Murray Moping; Oz Open Redux; ATP/WTA Previews; Tennis-X Notes
by Staff | January 30th, 2011, 1:07 pm
  • 101 Comments

Movistar Open
Santiago, Chile
Surface: clay

Seeds: David Nalbandian, Juan Monaco, Thomaz Bellucci, Juan Ignacio Chela, Potito Starace, Tommy Robredo, Fabio Fognini, Santiago Giraldo


Floaters: Carlos Berlocq, (WC) Nicolas Massu, Igor Andreev, Maximo Gonzalez

Notes: Four-time champ Fernando Gonzalez is missing with injury; draw looks like the Argentine Open, with seeds Nalbandian (vs. Barlocq) and Monaco (vs. M.Gonzalez) facing tricky all-ARG openers with practice partner countrymen; Bellucci beat Monaci in last year’s final; in addition to Gonzo winning the event four times, other notable past winners are French Open champ Gustavo Kuerten (2000) and French runners-up Guillermo Coria (2001) and Alberto Berasategui (1994).

SA Tennis Open
Johannesburg, South Africa
Surface: hard

Seeds: Feliciano Lopez, Yen-Hsun Lu, Janko Tipsarevic, Kevin Anderson, Florent Serra, Adrian Mannarino, Rainer Schuettler, Michal Przysiezny

Floaters: Frank Dancevic, Dustin Brown

Notes: Pretty shallow field, but F-Lo has a tough opener against Dancevic; (5) Serra starts against Jamaican sensation Dustin Brown; F-Lo won the title last year, beating Stephane Robert in the final; five seeds make their Johannesburg debut.

PBZ Zagreb Indoors
Zagreb, Croatia
Surface: indoor hard

Seeds: Marin Cilic, Ivan Ljubicic, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Richard Gasquet, Florian Mayer, Marcel Granollers, Philipp Petzschner, Michael Berrer

Floaters: Radek Stepanek, Arnaud Clement, Ivo Karlovic

Notes: A Croat has made the final all five years of the event; the top-seeded Cilic is the two-time defending champ; Cilic will team with Goran Ivanisevic in doubles; returning champs in the field are Cilic (2010-09) and Ljubicic (2006).

Fed Cup
Feb. 5-6, 2011

World Group I 

Italy at Australia

France at Russia

Czech Republic at Slovak Republic

U.S. at Belgium

World Group II

Spain at Estonia 

Germany at Slovenia   

Canada at Serbia

Ukraine at Sweden

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS

ANDY MURRAY FALLOUT
Andy Murray failed to end Britain’s 75 year Grand Slam title drought after being straight-setted in the Australian Open final by a red-hot Novak Djokovic, who also beat Roger Federer in straight sets in the semifinals. Murray now joins Goran Ivanisevic, Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl as players to lose their first three Slam final appearances. Not bad company. It remains to be seen how quickly Murray can mentally bounce back from failing to be competitive in the big moment: “I was in a much worse state last year than I was this year. I don’t know why. It’s better than it was last year. It was obviously tough, disappointing. I thought Novak played unbelievably well. And, yeah, it’s tough, but I’ve got to deal with it.”

BRYANS STOP SMACK-TALKING INDIAN EXPRESS
The re-forming of the “Indian Express,” the oft-fighting pairing of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, has been a topic since the two have come together to prepare for the 2012 Olympics. In their first Slam back together the Indians ran all the way to the final at the Australian Open before being stopped by the No. 1 Bryan brothers who played almost a perfect final. Paes, known for getting under the skin of opponents, shouting “Vamos!” at Spanish opponents and mimicking the Bryan’s chest bump when playing the brothers, could not make a dent in the twins’ arsenal as the Bryans won 6-3, 6-4. “It never gets old,” said Bob Bryan. “Especially to play those two guys, the ‘Indian Express,’ who we have tons of respect for. We were jacked up for this match. These two guys are legends. It was an extra special feeling out there on the court playing two guys that dominated the game 10 years ago.” The Aussie Open is the lone Slam title the Indian Express has yet to win. It was the fifth Aussie Open title for the Bryans, and third in a row. They are 43-3 in Melbourne over the past eight years. With 10 Slams, the 32-year-old Bryans moved to within just one Slam win of matching Open Era leaders Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde.  “Today we lost to the best team on the planet who played lights out,” Paes said. “I thought they played the perfect match.”

PENNETTA-DULKO WIN FIRST SLAM
The Argentine-Italian pair of Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta came back from a 6-2, 4-1 deficit to defeat Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 for their first Gland Slam title. “I think a set and 4-1 down, in the changeover, we were like looking each other and saying, ‘C’mon, we play less than an hour,’” Dulko said. “We cannot finish the match playing less than an hour in the final.” Azarenka particularly folded mentally after her team blew the lead, in the third set missing easy ball after easy ball. It was an easy-on-the-eyes final, as the official Australian Open website summed up: “It was a glamorous match up, and the tennis proved highly entertaining as well.”

NESTOR MIXES IT UP AGAIN
Daniel Nestor won his second career mixed doubles Slam at the Australian Open, teaming with Katarina Srebotnik to beat Aussie Paul Hanley and partner Yung-Jan Chan 6-3, 3-6, 10-7. The pair survived another match tiebreak in the second round against Olga Govortosva and Marcin Matkowski. Nestor also won the Aussie Open mixed title in 2007 with Elena Likhovtseva. “I’d like to thank my partner Katarina, she carried me,” Nestor said. “She’s actually already dumped me for the next Grand Slam, she’s going back to her regular partner, so this was my one shot.”

MISC
Wayne Bryan
on his son Bob getting married in December: “Bob was married to Michelle Alvarez at the historic Spanish Monastery in Miami. It was a beautiful and inspirational ceremony and we are proud and happy to have Michelle in our family. She comes from a wonderful family and is an attorney and close to getting her Masters in Business. She grew up at our Cabrillo Racquet Club in Camarillo taking tennis lessons from [wife] Kathy and went on to play college tennis. And yes, the Bros. have now divided up their bank accounts and all their real estate.”…From Canadian writer Stephanie Myles: “Westmount’s Eugenie Bouchard heard all about the trash talking from American Lauren Davis, the diminutive 17-year old’s bravado undimmed, even after Davis, unbeaten in four months in junior and smaller pro events, was taken to school by No. 5 seed Samantha Stosur in the first round of the women’s singles draw at the Australian Open. Bouchard put a zip on little Lauren’s lip yesterday, trouncing the No. 3 seed 6-0, 6-3 in the third round of the junior girls’ event. “I knew about ending her four-month winning streak. I was like, ‘She’s going down’,” Bouchard said afterwards, a big smile on her face. “I read about (the big talk) and I needed to knock some sense into her. She was being cocky before her other match.”…ATP South African Open officials are lamenting a poor field this week following the Australian Open, and with a lack of appearance cash to hand out: “No player appearing this year is receiving a cent of appearance money. We are happy to host the event with some strong entries,” said Tournament Director Ian Smith. “Stars like Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are out of reach for the South African Open because it begins a day after the Australian Open finals. Another factor is that the fees being demanded by their agents are quite prohibitive in the current financial environment.”…Rumor overhear in Melbourne — Venus William’s injury at the Australian Open was the result of not recovering enough after having a secret hip surgery late last year?…Who can hit less winners in a Grand Slam match, Caroline Wozniacki or Andy Roddick?…Vera Zvonareva dissolved in a puddle of tears during the Australian Open — to the pre-Aussie Open writers who claimed that era was over and the fragile Russian was on the verge of claiming No. 1 from Caroline Wozniacki…From SI.com tennis writer Jon Wetheim: “It’s a personal decision, but I suspect more athletes could benefit from the [Andrea] Petkovic approach and realize that when they have fun with their craft, their performance ultimately benefits. And a few weeks ago, we speculated on how her victory dance routines were going over in the WTA locker room. After advancing past Venus in that unfortunate 6-minute retirement match, Pam Shriver asked Petkovic to offer a funny routine. Petko explained that there was nothing funny about the moment. What’s the German word for “class?”" — And what’s the word for “Get the classless Pam out of the ESPN booth”? The commentary during the women’s final from that team was grating…And Jon on Andy Roddick: “…if you don’t have the “support system” to back a big serve, you’re not going far either. Here we trot out Roddick, who fell in Round 4 to Stan Wawrinka.”


Also Check Out:
ATP/WTA Previews: Nice, Dusseldorf, Warsaw, Strasbourg
ATP/WTA Previews: Soderling, Verdasco Headline Bastad
Querrey Back to Grass at Newport: ATP/WTA Previews
Isner Headlines Houston; ATP/WTA Previews
Serena Williams Back on Court; Isner at Newport; ATP/WTA Previews

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101 Comments for Murray Moping; Oz Open Redux; ATP/WTA Previews; Tennis-X Notes

margot Says:

As Polyanna would say, seeded 5th came 2nd…..what’s not to like ;)


jane Says:

“Murray now joins Goran Ivanisevic, Andre Agassi, Ivan Lendl as players to lose their first three Slam final appearances. Not bad company”

Exactly! All if them won slams, obviously Agassi and Lendl many many slams. Murray should remember there will be more chances and as margot suggests, runner up at a slam at too shabby!


jane Says:

ain’t too shabby…clearly need more sleep or coffee. Thank goodness can get back to normal sleep patterns and not feel the need to nap at 7:00 pm so can set alarm for 2:00 am! :p


paul blackley Says:

when did Zvonareva dissolve in a puddle of tears? you are making this bit up I think!


contador Says:

milos raonic watch:

he’s at it again! just made it through johannesburg qualifying.

and don’t see anyone on the main draw he can’t beat!

GO MILOS … this one is yours!


stu Says:

tennis withdrawal at its peak. i’ve re-watched championship point 10 times. and i feel cheated out of a true Nolandy match, so i’m watching cincy AGAIN.


Kimmi Says:

contador – so dimitrov was actually suspended for three weeks by ATP. thats why he pulled out of chennai. he was able to play AO though since it is ITF event.

Source:

http://www.grigor-dimitrov.com/news/show/article/for-the-incident-at-helsinki-challenger-dimitrov-was-fined-for-3-weeks

All is done with now. cant wait to see him play again. next qualification in rotterdam.


Joelburger Says:

I think Andy Murray needs mental health counseling if he is going to advance. He clearly has all of the skills to win a major title. His mid-match mental collapses are sad.

I wonder why he is playing tennis — for himself or some other reason? He did not look like he was having fun at any time during the Australian Open championship. In fact, through the entire tournament he seemed angry/tense/uneasy/unhappy. His demeanor contrasts greatly from the other champs — Federer, Nadal, Djokovic. If he were to exorcise his demons his game might elevate to unlimited heights.


contador Says:

haha stu. i’ve have to rehab myself after every slam and thank god i still have a job. i didn’t think the final was as bad as i expected. sorta thought someone would win in 3. NOLE!!

*slaps forehead* Kimmi…thanks. i forgot to check his website…durrr

and very sorry for murray. that was awful, really. but i think he won’t suffer like he did last year. hope not anyway. he knows he can play better than that…but his opponent had a hand in making him look bad…rolled federer too.

nice website for grisha. the g-force ( hope, hope.) gulbis still doesn’t have anything current that i can find. but that latvian fan is usually on the fromsport chat. gives great tips, not that i’d bet on a match.

my bracket, the real attempt really blew apart. thanks davydenko and team usa: roddick, isner, querry, harrison.

cant wait for the atp 1000 challenges to start!


zola Says:

Just came here to congratulate all Djoko fans here. Jane, Duro,Sar,…( sorry if I miss some here)..Djoko played a great tournament and was in complete control of the final match. well deserved title.

It would have been good to see Murray win his first GS title or at least give a good fight but he disappeared after losing the first set! Hopefully next time…


Dave B Says:

I was pulling for Andy What a mistake. He’s pathetic. It looked like his Mom wanted to give him a good slap.


Skeezerweezer Says:

BTW, congrata to the Bryan Bros. for another GS doubles title. Dudes!


Dan Martin Says:

My column/article should be up by tomorrow.


margot Says:

Dan is it true Nole has employed a sports psychologist?


jane Says:

margot from other thread “think it’s unlikely that he’d get a sports psychologist” – i read somehwere that Matt Cronin twittered that Nole has been traveling with a sports psychologist for approximately a year. I found this surprising as had not heard of it till yesterday. But there you go. I do not know the veracity of the claim but Cronin is a fairly veteran tennis reporter, so. Anyhow, seems like it would be good if Murray considers it. Although i do think winning is the best medicine. Think Nole’s USO run & DC win just helped him believe again. Still if it is a mental hump, maybe a sports psych would be good. Then again, AM does need a coach who will help him with a few things.


jane Says:

Heya Zola, thanks. :) It is kind of weird but I stll cannot quite believe Nole won. Maybe all those off time zome hours watching tennis makes it seem like a dream.


RFFan Says:

The NYTimes has a good article on Nole’s doctor.
It’s more like a holistic doctor who also helps him with his allergies and stuff.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/01/sports/tennis/01iht-TENNIS01.html?_r=2&ref=christopherclarey


Polo Says:

If Novak has a sports pyschologist, it must be working. He should keep him. When Novak lost to Nadal at the US Open final last year, he seemed to taken the loss with a clear head and equanimity. No sign of bitterness or despair that I could sense. He truly must have found a good balance in his life. This probably helped his game. Certainly would not hurt.


Polo Says:

Corrallory what I just said, Murray should consider having a sports psychologist also. Three loses in major finals without winning a single set can affect you negatively. It may be a subconscious effect but a detrimental effect nonetheless. It would not hurt to hire a sports psychologist. He can afford it so why not?


zola Says:

Jane,

You may not believe this one too, that I really rooted for him to win. I thought this would be a final that I would not watch with any preference. I actually wanted Andy to win his first GS title and get over with it. But the level of play was so different, especially from the second set on, that I thought Novak fully deserved it. I think he has come a long way as a person and a player. great speech too.

I feel for Murray. He is very talented, but had no answers for Djoko. Hopefully his time will come too ( of course I hope not against Rafa!). He needs to sort out those nerves and he needs a coach.


Huh Says:

I was impressed by Nole already from the time I saw him beat Fed comprehensively at AO 08. He started the destruction of Fed’d empire, a thing for which he is never given credit for actually. However, after this win, I hope Nole gets some more respect from the pro-Rafa media. Nole is actually playing his BEST TENNIS right now. I m convinced that the performance in this year’s AO is his best performance till date. He was most impressive in destroying Berdych n Murray n he finished even Fed off quickly, the most commendable performance by anyone other than Fed in a slam. Rafa’s FO 08 was also insane, but this is a surface for all and this is a surface indeed where as Nole himself put it, all the guys play their best tennis, and such comprehebnsive destruction of guys of the caliber of in-form Berdych and Murray and such perfect edging of Fed I haven’t seen in a long long time. I would say the Fed of AO 11 was playing slightly better than the Fed of AO 08 n yet he couldn’t extend Nole even to four sets on this surface this year. This tells the whole story about how dominating Nole really was during his AO WIN.
WHOA, HE HAS BOWLED ME OVER!


Huh Says:

However the sad thing is that Murray can play great great tennis, but he never does that in a slam final. Muzza may or may not win a slam, I don’t know how he will afwter this loss actually :( , but there’s no doubt that Murray’s one fantastic tennis player. He is clearly a very very gifted player like Nole or Nadal or Fed or Nalbandian. But somehow he can’t set his mind for the final push in a slam final.


Huh Says:

Talking of gifted player, Baghdatis is one as welll.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

The rankings are out! The rankings are out!

1) Rog and Nole are separated by razor thin margins
2) Same with Soda and Muzza
3) Ferrer is 6, Melzer is 10, Wawrinka to 14, Tsonga to 18, Nalbandian to 19
4) Dolgopolov to 32! We will be seeing a lot more Dolgopolov!
5) Davydenko out of the top 32- no seed protection=dangerous floater for Rafa in particular
6) Nishikori up 12 to 70, Berankis up 22! to 73, Dmitrov up 20 to 86 (all outside Masters main draws still)
7) Milos Raonic up 58 spaces to 94!!
8) Fernando Gonzalez is almost out of the top 100
6)


Dave B Says:

I think at this point Andy Murray needs more than one sports psychologist. He needs a whole team of shrinks and a kick in the ….


margot Says:

TV: brilliant to see these new names rising up the charts!
Dave B: Andy just said that he wants a “normal life” back. He obviously doesn’t like the travel, the media glare, the whole circus, failing 3 times in front of billions must be tough, to understate rather. He’s an ordinary kid with an extraordinary talent. I feel certain he’s not going to be playing tennis at 29.
Meantime jane, he did say he and Nole might play doubles at Indian wells. However, that was b4 the final. Would be fun if it came off.


Polo Says:

His failure to win in a major and the very negative press especially from the British press is getting to him. I hope this is a just a transient reaction to his recent loss. Playing doubles with Novak will certainly do him good. Increasing the ratio of tennis fun over tennis pressure is what he needs at this time.


jane Says:

margot, yes, I hope that does come off. They hit together; why not play together? I saw Nole’s face after they said congrats at the net, and he looked truly sad for Murray. Of course he wants to win, but it must have been an odd feeling none the less. They have both said they’ve reconnected lately, exchanged phone numbers etc.

Polo’s right though: maybe more “fun” on the court would do Murray a world of good. Look how happy he was after he and Jamie won doubles in Valencia – and then he nearly made the fnials at WTF right after.

Just reading Andy’s presser, and while, on the one hand, he says he “takes tennis very seriously”, on the other hand he says “I love my life away from tennis, as well. You know, that’s why maybe this year, compared with last, I’m very, very happy off the court. I’m enjoying myself. There’s other things to look forward to, too.”

Maybe, like Nole seemed to be, based on what he said in his interveiw, Murray is struggling to find a balanace between wanting to succeed at “work” but also wanting to enjoy his personal life (and all that money he has made – I remember Andy talking about his new car, which mainly sits in the garage as he never has time to drive it). It’s probably tough to balance all this, and at only 23! I hope he can loosen up, and have some fun. A grand slam final is already a great achievement. Just roll with it and see where it goes. Ignore the naysayers and doomsdayers. It’s really not all so bad.


blank Says:

I believe Djokovic could become # 2 as early as in about 2 weeks @ Rotterdam if he reaches the Final.


Duro Says:

Come on, Dan Martin! Where is that article of yours???


Eric Says:

Blank, I’m not sure that’s right. I’m not 100% positive, but, looking at their rankings breakdowns, Rotterdam was a non-countable tournament for Djokovic last year. So I don’t think he would be able to count points he wins there this year towards his ranking until another tournament drops from his ranking pool. (And the next one, I think, is Dubai, at the end of Feb.) Neither player really has any significant number of points to defend until the French Open, but Roger is clearly in a much better position for a net increase in points over that time frame. So even if Djokovic can pass him in the rankings (which, to be honest, I am not clear on – it would depend on what tournaments they are each playing and how it is decided which 250s count, something I don’t quite understand) it would probably only be for a couple of weeks.

So which of them is no. 2 going into the second half of the year will really depend on Federer more than on Djokovic, I think. Is he going to improve on his RG result and not make a near-complete hash of his clay court season? If so, Djokovic surely won’t be able to keep up.


blank Says:

You could be right Eric. The intricacies of this ranking system confuses me at times. They are supposed to count at least 4 ATP 500 tournaments towards ranking points calculation, but in Djokovic’s case, there is only 3. And, Rotterdam is relegated to non-countable. I am not sure.


Eric Says:

Well that, I am pretty sure, is because Djokovic went to Monte Carlo (the optional 9th Masters), taking the spot of one of the 500 tournaments.

But I’m still not sure how they decide which of the smaller tournaments count, since for example Djokovic’s current ranking includes Belgrade and Queen’s (65 points total) instead of Basel and Rotterdam (480 points total) even though Rotterdam was earlier in the year. It’s all very weird….

But anyway, the point is that Roger obviously has much more potential for picking up new points through to the French Open, since last year he basically sucked on ass except for his runner-up at Madrid. So he surely won’t fall to no. 3 for very long, at least.


stu Says:

All I ask is that Nole can maintain this momentum for a significant period of time.


stu Says:

Eric,

That’s because they can only include 3 ATP 500 tournaments. Belgrade and Queens (surprising considering the prestige that comes with it) are ATP 250s. Too bad Nole did better last year at the 500s than the 250s :)


Kimmi Says:

Djoko also played davis cup. davis cup is part of 500 pointer if i am not mistaken.


stu Says:

yeah he played five ATP500s last year, probably because he needed the points early on. beijing, basel and DC were only added later in the year so he ended up with more points than he could include!


stu Says:

What sense does it make including the 9th Masters when he scored more points at the 4th ATP500? Shouldn’t it just be best of 8 and best of 4?

Or maybe that’s what you guys are talking about; sorry :P


grendel Says:

Novak Djokovic has come of age – most people seem agreed about that. And the timing – I suggest – is hugely important, for Nadal in particular.

There is argument about this, of course, but in my opinion Djokovic never for one instant looked like beating Nadal in New York. This was as true after he had won the second set as at any other time. You just felt he was putting off the inevitable. On the other hand, although he certainly deserved his victory over Federer in the semi, it could very easily have gone the other way – as opposed to his victory the other day over Federer, which was conclusive.

In my opinion, Federer would have had a much better chance against Nadal in the final than Djokovic. For all the vaunted h2h, Federer would have expected to win, and that matters. It was perfectly obvious that Djokovic did not expect to win.

So Nadal got all 4 slams. Chance had smiled kindly on him, just as she did on Federer when he won the French and completed his capture of all 4. Never underestimate the role of luck in life.

The other point being that Nadal will have to be very fortunate to win another US Open. Next time round, Djokovic (health permitting and all the rest of it) will be overwhelming favourite to capture the title. And the following year, there will no doubt be others.


jane Says:

Nole didn’t play Madrid last year as he was sick, so considering it’s a 1000 event he could gain there. He lost before the quarters at IW, and I think Miami second round. Other than defending Dubai, semis at Monte Carlo, and QFs at Rome, he doesn’t have a lot to defend pointswise – more than Roger, but not a lot. He went out in the QFs at the French as well. It’s Rafa, clearly, who will have a lot to defend, really until and including the USO.


Eric Says:

Stu, oh — I thought Belgrade and Rotterdam were 250s. Hence my confusion.

Players are allowed, actually, to include four 500 tournaments.

(Up to 18 tournaments can be included: the 4 slams and the 8 masters are mandatory, plus up to 4 500s, and 2 250s. But this is complicated by the fact that Monte Carlo is now an optional 9th Masters tournament, which replaces a 500 if you play it. And same for Davis Cup.)

So Djokovic has the four slams, eight mandatory Masters (even though he didn’t actually play at Madrid, it still counts since it is a mandatory event), Monte Carlo, the Davis cup, and two actual 500 events. Plus the two 250s.

Whereas Federer only has 15 out of 18 tournaments in his point pool: the four slams, eight masters, two 250s, and a 500 level. (Plus the WTF, which doesn’t count towards the 18.) For whatever reason, he hasn’t bothered with playing at more than 1 500-level tournament for the past five years. Perhaps he feels he doesn’t need the points, which has been true, but I wonder if he might play one or two more than usual this year just to rack up some points. Probably not; he seems stubborn about such things.


stu Says:

Acckk…don’t get me thinking about him winning the USO, grendel, I’ve yet to fully absorb this AO win…


jane Says:

grendel “Federer would have had a much better chance against Nadal in the final than Djokovic.”

Do you mean at the USO or the AO that just passed?


Eric Says:

Actually, I just checked his website and Roger is planning to play at both Dubai and at Basel this year. Interesting.


Kimmi Says:

wimbledon and USO, djoko went one more than federer so he has more to defend there.

Djokovic could be reaching his peak now, so he could be able to defend all his points and more ..like the way federer and nadal has done in the past. who knows!


Kimmi Says:

eric – federer has always had basel in his schedule. last year he pulled out a day before the tournament started due to an illness. The year before that he had a back problem i think.

he also commented on his post match interview after djoko loss that he is looking forward to play dubai since the last couple of years he could not play dues to illness/injury. He is feeling much heathier now, so we will see!


Kimmi Says:

above post should read “dubai” instead of “basel”


Eric Says:

My point is just that Roger should increase his point lead over Djokovic going into the French. The only hiccup is Madrid, where Djokovic could stand to gain a lot of points and Roger actually did well last year (finalist).

Another interesting tournament will be Dubai; Nole won it last year, and Fed didn’t play. I don’t know whether Roger calculated it this way, but by playing Dubai he is guaranteeing that he will stay ahead of Djokovic even if he loses early.

After Dubai: both players had mediocre showings at IW and Miami. Then Roger has basically nothing at Rome, and still isn’t playing Monte Carlo. Djoko had an excellent showing at Monte Carlo (SF) and was QF at Rome. So Roger could easily pick up a lot of ground at those four events, both vs. Djokovic and in absolute terms.

(I wonder why he refuses to play Monte Carlo: I guess it is a bit much, too many matches, but he could pick up a lot of points, if his goal is really returning to no. 1.)


Eric Says:

Kimmi, oh — I knew he used to play Dubai, but I didn’t remember that stuff about illness. (Definitely rings a bell!) That explains a lot.


stu Says:

Anyway, he’s often said its #1 that counts…2 or 3 doesn’t matter. Might be why Monte Carlo doesn’t matter…he thinks its more important to stay fit and injury-free


Eric Says:

Stu, yeah, I’m sure he doesn’t play MC because it’s just another clay court tournament stuffed into that crowded pre-RG season and he wants to be sure he’s not overtaxing his body. (Nadal playing all of those tournaments was one source of his knee injury in 2009.)

I disagree though that #2 doesn’t count. It’s much nicer to be #2 than #3 or 4, because then you don’t have to beat Nadal in the semifinal. Obviously the history books don’t record weeks at #2 (except for the beloved Nadal) but in on-the-ground reality at tournaments being seeded second is just as good as being seeded first.


skeezerweezer Says:

stu,

…he thinks its more important to stay fit and injury-free..

me thinks your right here. And to play the “right” tourneys (What & When). Something so easily missed nowadays when everyone is chasing the rankings….one thing is for sure…if you don’t take care of yourself and do your part to stay healthy and fit through the ATP season, your rankings will drop(Duh). Being injury free and staying healthy are vital and have an indirect effect on a top tier player’s rankings. Saying you’ll never get hurt or ill is ludicrious, it happens, but preventative measures for sure helps…

Funny how his breathing problems, stamina, etc have gone away. Kudos to him, he attacked the issue and somehow got it resolved :).


grendel Says:

jane, certainly the US Open is what I meant. For the AO, since Djokovic was overwhelmingly the best player in the tourney, clearly (in retrospect, anyway)he’d have been favoured to beat Nadal or anyone. He’s moved on a lot since the US Open. Don’t you think?


skeezerweezer Says:

@Eric

Saw your post after I posted. # 2 seed in a tourney is huge, agreed. Just pointing out other stuff….

BTW..tx for the stats on tourney stuff in your 5:55 post, great stuff.


stu Says:

” It’s much nicer to be #2 than #3 or 4, because then you don’t have to beat Nadal in the semifinal. ”

Or Roger, as Mr. perennial #3 will tell you….

yeah, thanks for the exlanation re. points, Eric


jane Says:

Eric, your logic for why Fed doesn’t play Monte Carlos doesn’t explain why he then adds in Estoril.

Skeeze, per someone above, who kindly provided a link, Nole has been traveling and/or working with a holisitc doctor for whole now, so maybe that has something to do with the better health, mentally and physically?

grendel, yeah, somehow that DC win was a panecea of sorts. But it seems like a process too. Nole felt that from Wimbledon on his tennis was slowly coming back. Couple his game getting back on track, with the work he was doing with his holistic doctor, and victory, and you have a guy who has somehow put it all together. I really did feel his forehand looked great, and i know the shots you meant on the other thread, those ones that are so deep they look like they will go out and then they somehow curl down and grab the court just inside the line. I know you have said that mechanical or clinical thing about Nole before, years back actually. Never really understood it, except for the clean hitting. To me he is like elastic man on court, stretching, firing, doing “cartwheel” returns as conty (our apt characterizer) described them, the splits. I find his tennis really fun to watch. Those lobs. All of it. But yep we all are attracted to different things, that is for sure.


Eric Says:

Jane, he only added Estoril at the last moment last year after losing his first match at Rome, right? So I don’t see how that is a contradiction: he wanted more match play before the French Open.

There’s a difference between committing to a tournament in advance and being able to sneak in at the last moment (another plus to being #1, ha ha).


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Raonic gets #2 seed and 37 ranked Yen Hsun Lu tomorrow in J-berg (5 am EST). A very good test, and if he gets through he’ll have lesser ranked players till the finals. Any wins here will mean another jump in the rankings for Raonic next week.


Kimberly Says:

Where is raonic now, I forgot to check for him. Was happy to see dolgo go to 32!


Kimberly Says:

Ugggh!!!!! Just did majorndamage ordering na li’s wardrobe from tennis warehouse! I’m sure Nike deliberately put her in suchbawesome clothes to expand their market in china!


sar Says:

Congrats to Nole and his #2. Great watching here in Australia. Didnt see the final live but at least got to see it in real time for a change.

They said here that Murray will win one in 2012 but don’t know how they know? Maybe the USO for him. How were Gilbert, Gimelstob and Cahill regarding NOle?

Who won the pool?
Sorry I have limited time online.


jane Says:

Oh i did not know that Eric. Thought he had it planned.

Sar, Gilbert and Cahill were fine about Nole, Cahill picked him to win and Gilbert picked Andy in 5 but both were complimentary of Nole’s form. After the match Gilbert said, “we just watched a man grow up” or some such. Never heard or saw Gimelslob, thankfully,

Eric won the pool. I was fourth, margot was 5th, cannot remember other spots. Tourneytopia should have the update up for a while. Did you want me to check on where you finished?


jane Says:

Go Milos! Thanks for the update T.V.


jane Says:

RFFan thanks for posting the NYTs article on Nole. :)


Eric Says:

jane, actually, you are right. I guess my memory is not as good as I thought, because I was just checking the Estoril issue and Federer had already planned to participate before March 31:

“Monaco is not a mandatory event anymore, that gives us a bit of an option,” said Federer. “There are a lot of points there to go get, but it’s really early in the season. I want to have some vacation after a long trip here in the States…I want to be refreshed till the very end of Wimbledon.”

So yeah…it sounds like he simply prefers to skip the Monte Carlo event. (Maybe he got tired of losing to Rafa in the final.)


thark Says:

@kimberly – i hope you are planning to get the tattoo also – the outfit doesn’t work without it ;)


stu Says:

is it time for a new tennis-x article? (from Dan) and some funk/trunk?


stu Says:

:)
“A changing of the guard? No. But definitely a definitive statement about the future of men’s tennis. And how lucky are we the future is a giant goofball?”

La Rosa, http://72.32.204.230/news/NewsDetails.aspx?newsid=8567


jane Says:

Stu, that would be great! The only headline Nole got was his presser so an article would be cool. Luckily there are plenty of them elsewhere ;)


Huh Says:

What is surprising is that not a single writer has posted a single article focussing about Nole’s victory here at tennis-x. If it were Nadal or Fed who won, there would be at least three articles about them glorifying them. But it seems nobody cares about Nole’s win. At least during Nole’s first win, there was an article saying “Djoko starts new era. captures AO”. Why can’t there be at least one srticle saying “Djokovic Beats Murray in Final to Capture Second Slam of Career” or something like that. Come on men, giv us one article quickly. Or may be it can be like “Novak does away with the ‘one-slam wonder tag’, beats Murray enroute second AUS Open Title”; whatever but post soon please!


margot Says:

Huh: Dan said one’s coming ;) Today, Tuesday, I think.


contador Says:

AO winner NOVAK DJOKOVIC! Ajde! nolee on a rollee

condolences to Muzz, Daveed, and the Fed.

big congratulations Eric, tennisx atp bracket challenge winner, yay! have to admit tho, i did not think you would remain on top cos you didn’t pick the right winner and only got half the semifinal right. but your picks along on the way – very lucky.

Kimberly – thanks again for getting the tennisx bracket challenge going. game on! but what? you ordered Li Na’outfits? you didn’t order the Venus Williams dress? shocking…

Scineram – wherever you are, wondering how u did in the suicide bracket? bethanie socks-sands knocked me outta the wta bracket 1st round and bellucci got me a couple rounds later…sheesh… thought i’d win that game.

Atp Top 100 Rankings! Contador’s Honor Roll(only counting those who have moved up a bunch of places or have first time highs) or…have my personal bias for whatever reason :/

1a) Milos Raonic up 58 points! congratulations Milos and keep going # 94! top honors.

2) “tuna melt” Jurgen Melzer up 1 to #10 this week. (tough luck Youzhney)

1b) Ernests Gulbis moves up 1 place into career high #22 ( cheer up EG! ) Go Gulbis!

3) Alexandr Dolgopolov “the dog” apparently the new? locker room nickname? personally, i dont like it at all, anyways…he moves up 14 points to # 32…. extra points for his 1st GS quarterfinal! beating tsonga and (mr. dimples)

4)Richard Berankis “Rycka” moves up 22 points to #73. maybe a liitle luck in the AO draw. but great for him!

5) Grigor “Grisha, G-force, Prime Time, Dimi” Dimitrov – 19 yr old up 20 places into #85. most nicknames of anyone so far.

6)Robin Haase – “schlobber” terrible nick. it’s a dutchie thing i dont understand. but he’s up 10 places. go schlobber!?

7) Adrian Mannarino – French 22 yr old up 7 places to #67.

8)Ryan Sweeting – up 18 places to # 98 for the first time in top 100. maybe a late bloomer or a fluke.

9)Tobias Kamke – only up 1 place. but he impressed me last fall. maybe another late bloomer…it’s a stretch of imagination, like Sweeting.

10) Blaz Kavcic – up 15 places into #83. thinking he’s like Kamke and Sweeting…???

The Blacklist: duh duh da daa…

Bellucci –
Tipsaravic
WAWA
Fish,Isner, Roddick, Harrison

C’mon! Vamos! Allez! Ajmo! list:

Nalbandian, Baghdatis, Delpo, Tsonga, Gael “sexiest voice in the world” monfils, Cilic, and last but not least Rafa Nadal…


margot Says:

PS jane, this time last year, Andy had split from Kim, so possibly what he means about his private life as well. Or perhaps he’s talking about being with Maggie ;)


margot Says:

conty “dolly mixture” much better for Dolgopolov ;)


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Raonic slams 2nd seed Lu- into 2nd round (after coming through qualies) in J-burg.
He gets a minimum of 20 points, will move another ten spots- unless of course he decides to win another round!


Gordo Says:

Surprising that in the discussion of the South Africa ATP 250 tournament Frank Dancevic is mentioned as a floater, but no mention of the Canadian who caused the stir at the AO – Milos Raonic, who had to qualify for this tournament as well.

Today he took out the second seed – Yen-Hsun Lu – losing only 6 points on his serve and breaking Lu 3 times in his 6-3, 6-3 win.

I think only Tipsarevic (3) and posibly Lopez (1) can stop the Canadian from winning this. I am being conservative in this assessment, for Raonic knocked off 3 players ranked higher than either of these two at the recent AO. He is about to make another jump up the rankings, and I don’t think he will be having to qualify for these tournaments for much longer.

In case you missed it, he was 156 two weeks ago. After the AO he is now ranked 94. Should he win this tournament he would likely land in the top 60s.

Good luck, Milos.


jane Says:

Go Milos!

Conty loved your list, I’d add Querrey to blacklist. Also Davy, Tsonga and Monfils really hurt my bracket. Ouch.

margot, that’s true. He must want to hang out with Kim. Always good to have a life off the court. Happy they reunited. Probably hanging with Maggie is a lot of fun too. :)


stu Says:

Maybe it’s a better idea if he plays Rotterdam instead of Dubai, since it would be a smooth transition across timezones to Indian Wells and Miami? I know he’s defending champion in Dubai, but he’s also got great momentum going right now and might do better at Rotterdam. I hope he doesn’t risk playing both at the cost of the Masters.


jane Says:

stu, after the AO win in 2008, Nole played DC first round, then Marseille (lost early), then Dubai (lost in semis), and the IW, which he won. I have read he may opt out of first round DC tie, but it still seems uncertain as to whether he will play Rotterdamn.


stu Says:

I’m glad history repeated itself until he won the AO, jane, but I’d like the rest of 2011 to play out very differently for him than 2008 did :)

yeah, I heard he might opt out of the DC tie too which would be a good idea – Viktor/ Janko and co should be able to handle the likes of Somdev and Bapanna IMO. they might lose the doubles but should get thru singles comfortably..


Eric Says:

conty, well I wouldn’t call it luck that I got almost all of the QFs right, more like my cunning tennis intelligence… ;) but yeah, I’m surprised Roger’s loss didn’t knock me off the top, but oh well!


grendel Says:

jane, you can’t always account for tastes. But anyway, round about the time you mention (when I used the “c” word w.r.t. Djokovic’s tennis), Ben Pronin, then posting as Sensational Safin, wrote a superb appraisal of Djokovic explaining just why he was (in his opinion) so good. I’m afraid I remember not a thing about it, but I do recall being highly impressed by the quality of the analysis. Be good if someone could dig it out.


Kimmi Says:

Eric – thanks for that quote from federer re: not playing monte carlo.

It does make sense that he would like to have some time off after miami. Isnt monte carlo starting just a week after miami? for those travelling from miami to monte carlo, there is a big time difference to adjust. So it could be tough to some players.

he is not playing estoril this year though. Hope he miximizes his points in those two clay tournaments (madrid, rome). ah, they have madrid earlier than rome this year.

_________________________________

Go Milos, great win. looks like the AO perfomance has given him lost of confidence, good to see.


Kimmi Says:

Delpotro down to # 485


jane Says:

Kimmi, that’s so sad re: Delpo. :( He needs to start the long climb back up!


Kimberly Says:

Wow, with that forehand that is one dangerous #485!


Kimberly Says:

COntador–i think debakker deserves a place on the black list for the epic monfils choke.


Kimmi Says:

I just saw it on bleacher report, i had to double check. I think because he was defending qtr final points at the AO and he reached only 2nd round.

Hope they give him WC to all the Master series, some 500s and 250s.

_______

so many clay tournaments in south america at the moment. it is hard court season..why play clay@#$?all the south americans are playing out there now..

nalbandian, bellucci, monaco and a lot more. maybe delpo is playing there too..who knows!


Cherry Says:

It’s really disappointing not to win the title but Murray should be thankful just the same. A lot of good players had to withdraw from the tournament because of injuries but he was able to get through and play in the finals. http://www.tennisround.com


Polo Says:

On that blacklist, I don’t remember seeing the name of Gasquet. He should be on the top of that list.


Huh Says:

Who cares about ranking? JMDP is JMDP.


contemperory Says:

Just happened to read in the tennis website about the draws keeping Djoker in Fed’s half at Grand Slams and safely away from their little favorite. Nadal?

Here is the exact quote:

“Evidence: in the last 10 non-RG Grand Slams dating back to the A.O. in January of 2008, Djokovic has been in Fed’s (not Rafa’s) side of the draw precisely 10 times. Repeat, that’s TEN FOR TEN. The odds against this are happening randomly are many thousands to one. Presumably even Rafa fans can count to ten and figure this out. How do they or supposedly “neutral” journalist explain this travesty away?

The DrawMasters only allow Djokovic to be in Nadal’s half at the French Open, which they presumably figure their Darling Rafa can win anyway.

Ten for ten is nearly impossible under the laws of probability. This corruption is too obvious to miss. Like everything else, the DrawMasters are protecting Nadal at all costs.”


stu Says:

contemporary, that topic has come up quite a few times on tennis-x :)


stu Says:

i would be willing to believe that Nadal has that kind of power now, but why would he all the way back in AO 2008 considering, until 2007, TMF still reigned outside of clay?


Gordo Says:

Good Heavens! It appears Canadian tennis is starting to rear its head at the SA Open.

Raonic, who knocked off the #2 seed yesterday, must be inspiring his underachieving countryman.

Frank Dancevic just knocked off #1 seed Lopez 6-7(5) 6-2 7-6(8), saving 1 match point and all 10 (!) break point opportunities in the process.

Way to go Frankie! After the Canadian induced upsets the top ranked platers left are TIPSAREVIC (49) and ANDERSON (56).

Rare that we Canadians get to whoop for our guys. With Raonic I think that is about to change, but nice to see a great result from Dancevic as well.


Gordo Says:

Update on the SA Open – of the top 8 seeds only Anderson (4)(world 56) and Mannarino (6)(world 74) are left. Talk about not playing to form.

Both remaining seeds are in the top half – Dancevic’s, meaning Raonic may have a very easy run if he can hold it together.


Swiss Maestro Says:

the probability of 10 in 10 is 1/1024, which is about 1000:1. what is so impossible about that?

i have read about events with 1 in 24 trillion odds occuring, so an event 20billion times more likely occuring, is not exactly impossible.


jane Says:

Thanks Gordo – good news re: Frankie indeed. Maybe Milos’ form has lit a fire under him? :)


Gregoire Gentil Says:

As reported on another good tennis blog, for the FIRST TIME EVER, the top ten WOMEN tennis are from ALL different nations! Actually, even the top eleven. Amazing!


David Says:

Oh, and about that 10-10 probability… It actually is not that clean-cut at all, even if we take out RG (but why should we?).

All the 4 players involved held DIFFERENT rankings at some point during all those years when slam draws were performed. In other words, Nadal was # 1 at some point, but also # 2, # 3 and even # 4. The same goes for Federer, who fluctuated between #1 and # 3. Murray was #2 once, but also #3, 4, even 5. Djokovic was # 3 and # 4.

The point is, they do not draw names, they draw rankings (or rather, seed numbers). After you put #1 and #2 at the top and the bottom of the draw, you then randomly select either #3 or #4 into each half, with 50-50 probability. Rankings changed from one slam to another. Therefore, the odds of drawing the same two names in the same half grew.

Not to mention the lack of logic (Murray beat Nadal twice in slams, Djokovic never did, yet somehow they rig draws to never place Djokovic in Nadal’s half and that helps Nadal or, according to others, helps getting Fedal finals?!).

Conspiracy theorists are good at excluding inconvenient facts from their theories. In other news, the sky is blue.

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