Nadal Embarrasses Robredo; Murray, Djokovic Up Thursday at US Open
by Staff | September 5th, 2013, 12:05 am
  • 230 Comments

Showing the growing discrepancy at the top of men’s tennis among the former “Big Four” players, world No. 2 Rafael Nadal took Roger Federer’s straight-sets conqueror to the woodshed on Wednesday, defeating No. 19 seed Tommy Robredo 6-0, 6-2, 6-2 in quarterfinal play at the US Open.


“I think I played my best match of the US Open this year,” Nadal said on court after the match.

Nadal remained 67 for 67 in service games held during the tournament, and improved to 7-0 career against Robredo.

“Obviously I felt that he was doing pretty good out there,” Robredo said regarding Nadal’s performance. “Not much to say. At the beginning, it was a little different for me. I started a little bit tight, and he was up very quick. Then it was nothing else to do. He was too good.”

Nadal next will meet surprise semifinalist and No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet, who abandoned his folding-chair routine late in Slams to tough out a 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3 win over No. 4-seeded grinder David Ferrer.

“I don’t want to say I lost all the time in the fifth set because I won against [Andy] Roddick in quarter in Wimbledon,” said Gasquet, defending his miserable career record in Slams. “Two days ago I won in five set too. It’s true I lost sometimes too. But always difficult for me when you are losing this kind of match, especially when your are winning, 5-2 in the fifth, I really wanted to close that match to win, because it’s Ferrer, center court in US Open, so it’s a big chance for me to go in semis.”

Gasquet is 0-10 career against Nadal, but has twice taken sets off the Spaniard on hardcourts at tour events.

“I will try to go in this match to win,” Gasquet said. “If not, don’t go on the court. But I know he’s the favorite of the match. Nobody will say I’m the favorite. But, yeah, I want to play a big match.”

In women’s quarterfinal play on Wednesday, No. 2 Victoria Azarenka rolled past unseeded Daniela Hantuchova 6-2, 6-3, while unseeded Flavia Pennetta upset No. 10-seeded countrywoman Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-1 in an all-Italian match-up.

Hantuchova went up an early break in the second set on Azarenka, but did not have the power and ability to end points from the baseline to keep up with the world No. 2.

“It was a little bit tricky with the wind, and Daniela is the kind of player who doesn’t give you rhythm, so you have to try to make it happen in one or two shots in the beginning,” Azarenka said. “There weren’t many long rallies, which can make it difficult to get into the match, but I felt like I was really good in the important moments. I raised my level when I needed to, which was the key to this match.”

Azarenka will next face Pennetta in the semis, with the two tied 1-1 in their career head-to-head matches.

“She’s a very good player, an all-around player,” Azarenka said of Pennetta. “She can do anything. She has great touch, great variety, she can create power, create spin. She’s also very experienced and has been in the Top 10, and beaten a lot of Top 10 players…Her ranking doesn’t matter. It’s about the moment right now, and she’s playing terrific tennis.”

Pennetta will be appearing in her career-first Grand Slam semifinal at age 31.

“My serve was working really well today, so that helped me a lot,” Pennetta said. “And it was really difficult to play Roberta too — it’s never easy to play against one of your best friends on the tour, of course. But this is life. I just played my tennis and everything worked out really well for me.”

Thursday in Flushing Meadows will feature some top singles and doubles play with (3) Andy Murray vs. (9) Stanislas Wawrinka, and (1) Novak Djokovic vs. (21) Mikhail Youzhny squaring off in men’s quarterfinal action, and doubles featuring (1) Bob/Mike Bryan vs. (4) Leander Paes/Radek “The Worm” Stepanek, and (1) Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci vs. Serena/Venus Williams.

“We practice a lot together,” Wawrinka says of Murray. “We have had some great battles when we play each other. It’s usually a tough match, but I like to play him. I like his game. I think if I start well, if I stay with him, I can have some good chance to do something.”

 


Also Check Out:
Tommy Robredo Becomes The First Player Since 1927 To Win Three Straight Matches From 0-2 Down
Tommy Robredo Movie Star
Nadal Wins, Gets Pass to SF; Nalbandian Withdraws
Nadal Wins Two In Barcelona, Sets Up Showdown With Raonic; Tipsarevic Continues To Struggle; Sharapova Into Stuttgart SFs
Murray Reaches First ATP Final In 14 Months; Nishikori Strong In Kuala Lumpur

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230 Comments for Nadal Embarrasses Robredo; Murray, Djokovic Up Thursday at US Open

Michael Says:

Well, what a turnaround. Robredo seemingly deployed high fly Tennis against Roger who helped him with his wayward Tennis, but against Rafa he fell despairingly short. He just looked like a novice on court and the match was a little bit boring to watch because the result was already written over it. All credit Rafa who is looking invincible at the moment and there is no one to stop in this any kind of form. Next up from him is his bunny Gasquet which in all probability he would dispose off in straight sets and will be eagerly looking towards the final. He would breathe much easy if it is against Andy or Wawrinika. However, he might get a little tight against Novak. But still even if it is against Novak, the edge is only with Rafa since at the moment he is playing phenomenal Tennis and there is no stopping him.


Michael Says:

Robredo’s after match comment summarizes the match up. I cannot do much when my opponent is in a rampaging mood. It seems he was resigned to his defeat even before the match started. That is how players like Rafa win matches when their opponents are over awed by their competitor’s invincibility.


mat4 Says:

“Showing the discrepancy…”

Disclaimer. I took those words because they seem to sum up the opinion shown by the posters on this blog, nothing to do with Sean. They also clearly show the usual trend about Federer in the last 5 years: a lot of fans and “connoisseurs” hurry to bury him deep.

I almost have the impression that no one watches his matches any more. Because an objective, cold headed analyse of his tournament would have shown the following:

- that he still plays very, very well; he moves well, he serves well; he certainly has lost a step, but for a player with such powerful weapons — a great serve, a great FH — it doesn’t have to be tragic: Berdych, Wawrinka, Tsonga, have never had Roger’s speed, but they are in the top all the same;

- that there is a liability in his game: his backhand, and in connection with this, his backhand return; Robredo saved most of the 16 break points he faced just serving averagely on the backhand;

- I ask myself: what is the result of three years of work with his present team? One, his game has become more predictive: he lost the strategic diversity he had until 2009. Two, none of his basic weaknesses has been addressed: five years ago, it was already clear that he had problems returning with his BH, the problem is just more acute now.

Roger needs a good coach to make him accept the obvious changes: to stay a bit further behind the baseline to have time to return, to move around his BH; to adopt a more powerful and forgiving racquet. Otherwise, the rest is here. But a better return, his conversion rate would have been of, let’s say, 40%, and the result against Robredo 6-2, 6-2, 6-2, so dominant was Fed after a solid return.


mat4 Says:

Roger pays now for his years of dominance: on one side, so many want to see him die of an ignominious tennis death, on the other, he was so dominant he didn’t really need to work with a knowledgeable coach.

He needs some good guidance now. Perhaps he can’t beat Nadal any more (although I am quite curious to watch him the day he will lose a step, although, just like Linford Christie, perhaps he will be the fastest at thirty, in the same way), but he could remain in the top five for a few years to come.


Michael Says:

Mat4,

Who do you think would be the right coach for Roger ? Probably in my opinion he can try John Mcenroe. What do you say ??


billyboy512 Says:

Why are these idiots discussing roger federer after a story having nothing to do with him? He lost. Move on.


Eric Says:

billyboy, mat4 at least is one of the two or three most interesting, perceptive, and intelligent posters here, so step off (as we say).

Federer. Well, what can you say? He played great except for hitting a billion errors. So, 2009, 2010 again. I don’t know if the problem is his predictability, but certainly he plays a much more baseline-y game than he used to. Is that bad? No idea. Maybe he does need to be even further back.

Anyway, Robredo — what an embarrassment. Pretty sure I could have played better than him in the first set. (Note: this is called “exaggeration.”) Anyway, he had nothing to do with Roger’s loss; Fed’s own “self-implosion” diagnosis was spot on. Gasquet though I think we’re underestimating – he’s proven his mettle increasingly of late, and especially here. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t win at least a set – quite possibly even two. But we’ll see.


mat4 Says:

@Eric:

Yes, it was an embarrassment. Roger played without return. He couldn’t break Jelena Jankovic’s serve the way he returned.

The way he plays he is not able to run around his BH any more. He reverted to his old racquet, and his BH slice, that used to give him time to position himself favourably, doesn’t work. He avoids to use him, anyway.

He doesn’t mix shots any more. There are less changes of pace, of depth. The moment a ball gets to his BH, he is not able to construct a point, so he has to take more risks than he used to.

His game is a complete mess, and that is mainly the fault of his team, because all the ingredients are here.


mat4 Says:

Then, it seems there is a technology shift, and, just like Sampras (who had the same coach), he didn’t embrace it. Djokovic struggled with his FH for most of the year with a new racquet, but it is finally giving results. Nadal improved his BH and probably his FH too, but he had to wait a year too.

I understand that time is important now, but Roger lost this season already. So, why not try? A step further, a racquet with a bigger head absorbing better the vibrations, more slice, more intelligence on the court.

At 32, his conditioning still can be perfect. A man is a bit slower, but can cover the court in an adequate manner. With his prowess at the net, an excellent serve, a devastating FH, Roger doesn’t have to be a grinder.


mat4 Says:

Finally, I write my posts here for an obvious reason: to be read. And, that way, I do what everybody else does.


tennisfan Says:

Rafael Nadal is getting all the attention, but trust me Djokovic is playing as good too


mat4 Says:

@Michael:

There are a lot of good coaches. In my opinion, he needs somebody with a similar culture and mentality. But he certainly knows who could work with him better than we do, and has shown a penchant for Anglo-Saxons until now.


mat4 Says:

@TF:

Novak had a lot of problems with his FH. I don’t think it is yet completely sorted, but he seems to be near.

But his serve doesn’t work well in this tournament, and it could be crucial against Murray, who can rely on his first serve to get some cheap points in crucial moments.


Michael Says:

Mat4,

I agree. Roger will have to hire someone who he is comfortable with. But this team of Paul Annaocone should pack their bags and leave. They have failed. Roger can even manage without them and it will be good riddance. We all have seen the transformation of Andy under the guidance of Lendl and I thought may be Roger can rediscover his lost confidence if he hires an erstwhile Champion like Mcenroe who knows the intricacies of this sport and may bring about transformation in Roger’s fortunes. But as you said, Roger knows what is right and I hope his moves pays him dividends. It is really disgusting to see Roger losing to all and sundry.


mat4 Says:

@Michael:

He indeed needs someone with a lot of authority, but I somehow don’t think McEnroe is that man. I think that Jim Courier could be more appropriate.

My personnal fav could be Darren Cahill, but that’s the opinion of an amateur, based mostly on his lucid commentaries for ESPN.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Michael says: I agree. Roger will have to hire someone who he is comfortable with. But this team of Paul Annaocone should pack their bags and leave.

I’m surprised, now people are blaming Paul for Roger’s failures. It was the same Paul who helped him win Wimbledon and got back to No 1 last year. So what has changed now?

So a new coach would come and teach Roger who to hit a FH now?

Roger’s problem is not coach nor opponents. It’s himself. He needs to spend more time on practice courts. He needs to get back his movement and FH like he had last year. Till then no coach can come and help him.

He is not losing against Robredo or 50 ranked player because he does not know how to play strategic tennis against these players. He just needs to play like Roger Federer to beat these guys.


mat4 Says:

@Nirmal Kumar:

Are you certain that Annacone helped him win the 2012 Wimbledon? Or was he the cause he won just one slam since they started cooperating? I think it deserves a thought or two.

Why do you think Roger doesn’t practice enough? Do you have some informations about it? I’ll be glad to learn any insight about his practice sessions.

Can he get back his movement, his speed from last year? It is a matter of debate too, I believe. Usually you can’t get back the speed, but you can run overall in a similar manner.


tennisfan Says:

Rafa’s staticstics till now at the Open –
Has broken serve 29 times in five matches at this year’s tournament
Enjoys a perfect 20-0 record on hard courts this year
Has yet to drop serve at the 2013 US Open, holding 67 times
Statistically has the most potent forehand in the tournament (97 winners)
Has won 36% of points when facing first serves and 60% returning second serves.


Fg Says:

Rafa is very fortunate that he’ got strong bady without major injury in his career, although he talks very loud about his injury and he believes he is more injured than Fed and Dojcker.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

mat4..no i don’t think Annacone helped him win Wimby or get back to no 1 just like I don’t think Annacone is the reason for his failure this year.

At this stage of Roger’s career, I don’t think he is looking for a coach who would tell him what to do on a tennis court. He would need to coach who can tell the strength of his opponent and their weakness. I think Paul should be good enough for that. I think Roger might do as well anyway without a coach too.

Why did he not practice enough? Yeah, it’s obvious that when he skipped tournaments he normally plays, he would not have done enough on the practice courts. I can understand the reason for that and I have stated this many times before.

Roger needs a break after achieving so much last year. He won Wimby, reached finals in Olympics and got back No.1 These are not small feats. He started putting lot of effort post 2011 USO. Naturally I expected him to have a break this year. Which is fine. Nothing to panic.

When I say movement, it’s not just the speed. It’s the anticipation. If you anticipate a shot well, you tend to move much better. That’s what Roger has done throughout his career. He does not have the great foot speed like Murray or Nadal. He has great anticipation. At his best, he makes the opponent play exactly the way he wants them to play. He needs to get back that instinct and forward movement on the court which sets him apart from his rivals.

I still believe this is just a lull in his form, due to his exhaustion last year. I’m confident he is going to bounce back next year or even the rest of the season.


Michael Says:

Mat4,

Although you do not agree on Mcenroe, I think Jim Courier too should be a very good choice. Let us see what he decides !?


Michael Says:

Nirmal,

I’m surprised, now people are blaming Paul for Roger’s failures. It was the same Paul who helped him win Wimbledon and got back to No 1 last year. So what has changed now?

If Roger won Wimbledon last year, it is not because of Paul, but only inspite of him. Like Bjorn Borg, Roger needs a Lennart Bergelin like father figure to guide him in these troubled times. He certainly will not shine with a jaded Paul Annacone who is not doing anything exceptional out there and is just going through the motions. He remains clueless on Roger’s steep decline nor is he trying to address it. Coaching is not just about teaching how to play, it goes much beyond that. There must be a personal bond between the Mentor and the Mentee. A change in Coach would just about help Roger rediscover his confidence. It is all a play with mind and a new set up might just work out. Afterall, we did see the transformation of Andy after the induction of Lendl when he was able to win two majors. I do not understand when you are talking about break. Roger already is not playing too many tournaments now-a-days and is always on an extended break. Infact, this position of too much rest has hurt him where he couldn’t get sufficient match practice. I think he should play more.


roy Says:

‘shot making’, higher risk tennis demands very high confidence. when it falls apart it can get pretty ugly.
federer doesn’t have a plan B. he’s always just hit through opponents. and he’s said this himself, knowing he can hit his way out of trouble. but that’s hard to do without confidence.


pogi Says:

the maestro can hire the services of “phil jackson” for triangle offense…lol


Pitchaboy Says:

He has lost a bit of speed and timing and he has lost belief. The former is tough to fix for a touch player but can be reworked by change of tactics. The latter needs a sports shrink.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Michael,

Are you saying Murray and Roger are in the same career arc. Murray did not know how to win a GS, neither his team before. He needed someone who had been there to prepare him mentally.

What does Roger does not know in tennis a coach can come and help him with.

I agree to your point. He needs to play more, but before that he needs more practice. That’s the solution for his problem. Definitely not the coach.


Humble Rafa Says:

I still wish I could continue the “rivalry”, instead of beating up a beloved amigo. I don’t think the Arrogant One would have fared any better yesterday than my country man.

You guys need to be grateful that lovely Tommy saved you from the indignation..


Brando Says:

Andy v Wawa should be a cracker of a match. Wawa is tough but I’m sure Andy is glad he’s facing him as opposed to the more troublesome Berdych.


queen Says:

I do not think Fed is coachable at all. I don’t think he listens to what other people say. He is the know all guy. Otherwise he would make changes in his game long time ago. He still jumps like a ballerina instead of putting some serious power into his shots. Tennis evolved like it or not.


Ben Pronin Says:

I really agree with mat4 here. Annacone, with Sampras and now with Federer, is the kind of coach who emphasizes strengths. I think it paid off last year when Federer went through several months playing near the top of his form. He didn’t have to worry as much about a crummy back hand return because everything else was working so well that it compensated for this problem. Now he’s not playing as well and his weakness is even more glaring. Thus the result.

Maybe he doesn’t need to get rid of Annacone, but he does need to address the weaknesses if he wants to avoid these embarassing defeats.

NK, I don’t know if it’s true that Federer isn’t practicing enough. Hewitt said they did drills for 4 hours before the start of the tournament. Drills, not even points.

“Federer doesn’t have a plan B” – said no one with any inkling of tennis knowledge.


jamie Says:

Nadal will achieve another RG/USO double like he did it in 2010 and like Agassi, Lendl(twice), Wilander and Vilas did it in the past.


Ben Pronin Says:

Murray calls for women to play 5 sets:
http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2013/09/murray-women-should-play-best-five-sets/49047/#.UiiHa9KkrA4

He said the women used to do it before. I looked up Graf-Navratilova rivarly (they were 9-9!!). The only event I saw that had a 5 set final was Virginia Slims Championships, New York City, and not even all the time.

This lead to looking up Navratilova-Evert. Martina held the edge 43-37. This has to be the greatest rivalry in all of sports.


Kimberly Says:

I agree with Queen. I have heard Federer is very very stubborn. I guess when you are amazingly talented and have won 17 GS its hard not to be. It’s like my 101 year old grandmother. Her helper tells her she can’t have ketchup because it has too much sugar and she tells her “excuse me I mananged to live to 101 without you telling me what to eat, bug off!)


the DA Says:

^ Except he doesn’t exactly call for it, he said he doesn’t see any reason why they can’t especially in the later rounds of slams. Read the original interview in the NYT Straight Sets Blog for the context. The piece at tennis.com was Croninized.


SG1 Says:

For Federer, it’s not about coaching. Realistically, who out there is going to tell this guy how to play? Federer is 32. He’s done everything there is to do. He’s losing more often for these reasons and these reasons alone. I don’t see the “eye of the tiger” from him anymore. Look at Rafa right now. The guy looks (and plays) like an animal that’s been let out of a cage. You can see the hunger in his eyes.

I don’t see Federer playing past next year. While the skill set may still be there to win another major, the mind set appears to be lacking. I’ve also noticed that his shots seem less potent. His serve seems to have slowed and his forehand doesn’t have the pop it once did.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Ben,

I think he took it serious pretty late. He did become serious now, but I think he missed his important training blocks this year without proper practice.

His one important training block is post Wimby, which he missed due to his bad back.

Also he missed some serious tennis post AO. More importantly he is bit exhausted after what he achieved last year. It’s expected. Let’s give him a break. He will comeback. I’m sure no one in the world knows better than Roger how to be successful. Unless there is some serious health issues, I’m confident he is going to come back strong.


the DA Says:

Cute Q & A with Wawa ahead of today’s match:

Funniest Player: Benoit Paire (of course, his BFF)

Toughest Player: Nadal

Favourite Players To Watch: Nalbandian, Murray & Federer.

http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2013/09/36/The-Biofile-Stanislas-Wawrinka.aspx


Ben Pronin Says:

I know, DA. I agree with Murray.

NK, perhaps, but that isn’t his fault if he’s injured. I think he’s putting in as much effort as he possibly can.

Kimberly, where did you hear this? I’m sure he is but he’s had several coaches throughout his career. How uncoachable can he be? Maybe that’s why Cahill didn’t work out, though.

I don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see.


M Says:

People do puzzle me sometimes. *sigh*

I was at the quarters last night (even though Roger didn’t play, it was still packed, BTW – not a ticket to be had on Ticketmaster).

Tommy played tennis no pro need be ashamed of. That beautiful 1HBH of his was on full display, and the boys had some beautiful rallies.

The next article puts it perfectly, just the way he put it in his interview: Rafa is playing near-perfect tennis. Who’s going to be able to defend against that? And to my mind, Tommy was still wiped out from having gone to another level to knock Roger out. I don’t remember ever having watched a Slam where a player took out Roger *or* Rafa and didn’t get wiped out in the next round. It just takes that much to do it. Not rocket science.

Rafa was just in one of those places, that’s all.

#VAMOSRAFA


Ben Pronin Says:

M, what about players who have beaten both back to back?

In tennis new, Bryans are down a break in the third!!!!


Ben Pronin Says:

Double break!!! The dream!!! It’s all but over!! Nooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


M Says:

@Ben – There’s only two I can think of off the top of my head: Juan Martín in 2009 — and, majestic as his achievement was, Rafa was playing the semis with a torn abdominal muscle that year — and SuperNovak in 2011.

Which ones have I missed?


M Says:

What’s happening with the Bryans? Who are they playing?


Slice Tennis Says:

It will be great if the Bryans are dumped out here.
This will put an end to the undue attention Bryans (and doubles tennis) are getting at the moment.


Ben Pronin Says:

M, Paes and Stepanek.

Really, Slice Tennis?


Ben Pronin Says:

Paes failed to serve it out. Stepanek’s turn. This is nuts.


Ben Pronin Says:

It’s over!!! I’m devastated.


Polo Says:

So am I. I have been following this hoping to see somebody (singles, doubles, juniors, etc.) win a calendar year slam. One frustration after another. Gasquet is the only one who made me happy although that may be it for him.


Polo Says:

Schadenfreude is for losers.


Tennis for Life Says:

It will be good if Rafa and his fans are not blamed for this loss.


hawkeye Says:

Nice analysis of Fed vs Robredo…

http://straightsets.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/03/federer-paid-price-for-not-adjusting-his-game-plan/?_r=0

I think he knows he can no longer out-rally players like Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray from the baseline so he’s adopted an aggressive, attacking style with an emphasis on getting to the net. If you saw his match with Nadal in Cincinnati a couple of weeks ago, you witnessed Federer serving and volleying more, attacking Rafa’s backhand, and unloading on nearly every forehand. It was a brilliant performance by Federer, who played perhaps the best tactical match he has played against Nadal in recent memory.


hawkeye Says:

^^^^ above excerpt should be in quotes.


Sean Randall Says:

Some picks for today:
Djokovic wins in 3 sets, though I expect it to be close, maybe he saves some set points.

With Youzhny just playing a 5-setter I don’t expect the Russian to have enough to pull the upset.

As for the match just starting, I tip Murray but this is a very dangerous match for Andy. If he doesn’t play well Stan could and will take him out.

Murray also had some back/hip twinges in the last match. I don’t think it’s anything but something to keep an eye on.

Stan should get at least a set but Murray prevails.


rafaeli Says:

mat4 Says:

Roger needs a good coach to make him accept the obvious changes: to stay a bit further behind the baseline to have time to return,

September 5th, 2013 at 12:52 am

Isn’t this what Rafa is criticized for? Basically, Roger’s fans want him to play like Nadal. Chris Evert was calling for him to grind like the spanish players the other day. What happened to the grace and elegance?


rafaeli Says:

Ben Pronin Says:

“I really agree with mat4 here. Annacone, with Sampras and now with Federer, is the kind of coach who emphasizes strengths. I think it paid off last year when Federer went through several months playing near the top of his form. He didn’t have to worry as much about a crummy back hand return because everything else was working so well that it compensated for this problem. Now he’s not playing as well and his weakness is even more glaring. Thus the result.”

That’s because Nadal was around for half of last year.


queen Says:

grace and elegance were good when he played Sampras. Now he competes against Nadal, Djokovic, and Murray. He needs power, power, and more power because these guys pound the ball like there is no tomorrow. If he is not ready to do that he can keep dancing like ballerina and watch the guys to collect the trophies.


James Says:

Despite Stan playing very well, I don’t see him beating Andy. Murray to win in 4.

Djokovic to win in 4 vs Youzhny. The Russian’s playing good and will take a set off Novak. Djokovic is yet to lose a set but has been broken by Berankis, Becker (Sousa?). Mikhail can win a set but not more. Djokovic too good for him esp in this form.


Ben Pronin Says:

Federer doesn’t need to play like Nadal, he just needs to return better and protect his backhand better.

Rafaeli, Federer became number 1 when Nadal was still playing. He only won 1 title Nadal missed. So, irrelevant.


Ben Pronin Says:

James, what does Djokovic being broken by those shlubs have to do with anything? Novak isn’t going to lose a set against Youzhny.

Wawrinka and Murray are going 5.


Ben Pronin Says:

Murray loses the first set and smashes his racket! Holy moly!


James Says:

Federer should play like Federer, not like Nadal or Ferrer. Grinding down opponents is not his strength. At 32 for Roger IMHO two things will decide if he can win another slam or not:

1. Motivation
2. Fitness


the DA Says:

Andy is going to lose. I can sense it already. His serve & FH are completely unreliable today. Stan is playing well but not THAT well.
(sigh)


queen Says:

Keep calm Andy, breathe…


James Says:

“James, what does Djokovic being broken by those shlubs have to do with anything?”

That his service game is not that solid. Becker was even serving for the first set. If Mikhail is in good form, he can do more damage to Djokovic’s serve than those “shlubs”. But I don’t think he can win more than one set against Novak. We’ll see.

You could be right about Stan-Andy. 5 setter.


James Says:

DA, I still think Andy’s gonna win this. Just a feeling. He needs to serve very well though.


andrea Says:

nice first set…finally….by stan. i hope he wins.

i love it when murray loses it on the court. good entertainment.

too bad for the bryans. always great when history is on the line though!

nadal is looking unstoppable, but by the sounds of his matches, novak is as well. it’s feeling like they will be in the final…but who knows.

as far as robredo goes, i don’t think anyone gave him a chance, did they?

i know there is so much federer knocking these days, but let’s face it. the guys is 32. we’ll be doing the same analysis of all the other guys re: declines if they are still playing @ 32.


Brando Says:

Got a real bad feeling about this one. Andy has his ‘why me?’ self pitying face on. He needs to get a grip and knuckle down ASAP here otherwise Stan will win playing his B game!


the DA Says:

@ James – I’m not seeing it yet.


Ben Pronin Says:

James, in Novak’s previous match he held like 25 straight points or service games or something. I don’t know, lots of numbers. Point is, his serve is fine. Only Nadal has this uber concentration where he doesn’t lose serve randomly. Everyone else does it, 3 breaks doesn’t mean his serve isn’t solid. Youzhny won’t win a set.


the DA Says:

Stan’s doing what Nole should have in the Wimby final – murder his 2nd serve. Andy is making so errors. There’s the break in the 2nd. This is going to be over soon.


James Says:

Andy’s trying hard to prove me wrong. He shouldn’t lose the 2nd set. Stan’s come prepared. If he wins this set, hard to see Andy coming back.


queen Says:

Wrong attitude Andy, wrong attitude, the old Murray downer showed up today:[


Rick Says:

Warinka took Nole to five sets at the Aussie Open!


the DA Says:

I haven’t seen him play this bad at a slam in a while. Stan’s playing great and has a good game plan but he’s getting a bit of help. I can’t see another turnaround like the Verdasco match. Wawa is more solid nowadays. This match could’ve been great.

#disappointed


Rick Says:

Warinka and Berdych are getting better with age! Beating the craps out of Murray, Fed and Nole! But they’re all fear Rafa! Wouldn’t suprise me if Murray defeated though, since Sean had a jinx curse on him! :-P


James Says:

3rd set and Murray is yet to get a BP!


the DA Says:

The let down had to come sooner or later. All Stan has to do is hold serve. Where is his energy? Completely missing in action. This reminds me of the Cilic match in 2009.


Brando Says:

Poor body language, poor 2nd serve, passive/ reactionary play….. just utter disappointment served up by Andy.

Wawa is playing B level tennis at best and yet he’s winning easily.

I think Andy will say what Roger said post his match:

I self imploded.

Extremely disappointing and disheartening to see Muzza throw in such a performance when he is in his prime, won the last GS and is defending champ here!

:-(


Polo Says:

It should come as a consolation to Andy that this match is just a formality. Rafa is going to win the title anyway.


the DA Says:

^ Exactly. I don’t want this Andy meeting Nole or, especially, Rafa. He needs a break and to regroup. He can cry into his Wimbledon trophy to get over it and then move on.


James Says:

Disappointing from the defending champion. Break back now or it’s adios amigo.


Giles Says:

Can Andy turn this around? He’s done it before, come back from 2 sets to love down and win. Let’s see.


the DA Says:

Even when Stan opens the door slightly for him, he can’t walk through it.


the DA Says:

The fat lady is about to sing.


James Says:

It’s over. Who would have thought Stan would do this in 4, 3, 2! The new Swiss #1


queen Says:

So disappointing, first no fedal than no murray-la bufon semi grrrr…


Margot Says:

Can only say, Andy was shockingly awful. :(
Well played Stan!
@the DA
At least Andy avoids being murdered by Nole or Rafa…
x Pollyanna


queen Says:

Game set match Wawrina…


Polo Says:

Not a surprise that Nadal may play a Swiss for the title.


Giles Says:

Did not expect this result! Commiserations to Andy’s fans!
Really disappointed! :-(((


WTF Says:

Oh my god… Andy.

Big time upsets this tourney.

Won’t surprise me if Nole loses now, and Nadal loses to Gasquet.


the DA Says:

If they make it, neither Djokovic nor Nadal will have faced a top-eight opponent before each other in the final.

@ Margot – Yes, that’s my initial thought. Not to take anything away from Stan but that was terrible from Andy. So lackluster. Still, it has been a good run. If you’d have told me in January that he’d have Wimbeldon and lose in the USO QFs, I’d take it.

Now we’re back to the Rafa/Nole show. For now.

#drinkstime


Teeg Says:

So much for Andy. All he was saying was how he lost in Canada in Cincy early last year but won the Open in comparison to this year when he also lost early in both tournaments. Well, now he’s also out of the Open. Guess we’re really seeing order being restored and Rafa and Novak further separating themselves from the pack like they did before Rafa’s injury problems of 2012.


the DA Says:

As Thomas Johansson just pointed out “Andy did not have one single break point for the whole match!!! One of the best returners of the game…”.


Margot Says:

@Teeg
Let’s not write Andy’s obituary quite yet.


Brando Says:

What a colossal bummer! :-(

No disrespect to Wawa as he his a fantastic player but nonetheless: Andy just handed that match over to him on a plate with a knife and fork ready on it’s side!

Not one BP chance for arguably the best returner in game- awful stat!

Andy has seemed so off post Wimby like he’s on snooze mode or something- what’s going on with him?

He’ll now be a likely minimum 3,000 points of Rafole: a telling gap!

I think we can pencil in a Rafole final now.


mat4 Says:

@Margot:

Agreed.

And Wawrinka was simply sensational.


Brando Says:

PS:

Lendl need’s to sort out his second serve, put simply: it’s inadequate at the highest level.

I was well surprised it did the job v Novak at Wimby. But today Wawa just butchered it- and it deserved such treatment.

Whenever Andy misses his first serve he knows he is under immediate pressure since his 2nd serve just cannot cut it v a Nadal or Djokovic.

He need’s to address this ASAP and he needs to come out off the block aggressive and focused.

We all know he’s got the talent, game and pedigree in winning the big ones yet for some reason the gap between Andy beating the best and getting beat by one of the rest is oh so thin.

Thank God he won Wimby!


Teeg Says:

@Margot

I’m not writing his obituary, but I firmly believe that Novak and Rafa are clearly better than him. That’s just me though.


Ben Pronin Says:

While everyone (here) was busy trying to determine whether Nadal or Djokovic had the easier draw, they overlooked how easy Murray’s draw was, and how much he struggled, and how tough Wawrinka’s was, and how he beasted through it.

Honestly, assuming Djokovic takes care of business tonight, I’m more than a little concerned. Sure there’s Australia, but Wawrinka’s current form is nuts. It would suck if he made the final though because then it would be incredibly boring.


the DA Says:

This win by Wawa creates an interesting shift in the ATP Race: .#7 Federer (3055), #8 Wawrinka (2925), #9 Gasquet (2765). Roger is 290 points away from cutoff. It would be strange for him not be at the WTF. I think he needs to play ASAP.


Ben Pronin Says:

DA, considering the way Federer, Wawrinka, and Gasquet have been playing this year, I’d much rather see Wawrinka and Gasquet in London. It’d be significantly more interesting than having a punching bag in one group.


Teeg Says:

@Ben Pronin

Exactly. Andy had by far (on paper at least) the easiest route to the QF of all the so-called Big 4. You could argue Novak had just as easy a draw, but no doubt Murray had a cupcake draw. And he handled it poorly. So much for all of Lendl’s talk of Andy being the best player in the world.


Steve 27 Says:

The Grand Slam total is the only reason there is a debate at all. Beyond the lopsided head to head , including the edge on hard courts, 8 to 2 in the Slams and 6 to 2 in Slam finals, there are Nadal’s four Davis Cups to none for Federer, Nadal’s singles Gold Medal in one try with Federer a Silver in three Olympics, Nadal’s dominant Masters 1000 record, his winning record over every player in the top 30 (unlike Federer for example with Murray who Nadal owns) and Nadal’s vastly superior winning percentage. From the day the rivalry began with 17 year old Nadal beating The World # 1 6-3 6-3 on a hard court to this year with Rafa winning all 3 meetings, including two on hard courts Federer’s successes have primarily come when Nadal was not an obstacle and often not in the tournament at all. Corporate interests , such as Mercedes and Rolex and fans of the ballet decided long ago that Roger is the GOAT but the facts and history will render a different verdict and should have awhile ago.


Dc Says:

@Steve – you seem to have forgotten time spent at no 1 in the rankings. Nadal has around 100 weeks , federer 300.
Right now , Sampras has more GS than nadal and more years at number 1. How can Nadal , who has played for 9 years and has been the number 1 player only for 2 years be the goat.

The fact that you are not number 1 means that there are other players who are winning more than you.- how can someone be a goat when there are other players who win more and score more and win more grand slams.

Also the fact that Nadals core competency is defense rather than offense is a negative for him in the greatness aspect. He takes lesser risks than others and therefore wins. Fed on the other hands plays more attacking tennis , takes more risks and wins even more

There are only two true records in any sport – time at number 1 and number of major tournaments won. Currently there are two player who score significantly more than nadal in both these records, hence for now we have to wait to see what Nadal accomplishes in the coming years. If he does end up holding both these records, he will be judged as the goat. .


Michael Says:

Nirmal,

I am not comparing Roger and Andy perse. I only stated that just like the induction of Lendl made a difference to Andy’s fortunes, the same may happen with Roger too if he finds the right coach. You rightly stated that Andy required some mental conditioning to prepare himself for the conquest of Slams. In the same manner, Roger too is today struggling with lack of confidence and the new Coach can perhaps ignite that fire within him. Afterall, Tennis is a game of mind too and confidence comes along as a good companion if you are psychologically strong. Annacone is not doing just enough to motivate Roger in my opinion. Regarding practice, Roger has repeatedly stated before tournaments that he has been really working hard on courts to achieve the desired success, so your contention that he is not practising hard enough is a little bit of an exaggeration.


Margot Says:

People are talking about Andy’s motivation after winning Wimbledon. LOL
I wonder what on earth could be Fed’s motivation after all that he’s achieved? Also, he has not
adapted his game to cope with Rafa, why on earth would he bother at this stage of his career?


Steve 27 Says:

DC, who is greater Wilander or Hewiit?


Steve 27 Says:

The best player of all time has to start with the serve. The two best I ever saw were Sampras and Gonzales. In that order. At his best, on all surfaces save clay, Sampras was unbreakable. Ergo he is the best I ever saw. Followed by PAncho. Next is Rafa, followed by Roger then Laver. Numbers are a poor measuring stick. Decide on what your eyes tell you. Rafa may rise to the top. His serve keeps getting better. No one has ever gone from defense to offense faster or more seamlessly. If he has an Achilles heal it would be exposed in two ways
1) service placement controlling the point
2) a nuanced approach, pulling him in and moving him out, the game plan Ashe used to beat Connors in 74
The only players I have ever sen capable of effectively employing those tactics against Rafa effectively are Pete and Pancho


the DA Says:

@ margot – It’s clearly some level of mental burnout after Wimbledon. No player has had to deal with that kind of pressure to win their home tournament. I’ve been saying throughout this tournament that he’s not himself and his level was lower than we know it can be. The good news is I think it’s temporary. He will still be motivated by unaccomplished goals such as the AO, the WTF and winning a clay tournament.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

The Grand Slam total is the only reason there is a debate at all.

Steve..what about number of weeks as No 1 player and year end championships?


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Michael,

I did not say he is not practicing enough. I said he needs to practice more rather than playing tournaments. I said this after wimbledon that he needs to spend time on practice courts. But Roger returned back to play the clay tournaments, which he ended up with back injury.

Also his level of effort at the beginning of this year is clearly not as good as last year.

I have repeated this few times. Roger case is similar to Andy, just like Andy is gassed out after winning Wimby, same thing is with Roger. After getting back to No 1 and losing it to Novak, his main focus is gone. It’s acceptable he wants to spend time with his family and other commitments, since from end of 2011 to mid of 2012 he was completely focused to get back to No1.

I don’t think there is any coach in the world who can come and give confidence to Roger IMO.


Steve 27 Says:

Number weeks: Rafa will reach 200 weeks, for sure. WTf? I hope he can win 1. But I Think 15 majors is reachable, especially after Monday when he surpasses emerson. 2 more prime years and 2 more ggood years. And thats will be it. After 31, almost great players are done and rafa will be not exception. Regards


Margot Says:

@ the DA
Yes, u were quite right about Andy’s performance throughout the USOpen , not just normal “Andy Murray fan fear.”
Moments of magic, but few and far between.
Do hope he and Lendl do something about that 2nd serve too. Frankly it was awful and deserved to be murdered by Stan.
Thought he’d put a bit of slice on it at Wimbles but not here. Also, isn’t his first serve slower than it used to be? Hope that doesn’t indicate back problems again.
We need Cahill back on board, pronto but temporarily.


Polo Says:

If Andy set a goal for this year, it must be to win Wimbledon because that victory will not just be his but for all of the United Kingdom as well. A gargantuan task and after having done that, his body and mind probably went into a pause mode for the rest of the year because nothing else can happen to tarnish that and none can top it either. Next year, new goal. Andy will be back.


the DA Says:

@ Margot – You’re right about the 2nd serve. I’ve read accounts of Lendl taunting Andy about it saying it’s a “WTA serve”, so I think he’ll be on the case. Just to wrap up: let’s give thanks for the last year. It wasn’t a calendar year like Nadal’s 2010 or Nole’s 2011 but from summer 2012 to 2013 he almost pulled off something similar: Olympic Gold, USO, AO final and Wimbledon.

Now I’ll sit back and enjoy the rest of this tournament without the usual anxiety. Hoping for a great final in the next stage of the Rafa/Nole rivalry.


Margot Says:

@the DA
I am very thankful :) Less than 18 months ago zilch plus heartache. And now…Wowzer! Anything else will be most gratefully received.
Am now hoping to enjoy some splendid 5 set duels, whilst sitting ON the sofa :)


Ben Pronin Says:

Steve, how is Nadal going to double his weeks at number 1?


Michael Says:

Nirmal,

Is there anything better than match practice and that is the reason I want Roger to participate in more tournaments to rediscover his touch which has all but deserted him. When you say Roger is not putting that much hard work now-a-days, I am not in a position to agree or disagree since one cannot respond to mere speculation. Ofcourse judging from the poor results, it does seem that Roger has lost his focus and determination and his career is at the cross roads at the present juncture. This is the time when he should try something new and change of coach is one option. I do not agree when you say that no Coach can boost the confidence level of Roger. I am sure you are aware of Magnus Norman who did transform Soderling from a journeyman and now he is coaching Wawrinka and see how he is performing this year. So, the right Coach can do wonders to spur up a player’s confidence and enhance their motivation levels.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Michael, Practice is very important. I remember how Roger repeatedly said during 2008, that he missed his training blocks due to mono which affected his movement and play.

We are talking about Soderling, Wawrinka, Murray the kind of guys who never knew what it is about winning a slam. They might need a coach.

Look at Pete. When he was down and ranked around 17th, he did now go back to new coach to figure out, he went back to his old coach.

I personally believe coaches are bit overrated at professional tennis, that too for players like Roger, Rafa who have won a lot.

I just can’t understand how come if Roger does not know how to handle things, he became No 1 just last year. It baffles me. Within a span of 10 months he does not know how to win tennis matches and needs a coach to help him?


hawkeye Says:

Ben Pronin Says:
Steve, how is Nadal going to double his weeks at number 1?

By playing the way he’s been playing this year. Have you seen his lead in the Race?

He’s number 2 (almost No. 1) in the world playing <50% tournaments than everyone else over the last 52 weeks.

Maybe you figure it's a certainty he will be injured again.

Besides, this is just moot. GOAT is in the eye of the beholder. For me, Rafa is the best, end of (until another player undoubtedly comes along and proves otherwise).

#WasThatATrickQuestion?
#YouCannotBeSerious


hawkeye Says:

I think Murray and Wawrinka’s recent improvements and resultant success is a strong indication of what improved coaching can help a player achieve.

Don’t think that either of those two would be where they are without Lendl and Magnus Norman. Nor do I think Soderling would have been as good without Norman.


Ben Pronin Says:

Hawkeye, I don’t know. Another 100 weeks is a very long time. I don’t think the GOAT is in the eye of the beholder at all.

Norman is a magician.


Polo Says:

Is there an objective measurement for GOAT?


hawkeye Says:

Polo, no, no ATP or ITF GOAT requirements, as far as I’m aware.

Ben, I respect your opinion that GOAT is not an opinion.

Whether 100 weeks is a long time or not (all relative), is not the point. The point is how Rafa could do it and he will have to play at a level that is not even as dominant as he has played since February. We will have to see IF he can do it but that is HOW he can do it.


Slice Tennis Says:

Yes there are two objective ways of measurement apart from grandslams.

For Rafa fans the objective way is to consider davis cup, olympics, masters 1000, H2H against main rivals, H2H against the field, etc.

For Federer fans the objective way is to consider weeks at no.1, consecutive streaks and ignore all
kinds of H2H and everything else.


madmax Says:

Federer is the GOAT, for now in terms of slams, may be that will change, may be it won’t. But also he is the GOAT in so many other ways. Things he has achieved that no one else has.

Weeks at number 1, 23 consecutive GS finals, 36 GS finals, 3 slams a year for 3 years, (no one else has done that), 6 end of year No.1s. The guy is unique in so many ways.

If and it’s a big if, anyway surpasses the 17 grand slams (which is the water mark in tennis), then that person will become the GOAT.

But Fed will remain the most unique tennis player of all time. It’s not just personal opinion, it’s what the tennis experts say the world over.


mat4 Says:

@ST:

After watching tennis for almost 40 years, I can tell you that no one remembers h2h, ms1000, olympics, davis cup, itd. The only thing that fans remember after a few years is the number of GS.


mat4 Says:

This quote is from there:

http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2013/09/reaction-reactions/49073/

“I mention this comment as an example of the devotion that Federer inspires among intellectuals and aesthetes. In their minds, his success is more about the triumph of artistry than it is of athleticism. It’s seen as a rare victory of beauty over brute force. Until recently, his losses left these fans with a sense of disbelief: If Roger Federer wasn’t winning, there had to be something wrong with tennis, and there was probably something wrong with the world, too.”

There is something wrong with the world, indeed.


skeezer Says:

FANS do NOT determine who is the GOAT. How can that base criteria be argued? What a bunch of rubbish…Rafa fans Fed fans….


mat4 Says:

From the same article, written by a balanced Rafa fan (contradictio in adiectio, BTW):

“When Roger Federer falters, smart people get sad.”

Does it mean that people who don’t get sad are not smart?

#justasking


Polo Says:

If anybody can just put in any criterion he wants to tailor make the final outcome, how can that be objective?

The general consensus and probably the most expedient way is to base it on what any professional tennis player would want to win the most and whoever has won the most of those is the best.


Polo Says:

mat4 quoted a Rafa fan: “When Roger Federer falters, smart people get sad.”

mat4 asks: “Does it mean that people who don’t get sad are not smart?”

I don’t know the answer to your question but what I can say is that the person you quoted must not be very smart.


mat4 Says:

@Polo:

I gave the link in the previous post.

It is a beautiful text, and pardon me if I ask, since Federer inspires “devotion among intellectuals and aesthetes”, does it mean that those not inspired are not intellectuals and aesthetes?

#justasking


hawkeye Says:

I’ve watched tennis for almost 40 years and I remember plenty more than just slams such as Sampras dominating his real competitors (RK doesn’t count), and JMac’s H2H droving Borg from the game, and many other facts that go into forming a subjective opinion on GOATdom. People remember and judge a lot more than you think.

Slice Tennis are you having a laugh? Those are subjective ways (i.e., For Rafa fans…, for Fed fans), not objective lol.

skeezer, I can’t understand your point as you weren’t very clear. Mumbling is not a sound defensive strategy. What base criteria? Try whole sentences please.

There is no Board of GOATdom, no committee, no award, no agreed or decreed set of criteria so it is subjective opinion (by FANS BTW whether they be viewers, players, media, whoever…

… which is why Rafa is now the GOAT).

#IMO
#andJMacs


mat4 Says:

@Hawkeye:

So what’s Mac and Borg H2H? Who won the last match?

Since I am certain that you don’t remember, I will write it: Akai gold challenge in 1982 (a lot of money, btw), and Borg won in fourth sets. Borg retiring because of McEnroe is just a myth.

Just an illustration that memory is not a good friend.


Polo Says:

mat4: I don’t know if there is any study to support the theory that Federer inspires “devotion among intellectuals and aesthetes”.

To hawkeye: and I say: …which is why Federer is still the GOAT. :-)


mat4 Says:

… four sets…

BTW, Borg retired for a lot of subjective and objective reasons, and the most important was that he would have to play qualifiers in the GS. JMac has nothing to do with his retirement.


mat4 Says:

@Polo:

Steve Tignor wrote it. And Steve Tignor is always right… almost.


Ben Pronin Says:

McEnroe and Borg ended 7-7. How did this h2h drive Borg away?

Hawkeye, I get what you’re saying, I just don’t get how you concluded Nadal is the GOAT.


James Says:

The way I see it, Laver was a GOAT, Sampras was a GOAT (Borg?), Federer is the current GOAT, Nadal could be the next GOAT. GOATs come and go. In a few years time Fed’s gonna be the new Sampras, i.e. former Grand Slam record holder. That’s how it goes. These records don’t last forever. Roger, to his credit, raised the bar really high.

I don’t really believe in this GOAT thing. Every era had great champions. And very few can claim to be the best of their era. That’s where I believe Fed and Nadal are. If Nadal can win 3-4 more slams (with 1 more USO and AO), he’ll be considered greater than Federer by most experts esp considering Nadal’s h2h vs every top player of his time. If Nadal has it in him to win 3-4 more slams, he’ll do it. If not, so be it.


Slice Tennis Says:

Polo and Hawkeye,
Yes that was just for fun and this GOAT stuff is obviously subjective. But the subjective opinion is always claimed as objective facts by the respective fan boys. Scroll up to see the proof.

I have been following the GOAT discussions for the past 35 to 40 yrs. The criteria for GOAT hood kept changing dynamically during this time. The number of slams became a big criteria only during the Sampras era. Till then nobody cared about the grandslams “count”. Laver was called as the GOAT based on his calendar slams. When Borg was touted as the GOAT, it was based on his dominance at wimbledon and FO and his rock star status. During those days they did not care much about calendar slam or career slam. He had a HUGE fan following (Federer and Nadal are just midgets in comparison).

But based on my experience I would say that the criteria is always set conveniently by the fan boys and the media who wanted to sell those players.

Tennis has quite a looooong history and one should have a vast knowledge (which none of us have) to talk about the Greatest Of All Time. GOAT hood is a complicated topic. But these days it is used by the fans like some cow, sheep, etc.


Slice Tennis Says:

James,
I agree with you completely. Fair post.


Ben Pronin Says:

“The way I see it, Laver was a GOAT, Sampras was a GOAT (Borg?), Federer is the current GOAT, Nadal could be the next GOAT. GOATs come and go.”

I think you’re forgetting that GOAT stands for Greatest of All Time. There can only be one, not GOATs. Federer, Woods, Jordan, they’re GOATs. Federer, Laver, Nadal, Sampras, they’re the some of the best players in tennis, not all GOATs of tennis. Makes no sense.


Slice Tennis Says:

“McEnroe and Borg ended 7-7. How did this h2h drive Borg away?”

IMO McEnroe was also a reason for Borg’s exit. Overall H2H is even, Borg had an initial head start, then when McEnroe started to beat Borg consistently and many felt that Borg will never beat him again. And Borg left tennis without trying to reverse that trend. This was similar to Nole-Rafa rivalry. After the famous 7-0 run even though Rafa was having a winning record (16-14) over Nole many felt that Nole has completely demolished Rafa’s aura and psyche. (But then the story continued where Rafa came back and completely overturned that trend).


Polo Says:

To each his own GOAT then…now we can all live happily every after.


Slice Tennis Says:

“I think you’re forgetting that GOAT stands for Greatest of All Time. There can only be one, not GOATs. Federer, Woods, Jordan, they’re GOATs. Federer, Laver, Nadal, Sampras, they’re the some of the best players in tennis, not all GOATs of tennis. Makes no sense.”

Ben,
I think you are forgetting that if there is only one GOAT, it should be decided by one person or one group of people who have a 100% complete knowledge of tennis history, based on ONE set of agreed criteria. Else it makes no sense.


mat4 Says:

“McEnroe and Borg ended 7-7. How did this h2h drive Borg away?”

No, they didn’t. It is the result you will find on the official atp site, but the result of invitation tournaments are not listed. Borg has at least one more victory.


Slice Tennis Says:

Polo Says:
To each his own GOAT then

Perfectly right. But the funny part about this GOAT discussion is that each and every fan comes out and claims that “his” GOAT should be the GOAT for everyone else. LOL.


hawkeye Says:

Ben Pronin Says:
McEnroe and Borg ended 7-7. How did this h2h drive Borg away?

Hawkeye, I get what you’re saying, I just don’t get how you concluded Nadal is the GOAT.

McEnroe beat him in their last three meetings in a major. Pure subjective speculation (as are all other opinions on why he left).

Ben, respectfully, I’ve many times expressed why for me (only just recently BTW) I believe that Rafa is the greatest (combination of majors, titles, dominance, ability to adjust and so on) but it really doesn’t matter. It is just my opinion, gut call, whatever and I’m really not trying to convince anyone.


Ben Pronin Says:

Slice Tennis, you’re just perpetuating myths.

Here’s their h2h: http://www.atpworldtour.com/Players/Head-To-Head.aspx?pId=B058&oId=M047

Borg did not have an itial lead. McEnroe won their first match. They split their first 6 matches. Then Borg won 4 of the next 5. Then McEnroe won 3 in a row.

Like most rivalries, looks like it had its ebbs and flows. There’s nothing here that says McEnroe was running away with it. We don’t know that would’ve happened.

I’m surprised Nadal fans don’t remember that Nadal was 14-4 against Djokovic at one point. That’s not even a rivalry. If Djokovic had retired at that point, I don’t think anyone would be saying it’s beecause Nadal drove him away from the sport.


madmax Says:

Margot Says:
People are talking about Andy’s motivation after winning Wimbledon. LOL
I wonder what on earth could be Fed’s motivation after all that he’s achieved? Also, he has not
adapted his game to cope with Rafa, why on earth would he bother at this stage of his career?

September 6th, 2013 at 2:37 am

Margot, Andy has played extremely well all year, and still has energy left in the tank. To win wimbledon was his goal, and thank goodness, for his sake and for the dreadful pressure he has carried on his shoulders, he did it. He has done enough this year.

In terms of Federer not adapting his game, Margot he has.

Only 2 years ago, he had a bunch of lefties with him in Dubai and did a long stretch of training, with them, that’s all he did, then he started to play volley more, and drop shot more, and it worked for a while – he beat rafa in an incredible final at the O2 in 2010, I saw it and he was amazing. He has problems playng him, it’s mental in my view, not physical or anything to do with his game. It’s all in the mind.

But make no mistake, he has done a lot to his game to counteract the shots from rafa and on a few occasions he has done the job – Madrid, 09 is another example. If you look at that match in the final, you will see how differently he played rafa and how successful he was.

The thing with rafa is that he just has to aim for Roger’s backhand – he states this clearly in his book – Rafa.


hawkeye Says:

Slice Tennis Says:
But the funny part about this GOAT discussion is that each and every fan comes out and claims that “his” GOAT should be the GOAT for everyone else. LOL.

September 6th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Not EVERY fan, SliceT.

#Humb1e


Slice Tennis Says:

Ben,
As Mat4 states, it was not only about ATP matches those days. They played a lot of exhos. Those were very serious matches and was keenly followed by fans. I think people did not different much between a regular tour match and an exho.


hawkeye Says:

B.P., key difference is that Borg was the hunted and Nole was the hunter, no?

And that is one of Borg’s knocks of course. He wasn’t willing to suffer and adapt the way Nole did to improve against Rafa before 2011 and Rafa did to right the ship after 2011.

For me, Rafa has one of the most intelligent mind in tennis.

#ContinualImprovement
#FindingWays


Slice Tennis Says:

Hawkeye,
Pardon me. I should have said “MOST” of the fans.


mat4 Says:

After reading all those arguments, I have to agree that Rafa is the tennis GOAT. Kinda Lance Armstrong of tennis.


hawkeye Says:

mat4, nicely said behind the mask of the internet.

#TrollDefined


mat4 Says:

@Hawkeye:

Just like many Rafans, you don’t read, you don’t listen. After I gave a link for the last Borg-JMac match, won convincingly by Borg in november 1982, you still argue that the Swed left tennis because of JMac.

The stories about “hunted” and “hunter” are figures of speech, without much meaning, but you use then as facts. But when you are confronted with real facts, you just skip them.

I try to use real facts in most of my post, to quote, to argue, but whenever I do so, most Rafans skip real dialogue to repeat their usual nonsense, and, finally, to offend me, accuse to be a troll, etc.


mat4 Says:

And, about the “Lance Amstrong” of tennis. I didn’t invent it. Rafa is the most suspected player in tennis history, with very convincing arguments. Just make a search on google. If you don’t find anything, I’ll be glad to give links.

After the Amstrong case, maintaining that someone is innocent until proven the contrary, although very reasonable, is demonstrated to be very naive. Following his story, we can see that the UCI was probably well aware, at that time, that his greatest champions were not clean. Why think something different with tennis?

Rafans, you have to live with it. While one can give compelling arguments that Djokovic doesn’t use doping, it is very difficult to maintain the same with Rafa. The doubts are here for years now.

It is not a coincidence that two players interviewed lately were mainly questioned about doping.


Ben Pronin Says:

The only player I can’t make the most convincing argument with is Federer, and just barely.

Djokovic, Murray, and Nadal are too easy.


mat4 Says:

@Ben:

On WSJ there is an article about the effective time of play in a tennis match: it is about 17,5%. It means that you don’t need PEDs for tennis, but HGH and steroids; not endurance, but strength. You need to run fast and hit hard, not to be able to run many miles.

Novak’s physiology just isn’t the right one. Nadal, so ripe, so muscled, with fluctuation of muscularity and weight in the course of the season, is an ideal suspect.


mat4 Says:

Anyway, if we presume that doping is already developed in tennis, the changes in morphology should be in the norm, not an exception. Djokovic lost weight in 2011, he didn’t add muscles, quite the contrary.

When you take a look at the top ten, you will notice that Federer and Djokovic are the only players looking like players from the early 80: Nadal, Murray (who is even stronger), Berdych, Tsonga, Soderling even Ferrer, are much heavier, not to mention Roddick, Gonzales or Safin, of the retired players.

With Tsonga, Federer and Djokovic are the only players in the top ten who didn’t start as lanky teenagers to morph in two months in Übermenschen.

Even HGH adds weight, just to notice


hawkeye Says:

mat4, with all of your negative suspicions towards Rafa I can only suspect that you are a Federer fan. So cheap and easy. Would like to see you make such a statement to Rafa in person. Ah the luxury of the Internet anonimity. It’s the h2h that fanboys like yourself place so much importance on which inspires such hate.

BTW it is you who does not read as I already explained the aspect of their h2h I was referring to so your link was moot.

#PleaseReadMoreCarefully


hawkeye Says:

Ben Pronin, do you mean “with” or “against”?

#Rhetorical
#FreudianSlip?


mat4 Says:

@hawkeye:

Where did you explain it? I re-read all your posts after I gave the link.

How do you know that Borg wasn’t ready to work hard? when it seems he did train very hard in 1982. I just checked: he won four tournaments that year.

Why has Rafa to be the first one in everything? He is perhaps intelligent (although I have read his book, and he seems to be a very ordinary boy, with a lot of complexes, without own will, a toy in the hand of his uncle and his family; I can present arguments about it, too), but he certainly isn’t the only one.

On the other side, although well mannered, his gamesmanship on the court, his marketing of gambling, shows that he seems not to have deep understanding of ethics, which should be one of the pillar of a gentlemen’s game like tennis.


mat4 Says:

OMG… I wish Dave were here…


Giles Says:

Dave? Ahh yes, the Rafa hater. Wonder what happened to that poor soul. Probably hiding under a rock somewhere!
#GoodRiddance


hawkeye Says:

I explained it just before you gave the link, September 6th, 2013 at 2:39 pm:

“McEnroe beat him in their last three meetings in a major. Pure subjective speculation (as are all other opinions on why he left).”

If you read carefully, note where I say it is pure subjective speculation (meaning: I didn’t say I know it as you’ve inaccurately stated above).

BTW working hard does not necessarily equate to finding solutions, no?

Where do I say he is the only one (and to be the only one at what exactly)?

As far as gamesmanship goes, who took eight minutes to go to the bathroom against Robredo? As, far as gentlemen goes, who screamed at the French crowd to “Shut up!” at the top of his lungs and yelled at Murray “You fcuking stopped!”? I could go on and on but suffice it to say, it’s a two way street, no? Not exactly the behaviour of a peRFect gentleman.

#PRMC


hawkeye Says:

BTW, I have no problem with yelling at the crowd, your opponent or even smashing your racquet in Miami for example (things that Nadal hasn’t done).

I have a problem with the gentlemanly BS. Tennis is a very competitive and physical sport, not a tea party.

#Humb1e


hawkeye Says:

Invitation tournament? Really?

So, in other words, it didn’t really count for much now, did it.

#Reaching


Polo Says:

hawkeye, some people have good breeding.


Ben Pronin Says:

Hawkeye, against. What’s the difference?

Mat4, I know, but, honestly, look at Armstrong. The guy is a stick. It’s not just about how big your muscles are.


Ben Pronin Says:

“mat4, with all of your negative suspicions towards Rafa I can only suspect that you are a Federer fan.”

Really, hawkeye? It’s well known that mat4 is a Djokovic fan. Why does it even matter who’s fan you are to suspect a guy of doping. Circumstantial evidence exists no matter who you root for. I’m a fan of Djokovic and Federer but that doesn’t mean they’re not on my list of suspects.


James Says:

So when did this GOAT discussion turn to some Djoker fan calling Nadal the Lance Armstrong of tennis?
Well played, mat4!

Ben Pronin, so was there no tennis GOAT before Roger Federer? Laver? Borg? Sampras??

If Federer is the one GOAT then what will you call someone who’ll have more slams than him (and weeks at #1 ranking)?

It will happen, you know, someone in the future is gonna do to Fed what he did to Sampras, and Sampras to Borg or Laver. Heck! Even Nadal might overtake him on the slam count before the Spaniard is done with his tennis career. What are you gonna call Fed then? A former GOAT?


Ben Pronin Says:

I will say Federer used to be the GOAT.


mat4 Says:

@hawkeye:

OK, “pure subjective speculation” would be good enough.

Though I am a bit in a trolling mod, it seems that you are a reasonable, even nice poster (despite being a Rafan), and that I owe you apologies for my cynical words. Sorry. Perhaps it is just a bad day.

But…

About gamesmanship: yelling in the heat of a tense battle isn’t premeditated, it happens to anybody. When we are at it, Rafa argued with umpires, even trow a ball at the umpire at RG (and the reason he gave is completely irrelevant). But it all happens.

I write about something else: the time violations are something premeditated (Rafa served fast at the beginning of his career). Then, something I am not certain about, but it seems likely — the systematic ducking of opponents on their best surfaces, to obtain a decisive psychological advantage, forged in victories on clay courts.


mat4 Says:

@James:

I completely agree with you. But, for now, Federer has the most slams. I’ll acknowledge Rafa as the GOAT if he wins 17 slams… and doesn’t get caught…


Ben Pronin Says:

I honestly think Nadal needs 2 more year end number 1 finishes PLUS 17 slams to be considered GOAT over Federer. H2H doesn’t matter. The ATP didn’t have a ceremony for h2h’s, they did it for world number 1s. And I’m sure Nadal knows it’s important. He’s well on his way to a third year end. One more and 5 more slams off of clay (seriously, I don’t care if he wins 1000 French Opens) and I’ll call him GOAT easily.


mat4 Says:

@James:

And why not Lance Amstrong? 7 Tours de France — Rafa 8 RG. What’s wrong about it?

About doping: some months ago Ben and I exchanged posts about our suspicions, and we mentioned all the top ten, Federer and Djokovic included. Alison, a sensible — and charming, BTW — Rafa fan (is she still posting, or was she too bullied from this site?), was ready to admit that she had her own suspicions too. So, why is it a taboo theme?


mat4 Says:

@Ben:

Honestly, I think it is all very unlikely. And he still hasn’t won the USO.


Polo Says:

All that Nadal has to do is win 17 slams and he is GOAT in lieu of his head to head record against Federer. But until then, Federer is the authentic GOAT while Nadal is GOAT only to his followers.


James Says:

mat4, I do agree that Federer with 17 slams is the GOAT. I just hope Nadal wins 1 more USO and AO, complete the double career Slam, something Fed nor Djokovic will never do.
As for him getting caught…I hope not…not before they catch Djokovic first;)


mat4 Says:

@James:

LOL

It’s ok. Found the wrong guys to start a flame war. My fault. :-)


hawkeye Says:

^^^damn straight you did.

I take that as a compliment.

#WeakEra
#RiggedDraws
#PaperGOAT
#IMHO


mat4 Says:

^^^ Anyway, it is not your fault if you are Rafans. Errare humanum est. I certainly forgive you.

#perfect


Rick Says:

YEP! FED IS THE REAL PAPER GOAT, WHO CAN’T BEAT A SENIOR PLAYER WITH THE NAME OF TOMMY! Really live up to the expectation of being a paper GOAT! LOL


Polo Says:

Rick,

If somebody has beaten you 10 times in a row, has taken 24 out of 27 sets from you, then one day you beat him in 3 straight sets, but two days later you are being whooped back into oblivion by another player while getting a bagel along the way, what do you call that solitary victory? Yes, the answer is an F word.


hawkeye Says:

Ben Pronin, it’s well known that Nole fans are either Serbian or ex-Fed fans that couldn’t stand the heat, abandoned ship and are desperately hanging on to the hope that he can slow Rafa down.

#SoSad


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not Serbian, I’m still a Federer fan, and I was a Djokovic fan since 2007.

Hawkeye, you have some crazy split personality. Sometimes you’re reasonable, other times you come out with this nonsense. It’s not well know, what is well known is that Nadal fans are delusional about the truth about their favorite and know little to nothing about tennis. Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag.


M Says:

@Ben — &@hawkeye too FTM — I could have sworn the site here has guidelines now that preclude the kind of vitriol the two of you are throwing at each other in comments.

I mean, Ben, as a FEDAL fan, I just happened to take your last snipe there kind of personally, but is there any chance both of you could take it down a notch …?


Ben Pronin Says:

M, I was just making a point to hawkeye. Don’t take it offensively. It’s clearly not always the case.


hawkeye Says:

Yes and I was just making a point to Ben and mat4.

Speaking of Ben, when you say Nadal fans know little to nothing about tennis, is that you being “reasonable” or just “nonsense”?

#JustWondering


hawkeye Says:

Ben Pronin, if you take the time to trace back through this thread, you will notice that I went from (what I thought was) reasonable to deliberate nonsense in response to mat4′s admitted trolling for a flame war implying Nadal dopes and the rest of his obvious BS so I returned it in kind with BS of my own.


Slice Tennis Says:

When you are a fed/nole fan, what do you do when you lose a GOAT argument ?
Bring in doping, cheating, etc. No more facts.


Slice Tennis Says:

Hawkeye,
Relax….

Mat4 is not so bad. Inspite of being a Nole fan, he is a bit civilized.
The good thing about him is he will not be seen here after Monday evening. He will take a long break.

As for Ben he is a self-proclaimed Rafa hater who would talk anything to feel better. Leave him alone.

Ben,
I agree Rafa is not the GOAT yet.
Federer also needs a gold, a davis cup, couple more FOs to seal the deal.
Lets see who gets there first.


Slice Tennis Says:

Polo,
Fluke ?
What about Sergiy Stakhovsky, Federico Delbonis and Daniel Brands…flukes ?


Polo Says:

Hey, good job Slice Tennis. You must have known that all along.

About those guys: Serghey Steakovsky, Fredirico Delbones and Daniel Brantz (sorry for the spelling. don’t hear those names much), but I have heard of them briefly before. They made some big splash then disappeared just as quickly, so I could not tell you more about them. I think they hang around with some guys named Stephen Darciz and Rossol. Do you happen to know how they are doing?


mat4 Says:

@Slice Tennis:

1. I won’t take any long break: I’ll probably post less until the next tournament, especially since most of the old, regular posters with whom it has always been a pleasure to exchange opinion have been bullied from this pages, but I’ll be there for the next tournament.

2. I usually post only about my favs, just to avoid long, sterile polemics, especially since I am not fluent in English, and to be precise and make an argument point requires a better knowledge of the language, but, from time to time, I like to just write the truth, like it or not.

3. I don’t see any compelling argument you made against my assertions, that we can resume in the following manner:

a) the GOAT is the man with the most slams won; slams, especially now, are the most important thing in the career of a tennis player. While any casual tennis fan knows that Connors, e.g., won 8 slams, nobody knows his H2H against Borg without checking. We all remember that Borg won 6 FO and 5 Wimb in a row, but we don’t remember why he really left, etc.

b) there are a lot of reasons to suspect Nadal to use doping;

c) Nadal uses gamesmanship whenever he can.

Since there are here many persons close to the tennis inner circles, I believe that some know very well why there is suddenly so much insisting on better doping controls, who know what happen between Tsonga and Nadal in MC a few years back, why Soderling acted the way he did… it is not a big secret, anyway, although you cannot assert in openly in a public blog.


mat4 Says:

Lot of typos in my previous post. Sorry.


I Love Tennis Says:

No problem Mat4, i for one like reading your posts. Eventhough i rarely comment, i enjoy reading all the intelligent posts .. and now I’m missing Grendel’s.


mat4 Says:

@ILT:

Grendel, TennisLover, just to name a few, are posters we all miss. For my part, I envied their fluency and the subtil poetry inherent to their posts.

Thanks for your kind remark.


hawkeye Says:

Yes of course the truth. Like nobody remembers the two players that had overwhelmingly dominant h2h records vs the Great Laver or Pistol Pete Sampras. Long forgotten lol.

Continue to delude yourself.

Oh it matters alright. It’s where all of the bile about Rafa originates.

#VamosGOAT


nadalista Says:

“I usually post only about my favs,……”

Truer words have never been spoken, that is why Rafa features so often in your posts.


James Says:

Mat4, a lot people suspect Djokovic of doping. Rafa was always an amazing tennis player from very young age. Novak was Fedal’s whipping boy for years before out of nowhere he started beating both Nadal and Federer consistently. Yes, the gluten free diet, no? :D Well, I’m sure you’ve heard of Victor Troicki’s case this year. Djokovic next?;)

http://www.thehoya.com/mobile/sports/drug-testing-flaws-cast-doubt-on-djokovic-1.3033663


Giles Says:

@James. Well done for fishing out that article.


Thomas Says:

http://oncourt.ca/?p=6329

Here’s an article that is suspicious of nadal….


courbon Says:

@Thomas:Well done for fishing out that article.


courbon Says:

@James:I always respected your comments but to put suspicion on Novak for doping is very hypocrite -specially coming from Nadal fan.


Ben Pronin Says:

After Nadal won his 12th slam at the French, I said it right away that the most interesting debate should be Sampras vs Nadal. There’s a lot from both sides to say who’s the greater player. But, as of now, there’s no question that the most convincing argument for GOAT exists for Federer. It doesn’t matter who you’re a fan of. Even though Nadal fans seem to believe only delusional Federer fans still believe he’s the GOAT.

The same goes for the doping argument, really. Nadal has been under suspicion since his early rise (even in 2004 when he was all muscles). It’s not a secret. And of course the more sketchy things that happen throughout his career, the more vocal the suspicions become. And yet Nadal fans love to cry “Federer/Djokovic lover, Nadal hater”. It’s untrue. If you go on the THASP site, you’ll find most of the people who most there hate everyone in the Big 4, if not top 10, because they suspect them all of doping. That’s Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Tsonga, Berdych, Ferrer, etc. They’re not anti-Nadal, they’re anti-doping. That doesn’t make them haters. The clues are everywhere.

I’m a fan of Federer and Djokovic. I rarely waste my time trying to defend either guy of doping (this mostly applies to Djokovic since Federer is rarely accused). They could very well be. Just as Nadal could very well be. Am I a Federer/Djokovic hater, too, then?

Slice Tennis, Nole is not a part of the GOAT conversation. And winning the Olympic gold or Davis Cup has never been a part of the GOAT criteria. But if Federer were to win another French Open, I think that would really pull him ahead.


hawkeye Says:

By fan I should have clarified as their favourite player.

No one can remember those two players?


James Says:

@courbon, I was just teasing @mat4 because he’s gone on and on about how everyone suspects Nadal of doping but not Djokovic, implying that Nadal may be doping but not Djokovic. The truth is some people actually suspect not only Nadal but also Djokovic and other athletes. Thanks to people like Lance Armstrong, a lot of people now suspect every world class athlete for every success they’ve earned.

I personally don’t believe Djokovic or Nadal used PEDs. I’ve seen people do much more physically demanding things than playing 6 hours of tennis with breaks in between. I myself never had much problem playing a couple of hours tennis. I would have problem if there’s no 2/3 min breaks between games. Those 2 mins get you enough breathing space and go for a few more rounds. And if ordinary people like me can do it without a few hours of physical training every single day, I have no doubt that world class athletes such as Nadal and Djokovic can do much more. Just because I can’t do it myself, I’m not gonna doubt a world class athlete. They after all have trained much more than I ever have my whole life.

@Ben, if Roger wins another French Open, he’ll be the GOAT for many many years.


Polo Says:

Fortunately for me, I like Federer > Nadal > Djokovic = Murray. The symbols represent the degree to how much I like. That makes me happy each time any of them wins a tournament, again, varying degrees of happiness but happy nonetheless.


hawkeye Says:

If number of majors was the universally accepted and approved sole requirement for GOAT, we would not see any debate or doubt, no? But it’s not for many obviously.

I’m a Nole fan too! Ajde Nole. Fantastic No. 1 player for the game. Love him. No sense of entitlement for sure, no? He’s just not my personal favourite.

If Sampras had a FO (which he would have if the French clay played as fast as it does today), he’d still be co-GOAT with Rafa today! He’d probably have multiple FO titles for that matter.

Well by now I’m sure you’ve realized that such players with extremely dominant winning h2h against Laver and Sampras do not exist. If they did, you’d have remembered them.

#21-10

Oh, I forgot. I didn’t really need to remind you now, did I. ;)

#Humb1e


Polo Says:

Ifs don’t work.


Hawkeye Says:

You mean like ‘if’ it wasn’t for Rafa, Fed would have multiple FO titles? Heard that excuse.


Polo Says:

Whoever is being chased must be the leader of the pack. The followers of these chasers are like dogs howling at the moon.


Hawkeye Says:

… or ‘if’ the grass and hc hadn’t been made slower. One of my personal favourites lol.

#TwoWayStreet


Ben Pronin Says:

Hawkeye, Hewitt and Krajicek had winning records over Sampras.


Hawkeye Says:

Wow. Not exactly comparable.

Forgot to mention Darcis undefeated vs Rafa.

#Reaching


Polo Says:

Woof! Woof!


Polo Says:

And the moon just shines at looks down at the barking dogs!


Hawkeye Says:

Wow. On a subconscious level looks like none of the top players want a meeting with Rafa.

#Isner
#Federer
#Ferrer
#Murray
#Nole?


Polo Says:

Rafa must be enjoying this considering how many consecutive losses he’s had against Djokovic in slam finals.


Hawkeye Says:

Polo Says:
Woof! Woof!

One of Polo’s more intelligent posts.

2011 seems so long ago since Rafa’s evolved his game finding solutions and going 5-1 since. Something that Fed was never able to do.

#ContinualImprovement


Hawkeye Says:

Polo another ‘Fed’ fan hanging onto Nole.

#AjdeFedImeanNole
#ItsKILLINGme


Polo Says:

hawkeye, another Rafa fan afraid of Nole derailing Rafa’s quest to reach Federer’s 17 slams.

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