Wimbledon Review: What’s It All Mean For Murray And His Merry Men?
by Sean Randall | July 9th, 2013, 4:14 pm
  • 254 Comments

So Andy Murray has finally won Wimbledon ending a 77-year drought for his home nation. While that’s all well and nice for folks in the UK, in the broader landscape Murray has now won two of the last four Slams plus the gold and with the heart of the hardcourt swing just around the corner, might the Scot be the at the head of the men’s tennis table in the near future? Perhaps.

Though some of the other players might have something to say about that. So let’s breakdown where we are at in the game.

Andy Murray
He’s the man of the hour, there’s no question. And with deference to Novak Djokovic, who’s the World No. 1, and Rafael Nadal, who still leads in 2013 points, Murray’s the best right now.

As I’ve said he’s the only man right now on the planet who’s holding not one but two Grand Slam titles, and that’s in addition to a coveted Olympic gold.

Sure, Murray benefited from a kind Wimbledon draw which included having the good fortune of playing Fernando Verdasco – we know he can’t finish off a big name on a big stage – and then an overwhelmed and tired Jerzy Janowicz. But he did hand Djokovic a rare straight sets defeat in the final. Even had Novak taken the fourth I still think Murray would have won, he was just the better, more focused player.

And it’s hard to cry Murray’s been plain lucky. Andy also took the Olympic gold from Roger Federer and he beat Novak at the US Open. True, the whipping wind played a role in New York but you still have to win those matches, and Murray did just that.

At 26 he’s at the end of his peak window, but there’s no reason with his versatile game and coach Lendl at his side that he can’t add 3-4 more Majors.

The French will always be tough with Nadal but Wimbledon, with the pressure and expectations finally in the rearview (for now), and with little true grass threats around, could be we’re he’ll collect the most in the next few years.

That said, he still doesn’t have that big, dynamic shot that instills fear in his foes. So if Nadal and Djokovic are that their very best, I still rate those guys ahead of Andy. As for them…

Novak Djokovic
He’s the World No. 1 but really hasn’t been playing up to par. And I’ve been saying that since March when Novak failed to win either Indian Wells or Miami, two events a player with his skillset and experience should dominate. He did beat Rafa in Monte Carlo, but otherwise he’s just been “off” in my eyes.

To his credit, he played really well at Wimbledon, much better than I thought he would. But against Juan Martin Del Potro in their epic semi the errors returned and the confidence in his shots just wasn’t there. He was hitting the ball okay, he just wasn’t fully committed.

And against Murray, maybe it was Andy, maybe it was carryover fatigue from the semi or just something else completely , but I just didn’t see that fire, the heart from him. He almost seemed resigned to just finish runner-up. (Is he satisfied?)

Now we move to his favorite hardcourt surface and if that doesn’t ignite the fuse, then what’s left. If Novak doesn’t come away with either Cincinnati or Canada then it might be time to panic. Because as we saw in Paris and at Wimbledon, if you haven’t been winning at the smaller events it catches up with you in the big ones. Those expectations snowball.

Rafael Nadal
Once again it’s all about Nadal’s knees. If their healthy then great, but my feeling is after another suspect loss at Wimbledon this issue is never, ever going away, and the hardcourts only makes it worse.

We’ll get a better read a month from now in Canada how he really is, provided he plays of course. If he shows up strong then maybe it was just a random flare in London, but if withdraws or loses early again then it could signal another difficult end to the season.

Remember Rafa doesn’t play his best during the second half of the calendar with a good knee, now adding the psychological toll of having it flare up again, how’s he going to handle the hardcourts this time?

For his sake and for tennis’s I hope he can make it back 100%. Reality is at age 27 it’s a longshot he’ll ever win the US Open again.

Roger Federer
Speaking of longshots, that’s what Federer is now at the bigger event where he use to be the man to beat. That’s no longer after the Swiss Mister finally got bit by the upset bug ending that 36-Slam quarterfinal streak. It was inevitable, I just didn’t think it would happen the way it did to Sergiy Stakhovsky.

Short on points and events that he can win, now ranked No. 5 Roger has added a couple of clay court tournaments at the end of this month to his 2013 playing schedule. And it’s probably a smart move.

Approaching 32, Roger needs match play and he needs match wins. And I think he now acknowledges that when he goes to Canada and Cincinnati he might only get a few matches before a JW Tsonga or Jerzy Janowicz or someone else “shocks” him early on. That’s the unfortunate reality.

But all said, I still think he can win another Major. I think the Stakhovsky loss should serve as a wake-up call and I expect Roger to perform much better the remainder of the year. And if he can get a good draw, create some luck, Federer’s still a guy that can make magic especially in a Grand Slam, one match winner-take-all final.

Juan Martin Del Potro
For me, Delpo was only behind Murray as the story of Wimbledon. Despite two injuries to the same left knee, the Argentine played some of the best tennis of his career.

Not only does Delpo hit harder off the ground than anyone on the the planet, he’s got a serve to match, he moves well for a big guy and mentally he’s very sound. Really, when he’s in full flight, it’s just him against his body. Unfortunately, his body wins a lot!

However, who among us didn’t think he was done after taking that scary tumble against David Ferrer? In previous years he just might. But the fragile 6-foot-6 beast rose up, shook off the injury, and out fought Ferrer. To me, that showed a heck of a lot. And it’s a great sign for the future.

So if Delpo – still just 24 – can maintain some semblance of health and calm, it’s very reasonable to think he’ll be holding up the US Open trophy two months from now. Right now he’s my No. 2 pick behind Murray for the Open.

David Ferrer
How can a guy Federer’s age play better than Roger at Wimbledon? I don’t really know! But David just keeps chugging along. Ferrer has reached the semifinals (and beyond) at the last four Grand Slams and that effort has deservedly lifted him to a career-high No. 3 in the rankings this week. Contrast that with Federer who at a career-low No. 5 and you get the numerical sense of two guys going in opposition directions. Strange, right?

However, I wonder if David’s this good or is everyone else this mentally challenged? May be both!

The Others
As for the rest, I think Janowicz has proven to be the leader of the new pack of stars. I just hope this newfound fame and fortune doesn’t curtail his progress because he’s a player with Top 5, multiple Slam-winner type of potential. Jerzy’s not as good overall as Del Potro, but he adds extra variety with his dropshot and he’s got a better huge serve.

I also like how Bernard Tomic played. With the swirling controversy of his dad never far away, the 20-year-old Bernard grew up in hurry enjoying one of his best tournaments. If he can keep it together the Top 10, Top 5 could be calling soon.

Meanwhile, Milos Raonic was a disappointment (again) as were Grigor Dimitrov, the quickly fading Ryan Harrison, Ernests Gulbis and Kei Nishikori. All five, though, should do well this summer on the hardcourts, especially Nishikori who I think could be around the final weekend of a US Open in the next few years.

It’s an older person’s game these days but Wimbledon showed time waits for no man, not even Federer and Nadal. So after years of status quo, I think we are sitting on the edge of the Big Shift. It should be fun ahead. Just remember to buckle up!


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254 Comments for Wimbledon Review: What’s It All Mean For Murray And His Merry Men?

Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Great write up Sean,i believe the early losses at Wimbledon could be a blessing for both Roger and Rafa,both should be fresh and well rested,Roger has no physical problems and as long as Rafas knees are ok,i can see both of them having a good run at the USO,although to be honest i dont see either winning it,the irony is Rafa has seldom struggled in the earlier rounds in New York the way he has at Wimbledon either,Novak will be eager to put the dissapointments of both the FO and Wimbledon behind him,and Andy will be itching to build on the success of Wimbledon,Delpo i would love to see bag another GS and when hes on his game is incredible,but he has a tendency to blow hot and cold physically,and cannot see to back up one good tournament with another,hmm we will see though i suppose,i would pick Andy,Novak or Delpo to win the title though,my two cents.


the DA Says:

Great review. I agree with all of it. For me what stands out this Wimbledon is the improvement in Andy’s mental strength. Particularly that last game of the final and how he handled a resurgent Nole – the most intimidating prospect in tennis. Apart from that one weak overhead Nole was in full comeback mode and Andy stood his ground. I think even as recently as last year he would have folded. This should be the transformative moment in his development – the missing link.

This certainly makes the upcoming HC season exciting and unpredictable.


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

The DA Murray indeed would have mentally colapsed against Novak at one point in a situation like that,but not anymore hes much tougher now,the top 3 are no longer,its the top 4 ,Roger,Rafa and Novak have company.


Brando Says:

Excellent post by Sean.

My thoughts on USO fav post recent events:

1- ANDY MURRAY:

Olympic Gold winner (also RU in mixed doubles, so a 2 time Olympic winner), reigning USO and Wimbledon champion.

He is the ONLY player in his 20′s to also have won ROGERS CUP, CINCY and the USO open.

Been there done that.

He also beat his main rival, NOVAK DJOKOVIC, in the big matches for all 3.

Again: been there, done that.

He’s at the peak of his powers, confidence and above all else: mental state.

He must be buzzing or should I say: muzzing after that Wimby win.

LOL.

We could paint the picture however we won’t but the FACT is he has laid the smackdown on the world no.1 in straight sets in the biggest possible match on tour.

That is huge for Andy.

And he did it with what we thought was a suspect 2nd serve.

IMHO: he’s got NOTHING to fear. And the USO is an event he actually prefers to Wimby and suits him the best of all slams.

IF Andy plays his best: expect him to walk away with slam no.3

2- NOVAK DJOKOVIC:

World no.1, seasoned USO contender. He’ll be there for sure in the last weekend, but right now I just feel Muzza is better than him.

3- JMDP:

He’s won the USO, got the game and fear’s no one. Should he fire then he is the ARGUABLY the one player who should relish Flushing Meadows the most.

His game was made for that court.

It all depends on his fitness: good luck Delpo!

4- RAFAEL NADAL:

IF he’s fit: then write him off at your peril.

He and his camp stated post Wimby that his knee is fine. Should that be the case- here’s hoping- then he’ll likely do well.

The consistent bounce, assured footing, ROGERS CUP/ CINCY prep should all help him to have a good run at the Open.

DARK HORSE:

ROGER FEDERER:

He’ll be 32. That’s ancient in tennis. Then there is his 2013 season. In brief:

It’s been grossly below par.

His best is way behind him, and the brutal truth is: today’s game has moved on into brutal, rallying baseline tennis.

Unless a Wimby type big name shocker happens: can you HONESTLY envisage this Fed beating a likely 2 from: Muzza, Nole, Rafa, Delpo at NY?

I for one cannot.

He has not won at USO since 2008: ALL the other 4 have won since then.

My 2 cents!


skeezer Says:

Brando,

Fed is saying one thing but not doing the other. He has taking more time off this year, said he was playing well, etc. But the results tell the story. At least Rafa comes up with some reason we all can come up with. Knees, prone to injury, whatever, etc. I may be wrong but I haven’t seen this year too many “excuses” from Fed about not being ready to play or what was the reason in his game he lost. If he thinks he is playing well he is delusional. He is competing still at a high level no doubt, but I don;t think the top 50 are running scared anymore.

If he just wants to play for fun as long as he can, well, good for him. But there should be no talk of winning tournaments. He is getting older and has a harder time competing, ok.
I would not be surprised if he continues his slide in performance the remaining part of this year. He has to hit bottom, which imo he is not at. He has to accept the fact that if he wants to give this game another go at the top he needs to be re committed. that means on the court, in the gym, the hard yards. It has to be tougher as not only age comes but family priorities com into play. Tough fan? No….he’s been awesome to watch. Just keepin it real.


Brando Says:

@Skeezer:

Er…. I don’t get the Rafa angle but side stepping that:

I agree with you re Fed. A good post.

My take is relating to who I see, plausibly, winning the USO.

Personally, I see it as:

1- Muzza
2- Nole
3- Delpo

Beyond that, for me, I think IF he is fine then Rafa. I think most commentator’s on the game would agree with that as a fair call.

With Fed, as you touched upon, the results just do not lie.

In fact: they NEVER really lie.

And when I consider that:

- Fed has ONLY one title this year, that too a 250 title

- Has played ONLY one final this year at a level above that, and that too via a route of NOT playing a single top 10 player, and only to lose badly in the final at Rome

- Has won ONLY one match v a top 10 player all year: and that too was a 5 set match

- At his best, most targeted slam he exited in Rnd 2 when for some: he actually played well in his 2 matches at Wimby

All of this does not strike me as the form of a soon to be a slam winner.

Add in some other fact:

- Age 32 by USO
- Out of top 5 for the first time 10 years
- Last won USO 5 years ago
- Last USO final was 4 years ago

Then I just do not really see him as a contender.

I actually LOVE Fed, think he is the GOAT but TBH: I think he should take a real stock of things at the end of the year and ask himself: should I continue.

Personally: I just do not like it when a true great loses matches he would EASILY win in former years, and just carries on with little chance of improvement.

My 2 cents.


Bada Bing Says:

Sean
I believe Novak will win either the Canada masters or Cincinati this year although I would like him to tank Cincy. Grass is Novak’s least prefered surface and he still went deep so if Novak can bring his best I think he can win the USO this year.


jamie Says:

Murray will be the USO winner in 2013.


the DA Says:

@Skeezer – Wow, that’s the most pessimistic I’ve ever seen you about Fed (unless you’re purposely lowering expectations). I think the fact that he’s willing to put in extra work in 2 lowly clay tournaments shows some intent. And Cincy is his ideal surface. The day he stops caring about winning he’ll stop.

I do agree he should stop being stubborn and maybe try a bigger racquet – it could make a huge difference (Verdasco anyone?). A little gym work on the upper body wouldn’t go amiss. But maybe he’s not motivated enough for that extra work with the family.

Only a fool would count him out. And not least, now he’s in the same position as Rafa was before RG and Wimbledon – a dangerous QF threat who the others won’t like to get (except maybe Rafa, but not at Cincy). Hopefully he’ll make up the points at Montreal and Cincy to reclaim No.4 before the USO.


Brando Says:

Really interesting article on the man of the moment: Andy Murray.

His coach, Ivan Lendl, the legendary GS champion gives his views on Andy’s win:

http://tinyurl.com/nh285be

Some really interesting points this legendary player and now coach makes:

1- Touches upon what many other commentators have mentioned: with 2 slams, Olympic Gold is Andy the best in the world right now considering the rest (rafole) only have 1 slam each? IMHO: considering he was RU at AO also, winner at Miami: I think he is.

2- Argues: Slams > ranking:

“Every champion knows how many majors they won,” said Lendl. “Nobody remembers how many weeks they were number one.”

I absolutely agree on this!

How many Fed fans know of how many weeks he has been at no.1?

Same with Rafa fans?

Hardly any!

It’s all about the slams: that’s what players target and work towards.

It’s the trophies that they pursue, work for: not ranking points!

And IMO: I feel Andy has a great case for being the best in the world right now.

In the last 12 months or so you cannot really argue that he has been 2nd to others in the big events when it really mattered.


the DA Says:

“How many Fed fans know of how many weeks he has been at no.1?”

Oh I think you’d be surprised. The many fans I’ve come across have it burned into their memory – together with number of Slams > WTFs > SFs run > QFs run.


Pitchaboy Says:

Federer is not going back to the top or winning slams; maybe one with extreme luck. His game is all timing and reflexes and those are the first to go with age. It is ridiculous to ask how Ferrer is still cutting it; Ferrer, Novak, Andy and Rafa are golden retrievers. They will contend as long as their body holds.


Nativenewyorker Says:

I have to say that Sean’s analysis of the top players in the game now, is spot on. I certainly think that a strong case can be made that Murray is the best player right now. You can’t argue with two slams and an Olympic gold medal. He will heading into the hard court season with momentum and confidence after getting the biggest prize of all in winning Wimbledon and ending the British drought.

I thought Sean was particularly accurate in his assessment of Novak and his game. Great observations. I have felt that something was off with him since I/W and Miami. Those are two hard court Masters events in which he should do well. He did beat Rafa at MC, but it was obvious that Rafa was not anywhere near his best form. It was still a satisfying victory for Novak in ending Rafa’s great winning streak there. But he wasn’t able to win the big one, RG. That had to hurt for a guy who made it clear to the world that winning RG was his priority this year. He bounced back nicely at Wimbledon, but I thought he struggled too much against Delpo. When was the last time Novak lost in straight sets in a slam?

With Rafa it’s all about his knee. If the knee is okay, then everything else will sort itself out. This part of the season is not usually Rafa’s strong suit but he is coming into it fresher and more rested and hopefully healthier. We will have to wait and see. There’s not much more to say, because when Rafa is healthy and on his game he can beat anyone.

Sean said it all about Fed. No need to say any more. He’s playing some extra clay court tournaments and that’s probably a good move right now. It’s not a shock that this is happening at this stage of his career.

Delpo was the nice surprise at Wimbledon. To see him striking that forehand so well, almost like the 2009 USO again, was really a joy. Now if he can only stay healthy! He will definitely be in the mix at the USO. Hopefully his knee will heal and he can be ready for the hard court season.


pogi Says:

federer is still a force to be reckoned with. dont count him out yet…


skeezer Says:

@theDA

Well, I am a little pessimistic, lol. However, facts are he has won 1 title so far this ear, no Slam, not even got to a final, and the one title he won was a 250. How would you categorize that if was your fav, or Rafa or Nole? Fact is he is not performing, but says he feels good. WTF?

I personally have no more expectations of the man, hell he has 17 Slams among many other all time records. But, as a fan, I am starting to question his purpose in the game.

Is he playing for fun and that is it?

Ok, I get that. He loves the game. Play on.

But,

Is he still playing to compete for Slams?

Then that, I don’t get. IF he is, he needs to “saddle up” and work harder than he ever has before.

Age is a comin.

___

@Brando

Re: Rafa
Just sayin everyone knows he has Knee issues and such, and it does hamper his game. Fed? What chronic ailment does he have that has significantly hampered his career? Bad Back? When has he said that was a detriment to his career? Just sayin ( sorry colin )…


Elena Says:

My favorites for US open:

1.Djokovic
2.Delpotro
3.Murray

Others, frankly it will be a vast improvement if they build on their wimbledon results where they have obviously underperformed –

Federer – He is nearly 32. Any slam or matches he wins against his younger rivals shows very poorly on them. As great as his 2012 run was, it showed very negatively on this present generation. How can they let a 30 year old dominate them and get the no.1 ranking?

Nadal – will he even play with those knees, every hardcourt tournament will be bringing him close to retirement that much faster than clay. I will be very happy to see him play and atleast make it to the 2nd week. This is his weakest part of the season and he consistently avoids playing during the end of the year on his weakest surface, the indoor season.

Berdych,Gulbis, Janowicz – I hope they can do something better with these fast courts. Gulbis cannot be a better player and lose a match – because on this surface, if he is the better player than Nadal, he will win it. This surface suits his style better than Nadal’s.

Janowicz has to regroup and take the big step and win a slam in the next 1 year. The time is ripe for him to step up and dominate the field like Federer did in 2003. I will be rooting for this great talent to show us his magic like Federer did.


courbon Says:

Great analysis Sean.
Regarding Novak, I think he is lucking confidence , fitness and patience for some reason .He is improving his game with the serve and net game but his trademark tennis-long rallies and BHD are worst then 2011.I think he needs to take a time off ( even if that would take him off number 1 spot )and improve game and get mentally stronger. The manner in which he lost to Rafa and Andy, does not give me confidence about him winning US Open. Hopefully, Novak, Vajda and his team are thinking the same and doing something about it…


Elena Says:

It is not what Federer says or Nadal says.

Federer has played a lot of slams without retiring or withdrawing. Nadal does it almost 1 slam a year or 1 slam every 2 years.

Which of the 2 will break down physically and retire at the earliest? It looks very likely it will be Nadal.

Native New Yorker/Mindy:

I am very glad you are able to appreciate Sean’s posts and tennis-x. I was very surprised when you and Brando/Nadalista/Rafaisthebest bad-mouthed tennis-x and Sean and Ben and Grendel and Skeezer and on TT.

I think this site has better moderation – Thank you Sean. The topics are wonderful and posters like Daniel, SG1, LLTK are very informed and I like their discussion on Serve and Volley and GOAT.


sienna Says:

Fed is not gonna stand there and say he’s made a mistake buthe is not ready at the moment. But adding claycourt tourney show he at least wants things to change.
That is difficult adjusting midseason. If he iscommitted to winning slams / tourney sheit must be done.

I dont see fed participating just for fun. If you think he plays tennis for fun then you make a mistake.
He is the biggest winning machine the game has ever seen. A men like thatwill want to keep winning or at leastplay to win.

So we will get a fed to try to turn it around, and schending or not it will make an impression whatever it willbe.


Michael Says:

Now having won Wimbledon and US Open, Murray would feel that morally he is No.1 although statistics say otherwise. This win means a lot to Andy and his career development. If he had lost this finals, his career would have nosedived. But now after this splendid victory, it can only zoom to greater heights. It would have done a world of good to his confidence and facing the future challenges especially in slam finals. As regards Novak, technically he is still No.1 and I think he has to definitely win US Open to stamp authoratatively that he is the real No.1. Having lost the Rolland Garros semi final by a whisker and here a straight set sweep by Andy would have dented his confidence, but I feel that he will not take this lying down and will come up firing all cylinders to redeem his lost prestige. I definitely foresee a fighting Novak at the US Open who will do everything he can to lift the trophy. As regards Rafa, well you can never write him off even after this shattering defeat. Having known who he is, it would be a bit premature to write his obituary and although he will not be the favourite in hard courts yet we all know that he can be dangerous even there as he has shown to the World time and again. For Roger, he has a lot of points to defend from here on and his main priority would now be to be in the race to World Tour Finals where he definitely has a big chance if he manages to qualify. But it is going to be very difficult. Let us see how Roger turns the wheel full circle.


Margot Says:

The only thing I’d add about Andy is that his first serve is certainly a “weapon.”
Shhh, don’t mention the second…..;)


Michael Says:

Margot,

I think Andy needs to add more variety to his second serve than he is doing now. He can even try to change his action and footwork somewhat to add zip to his serve. If there is some area he has to concentrate on, then this is it.


metan Says:

Have one weapon is better than no weapon at all!

Andy’s one weapon is awesome how much more if he has two weapons???:-);-)


Colin Says:

To sum it all up, the rest of the season, particularly the USO, will be very, very interesting. Several players in the mix, with a case to be made for each of them.

The biggest winner? Us, collectively, and we don’t have to train for it! Whoever you support, there hasn’t been a more fun time in years.


skeezer Says:

@margot
Lol @12:54

Here’s another thought. He won Wimby with that “Shhhh…. ” second serve. And another thought…if and when he shores that second serve up to the potential that it should be……many…many Slams are forecasted ;)


James Says:

Great post, Michael. Like your assessment.

As much as I like Rafa, I think the favorites for the US Open are:

1: Andy Murray
2: Novak Djokovic
3: Juan Martin Del Potro
4: Rafael Nadal*
5: Roger Federer

*If Rafa is not troubled by his knee, I’d placed him above Delpo. Delpo, apart from the 2009 USO, hasn’t really won anything significant on the hardcourts.

Andy Murray: The best player in the world right now, 2 Slams and reigning Olympic champion. Has the upper hand in the Murray-Djokovic rivalry at the moment. Has the game and belief to to win more slams. Has always done well in America. Has a good chance of getting the year end no.1 ranking.

Novak Djokovic: still the no.1 ranked player in the world. Has been in the US Open final every year since 2010 and won the title in 2011. Is the defending champ in Montreal. It’s very important for him to successfully defend his Rogers cup title or win Cincy. Should he win one of them, it’s hard not to see him in another slam final and possibly win it this time. Could be the year end no.1 ranked player for the third year in a row.

Del Potro: If Delpo serves as well as we know he can, with his powerful forehand, he’s gonna be a player the big four would like to avoid. Should they meet in a match in Montreal, Cincy or NY, it will be interesting to see how Andy Murray plays the big Argentine. Like the guy (who doesn’t?) but would be surprised if he wins the US Open.

Rafael Nadal: Despite his 1st round loss at Wimbledon, it’s interesting that he still has a realistic shot at the year end no.1 ranking. But unless he performs very well for the rest of the season, he won’t get it. He has began practising on the hardcourts in Mallorca, but we don’t know how his knee (not knees he insists, just the left one) is. Should he be healthy, I won’t be too surprised to see him make a deep run at the two Masters before the US Open. Like Novak, it’s important for him to win either Rogers cup or Cincy (this one tougher for him). For someone considered weak on the hardcourts of America, the Spaniard’s made it to the final of the US Open twice in a row in 2010, when he won, and 2011 when he lost to Djokovic. It was only last year that he wasn’t in the final but only because he was out injured. What’s also interesting is that, unlike Wimbledon, he’s seldom lost in the first week of the USO. So watch out!

Roger Federer: His best days are really far behind him and he will never be the force he once was. But unlike some of his fans, I still see the guy winning one more slam. The Swiss maestro can still make a deep run at the USO, and with some luck, may be even make it to the final. And then anything’s possible.


Margot Says:

@ Skeeze…..:)
Heard a discussion somewhere where comms were wondering why some players just don’t serve 2 “first” serves some of the time.
Seemed to think in the long term of a match wouldn’t actually cost them anything.
Wish Andy would do that sometime, would certainly keep his opponents on their toes.
@ Michael
I’ve seen Andy’s second serve stats a lot better than in that match, but there again was that because of Nole’s ROS?


Michael Says:

James,

Thanks !!

I agree with your order of favourites for the US Open title. Andy with this win would be raring to go and undoubtedly he will be the favourite. But I will not place Novak far behind despite his tough losses recently. I think everything would depend on the outcome on the upcoming hard court Masters event at Toronto as well as Cincinnati. They might give a message as to who would be the favourite. As regards Del Potro, well he did say in his post match conference that he need to even hit the ball harder and that sounds alarm bells for his opponents. What a player he is. If he is phsically fit, he should be a real threat there. Well, what can one say about Rafa. Many critiques and commentators are once again writing his obituary rather prematurely. They did that mistake in 2009 as well as 2012 and Rafa came back strongly. This time it remains to be seen if their doubts about him are indeed real. Knowing Rafa, he can terribly disappoint his doubters. Coming to Roger, I do not think he has a chance to win the title and he is not going to bother about it. He has already made an astonishing streak of eight continuous semi finals there and that is more than enough for him. He is passionate about Tennis and that keeps him going despite all his disappointments. But he needs to take a call sooner than later if this disturbing trend continues. Afterall he has a legacy to defend with.


Michael Says:

Margot,

I used to remember that Borg used to say that he will cut down the pace on his first serve just for gaining psychological advantage against his opponents. His reasoning is that they will be hesitant to attack the first serve unlike what they do for his relatively weak second serve. He just wants to give an impression to the man on the other side of the net that his first serves are indeed working. Can Andy too replicate this strategy instead of going whole hog with his first serve and thereby put tremendous pressure on his second serve ??


Nativenewyorker Says:

@Elena,

I don’t have to explain myself to you or anyone else. Anything I said on tt will inevitably get back to this site. If you want to bring up past things that I said on another site, go right ahead.

It’s nice that you seem to keep track of people’s user names on the forums. However, the last time I checked people are free to use different screen names for different forums. Long time posters here know who I am.

I don’t recall so-called badmouthing Grendel for that matter. But it’s interesting that you seem to know so much about what I have posted elsewhere. There are things that Ben said that I liked and things that I did not like at all. Same goes for Sean.

I have all of two posts here in the last two days. It’s not like I am a regular on this forum. However, what I said about Sean’s analysis of the top players still stands. If I like what he writes and think it has merit, then I have no problem saying so.


Nativenewyorker Says:

@Elena,

I would just like to make one more point. I find it interesting that in your selective reading of this other tennis site, that you did not happen to mention a few people who posted there about what was being said about me by people who are on this site. I cannot repeat what they posted because it was graphic, profane and obscene.

I find it fascinating that you never brought any of that up at all. At least what I said about people here was in polite language that could be repeated.

I don’t intend to post here on a regular basis. I congratulated the Andy Murray fans here yesterday. Today I commented about how I appreciated Sean’s blog.


rafaeli Says:

Rafa ALWAYS has problems in the early rounds at Wimbledon, because of his packed clay season, he is usually battle weary when Wimbledon starts. This year, he couldn’t ride the wave because he is also still managing his recovery – just unfortunate, but doesn’t write him off for future Wimbledon titles.

Rafa does play well at the USO because he is not so worn out by the time he gets there as he rarely goes deep into the h/c M1000s preceding it. I would only write Rafa off if he is not fit. When fit he is hard to move, and now that he has banished the Djokovic ghost, everyone watch out.

I’m not convinced that Jerzy is there yet. Would he have made the SF if he had to get passed Roger and Rafa? I don’t know. He needs to do it consistently to earn his stripes. The likes of Gulbis and Dimitrov will always be spoilers, but they cannot hold it together tournament after tournament. Ferrer has benefited by not meeting Nadal in the Qtrs where his journey always seem to end.


rafaeli Says:

Saying that Murray is the best player right now is factually WRONG. Murray has made 3 finals this year out of 9 tournaments played.

Let’s not get too carried away.

This chart shows clearly the YTD activities of the top 20

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_ATP_World_Tour_Finals


rafaeli Says:

Please, can we stop saying Djokovic lost the FO by a whisker? Rafa served for the match in the 4th set. Djoko only led in the match once in the 5th set by 1 break until Rafa broke him in the 8th game. Rafa already had break points in that 8th game before the netgate incident and finally Rafa broke him to love to win the final set 9:7.

I have never heard anyone go on about Rafa nearly winning the AO in 2012 which took Djoko 6 hrs to win, or that Andy nearly won the AO this year or the AO SF aginst Djoko last year.

Djokovic has won a LOT of close matches in the last 2 years, after all.


rafaeli Says:

This chart shows clearly the YTD activities of the top 20

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_ATP_World_Tour_Finals

You need to scroll down to see the chart.


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Rafaeli i completely agree for once,Rafa you could say lost that 4th set by a whisker,Novak was indeed lucky that he was able to push it to a 5th set anyway,it was only in that 5th set where he actually lead the match,i have the match on record,and Rafa lead the match on every stat that there was,he was the deserved winner no two ways about it,also if we are gonna say that Novak was unlucky in that match,we could also say Rafa was unlucky in the AO final leading 4-2 in that final set,which would be BS,as Novak should have won the match in the 4th set,and without nitpicking Novak did not serve for the match at the AO in that 4th set thats the difference,Rafa did serve for the match in the 4th set at the FO,there in lies the difference,however the better player won the match on both occasions,end of story.


James Says:

rafaeli,

Rafa is the best player of 2013 so far. But if you look at last 12 months or so, Andy Murray is ahead of Both Nadal and Djokovic. Andy holds 2 Slams and an olympic gold while Rafa and Novak have 1 Slam each. So factually Murray is the man of the hour. Of course, if Rafa goes on to win the US Open, he’d have 2 Slams and no doubt get the year end no.1 ranking too. Same with Novak. So, IMO between these three players whoever wins the USO will also be the year end #1.
But right now, after his Wimbledon win, Murray is the top guy.


rafaeli Says:

James, don’t get me wrong, Murray won Wimby fair and square as the best player who took part. They were all there and he won it. But it depends on what people interpret as ‘the best player’, whether it based solely on titles won regardless of extenuating circumstances. Obviously, as Rafa was absent for 7 months, [2012/13] we shouldn’t compare titles won over 12 months when including Rafa in the equation. Rafa couldn’t win the USO last year because he didn’t play it.

I think the next 5 months will be very interesting. Rafa was mentally and physically spent at Wimbledon so after the long rest I hope he’ll be up to it this fall.


grendel Says:

I append these few lines from yesterday’s The Independant, just to show that the context in which tennis is conceived in England has, thankfully, changed overwhelmingly:

“Born in Stockport in 1909, he [Fred Perry, that is] was the world number one for three years, taking in four Davis Cup wins for Britain and eight major singles titles – including three Wimbledon championships between 1934 and 1936.

“However, in a game still ruled by the middle classes, Perry’s working class roots meant he was not quite as popular among British tennis fans as you might expect.

“He was known as an upstart, and his ruthless ambition on the court came as something as a shock to spectators accustomed to more gentlemanly displays. A quick mover, he had an all-court game and hit a mean ‘early-ball’ running forehand.

“When he won his first title against the Australian Jack Crawford – comfortably, with a score of 6-3 6-0 7-5 – he overheard a Wimbledon committee member saying it was a day “when the best man didn’t win”.

“His All England Club member’s tie, the acknowledgement of his Wimbledon win, was dropped over the back of his seat in the dressing room. There was no word of congratulations, and the incident still irked him late into his life. “Instead of Fred J Perry the champ I felt like J Fred Muggs the chimp,” he said. “The Perry balloon was certainly deflated.”


Giles Says:

http://alturl.com/vmame
Came across this article. Doesn’t sound like Andy! Am a bit surprised!


grendel Says:

@margot 2.25

Dustin Brown beat Hewitt basically using 1st serves all along the line. And some think that Bartoli doesn’t distinguish between 1st and 2nd serve. Maybe a subtle shift? I recall making Michael’s point to you some time ago, or something similar – what if Murray served at three quarter pace? But for both serves?

Actually, I am inclined to doubt that now. Murray’s 1st serve can be such a weapon, and generally he can pull out the big ones out when it counts. He did when he was serving out the 2nd set, didn’t he.

I asked on another thread, is there something more to Murray’s 2nd serve than meets the eye? Djokovic quite often seemed uncomforable with it, and on the face of it, that’s a puzzle.

Nativenewyorker – you have not badmouthed me, but when you disagree, and as a Nadal fan (yes?)you are bound to, please vigorously voice your disagreement!

@rafaeli 4.58 “I’m not convinced that Jerzy is there yet. Would he have made the SF if he had to get passed Roger and Rafa? I don’t know. He needs to do it consistently to earn his stripes. ” Of course that is true, one swallow doesn’t make a summer and so forth. But right from the moment I saw him (in Paris last year) there was something about him which suggested he would go all the way, in time. I also feel that about Tomic, providing he can sort out his private life. You call Dimitrov a “spoiler” (Jimmy Connors’ word in this context), and this is harsh, but you may be right.


grendel Says:

Giles – it’s a spoofy!


Margot Says:

@Giles
Lol that’s from “The Onion” Andy would never speak like that to reorters. He’s learnt a hard lesson.
@grendel
This serve really interesting. I noted your comments elsewhere. I’m so used to the comms going on and on about Andy’s second serve I’ll take any chinks of hope you can pass my way.
BTW to my knowledge you’ve never been bad mouthed on TT and any comments levelled at Sean have been in the nature of a bit of a “Fed fan” and nothing he hasn’t read on here….)
I don’t lie either and almost nothing makes me crosser when people try to make out you do. What you see is usually what you get with me.
I’d like to PM u about what has really been going on on here. I’ve no wish go public though, having no inclination to put any more petrol on the flames and am astonished that another poster, out of the blue, seems to want to.


grendel Says:

@rafaeli 6.48

“Obviously, as Rafa was absent for 7 months, [2012/13] we shouldn’t compare titles won over 12 months when including Rafa in the equation. Rafa couldn’t win the USO last year because he didn’t play it.”

Integral to Rafa’s huge success is the manner in which he plays. Of course, this is a truism – how could it not be so, with anyone? – but in the case of Nadal certain unusual consequences follow. This is because of the well known fact that he puts tremendous demands upon his body, with the following results:a)Rewards, in terms of great victories and b)Injury – therefore, can’t play sometimes.

You could see it as a sort of juggling act – just that little bit of extra stress could facilitate the win or the withdrawal. How to manage it? This is a problem the Nadal camp have not managed to solve, not surprisingly. They seem to be operating right on the margins of the possible.

You have to take the rough with the smooth. Rafa’s not playing is part of the same syndrome which led to his mighty successes. Another way of putting it might be: suppose he eased up, dramatically, on his vigorous style of play? Well, he wouldn’t be taking so much time off. And nor would he be winning anything like so much. It’s that balancing act again.

In sum, when assessing who is the top player right now, Nadal’s absence is not a factor to be taken into account.


rafaeli Says:

grendel, I agree that Jerzy has a game and is more than his serve much more than Raonic. The thing is, once he was on the back foot, his serve became a liability. Some of his first serves nearly hit the baseline and Murray served far more aces than Janowicz did – 20 for Murray and 9 for Jerzy. Jerzy also served 11 DFs.

The trouble with the big hitters is that they lose heart if their opponent can deal with their bombs and then they are all over the place. A lot of them go in expecting to intimidate with the serve and if that fails they have no plan ‘B’.


Giles Says:

@Grendel & @ Margot. Spoofy? Guess that’s why I was surprised!


grendel Says:

That’s a very good point, rafaeli. We’ll see if Janowicz can take it on board. I think he will, because I do think there is something a bit special about him.


rafaeli Says:

I’ve been very impressed with the way Murray has handled his triumph at Wimbledon. He refused to get carried away with the hype and when told that many think he deserves a knighthood he said he didn’t think winning Wimbledon deserved a knighthood, that you have to do something special outside your job to deserve it.

I totally agree.


Margot Says:

@the DA
Am returning the favour:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cartoon/2013/jul/08/steve-bell-andy-murray-wimbledon-knighthood

The wonderful the incomparable Steve Bell.


the DA Says:

@ Margot – I saw that yesterday and had a hearty chuckle. These cartoonists see right through the political machinations.

As regards Andy’s 2nd serve there was surprise amongst the commentators that Nole wasn’t doing much with them but McEnroe made a very good point. He said although they were slow that there was a lot of “action” on them, i.e. a kick or spin, and placement which made them bounce away from Djokovic’s strike zone. That made sense. Jerzy also seemed to struggle with them (Andy had some ridiculously high % of 2nd serve points won – around 65/70). I know it’s something Lendl has been working on.


the DA Says:

One other thing. Am I alone in finding it bizarre that some fans of one player are being called out or criticized for being courteous to those of another? It’s like there is some unwritten manual of fan etiquette which some of us never received in the mail.

There will always be hostility between fan bases but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of civility here and there.


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

The DA excellent post here here,well said.


skeezer Says:

Grendel,
Re; 6:48
Thanks for sharing that. Love those little known historical nuggets. Perry delivers in straights with a bagel included and the best man didn’t win? Lol. Working class rocks!


skeezer Says:

“The trouble with the big hitters is that they lose heart if their opponent can deal with their bombs and then they are all over the place. A lot of them go in expecting to intimidate with the serve and if that fails they have no plan ‘B”

You know your Tennis. ;)


Brando Says:

Great posts by the DA, Colin, Margot, Skeezer, Grendel, Rafaeli, Courbon and Alison. Great discussion. Agree with the prevailing sentiment: going forward this USO Open swing is greatly exciting. I agree with most: Muzza Is the man of the hour and the fav for USO. Right now he’s got everything going for him and I see little against him. Novak is indeed a very close 2nd fav- maybe even a joint fav- but as Courbon said: there are concerns oncourt with him. Plus in the Andole rivalry Andy has won 2/3 slam finals, in addition to the Olympics. So you got to favour Andy slightly right now. Fedal? I think both will be eager to make a strong showing and I can see both performing well. Delpo and Jerzy are the 2 exciting elements that can truly make this a wide open stretch of the year. I’m off for a while now, shall be back by Rogers Cup so it’s: take care guys, play nice and I’ll be back when the fun starts off again. Cheers!:-)


the DA Says:

OMG some animators from Taiwan did a video to commemorate Andy’s win:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_pGuwR8nq0Y

Nole as the Joker from Batman, heads exploding, the Queen dancing a jig – it has it all. Completely bonkers.


James Says:

Oh btw Jerzy, Tomic, Dimitrov and Nishikori could cause some upsets in Montreal, Cincy and at Flushing Meadows. Jerzy should build on his strong Wimbledon showing and should do well at the USO. Tomic loves the big stage. Expect some good performance from him. If Dimitrov is anything Federer like, he’s gotta prove it. Your tennis skills alone isn’t gonna win you tournaments. He’s gotta show he has the heart to make a deep run at USO. I expect Nishikori for a better showing than in the clay season and grass, considering he’s more of a hardcourts specialist.


James Says:

Rafans, Rafa’s next tournament is going to be the Rogers Cup in Montreal. Hopefully, he’ll show up;)

http://www.espn.co.uk/tennis/sport/story/220223.html


Kimberly Says:

The trouble with the big hitters is that they lose heart if their opponent can deal with their bombs and then they are all over the place. A lot of them go in expecting to intimidate with the serve and if that fails they have no plan ‘B’.

They lose heart because often there are holes in the rest of their game. It’s like many a powerful center in basketball, if you can keep them away from dunking at the rim they can’t make perimeter shots. If somebody can prevent a big hitter from working their plan A they dont use plan B because they don’t have one effective enough to win. If someone stops Djokovic from playing offense he can beat you with defense. But if you can return Isner serve what is he going to do?


Polo Says:

thanks for the video link, the DA. The Joker was a great funny choice.


Polo Says:

Hopefully, Janowicz performance at Wimbledon will be a wake up call to the other upcoming players to do just as well. Janowicz just passed all of them.


Long Live The King Says:

top 4 players record during hard court swing:

Federer : 2 canadian open, 5 Cincinnati + 5 USopen. [ the greatest hard court player of all time]

Djokovic: 3 canadian, multiple finals in cincinanti and semi-final or more at USopen since 2007. [top 5 hard court players of all time, 2nd in the Federer era]

Murray: 2canadian, 2cincinnati, Defending champ, top 10/15 hard court player of all time, 3rd/4th in Federer era

Nadal: 2canadian, never made it past semis in cincinnati and 1USOpen + 1 final. [top 10/15 hard court player of all time, 3rd/4th in Federer era].

I don’t think even Delpotro qualifies for top 20 hard court player of all time. Hewitt, that dinosaur from a weak-era [as reported by misinformed tennis fans] has a better record than Juan Martin. Even Federer, in his worst form and in decline has a better record than JMDP.

Time for all these power-hitters to step up, but you cannot blame them because the conditions and string technology have shifted the game in favour of the defensive player. It would have been very unlikely that a defensive player would have won a USopen in the 90s. Patrick Rafter won 2 USopen title in 90s, but I doubt if he would have even made a semi-final in this era. Even clay-courters like Juan monaco/Almagro would have gobbled him up even on the relatively fast hard courts of the USopen series. Rafter might have had an impact in the indoor season, however.


Tennis Vagabond Says:

Really good column, really hit the nail on the head. Andy has snuck into the top tier almost under the radar after all the attention paid to Novak, Roger and Rafa by turn in the last couple years.

Its now Novak and Andy’s world.

Del Potro is now a Slam threat, more so than Federer.

Federer, realistically is in the Dark Horse/ Grand Upset tier, with Janowicz, Tsonga, Berdych and, maybe, Ferrer.


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

LLTK Jane put up a reliability index on HC achievements and Rafa is 12th on the all time list,he could rise up that list between now and the end of his career,still not bad for someone whos not considered to be that great on HCs anyway.


Daniel Says:

This talk of Murrya being the better player is nonsense. the better player is the one who reach all SF and beyond last Slams, not Murrya who did not play RG or Nadal who did not play US and AO but has a bunch of points from 7 clay tourneys, something he haven’t played since 2005, when he smack the tennis world.

Djokovic is the onle consistant all year long, from January to March, and his big lead shos that. Murray’s Olympic points will drop and if he doesn’t win Canada or Cincy where he underperfomr last year his chances of #1 will be gone, maybe end of the year if Novak doesn’t win anymore the rest of the year (almost impossible).

I think Nolandy and Federer will split next 2 masters, there is a reason DelPo never won any masters title (he can have 1 great match, but not 2 or 3, so I think he won’t be beating all this guys) and Fed always perform well in this 2 events. Last year he didn’t won neither was 2008 after the Wimby loss. Murrya in best of 3 on hard is succeptible to upsets. Djoko way more reliable in best of 3 and he is eager for Cincy title, where he will became the first player to have won all Masters title (IW, Maiami, MC, Madrid, Rome, Canada, Shangai and Paris) Something not even Fed nor Nadal come close. They have 6 different plus Madrid when hard (which was replaced by Shangai), while Djoko hs 8 already.

Yer end #1 will be intriguing this year, depending on results of the 3, will Nadal win some hard court titles? Will Murray defend US Open and maybe have a run end of the year and finally perfomr in WTF in London (he won last 3 out of 4 tourneys played on the capital: Olympics, Queens and Wimby)? And will Djoko keeps producing great hard court swing. I think Djoko will be #1 all year and finish #1 again, Just don’t see him underperfoming with the wya he was playing Wimby. Who knows, if he had close one of those MP agaisnt DelPo in set #4 in Semifinal maybe he would performed better in the final, without having to go to a mentally stressing fifth set, which they always are.
To me he is still the man to beat, untill Murray can prove he can be consistant and not have any before SF loss in north america swing.


Daniel Says:

hahaha, “January to March” was priceless, what I was thinking, January to November…


rafaeli Says:

Long Live The King says:

Federer : 2 canadian open, 5 Cincinnati + 5 USopen. [ the greatest hard court player of all time]

Nadal: 2canadian, never made it past semis in cincinnati and 1USOpen + 1 final. [top 10/15 hard court player of all time, 3rd/4th in Federer era].

So how is it that Nadal has beaten Federer 6-2 on outdoor h/c including 2-0 in slams?


Long Live The King Says:

Nadal is 5 years younger than Federer. That is a generation in tennis. Though Federer and Nadal are lumped together, they are not true rivals like Djokovic, Nadal or Murray.

Federer’s peers are safin, hewitt, roddick, ferrero, youzhny, blake and the likes.

I remember connors lost the last 17 matches in his “rivalry” to a younger lendl. Yet many historians rate connors a greater player than lendl. You can see similar things with other rivalries too.

Federer’s challenge, like Borg was to lock horns with a younger, ambitious rival. Federer could have quit the game like Borg and he woul have gone home with 12 slams and a 6-8 H2H with Nadal. [Borg had 11 slams and 7-7 h2h with the up-start mcenroe who was 3.5 years younger to borg, nadal is close to 5 years younger and thus a bigger challenge than borg had.]

I am glad Federer was wise enough to know slams and weeks at no.1 and year end championships matter more than a h2h against a younger rival.

Federer has since then, added 5 slams, 65 weeks at number 1 and 2 more year end championships.


roy Says:

”At 26 he’s at the end of his peak window”

in this era most young stars can’t hope to compete with the top players on a regular basis until early 20s. you’re starting to play your top level around 24/25 maybe.
26 is hardly the end of your ”peak”.


rafaeli Says:

Had Federer quit the game with 12 slams he would not have been included in the GOAT debate.


Long Live The King Says:

More than the age, you look at Rafa at wimbledon, he moved worse than a journeyman like Darcis.

This is the big difference between Federer’ loss to stakhovsky and Rafa’s to Darcis. Federer didn’t play his best, but he has been hit and miss all year and after 1100 matches, that is to be expected. Sampras played only 1000 matches, similar for agassi.

Rafa has only 600 matches and his knees look like they will need a replacement. He moved much worse than Darcis. This is the norm for Rafa at Wimbledon. On grass, during 1st week, he is always afraid to move, a lot like Djokovic in that respect than say Federer/Murray who are natural on grass.

Even in 2010, when Rafa last won Wimbledon, he had multiple falls on the grass and was nearly knocked out by journey-men like Petzchner and Haase. 2011 was the best Rafa played at Wimbledon. Unfortunately Djokovic was in the midst of a 7-0 run over him and thoroughly dismantled Rafa in the final. That was Djokovic’s greatest performance on Grass. It is a performance that is top-notch and better than any tennis played on grass by anyone not named Federer/Sampras/Laver


grendel Says:

“They lose heart because often there are holes in the rest of their game.”

That’s about the sum of it. You could see it happening with Janowicz against Murray. The question is, does he have the resources to plug those gaps? Up to a point, I think he does. He doesn’t need to become as skilful as Murray and co. That’s the whole point of having the huge game. But of course he must add to his game if he is not to suffer repeated frustration. The next 12 months will perhaps be about learning and consolidation.


SG1 Says:

It would be a great story if DelPo could bag another USO after all the injuries. Hard not to like his game. Not sure if he’s the biggest hitter out there (Berdych may play a slightly bigger game), but he does seem to have it together mentally. I’m pulling for DelPo to close out the final major with a win. I’m not saying I think he’ll win. I just hope he does.


AD Tennis Says:

“Patrick Rafter won 2 USopen title in 90s, but I doubt if he would have even made a semi-final in this era”

I think this is a very valid point. If the game were played in 90s, Berdych and Tsonga would be very hard to beat at Wimbledon and USopen.

The game’s well documented move to slower conditions has allowed players like Ferrer to get past them even on present day faster courts. 4 out of the top 5 are returners whose serves would hardly make it to the top 20 best serves of all time. Federer would qualify as one of the best serves of all time. I think when he approaches the last year of his career, Federer will do a Sampras and go for bigger 2nd serves. It could, like a lot of the weapons he adds regularly, prove a worthy investment.

There is no doubt Janowicz would have won a wimbledon or maybe 2, if the conditions across all surfaces resembled the ones in 90s.


SG1 Says:

Sean’s statement about Murray being on the back end of his peak window is interesting. It is true that the greats tend pile up majors from around 21 to 27 years old. Then again, these players tend to have their game completely established when they’re 22 or 23. Murray has put it all together a little later so perhaps his window will be extended a little. I suspect his peak end will be 28 (maybe 29)years old. These are really tough things to speculate on. It depends on drive, the level of competition, health. Connors was winning majors in late 20′s and early 30′s. So did Agassi and Sampras. I think likes the taste of winning and I’ll think he’ll win at least 3 or 4 more slams. Just have to wait and see.


SG1 Says:

There were a lot of big hitters in the 90′s. Ivo, Becker, Krajicek. With Krajicek’s massive game he only won one Wimbledon. There’s no guarantee that Janowicz wins anything in the 90′s. Remember, he’d have to use the racket and string technology of the period which would take some pop out of his game.


rafaeli Says:

SG1 says

‘There were a lot of big hitters in the 90′s. Ivo, Becker, Krajicek. With Krajicek’s massive game he only won one Wimbledon’

Are you serious…………..? I seem to think that Becker won Wimbledon at his first attempt at he age of 17.


rafaeli Says:

SG1, I read your comment completely wrong.

Sorry!


sienna Says:

Richard Krajicek might have won another wimbly with some luck.
He definetely was not a 4 or 5slam player. Fysical and mental he was not good enough.

I was a big fans but that was missing in his game. Mental toughness and the body to go with a multiple slam winner.
But what a 96 wimbly he had. Beating sampras the way he did and taking controle the tournement after that win.


grendel Says:

” Not sure if he’s [del Potro i.e.] the biggest hitter out there (Berdych may play a slightly bigger game),”

I’ve wondered about that. The impression I get is that in a standard rally, Berdych wields more power, quite a lot more actually, with that Rolls Royce timing of his. But he doesn’t vary his pace much.

When it comes to unleashing, delPo’s is by far the bigger shot. Whereas delPo does vary his pace quite a bit, I’m never quite sure how much is deliberate and how much involuntary. You get the impression of a caged beast who is anxiously pawing the turf, manouevering to get into position to deliver the howitzer. Everything else is a slightly annoying but apparently necessary preliminary.


Steve 27 Says:

Fed always perform well in this 2 events

He won Canada twice like Nadal, Murray, one less than Djokovic. In Canada is absolutely beatable. In Cincinatti is different story.


Steve 27 Says:

Rafa has only 600 matches and his knees look like they will need a replacement.

Check this, “expert”:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafael_Nadal_career_statistics


Steve 27 Says:

Prime in tennis is between 22 and 28 years old.
Of course each player each different story, for example:
Boris Becker
Bjon Borg
Jim Courier
John Mc Enroe

I think at least until you are 28 you can find one more extra gear and win a major.
Nadal, Djokovic and Murray can win at least one more major when reach they that age.
Federer won Australian open in 2010 when he was about 28 and a half. Sampras won his last Wimbledon when he was 28 and 11 months.
So, we can expect some great tennis when they are in the final moments of theirs 20s.


moam Says:

Andy Murray won Wimby…with an assist from the Fred “Poltergiest” Perry. Congrats to Murray, Lendl and all of UK.
http://martinstake128.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/2013-wimbledon-a-haunting/


moam Says:

Hey, where is the love for Bartoli. She is a deserving winner. Keep in mind, she reached the finals in 07 only to be vanquished by Venus Williams, one of the best on turf.
http://martinstake128.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/marion-bartoli/


thark Says:

ATP hiring PT writers – wish I had the time:

http://www.atpworldtour.com/Corporate/Jobs.aspx


Colin Says:

It’s always interesting to read the comments that come with those newspaper articles, though they have a distressing tendency to put a political spin on everything. The reverse happened with the piece about Fred Perry (in a leftish paper). One reader accused the article itself of a left bias, saying the undeniable prejudice against Perry was not solely class-based.

I can remember Perry’s radio comments, in his mid-Atlantic accent, but I know little about the man himself. The American Jack Kramer, who used to present the evening “Match of the Day” on BBC TV, apparently detested Perry, calling him selfish and less interested in the sport than in his own career. Of course that, even if true, could be a CONSEQUENCE of the class bias he encountered.

1930s Britain was undoubtedly class-ridden, and actors of humble origin, like Jessie Matthews, daughter of a market trader, hastened to acquire the genteel accents of the BBC. So did that smashing commentator Dan Maskell, son of a pub-keeper. But we weren’t alone. Popular cinema may be fiction, but it usually presents a pretty accurate picture of contemporary attitudes in the country where it was produced. Those delightful crazy comedies Hollywood made in the 30s often involve class clashes, with the rugged “ordinary” hero (Gable) courting the daughter (Colbert, Lombard) of a disapproving “posh” family. More recently, remember how one of Bill Clinton’s girlfriends was dubbed “trailer-park trash”, a purely American phrase, as is “the wrong side of the tracks”.

Now can I have a prize for the posting least connected with tennis?


AD Tennis Says:

More than physical age, you should look at age in terms of matches played. For grinders like Nadal, 750 is a lot of matches. Unless he becomes an agressive baseliner like Federer/Djokovic it is going to be tough for his knees/body to last even 150 matches.

If he plays on hardcourt/grass that number might shrink further.

I cannot think of another player cutting down their schedule to center around clay-courts while they are only 27.

Ofcourse, if anyone can turn this dire situation around, it is Rafael Nadal, but as Sean said, the knees are going to become a bigger part as he keeps aging.

How many slams do people think Nadal will compete in, before he says “no-mas?” What about Federer? How many slams can he participate in?


skeezer Says:

^ Thanks thark, I am applying right now. Everyone knows I am the most non biased writer there is. So in fairness for all,
I will be writing all Fed, all the time. I will be posting links for Fedwear, Fedunderwear, FedPosters, FedMaestro, FedYou AreDaMan, and Links to FedRadio and FedTV. Nothing else matters, no? I will be the most popular with the Rafafanatics. Thanks again.
;)

#LLTKneednotapply
#Seanloseyourpredictionsandyou’llbegreat


metan Says:

Skeezer at 12:36am LOL!!!

If giles is CEO of ATP your application goes straight to shredder machine.:-)


Margot Says:

^ Lol, metan.
Andy at “end of his peak?” Nah, late maturer and turned pro a couple of years after Nole.


Nativenewyorker Says:

@Grendel,

Thanks for your words in your post @ 7:08 AM. I believe that elena was referring to my posts at the now defunct tennis talk site. However, I am certain that I never said anything negative or critical of you. I would have no reason to do so.

I would like to believe that bygones can be bygones and that I could feel comfortable posting my thoughts here. Interestingly enough, I made a few comments on TT crediting Sean Randall with implementing some serious moderation on this site. I gave him full credit for doing so. I read here quite often and it’s nice to see that people can disagree in a civil and respectful manner. There’s been a big improvement here, but it would appear that there will always be a few who wish to stir the pot.

@margot,

I appreciate your thoughts in your post @ 7:23 AM. I would like to think that we can concentrate on discussing tennis and not trying to confront people about different screen names or what they may or may not have said on another tennis site.

I think everyone knows that I used to post under my real name in the past. I don’t have a problem if anyone wants to refer to me by my real name. I would not want to be referred to by the names that were so publicly thrown around on TT when the moderation just went down the drain.

For myself, I am looking forward to the beginning of the North American hard court season. I think the USO could be one of the most competitive ever and there may be a few surprises in store.


Giles Says:

@metan. Lol. Spot on, you know me well!
No skeezers allowed on ATP board!
#HealthHazard


Thomas Says:

Off topic but here was a hilarious tweet from Berdych.
“Some hot girls from twitter asking me for naked pics exchange again…I desided to take one snapshot under blanket. pic.twitter.com/Cyg23xtjKX”

LOL! Ever since the man joined twitter I have actually started to like him.


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Thomas can you put up the link again,it needs to be in blue letters to download it thanks?


holdserve Says:

By maturing late mentally, Muzza has missed opportunities to win slams in the past but I am not sure it will help him to significantly extend his prime beyond that of others who started early.
After all physical maturity has its own timetable too.
However looking at the next gen of Tomic, Raonic, Dimitrov, Jerzy, it does seem possible that should Muzza still feel hungry he could mop up slams if Rafa and Nole lose their hunger or retire. Something like what happened with Agassi when Sampras was fading and Federer hadn’t come up.
Jerzy is still an unknown factor but he reminds me too much of Safin to make me believe he can stay disciplined enough to realize his potential. So should Muzz persist beyond Rafa-Nole, he could probably continue building his legacy.


grendel Says:

L.L.T.K.

I see you have resumed posting as if nothing has happened. But something has happened. You gratuitously accused me of doing something. I responded tha your accusation was nonsense and I gave a possible explanation for your error. For I think you believed it, memory plays tricks with us all especially if – as you are – you are motivated by a bizarre hatred.

However, you merely responded that I lied. You have told us all a number of times how you wish to be a sports writer. To be a good journalist, apart from writing skills you need integrity. Insofar as the reading public suspects your integrity, so will they be less inclined to attach weight to your words.

You cannot just accuse somebody of lying to get yourself out of a hole – a hole you dug yourself, by the way. It is incumbent on you to provide evidence. It can be done. You would need to trawl back through the archives and find the incriminating material. This would of course be extremely tedious, might take a number of hours. A thankless task, especially since you will never find what you are looking for.

You should have thought of that before throwing out wild accusations.


holdserve Says:

Looking at Djokovic’s grass court record, it appears it is his weakest surface. Even otherwise looking at him play, it is clear he is not a natural grass courter.
At Boodles he showed how to play clay court tennis on grass. At Wimbledon although it was not so blatantly clay court, nevertheless it was not grass court tennis.
Muzza is a natural grass courter.
Rafa has or rather had excellent movement on grass. His loss in 2011 to Djokovic was a surprise. It is hard to explain. His hunger was missing? Was he injured (there was that terrible expression of pain while playing against Del Po). Or was Djokovic’s hunger so overwhelming that nothing could stand in his way, not even his lack of natural grass court skills?
Not clear if Rafa can ever play at high level on grass but if he can, he will probably be the only real grass court rival for Muzza.


holdserve Says:

Previous comment correction: add “again ” to last para. Read last para:
Not clear if Rafa can ever again play at high level on grass but if he can, he will probably be the only real grass court rival for Muzza


holdserve Says:

While 5 years difference works out to Rafa’s advantage now vis a vis Fed, it was reverse when he first came and Fed was at his peak. So claiming that Fed was always at a disadvantage age wise against Rafa is false. Between 2004 and 2007, Fed had the age advantage. Between 2008 to 2010, they were on equal terms. From 2010, Rafa has the age advantage.
The other disadvantage that Rafa had was that he came up against an established star. The ATP had gone through a bad era with no consistent star and when Fed rose, sponsors, media all latched on to him. ATP and the media went overboard in protecting Fed.Draws and schedules were rigged to favor him.
Rafa was targeted for all kinds of accusations, doping, coaching etc.
When Fed was accused of “insider info” the media buried its head and so did ATP pretending nothing existed.
The entire media targeted Rafa for “slow” play and focused endlessly on how much time he takes between points. Imagine their consternation this year when it turned out his time is actually the average for ATP players.
It is to Rafa’s credit that he has remained mentally strong.
Had he been in Fed’s place and Fed in Rafa’s age wise,Rafa would have probably 25 slams by now by accumulating 16 during the weak era 2003-2007.


holdserve Says:

Correction: 20 slams by now.


Margot Says:

@ Grendel
Just read in “The Guardian” that Johnny Mac made the same point as you did about Andy’s serve- spin and placement.
You’re in good company :)


skeezer Says:

Well there are TT sightings here, the bunch have arrived. Welcome all and hope you all behave. Don’t want to see this site turn into what happened to TT……

@NNY
Actually some good posts.
@holdserve
Welcome also, although your 9:12 post has lots of holes in it, I am 2 lazy atm to counter ;).

—–

Colin,
Thanks that was a fun read ;)


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Have to say Michael said Novak was on the recieving end of some iffy line calls(granted),looking back on the match if Novak had stopped and questioned those calls he would still have lost those points anyway,sufice to say the right player won the points,so its all rather a moot point really.


the DA Says:

@Margot – “Johnny Mac made the same point as you did about Andy’s serve- spin and placement”

hmpf


Margot Says:

@ the DA
hmpf? *Scratches head* Did u as well?
Mea maxima culpa, if so….


holdserve Says:

skeezer, thanks for the welcome!
Do you know what happened at TT? They closed down due to financial woes. As a prelude they stopped moderation. Two posters from tennis-x, sienna posting as “seventeen” and Danny Morris, posting under a bunch of names, rendered that site a nightmare taking advantage of the lack of moderation. Seventeen used vile and obscene gutter language and ran amuck with insane accusations against Rafa and his family.
Danny spent all his time using foul language,bad mouthing Rafa and Rafa fans and betraying sad ignorance of basics of tennis and tennis history. He never seemed to make a single post on tennis and was never present for even Nole matches although he claimed to be a Nole and tennis fan.
So what happened at TT had nothing to do with the core fans.


Andrew Miller Says:

I agree with Sean in the post on what comes next. I think Djokovic though is always a threat to win the US Open – he’s been in the finals since 2010 (3 straight), and as the Oz open winner remains world’s best hardcourt player. However: asterisk

*

Djokovic has now solidified himself as the best “Australian Open” player, whose court being Plexicushion is slower than the DecoTurf. Though Djokovic is a winner on the DecoTurf, it is faster and should continue to benefit a Murray or Del Potro a little more than Djokovic.

Kind of think Djokovic seems a little like Agassi these days! The great backhand reminds me of Agassi, though Djokovic’s serve, movement, volley are all far better.


Long Live The King Says:

Federer played in a weak era? It astounds me as a tennis fan, how anyone can make sweeping comments like this.

In the strong era that Nadal played, from 2005 French Open, Nadal won 12 slams to date. In that same period, Federer won 13 slams. Not to mention, Federer has been ranked 220 weeks as no.1 in this same period while Nadal has been ranked no.1 102 weeks.

Federer achieved more even in the strong era, that misinformed tennis fans claim is stronger than Federer’s era. I do not support such a theory as it is an insult to Safin, Hewitt, Roddick, Davydenko, Nalbandian and Haas – most of whom have troubled Djokovic [Safin, Roddick, Haas] and Hewitt has handled Nadal quite well and Davydenko’s mastery of Nadal is very well documented.


Kimberly Says:

I for one, cannot wait for the North American hardcourt series to start. Was watching World Team Tennis last night as there is no basketball, no football, and my baseball team sucks so badly that I can’t even motivate myself to go to a game live, let alone watch on TV. We are in the july sports vacuum. This could lead to irrational arguments on tennis sites for lack of other things to occupy ones self.

I was kind of hoping Rafa would take a wild card into Washington or one of the other smaller US Open series events, but does not look like its going to happen.

On another note, of World team tennis, apparently the Washington Castles are on some ridiculous streak. Roddick was playing doubles in the WTT match that I watched last night, he seemed to be having a lot of fun.


grendel Says:

Margot

the DA is absolutely entitled to his “hmpf”, since it was he, not me, who made the comments about Murray’s serve.

As a matter of fact I did mention in an earlier thread that Murray obtained a good deal of bounce from his 2nd serve, and that has to do with spin, doesn’t it? Even so – credit to the DA!

I do think it is quite a subtle thing, at least to one of my possibly impaired vision. Once or twice, Djokovic really did smack Murray’s 2nd, and I couldn’t always tell why they were such sitters as opposed to the ones which caused him difficulty (except for the occasional body serve, which you can hardly avoid seeing!).


Kimberly Says:

And welcome to the tennis talk people that have come over. I used to read over there but never posted. The more the merrier is my saying!


grendel Says:

@holdserve at 9.12

In your first paragraph, you make an interesting and perhaps valid case.

A lot of the rest of the post is tendentious. For instance:” ATP and the media went overboard in protecting Fed.Draws and schedules were rigged to favor him.”

News to me. Most conspiracy theories (outside of politics) I find cockeyed, any way.


the DA Says:

@ Margot – Don’t worry, it was a playful hmpf ;)

Grendel – I understand your puzzlement at the serves. Apart from the kick serves which obviously bounce high (especially from Isner & Raonic), I don’t think there’s any way we as viewers can judge their effectiveness without sitting behind the player receiving them.

On a lighthearted note, here’s one of those “Tennis world reacts..” spoofs about Andy Murray winning Wimbledon. Hilarious:

http://tenngrand.com/2013/07/11/facebook-chat-tennis-world-reacts-to-andy-murray-winning-wimbledon/


Margot Says:

@ the DA
Too late, too late! Now choking on humble pie….
ech, ech eek!


the DA Says:

@ Margot – You have to read the link above. Whoever does it (and I suspect it’s Ricky Dimon) they totally nail each of the player’s personalities. Gulbis and B Gilbert are especially funny.


SG1 Says:

Hey Grendel,

DelPotro does seem to be able to just suddenly crank up the power. I remember one specific crosscourt forehand return against Fed in the 2009 USO Final. It was just mashed. One of the hardest shots I’ve ever seen. Don’t think Fed even moved.

Berdych on the other hand does seem to have that consistent pop that comes from hitting the ball dead center every time.

Crazy thing, Robin Soderling might actually hit the ball bigger than both of them. It’s one thing to hit a winner on grass or a hard court. To hit winners the way he was in that 2009 FO run was remarkable. Clay doesn’t exactly help you hit winners. Feel bad for Soderling. Really tough break with mono. He was definitely fun to watch when he was on.


SG1 Says:

My friend and I were talking about how the game has changed a fair bit over the past 20 years. Once thing that came up that was interesting. You almost never see players breaking strings anymore. Back in the 80′s and 90′s, it happened all the time. Hell, I used break strings somewhat commonly. I probably hit the ball a little harder today than back then but I haven’t been able to break the new strings.


Kimberly Says:

I break them all the time, especially if I use a demo racket anywhere. But I play a few men that can hit some hard heavy spin balls so I think I break them in response to my opponents shots because of my shots.


Kimberly Says:

I guess the Kastles finally lost in WTT to the texas wild to end their 34 match win streak.


ForeverTennis Says:

As long as the players’ draws will be assigned according to the proper procedures, we might be in for a great surprise for the US Open. I found the Wimbledon tournament this year to be disturbing on so many levels with the draws assigned to favor one specific player only and with the tournament officials persistently denying claims that the courts were dangerous thus causing great players to withdraw in large numbers. The Wimbledon final was disappointing as far as the level of the game shown by the number 1 and the number 2 players in the world. Novak was clearly exhausted physically and emotionally after an amazing semifinal battle with Del Potro and he also possibly suffered from wrist or ankle injuries brought on by multiples falls. On the other hand, Andy had the easiest draw again this year (amazingly lucky again, against all statistical odds) but did not produce any remarkable or memorable tennis at all. Things could have been very different if Andy had to play Juan Martin Del Potro in the semifinal.
There are many talented and skilled players around these days, and I hope we will see some fair (not scripted) wins and battles in the future. My favorites are Del Potro, Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, and Dolgopolov.


AD Tennis Says:

“Had he been in Fed’s place and Fed in Rafa’s age wise,Rafa would have probably 25 slams by now by accumulating 16 during the weak era 2003-2007.”

This is a very funny statement. I hope you are not serious?

25 slams? I am a very big Rafa fan and use his technique to teach kids tennis, but you do understand the effort it takes to win 1 slam. I don’t think I can agree with this. Anyone think this is possible?


harry Says:

I found the comments on the efficacy of first and second serves interesting. So i did some calculations taking Nole’s and Andy’s data.

In the following stats, there are 3 sets of rows corresponding to “all matches for the player”, “all matches on grass for the player” and “only the Wimbledon final”. I list the win rate in percentage of service points for both players. fs and ss refer to “first serve” and “second serve” respectively.

Nole
—–

all matches over the last 52 weeks using fs & ss, win rate is: 69.3
all matches over the last 52 weeks using only fs, win rate is: 66.7

all matches over the last 52 on grass using fs & ss, win rate is: 70.9
all matches over the last 52 on grass using only fs, win rate is: 69.5

Wimb final using fs & ss, win rate is: 52.3
Wimb final using only fs, win rate is: 51.5

Murray
——-

all matches over the last 52 weeks using fs & ss, win rate is: 66.3
all matches over the last 52 weeks using only fs, win rate is: 63.7

all matches over the last 52 on grass using fs & ss, win rate is: 70.4
all matches over the last 52 on grass using only fs, win rate is: 67.8

Wimb final using fs & ss, win rate is: 60.9
Wimb final using only fs, win rate is: 62.2

Some observations:
——————–

(1) Over all the matches (1st set of rows): Clearly using only first serves, Nole and Murray suffer about a 3% loss in their service-point win rate; and that is obviously due to first serves being hard to get them right. So they (and others!) are justified in using their second serve strategy (this row is more a sanity check on my calculations than to prove a point).

(2) For only the grass-court matches (2nd set of rows): Murray gains from his fs-ss strategy and Nole does not. In fact, Nole’s service-point win rate in grass is not significantly more than this win rate on all surfaces — my impression is that Andy raises his game on grass and Nole does not do it so much.

(3) Only their Wimbledon final: yes, Murray should have used only his first serves! He would have won about 1.3% more service points! But that is easier to say in retrospect — i don’t know how easy it is to sense these things during a match. For Nole, clearly this strategy would not have helped.


harry Says:

Henman on Muzza:

“I spoke to all his team in the locker room and there was champagne being sprayed everywhere … He had a swig himself which is quite something for a teetotaller – he must have been celebrating! However, as soon as he swallowed it he said ‘disgusting’”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/23221814

But I really can’t understand somebody who says champagne is ‘disgusting’ :-)


Steve 27 Says:

Henmann had a chance in 2001, but the great Goran refused to surrender and his heart and warrior soul ended the dream of an Englishman to return to win Wimbledon.


Giles Says:

@ harry. I agree with Muzz, champagne IS disgusting! Lol


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Harry thank for the heads up on the win for Murray from the other thread,sorry it took me this long to reply,i am on holiday so my posts have been only sporadic this week,as i havent access to a computer but my brother in law is letting me use his on the odd occasion,ayway i was delighted with the win,and the match was on a massive screen down near the seafront where i am on holidy in Great Yarmouth,fantastic atmosphere everybody was cheering afterwards,im not a spirit drinker but i still got drunk with a few glasses of cider,even my husband was happy and hes not even a tennis fan,sorry about your Nole i think he was spent after the Delpo match,probably nothing left in the tank,however im sure Nole will bounce back in the American HC season,which is his best part of the season,its not considered my other guy Rafas best time of the season,but im hoping hes had enough Rand R and will put in a good showing,cheers again ;)..


harry Says:

@Giles:
Ah! how can you say that :-)? [If i had the time & money] I can have that all-day, everyday! Well [on second thoughts], not that much…

@hippy chic:
Ah! what is with Murray fans and good drinks :-)?
But I am happy for you that you had this holiday [and the Muzza's win]! Talking about locations: I recently had a change of coordinates, and i must [now] be less than 1000 miles from you guys… Yeah, i hope Nole wins the US open!


grendel Says:

@steve27 2.23

The English weather helped. Goran remarked: “This is destiny.

“God wanted me to win this game – he sent the rains.”


Thangs Says:

Its not fair to say Nole is tired from SF match against delpo…After all, Nole is super fit and elastic man all of a sudden(?!) from 2011 and had won back to back 5 setters in AO 2012…


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Thangs you have to deal the cards you are dealt.


grendel Says:

Harry, I looked at your serve stats with interest. Forgive me if I’m being a bit obtuse, but I am not quite sure how to interpret them. For instance, when you say:”using fs and ss”, I assume you mean taking all the serves together, whilst fs means only considering the first serve. If that is so, I find the results surprising. Because surely you generally have a lower percentage of wins on ss, and therefore the effect of combining first and second serves will be to lower the winning rate, not raise it. Am I misreading you in some way?

b.t.w. a few months ago, shortly before I took a break, you posed a question to the forum concerning the chances of the Wimbledon authorities extending the break between RG and Wimbledon. I took it upon myself to reply, confident that I knew the answer. The Wimbledon authorities will never change their attitude, I said confidently. Not long after that, the Wimbledon authorities changed their attitude…You must have had a quiet smile…..


Bada Bing Says:

Hello Harry
It’s nice (but rare) to see a Novak fan here. Wog Boy is taking a break and Courbon is around a bit.
I hope Novak wins in NY too!


holdserve Says:

LLTK you obviously don’t use logic so it is news to you that 2003 to 2007 was a weak era. The era did not become strong simply because Rafa arrived. It became strong when he reached his prime which was in 2008. It remained strong even after 2010 although Fed fell out of his prime because Djoko and Muzz were in their prime. Simple, right?
Grendel, just because some people don’t believe the draws were not rigged, it doesn’t mean they were not rigged. The probability of some of the draws happening are so low that anyone with a knowledge of stats and math can see they are rigged.
As for the schedules, their being fixed is a fact which would be obvious if you did some research. Let us look at say the USO. Irrespective of his rank and whether he is defending champion or not he has always been in the half which opens first. The other half has a huge disadvantage as we saw in 2011 when Rafa played 4th, Qf and SF on back to back days whereas Fed and Djoko had one day rest between each match.
At Wimbly 2007, again while Rafa and Djoko played back to back matches resulting in injuries, Fed coolly waltzed to the final with at least 1 day rest between each match.
If you choose not to believe, that is your choice but do not call them conspiracy theories just because you ignore probability and facts.


holdserve Says:

AD tennis, I corrected the figure in my next post (right below the one you refer to) to 20 slams. My reasoning is simple. When there is only one tennis genius and there is no rival, he can win practically every slam.Fed won almost all because there was no one to challenge him. However on clay even though Rafa was too young he was such a phenom that despite playing at 80% of his potential, he could beat Fed. If the positions were reversed and Rafa was born in 1981 (and Fed in 86) so he would had no disciplined genius rivals till 2007, he would have won 16 (add 4 FOs to Fed’s tally). 2008 to 2010 he would win say 4 ( Fed’s tally). So he wins 20.
Rafa is better than Fed. Despite strong era plus his congenital foot problem, he has still amassed 12!!! Rafa is the greatest!!!!!


tennisfansince76 Says:

@Holdserve you can be considered correct if you append the phrase “in my imagination” to your assertions. for example, “Rafa would have won 25 slams in 2003-2007 in my imagination


TennisZod Says:

Holdserve, Rafa may be better than Fed but No1e’s the best, no?


holdserve Says:

Nole couldn’t beat Fed when Fed was in his prime. Only Rafa could do that Rafa was also beating Nole. He still has a positive h2h with Nole.
So Nole is best only in the dreams of delusionals.


courbon Says:

@ Bada Bing : I’m around…just reading, licking my wounds quietly in the corner…


Michael Says:

Andy should be in the seventh heaven. He still should be pricking himself to see if he really won or he is still in a dream. He himself said that he did not sleep for the fear of his victory becoming just a dream. Now that he has won in a pretty convincing fashion against the World No.1, he has conquered the demons that were haunting him all along in majors. Thereby he has paid back the doubters in their own coin and has now created his own legacy. He was already an celebrated personality in Britian and after this splendid victory he has become some kind of a demi-God who has garnered all the peity and adulation. I think this victory can only propel Andy to greater heights and I would authoratitively say it was a match which had serious implications for the future. The difference between victory and defeat was the difference between Andy and Greatness. And now he has managed to bridge that and for sure his career is showing all the potential of zooming to even greater heights in the years to come. I think the upcoming hard court swing will provide an insight as to who will be having the upper hand in the hard court major. To the advantage of Andy, he has momentum on his side which can make a big difference to victory and defeat.


Nativenewyorker Says:

@skeezer

Regarding your post @ 9:33 AM, thanks so much. That was very gracious of you. My intention is to have some lively, interesting quality discussions about all things tennis. We have had our disagreements in the past, given the nature of the Fedal wars, but were able to do so at times with some humor.

It’s pretty quiet right now as we await the start of the North American hard court season. I know that Andy Murray’s fans must still be on cloud nine and enjoying his victory. I think we will be in for some great matches that will give us a good deal to talk about.

If I do post on a regular basis, then it will be with the best of intentions and with respect for all here.

@Kimberly,

Thanks for your welcome @ 11:25 AM. I have enjoyed reading your comments here for some time. It’s good to see some Rafa fans still here.

I look forward to some great discussions.


harry Says:

@Bada Bing :-)

@grendel

I was a bit lazy and I should have explained more in my post :-) yes, I can see that it can be interpreted the way you have done. But the following is what I meant…

Let us look at the two cases:

(a) “using fs and ss” — So what I mean by this accounts for the following: the probability that a “strong” first serve lands and wins or the probability that the first serve does not land and the probability that a “weaker” second serve lands & wins.

(b) “using only fs” — On the other hand, this accounts for the following: the probability that a “strong” first serve lands and wins or the probability that the first serve does not land and the probability that a second “strong” first serve lands and wins.

So let us take Murray’s case for all the matches over the year; the relevant probabilities are:

strong first serve land = 0.609
strong first serve win = 0.753
weak second serve land = 1.0 (almost 100% — except for double faults)
weak second serve win = 0.524

case (a): 0.609 * 0.753 + (1 – 0.609) * 0.524 = 0.663 (or 66.3%)
case (b): 0.609 * 0.753 + (1 – 0.609) * 0.609 * 0.753 = 0.637 (or 63.7%)

The reason why the latter is lower is clearly because the “strong” first serve only lands about 60% of the time…


Re: Wimbledon, yeah i saw that :-)


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Michael great post 2.33 am,also i think Novak is in new teritory now,Roger had Rafa to worry about,Rafa had Novak to worry about,and now Novak has Andy to worry about,and this is great for the mens game IMO,if Andy were to win the USO beating Novak,then i could see the AO next year been very interesting,obviously you can never count out Roger and Rafa,but should Andy win the USO,will be seeing a momentum shift at the top of the mens game?i think its safe to say that Andy is begining to rattle Novak now.


Colin Says:

Andy’s future certainly looks good, since success boosts confidence, and that creates more success.

However, there is one dark cloud on the horizon and that cloud is – CLAY!

Is his back problem something that will always flare up during the clay season (like Rafa’s knees OFF clay)? If so, what does he do? It wouldn’t be realistic to skip the whole clay season, even if the rules allowed it.

It would be a great shame if Andy had to skip the French Open regularly, since it would affect his points total and thus his seedings.


Michael Says:

Alison,

There are too much similarities between Andy’s and Novak’s game. Andy always plays well against Novak. He matches up quite well to his game. Eventhough the H2H is still 11-8 in Novak’s favour, many of their contests were very close matches which could have gone either way. It is true that Novak is rattled by this loss and its magnitude considering it is a straight set belt down which normally doesn’t happen when Novak is around. This loss coming soon after that Rolland Garros disappointment must surely have unravelled him. But knowing Novak and his fighting qualities, it would be fool hardy to write him off. As I said the forthcoming hard court master events will given an insight as to who is going to have an upper hand in the all important US Open.


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Michael yeah i would never right of Novak,theres a good reason why hes world no 1,and one should never right of Roger or Rafa either.


rafaeli Says:

I’m not sure the h/c M1000s in the fall are any indication of who will prosper at the USO. When Rafa won the USO in 2010 playing his best h/c tennis ever, he hadn’t really done well in Canada or Cincy. He’d only won Tokyo on h/c that year.

I think too much is made of a single loss or win. Winning a tournament depends on so many things coming together. So I prefer to wait and see. I certainly wouldn’t out Andy or Nole above Roger and Rafa.


rafaeli Says:

Correction. Rafa won Tokyo after the akes my point even more that USO. Which makes my point even more that in 2010, no one actually gave Rafa any chance at the USO.


rafaeli Says:

I’ll try again.

Rafa won Tokyo after he’d won the USO, which makes my point even more that going into the USO, no one actually gave him a chance.


grendel Says:

Harry

Thanks for the lucid explanation, I see your reasoning now. But I still have a problem: where can you get the figures for the second serve being of the strong, first serve type? There is a degree of subjectivity here, but let’s dismiss that as pedantic. Assume there are figures – are they really tabulated, and who does it?

Margot

Did you see Newsnight last night? Kirsty Warke interviwed Jenny Murray. If you didn’t, can find on BBCi (probably not till this evening) and scroll to about 10.45). Pretty informative 10 minutes – about the lack of tennis courts in schools especially with the selling of land, Andy’s independence from her despite Becker, her views on Scottish Independence and how she will vote (canny Scot here, I’d say..)and Marion Bartoli/father/the John Inverdale incident. She hugely admires Bartoli because she feels she has made the absolute most of modest gifts, and she does credit the father.


grendel Says:

@rafaeli 7.04

“When Rafa won the USO in 2010 playing his best h/c tennis ever, he hadn’t really done well in Canada or Cincy”.

I remember that, and the strong impression I had was that these tourneys were barely more than warm ups for Nadal. Considering their importance, this sounds absurd, but that’s how it came across to me. I don’t often get these things right, but I was personally convinced a)that Rafa was going all out for the US Open, that was the absolutely only thing that mattered to him at that juncture (c.f.Lendl – Wimbledon). I suspected – and still do – that the consensus in the Rafa camp was that the US would always be the tough nut to crack, and that this was the right time to go for it. Such a time might not come again.

and b)I was equally convinced he would win. Mind you, I have been convinced of things before, and been subsequently disabused. But the powerful impression I derived was that 2010 post Wimbledon, Rafa was on a mission to win US Open.

I assume now he would like to win US Open, obviously. But there won’t be quite that drive.


Margot Says:

@ grendel
Didn’t and thanx for that shout, will look it up.
Though am presuming you meant “Judy Murray”…….rather than the slightly more rotund presenter of Woman’s Hour…..;)
@ the DA
Some of those twitter reactions were outrageously funny. Have u seen Berd’s “real” tweets? OMG am warming to him big time!


grendel Says:

God, yes -Judy. Worrying….


harry Says:

@grendel

“But I still have a problem: where can you get the figures for the second serve being of the strong, first serve type?”

Well, i assumed that if you served the second serve as “strongly” as you did the first, your fault rate for a strong second serve would be the same as it is for the first. I mean, there is no reason to believe that it would change — unless you include in other factors such as the relative “tiredness” shortly after the first serve etc… But you are right that it is a question on what the right model for a strong second serve is…

“Assume there are figures – are they really tabulated, and who does it?”

You can pull these figures out of the ATP site:
http://www.atpworldtour.com/Rankings/Top-Matchfacts.aspx


Kimberly Says:

Rafa’s latest trend has been to start at Grand Slams poorly and then pick up steam. The recent French Open being a prime example. And perhaps had he not been shocked at Wimbledon, he might have done the same. I remember 2011 US Open he was awful in the early rounds and by the time he played Murray and Roddick, he was on fire. I think this year it is important for him to try to play as many matches at the summer hard court events and avoid Dodig type losses, at least in Canada. Cincinatti has never been his best tournament. ANd start at least a little stronger in the US Open. If he gets to the second week I think he will be dangerous to anyone!


holdserve Says:

I like harry’s reasoning. Indeed that is the reason tennis has two serves.
The first one powerful with lesser chances of landing but if it lands, greater chances of winning and the second one weaker with almost certainty that it lands but lesser chances of winning.
The reason some players under pressure double fault is usually because they try to deliver two first serves.
It is generally best to stick to your two types of serves but if you always lose your second serve against a particular opponent then 2 first serves would be better against that particular opponent.
It is possible to strategize against people you have played against several times. But against unknowns, it is not possible so you have to start with the one size fits all strategy and then improvize as the match progresses.
The ability to modify one’s strategy while on court is a great talent.


the DA Says:

@ Grendel – I can’t access BBC iPlayer from where I am. I’m very curious: how did Judy say she’d vote regarding Scottish independence? Such a personal and politically hot question to handle.

@ Margot – Yes, I’ve been following Berdy on twitter and my view of him has changed somewhat. Even many Fed fans – much to their dismay – have started to like him.


grendel Says:

the DA

she equivocated, and remarked that the key factor would be whether Scotland had the economic viability to go it alone. So, if memory serves correctly, she sort of dodged the question – she has many constituencies to please, does she not. In short, one still has no idea which way the Murrays would go, assuming they’d vote “en bloc”.


grendel Says:

Holdserve says:” The probability of some of the draws happening are so low that anyone with a knowledge of stats and math can see they are rigged.”

No, not on the basis of one draw. Sample not big enough. However, you’d be surprised how many people claim exactly what you claim, also citing probability, but from different points of view. There have been many such arguments on this site.

More sensible to assume there is no conspiracy. It generally is.


the DA Says:

@ grendel – Okay thanks. As I thought, she handled it with aplomb. Andy recently gave a similar answer. A nice neutral stance to appease both sides. I don’t get the sense that they’re for independence and I hope the referendum is a failure.


grendel Says:

harry – Either I need more sleep, or I need to be put to sleep. Toss a coin, perhaps (a biased one, of course..). I don’t know what came over me, but when I asked whether such stats are tabulated (about the 2nd serve being strong), I had to be making the assumption that this actually happened (how could it have, or rather how could it be known?), and that you weren’t hypothesising. I expect you spotted this, but were too courteous to point it out.

Still, whilst we’re on the subject, there is a slight problem with your model, and not to do with tiredness accruing between serves, unlikely I’d have thought. But there will be pressure. A player can really go for his first serve in the certain knowledge that if he fails, he has another chance. However, there is no comeback from failure on the 2nd, so whilst in critical circumstances a huge 2nd serve is sensible (I think holdserve (at 8.46) makes some very good points here) to keep the focus going all the time for the big 2nd serve may be asking too much of most players. Although apparently, this is Bartoli’s customary strategy.

I must say, the simplicity of the probability model you give is rather moving in the way it provides fairly solid information. There is something about the operation of figures – when I finally get it – which I find strangely moving. But it is limited, isn’t it, to those circumstances where you have actual figures to manipulate. So if you wanted to theorise about, say, 1st and 2nd serve both being at 3/4 of fs, you couldn’t do it, could you? You couldn’t even have an educated guess so far as I can see.


rafaeli Says:

I used to think the draws were rigged but Wimbledon could not have rigged the Wim13 draw by any stretch of the imagination.

It’s like tossing a coin. You can have six heads in a row or six tails in a row. I doubt they would be able to hide any shenanigans going on from the players.


holdserve Says:

What does 1st and 2nd serve both being at 3/4 of fs mean? Not clear.


volley Says:

@holdserve

regarding the so called rigged draws can you please explain the logic behind fixing it so that rafa lands in the same half as federer and murray (the home favourite)? i would be eager to see the explanation for that.


Kimberly Says:

Mat4 was big on the draw rigging conspiracy. I never understood what he thought they conspired to do. Originally it was protect a Fedal final I believe. I personally never bought into it until John Isner drew Nick Mahut AGAIN 1st round Wimbledon the year after the marathon match. I mean what are the chances of that? If the draws are rigged, my guess is it would not be to protect a player but would be all about money, creating matches that would generate the most revenue for the tournament.


skeezer Says:

^I think Mat4 was not saying the draws were rigged in that manner. Only like volleys says with the top players so they will land in one part of the draw or other. His(Mat4) pattern was pretty convincing, but I have never been a fan of conspiracy, although I am not saying it doesn’t exist at times.


skeezer Says:

RE; 2nd serve. Interesting topic. Always felt the 2nd serve is givin the last amount of attention in everyones game. However, if Sampras didn’t have the magnificent 2nd serve he had, would he had won all those Slams? JJ Is getting there, a monster 2nd serve in the making, but he double faults a lot as a result.


Kimberly Says:

I thought he said the pattern was to protect Fedal, with Novak landing with Federer on the HC and GC events and Rafa in the FO until Novak was actually a threat to beat Rafa at FO and then he landed with Fed in 2011. But RG and WIM 13 blow all of that to pieces.


Kimberly Says:

Serena Williams has a great second serve.


TennisZod Says:

Reasons why No1e will end year as no.1 again. He rules the hardcourts. He’s the best ever on that surface.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1701729-novak-djokovic-will-he-dominate-again-on-hard-courts-after-wimbledon-2013


harry Says:

@grendel

You raise very interesting points.

“whilst we’re on the subject, there is a slight problem with your model…”
Yes, i agree; this simple model ignores effects like what you & holdserve describe :-)

“So if you wanted to theorise about, say, 1st and 2nd serve both being at 3/4 of fs, you couldn’t do it, could you?”

There are quite a few ways to make these predictions. But all of these would involve further modeling assumptions [which one may not like].

For example, the simplest model would be to perform a linear interpolation between the fault rates of the strong and the weak serves (based on the average first & second serve speeds). For instance if Murray now decides to serve at a new average speed x (which is 3/4 of his strong first serve), and his strong avg first serve speed is fv, and his weak avg second serve speed is sv, and his strong first serve fault rate is fr:

(a) fault rate with his new serve is: fr * (x-sv)/(fv-sv).

(b) win rate with the new serve x is: (fwr-swr) * (x-sv)/(fv-sv) + swr.
where fwr and swr are the first & second serve win rates.


skeezer Says:

Kimberly

I think we are on the same page about all that.(Mat4)..I was just saying if they rigged it it would be from the top down, Isner/Mahut would have not been considered in the rigging…that was just bad dumb luck there.


madmax Says:

David Ferrer
How can a guy Federer’s age play better than Roger at Wimbledon? I don’t really know! But David just keeps chugging along. Ferrer has reached the semifinals (and beyond) at the last four Grand Slams and that effort has deservedly lifted him to a career-high No. 3 in the rankings this week. Contrast that with Federer who at a career-low No. 5 and you get the numerical sense of two guys going in opposition directions. Strange, right?

However, I wonder if David’s this good or is everyone else this mentally challenged? May be both!

Sean, I think you are missing the point here. Same age yes, but how many matches, mastes and slams has fed won over the last 10 years or more? We are talking mileage here, and if Fed does go out early to players who are scoffed out, then I think it needs to be said that Fed’s achievements have been incredible and amazing and the fact that he is still at the top (who know for how long), is a testament to the great man himself.

Its a real shame that despite his achievements, you can compare him to Ferrer (who is a great player), but does not have the mileage in his legs that fed does.


grendel Says:

I’ll take your word for it, Harry!

But let me ask you a different sort of question, but still in context.

The simple model you initially gave seemed to provide good evidence that generally, for both Murray and Djokovic (though in not quite the same way)it is adviseable to hang onto the 2nd serve.

Once we start to investigate other possibilities, such as the 3/4 scenario for which you provide a model – and you could think of all sorts of variations – do you think this goes beyond theoretical curiosity? That is, might a player, in your opinion, sensibly consult such models and then organize his serving strategy on the results?


grendel Says:

http://eurosport.yahoo.com/news/wimbledon-karlovic-didn-t-know-name-202447991.html

Fascinating account by Karlovic of his recent serious illness.


Bada Bing Says:

Before we consider the demise of Novak by Murray I think we should look at the H2H between them.
Isn’t Novak still 11-6 over Murray outside of grass?


TennisZod Says:

Bada Ding, No1e is the king of hardcourts. He’ll win Rogers Cup, Cincinnati, USO, Sanghai and WTF. Just watch. He’ll extend his lead over Murray to 14-8 before year end no doubt.


harry Says:

@grendel

“That is, might a player, in your opinion, sensibly consult such models and then organize his serving strategy on the results?”

Personally, i think the top 4 are huge enterprises; and huge enterprises usually have sophisticated statistical models [even if they don't talk about it]. I am sure that they are already consulting experts in statistical modeling [plus they would have access to huge amount of data]. Although, i think, our model showed that Nole’s fs/ss strategy is not optimal on grass — ie he does not have a gain over an all-out attack strategy [and Murray himself could have improved for that specific match by going on an all-out attack].

—-

Re Karlovic: pretty scary story…


grendel Says:

“…even if they don’t talk about it…”

I couldn’t help conjuring up a certain picture. Let’s say one of the top4 is at a meeting of some kind, and he is introducing his retinue (all gathered about him) to, say, the representative of an advertising company.

“This”, says our top4-er, “is my chief coach Mr….., and here is my physiotherapist Mr….come forward please, yes, yes, don’t be shy here’s my hitting partner Mr…, my physio Mr…, my psychologist Miss….and last but not least – ha,ha – my probability coach Mr….”


harry Says:

ha ha! grendel :-) that is hilarious :-) that is so pg wodehouse like :-)


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Bada Bing im not considering the demise of Nole at the hands of Murray,the only thing im doing is examining possibilities in their rivalry,Nole is into new teritory now,as Murray is no longer the whipping boy in the grand slams anymore,he believes he can beat Nole in the GS now,which is something that he couldnt do before,and this is making Nole uncomfortable,the same way that Nole was the 1 player who could make Rafa comfortable,but its making tennis and their rivalry more exciting,as both players are on an even footing and they match up well against each other,i would never right Nole off to do that especially with this been the HC season,obviously would make me look like the fool in the pack,Nole is world no 1 for a good reason,my two cents.


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Haha Grendel and Harry loving your discussion,blog on,glad your both here :-))..


holdserve Says:

volley, actually I was going to take a break for a month but as you claimed you are eager to hear my explanation for the Wimbly draw, here it is:
Assuming all draws are rigged to benefit Fed how does one explain Wimbly 2013?.
Fed is interested in being proclaimed the GOAT so he does not want Rafa to catch up with him. He can do that by winning more slams or preventing Rafa from winning more.
When he was playing well, he had the draws rigged in his favor hence the cupcake draws at Wimbly, Olympics and WTF last year.
This year his form is bad so he had the Wimbly draw rigged against Rafa. Make the bottom half as difficult as possible for Rafa and if he did get to the final then he would meet Djokovic who has, according to accepted wisdom, the best chance of stopping Rafa in a gs final.
Elementary, my dear Watson.


holdserve Says:

volley, I am now taking a break for a month. So if you have any other demands for explanations, you will have to wait for a month.
Nice interacting with all of you. I think I will like harry a lot in the days to come!skeezer seems nice too. He is possibly a Fed fan and if he is, really remarkable that he tries to be unbiased!


courbon Says:

@ Grendel: Intersting what you said about that BBC programme.Lack of tennis courts? I’m afraid we are coming to the age of kids want to do less sport.I live in southwest France and there is a lot of small villages here (300-800 inhabitatants )and almost all of them have a tennis court! (now you know where EU money was going all this time )Great, I will start with my girl to play this month.Problem is-there are always empty.Very rearly kids play ( mostly adults ).Same thing is with the basketball courts in Belgrade , which are on every corner-much less then when I was a kid.
I think kids time use to be shared with TV and Outdoors-now we have a computers which are keeping them more indoors ( as a parent, its easier if they sit in obe place and are quiet-if they are outside you have to be also outside-so less practical…)


courbon Says:

CONSPIACY THEORIES
I’m afraid this thing do not hold the water.Imagine all 9 masters and 4 slams draws to be rigged? Every draw would include at least 4 people (chair execuitve, person who prepares it, main manager etc…) who organize it ( and over 4-5 years some of them would leave the job and new one would come ).We are talking about minimum of 50-60 people involved.Do you think by now we would not have a whistleblower by now?( large sums of money offered by papers ) Impossible.
Unless Roger has a large underground operations ( with bunkers in the Swiss alps ala Batman style ) involving ‘Mission impossible’ agents who hypnothised people and similar…somehow I do not see Roger (or IMG or whoever deals with him ) being Mini-Me type villain.
Also, he may be rich, but not that much…


volley Says:

^ courbon

quite. in addition, i can’t understand how federer can get the draw at wimbledon rigged but not have enough power to keep his orange soled shoes. i will say some theories are very colourful.


harry Says:

@hippy chic :-)


harry Says:

@courbon (11:52) — reading your post this came to mind:

http://tinyurl.com/ollswrn


harry Says:

Re draws: Over the last couple of years mat4 has made very convincing arguments [and he has posted several versions of his take on this]. I am just re-posting his analysis from early this year:

http://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2013-01-27/11465.php#comment-419875

Look particularly at his comment (January 31st, 2013 at 4:26 am). [I have nothing more to add to this, though]


grendel Says:

@Courbon 11.52

Sobering. More true of villages than cities?
Like your take on conspiracy, plus volley’s amusing point.


Hawkeye Says:

13 non-clay consecutive majors had pre-peak Nole drawn into Fed’s half, a 1 in 8192 “chance”. I don’t think it was Fed BTW. Tennis is a business. What business leaves something that affects their bottom line that is within their control to random chance?

#ITF
#BusinessAsUsual


courbon Says:

@ Harry @ Hawkeye: I remember Mat4 analysis and however convincing still I think to difficult to rig draw on such a scale…but hey-I could be wrong? Maybe some tournaments, rigged the draw but all of them, over long period I just do not think is possible not be unmasked.
And what about this Wimbledon and Roland Gaross this year-Nadal and Novak in semi together made anti climax to final-definetelly not good for business.Wibledon?Nadal, Fed and Murray in the same half-even worst…So how do conspiracie theory explains that?
I’m nlot saying is not happening sometimes and some tournament but I do not think can be done on large scale as that


courbon Says:

@ Volley: Its funny that thing about shoes


courbon Says:

@ Grandel: Thanx.Buy the way-who do you support of the Big 4?


funches Says:

Djokovic will win the U.S. Open.

Although i agree with Sean that Djokovic has been off for quite some time, he still brings it at the Slams. For Sean to somehow imply Djokovic lost to Nadal at Roland Garros because he hadn’t won the lead-up events is asinine. The dude was up a break in the fifth set on by far the greatest clay court player of all time. He showed tremendous fortitude and got unlucky when he inexplicably fell into the net to gift a point that would have put him five points away from winning the match.

I agree Djokovic played with little intensity in the Wimbledon final. I think he was happy to see Murray win and become the first British player to win in 77 years. But he won’t be in a giving mood in New York. He’s won three of the last four hard court slams and lost the other in the final. For him not to be in anyone’s top two favorites is nuts.


Hawkeye Says:

Funches, well thought out counter points there. Can’t argue with that. All I’ve got are facts and math whereas you have solid insults.

#WellDone
#MethinksHeDothProtestTooMuch


Bada Bing Says:

Hippy chic 4:46 pm
Fair enough. Sorry, I guess I meant it as a “to all” rather than “you.”

funches
But he won’t be in a giving mood in New York.

I hope you’re right. I want him to be in a receiving mood again.


Kimberly Says:

I agree with Hawkeye post at 2:18. If its rigged its all about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. we saw what happened with the wrong draw at FO13. The final was a real snoozer. Of course that can happen even with the right draw. But back two years ago, the prices on the secondary market for Fedals were insane. I remember over $1000 per seat for a Miami masters series semi in I think it was 2011. Glad I didn’t get pony up the dough, it was not one of their better matches.

But back to the point, I can only see draw rigging, IF it were to happen, to be about money. Then who is the beneficiary. Who is the “they” behind the rigging?


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

Bada Bing no offence i was just giving my take on things is all.


harry Says:

@courbon

It may well be that you are right and that these are just speculations. Personally, I do not know more than what mat4 presented; so my defense of his theory [rather, the non-acceptance of yours] is nothing more than a meta-argument on a pleasant Sunday!

[Let us summarize the discussion points: mat4's point raises the statistical improbability of a sequence of draws to happen the way they did, while your objection to this is that it if something that systemic & grimy had indeed happened, somebody/everybody would have noticed.]

My $0.02: i dont see why you find it necessary to reason that it has to be something systemic & grimy. It could very well be analogous to the Schelling’s segregation model — where each person or entity does not do anything really nasty for something bad to emerge at a larger scale [as an aside: some of the simulations of this model are stunning!].

Concretely: it could well be that each tournament (and its director/organizer) is just taking “good care” of his tournament/organization. After all she/he is its CEO and is probably doing her/his “best” to increase the profit margins of the tournament [which is her/his main job]. I dont think there is anything centralized, and therefore, i don’t believe there is a conspiracy theory here…

But as I said earlier, I do not know anything about how tournaments are organized etc.


courbon Says:

@ Harry: Very well explained ( sorry but my English is not up to scratch as yours )-You could be right and like you said in your last point-each tournament for themselves-That would be much less ‘conspiracy theory’ and much more possible. Tournament, like a Indian Wells, where is the powerful owner of the tournament, would be much more possible for draw to be rigged.I don’t know what is Schelling segregation model-I will check it after this post. Like you said-I maybe right but also I could be wrong.
If tomorrow (or never?) it comes a leak about rigging of draws, my argument is fruitless.
I do have suspicions sometimes but I keep to my old fashion approach-show me the evidence-inoccent until proven guilty.
@ Hawkeye: Post above is also for you


harry Says:

@courbon: Thanks & nice talking to you :-)


courbon Says:

@ Harry: Same to you-it is all my pleasure ( just reaserching about that Shelling model ).Speak to you later


Sean Randall Says:

Hawkeye, draws are not fixed. Get over it.


James Says:

I very much doubt draws are fixed because if it were I don’t think the ITF/ATP could have kept this hidden for this long.


funches Says:

The insults come because it makes me sad that people are so paranoid in this country. Draws are not fixed. The one time they tried to fix a draw, at the U.S. Open in the 1990s when they said they would do the draw and then place the seeds after the rest of the draw was announced, led to a threatened boycott (Kafelnikov carried through on his threat) until they changed their minds.

Sean, I don’t agree with your assessments of Djokovic’s chances, but in general your analysis is spot on. And you might prove to be right on that one, too.


Hawkeye Says:

ESPN Questions USO Draw Integrity…

http://tinyurl.com/qxt87oz

#TheTruthIsOutThere


Brando Says:

@Sean Randall: Spot freaking on! The draws are not fixed! IF they were to be then it would be a fix that the aministrators, tourny organizers, players etc are in on. Do you honestly believe that ‘the fix’ would not be out by now and just be a truth open to a wise few only? Wake up man: that’s idiocy. It would long be known by now to a scandal loving media. But here’s the thing: why is it ONLY Djokovic fans who push this fix theory? I see no Fed fan doing so. Same with Rafa. And likewise Murray. I have a conspiracy theory of my own regarding that: they simply cannot handle the reality of Novaks lack of success during a certain point in time so they paint a picture that soothes their discontent over it!! Rather believe the world Is against their fav than accept reality: he wasn’t good enough. Fixed or not fixed: if Novak was good enough he would have won regardless of the draw. Period. So all this whining over a BS fix needs to stop, since it’s a crock of nonsense! I have another conspiracy theory: the record books don’t give a rats ass about a fix and only care about the winner of the events. Time some do the same here rather than push this BS theory of theirs!


Hawkeye Says:

Facts and statistics indicate fixing at the very top of the men’s game…

http://www.playthegame.org/fileadmin/image/knowledgebank/Tennisdraws_Katarina_Pijetlovic.pdf

Or

http://tinyurl.com/bn7rsqu

#JoeJackson


Thomas Says:

@Brando and Sean
Spot on.


Brando Says:

LMFAO: surname of writer: Pijetlovic. Focus of fix period: 2008-2011. LOL: oh lord, when will some sour Djokovic fans accept reality of his performance in that period and quit pushing BS nonsense of a fix? When will they quit being a sour, somewhat silly bunch over their precious fav and accept reality: others were better than him at the time, hence the slam wins are accredited to them. What a colossal load of BS: get a new hobby I say rather than spouting this crap!


Brando Says:

@Thomas: thanks. It’s a tiresome load of crap coming from the same bunch with a shared inherent reason: feeling aggravated that their fav drew a big 0 during 2008-2011 on the slam front. Get over it I say and quit being sour about it!


grendel Says:

Brando “Same with Rafa.”

Actually, holdserve- a fervent Rafa fan to say the least – believes the draws are fixed. (see July 11, 9.28 and several later posts)


Hawkeye Says:

Here is video of Katarina Pijetlovic presenting her case to an Anti-corruption symposium in Keln.

http://tinyurl.com/blavguq

Her presentation starts at 13:00 . It’s quite interesting stuff.

#SimpleMath


James Says:

During 2008-2011, Novak was Fedal’s whipping boy in Slams, regardless of surface. He needed to improve his game and fitness to challenge them which he finally did in 2011. Has been the top dog since.


Hawkeye Says:

As far as “a tiresome load of crap” is concerned, one could say the same about another set of fans, no?

At the very least, we sshould be respectful to each other and base our arguments on substance instead of putdowns and insults.

#MethinksYadaYada


Sean Randall Says:

Hawkeye, me thinks I’m already getting tired of reading your ridiculous claims. #YadaYada


Brando Says:

@James: Er not quite their whipping boy exclusively, the following: AO 09′: Retired v Andy Roddick, AO 10′: Lost to Tsonga! FO 08: lost to Rafa- apparently a good matchup for him, hmmm…. FO 09′: Lost to Kohlschreiber in R3, FO 10′: lost to Melzer from 2-0 up, LOL! Wimby 08′: Rnd 2 loss! Wimby 09′: lost to Haas, Wimby 10′: lost to birdman. Now the USO 08,09: lost to federer. USO 10: lost to nadal in final. So: out of 12 slams he won just the ….1. Out of the 11 others: he lost to fedal just …. 4/11. One of those losses was v Rafa on a HC. He lost a 7/11 v non Fedal players. LMFAO: it’s blindingly obvious he won only one slam during this period for a clear reason: he wasn’t good enough for more. His problems extended beyond Fedal and some mythical draw. Just look at his losses: he wasn’t good enough to even meet Fedal at slams most of the time!


Brando Says:

@sean: that makes 2 of us! I’m out of this ‘it’s a fix’ aka ‘Novak got screwed over by the ATP’ nonsense! Tiresome, boring, inane, sour and just outright dull BS! If you think it’s a fix: let some journalist, governing body or better yet, a psychiatrist, know about it and I’m sure they’ll give you some better feedback on the big ‘fix’ LOL!


grendel Says:

Brando -believing in conspiracy theorires is not something confined to Djokovic fans. Hostility to Djokovic is as silly and disagreeable as hostility to any player.


James Says:

lol @Brand at 12.26 pm, didn’t know he was that bad. Hard to think this same Djokovic lost to Melzer from 2-0 up LOL
Djoker fans should be happy he’s come a long way since.


Brando Says:

@James: Exactly. His fans need to realize: bar the AO win, in that period they harp on about as being fixed in 7/11 he lost to non Fedal players! Clearly a ‘fix’ or Fedal wasn’t the issue: the quality of his tennis was! And 2 of the 4 Fedal losses were to Rafa: one was in a HC final- what was the problem then? The other was to Rafa at the SF in FO 2008- exactly who was going to beat Rafa at the FO that year? LOL: they need to get over it: quit harping on about some mythical ‘fix’ when even IF it was true it was hardly the downfall of Novak: his level of tennis was! PS: Did the ‘fix’ stop by AO 11′ suddenly or did it reappear in select other GS slam post that date?…….


grendel Says:

I repeat – claims of fixing are not confined to Djokovic fans, and it should not be used as an excuse to sneak in hostility to Djokovic. We all know what is the cause of that.


Hawkeye Says:

I will agree that it wouldnt have made any significant difference to Nole’s results had these draws been, how shall we put it, different.

However, to paraphrase your statements of ridiculous claims of tired BS, needing to “get over it”, etc., I will assume the 1 in 8192 oddity was just a random happenstance in your opinion. As was the USO oddity reported by ESPN.

#Shhhh…CopingSkillsAtWork


Brando Says:

‘I will agree that it wouldnt have made any significant difference to Nole’s results had these draws been, how shall we put it, different.’: Thank You!!! The simple fact is: say whatever you want about a fix but history has already written all it wants about the 2008-2011 period. It’s been done with. Moving on to the present: it’s a interesting to be continued period right now…….


Sean Randall Says:

Hawkeye, I remember the ESPN report and I remember thinking at the time it was a load of BS.

So to refresh my memory – maybe I’ve had it wrong all these years – what fascinating discovery did that ESPN story unearth? Don’t give me numbers, just sum it up for me, please.


Hawkeye Says:

I’ve provided the link Sean. Feel free to read it yourself. It basically said that for 5-10 years or so, it is extremely unlikely that the first two rounds of the draws at the US Open for the top two players were random based upon the rankings of their drawn opponents from a statistical standpoint.

#ScovilleJenkins


funches Says:

The U.S. Open draw fixing reported by ESPN was some of the most asinine reporting in the history of ESPN, and that’s saying something. There was no benefit whatsoever to the tournament to fixing the first round of the draw (and that’s the only thing the report focused on) because the guys they supposedly were fixing it for (Federer in particular) were incapable of losing in the first round, regardless of the draw.

Any cost/benefit analysis would tell you the whole expose’ was absurd. The report was done by people who have no understanding of tennis whatsoever. The episode of Outside the Lines came and went with almost no media attention because the claim was so pointless.


funches Says:

Match fixing by players, now that I do believe happens. Not the top players, but the incentive to make a little extra money for journeyman who struggle to make a profit is very high.


Sean Randall Says:

So Hawkeye, what’s being “fixed” then? Who gets the advantage in this case and in what way?


Sean Randall Says:

Hawkeye, nevermind then. Mr. funches already beat me to the punch. I just wanted to lead you down the path to where you would understand what funches just wrote. And I agree with him to a tee.

What diff does it make if Federer’s playing the No. 98 vs. the No. 67 player in the 1st round at the US Open? That’s “fixing”? That’s their claim? Just dumb.


harry Says:

@grendel:

ha ha! sometimes reason just breaks down from every which way :-)


Hawkeye Says:

The benefit is to increase the odds that the top players make it to the latter rounds. The ones who benefit are those who receive increased revenue from maximized ratings. Not a difficult concept at all really. But I understand why fans get so worked up over such wild claims.

#Business101


courbon Says:

@ Harry and Grendel: …and we had a such a nice conversation about draws.I just come home and there is a hell loose on the site…its funny


Thomas Says:

“I will assume the 1 in 8192 oddity was just a random happenstance in your opinion..”

Low chance does NOT equate to no chance. The chances of someone being struck by lightning is a lot lower than 1/8192, but I am sure you have heard of someone being struck at some point in your life.


Thomas Says:

Btw, did anyone see Michael Russel’s comments about Lleyton Hewitt on facebook. He said :

“Lleyton Hewitt – what a douche bag and a racist by the way too. From ATP website: It’s disappointing,” said Hewitt. “If I could’ve had a day off and come back and played the final, I reckon things would’ve been different. All in all it was a good week. Can’t do much about it. I had the tougher side of the draw, with the semi-finals this morning, I paid the price for that.” Really, so serving at 7-5, 5-4 for the Championship all of a sudden you got tired. How about you just choked and stopped making excuses. I would have loved to see Mahut/Hewitt on the side court 1 at Newport and see how many excuses Lleyton would have made then.”


Hawkeye Says:

…except that the sample size in my case is much smaller. There are 7 billion people that can be struck by lightning.

Yes, no one is saying that it is not possible. I agree that there is a low chance (not no chance) that the draws were not fixed during that period.


holdserve Says:

Thomas has unfortunately taken the wrong example to illustrate his point. While the chance that lightening strikes a particular person, say me, in a particular year is low, the chance that it will strike somebody in a year is practically CERTAIN, not rare.
There are more than 200,000 people struck by lightening every year.
Coming back to me,as I live in the US, the chance that I will be struck by lightening in a year is less than 1/500,000 but the chance that I will be struck by lightening during my lifetime (of say 80 years is 1/6250 ( from Wikipedia ) i.e. chances of me being struck by lightening during my lifetime is higher than the probability of Djokovic and Federer being in the same half as observed in the so-called random draws (1/8192)!


holdserve Says:

Hawkeye, there is no point in quoting facts and figures to people who are not interested in facts or figures and would like to dismiss statistical studies as conspiracy theories.
They are like those who believed the Earth was fixed and at the center of the Universe because the Bible said so. They ignored scientific observations and felt so strongly about the truth of their beliefs that they burnt Copernicus at the stake for heresy and forced Galileo to retract.
I am a Rafa-Muzz fan and I thought that the final which I would like would be Rafa-Muzz as then I wouldn’t mind whoever won. But to my surprise in consecutive non clay slams for years Fed and Djoko were on one side and Rafa and Muzz were in the other half. That’s when I did statistical analysis and googled for other research and came across ESPN’s study for which you have already given the link. There was also another article
http://straightsets.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/22/live-from-the-71st-floor-its-tennis/

If statistical studies are conspiracy theories then what are blind beliefs?
Even in gambling casinos, professional gamblers do statistical analysis to confirm the games are not rigged. The House too constantly does analysis of patterns of players who win too often to catch cheaters.
Statistical probability methods are the only means adopted by serious interested parties to determine randomness. Blind belief cannot prove randomness.


James Says:

I was thinking today how wonderful it must be to win a Grand Slam and then take a two week off. Go fishing, travel somewhere or partying or whatever you wanna do. Just enjoy the moment, knowing you achieved something big in your chosen field. Very happy for Muzza. Then I thought it sucks to be a French Open champion! You don’t get enough time to say celebrate your achievement with friends, family or alone somewhere you enjoy spending time. Right after FO, your focus is Wimbledon, not a 1 week holiday in the Bahamas. You start practising on grass court. One month between FO and Wimbledon would be so much nicer for players. Wonder why ATP/ITF won’t do something about this. No wonder very few players in history have achieved the channel Slam.
I think every Slam winner deserves a two week off without worrying about the next Grand Slam.


James Says:

Rod Laver thinks Murray can win a calendar slam. What do Muzza fans think?

http://www.espn.co.uk/tennis/sport/story/221461.html


holdserve Says:

James, Muzza has to win French Open to win a calendar slam. So far he has given no indication that he is ready for it. And if he does do it, winning Wimbly soon thereafter is a big ask.
I am happy if he keeps winning Wimbledon every year and AO and USO every now and then.


Tennis x hippy chic Says:

James if Rod Laver were right,then Andy would be achieving something that not even Roger,Rafa or Novak have done so far in their careers,the one GS which is a question mark for Andy would be the FO,as his results on clay have been dissapointing,but as we have said before,never has certainly doesnt mean never will,i think it would be amazing to see at least one active player do it,or even 4 GS in a row,as i dont believe anyones done that either,although people can feel free to correct me if im wrong.


Hawkeye Says:

Well said holdserve!

Some fans would rather just not consider anything that might threaten their beliefs.

The number of pairs of players that were in the same draw of 13 consecutive majors is very small. That this trend occurred at all, let alone for the player with most weeks at number one, is at the very least, a highly unlikely random occurence which is suspicious.

#FYC


RZ Says:

First off (since I was gone the last week of Wimbledon), BIG CONGRATS to my fellow Murray fans for his win at Wimbledon. Simply phenomenal to end the drought.

I don’t know if Murray will defend his US Open title, but I can see him wresting the Australian Open trophy away from Djokovic. And I think that the next first-time Wimbledon champion will be DelPo. He’s shown at last year’s Olympics and this year’s Wimbledon that he’s improved a lot on grass. I could see him getting that title at some point in the next few years.

Despite holding 2 grand slams, an Olympic gold, plus the Miami title, Murray has a long way to go to get that #1 ranking. He needs to do better week in and week out, which is something he’s working on. I’m sure playing the French would have helped his ranking points, though not enough for him to be #1 right now.


Hawkeye Says:

I think that Muzz skipping the French was a worthwhile sacrifice to improve his chances of winning Wimby. In hindsight it was the right move. Lendl has made a big difference no doubt about it.


James Says:

@holdserve and @hippy chic, Right, it’s the French Open he’ll have most difficulty winning.
I may sound crazy but I think Andy can win the French Open at some point in his career. But I very much doubt he will win a calendar slam, something not even Roger, Rafa and Novak could do. Not because I doubt his passion or talent but because the competition is just so tough in men’s tennis right now. I think a golden career slam is more realistic than a calendar slam for Murray. Whatever happens, I hope he does win some more slams. AO 2014 could be his next Slam, if not USO this year.

@Hawkeye, agree skipping FO def gave him more time than other top players to practise on grass.


RZ Says:

Hawkeye, definitely. Skipping the FO was probably the best decision Andy will make all year. Might have cost him a chance at #1, but I’d bet he’d take the Wimbledon trophy over the #1 ranking any day.


grendel Says:

holdserve says:”They ignored scientific observations and felt so strongly about the truth of their beliefs that they burnt Copernicus at the stake for heresy”. No they didn’t. Copernicus died peacefully in his bed. Perhaps you are thinking of Giordano Bruno.


Kimberly Says:

funny Murray made a April fools joke about skipping clay the year before, and before it came out that it was a joke I didn’t think it was the worst idea.

Now I do think the entire clay season would be extreme but obviously the as much as we talk about hard courts being brutal on the body, the matches on clay are incredibly physical and the transition to grass tough. Look how many players retired and lost early that went deep in the French.

What would Murray have realistically gained by playing Roland Garros, 360 points likely with a QF showing. If he wins Montreal he will get 1000. I don’t think it took him out of the hunt for number one at all if he performs deep and Djokovic falters a little.


holdserve Says:

grendel you are right. Both Bruno and Galileo supported Copernicus. While Bruno was burnt, Galileo retracted (under threat). I think he still muttered before the Inquisition ” Eppur si muove” (and yet it moves)
However, this does not alter the basic premise that irrationals discount scientific observations and are prepared to even kill scientists to perpetuate their blind beliefs.
Hence offering irrationals statistical evidence to dispute the randomness of the draws will only drive them to rage and never convince them because they are immune to logic.


grendel Says:

There’s no doubt Murray gained from skipping the French. But not everything boils down benefit-cost analysis. There is the question of pride. Murray is a perfectionist, and his relative lack of success on clay will surely irk him. So next year, I’m sure we’ll see a determined assault on RG.

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