tennistalk that while Verdasco will have off season foot surgery, the injury/issue is not hindering his play, so indeed his match with Djoko could be a highly competitive one. I may not get to watch, but I’ll certainly try. I can’t replay or even access any matches at espn360 because I am not American and thus am not permitted. Hopefully I can find streaming for what I would like so watch. So far, so good.


sensationalsafin Says:

Headcase makes him sound crazy, but Safin’s at least choked a number of matches and sets this year. He was up a break in the third against Monfils twice (including match points in one). He had set points over Haas. I’m pretty sure he was up a break against that French dude at the French in the 5th. He’s lost a lot of matches he should’ve won this year and it was all in his head. (Especially that Monfils lost in Miami…IW?)


jane Says:

sensationalsafin, that Monfils loss was at Miami and was a heartbreaker for me; even though I like Monfils, I was rooting for Safin to have a good start to his final year. But like you say, he’s had a lot of losses where you’d've thought he’d come through. Whether this was due to pressure, lack of confidence, motivation, whatever, most were tough to watch. The one at the FO was also a killer – so very very close. But Safin’s also had some tougher draws this season because of his lower ranking; if you look through his playing activity, many times he’s run into tough outs in the first or second rounds of tournaments, so those losses, while earlier than his fans might have hoped for, are not inexplicable. He can be mercurial, but he does deserve more credit than he’s sometimes given I think. Course I am unabashedly biased when it comes to Marat.


grendel Says:

Lack of confidence, surely. One of those aweful spiral things. Before you can win, you gotta win. But before you can win, you gotta win. But before you can..


Dar Says:

You really can’t get women’s tennis right, can you? Serena did not hit a winner down match point, Petrova hit a forehand that was called out but replay showed it was in so the point was replayed. the “controversy” was that neither player heard the original call, so they kept on playing till the umpire stopped them. Petrvoa, for the record, played pretty amazing tennis for most of the match. And the chinese don’t seem to care who is playing, as long as Peng has a shot at the title.


Von Says:

I don’t know, but to me it appeared that Nadal was somewhat flat-footed and was either having an off-day or something else is bothering him, maybe his stomach muscle tear is still hampering him, but it’s hard to tell as he’s stated he’s fine. I know most athletes don’t like to divulge what’s actually happeneing to them with respect to injuries and this could be the reason nadal says he’s fine.

From my observations, Nadal wasn’t running down much of the balls as he usually does and was not his usual ebullient self. Even his fist pumps were done very low-keyed as in energy-less, and his after match celebration showed very little happiness and almost sparkless. To me something’s very wrong with Nadal, and IMO, if he doesn’t up his level of performance I don’t see him beating Safin, who looked terrific vs. Gonzalez, BTW. Or,if Nadal does beat Safin, I doubt he’d get past Davy and/or Cilic.

If Soderling adheres to his present form, I think it would be a very exciting SF vs. Verdasco or Djokovic, and a mujst-see one to watch.

**********
jane: “I read on Tennistalk that while Verdasco will have off season foot surgery, the injury/issue is not hindering his play, so indeed his match with Djoko could be a highly competitive one.”

According to other sources I’ve read, it appears that Verdasco had the foot surgery and it’s the reason why he didn’t play in Davis Cup. He stated after the match he lost last week in the final, that he was surprised at how well he did considering he’d is still having problems with his foot. Maybe there’s a misunderstanding and conflict of information from these different sources.

You had mentioned a while back that it was confirmed and stated on TennisTalk that Djoko has asthma by some of the posters there. I read some of that and to me it was more speculation than a positive diagnosis from a doctor, and just lay/posters’ opinions. If it is true that Djokovic has asthma, then is he on some type of medication or uses an inhaler? If he doesn’t, then I’d say it’s all speculation and untrue as to the asthma. Usually asthmatics have to be on a regimen of medication/inhaler or they won’t be able to breathe. Also, one of the medications used for asthmatics comes under the ‘banned substances’ for WADA and a red flag would go up whenever he’s tested, as in the Volandri case. And, considering the foregoing, I’d say it’s highly doubtful that Djoko’s got asthma.


Von Says:

Sean: “Aren’t you glad you put up that kind of money now, China? Unfortunately on the WTA these days you often don’t get what you paid for.”

They’ve got oodles of money, and then some. It’s where the money’s at big-time. I’m sure $6.6 million won’t hurt them one bit and is merely a drop in the ocean. Things are so good there that my broker is hounding me to buy stock in some of their companies, as everything is supposed to be ‘green’ as in money.

BTW, is it a definite that Serena has actually posed *nude*, as without a stitch of clothing on the cover of a magazine? My mouth is open as in agape. This girl has lots of chutzpah!!!!


Vulcan Says:

sensationalsafin Says:

He’s lost a lot of matches he should’ve won this year and it was all in his head.

From what I have seen of Safin over the years I would say that if he is an underachiever because of being mentally fragile it is to a small degree…nothing worthy of the label “headcase”.
I really don’t see that he was any sort of spectacular genius who failed to reach anywhere near his potential…the poster boy for this kind of accolade currently seems to be Marcelo Rios.


sensationalsafin Says:

Maybe that’s Nadal’s way of conserving energy and prolonging his career. Not spending so much energy celebrating or running after every single shot when he is capable of winning the next point. This is only a 500 event so maybe he recognizes that he doesn’t have to win it as much as a Masters or a Slam. He said he was very happy with his performance and Nadal wasn’t saying that a lot when he first got back.


Tennis served fresh Says:

the spread that Serena is in, kinda grosses me out.
Nadal vs. Safin….I think Safin has what it takes in terms of tennis, but mentally I think he’s going to fall short. Though he is playing carefree since he’s retiring and has nothing to lose. Go for it Safin (your sister can’t hang).


jane Says:

Von, if you google “Verdasco + foot surgery” pretty much every single article says that he has postponed it, so I am curious where you read that he already had the surgery.

As for Djoko’s asthma, whether that’s true or not I cannot say. But I didn’t read that statment from a poster or poster, rather from one of the article writers at Tennistalk, maybe it was Cheryl Murray (can’t remember); I know it was this year.

I have a milder case of asthma myself, and just looking at the symptoms/issues Djok sometimes experiences, it seems to me it could very well be that he does have it. If those who drug test the players are aware of his medication, if he indeed takes any, then no red flags would need to go up since they’d know about it in advance. There are many top athletes, including Olympic level etc, with asthma, so the testers would be privy to any info and prepared on what to look for and what not to be concerned about.

You are entitled to think such a diagnosis is merely speculation because it is; there’s never been an official announcement of it. I don’t know definitively, so wouldn’t argue one way or the other. However, I can say that given the symptoms he seems to experience repeatedly, I wouldn’t be shocked to hear it officially. For e.g., when an asthmatic like myself gets a cold/flu, I feel it immediately in my breathing/chest (tightness), I get dizzy etc, and I need an inhaler. When Djok wrongly or rightly retired vs. Fed at MC last year, he has strep and maybe the symptoms were exacerbated if he has asthma. I simply don’t know.

Anyhow, I’m not sure why it arises now as I haven’t posted about it in the last few days, but in any case, that’s my three cents.


Kimmi Says:

Here is a clip showing Verdasco interview when in Malaysia, he is also talking about his injured foot and when he can do the surgery. In the clip he says he will do surgery after end of season.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLZG2fe7_ko


jane Says:

Von, I found one Tennistalk article, by Kelli DeMario, which mentions asthma outright, so again, I don’t know if it’s true but it’s mentioned here under “Novak Djokovic” and “Band-Aid”.

http://www.tennistalk.com/en/blog/Kelli_DeMario/20090715/The_Lost_Boys:_tennis_talent_gone_AWOL


Von Says:

jane:

As I mentioned, I had read something with respect to Verdasco’s foot problem and asked about it since you mentioned it in an earlier post today. What I read seemed to indicate he was going to have the surgery and he had same during the Spain DC tie. I didn’t know he had post-poned it. Therefore, if he didn’t have the surgery, then his foot could be a problem for him and could again cause him to be hobbling around as he did at the USO from over-use. I suppose he’s playing injured because he wants to accumulate points to make the YEC list, but to me, that’s going to further exacerbate the problem and he could end up with a much bigger situation.

“Anyhow, I’m not sure why it arises now as I haven’t posted about it in the last few days, but in any case, that’s my three cents.”

You mentioned it a week or so ago, but I wasn’t posting here much at that time, only reading, hence I didn’t ask at that time. Your mention of Verdasco’s foot brought the asthma to mind, and it’s the reason I’m asking now. However, I didn’t realize there was a time limit on these things, but considering how many problems my questions cause, I should know not to ask at all. Now I’ll probably be accused of starting another *fight*. Why don’t I ever learn is beyond me. OY.


Von Says:

jane: Thanks, You needn’t have gone to the trouble to find that link. I took your word for it. I’m done with this topic.


Von Says:

Kimmi: Thanks for the YouTube video. My ears are not very attuned to his accent so I couldn’t understand too much of what he said, plus there was a lot of noise in the background. However, in gist, he said the foot was bad before the USO and he had to quit practising for the two weeks leading up to the USO, then it began acting up when he was playing. From what he’s saying, he has severe problems with it, and is somewhat of an issue for him. If he has the surgery he’ll be out for 5-6 weeks. Hence, I don’t know how much it will be a problem for him in his upcoming match, or if we’ll see a repeat performance of his USO QF match. I hope not.


jane Says:

Von says ” I suppose he’s playing injured because he wants to accumulate points to make the YEC list, but to me, that’s going to further exacerbate the problem and he could end up with a much bigger situation.”

This is a valid worry indeed, but I would assume Verdasco checked with reputable doctors before deciding to postpone it. I hope he doesn’t make it worse, because he’s really found some good form this year, and given that the new season begins on hardcourt, he could possibly make some real noise at the AO and beyond.


jane Says:

Von, I looked up that tennistalk link more out of my own curiousity; I read so much about tennis that things tend to blur together, but that stuck out for me for obvious reasons. So I wanted to check see if my memory was not failing me in my old age. LOL.


Kimmi Says:

Von: Agree there was a little bit of background noise on the clip but I manage hear him a little.

I don’t think he mentioned when his foot problem started but anyways he talked about the stomach tear he had at the USO and that he has to rest for 2 weeks after without practicing. He says it’s important to recover fully because if he play with this injury it will make it worse….obvious here but it looks like his stomach tear has recovered.

But his foot issue which is painful requires a surgery and his doctors told him it will take 3 weeks to be 100%, that means he would pull out of Malaysia and Beijing. He said after consulting to his doctor , family and coach … they see that it’s best for him to play and since he has a good chance to qualify for YEC he will give it a shot.

I don’t know how much his injury is hampering his play but he played very well in Malaysia (reach the final) and he is in QTR final in Beijing. So maybe it’s not too bad.


Von Says:

Kimmi: Thanks for helping me out with the YouTube video interpretation. LOL. I’m hopeless with foreign accents. I heard 5 to 6 weeks. He did say he talked to his family and coach after he was told by the doctors that he’d be out for that amount of time, and they all made the decision that he should continue to play due to the YEC. Therefore my speculation of him playing to colllect points for the YEC is somewhat correct. However, why would anyone put their health in front of a tournament is puzzling to me, but that’s his prerogative isn’t it?


Kimmi Says:

Von: sorry..I missed the other bit that you also mentioned, I guess did not hear 1st time also. LOL

If he has surgery he will be out for 4 to 5 weeks, he can lose a lot of rhythms. At this time of the year he did not want to give a chance to other players who are very close to him. If it was big injury then he would stop but the foot problem is there painful, he can hold the pain for three more months.


Von Says:

Kimmi: Yes, I heard him state he could stand the pain for a few more months, but I thought I was hearing something wrong. WOW, he really wants to make the YEC list, doesn’t he, but at what cost to his foot? He could cause a permanent problem. Is he crazy? I wouldn’t want my kid to do that if I were his mother.


i am it Says:

this is how i viewed and documented the rafa-blake match.

if you recall, in the past, particularly ’05 USO, ’06 IW, and ’06 TMC, rafa had trouble playing against blake. or, from the reverse, blake knew and knows how to play rafa. even the two matches that rafa won in ’08, they were not straight sets. and rafa takes blake cautiously and, it may sound funny, rafa approaches him a bit tentatively. considering all these, i’d say rafa did pretty well.

had blake been able to cut his errors a little bit (had 3-4 shots gone in) and served a little better (than 51% 1st serve in the 1st set), he would have beaten rafa, not because rafa played bad but because blake matches him better.

when it was 15-30 in the 8th game of the 1st set, blake had a chance but he made a couple of unforced errors. again, when blake had a game point to go 6-5 in the 1st set, errors crept in. he double faulted once. he lost the set. with just a little bit more consistency, he could have held.

generally, blake takes ball early and has one of the biggest and flattest forehands in the tour, and that’s been always discomforting to rafa.

yes, rafa should have continued to maintain his break (4-2) in the 2nd set and should not have been broken when he was a game away (5-3) from match.

but blake keeps his nerve and holds in the 9th game of the 2nd set: big serve, half volley, another big serve, big forehand, 30-0, 2nd serve, rafa hits a winner with forehand deep down the line, 30-15; 2nd serve, blake’s backhand down the line sails long, 30-30; 2nd serve, blake misses an easy forehand, a feet or so wide, 30-40; rafa has 1st match point; big 1st serve followed by big forehand cross-court and it’s DEUCE1; you cannot blame rafa here. full credit to blake. another 1st serve in and rafa’s forehand return goes wide; blake has game point1 for 4-5; another big serve down the T, rafa returns well, blake’s backhand goes way wide, DEUCE2; with S & V, blake gains another game point2; 2nd serve, exchange of a couple of shots, rafa unloads another forehand down the line, DEUCE3; blake rips an ace down the T, game point3; 1st serve in, rafa returns OK, blake shanks forehand in the net from well inside the court, DEUCE4; another T line serve, short rally, blake goes for big forehand cross-court, deep in the corner, barely clipping the line, game point4; big serve, short rally, rafa’s backhand goes wide, 4-5. blake holds.

winning 16 of his 17 points from the service line, rafa serves for the set and match. 1st serve in, blake’s backhand goes out, 15-0. 1st serve in, blake’s backhand in the net, 30-0. double fault from rafa, 30-15. good serve, blake throws backhand long, 40-15, 2nd match point. another double fault in this game, 40-30. acute wide angle serve but blake manages to return well to rafa’s forehand close to the baseline, rafa returns fine but blake gives rafa short ball, rafa rips backhand crosscourt, a difficult ball, but blake is able to unload forehand passing shot on the run, rafa gets to it but his volley pushed out. DEUCE. 1st serve in, blake returns early to rafa’s backhand, but rafa takes time and goes around to hit forehand, it goes in the middle of the court, blake moves in and hits backhand crosscourt and moves to the net, rafa tries to pass but blake is able to volley back, rafa misses backhand in the net. This point rafa played bad. Blake’s 1st break point. rafa serves ace. DEUCE2. 2nd serve, a weak one, blake goes around and pounds on it, a winner. 2nd break point for blake. 2nd serve. a brief exchange. from close to the service box, rafa throws an easy forehand in the net. the worst point he played in the match. Blakes breaks to level the set at 5-5.

blake makes a couple of error and it is 0-30. good serve, powerful forehand cross-court backed by a volley, 15-30. 2nd serve, brief exchange, rafa converts blake’s forehand cross-court into blistering forehand down the line, 15-40. blake shakns forehand in the net.

rafa breaks to lead 6-5 and to serve for the match 2nd time. but blake responds with fierce aggression and wins the 1st point. after a big backhand deep in the corner, blake sets up a short wide angle forehand for winner. 0-30. rafa is playing fine, trying to draw error from blake. and blake obliges with an easy backhand long, 15-30. 1st serve in. blakes takes the ball early, nice backhand to the baseline, close to rafa’s feet. rafa scrambles and barely gets it back into the net. double break point for blake. 1st serve in. blake’s backhand into the net. rafa saves 1st break point. 30-40. 1st serve in. rafa overpowers blake in the rally, cornering him to his backhand from the middle of the court. DEUCE. 1st serve in. big forehand cross court and volley to the other corner earns blake another break point. blake played here magnificent. 1st serve in. brief rally, then a prolonged, great exchange of volley, blake prevails. you cannot blame rafa here. blake just happened to play great. 6-6. Tiebreak.
big wide angle serve from blake and overhead smash. 1-0. rafa’s 1st serve in, apparently a weak one. blake hits backhand outright winner, taking the ball early to the corner. 0-2. nobody would have been able to return that ball. blake follows with another outright winner, this time forehand. it goes to rafa’s feet close to the baseline. rafa’s return does not cross the net. you can either blame rafa’s serve or credit blake’s anticipation or both. 3-0 lead for blake. he serves acute wide angle deep in the corner. rafa barely scrambles to it but cannot get the ball across. 4-0. 2nd serve. a brief rally. blake paints the line with a backhand winner. 5-0.

in the last 7 points, one could say, blake was in his zone.
2nd serve from rafa. blake tries to go for winner but throws backhand in the net. 1-5. 2nd serve. an early forehand return deep in the corner to rafa’s backhand, followed by a wide volley. 6-1, five set points for blake. 2nd serve. rafa goes for broke. blake’s return catches the chord, barely making the other side, rafa gets to it, blake goes for lob and it’s long. 6-2. 2nd serve. nice baseline rally. blake chooses a wrong spot for approach shot and rafa passes him easily. 3-6. rafa’s 1st serve in. blake cannot get the ball across the net. 6-4. three straight points for rafa. rafa’s 1st serve in. blake returns early to rafa’s forehand. too powerful for rafa to return. blake wins the set.

you could say, rafa played 2 games and tiebreak not so good, particularly he could not benefit from his serve.

during this time, rafa’s serve % went down by a huge margin, compared to 1st four games (and to the entire 1st set). blake went toe-to-toe with rafa, by running rafa corner to corner, returning ball early on the rise, and coming to the net, anticipating rafa’s serve, and throwing rafa off his comfort zone. that’s how he won the 2nd set.

that was it from blake. his 10-minute zone vanished with the beginning of the 3rd set, though he had 3 break chances. rafa pretty much controlled the entire 3rd set, in every aspect, including serve % (59-54, and winning 76-62) and break conversion (1 out of 1, 100%).
in the post-match interview, rafa expressed contentment and termed the match one of his best since injury.

——————–
comedy:
no doubt verdasco has some foot problem, so if dj wins tomorrow, it does not count, and if it counts, it counts less in the PR world. if verdasco wins, the news would be an injured hot sauce beat dj. to make it fair, atp should replace verdasco with a healthy player, don’t you think? :-)


Kimmi Says:

“WOW, he really wants to make the YEC list, doesn’t he, but at what cost to his foot?”

But I can understand his excitment. He has never been this close to qualify his entire career, this is his best opportunity… it might not happen again. I really hope he qualifies…especially now we are learning how much he wants it. I just hope he does not do serious damage. Can he win tomorrow, I hope so. Go Go Verdasco.


i am it Says:

davydenko-cilic match tonight at 8:00 pm (Pacific Time= PT)

followed by

djokovic-verdasco, probably around 10 to 10:30 pm (PT).

after 2 women’s matches,

rafa-safin match is listed for 4:00 am (PT) but it could start at 6:00 am (PT).
not too bad for those who live in the east coast and want to watch rafa-safin (7:00 am ET).


Von Says:

The only bad scenario I can see happening, and one which I hope does not, is the possibility that Verdasco could make his foot injury worse, and also be too tired to play in Shanghai and/or Paris, where he has an opportunity to gain more points, than at Beijing. If that happens, and say the others do better at Shanghai/Paris, then he could miss out on qualifying for the YEC altogether. However, the one saving grace is that Tsonga has to defend Paris and due to the strong field, plus being worn out from playing week after week, Tsonga might just not get the job done. Hence, if Verdasco does well in Shanghai and Paris, he could still qualify for the YEC, but will be very tired coupled with a foot that might be very injured, rendering him incapable of playing at the YEC. Now, that will indeed be a travesty. OY


Ezorra Says:

Out of topic a little bit –

I think fashion wise, Nadal is so close to become the next Santoro. Time will tell.


jane Says:

I am it – wow! You rock! Thanks for your detailed and fun-to-read account of the Rafa-Blake match; I feel like I was able to watch it even though I wasn’t. Thanks, too, for the match times and details, much appreciated, as always, from this end; I hope to watch some of those, potentially even the Rafa-Safin match. And finally, good comic relief too. :) Like Kimmi notes, it’s tough to root against Verdasco’s enthusiasm, so I can only wish the best for him; even though I want Djoko to win another title, he’s already qualified for the YEC. Oh well, I just hope it is a good match. That’s what we’re all usually after anyhow!

Ezorra, LOL -I was wondering about those plaid shots and the key-lime green shirt! I think Nike have Rafa all wrong in a way; I liked Rafa’s “original” look more. To me, it suited him, his un-conventional style was matched by the pirate look. But no matter – it’s the tennis that’s most important. Haven’t seen you for a while around here – cheers to you.


jane Says:

* shots should be shorts @ 10:21


Goat Galz Says:

From Von: I’d have thought you’d jump at the offer and begin writing intelligently to get me out of here pronto.

The above statement is from an absolute control freak. If you do this I will then do xyz. I hope this nutjob doesn’t have children. Look at her comments to Kimmi. She belittles and demeans her. It’s as if Kimmi were a compliant child in a house run by Nurse Ratchet from Cuckoo’s Nest. Von, please tell me you don’t have children.

After that she receives comment from others which are not very cordial. I’m sure this borderline personality will conveniently pick up a persecution complex next.

To Kimmi:capiche? You want peace? I saw you pushing some fire last evening with respect to the retirements…
people who want peace don’t purposely incite, they remain quiet as in shhhhh, remember that. capiche?
Posted October 6th, 2009 at 7:27 pm

From Grendel:There are actually 7 – 7!- distinct references to me in that post, and 4 in the second post
She has made some, to say the least, damaging assertions all of which I have decided to overlook
Posted October 7th, 2009 at 8:21 pm
From Huh:Moreover I differed with your opinion merely and that’s nowhere close to lambasting
Posted October 8th, 2009 at 2:06 am
From Polo: every now and then she gets off tangent and starts picking fights with everyone.
Posted October 8th, 2009 at 3:12 pm
From Nurse Von Ratchet to Polo: I hope you know that by jumping to your biased conclusion, you’ve begun a *fight* with me, and it was not my doing, but your being meddlesome.


marija Says:

Kimmi is good person. Why you are telling her this?


been there Says:

Ezorra says:

“I think fashion wise, Nadal is so close to become the next Santoro. Time will tell”

Now that’s very funny. lolest. Fashion-wise, he lost me when he appeared with the pink shirt at FO which I subsequently blamed for the loss. lol

Jane, Nike’s probably trying out a few things here & there. I think he kinda outgrew the pirate look….more suited for a teenager than a 23 yr old man…which in tennis terms is 2yrs shy of middle age. Must now dress his age. I’m afraid we’re bound for more surprises in the name of ‘experimenting’ with different colours & patterns & hairstyles (though the hair gets a big tick). I’ll put a +ve spin that it’s Rafa expressing is vibrant self….though my seat-belt is tightened in case of tough to take surprises. lol.


i am it Says:

cilic-davy match is only moment’s away. those who cannot access espn360 are blessed with channelsurfing.


jane Says:

been there, ” I’ll put a +ve spin that it’s Rafa expressing is vibrant self”

Positive spins are needed – it may be that. Although part of me thinks that when Nike approach Rafa with sketches and colour ideas he says, “whatever’s good, no?” “as long as I can play my best tennis; that’s all.”

i am it – yeah that’s right about Nalby vs. Hewitt way back in 02, pre-Fed’s grass dominance, a small window of opportunity between Pete and Fed, which Hewitt took full advantage of. Nalby should have a slam though – so close, yet so far. What can you do?


jane Says:

p.s. I found streaming of Davy vs. Cilic at atdhe.net.


been there Says:

Re Verdasco:

He doesn’t seem to be extremely bothered about the foot….since he reached Malaysian finals with it. It all depends on exactly what it is…is it a toe? just some niggling pain?…seems like this information is not readily available in public. @least via google…we just know it’s a foot problem. His doctor’s advise:

“…He said that I could postpone the surgery as it would not affect me. …..”

It all depends….I’ll just make a comparison with Hewitt who took the hip surgery because he needed it to continue playing tennis at a high level….not because it was a complete must…he’s said that if he was maybe towards the end of his career or didn’t care too much about rankings, winning et al,, then he’d never have taken the surgery. Maybe it’s the same thing with Verdasco? Also just a comparison with athletics (I totally love track & field…sorry for the deviation)…Tyson Gay has been scheduled to have a groin surgery for months in Dec, but he’s been doing very well, not terribly hampered by the injury & even equalled Bolt’s Olympic 100m sprint last month.

So I’m hoping it’s a similar thing with Dasco….hoping he’s not putting himself in harms way. Vamos!!


Von Says:

Looks like Davy is intent on rocking Cilic; Davy’s leading 3-1, with a break up.


i am it Says:

cilic broken. davy leads 3-1. after watching 4 games, i must say davy looks quicker and playing better.
cilic has to serve better, come forward, and hit winners than bogged down in a contest of baseline rally. or else…


Kimmi Says:

No sound in my tennistv stream….what the ?


i am it Says:

Cilic breaks back right away. good job, kid.


jane Says:

Nice – on serve again…


Von Says:

I hope Davy does not spoil the dream SF which is a rarity between Nadal and Cilic — I’d be unhappy.


Von Says:

Veno: Where are you? Are you watching Davy/Cilic?


i am it Says:

Cilic breaks again and will serve for the set. it’s looking good for the kid.


i am it Says:

the kid did exactly what i wanted him to do: come forward and he did, twice in that last game to take the set. i think i could be his coach:-)


i am it Says:

davy repeats the 1st set with a 3-1 lead. can cilic repeat his performance of the 1st set?


i am it Says:

Cilic does it, breaks back and repeats the result of the 1st set.


jane Says:

A well-contested match: youth prevails, and admittedly I was cheering on Marin this time. Nice win for him.


i am it Says:

cilic keeps his word. congrats and thank you, kid.


i am it Says:

good start from DJ. 3 down the T serve and love game.


i am it Says:

long game but DJ breaks. on track.


i am it Says:

that was not a good sign from DJ, got broken after 40-0.


i am it Says:

DJ is already showing frustration. i am not happy.


jane Says:

Sadly, i am it, that happens a lot to Novak; he breaks but then he gets broken right back. Lots of chatter from the announcers I am listening to about Djok’s racquet change…still. I think he needs to improve his second serve; it’s vulnerable. Hot sauce’s forehand looks sharp at times but erratic at other times. Same with Fernando’s serve; sometimes it’s awesome, or he can’t get a first serve at all.

At least Djok broke back.


i am it Says:

dj finally breaks and holds. good job there.
sometimes he gets easily distracted and frustrated by small things and loses focus. that worries me.
hopefully he keeps his concentration.


i am it Says:

dj takes the 1st set. so far so good.


jane Says:

i am it, i know what you mean about Djoko losing focus and let his frustrations get the better of him; I hope Martin tries to help with this, get him to focus more on the positives, as there are many. When he hits the ball clean, deep and flat, it’s great to watch. Tonight Djok has not been able to capitalize on the many break chances he’s had; he needs to convert more of them. Mind you, when Nando serves aces and 2nd serve aces there’s not much anyone can do.


jane Says:

Oi-yoi-yoi. Suddenly Djok cannot get a first serve in; whence did they go? Nando will break here…


jane Says:

Good hold by Djok there…finally.


i am it Says:

yeah, that was, but got broken in the next. does dj want to win? sometimes, i’m not sure.
he really needs to improve his serve.


jane Says:

i am it, sometimes I am not sure either. Sheesh. His serve is simply inconsistent. With his second serve being a liability. I mean, he’s serving at 73% first serves and he’s won nearly 70% of those, but he’s lost over 60% of his second serves. Anyhow, there goes the second set … and the match? Verdasco has certainly seized the opportunity.


jane Says:

I wonder what’ll happen in the 3rd set? Verdasco has the momentum clearly. I guess we’ll find out who wants to win, and he will deserve to.


i am it Says:

dj just quit in the last 3 games, never showed belief that he could come back if he tried. is this a new characteristic developing in him? that’s scary.


jane Says:

Yeah, weird & scary. When he got to 30 all in that final game I thought maybe he’d make a push but I guess not. Assuming he beats Ljub, I think Soderling will trounce whichever one of these two makes it through, based on what I’ve seen tonight anyhow.


i am it Says:

thanks heaven dj breaks. if he wins, i can sleep well. that’s what matters to me right now. i am not worried about the next match yet. just praying he wins this one first.


jane Says:

More importantly, he consolidated the break. Please hold now Djoko. It’s still only one break so anything can happen.


jane Says:

Nice “d” there Djoko, to get the second break – well done!


i am it Says:

with the double break, i can take long breath.


jane Says:

Shots are hitting the lines now – just good clean tennis. What the heck? The second set was a walk-about or what? It’s like Jekyll and Hyde here. Reminds me of Murray and Nalby’s walk-about sets. Phew!


i am it Says:

finally, i can say DJ will win the match, and i can sleep.


jane Says:

Sleep well! I will :)

I can’t decide if I will get up to try to catch Rafa vs. Safin. Am too tired but how many more matches will I see with Safin? Probably worth the sleep sacrifice.


i am it Says:

great start, great finish. the 2nd set was crappy.
congrats to DJ.

overall, not as exciting match as cilic-davy match.
he’s through to the semi. that’s what matters for now. dj will have his work cut out for him in the next round. hopefully, he comes up with a better game plan and improved game tomorrow.

good night, j. nice chatting with you.


Duro Says:

No-leeeeee, NO-leeeee! Alez alez alez alez No-leeee, No-leeee…


grendel Says:

Not able to see Cilic/Davydenko. But considering the opponents Davydenko has beaten of late, in straights – Monfils, Soderling, Verdasco, and a wipe out of the very good german Kohlschreiber, Cilic’s victory takes on significance.

Nobody who saw his first set against delPotro can doubt that he is a contender for the very top. True, he fell away alarmingly against delPo, but I don’t feel for one moment his temperament is in question.

I reckon by the AO, he’ll be one of the 3 or 4 favourites. These sort of predictions are pretty meaningless, of course, but they are fun to make. And you keep a special eye on your horse….


i am it Says:

for DJ fans, Djokovic will formally regain the no. 3 ranking from Murray on 19 October if he defeats Soderling in the semi.
anyone awake for rafa-safin match?


Duro Says:

Alez alez alez alez, No3-leee, No-leeee…


sensationalsafin Says:

Can someone please give me a stream for Nadal-Safin. I’m going crazy here!!!


i am it Says:

SS,
if you cannot access espn360,
http://atdhe.net/


i am it Says:

after playing the opening great, safin is off the mark, overhits, long, wide, etc. too many easy errors.
rafa runs with 4-1 lead.


i am it Says:

s/b opening= opening point


i am it Says:

safin had 2 chances to break back in the 7th game, 1t set, he squandered both, the 1st one was supposed to be sure winner but it clipped the net. just too sloppy on critical moments, though there have been a couple of flashes of brilliance.


sensationalsafin Says:

Safin looks like he’s having fun. Thanks for the link!!


sensationalsafin Says:

GOD DAMNIT!!!!! WHY DOES SAFIN PLAY TENNIS?!?!?!THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE, I WANNA GIVE HIM ANOTHER BLACK EYE FOR BEING SO BAD AND STUPID!!!


i am it Says:

rafa prevails.
all the 4 players i predicted are in the semi. some doubted me. recall
http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2009-10-06/2445.php#comment-101933

moment of the match:
at one point, in the 5th game of the 2nd set, rafa’s jocular response to safin’s wide open volley a the net almost replicated djoko’s precautionary butt move of the ’09 USO semi, difference is rafa chose to quickly lie on the floor in a sort of push-up stance to avoid the ball contact, followed by an exchange of smile between safin and rafa.


jane Says:

Oh – ugh – sensationalsafin sorry to read your frustration, perhaps best that I couldn’t wake up in time. i am it, thanks for an account of that smiling moment between to the two. Was Rafa just great or Safin just bad, or both?


jane Says:

Tsonga needed 3 for Gulbis, but in the end he got it done. Ditto Monfils for Wawrinka. Two talented frenchies in the semi (are you happy been there? Monfil has been on a bit of a roll…) Hewitt and Youz also made the semis in Tokyo. Not sure who plays whom – need to look it up.


i am it Says:

j, i have to say it’s both. the killer handsome of tennis played like he is playing for his farewell tour, so nothing to complain. the beautiful beast played like he always does, relentless, and he wants to win the title. that was the difference.
last night you sounded like you’d wake up, you lazy ass !
—-
Djokovic w.r.t. ranking: “I thought I was playing well and consistent this year, but I still dropped a spot,” said the Serb. “That meant others were playing really well, including Andy Murray.”

“I was surprised he pulled out from Shanghai, but that’s how tennis is. It isn’t the end of the year — there are still three or four tournaments to go. Rankings come and go, we are all quite close and it can turn around at any time. It’s still not the end of the year.”

He’s right it is likely that he, Murray, dePo are close and will be exchanging spots a couple of times.


sensationalsafin Says:

Jane, honestly, Nadal played pretty well and Safin let it get to him. Safin would play a good point. Then he’d play a good point but lose it because Nadal made some ridiculous get. Then the next point would see Safin miss by 15 meters. Safin could have played smarter. And he didn’t go for enough on the forehand, too many shots to the middle of the court right in Rafa’s strike zone. Both could have played a lot better and Safin could have played a LOT, and I mean a LOT, smarter. Some consistency off the ground couldn’t hurt. He would push Nadal back then miss -___-


jane Says:

The two French play one another, and Hewitt vs. Youz in the other. Hmmm… Hewitt has a nice shot at the finals. Tsonga cruised the only time he and Monfils played before and has a 2-0 record with Hew.

In Bejing, I think Nadal will prevail over Cilic, but as they’ve never played, it’s tough to say. Agree with grendel, though, that Cilic has a level head and the talent to be at the top. Sometimes he can be error prone and/or fade, but he should get this straightened out. I wonder, based on Gulbis’ recent battles, if he’ll come around? He seems the least motivated but if he hired a coach, it may mean that’s changing. Djok’s got a good record against Sod, but they’ve not played in 2009 and clearly Sod’s the better player. If Djok plays like he did against Verdasco (patchy) Sod can win for sure, but if Djok plays well, then it’s more even or slightly favoring Djok as I think he can return better than Sod. Tough to call. Either a Rafa-Djok or Rafa-Sod final would be good, with the latter being charged with a lot of tension. If Cilic makes the final, well good for him!


jane Says:

i am it, guilty as charged. lol. Djok’s being level-headed and diplomatic about the rankings, and so he should, because Murray deserved to move up based on a consistently great year. Too bad about the wrist. I don’t think it matters much whether one is 3 or 4, in terms of draws or whatever. I guess 5 makes it a bit tougher, but that’s even hit and miss with draws.

sensationalsafin – the way to play Nadal on hard seems to be to hit deep and flat, right? So if Marat was banging them into the middle of the court, not much chance. Oh well, how many more events for Safin, probably only a couple. boohoo.


i am it Says:

the two frenchies will clash in the semi. don’t know who will prevail. the same between hewitt vs. youzhny. conventional wisdom suggests it will be tsonga vs. hewitt final, but hard to say.
good semifinal lineup in tokyo, though.

b.t.w. gulbis also played well against tsonga less than 2 weeks ago in Thailand, pushing tsonga to 3 tiebreaker sets, faced only 1 break point but held. hoping the kid continues to improve and rise.


sar Says:

Didn’t you mention Djokovic’s retirements? Is that wanting peace.
———————————————-
Von
I don’t understand what this attack on Kimmi is all about. I have been reading the last threads here and all hell’s broken out. All she was doing was saying Djokovic’s retirements don’t look so bad now compared to others that were posted. How is that pushing fire? Why can’t she have an opinion?


sensationalsafin Says:

“but they’ve not played in 2009 and clearly Sod’s the better player.”

You mean he’s a better player than he was in previous years? I don’t think Soderling is better than Djokovic. Djokovic can do more, but that’s not to say he’ll definitely win. it should be a good match. If Djokovic takes care of his serve and returns well he should win. Same for Soderling, though. We’ll see how it plays out. Should Soderling be favored to beat Nadal if they meet considering he beat him on clay? Or will the revenge factor be too big a boost for Nadal that Sod won’t be able to overcome? Either way, I’m hoping Djokovic wins the whole thing.


sar Says:

I am It-
Thanks so much for the blow by blow on Djokovic/Verdasco. I hope he can beat Soderling and he has a 3-0 h2h but they were all in 2008.

SSafin- I hope he wins the whole thing also.


Vulcan Says:

jane Says:

the way to play Nadal on hard seems to be to hit deep and flat, right?

Thats seems to be the popular consensus. For that reason Cilic could potentially give Nadal as much trouble as Del Potro did if he’s on. His game (and physique) after all is almost a mirror image of Del Potro’s.
It all comes down to whether or not his laser like groundstrokes are hitting or missing…if he’s on I don’t like Nadal’s chances.


sar Says:

Bartoli is up 3-1 in the third set.


sar Says:

Has tenisbebe been online in the last weeks?


i am it Says:

SS, sod may not be better than dj in general, one of the reasons being power player don’t seem to bother dj, but in this tourney, sod appears to be in better form. will that form continue in the next match? i don’t know.
like you said, whoever finds his game wins the match. if dj gets his 1st serve going, he’ll take care of the rest of the business.
about speculating on sod-rafa final, let’s wait till the semis are over, then we can talk freely.


sensationalsafin Says:

Not just deep and flat, it’s deep flat then angle or shot to the open court or something. Safin just kept hitting deep and flat to Nadal, Nadal would get into a rythm then hit a shot that Safin would respond with a crummy approach. Del Potro did it right. Cilic should be able to do the same if he keeps the error count down.


jane Says:

Yes, sensationalsafin, I meant to say Sod is “a” better player, not “the” better player (should’ve used an indefinite article). You said, “I’m hoping Djokovic wins the whole thing.” That’s my first choice too, but I would not be disappointed if any of the other 3 take the title as none have won a title in a while, same with at Tokyo (although even though he’s won recently, I have a slight desire to see Monfils win there for some reason, but any of them would be good – I think Hewitt or Youz would be a surprise).

Vulcan, you’re right about the Cilic-Nadal match up; Cilic can move maybe even better than Delpo and he has decent touch to. Lots of talent. Then there’s the X-factor of the two having never played before, which may actually benefit Rafa as he’d be the one to figure things out on the court more quickly, imo. Based on more experience. But you never know. Good semis coming up.


jane Says:

Hi sar – no, I haven’t seen tenisbebe around much; I think she and Veno had a brief conversation about the WTA recently, but that’s about the only time I noticed her; hope she’s well.


sensationalsafin Says:

I don’t want Nadal to win the title. Any of the other 2 I’d be ok with. But I want Djokovic to win it more than anything.


Vulcan Says:

About Djokovic, commentators have mentioned that he seems to be coming over the forehand with more spin now (hes changed racquets)…from what i’ve seen recently his forehands do seem to have just a tad less sting on them. Given that his game is all about ultra-consistent baseline domination I’m wondering how this going to effect his matchups with the other top players (needless to say I think it gives Nadal a bit more leverage).


jane Says:

Vulcan, I agree the forehand, and the serve, have been impacted this season, whether that’s due to the racquet or whatever. He’s more cautious when going for his shots too. Maybe it’s confidence? Dunno. But he has to address it to remain a big title contender.


Vulcan Says:

Yes, take away the depth, power, precision, flatness and consistency on his ground strokes and I don’t think the Djoker would be anything special. With that said, when he was at his pinnacle back in 07 Montreal when he beat the top 3 players in succession, the only recent player that played that type of game better was Agassi.


jane Says:

“when he was at his pinnacle back in 07 Montreal” Vulcan, It’s always amazing to watch players on the rise isn’t it? A very exciting time, as they are moving up and gaining belief as they go, and they are usually very hungry too, having something to prove to others and themselves. It’s the after-party that can reveal things or cause problems. Honestly, I do wonder if Djok had not changed his racquet if he’d've done any better; the commentators last night were going on about it so it got me thinking. it’s not that it’s an excuse, but surely it must’ve had a detrimental effect or caused an adjustment period for a while and that might’ve resulted in a drop in confidence, and so on.

There are a few things I’d like the see from Djok: stay positive and/or let out frustration and move on; make the serve more consistent/ improve the second serve; possibly come to net more; make the forehand into a second weapon (I think his backhand can be one, esp down the line).

He plays great defense to offense, has great eyes and accordingly is good on the return (thus I can see the Agassi comparison in that regard), but he could be more consistently aggressive. I hope he manages that; just love to watch him when it’s all clicking. Course that’s the way it is with every player right? Those in-the-zone moments are thrilling. But when some guys are off, they are way off, and more painful to watch.


Vulcan Says:

jane Says:

I hope he manages that; just love to watch him when it’s all clicking. Course that’s the way it is with every player right?

I think its more true of players that play with less margin. Rafa is so different in this regard…everything he does involves a lot of margin. The only shot he hits that is risky and perhaps lower percentage is his flat backhand passing shot…and ironically he makes a lot more of those than you would expect. His forehand has plenty of margin in a couple of ways…it isn’t just how much spin and looping trajectory he hits it with…it’s also how late he is able to take the ball because of that nonstandard buggy-whip motion.


jane Says:

Vulcan, that’s kind of what I meant by this: “But when some guys are off, they are way off, and more painful to watch.”


Goat Galz Says:

Von Says:
Veno: Where are you?

Hurry please. Your ami has blown a gasket. Sing some Piaf to her or something.


Vulcan Says:

“It’s the after-party that can reveal things or cause problems.”

Boy your’e not joking there…take former world number 3 Guillermo Coria…I hadn’t heard of his retirement until I thought about invoking him in this thread…apparently he never was able to recover from service toss yips. I’ve been through those as a player and I think people may underestimate just how serious a problem it can be…I must say though I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a player’s career coming to an end as a result of them.


i am it Says:

i’d not prefer spin over sting, if i were dj. however, i’d add spin to my arsenal if that’s not going to compromise my sting. so, dj will have to search his balance, add new weapons in a manner that does not take away his best weapon.
i am inclined to agree with j. on confidence. but i wonder if it comes before or follows after you play you’re in best form and play your best tennis. maybe, it’s circular at times: preparation—best form—confidence—wins—confidence—preparation-wins, on and on.

the racket question is a tricky one. the brand change does not make difference as long as you are keeping the same specifications (string type, frame, head size, length, strung weight, swing weight, beam width, composition, power level, tension, stiffness, grip type, etc). it does not have to a different brand; if you changed your racket specifications within the same brand, that will change your game or you change racket specifications to change your game or suit your game better.
if i am correct, DJ has kept the same specifications between these 2 changes (ha, ha..2? yes, it’s 2nd time).

before DJ switched from Wilson to Head, he had been using Head for a number of years, and the switch to Wilson was only a paint job, keeping the same old specifications.

1st switch: “Wilson took his old Head racquet and copied it by designing a similar mold and produced this racquet for Djokovic.”
“Companies copy each others’ racquets all the time,” except of course when there is question of patentship, which is associated more with technology than racket per se.

“Djokovic has admitted himself that he doesn’t use a nBlade but a copy of his old Head racquet that Wilson made for him.”

see this discussion: http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?s=4e0b58a15c9224c05f67fc2ca2392858&t=164020&page=2

see also this thread and the links within, at the warehouse:
http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=164020&page=3

The 2nd switch in ’08 was custom-molded Head Youtek Speed Pro.
moreover, after using the Youtek Speed Pro from the beginning of 2009 through Wimbledon, he since switched to the Head Youtek Speed Midplus 18/20 for the 2009 US hard court season. in asia swing, he is staying with the latter.


Veno Says:

Hey Vonnie, I just got home. Am very busy with work. I’m not able to watch much tennis but am following it from the sideline.

Looks like things are getting interesting towards the season ending.
Pity Andy lost :( I really hope he finds his form again soon.

Looks like Novak is building momentum and Davy, Hot Sauce, Tsonga, Simon and Soderling are going ten rounds to see who gets in the YEC


i am it Says:

let me add this to the racket discussion.
if dj were going for spin over sting, he would choose Head Youtek Speed 16/19 version, not his current Head Youtek Speed Midplus 18/20. The latter doesn’t have quite the spin potential of the 16/19 version when hitting with topspin.


been there Says:

jane says:

“Two talented frenchies in the semi (are you happy been there? Monfil has been on a bit of a roll…)”

yeah…but it’s quite ‘tough’ for a fan like me…or more appropriately, wonderfully spoilt for choice. I like both Monfils & Wawa…Monfils obviously a bit more…so too bad there had to be a loser. I really want Wawa back to top15. Can someone enlighten me on Wawa’s red eyes?

Again, too bad that it has to be Monfils vs Tsonga. But since it’s a semi, shows they’re in good track & there’s going to be a frenchie in the finals. :)…a marquee semi with loads of flair. Allez!!

I was pretty much in the same predicament with Djoko-Dasco…however, they both played terribly..so shame on them. haha.

and still, it’s going to be the same with Djoko vs Sod semi. Guess I’ll root for the Sod simply ‘coz he’s got more to gain from the win..top10 & a sniffing hope of YEC.

I don’t care much for the Nadal-Cilic & Hewitt-Youzny semis, so might catch some sleep or run errands then. thank goodness it’s the weekend…can stay up late!


jane Says:

i am it, I had no idea there had been 2 changes. Wow. Thanks for the links; I’ll try to read through the threads later.

been there “thank goodness it’s the weekend…can stay up late!” Precisely – can actually see the matches in full.


sar Says:

Does anyone know what time the semis will be on US time?


i am it Says:

as a footnote, dj switched 1st time in 2006, from Head LM Radical Midplus to Wilson. back then he said, “I tried to play with 15-20 different models of Wilson and no one is conform to me. Then they [Wilson] made a copy of my Head racquet, and he is absolutely the same.”

after 3 years, he is back to Head, and switched within Head to a diff. specs, as i noted in my previous post.

Back in August ’09, DJ: “I do use the same strings, and more or less the same tension, although this racquet is a faster racquet. I got this feeling.
Wilson racquet has a little bit more control, but we’re working on the Head racquet to be able to have the combination of the strength and the control in the same way.”

The point is you keep tweaking your racket every day until it feels “this is the one.” you find the right racket. Or, you stick with the one you have and it finds you. may sound simple but that’s the case.

(in my post above, the term “paint job” does not mean literal paint job; it means copying the design, molding, and reproducing).

sar,
djoko-sod semi begins at 9:00 pm (PT), midnight (ET).
followed by rafa-cilic

final is at 12:30 am (PT), 3:30 am (ET).


Von Says:

Hi: Veno, how ya doing? I wanted to give you some streams to watch the matches as I wasn’t sure as to whether you knew there was streaming.
Are you going to watch tonight’s matches?

Yes, I was disappointed with A-Rod’s loss, but I think he looked out of sorts and probably was jet-lagged. He sometimes cuts it too close in arriving to the location on the same day and then playing a few hours later. He did that in Dubai in ’08, whereby he got there just a few hours before his first match was scheduled and played without even practising. That’s cutting things waaay too close, IMO. He also did the same in Madrid last year. He played WTT with Elton John, hopped a plane a few hours later, and played the 11:00 pm match in Madrid that night. Talk about being disoriented and no sleep. Anyway, that’s the problem I see at times when he plays outside of the US. Preparation and acclimatization is of the utmost importance in playing the first round matches — not winging it? This is where Federer excels once again — he always gets to the event about 5 to 7 days before and begins his preparation.

I suppose you know Roddick and Mark Knowles are playing doubles? I watched the live scores and they had a topsy-turvy 2nd round match. Knowles is not the player he once was. Zim/Nestor lost in the first round to Acasuso/gonzalez. Roddick/Knowles are now in the SFs and will meet Dlouhy/Kohls. That’s a tough one. The Bryans are in the other SF. If both teams win and get to the finals, then it will be star-spangled finals and the US will have a winner. I can dream can’t I? But, whichever way it goes, I’m glad Roddick is getting in some much needed practise at the net.

Catch ya later mon ami. when you don’t see me here at some point, I’ll be gone. i suppose you can see the madness that’s going one. The jealous one is choking with jealousy. LOL


Von Says:

sar: Out of respect for you and our past interaction, I’ll say this, you need to read everything before jumping to a conclusion. BTW, would you have intervened if Djokovic wasn’t mentioned? I strongly doubt it. I suppose just mentioning his name sparks fire?


Von Says:

@3:29 pm, I read all of that stuff when the racquet change was made, and it’s why I don’t understand the reason the racquet is still being blamed for the dip in his game. To be precise, when the name change was made, the old Wilson was spray painted with the new Head logo.


Von Says:

SS: I didn’t get to watch Safin’s match, but it seems as though you’re pretty frustrated by what you saw. Was it that bad? I’m hoping to watch it on ESPN.360 when there’s a replay, which will probably be tomoorrow or next week.


sar Says:

sar: Out of respect for you and our past interaction, I’ll say this, you need to read everything before jumping to a conclusion. BTW, would you have intervened if Djokovic wasn’t mentioned? I strongly doubt it. I suppose just mentioning his name sparks fire?
————————————-
Von- let’s leave it at that. I am a big fan of Djokovic as you know. If being a big fan causes disharmony between us, I’m sorry.


Von Says:

That’s what I mean Sar, if Djokovic wasn’t mentioned, you’d care less as to whether Kimmi’s entitled to an opinion or not. BTW, what about me, don’t I have the right to an opinion if I feel that that shouldn’t have been done? If you read how the problem began you’d have seen it concerned Jankovic’s retirements, and there was no reason to bring in the men. To me that was done spitefully and to deflect focus from Jankovic by throwing other players into the mix. The supposedly *randomly* picked ATP players should not have been brought into the discussion at all — the discussion pertained to Jankovic. How can the male players’ retirements be compared to the women’s? It’s apples and oranges.


jane Says:

Von, “the old Wilson was spray painted with the new Head logo.”

i am it points out above: “the term “paint job” does not mean literal paint job; it means copying the design, molding, and reproducing”

It was the announcer’s last night who were discussing the racquet, and i am not sure they were really “blaming” it for his dip in form, though one of them was questioning that, but the other one – Robbie Koeing – pointed out that Djok himself doesn’t blame the racquet or prefers to not belabour it. Though it did obviously take an adjustment at the beginning of the year and interviewers were bound to question him about it.

Also, according to i am it’s detailed post @12:48, Djok made another change to the racquet post-Wimbledon, so it seems he’s still trying to get it just right: “he since switched to the Head Youtek Speed Midplus 18/20 for the 2009 US hard court season.”

So the discussion was sparked by the announcers last night and then Vulcan noted it today at 11:22 with regards to the change in forehand technique. I don’t think anyone meant to blame the racquet but rather to question if it contributed to the dip; in my own view, it probably resulted more in uncertainty, or a lack of confidence, and that coupled with other issues lead to a dip until the clay season. Then there were other things going on. But I found it interesting that he’s still niggling with it.

i am it’s post @ 3:29 is again very informative, and sums up succinctly thus:

“The point is you keep tweaking your racket every day until it feels “this is the one.” you find the right racket. Or, you stick with the one you have and it finds you. may sound simple but that’s the case.”

I guess Djok’s in tweak mode, lol.


i am it Says:

“I read all of that stuff when the racquet change was made.”
i did not say you have not. it appears that you did not share your reading of “all that stuff” with others through a post, or i could be wrong.
well, my target readers, in this particular instance, are those who have not come across dj’s history of racket changes.
sorry, my post sounded redundant to you.


sar Says:

That’s what I mean Sar, if Djokovic wasn’t mentioned, you’d care less as to whether Kimmi’s entitled to an opinion or not. BTW, what about me, don’t I have the right to an opinion
—————————————-
Yes everyone has a right to their opinions. I guess this is just too strange here now. I might take a break from this forum. See you all another time.
Tenisbebe, Dan, S Green you all know how to reach me.


Veno Says:

Hey Von, I have seen some flashes. Good to see Andy play doubles. He should do it more often. And I agree on your assessment on his preparation. He did the same this year at Queens btw, but it didn’t hamper him there…

Also, I have read all the hating going on….so sad. Makes it hard for me to post more frequently, especially since I’m so busy.

Normally I like to try and keep things light and not take things too seriously and goof around a lil, but lately the threads aren’t really inviting me to participate.

I don’t know how you keep up with deflecting all the attacks thrown your way. For some reason you like to be strongheaded I guess, lol. It is a means to get some afternoon or evening excitement n’est ce pas?(wink)

Luckily next to all the banter there are still some highly interesting and insightful posts to read which makes me come back regularly and read up :-D

I’m off to bed as I am dog tired. Thanks for asking how I am Vonnie. I’m doing fine and hope you are doing too!

Everyone enjoy the tennis.

Greets to Jane, been there, Margot, bebe, i am it, sensaf, gordo kimmi and e1 I’m forgetting.
It’s good to see so many tennis enthusiasts around!


been there Says:

i am it,

Thanks for the very informative info re: djoko’s racquet changes. Very interesting indeed.

I suppose even for someone who’s used to a particular racquet, it still has to be strung differently depending on the temperature, humidity, etc, so this presents a problem for someone still getting used to the feel of a new one in normal conditions. So I guess jane’s right in that although it shouldn’t have affected him as much given that more or less similar specifications to the wilson one, for someone with confidence issues, the effects could have been overblown in his mind.


jane Says:

sar – you’ll be missed; be sure to pop back. Veno – “greets” to you too!


Von Says:

i am it: “i did not say you have not. it appears that you did not share your reading of “all that stuff” with others through a post, or i could be wrong.
well, my target readers, in this particular instance, are those who have not come across dj’s history of racket changes.
sorry, my post sounded redundant to you.”

My mention of *all that stuff* was to affirm what you said to be true and in no way pertained to redundancy. The thought did not cross my mind. I was merely agreeing with your facts as being correct.

“it appears that you did not share your reading of “all that stuff” with others through a post, or i could be wrong.”

A lot of it was shared by several other posters here on this site, at the time the change was made, and the topic was vigorously continued for months, even up to the present time, and there were many discussions. jane was part of nearly each one, and had talked about it continuously, posting links and referencing the commentators comments. It’s still brought up periodically, especially whenever Djokovic is not playing well and more when he loses in a match.

I am it, I’ve been very cautious overall responding to most of your comments, because it seems that there’s either something wrong with how I write or how you interpret the stuff I write to you, that offends you. Most times you see the negative to my comments instead of the positive, e.g., Vasselin was happy, for beating DelPotro. What should I have said? I asked you at that point if my comment offended you, but there was no answer. And, when I stated you reminded me of another poster (whom I liked very much I was being complimentary) by the way you write, you seemed offended. I wasn’t accusing you of being that poster or using a different name, I just said you reminded me of that poster, and that was all. However, you seemed to read it differently. Haven’t you ever met anyone who reminds you of another when they speak by some action or manner of speech? I have, and I usually tell them, but only do so if it’s something I really like, not something that’s derogatory.

I was very careful with my comments, because you seemed offended when jane had mentioned you reminded her of some other posters and cited their names. Anyway, I’m stumped as to what I should say. Would you prefer it if I don’t make any reference to any of your comments at all? Just say, and I’ll stop. I try very hard not to offend people on the blogs, but it seems as though I’m a magnet for drawing in the unfavourable ones. I don’t have that problem in my life away from the Internet, so it must be due to how I write, as this Internet and blogging stuff is relatively new to me. I’m open to your feedback and/or suggestions. Thanks.


been there Says:

jane say:
“Djok’s being level-headed and diplomatic about the rankings, and so he should, because Murray deserved to move up based on a consistently great year.”

I appreciate his diplomacy, but me thinks he takes it a bit too far sometimes & forgets it’s still a competition…not a UN forum! For instance, in as much as he praises Murray’s great play, he needs to realise that at his level, ‘playing well & consistent’ won’t cut it at all….coz let’s face it, so does Davydenko.

I wish to see that burning desire that he exhibited in 07-08, win or lose….’coz apart from actual play, this is what sometimes makes the difference between winning a tournament & being a finalist or semifinalist at masters & slams. Not to sound bashful, but he sometimes really frustrates me with his nonchalant attitude. I want to see some ‘am better than you even if you’re beating me’ fire in him.

________________________________________________
Veno, hope you get a bit of time (read sleep deprivation!) for Shanghai, ‘coz it’s bound to be exciting with the YEC races for the guys you mentioned.


jane Says:

been there says ” but me thinks he takes it a bit too far sometimes & forgets it’s still a competition…not a UN forum! ”

LOL! You’re so right, and I agree fully with this comment also: “I wish to see that burning desire that he exhibited in 07-08″.


jane Says:

Von says “jane was part of nearly each one, and had talked about it continuously, posting links and referencing the commentators comments. ”

LOL! I don’t recall this being discussed “vigorously… for months” but I probably see things differently being a fan of Djoko’s.


jane Says:

been there, I really think that “burning desire” was missing versus Fed at the USO, didn’t you? Play-wise, he was in there with a shot in all the sets, but I think it was determination or lack of confidence that made the difference.


Von Says:

Veno: “Also, I have read all the hating going on….so sad. Makes it hard for me to post more frequently, especially since I’m so busy.”

Veno, at last a voice of reason, and someone who’s perceptive enough to see what’s happening here. I thought I was becoming paranoid or something. My God, I can’t believe the garbage that’s transpiring. OY VEY. blah was so right when he made note of this after the FO.

“Normally I like to try and keep things light and not take things too seriously and goof around a lil, but lately the threads aren’t really inviting me to participate.”

I’ve found it very difficult to post on many topics. I asked a simple question and it was turned into a sermon. Now I’m afraid to even ask one.

There’s no fun anymore. People used to really enjoy themselves here, but that’s a thing of the past. Like you, I love to keep the camaraderie atmosphere and kid around. Sadly, that’s gone. Our kidding around was reduced to flirting, because there are a lot of jealous people here who don’t post on anything worthwhile, and can’t stand it if others have fun while doing so. Nowadays, it seems to be a contest here, and I’m not one who likes competition, so it seems the writing’s clear on the wall for me, I DON’T belong here.

“I don’t know how you keep up with deflecting all the attacks thrown your way. For some reason you like to be strongheaded I guess, lol. It is a means to get some afternoon or evening excitement n’est ce pas?(wink).”

Yes, I suppose I’m strongheaded whereby I won’t give in to the attackers. The other reason, I love talking tennis, and it’s the only place to so so. I mentioned during the the USO, I was thinking of leaving, and have begun posting on another site, but I think I need to end it now. I’m completely worn out from the deflections.

Veno, have a good night’s rest, and I’ll say goodbye for now, as I’m outta here for the time being anyway. Maybe, we’ll interact again sometime in the future. Bye, mon ami, je t’aime bien. You can find me @ yah745@yahoo.com.


i am it Says:

rest assured, i am not offended by your posts, those addressed to me.
no offense intended, none taken.


Von Says:

jane: “i am it points out above: “the term “paint job” does not mean literal paint job; it means copying the design, molding, and reproducing”

I’m aware of what he wrote, and I don’t need an interpreter. I was speaking about the switch when it was made. Head could not make the new racquet in time for him to play at the AO, and they sprayed on the new logo onto the old Wilson racquet, which he used for a while. Therefore, all the talk that the new racquet caused him to play badly and lose, was just that, *talk*.

“LOL! I don’t recall this being discussed “vigorously… for months” but I probably see things differently being a fan of Djoko’s.”

You don’t, considering you bring it up constantly and at every opportunity? I guess you’ve gotten a lull in the memory department. Tell me this, is the racquet only a problem when he loses? What about when he wins, as 6-0 to Troicki? Or, is it a problem then too? I suppose if he loses again, it will be the racquet’s fault then, yes? OY.

“But I found it interesting that he’s still niggling with it.”

Not sure I understand this at all, *niggling with it*.

Anyway, I’m off all topics of Djokovic and/or the Serbs.


Duro Says:

Ha ha ha, this is great! The dumbest thing I ever heard! Ha ha ha!


Von Says:

jane: one last thing before I go.

“So the discussion was sparked by the announcers last night and then Vulcan noted it today at 11:22 with regards to the change in forehand technique.”

I believe you brought it up with respect to the announcers, per your post below. The commentators brought it up, but you introduced it here as a topic last night, as follows:

“Sadly, i am it, that happens a lot to Novak; he breaks but then he gets broken right back. Lots of chatter from the announcers I am listening to about Djok’s racquet change…still. I think he needs to improve his second serve; it’s vulnerable. Hot sauce’s forehand looks sharp at times but erratic at other times. Same with Fernando’s serve; sometimes it’s awesome, or he can’t get a first serve at all.

*************
@6:35pm: A prime of example of why no one can talk about anything if thir opinons are dumb, and it’s one of the reasons people are so turned off of posting.


Duro Says:

Spray is in the air… Ha ha ha! Great, great, great! It made my day!


Von Says:

Duro: You know what’s DUMB? Your claim that you’d NEVER post on another article written by Sean Randall, and yet, you’ve done that many times since. ha ha ah. Thats, dumb, yes? ha ha ha.


been there Says:

jane@ 5:48pm,

true…in fact, it’s always been my opinion that Djoko is almost up there with Fed in terms of shot-making abilities, all-court game & touch, etc, i.e. plenty of natural talent…sure, Fed’s style can be a bit hypnotic to most ppl ‘coz it’s very flashy, but Djok’s not that far behind when he’s on…others may differ.

What Djoko lacks nowadays is that winner’s mentality. I’ll just contrast Fed-Del.P FO semi & Fed-Djoko USO semi. Both lost but clearly, Del.P has exhibited that winner’s attitude as compared to Djoko most of the yr….& the audacity of the young man to say something like, “I feel very sad ‘coz I feel I SHOULD have won” after his FO defeat says a lot….a newbie saying this about the all time slam leader who had bagelled & baguetted him in AO & whom he’d never won a match against! ….plenty of belief. I would say the same thing about Soderling ‘coz he keeps on losing to Fed, but still, he fights to the end even when he knows the result isn’t bound to be too different from past meetings.

Now with Djoko…ayayaiya…I felt let down with that USO match ‘coz I always look forward to Fed-Djoko matches…only for Djoko to seem sooo flat….sometimes letting Fed make some crazy shots with him either just standing there or continuously applauding. lolest. ok, I excuse the in-between-legs shot, but what about all the rest? Continuous applause & perplexity should be MY job as a fan…not Djokovics. lol. Not that I minded Fed winning – in fact, I very rarely cheer against him ‘coz he always steps it up & I firmly believe in no-silver-platters when others are playing him – but I had just built myself for a super match…popcorns, crisps, biscuits & soda ready….& wanted some real fight, even with the same result. Despite the scoreline, I felt Djoko played better at the Cincinnatti finals…or maybe I just set my expectations OTT for their USO meeting.

Hopefully, his new coach will do wonders for him as Magnus Norman has for Sod & Larry Stefanki for R/andy. Stefanki has added more shots & technique to Roddick’s game while Magnus has somehow calmed the Sod’s nerves. I think Djoko needs more of the latter than the former….set the head & heart straight. Soderling’s said that he’s always had the game, but somehow, he feels he listens more to Magnus as compared to other coaches, even if they’re saying similar things. Maybe it’s personalities with the coach-player that makes all the difference.

Obviously, my post sounds as if Djoko has fallen so much out of grace & is in all sorts of trouble. haha. He hasn’t, in fact, he’s done quite well to hang in there with both Murray & Del.P breathing down his neck & is about to get back to #3…. but I do believe he’s meant for much greater things. *yes, a deluded hopeful fan. lol*


i am it Says:

Just to clarify the legal aspect of the “paintjob”:
A racket manufacturing company can’t take the actual racket of the competing company and just paint over it to make it look like their own racket. That’s why Head sued Dunlop a few years ago when Safin signed with Dunlop and Dunlop took his PC600′s and painted them to look like MW200G’s.
That’s one of the reasons i defined the term “paintjob,” a jargon with a special meaning within racket companies.
Another fact: when Head signed DJ, they already had a plan in place to introduce a new product and let DJ use first before mass production, which came around in March, about 3 months later. But the plan was to coincide the signing and new product. That is why this Head Speed Pro racket has the description: Novak Djokovic’s Signature Racket.
Usually the ones Pro players use and the ones that are available in the market differ, if not significantly.

so one could say the one that DJ uses is a customized version of the Speed Pro that is now available in the market. This customized version is similar to his old Head LM Radical, which was later molded by Wilson when it signed him 2003 (this new has slightly thinner flat beamed throat, 98 Square Inch headsize, somewhat flexible and a little bit head light).

keep in mind, each time you reproduce, mold, or “painjob,” a racket, it comes out slightly different, though significance of the degree varies from player to player. Each player has his own ritual regarding this. I know this as a player. There is no hard and fast rule. For instance, it affects my game greatly, but my friend’s does not at all.
my stance on this or any topic is argument / discussion should be oriented toward finding facts than who is right, at least on issues that can be discussed objectively, and there are quite a few, e.g. racket, but the effect is variable. we can agree on racket and differ on effects, and acknowledge how it impacts different players differently.


jane Says:

Von says “considering you bring it up constantly and at every opportunity? I guess you’ve gotten a lull in the memory department. Tell me this, is the racquet only a problem when he loses? What about when he wins, as 6-0 to Troicki? Or, is it a problem then too?”

“Constantly” – LOL.

Re: the Troicki match, I never saw it so didn’t comment on it too much, only to say I was happy he made it through and to thank been there for the few comments on the match.

Re: it being a problem only when he loses, as I said already, it was the commentators who were talking about it last night, which got me to thinking about it also, and since it seemed to be only “i am it” and myself watching/discussing it together here, I mentioned it, but it wasn’t meant to invite a whole lot of discussion on it – just one passing comment.

Vulcan was the one who raised it today w.r.t. forehand technique, and that prompted some more in detail analysis and whatnot. And why not? Some might’ve found it an interesting topic.

Re: “niggling”, admittedly this may not have been the best word choice, but what I meant to say is that it’s still not right, or still annoying, if Djoko’s still adjusting/tweaking/fiddling with it.


jane Says:

been there, thanks for the thoughtful post @ 7:31pm; I pretty much agree with all of it. I thought Djoko played well against Fed at Rome. Even though Fed helped by unraveling somewhat (not quite as drastically or dramatically as at Miami), I thought Djok didn’t get down after the first set, when both played so well, and then when he was down breaks he stayed quite focused too, but he always had winning on his mind; it seemed clear to me. At the USO, I thought some sort of spark was missing. It was like he knew or assumed or thought: this is the end of the line. He deferred too much. Maybe with Delpo part of his belief is that he was on the rise at the FO, meaning he’d never won a slam but he felt he *should* and *could* – now that he has it will be interesting to see how or if it affects him. It might make him more hungry, or more anxious or whatever. But it’s an interesting period, shifting from being expected to win slams, to winning one, to trying to follow it up. And jeepers, if you think you’re a deluded hopeful fan I am much worse, I am sure. But clearly it’s fun to watch many players so it’s more or less onward and upward when Djoko is eliminated from an event. I can’t wait to see who wins this week and next. Typically the YEC have seemed kind of anti-climactic to me, but I am kind of looking forward to them this year.


jane Says:

i am it says “A racket manufacturing company can’t take the actual racket of the competing company and just paint over it to make it look like their own racket.”

Does this mean that at the AO Djok would’ve been playing with a Head racquet?


i am it Says:

yes, j., a molded (“paintjob”) version. one could say a reproduction of reproduction. because the Wilson he was using between 2006-2008 was already a copy of Head, so the Head he was using at the AO was a reproduction of its own racket via Wilson’s copy of Head.

if we just go by the brand:

until 2006, Head—from Jan 2006 to Nov 2008, Wilson’s copy of Head—from Jan 2009 till today, Head’s copy of Wilson’s copy of Head.


i am it Says:

underscore this, in each reproduction, there is always certain modification, with varying degree of significance, depending on a player’s physical-mental makeup, response time, and assimilation.


jane Says:

i am it, thanks for all the copy of a copy details. Next he may move to a virtual racquet. :)


jane Says:

Or a simulacra racquet. lol.


jane Says:

Here’s another one sensationalsafin – my favorite quote is this:

“But the nobility of Safin was that he tried to master himself, year after year.”

Indeed.

full article here:
http://www.nationalpost.com/sports/story.html?id=2087985

OMG – I don’t want him to retire.


sensationalsafin Says:

Thanks Jane. That second article was incredible. Wow. It really is sad to see him go. I like the like “he was a mortal with godlike gifts” line. That’s the perfect line to describe Safin, I would say. I was saying it in the previous post, but I guess I’m not the only one who thinks Safin is as talented as Fed, in terms of just natural talent.


Kimmi Says:

Cilic ! WOW. He was impressive. What a perfomance.
Great Job.


been there Says:

After watching both the djoko & tsonga semis, I have to adjust this in my ‘federesque’ scale:

“…it’s always been my opinion that Djoko is almost up there with Fed in terms of shot-making abilities, all-court game & touch, etc, i.e. plenty of natural talent…sure…”

Still true for Djoko but Tsonga is clearly more federesque than Djoko in as far as the above statement is concerned. In fact, I’ll make a bold claim that when his game is clicking, Tsonga=Fed! I’ll give Fed +2% advantage just’coz I have to. haha. And his game is just as flashy. so much pop! Wish he could hold his brains throughout the year.


grendel Says:

“I guess I’m not the only one who thinks Safin is as talented as Fed, in terms of just natural talent.”

Sensational Safin, you may be interested to learn of the opinion of the sports reporter Matt Zemek (a Federer fan, b.t.w.) who writes lengthy posts on tennis.com from time to time. He said that he had always been of the opinion that if you compared Safin at his absolute best to Federer at his absolute best, Safin was superior. Not much in it, but….

I heard a story, sorry I can’t document, it’s one of those stories that lie hazily at the back of your mind, but anyway the Americans were playing Davis Cup in Russia, and the great Pete Sampras hit with this unknown teenager called Marat Safin. He was simply torn apart….

Eurosport did a a piece on Safin, following him for a week or two towards the end of his recovery from a long injury – and as a lead up to the Australian Open. Safin was talking about the effort required to get back to the top, remarking nonchalently “nobody likes to work” – and glancing at the interviewer with a little twinkle. As if no doubt he, the interviewer, was the single exception to this iron rule of life. He went on to talk about the “eye” – it was frustrating that it didn’t quite operate at peak level.

Of course, you are talking tiny margins here, but it was an interesting remark, signalling that Safin might have thought he was already past his peak however good his recovery. He seemed fairly confident about his prospects. He remarked that he thought if he could get through the first couple of rounds, things might start to get”interesting”.

Well, that was the year he had all those mammoth 5 setters against great players like Agassi and Roddick. He just “ran out of gas” (his expression) against Federer in the final, and there was no doubt that was true. The proper match against Federer was yet to come…..


margot Says:

sensationalsafin: I also think Safin’s talent equals Fed’s, but application, alas alas that’s another matter. I wonder if he’ll have any regrets when he ends his career. Also am so sorry for Safina, why didn’t she choose another sport?

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