Nadal Stunned in Bangkok; Wozniacki Takes Tokyo
by Sean Randall | October 2nd, 2010, 10:37 am
  • 182 Comments

A rather surprising result this morning from Bangkok. I’m sure many of us, myself included, thought it was a forgone conclusion that Rafael Nadal would walk away with the Bangkok title Sunday, but it’s not to be.

Earlier today Nadal was absolutely stunned by his countryman Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 2-6, 7-6(3), 6-3 in the semifinals.

For me, the loss is a complete shocker. I know the tournament is just a 250 and there wasn’t a lot on the line (ok, I heard he was paid $1.5M to show up), but Rafa should win that match 10 times out of 10 especially with the confidence he had accrued from his US Open win.

“I had a lot of break point chances in the second set, too many chances,” said Nadal who was just 2 of 26 on break chances! “He played a great match especially in the third set, but I was playing better than him in the beginning. I didn’t play the break points well. With 26 opportunities to break you have to take your chances. It’s a difficult loss to accept. I was playing well and had a good opportunity to get to final.”

Credit to G-Lo for saving those 24 of 26 break points and finishing off Rafa, but what a head scratcher.

“I have never beaten a No. 1 player in the world before,” said G-Lo. “I’ve beaten some good Top 10 players, but never a No. 1. I think it was the best match of my career. I think the tie-break in second set was the key. I felt much better after that and I was playing great at the end. Everything went perfectly.”

The 53rd-ranked G-Lo will face world No. 60 Jarkko Nieminen in the final. The Finn dusted Benjamin Becker 6-3, 6-2.

Nadal now heads to Tokyo where the field is a little stronger with Andy Roddick, JW Tsonga, Juan Martin Del Potro and Gael Monfils. So I’ll be interested to see how he fares. Part of me still isn’t convinced the guy is going to takeover tennis on hardcourts anytime soon. I know he won the US Open – his lone hardcourt title in the last 18 months – but I’d like to see some follow thru the next month or so.

Nadal opens up against the upright Colombian Santiago Giraldo, then likely Florent Serra with Gulbis in the QF and maybe even in the SF his buddy F-Lo who drew Del Potro in the first round. So Rafa has to be pleased with his draw.

In Kuala Lumpur, Mikhail Youhzny, who’s quietly putting together an excellent season, beat Igor Andreev 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 to move into the final against Andrei Golubev. The 23-year-old Golubev ousted David Ferrer 7-5, 7-6(4) in a mild upset.

In the WTA Tokyo final, top seed Caroline Wozniacki beat Elena Dementieva 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 to win her tour-leading 5th title on the season.

“I really enjoy winning. I’m feeling good,” Wozniacki said. “It’s always nice to hold the trophy in your hand. That’s what you’re practicing for. Hopefully next week in Beijing will be as good. I’ll take it one match at a time and we’ll see.”

The win puts Wozniacki in position to overtake the injured Serena Williams for the No. 1 ranking next week in Beijing.


Also Check Out:
Nadal, Verdasco Open Play in Bangkok; Davydenko Stunned in KL
Nadal Rolls, Gulbis Falls in Bangkok; Soderling, Berdych Upset in Kuala Lumpur
Del Potro Calls Wrist “Perfect” in Loss to Rochus; Ferrer v. Tomic in KL
Nadal v. Roanic Tonight In Tokyo; Murray Keeps Playing, Keeps Winning
Roddick Faces Chardy in Tokyo; Wozniacki Bids for No. 1 in Beijing

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182 Comments for Nadal Stunned in Bangkok; Wozniacki Takes Tokyo

Skeezerweezer Says:

…absolutely stunned?

Not me, he already poccketed 1.5 mil whilst “participating” in a 250.

Nice win for the G-lo though. Word.


Kimmi Says:

i remember what federer said when he lost in AO.. cant remember the year “he created his own monster”

that is what nadal is doing to his fans and everybody else who is following him.

Nadal is expected to win every match he plays, especially against a 50 ranked player. Well, he can lose, he is not a robot. Congratulations to Garcia lopez though…there is a misconseption that nadal country men are always rollong over against him. They are not..do you hear verdarco? you will be the only one left with “zero”wins against rafa.

Nadal will be OK..he will probably win tokyo and shanghai..

What I am happy about is golubev in the final..wish had seen the match. one more to go golubev.


jane Says:

G-Lo just beat Gulbis, and he follows it up by beating Rafa – not crazy when looked at side by side (one confidence building win is often followed by another). But still a surprise, most definitely.

You’re right about Youz Sean; he’s had a good year, but to very little buzz or fanfare. He went deep at the FO and USO – his best slam results ever this year, I believe?


dari Says:

Will youzhny make it to the O2?! Looks like he is closing in on verdasco! Happy for him.
Well, at least the “shock” loss gives a big win to a fellow spaniard. I suppose anybody can have a bad day at a 250 tournament when they already received 1.5 mill $ for just showing up, and a compadre is across the net.
On to toky!o


grendel Says:

Absolutely, Kimmi. And jane, a surprise only in this sense: Nadal was going to have a slight let down – at this level for Lopez is a very competent player,it only needs to be slight – against someone, no telling who that would be, however.


zola Says:

dari,

***I suppose anybody can have a bad day at a 250 tournament when they already received 1.5 mill $ for just showing up, and a compadre is across the net.****

yep. so true. Maybe this is supposed to be GLo’s tournament.

RAfa doesn’t have anything to worry about. I am glad he is playing one less match on the hard courts.I still can’t believe he is going to play Tokyo and Shanghai back to back !


Kimmi Says:

It will be funny if my pick nieminen wins tomorrow..hahaha. hmmmm, lets wait and see. if my pick wins, watch out for me in shanghai bracket challenge people! ha


Fot Says:

Kimmi Said earlier:
“i remember what federer said when he lost in AO.. cant remember the year “he created his own monster”
That is what nadal is doing to his fans and everybody else who is following him.”

THEN SHE WENT ON TO SAY:
“Nadal will be OK..he will probably win tokyo and shanghai”

LOL! Kimmi…are you, by chance, one of those fans you mentioned in your earlier paragraph? lol! (just having fun). But you stated it like it’s no big deal that Nadal will go on to win Tokyo and Shanghai! That it’s a ‘given’. Oh well…guess that’s why they play the event.

I must admit that I am stunned that Nadal didn’t win this tournament. If there was ever a tournament for the ‘taking’ – it was this one for Nadal. But then this proves that in tennis, anything can happen and there is no ‘guarantee’. Goes to show you just how good the Federers and nadals are for them to be consistently good at winning year after year.


mem Says:

why do you guys think nadal’s motto has always been “never underestimate any player” whether you’ll #1 or #100? did you think garcia-lopez was there to look at rafa?

you guys sound like you don’t know that anybody can beat anybody on any given day!

nadal got exactly what he deserved! if he’s going to play like crap on breakpoints, then he should expect to lose especially when a player is serving like garcia-lopez. he gave lopez confidence by allowing him to take the second set and i credit lopez for snatching the victory. good for him and congratulations!

clearly, it was match nadal’s match to lose and he should have closeed it out in the second set, he didn’t, so he lost, simple as that. it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last, it’s tennis! move on!

good luck to rafa in toyoko!


Kimmi Says:

Fot – when I said “Nadal will be OK..he will probably win tokyo and shanghai” i meant nadal is still HOT, a loss here and there, especially on a 250 is nothing to worry about.

i have to admit i was also shocked when i looked at the results this morning, I first thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. heck! I am one of those people that thinks he can win everything.


zola Says:

mem

***nadal got exactly what he deserved! if he’s going to play like crap on breakpoints, then he should expect to lose especially when a player is serving like garcia-lopez. he gave lopez confidence by allowing him to take the second set and i credit lopez for snatching the victory. good for him and congratulations!***

Spot on!

I think the second game of the second set when GL was serving took more than 10 minutes. RAfa had 2-3 break points and was unable to convert. he was playing miles behind the baseline. That happened in each and every service game ( maybe save 1) of GLo until they got to the tie-breaker. Rafa was visibly frustrated with himself. He lost the tiebreaker and I knew he was in trouble.

This is a 250 event and if Rafa is going to make such mistakes, better in a 250 than a grand slam.


mem Says:

zola,

you’re right! rafa allowed his frustrations to get the better of him, so, he suffered the consequences. again, all credit to garcia-lopez for standing up to the challenge.

i understand the nature of sports! i know that a player can lose to any player on any given day. that’s why nadal is so successful, he approaches every match with that mindset, whether he wins it or not. as far as i’m concerned, consistency in winning is what matters. losing a match here and there is a normal part of the sport. if one tournament were to decide everything, then all players would be in deep troubles.

i will always support nadal, win or lose. the reality is being #1 doesn’t exempt a player from losing. apparently, some people think it does! i’ve said it many times before, i don’t need him to be perfect, just to be the best that he can be.

in any case, the match was rafa’s to lose and he lost it, i accept it! garcia-lopez deserves credit for seizing his opportunity.

now, i’m on to the next tournament! hope you enjoy!


mjt308 Says:

Is Nadal becoming Federer-like on break points? He had a ton of break points during the USO final as well and he only converted 6/26. That being said, he did win the match, but this might be a trend worth keeping an eye on.


mem Says:

mjt308,

i don’t agree that it’s that big of deal just yet because there are only two times in his career that i recall him not capitalizing on that many breakpoints, which are, yesterday’s match and the usopen final. in my opinion, the missed breakpoints chances at the usopen were very understandable considering the magnitude of that occasion.

like you said, keep an eye on it, it just might be a trend. who knows, we will see!


grendel Says:

mjt308 – the thing is, Djokovic was a worthy opponent, even if he was always fighting a rearguard battle that was only, frankly, going one way. But he’s a doughty defender, as mem remarks the occasion was huge – easily the biggest of the year for Nadal – so no surprise that the break points proved difficult to convert.

This match means nothing. It has no significance except for those who wave their hands in fluttering agitation whenever there are signs that their hero is mortal after all. The rest of us already knew that.

Any tentative conclusions should only be drawn, I suggest, following the next couple of biggish tourneys. Meanwhile, it is a very good bet that Nadal will indeed become Federer-like in fallibility – but not yet. For the next year or two, the lad’s hot.


zola Says:

mjt308
Both Djoko and Garcia Lopez served really well. the difference here was that Rafa did not play at the level of the US Open final. He was defensive and tentative. Whether it is a trend or not, we have to see in bigger matches like the master series or the grand slams. If it is a weakness, you know that Rafa will try to overcome it. So no real big deal. In the US Open final Rafa was able to close out the match where it mattered and against the world number 2. As long as he is winning those big matches, I think we can allow him lose some smaller ones! :)


zola Says:

mem

***now, i’m on to the next tournament! hope you enjoy!***

You too.
I wish Rafa skipped Tokyo. Three tournaments in a row! seems like he doesn’t listen to Uncle Toni or his fans!


mem Says:

grendel,

amen, amen!

you explained it quite well!

it’s amusing really! i think nadal’s lost is a big deal to people who believes that some players are immortal, invincible, untouchable, and all those other things that occur in myth only!

sometimes, i wonder if some of these people even know what sports are about. no player last forever, neither do we! eventually, nadal will be at roger’s age. he won’t always play as great as he’s playing now. who said he would? that goes without saying! i thought everyone knew that; apparently not! we are growing old as we speak; no matter how great a player is, he can’t escape that fate! it’s inevitable! i guess some people need their favorite player to be perfect and i don’t understand why! quite frankly, it’s abnormal thinking!

but, you’re right! some of us already knew that!


zola Says:

In other news, Golubev beat Ferrer in Kuala Lumpur!


mem Says:

zola,

nadal does things his own way! three tournaments in a row is demanding, but he knew that when he entered. so, i’ll sit back, enjoy and cheer him on as always. we’ll see what happens!

i saw that golubev beat ferrer. like i said, it happens!

have you viewed the draw for tokyo yet? rafa has a tough one, but again, that’s tennis! one match at a time!


grendel Says:

“If it is a weakness, you know that Rafa will try to overcome it.” (Zola). It isn’t a weakness and there is nothing to overcome. It was just a tennis match. A match lost here or there, in any sport, by any individual or team – no matter how elevated – means precisely nothing.

Interesting that Sean thinks Nadal has an easy ride at Tokyo, whilst Mem thinks it’s tough. Actually, if you look at his draw, I don’t think you can really draw (urgh) any conclusions at all. Too many unknowns (in terms of the form of various players). Not to mention people like Gulbis who are completely unpredictable, and might prove really difficult but are just as likely to roll accomodatingly over.

Meanwhile, 3 in a row! Really, anyone would think the lad’s venturing deep into the Amazon jungle, snakes and tigers snapping at his heels. The boy’s only 24 for God’s sake, he doesn’t need a nursemaid just yet!


mem Says:

grendel,

the draw is what it is! like i said, the top half is more challenging in terms of quality players, but that doesn’t gurantee anything! sean’s see things one way, i another! that’s the beauty of preceptions; we don’t all have to see the same things!

nadal is big boy now! we don’t have to protect him from the big bad wolves in tennis! he doesn’t shy away from challenges and i like that!


RZ Says:

I feel like Nadal put a lot of effort out there to win the U.S. Open. He knew he wouldn’t get as many chances there as he would at Roland Garros, and he really went after it. Rafa is at his strongest and most intimidating at the slams when he really wants to win. It’ll be interesting to see if he now backslides on the hard courts since he got his career slam, even though he’ll always be a threat to win.


RZ Says:

BTW, with that last post, I don’t mean to be putting Rafa down. The guy is simply amazing. I just mean that he might not be as motivated anymore to win on the hard courts.


zola Says:

RZ
what you wrote is very true. RAfa would not risk his health to win Bangkok, but he would do that to win a master series (Madrid) or a Grand Slam (Australian Open, Wimledon). That is the wise thing to do.

mem,
Yes I saw the Tokyo draw. Garcia Lopez, Delpo and Gulbis are in Rafa’s half. Would be interesting matches.

Uncle Toni said recently that the Doctor and him convinced Rafa not to play Barcelona. If it was up to Rafa, he would have played it! The treatment on his knee is not a permanent cure. We will see how these back to back tournaments will affect him. Hopefully not at all. But I guess to be in best form for the YEC , Rafa wants to have the maximum preparation.


grendel Says:

It’s not a question of risking your health to win Bangkok. This is tennis, for God’s sake, a toughish but agreeable recreation, not a desperate venture into the dark and murky depths. Meanwhile, Nadal lost not because he was carefully protecting his health. He didn’t, for example, pause in the middle of a rally and say to himself:”gosh,I’d better not go for that ball, it’s a bit of a stretch and I really do have to protect my health”. That’s not quite how it works, even if it is pleasing to contemplate.

It is true, as RZ suggests, that the motivation won’t have been there, no one can keep it going all the time, even when they’re trying, particularly when they’re trying actually (when they’re trying, they are conscious something is wrong). But it’s not just that. A lot of life, including victories and defeats, is just happenstance. Why could mighty Manchester United score only yet another draw at lowly Sunderland today? Dunno, man. Just the way it goes.

Meanwhile, it’s not the case, as it happens,that Nadal will “sacrifice his health” at the AO if it appears to be in some danger. He judiciously retired, if you recall.


Kimmi Says:

lol grendel, love your post above, very true, very true indeed


Skeezerweezer Says:

It’s amazing to me what Rafa fans think Rafa wants, lol. Really? Must be a Rafa girl thing….wants and needs……


mem Says:

grendel,

absolutely! i see a lost as a lost, regardless who it is. it wasn’t about protecting his knees or being careful for health-reasons or a lack of motivation, he lost a match he should have won. that’s it! he has himself to blame. no excuse for him playing that far back and making poor decisions! life goes on!


kimberly Says:

I played tennis for two hours this pm against someone I don’t really care about and I didn’t run for quite a few shots that I would normally run down (as much as I rag on woz I am pretty much a counter puncher) because it was hot I was sore from a silly ballet class and the match wasn’t important to me.

On thurs I ran down everything (to the point I was cramping up secretly and close to throwing up) because I cared more. And I kept going and running more and more because I wanted to win.

So I think any player can show up at a match with a mentality to fight to the death or simply to play. At least I do. I’m not making excuses for myself or rafa. If you don’t show up you deserve to lose. And missing 24 of 26 opportunites counts as not showing up in my book. If I had 26 opportunities to break a better player, let alone a worse one I could do better than that. That’s just atrocious.


guy Says:

i watched the third set, nadal was certainly trying and fighting. fact is lopez was playing great, going for big shots, serving big, a little like verdasco AO 09. and of course everything was going in for a while.
put a defensive lob in, nadal muffed the overhead and there was break point.
served too well and nadal couldn’t break back.
it can be that simple sometimes, esp in 3 set matches.


kimberly Says:

Guy agreed—but there were 16 breakpoints in the second set. Nadal should have closed it out.if you look at the stats he should have won that match. I’m sure he will learn from this.


zola Says:

Kimberly,

Yep. Mentality is a big part of the game. The way a player fights for a GS match can be different to a match in a small tournament.

Again, I really don’t care if RAfa wins or loses more matches till the end of the year. I would like to see him play a good YEC and AO.


guy Says:

kimberly
yeah true the stats show he was the dominant player for two sets.

zola
the thing is it’s not always possible to fight your way out of holes in 3set matches no matter how hard you try, because time runs out. 5set matches certainly give you more room, and the top players prefer them for that reason
i know what you’re saying about different motivations for GS and 250s and i think it’s valid for people like nalbandian etc, and even guys like murray. but nadal is ultra competitive and i just don’t see him not dying to win everything, even ping pong with his sister.
but as far as i’m concerned the less he plays the better.

anyway that’s two spanish guys who’ve beaten him this year and almagro gave him some serious troubles on clay in madrid. more proof the other spanish don’t simply roll over as as many like to think.

anyway maybe now jarkko can win the title, it’s good to see him playing well and finally improving that serve. i like his style and his wife is the best badminton player in finland which makes me like him for some reason.


zola Says:

guy,

same here. The bright side of the loss is less time on the hard courts.

You know, Rafa was not in a hole in the match. he won the first set comfortably. In the second set he was serving very well and GL was struggling on his. Rafa had a billion break points against him. But every time GL serves well and saved the points. Same in the third set, although GL was more confident. He got one break point chance and converted it.

The final will start in a moment. I am no sure of I can stay awake two nights in a row!


guy Says:

as for me, one of the only tournaments in my time zone. which is why it was good having the year end in shanghai, even though i think it belongs in london


jane Says:

Congrats to Youzhny & G-Lo for their titles.


Kimmi Says:

Yes, jane. Congrats to the winners. So close for my pick nieminen. booo! but G-Lopez deserved it, he took out the bull.

Golubev was soo close in kuala lumpur, losing on a tie break. what a tornament for him, beating 2 top guys soda and ferrer. lets hope he can build on this. next beijing for golubev.


Gordo Says:

zola Says:

I wish Rafa skipped Tokyo. Three tournaments in a row! seems like he doesn’t listen to Uncle Toni or his fans!

Well, I’m not sure how much he LISTENS to Toni, but watch whenever he is down 0-30 or worse and he sure LOOKS to Toni.

Of course Toni doesn’t say anything. Unless of course the crossed arms at certain points, the water bottle in the left or right hand, the left, right or both hands on a railing, etc. is a form of “dialogue.”

It’s kind of sweet, really. The Nadal family is so close, and I think that’s a nice way for an uncle and nephew to communicate – don’t you all?


grendel Says:

” i just don’t see him not dying to win everything, even ping pong with his sister.” (guy). I think most players are like that, actually – Murray, for instance, admitted once to having to beat someone or other at marbles or possibly tiddlywinks. I doubt if the compulsion to compete is any stronger in Nadal than in anyone else. What’s unusual about him, so far as I can see, is that he is able to keep it up for unsusually long stretches, and he doesn’t – generally, though it’s not always true – allow himself to become disheartened if things seem to be going against him. I would guess that these two factors are not in fact seperate, since it is his remarkable ability to focus on the moment – to “stay in the now” as SG remarked about him – which both negate the mentally tiring effect which time exerts whilst at the same time permitting him to disregard thoughts which aren’t exclusively focused on the task at hand. That’s my reasonably educated guess – common sense, really. Could be rubbish, of course. Always glad to hear other theories.

But the point is, it is not possible to be like this all the time without suffering some very ordinary lapses. Being ultra competitive has nothing whatever to do with that, because (I imagine) a different part of the mind is engaged. That is why, imo, the significance of Nadal’s loss in this match is negligible. Batteries will recharge, etc.

Meanwhile, it is entertaining to observe the mother-clucking anxiety displayed on behalf of Rafa. On the face of it, it’s hard to imagine a player for whom this is less appropriate. But, as they say, it’s a funny old world.


zola Says:

Gordo,

So Rafa wins because of Toni’s crossed arms? Pathetic!

sour grapes maybe?

———–
Congratulations to Garcia Lopez and Youzhny. I couldn’t watch the final but GLO played great in the semis. Glad that he could carry the momentum to the final.


grendel Says:

Gordo actually thinks, like most of us, that Nadal is a worthy champion – I infer that from the presentation he made in the event of a Rafa/Fed final, which of course didn’t come off.

His point here is an academic one, and one which I do not agree with. For one thing, I think the whole coaching issue is overblown – in every other sport signals, and more, are commonplace, why should tennis be any different? Technically, it is and technically, it may be the case that Nadal is (very slightly)infringing the rules. Whether he is or not, I don’t know and don’t care, it seems to me to be absolutely trivial and to have zero impact on any result.

But Gordo is entitled to his point of view without being accused of sour grapes, particularly not from a fan (Zola) who never, ever, sways in 100% adulation for Nadal and who, in her day was consistently making snide remarks about Federer. She is rather kinder to him now, since he is no longer a threat to her idol, and even makes laughably patronising remarks on his behalf. Zola, my friend, take a good look at yourself in the mirror before you start hurling rocks. Nadal deserves better than you – and gets it, plenty of worthy fans on this site.


Daniel Says:

grendel, totally agree with your last post.
In 2008 Zola became a much better poster when Nadal won 5 matches agaisnt Fed that year and took n.1. In the past a bunch of Fed fans had some heated arguments with her and others, pretty normasl in this site.
2009 she vanished from the site and return calm as Gandhi this year after clay season, even aprecciating Fed. guy is one of those either, major change after Fed fade.

But is all part of the process of changing wiht new champions. I couldn’t enjoy watching Nadal in the past, but latelly, he is playing great attacking/killer tennis. A fan of tennis can’t let a player of his status pass by. He hit insane shots that only he can hit, as Fed once did. Plus he is the only one after Fed to put himself in a position to win 4 Slams in a row!


contador Says:

ah bah. g-lo gets rafa in a 250 in bangkok. looks like g-lo is growing into his ears a bit – confidence on court in bangkok but i’d like to see him try to replicate that result in a GS.

talking about the h2h of the top spanish players v nadal, it’s been pretty abysmal for them for a long time -namely, f-lo, ferrer, ferrero, and especially almagro and verdasco. close is no cigar and those close match losses in a GS or a masters beatdown on clay as verdasco has taken have to take a toll mentally.

maybe his fellow countryman once removed like g-lo or an older close mate like f-lo can catch rafa in a small stakes tourny, catching their leader on an off day. but i don’t believe that will happen while rafa remains healthy and #1 in a big event.

i have more hope for someone like nole to do the job in a GS, though it was tough watching nole roll over in the 4 set us open after his courageous win over federer. but i am saying i believe nole can beat rafa in a GS – maybe next time, given a chance.

i don’t have quite the belief in murray or delpo yet – for different reasons. but federer isn’t done trying – i hope.

that said. i’m not picking rafa to win tokyo. and i haven’t decided who i think wins shanghai. should be djokovic -imo.

not picking gulbis in tokyo either. his defense was non-existent and he wasb’t moving well. i guess i’ll pick him to win one match but that’s it. :/

congtats to g-lo for hanging in to beat rafa and go on to win bangkok and of course, very happy for youzney winning another!


contador Says:

pardon the typos-lol. “congrats” not “contats” to g-lo and youzHny.


Huh Says:

CONGRATULATIONS TO NADAL AND HIS FANS like Aleish 17,Ezorra, Mem and the rest.

Rafa will surpass my dearest Roger if he continues to improve like that. Though I would like Fed to be remebered to be the greater player at the end of the respective careers of these two, but I don’t wish bad for Rafa anymore, he deserves everything that he is getting.
RAFA IS A REAL LEGEND AND SUPERSTAR and he can achieve more and more and more. If anyone deserves to outdo Fed’s GS tally, it’s Rafa. Wishing Rafa all the best for his future. Also wishing Fed all the very best. May Fed and Rafa continue to serve tennis as long as possible and may both achieve incredible things!

Will be good for tennis if Fed and Rafa continue to shine.

—————————-

I would also like to most sincerely congratulate the Nole fans for a GOOD performance at the USO, I especially congratulate Nole fans for his victory over Fed in the semi. Was a brave effort from Novak.

————–

Hoping that dear Muzza would also win his 1st slam very soon. Also want Nole to win his 2nd slam as soon a s possible. And last but not the least, may Roddick also win his desired WIM trophy!


Huh Says:

Congrats also to Mindy on Rafa winning the USO. :)


contador Says:

“mother-clucking anxiety” ha!

exactly right. i seem to have it in spades. comes in handy professionally but makes it tough to watch a favorites tennis match objectively and without suffering!


Gordo Says:

Grendel -

Thanks for remembering that old post of mine.

Of course I think Rafa is a worthy champion – he is the best player in the world and he is awesome.

Do I think he would not be as great if he was not receiving coaching, or if everytime he went over 30 seconds before serving he was addressed for it?

Hard to say – it is part of winning ugly, just as Federer, who I also think is great, loves to play the mind games in pre-match interviews, which in the past has worked against Murray, imo.

I realize Federer’s tactics are not illegal, and quite frankly if Nadal is not caught for the coaching or for the delay then that is not illegal either, but I was just pointing it out, because it is there.

That doesn’t mean I do not admire Rafa any less.


contador Says:

i read a well-written opinion piece on coaching in men’s tennis recently but didn’t save the link. writer was against it.

i don’t know why they have the rule, if it’s not enforced. seems useless irritation to those who don’t receive coaching.

reading NELTA’s link on grunting giving a player an edge – i think grunting and shrieking is more offensive. just me.

about coaching, i don’t get why they allow it in the wta and not atp. throw out the rule if it’s not really a rule in the atp. let uncle toni and other coaches go on court and coach and let’s turn the microphones on it like they do in wta so we fans can hear too.


jane Says:

conty I think I read that same piece on coaching in tennis; the writer was quite vehemently opposed to both coaching and getting rid of the rule against it.

As for grunting / shrieking, I guess some of this could be seen as gamesmanship. However, I think it needs to be caught at a young age for many of the players, if they wish to refrain the player from doing it. It seems quite natural for some of them. In fact many habits could be stopped early on – in juniors or before.

I offer proof:

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

(Nole’s already making noise then, at 7 years!)


grendel Says:

“i think grunting and shrieking is more offensive. just me.” (Contador)

Actually, me also – with this difference, I don’t find anything the least offensive in coaching. Some rules are just plain silly – and that’s probably why so many people don’t take any notice of them.


contador Says:

LOL! little nole “killing” the ball. now that’s too cute! thanks, jane : )

i don’t consider nole a major grunter on tour.

maybe it’s not so cute to me to hear and watch when they grow up and double grunt (excessively) or double triple shriek.

my obeservation ( i repeat a lot ) on the williams sisters is that they do not scream, grunt and groan when playing each other – (sometimes toward the end of their matches against each other they do ). but they, especially serena, turns up the decibels extra, extra loud when playing any other opponent.

that noise distracts me by making me laugh at the absurdity or by getting annoyed. definitely if i was playing an opponent who grunted and shrieked it would take my mind off what i was doing, my shots and onto what was ailing them. rightly or wrongly, i relate to federer when rafa is on the other side of the net and think- “dear god”

my bad that my mind is vulnerable to sight and sound distractions but there it is. also i have wondered if nole isn’t likewise susceptible to such distractions on the other side of the net or elsewhere in the crowd. rafa has a talent for being oblivious of distractions, it appears, and instead ‘BE’ the distraction! hahaha….

i am not saying i’m against coaching. just the opposite, really. but the rule as it is, is not fair for the players who are coach-less ( though they might need a coach ) and wish to get on with the match during a match but have the no coaching rule stuck in their head. i’m reminded of delpo at the us open 09 final – many things internal and external were getting to federer – one of them was delpo being coached.

i was not making an excuse for federer, just was observing him in my mother clucking mode.


zola Says:

Daniel,

I have always been very candid with my feelings for Federer. I have never liked his arrogance and have commented on that a lot. If you see a post of me defending his arrogant remarks or throwing bottles or saying F(%&* words to the umpires, please let me know.

As a player, I have never said he is not a champion. He is.

In 2008 Federer was down and there were posts here and on other boards making some cruel comments about him. I wrote then and I write now, that I did not find it fair to criticize someone in that position.

You and others can make your own conclusions of course.


contador Says:

hahaha…zola.

now that IS what i’m talking about. michelle larcher de britto…or de britto larcher.

by her shriek i’d be a deer in headlights then forced to retire giggling…


grendel Says:

Zola

“I have always been very candid with my feelings for Federer”.

No you haven’t. You’re never candid about anything where Nadal is concerned, and your feelings for Federer don’t really exist outside Nadal – not that I can see, anyway. For example, the reason you disliked the talk about del Potro, when in the zone, being possibly unbeatable was not the sort of commonsense reason you gave but because that someone might actually be able to beat Nadal at his very best is intolerable to you. I know this from the truly absurd arguments I used to have with you. Kimberley the other day – when supporting your position – mentioned about Davydenko beating a prime Nadal in 2008 I think. You just wouldn’t accept that at the time, if Davydenko had won it had to be because Nadal was not in shape. And yet it has been obvious to many – including Nadal, b.t.w., a great admirer of Davydenko – that Davydenko has the weapons, or had, to beat absolutely anyone on his day. This was psychlogically unacceptable to you. So we went on and on, and it was clear that you were not open to reason – arguing with you was like arguing with a defender of the faith (Marxism, say), there was no real attempt to listen. And it was always clear why, and the frequent little digs you used to make at Federer – don’t kid yourself it was just about the alleged “arrogance”, memory’s a fine thing – were always in a context which I understood. You were determined that Nadal was better than Federer (now quite a commonplace idea for many), long before most people even thought of it, I sensed this quiet fanaticism in you straight away – and it went along with a sort of cuteness which was sort of irresistable. Hence I was always in two minds about you – kind of liking you, because you are likeable, but resenting your attitude to Federer which was never genuine (not objective criticism – God knows there’s plenty of that which can be made)), because it was simply the effect of your adoration – that’s not too strong a word – for Nadal. And b.t.w., of course you said Federer was a champion. Apart from the sheer silliness of not saying that, it adds, in your eyes, to the glamour of Nadal that he should be (in your eyes) superior to this champion. Not much kudos to be gained from being better than some sort of 2nd rate champion.

I am aware that you are “not talking to me”, and that’s fine. But all the same, you will have read this, and that’s probably no bad thing. Even though you won’t (understandably) accept anything coming from me, you ought to know I am only articulating what others have observed. You see, I rather doubt you do self-examination, never mind self-criticism, Zola.

Daniel

“I couldn’t enjoy watching Nadal in the past, but latelly, he is playing great attacking/killer tennis. A fan of tennis can’t let a player of his status pass by. He hit insane shots that only he can hit, as Fed once did. Plus he is the only one after Fed to put himself in a position to win 4 Slams in a row!”

You have a way of expressing yourself which I have always found admirable. I am a would-be literary type, and I am sometimes appalled by the kind of heavy, stiff language that can roll off my pen. You are so direct, and hit the nail absolutely. And tell me how I am thinking!

For a long time it’s struck me as quite ludicrous that just because of one’s tribal type loyalties one is unable to enjoy one of the glories of the tennis world. I have worked pretty hard on trying to change that attitude, and I’m not altogether there yet – but am slowly getting there, and hearing of your journey helps a lot. I find that once I’ve accepted Nadal is going to win a match, I can relax and appreciate his unique skills. So long as I want the other fellow to win, though, I tend to be curmudgeonly and frankly mean-spirited. Who loses from this? Exactly. It’s nuts. So I’m going to follow Nadal more in the years to come, and see if I can do so as a tennis fan, not a Nadal fan which is impossible for me. But contrary to how some people think, it is perfectly possible to enjoy a tennis match, including the skills on parade, when you do not care who wins. It will be emotion free, true, but it can be an aesthetic delight. Of course, emotion tends to creep in – that is, you thought you didn’t care who won, and you suddenly find yourself rooting for someone..

b.t.w. About the 4 on the trot. I think Nadal must be more favoured to do that than Fed ever was for the simple reason Fed was never the best on clay. It’s not clear, yet, that Nadal is thebest on hard, not by a long way. But it could conceivably happen, and that’s the difference.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Grendel

Great post and a long time comin


Skeezerweezer Says:

“….. is big boy now! we don’t have to protect him from the big bad wolves in tennis! he doesn’t shy away from challenges and i like that!”

Who protect what? Uh? The only bad wolf here is unc Toni. , king of sour grapes losing and a cheat.

I agree Rafa is s big boy now and needs to dump his cheater coach Toni so Rafa can get his reputation clean from being called out a cheat. Just google “rafa cheats or Rafa cheater” and then try and google other top ten players, see what comes up


Mindy Says:

Huh,

I haven’t been following this blog, but just checked it out and saw your very kind shoutout about Rafa winning the USO.

Thanks! I am thrilled beyond words! Good to see you back! :)


Anna Says:

Grendel,
You may not be a Nadal fan, but your always honest in your assessment of his abilities and that’s admirable, at least in my book. I agree with you completely re the whole cheating ordeal (1:48 post). It is trivial and has zero impact on results. But the accusations continue as if Rafa were sucking the life breath out of his opponents. U. Toni is a favorite target, but Toni only shows up for clay and slams. Does Rafa really need to cheat on clay? I thought he was the best ever (according to A. Roddick)on clay. As far as slams, I’ve seen certain camps standing shouting at their players, but no scandal there. So why do you think there’s such a big stink about Nadal and cheating?


Daniel Says:

grendel,

I am just a simple shadow of you! When you are in the zone (almost everytime), the reading is just awesome. Plus, you always think exactly how I think, and express it way better.

Latelly I only disagree with you regarding Nadal breaking Fed’s records. You pretty much think is a given now, I think Nadal’s physical issues will be crucial. Also, the 2 Hard Slams he has he had insane easy draws (great match ups for him) and needed to beat only one A-list player in the final, well we are talking about Roger and Djoko, but by the time he gets in the final, he becames a monster.
The question is: will he going to manage finals in hard slams very often in the next 3-4 years?! I doubt that. Let’s face it, Nadal won’t be winning Slams at 29-30, not with his kind of game. It may look invincible now, but believe me when age comes your body just can’t handle. One of this days I beat my friend 6-0, 7-5 and I hurt my butt chasing a drop shot, I couldn’t walk on stairs for 3 days, and I am 29 and pretty fit, playing every week since I was a boy. Imagine on their level.

But if he keeps his 100% ratio on Hard Slam finals than he has a real shot.

Otherwise I don’t see him passing Fed winning just French Opens and an occasional Wimby, even though he made finals last 4 times he played.


Daniel Says:

Zola,

My point is you only became “friendly” towards Federer when Nadal became n.1, both times.

The same applies to Dojo. You are always very suportive to Djoko and his fans, but off course you should, which Nadal fan wouldn’t be?! When the time comes in big matches (finals) Nadal always prevail, Djoko is now his puppy. He will beat Nadal in straight again, as mem pointed out, but not when it really matters.

The US Open (one of Djoko’s favorite surfaces) was Nadal shutting the door once and for all in Djoko’s face.


grendel Says:

Anna

” So why do you think there’s such a big stink about Nadal and cheating?”

Because he’s Nadal, of course! It’s one of the few ways of getting at him, feeble though it is.

Daniel

Yes, I agree it’s contentious ” regarding Nadal breaking Fed’s records. You pretty much think is a given now”. Probably I’m not being entirely honest – it’s an old trick, to accept what you don’t want to happen as inevitable, so when it happens, you don’t feel too bad! Silly, really.

Even so. Let’s assume Nadal wins 4 more French – reasonable. He may win less, but then again, he may win more. Navratilova won 9 Wimbies. So that’s 13. Say, 2 more Wimbledons (surely that’s cautious?). 15. Admittedly, he had an absurdly easy run this US Open, although the way he was playing, I am sure he’d have beaten Murray in the semis if Murray had through. Still, that may not be so next year, when Murray and others may be more formidable. Well, let’s be ultra cautious and say 1 more. 16. Personally, I think he’s got to be heavy favourite for AO 2011 as of now, though there’s many a slip etc. 17. And Bob’s your uncle.

The scenario I present errs, if anything, on the cautious – apart from the question of “Nadal’s physical issues”. There, I just don’t know what to think. He and his team do seem to be managing his body very well. On the other hand, you are alluding to something a bit more subtle, to the fact that, as SG puts it, Nadal has a “young man’s game”. I like your illustration from personal experience. You may well be right about this – it’s awfully hard to project beyond the present, despite lessons from the past. It was a surprise when Sampras started losing, people still can’t quite believe Federer won’t make a big comeback – partly because he still looks incredibly impressive in his movement (but he must have lost something, some intangible) and so on.

But as against the creaking of 29 year old limbs (I forebear to mention the state of my limbs after some arduous exercise..) you have to factor in Nadal’s unique mental qualities, which may not be able to reverse nature’s inexorable course – but they may be able to delay it.

So shall we say, at the moment, 50-50? b.t.w., leaving aside the fact you write in a second language, I’ve always admired people who can express themselves briefly and to the point. I tend to be a bit of a long post man….


jane Says:

Daniel, you had me laughing here: “I hurt my butt chasing a drop shot, I couldn’t walk on stairs for 3 days,”

But crying here: “The US Open (one of Djoko’s favorite surfaces) was Nadal shutting the door once and for all in Djoko’s face.”

Say it ain’t so! : (

I hope another time, maybe when Djoko is serving his best and/or has a nice draw to the finals where he doesn’t have to go through the Fed, he’ll get one over Rafa. Don’t write him off yet. Maybe he’ll find his inner pitbull.


steve-o Says:

“So why do you think there’s such a big stink about Nadal and cheating?”

Maybe because he’s #1 and at the top of the sport?
The praise and privileges don’t come for free. The top spot comes with a huge burden of pressure and attention. It’s a responsibility and an obligation that you have to accept as the necessary price of fame and fortune. You cannot take the good stuff and then say “I don’t want the attention or to answer questions,” that’s sheer childish irresponsibility. The tennis crown is not a pretty toy he can play with as long as it entertains him and then throw away when he gets bored.

Then you have articles like this where he openly admits to violating the rules:

http://www.ubitennis.com/sport/tennis/2010/09/16/385737-nadal_admit_cheating_during_open_final.shtml

“[Nadal] granted an interview to journalist Juan Jose Mateo of the Spanish newspaper El Pais. During the course of the interview came the following puzzling exchange:

‘Interviewer: You look to your bench, and you are so nervous that you ask: ‘Where?’ ‘Where do I serve?’ Was it so difficult?

Nadal: It was in the last game, when I was serving for the match . . . I didn’t know where to serve. Down the center, to the middle or to try the classic play of the wide serve and then try to hit the forehand. They told me to serve wide and that’s where I served.’

Unless there was an error in transcription, it appears that Nadal is freely admitting that he both asked for and received advice on where to place his serve during the last game of the match. Such an exchange is quite obviously coaching, and is against the rules.”

The author contacted Nadal’s spokespeople, and they said “No comment”, apparently quite brusquely:

“The above article has been brought to the attention of Nadal’s media contact, Benito Perez-Barbadillo. He declined to respond (and I’m phrasing that more gently than he did).”

So rather than say yes or no, they don’t say anything. That’s a rather high-handed response, obviously they think it will blow over, and they don’t even have to bother denying it.

That’s in part due to those fans who will excuse their favorite with the time-honored “everyone’s doing it, why the big deal” and “Leave poor little Rafa alone.”

There is a deep feeling among Nadal fans that he’s somehow being persecuted for being held to the same standards as past champions. Utter nonsense. He’s being required to pay the same dues they have, that’s all.

He’s had great success deflecting attention with the “I’m an innocent little boy why are you asking me these things” pose: always putting himself as the underdog, no matter being #1 or even at the FO where he’s won so many times.

But it’s long past time for the little boy to grow up. He’s not some anonymous club player, he’s the top player and like it or not, one of the big representatives of the sport. He must accept that role and its responsibilities.

The sport’s top player openly admitting to flouting the rules is a scandal. What kind of message does that send to other players? That cheating is OK as long as you win? That people will excuse your actions, as long as you laugh questions off in a charming Spanish accent? It’s not just about him anymore, but what’s good for tennis.

If he’s the man his fans think he is, he won’t have any problems. If not, we’ll find out.


stu Says:

Also this thing about his new serve is a bit suspicious – the fact that when asked about it at the press conference he said “not now, no time no” or something to that effect meaning he didnt want to talk about it…the reporters started to laugh at his accent and it was only then that he realized he could spin it as a joke…

I love Rafa and I want to believe that everything he says is true because I would hate to see him as a cheating champion. I would just feel a lot better if he spoke openly to the press about all of this.


jane Says:

I just wish Nole would beat Rafa in a big match, where it really matters. I don’t agree with Daniel that Nole is Rafa’s “puppy” as he has 7 wins over him, and he has played him VERY closely on both grass and clay, even though he doesn’t have wins yet on those surfaces. But the two matches that I think he could’ve or maybe should have perhaps won were the Olympics and the USO since they were on Nole’s best surface. Both years, however, were Nadal’s absolute best years, when he is a dominating #1, having won FO, Wimbledon and Canada, going into Olympics, and having won FO and Wimbledon going into the USO this year. So Djoko was up against it, to be sure. Weirdly, it’s like Murray can beat Rafa on the big occasions (well, he has anyhow, at the AO -even though Rafa retired, Murray looked the stronger- and USO 2008) and Nole can beat Fed on the big occasions (AO 2008 – mono aside, Nole played great – and USO & Basel, big because it’s Fed’s home), but the reverse is not true. If only … well.


Vulcan Says:

A very interesting development indeed.

As a Nadal fan first I must say that Steve-o’s post above in my opinion was excellent and mostly right on target. Nadal is now firmly established as the Number 1 player in the world and he’s stepping into the shoes of someone who was carried the burden of representing the sport of Men’s professional tennis as well as anybody in history has. I think he’s taken the first step by admitting what actually happened…but there is more work to be done.


Kimberly Says:

stu—there is a website called tennishasasteroid problem.com devoted entirely to Rafa hating steroid talk (this guy also likes to bash verdasco, stosur, monfils and serena). He is a total conspiracy theorist and even says JMD really didn’t have wrist injury but was out serving a provisional hush hush suspension for drug use. ABSURD. He has a $200 reward for hair samples from Rafa, Monfils, Stosur, Verdasco or Serena. He accuses Andy Roddick of shaving his head to avoid hair samples etc. A true nut. I thought of going on and ripping him but obviously there is no point. The guy is just a freak.

Rafa spoke over and over again to the press about the grip change. He even brought a racket to show Johnny Mac when he visited them during the Fed/Soda match. I went over this to ben, if he was using you would see an increase in overall performance not just one area. Look back to his early matches. He plays with the same style. I will stand by that he is clean. Sometimes you just gotta believe. Otherwise we are just watching super enhanced humans play. I choose to believe that is not the case.

With regard to the coaching I do not know what to say. I hope it was a misinterpretation and rafa certainly didn’t need coaching to win that match but without a response from him I am at a loss to respond. Why would he admit it if he did it, we know he is clear on the rule, he just got a $2000 fine at wimby.

I agree, as the number 1 player he is to be the standard bearer for the sport. I’m sure he will live up to this. However, as an untraditional champion I feel Rafa triggers an abnormal response, from those who love him and those who hate him.


steve-o Says:

@jane: I don’t know if Murray can beat Nadal in a Grand Slam final despite his success at AO and USO. Nerves come into play there. That’s why Nadal has such a high strike rate in finals; other people get nervous, he doesn’t.

It’s weird that Federer has only played Djokovic at AO and USO, never at FO or Wimbledon. And Murray has never played Nadal at FO.

Maybe Murray will get lucky like Djokovic did at AO ’08, and only have to beat one of Federer/Nadal in a Grand Slam, not both of them. If that ever happens I feel he will surely win it.

Del Potro, as I have and will continue to point out, can beat both Federer and Nadal in a Grand Slam (the only man ever to have done so), which puts him in a class above when it comes to mental strength.


jane Says:

Kimberly, that guy does sound crazy; Roddick shaves his head to avoid hair sample testing, LOL!!! What a joke.

As for Rafa, I have always believed he is clean; I just can’t see him doping. As for Uncle Toni, sure he gives signals and whatnot but I don’t think it wins or loses matches for Rafa. The problem is that it’s against the rules, and Toni has been fined for it. So it taints Rafa a little bit. Rafa needs to tell Toni, “it’s okay man; I can handle it”. CLEARLY! No?

———————————————–
steve-o, I know – Nole’s been on Rafa’s side of the FO draw practically every year he’s played there, except 2009, but he lost early that year anyhow, after a stellar clay season.I hope you’re right that at some point Murray gets a break at a slam – but he had it at the USO! If he’d've continued to play well, he might’ve beaten Rafa and then it might’ve been a Murray vs. Nole final, what I was dreaming about. : ) As for Delpo, I’ve said it before, but I believe his win over Rafa at last year’s USO was in part due to Rafa’s ab injury. I’d like to seem him beat Rafa again in a slam before I anoint him the next best thing behind Rafa and Roger. To me, Nole and Murray have more to prove that they deserve those spots – more titles, more wins in general. Nole has 13 wins over Roger/Rafa; Murray has 11 wins over those two. Murray and Nole each have two wins over them at slams. Delpo, meanwhile, combines for 5 wins over Rafa and Roger, 2 at slams, same as Murray and Nole. Mind you, they happened at the same slam, but still. And it’s worth noting Delpo’s 1 year younger than Murray and Nole. So he’s in the same realm at them overall, in my opinion, still having to win a few more titles. He has 7; Nole 17, Murray 15.


Skeezerweezer Says:

@Jane
“…..Rafa needs to tell Toni, “it’s okay man; I can handle it”. CLEARLY! No?”

YES! :-)

@steve-o

“That’s why Nadal has such a high strike rate in finals; other people get nervous, he doesn’t.”

It’s not that Rafa hasn’t been nervous in a match before, but a final? You nailed it. Maybe when he was like 8 years old? Telling sign to the rest of the field, pay attention.


stu Says:

Kimberly, I’ve been reading the stuff on the website you mentioned, it does seem like the guy takes himself too seriously! Reg. the steroids issue, I find it hard to believe that it’s been an inside secret for so long…retired tennis players would have started exposing current players by now…

I read your discussions with Ben and I really don’t have an opinion on the serve issue. As someone who plays only leisure tennis, with the wrong technique in all probability, I cannot understand how he can serve consistently, accurately with the new grip all of a sudden. However, time will tell, and methinks Rafa will be in the clear.


Ben Pronin Says:

So tennis is clean? Every other professional sport has had PED issues, why is tennis an exception? Especially considering how physical the game has gotten. Odesnik was busted just this year for HGH, and not by WADA or the ITF, but by airport security. If Odesnik can slip by undetected, why can’t anyone else?


kimberly Says:

I’m not saying its 100 percent clean.I am saying it isn’t the conspiracy theory this guy is saying. Nor is it as widespread as he says.

I agree that players like players in all sports will use undetected. I just don’t believe rafas serve is a red flag and I choose to stand by my fav and say he’s not using. And I won’t even begin to guess who is with no evidence.

And most of all I’m saying the owner of that website is a nut and needs to get a life.


Ben Pronin Says:

In 97, the ATP covered up a positive drug test for the 141st ranked player. Why wouldn’t they cover up a test for anyone ranked higher?


grendel Says:

steve-o

In reply to Anna’s question as to why “there is such a big stink about cheating”, you say:”Maybe because he’s #1 and at the top of the sport?”

You do have a point, it is always the case that a sportsman who is exceptionally prominent is, by definition, going to be in the glare of the headlights. You want to go further than that (as does Vulcan, who is showing admirable consistency, since he earlier criticised another player for unacceptable behaviour on the courts as he saw it) and state that Nadal’s position as #1 automatically entails a responsibility where, for instance, the rules are concerned.

I don’t think it’s quite so simple. For one thing, it seems to me there is a slight contradiction in your position – you criticise him for “deflecting attention” and a general lack of candour. And yet a little later, you say:”The sport’s top player openly admitting to flouting the rules is a scandal.” But it is, undeniably, candid. In any case, there are two different situations here. Nadal’s caginess in press conferences is not attractive, and may smack of false modesty – that’s not clear. For instance, his command of English is not good (so misinterpretation is always a possibility), he is (apparently, and I see no especial reason to doubt this) a fairly retiring person who is not especially keen on the glare of publicity (Federer, by contrast, clearly enjoys it – and this is NOT a criticism: some enjoy, some don’t, none of our business). So even if there is a degree of false modesty, I believe it’s mainly 1) to deflect unwelcome even embarrassing attention rather than a disguised sort of boasting, e.g. like that of Hollywood stars such as the appalling Richard Gere. And b.t.w., he has been more forthcoming of late, openly referring to himself (with a slight sigh, I thought) as “one of the greats”. And 2)it is strategic, designed to take the pressure off him. The latter is not aggreeable, but it’s not a crime and one way and another, it’s just about universal.

However, really, that’s all irrelevant – a matter of character, it is true, but not of rules. And where character is concerned, you’ve got to be a bit careful before rushing to easy judgement.

So the important matter: was he cheating? Strictly speaking, I suppose yes. But let’s examine it a bit. First of all, in a state of extreme tension (it’s not true, you know, steve-o, that Nadal doesn’t suffer from nerves; he controls them better than most people, which is not the same thing at all)he glances, automatically, up to the stands for support. There is nothing wrong with this, most players do it I believe (one who doesn’t, ever, is Federer – that’s his way, and very appealing it is too, but it’s still personal). And then apparently uncle Toni or someone tells him where to serve. This is supposed to be the great cheat. Oh, come on, it’s nonsense. First of all, why on earth should Uncle Toni, who can’t even play club tennis or even possibly park tennis, have anything sensible to suggest to the best player in the world? It’s daft, the moment you think of it. If Nadal was absolutely not allowed to look up to the crowd, upon pain of losing a point, he would have to make his own mind up. Are we seriously suggesting that he couldn’t do a better job of that than Uncle Toni? Obviously, he was looking for a sort of reassurance – and in actual fact, was more likely to do himself a disservice than gain anything. Because, when it comes down to it, he knows much, much better than anybody else what to do. So whilst he is in infringement of the rules, and can therefore technically be accused of cheating, common sense suggests that the accusation of “cheating” from a moral standpoint is simply a nonsense. The whole point about cheating is to gain something illicitly. My contention is, Nadal gains nothing from getting some sort of signal from Uncle Toni, and may even be damaging his own cause.

The point it, steve-o, some rules – just like some laws of the land – are deeply silly. We all know what happens to laws which are generally perceived to be silly – they tend not to be obeyed. I would contend that the same is true of silly rules.

Ben – of course there will be corruption in tennis as in all other activities, just the way humanity is obviously. But again, common sense is (in the dearth of clearcut evidence) a desireable commodity. What is the likelihood that a man in Rafa Nadal’s position would take illegal drugs? Consider what he has to gain if he is undetected. And then consider what he has to lose if he is detected. Is there any equivalence between the two? In my view, any charge of illegality by Nadal (and I leave out any reference to character etc) is absolutely implausible. Perhaps I am naive.


kimberly Says:

Ben-come on! Conspiracy and cover up theories r insane. You don’t want to sound like that guy. According to him serena williams didn’t really injure her foot she is secretly suspended by the wta for doping. Ditto delpo. Totally asanine.


grendel Says:

jane, you say:”I believe his win over Rafa at last year’s USO was in part due to Rafa’s ab injury. I’d like to seem him beat Rafa again in a slam before I anoint him the next best thing behind Rafa and Roger. To me, Nole and Murray have more to prove that they deserve those spots – more titles, more wins in general..” You obviously mean “have DONE more to prove” – I’m not trying to be superior, we all do typos, just want to be clear.

Technically, you are right of course. But in my opinion, you are missing what people – correctly or not is another matter -mean. It is the manner of Delpo’s victories over Nadal and Federer which so impress. Nadal’s injury needs to be taken into account, for sure – but he’s played when injured before, and I daresay injured a good deal worse, and yet given a much better account of himself. For instance, he retired against Murray at the AO, so presumably he reckoned his injury to be more serious there than at the US, and yet he himself maintained months later that he had been in with a chance against Murray. That was certainly my feeling when watching that match, although I agree Murray was unquestionably ahead. But Nadal was simply demolished by delPo, and one can’t help suspecting the cause lay at least partly in delPo’s astonishing sustained power and accuracy – and utter lack of fear.

This is the point. Delpo’s credentials nowhere near match those of Djokovic and Murray. And yet many people, some of them informed, suspect that Delpo has within him a destructive ability not available to either Murray or Djokovic – and even if that ability doesn’t manifest itself very often, it is always deemed to be latent – a real threat. Of course, with this terrible injury, we just don’t know if this potency is regainable.


Ben Pronin Says:

Kim, don’t take this the wrong way, but are you religious? You sound like someone who interprets the Bible literally. I’m not saying everything on the site is valid, everyone believes what they want to believe in. I’m not saying everything the guy says is right, not by a long shot (Roddick’s new hair cut comes to mind), but that doesn’t mean it’s all wrong, either.

One thing that is completely valid on the nutty guy’s site is the document from the ITF that lists the results of all testing done in 09. Look through it thoroughly and tell me there is absolutely nothing alarming about it. Even Tignor mentioned it a while back.

Why are cover up theories so insane? Look at cycling! Contador is upset that his case has come out to the public. He’s upset that these allegations will hurt the sport’s image. He’s right, obviously. Doping allegations are always bad and cast a dark cloud over the player and the sport. But the problem here is that the UCI would’ve kept this under wraps if German journalists hadn’t started asking questions and threatening to leak out the case anyway, so the UCI came out with it first.

And I’m not even saying Contador is guilty, I don’t know enough about cycling to make any claims on the matter. But that his case could’ve, and maybe would’ve been, kept from the public is just absurd.

So my question to you is, considering we know that the ATP has, for a fact, hidden at least one positive drug test in the past, how can you be so sure that they don’t continue to do so? What makes tennis, the ATP, and the ITF above doping/cover-ups? It’s professional, competitive, grueling, demanding, and extremely physical sport. Tennis isn’t the only sport that’s become as high quality as it’s ever been, but it’s already common knowledge that PEDs have reared their ugly heads many times in all those other sports. Yet tennis is in some sort of bubble?

This isn’t an attack on your favorite player, not at all. It’s not even an attack on the players, they do what they have to do to win, human nature, nothing new. But the governing bodies of just about every professional sport are just letting this stuff happen so that they can fill their pockets. Let’s not forget that PEDs have long-term negative side effects on users.


grendel Says:

Ben – I too don’t know much about cycling. But as I understand it, drug taking is, and always has been, pretty prevalent in professional cycling. And that’s not because cyclists are more wicked than tennis players. Although it is true that tennis is as you say:”professional, competitive, grueling, demanding, and extremely physical sport”, something like the Tour de France is quite incomparably MORE gruelling. As I understand it, the demands it makes on the human body are quite frankly outlandish – but refer to tennisx’s contador, anyway. Drugs, in this extreme situation, can be very useful indeed (as well as dangerous – didn’t the British cyclist Tommy Simpson die thru using them?)

Again, you can see the applicability of drugs in sprinting, weightlifting, boxing. But tennis? Fairly marginal, I should have thought – therefore, you have to weigh up: are the gains worth the risk considering the penalties if discovered? And naturally, the higher ranked the player, the more stark the equation is. Once more, I leave out the question of character – this is so subjective and suggestive of partial views that it may just muddy the waters.

Think of Federer – supposing for some reason suspicion suddenly attached to him. What would your instinctive, and reasoned, reaction be? I don’t think there can be any doubt. I see no difference with Nadal.


kimberly Says:

So your insinuation is that they actively seek to cover up doping? Why make the anti doping rule in the first place? Or why enforce it at all? There must be some motivation to keep the sport clean,

I agree that there r users. I would go as far as betting money that there are five players inside the top two hundred using and getting away with it.

But what’s the atp itf motivation for the cover up. Avoid scandal? Keep ticket sales high? Keep level of play high?

That guy is a freak and a rafa hater with waaaay to little to do.

Btw I am a lapsed catholic.


Ben Pronin Says:

Grendel, I simply can’t understand how you can say that PEDs would provide marginal benefits in tennis. Cyclists dope to increase their endurance, don’t tennis players need a lot of endurance to play at a high level for an average of 2 hours? 2 hours doesn’t even seem like a lot for the pros, but in reality, it is difficult to hit the lines over and over and run down shot after shot and still be successful. The players do a lot of fitness training, no argument there. More now than ever. But PEDs also help there. Tennis players don’t lift, per say, but they’re always working out whether it’s in the gym or on the court. And another thing that PEDs can provide is faster recovery. The pros today can play a long 4 hour match one day and come out and play a 5 hour match the next. And win both. I’m not saying every time that happens we should immediately jump down their throats claiming cheat, but it’s still something to be wary of.

Nadal raises more suspicion than Federer primarily because of his build, but I’m fairly certain there are no cyclists who come anywhere near Nadal in terms of bicep size. So I see no reason why suspicion shouldn’t be raised towards Federer and anyone else.

Plus, there is no PED for mental toughness.


kimberly Says:

But I understand the motivation. I take guarena and white willow bark before playing or even working out. Its all natural but isn’t that the same thing on a smaller scale? Red bull or rock star. Good diet? Vitamin b 12 shots. I’m sure there r a full menu of legal enhancers yes?


Ben Pronin Says:

“But what’s the atp itf motivation for the cover up. Avoid scandal? Keep ticket sales high? Keep level of play high?”

Yes, yes, and yes.

WADA is an independent organization that requires sporting organization to enforce doping regulations. Also, really, how would the ATP, or anyone else look, if they did not appear to regulate illegal drugs?


guy Says:

grendel’s post on the cheating sums up how pathetic the whole thing is.

and i agree toni is perhaps the least qualified coach on the circuit. this is a man who had rafa playing twohanded both sides till 12 years old.

he’s essentially there for moral/competitive support and is more of a father figure than a coach. personally i think he’s useless. but people claiming rafa should fire him aren’t living in the real world. the bond is too strong, he’s family and the fallout from that would be extreme. plus i think nadal has enough family problems to deal with.
with that in mind, it’s tough to control what your coach,family do while you’re on court. dokic father,yuri sharapov, djokovic’s crazy family etc. it’s not as simple as telling these people to shut up. so if toni is occasionally yelling out some hair brained tips, well that’s not the same as nadal being some devious cheater.

i’ll also add that the people claiming nadal cheats are the same people who claim he’s a one dimensional player. the idea of being a one dimensional player is that you don’t need tactics, you just do the same thing over and over. slight problem there. furthermore, tennis is not chess. and almost every player will tell you the same thing, they play their own game and concentrate on executing it best they can, not looking for some magic tactic to defeat their opponent with.

there is no basis for the drugs issue either. if you go by muscle mass, nadal actually isn’t that built, he weighs the same as many people his height, including federer. he’s not skinny, but certainly no rugby player. and as for endurance, i’ve lost count of the amount of 4+ hour matches i’ve come across, players fighting to the end. if hewitt, davydenko, ferrer and other high mileage players can run out these matches than why not nadal.
the reason is simple, he’s the one who dethroned federer, and some people just can’t accept he did it fair and square.


kimberly Says:

To be honest, my husband thinks both rafa and roger use. And he is convinced of capriati stosur safina etc.

But I don’t think so. I’m in my early thirties and have had two kids and I can workout/play any sport that my body is used to and recover and play again within hours let alone a day. As long as its not something new (like some stupid relatively easy ballet class kicked my ass recently)I won’t even be sore. My only issue is breathing in grueling corner to corner rallies but after two minute water brak I can recover and continue again. But no matter what my heart rate will be low. That’s just how I am.

And some of the fifteen year olds at the tennis club could sit out there ten hours in florida heat and will play and play and play.
These are professionals with trainers ten years younger than me with the exception of clijsters never had kids. They do train but the are naturally gifted with stregnth, coordination and endurance.

I choose to believe in rafa. I have no evidence on way or the other. But since I elect to believe in him the least I can do is back roger too. Maybe I am naïve and I don’t want to believe the alternative. I believe still tennis is the best sport with the highest standards and highest caliber/quality of athlete.


i am it Says:

Jane,
1) Why did you have to count titles, etc. when you were questioning Steve-o’s point of “mental strength”?
W.r.t. Steve’s point, I would have said Djoko does not lack confidence against Nadal or Federer. At the Grand Slam final, his mental focus, not mental strength, is not in par with Rafa’s. For him to beat Rafa at the GS final (or semi), either he has to be in his absolute zone, or he has to alleviate his focus, or Rafa has to be below his best level (either serve not working or BH missing, etc).
As for Murray, he absolutely lacks mental confidence, game plan, execution, etc., on top of tentativeness in choosing his weapons, when it matters most. Too many weapons but too little planning and confidence.
As for DP, he is insanely fearless and has loads of strength to take down anyone, esp. at the biggest stage of the world. I refrain from comparing him with anyone at this point.

2) Ref: “I believe his win over Rafa at last year’s USO was in part due to Rafa’s ab injury.”
So you also believe Djoko’s beating of Federer at ’08 AO was due to the Swiss’ “mono”? Otherwise, he would not have done it, right? So, Djoko’s first and only Slam does not count? You would close eyes to Del Potro’s beating of Rafa 3 in a row, ’09 Miami and ’09 Canada? You would not take into account that Del Potro beat Rafa and Fed with an injured wrist, in the biggest stage?

In my tennis viewing career, that ’09 USO final was the unmatched tennis I have ever witnessed. Just hope he produces more of those, with a little more time.


skeezerweezer Says:

“….grendel’s post on the cheating sums up how pathetic the whole thing is.”

Let’s get the only facts that matter at this point, the rest is fodder talk. Rafa did cheat, got called for it at Wimby, and resulted in a fine. Don’t say he didn’t.

IMO is Rafa a bad person? Absolutely not. Said it before Unc Toni has got to go. Unc Toni is bad for Rafa’s rep, can’t keep his hands to his side or his mouth shut. Do you all think that Wimby was a result of just that one incident? No way. Unc Toni has been warned and recorded numerous times prior. Rafa is class, Unc Toni is not. IMO he is the culprit and holding back Rafa’s rep on the court at this point. Adios Amigo!

As far as the whole doping issue, he’s innocent until proven guilty, he is playing within the rules. Let the investigative writers and ruling authorities do there thing and hoipe they do it across the board and not pick on Rafa.

Ben,

Think about it. What a total scandal and take down of the sport if there was a conspiracy ( doping/steriodals ). This could mean that Rafa’s 3 slams this past year could be null and void or have the “Barry Bonds” asterisk? Doubt it. Ain’t gonna happen even if there is something there.

Kimberly,

“my husband thinks both rafa and roger use.”

Roger? lol….if he is taking something he needs a lot more of it….


Ben Pronin Says:

“I believe still tennis is the best sport with the highest standards and highest caliber/quality of athlete.”

I wish I could say the same.

“and i agree toni is perhaps the least qualified coach on the circuit. this is a man who had rafa playing twohanded both sides till 12 years old.”

That’s not very uncommon. There’s a video on youtube of Nadal playing when he was… I don’t remember how old, but definitely between 10-14. The kid was tiny and usually the really small guys stick to 2 hands on each side for a little while longer.

“i’ll also add that the people claiming nadal cheats are the same people who claim he’s a one dimensional player”

Funny that you mention this because Federer once claimed that. And for a while it was true. But at this point, Nadal possesses a lot of variety, as demonstrated best, imo, during his AO match with Murray. But to be fair, most players do the same thing most of the time, and considering how effective Nadal has been…


Ben Pronin Says:

“Think about it. What a total scandal and take down of the sport if there was a conspiracy ( doping/steriodals ). This could mean that Rafa’s 3 slams this past year could be null and void or have the “Barry Bonds” asterisk? Doubt it. Ain’t gonna happen even if there is something there.”

Skeeze, I don’t get the last part. Are you agreeing that if someone is doping it would be covered up?


contador Says:

oh no. i was happily doing some tennis bracket dreaming earlier. now, my mind goes back to doping.

i am really quite down about alberto contador. his second sample was tested from the july 21st rest day and came back with 8 x the amount of plasticizers in it than normal.

which means his alibi of getting a non-steroidal anabolic / dangerous stimulant in a minute amount by eating steak on the 2nd TDF rest day is not looking real credible. by the amount of plasticizers in his blood, it is more likely he blood doped. in other words, he had a pint or two of his own blood saved up and in that blood was clenbuterol, albeit a small amount. it’s likely that he had ingested it in some form, knowingly or not, at the time he had an autologous blood draw, some point prior to the tour de france. but the samples for which he tested positive for plasticizers would point to a transfusion during the race rest day.

contador denies ever having a transfusion in his life with conviction.

contador knew about the positive for clenbuterol not long after the TDF – contador says he was informed only of the clenbuterol in august and was actually advised to not say anything by UCI officials. the lab doing the tests for WADA in cologne, germany leaked news to german news and the UCI and contador were forced to go public last week. though the lab was holding a card contador and UCI did not know – the plasticizers were detected. bad, very bad.

the point is – it’s looking like there was a cover-up afoot and the lab was not going to go along. maybe if the tour of spain leader from 09 had not been stripped of his win and all the other 2 spaniards busted for plasma expanders last week, the tour de france winner would have been protected. it does make me sick. cycling has a bad reputation for a reason.

as grendel points out cycling puts crazy demands on athletes in a three week tour, over 2000 miles, up alps and pyrenees with only 2 rest days. tour designers are cruel sadists, i imagine.

cycling has 3 grand tours a year: france, spain, and italy. in cycling it’s their GS’s. contador is the only cyclist to win all three and the daddy of them, TDF, 3 times = 5 tours. armstrong has the most wins in history, but all 7 are tour de france. many people do not like armstrong for winning so many TDF’s.

it is so hard to win more than one of those a year! contador was planning to go for another TDF win and a tour of spain in 2011.

maybe this will change the doping cover-ups in cycling. i thought it would when floyd landis was stripped of his win in 2006. but contador is a way bigger presence in cycling. spain has a long cycling history and is a huge cycling nation. this, as i said, would be like federer or nadal getting caught doping and having a GS stripped!

do i think there is more doping in tennis than we know? yes, i do. but i doubt it is on level with the demands in cycling.

nadal’s name comes up on blogs in connection to the dr. fuentes scandel from a few years ago. contador’s name was also connected. but there was no proof on either athlete.

i have strong feelings against dangerous drug usage. the doctors have to also be held accountable. but honestly, my feelings are a bit mixed on autologous blood to help revive someone. if you read about prp, it also involves an autologous blood draw which is centrifuged down to platelet enriched plasma. at that point stuff can be designer added like human growth hormone (or not) and finally it is infused or injected into the affected area. imo, i don’t see a whole lot of difference in getting an autologous blood transfusion. one therapy serves for cell regeneration, the other replenishes volume, assists blood count and O2 capacity. getting your own blood is not dangerous unless one has been slipped something like clenbuterol during the time of the auto draw. donor blood transfusions however, are a different story and have a lot of risks. i’d be against it.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Contador,

I was reading your post and thought you were talking about yourself , LOL, my bad.,,,,,ha! :)

Ben

Best I leave the things alone for now. You know the Barry Bonds story and Baseball? What has the baseball authorities done? It seems certain players of all sports will continue to enhance if they can. The temptation is too great to gain an advantage, bug bucks, fame glory and all. I know, a cynical attitude :(


i am it Says:

Frankly, I take drugs, all kinds, except medicinal, so obviously I support their USE. I believe any organic intake is a drug, so all players should be allowed. Go drugs ! But as a player, I’d not like my opponent taking more time to serve than allocated. That would affect my focus and subsequently my return.


Ben Pronin Says:

Baseball blatantly doesn’t care if the players dope. Many have argued that steroids reignited interest in baseball that had long been waning. I don’t know if the same can be said for tennis. It seems like interest in tennis, at least in the states, continues to stay on thin ice, PEDs or not.


i am it Says:

And of course I disapprove coaching from the box. That’s mentally cheating.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Ben,

It’s very true what you say about Baseball. Throw in Football, and the biggest culprit of all Wrestling. All for entertainment.

There is some sense to what you make. Tennis has seemingly been immune d, ignored, or no one cares, or is tennis innocent?. Or is it next? Is it coming? Is it already here?

They said Lendl changed the way players got into shape and pioneered the mens game in that. I didn’t notice his muscles, did you?


Ben Pronin Says:

I wasn’t around back then, haha.


Skeezerweezer Says:

Padawan!


contador Says:

LOL skeezer. it’s confusing. contador sad for contador….

not changing my nickname. the lab tests are wrong. why do germans hate me?


jane Says:

Hi i am it, “Why did you have to count titles, etc. when you were questioning Steve-o’s point of “mental strength”?”

I don’t know. It sounded good? ; ) I guess I was just responding to this notion, which came up last week too, that somehow Delpo is “above” Nole and Murray with regards to outcomes (i.e., because he beat both Nadal and Fed at a slam). I don’t think he has enough results just yet to state conclusively that he’s stronger than them – mentally or whatever. He seems to be mentally very focused and calm, which could be a huge weapon for him in the future, no to mention all that power. So maybe he is mentally tougher than Nole and Murray. But, in my opinion, the jury is still out as to “how strong”, and “who stronger than”, until I see more consistent results from Delpo.

“So you also believe Djoko’s beating of Federer at ‘08 AO was due to the Swiss’ “mono”? ”

Well it was probably a factor, right? That doesn’t mean it was “due to” the mono, or that it was not a fair and square win, as was Delpo’s win over Rafa. Notice I said “in part”. There are many factors that contribute to players’ wins and losses in my opnion, and whether or not a player is at his best is one of them. I was just trying to point out that if Rafa was playing his best, maybe Delpo would’ve had to go 4 or even 5 sets to win that match, or maybe he doesn’t win at all. And maybe if Rafa took Delpo to 4 or 5 sets, Delpo doesn’t then win in the final the next day because he is more fatigued. These are my honest assessments of the myriad possibilities.

Of course Delpo’s slam counts and so does Djoko’s; they earned their titles!! But it’s also true that Fed was suffering from a virus – even though Djoko still had to play great to beat him -and Rafa was suffering from an ab injury, which may’ve made Delpo’s win easier, not to say Delpo still couldn’t have beaten him. As for how Rafa is playing now? I’d love to see the match up between Delpo and Rafa – with Delpo fully back of course too.


contador Says:

yeah. i don’t think it’s fair to make excuses unless it’s for a major favorite.

i am it- you say, “Go drugs!” haha! i say, go blood doping! go contador, yay.

in tennis don’t want my opponent grunting, shrieking or scaring me the “stink- eye.” grrrr


steve-o Says:

@grendel: But what is a “silly” rule? Should the players be allowed to break whichever rules they judge to be silly? Then you’d have anarchy.

I quoted Nadal himself saying that a) he didn’t know where to serve, b) he looked up to his coach for advice, c) his coach told him where to serve, and d) he took his coach’s advice. It was not a mere situation of the player looking up to his box for support. I don’t know how much clearer and more unambiguous it could be, short of a signed confession.

Sure, maybe telling the player when to eat a banana (as supposedly happened with Sharapova) doesn’t change the course of a match in any significant way. But saying “Serve here” on a key point might. I’m not saying it did this time, but it might another.

And why the “no comment” response from Team Nadal? If it is such a trivial issue, they should have some position on the matter. Why not take the opportunity to set the record straight?

“if toni is occasionally yelling out some hair brained tips, well that’s not the same as nadal being some devious cheater.”

LOLs. I’ll bet you also think the good cop is a nice guy who just wants to help you out and protect you from the bad cop.

Please, they’re both cops, and they’re working together. And the “but he can’t do anything about his mean old uncle” is a complete and total cop-out. If Nadal’s a “big boy”, as some have claimed, he should have the courage to address this problem.

After Djokovic’s parents were criticized for being boorishly loud and distracting, they were seen less frequently in his box. And they’ve generally been much better-behaved when they do make an appearance. Clearly, Djokovic made a deliberate effort to clean up his act, for which he deserves credit. Same with Sharapova–Yuri is no longer seen courtside as often as he was.

But Toni Nadal continues his reign of terror, still sitting front and center, his nephew is just a helpless, innocent victim of his uncle’s ill-thought-out attempts to give him on-court advice, even though he’s a world #1 and career Grand Slam winner, and, at 24, older than Djokovic or Sharapova. He can do nothing about Toni’s vicious rants blasting the Parisian fans as “stupid” or suggesting Nadal is injured when he loses.

You see, bad cop Toni is totally out of control, out of his mind, loco, and good cop Rafael can’t do anything to rein him in. And if bad cop Toni isn’t allowed to do as he pleases, he just might do something REALLY CRAZY. So you better let Toni do what he wants! Or else someone might get hurt!

In any case, this is a problem that, if Nadal is indeed as mature as is claimed, should have long ago been dealt with. He still could, of course, but it would take some degree of moral courage, because it would mean he would have to give up an affectation which has given him an advantage at no cost to himself.


i am it Says:

Jane,
Since we are talking about belief (your word), for that matter insanity (my word), let me stoop down to that level of craziness and say this to you:
That Rafa is God and he is unbeatable when he is healthy, etc verges on some form of irrationality. Going to the other side of the net after losing a GS final to bow to the opponent and start counting Davis Cup and what not in the post-match interview just to anoint Rafa as the Greatest and to counter Fed’s 16 in an indirect way is not going to earn Djokovic another Slam. The same way, by bringing up Rafa’s ab injury is not going to help Djoko or Murray to beat Rafa in the GS final.
To cut the long point short, Murray had his chances, an injured Rafa and Fed in the AO final, after he had an exhausted Rafa and Fed in the USO final back in ’07, he could not fulfill on both occasions.
Djoko had his chance this year, he failed, too. And he was playing one year older Fed.

I don’t know why it is difficult to accept Del Potro beat them both, a younger Fed and younger Rafa, and he did not need 2 days rest in between to do it, and his wrist problem had already begun before he played them.

This is what people see in Del Potro, a fearless precision power player who can do it.
Are you jealous that most people do not think that your guys are up for the task, instead most of us think that DelPo is, based on what we have seen? You cannot salvage your guys by bringing Rafa’s ab injury. That is not going to help. Prayers or, maybe witch craft can help:-)


i am it Says:

Contador,
are you a medical practitioner of some sort? I have never liked doctors and cops. So, please don’t be talking about my blood and basement where I grow my greens. Or else, my sister knows where you live in Colorado:-)


guy Says:

steve-o i suppose in your world everybody just does what you tell them? i mean you just tell them to behave a certain way and they do it like magic? that sounds like a nice place, i might move there.

the reason yuri wasn’t around much is that sharapova wasn’t around much with a little shoulder problem you might remember, and hasn’t done much since coming back.

djoker’s family is just as feral as before.

the paris crowds deserve to be slammed. booing a RG champion off court, booing nadal when he retired against davydenko in the paris indoors. it’s disgusting behaviour. but defend it if you must.

if you want to pick on nadal, i think you have a better case having a go at his arse picking.
because if you think toni ‘possibly’ suggesting one of 3 places to serve gives a player any real advantage you really need to watch more tennis. ‘hm, do i serve to a world class player’s forehand, or to a world class player’s backhand? if only i could somehow cheat and know the right side that would surely win me the point…maybe my numbskull soccer player uncle knows! because he’s psychic! yes, yes look, he knows! he knows which side! because he’s a tactical genius and took a wild guess!’

seriously this needs to be stopped, or soon every player is going to have somebody taking a wild guess which side to serve to. it’ll be so unfair.


grendel Says:

steve-o
” But what is a “silly” rule? Should the players be allowed to break whichever rules they judge to be silly? Then you’d have anarchy.”

my point was a bit different. more like players voting with their feet, if you take my meaning. I’m only referring to one rule, remember, which instinctively most players tend to disregard because – well, it’s silly! The motivation behind its framing was a worthy one, no doubt – but in practice, it doesn’t work. That happens.

The trouble is – and I refer to Skeezer and i am it here too – the word “cheating” has strong emotive content, and so should be used sparingly and only when it counts – or the word itself will just become a kind of “boo” word, which antagonists will hurl at each other with intent to insult. It then loses its force. Which would be a pity, since it’s a good word.

I know this might sound funny kind of talk on a tennis site, but words matter, everywhere – why do people get so het up, otherwise? And I think it is not aiding communication and understanding if a technical infringement of the rules – what Nadal was guilty of, it appears – is called “cheating”. Particularly since (I argued above) he was at least as likely to lose as to gain from the “coaching”. Coaching! If I was a coach, I’d be tempted to sue for defamation, citing the trades description act….

jane – as always, you make a clear,lucid and compelling argument. But I’m not convinced. I’d forgotten, till i am it reminded us, that del Potro was also carrying an injury. A very serious one as it turns out.

But my feeling – one which it is obvious many maybe most share – is that delPotro’s ascendancy was simply overwhelming, and the normal standards (let’s wait and see etc) don’t apply. We SAW with our own eyes what delPotro can do, and it was absolutely awesome. Even if delPo were, God forbid, to fade away into insignificance, it wouldn’t alter the fact that for a brief moment, he was a spectacular shining star which simply blazed. Honour to that blaze, we may never see the like again.


Kimberly Says:

Ben Pronin Says:
“I believe still tennis is the best sport with the highest standards and highest caliber/quality of athlete.”

I wish I could say the same.

COme on Ben–regarding male athletes, think of the NFL, NBA athletes and tell me tennis athletes are not a completely different caliber:
1. dates rapes
2. bar fights
3. drunk driving
4. assault
5. mistress dramas
6. thievery/shoplifting

When I was at FSU even the college players (escpecially football but basketball too) were basically criminals that felt they had free reign to do whatever the hell they wanted and that rules of normative behavior did not apply to them. Think of fights on the football field. Do you ever see that in tennis.

The american criminal defense attorneys make a fortune defending those guys and constantly getting them out of jail. Yet maybe i’m not in the know but the greatest scandal i can think of with tennis players run in jail is Ernest Gulbis’s arrest for soliciting a prostitute in Stockholm.

I mean, imagine if tennis players were constantly getting thrown in jail for DUIS, constantly accused of date rape, arrested for bar fights. You cannot compare it to other sports at least in this country.


Vulcan Says:

In real world terms a silly rule may simply be a rule that is not practically enforceable. The “no coaching from anybody including people in the crowds” qualifies as a silly rule because it is simply not possible to enforce it with any kind of consistency. The difference between a rule and an honor system is that rules are enforced by external authorities whereas honor systems rely on self enforcement. If a practical way of enforcing the rule cannot be devised it would be better to simply eliminate it and relegate it the realm of an honor system. The crowds may choose to get on a player if he is caught doing something that they think gives him an unfair advantage…as they do with other forms of gamesmanship. It’s unfair to the people who obey the rule if the coaching gives an advantage to the player who does it.

At this point this is more a question of honor for Rafa than anything else. He knows the rules and breaking them is more akin to violating an honor system than it is to cheating. Again, he’s taking the helm over from Federer…who set a very high bar for sportsmanship and following the sport’s unwritten rules. With that said I suspect some of the comment’s about the overexuberance of his uncle may be valid…Nadal likely just looks to him for reassurance…which is all he wants or needs…Toni responds with more than is required. It might be better for Nadal’s public image if he were to compete at some of the bigger tournaments without Toni.


jane Says:

i am it, I stand by the opinions I expressed in my earlier post: (a) there are many factors that contribute to wins/losses, including the form of both players, and (b) the jury’s still out on how far ahead of the pack Delpo is or will be. I don’t dispute his win or his potential to be the next number 1. What I *know* is this – his results began to really show at the end of last year on hard courts, or you could say from the FO onward but his results were inconsistent regardless (losing Wimby early, etc). So I’d like to see more, and I’d like to see whether or not he will be a player prone to injury. And no, I am not jealous, lol. Murray’s and Nole’s results thus far are as good if not better than Delpo’s so no need to be jealous. ; )


jane Says:

grendel “the normal standards (let’s wait and see etc) don’t apply. We SAW with our own eyes what delPotro can do, and it was absolutely awesome. ”

I know Delpo had an amazing USO, but it’s worht looking at his consistency during his rise last year, if his ascendance is to be deemed astonishing – he played GREAT at the FO, almost taking out Fed in the semis, but then he lost early at Wimbledon in straight sets. Then we won Washington, got to the finals of Canada, but had to pull out of Cincy due to fatigue. The he won the USO with a pretty smooth draw till the QFs, after which he beat Cilic, Rafa and Fed in succession – a great sign of what he is capable and probably the reason why most people have come to the conclusion he will now rise to the top of the heap and rule the roost. Then he lost in Shanghai first round, lost to Steps in Paris, and finished by playing very well at WTF, except in the finals versus Davy, where he wasn’t that potent. Some amazing runs in there, but also some up and down results. My point is that it wasn’t like he rocketed to the top and won and won and won everything in sight, like Fed.

I like Delpo; he’s got mega-power, more than anyone perhaps; he’s got a cool head, a great asset that I’ve already said may take him far. I am waiting to see how consistent he’ll be, whether injuries might affect him, and on what surfaces he’ll be able to do his best.

So far it seems like hard courts are his best surface. In that case, he has a good chance, because it’s not Rafa’s best surface, though he is clearly improving on it. On clay or on grass, I’d need to see more from JMDP. It looked like he could do very well on clay based on his FO run last year, but that’s his best result. Is it a sign that he will “blaze” on these two surfaces in future? Maybe, maybe even more likely than not. For sure? I am not saying that … yet.


jane Says:

To be number 1, which he could very well do, Delpo will need to play well at Master events as well as slams (I am assuming, perhaps wrongly, that he won’t win all slams every year), since Masters events carry 1000 points. He should try to capitalize by winning the hard court masters and hard court slams; if he can do that, and do it consistently, he may be able to take over number 1. This is assuming that Rafa, Fed and others remain healthy and competing at their best as well, since that plays into Delpo’s rise as well. He seems like a guy who competes well on the biggest stages, at the biggest events, but he just needs to win a couple Masters to help catapult him upwards.

He will be an incredible threat early next year as he rebuilds his ranking, as he can take out people early at the AO and early MS events, so if he does that well, by the time of the FO, he should be back to where he belongs in the top ten, maybe top five, depending.


grendel Says:

“What I *know* is this – his results began to really show at the end of last year on hard courts, or you could say from the FO onward but his results were inconsistent regardless (losing Wimby early, etc” – jane.

But I think you rather make the case FOR Delpo at that specific time. Losing at Wimbledon was definitely not an instance of inconsistency. It was a great grass court player, Hewitt, who beat a tyro on the surface. When they played again shortly after on the hard, delpotro of course won. The etc? What other inconsistency? Delpo lost against Murray in a final – even delPo can’t win them all when on a run, so if you’re going to lose, what better than to lose when in the final?

“the jury’s still out on how far ahead of the pack Delpo is or will be.” That’s just absolutely missing the point. It is an interesting question in itself, of course, and must await time’s verdict – but it is a different issue. The question is, Delpo at the US 2009. And despite Nadal’s injury, and Delpo’s injury, we saw enough to see something absolutely tremendous and unique. What delPo did to Nadal, and followed up by doing to Federer was extraordinary (too extraordinary for me, apparently – I remember quibbling at the time that Fed had not taken it seriously enough and I remember you – correctly – pulling me up on that).

I don’t know about i am it, but for what it’s worth, I make no comments about delPo’s ability vis a vis Djokovic and Murray. Too early to say – I agree. But the particular matches under review were stunning and deserve, imo, to be taken in isolation. And I really don’t think Nadal’s injury cuts it on this occasion.


grendel Says:

jane – it seems we “cross-posted”. I’d just like to comment on this:”he lost in Shanghai first round, lost to Steps in Paris, and finished by playing very well at WTF, except in the finals versus Davy, where he wasn’t that potent.”

I think you can argue that this is not a case of inconsistency, although it’s tricky because of his good O2 performance. I would say that with the US Open win, that particular period ended. Poor results after that were not especially significant – compare Nadal’s recent defeat – and of course he was carrying an injury, a very serious one it turned out. We can’t know how much it affected him, how much it was on and off etc, not without personal evidence. So I prefer to regard the period between the French and the US, with Wimbledon as a kind of rogue entry (grass!), as an isolated period.


Vulcan Says:

Skeezerweezer Says:

Why don’t we all just say “rules were made to be broken” ?

This is not silly, nor magic, rules are made to make a fair playing ground and the players fully understand what they are .

Rules theoretically are there to create a level playing field…the problem comes when you get to real world enforcement of the rules. A rule that is not enforceable or is enforced unfairly (such as selective enforcement) can create the exact oppose effect.

Intentions are everything and if a player perceives a rule, or the way it’s enforced, to be unjust than violating the rule is an honorable and even noble thing. If a player deliberately violates a rule that is practically unenforceable in the interest of giving himself an unfair advantage then it’s dishonorable.

In the case of Nadal I think it’s somewhere in between…clearly the rule is not unjust and I doubt Nadal deliberately sets out to give himself an unfair advantage by looking to his box for support. He’s clearly allowed to look to his box for reassurance…the problem is on this occasion he stepped over the line and asked his box for more than reassurance. Again, I don’t think it was a premeditated or deliberate action on his part designed to give an unfair strategic advantage…it was a heat of the battle lapse in judgment that I think shows that Rafa still has some work to do when it comes to living up to his role as the new Number 1.


Vulcan Says:

Skeezerweezer Says:

Just google “rafa cheats or Rafa cheater” and then try and google other top ten players, see what comes up

I tried this and it doesn’t even come up in Pagerank…the first page of results contained only one relevant result which was a thread discussing what is being discussed above – all of the other results were links to “cheats” for the Nintendo game.

Googling “Roddick Umpire” and “Roddick Tirade” however not only came up in Pagerank but yields numerous relevant hits.


kimberly Says:

Ben (or anyone else)—i am curious to know your opinion. What percentage of players in the top 50 r using. Top 100? Top 200? Wta?

And with my previous post I state again that tennis players have a vastly different standard of conduct thn the thugs in nfl and nba.


jane Says:

grendel, I respect everyone’s opinions on Delpo, including yours and i am it’s. I do think he was a shining star last summer, and he was magnificent to watch. Although I am not sure what you mean by this “And I really don’t think Nadal’s injury cuts it on this occasion.” Do you mean it was entirely not a factor in their match? Then how can you say this about Delpo? “Poor results after that were not especially significant … and of course he was carrying an injury, a very serious one it turned out.” If injury affected his results, they could also affect Rafa’s. Rafa pulled out of Wimbledon with a serious, ongoing injury, was just coming back right before the USO last year, was rusty and tore an ab muscle. I have acknowledged that in Djoko’s win over Rafa at Cincy last year the injury was a factor. And because Delpo got to the finals of WTF, I believe we can say there is inconsistency there.

However, if there is any kind of pattern (again, too soon to tell really; he may come back and rise and rise and rise), we can discern that he rises to the occasion for the big events, and that might be the key to his future success. Maybe he needs to play a little less (to avoid injury) and concentrate on big wins – Masters and slams? Maybe – this is pure speculation – he was already doing that?

I have no doubt he’ll be a major factor in 2011. Just waiting to see what he’ll do and on what surfaces is an enticing prospect in tennis right now.


kimberly Says:

Jane, grendel—

Glorified in absentia imo.

Murray and nole r way more accomplished. And rafa by leaps and bounds.


i am it Says:

Grendel,
(1) “I’m not trying to be superior, we all do typos, just want to be clear.

Technically, you are right of course. But in my opinion, you are missing what people – correctly or not is another matter -mean…. yet he himself maintained months later that he had been in with a chance against Murray. That was certainly my feeling when watching that match, although I agree Murray was unquestionably ahead.”

(2) “The trouble is – and I refer to Skeezer and i am it here too – the word “cheating” has strong emotive content, and so should be used sparingly and only when it counts – or the word itself will just become a kind of “boo” word, which antagonists will hurl at each other with intent to insult. It then loses its force. Which would be a pity, since it’s a good word.

I know this might sound funny kind of talk on a tennis site, but words matter, everywhere – why do people get so het up, otherwise? And I think it is not aiding communication and understanding if a technical infringement of the rules – what Nadal was guilty of, it appears – is called “cheating”. Particularly since (I argued above) he was at least as likely to lose as to gain from the “coaching”. Coaching! If I was a coach, I’d be tempted to sue for defamation, citing the trades description act….”

My response:
You acknowledge, on the one hand, that we are not in a correctional facility or court of law, or doing some umpiring. We are talking “on a tennis site.” Then you cancel out your hesitant admission by one big “but[t]” (pun intended) that we should be strictly using a term like “technical infringement of the rules.” Yet, you are throwing around the term “technically” every where.

We all are different and employ words differently, and we don’t access to each other’s intent. I did not signal out a player and did not have that intent but said I disapprove the act of “coaching from the box” in general. Euphemism may be propriety for some, but that’s another type of cheating for me.

Communication does not advance when one starts acting as a correctional officer but hides behind “I am not superior.” Human ego reeks everywhere. Emotions like “tempted to sue for defamation” are personal, yet you caution us not to “hurl at each other with intent to insult. Communication halts when we start dissecting, for instance, a grammatically incorrect clause like “If I was a coach” or out of place term like “Trade Descriptions Act,” which is associated with mens rea in the area of consumer trades. If you are really interested in the law related to Defamation of Character in the US, you should check out NYT vs. Sullivan plus absence of malice involving a public figure as well as preservation of a genuine complaint and Freedom of Speech Act (First Amendment), esp. now with relation to internet and blog comments.

If law were to work in whims, Federer would be libel for defamation as early as in 2006 when he complained about Nadal receiving coaching from Coach Toni during the Rome final. Toni accepts the charge but poorly defends. In his view, the rules against box coaching are archaic and need to be modified. “I think all the sports make an evolution. It’s not natural that you pay a coach and this coach travels to Australia and to New York to watch his player and he can’t say nothing,” said Toni this year.

Last word for now, w.r.t. “Particularly since (I argued above) he was at least as likely to lose as to gain from the ‘coaching.’”
Everything said is said by someone, not “I argued so, therefore this is the truth, then we will start having communication.


skeezerweezer Says:

Vulcan nice post at 11:54 :)

I am it,

WOW :) most excellent post!


Vulcan Says:

Kimberly,

Sad to say, there was a time, when one could make an educated guess about top 50 banned substance users based on how many Argentines were in the top 50. Gaudio and Nalbandian may have steered clear of them but several others got caught. I’m guessing that the further down you go in the rankings the more likely it is to find violaters. If I had to make a guess for the players ranked from 100-500 I would say something like 5%.


jane Says:

I should clarify something: I’m not convinced that Delpo wouldn’t've beat Rafa or even whooped him the way he did if Rafa didn’t have that ab issue. It’s just possible it was a factor in their match, that’s all. In the same sense, Djoko may’ve still beat 08 Fed, mono or not, right? Right. So in hindsight, maybe I shouldn’t've brought up Rafa’s injury after all. I think I’ll drop the subject of Delpo’s past results with that, and just look forward instead to what he brings going forward!


Kimberly Says:

vulcan-and wta?


Vulcan Says:

WTA is more of an enigma I think…there is so much less historical data to go by. Off the top of my head, I can’t even name one high profile case of WTA doping. I would say .1% for 100-500.


steve Says:

@jane: one can turn your argument around and point out that Djokovic and Murray have been around for a while and have had many bites at the cherry but have yet to make good.

Djokovic does have a Grand Slam but after beating mono-Federer he had Tsonga in the final, who’s not exactly known for his mental strength. Obviously it would not have been nearly as tough as beating Federer, then Nadal in the final. He lost his first GS final against Federer, then lost his third against Nadal.

Murray has made two major finals and lost both of them in straight sets.

Del Potro has had one bite at the cherry and he made good, coming through Nadal and then Federer. He won his first major final against Federer, twice coming back from a set down.

Consider too that he is still young, younger than Djokovic and Murray, and has yet to peak.

He may be even better on clay than on hard courts, in my opinion. The ball bounces higher and he has more time to set up and drive those huge groundstrokes.

The really shocking thing was that someone who hits so hard could win at USO. The court speed is so fast that you’d expect a big guy like Del Potro to make so many errors he couldn’t keep the ball in court. But he’s so accurate and his footwork is so good for his size that he could do it. That’s the real testament to his quality as a player.


i am it Says:

Jane,
Since we are talking a bit more sensibly, let me remind you that I prefaced “that” post by self-deprecating, calling it “insane”, etc. Now read that post as a jab at “we” minus me.

Let me say this, in all fairness, it is a little impetuous to suggest that Del Potro holds the patent for beating Fed and Rafa in a GS that he alone has the ability to repeat that feat. Just like Djoko inspired others back in ’07-’08 that Fed was beatable, others should inspiration from DelPo that Fed and Rafa are beatable in the same GS. Both guys deserve credits. Djoko and Murray (and possibly a few others) are very capable of repeating DelPo’s feat. I do think it will happen in 2011. So we are good.

Thanks, Skeeze.


i am it Says:

correction:
other should inspiration = others should derive inspiration


Kimberly Says:

i am it–actually delpos results indicate hard is his best surface…does he have any titles on clay even to back your claim that it is his best surface? Has he ever taken out a quality clay couter (forget nadal, im talking ferrer, verdasco, etc).


jane Says:

steve, No need to “turn around” arguments; this all began because I posted, on Oct. 5th at 2:22, that I hope Nole can beat Rafa in the future on a big occasion, as he has done twice versus Fed (who else besides Djoko has beaten Fed twice in a slam? Besides Rafa, that is. I don’t know.). Then you replied at 3:38 in a post that brought up Delpo and claiming he is a “class above”.

I guess I am waiting to see if that’s true. I don’t think it’s “a fact” yet, and certainly Murray and Nole are more accomplished, thus far, (Delpo is only 1 year younger than them so he’s off their generation; they all played together in juniors I believe), but his win was inspirational indeed.
——————————————–
Kimberly, I don’t think Delpo has won a title on clay but I am not sure? Last year (09), in Rome Djoko beat Delpo in straight sets. But then Delpo did better at the FO (again – is he a “big stage” player?). I’d have to look at his draw to see who he took out (i.e. any clay courters) on the way to his stirring semifinal match with Fed, but I think it is that match that convinced many he will be great on clay. I think we need to see more results on clay to draw that conclusion, but he’s clearly proven that on hard courts he can beat the very best.


i am it Says:

Kimberly,
What is my claim, a sincere one, not the one I have characterized as “insane”? I am not aware that I have made any claims aside from stating an obvious fact of his feat. Please quote me and give me a chance to clarify.
Where did I mention “clay”?
You are creative. I recommend you reading my 2 posts to Jane together.


grendel Says:

I’m quite surprised by the hostility of your tone, i am it, not because I don’t bear hostility – I am sure I do from some – but I wasn’t aware I had offended you so much. I’ll try and answer your points, but it’s a bit tricky since most of the time we seem to be like ships that pass in the night. Still, here goes.

I’ve no idea what you mean by “throwing the term “technically” around everywhere. “Technical infringement of the rules” however is obvious – that’s what I believe Nadal to be guilty of, nothing else; you and others are free to disagree, of course. Nor do I “ackowledge” anything in the sense you say – I actually have no idea what you are talking about here, so can’t very well reply.

” I did not signal out a player and did not have that intent but said I disapprove the act of “coaching from the box” in general. Euphemism may be propriety for some, but that’s another type of cheating for me.” Well, I get this. I think you are being disingenuous in the first sentence. Nadal was, after all, the player under discussion. Now the question of euphemism – it’s not clear whether you are referring to a substitute for “cheating” or the business of coaching – but it doesn’t really matter. Because the two are very linked in this situation. I have already made my point that I do not agree that Uncle Toni was coaching, and I made it quite forcefully – perhaps this upset you, since you seem to be wanting to make a strong moral point. Well, I think you’re wrong, badly wrong here. I don’t think a euphemism was being used, and you use of the word cheating in that context strikes me as emotive and peculiar.

“Communication does not advance when one starts acting as a correctional officer but hides behind “I am not superior.” Human ego reeks everywhere”. Oh, dear, I AM in somebody’s bad books. I did wonder, actually, if I was being a bit heavy – but my point was innocent enough, I just wanted to be sure I got jane right. On reflection,I expect it came across as a bit smug, and I have been lashed over the face for it. “correctional officer”! Help! Looks like I owe you an apology, jane – but I have been justly punished.

But – ahem – do I not smell the “correctional” tide infecting even i am it? “A grammatically incorrect clause like ‘if I was a coach’…This is surely rather desperate nitpicking. I’m not even sure if you’re right – though I agree, “if I were” would be better – but does that actually matter? However, this is immediately followed by:”or out of place term like “Trade Descriptions Act,” which is associated with mens rea in the area of consumer trades. If you are really interested in the law related to Defamation of Character in the US, you should check out NYT vs. Sullivan plus absence of malice involving a public figure as well as preservation of a genuine complaint and Freedom of Speech Act (First Amendment), esp. now with relation to internet and blog comments.”

The thing about all the above is that it’s so incredibly heavy in the circumstances. You’ve shown you’re pretty knowledgeable about the law, I know nothing whatever about it, and nor – in this context – did I need to. I was just making a somewhat satirical point about the absurdity of the use of the word “coaching” in this context. This, I firmly maintain and will continue to do so. However, if you think my method of doing so was maladroit, so be it. Maybe it was indeed clumsy, that’s for others to judge, but I don’t think it’s just that that’s niggling you. It appears that you are very offended by my whole position on this “coaching business”. You talked about “ego”, but your whole post is redolent of hurt ego, and I’m still trying to figure out why.

“If law were to work in whims, Federer would be libel for defamation as early as in 2006 when he complained about Nadal receiving coaching from Coach Toni during the Rome final” Boy, talk about making a huge meal out of a throwaway remark. Still, I guess you were trying to sneak in a nice little blow to the kidneys with the mention of Federer. I didn’t know Fed had said that but I am not surprised, players say all kinds of daft things in the emotional aftermath of a very difficult defeat. I don’t blame Fed in the slightest, it’s human nature. I can recall Novotna, when she was getting beaten by Navritilova, complaining about her “grunting”. That was in the news at the time because of Seles (oh, innocent pre-Sharpie/Azarenka days), but the idea of attacking Martina on these grounds was just potty – but, understandable. Novotna was overwrought.

Finally:”“Particularly since (I argued above) he was at least as likely to lose as to gain from the ‘coaching.’”
Everything said is said by someone, not “I argued so, therefore this is the truth, then we will start having communication.”

But this is just perverse. Of course I was not trying to issue some sort of fiat. The reason I used the phrase “as I argued above” was simply to avoid repeating what I had already said – I am always a bit embarrassed (though it doesn’t stop me) by how long my posts are, it does seem kind of presumptuous. And I meant exactly what I said, b.t.w: that in my opinion, Nadal was as likely to lose as to gain from such so-called “coaching”. Naturally, that is just an opinion with which you are,naturally, free to disagree.

Jesus, talk about misunderstanding. Most of this is just nuts and bruised egos. By the way, some people sometimes praise what I write here, and it may surprise you to know, i am it – because I am sure you think I kind of bask in a sort of smug glory – that I am generally pretty puzzled. But I am just as puzzled by your contribution.

jane – it’s kind of funny. Because first you disregarded Delpo’s injury – i am it reminded us of it – and now it looks like I am doing the same! Do they cancel each other out? I don’t know. As for the business of “inconsistency”, I agree, the O2 performance is hard to square with the injury. Could it be one of those ones which flared on and off? And was Delpo more inclined to risk the injury at the O2 , just like at the US, because of its significance. I don’t know.


i am it Says:

Kimberly,
Although your question had a dismissive undertone, let me inform you that Del Potro’s first career title was on clay and yes he has 2 titles on clay, ’08 Kithbuhel and ’08 Stuttgart.

He beat Robredo last year at RG and beat Chela and Davydenko elsewhere on clay.

Davydenko (9) Robredo (8) and Chela (6) have more clay titles than Ferrer (5)and Verdasco (3). Davydenko is 2 times RG semifinalist (’05 & ’07); Robredo is 4 times RG quarterfinalist; and Chela is a 1 time quarterfinalist, where as Verdasco has not reached the RG quarter.
Needless to say Del Potro has reached RG semi, while Verdi and Ferrer have not. He has not gotten a chance to play Ferrer and Verdasco on clay.


contador Says:

about delpo.

i know i have pieced his wrist story together and included better links than this one as an example of an interview post retirement vs melzer last shanghai. but i’d have to dig through threads here to find it. also have posted links about his injury and surgery.

http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=59756

in shanghai he did not yet know it was a nerve problem. he was having pain and had been having pain in his right wrist since miami 09. he went back to tandil to see doctors and had to skip basel and paris. and no, he was not 100% at the O2.

he has not been at 100% for a long time. so, i hope he takes his time recovering and gaining confidence. i remember how well he was playing in 2008. he came in right behind murray and nadal (who tied) in the us open series. he’s a very big talent and future #1, imo.

take your time delpo. tennis needs you!


contador Says:

excuse me – oops.

delpo did play paris last year but he again had to retire.


Kimmi Says:

enjoyed discussions about delpo. I am another one who thinks the guy has something special. as i have said this on another thread, i believe if delpo progress was not cutoff with this injury, we would have seen even more spectacular things from him.

It will be great if he can get back to his best..


i am it Says:

I do not think a gibberish deserves a response, but for the sake of correcting contest, which you started and is totally repulsive to me, let me do it for you one last time. Then, maybe, you can see what I am trying to say. I am only mimicking you.
It is not “technical infringement of the rules,” but according to ATP Official Rulebook 2010, the right expression IS “violation of Code, section 4. Offenses, subsection Coaching and Coaches” (see pp. 147-48):
i) Players shall not receive coaching during a tournament match.
Communications of any kind, audible or visible, between a player and a coach may be construed as coaching.
Coaches on-site are prohibited from:
aa) Using an audible obscenity or making obscene gestures of any kind;
bb) Abusing any official, opponent, spectator or other person, verbally or physically;
cc) Engaging in conduct contrary to the integrity of the game of tennis.
Conduct contrary to the integrity of the game shall include, but not be limited to, comments to the news media that unreasonably attack or disparage a tournament, sponsor, player, official or the ATP. Responsible expressions of legitimate disagreement with the ATP policies are not prohibited. However, public comments that one of the stated persons above knows, or should reasonably know, will harm the reputation or financial best interest of a tournament, player, sponsor, official or the ATP are expressly covered by this section.
ii) Violation of this section shall subject a player to a fine up to $5,000 for each violation. In addition, if such violation occurs during a match, the player shall
be penalized in accordance with the Point Penalty Schedule.
In circumstances that are flagrant and particularly injurious to the success of a tournament, or are singularly egregious, the supervisor shall have the authority to relocate the position of a coach if there is reasonable belief that coaching is occurring or the supervisor may order the coach to be removed from the match site or tournament site and upon his failure to comply with such order, may declare an immediate default of such player.

o) Continuous Play / Delay of Game (page 150)
Following the expiration of the warm-up period, play shall be continuous and a player shall not unreasonably delay a match for any cause. A maximum of
twenty-five (25) seconds shall elapse from the moment the ball goes out of play until the time the ball is struck for the next point. If such serve is a fault, then
the second serve must be struck by the server without delay. The exception is at a ninety (90) second changeover or a one hundred twenty (120) set break.
The procedures for enforcing this rule are as follows:
Start stopwatch when the player is ordered to play or when the ball goes
out of play;
Assess time violation or code violation if the ball is not struck for the next point within the twenty-five (25) seconds allowed. There is no time warning
prior to the expiration of the twenty-five (25) seconds.
(Note: ITF rule for time violation is 20 seconds at Grand Slams).


skeezerweezer Says:

Thanks for the research I am it :)

Uncle Toni……


jane Says:

I actually just noticed that you corrected my typo now, grendel. I didn’t even notice your earlier post. In all honestly, I tend to read and write posts here very swiftly, which, apparently, sometimes gets me into trouble. Usually I come on here in a semi state of distraction, or for escape, or after dinner and perhaps a couple glasses of wine, which means I am probably not cogent much of the time, and also that I make numerous errors (I rarely proofread posts). Shameful, really, considering my job. But, someone once said, “to err is human” and I think that’s right. I don’t think many of us here are divine, so I’ll skip the other part of that addage.

“And was Delpo more inclined to risk the injury at the O2 , just like at the US, because of its significance.” – I think so. I think he is a “big match” player and he is one who will peak for the right moments. It’s purely a hunch, but his results kind of bear it out: no masters titles, in fact very few titles, and yet a slam win, a WTF’s final appearance, and a 5 set semi at the FO versus Fed. This could be a good sign for his future – shows he’s hungry for the big titles, the big wins. On the other hand, it could hurt his consistency and slow his bid (presuming he has one) for number 1. All speculation, but I get this feeling about Delpo – that he really “brings it” when and where is “really matters.”


jane Says:

See? Two typos in that measley post at 8:02. Let me correct myself then: “In all *honesty*” not “honestly” and “when and where *it*” not “is”. Jeepers. There are probably more but I am not bothering. Time for wine!


Kimberly Says:

i am it–thank you for your information.

I would say at this point even in 2009 I would be surprised to see Delpo take out the these players on clay–
Alamgro
Ferrer
Verdasco
Djokovic
Nadal (obviously levels above the others)

I would also put Federer, Montanes and Bellucci on the list of probably beating him as well.

But this is my opinion and I am not trying to be dismissive.

I would put Delpos slam chances as follows
1. USO
2. AO
3. RG
4. Wimby

The guy is poweful but he doesn’t really move that well. Comparable to Soderling, ROddick in terms of movement.

And Ben is MIA on my PED discussion.


Ben Pronin Says:

Sorry Kimberly, been in class all day.

I really have no idea the percentages. I think the quality of drugs increase as you go up in the ranks, so the top 50 are involved in higher-rewards doping. But how many of them? Nowadays, I’d say more are using than aren’t. Lower in the ranks, you get the easier-access stuff that isn’t as effective, and probably less use because these drugs cost money that lower ranked guys might not always be able to spare.

It’s an interesting observation that tennis players don’t get caught up in the shenanigans that NBA and NFL players do. I guess you can say that tennis players are “better people”, but that seems like a pretty broad conclusion for thousands of random people in the world who happen to have the same job.

I think it’s because tennis players’ entourages consist of close friends and family for the most part. Basketball players are surrounded by teammates and rarely travel with family. Some people joked (or were serious?) that Federer could have a Woods-like scandal someday. I claim that it’s simply impossible because Mirka is at every single one of Fed’s matches. When’s he gonna cheat? In the locker room before/after matches?

But imagine if, instead of having Mirka and his parents or coaches around, the only people Fed hung out with were other players. Gasquet was busted taking coke after spending a night out with Safin. Before entourage’s were the norm, the players did hang out with each other and it’s well known that Gerulaitis, McEnroe, Borg, etc, did coke and pot and all that stuff together. What pro athletes do in America is common practice, unfortunately, for average Americans.

Also, I think it’s pretty clear that tennis players have an amazing ability to hide their personal lives completely. Agassi was known to let out a lot, and yet we only knew half the story. We still know nothing about Sampras. The list goes on. I think that’s a result of the fact that they’re in different cities/countries/continents every single week. The paparazzi doesn’t have a chance to catch anyone before they depart.

Now that isn’t to say that tennis players are just that sneaky, but these are factors that would allow them to lead the secretive lives that they do. All these things contribute to people believing that tennis is played by saints and angels who can do no wrong, but that just isn’t the case.

As for the WTA, they probably have a bigger problem than the ATP simply because, demands of the sport being equal, women obviously can’t handle as much vigors as men. And when you look at the build of a lot of these women who are, quite frankly, bigger than the men, it raises an insane amount of suspicion. There’s one player that is so clearly doping that she’s making the whole testing system look like a complete joke. If she’s not doping, then no one is, or ever has, in any sport.


grendel Says:

“I do not think a gibberish deserves a response, but for the sake of correcting contest, which you started and is totally repulsive to me, let me do it for you one last time. Then, maybe, you can see what I am trying to say. I am only mimicking you.”

Well, i am it, I notice that you do not make any attempt to respond to what I said, largely, I suggest, because you can’t. Most of what you said was either incoherent or just way off beam. But as for this “correcting contest” which apparently “I started”. No, i am it, not true. You really must try and stop telling porkers.I corrected your long attack on me because it was largely nonsensical. But the initial point I made was to signal (very briefly) my disagreement with you and Skeezer about the cheating business. That is legitimate. A serious charge has been made against Nadal (not my favourite player by a long way) which I think is false.

You won’t get anywhere with me, you know, by providing immensely long quotes from some rule book. I am not intimidated by officialese even if perhaps you are (why else would you quite at such exorbitant length?). My whole point – which we can certainly argue about; Vulcan, for example, gave a subtle and interesting post (which I respect though don’t entirely accept) as opposed to your vacuous rant – is that officialdom is wrong in this case. It is a silly rule. It doesn’t work. In these circumstances, quoting it is kind of beside the point.

“Cheating” is a serious charge. Nadal was certainly breaking a rule – and maybe to a degree that in itself was culpable, Vulcan makes an eloquent case, I commend it to you i am it, there’s some proper thinking going on there – but he absolutely was not cheating. And Uncle Toni was not coaching. He does not know how to coach. I am not a tennis player, but I have watched coaching going on at close quarters, it is a serious and deeply skilful business, and it is indeed a kind of defamation to say that the sort of arm waving that Uncle Toni goes in for has anything whatever to do with coaching.

I notice, b.t.w, that in your eagerness to wrap yourself in officialdom, you extend your brief onto the business of time wasting. What on earth has that got to do with it? Why not bring in the ATP’s view on pederasty whilst you’re at it? Do they have a view? You never know with these bureaucratic types, once they get started… But, for your information, I rather agree with you about the time issue, and think it’s absurd that the umpires won’t enforce those proceedures. Some rules are good, you see, even if they are expressed in somewhat eyebrow raising language.
You are a twit, sometimes, i am it. Why not go back to doing your proper posts. They can be very good – I said that before some months ago, and I see no reason to change my mind.

jane – I do admire your laid back attitude. Let me assure you, you are a formidable constructor of arguments which it can be quite difficult to wriggle one’s way through. If you were to really put your mind to it…I hope you are gentle with your students….


Ben Pronin Says:

Grendel, are you guys talking about Nadal’s admitting to looking for his box?

I agree that “cheating” does make is seem more extreme than it is, but it is the case. I don’t know where this idea that Toni can’t coach came from. Have you seen his pupil? What surprises me most is that Nadal actually needed advice on where to serve. The wide serve had been effective the entire match, so Toni telling Nadal to serve wide was a strategic tip that Nadal had already, obviously. known and had been employing throughout the match.

Nonetheless, Nadal shouldn’t be taking advice from his box, at least not admitting it. I don’t fault Nadal for looking at his box for support, not in the slightest. But he said he listened to the direction they pointed him to, and that’s alarming. It also raises the question of when else has Nadal looked to his box for advice but hasn’t confessed to it. But I don’t think that’s a serious case. I saw all but 1 or 2 of Nadal’s matches throughout the US Open and the guy doesn’t really look to his box that often, at least not in any noticable way. He’s no Henin.

We all know I’ve attacked Nadal for taking injury time-outs at inopportune times, but one thing I can’t believe is that Nadal would need strategic advice during his matches, especially when he wins the majority of them. There was that stretch in the second set where Djokovic won 11 straight points with winners. Nadal looked legitimately flummoxed. That would’ve been a pretty good time to ask Toni for some tips. But I don’t believe he did (again I’ve never noticed Nadal to look at his box any more than the next guy). Nadal’s a great tactician, and it’s thanks to Toni, but off the court. At least, that’s my humble opinion.


contador Says:

delpo did have the wrist pain and won both a slam and got to a final at O2 – i repeat!! it speaks to his desire, ambition, ability to go into a pain box, and tough it out. hello?

i dare say his results in 2009 would have resulted in a masters 1000 and a WTF win, if he had not been trying to figure out his wrist problem at the time. his results in 2008 were headed that way, i’d say by winning the titles he did. it will now take time to work his way back. give him some time, people!

i agree with steve:

“@jane: one can turn your argument around and point out that Djokovic and Murray have been around for a while and have had many bites at the cherry but have yet to make good.”

agree – but hoping murray gets a GS cherry. and djoko another chance. feels like empty hope for them in anything BUT masters with nadal dominating. they have had chances in GS’s for awhile now.

and both have been hanging around at the top so long but not appearing to be on fire to go after #1. i wonder if either WANT #1.

funny soda and berdych are considered better movers and have not won a slam / can’t take out nadal in a GS final – both have had their chance. delpo has not had a chance v nadal in a GS final. my money is on delpo, if and when he gets that far. he won’t blow it.

djoko and murray are better movers but… something else is eating them.

i think it is premature to list who delpo can’t beat.

he does say hard court is his favorite surface.

i also don’t think it’s any more fair to judge delpo on his performance in 2009 than it is to judge rafa’s. both of them got a GS but were not playing to form.

and delpo had to sit this year out. really unfair to judge what he may or may not do. he’s only 22 – geez….


grendel Says:

Ben – “I don’t know where this idea that Toni can’t coach came from. Have you seen his pupil?” That’s quite witty, and I must admit I’ve had to struggle a bit with that myself. We do know that Uncle Toni is not a tennis player. On the other hand, that was also true of Richard Williams, but apparently he coached 2 of the greatest women tennis players ever. I’ve never quite been able to get my head round that one.

However, even if in some mysterious way Uncle Toni can get round his lack of tennis proficiency to be a coach (what kind of coach, though? Surely largely moral and supportive. Surely Nadal has had the benefit of properly trained coaches? Honestly, I don’t know; presumably Nadal fans have this info), it doesn’t matter imo.

Who cares what tip a coach or anybody else gives? Why should any of them have anything to say or signal which is more germane to the moment than what Nadal himself thinks? Matches are won and lost on the court. What some exciteable coach thinks at any particular moment, the idea that this can have a serious effect on the course of the match seems to me absolutely nuts. The effect (imo) is either none, or marginal – and that could go either way. There is no reason to suppose that the tip is either beneficial or in fact harmful. Insofar as it matters, could be either.

I think the use of the word “coaching” in this context is risible. The use of the word “cheating” is emotive and imo slanderous. And also vindictive. You need to be pretty careful and sure of yourself before you call someone a cheat. Easy to do, of course, in the comfort of your home. I’m not saying for a minute you are doing that, Ben. Your post is very reasonably expressed. But there’s plenty do, and they ought to be ashamed of themselves.


kimberly Says:

Ben—great post.

For me, the doping actually seems more obvious in the wta. But maybe that is just because of their size and build etc. Most of my friends and I workout to stay small so maybe its possible to get that big without drugs if that is your aim.

A few years ago I was sitting next to anna kournikova in the hairdresser (she lives here in miami). She would prbably be considered on the small side. Her shoulders were actually pretty large (looked like twice my size). But she was already retired so you know that is her natural form. I saw serena in the lobby of a hotel and she was an absolute monster/physical specimen. Believe it or not serena/nadal r not the ones who would arouse my suspicion (although that guy is obsessed with tem both). There are a few wta players however I would be willing to wager large sums that they r using.(Or in one case was using)

The presence of family could be something that positively impacts players behavior but I think the culture and tradition of the sport is one of mutual respect and of a higher standard of conduct. You don’t see trash talk really in the matches (a little but not much) and certainly I can’t imagine any of the players bringing a gun to the locker room at roland garros (although that’s what it might take for a player other than nadal to win it) like gilbert arenas. Or I can’t imagine any of them getting busted for running a dog fighting ring. I do believe it is a higher caliber.

Gilbert arenas, michael vick,ben rothesberger, rae carruth are just thugs. I can’t think of one single tennis player that has anything even remotely near this level of poor disgusting conduct.


Kimberly Says:

I forgot the all time biggest thug–OJ Simpson (oh wait, he was innocent?)


i am it Says:

Grendel,
You are the worst bully I have EVER seen on this site. This is not “sometimes” thing. You have a history of bullying other posters here, going back to eternity.
You may have disciplined one poster after constantly harassing her 3 years, and once she yielded, you started assuming that you are the king here.
You have chased off quite a few others. Recently, you were cursing at one poster (forgot the name) and a couple of days ago your bullying resumed at Zola.
Remember why you left this site on a number of occasions, each time saying you’d never return? Wish you never came back.
Don’t be responding to my posts with your caustic idiocy. Once a bully is always a bully!
This is my last post to you.


contador Says:

too many hot topics going on on this thread! my head is spinning.

i just wanted to get my 2 cents in about delpo.

mission accomplished.


jane Says:

conty, If they knew something was wrong with his wrist since Miami 2009, why on earth did Delpo play the whole season? That seems dangerous! Also, why would he play WTF if he’d just gone back to his doctors, and if he had retired in both Shanghai and Paris with pain? He could’ve had surgery right after his USO win, and perhaps he would’ve salvaged half this season, maybe even getting back at it in time for the FO? But I suppose there are details we don’t know.

i am it, thanks for clarifying Delpo’s clay prowess. Didn’t know whether he’d won any titles on that surface. Maybe it will be his best, but so far his hard court results seem to best those on clay.


Ben Pronin Says:

Grendel, I’m not really saying Nadal “cheated”, per say, in this situation.

“Who cares what tip a coach or anybody else gives? Why should any of them have anything to say or signal which is more germane to the moment than what Nadal himself thinks? Matches are won and lost on the court. What some exciteable coach thinks at any particular moment, the idea that this can have a serious effect on the course of the match seems to me absolutely nuts. The effect (imo) is either none, or marginal – and that could go either way. There is no reason to suppose that the tip is either beneficial or in fact harmful. Insofar as it matters, could be either.”

I completely agree. Which is why I pointed out that I found it odd that Nadal even needed to listen to Toni at the point since Toni just told Nadal to do what Nadal had been doing on his own throughout the match. My only point is that Nadal admitted that he did, in fact, listen to the advice that came from Toni. I think Nadal should’ve kept his mouth shut. Or he could’ve just said “I got nervous and looked over at Toni and it made me feel better knowing he was there to support me.” That would’ve been better than “I looked at Toni who told me where to serve.”

Toni has clearly studied tennis very thoroughly. He may not have been a player, but then again a lot of great coaches weren’t great players. Cahill, Stefanki, Gilbert to an extent. These guys are much better known for their coaching than their playing because they were much better coaches than players. You know how it is, some are meant to do and some are meant to teach. So, Toni being a great coach doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. And Richard Williams is another great example of that.

Kimberly, I get what you’re saying and I have to agree. I never thought of this particular subject all that much, but yeah, tennis players are brought up in a higher standard of conduct. And that is maybe the best explanation for why they don’t get caught up in as many scandals as other pro athletes. I don’t think this would put them above doping, though. Especially since I don’t think doping just started yesterday. More or less, players have already been brought up in a doped up environment.

I have to defend Michael Vick, though. Not that I support what he did in any way, but the guy is an amazing quarterback and overall athlete and I enjoy watching him play. Just like with Tiger, I’m not interested in their personal lives and mistakes, that’s not why I watch them.


kimberly Says:

Ben—the only why I can possibly understand how you might have anything nice to say about michael vick is that you must be from philly or an eagles fan of some sort.


Ben Pronin Says:

Guilty as charged. But I was a fan of his back when he was on the Falcons, too. Like I said, he’s an amazing athlete.


kimberly Says:

And congrats on hallidays no hitter. I know a few other eagles fans that have been more forgiving of vicks poor conduct since he started lighting it up on their behalf.


contador Says:

jane-did you read my sorry link? apparently they were treating “tendonitis,” which would have entailed treatments to treat the symptoms but not get at the literal “root of the problem.” even if he was presenting with carpel tunnel symptoms, they would have tried other measures before surgery. and he’s young. it probably took that long – from miami past us open to realize a few days, weeks, or a month rest ( by last spring ) was not going to work. he had to be gutted.

even if it’s a matter of something lost in translation and delpo said “tendonitis” but meant “carpel tunnel.” as i said, his doctors may well have been trying various less invasive treatments for carpel tunnel. and delpo himself may have been in denial.

the point is i am not doubting him when he says his wrist was injured in miami and had been bothering him really until after he had surgery. tracing his steps, he was not winning in the us open series as he did in 2008. he paced his wrist to give it up for the us open GS run. then, he was playing poorly after, trying to use weeks of rest with whatever treatment he was getting, if any. he lost 1st round tokyo, retired in shanghai, skipped basel, retired in paris and gutted it out to the O2 final.

you notice that when the decision was made for surgery, he didn’t have it done in argentina. he finally came here to the mayo clinic in may . obviously the decision took time, more time than one would think, for some reason.

i wouldn’t doubt him any more than i would doubt rafa has knee problems and rafa has dealt with that a long time, no doubt winning a GS or two in some pain. one can do nearly the impossible when the adrenaline gets going. beware when the high wears off though! ouch! he probably paid. but it was worth it.

federer won his 1st GS fighting back pain. i had the link from wimbledon 2003 saved for a long time. he said in a post win interview that he nearly retired earlier in the tournament. but was obviously happy he pushed on.

i am saying delpo shows that same courage and something special. he should not be judged just yet. he’s a real stubborn fighter when he wants something. i remember reading one of his early coaches commenting on his competitiveness and determination to beat those ranked above him.

btw, i don’t proof this my posts. yikes. i imagine i wouldn’t post anything if i did! run on sentences, incomplete sentences, lazy typing. words missing…


kimberly Says:

Tennis channel showing replay of djoko davydenko semi in shaing hai. Amazing stuff from both but especially davydenko.

Speaking of scandalous shady tennis player conduct I guess there was the whole weird davydenko betting scandal. Don’t have enough info to form an opinion.

Contador-i don’t proof either and often write on balckberry.yikes!


jane Says:

conty thanks for your detailed response. Admittedly, speaking of laziness, I didn’t read your link, just the words around it, lol. I agree that Delpo is a fighter but they all are.


contador Says:

you don’t proof either, eh? i try to have links for backing up what i say. but digging up let’s say the federer post win interview from 2003 where he spills the beans about his back would take some digging.

davydenko betting scandel? hoping you are referring to the one a couple years ago and not a new one!

i don’t have tennis channel. u know. : (

i will have a stream on beijing pretty soon. livescore says roddick took the first set and they are on serve in the second ( he and chardy ) shoot , i wish i had a tokyo stream!!

obviously i’m a big delpo supporter, LOL! i like his hair.


contador Says:

now see? i say delpo has that something special fight. i don’t see it as much as i’d like in djoko and murray when they get their big chances in a GS final. hate to say it.

go roddick!


contador Says:

i have the tokyo stream. fromsport finally streaming tokyo and in english!

god, it’s nice to watch a tennis match. hadn’t seen one since last weekend.

chardy is thin. and he wears short shorts. just saying.

4-4 in the second. chardy looking good in more ways than one.


contador Says:

speaking of fighters or not, i don’t think chardy has it like simon.

he’s moving better than roddick and he had a break point but blew an oportunity. simon would be fighting to take this to a decider.

let’s see if he still can… or roddick wins it in two.


jane Says:

conty, Delpo’s been in only one grand slam final. So we’ll see about that fight. He seems really tough. Nole lost his first slam final to the king, admittedly nervous (some choking going on there), won his second (going through the king of HC), and faded in his third (beating his USO nemesis to get there though). Still he’s fought hard enough to get to 3 finals. And when he got to the finals of WTF, also , like Delpo, versus Davydenko, he made sure to win it. Murray has been in two slam finals; I think in both he felt enormous pressure going in and wasn’t sure how to play. He needed to go at it like he had been to get there! I think in 2008 he was probably legitimately tired, but for this year’s AO, I still don’t know quite what happened. Fed was playing well, but Murray retreated and launched a comeback too late.

Agree about Chardy – not nearly as mentally tough as Simon.


contador Says:

he didn’t fight. he rolled over in the tie breaker. i was hoping to see chardy take this to 3. but, he did not have the fight. he’s good but not aggressive enough v roddick.

as far as delpo goes. i will defend him. i believe he’s got it. so we’ll see. i don’t know if he’ll be ready by AO.

melzer troiki now. i picked melzer


jane Says:

Yeah, I wish I could stay up and watch but need to do some work for tomorrow. I think Delpo’s got it too conty. I am just resistant to put him “up and over” Murray, Nole and others until he gets there, earning the higher ranking and winning more titles.


jane Says:

BTW, cool that Roddick and de Bakker paired up in doubles, but too bad they lost in their opener. Would’ve been interesting to see that pairing!


contador Says:

cool that roddick won in singles. i just wanted another set.

i can’t stay up or i better not. would like to soda and murray matches but need to be asleep now.


grendel Says:

“Grendel,
You are the worst bully I have EVER seen on this site.”

Ah, so now I am bullying the formidable i am it, am I? They always say attack is the best form of defence. You’ve made no attempt whatever to reply to any of my points, instead resorting to baby abuse. When I first criticised you – for calling Nadal a cheat (yes, I know, you were prudent enough not to mention the name; are you proud of that little evasion?) – there was nothing “caustic”, just a point of disagreement. I certainly didn’t say what I really thought. But then you came back in the most ludicrously dispproportionate manner, hurling abuse in a manner which suggests you are just not used to being pulled up in any way. I reply – fairly measured tone, I’d say, certainly compared to yours, and all you can come up with is some petulant crybaby stuff. Nevertheless, you’re not going to get away with it this time, my friend.

Mere spite is hard to reply to, but you still manage to get several facts skewed.

“You may have disciplined one poster after constantly harassing her 3 years, and once she yielded, you started assuming that you are the king here.”

I like the word “may”. Still, you instantly give up on that and assume your guess is true (“once she yielded”). You are referring to Von, of course. Let me remind you. Von and I had many battles, in which language was extremely intemperate on either side. Who was more to blame I wouldn’t like to say now, but it may well have been me. I cannot be the judge of that – but patently nor can you, you’re so wrapped up in your own little bubble. But: we kind of made it up, and after that there were no hostile exchanges. So to talk of me chasing her off site is just libellous – standard i am it stuff, I am beginning to learn. And meanwhile, this is pretty rich. Your last communication to Von was that she was a “control freak” – I don’t recall her doing anything whatever to you to elicit this charge, and then in an incredibly pompous and laboured manner, you attempted to insult her and Mindy by labelling them under the joint name of “Vindy”. By pompous, I mean you asserted that analysis of their styles indicated they were probably the same person. This was such patent rubbish I was genuinely surprised to see it – I had thought better of you.

You end up that paragraph with “you started assuming you are the king here”. No, i am it, your insight into character, as always, is negligible. Nevertheless, you may – despite yourself – have a point. I do huge numbers of posts, I often cringe when I see my name go up again, and I keep promising myself, that’s it, leave it alone for a week or two, but then I find it irresistible to say something and immediately post again. I am well aware that some people are bound to think – God, not him again, doesn’t he ever shut up? I would, in their shoes. If, just by my overactive presence, I cause a lot of offence or even just tedium, I can understand that, and I hope people will say so. I won’t snap back, promise. Nothing could be more demeaning than to continuously be an utterly unwelcome presence, and my style could well be offputting on a tennis site – I understand that. But I do snap back at you, i am it. Whether or not I am a bully, you certainly are.

“Remember why you left this site on a number of occasions, each time saying you’d never return? Wish you never came back.” Touche. I’m not the only person on this site to have contradicted himself in this way by any means, but I do agree, it makes me look pretty ridiculous. Good for the soul, I reckon, to take on board just how foolish one can be. I recommend it to you, i am it. Meanwhile, you yourself took extended leave, and when you came back, you said hallo to a few people – INCLUDING me. I must admit, I was surprised and flattered. Might have known there’d be a downside.

” Recently, you were cursing at one poster (forgot the name) and a couple of days ago your bullying resumed at Zola.”

Pure i am it. “Forgot the name” indeed. Well, I suggest you remember it before going around with your little slurs. I have not the least idea what you are talking about, I’d be happy either to apologize or defend myself, whichever is more appropriate – but you don’t give me that option. That’s bullying, i am it, if ever I saw it.
The business with Zola is complicated. I’m not going into that here – you don’t do complication, anyway, i am it – but I will say that I don’t feel good about it.

“let me do it for you one last time” That was from your penultimate post. “This is my last post to you”. That’s the last one. What next, I wonder (scratches his chin….)?


grendel Says:

Ben

“Toni has clearly studied tennis very thoroughly. He may not have been a player, but then again a lot of great coaches weren’t great players. Cahill, Stefanki, Gilbert to an extent”.

Yes, but Cahill etc were very good players. And even if they had only been club players, still they’d have had a knowledge base from which to draw in their role as coach.

What I don’t get about Uncle Toni and Richard Williams is that apparently they couldn’t play tennis at all when they started coaching, and presumably still can’t really. There is surely an astonishing story here, and I wish someone would tell it.


Gordo Says:

Whoever says that Toni is not a great coach because his “client” is Rafa and therefore anyone coaching him would be successful is just wrong.

Thant’s like saying that Ringo was not a brilliant drummer because he had John, Paul and George in front of him.

Oh… wait a minute.


Vulcan Says:

Although I’m not one of their biggest fans…I have always been amazed at the Cinderella story of the Williams sisters. It’s a fantastic inspiration for all of those young players that can only afford to start out hitting against the wall and try to teach themselves as much of the game as possible without being able to spend money on lessons. They broke the mold of the richy rich tennis player stereotype and in doing so have paved the way for other young talents to not be dissuaded by the fact that they don’t wear fancy outfits and don’t have 20 rackets in a thermal bag when they show up to play their match.
This can only be good for tennis especially on a global level where talents from less developed countries will realize that they too can do it.


Vulcan Says:

grendel Says:

What I don’t get about Uncle Toni and Richard Williams is that apparently they couldn’t play tennis at all when they started coaching, and presumably still can’t really.

According to the Wikipedia page Toni Nadal was a former professional player in Spain…so I think his junior years were far more conventional than that of the Williams sisters.


skeezerweezer Says:

Vulcan,

I agree about the V sisters. Me thinks we forget how they got here and focus on their (esp Serena’s) behavior, which is controversial of course. But look where they came from. I remember watching a spot on TV when they were itty bitty practicing on some beat up inner city courts with there Dad and hitting the snot out of the ball…..and they hardly played the Junior circuit also….no? :)


grendel Says:

Vulcan – I stand corrected. Thankyou. Still leaves the mysterious question of Richard Williams. How did he do it?


Vulcan Says:

Skeezerweezer,

I can certainly overlook a lot of their early brash behavior because of their inner city upbringing – but only up to a point. They have had plenty of time to develop the empathy and humility that someone of their stature should in my opinion have. But when compared to some of the spoiled brats on the tour they’re pretty tame. Tennis players are very important role models in that they have legions of people watching (and often emulating) their every move. They are part athlete, part movie star, and part celebrity. The Williams sisters are following in the footsteps of such greats as Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson, both of which were known for their humble, gentle demeanor. I just think that they could take it a notch higher if they were to improve a bit in that department.


Vulcan Says:

Grendel,

Yes, it is, a major paradigm shifter. And the main thing I wonder is was it also a paradigm shift in terms of the commonly held assumptions about stroke mechanics and the fact that there is a right way and a wrong way to produce a shot and that only a $80/hour teaching pro can show you the difference.
Now I know that they spent several years at an academy when they were young…but the question is, is developing your tennis game more about taking your own personal style and expanding on it or is it about conforming to a theoretical universal game that a teaching pro shows you.
Players like Fabrice Santoro prove that you can have a radically different/unorthodox game and still do very well at the professional level.
The Williams sisters are mainly a “do it yourself” story of becoming a tennis professional.


grendel Says:

That’s a very interesting point. In cricket – which of all sports has its rigid conventions about how the various strokes ought to be played – you are always getting the contrast between the “classical, orthodox” player and the individualist improviser. My suspicion is that the best of the latter start off orthodox and correct and eventually, once they find themselves so to speak, they create their own strokes to become startling individualists. I’m not sure if anyone starts off like that.
Santoro sounds like an example of the latter, although I’ll bet he too started off orthodox. Federer of course has virtually invented a number of shots, and yet he seems to me to be very “classical”.


guy Says:

well the way richard williams did it was have what 20kids or something and make them all play tennis, and eventually get a few that could play. the odds were on his side.
most parent’s don’t have that luxury, they just have to bolt the racket to one child’s arm.
and the williams have great serves and power, speed, and most of all, aggression. but their technique is often pretty bad, footwork, balance wise. you see swings all over the place. they get away with it. it’s the wta tour afterall. but when you watch a henin or clijsters playing them, you can see the difference in ‘polish’ technique wise. henin of course needs the technique more than anyone at the top given her size. she can’t afford sloppiness.

toni nadal made rafa play the most important strokes, serve and forehand with his non dominant arm. that is unheard of because it’s the worst piece of coaching you’ll ever see. it’s absurdity of astronomical proportions. the reason he did it was basically because nadal could hit the twohander better right handed. but that is the case for every right handed player when they start. why? it’s like swinging a bat. but you have to know as a coach that the forehand and serve need the dominant arm and make the player learn to hit the twohander on the other side.
you wanna know why nadal has had trouble serving all his career, watch the nike video where he can’t throw a dart with his left arm. serving is a throwing action.


grendel Says:

guy

I don’t think you’ve quite solved the puzzle of Richard Williams! Even if he’d had a 100 kids, the odds on getting two world beaters aren’t exactly promising. Now if it is true that the technique of the sisters is often “bad” – then this bears out Vulcan’s point of a paradigm shift. After all, at the end of the day, who is to say what constitutes good technique? Is the answer written in stone – or can it evolve? I don’t pretend to know the answer, but it might just be an interesting question. Incidentally, Venus’ serve always looks awkward to me, which may account for its inconsistency. But Serena’s serve is a thing of pure beauty – personally, I’ve never seen any better, man or woman.

About Nadal. Even if you’re right, don’t forget the sheer awkwardness a great lefty holds for most players. Does that outweigh the disadvantages you adduce? Also, “serving is a throwing action”. That’s true but, when you throw a cricket ball, for instance, the jerk primarily comes, I think I am right in saying, from the elbow(with some wrist motion for placement in particular). Some people don’t seem to be able to do that, especially girls, for some reason. Whereas with dart throwing, it is the wrist. I don’t know whether this has any bearing on your thoughts on the Nadal serve? By the way, the way Nadal is serving these days, all that appears now to be history……

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