Djokovic Wins ATP Finals Group A, Murray Second; Federer Gets To Decide Who He’ll Play In Semifinals
by Sean Randall | November 9th, 2012, 7:14 pm
  • 174 Comments

One of the nuances of the round robin format is players can sometimes determine who they play in the knock-out stage. And that’s what we’ll have tomorrow on the final day of round robin play at the ATP Finals in London.

First a recap of today. And there’s not much to recap. Things against went according to form as both Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray sewed up semifinal sports with identical 6-2, 7-6 scorelines.

Djokovic, who finished the round robin undefeated for the first time in his career, eliminated Tomas Berdych while Murray held on to best JW Tsonga.

“I just try to have a simple thinking, fight every point that I have,” said Djokovic who has won nine straight over the Czech. “Guess it works sometimes. Sometimes it doesn’t work. I’m glad it worked today.”

Berdych’s season isn’t quite done yet, he’ll have the Nadal-less Spain team next weekend in the Davis Cup finale.

After Novak’s win, Murray needed just a set off the Frenchman to book his spot. Instead, he took both from Tsonga.

”I didn’t know exactly what I needed to do. But obviously when he said that, I kind of realized,” Murray said of being informed of the permutations before the match. ”Then I just asked the umpire at the change of ends after the first set whether I was through or not. Then he said I was. That was it.”

Tsonga’s ends winless at the Finals and the Frenchman finishes the year with a horrendous 0-12 mark against Top 8 players this season.

With Djokovic the Group A winner and Murray second, now we just need to determine the Group B champion and that will come tomorrow as the round robin stage comes to a close.

Roger Federer who is undefeated thus far meets Juan Martin Del Potro and then it’s David Ferrer against Janko Tisparevic.

If Federer beats Del Potro he’ll win the group and face Murray in the semifinals on Sunday. If Federer loses in straight sets then he’ll finish second and play Djokovic.

Decisions, decisions.

Of course one would not think Federer would lose on purpose at this stage, and really for Federer there’s not much to choose between Djokovic and Murray, he’s lost to both this year in big matches. That said, I’d bet he’d love to play Murray and get some measure of revenge for the Olympics by beating him in front of his British fans!

And I think that’s what will happen. Del Potro will keep it close, maybe get a set, before losing to Roger who has won 12 straight at the event. Then Ferrer should steamroll the struggling Tipsarevic to take the second spot and face Djokovic in the semifinals.

Should Del Potro get hot and beat Federer in straights, the Argentine will take the group and he’ll draw Murray.

Almost unfairly – since he beat Del Potro – the only way Ferrer can get in is if he beat Tipsarevic and Federer beats Del Potro. So David will know before he takes the court if he’s still alive in the tournament.

Remember that if Del Potro and Ferrer win then Group B would have three players tied at 2-1 and the tiebreakers first falls to sets won percentage which hurts Ferrer because he’s only won two entering Friday while Federer has four (with no sets lost), Del Potro three.

Overall, with the exception of maybe Ferrer’s win over Del Potro, the favorites have all won this week with no real surprises. But that’s going to change come Sunday!

ESPN2 has coverage again tomorrow at 2pm ET and for the remainder of the Finals.

SATURDAY ATP FINALS SCHEDULE

CENTRE COURT Start 12:00 pm
[1] Bob Bryan (USA)/Mike Bryan (USA) v [3] Leander Paes (IND)/Radek Stepanek (CZE)

Not Before 1:45 PM
[2] Roger Federer (SUI) v [6] Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG)

Not Before 5:45 PM
[6] Marcel Granollers (ESP)/Marc Lopez (ESP) v [7] Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (PAK)/Jean-Julien Rojer (NED)

Not Before 7:15 PM
[4] David Ferrer (ESP) v [8] Janko Tipsarevic (SRB)


Also Check Out:
Davydenko Secures Shanghai SF; Federer Must Beat Murray Friday
Andy Murray Will Decide Wednesday If He’ll Play The French Open
Azarenka, Kvitova Reach WTA Championships Semifinals; Wozniacki Eliminated
U.S. Women’s Tennis Makes Embarrassing Exit from Fed Cup World Group [Opinion]
ATP Finals Draw: Federer Gets It Easy, Djokovic Will Have To Duel Murray

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174 Comments for Djokovic Wins ATP Finals Group A, Murray Second; Federer Gets To Decide Who He’ll Play In Semifinals

RZ Says:

Poor Ferrer. The guy is ranked #5 and is the only man outside the big 4 to win a Masters 1000 title in the past 2 years, and yet everyone keeps picking DelPo over him.


roy Says:

and poor davydenko. top 5 or so for 5 years. gracious loser and winner. 3 masters and a tour finals. couldn’t buy a showcourt until the second week. reputation ruined by atp. as well as being branded as a cheater, branded as a money grabbing bore by the media until they actually made an effort to speak to him.
then again like david he’s a multi millionaire and gets to play tennis for a living and retire in his 30s. not so bad.


TRILOK Says:

Perhaps, Author of this article has overlooked FEDS statement that he will try to win outright to go to Semis undefeated.One more thing, most of the people forget that FED had defeated both Nole and Andy to win Wimby and FED knows that for winning any Tournament he has to defeat these two and Rafa.


Dave Says:

“For Federer there’s not much to choose between Djokovic and Murray, he’s lost to both this year in big matches. That said, I’d bet he’d love to play Murray and get some measure of revenge for the Olympics by beating him in front of his British fans!”

Or Federer may be more practical: beat No. 1 Djokovic in the semifinals to limit his ranking points from the WTF so next year Roger can make a run again at No. 1 if he wants.

The other (more important) decision Federer has is which player does Federer prefer to go to the semifinal: Ferrer his buddy or Delpo his buddy? It’s a dilemma perhaps solved by who he thinks might have a better chance of beating Djokovic/Murray.

To date, in head-to-head meetings between Federer, Djokovic and Murray are virtually tied – but it was Federer who won the bigger meetings in terms of ranking points at stake.

- Federer 2-2 Djokovic: Federer won Wimbledon semifinal and Cincinnati Masters final (worth 2,200 ranking points at stake) while Djokovic won French Open semifinal and Rome Masters semifinal (worth 1,800 points).

- Federer 2-2 Murray: Federer won Wimbledon final and Dubai final (worth 2,500 ranking points) while Murray won Olympics final and Shanghai Masters semifinal (worth less: 1,350 points).

- Djokovic 4-3 Murray: Djokovic won Australian Open semifinal, Miami final, Shanghai final and WTF round robin (worth 2,920 ranking points) while Murray won US Open final, Olympics semifinal and Dubai 500 semifinal (worth 2,750 points)

*****

Interesting interview: Heinz Gunthardt (Steffi Graf’s ex-coach and former Swiss player) on Federer, Nadal, Murray and Djokovic. Article in German, so use Google Translate or whatever.
http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/sport/tennis/erfolg-fuehrt-nicht-dazu-dass-die-motivation-abnimmt-1.17784248


alison Says:

Hope everyone enjoys the remainder of the WTFs,i have to go away for the week, as i have a sick father in law,enjoy the tennis and ill post next week when i get back,take care all,over and out for now.


Dave Says:

Take care, Alison.


scineram Says:

YEESSSS, gg from Paes, but especially Stepanek. Now Granollers and Lopez must win to eliminate Bryans.


gannu Says:

is feddy bear playing to lose? he looks so listless today!!!


gannu Says:

i wonder whether anyone is watching feddy bear’s match??? anyways he squandered multiple break points!!! just doesnt seem to play well the big points against big guns…lets see how well he does…as someone said he has a tough ask..delpo, then murray and then djokovic…so its not going to be an easy task at all…


gannu Says:

alsion – wishing ur father in law a speedy recovery..take care


Kimmi Says:

shank and error on both his points…not good gannu


Kimmi Says:

5-1 so bad tie breaker so far


the DA Says:

Too many UFEs from Fed today. There have been flashes of brilliance but he seems a little flat overall. Delpo takes the 1st set. All he needs is the next one to go top of the group.


gannu Says:

one of the worst tie breaks played by feddy bear…just shocked to see those shanks…guess i should go back to london to be his lukcy mascot ;-)


gannu Says:

come on feddy bear now dont squander 3 break points…take this and finish off the set by holding all ur service games ;-) so easy ;-)


Tz Says:

Fed Breaks!


the DA Says:

Fed finally wakes up and breaks in the first game. Match on.


gannu Says:

somehow i get a feeling that fed is conserving energy..he is not chasing balls well and going for first strike tennis wherever possible


grendel Says:

must be difficult to get yourself up for a match when you know you’re through anyway. Federer must be conscious that the real challenges are tomorrow and, hopefully, Monday. That’s round robin for you. Today’s match will perhaps, to a degree, seem a kind of irritant…


grendel Says:

ah, gannu, 2 minds with but a single thought…


Brando Says:

REGARDLESS of the end result today, Delpo- to me- has shown that very soon he could be top 4 in the ranking.


Brando Says:

Fed wants this win, and he’s cutting out the UE’s too!


Tz Says:

If fed wins this set, he will face murray


gannu Says:

yeah grendel…still he is a break up..still first set went till tie break…if fed really wants to conserve energy why shud he try to win the 2nd set??? anyways it seems the mentailty that he is having is that let me play first strike tennis..if i win its good, if idont i conserve energy…fed is so stone faced…and there was no emotion even when he broke del po…so its a dead rubber…thats the problem with round robin..i still remember when murray just to satisfy his ego went to the brim and bruised himself to beat federer and then said i would anyday do this and went down so meekly to davydenko later on…wats the point?


Tz Says:

He he he odd return of serve from fed


gannu Says:

now look at that shot..he just won that shot because he is a genius…otheriwse i thought he is playing some practice match trying all these shots!


racquet Says:

Hmmm, I was really hoping Delpo would do it in 2 and then switch up the SFs. I’d like to see a Delpo\Murray match – it has been so long. I’d imagine Fed would would have preferred not to have 3 sets before a big SF tomorrow.


gannu Says:

more importantly at his age whether he or his fitness coach pierre pagnini admits or not ability to recover after a long gruelling match the next day is very tough..we saw that at olympics…even fed manytimes thought of playing rafa the next day in US open when he lost to novak…so though i would never want my GOD to lose a single match, but i would any day take losing this match and winning WTF is far better than killing himself to win this dead rubber and then lose the WTF due to tiredness considering he has to play the two best defenders in the game in his next two matches who are 5yrs younger to him!


grendel Says:

“if fed really wants to conserve energy why shud he try to win the 2nd set??? ” Pride, gannu. At the end of the day, these players are compulsive competitors, and Federer will certainly want to win. But he’ll do as little as he can to get the win – maybe not even consciously. He just won’t be quite all there, as he certainly will be tomorrow.

Meanwhile, we saw in the last game why del Potro will always struggle, to say the least, to win a title on a slow court like this. The ball came floating enticingly towards him, and what would Federer, Djokovic , Murray, Tsonga or Berdych have done – certainly moved forward, and executed a drive volley for a winner. What does del Potro do? Scurry back to his base line, be forced, off balance, to deliver a rather weak fh – and so entirely hand the iniative to his opponent. Why on earth doesn’t his coach do something about this?


racquet Says:

What a monster FH from Delpo!


racquet Says:

Into a decider.


Kimmi Says:

as always their match goes to three sets


Tz Says:

So, we get Fed vs Murray tomorrow :)

anyone know anything about tomorrow’s schedule??


gannu Says:

anyways…if ferrer wins his match fed will finish his group first regardless of his win or loss today to del po..so most likely its gonna be murray vs fed unless ferrer blows off which he can considering motivation to win will be ZERO since he anyways wont qualify if delpo wins


gannu Says:

No Tz..its not guaranteed fed vs. murray..ferrer has to win his match for fed to finish off on top…

http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2012/11/45/London-Finale-Saturday-Preview.aspx


racquet Says:

@gannu

Yes, if Tipsy wins tonight (highly improbable) Delpo will top the group and meet Murray.


racquet Says:

Delpo breaks.


gannu Says:

as expected..right from the morning i had a feeling that fed will only try winning one set and throw the match…disgusting…i am switching off


Kimmi Says:

that miss at 30-15 was crucial. broken very easily.


Kimmi Says:

delpo is becoming a bad match-up for fed.


Tz Says:

Gannu, I think if fed loses now his SET win-loss will be 5-2. Delpo will have 5-3. And according to the ATP if delpo wins, ferrer goes out.
So fed will finish on top and will face murray


The Great Davy Says:

Why could not the GOAT not play like this bad against ME?!?!


Kimmi Says:

Tz – i think regardless of sets, games won. The h2h will put delpo at the top of the group.


gannu Says:

No Tz..doesnt work that way…if tipsy wins…then both fed and del po will have 2 wins each and hence it will be a 2 way tie and in a 2 way tie H2H comes first and then set win-loss…rule is very clear..first priority is always to H2H in case of a tie and in a 3 way tie the H2H logic breaks…hence delpo will finish on top if tipsy wins


gannu Says:

kimmi..right on!!!!


racquet Says:

@ kimmi

No he won’t, the scenarios are depicted on this graph:

http://letsecondserve.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/world-tour-finals-group-b-qualification.html

The only way Delpo can top the group is if he wins and Tipsy wins.


Tz Says:

Oh, then I was wrong. I didn’t know about that h2h rule. So, thanks kimmi and gannu :)


Kimmi Says:

thanks racquet.


gannu Says:

racquet kimmi also said the same thing that tipsy has tipsy has to win..in other words h2h will put delpo on top in case there is a 2 way tie


Kimmi Says:

federer serve is the only thing saving him at the moment.


racquet Says:

If Delpo manages to serve this out and win, it effectively turns tonight’s match into a dead rubber. Strange. It must be hard to get motivated, apart from the money and 200 points.


Kimmi Says:

42 UE..too many.


Kimmi Says:

back to back wins for delpo to federer.


Tz Says:

Delpo has won 2 back to back matches against federer. He did it 2 years ago and then lost 8 in a row. I hope this happens again! :-P


racquet Says:

Good for Delpo, he’s had some tough losses against Fed this year.


Tz Says:

He did it 3 years ago**


Brando Says:

VAMOS DELPO!

Through to SF.

IF he wins, then:

- YE NO.6!

Hope he does!

VAMOS DELPO!


Brando Says:

‘delpo is becoming a bad match-up for fed.’

COULD BE, the following:

1- Delpo now has back to back wins v fed.

2- He is 3-3 v fed on INDOOR- the surface many see as fed’s best at this point in his career. He’s 3-1 v fed on this surface post 2009 USO final.

3- He’s won the MOST IMPORTANT OUTDOOR HC match v fed- USO final 2009. That was a 5 set match also.

4- The ONLY match on grass v fed, he lost when arguably he should have won- certainly could have. No slouch v fed on grass at all though.

5- He’s ONLY played fed twice on clay: BOTH 5 set matches at FO- and he was 2-0 in one of them, before seemingly having injury issues. CLEARLY no slouch v fed on clay.

6- He is 7 YEARS FED’S JUNIOR in age- going forward that is vitally important!

MY TAKE:

I think Delpo NOW joins RAFA, NOLE, MUZZA, BERDYCH as genuinely tricky opponent’s- arguably very tough one’s- for fed GOING FORWARD.

One needs to remember, CRUCIALLY, that fed is 31 going forward and ALL of those players are in their 20s and ARGUABLY all are either entering their peak period (Delpo) or are in that stage now!


Brando Says:

P.S: Delpo is 2-0 v fed at WTF- how many top players can say that?

NONE i imagine!


grendel Says:

gannu, I don’t think Federer threw the match – he let his frustration show more than once, as you presumably heard, or is ittoo noisy in the O2? As Kimmi says, the unforced error count was dire, and if he plays like that tomorrow, he will lose. But there is certainly hope for him: his mind set will be completely different tomorrow, he will be absolutely engaged.

I don’t pretend to know how this works, but I would imagine that if you come into a match not fully motivated to win then, when it suddenly dawns on you that if you don’t pull out all the stops you are going to lose, it might just be too late. The opponent, for one thing, is in his stride and full of confidence, and you have to battle against that as well as yourself. Difficult.

On the other hand, it may be that Federer is just not playing well at the moment, period. In which case, Murray is favourite.

Well as del Potro played, I can’t see him beating Djokovic. As Berdych showed, to have a chance against Djokovic, you must be prepared to move forwards.


gannu Says:

Grendel…it cud also be a master stroke by fedex…del po has a much better
Chance against murray or djoker than ferrer…atleast he can strecth them and when
He is on fire he can thrash anyone…so let see how this all plays out…would love to c feddy bear win this wtf


The Great Davy Says:

If I have to be reading ‘feddy bear’ one two three more time, I will get so angry I will grow mustache and cast spell so ‘feddy’ bare head will have bare head. like ME, Your Great Davy.


jane Says:

“del po has a much better Chance against murray or djoker than ferrer”

Definitely one would think so, gannu, and it may be true, especially going forward. Yet the H2Hs so far anyhow seem to suggest a different story:

Andy vs. Ferrer: it is 6-5 for Murray
Andy vs. Delpo: it is 5-1 for Murray

Nole vs. Ferrer: it is 9-5 for Nole
Nole vs. Delpo: it is 6-2 for Nole

But anything can happen when the top players play each other and H2Hs can shift and aren’t written in stone, so we’ll see…


Wog boy Says:

scineram,

What happened, Delpo won?:)

If he threw the match he also threw 200 points and who guaranty him he is going to win SF? One or the other way he is going to play Andy, very unlikely Nole, why would he play three sets ….. just to make Nole play Delpo ….. how many sportsmanship awards has Roger, to many to do something like that?:)


Wog boy Says:

“too many” shoul say


the DA Says:

Exactly, jane. Andy and Nole have the ability to absorb Delpo’s power and out rally him. Then there’s the better RoS games. And that’s reflected in their H2Hs against him. Delpo basically needs to serve extremely well, consistently hit the lines and come to the net (which he doesn’t do nearly enough). Tomorrow is another day however.


racquet Says:

Has the schedule for tomorrow been released yet? Or will they wait until Ferrer/Tipsy has concluded?


racquet Says:

Having posted that I realize that tonight’s match will determine who heads Group B but I thought the ATP might have a order of play with winner of Group A meets 2nd in Group B, etc.


mike Says:

Fed is absolutely cooked his goose in 2012, he hasnt looked anything like his self since Olympics, not burnt out but not playing well either, just going through the motions and as usual the vultures are lining up at the end of the year to feed of it

i actually think his semi final v Murray will be a bloodbath defeat, something like 6-2 6-3


jane Says:

Well well, Tipsy is off to a fine start. Looks like Nole/Fed and Andy/Delpo are distinct semi possibilities right now.


Wog boy Says:

jane,

Do you think that Tipsy rang Nole and asked him which one he prefers, Delpo or Federer?:)


racquet Says:

Oh my! 2-4 down. Maybe Ferrer saving a little bit for Davis Cup next week?


the DA Says:

‘Looks like Nole/Fed and Andy/Delpo are distinct semi possibilities’

I’m fine with that. I’d rather Nole play the role of villain than Andy, especially in front of his home crowd ;)


grendel Says:

jane – w.r.t. those h2hs: Murray and del Potro haven’t met for 3 years, so I’m not sure how germane they are.

As I see it, and perhaps gannu too though I don’t know, Ferrer is guaranteed to give Murray a tough match (providing he is still on his feet) but is very unlikely to actually beat him. On the other hand, whilst Murray is certainly favourite against delPo, if Juan Martin has an inspired day, he can take anyone to the cleaners. In short, del Potro is possibly dangerous whilst Ferrer can hardly be considered hardly dangerous at all.


the DA Says:

It may be a dead rubber but these two are giving it their all right now.


racquet Says:

Typical Janko, he had to make it all tipsy-turvy before finally clinching the 1st set.


Wog boy Says:

I was sure Tipsy will chocke, but he didn’t. There is still plenty of time to do it though.
This O2 place is really, really nice.


jane Says:

I don’t know grendel; Ferrer has 5 wins over Murray, and Delpo has 1. Granted, as you say, Murray and Delpo haven’t played for a while. But Ferrer pushed Andy hard at Wimbledon this year and beat him at the FO. It’s just hard to know, imo.


jane Says:

Wog boy, lol, i don’t know. Maybe Tipsy is trying to save face after that drubbing by Delpo the other day?


scineram Says:

Ferrer can beat Del Potro, but he cannot beat Federer. That is the difference, I guess.

Just win, David, then Federer take out Murray.


Wog boy Says:

jane,

Ferrer looks sad person, if he loses this one it will be only because he is not 100% in it. I was watching him on his chair , he didn’t look happy and he knows he is only to blame himself for not making it SF. Federer was there for taking and Ferrer couldn’t do it. He knows that, his motivation is probably down right now but I still think that Terrier inside him will fight and win this one.


jane Says:

Wog boy, At least Ferrer won Paris so he has that to be happy about.


jane Says:

Will Ferrer become number 4 in the world after this event? He is close right?


Wog boy Says:

He has all the reasons to be happy with this year and still DC to come, just talking about YEC.

I think he is running away with this match now, Tipsy is just not up to it. He should be happy too, second year in TOP10, not bad, I wouldn’t predict that last year.


jane Says:

True Wog boy, and with Rafa out of DC and Ferrer playing really well on hard courts, it gives him a good chance to finish the year well.


Wog boy Says:

I just noticed, they both have two red hair nice young ladies in their boxes:)


Wog boy Says:

I am pretty sure Nole/Delpo will be first match and Andy/Roger will be second one.


Wog boy Says:

I am a bit late on that one;)


Giles Says:

No Jane, Ferrer still no. 5


Wog boy Says:

How many points Ferrer can get if he winns all of 2/3 DC matches?


Wog boy Says:

Rafa is safe as #4 for AO, Ferrer gets 75 points per win in DC final and Rafa is around 350 points ahead.


jane Says:

Yes, and I think Ferrer is defending Auckland prior to the AO, so Rafa should be fine at #4 for the AO. Thanks to all for clarifying. I knew it was getting close after Ferrer won Paris. So glad he got that Masters title.


jane Says:

BTW, I think these are pretty excellent semifinals!


the DA Says:

So it will be Nole/Delpo in the afternoon and Andy/Roger in the evening.


racquet Says:

Agreed jane. Funny how it’s the same four who were in the Gold and Bronze matches earlier this summer.


jane Says:

Oh that’s right racquet! Which, on the one hand, really does make it seem like it’s been Delpo who has been filling Rafa’s shoes since he’s been out injured. On the other hand, I guess Ferrer and Berd have been right up there too, with Tsonga a little further behind. Delpo, Berd, and Ferrer have all won titles post-USO and they all did well at the USO too. Tsonga has reached the late stages of a few events since then, but he just hasn’t gotten his hands on any hardware. Maybe the new coach will help propel him a step further.


grendel Says:

“But Ferrer pushed Andy hard at Wimbledon this year and beat him at the FO. ”

jane: But Ferrer pushes everyone hard without necessarily winning. As for the FO result, I don’t see the relevance – it is clay, and Ferrer is maybe the 3rd best claycourter in the world.

Not wishing to be overargumentative, but look at it this way. Can one imagine del Potro winning the tournament? Not easily, but the imagination can accomodate such a thought. It is only unlikely, not outrageous. Can one imagine Ferrer winning the tournament? No, not if one is honest.


racquet Says:

Nice interview with Roddick with his views about the demands of the current game (and some sincere praise for Muzzah’s achievement this year).

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-us-tennis-roddickbre8a62ew-20121107,0,7889656.story


jane Says:

grendel, you raise good points and I don’t find them overly argumentative at all. Delpo is more of a dangerous question mark for sure, and I believe in my original post I intimated as much with “it may be true”. It’s just that his form has varied a lot, for reasons besides injury I think, and while so far Murray and Nole have had the upper hand in the H2Hs, it remains to be seen if they will have it going forward. Meanwhile Ferrer has more wins over them than Delpo. So whether that’s merely fluke, a thing of the past, or what, I guess I just don’t know, so I thought it worth pointing out.. I get that Delpo has more weapons and thus if he gets hot he can power through, whereas Ferrer doesn’t really have a kill shot like that. But Ferrer has been in the WTF finals before, just like Delpo. So… well, anyhow… :)


Sidney Says:

I was hoping for Nole/Fed and Andy/whoever in the semis. I really want to see #1 vs #2 before the year is over. It is still possible for them to meet in the final.

Hoping for Fed and Nole victories tomorrow. For me, Fed has better chance than Andy of winning tomorrow by 50.01% Fed-49.99% Andy.

Keeping my fingers crossed for a Nole-Fed final.

C’mon Roger!


laslow Says:

Agreed Sidney. I would be over the moon with a Novak-Roger final.


Sidney Says:

Just read an article on ESPN website. It sort of jibes (or not) with some comments posted here earlier about Fed wanting Ferrer in the semis.

“I really wanted to give (Ferrer) a chance and give myself the best possible preparation for the semis, really hoped I could win,” Federer said. “But more disappointed for (Ferrer) than I am about losing today, to be quite honest.”

http://espn.go.com/tennis/story/_/id/8613933/juan-martin-del-potro-upends-roger-federer-reaches-atp-finals-semifinals


volley Says:

that quote about Ferrer made me smile. it’s almost as if psuedoFed made it.


Alok Says:

@grendel: “jane: But Ferrer pushes everyone hard without necessarily winning. As for the FO result, I don’t see the relevance – it is clay, and Ferrer is maybe the 3rd best claycourter in the world.”

Very true. That’s his major weapon, to push and push, until he is pushed back, and has reached his breaking point. His tenacity is his major weapon, and running, running, running…. It’s not feasibl;e to compare his results on clay to HC. As you stated, he’s the third best claycourter, and his results on clay are proof positive of your reasoning.

“It’s just that his form has varied a lot, for reasons besides injury I think, and while so far Murray and Nole have had the upper hand in the H2Hs, it remains to be seen if they will have it going forward.” jane

What are the reasons for Delpo’s variation in form besides injury? e.g., what has he done, is doing, or has changed?

I have great difficulty following your arguments, perhaps due to English not being my first language, but more or less everything you state is just based on ‘I think’, or someone else’s opinions, which you allude to. However, very little of what you state is based on anything concrete.

An example of what I mean in the the above ….I remember asking you a question when I began posting here around the USO, pertaining to the Tsonga/Djokovic match, e.g., you stated that Tsonga may have been tired, but “he wasn’t ‘that tired’”. I asked what you meant, were you disagreeing with Tsonga’s statement or calling him a liar by stating “he wasn’t that tired”? Anyway, you chose not to answer.


the DA Says:

Gosh, he really opens up in that interview. I’m sort of stunned by his comments about Andy. These are the most positive comments I’ve ever seen from Fed about him:

“Having admitted that “he was just better than me” in the Olympic final, Roger added, “He set himself a goal and his drive was so strong at the end that it carried him through. I tried to mix things up but I couldn’t. He just played great tennis. Andy did great. I always hoped he would have a reaction like this (winning the Olympics and the US Open), to be quite honest, even though it cost me a gold medal.”

Nice to see this development.


jane Says:

Delpo himself mentioned that mentally he was having issues after coming back from injury, so there’s that. And then, I think his fitness suffered, and he wasn’t always able to keep up throughout long matches. So those are two reasons, besides his wrist injury, that Delpo’s form has varied: confidence and fitness. His wrist was healed but he wasn’t fully back to his 2009 form. But that was 3 full years ago now, and I do think he is back. Hence his H2H with Murray and Nole will be interesting to watch going forward.

As for Tsonga/Djokovic, they didn’t play at the USO. Maybe yore referring to the Olympics. Tsonga played a long match against Raonic, but he also played a match in between, with F-Lo, which he won before he played Nole. I was implying he may have been a little tired, but not so tired that it’s the only reason he lost the match. After all, I believe he went on to win a medal in doubles. He was playing great at the Olympics.


jane Says:

yore should be you’re


Alok Says:

Just saw replay of Fed’s match with JMDP, and it was difficult for me to come to a conclusion on Fed’s match play. I felt he wanted to beat JMDP because he didn’t want to take 2 losses over him into the new year, and he pushed hard to do so in the first set, but after he lost that set his motivation dipped. Fortunately, for Fed, Delpo’s performance also dipped in the second, making it possible for Fed to win that set. By the third set, after he got broken, his footwork and motivation was like, you want it, take it, I just want to get out of here. Fed’s foot-work today was very dismal IMO.

No doubt about it, the court is extremely slow, which is the reason T-Berd and Tsonga couldn’t impose their games on their opponents. I read that this year most of the indoor HCs are also sticky. If that’s so, then that could account for Fed’s sloppy footwork throughout this tournament. Let’s hope that tommorow he can glide above the court and not get stuck to it. Bring your fancy footwork Fed!


Wog boy Says:

If this one is slow and sticky was the Basel one the same, since the result is the same or maybe just the other player was better player on the day.
As for Tsonga and Berdych they couldn’t impose their game on Nole (particulary Nole) and Andy for quite some time now, any court any conditions, don’t you think so?


Alok Says:

To reiterate, from your comments, unless someone is a mind reader, it’s difficult to understand what are the ‘varied reasons’ you’ve alluded to for JMDP. “There’s that? uhmm

I said I began posting here around the USO. I didn’t refer to them playing at the USO. But I remembered your comments stating that Tsonga couldn’t have been that tired, even though he said he was very tired. In some cases, we should believe the players and the circumstances, and not question their comments. In that situation playing Raonic,then Lopez, and douibles, before meeting Djokovic, is reason for Tsonga or most players to be tired. It’s a short turn-around between matches.


jane Says:

Hey Wog boy, what are your thoughts on Delpo’s form? I caught only highlights of the match this morning. He looked formidable versus Tipsy. Mind you Tipsy hasn’t been playing that well either. Hmmm. Delpo and Nole played that fantastic set at the USO – super tight! – and this is best of three.


Alok Says:

dunno, you have to ask the experts who state that the courts are very slowed down and sticky. Basel was sticky. Those guys, Tsonga and T-Berd, are big hitters and servers, and if they can’t hit through the court, then they lose some serious momentum. No doubt Djokovic and Murray are better players,than the other two, but it’s important to look at the circumstances. Anyway, enough said.


Sidney Says:

Wog boy Says:

“If this one is slow and sticky was the Basel one the same, since the result is the same or maybe just the other player was better player on the day.”

Good point. I am sure Roger was gracious and praised JMDP’s play in both loses.

“As for Tsonga and Berdych they couldn’t impose their game on Nole (particulary Nole) and Andy for quite some time now, any court any conditions, don’t you think so?”

Another good point. I have to agree. Their recent H2H records show it.


Alok Says:

FYI, DelPo is my fave after Fed, and I’m happy to see them both in the SFs. However, I don’t want for Fed to lose to JMDP. Fed’s 31 and Delpo is only 23. Nearly a decade separates them. A lot of things are negative for Fed playing against the current crop of players.


Wog boy Says:

jane,

Hi, I have huge respect for Delpo not just as tennis player but also as a person, from the very first time I saw him on the court. I think Nins once elaborated nicely why do we pick somebody to follow. I saw the match today (recorded it) and he played really well but somehow I think that Roger played into his hands and was half a step slower in crunching moments, he was obviosly frustrated and he did show that few times. To finish, I am always scared for my man when he plays Delpo because it is always who is going to crack first in those lighting exchanges. If Nole starts to move him left and right he can tire him and prevail, either way I am scared, frankly:)

Sidney,

You are right, Federer was gracious in both defeats.

Alok,

I disagreed with you because Andy actually beat Berdych this year fairly easy on fast courts (Dubai, USO) plus indoor London) and his only loss to Berdych came on slowest MC court, what is opposite of what you are saying, that is all. Just my opinion, nothing else.


Wog boy Says:

“I think Nina…” should say


jane Says:

Wog boy, me too.


mat4 Says:

I hope you don’t mind if I join the chat.

About Nole/JWT: Nole has improved much more that Jo in the last few years: forehand (especially cross court), return (he is much more aggressive on second serves now), and, perhaps the most important thing, serve (Nole has made 150 aces more than last year, but I think that the number of unreturned serves is much more important; and he is still improving that part of his game). In their matches in 2008 and 2009, Tsonga could be confident that Nole would play a bad game in every set, and that he would have enough chances to break. There was also less pressure to serve well, so Tsonga could unleash very big first serves confident that he won’t be punished on the second serve.

Nole today plays a strategically very sound game against Jo — pining his weak backhand and using his improved CC FH to open the court and to break down Jo’s own FH. He does a bit of the same against Berdych.


Wog boy Says:

mat4,

As long as you don’t predict a winner:) you know what happened last three times you did it:(


Wog boy Says:

mat4,

What do you think what Roger Rasheed can do and is he going to do it for Tsong, I know whar I think from what I have seen during his years with Hewitt and Monfils but I would like to hear your opinion?


jane Says:

mat4, I think Tsonga was stalled under his last coach, and when he got rid of him for a while he did really well, just being his own “coach” and playing freely; of course he had the big win over Roger at Wimbledon just after getting rid of his coach, but then it seemed like he needed a coach again, in which case you’d think maybe Rasheed could help him with the weaker parts of his game.

But I suspect Wog boy has his doubts.


mat4 Says:

WB:

I don’t know. He’s done zilch with Gael, but I think that Gael has a special gift to make a mess of his career, and his later choices were worse.

But it is obvious that Tsonga doesn’t work enough on his fitness: he is to heavy, and he seems to lack stamina — those two points are related. He also often plays without clear plans, and although he has proclaimed that he wants to play a more aggressive tennis, he often seems to timid for that.

I think that Roger Rasheed can infuse some discipline in and outside the court. It could be the only thing Jo needs.

Anyway, I think that the best solution was Eric Winogradsky. He worked hard with Jo, and the results came unfortunately too late, after they split. Since then, Jo’s results were slowly worsening.


jane Says:

Oh so you think the results Tsonga had after getting rid of his last coach were *because of* his last coach; interesting, mat4. I kind of thought they were maybe because he felt stifled and couldn’t play the way he wanted under the old coach; hence afterwards he did well.


mat4 Says:

Jane:

I am not certain. Sometimes when you try to improve your weaknesses, results are slow to come. I think that’s what happened with Winogradsky and Jo.

Don’t forget that Tsonga played a very aggressive brand of tennis under Winogradsky, especially before his injuries, in 2008.

I honestly think that Eric was the scapegoat for Tsonga’s ambitions. Jo tends to think that he has the same potential as the very best, but the results didn’t come. The harder solution — Winogradsky’s — was to suffer and work more, but Jo opted for the easier one: to fire his coach.


jane Says:

How long was Winogradsky his coach mat4? Since before 2008?


mat4 Says:

jane:

I am always a post too late.

“I kind of thought they were maybe because he felt stifled.”

I read in French some of his interviews about the split. It was question of backhand, defence, steadiness… Winogradsky insisted on those points. We see that steadiness, backhand, ability to defend, the return, are the weakness Nole, e.g., uses against Jo.

I believe that those points were mere excuses.

On the other side, a player sometimes needs changes. Their relationship lasted for years, and Jo felt he needed to grow, to make his own decisions.


jane Says:

Changing topics, how do feel about the semifinals tomorrow – don’t make predictions! :) Just what are your thoughts on the players’ forms?


mat4 Says:

Since 2004.


Wog boy Says:

jane,

You suspect well:) I will use Roddick and Fish as examples, when Stefanek took over Roddick (same for Fish) the first thing they had to do is to lose the, fair bir of weight in order to resurrect (is that the proper spelling) their carrier but not to build the muscles instead like you are body builder, it might work in women’s tennis but it doesn’t work in men’s. As mat4 pointed fitness and stamina is what JWT needs with his 90kg he is to heavy, he has to carry 10kg more than Nole and Federer during the game and they are same height. Try to put 10kg backpack on the other two and let them play tennis:)
If I look at Hewitt at one point and partly Monfils they looked to me like body builders. The other thing is that that way, IMO, players are more prone to injury before they are overworked and to tight. Look what happened to Andrea Petkovic, I read one opinion that her body (she built up a lot of muscles towords the end of last year and then her lower back cracked) couldn’t cope any more. I think Mauresmo had same problem, I remember her shoulders at one point were like formr east German Swimmers.
Well, that is mine concern, if he is going to do it Roddick/Fish way it will work, if he is going to do it body builders way, well Tsonga was prone to injuries before it might happen agai, Monfils is out with injuries most of the year, Hewitt was playing tennis last 4-5 years inbetween surgeries.
OK , this maybe stupid since I am neither coach nor doctor and I am probably not right but is what I think….if it came out the right way in English since I am thinking in another language.
Riding pushbike up and down the mountines helps more than lifting the weights, IMO.


Wog boy Says:

Uuuuhhhhhhh to many typos, sorry:(


jane Says:

Wog boy, perfectly clear! Fed has lightness on his feet, Nole is rubber band like, due to his stretching (though I think he’s naturally a flexible guy) and i believe Andy does yoga. Stamina, aerobic fitness, and movement are likely more important that pure brute power?


Alok Says:

@WogBoy, JWT’s problem is fitness and he’s impatient also. His weight has been one of his problems, which led to severe knee problems that entailed surgery. Most probably the giggest reason why his fitness has suffered.

I can identify with you in thinking in a different language. I have to first read, then translate into my first language, then translate back to English for writing. Hope I’m explaining this clearly.


mat4 Says:

I won’t make predictions, I just hope I will be able to watch one match at least.

I watched Roger only against Ferrer, and he seems a bit tired. I didn’t see JMDP, but I guess he is in good form, judging by his recent results.

The surface seems slow, and it could give an advantage to the more powerful players, JMPD and AM. It seems very difficult to hit through a good defence.

Novak played quite well against Berdych, but it will be difficult to break DelPo’s FH the way he usually does against Tsonga or Berdych, because DelPo moves better laterally and hits often with an open stance. But Nole will essentially play the same game, moving the ball from left to right, changing pace and spin and trying to open the court. If he serves and returns well, he will have a good chance.

In the other match, I think that if Murray doesn’t slice to much, if he plays a strategically sound game, he is the clear favourite on a court that negates Roger’s forehand. He doesn’t have to be über aggressive — but he has to use his CC backhand, his improved IO forehand to pin Roger on his backhand and sometimes finish points on the net when Roger plays a defensive slice.


jane Says:

Yes, Delpo’s reach is pretty amazing mat4. Nole will have to be on song. Agree about Murray being aggressive too.


Alok Says:

One of the commentators during nestor’s doubles match, mentioned that Nestor complained of waking up everyday sore, having to take inflammatories due to over-stretching his body. My point, is even though these guys appear to be so flexible, they do so at a price, but it’s something we won’t hear about, because it would put thoughts into their opponents minds.

Fed mentioned that he was suffering from some injuries when he pulled out of Bercy, and I’ve a feeling that he’s having back pains again, which is reflected in his foot-work.


jane Says:

“Since 2004.” – oh wow, I didn’t realize they’d been together for so long, basically 7 years, then since I believe Tsonga let him go right around the FO last year, in 2011.


Alok Says:

@matt4:”The surface seems slow, and it could give an advantage to the more powerful players, JMPD and AM. It seems very difficult to hit through a good defence.”

Just what I was saying. Fed’s at a disadvantage. The indoors courts are a lot more slowed down than in previous years and it’s favoring players who did not do well in the past.


mat4 Says:

In tennis, both things are important: power and lightness.

Nole is about 20 to 25 pounds lighter than Rafa or AM. It is an advantage he has in the fifth set. But when you watch carefully, you will see that he needs to stretch to reach balls Rafa or Andy get, because they are stronger and start a bit faster.

Murray’s power is the key advantage he has over Djokovic. On the other hand — if I am right — Andy tends to fatigue in long rallies, especially since he hits flatter.


Wog boy Says:

Alok,

It is even worst when you are in a hurry, like I am now and still trying to post and write in English. I want to see one movie and it is last night tonight, so I have to pack up and go to town.

mat4,

You wouldn’t mind these movies since you are familiar with Balkan life. It was week of Serbian movies in Fox Studio in Sydney and today is last day. The one I want to see is first movie from one young director and it is called ” Practical Guide to Belgrade with Singing and Crying” all what I know is that it is about four stories about four foreigners falling in love in Belgrade, it could be good it could be bad, I’ll let you know:)


mat4 Says:

jane:

That’s the difference between Roger and Nole: you can neutralize Nole with a defensive slice, but if you do that to Roger, he will probably be volleying the next time.

This is one of the key area that will determine Nole’s career: if he learns to anticipate defensive slices and to volley efficiently — and I think he works hard on this — he will spend some more years at the very top.


jane Says:

mat4, all good points per usual, and fingers crossed that Nole’s work continues to pay off! Do you think he should put on a bit of weight or no?


jane Says:

Wog boy, enjoy the film!


mat4 Says:

WB:

Ok. But, may I ask something? I was born (under a bad sign) in a small town, and I like small, provincial towns, where life is slow, and friends leave nearby. So, why always Paris, New York, Athenes, Belgrade?


mat4 Says:

jane:

I don’t think he can. The only way to add weight when you are training for a sport that requires so much stamina is to use steroids.


mat4 Says:

I also think he tried a few years ago (in 2009), added a few pounds, but lost the weight in the course of the season.


jane Says:

Or not be glutten-free and have a few donuts from time to time. ;)


Wog boy Says:

I don’t know mat4, I will try to think about that one…….maybe if I make a movie about “Mala Krsna” nobody would know where the h£ll is that:)
I have got to go, C U later!


Wog boy Says:

Ooppsssss,

Thanks jane.


mat4 Says:

I don’t know. I don’t wont to write about some topics, but sometimes I do ask myself about those diets, or other sudden and obvious changes in players.

Recently, Federer has asked for more testing, especially more blood testing. I agree with him.

Knowing that the pattern is to test only losers after a match in slams, one may ask what could be discovered if a top player loses suddenly in the second round against a qualifier.


Giles Says:

RF saying “I really wanted to give Ferrer a chance blah blah blah”. What he really wanted was to give Ferrer a chance to surpass Rafa in the rankings. Still afraid of Rafa?? Hahaha. Your ploy didnt work, Delpo beat you. #UlteriorMotive.


Tennislover Says:

^^^^
While it is not perfectly clear what he said or meant to say as to what he wanted to do, Fed can not possibly want Raf to drop down in the rankings. Since he is presumably afraid of Raf, the last thing he wants is to play Raf in the quarters and then possibly have to meet Murray and Djoko in the the subsequent rounds. Since defeat is presumably inevitable against Raf, Fed would prefer to be beaten at the semis stage. This way he at least gets some more ranking points. This is not to say that he can not lose to others at the qf stage or earlier.

There are others saying Fed lost on purpose and the “ulterior motive” was to make sure Djok got a bit more competition in the sf since Ferrer couldn’t possibly do it as he must be drained after his recent run. In any case, Fed has his hands more than full with Murray in the semis. The outlook does not appear promising given his recent struggles but, if he does make it to the final, he will play either Djoko who is playing very well or Delpo who has beaten him indoors twice within a short period. If Fed were smart, he’d like to have a potentially dangerous final opponent like Delpo eliminated from the event altogether. I don’t think either Djok or Delpo will have any issues recovering from even a tough semi given that they are pretty young and its a best-of-three indoor match. Therefore, any “ulterior motive” to ensure a tired finalist seems a bit far-fetched. Now, if you had an ulterior motive posting your comment………


Tennislover Says:

mat4 – I see you are back to using firefox :)

“I don’t wont to write about some topics, but sometimes I do ask myself about those diets, or other sudden and obvious changes in players.”

Same here. Any sudden or dramatic change in athletic performance does surprise me and some of the explanations sound too easy and simplistic. However, in the absence of any evidence, it is unfair to doubt anyone’s integrity with any degree of conviction.


Tennislover Says:

“Murray’s power is the key advantage he has over Djokovic. On the other hand — if I am right — Andy tends to fatigue in long rallies, especially since he hits flatter.”

It is quite surprising, isn’t it, that Murray seems to tire in long rallies because, on the face of it, he is as fit as a fiddle. In fact I often wonder how he has turned into this rather scary physical specimen. Yet, this does not always help him. Maybe, it has something to do with the “lightness” aspect that you alluded to earlier. I don’t know about others but I get the feeling Murray is trying to make it extremely physical nowadays. It is almost as if he is trying to emulate Raf. Murray probably estimates that his superior physical fitness would ultimately wear his opponents down. Personally I am a bit disappointed because I like his tennis a lot and think of him as capable of wonderful touch. In the recent matches against Djoko, it is Djoko who has shown more willingness to come to the net and finish the points quickly even though there is no comparison between Djoko’s slicing or volleying with Murray’s. Murray can generate fearsome power but I don’t think he can keep it on consistently over long periods of time and he still tends to revert back to the other extreme. A lot of credit for this has to go to Djoko’s great ability to absorb power and turn defense into offense in a jiffy. I guess Murray is still trying to find the right balance between power and touch.


skeezer Says:

Whats Rafa have to do with anything? He’s not playing. Fed afraid? ROTFL. Last time they played Fed tuned him. Fed is thinkin about the next match and the next match only.

He lost to Delpo imo trying to go power vs power. Hate when he does that with his aresenal of shots, ugh. That “stubborn” mode of his I never liked.


Giles Says:

^^^ Rafa/Ferrer/ Rankings. Ring any bells??


Giles Says:

C’mon Muzz. You can do it in front of your home crowd. Good luck!


skeezer Says:

“^^^ Rafa/Ferrer/ Rankings. Ring any bells??”

WRT Fed? Nope.

If Ferrer overtakes Rafa in rankings, he will deserve it. He’s playing and competing, Rafa is not.


grendel Says:

Wog boy:
“As for Tsonga and Berdych they couldn’t impose their game on Nole (particulary Nole) and Andy for quite some time now, any court any conditions, don’t you think so?”

I don’t think it is so cut and dried. Berdych absolutely did impose his game on Djokovic in the 2nd set – giving a glorious display of attacking and highly rhythmic tennis. Tennis like this purrs dangerously, but it has to be perfect which is perhaps why you don’t see it too often. Berdych only fell in the tie break – after leading 5-1 I think – for the usual reason, failure of nerve.

Also, at the US Open, once Berdych stopped fretting about the wind and acting like a spoilt child, he came back at Murray in devastating fashion. If ever a man threw a match away, it was Berdych on that occasion.

And then Tsonga – he certainly imposed himself on Djokovic in his first set, and for 4 or 5 games towards the end of the Murray match, he was the boss.

What we can deduce, then, is that both Berdych and Tsonga – but Berdych more than Tsonga – have the game to beat the best, whoever they may be. Perhaps potential is the best word. Because there are of course severe deficiencies in their games which require attention if these players are ever to do themselves justice.


Wog boy Says:

Not bad for someone with mediocre indoor results, hehe:)

Another 400 points on top of 600 in the bank for next year, Nole is better than a Swiss bank…did I just say Swiss?

Mila,

You beat me for that one;)


Wog boy Says:

Wrong thread, sorry.

Grendel,

While I am here, I was talking about final results of their matches, at the end that is what counts, not who was better in 1st, 2nd or third set, isn’t it?


mat4 Says:

@Tennislover:

I always asked myself why Murray doesn’t play the way he did against Rafa in Tokyo last year. Suddenly, I remembered how frustrated he was near the end of his match against Novak. Then, I rewatched the last set. And I had the impression that it was in plain sight, right in front of me, and I didn’t see it: he was trying to be aggressive, he hit the ball hard, but every time he did, shots he made almost routinely in the first set landed behind the baseline.

I remember how his game disintegrated in a semi against Rafa in Wimbledon, especially his forehand. And how it happened often at the end of matches.

We usually believe that he chokes in improtant moments. There are good reasons for that: he used to choke a few years ago. But, what if he was just tired? He is big, with a lot of weight to carry. And when you have big arms, you lose some precision too. What if that power — which is not innate, you only have to look at his brother to remind yourself Andy’s frame, how he is built — strength, just wears him down? Boxers can perfectly understand that. Novak is a middleweight, Andy a heavyweight. After twelve rounds, the heavyweight has difficulties just to rise his arms. So, in those moments, Andy usually reverts to risk free game, defence, slice. He does it well, and it works against almost everybody. It just doesn’t work against two or three players — those who matter the most.

And you are quite right: Andy will have to find the right balance between aggression and patience, and to keep his strength for key moments.


grendel Says:

wog boy – yes, it’s the end result which counts. All I was pointing out is that Berdych in particular has the potential to win against Djokovic in a big match. There’s not too many you can say that of.


Wog boy Says:

grendel,

No question about that, I remember watching their QF at AO few years back and if I didn’t watch it and somebody just told me result I would say easy win, but it wasn’t easy by any means, trust me.


LOU_TENNISFAN Says:

So federer is through to the finals of the Atp World Tour Finals…

Do you think Federer is the greatest ever to play tennis? bit.ly/XvGtrp


LOU_TENNISFAN Says:

So Federer is through to the finals of the Atp World Tour Finals…Pretty strong performance by him even at this age.

Do you think Federer is the greatest ever to play tennis?

http://tinyurl.com/aloj7m6


Tennislover Says:

mat4 – I remember that Tokyo final and Murray was indeed very impressive. However, his bh was the killer shot then. He almost used that bh especially the bh up the line and the inside-out bh as a substitute for the fh. Of course, he hits his regulation fh much bigger now but I do get your overall point.

Your boxing analogy is probably correct but Djoko will most likely be qualified as light heavyweight since I am sure he weighs more than 75 kg. I guess Djoko is the best pound for pound ‘boxer’ now. :) Having said that, we must not forget that even in the heavy weight division, we have had a Tiefolo Stevenson or a Felix Savon who could mesmerize us with their skill.

About Murray’s retreat into passive play, I guess that is what he still is most comfortable with since that was his default mode for years. Raf also does it but he is in a different league mentally and rarely lets his intensity drop. I think Djoko has shown a lot of willingness to break the mold of his default baseline game and be more aggressive by coming to the net more often even though he doesn’t have a good slice or the best volleys. He is also mentally very strong now. I have often thought of Murray as being Fed’s successor in terms of how gifted they are but it is Djoko who seems to be actually following in Fed’s footsteps in terms of all-court, all-season consistency, an aggressive and efficient game and even smart scheduling. Murray has the potential to be an even better version of Djoko because, at his very best, Murray has just has way too much game for ANYONE to handle. Since we see that Murray very rarely and the mental gremlins are still evidently very much there, it is clear the likes of Djoko and Raf remain the ultimate competitors in the game. In fact, I sometimes wonder if we will ever see a very consistent Murray. He will probably have incredible highs occasionally but the day in day out consistency will most likely elude him. He does not have much time to create a legacy of his own and it would be a shame if he does not do much more with the talent that he has.


Wog boy Says:

Tennislover,

I am so pleased that you mention those two almost forgotten boxers, ones of best ever. When I was reading, during London games, about records somehow nobody was talking about late Teofilo’s and Felix’s three Olympic gold medal and if Cuba didn’t boycott LA games and Seul games Teofilo would be best ever Olympian by miles (five golds or at least four, nobody wouldn’t be able to touch him in LA) he retired when he find out that Cuba is not going to Seul. One of the best ever, actually two of the best ever, sorry Felix:)


Wog boy Says:

“would be able” should say and not “wouldn’t be able”


mat4 Says:

@TL:

We shall not be deceived: Murray’s backhand is exceptionally heavy and powerful. It is, for me, perhaps the best in today’s game.

But this last match against Federer, I believe, is another confirmation that Murray hasn’t got a sound a strategic vision of the game. It seems that he kind of evolves by strokes. He added a very angled CC FH to counter Rafa, e.g. He plays a rounded, high CC BH against Roger. He slices against Novak. It is OK, but his conception is not the kind of clear conception Rafa, Roger or Novak have, it depends too much of the opponents, of their weaknesses. It is, I hope I have chosen the right words, a negative conception.

When you watch Rafa, you always know what his plan will be: to pressurize the opponent’s backhand, wait for a shorter ball and finish the point with a CC FH. One of Roger’s favourite plans is to slice CC with his backhand, attire the opponent to the net, then counter with a CC FH passing shot. Novak’s moves the ball from right to left to open angles.

But Andy seems to be without clear cut strategic idea. Tonight, when it became obvious that Roger’s backhand would not break, Andy just didn’t know what to do. He started aggressively, but when this aggression didn’t pay immediately, he alternated, was too aggressive or too passive intermittently.

I believe his plan was the good one, and that he should have stick to it, with more patience. He just didn’t find the good measure of things.

I made a few posts about Novak moulding his game on Federer’s. It is the most obvious with the serve. I am more and more convinced that he had the luck to find the best coach he could.


mat4 Says:

@TL:

BTW, do you remember the best heavyweight Cuba had: Roberto Balado? The guy was a magician. Savon had to change weight division because of him. It is a pity he died so young.


mat4 Says:

Finally, although I do my best to make my thought clear in a foreign language, it is an overwhelming task. When I read my posts, I always have the impression that they are unfinished.


jane Says:

Just to interject: mat4, for me, your posts are very clear. I am a little envious, actually, of all of you posters for whom English isn’t your first language; how do you do it?! Wow.


Tennislover Says:

mat4 – Yeah, I agree about Murray’s bh being a big and consistently reliable weapon for him as compared to his fh although I am not sure yesterday’s match against Fed is necessarily an indicator of his current “issues”. He started well enough and I feared a repeat of Shanghai since Fed hasn’t played well of late and his serve has been misfiring. I actually thought he focused on Fed’s bh a bit too much and even there, he was not offensive enough. After the initial few games, he hardly ever took any initiative even though he had many chances to do so especially on some crunch points. It was quite strange and almost bizarre to be honest. It didn’t help that he couldn’t get more first serves in. I can’t make sense of it all and it was probably not that good a day at the office. It must have been discouraging to see so much crowd support for Fed and he probably tailed off mentally as the match progressed. No plan or strategy is gonna help you if you can not remain focused and consistently execute it on the court.

You see, players like Murray, who have so many options at their disposal, must be finding it difficult to make a simple game plan and stick to it. Fed used to be similarly confused in his initial years but, fortunately, he found a no-nonsense way despite having an incredible array of options. He was able to slug it out with the best of baseliners in his prime but he can’t do that anymore whereas all his rivals are in their physical prime. He has been, therefore, forced to use the other elements in his game much more often. Under Lendl, Murray has been able to, by and large, keep it a bit simpler but it does not come naturally to him. I think Murray is a very intelligent tactician but the old problem of lack of sustained focus persists. If the mind is not fully engaged almost all the time, relentless players like Raf and Djok, whose predatory instincts are incredible, will just pounce on you. It is incredible how the intangibles make all the difference at the highest level. You must be very proud of your guy for bringing it all together and sustaining it. It is incredibly tough to do it on a daily basis.

As for Balado, I didn’t mention him because he was a super-heavyweight and I think, in the top 10, only Berd, Tsonga and Delpo can be categorized as such. Unfortunate that he passed away in the absolute prime of his career. He was brilliant in the Barca Olympics. I have seen videos of Stevenson but I was a big fan of Savon. As a kid, I started following boxing only because of the hype surrounding Tyson. It was only when I saw the likes of Balado, Savon, Chavez, Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard – Pacquiao and Maywather are very good too – that I realized how incredibly skillful these boxers were. Tyson seemed absolutely mediocre in comparison. I enjoyed watching theses guys especially Savon who used to make top-flight opponents appear mediocre.

You express yourself pretty well. I can empathize about the effort needed since English is not my first language either. We are doing OK so long as we are able to convey our intended thoughts.


grendel Says:

mat4 – ” He started aggressively, but when this aggression didn’t pay immediately, he alternated, was too aggressive or too passive intermittently.” Got it in a nutshell. Don’t forget, though, he is trying to change a long established style, and that is not done overnight.

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