Murray Hammers Federer for Shanghai Title
by Sean Randall | October 17th, 2010

What a result this morning out of Shanghai. I wasn’t awake to see the match – I’m sure Tennis Channel will have a replay later – but it was Murray ripping Roger Federer 6-3, 6-2 to win the Shanghai Tennis Masters title.

“I enjoy playing him,” said Murray who didn’t drop a set all week en route to his 16th career ATP title. “I don’t find it easy at all. It’s incredibly difficult every time. But I love the challenge of playing against him. I don’t fear playing him. Every time I go on, I know I need to play great tennis to win against him. I don’t know if my game matches up well against his or not. But I’ve played some of my best tennis against Roger.”

Credit to the Scot. He does enjoy playing Roger – unless it’s a Grand Slam final!

Federer his 70% first serves but still was broken four times by Murray who dominated the Swiss on second serve winning 76% of them! And Federer won just five points on Murray’s first offering, and went 0-for-6 on break chances against the Scot who was aided by some key big serves.

“I served really big today,” said Murray who served six aces behind only 53% first serves. “Got a lot of free points on my serve. You know, I can still work on the variation a little bit on my serve. But, I mean, my second serve the first serve was good my second serve this week was very good I thought. Especially tonight, I didn’t give him any chances to go for it. I threw some with a lot of kick on, some slice, some into his forehand. Really varied that well, which sometimes against him I haven’t necessarily done.”

Murray, who improves to 6-1 career in Masters finals, has now won four straight sets over Federer, both in finals and leads Fed 8-5 in the H2H.

“For those who saw it, they saw a close match with some chances on my side.,” Federer said. “Because he’s such a good return player, he’s always going to create even more chances once he has the break. That’s why he’s a guy that can break you a couple times a set. Can’t read too much into the scores.”

Federer added, “I thought he played well overall. He didn’t give me much, you know. The usual style he plays. I was missing a few too many shots, which I wish I hadn’t because that could have definitely maybe swung momentum around, given me more confidence to play more sort of forward, more attacking. But missing so many important shots really over and over again obviously took a lot of my confidence away. Then the targets seemed to get smaller and smaller. That’s definitely his credit, a pity for me. But I had a good tournament. I thought I played well this week. Had some great wins against Soderling, Isner, Seppi, also Djokovic. I’m very happy with where my game is at. Today could have been better. But, look, Andy was the best player of the tournament so he deserved it.”

With Annacone in his box Federer remains titleless – Annacone was not in Cincinnati. Federer’s busy fall schedule takes him back to Europe to Stockholm where he’ll play the winner of Taylor Dent and Michal Przysiezny. Robin Soderling and Tomas Berdych are also in the field.

The Tennis Channel will air a replay of the final at noon Eastern time.

Also Check Out:
Roger Federer Confirms Shanghai Participation
Roger Federer Lands In Shanghai [Video]
Roger Federer Gets Mobbed In Shanghai, Except That’s NOT Roger Federer! [Video]
Roger Federer Withdraws From Shanghai Due to “Nagging Injuries”
Marquee Fall Schedules: Where Will Federer, Djokovic And Murray Be Playing

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134 Comments for Murray Hammers Federer for Shanghai Title

montecarlo Says:

Federer plays against Wawrinka in quarters. Should be a fun match if it happens.

Kimmi Says:

sounds like murray was on fire and federer wasn’t.

congrats to muzza for his 6th MS title. great win indeed. though i would have liked to see a more competative math. He (muzza) definetly needed that with the dissapointment at the uso. This will give him confidence going to london. should be a cracker..

margot – congrats to yo too..

Kimmi Says:

margot – just read your post on the other thread. nice to see you so happy…i am happy for muzza too but..but..but sad for the fed. :) :) I know i know, cant have both ways.

muzza now distancing himself from soda. soda was breathing on his neck ranking wise. go muzza

great to see muzza caming back with a bang after a dissapointing tournament in beijing. way to go muzza. next valencia…go get ‘em

Skeezerweezer Says:

Nice presser Fed. No excuses here like “I was tired”,

“Andy was the best player of the tournament so he deserved it.”

Yes he was. Great run for the Fed. He got something out of the tourney, back to the #2 spot! Congrats to Murray!

essar Says:

andy deserved the win….no doubt about that…federer need to go back to the drawing board once again to see any major victory…

i am it Says:

Congrats to Murray.
He played incredibly great, esp. he executed his plan of taking ball early from the baseline. He was just too good on-the-run shots. Hope he carries this form to ’11 AO.

It is “pity” Federer looked clueless. I am sad. Paul has his tenure shortened to less than a year.

When you read the following, appropriate it by filtering out any harshness you notice and excuse my clumsiness, please. Is there a Murray and Murray fan ONLY to congratulate on this site? No, so I defer to recognize until someone comes forward without excuses, detours, and sweet talks and says, “Murray is my No.1 and only fav.” And I think today is the special occasion to do so. Help me recognize you and congratulate you.

Vulcan Says:

Nice presser Fed. No excuses here like “I was tired”,

LMAO, yeah I guess he should be tired after a 4 week layoff. Brilliant observation!

Skeezerweezer Says:

Of course, he’s 29. You didn’t see him bring a cane on the court?

The point was he didn’t come up with a lane excuse, and gave Andy his due glory

Skeezerweezer Says:

That’s lame, shouldn’t be typing while walking

Fedend Says:

Yes, Federer didnt slip during his presser today.

Andrew Miller Says:

Sheesh – I am still confused as to Murray’s dominance of Federer in best of three set matches. Only thing I can think of is Fed played his best in the semifinal, leaving less inspiration for the Final.

Kimberly Says:

Fed is playing stockholm next week, then Basel then Paris. Plenty of match play for him prior to WTF.

Andrew Miller Says:

Federer at his best solves all puzzles and looks at opponents’ games as ways to use them against the opponents. For whatever reason that did not happen today – otherwise this match would have at least three sets in it, if not a Federer win. Maybe Federer used too much of what worked in his previous Murray wins. When Federer’s in the moment there’s no better player.

Vulcan Says:

Federer at his best solves all puzzles and looks at opponents’ games as ways to use them against the opponents.

If I could pick one sentence to describe the tactical part of Federer’s game that would be it.
It’s 60% Karate, 20% Ballet, and 20% Marathon Runner.

grendel Says:

These presentations are generally stuffy affairs, but there was quite a bit different today. As Federer and Murray did their little statutory walks, shaking the hands of some people or other whom they had never seen before, will never see again, and of whom in any case they haven’t the slightest knowledge, a little thought popped into my head.

As we know from the Olympics, the Chinese Gov understands how to stage a major sporting event – look at poor old India, and the mess recently they made of the Commonwealth Games. But glance a little bit beneath the surface, and that Chinese dignatary Mssrs.Federer and Murray have just shaken hands with – how did he get to where he is? How much creeping and crawling has he done? How much blood does he have on his hands? And does he agree with his Government’s pronouncement that the recent awarding of a Nobel Prize to a dissident, hero of Tianmen, and currently languishing,in whatever horror, in prison, is “obscene”? And if he didn’t agree, and even made a tiny little protest, do you think he would have been shaking hands with Federer and Murray?

But, oddly, the actual chap who did the interviewing was a lot less formal than is customary. He offered to give Federer “one more sentence”, which Fed accepted. It was a 5 syllable sentence – stating that he would come next year – which incorporated 3 of the 4 tones. Assuming that the sentence really was new to Federer, he made a very creditable attempt at getting the tones right. He has an amazing ear at least, even if his tennis is not quite what it was.

And then this interviewer said to the hapless Murray:”you don’t smile very often. However, you DO smile – don’t you?” This elicited an absolutely HUGE smile from Murray, gums and all (never seen that before). He handled a potentially tricky moment pretty well, I thought, and meanwhile, a quick camera shot showed Federer not so much in bemusement as lost in a world of his own perhaps sad thoughts. These places are pretty horrendous for losers, I am thinking.

Vulcan Says:

Grendel it certainly doesn’t surprise me that you refer to Chinese people as “chinks” given the way you are attempting to inject political debate into a tennis blog after your favorite player just lost.
Where are you from again? is it Australia? Shouldn’t you be pasting your walls with Lleyton Hewitt news clippings or something?

van orten Says:

murray played good he won. fed didn’t take the chances …i thought it was an entertaining tennis week to watch…

Ben Pronin Says:

Ha, funny how my mentioning “decline” sparked anger, for the most part, from non-fed fans. Then someone says Federer just can’t handle a top 5 player playing their best and he’s at his peak. What? No. Federer’s capable of great play, as evidenced in Australia, but also of abysmal play. He’s not as consistent as he used to be, therefore, he’s declining.

Anyways, good win for Murray. Once again throwing his name back in the mix. I am absolutely dying for a Murray-Djokovic match before the end of the year. One thing, though, is that even though Murray has made an effort to focus more on the slams than last year, it looks like he still hasn’t really figured out how to excel at the slams on a consistent basis. However, the good news is that it’s not a requirement to make 23 straight semifinals to win a slam. Things just need to fall into place and Murray needs to capitalize. Hopefully he’ll get it done next year.

Laslo Says:

“I know how tough it is to win these Masters titles,” said Federer after the match.
You have to love this guy, as if he is reminding Murray how successful he is winning Masters and poor somewhere else.

sar Says:

Linz-Ana Ivanovic beat Patty Schnyder in 47 minutes. Congrats on her first title in a long time.

TGiT Says:

Remember TMF fans just a week ago Murray lost to another old timer called Ljubicic in China.

Murray did not flinch this time and had an easier draw. Yeah, I know what you are saying but it is true. Fed came back from a month break and took on a lot of tough guys and beat them 4 days in a row in straight sets and got bumped up in the rankings.

I would love to hear what A told Fed after the match. He had such a good seat to watch whatever strategy they had fal apart. Was it the plan or Fed or both?

Murray plays the gound stroke puzzle game as great as Fed and did not let up.

Lets see how Fed holds up next week with a much easier draw.

madmax Says:

With his mind now focused on next week in Stockholm, Federer was determined to emphasise the positives from his China outing.

“I had a good tournament. I thought I played well this week,” he said.

“I had some great wins against (Robin) Soderling, (John) Isner, (Andreas) Seppi, also (Novak) Djokovic.

“I’m very happy with where my game is at. Today could have been better. But, look, Andy was the best player of the tournament so he deserved it,” he said.

Federer dropped to 5-8 against Murray, who said he enjoys testing himself against the former number one on any occasion.

“My forehand was working really well all week, but today I just couldn’t get it working, especially when it mattered. Other than that, it wasn’t that bad,” Federer said.

“It was just a matter of getting a bit of luck on my side, which I didn’t get.

“Missing so many important shots really over and over again obviously took a lot of my confidence away.”

It’s great to see Federer seem so positive about his game – I’m really happy he made another final this year – okay, only 1 masters this year, but 3 masters finals, coulda woulda shoulda been on 20 masters now, if he had won ‘em all – but c’est la vie.

In a way, there is a certain peace being a Federer fan – knowing that he is still playing really well, despite the losses, he is still up there and at 29 – No.2 in the world. Icon Federer. Simple.

Ben, I really do wish you would stop going on about ‘decline’. Boring and passe. Hearing Shiras and Fleming discussing Federer’s game is far more entertaining than the same old from you. In fact (and am sure grendel will concur as he watches sky), Shiras said ‘do you think Fed’s game has gone down a level?’ to which Fleming replied. ‘No.’ Everyone else has just got better – so whether or not you want to agree, doesn’t matter. Everyone has their own take on it – I’m just so pleased Fed is still up there with the best of them, and after being the best for so long, who cares that he isn’t winning as many tournaments. What more do you want the guy to prove Ben?

I thought Andy played really well, very aggressive, and taking nothing away from Andy M, (congrats Margot :) ), Andy had the easier draw, and Fed got through Isner,(can be tricky), then Seppi (not so hard), Soderling (dark horse and great indoor record), plus novak, who is quite brilliant and openly stated he is playing ‘the best tennis of his life’ right now –

So Andy did extremely well – and for that, I am pleased, considering he was written off earlier in the year(Andy), and was really down on himself – murray is up there again – after living his life 3 months in the doldrums as we all know after the Australian Open result.

Moving on to Stockholm – Go Federer!

sar Says:

Didn’t watch but congrats to Andy M. fans for the win.

jane Says:

i am it, margot is our number 1 Murray fan at TX; she roots for Murray over and above all others. But there are a few other Andy M fans who just aren’t around much, like Ike, puckbandit, and Colin. So you can congratulate them! :)

I certainly do! Murray showed his stuff. And he deserves congrats too.

Sad that Fed couldn’t keep it a little closer but he was out-guiled and out-run I think. And Murray really killed on all second serve points Fed gave him.

madmax Says:

Hi Jane,

Yes. It was Andy’s day today. Good luck to him. A few months ago the journos were writing him off. I really love it when they prove ‘em wrong!

Naresh Says:

Awesome performance by Andy M! He really stepped up his performance, played a lot more aggressive & also consistent. Fed could’ve made a match of it had he used his break chances in the 1st set but Andy hit some power serves(his average 1st serve speed was 208kmph while Fed’s was at 189kmph)while Fed’s UE’s crept up on him.
Gr8 to see Andy step it up in the big moments.Now only hope he can bring this form into the Slams.. will make 2011 very exciting indeed !

Andrew Miller Says:

Ana Ivanovic won?!!!!!! Wow. I thought she suffered from the beautiful player curse. Glad to see her back at the top of her game.

Fedend Says:


Now Martina will get in to the hitlist of the FEDTARDS.

mem Says:


he didn’t use the excuse “i;m tired” probably because he wasn’t! that’s common sense!

remember, he hasn’t played a tournament in about 4 weeks. some players have played two or three tournaments since the usopen. they have reason to be tired, don’t you think?

great win for murray! congratulations to him!

Skeezerweezer Says:


Yes u are right. It was my point that he didn’t have an excuse, but thanks for not hammering me on that, u could have made me look worse :)

zola Says:

Wow! nice win by Murray.
I didn’t see the match. waiting for the replay on tennistv.

Congratz to margot, Jane and other Murray fans here.

Fed played an almost perfect match against Djokovic yesterday but seems like his game fell apart against Andy. Federer came to Shanghai after a month of rest and played great until the final. As much as he wants to undermine this defeat ( ***Can’t read too much into the scores.”

***), I think it is very significant.

margot Says:

zola, sar ta 2 u 2 :) :) :)
Please 4give anyone left out! Normality and nail biting will quickly resume.

Colin Says:

During his recent spell of bad form, I’d almost given up on Murray, but hopefully he has got himself together. I rather doubted he could he could raise his game for this final, and I didn’t fancy watching a destruction by Federer, so I thought, I’ll watch a few games and see how it goes. Then Andy breaks in the first game and never looks back! Those two forehand passes in the last game of the first set were stunning, and he seemed so confident through most of the match. He enjoys playing Federer but, in three-setters at least, I’m not sure Fed enjoys playing him!

Colin Says:

Heh, I’m losing my mind and typing things twice twice.

Kimberly Says:

I just can’t get into Murray. I’m not sure if its his looks or his mother.

margot Says:

kimberly: he can’t help his looks or his mother….

TGiT Says:

I agree with Martina.


it has to happen first and it ain’t as easy as they make it look.

zola Says:


Andy has the game and he is very hardworking but there is lots of pressure on him. I read eurosport most of the times and every win/loss by Murray gets magnified a zillion times. Credit to him for coming back every time and trying to be there.
I think Andy will eventually win a slam and then he will relax and play more consitently. He is getting there.

sheila Says:

too bad fed lost. murray played gr8 & federer didn’t. i agree, federer doesn’t have the consistency he once had to win events like this & also the players, so many of them, r really tuff. i do enjoy watching murray & federer play because they both have such variety to their games & they r both tactical in their shot making whereas, imo, someone like soderling has one game plan, wham, bam, thankumam. i will always be a federer fan, but if roger can’t get the job done, then i would root 4murray. i just enjoy watching his game more than nadal or djokovic’s games. anyway, i hope roger can win @ least 1 major in 2011. he really didn’t have too bad 2010. 1 major & 1 master event. a lot of guys would love to have that season.

Kimberly Says:

margot—lol, i know. I try to get into him as i think he’s here to stay awhile but he just doesn’t do it for me. Wrong chemistry between us I suppose (kidding!!!)

I don’t hate him or anything but he just does nothing for me. I don’t even enjoy watching his matches unless the other player brings something to the table in terms of appeal. And he’s more talented that just about anyone on tour (2 possibly 3 exceptions).

But that’s why Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors!!!

Eric Says:

Federer IS in decline in terms of getting the job done.

It’s objective fact. 2010 was, so far, his worst year since 2003 in terms of:

- matches won (lowest % since 2002)
- titles won (lowest since 2001, so far)
- GS performance (worst overall performance since 2003, when he also won 1 slam but didn’t do as well in the others as 2010)

In terms of finals reached he is also lower than any year since 2003, although it is about the same as the past two years (6, vs 7 and 8) with a few chances left to go.

In 2006, Federer played only 17 tournaments and reached the finals of 16 of them (winning 12!) So far in 2010, he has played 14 tournaments and reached the finals of only 6, winning just 2. (Reaching 6 finals out of 14 is pretty good, but it doesn’t compare with his performance in the past.)

I am sure his match statistics have fallen significantly as well, although I am not motivated enough to aggregate stats from hundreds of matches to prove the point.

The point is, anyone who thinks Federer is playing as well vis-a-vis the rest of the field, as he was in 2004-07 (when, btw, he was more dominant than any other player in history, except for McEnroe in 1984 I believe), is wrong on the facts.

There are two potential sources for this decline:
– Federer’s play declining
– Everyone else’s getting better

So far I think we can all agree on this. Where people tend to differ is on which explanation is correct. (Relying on the incorrect assumption that only one of the two is responsible.)

In fact, I think both are true – Federer HAS improved several technical aspects of his game, but he is still aging. And in 2010 since January, it has clear that there is some sort of spark missing as well. How many match points has he had, only to lose the match? How many break points has he frittered away even in the face of non-exceptional play from his opponents? Since when does he post this many 1-6 and 2-6 sets?

On the other hand, it is also clear that the rest of the field is improving. Nadal was already excellent in 2007, but he is now unbelievable in 2010. I doubt he will be able to beat Federer’s slam records, but he will surely come pretty close. From a mere clay king who was not that competitive with other top 8 at their on hard courts he is the favorite against anyone, anywhere if he is playing well. Other players have improved a lot too. Consider the recent success stories of Melzer, Berdych, etc., or Soderling in 2009. Fed’s detractors claim the field sucked in 2004-07, which is BS, but I do think it’s fair to say that several players have emerged in a big way these past few years and that this is a source of pressure for Federer.

Overall, I estimate that purely physical decline accounts for 5-10% of Federer’s decline, his loss of focus or that mental “spark” is the cause of perhaps 30-40%. The remaining 35-50% of the difference in results in (say) 2006 and 20010 is due to the rest of the field catching up and coming out.

That foundation of physical decline is only going to get worse, but if Federer can regain his focus he still has the technical skills to stay in the top 2-4 players for a few more years. Somewhat ironically perhaps, I think he and Murray face the same issues. They both have wicked chops (Murray perhaps has the edge here now because of his youth) but can’t always muster the energy or focus or something that puts them on the offensive. Last night, Murray did just that and the result was a match that (contra Federer) was in no way close.

Eric Says:

Sorry, that should read “top 8 at their BEST on hard courts” …

Mindy Says:

Congratulations to the Murray fans on his win in Shanghai! He played some high level, quality tennis.

The only reason I will even bother to point out that he didn’t play a top ten player in his draw, is to emphasize how irrelevant and utterly ridiculous it is to even bring it up! Interestingly, the easy draw not playing a top ten player, was only brought up in reference to Nole. Now that’s bias!

From what I was able to see of Murray this week, it appeared that he was playing quite well. However, the ultimate test is a final against Fed. Murray passed with flying colors! I sincerely hope that this win will give him some renewed confidence. Martina had a point in the that link someone posted. Murray should channel his emotions into his tennis.

For Fed fans, there is good news even in this loss. He has regained the #2 ranking. Good for him!

To Nole fans – don’t take any crap! just know that your guy IS, in fact, playing great tennis, is looking focused and composed. I watched all of his matches and there is no question in my mind that he is playing some excellent tennis, regardless of who he has faced. The challenge for him is to try to keep it going into next year. He always does well this time of year. Now we will see if he can keep it up.

I have kind of felt like Kimberly regarding Murray. However, I am gaining more respect for him and trying to enjoy his tennis and his presence on court. This was a much needed win, which will give him some badly needed breathing room from Sod.


Thanks for making the point about this business of comparing how Rafa and Fed handle their losses. I don’t know why it has to be some kind of contest. It’s better that it come from you.

grendel Says:

Vulcan, I know many, many Chinese, have had a Chinese girl friend, know quite a bit of the Chinese language, culture, history, etc etc – and they understand exactly how I used the word “chink”. Racial slur is silly, but I forgive you, because I know it comes only from lack of knowing who I am. I don’t live in Australia, no. I live in a heavily interacial suburb in north England, and those who know me, as many black as white, would smile quietly at the allegation of racism. They’re too cool to be angry.

As for my favourite player losing, that is true, he did, and what is also true is that I watched the entire match with a feeling of singular harmony, I’m not altogether sure why, I’m not on the whole a very good loser. My admiration for Andy Murray’s performance was unbounded. It was absolutely terrific. I thought Federer played like the veteran he is – some great stuff, but some pretty weak stuff, too. I have reconciled myself to this.

So the charge of bringing politics into the blog because of the loss is not only not true, it’s hopelessly untrue – but again, I don’t blame you, you can’t know. But I would like to set the record straight. In the end, politics are unavoidable, and I don’t even like them much. Those of us who fought against Apartheid in South Africa, in however minor a way, knew that Sport is where South Africa was not quite most vulnerable, but vulnerable certainly. China means a great, great deal to me for all kinds of reasons. I followed with great closeness the terrible events of Tian an men. Liu Xiaobo, one of the heroes of that tragedy, is lingering in gaol because he is a man of prinicple and courage who dares – dares – to stand up against a totalitarian monstrosity. The Chinese Gov uses sporting events, just as did the white South African regime, for publicity purposes, to boost itself. It is an evil regime, make no mistake about that, it is also a deeply racist and imperialist regime. There is no innocent, purely Sporting event so far as the Chinese regime is concerned – everything is staged with the view to strengthening its own position. That is how totalitarian regimes work. I will always do my own tiny little bit to oppose this cruel and hateful system, and insofar as I am able, to expose the sheer phonyness of all those smiling official faces – when decent people, good honest people, Chinese people, are being tortured and murdered. Of course, the situation is not as bad as in North Korea – everywhere is hopeless in that pure hell. But China, which wishes to become rich, is a little bit vulnerable to being exposed – that’s why they were so unhappy with Liu being given the Nobel peace prize. Bad publicity they fear. The Shanghai tennis tournament is good publicity.

I will certainly highlight the horrible hypocrisy insofar as I can. However, I am also a democrat. If people dislike me alluding to it on a sporting blog, I can understand that. I am not a political fanatic, actually, I hate politics, but one has this terrible thing, you know, it’s called a conscience, and because I know China, I can’t help feeling the suffering of the Chinese people. But why should anyone on Tennisx care? Oh, absolutely, don’t think I don’t understand.

montecarlo Says:

Can someone please find a video of last point of the first set. I think it was the best point of the match and surprisingly all the highlight packages are missing that point. When I saw it live on TV I was 100% sure the ball died before Murray reached there and the stupid broadcaster went straight into the commercial after that without showing a replay. That’s one point to save for ages and I can’t find it anywhere.

margot Says:

sheila: welcome aboard :)
kimberly: njoy your ice cream
montecarlo: last game of first set-all terrific!

i am it Says:

Theory: I am more bound by the rules I create for me, not for identity or distinction but for playing a self-created game.

The winner will have to come to the podium to claim the trophy. I am not going to mail it to an anonymous address.
You are right Margot is the No. 1 Murray fan but she is not the fanatic type so she is disqualified because she is overqualified. She is just too nice, guilt free, and a person with great heart and immense humor. I do not vividly recall the infrequent others, except just the names. The 2nd in ranking were you (almost jointly with Kimmi), and your resumes do not look that compelling for the quasi trophy of congratulation. Since you look hungry “I certainly do!”) I can be lenient for once to hand it to you: Congratulations, Jane, Murray was terrific!

“Murray showed his stuff. And he deserves congrats too.”
I did not get this one.

jane Says:

“In fact, I think both are true ” – makes sense Eric. This is often the case, isn’t it? Most issues aren’t a simple either/or, black/white, winner/loser (okay, well). Most situations are complicated; as Rhys writes in “Wide Sargasso Sea,” “there is always the other side, always.”

i am it Says:

s/b resumes = résumé

jane Says:

i am it – lol! I don’t deserve the trophy; margot does. I am giving it to her. Murray showed his stuff – is rather nebulous isn’t it? Well of course I mean this: we all know his talent, variety, capability – how he can serve very well, hit one of the best running forehands, defend in a gobsmacking manner – and last night, even for the 6 games or so that I saw, he showed all that “stuff”.

andrea Says:

i would sure love to be in decline, if it means, i’m still getting to finals and playing at the level of guys who are 6 years younger than me.

congrats to murray for what sounds like a good, clean win and hooray to ana who wins a title after 2 years. here’s hoping she can storm back with some confidence.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Grendel, kudos for you takin the high road with Spock’s racial attack somehow trying to tie it to Fed. You living in Australia, lol. However, remember he’s Vulcan :)

Eric Says:

andrea, being “in decline” doesn’t mean “now sucks.” it means “is no longer as good [in this case, as insanely, unbelievably, good] as in the past.” And anyone who says Federer hasn’t declined has an agenda other than honest analysis. most likely saying he wasn’t that good to begin with (which, of course, he was). Federer is still a top player near the peak of tennis, and I personally think 2011 will be a better year than 2010 was. But he’s not going to have any more 94% win seasons.

puckbandit Says:

Hey folks! So happy for Murray today!

Jane, thanks for the mention. Have not been around much but set the alarm this morning to watch this match.

I think it may be the best match in two years for Andy. A few of his shots were out of this world, really showing the talent his fans know he has.

To me Fed’s downfall was his forehand. It really went off the rails at the most unfortunate times. His serve didn’t pull him out of trouble either this match. Most likely his timing was off a bit. Partly because of Murray’s varied shots and partly from not playing for a month. I think he will be back in top form for London.

Speaking of which, it appears the top four are all heading to the end of year tourney playing great tennis. Should be a great way to end the season with Paris and London next month.

Colin Says:

Hey, leaves Murray’s mother alone, she’s a nice lady, and furthermore she has a sexy voice!
Grendel, I agree with your sentiments about China. The wonderful irony is that the USA, who climbed on a moral high horse over the Russians going into Afghanistan (just as justified as our invasion) and boycotted the Moscow Olympics, had no problem going to Beijing. What a lovely world we live in…

Vulcan Says:


Nobody is accusing you of racism. I was merely pointing out your use of a word that is commonly used as a racial epithet. Like all words it is subject to interpretation and the emotion conveyed is entirely dependent on the context in which it was said and to a larger degree the intent with which it is spoken. I should hope that somebody with your command of the language would be aware of the fact that here in Cyberspace…all anybody has to go on is context…without knowing you yes of course it’s impossible to know what your intentions are. I suspected that you might not be using it in a derogatory way. I simply find it bizarre that someone with your command of the language who seeks to convey his ideas poetically would ever choose a word that a child logging onto this site for the first time and reading what you have to say would possibly find offensive. (I won’t get any more high handed than that as I have used profanity to be emphatic from time to time).

About politics…just my two cents but my experience has been that it’s often better to check political baggage at the door when entering a forum that (like the sport of tennis) is an international mix of many cultures, ideologies, and political affiliations. It would seem that the topic of tennis can be divisive enough around here – I’m not sure we need to infuse it with the highly volatile issues that can be invoked in the arena of world politics.

margot Says:

I am it: that’s just so nice, I feel a bit overwhelmed. U r a sweetie-pie :)
puckbandit: nice 2 c you. Yeehah Andy!
Night all, sweet dreams ;)

Eric Says:

Also, just to be clear, I am not trying to discredit Murray’s victory by saying “oh well, Federer just isn’t what he used to be.” Murray played unbelievable tennis on many, many points, and even when he slipped up (falling to 15-40 two service games in a row) he always kept Federer from capitalizing on it.

(The flipside is that Federer was never looking very dangerous, but who can say that wasn’t ONLY because Murray played so well? I think Federer came out looking weak – double fault on his very second point – and never really tried to elevate, and Murray pounced on it, but others might give more or less credit to Murray.)

Von Says:

Congrats top murray and to all his fans, enjoy this win.

I think the problem for Federer was not enough recovery time. He seems to need more as time goes by. He’s right that it does take a lot to win a master’s tourney, as there is such a short recovery time between matches.

Vulcan: there are many here with the *schadenfraude* complex.

Mindy: Do you ever have anything to state about tennis, and the match played today, instead of your efforts to come on here to try to show me up? Well, today’s nol the day for it. Let the Murray fans be happy.

For God’s sake, stop harping on my comment about Djokovic not playing a top 10 player BY CASTING ASPERSIONS AND MAKING INNUENDOES.. JUST REMEMBER I AM ENTITLED TO MY COMMENTS.

puckbandit Says:


Grendel: I agree with your sentiments re: China, but disagree with your use of the work “chink” which is a slur no matter how you cut it.

I agree with the idea that in a perfect world, sports would be a “political free-zone” but sometimes, via venue or players, politics does seep in. We say that with the Peer/Dubai situation. Which, by the way, Roddick deserves props for taking a stand.

I was very disappointed that China got the Olympics because I, and many others, did not believe that they would make good on their promises regarding human rights and the permission of peaceful descent. And we were correct.

During the podium ceremonies, and also during the closing festivities, I was really hoping a brave, honorable Yank would tear off their jacket and reveal a “Free Tibet” t-shirt. They would’ve been stripped of their medals, but possibly awarded a greater gift than gold, silver or bronze.

Alas, it was not to be. What can I say, I guess I’m a bit of a dreamer.

Von Says:

puckbandit: “We say that with the Peer/Dubai situation. Which, by the way, Roddick deserves props for taking a stand.”

BTW, when Roddick took his stand in Dubai he was vociferously condemned by a few here for that, as they dubbed it a “PR Gimmick” to make himself look good.

Vulcan Says:

Oh, and let me add…just in case your wondering…I never saw Lleyton Hewitt as a racist either…I saw him as being perceived as such but the main reason I drew a parallel is because he was one of the more controversial figures in the sport.
The point is I saw your choice of words as controversial, NOT as racist.(again cyberspace is just words on a screen which are subject to interpretation and intentions are everything).

Von Says:

Vulcan: Hewitt IS a racist. Do you remember that incident with him and Blake at the USO, several years ago, wherein he said to the umpire (a black guy) “you epeple”? Oh Rusty did you mess up there.

grendel Says:

Vulcan – ok, we’re good. You’re probably right. It is difficult, though. There’s a tremendous amount of intimidation being exercised all the time by the Chinese Govt, which is spreading worryingly. It even affects the mighty US of A. And a lot of people are completely unaware of this. Damn – I’m off again. That business with Andy Murray was funny though, and I thought Murray handled a potentially embarrassing situation with great good humour. If it had been me, for example, I would have scowled and scowled.

Monte Carlo, I have the match taped, but I’m afraid I have no idea how to get it onto You Tube. For what it’s worth: Fed drove deep into the ad court, and executed quite a nice volley on Murray’s clever return. However, it did drift rather slowly over the net just giving Murray time, haring like a demented Olympic sprinter, to get to a very low ball, and somehow flick it with tremendous speed (no idea how he got the pace on that ball) right to the line, with Federer stranded, a bemused onlooker.

I was interested in your Martina link. For instance:”‘Everyone knows Serena Williams is the best woman player and has the talent and physique to become one of the all-time greats.” Now, that’s not quite right, is it. Serena just IS one of the all-time greats. The question is, will she be THE all-time great? Now Martina’s position here is not neutral, is it….

Her points about Andy Murray have been made many times. And of course, they don’t apply at all to his performance today. That in itself is revealing. Murray really gets himself up for Federer and Nadal – he hasn’t played Djokovic for yonks – and this allows him to express himself as the great tennis player he is. The trouble is, when he is messing around in the mud with very good but not quite great players like Cilic and Warwuinka, he’s not the same man. Someone he trusts and respects should tell him this in no uncertain manner. That’s probably the most relevant coaching requirements he has.

Martina thinks Nadal should easily get 18 slams, and maybe more. I’ve thought that for a while, but she maybe thinking too much about Federer’s now non-existent challenge. Who knows what Murray and Djokovic and conceivably others might bring to the table?

Martina says she noticed her own powers starting to wane at 27 – and this is a woman who played competitive tennis till she was 50! Many Nadal fans rigorously reject the idea Federer is in decline, but I should have thought it was common sense, a simple matter of biology (biology being understood to include the mind, which in this case means the ability to maintain focus for long periods).

madmax, from a very different perspective, also wants to deny the decline. madmax, if you say Fleming said what you say he did, then he did. But people can say different things, and my impression is that Fleming thinks Federer not to be as good as he was. I agree with quite a bit of what Eric says in this context.

grendel Says:

puckbandit: you’re entitled to your opinion. I’m sure many would agree with you. I’ll only say this: I often use words in a way which is not literal (think of how some black people use the word “nigger”), and in all kinds of contexts, but of course one is almost begging to be misunderstood in so doing. So, I suppose,upon pain of being charged with wanting to have my cake and eat it, I ought to live with it. Silly me.

grendel Says:

puckbandit: you’re entitled to your opinion. I’m sure many would agree with you. I’ll only say this: I often use words in a way which is not literal (think of how some black people use the word “n” word rhyming with “bigger”)*, and in all kinds of contexts, but of course one is almost begging to be misunderstood in so doing. So, I suppose,upon pain of being charged with wanting to have my cake and eat it, I ought to live with it. Silly me.

moderator: is what I’ve put at * more acceptable?

jane Says:

Hi madmax, nice to “see” you around; hope all is reasonably well.

Vulcan Says:


I do indeed, and based on what little I know of Hewitt I don’t think he is someone that thinks he’s intrinsically better or should have more rights than anybody else because of his genetic makeup. He was simply identifying a pattern if I recall. Blake is African American and so was the linesman…Hewitt simply suggested that there was a very subtle form of collusion going on because the two were of the same race. This has not one iota to do with anybody believing they are better than anybody else due to their DNA. Nevertheless it was misinterpreted and spun as such by various
media sources…hence my statement above that it was PERCEIVED as such.

Vulcan Says:

Let me just add that yes I thought Hewitt’s assertion that the two were somehow conspiring against him was rather absurd but the guy does some pretty wacky stuff and is pretty immature in certain ways…he doesn’t seem to give a damn about what anybody thinks including people in his own country…hence his being voted one of the all time sports villains.

grendel Says:

Actually, Vulcan, it is precisely analysis of DNA which has allowed us to put the pernicious and absurd doctrines of racism to bed once and for all – not that this is needed, of course. Racism was always, above all, stupid(if it wasn’t to do with the question of power; then it was just a feeble justification to hang onto privilege, which its upholders didn’t necessarily believe). But it is nice that science confirms the stupidity. Whoops, I have started a hornests nest – and didn’t want to! I just can’t help arguing. I’m going to turn this computer off. Temptation out of the way.

Von Says:

Vulcan: I don’t know what to think about that remark as I somewhat saw it as Hewitt being a racist. He made that statement in an effort to bully the umpire by pulling out the racist card. Why else would he refer to Blake and the umpire by placing them under the same umbrella of ‘You people”? It’s obvious, that even though Blake’s mother is white, he appears more black, complexion wise, than white. As I said, I’m still of the opinion that Hewitt was trying to put that in the umpire’s mind in an effort to get him to reverse the call. The last thing any umpire would want to have as a mark against him would be to be deemed as a *racist*.

I agree with you that Hewitt does not care about public opinion, and he’s his own man. I admire that about him and people, in general. This world would be a lot better if we were all strong enough to be who we are instead of constantly trying to win friends and influence people, by saying what we think they would like to hear, instead of what we actually feel.

BTW, I don’t subscribe to Dale Carnegie’s thoughts on the book he wrote pertaining to “How to win friends and influence people”, as it’s just another form of hypocrisy, which nowadays is indulged in freely especially on forums and in business. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be our own person instead of someone else’s puppet??

ty Says:

i’m an aussie leyton hewitt is cool

Von Says:

I don’t think Fed’s in a full decline per se. He’s declining yes, but to me, it’s more of a physical problem, than his use of his tennis shots.

After I suffered my bout with mono as an adult, which I got from my daughter, I began having good days and bad ones. mono is a very tricky disease, which does not go away, as in being healed, let’s move it. It’s like a thief which robs us of our energy and is deceiving. for instance, I could be fine in the morning, and then really and totally wiped out in the afternoon, then regroup later and have some more energy. It seems to fell us without any warning, and is a very subtle thief. I was unable to identify with my problem, until another friend who suffered with mono made the correlation for me. Fed’s sweating is an indication of when the wicked mono begins to raise it’s ugly head. I saw him perspiring profusely at some of his Shanghai matches, and when I saw that, I thought to myself, I wonder when he’s going to begin feeling tired. He has never sweat like that until he had mono, and the same goes for me, as I’m one who perspires very little.

In view of the foregoing, I affirm Fed’s not in a tennis decline, but he’s suffering from a physical kind of decline, which is sporadic, and which I feel goes back to the mono. BTW, the loss of muscle mass he’s suffered is another indication of mono which causes some of its victims to lose muscle mass. That’s very bad for an athlete. Thank God I’m not one of those women who likes muscled arms or else, I’d be in big trouble. LOL.

Vulcan Says:

“allowed us to put the pernicious and absurd doctrines of racism to bed once and for all”

Grendel (if you are still there), forgive me but what planet do you live on?
The human mind seeks out patterns in it’s quest to understand – visually, there are distinct repeated differences between the races that reinforce our perception that the races are different. These visual differences can be correlated to differences in DNA. I have no idea where the absurd notion that there are not differences in DNA that can be correlated to the cosmetic (and other) differences between the various races came from. There are many other patterns that emerge when it comes to differences between the races (such as socioeconomic barometers). People may choose to acknowledge them or not but the fact is they exist irrespective of what you and I decide here on this blog. All of this may or may not have to do with the way someone perceives them self and whether or not they have concluded that based on external references they are somehow intrinsically better or worthy of more rights than another person based on the chemical structure of their DNA.

Nina Says:

Now I just need to watch Djoko against Murray to assert where everybody stands.

skeezerweezer Says:

…????? Uh……Oh….that’s right. Tennis!

Sooo….that was a great win by Murray……and …….I like his Mum!

Von Says:


…????? Uh……Oh….that’s right. Tennis!

Are you referring to my comment at 5:36 pm?

“Sooo….that was a great win by Murray……and …….I like his Mum!’

You have to look at who’s saying the congratulations. Is it because they are just honestly happy for Murray or is it because they don’t like Fed, and is afraid to mention that little piece of tidbit. People use many platforms by pretending to post to another, when in fact they absolutely want to tell it to someone else, but it’s safer that way.

jane Says:

Nina the history between Murray and Nole is so interesting because while Novak used to dominate in their H2H, in their 3 matches since 2008 (all on hard), murray has turned it around. Albeit they’ve been close matches, but Murray’s emerged the victor. Frankly, the way he played last night you’d've thunk he’d beat anyone. But yeah, a match between them when both are playing well, ideally on hard, would be great I suspect. I love that they’re friendly, hit together, and are but a week apart in birthdays. I say hard court because I think so far Nole’s better on clay and Murray’s stronger on grass. But both have been in more than one hardcourt slam final, so that would be the best surface on which to see them go at it, imo. Hopefully it actually happens one of these days. : )

Von Says:

vulcan: “All of this may or may not have to do with the way someone perceives them self and whether or not they have concluded that based on external references they are somehow intrinsically better or worthy of more rights than another person based on the chemical structure of their DNA.”

Unfortunately, and I say unfortunately, but the world we live in, I’d say about 75 percent of the human race, people perceive themselves to be better and/or more deserving of rights, than the other guy, based on their DNA alone. It’s a fact, and those who try to deny it, is only fooling his or herself. It’s the sole reason, why there are such racial wars. Heck, it exists among the early settlers, who landed on Plymouth rock via the Mayflower, and those who crossed over via a little canoe from Cuba, or Haiti into Miami. I use unfortunately again, but it’s a well-established fact within social circles. A congressman of PR descent is not as highly regarded as someone of great worth, not molney, but appearance, as opposed to his Anglo colleague.

These are the cold, hard facts, and something we are consciously aware of, as we go about our day to day lives.

Kimberly Says:

The mum just doesn’t do it for me, or maybe Im just a bitter rafa fan sinking to yo mama level. As I said, I need to like the other player to even motivate myself to watch a Murray match.

I was rooting for fed frankly. I was rooting for Novak yesterday. Not a good tournament for me. Terrible draw challenge score, rafa lost, nobody I wanted after that came through. Break out the violin. At least fsu won this weekend.

Von Says:

“The mum just doesn’t do it for me, or maybe Im just a bitter rafa fan sinking to yo mama level.”

I think his mum is a very nice lady. She’s very knowledgeable about tennis, and is the one responsible for Andy M’s rise to fame. She deserves a lot of credit. I think Doug Adler would be frowning at you as he adores Judy Murray.

“I was rooting for fed frankly. I was rooting for Novak yesterday.”

LOL, Kimberly, that’s pretty conflicting. You rooted against Fed the day before, and then you rooted for him vs. Murray. When I don’t like both players, I don’t watch at all as it’s a bit difficult to turn on the enthusiasm.

I’m glad I like them both, as i would have missed a great match. I would have liked to see Fed converting the BPs and makikng the score tighter, but Andy played very well, and capitlized on Fed’s poor form.

Kimmi Says:

turning out to be not a bad year for muzza. 2 MS titles. one GS final and a semi. Hope he continues to do well and finish strong.

Love murray and his game. when he is on he can be beautiful to watch. great variety and movement. unfortunately he can be dissapointing especially in slams. the USO this year was his worst downfall…he loves that surface, so there was really no excuse. Good to see him regrouping and playing well again.

i think the jetlag and sickness kind of mess up his energy level in beijing. he looks much better now..hope he continues this great form. Winning in london at home would be “g-r-e-a-t” and then his next goal..wimbledon!

kimberly – i think all top four are a good bet for bracket challenge. they all seem to play great a.t.m, so paris will be tough one. as long as you get correct picks for the semi and final, you will rock..

JCK Says:


I agree with your opinion on Chinese Communist government, but I must object to your using the racial slur. Chinese communist government is worthy of contempt, but by using the racial slur, you’re including all Chinese in your insult. I’m Chinese American and I’m offended by the word, no matter what contex you used it or how many Chinese friends you have or how many of your Chinese friends do not find it offensive.

Mindy Says:


Please stop this incessant need of yours to personally demean me on this site. I have had just about enough of your attempts to incite and inflame.

What do you have to say about tennis? Stop attacking people and take a look in the mirror! Just because I don’t agree with you and choose to think for myself and not be controlled and manipulated, is no reason for you to go after me in this manner. You have done this on another blog, making baseless and totally unfounded allegations against me. You stooped so low as to bring Roddick into it and accuse me of denigrating him. You know better!

You are just looking for a fight and will do it any way you can. You have come on here and lectured and attacked people for daring to speak about their personal lives! You are not the moderator of this site. You do not run things and decide who gets to say what they want, as long as it doesn’t offend you.

I will not be intimidated, threatened or harassed by you on this site. I have a right to my own opinions and will continue to express them.

If you continue to post unwarranted tirades against me, then I will just choose to ignore them. If you do not like what I say, then you might want to scroll on down and just skip over my posts.

Mindy Says:

One more thing –

there is no need to write in caps! It’s rude and inappropriate. I think it is unfortunate that you have decided to continue to bait me in this manner.

The one who is embarrassing herself is you. Too bad if I feel like making my point again. That’s my right.

No one is trying to hurt the Murray fans, although I am not surprised that you would try to twist what I said to serve your purposes.

There are moderators on this site to let us know what we can and cannot say. The last time I checked, it was not your job!

Skeezerweezer Says:


I was not referring to your conversation but to grendel and Vulcan’s.

Von Says:

skeezer: Thank you. I wasn’t sure, as I had asked another poster the question about her talking tennis, so I thought you were questioning what I said.

Thanks for the clarification.

madmax Says:


Eric Says:
Federer IS in decline in terms of getting the job done.

It’s objective fact. 2010 was, so far, his worst year since 2003 in terms of:

- matches won (lowest % since 2002)
- titles won (lowest since 2001, so far)
- GS performance (worst overall performance since 2003, when he also won 1 slam but didn’t do as well in the others as 2010)

In terms of finals reached he is also lower than any year since 2003, although it is about the same as the past two years (6, vs 7 and 8) with a few chances left to go.

Who is denying this Eric? You can’t disagree with the facts – for sure. However, we are talking about Fed having been ‘at the top’ for what? 7/8 years (looking at your stats), that’s pretty incredible, wouldn’t you say so?


please don’t put words into my mouth. I could have commented a lot about your comments on china, having spent a year working over there, I feel I am (similar to you), able to say a few things about people, politics, culture, but this is a tennis blog, not a political debate.

I choose to say there are other players who have won against him this year, that rafa is a cut above the rest, that murray and novak are the future. That Federer is still playing great tennis. I am ‘a positive’ grendel. Federer has given me enormous joy and continues to do so.

I’m not going to ask you (who are you anyway?) to show the man some respect – it’s just your way sometimes – harsh in my view.

Federer is in decline, of sorts grendel. feel better?

margot Says:

von: thanx 4 congrats :)
grendel: ex point u make about Andy. At Wimbles, a few years back, I recollect LLoyd saying something like Andy seems to get “bored” playing lower ranked players. This needs addressing pronto.
kimmi: from Andy’s website it has emerged that he had the start of this nasty virus. Interfered with his movement, which is such a vital part of his game. Not making excuses, just offering explanation.

montecarlo Says:

Finally I found it, starts from 8:23

Vulcan Says:


Only Hewitt knows what he was thinking when he simply referred to Blake and the linesman as “you people” (I don’t even recall him making that remark…the only comment I recall which was referenced in the media was his saying “Look at him. Look at him and you tell me what the similarity is. Just get him off the court.”)

Interpreting either statement as containing any racial overtones DIRECTED AT THE LINESMAN OR BLAKE is a major stretch in my opinion.
Hewitt’s statements do not even contain epithets.
The only thing that is clear is that he was accusing the linesman of dishonestly calling him for footfaults and that he implied that the linesman’s intent was to unfairly give Blake an advantage because he was of the same race. Yes Hewitt insinuated that the linesman’s actions were racially motivated but I fail to see how that makes Hewitt the racist. Accusing somebody of being a racist does not make you a racist anymore than accusing somebody of lying makes you a liar. Hewitt’s track record speaks for itself and although he can be a pain in the rear to his opponents I don’t get the impression that he tries to manipulate anybody into giving him an undeserved advantage. Yes he will argue even the most trivial things on principal but I think his motivation from what I have seen is to simply see justice served in the end. He’s accustomed to having to battle to the bitter end to win matches and its natural that he would be a bit more preoccupied with things being 100% fair than somebody who is used to cruising through straight set victories. For an example of just how serious Hewitt can be about a point of honor see this clip:

grendel Says:

Vulcan – To save argument, I’ll quote from a genetics primer:”Every human being shares between 99.7 and 99.9 per cent of his or her DNA with every other person on the planet..The tiny variations that make individuals unique also differ more within ethnic groups than between them. An African’s genes will often look more like those of Caucasians or Chinese than those of another African” Of course, skin colour – at its most basic – was a simple evolutionary adaptation as people of African descent moved into the cold north. If that is understood, most of the so-called”factual” basis for racism is completely undermined.

Of course there are other factors. I don’t need reminding of that. All my life, I have been struck by how people form spontaneously into tribes, you see it over and over again in all kinds of contexts, some of them very unexpected. You see it on this site.

JCK – I apologize for any offence caused. Believe me, it was not intentional. It was insensitive, though.

Von – I believe you are referring among others, to me over the Peer incident. I’ll just quickly put the record straight from my side. It was mainly Noel – a very, very good poster,b.t.w. who has never returned, I believe he was upset in having his motives suspected – who put forward the proposition, and argued for it on the basis of schedule, that it wasn’t quite such a big deal for Roddick to make his stand on Peer. To say that the claim was that Roddick was merely indulging in a”“PR Gimmick” to make himself look good.” is an exaggeration, to say the least. I think, Von, that when you’re in a quiet and reflective mood, you are well aware of how mixed peoples’ motives tend to be. Personally, I think that’s universal. And “mixed” works both ways. It is true that neither Noel nor I alluded to the good side of Roddick’s stand. That tends to be the nature of argument, and in any case, there was no need. We were a minority – you were, and are I’d say, in a huge majority on this issue, Von.


there must be a misunderstanding, I didn’t see myself as putting words in your mouth, I simply said that, from a different perspective to the Nadal fans like guy, Monte Carlo, you wanted to deny that Federer was in decline. Was I wrong? But in any case, it wasn’t a criticism. Why shouldn’t you deny Fed is in decline? And it is interesting, don’t you think, that people can come to an apparent agreement from opposite ends of the spectrum. I’ve always thought the joy you take in Federer’s game is spontaneous and delightful. And I am sure this reflects a sunny personality. I admire you. If I disagree with you on some points, well, we don’t want everyone to be agreeing with everyone, do we?

On this being a tennis site, not a political blog. Yes, that point has been made, and it is a valid one. I would just say this: for the Chinese regime, there is no such thing as a politically free arena. And tennis does come into this, in my view. Tennis has not evolved organically in China, but it has been deliberately pushed – rather like the East German dictatorship pushed swimming – with the view to gaining olympic medals. And thereby confer prestige on a regime which at bottom is always terrified of its own people. Of course, a show case like the tennis tournament in Shanghai serves the same purpose. I think it may be legitimate to bring that up here. It may not be popular, though, and if a club doesn’t like someone, they have every right to kick him out.

Von Says:

grendel: Re: that Dubai discussion, I believe there were about 5 people involved in the discussion. Threee for Roddick, which comprised of 2 Fed fans, and myself, and 2 Fed fans against.

I don’t want to rehash it, but only alluded to it because of the props puckbandit mentioned today should have been given to Roddick.

BTW, Noel continued to post after that discussion, but he never did post a lot to begin with, and he left about a month later due to time restrainss. He was in school studying for his Masters, had a business to run, and then the computers in his area were knocked out due to floods from rain and some overflow.

Von Says:

Vulcan: thanks for that YouTube featuring hewitt. I’d say he’s quite a character.

As I mentioned previously, I don’t know what to think of that incident, but I do admire Hewitt for his tenacity and his self-assuredness, whereby he’s his own man, and is not a puppet. He does what he wants to please himself, and could care less about what others think. I admire that in him and all others who are not people pleasers for the sake of popularity. As the saying goes, “good name, is nickname to a fool”. I suppose there’s some wisdom in that statement.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Your positive vibe for Fed is refreshing, keep it up :)

Vulcan Says:


Because this is a tennis forum and I had already explicitly stated my opinion that we stick to tennis I’ll offer a final response.
The fact that any two biological species share a large fraction of their DNA does not preclude MAJOR differences between those species (or between different organisms within a species). Biological systems are exquisitely sensitive to small chemical changes. Many examples of physical systems that are “tuned” in this way exist. As an example the difference between a beneficial and toxic dose of a medication can be down in the hundreds of milligrams. Relative to an 85 KG individual this is comparable to the fraction of a percent differences you cite above. The main point I was trying to make is that it is the visual/cosmetic differences that can be seen and easily identified as patterns which do indeed correlate to the corresponding differences in DNA. Probably the most controversial question is whether the cosmetic difference can be correlated in turn to other quantifiable physical and mental attributes. Unfortunately, due to the way certain regimes have used these differences as a rationale to perform genocide there is a taboo associated with research that impedes further understanding.
This opens the door for some people to obfuscate, distort and otherwise misinterpret the perceived differences to their advantage. In the long run this obfuscation results in a lack of collective understanding that eventually results in some form of conflict. Our minds see patterns whether we like it or not and to attempt to collectively suppress this or otherwise suggest that the patterns that we see simply do not exist or are the reverse of what we see only results in unhealthy levels of cognitive dissonance on an individual level and a lack of collective thought synchronization on a societal level.

Seth Says:

Fed’s in decline and so on and so forth . . . *sigh*

Hey guys, of course he is. If you haven’t checked lately, HE’S 29. The aging process, it affects us all. There’s physics behind it, you know?

Federer has zero left to prove. Zero. His record speaks for itself. If and when Nadal, who is five years younger (or someone else, for that matter), hits 16 Grand Slam titles, then we’ll talk.

Skeezerweezer Says:


Most excellent post ! :)

Vulcan Says:


So will you turn a deaf ear if Nadal somehow manages to win the Calendar slam before he reaches 16 slams or is it all about QUANTITY. Is the reverence for Laver just an illusion?

Dari Says:

How is Roger #1 in the trunk again? First for not playing in the other asian tournaments, then for reaching a final? There’s gotta be a better candidate for #1 in the trunk!
Seth I like the way you put things.
Vulcan, that is a BIG if. Everybody will be talking about EVERYTHING if that happens!

Vulcan Says:


Hehe yes, it’s pie in the sky and I agree with Nadal’s assessment that it is impossible (just slightly understating his chances) but I still wonder if he isn’t more capable of doing it than anyone since Laver.

grendel Says:

Vulcan, I think we’re talking at cross purposes. I meant that the common sense attitude that there is absolutely no basis whatsoever for deeming one race more intelligent than another, for instance, is completely born out by the science of genetics. This is not a controversial topic among geneticists, although naturally there are those who go “rogue”. That certain diseases are either exclusive to certain racial groups or more prevalant is of course true (and easily explained in terms of adaptation), and very useful for diagnosis. i don’t know if you were referring to that.
“Our minds see patterns whether we like it or not” Well, that is certainly true! You could say that that is what mathematics is largely about, and it’s true in other ways too. Let’s agree on that, anyway.

grendel Says:

it’s true Noel posted a bit after that discussion, but only 2 or 3 times so far as I could see. I didn’t know at all about his problems with computers and so on. Let’s hope he comes back some time. b.t.w., when I said I thought a majority probably supported your position, I did not mean on this site, but generally in the world of tennis. That would be my impression.

dari Says:

Congratulations to AndyM! When roger is across the net I forget that he is my second or third favorite! Way to go!

madmax Says:



Easy to misunderstand, however my interpretation is usually based on instinct more than anything – I worked in Guilin, Yangzhou for a year and always found the people there in the province welcoming and extremely humble, amidst a communist regime admittedly, I think to have one view of the chinese people and culture is a dangerous one. I certainly wouldn’t refer to any of my chinese friends in the way that you have, it can be regarded as nothing other than disparaging or derogatory.

You need to take the red rooster train from Beijing (remember the book from Paul Theroux, Louis Theroux’s cousin?) and travel chinese style down to Xian and across to Guilin, that will open up your eyes. Experience the richness of the chinese culture and it’s people, enjoy their food and their hospitality grendel. Just having an ex who was a chinese girlfriend is not enough. Live there and experience it first hand.

Yes, there is a strong regime there, but there is also a gentleness and a desire from most to know more about the west. I experienced that first hand and it was nothing but a joyous experience.


right back atcha!

Jane, the book thief?

As for fed, I cant remember which poster said that to reach the final after so few matches, I must say, I am a pretty pleased camper this end. And federer moves onto stockholm and I will go and stalk him there this weekend! with swiss flag in large letters: Federer IS the best.

I will be waving it large and loud.

Yes, he’s in decline, but WHAT a way to go. Back to No.2. You know what? the ONLY way is UP!

Go Federer!

Fot Says:

I was out of town and didn’t get a chance to see the matches this week live. I taped them and watched Roger vs Djokovic (was very impressed with Roger). I have yet to sit down to watch the final. Since I’m a Federer fan – I may not even watch that one at all!

Kimmi said: “turning out to be not a bad year for muzza. 2 MS titles. one GS final and a semi”

This is where “all in perspective” comes into play because If the above was a description of Roger’s year, people would be ready to throw him to the dogs! lol! I mean Roger DID win a grand slam this year. He DID make the SF in another; He DID make the QF in the other 2; HE DID win a Master’s event; he DID make the final in another. YET – people are saying this is the worse year he’s had since…when… Maybe, but when you look at what he’s accompllished (without putting a name by it), heck, it’s still a pretty good year!

As Roger gets older, we need to cut him some slack (at least I hope people do). He’s done way more than what some folks even thought he would do when he came on the scene and started winning slams back in 2003. I know he would not keep up that pace forever. The difference is that he use to really dominate tournament after tournament. Now, he can turn it on for 1, 2, maybe 3 matches in a tournament, but he’s more apt to have that let-down match (like in the final against Murray), now. That’s still ok. I still have all my DVDs of his greatest ‘hits’ that I can always go back to watch. I still want him to be around as long as possible because maybe I can still get that 1, 2, or 3 or maybe 4 great matches out of him during a tournament. That’ll be great if he does. If he doesn’t – no problem for me either.

Congrats to Murray on his win. Good luck to Roger this week at the next tournament!

madmax Says:


great post.

“HE DID win a Master’s event; he DID make the final in another. YET – people are saying this is the worse year he’s had since…when… Maybe, but when you look at what he’s accompllished (without putting a name by it), heck, it’s still a pretty good year!”

Just an addition FOT. Roge has made FOUR masters finals and won one of them. Remember he won cinny, reached madrid final, lost to rafa, made toronto final, lost to murray, made shanghai final, lost to murray.


margot Says:

madmax@4.36: a very interesting post about China, which I really enjoyed reading. I have met and worked with many Chinese people, but never visited, yet…. Thanks.

grendel Says:

madmax – I have experienced China, and I agree with everything you say. More recently my son has done the same. Here is a comment of his:”As we made our way to the road on the last day we saw a few local tribe women who worked on the paddies taking a rest with lunch and they called us over and offered us some of their food, some spicy veg and rice. They seemed very happy and were laughing a joking and reminded me of a kind of happy woodcutter you might find in a story, all the more surprising as they probably have quite tough lives.” He finished his e-mail with something which might please you:” Did you catch much of the Aussie open? Federer looks like he won fairly convincingly, perhaps a few more slams in him yet?”

In another e-mail (he had been in Guilin and Yangshun):” one day I went on a bike ride through the countryside and we met a jolly man who was carrying loads of bread along with a skip in his step and he gave us a bit of his bread and was really funny, he sort of shouted out everything he said and was reallly friendly. We took a few pictures with him and then another man who was really old and had no teeth came along and joined in the picture and he has a really gummy smile which is one of the funniest pictures ever, I can’t wait to show it to you, I’ll send it when i gte back to Beijing.”

Tom hasn’t been back from China long, and he was there a year. He wasn’t that keen on Beijing – much preferred Shanghai as a city – but loved the country outback, and as you can see, had a wonderful experience with the people. He has exactly the same view of the Chinese regime – b.t.w. the corruption is what is most noticeable in the local officials – as I do, and he had some experience, even as a foreigner, of the totalitarian ways when in Beijing.

As for me, madmax – I studied Chinese at University – along with alcohol. I have maintained my interest in all things Chinese and managed to survive (just) that in alcohol. Maths came later, I took it from scratch (having been not very good at it at school, and wondering why) to about first year Uni level. Still ploughing away, it’s difficult for an essentially non-mathematician, but has its rewards. No one who knows me would imagine for one second that I could be disparaging to Chinese – or any other group of people as a group, except possibly the rich. But I do use language, how can I say, unwisely sometimes.

Well, madmax, you asked who I was. That’s some of it.

grendel Says:


Twenty or so years ago, a guy called Steve Davis won everything in snooker ALL the time, especially the world championships. One year, he got beaten in the quarters, but he said afterwards something like “well, I got to the quarters anyway.” Of course, getting to the quarters in the world championship is an extraordinary result for MOST players. However Cliff Thorburn, the very cool Canadian who always gave Steve a tough battle, remarked caustically:”so, we’ve reduced him to being pleased at getting to the quarters…”

The thing is, things are relative. What would be an unimaginably triumphant year for most players looks rather different for Federer. In a way, that’s another tribute to his greatness.

Vulcan Says:

Von Says:

These are the cold, hard facts, and something we are consciously aware of, as we go about our day to day lives.

Von, thank you for honestly sharing patterns that you personally have identified and the way you see things. I personally think it is very important that people feel free to describe what they see.(so long as the way it is described is not infused with condescension). I think the ability to identify certain patterns and not let them PREDETERMINE the way we treat each other on an INDIVIDUAL basis is one of, if not, the single most important skills to develop in life. Needless to say people often “judge a book by it’s cover” – which is natural to do because the visual patterns that we see are the easiest to identify.

jane Says:

madmax, I confess I’ve not read it yet, but I will! I spent quite a bit of time in Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan, making trips twice a year, for my previous career, and I very much enjoyed the people and the hospitality! There are some beautiful sights to see in those locations (my favorite of the 3 was Taiwan: the trees, the families on motorcycles, the food, the sing-song sound of mandarin). My only complaint would be the pollution, which even years ago was noticeably bad. I went to factories sometimes, and the workers would collect in the halls where they’d have hot-plates and woks on which they’d cook fresh lunches right there and then. This could be seen in negative terms (i.e., the exploitative side is/was evident in those places, and is one reason why I left my old job), but there was also something truly admirable about the way they’d stop their work, get together, and prepare healthy food to share.

Von Says:

Vulcan: I could tell you tons of stories and proffer unlimited evidence to bear out my point, but, this is not the place for it. I will say this much, in my field of work, they hire the cream of the crop, and the only way one who does not fit the *cream* description gets to make it through those hallowed doors, is to make up numbers. One woman I worked with who didn’t fit the *cream* designation, confided to me that she couldn’t believe they hired her. I told her, just be thankful you got the job and it will look very impressive on your resume, but say no more.

I’m not blind to the inequities of life, and I’m thankful I didn’t have to face them, but I’m very sympathetic towards those who have had to deal with that problem. I’ll say this much, first impression means a lot. Anyone got a Red Power Suit, wear it, forget brown and navy blue. I mean ladies, not guys. LOL

Andrew Miller Says:

Hope Roddick wins another slam.

Von Says:

Andrew: “Hope Roddick wins another slam.”

Same here. I hope he doesn’t become too disheartened and quit competing, waiting for it to happen, though. I don’t care if he doesn’t win anything else from now until he retires, except for that ONE additonal slam. C’mon Andy, you can do it!

madmax Says:


*warning* skip this post to those who don’t want to read about china – for grendel and jane:

i love your narrative and first hand experience of china! I feel I know you a little bit better, through your son of course – grendel, beijing, I didn’t like so much. I opened my window of the hostel I was staying in, to a blanket of smog, you see that every morning together with a thousand people riding their bikes to work with their rice hats on – i took pictures and remember now even more since this conversation, that living in china is a hard life.

BUT, the beauty of beijing was not Tiananmen square with the rubber Mao Tse Tung lying in state with soldiers either side of him in a glass cage, (and how big is Tiananmen square?!) pushing you along so you had less than a minute to experience history, but the Forbidden palace opposite, which takes you into the aristocracy of chinese culture –

Xian wasn’t much better in terms of smog or being a dirty city, but the people – just unbelievably friendly, unbelievably welcoming.

I used to ride a bike to school in Guilin and pass bear pits along the way – the cruelty of this country is evident, but what can you do? There are plenty of activists (through the media actually) who fight the cause for a better china, but their lives are at risk and once you see them, you never see them a day later – we know why.

I just never would refer to them in the way that you have, but moving on from that and reading what you wrote, you write beautifully. You take me back there.

Taking the train further down grendel, you should go to shenzen (horrible place). I worked in a school there, but shortly after took the jetcat from hong kong to macau – now that is an amazing place to be. Half chinese, half portuguese. Go. Experience. Live the culture.

Jane, I agree with everything you have said too.

As for federer, listening to him master some of the language I just think he is someone who respects the cultures of other places and its people.

Good luck to Fed in stockholm – great interview on the other thread.

madmax Says:

grendel, studying chinese at university? It must be (and I think, factually…is, THE most difficult language to learn – and the chinese write from right to left which makes it doubly difficult).

grendel Says:

madmax – talking of “bear pits”, we have one quite close to where I live. It has been deactivated for a while, however. You might be interested to hear Tom’s description of the pandas he saw in China: “We also went to see the pandas as sichuan is their home in china and they have to be the laziest creatures I’ve ever seen, eating seems to occupy most of their spare time and is almost like a ritual to them and their movements are very human like. It sometimes almost looks like it’s just a man inside a panda suit…….” You mention Macau (I went there as a child, and had my fortune told. I was to be a great businessman, apparently. Now if there’s one thing I’ve never got a handle on, it’s managing money..I remember the casinos, too. In those days, HK was very poor, I remember being quite staggered by the poverty – as contrasted to the plush living style of the whites. Didn’t seem to make them (the whites) any happier though) here is Tom to his young brother on HK: “Hong Kong is incredible, maybe my favourite city. it is full of energy and all the HK dvd shops and cinemas don’t hinder my love either. Have already seen 3 films at the cinema and wanna buy loads of dvds/books but don’t have any space in my bag annoyingly. Still Im planning on coming back for the film festival in a month and will also bring an empty bag with me too! There are these really old skinny trams wihich rattle through the city which are nice and the food is incredible, the best kind of Chinese food more like english chinese takeaway and lots of delicious sandwiches/cakes etc, it would be impossible not to become fat if you lived here I think! Gonna go to Macao and spend a few more days in HK before going back to China.” Reply of young bro:”I loved New Yorks Chinatown! I’m definately going to go to oriental places one day, I’ll go to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Bangkok, Seoul and countryside of those countries.
I bet there are lots of funny people in China. Do you prefer the countryside or the city? And it’s good to see you’re not getting much crappy films!”

re this question of language. have a look at Stanley Kubric’s “Hot Metal Jacket”. fairly near the beginning, we have the demented commander of the boys training to be marines. After shouting non-stop for 10 minutes, he adds, or shouts:”you probably think I’m not very nice. I’m not. But I’m fair. Any (and here he has a long list of derogatory names for Blacks, Irish, Jews, Chinese, Vietnamese, Italians and so on) can expect to be treated fairly and without prejudice!” If you can keep a straight face when watching that, I’ll have to revise my views on what makes people tick. Incidentally, why is it that there’s never an equivalent sort of word for the English? The Americans used to call us limeys, but that’s harmless. The Aussies still call us Poms, and that has a bit more sting (I was told Pom could be interpreted to mean “prisoner of mother England” or a characterisation of a typical sort of whingeing Englishman who moped around with a”poor me! poor me!” look on his map). I daresay in other languages, however, there’s some good ‘uns.

Regarding Chinese as a language. To begin with, it is startlingly easy. This is because it has no grammar as we understand it (i.e. no inflection). of course, there is a very subtle grammar, and this kicks in as you start to learn more, and it becomes very difficult. One of my Chinese teachers once remarked that the closest language to Chinese in some ways is English, because we too have very little inflection, which apparently makes English a difficult language to learn foreigners . Of course, in Chinese you’ve got the tones- the example of “ma” is often given as this can mean 4 different things according to which of the 4 tones is used – and this makes listening and talking very difficult. That’s why I was impressed with Federer, I am sure he has a superb ear. And then you have the characters – even Chinese sometimes forget some of them, what chance the rest of us. It’s a full time occupation learning them. To be honest, I was eventually defeated – not compatible with alcohol – though I still mess around with them in a dilettantish sort of way. I’m hoping Tom does rather better – I think he will, he has the motivation.

jane Says:

I think that’s “Full Metal Jacket” rather than “Hot” grendel; unless the film has a different name in the UK. Found it very interesting reading your son’s thoughts – man in panda-suit especially. Agree with his take on HK – such a bustling city. It’s like no one goes home there.

Vulcan Says:

grendel Says:

Incidentally, why is it that there’s never an equivalent sort of word for the English?

Grendel, hope you don’t mind me interjecting here, I can’t resist:

How about: Because there is a socioeconomic pecking order on this planet which can be seen as a gradient which happens to correlate quite well with race rather than geographic location. This gradient matches up to the gradient representing the number of racial epithets that are circulated as memes (ie the highest socioeconomic group has the fewest number of epithets and the lowest socioeconomic group the highest number of epithets). One can confirm this by referring to the Wikipedia page on racial epithets. Basically it comes down to status, money, and power (among other things) and those that have more of it are more likely to coin and circulate words that are used to describe those that don’t. Notice I didn’t introduce aesthetics into the above because that is far more subjective than something like per Capita GDPs. The fact that there are more epithets encoded in the language for certain races is probably why certain races are more sensitive to them than those races who are subjected to fewer epithets.

grendel Says:

jane, yes, I often seem to get names wrong.
Vulcan – maybe. The Chinese, of course, were extremely insulting about non-Chinese – but not in a particular way. All non Han were simply “barbarians”. This was perhaps similar to how denizens of the Roman Empire thought of outsiders. Even so, before coming to conclusions, one would like to know how the English, say, are regarded in foreign tongues. Surely there must be a few choice epithets. How about the native Indians in America – are there no abusive references in local tongues to the white usurpers?

Vulcan Says:


In order for an epithet to have the “sting” that you mentioned previously it has to be tied to some negative cognitive association (ie in the form of a prior bad experience, something you witnessed, or a perceived inequity). When conflicts occur one party wins and one party loses…the epithet serves as a reminder of that conflict…it’s doubtful that the losing party would want to create (or perpetuate) a meme that reminds everybody of their loss…victors would certainly find it in their best interest to create memes that remind everybody of their victory and who the losers were. I speculate that in modern times, it is the fact that the socioeconomic gradient I spoke of has become so visible via Internet and other media sources that it is the perceived inequity component that people are most sensitive to when they are exposed to racial epithets. In other words an individual sees the gradient and sees that they are not ranked according to that gradient as high as somebody else…so when somebody else makes a comment using a trigger word that reminds them of that inequity it registers as a negative cognitive association.

Going back in time and talking about what happened in Classical and Ancient civilizations is much harder because everybody wasn’t on the same page to the extent that we are now with Internet.

madmax Says:


I am loving the discussion on China! It’s just an amazing country all round. What I found disconcerting to a degree was the ‘staring at a western woman syndrome’. But as soon as it was deemed appropriate, there was almost a running for the hills approach towards you so that they could practise their English!

Did that happen to you ? They love westerners – at least that was my experience –

I will go back to China again, but rather than travelling hard sleeper, I think I might try soft sleeper on the train – may be it will be a different experience?

Beijing train station reminded me of some kind of russian movie, scary and frenetic.

I couldn’t speak chinese when I went there, so became practised in the art of mime and drawing in a sketch book – a few phrases I mastered –

‘Nee How’ – but I found it incredibly difficult, so between me, mime, art and a chinese phrase book, I got by.

Thanks grendel.

Vulcan, your post too – a keen intellectual.

grendel Says:


I’ll finish this Chinese section by directing you to this link, if you have the time to read it( It’s quite long, it was written in 1991, so don’t be surprised at the few contemporary allusions.

It’s all about why Chinese is, one way or another, so fiendishly (and annoyingly) difficult. The author wears his learning lightly, and it’s very very funny – I actually laughed out aloud on a few occasions, which is rare for me, i tend to internalise stuff.

a p.s. to Vulcan, actually the Chinese were using the word “barbarian” until comparatively recently (say, early 20th century). The very word China, in Chinese, is Zhong Guo, which means Central Kingdom – says quite a lot about how the Chinese regarded anybody outside their own borders.

grendel Says:

if you’re interested, you may need to google the link I provided.

Vulcan Says:


I’m sure that there were some remote tribes that thought that their technology was superior to that of a neighboring tribe or that of advanced civilizations…in the absence of information their is a goodnatured tendency to feed one’s ego with positive reinforcement. I doubt you would find anybody in China today referring to a Caucasian (or anybody else of a higher socioeconomic bracket) as a “barbarian”. On the contrary what I picked up on when I was over there is the reverence they have for Western culture. Westerners are treated as rock stars. There is even a word for blond hair which is spoken with a certain awe and reverence. (This is true in Latin America as well were Blond hair Blue eyed talk show hosts are pop icons). China is a very monoethnic culture and there is very strong etching in the visual patterns of their appearance…virtually everybody has black hair for example…so it’s natural that any variation would stand out like a sore thumb…correlate this variation with the gradient above and you will find a conspicuous absence of racial epithets.

grendel Says:

re “barbarian” – not now, no. Like I said, up to about very early 20th century.Can you imagine anyone using a word like “barbarian” now except semi-humorously? And even when they did use it, I get the feeling it was not so much pejorative as an acknowldgement of the strange (but undeniable) fact that there existed peoples who were so unfortunate as not to be Han.
Yes, the Han are a huge majority. There’s trouble of course on the fringes – with the Muslim Uighurs in Sinkiang for instance.

re “memes” – this is an invention of the biologist Richard Dawkins, and it is contentious. His old rival Stephen Jay Gould flatly denied their existence or even that they made any sense (as supposed “viruses of the mind”). I find Dawkins immensly stimulating, although his obsessive atheism is a pain in the neck, like any obsession. I’m not convinced that memes play much of a role in racial matters except in a very secondary sense. People naturally congregate into competing groups, and the explanation for that lies elsewhere.
b.t.w., what about “frogs”? That, whilst not too deadly, is certainly a facetiously insulting mode of address from an Englishman to a Frenchman. Now where does the gradient lie here? Most French would be pretty outraged at the idea of being a “losing party” w.r.t.the English. On the other hand, their insult for the English, les ros bifs (the roast beefs) seems a bit feeble to me. I mean, if I was accosted, in tones of contempt, as a miserable “ros bif”, I can’t say I’d be too upset, I might even smile. Now, what’s going on here?

Vulcan Says:


The concept of memes, is itself a meme (a recursive relationship), which (by the very mechanism it describes) is slowly penetrating into the collective conscious and taking hold. Pop terms like “viral video” are sprouting up to describe the concept. I can’t imagine how anybody (including SJG), at the present juncture, would deny the fact that the concept has been firmly established in the minds of people (again by the very mechanism it itself describes). To my knowledge nobody has been able to invalidate the theory so as is the case with all theories it’s validity asymptotically approaches 100% as attempts to disprove it come up short.(you never prove a theory you only fail to disprove it).

About the food stuff- needless to say France and the UK are very close to each other on the continuum that I referenced. The degree of sting in a racial epithet is proportional to how far apart the two racial identities are on the continuum. Nevertheless, I suspect that if you were to put two World War II veterans in a room with a moderator and have them discuss the War amicably…the German guy would not take too kindly to being referred to as a “Kraut” by the British guy.

Vulcan Says:

I will add that at the present time your quest to find any epithets directed from the outside at people of Caucasian British descent is likely going to come up short mainly due to the fact that the UK has not been on the losing end of any major conflicts recently (on the contrary you were the darlings of WWII), the English language is viewed as the single Universal language on the planet, and the UK has a very high per capita GDP and associated standard of living relative to other nations.

margot Says:

Vulcan: there’s an Australian joke about the British, I seem to remember it goes something like this :
Question: how can u tell a plane load of Poms landing in Australia, from a plane load of other people?
Answer: it’s still whining when it’s on the ground.

grendel Says:

“it’s still whining when it’s on the ground.” That’s the “poor me, poor me” interpretation of Pommy of course.

Vulcan, re memes. To put it mildly, I’m no expert, so I can’t get into debate with you. But I do know it is not established in the sense you suggest (not even asymptotically…). For example, you might like to look at Robert Aunger’s “What’s the Matter with Memes?”, an essay in a compilation by admirers of Richard Dawkins (“How a Scientist Changed The Way We Think”). Aunger has apparently written a couple of books on memes, and in the essay I refer to, he is certainly sympathetic to the concept, and regards it as a providing a source of fruitful debate. Dawkins invented the word “meme” (originally “mimeme”) quite deliberately to sound like “gene”, and it is supposed to be a replicator, in the world of culture, in a sense analogous to the way that the gene replicates through the duplication of DNA strands. But Aunger concludes that there are no mental replicators, although he concedes, because of the recursive feature you mention (basically, memes, especially because of their prevalence on the Internet, are cool) that “people will continue to use the word “meme” in a vague way when discussing cultural change.” But he predicts memetics will not become an empirical science “becaus when we define memes in a manner precise enough to start making testable predictions, we find that we have largely defined them out of existence”.

A very non-scientific point. It has sometimes occured to me that this whole business of memes is a rather overblown way of alluding to what we all know anyway, and have known since the year dot, namely, the power of fashion and trends to spread exponentially. Anyway, that’s me done on that.

I think your argument about the one-way route of abusive epithet is an interesting and (to me, anyway) unexpected one – but I wonder if it’s conclusive. I’m not exactly on a quest, you know, but every now and then, some little triviality pops into my bean. “gringo” is, I’d understood, meant to be fairly abusive towards Americans on the part of Latin Americans. The Cubans, under Castro, when they called the Americans “yanquis” (to distinguish it from “yankees”) meant it to insult. “Whitey” – now that, in a way, supports your position. Because it’s meant to be a kind of counter to the “n” word – and whilst it’s certainly a term ringing with angry contempt, it somehow lacks the resonance of The “n” word – possibly for the reasons you suggest. Yes, I think you have something for you on this one.

grendel Says:

“something going for you on this one”.

Vulcan Says:

Margot: Never heard that one before…the only word that I’ve ever come across in my Internet travels that really pushes buttons with English people (particularly men) is “wanker” – I suspect this is largely due to the paradigm, especially here in the states, of the effeminate British male…which was largely created by the multitude of English Rock Stars that sported androgynous looks back in the 80s.


I think it’s safe to say that neither of us our experts…it’s doubtful that we would be discussing this topic here on Tennis-X if we were both Nobel Laureates in the subject.

Thank you for pointing out the references on the subject.
I guess my interest in the term meme is more focused on it’s use to universally describe something that is passed from mind to mind…if there is a debatable part I suspect its the cultural change aspect of the theory which yes, empirically would be very difficult to prove (again though it can’t be disproven either so it’s just as valid as any other untestable theory – the real question is, is it USEFUL.) I think the term is more useful as a way of describing how the collective conscious evolves as opposed to how the culture does…whether or not changes in the collective conscious yield changes in the culture is the debatable part in my mind.

Back to epithets…the gradient applies on a statistical level so needless to say it is possible to cite rare individual examples that violate the gradient. As an example I’m guessing that a wealthy African American guy invited to a Wedding in a Rural West Virginian Coal Mining community would not be the hit of the party if he pulled up to the curb in his Mercedes and started referring to people as “white trash”.

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