Djokovic Outlasts Federer in Electric Epic, Will Face Nadal in US Open Final
by Sean Randall | September 11th, 2010, 7:39 pm
  • 198 Comments

Absolute full credit to Novak Djokovic. Down two match points at 4-5, 15-40 in the fifth set, Djokovic went for broke and came up with the goods against his rival Roger Federer. And it paid off because some 10 minutes later Djokovic served out this instant classic 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 to put himself into the US Open finals tomorrow afternoon against Rafael Nadal.

What a match, and really what a fifth set. Both Novak and Federer were redlining their games, blasting groundstokes and coming up with shot after remarkable shot. For me, it was one of the best 5th sets I’ve ever seen.

I’ve ripped on Djokovic many times in this blog, but I thought his first round comeback win could have marked a turning point in his career, and today he proved that it was.

Djokovic showed heart, showed poise and he showed guts in that fifth. Incredible stuff.

I’m honestly not surprised he won – he had to win eventually over Federer at the US Open – but I’m in shock from just how he pulled it off, going for broke and his back was against the wall.

What a performance, one of the best I’ve seen and certainly one of the best matches he’s played in his career. It’s amazing to think that just a few weeks ago this same Djokovic barely showed a pulse in a awful loss in Cincinnati to Andy Roddick.

What a turn around.

The loss of course squashes (again) hopes of a Sunday Federer-Nadal final, but given the quality and suspense of the match I just saw I’m good with that.

Earlier in the day Rafael Nadal took care of business ripping Mikhail Youzhny 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. The weary-looking Youzhny, who had just come off a 5-set marathon in the quarterfinals against Stan Wawrinka, was never really in the match.

As he’s been all week, Nadal looked fresh, looked sharp and virtually looked unbeatable. Tomorrow, the well-rested Rafa gets his third straight player coming off a three-set win in Djokovic.

Nadal now stands just one win, or three sets, from an historic career Grand Slam. And odds are he’s going to do it.

“Well, it’s another step I think in my career, so for sure is a very important victory for me,” Nadal said after his 20th straight Grand Slam match win. “Yeah, be in the final of the last Grand Slam of the year is something new, because I always arrived here with problems. I think I can say I did a very good tournament. Anyway, the result of tomorrow of course change a lot the result of the match of tomorrow. But I am very satisfied how I improved during all the tournament, because I didn’t arrive to this tournament playing my best. That’s a very important thing.”

Similar to his advantage of Federer, Nadal leads Djokovic 14-7 but the Serb has won three straight all last year and all in straight sets so there’s reason for Novak fans to hope.

I’ll have more ahead of the final tomorrow. I need to catch my breath.


Also Check Out:
Djokovic Outlasts Murray in 5 in Australian Open Semifinal
Federer Outlasts Del Potro in French Open Cliffhanger, History Awaits?
Murray Outlasts Federer in 5, vs Djokovic in Aussie Open Final
Novak Djokovic Outlasts Rafael Nadal In 5-hours, 53-minute Epic Australian Open Win
Watch Rafael Nadal Hit Novak Djokovic In The Face Tonight [Video]

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198 Comments for Djokovic Outlasts Federer in Electric Epic, Will Face Nadal in US Open Final

Samprazzz Says:

Unbelievable. I thought Federer had him all the way. Right up until match point, I thought Djokovic would get tight and lose it. He made Federer run and run. Fed made just a few too many errors.
Thought Fed could have tried to find ways to attack the net more, even chip-and-charge off the return of serve.


WTF Says:

I would rather it have been Federer vs Nadal, but Novak definitely earned his place. His winning record on hard courts ought to give Nadal some concern, but the fact that Novak will have less than 24 hours to recover from an almost 4 hour match will be in Nadal’s favor. Never mind the fact that Novak is already not the fittest player on the tour.

If Nadal doesn’t win tomorrow, it might haunt him for the rest of his life, especially if he never wins the US Open. It will be seen as the one that got away, because this is the toughest tournament for him to win. He needs the stars and planets to align for him to do so, and they have. He could not have asked for a better opportunity than this, so if he fails to make the most of it, it ought to destroy him.

If Nadal can win, he’ll be the youngest to complete a career grand slam in open era, and he’ll silence all his critics that say he is weakest on hard courts or that the surface is too fast for him (a notion I disagree with — sorry, but you don’t make 3 semi finals in a row on a surface that’s too fast for you). After all, how many HC slams does Murray or Djokovic have (if he loses)?


Dory Says:

Djokovic has to be more consistent at the Slams. His loss to Melzer in French Open after being 2 sets and a break up and the most disappointing showing in Wimbledon against Berdych had made me lose confidence in him that he would ever even make it to a Slam final. Glad he proved his critics wrong. Man, Djoker’s got amazing game! He just needs to iron out all service issues for the 2011 season. I was at loss of words after today’s performance by Djoker.


blank Says:

Tomorrow, the weather is cool and rain is forecast. Hope it comes on time and gives Novak much needed extra rest. Hope he is fit and they both play a 5 set thriller!!

http://www.weather.com/weather/today/USTA+National+Tennis+Center++28208:20


paula Says:

On the one hand, I think a rain delay would allow more rest for Nole, which would make for a better match. On the other hand, rain delays are also unsettling- the constant waiting around, wondering when you are going to be able to play. They are sort of emotionally exhausting. So. Not sure what I want. I do want the best match possible, for sure.


Kimberly Says:

Happy for rafa’s win. Sad for Fed. It must hurt. He’s always been all class. Will cross my fingers for Rafa tomorrow.

On another note, FSU got absolutely demolished and destroyed another season for me of NCAA football. At least Rafa saved my day from total disaster.


OllyK Says:

I went to sleep and I couldn’t. I’m so so so so excited! But I hope Nole will manage to sleep tight tonight, he needs all rest he can get for tomorrow. :)
CONGRATS, Nole fans!!! He finally did it! I’m still shaking…
Fed fans, it must be tough, but, as I always say when he lose – its Fed, he’ll be back! At least, now you know how we felt most of the time in the past! :)

May the best man win tomorrow!

IN NOLE WE TRUST!


Andrew Miller Says:

All credit to Djokovic – Federer had the match and Djokovic pulled it out; this officially ends my criticism of Djokovic. Federer played his heart out in the fifth, I didnt understand his 2nd and 4th sets, very confusing to me. Nonetheless: Djokovic fulfilling his promise.


andrea Says:

couldn’t bear to watch. got the 5th set play by play via text from my boyfriend. sounds like lots of missed opportunities just like last year’s final against del potro.

oh well. may the best man win tomorrow.


blank Says:

Federer ‘hoping’ for a Nadal win.

“I won’t watch, but I hope [Nadal] wins.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703467404575486401694126696.html?mod=googlenews_wsj


fed is afraid Says:

with nole there, it will be a match.
roger would have choked, par the course
for him against rafa.


Wade Says:

GREAT INSTEAD OF A FEDAL FINAL TOMOZ WE GET A NADJOKE


van orten Says:

now after a little thinking it would have been stranger if roger had won..
ok he had 2 matchpoints and played some good tennis though serveless but i felt that nole was way more consistent and that made the difference in the end although he almost lost …

fed waited for that one error at matchpoint..
how many times nole delivered it; not today


sonic Says:

“I won’t watch, but I hope [Nadal] wins.”

Had he said anything else, media would jump on it to try and make bad blood between Fed and Rafa. So well said.

While Federer was bad today (really should have lost in straith sets) i was most impressed by the way Djokovic saved the match points (again Federer just pushed back 2nd serves waiting for a mistake – inexcusable). That was really brave from Nole, epic stuff.

Truth be told, even fresh Nole would have had to step it up another level to beat Nadal tomorrow. As it is, unless it rains Nadal will likely win US Open withouth losing a set.

Which is really funny all things considered. We all new Rafa needs a good draw to make it to the final, but in the end he had it handed to him on a silver plate.

I would have liked to see him win it with a bit more drama, maybe saving virtual matchpoints like FED on RG 09 vs Haas and Del Potro. Seems a bit flat for him to just take it like this with no opposition.


van orten Says:

i believe he really hopes nadal loses 7:6 in the 5th

hahha that would feel good on his wounds


Andrew Miller Says:

Federer put himself in position to win. That’s tennis. For Djokovic however – huge win. Federer has 16 slams, Djokovic has one. A big win also because it takes place at a Slam, and there’s no more excuse of Federer being ill (he was ghostly yellow in 2008 at the AO).

Federer’s 2nd and 4th sets were surprisingly poorly played on Federer’s part. But the champ put himself in position to win, no shame in that. This year at the very least, no between the legs passing shot against Djokovic at the same point in the Open!


sheila Says:

didnt watch the match & am heartbroken federer lost, but thats the way it goes. hoping djokovic has enuff in the tank to take out nadal. that will be a tuff order, however. 2011 will be even more interesting than 2010 w/del potro coming back. 2010 has definitely been nadals year. federer less than stellar, but lets face it, he still won a major & a master event. nothing wrong w/that. hope roger has a great 2011


Duro Says:

In order to get a clearer picture about the match and the 2 match points argument, Novak won 163 points against 148 of Roger in total. Now you all consider if it would be a more deserved win for Fed than Novak.

Olly, we did it. In Novak we trust and we were right. Congrats.


blank Says:

After winning a set, if each time Roger sleepwalks and loses the next set 6-1 or 6-2 he doesn’t deserve to win.

Tomorrow, I hope Djoko is fit and his serve doesn’t desert him.


tenisbebe Says:

Sonic says “I would have liked to see him win it with a bit more drama, maybe saving virtual matchpoints like FED on RG 09 vs Haas and Del Potro. Seems a bit flat for him to just take it like this with no opposition.” That’s how I felt about Federer’s 2009 French Open win – no opposition with the exception of Haas (who wasn’t even ranked in the top 20 at the time I believe. A cupcake walk to the trophy. But it wasn’t his fault Rafa lost and it’s not Rafa’s fault Murray and Roger lost – you play who gets thru.


ron Says:

Not 20 slams…maybe 25! bwahahhahahha…the sweetest tennis victory of all time,,,choke on it fed heads!


stewie starbucks Says:

Really sonic, no opposition? I guess Nole’s just some third seeded hack hey?


blank Says:

This ladies match is becoming un-watchable.

Just when I thought the WTA was not really bad, the train comes crashing. Well, I always wanted Steffi to win over 24 slams, maybe she should consider coming back to get the 3.


Kimo Says:

tenisbebe said:

“That’s how I felt about Federer’s 2009 French Open win – no opposition with the exception of Haas (who wasn’t even ranked in the top 20 at the time I believe. A cupcake walk to the trophy.”

Ummmm. Del Potro semi ring a bell?


paula Says:

Kimmy is the energizer bunny. a total wall.


tenisbebe Says:

Kimo – I would put up almost any of the Spaniards (senza Nadal) against Delpo on clay.


Kimo Says:

tenisbebe Says:

“Kimo – I would put up almost any of the Spaniards (senza Nadal) against Delpo on clay.”

Shows how little you know.


WTF Says:

blank Says:

Federer ‘hoping’ for a Nadal win.

“I won’t watch, but I hope [Nadal] wins.”

He will watch it. It’s too important a match not to watch it, even if only to learn something (about both players) from it. I would wager every player watches a men’s GS final. If they aren’t watching it live, then a taped replay. I don’t believe anyone when they say they won’t watch the final after they’ve lost. Nadal and Roddick are up front about enjoying other players’ finals. Fed just has too much pride to admit it because he’s no longer the center of attention in the final.


dari Says:

Congrats to nole. Hurts fed had match points :( good luck to nole tomorroe. Get your grandma #2!


Duro Says:

Oh, and I almost forgot, congratulation to all Novak’s fans for his number 2 spot again, for the third time this year. We love you, Falcon!


blank Says:

Kim is feeling too embarrassed to even celebrate properly. That’s how bad Vera played. Match over in exactly 1 hr.


tenisbebe Says:

Kimo says: “Shows how little you know.”

And that comment shows what a adolescent little shit you. Perhaps you should go back kindergarden where they talk like that and also stick they tongues out at one another. This site is for adults and you clearly are not one.


Andrew Miller Says:

I can’t be harsh on Novak, that was a warrior win out there.


Kimo Says:

tenisbebe said:

“And that comment shows what a adolescent little shit you. Perhaps you should go back kindergarden where they talk like that and also stick they tongues out at one another. This site is for adults and you clearly are not one.”

As I was saying…


tenisbebe Says:

FYI Roger is number 3 as of Monday, Nole number 2.


kimberly Says:

No prize for me for wta draw challenge. Had vera won I would have won something. That final was absolutely pitiful.


johhny Says:

electrifying Novak Djokovic, what a hero. he’s my brother!


kimberly Says:

For roger fans—rog has very few points to defend as he didn’t play shaig hai and lost early in paris bercy. Don’t think he did too much at wtf either.

Now I want to rafa to finish the year number one and he has some, but not a lot of points to defend.


paula Says:

“And that comment shows what a adolescent little shit you. Perhaps you should go back kindergarden where they talk like that and also stick they tongues out at one another. This site is for adults and you clearly are not one.”

Uh oh. Martians and robots. Sheesh. We earthings are in danger.


paula Says:

What I love to do, is read comments like this out loud to my family. We all fall on the floor laughing. Not that it means that we are not worried, as, you know, earthlings.


WTF Says:

kimberly Says:

“No prize for me for wta draw challenge. Had vera won I would have won something. That final was absolutely pitiful.”

It’s Very Zvonereva. What were you expecting?

Her big achievement was getting to the final, which she’s done back to back now in GS.


fed is afraid Says:

happy for kim, but what a letdown
hope tomorrow’s match is better


Mike Says:

Like it or not the Djokovic win was the best result for tennis and for the final, He and Nadal are the 2 best players right now because of their combo of fitness, ball striking and mental strength. Federer and Murray simply dont compare anymore in this regard and are both declining in very different ways.


Skeezerweezer Says:

A great fabulous congrats to Nole fans, a epic match, hard fought, and well deserved. Now that looked like a semi final mens match!

Post Match thoughts

I know eveyone was looking at the quality ground wars, but Nole ‘s first serve % in the 5th was unreal, and he can’t serve?

Hope Nole still can bring the same stuff tomorrow to make it a quality final! Raga is waiting with a silver plate.

It was a great run for Fed, you still have your GOAT records, it’s all good :)


kimberly Says:

Is fed and novaks pressers up yet?


Skeezerweezer Says:

Wow, posters I thought were cool are coming out as closet Fed haters. Didn’t know Fed was so bad for the game :(. Oh well, good luck to your favs tomorrow!


paula Says:

be a lover not a hater, skeezer- love is beautiful. Hate is not so beautiful.


kimberly Says:

Skeezer-im a rafa fan and I was disappointed fed lost. I guess I felt some sort of order and symetry in the duopoly. And I’m sorry for his fans. As per my earlier post he can make up some points from here to the end of the year and have a good seeding for ao 2011. Perhaps the duopoly will become a triopoly? Murray needs to clean up his act. He just doesn’t look like he cares out there anymore and his presser was downright depressing. Will be interesting to see what delpo can do as well.

2011 will be interesting. Will wozniaki, murray win slams. Will serena continue to dominate? Is venus getting too old? Will marin cilic find his game? Will rafa continue his dominance? Will fed get back to number 1?


thark Says:

how can he say he won’t watch? that’s borderline uncool – it’s like he’s implying that he’s above it. seriously fed, do you have something better already planned?

i remember somebody posting a comment by ferrer that was something to the effect of “i have the talent of a 100 rank player with the spirit of a number 1 player.” until today i always thought of nole as the inverse – his talent has always been obvious but he would get whiny, let things under his skin, make excuses, retire. i have to say that this performance really showed that he has the mental fortitude to go with his skills. i just hope he can do it more consistently than he has in the past.

i also had minimized nole’s breathing issues in the past, but today it was really obvious that the man cannot pass air through his nasal passages. he was mouth breathing from the first point. not sure the exact nature of it, but he was able to overcome it today, so lots of credit to him.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Now Fed is gonna be called uncool if he doesn’t watch theatch tomorrow. Gimme a break, thus is what I am talkin about. Thark you are implying, do you know what assume means ? Fed haters unite! Lol

Out


Skeezerweezer Says:

Thanks Kimberly it’s all good. I predicted posters not to assume Fed was in the final, so it is cool. Novak was due , and it took the heart of a lion, and Novak showed it. He is only 23, the world is in front of him. While Fed is trying to hold on to his fantastic career. Still very proud of the Fed’s career, and all will be chasing his GOAT records for years to come:)


paula Says:

what is GOAT- I know they are weird devilly animals whose eyeballs are on the sides of their faces. But in regard to tennis-don’t know.


kimberly Says:

I’m interested to see what roger has to say in his presser. I think novak won the fifth set but feds play in sets 2 and 4 was pretty poor. But listen the guy has 16 GS and is the all time great, maybe he’s just not that motivated anymore. Novak is much hungrier for the win. I am still very disappointed for no fedal, it just seemed inevitable. Maybe this loss will make roger hungrier. It is sad to hear all the talk of his “decline” but come on, the guy has certainly had his day (six years) in the sun.

Novak put in a great effort and he deserves recognition as well. However, with that said VAMOS!!!!!

Nervous for tomorrow but will try to enjoy the final no matter what happens.


Seth Says:

Credit to Nole and congrats to his fans. He grew up a bit during that fifth set. Facing those two match points, he didn’t flinch; instead he just buckled down took them away from Federer with two huge forehands. That was a real gutcheck moment. A very impressive performance all in all, and I’ll be rooting for him to take his first US Open title tomorrow.

As for Federer, I’m not sure how he managed to make it in a five-set affair in the first place. I don’t think I’ve seen him play worse in a big match recently. His first serve percentage was completely in the toilet. And it seemed like he managed to find a way to turn into Roger Shankerer at all the worst moments. Granted, Nole’s play had a fair bit to do with this, but still, if you’re Fed, you’ve got to come out prepared for that sort of thing.


Skeezerweezer Says:

G reatest O f A ll T ime

Something that Rafa is striving for, despite what he says in a pre post presser. But it will be “impossible” and “very difficult”


paula Says:

Thanks skeezer- now I know.


Ben Pronin Says:

Honestly, I thought it was a pretty similar, if not identical match, to the final last year. Well, it had a lot of similarities. Fed’s serve was awful, he blew a 2-1 set lead. At least he didn’t wilt in the 5th this time. But still, Federer is not happy.


tenisbebe Says:

Skeezer – I believe Paula is pulling your leg as she writes a tennis blog….


Seth Says:

As for the GOAT issue, if I may gingerly wade into these turbulent waters, the thing people most often seem to forget in this debate is that Rafa is five years younger than Fed. Even should he win tomorrow (which I’m not entirely sure is going to happen; Nole is formidable), he still shouldn’t really be in the thick of that conversation for the very simple reason that his career isn’t over yet and he’s still far from passing Fed’s record. That history hasn’t been written yet.

Fed’s decline at 29 years of age (well towards elderly for a tennis player) has always been inevitable and should surprise no one. Some folks act as if he should still be dominating the tour like the younger buck he was three or four or five years ago. Even without a strong rival like Rafa, he’d have to slow down eventually due to the inevitable physics of aging. Those who seem to have a pathological need to dis Federer conveniently forget this. If Fed were 25 and falling off precipitously in his results after a few years of domination, then yeah, there’d be more of a story here.

But the real story is this: you have two of the greatest and most gifted players in history playing in roughly the same era, though one is five years older than the other. The younger one is still on the upward arc of his career trajectory, and the older one is predictably one the downward arc. When the dust settles five years from now, we’ll be able to see much more clearly who exactly might be superior to whom. As it stands now, 16 Grand Slams (and possibly more) for Roger, leaving him atop the heap until someone else surpasses him.


jane Says:

Thanks Sean, for the great write up; I still have to watch the tape but it sounds like a very topsy-turvy match with a wildlt tense 5th set.

Congrats to Kim Clijsters for her 3rd US Open title.

I hope Nole has something left in the tank for tomorrow so he can compete with Rafa! No matter what happens, though, I think this was an important win for him, confidence wise and maturity wise. I have been impressed, over all, with the way he’s focused on getting the job done this event, how much he has dealt with, in terms of conditions, etc. Of course all the guys have done so as well, but he’s in the finals now. Wow! I couldn’t be happier.

And don’t worry Fed fans; your man was top flight at this event; just on fire during the Soderling match. That must’ve been fun for you all to watch, so remember that.

Cheers, till tomorrow!!


Skeezerweezer Says:

tenisbebe & Paula,

Sorry :(, I am a little “sensitive” at the moment, I may need therapy after Feds loss, wait! I found a beer! nevermind :) all is good.,,


Skeezerweezer Says:

Seth ,

Nice post :) yeah I wish they were the same age and all, that would have been very cool. But it is what it is. Maybe soon Rafa will have a younger up and comer to rival his legacy. It would be good for tennis :)

But for now records remain, respect given, and Rafa is the current lone man chasin, let’s see how the next couple of years pan out :)


paula Says:

I was not pulling anyone’s leg. Just learning about the lingo here.
GO- go tennis players!


Mihajlo Soc Says:

Federer comments after the match:
“I won’t watch, but I hope [Nadal] wins.”!!!?

Why? Because he knows he can’t go back to No.1, and he is hoping he can fight back to No.2? Or he likes Rafa and dislike Nole?

Is it nice to say? I don’t think so

Federer is showing again how bad looser he is.

The better will win, same as today.


jane Says:

Oh yeah, and did you Fed fans realize this? You’re so spoiled! : ) ; )
Just kiddin, but it’s true. Fed’s been in the finals for 6 years straight!

“And it’s the first time since 2003—when Andy Roddick won to just prove to you how long it’s been—that Federer will not play in the Open men’s final.”

source: http://www.observer.com/2010/daily-transom/novak-spoiler-defeats-federer-five-set-classic


Twocents Says:

Ben Pronin,

This semi was just like last year’s final for a good reason: youth prevails and payback time. Fed had no serve, FH, footwork…

Hardcore Fed fan I am, I’d feel so sorry for Djok had he lost today. He was rubbed of set 1 & 3 by a never-say-die champion.

Heads up, Fed fans, our man should have lost 0:3 but made it to MP at the 5th. Good fight!

Sorry Roger, no more bashing on your pink shirt from me — seems work better than blue :-)).


Twocents Says:

We’re a spoiled bunch, Jane. :-((

Bad loser or not, our man went down fighting: WO08, AO09, USO10, all 5 sets, just like a king!

And he’s got back his AO :-)).

Go Fed!


Twocents Says:

Mayor Bloomgerg to Fed:

“There are hundreds of fine stores open on Sunday in Big Apple and they take cash (Euro, dollar,Yen, Swiss Franc, whatever), check, plus all sorts of plastic cards. Hope you have a great time shopping and do your fair share of helping out our economy recovery.

When the going gets tough. The tough goes shopping.”


Mihajlo Soc Says:

Twocents:
…our man went down fighting…

Yes, but he got to play all evening matches – beside one (not only in NY, but all over). Other payers have to fight @ 120F on direct sunshine. Is it OK? I don’t think so. They are favoring Federer too much, and it is hard to win against him when everybody wants him in final. More credits to Djokovic.

And this suppose to be a sport, not a soap opera.

Beside Nole has better chances against Rafa anyway.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Spoiled. Bad losers…..lingo….?????

Ok then.

Out


thark Says:

skeezer…

shamon dude it’s not like that. i’m sayin i think he should watch the match – doesn’t make me a hater.


tennis coach Says:

Congrats Nole,great tennis and great victory!

Hey Von, where are you now?

I really want to hear what kind of excuses you will come up with to downplay Novak’s victory.


Twocents Says:

Mihajlo Soc,

Nole deserved all the credit, but that takes nothing away from the fighting Fed put down today, and Wednesday, and 1st round… since 2003 (it’s been too long, I know, you’ve wiated). As I said, it should have been 0:3.

The beautiful agression tennis in the 5th set took my breath away. Fed/Djok at Flushing Meadow never disappointed me: 07, 08, 09, 10.


Skeezerweezer Says:

No prob thark :) I am the sore loser tonight lol. Novak played awesome and time for another beer. I’ll watch tomorrow, Fed has a history of not watching after he loses, re; Wimby

Tx for the Shamooonn!


Twocents Says:

I’ve finished all the bubbly anyway over the R1 tweener :-)). Will pick up some good ones at duty free tomorrow.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Twocwnts,

:)


Voicemale1 Says:

It seems that Federer’s losses this year share the same characteristic: he’s playing for long periods of time in matches from behind the base line more and more. It’s hard for a guy like him to win from there. I agree it’s the footwork that’s the real culprit: it’s diminishing. The shanked Forehands are a result of his feet not being properly set to make contact correctly, so he’s left to ‘arm” the ball and it’s a disaster. Playing back there is giving him more time to get his feet set, but it’s also giving the better guys a lot more options to do as they wish against him. Time and again he’s out of the Middle of the Court, place he used to own. Federer’s recovery from shot to shot also isn’t what it was in his prime. So now there’s that little bit more distance to cover when these better guys jerk him from side to side. The sloppier footwork is really the classic sign of the aging player; always has been. It’s what leads to that inevitability Chris Evert said applies to every aging player, including herself: “When you get older, you just have more bad days”. Federer is going to find that he’s going to have to work harder and harder off the court to not necessarily just get better, but mainly just to keep up.

As for tomorrow. Despite what happened today, Djokovic DOES have a serious chance to win it. Every time he’s beaten Nadal it’s been on a hard court. And a court like this one helps him a lot. I’d say you could even favor him but for the fact this is a Best of Five – and Nadal in a 5th Set life time is 13-3, which is stunning. In Nadal’s favor, the beefed up Serve he now has only gives him even more options. It’s tough enough that Nadal has those 3 or 4 spots he can hit in the box with his Sliced Serve with impunity. That he can do it now with a Flat Heater as well only makes him tougher to beat. It’s mind boggling that he came to this tournament and not only has won every set he’s played, but has lost his Serve only 3 times in six matches. On paper, and given Djokovic has to be physically and emotionally running on fumes, it’s really Nadal’s match to lose.

That said. Nadal will be the one who has to deal with all the nerves: not only trying to complete his own personal Grand Slam, but also chasing history. By winning tomorrow he’d be the first man to have won 3 Majors in succession since Rod Laver in 1969. Nadal will have all of the expectations of winning tomorrow resting on his shoulders, and we’ve seen Nadal get a bit tight before in those circumstances. Djokovic will have relatively few expectations on him going in – which incidentally is exactly the scenario he had in today’s match. That should allow him to swing a lot more freely than he otherwise would. If Nadal gets tight, and the score starts to swing away from him, expect Nadal do resort to Plan B: he’ll retrieve and retrieve and retrieve everything he can, and to turn the Final into a Lung Busting – Leg Hobbling contest of stamina. If he does, that could push Djokovic to the breaking point both physically and mentally. I’ll say Nadal in 4 or 5 very hard fought sets.


tennisfansince76 Says:

Djokos presser on usopen.org has a lot of funny mooments.


sar Says:

I picked Novak and Rafa for the final in racket bracket with Novak to win.


zola Says:

Congratulations to all Rafa fans here for his first US Open final appearance. Hope he can play the same way tomorrow. (please no rain!)

Congratulations to Jane, margot, Duro and all Djoko fans. He played a great match.

Sorry for Federer’s loss. he played very strangely today. After his magical game against Soderling I was convinced he would win Djoko and even perhaps Rafa. He was flawless in his match against Soderling. Today he had lots of errors, perhaps forced by Djoko’s game.
Well, he has nothing to worry about. He has records that no one can break.

Tomorrow Rafa will be fresher and I hope he can pull off the win and make history. I still think it is not fair to have the semis and the finals back to back.Hopefully the US Open will make some changes.

The press conferences are up:

Rafa’s press conference:
http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2010-09-11/201009111284244246527.html

Youzhny’s:

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2010-09-11/201009111284243709734.html

Roger’s:
http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2010-09-11/201009111284257813671.html

Djoko’s:
http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/interviews/2010-09-11/201009111284258182612.html

you can watch the press conferences in full length here:
http://www.usopen.org/en_US/interactive/video/index.html?promo=PhotoInNav&category=press


guy Says:

an interesting stat, federer only won 34% of rally points.

federer’s footwork was as good as it’s ever been. as expected, here comes the ‘fed is so old’ era.

the truth is he was redlining his game, esp on the forehand. and it was very impressive when it was working, hitting amazing shots, and nothing much djoker could do. but it’s unrealistic to play that high risk for 5sets and expect low errors. djoker hung in there long enough for the law of averages to take effect.

but there are probably only a couple of guys right now, the two in the final, that could have stopped federer this week.


zola Says:

Voicemale 1
great analysis, as always!

I always fear Djoko’s game against Rafa on the hard courts. But I am curious to see how Rafa can measure up to this challenge.

btw, Rafa has dropped serve only twice. One to Verdasco and one to Youzhny.


Ben Pronin Says:

Am I the only one who finds it strange that Nadal might even win this whole thing without dropping a set? Same guy who’s been blasted off this court over the last few years? It’d be like Sampras winning RG without dropping a set.


johhny Says:

@tennis coach

she is busy in the kitchen working on a spell for Novak tomorrow/today ;)


Skeezerweezer Says:

Watched Feds presser for the first time don’t know what the complaints are,? He wants to spend time with his kids, its been all about him for a couple of weeks, he has a another life you know now, not like a Nole or Rafa, who is not married and no kids, so WTF? IMO the presser was excellent….and so was Novaks! :), although not good to hear from him that he is exhausted…hope he can stop by the gas station and gets his tanked filled before he plays…


Ben Pronin Says:

Fed’s pressed was fine. He credited Novak but also pointed out it wasn’t his overall best performance. Not too bad considering I really believe he is furious with the loss. He can do whatever he wants now, he’s got no kore obligations.


valky Says:

With his game like yesterday Djoko deserves to win tomorrow I believe he will eat Nadal’s game in just three sets.


zola Says:

the pressers are on the US Open site. I put the links up but it is “awaiting moderation”. I also have my congratz to the Djoko fans here (especially Jane) and Commiserations to the Fed fans.

I see no big deal in Federer not watching the final. What if he said he would watch it? I find some of his other comments a bit edgy but altogether he was very composed, made no excuses and answered all questions. Djoko was so happy and his his presser was really funny. His reaction showed how much this win meant to him.


zola Says:

The women’s final was so lopsided. I expected to see more game from Vera, but she was too nervous.
Congratz to Kim. Jada is just so beautiful and a carbon copy of her mom!


Voicemale1 Says:

Ben:

You need to stop with this innuendo & subliminally suggesting there’s something nefarious going on with Nadal. I know you dislike him and root against him but try setting your emotions aside. He’s worked hard to get where he is. Do you understand that when he won in Australia his first 5 matches went in straight sets? The plain fact is he’s gotten better and better because he simply works harder than anyone out there. The added heat to his serve isn’t as though he’s doing someone no other player is doing. The grip he used to have on the racquet was the standard or classic backhand grip, with the index knuckle & heel pad of his left hand resting on the First (or top) bevel of the racquet. Its only spin that can come from this because the face of the racquet is almost completely closed at contact. By moving his grip down to a “cheat” between the Continental (the standard serve grip with the same hand points on the 2nd bevel) and an Eastern grip (Federer’s Forehand Grip, hand points on the 3rd bevel), the face opens up much more when he pronates his wrist, so the contact with the ball is now on the center of the strings from a more head on position instead of sliding over the side of the ball, which is the Slice. That’s what generates the heat. Nadal’s slower (but hugely effective( Slice Serve resulted from his unorthodox Classic Backhand Grip on the serve motion. He’s now just doing what every big server has always done: use a more conventional serve grip.

It aint Rocket Science Ben, nor is it a conspiracy.


zola Says:

Ben,

In addition to the improvements in Rafa’s game, this year he is in the US Open with no injury and with less miles on his legs. Last year he had a 3 cm tear in his abdomen and the previous year he just came from winning RG, Wimbledon and the Olympics. I remeber in 2007 he had a doctor and his knees were treated by laser and injections in between matches. I can still remember that he sat on the ground in pain during his match with Ferrer and has to take a few weeks off afterwards.

It is not like Rafa has never won comfortably on hard courts. He won AO in 2009 and has reached the semis of the US Open and the AO a few times. He is also a two times Wimbledon champion. SO no! His not deopping a set is not “strange”. If he stays healthy, he might surprise you even more.


madmax Says:

tenisbebe Says:
Sonic says “I would have liked to see him win it with a bit more drama, maybe saving virtual matchpoints like FED on RG 09 vs Haas and Del Potro. Seems a bit flat for him to just take it like this with no opposition.” That’s how I felt about Federer’s 2009 French Open win – no opposition with the exception of Haas (who wasn’t even ranked in the top 20 at the time I believe. A cupcake walk to the trophy. But it wasn’t his fault Rafa lost and it’s not Rafa’s fault Murray and Roger lost – you play who gets thru.

September 11th, 2010 at 9:05 pm

tennisbebe, just what is your problem, swearing and coming on here being rude to kimo. you are the joke. Yeah of course, rafa lost in 2009 because SODERLING destroyed him. Why can’t you be as gracious as your champion? And swearing now? so classy.

you obviously didn’t watch the FO 09, when fed turned the match around against haas, at 3:4 when he was 2 sets down and also against delpo. you know very little tennisbebe. Being on TT has changed your attitude, or are you von in disguise?


jane Says:

skeezer & Twocents, I meant the “spoiled” comment as a joke I hope you realize!!? : ) Fed fans bask in the glory of victory so much. You’re lucky! Anyhow, thanks for the great comments from both of you. You know Fed’s great; I don’t need to tell you of course. That’s why Nole’s win is even more special. He beat the King of the USO in 5 tightly fought sets. That’s huge, considering he’d lost to him for 3 years running.

I hope it’s good final.


pro rafa Says:

i was not surprised when djokovic won… i saw only the first set n till what i saw apart from the first point of the match(a superb backhand winner) federer was absolutely horrendous… at least 90% of all his shots were hitting the net of going to the umpire’s chair or straight to the ball-boys…. well done djoko… all the best to both players in the final


Wheeler Says:

I think Nole really wants this US Open and if he just decides he wants it no matter what, Nole’s peak performance on hard courts can shadow Nadal’s best IMO. But if he’s tired and has to retire or can’t give his best due to fatigue, it will be very disappointing.


David Says:

Rain’s the definite X factor here. If they play today, it’s got to be a big edge for Rafa, but if they play on Monday I’d give Djoko the edge. He’s clearly handled Rafa on hard courts with the exception of the Olympic semis.


mat4 Says:

Some thoughts about the Rog-Nole match.

First, everybody is repeating that Fed didn’t play well (especially on french’s sites). That’s not true: both Federer and Djokovic never play well those matches, excepted, maybe, the semi-final two years ago, when Roger was serving above 80%. That’s because they don’t have clear cut plans of play one against the other.

Let’s start with Novak. His main weapons are his I/O FH, CC FH and his BH down the line. Unfortunately, Fed has a better CC FH, as we have seen once again last night. When he tries to play I/O FH on Fed’s backhand and then a backhand down the line, he has to hit the ball very deep otherwise RF can unleashed his own patented BH down the line; then, when Roger slices (cheaps?) crosscourt, Novak gets a low ball that he cannot hit flat nor deep enough. Most of the time, Roger manages to catch the ball and to play a counter CC FH. What’s then left? Play inside out till he manages to make a FH down the line, but this FH has to be near the lines, because Roger is very fast and the other side of the court is uncovered.

Roger has other problems. He cannot really attack from his BH, because Djoko hits back with a lot of spin, and it is very difficult to control the ball. When he serves, he cannot go for a high % of first serves against one of the best returner of the game, but has to take a lot of risks. He cannot wait and chose his moment, neither, because Djokovic is not passive. So his only real option is to go forward, playing very deep, otherwise he will be passed at the net.

So they both took a lot of risks attacking. Fed was perfect at the net, using every single shorter ball in the middle to go forward. When you remember what happend to Mardy Fish when rushing at the net, you can only admire his approach strokes and volleying. He underperformed while serving, excepted in the last set, when he had a better pourcentage – but then, his performance after his first serve rapidly dropped (from 95% to 75%). He was not moving at his best perhaps, toward the end. Nole returned very well and covered the court the best he can. He played with a lot of spin from both sides, and that causes a lot of UE from Fed, especially since he’s playing with a smaller racket head. But most important: he served well, had of lot of free points, and managed to win more thant 50% of points on his second serve. And although Djoko won 25 points more than Roger, the match was decided by one or two balls. And it was a good match. What’s new is that Novak managed to stay focused under pressure, to save match points, and ultimatively win.

Today, Novak will play Rafa and the situation is completely different. First, he is convinced that he is the better player on hardcourts. He will have much more confidence, especially after a win against Roger. Then, he knows what he has to do: just like Rafa bombs Roger’s BH, Nole will attack Rafa’s, to open the court for his I/O FH. Every time Rafa plays a CC FH, since his balls have a high rebound, Nole will be able to attack them with his FH down the line, and when Rafa plays his own FH down the line, Nole can play CC FH with a acute angle on Rafa’s backhand. Altough Rafa has improved his backhand, Nole is better on that side, and Rafa has difficulties playing balls with high rebounds, especially because he doesn’t play them always on the rise. From the baseline, Rafa has no chance (let’s just remember the beat down in Paris, last year, and if Djoko is playing his FH deep and with conviction, there won’t be no real match). When serving, since Rafa is lefty and awaits the opponent’s serve far behind the baseline, so Nole will be able to prepare his points.

On the other side, Rafa has three advantages: he serves better, Nole could be nervous because he didn’t play a GS final for two years, and, most important of all, Nole may not recover enough. Let’s not forget that Rafa is a great champion, too. He had the luck not to play a big fighter with a potent backhand till now, so we don’t really know in what shape he is. Will his improved skills on hard be enough to beat his nemesis? I think not. Novak should step on the stadium on adrenaline and win in straight sets.

A final word: I don’t understand why fans (and sometimes experts) don’t believe players. RF was quite clear before the match: the winner will be the one who plays better on a given day. Let’s pay Novak what is due to him. I am also glad to see that stats don’t lie: they are now at 6:6 in the last 12 matches. It was Novak’s turn to win, and luck was with him.


sonic Says:

>That’s how I felt about Federer’s 2009 French Open win – no opposition with the exception of Haas (who wasn’t even ranked in the top 20 at the time I believe. A cupcake walk to the trophy. But it wasn’t his fault Rafa lost and it’s not Rafa’s fault Murray and Roger lost – you play who gets thruReally sonic, no opposition? I guess Nole’s just
some third seeded hack hey?<

Nole is dead tired. Less than 20 hours to recover from the biggest win in over 2 years. We are talking about a player that recovers worse than a third world country against the fittest, most demanding opponent in the world. Nadal is the best 2nd serve returner in the world, and Djokovic’s 1st serve has become more like a second serve. There is just no chance once his legs go even 5%.

Yes, if they play today Nole is no opposition. And yes, between the players he played, the conditions they were in, and the conditions that the matches were played in (Verdasco could have been bit dangerous, but the wind took any danger away making flat shots and impossibility) have conspired to give Nadal the easiest won US Open in open era.

Of course, noone will remember or care about that in a few years, but it is the truth.

Can anyone here really be so blind as to believe Djokovic has any chances? With his bulit and stamina? Time to join delusional anyonimus if you do.

Time to hire come indians to dance the rain dance or this will be the worst slam final yet this year.


mat4 Says:

About recovering: Nole has played about half an hour effectively more than Rafa.

About Rafa’s serve: last year already, at Paris, he served about 125 mph. His progress is not from yesterday.


madmax Says:

mat4,

great post about novak’s game. He fully deserved to win yesterday. It was a great match.

I didn’t understand your last paragraph though.

“I am also glad to see that stats don’t lie: they are now at 6:6 in the last 12 matches. It was Novak’s turn to win, and luck was with him”

September 12th, 2010 at 8:23 am

It’s 10:6 to Fed.


madmax Says:

It’s started already federer fans.

read the link, but most importantly…the comments.

http://www.skysports.com/story/0,19528,12046_6372468,00.html


Dan Martin Says:

I think ESPN has a lot to do with who plays night matches as they are looking for ratings and cash from advertisers. CBS needs to move the women’s final to prime time Sunday and have the men play prime time on Monday night. Super Saturday has too much of an impact on who is fresh for the final. I still pick Nole in 4. I think if he returns well he will trouble Rafa and how much pressure does he have? Rafa is the favorite no doubt, but I think Novak wins.


Duro Says:

Maxi, shameful and an ignorant text. The author doesn’t know sh&t. Not only that he doesn’t respect the greatest champion ever, but he couldn’t even inform himself on the results in previous Roger-Novak matches. I can never understand how someone give himself a right to write public texts and doesn’t follow the the subject that he covers. Amateurs… I bet most of the people here know more about tennis then this stupid author. Ignore it an despise it.


montecarlo Says:

I think best chance for Novak is when scenario turns out to be something like 2008 semifinal between Murray and Nadal i.e. the match is played over two days. Murray won that match coz rain came to the rescue when Murray was tiring down in the third set after winning first two close sets. He got enough rest and finished Nadal the next day.
I am pretty sure Djokovic will be pretty competitive or may be even better player for first two sets. So if he wins the first set today and get a lead (or win the 2nd set as well) and then the rest of the match is played tomorrow Djokovic will definitely win.


Farley Says:

Good analysis from Mat4. A agree with you, Nole will beat Rafa in 3 sets.


Klaas Says:

Rafa is a huge favourite. No way Djokovic will recover from his match in less than 24 hrs. The first set and a half will be exciting and then Djoko will fade.

Too bad, this could have been an exciting final, Djoko has proven more than once that his backhand is equal to Rafas forehand.

One reason I think Fed lost set 2 and 4 so fast, that it must have been on the back of his mind, that in order to stand a chance against Nadal, it was vital to keep matchtime down. I am not saying that they were conscious decisions, just, that any intelligent human would have had that thought.


Eskay Says:

Roger did not give short balls, but Rafa will not be able to hit deep always. His return of serve whether on forehand or backhand is soemtimes short. Nole will take advantage of that. Nole’s return of serve is better. Exaggerated top spin is not much of a problem with Nole. It would boil down to UEs and Rafa is not economical these days. Both are balanced on winners as well as aces. Rafa is fresh, but it would be a factor if the match goes beyond 4 sets. Rafa is too dogged to let the match go away from him easily. He appears to have tryst with destiny today.


Ben Pronin Says:

I’ll keep suggesting something nefarious is going on until people start looking deeper. Good analysis of the grip change, best one I’ve seen, but the whole premise is still an absolute joke.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Jane,

We’re good :). Enjoy the match today , Novak and Rafa have earned it!


Marko Polo Says:

I am so happy Nole won yesterday that I cannot even describe with words!!!???? I am happy not only because of his game! What facinates me the most was his focus and willingness to stay with Fed until the end. Something he’s failed at in the past and simply folded against Fed and other players when he sensed loosing the finish line!!!!!! Kudos to Nole!!!!!!! He did not get disappointed when facing match point he scrammbled and found solutions!!!!! Great effort!!! What can I say about Fed? He is still the best ever so no need to be hard on him!!!!! He has a lot of good tennis left in him and he will prove that soon no worries!!!! Nadal on the other hand is waiting for his chance to break through tomorrow. With and exausted Nole in the Final his chance is more realistic than we think. Not that I don’t trust Nole!!!!! I believe Nole really wants the title, but wanting and being able to, are two different things. He will really, really surprise me if he takes it tomorrow, considering how fragile he has been in the past when none of us believed that he is able to beat Fed and Nole back to back in a slam…. All jokes aside, this reminds me of the following: Nole-Rafa Madrid (Nole battling with Rafa for hours and Fed taking the title……)!!!!! I hope the same formula does not apply to Nole tomorrow!!!!!!! He’s worked hard and should continue to sail to the finish line no matter what!!!!!!! Recharge your batteries Nole and may confidence take you to your destination. Cheers for great tennis.


Voicemale1 Says:

Ben Pronin Says:
“I’ll keep suggesting something nefarious is going on until people start looking deeper. Good analysis of the grip change, best one I’ve seen, but the whole premise is still an absolute joke.”
—————————————————-

If you or anyone levels, suggests, infers, or implies any accusation, the burden of proof is on you to prove any claim you make IS true; it’s not up to anyone else to disprove your claim simply because you make it. The onus of proof is on you. It’s the founding principle of any Individualism Legal Theory. That’s why the burden of proof in criminal law is always on the State to prove guilt; the accused is not required to prove their innocence.

Just because you hold an absurd premise does not equate or conflate to idea anyone else must dislodge you of a notion you spend no actual time proving it’s veracity. It’s a suspicion you have, and nothing more. It’s you who must produce actual evidence. And “evidence” on an accusation that Nadal is using some sort of illegal substance is factual data proving your claim. And the link you posted earlier isn’t “evidence”. The opinions and editorials or musings of other like minded conspiracists is not “evidence” – it’s hearsay. There’s probably no player in the game who gets tested more by WADA than Nadal. You have no real objective reason to believe what you do, unless you can prove conclusively WADA is hiding results. You simply choose to believe what you want to believe because you have a personal animus against Nadal. If anything in tennis is truly suspicious, or merits scrutiny, it’s how Federer has managed to get through as much of his career without ANY serious injury at all. THAT’S what defies any real logic, given how much tennis he’s played. You dont’ find it the least bit curious that Federer never had any knee, ankle, back, wrist, shoulder problem forcing him out of any tournaments? Even Sampras was forced out of events for injury and the Sampras game was far more economical in terms of length of a point than Federer. Why don’t you investigate how that’s possible?

And by the way, if you thought the explanation I gave about the actual practical effect of the grip change & its effects is the “best you’ve seen” then it’s clear you don’t know all that much about the actual game of tennis. Any tennis pro at any local club can explain to you what I just did, and it does have the effect I stated. When you hit the ball with more racquet face (i.e., closer to the Sweet Spot), the ball will move much more quickly. That’s why when a player Slices a backhand the ball moves to it’s target far more slowly than it does when they hit their backhands fully. If you are having trouble grasping something as simple to explain as this, then you have no business writing any columns on tennis. You’re nothing more than an enraged fan whose got a hardon for a player you dislike.

Grow up sweetheart.


Ben Pronin Says:

Federer raises suspicion, too. Particulalrly his ability to peak at the slams and make it deep without dropping a sweat. But Nadal is a lot more suspicious. I do believe the ATP “protects” the players unless it’s too blatant like finding HGH in your luggage at the airport. Why would they risk exposing Nadal? The world number 1 and currently more promotable and profitable player? No way. Too much money to lose and tennis isn’t exactly winning a lot of popularity contests as it is.

I agree, I need proof. And I’m working damn hard to get it. It’s not easy trying to expose the ATP, ITF, and WADA all at once. Until then I’ll make hints. Don’t worry though, Nadal isn’t the only one, far from it.


Ben Pronin Says:

And it’s a little nonsensical to say that because yours is the best explanation I’ve SEEN means I don’t know much about tennis. It doesn’t mean I didn’t already know what you said, I just haven’t seen anyone lay it out the way you did, how is that my fault?


Voicemale1 Says:

Ben:

Heres’ the problem with your “theory” (such as it is). None of these alleged “assistances” are available only to the best players – all of them have access. So why then have Federer & Nadal been able to lock up the #1 & #2 rankings for going on 6 years? If the use of this stuff was so prevalent, why haven’t more players been able to dislodge these two from their perches after all this time?

You need to find more constructive things to do with your time, Ben. Clearly, if you spend time “working damn hard” to get your “proof”, you have WAY too much time on your hands. Imagine what you could do if you used all that energy to advance you won life in a much more productive way – like learning the actual fundamentals of the game – which would make you a better writer on the subject?


Andrew Miller Says:

If the question is why is Nadal in the US Open Finals, here’s a clue: he played and beat Gabashvili (a good player, not a great player, in straight sets); Istomin (a good but very big and slow player, in straight sets); Simon (a good player but his best tennis is not this year, in straight sets); FLopez (hints of brilliance but never quite up to the challenge of beating the top tier of players at Slams; and a doormat for Nadal as a fellow Spaniard – sorry but those guys tend to law down when facing Nadal in the big tournaments); Verdasco, who, as others have said, owns some ferocious shotmaking but is a big, slow guy when compared with a guy of Michael Chang’s speed; and Mikail Youzhny, the world’s best tennis practice partner.

Nadal’s path to the final could be considered “possibly tough but doable” – so if anything Nadal’s met expectations. I haven’t been mesmerized by his play – he’s simply gotten the job done against opponents who aren’t as good – none of Nadal’s opponents are as good even as Janko Tipsaravic on his best day.

If anything, Nadal heads into the Djokovic match not having played anyone as tough as Djokovic, who with his win the other day shows that Djokovic can get over his health problems when he wants to.

This should be good news to Djokovic. If the question is drug use, these guys aren’t playing unbelievable tennis – they’re not even playing at the level of Sampras, Rafter or Safin when Safin leveled the field in 2000.


Andrew Miller Says:

In fact, even though the consensus is that Nadal will win today, it looks like a lot of things are going Djokovic’ way. He will probably lose the first set – but I expect Novak to put up the fight of a lifetime after seeing him through yesterday.

this might be Djokovic’ day. He has a memory of losing a final in 2007. He doesnt need another one of them.


Ben Pronin Says:

Rigth, I should just blindly follow the sport knowing there’s a serious issue underneath. I don’t think so. I know the fundamentals perfectly well. You wanna be naive? Not my problem. I’m not.


Andrew Miller Says:

Speaking of Janko Tipsarevic: I haven’t seen better shotmaking the whole tournament. The ailing, mono-ridden Roddick really ran into a freight train that day. I think Roddick recognizes this and for that, I think Roddick will be back soon.


rogerafa Says:

Now it is getting a bit absurd here. Nadal is the player he is because of the hard work he has put in to improve all the time. Federer also has had physical issues and missed tournaments due to injury and he does have a back problem. I haven’t heard of a serve-improving or injury-eliminating drug although I’d like to know about it :)


Marko Polo Says:

Andrew Miller, you are the man!!!!! Thank you for being so positive!!!!!! I hope you are right!!!!!???


Andrew Miller Says:

Why not be suspicious Ben of Djokovic? Usually the guy is keeling over in fifth sets but now he’s right as rain?


Andrew Miller Says:

(I just said that about Djokovic but really I think the guy is manning up – I dont think he’s on anything but Advil and inspiration).


Ben Pronin Says:

Everyones guilty until proven innocent.


Andrew Miller Says:

In terms of my own predictions, I am awful at them. I picked only 1 finalist out of four correctly for both the mens and womens draws. I would lose Las Vegas a lot of $.


Von Says:

Everyone’s innocent until proven guiltuy.


Ike Says:

Weather report:

Weather.com says currently there are showers at Flushing Meadow-Corona Park

At around 2 pm rain will stop but it will cloudy & humid, and then the rain (few showers) will return at 6 pm.

Thus, looks like we will have about 2 hours without rain for tennis (4-6 pm).

Assuming Rafa will have a good start, Nole wud need to play tight manage to win one set before rain starts, hope for the rain and resume tomorrow. I think it’s highly possible that rain will affect the momentum of one player.

Of course, ideally i wud like to c continuous / uninterrupted tennis, but seems like it won’t be.


rogerafa Says:

I think Nadal had two relatively tough opponents in the first two rounds but his next opponents were easily manageable. Verdasco was unlucky in really windy conditions but so was Soderling against Federer. The same applies to Monfils against Djokovic. You always need a bit of luck to win a slam and Nadal has been lucky in the sense he didn’t face anybody who could really trouble him on these courts. Neither Murray nor Berdych could meet him in the semi final. It is quite conceivable that the current version of Nadal would have won against them too especially against Berdych but either of those would have pushed Nadal much more than a tired Youzhny did. This would have made the final slightly more equal in terms of fatigue at least.

Now, Djokovic is probably drained physically, emotionally and mentally and despite his record against Nadal on hard courts, Nadal is the clear favorite today especially given that it is a best-of-five format. They have never played a best of five hard court match against each other. It is hard to bet against a fresh and fit Nadal who is serving so well and playing very aggressively. Djokovic’s best chance is to blast Nadal off the court but I don’t see that happening especially against THIS Nadal. It is much easier to do that in a best-of-three format. Djokovic still is not getting many free points off his serve and sustaining a high-risk offensive game is extremely difficult in a best-of-five format especially against Nadal who does not give you anything. I get the feeling Nadal is just destined to win this year and won’t allow anything to come between him and his First US open title. It will be a great example of what hard work and determination can achieve.


Anna Says:

So there you go…Ben is simply dyslexic. It’s innoscent until proven guilty Ben, so the proof of burden is on you. It’s amazing how you always manage to wait until fan hysteria has reached it’s peak to drag out your little conspiracy theories regarding Rafa to see what possible damage you can do to him and his fans. Your hugely transparent Ben. If you had real insight or knowledge you’d be only to happy to blast it all over the sight, but you don’t, so you have to play these little kiddee games. This is dispicable behavior, and dispicable behavior most often lead to dispicable people.


Colleen Says:

I agree with Ben in some ways, ped usage is something we should be allowed to discuss. Do we really think tennis is the only sport in he world that is clean? In regards to rogers lack of injuries, he does have a chronic back issue and there is no drug in the world that will magically prevent someone from incurring an injury.

In regards to Rafa, I just think he was very lucky with the draw. That said, it is strange for a player at age 24 to suddenly add 10 miles per hour to their serve when it was pretty much the same for the last 5 years. I will except the grip change explanation bc it makes sense and if rafa is using, well it didn’t suddenly start at usopen 2010.

The problem with drug testing is that many substances such as hgh or igf-1 cannot be detected by the urine test tennis uses, if they are even detectable at all. Tennis players are given a blood test only about once per year apparently.

Drugs like epo and others can cycle out of an athletes system in a matter of days but the benefits can last much longer.


Twocents Says:

Jane,

No worry, got your joke and that’s the spirit: be thankful. Fed fans are spoiled and lucky and lazy, like our man :-)). Enjoy the final with a free mind: Marry Carrilo was beyond mean when she claimed on CBS yesterday that nobody wanted Novak to win. Hey, not even this (coward) Fed fan wanted a Fedal final.

Two thumbs up for Djok to spoil the (imaginary) party! And for Fed to blow up the two MPs! Such powerful statement from the king’s racquet: I could have showed up for your party, but I decided to venture out the Big Apple Sunday store clearance, instead. LOL.

Awesome tournament!


Dan Martin Says:

PEDs have been found in all sorts of sports over the past 30+ years. Track and Field, cycling, American football, baseball, MMA, … Courier raised some questions about EPO in the 90′s when his clay court dominance slipped. I have not really heard any other top level male players raise concerns. I think it is plausible and maybe even probable that PEDs are being used on the ATP in a widespread fashion. Designer drugs can be hard to catch and some drugs can’t be caught without extremely invasive tests. As to who may be using those drugs, I can’t say.

On one anecdotal aside, I saw clips of the 1992 US dream team basketball game against Angola the day of the US team playing Angola in the 2010 World Championships. Every 2010 player other than Kevin Durant looked noticeably bigger and more muscular than the 1992 team. This could mean any number of things. Undoubtedly, weight training strategies have improved in basketball and all sports. Michael Jordan hired a personal strength coach in the early 90′s and 2 decades later many players have followed this trend. Nutritional supplements are also undoubtedly better than in the early 90′s. Basketball, like tennis, is a sport where players have to execute coordinated actions while running. The while running aspect of hoops has likely kept HGH and roid use to a minimum. I am not sure if basketball is dirty, but I have to say the physique changes in 18 years were striking. Weight lifting came into basketball in the 1970′s (Joe Hall was accused of ruining the sport when his teams in the 70′s started lifting weights). In tennis there have been striking changes in physiques as well. Lendl and Courier were fitness nuts, but neither were as muscular as many current players. It could be that the techniques Lendl and Courier pioneered have become more widespread and have improved over the years. I have no evidence. I can say physiques have changed. I can’t say why. My $.02


Twocents Says:

I got some really powerful energy booster herbs from Tibert. But for the worry of doping testing, I’d had them overnited to Djok yesterday.

About half of my friends in NYC had put their final tickets on sale and are heading for Greenwhich shopping, in the hope of running into the Fed clan. Good for economy :-)).


mat4 Says:

@madmax: sorry, but the stats is the sequel of a previous post. In their last 12 matches, Roger or Nole can have +1, but never +2, so the only result you don’t know is when they are even. RF was leading 6 to 5, so it was Nole turn to win.


rogerafa Says:

Colleen,

We should be allowed to discuss ped usage but there is a time and a place for it. Not before a slam final. It is unfortunate that it was raised here on this thread totally out of the blue.


Dan Martin Says:

I would infer from that the fact that players are relatively silent when it comes to voicing concerns about PEDs either means the sport is pretty clean or that almost everyone is in some way chemically enhanced.


Golf is barely a Sport Says:

We know Rafa cheats in other areas of tennis. He gets coaching during matches. He takes too long between points. He is now wearing a shirt the same color as the ball. He might even be trying to give his opposition and the ball kids e coli in an act of germ warfare due to the germ laden sweat on his hands after he does his picking.

Add the secrecy of Team Rafa to the disregard for other rules of tennis and I’d say he’s a person of interest when it comes juiced tennis players.


mat4 Says:

About Rafa’s form:

In the second part of last year, everybody was repeating that Rafa isn’t in good shape etc. But it was far from the truth. I watch a lot of his matches: he lost against JMPD, Davydenko, Cilic and Djoko before the Masters. Cilic in Beijing was in outstanding form and almost won the final against Djoko. He played the brand of aggressive tennis on hard courts Rafa doesn’t like. Davy won the masters, DelPo the USO, Djoko everything else. Rafa managed to play the semi of every tournament he entered.

There was no bad form: he hit deep and with few UE, from the BH and from the FH side; he hit his first serve 125 mph most of the time, and if he didn’t wont tournaments, it’s because there is a certain type of players he simply can’t beat.

As some of us had already noticed it: he just didn’t play any of such players at this USO. So, to make Rafa a favorite against Djoko who cleaned the floor with him in Paris (it was one of the most severe beat down between top ten players I ever watched) is a bit risky, especially if they don’t play today because of the rain.


mat4 Says:

@Ben: I am one of the anonymous on THASP site, and I have to say that I have not doubts, but certitudes. You have a lot of courage to speak about it here.


Colleen Says:

Dan,
I think it is hard for the players to speak out against it because they can have suspicions but without hard evidence they can’t say anything.

In Michael Mewshaws article “A Short history of Drugs in tennis” @ inside tennis.com he points out that Nicholas Escude was “cracked down hard” by tennis authorities when he claimed playings were doping, and his allegations that the ATP didn’t reveal some positive tests were later proved to be true as well. Escude was proven right when 7 seven players were belatedly revealed to have tested positive for nandrolone and 53 with elevated levels, but only one, bodhan ulirach was named/punished by the ATP.

Federer has spoken out in favor of the whereabouts rule, basically saying sure it’s a hassle, but without ooc testing, how are you going to ensure that the sport is clean and he would rather cooperate and know that he is playing a clean opponent.

Nadal and murray have spoken out against the rule
on the grounds of privacy invasion but have not provided an alternate solution, nadal even saying
that opposition to it was unanimous among players, but as Federer has shown, it is not.

Players are not tested that often ooc anyway and almost all the tests are at player hotels just before a tourny as it’s a lot easier and more affordable for wada to do the tests when players are in one spot as opposed to chasing them around the world.

Anyway this topic is a minefield and I don’t have time to post anymore today, but the tennis world has never been very forthcoming about the topic of doping.


pro rafa Says:

http://www.usopen.org/en_US/news/articles/2010-09-12/201009121284300227475.html

Nadal owns a 14-7 edge over Djokovic in career meetings, but the Serb leads 7-3 in hard courts matches. Djokovic will no doubt come out firing in an attempt to get on top early against the top seed. That’s especially critical against Nadal, who owns a staggering 107-1 record in Grand Slam matches in which he wins the first set. The question will be how much does Djokovic have left in his tank on the heels of his physical and emotionally draining semifinal win? If he’s not topped off, he can’t hope to keep pace with the ever-accelerating top seed, who has played from the start like a man on a mission. Today, it’s mission accomplished. In three, Nadal is the US Open champion.

Hope this turns out to be true!!
Vamos Rafa


pro rafa Says:

@ mat4 Says:

About Rafa’s form:

In the second part of last year, everybody was repeating that Rafa isn’t in good shape etc. But it was far from the truth. I watch a lot of his matches: he lost against JMPD, Davydenko, Cilic and Djoko before the Masters. Cilic in Beijing was in outstanding form and almost won the final against Djoko. He played the brand of aggressive tennis on hard courts Rafa doesn’t like. Davy won the masters, DelPo the USO, Djoko everything else. Rafa managed to play the semi of every tournament he entered.

There was no bad form: he hit deep and with few UE, from the BH and from the FH side; he hit his first serve 125 mph most of the time, and if he didn’t wont tournaments, it’s because there is a certain type of players he simply can’t beat.

As some of us had already noticed it: he just didn’t play any of such players at this USO. So, to make Rafa a favorite against Djoko who cleaned the floor with him in Paris (it was one of the most severe beat down between top ten players I ever watched) is a bit risky, especially if they don’t play today because of the rain.

September 12th, 2010 at 1:04 pm

the djoko rafa is gonna face today will be a little tired even if he gets an extra day’s rest…. rafa will not play defense today… he will go 4 the kill


Nina Says:

Federer “The guys who overlooked him don’t know anything about tennis, unfortunately”.

This.

Can i say Mary Carrillo is dumb?


Andrew Miller Says:

Dan Martin is right to mention Courier’s concerns in the 1990s but there’s a glaring issue: Courier had no backhand. Once other players figured it out they pounced. Was Courier complaining about Sergi Bruguera, Pete Sampras, Albert Costa, and Magnus Larsson? – because those four players were the only ones to beat Courier on the dirt of Roland Garros since Courier’s last title at Roland Garros in 1992 (covering the years 1993-1997 – Bruguera had two wins on Courier in that span). Courier lost in the 2nd round in 1998 and 1999.

It’s hard to verify what Courier was talking about. Either he’s saying he was the fittest person on the tour and for that reason deserved to win, or he’s denying that other players figured out he had no backhand, or he really saw something.

The same year of Petr Korda’s cheating, Courier had said: “I don’t think anyone here or in the locker-room… will disagree when I say that if you test positive for steroids, you should be out of the game.”

It’s tough to tell because players’ training is better than ever. At the same time, there are the real examples of Wayne Odesnik, Guillermo Coria, Guillermo Canas etc – who really did cheat and who really did benefit from it. On top of that, players are constantly injured. So if there is something going on, it’s too bad and hopefully the sport catches them.


Ben Pronin Says:

“Innocent until proven guilty” is the type of mentality that lets all these players get away with doping in the first place. Did anyone think Wayne Odesnik was taking HGH? Apparently some of the other Americans “suspected” something, but no fan would’ve guessed it. The players aren’t challenged. Everyone wants “proof” aka a positive drug test. Odesnik never tested positive. Why is that? All these players have entourages. And these entourages do more than just coach them and manage them. Drugs are taken in cycles. The players know when they’ll be tested, so they’re obviously not going to inject themselves the night before a test. This isn’t a black and white topic in any way. Let’s remember baseball in the 90s and Barry Bonds and Mark Maguire. Instead of jumping on me for making accusations, maybe it’s time to start looking deeper at what’s going on out there on the tour. Let’s say Nadal isn’t doping, though, and that he’s innocent. Let’s take names out of the equation completely. But let’s just look at the players, the stories. Player X is finally realizing his/her potential at the age of 25+ after hitting the gym and getting fit. Look at the arms on him/her! He/she is fit as a fiddle, as Brad Gilbert likes to say. X amount of time ago and he/she would’ve folded but now he/she knows they can go the distance.

Considering testing wasn’t even around until the 80s, there’s really no reason to believe that athletes weren’t doping before people even knew what doping was. But then, like Dan mentions the drastic change in basketball over 18 years, look at the change in tennis. 20 years ago everyone was serving and volleying, tennis wasn’t nearly as taxing. Now everyone has to be super fit to survive. The players are bigger, stronger, and faster than ever. And now everyone plays a baseline game that’s even more taxing on the body. Are we really supposed to believe that it’s as simple as hitting the gym? I lift every day, I have a lot of friends who lift regularly, too. It’s abundantly clear that the bodies on a lot of professional athletes are absolutely outrageous. Soccer players who have perfectly chizzled muscles come to mind.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Ben

Nice post best wishes in your investigation, as far as timing goes it is perfect. We have alot of attention to the sport right now, so awareness is good and to ensure our great sport is clean. I for one would like to know who is taking what for performance enhancement, and yes it does matter!


Colleen Says:

Ben,

Great post.

They are just now pioneering a test for HGH but it is very unreliable. Some substances cannot be tested for except via muscle biopsy.


Sazzy Falak Says:

and we are discussing this drug thing b’coz ben feels sumthing is wrong with nadal’s serve? WOW!

bulsh!t at its best!


Dan Martin Says:

Colleen,

Thanks for the helpful post. I understand no one wants to be a snitch. I have a few friends who were division 1 track athletes who took up tennis after college. They each insist some players on tour have to be juiced. Athletes have a 6th sense about these things. I think there is enough smoke to investigate that is for sure.

As for me I added body mass the old fashioned way – eating too much. I have lost 14 pounds since Father’s Day.


Anna Says:

Pissy Fed fans trying to take the joy out of THIS final because Fed’s not in it. Believe me, if Nole or Andy M. should ever get close enough to threaten Fed’s status as GOAT in any way, Ben will be on hand with his doping theories and Skeeze will be there hand feeding him. I agree that doping is an important issue, so much so that bringing it up on this sight on finals day undermines it’s importance. So let’s talk about it in a fashion that’s more than just pointing fingers at any one specific player.


Sazzy Falak Says:

anna, they did the exact same thing after nadal won australian open last year so i’m not surprised!


JCK Says:

All these innuendos. So you’re saying that Nadal’s improvement in serve is NOT because of the grip change but some magic pills. If there’s a magic pill that can improve a player’s serve by 10 MPH, don’t you think every tennis players would have found it? And Nadal would be very late to the party to find it at 24, wouldn’t it?

And shouldn’t tetastrone or other drugs ADD muscle and weight to a player’s body? Nadal obviously lost weight the past year in order to ease up on his knees. So how does weight loss gell with a magic pill theory?

Courage? Anyone can come up with a half-baked conspiracy theory, especially if it defames the ahtlete you dislike. Spreading rumors and innuendos on internet doesn’t take courage. It just takes internet access.


Nina Says:

That’s all rubbish, sorry. Back to tennis, please.


guy Says:

it’s absurd there is still no day off before the final. but in this case although it was a 5set match is wasn’t so long. djoker has played 1.5 hours more, which is a perhaps factor but maybe not as significant as suggested.


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not gonna mention names anymore. But as far as I’m concerned, anyone and everyone in the top 100 should be on the list of suspicious players, and outside of that it gets a little trickier. Tennis isn’t played by saints and angels, it’s played by athletes. Professional athletes at that. Considering how much the juniors cheat, why would that suddenly change in the pro ranks? Just the method of cheating changes, but the cheating itself never goes away. And as for the idea that everyone should be able to get the same stuff, that’s not true. Just like with everything else, the top players will obviously have more access to the highest end of products. And let’s not forget tennis is still an individual sport which means this must be done individually. Perhaps one player knows someone who knows a lot more about this stuff than another player. This isn’t football where the whole team gets the same treatment.


Anna Says:

Jeez Ben.. I think everyone who cares to make their point has done so. Just let it go.


Ben Pronin Says:

No chance. No one else says anything, I will.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Ben ,

Yeah too bad you mentioned names, that started the Rafa fan attack. I think any one player should not be mentioned or singled out, but the whole ATP tour.

Time to chill and enjoy the final, for the Rafa fans, but the subject remains for all ATP players.

Anyone notice the march of the tourney replay today? Looks like Novak should get some rest, now it should be a match.


fed is afraid Says:

why didn’t these fools build a roof on this stadium in the first place? what idiots!!


sar Says:

Anyone see the interview with Jack Sock the boys junior winner who was hitting with Novak all week? He said Novak asked him to warm him up before the Fed semi and he did. Fed asked him to also but he committed already to Novak. Jack and Novak were lucky for each other.


sar Says:

Cancelled :-)
They just interviewed Novak. MJ Fernandez asked if he did a rain dance. LOL


Mindy Says:

Ben,

You already named names, didn’t you? The one name was none other than Rafa Nadal! No one else! It’s not a coincidence that this has been done on the eve of what could be Rafa’s greatest achievement, a historic moment. What better time than now to basically call him out for his faster serve by saying it’s due to drugs. There was no mention of this until now.

I am certain that this would not have happened if Rafa had not made it to the finals. If I have learned one thing on this site, it is that one must have FACTS to back up one’s argument. Right, Skeezer? By the way, nice of you to join in and support Ben in this blatant attempt at slander and character assassination. For it can only be that if one does have a single iota of proof or substantive evidence.

Drug testing is now conducted by an independent body, just to avoid any conflict of interest from ATP officials who wish to protect their star players. However, apparently this is not good enough for Ben. There must still be something nefarious and devious going on behind the scenes. After all, Rafa couldn’t actually increase the serve of his speed by something as disarmingly simple as a change of grip. No, much better to insinuate that something more serious is at work behind this new serve. It is Rafa and therefore, any possible win tomorrow must be clouded by innuendo and suspicion.

That’s not enough to level such a serious charge at a great tennis champion. One should have more than mere suspicion and supposition before one attacks the integrity and honesty of an athlete.

No one else’s name will ever be brought up, not here. It just has to be Rafa. So we are to believe that there is a massive conspiracy involving an independent entity that conducts the drug testing, the ATP and all the tennis players. This sounds as wacky as the conspiracy theories about the Kennedy assassination and 9/11!

I am sad to see someone stoop this low in a shameless effort to demean and diminish a possible win by Rafa tomorrow.


Mindy Says:

I need to make a correction to my previous post.

In the second paragraph, the last sentence should read – For it can only be that if one does NOT have a single iota of proof or substantive evidence.

Case closed.


kimberly Says:

Really tacky conversation the day before a slam final. Its an interesting topic but totally inappropriate. And there r several other candidates other than just the one ben named. And just to be clear, my husband played ncaa tennis and can be suspicious at times and says a sudden increase in serve is not the sign a performance enhancing drug.more like a change in service motion or grip. He would be more suspicious of the ao 2009 back to back five hour matches. But the serve argument he said is ridiculous and he is a fed fan.


Twocents Says:

Ben,

Please update us on your endeavor, and use Fed’s name :-)) instead.

Your effort contributes to this fine sport that we all love.


zola Says:

Ben,
You are not a blogger. You are a journalist and I think you are liable for the rumors you are trying to spread about RAfa and I think RAfa’s team should take action against you and tennis-x. Throwing mud at players should not be cheap.


Anna Says:

Please do Ben. I’d love to know what performance enhancing drugs Fed’s been using lately. Although his performance would indicate his preference is probably recreational. Then you can tell us who he’s been boffing behind Mirka’s back. That always makes for fun internet fodder. I’m sure your a regular Scoop Jackson of the gossip set.


Twocents Says:

While I hold my highest respect for people who fight for doping free sports, it is a doomed losing war — the catcher is always behind the prey, especially when millions of dollars are on the line. Nowadays, we know for facts that many got away with doping but a few unluky ones did not.

That’s why I think sports should legalize doping: if one’s willing to take the risk in exchange of fame and fortune, he/she should be allowed to, shouldn’t she? And it’d create a fairer field for all competitors.


Von Says:

zola: Nice to see you around. I hope your dreams come true tomorrow — goodluck to Rafa!

“Ben,
You are not a blogger. You are a journalist and I think you are liable for the rumors you are trying to spread about Rafa and I think RAfa’s team should take action against you and tennis-x.
Throwing mud at players should not be cheap.”

_____________

I think, without meaning to, you have promoted Ben and given him a coveted journalist license to boot. He’s not a journalist, just a writer, like the rest of us, except we’re not writing articles on this site, just blogging. Ben writes and blogs.

For one to be a journalist much more is required, For starters, at least 4 years of college in the field, and a very good command of the English language

My sister is a journalist and TV producer. She has a Masters in liberal arts, is an English major, and has a license in journalism. Journalists have to abide by a rule of conduct/ethics and walk a very thin line when writing, as they can be sued for libel, and/or defamation of character. They have to do a ton of research for the articles they write when it pertains to highly flammable topics, such as an athlete using drugs, and their facts require accuracy. If they mess up, they run the risk of of losing their license. Additionally, before their pieces go to press, it has to be reviewed by an editor on staff or the Editor.

I think Voicemale1 would make a very fine blog writer for tennis.


Mindy Says:

This time it’s more than disturbing, because this charge is coming from a writer on this site, not just a forum poster. All something like this does, especially at a time like this when emotions are already running high on the eve of a slam final, is inflame, incite and instigate.

Once you come out and make that kind of serious allegation against a player, then the seed of doubt has been planted. All Rafa fans can do to refute and stand up to such baseless allegations and rampant speculation, is to make their voices heard.

This is nothing but a vicious attempt to impugn a possible Rafa win with smears and lies.

Now the real Rafa haters can come out, because they have been fed some raw meat on which they can feed. Great job!


zola Says:

Von,
nice to see you too and thanks for the nice words. I hope Rafa can win tomorrow. It is not my dream for him to win. That is his life and dreams. I will be very happy to see him achieve something he has worked so hard for. If not, he has to go back and work harder and come back next year.

Yes, You are right about Ben. I should have said a writer. Nevertheless, he is not just someone who writes comments here. He bears responsibility for his words. Just because he suspects everyone of every crime in the world, doesn’t mean he is free to some here and accuse them. If tennis-x wants to prove something about Rafa or any other player, then they should come up with the proof, or pay the “legal” price.

as you wrote:
“Journalists have to abide by a rule of conduct/ethics and walk a very thin line when writing, as they can be sued for libel, and/or defamation of character. They have to do a ton of research for the articles they write when it pertains to highly flammable topics, such as an athlete using drugs, and their facts require accuracy. If they mess up, they run the risk of of losing their license. Additionally, before their pieces go to press, it has to be reviewed by an editor on staff or the Editor.”

I hope tennis-x people read this and talk some sense to Ben .

I agree about Voicemale 1. He should be invited to write for tennis-x. Same as Gordo. These guys know what they are talking about. As opposed to someone who has never held a racquet in his hand and cannot understand that changing the toss and the grip can make a world of difference in serving.


Skeezerweezer Says:

“Then you can tell us who he’s been boffing behind Mirka’s back.”


zola Says:

Mindy,
I suggest you go on Rafa’s website and find the e-mail of his manager or other people in his team and e-mail him What Ben has written here. They are very serious about charges like that and will follow up. If several people do that they will take action.


Anna Says:

two cents – If that were the case it would force athletes to dope in order to be competitive. I say enforce what you can enforce, but at some point it does become TOO invasive. Exacting muscle biopsies to determine low level growth hormones and such is ridiculous. At that point I say, let the onus be on the athlete. If he/she is willing to take the risk then so be it. Personally, I see nothing that makes me think that doping is pervasive in the ATP. I love Dan Martin’s comment “the fact that players are relatively silent when it comes to voicing concerns about PEDs either means the sport is pretty clean or that almost everyone is in someway chemically enhanced.” I think there’s alot of truth there, the truth being the sport is pretty clean. There will always be a Wayne Odesnik and a few others who don’t get caught in every sport, but as two cents mentions, it’s pure folly to think you’ll ever win the doping war, the catcher is indeed behind the prey.


Ben Pronin Says:

You’re joking, right? The differences a grip can make? Have you ever held a racket? Changing a grip is one of the most difficult things you can do in tennis after player for a long period of time. Adjusting a forehand grip or a backhand grip can result in detrimental results the first few times it’s applied. But on the serve, it’s the most difficult thing. If you ever look at how random people serve at the park, you’ll never see anyone holding the proper continental grip because it feels unnatural if not practiced. You want to talk about never holding a racket. Try hitting a forehand with an eastern grip for a month and then switch to western and see how that feels. In addition, serve with an eastern backhand grip for a month and then switch to continental, and see how that feels. Then come back and tell me how easy the switch was and then tell me I’ve never held a racket because I don’t understand the difference a grip can make.


zola Says:

Ben,
Again you give yourself away. You have no idea about what I am talking. First of all Rafa and federer and the top 100 men are professional tennis players. Their game is about changing grips and spin etc. But with your VAST! knowlege, please go to a park, serve a few and tweak your motion, toss, grip a bit , then come here and throw mud at the players.

You are a writer on this site. Not a poster and you and tennis-x should be liable for your accusations.


zola Says:

rogerafa,
***. I haven’t heard of a serve-improving or injury-eliminating drug although I’d like to know about it :)****

Brilliant!

What about number 1 or 2 for 5-6 years drugs? More expensive ones might be drugs that make players win 16 slams or 8 slams….Even with more money you can get 23 semifinals in a row or 81 matches won on clay drug!

More on the list:
-drugs that correct a player’s court positioning
-improve your volley drug
-”banana shot” and “tweener shot” drugs
-”read the serve” drug
-….


Thomas Says:

@Ben
I absolutelty agree with . If anyone here has actually PLAYED tennis before,they know its incredibly tought to change grips in tennis for any shot,simply because of the muscle memory needed to play tennis. Its incredibly tough to immediately change grips, especially after using the same grip for several years. Btw,the junior tour is horrid in terms of behaviour. One of my closest friends used to play in the juniours(he had to give up tennis due to a serious wrist injury though) He says that a lot of players do stuff like chuck racquets at their coaches,and they blatantly cheat as well,and a few yrs later,they are on the pro tour. Nothing changes. Im not sure about Rafa,but it is suspicious that he has suddenly added a 7-8mph out of nowhere to his serve. It is a BIG difference.


JCK Says:

Just because *YOU* can’t do it doesn’t mean a top professional tennis player can’t do it. If it’s impossible, why would Nick Balliteri (sp?) gush about Nadal’s grip change on the CBS preview vedio (online)? I would think he would know whether it’s doable or not. If it’s not doable or he’s suspicious of Nadal (he’s been around tennis forever), he didn’t need to confrim the explanation Nadal gave and gush about his hard-work on improving his game.

He said he wouldn’t recommend it to viewers at home. Obviously, he thought it’s difficult for recreational or lesser players.


kimberly Says:

As I said, I read this to my husband who is a former ncaa player and he said its a ton of garbage. I guess elena dementieva is doping too and any other player who has made an improvement to their game. And how did these performance enhancing drugs affect only the serve? My husband says clearly the person wrote it knows nothing about actually playing tennis.


Kimberly Says:

Ben Says “If you ever look at how random people serve at the park, you’ll never see anyone holding the proper continental grip because it feels unnatural if not practiced.”

Ok lets start out with where you are. Watching random people at the park. Why don’t you go to an actual tennis club, one that trains juniors to learn something about tennis. Most adults that are gifted tennis players don’t hit at the park, they hit at actual clubs. So if you want to base accusations based on what random hackers at the park (including yourself) can and cannot do, be my guest. Just don’t expect the rest of us to buy into it.

How does the doping affect one part of the game only. It’s ludicrous, its not like the player developed a del potro forehard, soderling backhand, is faster than normal, has higher endurance than normal.

I think this whole accusation the day before a slam final is silly and cheap. I’m not a Fed fan but when he was winning last year I certainly wasn’t looking for excuses. When Soderling outplayed Rafa twice last year (which made me feel like I had been punched in the stomach), I never suggested he was doping. I acknowleged rafa was outplayed. But to come up with lame excuses is really sorry.


Ben Pronin Says:

So because you didn’t think outside the box I’m not supposed to?

So go to a tennis club. Try the really expensive ones where you have grass courts and a white-only dress policy. I’m sure you’ll find legitimate players there. Ask them what kind of forehand grip they use and how long they’ve been playing for. Find someone who’s been playing seriously for 10 years and tell them to try a drastically different grip. If they say semi-western, tell them to hit with eastern. And on the serve, find out the grip they use there. If it’s the standard continental, ask them to switch to an eastern backhand. If they don’t call you an idiot for trying to ruin their game, you found yourself a winner. Until then, don’t make random accusations just because you don’t like mine. When players do make grip changes, getting used to it doesn’t happen over 2 days. The fact that they’re pros means it’s that much harder because their grip is embedded into their hands. They pick up a racket and naturally hold their grip for whichever shot without giving it a second thought. Obviously different shots require different grips, but you don’t see anyone randomly changing their grips in hopes of better results because that’s not how tennis works. My point about random people in the park is that people do what’s comfortable for them. Someone who hits with an eastern grip will feel like he’s never played before if he trys hitting with a western grip.

Open your eyes, don’t get mad at me for assuming the worst. I’m not spreading rumors, either. I’m suggesting a possibility. Not everything can be explained with “he just works super hard and he’s gifted and he’s lucky and he’s this awesome and he’s that fantastic.” Like I said, how is it that no one finds it strange that certain players are suddenly blooming later in their careers? Suddenly they’re hitting the gym more? Do you even know the type of work outs tennis players require to stay fit? It’s all hush hush at the top. “I do vigorous training but don’t worry about what it entails, just know that I’m working hard.” It doesn’t make you a better person that you didn’t try to find excuses. I’m not looking for excuses, I could just sit back and complain if that’s what I wanted to do. But I see a serious problem in tennis that fans delude themselves from seeing. “He would never do that, he’s too nice!”

People ask me to present them with positive samples. If you took the time to look into the PEDs on the market today, you’d know that a positive sample is a virtually impossible result of a drug test. The best way would be to somehow record the action, which is obviously a pretty tall task. You don’t have to believe your favorite is doing it, that’s fine with me. But at least don’t blind yourself to the happenings aroudn you and admit that it’s a serious issue. Six years ago Greg Rusedski said that if he was doping, then so were half the top players. This was after one of his samples came back positive. How much do you think that half has grown in the last 6 years? It’s definitely not on a downward curve.


zola Says:

Ben,
You can look outside the box. definitely.
All I am asking is to come with the proof. Rumors are cheap.

On top of that you are a write not just a poster. You are and should be held responsible for starting rumors.

You can always assume things about people. But you cannot go to someone’s work place and accuse him of stealing unless you have proof. There are authorities that you should present your proofs to. Same here. If you suspect Rafa of something, come with the proof and present them to ATP and the anti-doping agency and ITF ans us. Otherwise, I would like to see Rafa’s team follow this up legally.


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not starting rumors. Unless I infiltrate a bunch of the players’ entourages, I don’t know how you expect me to get proof.

Just out of curiosity, what if I’m right?


Kimberly Says:

Ben, as I said, I’m not even saying absolutely rafa and other players don’t do use.the action you are referring to, the increase in serve speed, according to my husband (a fed fan and former ncaa and junior tennis player, played courier at the orange bowl, etc) can be explained by something like a grip or motion change. My husband does not like Rafa like I do and also is extremely suspicious of doping in all sports and at the gym (probably to explain why he never went pro!) He is more likely to lean towards performance enhancing drugs as an explanation for why Rafa never gets tired and how he was able to play two five hour back to back matches (etc). But even he thinks the serve speed increase has other valid explanations.

However, even as a fan I don’t buy the “two days before.” I’ve noticed his serve speed creeping up for awhile and I think the abnormal amount of unforced errors in Cincy and Toronto were a result of Rafa trying new things (perhaps adjusting to a grip change, etc.)

I think drug use is unfortunately rampant in all sports. I went to prep school in Conneticult and remember a lot of the post graduates who were there seeking athletic scholarships to college were using. If you ask me if there are tennis players using and getting away with it, i will tell you yes. But I wouldn’t and couldn’t even begin to guess who they are.

Certainly not Rog, based on recent performance! (kidding) I think the reason people would look to Rafa is he does not have the traditional tennis physique of Djoko or Fed. But I have no evidence or desire to believe that he has done anything other than exhibit unparalleled dedication to his sport.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Kimberly,

nice post.:)


Ben Pronin Says:

“I’ve noticed his serve speed creeping up for awhile and I think the abnormal amount of unforced errors in Cincy and Toronto were a result of Rafa trying new things (perhaps adjusting to a grip change, etc.)”

See, his explanation is just plain silly. Nadal’s serve speed has been going up since May. Compare his average first serve in the early part of the year and then at RG or at least Wimbledon. It’s only slightly faster from that point but it’s been on a steady incline. It’s a whopping 12 mph faster from last year’s USO.

I don’t think muscles are the only things that should be looked at. Rather, someone with a smaller frame shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s almost too easy to say someone who’s big is using. But remember Petr Korda who got busted after winning the AO, he was a stick. And a number of the Argentines who’ve been suspended over the years, not exactly body builders.


Kimberly Says:

Thanks Skeezer! :-)


Kimberly Says:

skeezer-great article, kind of shows its 50-50 going in. Now make sure the both take their roids and we will have a great final (KIDDING!!!!!)


Mindy Says:

If you don’t have proof, then keep your mouth shut! It is beyond irresponsible and outrageous to go around making these kinds of allegations unless there is a substantive, real, legitimate information or FACTS to back up this type of assertion.

“What if I’m right?” Well we will never know now, will we? Should we contact the entity that conducts these drug tests and demand that they publish Rafa’s drug test results? These results are private and can never be made public. The fact that it cannot be proved is the reason why you should not even presume to say it.

It is unconscionable to do this now, right before the final. Is this obsessive pathological hatred for Rafa so bad that one has to reach this low in yet another attempt to trash him? Where does it stop? The one thing that Rafa did that enrages people here is that he started winning again. He didn’t retire after his most recent knee injury at this year’s AO. He is still playing and winning and is now #1 again. That is why some people are intent on destroying his reputation at any cost.

Just as an aside, as far as I know there is no cure for chronic knee tendinitis. The plasma treatments that Rafa received are a medical breakthrough that has helped many people to remain active and pursue sports and have a better quality of life. Yet we have someone like Skeezer presuming to question the legality of this treatment. If it was illegal, then Rafa wouldn’t have been able to do it! You don’t need to have a lot of intelligence and common sense to figure that one out!

I am just wondering how illegal drugs could somehow help the knee tendinitis. Unless there has been another new medical development, this condition is incurable. The only real solution might be knee replacement, but that would be the end of Rafa’s career. Why not start speculating about how well Rafa has been moving? Why stop at the inference that it’s drugs that are responsible for his faster serve.

I can say without a doubt, that if it was Fed or Djoker or Murray who somehow came up with a faster serve or any other significant improvement in their game, we would not hear even a hint about any supposed illegal drug use.

This allegation was made with the cynical knowledge that it cannot be disproved. Drug tests will never be made public. Even if they somehow could be, I dare say that some people here would still refuse to believe it. It was made out of pure spite and hatred for a great champion who dared to come back from injury to once again find a way to win.

That is what really eats away at anyone who would take this allegation seriously.


Von Says:

What I don’t understand, is what has prompted this line of commentary. Is it an attempt to discredit Nadal’s wins during this USO, and should he win the final, to water down his win, as being due to drug use?

clearly, something’s not right with this kind of thought process, and something is causing emotions to run this high.

If Bolleteri, who’s raised great champions from his Academy, says it’s great what Rafa has accomplished by changing his grip, et al., why is it a non-professional is questioning this kind of change to Nadal’s serve?

Nadal wanted to have a late start at the USO principally to work on his serve. Isn’t that indicative of a player wanting to perfect and master a change he’s made to his serving technique? Had he been using drugs to accomplish that change (and I don’t se how drug use could help someone’s grip) he wouldn’t have needed to practice for so many hours during the USO on his grip and serve.

We all know what drugs do to the body. Drugs don’t just help one part of the body, a player’s grip, they provide all-over body enhancement, and the whole body is affected and/or helped, that is, if the enhancing type o drugs are used.

I’m kerfuffled, as to what anyone has to gain from introducing such a very distasteful topic, drugs, on the eve of a grand slam. i suppose if nadal beats the Joker then it will be the consensus of opinion, by some on this blog site, that they were right, it’s the drugs that made nadal win. This is so distasteful and beyond my comprehension.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Mindy,

You’re cute and make me laugh, even though you continue to lie about my posts, nice try :)

I love you too.


i am it Says:

Rafa outlined strategies against Djoko (you heard him): play aggressive; play long; get him out of position.

As for the execution, we will find out soon.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Novak lives in Monte Carlo?….Cool :)


i am it Says:

Djoko serves. 1st ball has stricken.

Some fire power from the first point.


Von Says:

I’m a bit amazed to see that so many Fed fans are rooting for Djokovic, even though he’s beaten Federer and disallowed Fed from reaching the finals. Also, he’s displaced Fed’s No. 2 ranking, so what gives? Is this more related to dislike for Nadal? I’m shaking my head in bewilderment.

________
On another note, I see Johnnie Mac is in one of his fixated mode. He’s made several comments about the Joker’s ankle, so I suppose if he loses, it’s because his ankle is hurt? OY.

I suppose we’ll know more about this ankle problem.

Top story: Djokovic, Murray Advance At US Open, Azarenka Survives; Federer, Monfils v Dimitrov Tuesday
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