Djokovic Opens Bid For “Djoker Slam”, Federer, Azarenka Also Scheduled; Roddick Roughed Up At Roland Garros
by Sean Randall | May 27th, 2012, 10:15 pm
  • 143 Comments

Novak Djokovic begins his historic and likely once-in-a-lifetime quest for that elusive “Djoker Slam” Monday at the French Open. Djokovic’s first of what he hopes is seven matches on the red clay pits him against Italian veteran Potito Starache.

While Novak should have it easy Monday and really through the first week, things will get precipitously tougher next Monday when the pressure ramps up. So for the Serb, who I think everyone but him agrees has dropped a level from his lofty heights a year ago, best enjoy the fun while he can.

Roger Federer doesn’t have quite the pressure that Djokovic’s faces this week. And the Swiss hasn’t lost a Grand Slam opener since Luis Horna got him at Paris in 2003 some nine years ago. His opponent Monday afternoon, Tobias Kamke, is actually a pretty good player, but it’s hard to see Roger slipping up here on the red clay. A victory would tie Federer with Jimmy Connors for the most career Grand Slam wins at 233.

Federer’s draw became slightly clearer when Andy Roddick was routed by Nicolas Mahut of all people in four sets. Roddick, who lost all six sets at the World Team Cup last week, I think may have played his last French Open. I know clay isn’t his surface, but the former No. 1 just has no pop from the baseline anymore and his serve doesn’t have that ferociousness. And he shouldn’t be losing to Mahut on a clay court! That loss has to sting regardless of surface.

Dubbed by many as Roddick’s replacement, Ryan Harrison will be on the Center Court Monday against Gilles Simon. Simon beat Harrison in three sets at Indian Wells and the Frenchman should get through the scrappy American once again. Last year at the French, Harrison played Robin Soderling tough, and on the big stage I expect another good fight. But Harrison has struggled against the Top 20 players, in fact he’s never beaten a Top 15 player.

Also on Monday, John Isner, Tomas Berdych, Bernard Tomic and red-hot American Brian Baker are also in action. For the women it’s Victoria Azarenka, Marion Bartoli, Jelena Jankovic and defending champion Li Na on the schedule.

As for today (do any players really want to play Sunday?), Juan Martin Del Potro got through in four sets but of big concern is his ailing left knee. And from the looks of it today I don’t know how it’s going to hold up through 15 days of stress.

“I will have two days to work with the physio on my knee,” said Del Potro. “So I have time to recover and to be in good shape for the next match.

“After Madrid the pain start. I’m still working with the physio every day, trying to recover and to feel better for the match.”

JW Tsonga was blown out in his first set but won in four over the hard-hitting youngster Andrey Kuznetsov. German Michael Berrer upset Jurgen Melzer and Stan Wawrinka, who could meet Djokovic next week, was a five set winner.

For the women, the big story was Venus Williams who in the end overpowered promising Argentine teen Paula Ormaechea 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

“She played super well the first set. She did a lot of the right things and I have to congratulate her on that set,” Williams said. “Thankfully the next two sets were better for me, but she played beautifully today. The thing I was most impressed with was her fight, determination. You can see she has a plan for this game.”

Former champs Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova were also winners.

The first round concludes Tuesday with tournament favorites Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams.

ESPN2 has coverage starting at 5am ET for you early birds. Tennis Channel takes over at 10am ET. Happy Memorial Day to those in the U.S.

MONDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE

Court Philippe Chatrier 11:00 AM Start Time
Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[1] v. Alberta Brianti (ITA)
Na Li (CHN)[7] v. Sorana Cirstea (ROU)
Novak Djokovic (SRB)[1] v. Potito Starace (ITA)
Gilles Simon (FRA)[11] v. Ryan Harrison (USA)

Court Suzanne Lenglen 11:00 AM Start Time
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) v. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK)[15]
Roger Federer (SUI)[3] v. Tobias Kamke (GER)
Michael Llodra (FRA) v. Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) v. Marion Bartoli (FRA)[8]


Also Check Out:
By The Numbers: Rafael Nadal Wins The 2014 French Open
Djokovic-Nadal, Sharapova-Azarenka Lined Up at French Open
Novak Djokovic: Rafael Nadal Is The Favorite To Win The French Open!
French Open Women’s Final Open Thread: Serena Williams v Maria Sharapova
Del Potro, Clijsters Confirm French Open Participation; Roddick Questionable

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143 Comments for Djokovic Opens Bid For “Djoker Slam”, Federer, Azarenka Also Scheduled; Roddick Roughed Up At Roland Garros

trufan Says:

DelPo is done…

Juan Martin Del Potro survived an injury scare to secure a spot in the second round. Bothered by a left knee injury, the no.9 seed required treatment, dropped a set, before confounding his fans’ fears to close out the match.


trufan Says:

Outside of top 3, does anyone really have a non zero chance? Murray, Berdych?? Don’t think they can hold up when the stakes are high, and clay is not their best surface either.


Humble Rafa Says:

The biggest news at Roland Garros so far…

Venus Williams is not wearing any butt ugly, skin revealing, nude clothes or underwear.

Yes, you read that correctly. Nothing to see, move on folks.


Michael Says:

Congratulations to Novak going for a Grand slam and what a tremendous achievement that would be if he can make it. Things are definitely tough as he has to make it here because it is Rafa’s territory where he is invincible. But the only player who has a chance against him today is Novak and only Novak. He can beat Rafa here he can somehow find his 2011 form.


skeezer Says:

Humble Rafa,

I would be careful using the word “butt” in your posts, as it causes unneccesary orgasms to the women ( errrr…. And some different men or closet women like mark, roy and rick )


Gordo Says:

Michael,

If the game was played on paper you would be right, but remember the number of us who gave Soderling a chance against Rafa in 2009? I’ll remind you -

None of us.

Djokovic vs Nadal would be a dream, record setting final – first man to win 4 slams in a row since Laver versus the first man to win 7 Roland Garros titles. But both have 6 matches to win before that final, and nothing is a given – ask Nadal about 2009, or for that matter ask Djokovic about 2011, when Federer prevented Nole from an actual calendar Slam.


Rick Says:

Skeezer, wtf are you on about? So you get orgasms, when Federina is playing? That is pretty kinky! LOL So, how do you feel your butt being kicked? LOL


Rick Says:

Gordo! What about Rafa prevented Fed Allstop from a actual calendar Slam in 2006 & 2007? Soderling prevented Federina to defend her title in 2010?


Rick Says:

Hopefully Berdych could finishes his job and sends Fed back to where he belongs if not Nole will.


Mark Says:

Squeezer.. Fedthug!!!


jatt Says:

skeezer..LOL


madmax Says:

Rick Says:
Hopefully Berdych could finishes his job and sends Fed back to where he belongs if not Nole will.

May 28th, 2012 at 2:33 am

Oh Rick. I love it when you paw over federer so much. It’s kind of cute. Fed has every chance of moving up the rankings, we hope for this to happen IF he is able to get through the first round. I read about Kamke, who is a good player.

Berdych has always troubled federer with his big serve but federer knows his game pretty well by now. It’s great that you are taking part in the federer love here Rick. You talk about him all the time, more than skeezer or any of the federer fans. You belong in the camp Rick. So I am sending you a fed bear hug!

Can you imagine how you are going to be should Fed win the FO? No one believes he will but we don’t care. He is still playing and we love to watch him.

So many things could happen. Murray could find his fire again, Fed could overcome novak in the semis, if he doesn’t then will be happy for novak to do something that no one else has achieved. Would be a landmark event and I like novak’s style of play better than rafa’s.

Rafa could win his 7th FO, and again, that would be a landmark for him, so it’s all good.

Federer though could surprise everyone, so good that he is under the radar. Just hope that he does HIMSELF proud, we are already proud of him.

Don’t go away now Rick.


Fleischer Says:

Who will have a great FO 2012….Federer or Djokovic ?

Based on pedigree and record Federer has the edge.
Based on age and recent domination Djokovic has the edge.

Cant wait for the semis to find out who has a fantastic FO 12.

The one who comes out triumphant from the semis will have the fabulous privilege of getting his 19th loss against Rafa.


metan Says:

the winner of FO 2012 is rafa,

Hope rafa will meet nole in final,


trufan Says:

The person most devasted if he doesn’t win the FO is likely to be Nadal. For Fed, its a very remote chance, and he has already won it. Djoke will be disappointed too, if he doesn’t win – but this is Nadal’s turf.

Also, since Nadal’s season is pretty much over in 2 weeks.

I hope some young Guga type outsider comes in and takes the title – its getting boring.


alison hodge Says:

Trufan sensible Rafa fans like myself,Brando,Lulu,Kimberly,only think about the tournament that hes actually in,to think furthur than that would be suicide,given the hatred and negativity he has to stomach sometimes,believe me its the only way that we manage to stay sane.


madmax Says:

Had not heard of this guy, American Brian Baker, but when you think he started out with novak, murray, berdyche, jo tsonga and that generation of players and what he has been through, I think it deserves a mention. Also, puts things into perspective.

If he won the French Open, I don’t think there would be one dry eye in the house!

By now, the majority of pros, and plenty of tennis fans, have heard about his back-from-the-dead revival. Baker’s inspirational tale of perseverance and persistence is the feel good story of the year, and a crush of media attention has followed him the last few weeks.

It goes something like this:

A decade ago, the 6’3″ Baker was one of the USA’s brightest prospects. He was among the top juniors in the world, so good he was invited to practice with Andy Roddick at his home as a teenager.

He was not only good. He was good on that vexing bane of American tennis—clay.

Baker reached the 2003 French Open boys’ final, losing in three tight sets to Stanislas Wawrinka, one of several players Baker beat as a junior that went on to have impact careers—other include Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Based on his results, Baker seemed destined for big things.

When he turned pro (and signed some lucrative sponsorship deals), that looked promising, too. In 2005, he stunned Roland Garros champ Gaston Gaudio in the first round of the U.S. Open, just a year after he’d conquered Paris. That same year he beat another promising young player from Serbia—current No. 1 Novak Djokovic.

But Baker’s body would not follow where his heart wanted to go.

Between 2005 and 2008, he underwent five surgeries—three on his hips, one for a sports-related hernia, and another on his elbow, the so-called Tommy John procedure. By the end of his ordeal, he had become a pro at rehab.

Baker says the first hip surgery was the most worrisome, since players with similar injuries—like Magnus Norman and Gustavo Kuerten—failed to recover fully. The elbow, which needed a grafted tendon, took longest to heal.

At this point Baker was 23. He did the logical thing. He went back to school, enrolling at nearby Belmont University, where he also worked as the assistant tennis coach. He kept busy, but couldn’t help notice that the players he once beat were tearing up the pro tour.

“I tried not to look back too much,” he says. “I did everything in my power not to think about it. Mentally, it was one of the hardest things to go through. It gave me peace of mind that I wasn’t trying to blame anything.”

As he took classes and practiced with the college kids, Baker noticed that he was body wasn’t aching as much. The pain was subsiding. And it dawned on him: Maybe he wasn’t done after all. Maybe the dream he had clung to, the desire he had buried in the busy hubbub of daily college existence, wasn’t dead.

He slowly worked on his game, and last July he entered a Futures event in Pittsburgh. He won it, and hasn’t looked back. He continued to win matches at lower-tier Futures and Challengers in the fall, finishing 2011 at No. 456 with only five tournaments under his belt.

But that was always the rub. He could play. But could his body hold up? A test that paid major dividends occurred last month.

At a Challenger in Savannah, Ga., Baker won eight matches, including three in qualifying, to win the title—his first at that level since 2004. The run clinched a wild card into the French Open through a point system devised by the USTA. Baker, who beat a slew of solid pros such as Michael Russell, Ryan Sweeting, and former U.S. Open semifinalist Robby Ginepri, called it his best week so far.

“Beating all those guys back-to-back was the best stretch for sure,” he says. “Mentally I was exhausted, but I didn’t feel that bad,” he says.

In other words, his body is cooperating.

“I knew what I was getting myself into,” says Baker of the risks to his fragile physique. “Not every day is super fun, but it beats anything else that I’d want to do. Tennis has been the main constant in my life. I enjoy competition and I’ve been blessed with good talent. What I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a little kid is be a pro tennis player.”

Since then, the 216th-ranked Baker has dealt with media coverage from almost every major outlet. He’s kept his head down. He’s put in the long hours. And his game continues to improve, week to week, mostly because he is re-learning how to compete—or as he says, “not pressing as much when playing the big points.”

Peers he grew up such as Amer Delic, Bobby Reynolds, and Rajeev Ram have welcomed him back into the fold with open arms.

“It’s pretty neat from a personal point of view,” says American Ram, who has known Baker since the 12-and-unders. “He’s a good dude and people are happy for him across the board.”

Ram says Baker’s strengths—big serve, aggressive groundstrokes and superior returns—are intact.

“The ability hasn’t gone anywhere,” Ram adds. “He’s winning matches fairly easily and winning a lot. The key for him is keeping his body in order.”

He’s getting to know newer guys like John Isner and Sam Querrey, too. Querrey, coming back from elbow surgery, beat Baker in a Challenger last month and they two warmed up several times in Nice, where they are both tuning up for the French Open.

Baker hasn’t set foot in Europe since losing in the first round of qualifying at Roland Garros in 2005. But his first trip back might cause some elevation, at least in his mood, even if he remains even-handed about his progress.

“I’m really excited,” Baker says, his voice almost rising. “I never envisioned that I’d be out that long. I planned on playing all the majors, whether qualies or the main draw, for a long time.”

For now, Baker is without a coach and has yet to re-sign with an agent. He’ll be anything but alone in Paris, however. Accompanying him will be both his parents, his brother, his sister, two sets of aunts and uncles, some stray Nashville fans, and his girlfriend of two years, Alathea Thompson.

“I’m hopeful I can get them all tickets. If I have to, I’ll just buy some,” he says.

First-round opponent Stakhovsky could be forgiven if he looked a little ashen on Tuesday. After all, the 84th-ranked Ukrainian hadn’t played Baker since the American beat him in juniors nine years ago. Ghostly, perhaps, but real.

Very real, as it turned out—Baker won his first ATP match since 2005 with a 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-5 upset, a comeback in more ways than one.


Kimmi Says:

azarenka in huge trouble. she is down a set and a break..she is world number one, maybe she can fight her way back. (6-7 0-3)


Kimmi Says:

0-4 down now


metan Says:

Does Victoria need to pack her rackets now? Omg, it’s lol


alison hodge Says:

Azarenka will have to dig deep here.


alison hodge Says:

Azarenka claws one of the breaks back,think she could be getting her act together now.


Kimmi Says:

federer gave the break back..


Kimmi Says:

azarenka starting her fight back..wins three straight games


Kimmi Says:

federer steadies the ship


Kimmi Says:

brianti lost 5 straights games..about to lose another to give azarenka a set. there it is!!

I think vika wins this now.


Kimmi Says:

federer winning but very sloppy.


Kimmi Says:

good. saves 3 break points to win the set 6-2


Kimmi Says:

kamke going for broke and he breaks federer. federer gave away three UE in that game.


alison hodge Says:

cant see Federer loosing here,never the less he is unusually sloppy here.


Kimmi Says:

ah, fed very sloppy today. c’mon!!


Kimmi Says:

azarenka wins.


Mark Says:

Hey squeezy. Guess you know all about closets. Man or woman of experience!!! Lol


green900 Says:

fed playing very sloppy


Kimmi Says:

It is a relief to win that set!


Kimmi Says:

hewitt, one more push please!


Brando Says:

Rogers seems sloppy today- BUT on the positive kamke is fighting hard, so this is a reall good 1st round for fed. He seems to love the conditions here fed- JUST needs to cut ou the sloppy UE, then he’ll be tough to bear here!


Kimmi Says:

he is just continuing from that djokovic match in rome. soooo many errors. ugh!


Kimmi Says:

5 match points saved!


green900 Says:

fed got through. poor play towards the end


Gordo Says:

Rick Says:
Gordo! What about Rafa prevented Fed Allstop from a actual calendar Slam in 2006 & 2007? Soderling prevented Federina to defend her title in 2010?

Actually Rick, I was citing examples where an overwhelming favorite lost. The 2010 Soderling match is a good example, but Nadal was never expected to lose the 2006 and 2007 matches.


conty Says:

Oh, I tried to watch and stay awake but it was just too early, Kimmi. Glad Fed made it through but can’t help thinking maybe Federer won’t be too into this – going far but not if it costs him physically, you know? His interest may be more into Wimbles and the rest of the summer. That’s just one guess.

Listening to RG radio, sounded like Gulbis was really giving his all and was up for the contest physically fit. I pick Kukushkin simply on it being 5 sets and thought Gulbis wouldn’t make it. Sure enough, it was a 5 setter, Gulbis came from a set or 2 down, according to comms, (I thought they said Gulbis had a match point in the 5th); but managed to lose to Kukushkin anyway. poor Gulbis – just too little too late. But he still young. Maybe he’ll realize he likes tennis in a few years?

Going to try and see some of Nole match before I have to go.


Lisa Says:

@Madmax

A wonderful story about Brian Baker….I’ve never heard of him…..(heart breaking)


conty Says:

Yes, madmax. Thanks for the information on Baker. Didn’t watch any tennis last week and missed Nice.

When I saw the name in the bracket, I simply passed him by; thought he must be a young Brit or Aussie, maybe Canadian. Had never heard of him here.


conty Says:

skeezer, have fun with mark, roy, rick. They are here to be trolling Fed fans – it’s their sport, what they do best; minimal substance and mostly anti-feds. Their posts, especially the “Federina” slur by one of them is especially familiar from that other tennis talking place, which poses as something more than a Rafa Nadal fansite.


Lisa Says:

Fed…..Hoping for a much better performance next round…..


conty Says:

Kimmi, a quick check of the completed match results let me see this is going to be a bracket ‘fail’ day for me :/


conty Says:

Nole getting challenged by Potito. Potato playing well. Tie break for 1st set.


conty Says:

Nole won the tie break. Most exciting match: Anderson v Machado. Finally 10-9, Anderson broke Machado in the 5th and will now serve for the match. (not that anyone else cares)


trufan Says:

Fed is not going to even reach the final with this high a level of unforced errors…

Nadal’s moonballing and then running like a rabbit is perfect for this surface.


tfouto Says:

conty, i care. I am portuguese, so i wanted Machado to win… He was 5-3 serving for the match on fifth set…


conty Says:

Anderson wins a long 5 match battle; serves it out at 11-9 in the 5th.

Isner serving for what appears by the score like a good serving day and 3 set win, with at least 18 aces.


gannu Says:

Great article madmax…loved it…hope baker does well now…we only look at success stories and expect too much frm feddy bear…but we now know the darker side and forget those countless failures…gives good perspective and shud be happy abt wat our man has achieved especilly in the context of stories like these


conty Says:

Hi tfouto. I cared too. Like both players but picked Machado to win! Also a fan of Machado the Portuguese cyclist. Same name, I think. Must be very common surname in Portugal.


conty Says:

Djokovic shaking his head at himself. He’s a break up in the 2nd set but not happy at the moment. He’s serving now to make it 5-3, if possible. Think he looks good in the new kit. But served well and it is 5-3, Nole in the 2nd set. Maybe he is just getting warmed up.


conty Says:

Yep. Suddenly set point for Djokovic. But Starace saves one set point. 2 more set points to save.

Nole gets 2nd set 6-3. Improving by the minute now.


tfouto Says:

Machado is a normal surname, its not one of the most common but also not one of the least. Portuguese tennis is not really famous, so a victory of Machado would be good. But lately South African tennis its not really that good either, altough better.

In Portugal sports, people almost only care about football and also a little of hockey. But that’s it…


trig Says:

Nole finally started to read Starace’s serve. Then, there is more pressure on the Italian, obviously. But kudos to Potito for the game he showed in the first set, with those incredible drop shots.


Lisa Says:

@trufan

Maybe you should start worrying about Djokovic…..

His struggling against someone Federer would normally breeze through…….worrying times…..


conty Says:

Chartrier getting hosed, literally, it’s getting a soaking prior to 3rd set. (dangerous red clay ;) just a joke :D


conty Says:

trig, on the other thread you commented about my username change. May I ask how you know conty? :)


conty Says:

Yeah, trig, you are right about Nole’s reading Starace serve. And he just had a strong service game, Nole. Liking what I’m seeing.


conty Says:

Great rally by Djokovic and Starace. This match isn’t over. Nole better stay focused.


jamie Says:

Hi.

Del Potro’s, Federer’s and Nole’s debut charts are not good, they won’t win RG.

Nole has the worst debut chart of these guys, smells like early elimination. :(


conty Says:

Just heard (I think RG Radio comms said) Federer’s win today is close to tying Conners match win record – someone can correct me… thought they said Federer needs one more win to equal Connors. Time for me to go…was listening and talking on phone. Must trust in No1e to get this 3rd. Djokovic just up a break :D


trig Says:

Nole is improving. He served very well too. I don’t feel he struggled with Starace. He struggled a bit with himself. But let’s watch the match.


conty Says:

Jamie, be positive. There was a solar eclipse this month. Doesn’t that mean something? a wee chart alteration?


madmax Says:

Hey kimmi, I don’t worry about Federer first round, seriously, let him make all the sloppy errors he likes, he is usually like this, the engines will start working around the third round, so as long as he eases himself in and doesn’t expend too much energy, then that’s fine with me.

Conty, I love seeing Rick here, honestly, he is Federer’s biggest fan! He posts all over the god damn place, what would TX be without rickmarkroy? So I have a special something for the trio from Becker: Here you go:

Madrid – German tennis legend Boris Becker lauded Swiss maestro Roger Federer as having done more than anyone to change the game with his supreme technical ability.

“The guy who has changed tennis is Federer – beauty, technique, coordination and footwork,” Becker said in an interview published Monday in Spanish daily El Pais.

Becker said he had – at least to begin with – been less impressed with the raw, but at that stage unhoned, athleticism of Rafael Nadal, who along with Federer has defined the men’s game over the past decade with 26 Grand Slam singles titles between them.

And if that wasn’t good enough ,they can read the whole of it here. See Rick. Don’t say that fed fans don’t love ya.

http://www.iol.co.za/sport/tennis/federer-changed-tennis-becker-1.1306236


trig Says:

There are always wee chart alterations.

But Jamie has nothing to worry about. (S)He already knows all the results.


conty Says:

This is making me be late, but Nole is now up 4-1 in the 3rd and I can leave in peace. No need to answer my question trig ;) cheers.


jane Says:

Yay Nole! He just needed to convert more effectively on his break chances throughout this match; had he done so, it would’ve been more straight forward. But Starace is a fairly strong clay-courter; I knew Murray had had a tough match against him at Roland Garros a couple of years ago, so I figured this wouldn’t be a breeze of a first round. Nole’s returns became much sharper as the match progressed: as trig mentioned, it was partly a function of Nole reading PS’s serve better.

It’s windy today, speaking of breezes.

I like Nole’s kit: very classic and simple.

conty (!), I am tanking on the brackets today too, but there have been lots of mini upsets – and a couple of surprising retirements first set.


trig Says:

Didn’t see it at first, sorry conty.

I recently changed my email address, so I figured I could use a nickname in line with my pronounced lack of intelligence too. I have no doubts that soon you will recognize my clumsy style of writing.


Dave Says:

Federer was not going to whitewash one of his German buddies. Besides he needs the match practice on red clay.

Federer’s 233 match wins has EXCEEDED Jimmy Connor’s record of 232 grand slam match wins. Connors lost 14 more Slam matches (49 losses) than Federer — which means that 30-year old Federer will have played more Slam matches than Jimmy Connors if Roger wins his next 14 Slam matches at French Open and Wimbledon. It took Connors 55 Slam appearances to achieve those numbers.

Some newspapers reported Federer’s 233 Slam match wins as just ATP history, but it really is entire tennis history the 1870s. That’s because (a) all four Slams became majors since around 1925 competed by internationals players; (b) some Slams in the closed era had less than seven rounds (e.g., Australian Open had practically five rounds in the 1960s); and (c) most of the closed era’s greatest grand slam champions turned professional and could not compete in the Slams anymore (Laver, Tiden, Rosewall, Perry, etc.). Roy Emerson was the only great grand slam champion who remained amateur and racked up 12 singles Slams, but he won much less matches than Federer’s 233 matches. Emerson won a record 6 Australian championships between 1961 to 1967, but he won only 45 AO matches between the mid 1950s to mid 1970s (Federer won a record 63 AO matches).

What may be more amazing is that Federer becomes the first man to win at least 50 matches in each of the four Grand Slam championships in tennis history.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATP_World_Tour_records#Match_wins_per_Grand_Slam_tournament

If Federer wins the 2012 French Open, he will tie Guillermo Vilas for most matches won in the French Open. Ahead of Roger are Agassi (51), Lendl (53) and Vilas (56). Federer is ahead of Borg, Wilander and Nadal. Thus by winning the 2012 French Open, Federer can tie Vilas as the greatest French Open champion in terms of match wins. (Note: Borg wion his 49th FO match at Rafa’s age in June 2011).


madmax Says:

Go Dave! You are a statistical genius!


trig Says:

Hi, jane.

I thought Nishikori’s kits were fine and hoped Nole would get something simple and elegant too. Just hope Nole won’t have influence on the design.


jane Says:

trig, are you mat4? :)


jane Says:

^ That is scary. I hope he’s okay now.


trig Says:

Jane, could this be a good answer?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiS1IcKuG8s&feature=related

Oh, well, you live and learn.


trig Says:

But I see that you are familiar with my usual syntax. Nothing poetic about it.


jane Says:

LOL, on the real trigger, trig. Nice syntax, as always.


jane Says:

Wow, Harrison serving for a chance to go up 2 sets to none on Simon and he is broken, and then broken again. Now they’re a set apiece.


jane Says:

They totally need to get lights at Roland Garros; already two matches were pushed forward from yesterday to be finished today, and it seems almost certain more will be pushed forward today. This happened in later rounds last year, during crucial matches. It’s just silly, imo. Either start earlier, or get some lights, at least on SOME of the courts. There aren’t any are there?


trig Says:

jane,

the neighbours don’t allow RG to install lights for night matches. Big problem for RG. But honestly, I don’t quite understand.

Then, I noticed that Nole stated that “RG was his favorite slam”. It’s a kind of GS: he already said that WB, the USO, the AO are his favorite slams.

Well. I love blonds. But I love brunettes too.


Mark Says:

Does Roland Garros have a fire department? If so djoker will be wearing a RGFD hat like he did at the US Open. What a lad!!!


trig Says:

Will PHM make a comeback from 0-2? It would be a feat!


jatt Says:

thanks for the article …madmax
brian baker is really a good prospect..
Just checked his score against xavier M and he is up by 2-0. Sometimes feel sorry for such good players who missed their prime period for no fault of theirs..Very happy to see him back


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Another Game For Milos. A huge win for the young man. Opponent was a relic of the 90′s, a perfect easing into the tournament for AGFM’s first RG win. Each match is huge in his clay learning curve.
He’ll get Jesse Levine in the Maple Syrup Summit, which he should win, and I think he’ll have a good head of steam then for his first big challenge, likely Juan MOnaco.


Steve 27 Says:

Nadal match Borg participation tomorrow with eight, and if he win the tile, he will be the best on clay, and above Agassi wins with only 26 years!


Dan Martin Says:

I give credit to Roddick for being self-aware and admitting his movement is not right on clay. This is a big summer for Andy. Now or never for some decent results is my read on things.


Polo Says:

How can I make myself excited about this French Open? It seems quite obvious (at least to me) as to who will win.


Kimmi Says:

listening to federer interview, he was surprised kamke was playing to his FH, he says usually players plays to his BH a lot….that could be the reason he was missing a lot. lol!

Looks like kamke and his coach didn’t read the memo.


Kimmi Says:

jane – so djokovic likes the balls. federer didn’t comment much, just saying they are slower. I wonder if he likes them?


jane Says:

Kimmi, “Looks like kamke and his coach didn’t read the memo.”

LOL. :)

I guess Nole likes them; we’ll see!


Lisa Says:

@Polo

We have Brian Baker, an amazing story….(Madmax commented on his story)..
It would be amazing to follow him throughout the tourny, hope he goes far, think his a fantastic player..

I think it would also be intresting to follow Milos Roanic…..Should he make it to meet Rafa…..I gareentee it would be one hell of a match

I also think this is the time for Andy Murray to shine(nobody expects anything from him in this GS)……and he is way too seriously under the radar while all the talk is focused on the ‘Big Three’( Djokovic, Rafa, Federer)….

All the while, other players(Isner, Simon, Ferrer..etc) might just bloom here…..

We know who the heavy favourites are, but particullarly the (3) players above and a few others, I think they would certainly make the tournament exciting…cheers…


Polo Says:

@Lisa:

Thank you. I should stop looking at this French Open as a given for Nadal. I should focus instead on new faces who could be future champions. I think it is time for me to pick a new face to replace my idol when he retires (next 2 years, perhaps?). Raonic is starting to grow on me.


jane Says:

Polo, you can also look to the nearest relevant cliche, “it’s not the destination that matters; it’s the journey.” I often enjoy the journey through the early rounds of slams for the new faces, the drama of some of the near upsets, the mini-upsets, the 5 setters, the interesting match ups, and so forth. It was intriguing to see Nole figure out Starace today: starting slow, not reading his serve, and then ultimately finding his way.


Lisa Says:

@Polo

Just trying to keep things intresting…:)


trufan Says:

Federer has tied Connors record of 233 wins. One more and he breaks it. But remembers, much of Connors record was based on his 98 or so wins at the USO, where he made some 17 consecutive QF!

Fed is the only one with 50 or more wins in EACH Of the 4 slams. Unprecedented!

As for Nadal…

Players stop winning slams SUDDENLY. It doesn’t happen slowly, and it is always unexpected. Look at Borg – after 1981 French, he never won anything (though he retired early). After 1984 USO, Mcenroe never won anything – even when he had an unbelievable year with 82-3 match record.

Wilander in 1988, Edberg in 1992, Sampras – at Wimbledon 2000, he looked like he would win a few more slams. Then suddenly, he went dry for two years, didn’t even win a title until he got freakishly lukcy to win the 2002 USO.

Federer, 2010 AUS Open – looked like he was back with a bang, and had been in 18 of the past 19 slam final. Since then? Only one final, no title.

So it stops suddenly, just when everyone believes the person is primed for a few more titles.

Nadal this year seems like that to me. He is 26. This could be his last slam.


trufan Says:

BTW, federer’s best chance of a slam is at the USO. He has been more consistent at the USO than even at Wimbledon – 8 consecutive semi or better. BTW, its similar at the AUS – 9 consecutive semi or better. Wimbledon has been a shocker – QF exits the last two years.


roy Says:

oh, god, this horrific draw for federer is only getting tougher by the day.
so roddick, lopez and stepanek his uber tough scheduled seeds have now all fallen!
why do nadal and djokovic get all the luck!


conty Says:

Polo, regarding your question, I’m tempted to dish you a short, smart-ass comment like you have me in the past, but I won’t. :D You are serious and it’s a problem; every FO gets feeling so predictable.

It’s a GS, anything can still happen. Or, if what seems like the inevitable happens, and Rafa wins his 7th RG well, it’s so expected that is is boring to some of us. Then, there’s the polite congrats to his fans and i can only be sincere to the less anti-fed Rafa fans. Basically, I’m burnt-out from it. But even Federer continually winning was beginning to border on the kitsch, imo. It’s just all too unreal and over-the-top. It would be much more impressive if Nadal won another US Open, which he might. Point being: feeling ready for new GS winners here.

Pretty sure I can’t do much to make you feel better because I actually feel the same way (mostly). Federer’s love of tennis and his beautiful game inspires me to keep watching and playing when I can – he made me a junkie for this sport. But for many Federer admirers, his leaving the game will be tough. We are lucky to have seen him. But there are always more players emerging. Actually, I think I started slowly cheering against Federer and intentionally distancing from him when he lost to Delpo in 2009.

Take Gillles Simon, maybe nothing special at first glance but his determination and ability to make the most of what he’s got, think quicker on court, how he goes about winning a point, and the way he’s so vocal to himself out there (have seen him play at IW), he’s quite entertaining. But I like Marion Bartoli too, so there you go.


conty Says:

ha! I knew who you were, trig. I remembered reading the posts (trigger the horse). but thanks for the video link. I’ve never seen that BBC comedy. That was good. Nothing beats Cleese in Faulty towers to me, but I’ll have to watch more of those clips.


trufan Says:

Roy,

Nalbandian lost, which really opened up the draw for Fed.

However, QF onwards, he still has the toughest draw – if the placements hold up. One of Berdych or DelPo (likely Berdych now) for Fed, Possibly Tsonga for Djokovic. Who does Nadal get? Perhaps a nobody.

Then in the semi. Its clear that Fed would have been a tougher semi opponent for Nadal than Murray or Ferrer. Just compare their records on clay, or at the French Open, or against Nadal. Murray or Ferrer stand virtually no chance against Nadal. Fed still would have had a slim chance.

Contrast that to the other possible semi – Fed vs DJokovic. That’s as tough a semi match as it gets.

So who has the sweetheard draw, tell me, please? Your butt boy Nadal.


trufan Says:

Nadal’s likely QF opponent is someone named Tipsarevic (alright alright I know who he is). But come on – Who would you rather face in the French QF – Tipsarevic, or a red hot Berdych? And remember, this is not a slam final, so less chance that Berdych will choke.

I hope Raonic does a Soderling to Nadal in the 4th round…


Humble Rafa Says:

Dear Staff,

Time is running out.

Please put the “Who will win the French Open?” poll on the home page.

I get my best laughs of the year looking at the results (Yes, The Arrogant One was chosen by his disciples every year for the last 4 years to win on red clay).


dc Says:

@Humble Rafa
I get my best laughs of the year looking at the results (Yes, The Arrogant One was chosen by his disciples every year for the last 4 years to win on red clay).
————————————————
I must say u have a very sad life if the best laughs of your year are provided by this poll.


Michael Says:

Gordo,

Agree. Nothing is given. But Rafa’s performance in Rolland Garros and other Clay court Master events are incredible simply to put. It will require a monumental effort to beat him here. Yeah, Soderling did that once and his performance would for ever be cherished in Tennis History. It would be nice if Novak does it beating Nadal here in the finals and if he does that then one cannot overlook the whispers that would set in labelling Novak as the GREATEST Player and then you cannot ignore it either. But it is going to be tough. True there are six more rounds and nothing is given. Anything can happen.


trufan Says:

The not so humble Rafa,

I am a huge Fed fan, but have said that Nadal has at least an 80% chance of winning the FO this year, with Fed’s chance less than 1%.

Have a laugh if you find that funny!

After all, who can moonball better than Nadal?


skeezer Says:

“Who does Nadal get? Perhaps a nobody.”

This is the true, no?

——————–

“Who will win the French Open?” poll…

HR, your being the arrogant one now…hehe


trufan Says:

humble rafa make every player wait on the court no? before every toss no? humble rafa always up to gamesmanship, taking bathroom breaks at important moments no? and then keep player waiting for serve for EVERY SINGLE serve no, picking his butt again and again no?

humble rafa not so humble no? humble rafa the true arrogant one no?


metan Says:

@ humble rafa, staff won’t say but jamie has said based on prediction,

Vamos Rafa


Mark Says:

The Great Rafael Nadal!! Go Rafa. Keep picking your butt (to the annoyance of the Fedthugs) but more Importantly keep kicking butt. Vamos Rafaaa!!


trufan Says:

Mark,

I agree with you when you say “Go Rafa”. Would be nice to see him go!

As for kicking butt, even in his most dominant year (2010), he lost 10 matches. So he had never really kicked that much butt outside of clay.

Nobody questions his credentials on clay. Or shall we say “RED clay”? Because he really turned blue in madrid. A slight change of surface, and Nadal is done… Wow, what versatitlity and adaptability in his game…


Mark Says:

Let us leave the blue clay to the Smurf King. That is the only colour in his repertoire! Pfffttt!!


trig Says:

@conty:

I always associate Cleese with the MPFC, and it was a humour I didn’t like.

Then, a clip for you,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrqYAKLIZx0&feature=relmfu

For once, Delboy wins. It was one of my favourite parts, and I hope it will help you discover one of the best sitcom ever.


trufan Says:

Ya, let us leave the blue clay, or the indoor courts of the YEC, or the fast hard courts of the USO, etc. etc. etc.

After all, slow red clay is what tennis is all about, right?

Boy, not a single YEC yet, and he is already in his post peak years, Nadal.


alison hodge Says:

Trig just to say thanks for that OFAH link,deffinetly british comedy at its finest,i have the whole collection on dvd,and i watch it if theres nothing much on tv,its comedy like that,that never seems to date,as funny now as the 1st time you watch it,Wogboys a huge fan too.


trig Says:

@alison:

“i have the whole collection on dvd”

Lucky you! But to quote Del: “Fortune favours the brave”…

BTW, my favourite episode is “A miracle in Peckham”.


Wog boy Says:

Trig, Alison

When it comes to Del boy and Rodney the only thing you can say is SIMPLY THE BEST.

BTW, I was promised, by my family, DVD collection for my next birthday…..providing I am going to last until then:)


Polo Says:

@conty: sorry for the commments I directed to you in the past. I am trying to be level-headed nowadays and temper my comments. They don’t do anybody any good.

As you, Lisa and Jane had advised, I am trying to enjoy the French by focusing on other players instead of who I think is going to win. I prefer Roger (if not him, then anybody else other than the one in my head). Anyway, I may just skip the finals but watch all the matches that precede it.

I would follow the young ones, Raonic in particular. The other one is Grigor Dimitrov. Ever since I read that article on him with Peter Lundgren praising him as even better that Federer at the same young age, I have been following his career hoping that when Federer leaves the game, he would be my replacement favorite player. Unfortunately, he has not lived up to that early praise. I am watching his match against Donald Young, if he loses to Young who loses to just about anybody, then I will stash Grigor’s name in my list of discarded potential Federer replacements.


courbon Says:

Hi Wog Boy-you definetely have to get DVD set.I got one and watched couple of times in the last 7 years…On the serious note, get a DVD set of series call “Wire”-thats pretty damn cool…and last thing-What you think of Novaks prospect of wining?I know he does not plays great at the moment but my gut felling tells me he actually may win this?


trig Says:

@Woggy:

My next birthday was ten years ago. ;-)


Wog boy Says:

courbon,

I will have a look in ABC shop for that one “Wire”, thanks.
About Nole, I don’t want to say anything in order not to jinx him, but I already know I will be sleep deprived in next two weeks:) whatever happens I want to see him giving 100% and his best and enjoying the game and we can hope for the best.
Skeezer is knowledgable man and I hope he is right in his prediction for FO from the other thread:)
BTW, Nole is the reason I don’t know if I am going to last until my next birthday:)


courbon Says:

What is Skeezers prediction?
When Rodney first sees Triger he asks Del:Why they call hime triger?Is it because he is carying a gun?Del says;No, because he looks like a horse…Classic.


alison hodge Says:

Trig i have so many fav episodes of OFAH,too many to mention,i love the one where Del falls through the bar,even though i know its gonna happen im in stitches every time.
Wogboy to buy it will be money well spent.
Coubon its a comedy so full of one liners,Del says im an achiever,ive never actually achieved anything,but ive always been in with a shout…another classic hilarious.


alison hodge Says:

^ I have to say i had to pick myself off the^ floor,everytime Triger called Rodney Dave ha ha.


alison hodge Says:

Nole seems hungrey for that illusive 1st FO title,going for 4 in a row,as does Rafa going for no 7,also i dont know if anyones noticed this,but Rogers also trying to make history,if he were to win the FO,he would be the 1st man since Laver to complete the career GS twice,all are setting out to make history,which will should make for an exciting couple of weeks tennis wise.


courbon Says:

Hi Alison, you are right about Trig calling Rodney Dave, crack me every time…Regarding the Nole its just a gut felling.Head says Nadal but just a gut felling…my gut said he will win Rome and he did not, so what do I know…I think his concentration will be higher and then he has a good chance.For Roger would be very difficult to beat Bedrych/Porto, Djokovic and Nadal (but possible-we are talking about Federer here!)We will see…


alison hodge Says:

Thanks Courbon yeah it all makes for a great tournament,all to play for,may the best man win.


Wog boy Says:

Courbon,

Skeezer’s prediction is Nole, hethinks:)


Steve 27 Says:

that heavy and boring is this guy who calls trufan, is accused rick roy to be in love with Federer, but this is not far behind, if Nadal is in decline, winning only in red clay, which was not as dominant, only speaking pests of the Spanish, I bet as cowards, if he see Nadal in the face he wets his pants or is silent like a plant. Is not trufan is trustupid.


Steve 27 Says:

I bet as cowards, if you see Nadal in the face. wets his pants or is silent like a plant


Rick Says:

I agree with you, Steve27! Fedthugs are morons, they have to get their butts kicked to make themselves feel good! LOL


trufan Says:

Steve 27

read before you press the enter button – you can’t even write one sentence properly. What shit are you saying? Can’t take the truth about your butt boy?


Dave Says:

madmax: “Go Dave! You are a statistical genius!” Half the credit goes to the Wikipedia authors who put most of the stats together :) Still, even the ATP’s article on Fed’s 233 stated it equaled Connors 233 — even though the ATP’s own page on Connors lists only 232 grand slam matches won. What’s fishy is that the ATP did not hot link Jimmy Connor’s name to his ATP page.
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Tennis/Players/Co/J/Jimmy-Connors.aspx?t=mr


Rick Says:

Fedthugs are full of shits! LOL


Rick Says:

trufan, you are the butt boy yourself. You are being really busy kissing Federina’s butt and being her thug! Because, you are so in love with her. LOL


trufan Says:

Rick,

Shits is not a word in English.

Federer is a man.

WHich planet do you live on??

Federer is done, everyone knows that. He started declining in 2007 itself. So not me, I have no illusions about Fed’s chances.

Now if only you could get out of Nadal’s butt for a second to see this world – must be quite dark and shitty where you are…


Rick Says:

Fed Allstop has such easy draw like I said with Isner being on Murray’s draw. If he runs into Nole. He would gets humiliate by Nole!


Steve 27 Says:

trufan have the mental age of a child of 5 years, you boast to write well, but only you are a person without trial or judgment. The only thing you can say is your single-issue topic: If Nadal if, Nadal if the other, that’s all your crap out of your computer. Tell Nadal in the face like a man all you think of it, instead of hiding behind your cave staff. Think about for your own good.


jane Says:

Well we’re into the third round now. Of the top four’s remaining draws through the semis, in my opinion, Murray and Nole’s are the most dangerous. They should get through the next matches okay, assuming Murray is healthy: Murray v Giraldo, Nole v Devilder. But then Nole faces either Seppi or Hotsauce (both fairly hot on clay this year) and Murray faces Haas or Gasquet. I think Gasquet and Hotsauce are the two more dangerous opponents here. If they win, in the QFs Nole could have Tsonga, Simon, Wawrinka or Fognini, and personally I think Simon could be the toughest, while Muzza will likely have Ferrer (can’t see anyone left in that section taking him out). In short, there are tough possible opponents in both the R16 and QFs for them, whereas Fed and Rafa have only one possible rough pre-semi, and Rafa’s probably isn’t even rough.

This is Rafa at RG after all. The tough match could be the R16 versus Milos or Monaco. But come on: he’ll still win it, probably in straight sets. His QF will be Nico or Tispy, neither of which is a threat, and likely his semi will be Ferrer, whom he owns. So he will surely get to the finals, likely without dropping a set.

Fed has an easy route to the QF, and unless Berdych reaches that point – who is the only one in that section that can trouble Fed imo (Delpo hasn’t taken even a set in their last 4 matches has he? Plus he has a knee injury from Madrid) – then I think Fed sails into the semis rather comfortably.

Indeed I think it could be a Fedal final again. It’s only third round so anything can happen of course, but that’s just my hunch. I think Nole could reach the semi, and I hope he does, but Fed might be in better shape at that point.

All speculation; all to play for, but that’s just how it looks. Maybe given that my faves are Nole and Muzza it affects my view, but if we honestly look at rankings, clay success, match ups etc, I think it’s a pretty fair assessment.

Top story: Federer Falls To Raonic, Slips Further Behind Djokovic In No. 1 Race; ATP London Field Set
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ATP - Oct 27 WTA - Oct 27
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