Nadal, Djokovic Avoid Retirement Bug in Shanghai
by Sean Randall | October 15th, 2009, 8:27 pm
  • 107 Comments

Somewhere Andy Roddick has to be cracking a smile, if only a little one. The American’s complaint just a few days ago that the lengthy ATP season is causing injuries is proving ever prophetic by the day.

Through three rounds of play at the inaugural Shanghai Masters seven players have already succumbed to injury leading to their retirement from the tournament.

Seven is now the number after Gael Monfils (wrist) and Stanislas Wawrinka (ab) were added to the names of the previously wounded in battle: Roddick (knee), Juan Martin Del Potro (wrist), Tommy Haas (shoulder), Mischa Zverev (wrist) and Jose Acasuso (knee).

And when you include that fact that Andy Murray withdrew with a wrist and Roger Federer simply passed up the event citing fatigue, the picture isn’t pretty on the men’s tour right now.

Perhaps it’s just a case of bad luck, perhaps it’s the schedule or perhaps the players are trying to prove a point with this rash of retirements (I doubt that). Whatever the case let’s hope it’s isolated. I know it’s the end of the year and some players are likely to be suffering from burn out and disinterest but someone’s got to be left to win this title on Sunday. And Novak Djokovic can’t really be the healthiest top player on the tour, can he?

As for the matches, after a day of semi-upsets, some good quarters are still on tap for Friday highlighted by Djokovic v. Gilles Simon. I think Djokovic will win but it could very easily go the distance. Simon desperately needs this win if he’s to make ground in the race to London. The victor will meet the winner of Nikolay Davydenko and Radek Stepanek. Stepanek has beaten the Russian in their last three non-clay meetings and I expect him to make it four.

On the top half we appear to be well on tasty semifinal collision between Rafael Nadal and Robin Soderling. Nadal figures to be a huge favorite against Ivan Ljubicic while Soderling will try to level his head-to-head with Feliciano Lopez who leads the Swede 3-2. The two played earlier in the year with Soderling winning in a Florida Challenger of all places!


Also Check Out:
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107 Comments for Nadal, Djokovic Avoid Retirement Bug in Shanghai

TomA Says:

Soderling will try to level his head-to-head with Feliciano Lopez who leads the Swiss 3-2.

Swede, not Swiss !


i am it Says:

Sean, are you doing some damage control, balancing act? one day you say roddick is a whiner, another day he is a prophet.
and you forgot to mention 3 of your 4 semifinalist picks are already out.


Sean Randall Says:

TomA, thanks for the correction.

i am it, can you not be a prophet AND a whiner? And I am perfectly aware of how bad Tsonga d. Djokovic pick looks like right now. Add in Wawrinka and it really doesn’t look good.


i am it Says:

sean, sure, a whiner can be a visionary, prophet.

but how can the same complaint be two things at the same time? to put it differently, is it because monfils and Wawa retired we are concluding that their injuries are due to the long season? up until yesterday, the complaint was a whine, but today it’s a legitimate problem? is that what you are saying?
—————
and Soderling’s win over Lopez at Sunrise, FL, earlier this year seems to be more reliable indicator than their 3-2 h2h, which were played 3 years ago. i pick sod do it again in straight sets.


Sean Randall Says:

i am it, Roddick’s still a whiner and no, I don’t think the length of the season has directly caused this spate of injuries, that’s what I am saying.


i am it Says:

no, i stand firmly with my belief that roddick was right speaking out publicly, and he should be doing this every month through out the year. more so, at the at the right venues where it matters most.

Agassi also spoke out in a teleconference: “I always thought it’s best to give the players a schedule that enables the players to be at their best.
“The off-season is healthy for players and the fans—it builds up anticipation for the fans.

“I think the tour should tighten up the schedule, so the top players can play more often in a shorter time. I would like to see everyone come to the table and work out a schedule that suits everyone.”

——
Agassi says we are nearing the end of fed-rafa era and sees Murray as multiple of Slam winning star:
“From a talent standpoint, Murray is a person who should win multiple Slams.”

“When I look at his game compared to the other players, he has what it takes to win and to win against anybody on any surface.”

“Now we have possibly the changing of the guard. You have those top two who are now losing ground to the likes of (Novak) Djokovic and Murray and (Juan Martin) del Potro,” Agassi told reporters in Hong Kong by phone from Las Vegas.
Agassi believes fed “still has the chance to do some more special things,” but says his chances are diminishing with age.

He worries rafa’s knee injuries could be chronic. “If you’re struggling with your knee, it tends to be recurring and not to be easy to do, so I got to believe he’ll struggle with it probably for his career.”

http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/news;_ylt=ArkG5oHIDz5DuIKqRBuZeVs4v7YF?slug=ap-agassi-federerandnadal&prov=ap&type=lgns


Jonny Says:

If one can always predicted the outcome correctly, one won’t be here writing column, no? So here, hope your prediction is wrong cos I obviously support the guy you didn’t pick.


i am it Says:

so much for the rafa-sod semi. With excellent, wide serve and slices from both wings, F-Lopez rattled and handicapped Sod, once he broke back to level 1st set 4-4.
Sod had 4-2 lead in the 1st set. once he was unable to consolidate break at 4-3, Sod just went back to his old, nervy self. as a consequence, his power game became hesitant and error-prone.
i think Lopez came to the court with a good game plan and surprised Sod. the Swede missed another opportunity to break into the top 10.


i am it Says:

dj is looking extremely sharp, takes an early break after a couple of 30-stroke rallies in the 9-minute long, 2nd game. however, he is finding hard to get to the 1st serve in (4 of 11), due to which faced a break point in the 3rd game but barely saved it, courtesy to simon’s wild shot, and consolidates the break with an amazing drop shot, 3-0.

he’s gotta get the 1st service going, though.


i am it Says:

suddenly strangely, dj faces 3 break points in the 5th game. and gets broken. poorly served and poorly played game. 3-2. simon back into the set.


i am it Says:

in the 6th game, dj got another chance to break but missed an easy backhand on 2nd serve when he tried to go for outright winner.
he gets another chance right away and does it with back-to-back big inside-out forehand. 4-2.
and in the next game, after being pushed to deuce, dj consolidates to lead 5-2, with another inside-out from the middle of the court.


i am it Says:

in the 8th game, dj pushed simon to deuce, but holds, thanks to dj’s backhand long. 5-3.
dj serves out the set in love. 6-3.
excellent tennis from both, despite the scoreline and the stat.


i am it Says:

after double game point, simon was forced to deuce in the opening game of the 2nd set, but he holds. 1-0.


i am it Says:

dj holds, losing only 1 point. no free points as he had to work to construct his points in rallies. 1-1.

simon holds just fine as dj misses a couple of shots easily. 2-1.


i am it Says:

dj is 15-30 down and faces a double break point. i think errors have started to creep in dj’s game at this point, and he throws an easy backhand long in a rally, and gets broken. 1-3.


i am it Says:

in the 5th game, dj had a chance to earn break point at 30 all 2nd serve, but missed it with again an easy backhand. deuce.
deuce again after a game point after simon’s lob goes out. simon rips a big forehand in the corner, dj dumbfounded, and he followd that by an ace to hold, 4-1.


i am it Says:

simon holds in love, courtesy to dj’s errors. 5-2.
dj flashes bursts of frustration.


i am it Says:

dj is forehand has been off the hook in the 2nd set, and now faces set point in his own serve. barely clips the line. deuce.
another forehand long and another set/ break point.
saves again, on the same spot where it clipped the line last time. serves well. game point. simon unloads a flat forehand in the corner. deuce.
another game point and another deuce. simon gets dj’s drop volley and another set point. and dj loses the set with a double fault. that was disappointing.


i am it Says:

simon faces 3 break points in the 1st game, 3rd set. saves 2.
dj misses down-the-line backhand when he tries change the direction.
dj throws another easy backhand long. game point for simon.
dj deuces it with a disguised forehand volley and 4th break point with a passing shot.
relentless forehand deep in the corner earns dj a break. hope he consolidates this.


i am it Says:

dj makes double fault and faces double break point. not good.


i am it Says:

simon hammers on dj’s skoppy drop volley and breaks back right away. 1-1.


i am it Says:

simon makes 2 back-to-back forehand errors, and dj gets double break chance.
dj does it as simon throws forehand long after a long rally. lots of ups and downs.
2-1. hope he consolidates this time.


i am it Says:

again, dj faces 0-30. crazy defense from simon earns him those 2 points. next one goes long.
dj’s drops a spectacular volley. 30-30.
dj makes an error and faces break point again. and throws an easy overhead in the net and gets broken. frustrated, he disfigures the racket in anger.
2-2.
neither has held serve in the 3rd set.


Kimo Says:

I’m curretnly watching the Simon-Djoko match, and it’s the first one i’ve seen since the USO final.

Lots of drama in this match, and even thogh Djoko is a break up in the final set, it can still go either way.


i am it Says:

dj gets another double break point in the 5th game, 3rd set.
simon aces and saves one.
2nd serve.
as simon’s forehand goes wide in a long rally, dj breaks and leads 3-2. can he hold for once, for god’s sake? i am going nuts, despite enjoying the quality tennis.


i am it Says:

finally dj holds relatively easily, by losing just one point. 4-2.


sensationalsafin Says:

What a point from Djokovic!!! Wow!


sensationalsafin Says:

Unreal. Djokovic seems to be stepping up at just the right moments.


sensationalsafin Says:

I don’t think I’ve seen Djokovic play with this kind of confidence all year. He’s just staying with it and going for his shots.


i am it Says:

Deuce in the 7th game: a full display of a combination of defense and offense from dj, as well as from simon.
body serve. game point for simon. his backhand catches the net chord.
deuce2.
2nd serve. variety of shots from dj. break point. 2nd serve. crazy rally.
simon misses forehand at the end, and dj breaks and will be serving for the match. 5-2.


i am it Says:

triple match point for dj. misses an easy overhead long and smiles. 2nd serve. simon prevails in a rally. 40-30.
and he does it with a killer forehand and a scream of relief.

(6-3, 2-6, 6-2. simon could not hold a single service game in the 3rd set.)

Go dj !


i am it Says:

SS, i agree i don’t remember dj playing this good match since Madrid semi.

those who missed missed a spectacular tennis. you, j., you missed a big time. envy me:)


Duro Says:

Allez alleeeez, allez alleeeez… He he he… All the way, baby, all the way!


i am it Says:

Ljubicic breaks, holds, and leads 4-1, 1st set. what am i seeing?


i am it Says:

Ljubicic takes the 1st set. he is serving big, volleying, and going for big forehand winners. not much rally.
rafa needs a strong start in the 2nd set and an emphatic response, to have any chance.


Vulcan Says:

Wow, I’m not watching the match but it REALLY sounds like the word is out on what to do against Rafa on hard courts…go for broke, play high risk tennis, and if your a bit lucky you get the W.


grendel Says:

So one set to Ljubicic – but unfortunately, he has to get the first serve in. Can’t really see him winning, but….

My impression of Djokovic was: what a warrior. He absolutely was NOT playing well, but at one point, can’t remember if it was at 2 all or 3-2 (after 5 successive breaks of serve) he went off court, obviously to compose himself.

He came back a different man, and played as he can, tremendously. Simon continued to fight valiantly, but he was outgunned.

I liked the big smile of Simon as they shook hands. That smile, to me, was saying: well, not this time, you were too good in the end, but I reckon I might still get you. Simon is the gadfly of tennis, no huge weapons, but a man who works things out, can see the weaknesses of even the great players on the day, and calmly sets out to exploit them. To beat him, even if you’re as talented as Djokovic, you’ve got to keep your wits about you – and so Djokovic did, eventually.

b.t.w., Leif Shiras continually remarked how slow the courts are, not everyone’s opinion on the site, and Djokovic, questioned on this on court immediately following the match, agreed.


Vulcan Says:

Judging by that last game Nadal is in all kinds of trouble…3 break points saved???…can’t he find Ljubicic’s backhand or what???


i am it Says:

ljubicic had triple break point in the 3rd game, 2nd set, but he squandered all.
he gets a 4th one.
rafa plays S&V and saves. Deuce.
serves big. Lj throws in the air. game point.
Lj misses backhand long.
rafa holds. that was a big one.


jane Says:

i am it: “those who missed missed a spectacular tennis. you, j., you missed a big time. envy me:)”

I am green with envy and wish I had awoken at 3:00 or 4:00 am so I could’ve seen it! Or at the very least, if it was on t.v., I could’ve watched it. TSN seems to be showing a replay of a quarterfinal here today, in a 2 hour slot, but I don’t know which one. I can hope it’ll be Djoko’s. Thanks to your play-by-play at least I get a sense of the roller coaster ride it was. Yay – he won! GO GO GO.

Meanwhile, back on the court, looks like old man Ljub has some fight left in him after all, taking the first set, but will probably lose, at least the second, and likely the match. I’d be shocked if Rafa lost this contest. And he’s not likely to lose against Lopez, so he should be in the final.


i am it Says:

rafa gets triple break point and he does it. 3-1.
looks like we are heading into the third set.
that last game’s hold was a turning point.


sensationalsafin Says:

Here’s why Nadal is the GOAT:

No matter who he’s playing against, whether it’s number 1 Federer or number 1000 Jubonanabo, you always get the feeling their game is gonna break down while Nadal is just gonna keep going.


sensationalsafin Says:

I like Nadal’s shorts.


margot Says:

jane, jane: I would never, never “have a go” at you, never ever! Had heard of “lock out” “lock down” “lock up” but not “on a lock,” now i am it has explained it’s a baseball term, I know I’ll never understand it….
last 4 games of an excellent, hard fought match, Djko was looking very, very good. Again I admire his athleticism.


jane Says:

Here’s what I read at the ATP site:

” The Belgrade native’s emotions, never far from the surface in the match, boiled over at the fourth successive service break, but it proved to be the catalyst for success for Djokovic. ”

Interesting. Why? Because people say all sorts of things about players showing their emotions on court and I am continually confused about it. I supposed what it comes down to is what works for one may not work for another. For one player, the minute he lets his emotions out, he loses focus and there goes the match, so poker-faced is the way to go, composure. On the other hand, for some players, it seems like after the holler or break a racquet, somehow that sets their head on straight and they’re able to focus, having blown off steam. And maybe it’s not even a consistent thing in one player – sometimes one thing works; sometimes another.

—–

” Leif Shiras continually remarked how slow the courts are” Hmm… that might favor Rafa if he reaches the finals, which he likely will, and faces Djoko. Especially, from the sounds of it, if Djok plays like he did today, it doesn’t bode well. Of course Djoko still would have to beat Davy to get to the finals, and that’s not always easy if he’s playing well.


i am it Says:

MGT, did you really believe that? you are gullible and funny.


sensationalsafin Says:

God damn these stupid injuries. What excuse does Ljubo have? Reaching too many 2nd rounds?


jane Says:

Actually, sensationalsafin – oh man of hyperbole and sarcasm :) – Lujb has reached already 4 Masters Series quarterfinals this year, usually losing to a top guy at that stage, for e.g., he lost to Rafa at Monte Carlo, Murray at IW, and Djok at Cincy. SO! He’s not doing too shabbily and perhaps, in his old(er) age, does have a valid excuse or two. But still, too bad he retired.
———
margot – when someone says something “is a lock”, I always think of the metaphorical implication (idiomatic?) that whatever is being referred to is “secure” or “certain.” So by saying Roddick is a lock for the YEC I simply meant his spot is secure.


i am it Says:

J. says, “Especially, from the sounds of it, if Djok plays like he did today, it doesn’t bode well.”

what do you mean by “if Djok plays like he did today”?
he played one of the best tennis i have ever seen, except the serve part. if you don’t believe me, ask Duro and margot? i don’t like you, you pessimist-for-life…whatever:)

.


Vulcan Says:

” Leif Shiras continually remarked how slow the courts are”

I for one am getting a bit tired of these discussions of the court’s speed being discussed in a speculative way. The ITF has what’s called the CPR or “court pace rating” for every surface on the tour. It’s a numerical ranking of how fast each of the surfaces are. The thing is, it is never invoked by the commentators when discussing the speed of court. They just say something nebulous like “it’s playing slow”. Somewhere there has to be a table that lists these ratings for each and every ATP event…if not…maybe it’s time to create a web page or Wikipedia article that has this information for quick reference.


sensationalsafin Says:

Talk about a weird year. Ljubo has either lost in the first, second, or QF. I’m not impressed.


jane Says:

i am it, here’s what grendel wrote: ” He absolutely was NOT playing well,”

So that’s what stuck in my head, also, all those breaks of serve means he was inconsistent, and the one match report I have read, at the ATP, mentioned Djoko’s inconsistency. So it didn’t sound like he played “one of the best tennis i have ever seen, except the serve part.”

However, I’ll try my best to see the sunny side of the reports, glass half full and all that “positive thinking” stuff. lol.


sensationalsafin Says:

Djoko played really well in the third set. If he plays like that, I think Nadal will have his work cut out for him. Djokovic should be confident in his game, his recent win over Nadal, and the fact that Nadal really isn’t playing that well.


i am it Says:

vulcun, it’s because most commentators are not technical experts, and ITF site does not have the table you are talking about. speed rating credential is optional, which a tournament can get it done by filling out a form and sending a sample with fee to the ITF lab.
i wish the ratings were available to the public.


Vulcan Says:

IAI, yeah that makes sense, I knew there had to be a reason why there was always so much speculation surrounding the topic…but given how much attention this particular issue is given it just seems like more should be done to make it more concrete (pardon the pun) and scientific.


Vulcan Says:

Well looking ahead to Nadal-Djoker (if Nadal loses to Lopez I’ll start a Roddick fan club) – I didn’t see either of the matches but it sounds like it has the potential to be another thrashing by Djoker…Nadal dodged numerous bullets today.


Voicemale1 Says:

So here’s the Casualty List of Retirements , thus far, just for this Shanghai Event: Del Potro, Monfils, Zverev, Acasuso, Roddick, Haas, Wawrinka and now Ljubicic. That makes 8 out of the 64 entered, 12.5% of the field.

Maybe it’s not just the schedule. The equipment evolution, mostly the strings, have made the game today more brutal. The pace and spin from the back court makes the old Serve Volley Game a dangerous proposition and an unintelligent strategy (unless used sparingly). How many punishing baseline rallies can these guys keep staying in without something breaking down physically at some point? Makes you wonder what kind of Darwinian uber-athlete will emerge in the coming years who has adapted to the new demands :)


i am it Says:

j., like i said, it was just the service, which caused the 4 break exchange in the 1st four games in the 3rd set.

1st set: won 67% out of 58% 1st serve and won 54% 2nd serve

2nd set: won 68% out of 61% 1st serve but won only 25% 2nd serve.

3rd: won 47% out of 68% and won 57% 2nd serve.

Dj. broke 4 out of 8 times in the 3rd, that’s 50%. he did not get a break point in the 2nd set, so he lost, a set he lost due to errors, mainly forehand long. broke 2 out of 6 in the 1st set.
he won about 50% return points, which is spectacular.

if you start from the point of view that dj. should have won the match in straight sets, losing only 3-4 games in total, and see the outcome, then one could say he performed erratically.

the raw data does not tell at what level the match was played. it does not record the speed, mobility, accuracy, retrievability, power, and variety. you have to also look at the opponent’s game. simon played a great tennis, except toward last couple of games, in which he was missing and dj. was overpowering, resulting in short end games.
————–

sensationalsafin, can you give us an assessment of the dj-simon match? i mean general impression.
th

to me, the kind of match rafa and dj played today, rafa would not win a set against dj, if they meet in the final.


i am it Says:

vulcun, as most tournaments do get their courts’ rating done, all that commentators need to do is ask. point is they can acquire the rating from the individual tournament if they request ahead of time, say 2-3 days.
actually, i have been searching for the complete rating list for a couple of years. no luck. however, i’ve found a couple from individual tournaments.


jane Says:

i am it, thanks for the perspective; as I say, I am hoping the replay that TSN shows is of Djoko’s match. And then I can see for myself all of the intangibles you describe. Frankly, even if he wasn’t playing that well and yet fought like a “warrior” (grendel’s word) that too is very encouraging regardless of what happens in the next rounds. That fighting quality has been missing somewhat in Novak since that epic loss in Madrid, and so if it’s coming around I am glad. It’s not that his game went completely off the rails after that loss but his spirit and confidence certainly did. I am thankful to see them back.


Fed is GOAT Says:

Nadal is extremely lucky – he dodged all the strong players again – Tsonga, Soderling, Del Po, etc. Even against softies he is losing sets.

The story of Nadal’s life. At wimbledon he has dodged the top players until the very end for so many years.

Lopez will be a rollover. I hope Djoke crushes him again in the final.


Vulcan Says:

The only table i’m aware of is this one:

http://www.itftennis.com/technical/equipment/courts/courtlist.asp

Which lists the letter (not the exact numerical) classification for each of the court systems. So with this table as a guide, and knowing what court system a particular tournament is using I guess one at least knows the letter classification for a particular tournament. A table for all the tournaments with letter classifications would be a start (and perhaps doable at this time) though of course the ultimate would be a table with the exact numerical classifications.


i am it Says:

i hope TSN shows the match and you get to watch it and assess yourself. then, i believe you won’t say, “if Djok plays like he did today, it doesn’t bode well.”
caution: served poorly and made plenty of uncharacteristic errors in the 2nd set.

when he is THERE, i see him. and i saw him there today as well as in last 12 days or so. trust me he IS THERE, lose or win the title.


i am it Says:

yes, vulcun, that’s the only one available, but unfortunately it does not list the tournaments. it would be really nice to have one, something like you sketch: “A table for all the tournaments with letter classifications would be a start (and perhaps doable at this time) though of course the ultimate would be a table with the exact numerical classifications.”


sensationalsafin Says:

I only started watching from the third set and I thought Djokovic played really well. It wasn’t just that he fought hard, Simon really couldn’t do anything against his more talented opponent. I keep thinking to Djoker’s match against Roddick in Montreal and how Djokovic pretty much refused to take the initiative, like he was too scared to go for a winner or even a good setup point. But today, he was doing all that. It wasn’t that he played incredible tennis, it was that he played the way he should. He kept his head down and stayed focused. Only thing was I noticed he was slicing a lot and I don’t know if that was just a strategic thing or what. But either way, he got the job done the right way, by outplaying his opponent.


Vulcan Says:

IAI,

A cursory investigation of the tournament profiles’ pages on ATP.com did not yield any information on what court surface the tournys use…the only thing that is listed is “hard” etc. The actual tournament websites I checked…Shanghai and Moscow did not list the court system either. I recall someone on the blog here mentioned that Plexipave was used for Shanghai but im not sure where that information was gleaned from.


andrea Says:

i feel for all of the players. i know what i feel like after making the trek to europe or asia from canada. you arrive, feel like crap and it takes a couple days to adjust at least. i can’t imagine having to play top level sports every week on top of traveling around so much. it’s rough.

and yes the players whine about it, because the off season in tennis is really far too skimpy. and to top it all off….the tiny off season happens around xmas and new years which is when most people take a breather, but the players have to ramp up for the AO which is halfway around the world for just about every player (save the aussies).

so, really, ‘time off’ is not really reality.


Tennis Noise Says:

The tennis season is to freakin long. How many other sports have an 11 month season? THe paparazzi would appreciate it if tennis players took time off so they could capture more players in private scandals. The only thing the paparazzi catches them doing now is practicing….sad.

Tennis Noise


grendel Says:

jane, as you know, I’m no expert, but I’ve got a perfectly good pair of eyes, and for the first few games of 3rd set, Djokovic’s game was certainly an improvement on 2nd set, but still error strewn, not just the serve. His overhead smashing, for example, was abysmal, of the choking variety. After he composed himself (I think at 3-2) he was a different man, and looked formidable. I think that bodes alright. You don’t have to be lights out all the way through.

b.t.w. as I pointed out, it wasn’t just Leif Shiras (an ex player, remember, who got to Queens final once, so he knows his stuff) who said courts slow – Djokovic confirmed when asked on court immediately after match.


jane Says:

TSN is showing Lopez/Soderling. Bummer. F-Lo is going for a more manly look, with the darker hair and a beard! Wow – haven’t seen him for a while. They’re playing G&R “Welcome to the Jungle” lol. The stands seem empty.


jane Says:

I suppose you’re right grendel. Djoko, nor any other player for that matter, doesn’t have to be lights out all the way throughout a tennis match; however, presuming he can beat Davy, and likely meet Rafa in the final,certainly more “lights out” than less would help.


jane Says:

Lest we forget, since some of us have questioned Rafa’s form, he has reached the semis in Cincy, semis at the USO, semis in Bejing, and now semis here. So it’s not like he’s slumping on hard courts even *with* his injury/recovery. Sure, he’s taken some convincing losses, but he’s still made it through, today with a little help from Ljubicic, but that means he gets a little extra rest, and besides, his H2H with Lopez is a convincing 4-1. I would not count it out as potential winner of this title. He’s the odds on favorite to reach the final, whereas Davydenko, who is on very good form of late, having just won a title, could feasibly take out Djokovic and find himself in the final. Given that I didn’t see the last couple of matches, though, it’s tough to make any kind of prediction, so I am going by reports and H2Hs.


jane Says:

typo s/b “I would not count *him* out”


i love fed Says:

Djok has never won back to back titles and he won last week in Beijing.

Djok has never defended a title and he won Shanghai last year.


jane Says:

i love fed – True, but there is a first time for many things. Maybe this’ll be the right time for Djoko to break those trends; maybe it won’t

But please note this – post hoc ergo propter hoc.


MMT Says:

“So it’s not like he’s slumping on hard courts even *with* his injury/recovery.”

Rafa is suffering from the same weight of expectations that Federer does – he reaches so many finals that people think there’s a problem with him if he doesn’t. Most players not in the top 3 would kill for those results.

“his H2H with Lopez is a convincing 4-1. I would not count it out as potential winner of this title.”

Were you referring to Nadal winning or Lopez winning the title? If it was Lopez – I agree in theory, but don’t see it happening. If it’s Rafa – I have to say, Rafa has earned enough gravitas in the game that if he’s involved in the final weekend I would always pick him to win no matter who he’s playing or what is his form.

“…whereas Davydenko, who is on very good form of late, having just won a title, could feasibly take out Djokovic and find himself in the final.”

Djokovic is not yet in that category, so this wouldn’t surprise me at all – I would have bet my house last year that Rafa would have beaten Davydenko in Miami, and look what happened – a strange one he is.

“But please note this – post hoc ergo propter hoc.”

Sorry?


Fed is GOAT Says:

Nadal will get lucky again and Lopez will retire, Djoke will have a tough 3 setter, so whoever is in the final, will be too tired to play nadal. Djokovic must be tired anyway by now – its his 9th match in 11 days tomorrow.


sensationalsafin Says:

He’s not defending Shanghai here, though.


MMT Says:

And BTW – frankly I’m surprised that Lopez has ever beaten Rafa.


Fed is GOAT Says:

And if, for any reason, Nadal loses, I am sure we will hear about a new injury this time!


jane Says:

MMT -

I was referring to Rafa – I’d never count him out until he loses. Simple as that. How can you, given the way he always fights?

“Post hoc ergo propter hoc” is a logical fallacy; the assumption is that because something has happened before it will cause it to happen again. It literally translates as something like “after this, therefore because of this” and implies cause rather than coincidence.

The post from ‘i love fed’ implied that just because Djok won in Bejing last week, and hasn’t won back-to-back titles, and just because he won in Shanghai last year and hasn’t defended titles, that he will therefore not win this event. And while ‘i love fed’ may well be right, and Djoko may very well lose in the next round, or in the final, I don’t think it’s logical to imply that those previous trends caused him to lose, but simply that he was outplayed on the day.

I was just being cheeky about the logic implied, that’s all.

Now it’s my turn to ask for clarity: you said “Djokovic is not yet in that category.”

What category?


sensationalsafin Says:

Djokovic isn’t defending Shanghai!! You don’t defend the place you won, you defend the event. Murray was defending champ this week but he isn’t playing. Djokovic will be defending champ at the YEC which will be held in London.


sensationalsafin Says:

Novak Djokovic, on enjoying a match: “The only enjoyment I have is when I’m up a match point and I see the guy cannot reach my ball when I win.”

Not exactly the mentality I was hoping for Djokovic.

Rafael Nadal, on whether he was worried after losing the first set to Ivan Ljubicic: “If I not worried, probably I am crazy, no?”

Funny guy.


Duro Says:

Nice text on Djokovic, with a stupid comment below:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/tennis/article6876924.ece

This is for Jane, i am it, devastatingdjokovic (sensationalsafin) and those interested that like Novak.


sensationalsafin Says:

Feliciano Lopez, on losing in Beijing qualifying a week ago and making the Shanghai semifinals this week: “I was talking to my coach right now after the match, and he just said, ‘Did you remember playing against David Young in the qualies in Beijing?’ And I said, ‘Better not remember, no?’

I’m not surprised he doesn’t remember playing against David Young since there is no professional tennis player named David Young.


MMT Says:

Jane said: “What category?”

The category of player who if they make it through to the final weekend, you assume they’re going to win almost no matter who they’re playing.

It’s kind of a like a Yokozuna of tennis. Federer, Nadal – you assume if they make it to Friday they’re going to win the tournament.


grendel Says:

“I don’t think it’s logical to imply that those previous trends caused him to lose, but simply that he was outplayed on the day.”

Ah, but it wasn’t the trends that caused him to lose. On the contrary, it’s the losing that indicated a trend. It’s a common enough trend to suspect at least some causality at work – at any rate when it comes to two tourneys in a row. Obviously, one has in mind tiredness of some sort, whether physical, psychological, emotional, take your pick. For defending the tourney – that’s more difficult. I don’t know. Maybe there is a certain pressure attached to defending a title?

Don’t forget, jane, if Djokovic confirms the trend by falling, it is no disgrace. If he bucks it, his reputation soars.

That said, you may after all be right, and the better player on the day will win. Or some mixture of the two. It’s a minefield, looking for causes, they rarely come singly, but it’s always tempting to want to home in on one big cause, it seems to me, then you can get emotional to your heart’s content.

I can’t speak for MMT, but surely he means that Djokovic is not yet in the Fed/Nadal category that in the final w/end, you pick him to win against no matter who.


MMT Says:

“Rafael Nadal, on whether he was worried after losing the first set to Ivan Ljubicic: “If I not worried, probably I am crazy, no?”

Funny guy.”

Hmmm…interesting comment…you know, although I quite agree with the sentiment, that could be construed as something less than complimentary towards Ljubicic, but then again, so I guess he’s earned the right to espouse that mindset without offending his particular opponent.


sensationalsafin Says:

One was reminded of the football player who had once said that scoring a goal was better than sex. “Yeah, Ronaldo wasn’t it?” he said. So what was better, winning a grand-slam tournament or sex? “Nothing, nothing, nothing is better than sex, it is what God created us to do,” he replied. But what if he were to win Wimbledon? “Ask me the question again on that day,” he said.

Epic. Thanks Duro, that was a great article. I’ve never heard Djokovic talk up Wimbledon so much, but I’m glad he’s motivated. Maybe that explains why he was nervous against Haas. Djokovic can play on the grass. He’s made a semi and a qf at Wimbledon and has been to the finals of Queens and Halle. I think if he wins one of those next year, it could propel him to the title. Or any year, really. I don’t think he can beat Federer on grass, though. At least not yet. (Despite the last 2 Wimbledon finals, I still don’t think anyone can beat Fed on grass). I kinda wanna see Djokovic reclaim the Australian. I think that’ll do the most for his confidence as opposed to anything else.


jane Says:

“It’s a common enough trend to suspect at least some causality at work ” – grendel

Yes, that’s true; I suppose you could argue that the trend adds pressure and the pressure contributes to furthering the trend, or some such. Just like you can argue that wins beget confidence and confidence in turn begets more wins. So either a downward or an upward spiral as the case may be. Some validity in all that. But not very predictable anyhow.

Really, I just want Djok to win a Masters Series title this year. :)


Scottish Says:

Thanks for the Link Duro – great article. I really hope Djoko wins this week. Anything to distance himself from Murray. :-)

This Tourney really shows why Fed has excelled in scheduling. HE knows he can afford a few points and they are not worth risking further injury. Other guys need to manage their schedules better too. Nadal doesn’t seem to get the point. Fed knows that for him now Slams and his # rank are what matters. It’s hard to say if he will ever win another slam but he’s definitely giving himself the chance by making sure his body is in the best shape possible.

No question Murray will win a few slams and I think Djoko will win at least one more too. JMDP if he can stay healthy can win a bunch. Was sad to see Tsonga beat this week. I have high hopes for him winning a slam someday. Men’s tennis has never looked so good!!


sensationalsafin Says:

I don’t think there’s much to read into Nadal’s comment. I just think it’s funny the way he phrased it. He’s apparently not crazy. But realistically, when you lose the first set or any set, any player would be worried. If you can win one, you can win 2. Same goes for if you can lose one, you can lose 2. Doesn’t mean you will, but if you’re losing, why shouldn’t you (or Nadal in this case) be concerned?


sensationalsafin Says:

“No question Murray will win a few slams and I think Djoko will win at least one more too. JMDP if he can stay healthy can win a bunch.”

Murray has yet to win 1, way too soon to assume he’ll win a few.

Djokovic is incredibly talented and is more likely to win “a few slams” as opposed to Murray as of right now. Plus he looks to be getting back on track.

JMDP still has a lot to improve and we haven’t seen enough to really judge how he’s gonna behave and perform after having won a slam. But he is definitely capable.


jane Says:

“So what was better, winning a grand-slam tournament or sex? “Nothing, nothing, nothing is better than sex…” [Djokovic] replied. But what if he were to win Wimbledon? “Ask me the question again on that day,” he said.”

LOL. Duro thanks for posting that article. He’s rather candid there about what he likes. :)

sensationalsafin – Ive read Djoko speaking that way about Wimbledon (and Sampras) before, as far back as prior to his AO 2008 win. He has always desired to win at SW19. I think he’d love to win the French too, for some reason. Funny – he’s been closest to winning the USO and he doesn’t mention that here.


MMT Says:

Sorry sensationalsafin – I completely misread that. Nothing at all wrong with that comment.


jane Says:

MMT – I had to google “Yokozuna” but thanks for your reply. Yeah, I’d say Djok is definitely not there yet; he’s been in several finals this year, but often on the losing end, so he needs to turn that around and jump that last hurdle for anyone to assume victory.


Scottish Says:

It’s funny how things go. Murray couldn’t do much against Fed at the USO Final last year and Fed was really 2 points away (on his own serve) from putting JMDP away in straight sets as well. Some call that lucky.

Some people have discounted Djoko’s AO by citing Fed’s health blah blah and a slew of other excuses. But both guys won – end of story.

It does bring up an interesting discussion for debate. Who is the best player currently to NOT have a slam title? I know it’s pretty tough considering the Fed/Nadal dominance but still interesting food for thought.


sensationalsafin Says:

Murray.


snowbirrd Says:

It is important to take into consideration that Djokovic and Nadal ,although able to speak English, think in their native tongues and therefore sometimes, something is lost in the translation. I have experienced this first hand as my parents are immigrants and even after 50+ years they still formulate their thoughts in their language and then translate to english. Sometimes it is difficult to find the right way of expressing thoughts verbatum.


MMT Says:

Good point snowbirrd – but I have retracted my comment about Nadal’s comment – I completely misread it – he said he would be crazy not to be worried, which cannot be construed as disrepsectful to Ljubicic.

If anyone was being so, it was me.


MMT Says:

I agree, Murray is the best player not to have won a slam – the only one that comes close is Tsonga, but he has only 1 MS shield, whereas Murray has 3 and a higher ranking.


MMT Says:

Actually, Davydenko also has 2 MS shields, and he hits a pretty clean ball, but the guys is just not that strong mentally.


grendel Says:

Nalbandian is clearly the best player not to have won a slam if you look at his career as a whole. As of now, though, agree: Murray.

Those who are commending Federer for his scheduling and are suggesting some of the other players should follow suit are forgetting one thing: Federer’s schedule is that of a tennis player very much in the latter half of his career. He used to hit the courts more than most, in his heyday. Now he is an old fella, and has to be careful……….


i love fed Says:

I think he’d love to win the French too, for some reason. Funny – he’s been closest to winning the USO and he doesn’t mention that here.

Murray wants USO the most and Djok wants Wimbledon the most. Funny for sure.
I think Djok will win FO next.


sensationalsafin Says:

As much as I’d love to see Djokovic win any other slam, I’d prefer he won Wimbledon before the FO. If he wins the FO, it’ll continue his transformation into a clay courter. His movement was way to clay like over the year. If he were to win Wimbledon, it’ll mean he’s become more aggressive, and will probably continue to become more and more aggressive. Being an already great mover on clay, he’ll still be able to win the FO, if not easier, with more aggression (think Nadal at 08 FO).


Giner Says:

Sean Randall Says:

“i am it, Roddick’s still a whiner and no, I don’t think the length of the season has directly caused this spate of injuries, that’s what I am saying.”

This spate of injuries always happens at the end of the season. Fed misses the last two masters a lot, and Nadal does it too. In Shanghai TMC a few years back more than half of the top 8 that qualified skipped the event. This site called it the “Masterless Masters”. Fed played through his injury and lost in 5 sets to Nalbandian. If it were a standard Masters series, he would not have bothered, but because it was the TMC and everyone who was remotely a threat had pulled out, he saw it as easy pickings and played through the injury.

It could be a massive coincidence, but if there’s a pattern, the most injury pullouts (real or fake) happen at this time of the year.


margot Says:

tennis noise: from my point of view the football season appears to last 13 months….
MMT: didn’t Lopez last beat Rafa when Raf was 17? Reckon Raf’s gonna have to implode.
jane: Djko saved best tennis for last few games of last set but it was a gr8 match for a spectator. Hope he finds that form today, though I like Davy too.

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