Del Potro Wins! Stubborn Roddick Gets Pushed Around (Again)
by Sean Randall | January 10th, 2011, 9:47 am
  • 148 Comments

Del Potro wins! Del Potro wins! That’s the big tennis news as we start this Monday work week. Last night, Juan Martin Del Potro won his first match in nearly a year defeating Feliciano Lopez 6-7(3), 7-6(9), 7-6(3) in the first round of Sydney.

Ranked in the 200s, Del Potro needed a wildcard just to get a spot in the draw which almost cruelly placed him against a guy he had lost to three straight times in Lopez.

But DelPo came up big against the Spaniard saving a second set match point at 7-6 in the breaker for his first win since last January at the Australian Open.

“I don’t expect this kind of match for the start, but we played a beautiful match, very close,” said Del Potro following the 3-hour, 20-minute epic. “Feliciano is a fantastic player on this kind of surface, and I played good tennis again. I feel good all on my match, and finally I won a match since one year.”

Del Potro finished the match with 21 aces, 12 of which came in the final set.

He added, “I worked very hard for two months in Argentina. My coaches trust in my conditions and I trust in myself, so I’m ready again to play long matches. I am still lower with my level, I need time. I need work to keep going in this road. It’s a long road to be in the Top 10 again, but I’m ready to try. I need matches and matches, practice, and work. Maybe four, six months I’m ready to play again good tennis.”

For DelPo fans like me, this is great news. Not only does he win the match he does it in the toughest way possible. And it should give him a heap of confidence.

Up next for DelPo is a second round match against the player he last beat before Lopez, Florian Mayer.

Someone who may be struggling a little his confidence this morning is Andy Roddick. With the time zone and lack of TV coverage it was hard to watch all the action from Brisbane, but what little I did see of Andy’s match against Robin Soderling Saturday was not encouraging.

If you were hoping (like me) that Roddick would start the year out with a more aggressive mindset on court then you left sadly disappointed in his effort in the Brisbane final. In fact, Roddick hurled far more fury at the chair ump Fergus Murphy during the match than he directed at Soderling who beat Andy 6-3, 7-5.

That’s because Roddick seems stubbornly set on employing his passive/defensive strategy from the baseline. Instead of cracking forehand winners like he did en route to his maiden Grand Slam in 2003, Andy has now officially become a pusher.

And it’s not the first time (and likely not the last) I’ve said that!

Eighteen months ago I argued that Roddick had become David Ferrer in terms of his baseline aggression. Well, that’d be a complement these days because Ferrer can at least hit winners from the baseline. Roddick hardly can.

I understand that Andy is fitter, lighter, quicker, etc., than ever, but his game is built on the foundations power and aggression, not on getting more balls back in play than your opponent. And I think coach Larry Stefanki understand that, however my guess is it’s Roddick who thinks that taking less risk is the correct course here.

Against Soderling, Roddick finished with exactly ZERO forehand winners in the match. An absolutely shocking stat for someone with the power, experience and smarts of Roddick. Well, maybe he isn’t that smart or maybe he just likes to keep the ball in play and enjoy long rallies in his elder days, I don’t know.

But what I think is clear is that he’s just not going to beat the top players with this plan. Is Roddick really going to outrally Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Soderling, etc? Nine times out of 10, no! And recent the numbers bear it out.

In the last 12 months Roddick has a total of SIX wins over Top 20 players, and ZERO since that victory over Djokovic in Cincinnati (he’s now lost 7 straight to Top 20 players).

And if you can’t beat the guys ahead of you in the rankings, you are simply not going to pass them. And isn’t passing them and returning to the top the goal?


Also Check Out:
Cilic Crushes Nadal, Meets Djokovic for Beijing Title; Tsonga, Hewitt Reach Tokyo Final
Nadal Gets Murray Rematch in Wimbledon Semifinals; Djokovic v. Berdych
Scheduling Could Further Cramp Nadal’s US Open Hopes; Federer v. Tsonga Tonight
Djokovic Reaches SF, Federer v. Roddick Ahead in Shangai
Nadal, Roddick Murray in Same Half at Wimbledon

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148 Comments for Del Potro Wins! Stubborn Roddick Gets Pushed Around (Again)

Skeezerweezer Says:

@Sean

Yeah agree with your assessment of AR. As a long time fan of his, in summation; frustrating. What is this guy with a giant serve doing? Never got his game plan. Ever. The only time he made sense when was he was attacking, aggressive, in a do or die mode. Good guy, like the guy…ugh!


Australian Open Live Streaming Says:

I also agree. He has to be super aggressive or things just fall apart for him.


Truth squad Says:

I think that 2009 Wimbledon loss against Federer killed Roddick’s belief that he could win another major, which I think is his only real motivation at this stage of his career. It now appears (sadly) that he is content to just show up, smack some balls around, cash his checks, keep his endorsements and ranking up and run the clock out. Even his outbursts seem somewhat tired and perfunctory.


MMT Says:

Truth Squad: I think you’re way off on Roddick’s motivation – I’m sure he wants to win another slam, and the ’09 Wimbledon final will only help that (if it has any impact at all – I mean it was 18 months ago, after all).

Remember he’s coming of a recovery from mono, and he’s reached the final of the first tournament he’s played and lost to a player ranked higher than him, so I think he’s headed in the right direction. I agree that he would do well to attack more than he did, but you must also consider that he is a player who has to force himself to go for more (not uncommon or the necessarily a bad thing – Federer and Nadal are also naturally more conservative), and under the wet conditions in the final, I think he did the right thing in not risking Melbourne for Sydney.

I would also cut him some slack on haranguing the umpire – he was (as usual) over the line, but he had a good point with the conditions. Apparently the umpire wanted to wait until he saw someone slipping before he suspended play, and I think that’s a mistake. If it’s wet in a hard court final, with no risk of backing up the schedule, and the players aren’t comfortable, what’s the point in carrying on?


contador Says:

watched the youtube highlights of delpo’s win. f-lo was tough for him to beat but delpo hung in a fought like he used to….didn’t give up! i cried a little…. and….yay delpo! it’s a long road back but your fans love you!!

saw the roddick soderling match on youtube too – impossible to find a livestream. wow. i simply thought soda had the pop and the confidence. i like both players but robin has the ice in the veins…i like this confident soderling going into AO.


thark Says:

i had full audio of the dialogue between roddick and the umpire on my stream. the entire time that roddick was throwing his fit and abusing the ump, play was STOPPED. the ump was not asking them to play, he was waiting to see what happened with the conditions and how quickly the rain would stop. roddick’s fits were not appropriate because no one was asking him to play – he was just childishly lashing out the way he always does when someone is beating him fair and square.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Fantastic news about DelPo. Don’t want to be too optimistic, but a DelPo resurgence would be the best thing that could happen to the sport.
Sean, you are right on about Roddick, but he’s been officially a pusher for a LONG time. His game planning is just pathetic, and really unbelievable given that he beat Nadal last year only by playing aggressive, and given that the period he had the most success in his career was when he was aggressive. 0 forehand winners? Ouch! Wake up A-Rod! Well, its hard to cheer for him when he’s become so boring to watch and such a major douchebag on court (although his off-court persona is far more likeable than when he first came on tour).


thark Says:

btw – really impressed with delpo’s attitude and acceptance of the consistent work he will have to do to get back in the mix :) great to have him playing again!


Fumus Says:

Roddick is the weird Al of the top 10. Just when you forget about the guy…he has some big results.

You’ll see…


dunbar Says:

“Federer and Nadal are also naturally more conservative” – Nadal was. He understood he had to change, did, and now is naturally aggressive I would have thought. What’s “natural” is not necessarily wired into the genes so to speak. It can change, although that cannot be a simple matter – you only have to look at the 2 Andies.

I think calling Federer naturally conservative will raise a few eyebrows, too. He’s never been reckless, of course, at least not since I first watched him (roundabout when he played Sampras), but you could hardly call him defensive, if that is what is meant by “conservative”. Stubborn, yes, that’s another matter, especially on the matter of his bh slice. Of course, there is a sense in which everyone is conservative, the sense in which people want to stick with what they know. Federer has shown especially of late that he is quite prepared to adapt in his attempt to achieve his remaining ambitions.


dunbar Says:

It is very noticeable that Federer served far fewer aces than usual in Doha, including the final. And yet his serve seems to be more effective than ever – so much for aces, one might say and, bearing in mind Nadal’s very tricky serve, that might not be so daft. At any rate, in the final, Davydenko did not once reach deuce.

It seemed to me that Federer was employing the wide serve far more often than he used to and, since I had the game on tape, I decided to find out what the proportions were. One has to assume that a lot of Fed’s adaptations are made with Nadal in mind – and no disrespect to the rest of the field, but that’s just reality. So I am assuming he is particularly interested in perfecting the serve out wide to the lefty. In assessing how many serves there were, I ignore faults.And I make no distinction between types of wide serve (for instance, short and angled, deep, slow kicker).

So, there were 10 service games for Federer and 52 serves. 28 of these were down the middle (55%), 14 out wide to the lefty bh (Davydenko’s forehand of course) – 27% and 9 to the lefty fh (18%). So, overall, 45% out wide overall. I don’t actually know, but I’d be pretty surprised if this wasn’t a big increase on the normal percentage out wide. Bear in mind, too, that the Doha final was an important match, so Federer had to mix it. In the 4th service game, for example, there were no serves out wide, in the 6th only one, and that to the lefty fh.

It is curious that just as Nadal is learning to serve fast, Federer is taking the edge of his speed in the interests of accuracy. Bearing in mind the previous discussion, is this conservative or innovative? Context is all, and I’d say in this context, innovative.


dari Says:

What will come of the young guns in the top ten (Murray and Djokovic) staying away from heavy competition as far as warm-ups go? They opted for hopman cup, and for various reasons neither made it to the final.
meanwhile, the old balls federer and nadal take on good competition in doha, roddick soderling hang tough in brisbane, berdych in chennai. don’t know where youzhny is (exhibition?)and ferrer is in auckland this week.
I hope murray and djokovic don’t regret not playing tough tournaments leading up.
draw this thursday/friday depending on where you are in the world!


M Says:

Polito sounds ready and strong.
Looking forward to having him back.


jane Says:

dari, last year Murray played Hopman and made it to the final in the AO; and in 2008 Djoko played Hopman and won the AO. So I don’t think they have to worry, but only time will tell. p.s. Djoko and Murray both won all their matches at the Hopman. Djoko made it to the finals but Ana pulled out, and Murray was held back by Laura Robson, who is now also injured and is out of the AO. So the reasons for not having won or not having played the final are quite clear and really don’t rest on either guy’s shoulders.


Kimmi Says:

congrats to delpo. the match was too long, i could not stay up for it. very glad he was able to fight back and win.

It will be a long road back. good thing is, his fighting spirit is still there. this is what will help him get back to the top.

Next he plays the tricky mayer. Good luck to him.


jane Says:

Also, I believe Murray is playing the Kooyong Classic.


Kimmi Says:

players like to repeat what has been successful for them. federer and rafa had a lot of success doing the adu dhabi/doha combo. federer used to play kooyong before that.

i guess if it ain’t broken dont fix it. the only negative thing for muzza is, there is only 25 ranking points difference btn him and soderling. if he could have played a real tournamnet, he could have gained enough points to be seeded 4th at the AO.


jane Says:

True about the ranking points Kimmi; that’s the one drawback from Murray’s perspective. However, he must’ve been fully aware of this when he planned his schedule, and if not, he probably could’ve juggled things to get a spot in a tournament for points. I guess he is not overly concerned?


jane Says:

BTW, does anyone know if the flooding down in Oz may affect the AO? I hear it’s quite horrible what’s going on in some areas. :( Best thoughts are with them.


dari Says:

yes, the reasons they didn’t make it to final were beyond them, that’s why i just left it up to “various”!
this year feels different though, another year for murray without a major, and djokovic hasn’t gotten his second in a couple years. i just wonder if this will be the year where they look back on this less-than-stiff competition before the first major and shake their heads. just thinking is all. if very bad things happen, they may look at this and change things. if very good things happen, they will stay just the way they are!
they are practicing with each other, and that’s good stiff competition for sure.


Kimmi Says:

hi jane – one day i was listening to goodall & koenig on tennistv commenting on a match (I cant remember exactly which one). they said, players dont like it when they go down the ranking, barring injury, this reflect their poor perfomance in a season.

Who would want to play federer or rafa too early in the tournament? davydenko was commenting about how bad it is that he now will meet top players in round 16.

I think he does care. its just that playing hopman cup gave him lots of success last year, it is normal for him to want to do it again.


jane Says:

I’ve tried to post a link twice and my posts are disappearing. Anyhow Kimmi, if you google Murray, you’ll find recent news articles in which he claims to be not too concerned about #5 seeding. Who knows? Maybe he’s being truthful or maybe just make the best of a not-great situation?

dari, I agree: it’s good that they are practicing together; that way numbers 3 and 4 (now 5) can get in some good hitting. Only time will tell if they made the right decision, although their draws might have more of an impact than where they warmed up! : o


Kimmi Says:

i am watching bellucci/russel in auckland. love bellicci’s game. the FH is almost nadal like.

sydney still not on streaming? great WTA matches today. Wozniacki, clijsters….

JJ lost to rezai. still struggling!


Kimmi Says:

jane – OK, i will google murray. just a little worried about him. i hope he is able to do well at the AO!


Kimmi Says:

Good to hear murray is playing kooyong too. :)


Kimmi Says:

aaagh, bellucci serve for the match, gets broken. loses the second set. gets broken early in the third. DISASTER! great comeback russel!


jane Says:

I think Murray is playing only one exo match at Kooyong. But one match is one match. :)

I see Bartoli just pummeled Safina, speaking of still struggling…: /


jane Says:

It seems like there have been lots of upsets and mini-upsets with the ladies in Sydney so far.


Kimmi Says:

Yeah, lots of upsets. schiavoni gone too. This is the most open GS, same as the USO last year.

wazniacki got pummeled by zvonareva 6-1 6-0 in some exho match. I find that score hard to believe. Did she do too much partying during the holidays?


Kimmi Says:

bellucci fight back..a seesaw match


Kimmi Says:

ha ha bellucci wins. poor russel, he was almost there!


Skeezerweezer Says:

dunbar,

Interesting take on Fed’s serving. I was wondering the same thing about serving out wide. I did notice without counting that when he does serve out wide now it is for sure “wider”, can I say that?

Anyways. re; Rafa, where DID that big serve go to he had at USO. Anyone? Or did the shoulder injury make him go back to the usual…..


jane Says:

Wow Bellucci won? He was down 0-3 in the third when I left work, lol.


dunbar Says:

Not sure if I’m not having a little chat with myself, but that’s o.k., helps clarify the thoughts. MMT’s got me thinking with this “conservative” thing, how topsy-turvy it all is.
This, from Steve Tignor:” We know from his playing style and his work with the later Sampras that Annacone is a pragmatist of the first order—he’s good at finding exactly what works and not trying to do a whole lot more. That seems to be suiting Federer’s game just fine. His shot-making is such that you can rein him in a little without turning him into a too-safe grind, without costing him his natural gunslinging advantage.”

I had been sceptical of this idea of Annacone having a radical effect on Federer. Logically, how can a coach teach someone who obviously knows far more about tennis, the nitty-gritty of it, than he does himself?

Yet it is becoming increasingly evident that Fed’s game has changed, and pragmatism does indeed seem to be the philosophy underlying this change. I suggested above that the serve has been adapted quite radically – though I would love to hear someone who really knows what they are talking about to elaborate. Two or three other things in particular I’ve seen, in common with others of course. He’s tending not to go for the lines with his fh – he’s still giving the ball an almighty smack, but with the view, it seems, of gaining position. With players as good as Davydenko, this entails some quite long rallies, but Federer must be relying on his ability to just make the ball sufficiently awkward, maybe on the 2nd or 3rd shot to elicit not an error exactly but a ball which it is relatively safe to pound for a winner.

This is easier to do with the emergence of this very varied bh we are now seeing. He drives the ball both cross court and down the line with power and placement. That long, crosscourt drive seems to me sometimes a bit like a scoop – which is odd; it’s almost like he’s placing the ball with an immensely long arm, neatly in the corner of the court. Very satisfying to watch.

The willingness to go to the net is not quite so convincing, although the stats looked good in Doha. Not sure whether he’ll do that in AO semis or final – except to keep the opponent guessing. The big query must, as always, be: will this revitalised bh withstand the severe questioning it will get from Nadal? Will it still be functioning by the 5th set?

So – perhaps we could temporise, and label Federer’s late adaptations as radically conservative. For the conservatism of the two Andies seems to be a mixture of complacency and rigidity. Federer’s is carefully thought out, and designed for a specific purpose – in this sense, it is radical.


Kimberly Says:

Wow! The wta is as inconsistent as ever!


Kimmi Says:

i found sydney streaming at last. for those interested with WTA

wozniacki vs cibulkova

http://www.tennisform.com/default.asp?action=LIVEStream


Skeezerweezer Says:

dunbar

I”m talkin to U. no…no…u! :)

“…..without turning him into a too-safe grind,”..exactly the mode Fed got himself into, either stubbornly or unknowingly. Sitting back at the baseline is comfortable, and less margin for error, so a lot of players are content there. Being attacking, aggressive, takes initiative, confidence, and can create winners, or more errors. It’s a fine line. Waiting at the baseline is a easier strategy. Play defense until your opponent gives you a short ball then play offense.

The one thing I have noticed is that Fed is hitting through the ball on the return more,(especially the BH) and not just a chip return almost all the time, which has got him into more of an aggressive start on the return game. Along with the new serve variation, and improved variation in the transition game, shows everyone he is working hard at changes. Let’s face it, Fed is more capable than anyone in creative shotmaking, why can’t he improve? Me likes it.

Re: Serve…..many ways to help initiate an out wide serve. First and foremost, a higher than usual toss, change of grip, ball toss further in front, shoulder rotation quicker through the ball, etc. etc.. many ways of which it is possible and I am not privy to what Fed did.

I too am interested to see if Fed’s aggressiveness can be consistently successful over 3-5 sets….


dunbar Says:

Skeezer, I too wondered about Rafa’s new big serve. 2 points: 1) NELTA (I think it was him) said everyone’s serve was about 5% faster at the US – which seems surprising, but there it is. 2) Maybe Rafa is saving it for the slams. As you say, shoulder injury, which perhaps was caused by new serve. In which case, got to be used sparingly. Also, of course, it then has something of the element of surprise.
Bedtime.


dunbar Says:

“The one thing I have noticed is that Fed is hitting through the ball on the return more,(especially the BH) and not just a chip return almost all the time, which has got him into more of an aggressive start on the return game” – Skeezer. Exactly! So actually, you have a more aggressive bh (on slice too – that was always there, but he used be becalmed sometimes on the defensive slice),which seems to complement the more cautious forehand. Really good mix!
Definitely bed time….


Kimberly Says:

I see cibulkova up a break. Kimmi, can u steam on an iPad? I willntry it. Watching auburn at the moment!


Kimberly Says:

Wozniaki loses first set v cibulkova. Na li up a set againt razzano.


jane Says:

What’s up with the Woz?


Kimmi Says:

i dont have ipad, so i dont know. wozniacki is coming back in the second set. she is up a break now


jane Says:

One possible worry for Roger in the season and/or at longer events is his back; if it starts to bug him it could throw his serving off. But since he seems fit and ready, it shouldn’t be an issue.


jane Says:

Kimberly i can’t get streaming or live scores from the atp site on this thingy. My husband says there is no “flash” ap for ipads. Anyhow, i found other places to get scores, but i have to go sit at desktop for streaming. Dang it.


Kimmi Says:

cibulkova breaks back


Daniel Says:

dunbar,

Another thing of great interest in Fed’s game, is his return, specially backhand returns. He is way more dangerous and not playing a bunch of slice returns as he used to. To me this is one of the most improvements he made, making him breaking serve a lot more than 8-10 months ago.

I will check the ATP site to see if his return improved in the rankings of serve and return stats as jane posted a while back.


Daniel Says:

Sorry Skeeze, just finished reading all the posts and saw you said my thoughts exactly first! Now I sound reduntant.


Kimmi Says:

nalbandian vs fognini in auckland should be a good match.

wozniacki in trouble now..can she fight it out?


Kimberly Says:

Ohnwell, cant get stream. Watching auburn game anyway.

So watching football and checking livescores. I see steapneck won the first set then got bageled. And na li got breadstick in second. 3 all in woz cibulkova. Maybe woz is rusty. And cibulkova is scrappy.


jane Says:

Daniel i posted an article about a week or two ago, and it was all about Fed’s new coach, and how one of the things he had Roger work on right away was cutting down on the chip or slice returns because opponents were onto it and it wasnt allowing him to jump on a point more agressively, so what you say makes sense with what Roger’s coach said.


Kimmi Says:

cibulkova serving for the match, i bet she will be broken here..she is nervous, starts with double fault


Kimmi Says:

ah am i wrong or waht. she has 2 match points


Skeezerweezer Says:

Daniel,

No prob it’s all good. Yeah credit to jane for putting up that link about Fed/Annacone. That was a great insight as to how/what they are doin….


Kimmi Says:

big upset. world # 1 is out of sydney, beaten by world # 31. cibulkova 6-3 6-3.

somehow wozniacki has confidence issues now. she lost bunch of matches this year already. i dont think she won any match actually.

she lost to clijsters, zvonareva and now cibulkova. ouch!!


Skeezerweezer Says:

jane re: ipad….you have Dish Network for your TV? If so you can stream live TV to your ipad…. Otherwise you can remote into your PC from your Ipda and watch streaming…..but yeah…no flash for ipad


Skeezerweezer Says:

word puzzle……Ipda = Ipad


Kimberly Says:

Kimmi the way in see it, the austrailian open is kims to lose. Yes, its wide open in some ways but really I see a repeat of USO as totally likely. Maybe Justine can do something?


jane Says:

Skeeze at 10:29 thanks. I remote eyeTV into my ipad so would streaming work the same way, so long as it is working on the desktop? Cheers, and no one need take credit re the return thing. The article just came to mind when i read daniels post, hadnt even seen yours which was 100% on the money.


Kimmi Says:

I hope kim or justine wins..they are my fave players.

nalbandian fighting it out with fognini. tie break first set

stepanek lost to chela

de bakker down a set against philip petz


jane Says:

Saw that with Nalby. I wonder if Stosur has a chance to take her home slam?


Skeezerweezer Says:

jane re: eyetv

If you have that app for that on your Ipad and the Eyetv h/w you should be good to go for Seeing anything that your TV can display. For seeing stuff streaming on a PC….get the “Itap RDP” app, 12 bucks I think, then you can remote in to your PC (I am assuming it is NOT a Mac), take control and watch streaming stuff from the Ipad :). You’ll have to configure your PC to accept remote connections and know the IP address of the PC. Hope that makes sense…..


NELTA Says:

Fed has taken some pace off the 1st serve and increased his %. The obvious benefit is more 1st serves means more unreturned or weak returned balls that he can capitalize on. The downside is a few less aces.

The other important factor is by increasing his % he has smoothed out the volatility(low standard deviation) of his 1st serve % from game to game. When Fed is going for aces with max speed he will have games where he gets on a roll and serves 75%, but he will also have games where he misses 4 1st serves in a row and ends up with 25% of 1st serves in. Those are the games he is most susceptible to losing against the likes of Nadal, Djoko and Murray.

Right now opponents are getting very few break points against Fed because his 1st serve is less likely to be streaky when he takes off a little pace. He is getting in 3 or more 1st serves almost every game it seems.

Fed serves with a lot of precision so even if he takes off a little pace there will be days where his 1st serve isn’t clicking at 65%, but closer to 50%. Serving at 50% isn’t too bad though if the standard deviation is low meaning almost every game you are getting close to 50% of your 1st serves in. You don’t want those games where you can’t buy a 1st serve.


Kimmi Says:

Kim won her match, she was flawless in set 1 but in set 2..oh boy, she went walk about..double faults, errors..she brought the other girl back in the match. thanks got she was able to concentrate again..

good luck in her next match


DC Says:

I feel Fed has found the motivation to win now that his records & the claim to be the greatest are under threat.Never in his career has Fed had more to loose than now.

If Fed had 20 slams and Nadal 6, i don’t think Fed would be playing at this level.

AO 11 is going to be a key tournament in Feds life and the history of tennis. If Nadal wins- Fed’s status as the greatest is under serious threat and so is his GS tally.

However, I’m seriously impressed by the way Fed is playing right now and wouldn’t be surprised if Fed runs away with at least 2 slams & the #1 ranking this year.

May he remain in good health & spirits throughout this crucial year of his career.


van orten Says:

nadal or fed can get delpo, davydenko, murray and djoker/ the sod in their half of the draw!

this kind of draw would def. hurt nadal more than federer. i hope for no cake walk for both ! i want a nice balanced draw but it would be awesome to see delpo vs rafa early in the tournament


van orten Says:

is it sure by the way that delpo gets a wild card for melbourne ???


dunbar Says:

Daniel

one shot lingers in my mind. Federer returned a Nadal serve on his bh hard to the base line – surely this point was going his way, you felt. The ball came back even harder for a clean winner. So there’s no panacea here. But in general, Federer’s returns are certainly looking better. He’s not going to give up on the sliced returns, though. Leaving aside the beautiful low slice drawing the opponent in – a very aggressive weapon – the sliced floater actually works very well against some players, Roddick, for instance.

But he’ll use it sometimes against Nadal or Murray, too – partly to keep them guessing, but sometimes it works in the sense of getting the rally going with him in position. Maybe not good position, but not bad either, and he then trusts to his ability to get on top in the rally. As to why this should be so, and the soft slice is not routinely smashed away, I have no idea – but it is so. Actually, with Murray, you never know what to expect, seems to depend on his mood – but even with Nadal.

One possibility: these slow slices vary in intent and nature of spin and also perhaps placement, but only very good players can spot the difference. Another: if the slice return is no longer routine, the returner may not be quick enough, mentally, to adjust, at least not always. A third: players are not robots, and they can surprise even themselves….Don’t you sometimes wonder why Nadal makes an innocuous return of an equally innocuous shot of his opponent’s…..


MMT Says:

Sam Stosur is, in my opinion, the most athletic player on the WTA right now – her movement is beautiful to watch (nobody runs around the backhand as easily as she does) and her forehand is oustanding, which she can hit from a lot of different positions. Her serve is one of the best in the business.

There is one area where I think she can improve that would help her get over the edge – I think she would do well to find opporunities to come forward and utilize her net game a little better than she does.

To do this, she would need to flatten out her forehand from time to time – sometimes the extra spin gives her opponents time to set up the pass and reduces the affectiveness of her approach shots.

To flatten out her forehand, she would have to stay closer to the baseline, which would help her get to net more quickly, and reduce her unforced errors from the back court. They tend to pile up when she gets nervous and plays someone who retrieves well.

I don’t know if she has made those adjustments, or if I’m just grasping at straws, but with her athleticism and technique, I can’t understand why she hasn’t been more successful at the grand slam level. I know the knock on her is her mentality, but I think that’s BS – there is always a technical solution to these so-called “mental” issues.


JJ Says:

He’s back!!!


Kimberly Says:

the guy on crunchsports is giving handicaping as follows:
Roger Federer: 25%
Rafael Nadal: 20%
Andy Murray: 17.5%
Novak Djokovic: 10%
Robin Soderling: 10%
Juan Martin Del Potro: 10%
Andy Roddick: 5%
The Field: 2.5%

I think he is vastly underplaying Feds chances, slightly underplaying Rafa and vastly overplaying Murray and Del Potro.

Unfortunately here’s my breakdown
Fed 50%
Rafa 30%
Djoko 10%
Murray 5%
Roddick 5%
the field 10%


Kimberly Says:

wait erase my field 10% i think i ended up with 110%!


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Kimberly- nice hobby, this. I agree that the handicapper is insane to have Murray so close to Nadal!
I would say more like:
Rog: 35%
Rafa: 35%
Murray: 10%
Nole: 10%
Field: 10% (most likely: Sod or Tsonga)


margot Says:

skeezer and jane u American technobabblers u, what r u like? And here am I perfectly happy with my little wind-up PC……
jane, kimmi: don’t think it matters for Andy what his seeding is, or whether he’s got loads of tournament practise or not. What matters is that he gets a good first week and doesn’t get any of those dangerous floaters like Haase or Fish who can play outa their sculls for one match. Andy needs time to play himself in. I feel that’s the most important thing eg Beefy Boy scuppering him at USOpen. Haven’t heard much of Fish lately tho?
jane: don’t include Nole in this. I think he’s playing exceptionally well and also brimming with confidence at mo. I really like his chances.
kimmi: Heather Watson is now 149 and youngest player on the list! Hooray!


madmax Says:

DC Says:
I feel Fed has found the motivation to win now that his records & the claim to be the greatest are under threat.Never in his career has Fed had more to loose than now.

If Fed had 20 slams and Nadal 6, i don’t think Fed would be playing at this level.

AO 11 is going to be a key tournament in Feds life and the history of tennis. If Nadal wins- Fed’s status as the greatest is under serious threat and so is his GS tally.

DC, personally, I do not think that Fed has to worry about the claim that he is the greatest nor rafa for that matter. They will always be compared but they are such different players in their own right. They are both great. Both will go down in history – already have. It is and always be a matter of opinion depending on whether you support one or the other.

It is all about the slams in terms of who can claim to be the best, as it was with Sampras before Federer overtook him. But Federer is so much more than 16 slams to all his fans. For me, there is no one out there who plays like him.

Recently, I have been watching the way that the fed has worked on his serve. He has REALLY worked on his serve. Players simply do not know where the ball is going to be placed. It’s a guessing game. You could argue that this has always been the case. But I would argue not. Why?

Because his serving tactics of kick serve to the left court and swinging round wide to the right court have just improved his game so much more against left handers (and right handers to be honest).

Secondly, a lot of people keep going on about Federer and how he “crumbles” against nadal. Well, I disagree. I think that federer’s record against left handers is actually, very , very good.

Remember that he has played a lot of left-handed players last year, Llodra, Melzer (who almost broke into the top ten – I think he was ranked 11 towards the end of last year?

Fed has a 73:24 record against left handers with 14 losses to Rafa, but then look at the other players who have losses against rafa.

Whatever is said about Federer’s game, the one thing that is for sure is that he is working hard in order to improve. What other 29 year old on the men’s tour can say the same, who else is as hungry (it seems to be the younger players who are “hungry”, but federer just keeps on going and I think that is just incredible.

I am so happy that he is prepared to keep practising, because what else has he got to prove?

Each time he reaches a goal, people move the goal posts – for him – the last one was Fed had to beat Rafa in a final – he did that in some style at the WTF – he was incredible.

Fed will always be the great tennis player to his fans, because the ways he plays is just unique.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

For the Canuckleheads out there, I see 4 Cdn men in the qualifying draw. 2 of them, Dancevic and Milos whatsisname have a pretty good shot at making the main draw, Peter Polansky maybe an outside chance.
Didn’t check the Canadian women, sorry. Nestor is GS debuting with the Beast- that is a LOT of combined wingspan, like a Querryy/Isner team. Almost.


madmax Says:

Regarding the rankings “race” for 1,2, or 3, here is something to make your mouth water!

Implications for fed, murray, novak and soderling.

http://www.crunchsports.com/category/Tennis/Roger-Federers-Ranking-Implications–Australian-Open-2011-preview-201101100024/


dunbar Says:

A SUBALTERN’S LOVE SONG

Miss J Hunter Dunn, Miss J Hunter Dunn,
Furnish’d and burnish’d by Aldershot sun,
What strenuous singles we played after tea,
We in the tournament – you against me!

Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,
The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,
With carefullest carelessness, gaily you won,
I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn.

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn, Miss Joan Hunter Dunn,
How mad I am, sad I am, glad that you won,
The warm-handled racket is back in its press,
But my shock-headed victor, she loves me no less.

and so on….who was John Betjeman wistfully dreaming he was playing tennis with? Why, who but Sam Stosur! Time got mixed, the way it does, and dear old John was given a glimpse into the future, and saw – Sam Stosur!


dunbar Says:

madmax:”He has REALLY worked on his serve. Players simply do not know where the ball is going to be placed. It’s a guessing game. You could argue that this has always been the case. But I would argue not. Why?”

madmax, my understanding is that it has always been impossible to read Fed’s serve from his toss up. You have to be able to interpret the motion of his wrist, and noone can do that. And no give away signs – like Becker sticking his tongue out one way!

that said, Fed is indeed doing deeply interesting things with his serve – and with a lot of the rest of his game. I agree with you that the way he finds continued motivation at this stage of his career is remarkable. It’s the way he is, I’m not sure I’d praise him for it, which doesn’t stop me being awed by it.

He undoubtedly has Nadal to thank for pushing him like this. He is responding to a threat, after all. It’s fascinating to observe. Most people would just give up and rest on the old laurels. Not Federer. It’s a risk he’s taking, too. Because if he fails, then Nadal is seen as the better man. Whereas if he didn’t bother, you could see him as the best of his genration, Nadal the best of his. So the stakes are high, no doubt about that.


Kimberly Says:

tennis vagabond—-yes it is a fun hobby!


dari Says:

FUNNY! “hit me up with the dates when you write back.” ?!?! Too good.


madmax Says:

Dunbar says:

“He undoubtedly has Nadal to thank for pushing him like this. He is responding to a threat, after all. It’s fascinating to observe.”

I absolutely agree dunbar. Equally, I think Rafa reciprocates the fact that Federer pushes him too. Rarely is this acknowledged by some, they bring out the best from each other.

yes indeed, the AO is going to be fascinating – once again – I cannot believe it was a year ago that murray was in the final.

I wish the british press though would leave Andy alone. They alone add unnecessary pressure. Margot will vouch for that.

It will be interesting to see how the wildcards are placed. I understand that Bernard Tomic received a wild card today, though I had read for some reason he was going to banned – though not sure what for.


jane Says:

Canuckleheads? Erm, should I be offended? :) I hope we have one or two in the main draw; it’d be a nice change to cheer for a tennis player down under from up here.

margot, am shocked: I’m not “American,” sheesh. Maybe I technobabble, occasionally, but otherwise am very much a part of the commonwealth of Canuckleheads to which TV refers.

As for Nole’s chances, I think they are good, but I think he needs to play his way into a slam as well; he almost went out to Troicki at the USO, don’t forget. So he needs to get a fairly decent draw and/or be careful! I do think he looked good during the Davis Cup, but I didn’t see the Hopman matches, only scores and write ups, so it’s hard to know much. Waiting game for now… can’t wait though. Even though it’ll probably be a repeat of the Roger and/or Rafa show, I am hoping, none the less, for a surprise (or two). BTW, did you see the article at Bleacher Report on Murray and Nole? Very enjoyable read for the likes of us, I should think.


contador Says:

liked it skeezerweezer, thanks for the BR link. nadal wouldn’t cut a deal. the writer got that right. he’s going for the calendar slam!

so, i’m in rancho mirage, ca. for the past week. but not with anyone interested in tennis. no tennis channel where i’m staying like i imagined. these are all golfers and football fans…unhappy oregon duck fans to be specific…all here watching the duck / auburn game last night. auburn won. that “up the middle” play lost them the game, imo. yeah i can do football speak…just don’t like to, nor like watching it, really.

however, talked someone into driving me to indian wells ( not even 20 minutes from here ) and walked around. i sat on some steps at a practice court and realized my lucky butt was sort of on hallowed ground. yes, a true tennis devotee feels the presence of gods on the spot. it was inspiring and have determined to somehow get to indian wells when the gods are there. i even wondered if maybe my mind would change an opinion if i watched nadal live? who knows.

indian wells 884 miles from my home. the closest atp 1000 tournament….actually the closest of any tournament.

only saw highlights of doha final. federer really is playing better than i expected at 29 and i appreciate the descriptions from NELTA, dunbar, madmax and others above.

looks like davy’s form is back too ….wow.

it is truly frustrating that the streaming sucks from sydney and aukland. but i’ll be back in idaho tomorrow where the streams are easier to get, for unkown reasons….this is really a tennis junkie paradise….if one actually plays the game more than watches. no snow on the courts.

gulbis, dolgo, simon, and delpo are all playing this evening (soon) / tomorrow a.m. in sydney. hoping for more than the livescore to stare at. and dimitrov is in the AO qualies…yay!!

Kimberly, i have absolutely lost all confidence at picking but can’t wait for the AO bracket challenge anyway. : )

the “canucklhead” is milos raonic. go milos! and looking for berankis…don’t see him in qualifiers but he might have gotten into the main draw.

excited for AO!!


chrisJ Says:

For Jane because she didn’t see Nole play yet. These are highlights from his match against Hewitt in Hopman Cup…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUaed02g5lw


contador Says:

anyone have a working livestream on sydney? i thought matches started in a couple hours! i see they are already on….

simon already won his match, dolgo is abt to beat tomic…has match point, and ernie is losing badly to andreev.


skeezerweezer Says:

contador,

Stream doesn’t start there for awhile me thinks..

http://www.fromsport.com/c-4.html

Thanks for sharing the ur travels…..

Have trip already planned for IW in March :)Yahoo!…..

Canuckleheads = Canada……me-U.S = Knuckleheads?


contador Says:

fromsport chat is feeding me info as i watch the livescore. a latvian is giving me hope that gulbis will win the 2nd set…lol…

i hate skeezer btw!! j/k ; ) referring to u in indian wells ..watching gods and goddesses in march. it is beautiful here by the pool.


Kimmi Says:

Hello junkies. what is up today?

Contador – IW!! Wow! I agree with ya, better go there when the “gods” are playing.

Going thru the live score..gulbis, not a good start. Troicki is back, pummeling chela a.t.m

tennistv has a great streaming from auckland. Sydney are showing only women tennis at the moment, why? i wonder.

some great matches in auckland. almagro beats hanescu..that was expected i guess. But, who is this tobias kamke? he is giving ferrer the run for his money. Go the underdogs!!

I am waiting for delpo vs mayer. GO DELPO! I want him to win another match.


Eric Says:

How can you give Delpo 10% chance of winning the AO when we barely know whether he can still hold a racquet? He did well to beat F-Lo, but it wasn’t exactly in the most convincing fashion for someone aspiring to reenter the top 10 or win a slam. It’s simply far too early to tell when he will be a real contender again. His chance might be significantly better than 10% (Exhibit A: Clijsters), or again almost 0% (more likely perhaps…).


contador Says:

hi Kimmi….waiting for delpo / mayer too but this cable company here in the palm springs area ( time-werner?) is far worse than mine for getting a livestream….tennis channel is available but as i said, my friends are golfers…so i have been golfing ( if i can call my golf game golfing..hahha)

apparently gulbis can’t break andreev’s lousy serve, is what i’m being told on the “chat”….uhgg

it’s martini hour…oh no. can’t believe california sells hard alcohol in the grocery stores…..hahahaa….this is not idaho or oregon!

i have kinda a stream (fromsport) on aukland. stream is terrible.


Eric Says:

Verdasco and Monfils are giving a pretty entertaining (and, unsurprisingly, error-strewn) show at Kooyang, although the officiating is horrendous. Rather terrible linesmen, and no review — they don’t even have a vibration detection device to call lets, someone is sitting there with their finger along the top as if it were still 1980…


Kimmi Says:

gulbis with the second set. your chat stream buddies are right. he took the second set. Go gulbis.

ferrer decided to really play in this second set. tobias still fighting, it seems like he is taken to duece in all his service games but he wins the eventually.

tobias serving to take the match to second set tie breaker..that is his only chance in this set. fight!

no..it is set point to ferrer. can ferrer take this. second serve. noooo, tobias came up with big FH. the fight continues.


Kimmi Says:

2nd set point came and went for ferrer. tobias still fighting. seem like a 10th duece in this game. adv tobias, he holds eventually. now the tie break! ferrer will kill himself if he loses the match here!

tie breaker.

2-0 ferrer


Kimmi Says:

one side tie breaker. ferrer! he has the match now i think


Kimmi Says:

eric – verdasco vs monfils. let me see how they are doing.


contador Says:

wow Kimmi- gulbis just broke andreev but now he has to hold and not choke….plenty of time for gulbis to lose this :/

delpo match after na li and kuzy match in sydney. i have no clue as i have no way of watching anything but livescore.

actually fromsport has a link for melbourne qualifying that’s working


dari Says:

no sydney live stream, speak up if you’ve found something i haven’t!


contador Says:

no, dari. no sydney livestream : (


Kimmi Says:

GULBIS! GO GO GO!


blank Says:

Australian Open qualifying is live on their website if anyone is interested, I am not.

http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/video/live.html


dari Says:

sydney atp that is


contador Says:

he’s serving for match (gulbis) maybe…..c’mon ernie!!


Kimmi Says:

great streaming blank. They should give us this when the real tourny starts!!


Kimmi Says:

hanescu match in doha is in my mind contador..go ernie..dont choke!


contador Says:

it’s just livescore….can’t “see” anything. and delpo v mayer is after kuzy match.

30-30 gulbis……please don’t choke


Kimmi Says:

match point


Andrew Miller Says:

Roddick was really sick for a lot of 2010. He reigns in that temper and unleashes it on the tennis ball rather than opponents or line judges or umps, and you have the makings of a semifinal or better at a slam this year.


dari Says:

actaully, i don’t even see sydney wta, i haven’t seen kuznetsova in a minute, wouldn’t mind to see her!


Kimmi Says:

congrats gulbis. great come back!


contador Says:

match gulbis!!!! yay. i mean really. he got a “bye” so it’s not like he’s tired already….geez


Eric Says:

Roddick is also old, boring, and has no good tennis weapons now that plenty of other big servers are crowding his space.


blank Says:

Kimmi,
They give this when the real tourney starts, but only for Tennistv subscribers like you :-)


Kimmi Says:

great match btn ferrer and kamke. ferrer win but kamke is a good player.


Nitrami Says:

Lets just say there wasn´t a whole lot of wiggle room for Roddick in the final against Soda, who has increased his own level of aggression even further and looks like a serious contender for the AO.


blank Says:

Kimmi,
If you have TSN, I think all matches are live! TV beats live streaming any day, but here, we hardly get anything on TV.
http://tsn.ca/tennis/on_tsn/?show=tennis&tz=0


Kimmi Says:

blank – last year they had certain countries that they did not show the stream. canada was one of them. we will see! I am sure TV should be good..but sometimes i have wanted to watch something different to what is on TV..


blank Says:

That’s good to know Kimmi. Hope it is free this year too…of all the GS I like the AO the best in terms of being able to watch all the matches live, as long as I can stay up late or wake up at odd hours.


skeezerweezer Says:

contador,

Congrats to you and “Wildthing”!

“..Can’t believe california sells hard alcohol in the grocery stores”.

Not a “hard” guy myself, but the Wine in Cali? “Bliss”. Wait, then there is that thar “Dirty Gray Martini” thingy? That’s not bad either, for a foo foo drink. Bring the Olives.

Sounds like u need to move out to Cali or at least stay awhile. Just don’t go consider going back to your home and stay through March :). That way we all can open a fine bottle of “Napa” stuff and watch IW Tennis. It’s what the Cali’s do :)


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Glad Dolgopolov handed it to the brat.


jane Says:

Why thank you chrisJ. Those highlights were encouraging insofar as Hewitt looked to be in fine form, other than the 2 double faults that gave away the final break. Set one Nole’s groundstrokes looked great, like days of yore, deep and clean winners. Some nice lobs, angles and even a couple volleys. Also his serve, Nole’s, looked better.

Congrats to Gulbis, and Dolgolov.


skeezerweezer Says:

@TV

Brat = Tomic?


dari Says:

wow, i just posted a message on australian open facebook asking if they were live streaming the draw. they answered yes within the hour!
way to go AO!


jane Says:

Oops missed some of Dolgopolov’s name… My bad.


Kimberly Says:

Contador, I was pulling for auburn last night. I always want sec or acc to win. Sorry for all the ducks fan.

I created the group and posted the link a few days ago for both wta and atp. I will post many times once the draw is released so everyone keepntheir eyes open. You can preregister on thetennischannel.com. Go ton tournaments and click on racket bracket.

Glad gulbis got a win v. Andreev.


NachoF Says:

Just came here to say that the Who’s in the trunk section says tht apparently Federer can’t beat Nadal.. when he very recently beat him at the WTF Final!… seriously, that whole who’s in the trunk sh*t is of terrible taste.


Kimmi Says:

keep going nalbandian.

kutzy is kutzy. run out of steam after opponent takes the second set…another one who is going downhill FAST!


Kimmi Says:

aaaagh my bad, kutzy fighting back. maybe she heard me :)


skeezerweezer Says:

@kimberly

You you have a bracket challenge going for AO? Where? Post link please sorry if I missed it…..


dari Says:

kimmi- as they say, “it aint a break until you hold!”


Kimmi Says:

dari – yap! i guess kutzy missed that memo. congrats to Li Na


Kimmi Says:

way to go nalbandian. good luck next match!


Kimberly Says:

atp link

http://www.tourneytopia.com/RacquetBracketAussieOpenATP/tennisxfans/default.aspx

got O draw challenge. I believe draw will be out thursday. Tennis channel site not quite as user friendly as atp but i managed to figure it out sort of (with marital help) for the last few GS.


jane Says:

Oops Delpo dropped the first set to Mayer 2-6.


Eric Says:

and is about to drop the second one 5-7, by the looks of it…


Skeezerweezer Says:

Kimberly,
Tx!
Delpo?


jane Says:

Yep, Delpo is out; you were right to mention caution earlier Eric, w.r.t. Delpo’s comeback. Maybe the other Argentine would even be a scarier prospect to run into early at the AO?


jane Says:

Side note re: Roddick – he has does well at the AO in odd years, 05, 07, 09, …. So maybe it will be a good run for him in 11?


madmax Says:

roddick is not old! Why is it that people have this ‘age thing’! Its discrimination people!

Roddick has reinvented himself. Dont discount him. As Jane said, he has done well and beat rafa last year, was it Miami? And rafa wasn’t ill or tired? or was I dreaming? So he has the capability for an upset.


steve-o Says:

Federer is attempting to organize a charity exhibition match, the proceeds of which will go towards helping the victims of the Australian floods:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/9358758.stm


margot Says:

skeeze: g’di mite! how’s yer barbie? Naice and charcoaled iteside, raw inside? Just grite!
jane@5.45 : hmm “methinks you do protest too much.” Last time I looked Canada was part of North American land mass, has something happened while I wasn’t looking? ;) Yes, did see Bleacher, very interesting and about time our boys got a tiny weeny bit of kudos.
Can you guys get “Bet 365″? Possibly just us in Europe but it has loads of tennis, including some matches from Sydney. You have to register but you don’t have to bet.


Kimberly Says:

I see dimitriv won his first qualifying match. delpo lost @ sydney. My predictions for delpo at AO will depend on his draw.

I imagine he gets direct acceptance due to protected rankings yes. In a way it would it would be better for him to qualify, warm up against far inferior players before getting to the real matches. I guess fitness could become a factor but realistically he would not play the whole two weeks. His goal should be a quarter final appearance.


jane Says:

margot, okay I am on the north American land mass, I’ll give you that. ;) Love how Murray and Nole are practicing together and trying to spur each other on to a break througn, very cool:

http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/other-sports-news/djokovic-rooting-for-murray-in-slam-quest-1.1079357


skeezerweezer Says:

jane,

That was a nice read :)

margot,

so are you a euro aussie? ;-). you’ve got the accent nailed ;-D. like my shrimp cooked all the way through mate….call me chicken


Andrew Miller Says:

Roddick beat Nadal Miami 2010, semifinal. Roddick unleashed the forehand and served for the corners – a performance resembling Agassi’s ousting of Blake at the US Open 2005 QF. So: Roddick has the magic in the late stage of big tournaments. The question: can he make it out of the early rounds against so called “dark horses”. They’ve tripped him up – whether Roddick was sick (2010) or healthy (2009, 2008) – but Roddick reigns in that temper and puts it to use (unleashing it on the ball vs. the opponent or ump or linesperson), and you have a threat to go deep this year at slams.

I’m no Roddick apologist, but what other U.S. player has been deep at slams since 2005? One and one alone: Roddick.

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