Same Old Tsonga, Federer Out in Montreal; Sharapova Shocked in Toronto
by Sean Randall | August 12th, 2011, 8:54 am
  • 137 Comments

Another tournament and another loss for the once-No. 1 Roger Federer. Last night Federer was unable to match the sheer power and force of JW Tsonga falling again to the Frenchman 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-1 in the third round of the Tennis Masters Montreal.

Federer was out for revenge after stunningly blowing a 2-0 set lead to Tsonga at Wimbledon, and for a similar choke job against JW in Montreal two years. But the free-swinging Tsonga was up to the task sending yet another tennis superstar out of Canada.

“Two years ago he didn’t really deserve the victory,” lamented Federer. “I believe he played a lot better today, and he deserved it today. Two years ago I think he was lucky to pull out the win. Tonight he played well and he played extraordinary shots as we know he can do. I was not able to do that.”

So is this the new “norm” for Federer who hasn’t won a title since Doha? Are we now getting use to him failing to reach finals, semifinals and now quarterfinals? With an upcoming title defense at Cincinnati and the US Open weeks away, things sure don’t look encouraging for the now 30-year-old Swiss.

“I played two matches. I feel good physically,” Federer said. “New York is in one month. It’s far away. If you want to talk about the US Open, I can tell you I feel good mentally and I’m playing well, if that’s the goal for everybody else, but it’s not mine right now.”

And credit to Tsonga who if he can stay healthy – a very big if – can break up that Fab Four cartel we have at the top.

“[This] is the match I played best,” said Tsonga who’ll face Nicolas Almagro this evening. “I really played good tonight. I was opportunistic. I didn’t miss any opportunities I had. I was able to break before he did. I’m very happy the way I won this match.

“I’m happy now to be in the quarter-finals. It was a tough draw to have Federer in the Round of 16. I’m going to rest and hope to play a good match tomorrow.”

Also on Thursday, Novak Djokovic may not be playing his best tennis but nonetheless he’s still winning. Yesterday the World No. 1 dispatched Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-2. Djokovic now gets a date tonight with Gael Monfils who needed a third set tiebreak to beat Viktor Troicki.

“Both of the matches that I’ve played here were against good players,” Djokovic said. “But I didn’t get any rhythm I think out of both matches. Against Davydenko, he started off the match incredibly hitting winners. Then hitting a lot of unforced errors today. Conditions were quite a bit different than yesterday. A lot of wind involved. It wasn’t really a beautiful match to play and to watch. But I guess in the right moments I was trying to keep the ball into the court, make my opponent make an unforced error. I was just more patient and played well. So that’s the positive.”

In the other quarterfinals, surging Mardy Fish meets Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych battles Janko Tipsarevic.

After all the upsets I think today we’ll see the favorites come through – Djokovic, Tsonga, Berdych and Fish. I think.

Meanwhile, the upsets piled up like a freeway car crash Thursday in Toronto where Maria Sharapova was shocked by a qualifier named Galina Voskoboeva 6-3, 7-5. For Sharapova that loss has to be an absolute headscratcher. But really the whole tournament/week has been one – only two Top 10 seeds are still alive in the quarters!

Other surprising results were Roberta Vinci beating Ana Ivanovic, Andrea Petkovic pounding Petra Kvitova, Sam Stosur topping Li Na and Aggie Radwanska beating Vera Zvonareva.

Tournament favorite Serena Williams even found herself in trouble but managed to escape the clutches of Jie Zheng to win in three sets 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. Victoria Azarenka was also a winner.

ESPN2 has coverage at noon of the Fish match, then a 7pm telecast of Serena and Djokovic. ESPN3.com will have live streaming from the other matches (I think).

FRIDAY MONTREAL SCHEDULE

CENTRAL start 12:00 noon
[6] M Fish (USA) vs [14] S Wawrinka (SUI)
Not Before 2:00 PM
[7] T Berdych (CZE) vs J Tipsarevic (SRB)
Not Before 5:30 PM
[13] J Tsonga (FRA) vs [8] N Almagro (ESP)
Not Before 7:30 PM
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) vs [5] G Monfils (FRA)

FRIDAY TORONTO SCHEDULE

Centre Court (from 11.00hrs)
1. Roberta Vinci vs. Samantha Stosur
2. Galina Voskoboeva vs. Victoria Azarenka (NB 13.00hrs)
3. Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Andrea Petkovic (NB 15.00hrs)
4. Lucie Safarova vs. Serena Williams (NB 19.00hrs)


Also Check Out:
Roger Federer Withdraws From Montreal
Roger Federer: What’s Important is to Get Thru the Early Rounds in Montreal [Video]
Roger Federer Wins 8th Different Masters 1000 Title, Ties Djokovic, Moves Ahead Of Nadal
Canadian Open Tennis Thursday Preview; Olympic Hangover Notes
Murray Falls Flat; Nadal, Federer, Djokovic Today in Montreal; Clijsters Re-Injured

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137 Comments for Same Old Tsonga, Federer Out in Montreal; Sharapova Shocked in Toronto

madmax Says:

Sean,

It’s NOT the same old Tsonga though. This is the Tsonga that has always been there playing tennis at the very highest level but then shortly after, being thwarted with injuries and having to take time off to recover.

As for Roger. You really do have to STOP predicting his wins. Just don’t say anything Sean. That would be a start. Say what you have to say about his style of play, but don’t give him the benefit of the doubt anymore. Leave him be.

He is going to HAVE to sort out his game if he wants to continue playing at the highest level. It doesn’t make any sense.

I don’t know who it was that says Roger walks the walk and talks the talk here, but the two are not meeting in the middle.

There is some strategic planning which is needed, some tactical refining to do, I cannot see that Roger doesn’t see this. I don’t buy the ‘He’s a family man excuse, with lots of other writers’ Roger has the luxury of an extended nanny family and immediate family on hand and he says he still meets his practise session.

It’s all in the mind. Plus, it is not as if Tsonga can’t play. He has beaten Rafa and Roger, everyone knows what he is capable of on a good day and it was a GREAT day for him yesterday.

I don’t want Roger to go anywhere, any time soon. He still plays like no one else out there, but surely there is something which someone can do in order for him to stop throwing these matches away?

I don’t think Annacone is working on the mental strategy enough to be truthful. I think this is what is in desperate need.

The break point conversion is just a sorry state of affairs. Although I checked some match stats around 2003 and 2004 and Roger’s break point conversion for some of those tournaments were also not brilliant – so it seems he hasn’t improved here a great deal.

He says he has the desire to win ‘many more tournaments’. Well get on and do it then!

Starting in Cinny and then at the USOpen!


dari Says:

Fed needs somebody kicking his butt at practice/ training and a crazy tennis guru for the mental side.
He’s looking too relaxed and easy.
Better make sure I get tickets for his session early at USO cause you don’t know what is gonna happen with him anymore!
Still love the guy. Go Roger in cincy!


Ben Pronin Says:

The fact that this match was round of 16 and not a semi or final is really due to Tsonga’s overall consistency. We all know what he’s capable of. We’ve known for a long time. Federer lost to a better player. I think next time they play, he’ll win.

If Nadal, at 25, can’t change his overall style of play, what do you expect Federer, at 30, to do? Tactics, mentality, strategy, forehand, backhand, Federer’s been doing this his entire life. And he’s been pretty damn good at it. So his game isn’t what it used to be. It happens. There really isn’t much he can do about it at this point.


Gannu Says:

madmax..thanks for all the posts in the earlier thread…always puts things into perspective…but stillthe bottomline however well u slice or dice this issue is the DESIRE… roger just lacks that… the fact that he said it doesnt matter that he is No 3 says voulmes abt his stae of mind… he clearly admitted that he is at peace with status quo..thats lack of desire.. he should have burning inside and saying ” look no 1 is MY THRONE” and i want to snacth that again…


steve-o Says:

Considering how much Federer has given tennis, he’s earned the freedom to do as he wishes. If he thinks he has more to offer by continuing to play, then who are we to gainsay him? If he can accept defeats as he pursues his goals, why shouldn’t we? None of his fans can possibly be more annoyed with his losses, or more desirous for him to win, than he is.

Federer made the semis of every major tournament for nearly five years. Far more than just talent, that accomplishment required incredible commitment, discipline, self-knowledge, and preparation.

A man with that level of discipline and commitment, with such lucid and clear-eyed self-understanding, is not thrashing around aimlessly hoping for something to happen. He has a vision and he is pursuing it.

He’s trying to do something unprecedented and totally new. Not just grab one last major before retiring, as Sampras did. He wants to raise his level again so he can be consistent enough to recapture the #1 ranking and win many more titles, including the majors. There is no timetable or surefire procedure for this because no one has ever done it before.

No man has regained the year-end #1 twice. Save for Agassi, no man has won majors into his mid-thirties during the Open Era. But if anyone can meet this supreme challenge, Federer can.

We won’t know if he can until he does. The world thought the Wright brothers were crazy, until the it flew.

There doesn’t seem to be much use asking how long it will take for Federer to find what he’s looking for. It’ll fly when it flies.


madmax Says:

I can tell you I feel good mentally and I’m playing well, if that’s the goal for everybody else, but it’s not mine right now.”

I don’t understand what Federer means here and so Sean, could you post the full interview from Fed please. He says he feels ‘good mentally’ and he is ‘playing well’ then goes on to say…if that’s the goal for ‘everybody else’, BUT IT’S NOT MINE RIGHT NOW? So can anyone explain to me WHAT that means because I don’t get it?

Ben, you are pretty good at trying to get behind the meaning of things (on this count), so help if you can?

Your above post tho’ Ben

I completely DISAGREE with what you have said and I can support that with Agassi.

You say:

what do you expect Federer, at 30, to do?

Well, I expect Federer to do a lot more than he is Ben if he is to win more tournaments. Okay, so he says he is having fun and playing with more freedom and that’s great. Good for him. But taking up on what he has said in the past, I cannot believe as a top athlete that this is ‘good enough for him’. It’s not enough. It can’t be enough. To hit around on court, have a few fantastic shots, he can do that at home in Zurich in his own back yard. So yes Ben, I do expect a lot more from him. I expect a Champion’s mentality every time he goes on the court, I expect that as a fan of tennis, from novak, from rafa, from murray, soderling. All the top 5, in fact, all the top 10. They are there for a reason and have proved their place in the rankings. I don’t expect half-hearted attempts at this game. I expect more than what Federer is expecting of himself right now.

Agassi was 31 when he got his training back to basics. So when you say to what do I expect Federer to do at 30?, that is why I expect a whole lot more. What he is saying to the media is not being backed up with his game plan.

Two reporters asked two stupid questions in the post match interview, with a pause of about 20 seconds.

I think Gannu is right. Fed is ‘at peace’. I wonder for how much longer he will be ‘at peace’ with his game? If he is to continue winning tournaments then he needs to start working on the tactics/mental side of his game. You say he has been doing this his whole life, well then this should come easier to him, don’t you think? and I beg to differ Ben, right now Federer is NOT working on the finer points of his game.

Your second point:

‘There really isn’t much he can do about it at this point’.

Again, I disagree.

There is EVERYTHING he can do at this point. If you had a child in the classroom who didn’t understand something you were teaching them, or an adult for that matter, what would you do – as a Teacher?- keep teaching that student the same way? No, you wouldn’t you would change your tactics and try a different strategy to help that student so that next time they could improve/progress.

This is no different. Age is not relevant here. You heard his trainer Ben (and he has to be the one who knows better than anyone), how fit Federer is, his muscle training, his nutrition, his exercise regime, it’s completely under stated and disrespected.

There is plenty that Federer can do. Agassi did it, Laver did it, Sampras did it.

I put this now firmly into the corner of Annacone.

Federer has to get this right before he gets to Cincinnati.

Federer doesn’t have to prove anything – I know – to his fans anymore Ben, but whilst he is still playing on the tour, whilst he is world number 3, whilst he says he still can win slams, then at the very least, I expect him to conquer these demons in any match he plays and yes, I expect him to at least – reach the semi finals. I don’t think that is too high an expectation as a fan.


madmax Says:

Steve-O I’ve just read your post and I like it.

I still have expectations though. Is it wrong to have high expectations?


Brando Says:

@ gannu: I think it’s really hard for desire to exist if nots already there. I mean look at it from this point of view: what more is there that federer will desire to achieve? Not much I feel. The no.1 ranking he has had for the longest period in a row, and 2nd longest overall, he’s won the most AUS/US open, he’s won the French at a time when there is a player of nadal’s class on that surface. The only thing I think he wants is: 1 more Wimbledon to match Sampras’s 7 and the olympic gold, that’s all I feel. Beyond that I think the real reason that he’s continue is because he still enjoys the game- and that’s more than reason enough to continue.


jane Says:

Hi madmax, if you go to the “Roger Federer: Tsonga deserved the Victory” link, Fed’s presser is there, or at least some of it (don’t know if it’s abridged). I think the context of that quote you used above was looking forward to the USO.


Polo Says:

I don’t think this Federer-Annacone partnership is working. Federer appears to be deteriorating faster than expected for his age.


Ivan Says:

Fed is 30, come on! He will need a lot of luck to win anything now. Remember Sampras from 2000 onwards? He went 28 tournaments without a win, then suddenly won the USO (which was aided by a LOT of luck and favorable schedule changes by his countrymen managing the tournament).

Agassi won in this 30s by exploiting the void between Sampras and Federer – and that too mostly the Australian open, which has been more unpredictable, ALWAYS, relative to wimbledon and the USO (because it is so early in the season, everyone is off touch).

Age guys, age. That’s why I am rooting for DelPo, and of course Djoke (since he is only 24). That’s why Nadal’s days are also declining.


jane Says:

I need some ranking points help from anyone; here is the question: “After Wimbledon, Nole, Rafa & Roger had 13,285 – 11,270 – 9,230 points; now Nole has 12,860 but Rafa & Roger added 500 points according to ATP website.” Is this because last year’s Canada points dropped off, or else some other strange 500 rule? Help. Thanks. :)


steve-o Says:

@madmax: I’m saying exactly that Federer is far more ambitious than people give him credit for. He is trying to effectively have a “second career” where he once again dominates and wins big titles. This is totally uncharted territory, no one has ever done it before.

Whenever he’s asked if he believes he can return to the top, he always replies that he wouldn’t be playing if he didn’t. I have no choice but to take him at his word.

If it were any other player we would dismiss the possibility out of hand. But Federer just might be able to do it.

It’s as much use to ask him when he will be finished raising his game as it would have been to ask Michaelangelo when he would be done painting the Sistine Chapel. The answer would probably be: “I don’t know, but I’m working on it.”


mat4 Says:

I watch that match tonight, and I would really like sometimes to read conclusions made from what happen on the court, not what tennis pundits or fans wrote somewhere. I would like also to listen to the players themselves.

First, I don’t think Roger played bad, that he is diminished whatsoever. I don’t believe that anybody in his generation could have beaten the JWT of last night: not Hewitt, nor Nalby, Roddick neither. Roger fought, retrieved unbelievable shots, defended well, attacked sublimely. He chose the wrong strategie, perhaps, not changing the pace, but it is just perhaps. But Jo played a great match, on a level he maybe never played.

The impact made by the top 3 on modern tennis is exceptionnal, and obvious last night. On each other first (from Djoko’s serve, patterns of play and ways of improving taken directly from Roger), then on the others: Monfils, last night, was moonballing cc fh on Viktor’s bh, just like Nadal would have done, Jo and Roger played Nole/Rafa kind of defense… Tennis has changed, for the better, and athletes have improved.

Roger is not in the twilight of his tennis, but others have acceded to his heights. That’s the difference.


andrea Says:

i didn’t catch the last part of the second set or the third but it sounds like the third set was a blow out.

after watching them exchange shots in the first few games of the first set i knew it was gonna be a fight. tsonga was looking pretty good out there. fed was uncharacteristically out of position on quite a few shots, which was something i haven’t seen. maybe it was the rust; maybe he’s a touch slower. i say rust for now until more matches happen.

i like tsonga though…his personality shines thru when he plays, so don’t mind him moving on.

hard to believe fed, nadal and murray are already out!


mat4 Says:

@Jane:

Rafa (I think it is Roger’s case too) didn’t play enough (4) atp500 and was penalized. His Barcelona points were added last week, and he still has a 0 from Valencia.

Nole got a 0 for Washington.

Roger still has a 0 for Tokyo.


jane Says:

mat4, thanks for your reply but I don’t get it. I need to read the rules or something. From that question posed above, Nole lost points since Wimb, but Fed & Rafa gained, yet none played. 0_o


Ivan Says:

What goes quite fast with age are speed and reflexes. People can maintain strength and endurance into their mid forties – but speed and reflexes start waning, and no amount of training can help. Training only builds up endurance and strength, and perhaps help retain some speed.

Given how fast the game has become now, its no surprise that players start declining in the mid-twenties.

Giving Rod Laver’s example in 2011 is ridiculous – have you ever watched a match of his with those wooden racquets? Today’s serves and shots are 20-40% faster. But human evolution doesn’t happen in 40 years – it takes thousands of years.

Sampras is a relevant example – he lost some of his speed and reflexes, so pretty much vanished after turning 29 (except for that lucky USO win at 31). Agassi only won the Australian in his post 30 years – I have already commented on that – he was helped by the void between Sampras and Federer, and the fact that AO is after a post season break, so all the players are a bit off, the courts are slower…..

Neither Nadal nor Federer have a shot at winning the USO – this year or in the future. Its either Djoke, or someone else will step in.

Nadal will continue to be a threat at the other three at least next year, so will perhaps Federer (I think he has a better shot at winning the French, unless he runs into Nadal, than the USO).

Either Djoke will clean up the next few slams, or some one else will step in. Its not going to be Federer or Nadal.

Its also a physical issue. Federer managed to stay with Tsonga for two hours, then just couldn’t keep up. Same thing at wimbledon. You think that’s not age? Come on – he has been losing matches where he is winning the first set or the first two. Give the old man a break.


jane Says:

Anyone watching Fish & Wawa? Fish won set 1 and Wawa is up a break in the second.


Ben Pronin Says:

Madmax, I think you’re guilty of what pretty much everyone else is: you think you know what Federer is or isn’t doing.

Federer’s game is as good as ever. When he’s at his best, it’s still the most amazing tennis anyone will ever see (FO semi). But the reality is, Federer’s game has always had a really low margin for error. A couple of days ago Grendel mentioned how Murray’s game is so peculiar that when on it’s unreal and when off, well, it’s pretty bad. Federer is pretty much the same. When on, like he was for an absurd amount of time, he’s untouchable. When off, well, it can get ugly.

He’s not lacking in basics. He’s not lacking in physical strength, mental toughness, experience, knowledge, ability, or anything. Compare him to Nadal who looks like he almost never has bad days because his game has so much margin. It’s just the way they play. Do you want Federer to adopt a super top spin heavy forehand? A two handed backhand? He’s not going to and he doesn’t need to.


madmax Says:

IVAN,

It’s all mental.

http://www.shpm.com/articles/sports/tennis.html.
The Importance of Mental Imagery

Many sports such as golf, tennis and skating, not only require physical skills, but a strong mental game as well. Most coaches preach the line that sports are 90% mental and only 10% physical.

Especially in sports where hundredths of a second or tenths of an inch separate the champions from the mediocre athletes, an extra edge can be extremely crucial. Hence, numerous athletes are turning towards mental imagery to take their game to the next level. Different uses of imagery in sport include: mental practice of specific performance skills, improving confidence and positive thinking, problem solving, controlling arousal and anxiety, performance review and analysis, preparation for performance, and maintaining mental freshness during injury.

How to Implement Mental Imagery

There is no correct way to practice mental imagery. It is all left up to individual preferences and the present circumstances. It can be done on or off the field, very short (within a few seconds or minutes), of a long duration, sitting up, lying down, in complete silence, with a stereo, eyes closed or they can be open. A shorter version of imagery is best implemented during matchplay. For example, a tennis player may take a few seconds to visualize him or herself hitting the perfect serve in the place where he or she wants. Or a quarterback can go through a play in his mind just before calling the play. Longer, specific guided visualizations are usually designed for a quiet room prior to competition. In this case, the player should be in a relaxed and receptive state in order for the image to go deeply into the mind. It is recommended to do visualization two or three times per week. Another way that many athletes practice imagery is during bike rides, lifting weights, rowing, etc. Since one is exerting physical energy while doing mental rehearsal, it helps facilitate actual competition (Porter, 22-23). Some individuals are better at forming pictures in their heads than others. Or some people may excel in certain sensory experiences and not others.


madmax Says:

Ben,

Ben Pronin Says:
Madmax, I think you’re guilty of what pretty much everyone else is: you think you know what Federer is or isn’t doing.

(no different to you then Ben, at times!). We are all guilty of it.

I just get deflated when he doesn’t win a match I think he should and that’s not because Tsonga didn’t play well.

It’s called disappointment and hoping that Federer can find a solution.

In answer to your question,

‘Do you want Federer to adopt a super top spin heavy forehand? A two handed backhand? He’s not going to and he doesn’t need to’.

Firstly, NO. I don’t want federer to do any of the above things. I just want him to win (and that’s unreasonable I know, or is it?) And I do believe (unlike you), that it is a mental thing. (see above). That’s my view.

Not so long ago, you were advocating that Federer should retire, that he was done, and that is completely NOT what I feel.


Ben Pronin Says:

I think Federer should go out on top because a) it’d be lame for TMF to retire on a 5 match losing streak in 250s and b) it’d be epic and fitting.

But he still has plenty of time before hitting that 5 match streak. I just don’t see it’s a big deal that he lost to Tsonga. Like I said, Tsonga shouldn’t be facing Federer so early in a Masters event. The guy is top 5 talent.

It is mental, sure, and that’s why there really isn’t much Federer can do. He can’t force himself to be motivated and fired up. It just doesn’t work. You can’t go back to the mental basics after winning 16 slams.


RZ Says:

I didn’t see yesterday’s match, but what I noticed in Fed’s loss to Tsonga at Wimbledon (as well as his tricky win over Davydenko in Australia last year) is that Fed doesn’t always recover from his service motion in time to get into position from fast returns from opponents. That’s how Tsonga was able to break him at Wimby.


jane Says:

Good effort by Mardy. He was down 1-4 (double break) in the second set, then leveled, then Stan broke again to serve for it at 6-5 and Mardy broke back again. They are just going into a second set t.b. So if Mardy wins, he is through to the semis.


mat4 Says:

Jane,

(the way I understand it) 4 atp500 are mandatory. So when you don’t play enough tournaments, you get 0 points for some you missed. The rule is that a top player gets 0 points from the first atp500 tournament after he left without enough atp500 played in the last year. This 0 stays a year, until the end of the same tournament he got 0 for.

Nole got 0 points from Washington, so he lost his DC points.

Rafa played Barcelona, so, after Washington, where he had 0 points, he got back his Barcelona points. He had to wait until Washington is played, because he got 0 points for this tournament.


jane Says:

Thanks mat4: that makes sense…sort of. :)


mat4 Says:

I think my English has never been worse. :-(


jane Says:

No, no your english is perfect mat4!! My math and forumla understanding is subpar, and I find the ATP rules confusing sometimes.


jane Says:

Bagel for Mardy in the final set. Nice finish.


madmax Says:

Ben, we are not going to agree on the mental state of things are we? There is a LOT you can do with the mental side of things. It’s the psychology of anything. You tell yourself something, you soon start to believe it, positive or negative.

Ben, The basic intention of all our desires is to get some sort of happiness – (think about it, who wants to have pain in their lives? directly or indirectly (indirectly watching federer lose is not a desire of mine!). Even if desires (whether in sport, or love or whatever) are fulfilled we do not seem to be completely satisfied. The desire to win for a professional athlete is immense. As human beings we desire something bigger, better, higher which will give us a sense of fulfillment. Federer is no different, unless of course, the desire has waned.

This is what I don’t get. He says he still has the desire to win, frequently establishing and fortifying in press conferences his ‘love for the game’. To me, this shows desire.

Annacone at the moment I feel is not doing his job.


Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t think it’s Annacone’s fault Federer doesn’t have enough desire.

And the way you talk about it one would think Federer is the only one who wants to win. What about Tsonga? What about Nadal and Djokovic and Murray and Davydenko and Hewitt and every single other player out there who wants to win not a 17th slam but a first, second, or even 11th? You assume that if Federer fixes whatever is going on in his head, he’ll go back to 04-07 winning everything. That’s not the case. Djokovic sorted his mental problems and is playing the best of his life, but it won’t last. He knows it better than anyone. And it’s not because he’s going to revert to being a head case, it’s because other guys want it just as much if not more.

Federer could’ve played better, sure, but obviously Tsonga didn’t let him. So blame Tsonga for being so strong and so good as to not let TMF win their match.


Brando Says:

I actually agree with ben here. I think the chasing pack is ALOT more hungrier than federer now, that along with the fact that he is 5 years older than most his rivals is what is affecting him. I didn’t see the match last night but recently what I have noticed with federer is that he has regular lapses of concentration in almost most matches and also at times he does seem to be overpowered by certain players at times. The 6-1 to tsonga in set 3 may have reflected this.


jane Says:

Tipsy is serving for the first set now, over Berdych; I am kind of surprised. Admittedly have not been able to watch Janko’s matches but I thought Berd looked strong against Ivo yesterday so Tipsy must be playing well. T.V. keeps showing ladies so will have to find a stream..


jane Says:

Tipsy now up a break in the 2nd. He’s serving well, more aces than Berdych and higher return percentages.


madmax Says:

Yes Ben, I take your point. Let’s couple then the ‘desire’ with ‘pure unadulterated talent’. Tsonga had ‘more desire’ PLUS ‘talent’ yesterday, resulting in his win over Fed.

Federer had ‘less desire’, but ‘more pure talent’, resulting in his loss. Without ‘more desire’, the talent will not win the tournament on its own.

He still needs to sort out the desire connundrum though Ben as it is interfering with his game (the desire connundrum is what gives him his momentary lapses.

That is something that can be solved, but he has to have the desire to want to solve it.


grendel Says:

How do you quantify talent? Does Federer have more variety at his disposal than Tsonga? Undoubtedly. Can Tsonga drive the ball hard off both wings into unexpected areas of the court and all in response to pretty decent shots, can he do this more effectively than Federer? Undoubtedly.

Talent evolves and also decays does it not, in most fields of endeavour. Right now, I’d find it hard to say Federer is more talented than Tsonga. He may be, he may not be. Why not just accept they are both truly exceptional talents – and different?

My suspicion, however, is that Tsonga is becoming a more effective player than Federer. However, we won’t really know that for another 6 months or so.


grendel Says:

Berdych and Fish are waving at each other as one slides down the ladder and the other climbs up. They have already slipped passed each other, soon they’ll be out of sight. Bye bye Berdych, hallo Fish (what took you so long?)


jane Says:

Fish and Tipsy on the bottom. But Fish had to battle past Gulbis and Wawa in three setters, whereas Tipsy has had two straight setters over Berdych and Dodig. Mardy and Tipsy have met four times, with the last three all going to Mardy and all on different surfaces. Tipsa is in uncharted territory in a Masters semi for the first time. So given their record and Mardy’s experience, I suspect Fish will be a finalist. It would be a huge upset for Tipsy to take out another top tenner.


mat4 Says:

@Jane:

I am quite surprised Tipsy didn’t choke today. He does it often enough, though he’s far from Stan Wawrinka or Viktor Troitski. I have no doubt whatsoever that Mardy will win, although Tipsy sometimes shows the talent of a top ten player.


jane Says:

Tsonga seems to have Nico’s number. He is 4-0 over him and likely to get one more today. I was surprised to see that Almagro was in the top ten. He must have quietly amassed points as I don’t recall him going deep in too many events, other than the S.A. clay swing earlier in the year, where he usually does well.


mat4 Says:

NA is sixth at the atp race, this year. He had a good start of the season. I watcher the Almagro Tsonga AO 2010. It was pretty close, but JWT won. Hope to have an opportunity to watch some of the match.


jane Says:

Hey mat4, well it’s a nice run for Tipsy either way I guess. Do you think the other semi will be Tsonga vs. Nole? And how do you see that going if it happens?


jane Says:

I remember that AO match too, mind you it was one and a half years ago, but it was hard courts.


jane Says:

Just checked: Almagro has had a nice stretch since Wimbledon, too, reaching the finals of Hamburg and two other semis. He won Nice and two of the south American clay events. So yeah, it makes sense he is doing well in the race. He is pretty good on hard courts too.


jane Says:

Wow, Tsonga hasn’t had to do much to get a break.


jane Says:

Tsonga is still alive in the doubles too! He is playing with Wawa later tonight. Murray bros are playing Berdych/Mayer right now and are down a set.


mat4 Says:

@Jane:

Sorry for the delay, but now I am back.

I hope Nico can make a surprise, but it seems now that JWT will roll.

Although Gael, with his defensive skills can make life miserable to almost everybody, I am almost certain Nole will prevail.

In the semi, I would like Novak to win, but Jo plays well, he moves especially well, better than he ever did.

But you don’t win 55 matches for 1 defeat if you don’t have something special in you. And Wimbledon was not so far ago. So, though Jo has real chances, I still favor Djoko a little.

He will have to hit deep, find angles, change often the pace, and, especially, to return well. The more he plays against someone the better he returns, so it could be really important.

Jo, on his side, will have to finish points fast, and to be in the zone with his FH and especially his BH. It worked against Roger, and his strength allowed him to hit deep from a defensive position. But he had less rallies to play, since Roger doesn’t retrieve as well as Nole.


mat4 Says:

I like Almagro, and I feel he didn’t manage to make it up to (hope I wrote something meaningful) his full talent. He plays quite well, now. His BH is so elegant.


mat4 Says:

BTW, the relationship between Tsonga and Nadal is a bit stormy, since AO 2008 and a practice sessionin MC the same year. It helps to understand some of his statements to the press.


jane Says:

I think Tsonga is saving himself mat4; don’t know if you have been watching but he is playing the minimum he has to here so far. And as far as I can tell, he is set to play doubles later.

I remember the super close match between Nole and laMonf in Paris, but Monfils was playing aggressively and Nole’s serve wasn’t working.I hope with the shift Nole can come through and make the semis. I said last night I didn’t mind who won in Tsonga versus Fed as both have winning records over Nole. Nole is probably more familiar with Fed’s game as they’ve played 3xs more than him and Jo, but Fed’s obviously a big match player.


jane Says:

mat4 didn’t know that re: Jo and Rafa. Tsonga is starting to come alive here. Looks like it is almost over.

Yes, I was thinking Almagro’s backhand is very nice, like Gasquet’s and Wawa’s. But it seems one handers are maybe more prone to go off/errant?


mat4 Says:

@Jane:

Maybe you’re right, although JWT looks a bit slower than yesterday (and still looks fat!). (Nico, of course, just choked. Business as usual.)

If I remember well, in Paris Novak won easily the first set, made a break in the second, than collapsed. I don’t think it will happen again. This match will look more like the one they played at the USO last year.


mat4 Says:

Almagro is not fast enough to be consistent on his BH.


jane Says:

Who do you think are the worst chokers mat4, just for fun? :)

Jo’s serve is insane! And he is soooo goood at the net.


jane Says:

If your elbow is sore Jo, maybe don’t play doubles? I wonder if he will pull out. Jo says he feels great in his head, and it shows.


mat4 Says:

@Jane:

For me, the absolute no 1 was Lendl.

From the actual generation, among the top: Troicki, Wawrinka, Monfils, Verdasco… Tipsy too. Gael has lost, if I remember well, 9 of 11 finals he made, Tipsy lost all his finals, Troicki – you can always count on him to choke, Wawrinka (who is a very sensible and intelligent young man) is not able to bare the burden of being the favorite.


mat4 Says:

Jo likes to go forward, but he doesn’t play deep, directed volleys often, prefering drop volleys instead. Probably because of his twohanded backhand and his grip. Novak does the same, BTW. Llodra is better at the net, not to mention a specialist like Nestor.


jane Says:

^ I notice the Llorda/Zominjic team are doing well here.


mat4 Says:

I have to correct myself: Monfils lost 11 of 14 finals; Tipsarevic is 0 of 4, Verdasco won 5 of 17.


mat4 Says:

@Jane:

Who are your favorites from the choker world!

Llodra should concentrate on playing doubles only.


Kimberly Says:

Patricko4 is on the leaderboard at number 38


jane Says:

Mat4 I was surprised when you listed Lendl as I don’t remember him like that, but I was young and really watching only big events. I guess I remember him beating JMac in slams more than anything.

I think Troicki has that problem, sustaining a lead. Soderling used to sometimes choke or just go away,, back a few years, and then he turned a corner and started to believe more in his game. Berdych, Gasquet, too: they used to tense up in big moments of a match but they seem to have become more level, with some good wins. Verdasco and Monfils’ records in finals suggest something is up there. Was Nalby a choker? I can think of two: once versus Rafa at IW, and once to Ferrer at the USO. But I don’t know if it was a problem overall.


mat4 Says:

The more I listen to Koenig, the more I like him. Is Patrick McEnroe with him?


jane Says:

That’s nice Kimberly. I’ll bet he is thrilled. :)

I have Canadian commentators mat4. Nole began a little tenatively I thought.


mat4 Says:

About Lendl: when you see his overall results, his tennis 15 years ahead of his time, you wonder how he lost 7 GS finals.


mat4 Says:

Nole is improving.


Duro Says:

Guantanamera…


mat4 Says:

Hello Kimberly, hello Duro.


Duro Says:

Hello, Frenchman.


jane Says:

mat4 are you French?


Duro Says:

Numero uno, ladies and gents…


mat4 Says:

@Duro: it is just like I wrote to you: Hello, Serbian.

Nole is playing great.


jane Says:

Forehand is starting to cook: I like!


Duro Says:

No, no, I am Montenegrin. Noleland, remember?


Duro Says:

Oh, my… Nole’s angry…


mat4 Says:

Yes I know, Duro. And I am not French.

Nole godlike!


mat4 Says:

I think I’ve gone to far with my last comment.


Dory Says:

Wish these days would stay forever. Wish Novak would win dozens of Slams.


Duro Says:

You’re not!? Sorry, mat. Mea culpa… I thought so.

Nole played last two matches in third gear. He decided tonight to be serious, apparently. His top gear is sixth, but the team is developing the seventh, I hear…

What a domination… And that French cat is number 7 in the world. Brutal.


mat4 Says:

hello, Dory.

Agree completely.


mat4 Says:

A stick or a bagel?


Duro Says:

This is unreal…


Duro Says:

I’m blushing…


Dory Says:

Nole The Champion! How he raises his game for “danger” opponents.


Dory Says:

Now Monfils can definitely start entertaining the crowd.


Dory Says:

Although Tsonga will be tough to beat. He was tough to beat at Wimbledon.


jane Says:

Omg, Monfils is being quite the Joker. :)


jane Says:

Clearly, this has worked to rattled Nole.


Duro Says:

Absolutely brilliant… Scary good.


jane Says:

Nole was relentless. Monfils really loosened up and began playing like he CAN at the end there, but it was a case of too little too late. He did seem to get Nole somewhat off track, but mostly Nole just stay on course.


mat4 Says:

Good news for tomorrow. Nole looked good. He finally flattened his BH, unleashed his FH. His crosscourt FH is impressive.


Duro Says:

If Gael wasn’t fooling around it would be most probably 6-0, but it’s better this way. It’s not nice humiliating totally a top ten player.

It think this was a message sent to all which thought to have a chance or something by attacking Novak’s game, second serve the most, like Čilić and davidenko did… This was a message to Tsonga mostly, in case he gets too carried away by his good form and starts thinking he would blow Novak off the court by his aggressive game. No passaran, Mr. Jo. Try with another game plan…


El Flaco Says:

Cincy draw is out. Same set up for the top 4 as last time. It looks like Fed is going to play Delpo in his 1st match. Ouch!

http://assets.usta.com/assets/663/15/ATP_MDS-1.pdf


Kimmi Says:

serena on song…


jane Says:

Thanks for posting that El Flaco.That’s an “ouch” for Fed indeed. Talk about a tough opener.


jane Says:

I was surprised though for how long Safarova hung in there with Serena. Kimmi are Serena and Aza on opposite sides? Might be interesring to see them match up.


Duro Says:

Both wings, I like that expression… Nole looked like having three of them.

Rates: Forehand 91 (out of 100), backhand 94, first serve 86, second 85, volleying 79, drop shots 90, movement 96, anticipation, intelligence, strategy 92…

Seventh gear would be his serving improved to around 90 and volleying to 85. In that case we would have a perfect player which Peter Bodo announced back in 2006 or 2007 when he first spotted Novak.


Kimmi Says:

They play tomorrow jane (azarenka vs serena). fighting for a place in the final. I got a complimentary ticket for the final, so I am hoping serena wins tomorrow. havent seen live women tennks before, i think it will be fun.

Congrats to the winners today. the draw is opened up big time..if djoko can get past tsonga, it will be cup cake in the final me think.


jane Says:

Oh, that’s great Kimmi!! Well, normally I would probably root for Azza, but for your sake then, go Serena!


Dory Says:

As expected. Nadal won’t have to play both Fed and Djoko at Cincy. Hope Fed can defend Cincy. That will give him confidence for the US Open.


Duro Says:

We can’t talk about it, taboo you know, but Nole and Fed like a married couple…

For those that didn’t understand the first time, from the Nole fans perspective it’s not about Fed being his most dangerous opponent always in his side of the draw we are complaining, or being hypocritical to admire and fear him at the same time, it’s about tournaments officials fixing it up all the time to possibly get Fed and Rafa in the finals. They didn’t figure it out yet… The new time has come and if that epic duel brought so much money and attention all this time, the things changed in the meanwhile. I am sick of it as well as of the people’s refusal to accept the obvious and inevitable. Does Nole have to keep beating everyone all the time the next 2 years to be accepted and recognized as the real number 1 in the world? He already is, and stop fixing the damn draws you lousy corrupted aged dishonest tournaments officials. Leave the players and game to decide who’s the best and who deserves what.


steve-o Says:

It’s very hard to get into Djokovic’s service games right now. Not only is he serving with confidence, but he’s fast enough to reach his opponents’ returns and get them back with some pace. He’s covering his second serve very well.

But Tsonga plays the kind of quick-strike, net rushing tennis that can rob Djokovic of the time he needs to play his baseline game. If he serves well himself, I think he will give Djokovic a very tough time, though I doubt he can pull off the upset.

It should be a fantastic match–probably the best of the tournament.


Michael Says:

We had a time when it made headlines whenever Federer loses, not anymore. He loses now more frequently to even lesser players not named Nadal or Djokovic or Murray. Perhaps age has caught up with this GREATEST PLAYER. It is sad for his fans but there is nothing much that can be done as we cannot fight against Nature. But I still expect Federer to make a mark at the US Open as he is a different animal in Grand slam events. However, the chances of his winning the tournament is quite remote. I expect him to atleast reach the Quarter finals to continue that streak. Previously before Wimbledon, I had hoped that may be Federer had 2 more majors in him. But all that hopes have evaporated. Federer is a pale shadow of his earlier self. It will now make big headlines if he wins the event and surprise critics. Obviously time doesn’t wait for anyone. It just moves.


Michael Says:

Now Djokovic has got a wonderful chance to solidify his place as World No.1. The chances of his winning the Montreal is very bright. And if he wins this event, it will be a great confidence booster ahead of the US Open where I expect him to win the coveted trophy. I do not think there is anybody who can stop him now with Nadal, Federer and Murray out in the dumps.


madmax Says:

duro,

How can tournaments be fixed? I don’t believe it, tennis has to be one of the ‘fairest’ and ‘cleanest’ sports around. Look at what has happened at FIFA, corruption allegedly at the top? I don’t think that this can happen here, or may be I am being naive. I remember over the last couple of years at the FO, watching both RAFA/WOZNIAKI and Anna/Novak PICKING OUT the draw – how do you account for this?

Iknow sometimes it seems (especially now) that Rafa plays Murray more, (does that matter?), or roger plays novak more? – sometime soon, they will meet each other on opposite sides of the draw. I don’t believe in this conspiracy theory.

grendel Says:
How do you quantify talent? Does Federer have more variety at his disposal than Tsonga? Undoubtedly. Can Tsonga drive the ball hard off both wings into unexpected areas of the court and all in response to pretty decent shots, can he do this more effectively than Federer? Undoubtedly.

Talent evolves and also decays does it not, in most fields of endeavour. Right now, I’d find it hard to say Federer is more talented than Tsonga. He may be, he may not be. Why not just accept they are both truly exceptional talents – and different?

My suspicion, however, is that Tsonga is becoming a more effective player than Federer. However, we won’t really know that for another 6 months or so.

August 12th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

grendel/ben,

you make some good points, but this age things really annoys me. There you have Fish (almost 30, a few months younger than Roger), you have Tipsy whose next birthday is 28 – they are regarded as ‘old men’ of the tour now and you know who the others are, but for now,these two players are defying age; logic and evolution.

It’s desire. Does Tipsy have more talent than Federer? Does he have more talent than Tsgona?

Now if we talk about Fish, another ‘almost 30′ man, HE has gone back to basics and been prepared to do something to change his physique, his strategy, his training regime.

Ben, you can change. Fish is proof of that (and it has NOTHING to do with age). Using the age argument, Fish should have been out in the first round!

Go Fish!


margot Says:

Hurry on down. Draw is out and we’ve only got till tomorrow am to make pics. Now what’s Patrick’s phone number again…..;)


Seth Says:

Why does Monfils play with such a distinct lack of brains? Constantly?


scineram Says:

Cincinatti

17 FEDERER, Roger SUI
18 BYE
19 DEL POTRO, Juan Martin ARG
20 SEPPI, Andreas ITA

Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.


scineram Says:

First round to watch

Roddick-Kohlschreiber
Melzer-Simon
Tsonga-Cilic
Youzhny -Llodra


Kimberly Says:

Wow we have to do our picks from the iPhone! I should just copy my kids!


El Flaco Says:

There are some competent players that could come through the qualifying: Stepanek, Gulbis, Nishikori, Devvarmen, Tomic, Petzchner and Chardy to name a few.

The bad news is we only have 24 hours left to complete the challenge draw so if you decide to pick a qualifier in the challenge draw you won’t know who it is yet.


Skeezerweezer Says:

scineram,
Re: 5:24 post….my thoughts exactly! Shhhh!t.

madmax,

Did you know Fed now at 30 qualifies to play in the Champions World Tour? Ha! Wait…..so does Fish….errrrr ;-)

K, Cincy draw is the worse draw to pick this year? Ugh. BTW, Can u send us all a copy of P’s picks? Agree with margot, We are not worthy ….
Say hi to Mickey for me. It’s a small world after all.


dari Says:

VAMOS, kimmi- tickets to the Toronto final!
I’m sure you will have a great time, let us know!


madmax Says:

del potro has to beat seppi first before he possibly plays Roger and I believe Roger will be ready. Don’t run away from fear, but face it. Every time. It will make you a more confident person and player.

Seppi is a decent player and delpo is a great player, but he still has a lot to do I believe before he is back to his best.

If Roger doesn’t do well in the first round in Cinny, there can be no more excuses for him. But, I believe he will be more than ready.


madmax Says:

Hi Skeezer,

Hope you are well.


Lou Says:

I also believe federer will bounce back. We should not loose faith inhim. We are getting too crtical off the champion.

Read this article- a nice one which is actually helpful for us fans not to lose hope in our players:

Roger Cup Defeats: A boon for Federer, Nadal and Murray? http://bit.ly/r4krhC


grendel Says:

madmax

I agree with you, of course the draws of tournaments are not fixed. Conspiracy theories, whilst always delightful and adding to the gaiety of nations, are just about always nonsensical.

About age: some poster, can’t remember who, quoted some player, can’t remember who (Agassi?) to the effect that the life of a tennis player is reckonned in not in calendar years but in time spent on court. If you are as successful as Federer, you automatically will have spent longer on court than someone like Fish, simply because Federer will have consistently got to the back end of tourneys – unlike Fish.

I think, too, there is a more subtle point here. Someone who has had a huge amount of success is inevitably going to be a little sated. No doubt Federer still works extremely hard. But you can’t tell me that the singleness of focus which charcterises a champion doesn’t atrophy somewhat as the years slip by – particularly if the career has been largely satisfactory. The mind is a slippery thing, and rarely under the control of its alleged owner.


jane Says:

“simply because Federer will have consistently got to the back end of tourneys”

More consistently than any player in the history of the sport w.r.t. to slams, anyhow. And for a few years there, it did seem as though Fed was in every final, everywhere. Lots and lots of miles on those legs. He is still alarmingly fast and fluid on his feet though. Interesting contrast between Fish and Fed re: age, though. According to the ATP site and their W/L records, Fish has played 450 matches to Fed’s 965: Fed has played more than double the matches.


madmax Says:

grendel and jane,

I can’t argue with you when you put it like that. I think that my point about age – does not stand up on its own.

Jane, the ATP site and their W/L records, well Fed has played more than double the amount of Fish at more or less the same age. So there is more reason for federer to be slippin’ a bit. His legs have more miles on the clock.

Presumably though, a la agassi, I would like to see a comparison between agassi and fed and sampras and fed before I can take the argument further.

Thanks both.


madmax Says:

Lou, thanks for the link.

Before that link, there is a quote, which I quite liked so I am going to post it here (but it’s thanks to you).

QUOTE OF THE DAY – “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”-Lance Armstrong


jane Says:

madmax,”a comparison between agassi and fed and sampras and fed” – yeah, that would likely be more fitting, in terms of both age and careers. Especially Sampras and Fed. I guess for Agassi, he had that period of respite, where he dropped way down in the rankings and rethought his career. As far as I know, Sampras was more like Fed and just kept consistently playing his way through, doing well overall, until he retired.


madmax Says:

Yeah, Jane, that’s some research for me to do perhaps tomorrow.

It’s funny really, but Fed is always compared to Sampras in lots of ways from what I have read), but he only ever played him ONCE in his tennis career and that was when he knocked him out in a five setter at Wimbledon – you would have thought they would have played a lot more against each other the way people write about them – As for Agassi, I don’t know how many times federer played him –

but I do know that rafa played Agassi 3 times in his career,(can’t find the tournaments they played to hand, wrote them down somewhere) – grendel will know or tennisvagabond, am certain -

people tend to forget that – almost as if that shouldn’t count because Rafa was at the start of his career and Agassi towards the end – doesn’t matter – they still played each other.


Duro Says:

Maxi, numbers never lie. No, you are not naive, you chose to be on that matter.

Since Fed and Rafa are not 1 and 2 how many times did you see them in the same side of the draw? I remember – once! Maybe it happened twice, but I can’t remember. Do you? Out of how many tournaments?

They want them to play in the finals. End of the story. And it’s the only way.

Everything fixed? Not. Just put Fed and Rafa on the opposite sides and the rest doesn’t matter. The power of the money is immeasurable.

ATP involved? Of course not. Tournaments officials can and do “organize” their events.

I would like someone to back up whichever version with numbers. That would help a lot. I hope I’m wrong, but…


mat4 Says:

@Duro:

I analyzed the draw very often. I have no doubt that it is fixed in the GS the last four years.

We could also have a look at Serena’s and Venus’ draw in Wimbledon, I think it is quite interesting the last 10 years.

At the masters, the situation is a bit different. In Madrid, they want Rafa in the main role, so he got Roger or Novak in the semi, depending the seeding. In Monte Carlo, Franulovic, a good friend of Pilic is the tournament director, so Novak is never in Rafa’s half. In Italy, where Nole is very popular, same thing — he was never in Rafa’s half when he was seeded third, and Roger ended in Rafa’s half this year. Novak is also favored in Beijing, but it is an atp500.


Duro Says:

Mat,

“I analyzed the draw very often. I have no doubt that it is fixed in the GS the last four years.”

Ok. I have no doubts you can back it up.

The whole this story is based on epic Fed-Rafa finals. if that is “in order”, then everything else doesn’t matter. I wasn’t talking that much about “easier” draws or something, but thanks on your observations, regardless. I wouldn’t even like to go into it. Scary prospects. About Fed and Rafa finals, I have no doubts.

That is the one case I mentioned (Italy). One out of how much? 17?

About Beijing, I don’t know. Monte Carlo; Franulović is Croat, Pilić as well, you check it out some more if Franulovic is so good friend to Pilić, or they just share nationality.

In general, the problem is the technology of deciding draws and players. Unless it’s all the time public and live on TV, with names taken out from the closed balls, I won’t believe it ever.


grendel Says:

“numbers never lie”? Numbers tell neither lies nor truth. To have meaning, they require interpretation. And all mathematicians know that the results of any analysis are often highly counter-intuitive, especially anything to do with Probability.

That said, Duro says that tournament officials can organize events so that the ATP doesn’t know what is going on. Is the ATP really so feckless? I know nothing about it, but it does seem surprising.

madmax, I hope you don’t mind, but I must disabuse you of this idea that I am knowledgeable about tennis. There are many on this site who are – I am not one of them. I’m pretty wordy, which may contribute to the false impression. I just have lots of memories – which sometimes let me down or play me false.

However, since you mentioned it, I do remember one Nadal/Agassi match. It was Agassi’s last Wimbledon. There were speeches, presentations, cheering, lots of smiles from Agassi (make the most of it,I pondered glumly)and Nadal looking on modestly in the background. Go on then, I thought, be generous.(He did say afterwards this was Agassi’s day….). Nadal wasn’t generous. There was a tightly fought first set, and then Nadal ran away with the match – how often have we seen that?

Afterwards, Agassi said that he just hadn’t been able to fathom the Nadal serve at all. Interesting, don’t you think? This was someone used to battling on grass with Sampras, Becker, Ivanesevic etc with a fair degree of success too. And Nadal’s serve was never much rated until last year. But actually, Federer always struggled with it, especially on grass. It was never a killer serve, Nadal’s, just annoyingly consistent and very hard to attack, and the grass seemed to lend venom to the spin. I think that’s what Agassi found.


Duro Says:

Grendel, there was a number 1 player in the world using stimulants (should I say drugs?). ATP new it and covered it. That much about them.

About numbers -Probability is your answer.

Cheers. Nole in action ;-).


madmax Says:

grendel, nice anecdote there.
I love your stories grendel.

duro, I just can’t believe that tournaments are fixed. With my own eyes, I saw Novak during one tournament and Anna during another, federer, rafa, etc.during others, pulling out names from a large tennis shaped glass ball – with my own eyes. How can this be fixed ?

Unless you are saying that Novak, Anna, Fed, Rafa or whoever is ‘choosing’ the names are corrupt?

This cannot be.

This will bring the whole of the sport of tennis into disrepute.

If you are talking about Agassi as the ‘number 1 player’ using stimulants or drugs – they were not performance enhancing so would have had no effect on his game, if you read his book ‘Open’.

Secondly, ATP did not know as Agassi wrote them a letter which they believed and then the ‘event’ happened I believe outside of the Limitations Act so there was nothing they could do about it, but I am not sure who you are talking about here and I don’t like talking in riddles.

I think it would be safe to say a lot of fans are not happy at the idea of a fed/rafa final (except on hard court right now), there seems to be a lot of discussion out there duro that fed’s best surface is hard court and not grass, (you know the reasons why).

And to be truthful, Novak is only really just coming through and establishing himself as the true number 1, so the tournament IS fixed (as you believe – I don’t), then surely, tournaments over the next 6 months or so, starting NOW will feature more of Novak and Rafa playing against each other or Novak and Murray?

I don’t believe it duro.


Duro Says:

I do, Maxi.

Not all the tournaments and not the whole draw, but the main scenario is, very often.

Those you mentioned certainly were not. But most of the drawings are not public and most of the tournaments are not Grand Slams, and most of the tournament officials take a good care of their events, doing everything possible to make it better than the rival ones, draw as many attention as possible, earn as much money as possible and make them look successful managers and organizers to live another day and survive till the next year. Tournaments can be bought off, you know. Not enough money, interests and sponsors and you are gone. No mistakes allowed. Put yourself in that position; if you were allowed to, without ATP presence (further checking needed), if you could organize the drawings for your tournament, wouldn’t you make sure to leave the possibility of the Fed-Rafa final happen anyway? One small touch or move would do. Just one. And who could ever prove anything?

What fans would wish doesn’t really have to do anything with the tournament success. They would put Fed 35 times in row to lose against Rafa in the final for what they care. Money and power is their only “spiritus movens” and that final is still the best possible indicator of the tournament success. For some time in the future, though…

The only rule is the one that obligates number 1 and 2 to be placed oppositely. Everything else is a farce.

Unless every drawing is public and organized in a way described earlier, I choose not to be naive.

Cheers.


grendel Says:

If there were serious anomalies in the draws, you can be reasonably certain they’d be uncovered by investigative journalists. That’s what they do. And they are much better at it than any of us.


Duro Says:

Bottom line, Grendel, Fed in the opposite side from Nadal, last 14 times out of 16, regardless of Nadal being number 1 or 2, random?

OK, then…

Maxi and you must be right.


grendel Says:

This isn’t exact, I don’t suppose, but gives the general idea. What needs to be remembered is that when Federer was #2, he will automatically have been in the opposite half to Nadal. Same true if Djokovic not playing.

Federer became #3 on 5 July 2010. In Toronto, 2010 he was in the opposite half to Nadal. In Cincinati 2010, Fed in same half as Nadal. At the US Open, opposite half. He had become #2 on 6 August. Between 13 Sept and 18 Oct he was #3. So far as I know, Fed and Nadal were not in same tourney again till WTF, which is a round robin tourney. At Doha and the AO, Fed was #2, and in a different half to Nadal as of right.

Fed was #2 until 21st March 2011, when he became #3, obviously.

So at Indian Wells, March 5, Fed and Nadal in opposite halves as of right, as #1 and #2 seeds. At Miami, however, Fed and Nadal in same half. At Monte Carlo, Fed and Nadal again seeds 1 and 2, since Djokovic not playing. At Madrid, Fed and Nadal were in the same half. Same true in Rome. At both RG and Wimbledon, Fed and Nadal in opposite halves. Also in Montreal, as we have just seen.

I think from this summary, it can be seen that there has been nothing untoward occurring. There has been no conspiracy. However, in the last 3 grandlslams (excluding the AO, when Fed and Nadal were #1 and #2), Fed and Nadal have been in different halves. This is perhaps very slightly odd, but certainly not remotely so odd as to make one suspect foul play. What it certainly is is very annoying. I do hope Federer and Nadal are in the same half this US Open. But if they are not, one will just have to grin and bear it.


grendel Says:

In the above, I forgot Shanghai in October 2010, when Fed at #3, was in different half to Nadal. But it doesn’t materially alter the situation.


Duro Says:

Grendel, I said you must be right.

Cheers, ;-).

Top story: Coric Ends Nadal's Season In Basel, Federer Overwhelms Dimitrov; Ferrer v Murray In Valencia
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