Indian Wells Men’s Preview: Federer Could Meet Nadal In SFs, Djokovic Seeks 4th Title
by Sean Randall | March 10th, 2015, 7:40 pm
  • 197 Comments

The first Tennis Masters event kicks off Thursday in scenic Indian Wells. But don’t let the blue skies and snow-capped mountains fool you, the tennis is real and it is rough.

The men’s draw was just completed. Let’s get right to it. Here’s what you need to know.

First Quarter
Top seed Novak Djokovic’s tournament defense and quest for a fourth Indian Wells title takes him through a relatively easy road early on. He’ll open against former Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis or the youngster Jiri Vesely who gave Andy Murray fits at Indian Wells last year. Frenchman Julien Benneteau could be next though I think that spot will go to Djokovic’s good buddy Viktor Troikci. Then Kevin Anderson or the struggling John Isner could be tricky before David Ferrer in the quarters.

Ferrer, who’s had some success in the desert, does have Bernard Tomic and Marin Cilic, however, the Croat is making his 2015 debut, so I don’t expect his game to be where it was the last time he played in the US. And even though Tomic is playing well this year, he’s not at Ferrer’s level. So I think David does make it out to Novak, but that will mark the end of his event.
The pick: Novak Djokovic

Second Quarter
Both Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori in the same quarter? Wow. I say that because after Murray’s dismal post-Australian Open, he needed a good draw in Indian Wells where he hasn’t made it to the final weekend this decade! Meanwhile, Nishikori has been red-hot of late winning 10 of his last 11 since the Australian Open, and I think he’s primed for the upset over Murray here.

Both have to be pleased with their draws. Murray’s got a decent path with the up-and-down Vasek Pospisil to start, maybe Philipp Kohlschreiber and then he’s got the failing Ernests Gulbis or Fabio Fognini in the fourth. That’s pretty good! Nishikori also looks good with either Mardy Fish or Ryan Harrison to start, then maybe a pair of Spanish lefties with Fernando Verdasco and then Feliciano Lopez before Murray. And I think Kei wins that.

Also to note is the return of former finalist Fish who meets the improving Harrison in his first singles match in 18 months. Good to see Mardy back playing tennis again.
The pick: Kei Nishikori

Third Quarter
In nine previous appearances, Rafael Nadal has made the SFs eight times, winning the title three of those. That’s not bad for a claycourt guy. But this time Nadal comes in with some confidence issues after a poor showing in Australia. So I think he’ll be tested early but history tells us he’ll get through. Though with Gilles Simon or Richard Gasquet, and Milos Raonic in the later rounds it could get tough.

Raonic has a couple easy early rounds before running into Grigor Dimitrov, Nick Kyrgios or Tommy Robredo. With Kyrgios always injured, Dimitrov struggling, Robredo could sneak through here.
The pick: Rafael Nadal

Fourth Quarter
Swiss teammates and friends Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka both call the fourth quarter their home. And both should be relatively fresh after skipping Davis Cup this past weekend and they’ll need to be because to me this is the toughest quarter. Federer is the favorite having won the title four times and he was a finalist a year ago losing a thriller to Novak. But he’s got a dangerous road starting with Jerzy Janowicz, then a rematch with Andreas Seppi. Roberto Bautista Agut could follow and then the showdown against either Tomas Berdych or Stan Wawrinka.

Both Berdych and Stan have struggled in Indian Wells, and both are playing well this year but since Stan has won the last six with Tomas I’ll take him here. But Stan won’t beat Roger. He could, but he won’t.
The pick:

Semifinals: Djokovic d. Nishikori, Nadal d. Federer.
Novak gets revenge on Kei for the US Open while Nadal, who’s back in form, continues his dominance over Federer.

Final: Djokovic d. Nadal
Novak’s simply the best on hardcourts right now.

Overall, I think the Federer quarter is the toughest while Novak has the easiest section. Murray worries me a little. He just hasn’t looked in sync since Australia, and someone even like a hot-running Pospisil could take him out.

Nadal is really the guy I don’t know. Will he struggle again like Australia or has the extra few weeks on clay given him that needed confidence. But Rafa does play well in the desert and we know he always competes.

And this will be a key event for Federer who is not playing Miami. Was the Australian stumble just that or is the Swiss really on the decline? Janowicz, Seppi and especially Berdych or Stan could get him if he plays like he did in Australia.

Men’s matches begin Thursday. Tennis Channel has full coverage starting at 2pm ET.


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Serena Williams Pulls Out Of Indian Wells And Miami
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197 Comments for Indian Wells Men’s Preview: Federer Could Meet Nadal In SFs, Djokovic Seeks 4th Title

Brando Says:

Excellent breakdown Sean.

I agree Djokovic is the favourite. But barring on Clay IF Nadal is on form he pretty much is the fav in every event he enters.

My prediction?

It’s still too early in the season to pick someone out as consistent, a solid pick.

All we can really say is Novak is the man to beat since he’s won AO and it took top notch performances to beat him elsewhere.

Bummer draw for Andy though: Nishikori, Djokovic and Fedal = damn that’s rough!


Markus Says:

Federer remains capable of producing a brilliant game and when it happens, he can beat just about anyone (just about is that guy Nadal) just like what happened in Dubai. But they don’t come as often or as consistently anymore as in his younger days. It would not be outrageous to pick him to win but at the same time, be ready to get disappointed.


pogi Says:

if ever fedal will meet in SF…

fed will crush him this time…


jane Says:

i see nadal and fed are winning in the poll anyhow.

it’s interesting that andy has struggled at iw. not sure why? the court and conditions would seem to suit him. but he’s been consistently better in miami, which makes sense since he trains there.


chris ford1 Says:

Before IW, Djokovic had a little quality time at home. On his site: “Ballet with my wife”. Nice pic of the two. Taking lessons.
http://www.whosay.com/l/qRwag0P


Okiegal Says:

Anyone watching Roger and Grigor at the NYC Exo?
Grigor playing serious…..took the first set 6-2.


jane Says:

is this the only time grigor plays “serious”? ;) i’m not watching though; is it a good match okie, or is fed just relaxing?


Sidney Says:

Looking forward to a Novak vs. Rafa or Roger finale.

Also matches such as Novak-vs-Andy, Novak-vs-Kei, Stan-vs-Tomas, Stan-vs-Roger, Roger-vs-Tomas!

Lots of probable high-quality matches!


Ken Says:

Is the Australian open a stumble or is he really on the decline?

Lol! Are you serious? If Being on the decline made him win dubai against Novak of all people and in straight sets, then I’d take that decline any day.


Okiegal Says:

@Jane… Grigor first set….Roger 2nd set 4 all the 3rd set….Hey, they both want to win. They’re having fun, but I think they both want it……they’re both going after their shots….and there have been some great shots made. Doing tweeners more than norm…but it has been fun.


jane Says:

thanks for the update okie.


Pedro Says:

Hi! Can someone please help me out how can I know the exact day and time (day or night game) for Roger Federer this next weekend at Indian Wells? Thank you


FedExpress Says:

first win for grigor over fed, be it in a exo

fed led with a break in the decider but lost 5-7

wont have any significane thoug for the IW


Colin Says:

As usual, all this speculation is a waste of space. In less than two weeks we’ll know all the results for Indian Wells 2015, so let’s relax and enjoy the tennis.


Colin Says:

As usual, all this speculation is a waste of effort. In less than two weeks we’ll know all the results for Indian Wells 2015, so let’s relax and enjoy the tennis.


James Says:

Nishikori will beat everyone, Verdasco, Djokovic, on his way to the final. Then he will lose meekly to whoever awaits him in the final.


El_Flaco Says:

Great draw for Nadal. He has the opportunity to work himself into this tournament.


Hippy Chick Says:

El-Flaco Nadals losing to every Tom,Dick and Harry lately,so i doubt he or his fans will take any opponent lighty,i expect the naysayers will all parrot how lucky hes been,and how the opponents were not at their best,as is the norm around here….


Markus Says:

Exhibitions are for the players to earn a guaranteed amount of money, win or lose, and/or to raise money for charity and for the fans to have fun. Other than those, they don’t carry any other significance.


Margot Says:

In other news, Andy work is to with Bjorkman. Know virtually nothing about him, except good doubles player………and available obviously ;)


the DA Says:

@Margot – Variety, great hands and a smart tennis brain. He is also keen on getting to the net whenever possible. Lastly, he’s a believer in positive body language. All plus points if you ask me.


Margot Says:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/31833903

@The DA
Wowzer, in which case! Go Andyman!
The above link says he was suggested as a replacement for Lendl.
A month’s trial at first….once Borkman gets off Sweden’s version of “Strictly Come Dancing.”
Still like him?….;)


Markus Says:

Wowsie, indeed! With Bjorkman as coach and his mother Judy, both from Strictly Come Dancing (Sweden and UK versions respectively), I expect great footwork from Andy.


brando Says:

Wow that is awesome news! I was a fan of what I saw from Bjorkman in the early noughties. He impressed greatly when he beat Tim Henman in the AO. He’s perfect for Andy as he addresses the minuses in Andy: a firm believer in good body language (he’s Swedish- no tantrums from that end of the world), has a attacking mindset and shall offer his own view on Andy’s serve. Him and Amelie make a very exciting combination.


Okiegal Says:

Bjorkman and Andy…..had not heard that. I like the positive body language comment. Andy so needs this. Ivan helped him so much in that area. Good luck to him! I hope Bjorkman can complete Andy’s team in the most positive of ways.


brando Says:

A prediction: you’ll see Nadal fans excited and buzzing for Andy with this appointment as per usual with rafa’s genuine friend and brilliant fellow talent muzza……except for one so called Nadal fan -so we are supposed to believe anyhow-who’ll make a not so funny comment. Apparently he’s a humble fan. Not.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Is Roger trying to promote Dimitrov who is being under contract from the management group run by Roger?


Nirmal Kumar Says:

I think if there is a best time to make changes in the team, it would be now for Andy. It would be a great preparation for him before Wimbledon. He would have another 3 months to work with his new team.

It’s nice that these guys rather than resting on their skills, trying to look areas to improve and experiment.


Daniel Says:

Nadal has a good draw than can propel him to semis. Let’s see if his recent wins in BA will loosen up his game a bit. He was winning some 6-1 sets there and IW is a place he likes. But I don’t think is a given for him in finals. In fact think, Fed, Wawrinka or Berdych have a better chance than him.

Raonic’s return game is dismal of late so if they are to meet he would have to do it in tiebreaks if he is not broken before.

Curious to see Federer x Seppi and another Andy x Djoko to see if the bad blood is beyond them.


Markus Says:

Nishikori looks like he is leading the list of guys trying to break into the top 3. He is distancing his way from the rest of his group. I would like to see Nishikori against Nadal. This will tell me a lot about what the future holds for each of them. Nadal beat him all 7 times they played but the last time was in May 2014.

By the way, I don’t think there is a Big 4 anymore.


Emily Says:

I still think the rest of the top 10 see Kei as beatable. He had Rafa on the ropes last year, but he’s been beaten pretty handily by Stan and Ferrer this year, and he squeaked out that Memphis title.

There’s no doubt he could make some noise and Andy has looked very shaky recently, but other than Raonic, he doesn’t seem to consistently beat the top guys.

@Markus, agreed about the Big 4, if I never hear that phrase again, it will be too soon.


Emily Says:

Though he did get a good win over Ferrer at the AO, he just couldn’t handle the weight of shot Stan produced in the QF


jane Says:

the last match i recall between rafa and kei was at the AO in 2014, and kei went deep in all the sets. but … he still lost in straight sets.


Giles Says:

Bjorkman is a big fed fan!! So make of that what you will! Lol


Giles Says:

HC. I have read El_Flaco’s post and I have read your response. What the hell is all this negativity relating to Rafa? I am sick and tired of reading your repetitive posts of how every Tom, dick and Harry is beating him blah, blah and bloody blah. Just give it a rest. El_Flaco was trying to be nice and there you go with your 2 cents post which I might add is becoming a tad annoying. Just shut it!!


Giles Says:

Just reading the heading of this article :
“…….. Djokovic seeks Fourth Title”
Hmmmm
Sean Randall . Are you not aware that Rafa is seeking his fourth title in IW as well?? He won here in 2007, 2009 and 2013.


Sean Randall Says:

Nirmal, yes. Roger I’m sure pushed to have Grigor as his opponent last night and probably let him win to give him the New York spotlight. Smart move, I guess.

Giles, yes, I’m aware of that so much so that I wrote “In nine previous appearances, Rafael Nadal has made the SFs eight times, winning the title three of those.:

But Rafa’s not the defending champion, Djokovic is.

Ken, my point is he has one really good win on the year, that being Djokovic. Was it a fluke? We’ll find out.

Other than Novak, who else has he beaten of note? Milos, Grigor? And that Seppi loss…


James Says:

Emily, Kei had beaten Ferrer 5 times in a row before losing the Acapulco final. He leads the H2H with quite a few players in the top 10 including Birdman, Ferrer, Cilic and Raonic. He is also 2-3 against both Federer and Djokovic and has beaten Dimitrov in straights in every match they’ve played, I think it’s 2 or 3. Kei has only 2 weaknesses that he needs to really work on if he wants to win a Slam:

1. He folds when he gets out hit in a big match, Cilic at US Open 2014 final and Wawrinka at AO 2015. He knows how to make things difficult for his opponents even when he’s a set or two behind. In a big Grand Slam match, however, he just folds instead.

2. Kei is very uncomfortable against heavy topspin balls. Nadal’s forehand, Gadquet’s backhand and Stan’s troubles him a lot.

His serve used to be average but I think it’s better now.
I can see him winning a Slam this year if he keeps improving. Maybe the US Open.


jane Says:

“Bjorkman is a big fed fan!! ” – giles, just wondering how you know that? did he say it or something?


jane Says:

sean, i can’t see raonic or simon troubling rafa, unless milos has a perfect serving day – and certainly not gasquet!


James Says:

Giles, Rafa hasn’t looked good for several months now. Only he can make the media take notice of him as a title favorite again with his on court performances. He’s got a good draw but I’m more interested to see his tennis level more than anything else. If he’s playing well, the titles will follow again.


Sean Randall Says:

jane, agreed on Gasquet. But if the courts playing quick Simon could pose a threat. And in a night match situation, light desert air, I could see Raonic winning that one in a couple breakers.


Giles Says:

@jane. Apparently it is common knowledge. In any case do you expect him to reveal his luv for fed? Lol


Hippy Chick Says:

Giles sorry dont mean to be,its as James said Rafa aint looked good for months, so im not one for getting over excited,only to have my hopes dashed,especially with things been the way they are,nobody really knows where Rafas at physically or mentally time will tell,no need for the tone though….

BTW I left you a post on the Federer family thread,much of what you said i agreed on,just wondered if you had read it?….


Emily Says:

@James, it’s obvious that Kei can play and beat the top players, but I still can’t see him closing in on the big 3 (is that what it is now?). Maybe it’s his personality, on and off the court, but he would have to make some magic to win a slam w/ so many other contenders. That’s what he was missing in last year’s UO final.

I agree w/ your analysis of his game and that’s why I can’t see a slam for him this year, maybe if he gets a little stronger and builds in confidence, that will change.


Giles Says:

“Rafa ain’t looked good for months “. That does not mean this trend will continue does it??? A little bit of positivity wouldn’t go amiss. For HC and James.


Hippy Chick Says:

OK Giles….


Markus Says:

Nadal does not get any respect on any surface other than clay. Lately, that disrespect has even extended to clay where he is defending champion and a 9-time winner (almost consecutive!). Even some of his fans seem to have given up. What a shame. Not on Nadal but for those who cannot appreciate what a great player Nadal is.


Giles Says:

Markus. Spot on. A real pity!


Hippy Chick Says:

Markus i havent given up,as you rightly said Nadals an amazing player,an all time great,he also is the only player on tour with multiple GS on all surfaces,i think he stands a good chance of possibly surpassing Sampras and a small chance of surpassing Federer,would love him to win a WTF at some point to complete the set,its just the older he gets the more difficult things also get ,as regards Federer his legacy is safe IMO so his fans can sleep easy,BTW thanks for what you said about me on the other thread….


Brando Says:

Spot on Markus! The thing is:

With the haters it’s all good. Them knocking Rafa is the norm and for me has always been a fabulous thing since it means he’s still relevant, has game and is a threat.

After all: no one kicks a dead horse no?

So from those chumps it’s music to my ears: I love it, in short.

But the real foolishness is when a Nadal fans starts on him:

That’s just flat out idiotic! Like the latest load of tosh:

He hasn’t been the same for months: you don’t say Sherlock! He’s been injury plagued for 7 months, just returned: so what the hell were you expecting? Him waltzing off with the titles immediately and beating all comers? LOL: what a ridiculous thing to knock Rafa on!

Inconsistency is normal when returning from a lay off: get with it!

And it’s annoying seeing since Rafa knows the game better than most. He knows he ain’t at his best, he knows why too. And so do his smart fans.

Right now he needs their support. Not pointing out the ridiculously obvious and throwing hissy fits about his results.

He needs his fans to chill the f–k out, stop throwing a hissy fit, use a brain cell and realize he’s early on his teturn, keep schtum with the negativity, ignore the childish haters and just support him.

Be positive and support the man when he needs it. NOT be effusive when he’s winning as any glory hunting bandwagon jumper can root for someone then.

It’s silly seeing the negativity from Nadal fans. Are they really his fans: Or just individuals prone to dramatics and going on a episode of other end of the scale?

Some Nadal fans need to get a grip and quit with the negativity: Rafa don’t need that BS right now! Period!


Hippy Chick Says:

Brando i know that was a reference to me,so i will ease up on the Rafa negativity,and sit back and see what unfolds,i am a Rafa fan through and through,if others choose to believe otherwise then theres squat i can do about that unfortunatly,just a thought though can you ease of with the indirect sly digs please in my direction,i know your always honest unapologetic and take no prisoners,and arent here to make friends etc,but i dont appreciate digs if they are aimed in my direction,if you have a problem with me or my posts then tell me,like Giles does?….


James Says:

Oh what? I haven’t given up on Rafa. Not at all. If he’s playing well, I have no doubt that he can even get the number 1 ranking back. But I am not going to fight his fight on tennis blogs/forums. It’s Nadal who needs to do it out there on the tennis court. He’s done it several times before and can and should do it again. 28 IMO is not old at all. I don’t care if he wins Indian Wells or not but I want Nadal to be like the Nadal of old, fighting for each point and trying his best.


Hippy Chick Says:

James hi and DITTO….


Hippy Chick Says:

James but i think Brando was reffering more to me than you anyway….


James Says:

Emily, you’re right about Nishikori lacking self-belief in the big matches. I’m not a big fan of Kyrgios but IMO if Kei had Nick’s attitude, he might have won the US Open last year. Still, he’s the biggest threat to the big 4 after Wawrinka IMO. With the way he keeps improving his game, I think he can win a Slam. But he will need to learn to fight like his Coach Chang used to if he wants to win a Slam. Especially when things don’t go your way.


jane Says:

” Apparently it is common knowledge.”

hmmm, well i wasnt aware of it gile, but okay.

as for negativity, i do understand how rafa fans would have some doubts; he’s missed a lot of time with injury and his form has been up-and-down.

however, we all know that once he gets match grooved, which would seem to be the purpose of the south american swing (?), he’ll be dangerous, as always! he could easily win at IW. his draw is good and he does well there. he’s one of the top favourites, for sure.


James Says:

Hey HC, how you’re doing?
I don’t always find the time to post on here but I do read the comments from time to time. And you’ve always been a Rafa fan, also of Murray, and I don’t see anything in your posts that suggest otherwise. Not all fans are the same. Some are more vocal in their support and some like myself would rather Rafa himself shut his doubters up than write about how great he is on a tennis blog. We’re not the same but I like that we all support/root for Rafa in own ways.


jane Says:

* sorry, gileS


mat4 Says:

A few things that bother me:

- I see that Nishikori got more votes than Djokovic, Nadal in the poll. It seems strange. While it is clear that Kei is the fifth potential favourite for any tournament now, his numbers are not even close to Rafa’s, Novak’s, Fed’s. The key number is the Dominance Ratio (% of return points won divided by % of serve points lost), and here the state for the top ten is the following:

Novak Djokovic 1.35
Roger Federer 1.37
Rafael Nadal 1.35
Andy Murray 1.19
Kei Nishikori 1.12
Milos Raonic 1.19
Stanislas Wawrinka 1.11
David Ferrer 1.13
Tomas Berdych 1.17
Marin Cilic 1.10
Grigor Dimitrov 1.16

When you take in account the opposition (I gave those stats too), and the results in the deciders, we can see why he is placed a bit in front of Wawrinka, or Berdych, or Ferrer, but the big three a far better, and Murray is solidly in front.

Murray, especially, got very few votes, while he played well at the AO. Honestly, on this surface, he has a lot of chances — especially if he doesn’t play some big hitters, but he manhandled them easily lately.

- I see that some posters are time and time again mentioning “Rafa haters”, etc. I think that Rafa gets a lot of respect, more than Murray, while Murray has been in better form lately, but for a misstep, a bad day against Coric.

When asked if he’d better like to play against Novak in the final, Rafa once answered something like: “Of course not. I am not stupid.” I like his interviews because he is earnest and discreet. So, to be frank like him, I can tell that I do like when Rafa is not in form, when he loses — come on! I am a Novak fan! But he have nothing against Rafa per se. And the fact that I don’t like to see him in finals against Novak — is the highest form of respect.


James Says:

On Kei. I think he needs to win a Masters 1000 first for his confidence before he can win a Slam.


mat4 Says:

@jame, Emily:

Nishikori doesn’t lack self-belief in big matches. His result in deciders is something like 15-2 in the last year. It’s probably the best result after Novak’s 12-0.

His problem is that, while his backhand is absolutely exceptional and reliable, his FH is very risky, and his serving is subpar. When he doesn’t play at his absolute best — when he is very relaxed, because he is too tired or because he plays in front of home crowd — he clearly is weaker than the top three, and Murray certainly.


mat4 Says:

sorry: @James…


Hippy Chick Says:

James exactly and im good thanks,well good days and bad days not as regards tennis,more to do with the real world….


KatH Says:

Kei is extremely skilled and often awesome, but Yes there is a but. He may evidently win one GS but (in my humble view!!), he will never be consistent at that level. As they say “when he’s good he’s good he’s very very good but when he’s bad he’s horrid” – PS that is the saying – I dont’t believe he’ll ever be “horrid” but he will be pretty flaked out too many times to become a huge top player.


Hippy Chick Says:

Emily i liked your big 3 post from earlier,and how if you never heard that expression ever again it would be too soon lol,me too TBH,its all becoming rather trite and self congratulatory,yeah Federer/Nadal/Djokovic have been the best players of the decade etc,but do we need to beat it to the ground,does the whole world of tennis have to revolve around them,dont the other players warrant some merit and discussion too?….


Markus Says:

Nishikori is not lacking in confidence. What he lacks are height and power. He is surrounded by tall and powerful players. It entails too much hard work to get past them in succession during a tournament. This is magnified in the majors where 5-set matches are played. Ferrer is the other guy with the same liability.


Thangs Says:

Murray usually goes for sleep mode or loose interest after every AO final loss until FO/Wimby..


jane Says:

^ he typically does well at miami, and indeed, he did quite well on clay last year, reaching the semis at the FO. he was blown away in the semis by rafa but he still got there.


jane Says:

markus, at 4:43; yes that seems to make sense. but i do think kei is more of a shot-maker than ferrer (he looks for the winner), his game is more “fluid”. ferrer, however, is very determined and uses the full court to his benefit (he extends the rally). but both are shorter and may lack the same degree of power as the other top players. i’m not sure how much height factors into it. how tall is kei?


Hippy Chick Says:

I think i would rather my favorite(s) won titles,rather than plaudits and hard luck stories about how great they played and how close the match was,at the end of the day when push comes to shove a loss is still a loss, surely its titles the players want,not pats on the back….


Okiegal Says:

@Colin 3:27…..I’m with you……I’m gonna relax and just enjoy tennis……and remember an old favorite song of mine…..Que sera sera!

PS I will try to relax when Rafa’s on court, as difficult as that can be sometime…..I hope other loyal Rafa fans don’t take issue with the fact that I do get nervous during his matches…… :(


Hippy Chick Says:

Okie easier said than done lol,i prefer to record and watch the match afterwards,check the result then watch the match stress free….


Okiegal Says:

I think for Kei to win a GS is a tall order for him….the further he goes the more pooped he becomes, regarding 5 setters. I think he’s a great talent. Never thought about his stature. Not having played tennis, that would not cross my mind. Markus makes a good point….David has failed the big “W” too. Shortest player to win a GS is who?? OR IS IT WHOM?? Help me out all you English scholars out in tennis land! Lol


Patson Says:

I feel Nadal will hit the stride in the clay-court season. March would be good but not great i.e., he ‘ll have a semi-final result but not more. Clay season will be different though. He has a point to prove there. If he does win the French open, and he stays fits, I expect him to be a force in the post-Wimbledon season.


Markus Says:

Who? Whom? Who cares? Not me (not I?). LOL. Best to blame it on typographic error. Anyway, Okie, the shortest major winner may well be Nishikori’s own coach, no less, Chang. But that was before the advent of racquet technology which favored the big powerfull players exponentially more than the vertcally challenged players.


jane Says:

mat4 “I see that Nishikori got more votes than Djokovic, Nadal in the poll. It seems strange. ”

“Murray, especially, got very few votes, while he played well at the AO.”

yes, but do you think people are voting based on form? or do you think it’s based on well thought out evidence? hunch? desire?

who knows what criteria people are using when they press that little vote button and make their choice.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

I don’t know how they vote. I would guess they vote for their favs, but while Federer has an expected share of votes (although he plays Stan in the QF and Rafa in the semi), I don’t think that Kei has more fans that Rafa.

The second criterium, who is in best form… here too, Kei just lost to Ferrer in Acapulco, he lost to Stan in three easy sets at the AO, he was rolled over at the WTF, now that the favourites know his game better, so, it is really not clear to me…

Finally, why would so many voters choose him and not Raonic, or Dimitrov, or Wawrinka? if they want to see some changes…


jane Says:

maybe it’s a troll? ha ha, i seriously don’t know mat4. but you do raise interesting points. especially considering kei has 214 votes to andy’s 26; that seems drastic considering their chances. but now that we’re all discussing this, watch kei go and win the whole thing. lol.


redrer Says:

nishikori will win the IW and miami atp titel


mat4 Says:

No way. He will lose in the first round, against Harrison, who plays much better lately. And there`s no way he can beat Andy on such a slow surface.


Okiegal Says:

@Markus…..Someone got called out once on using who instead of whom or vice versa…Just trying to beat them to the punch! Lol

I would have said Chang too. But you are right about all of the technology that goes with the game now
days. It’s a new ballgame from yesteryear.


jane Says:

mat4, fish is 3-0 over harrison; kei might not even meet harrison! kei beat both fish and harrison the only time they’ve played.

you don’t have much faith in nishikori do you?

btw, what do you think about a fed and rafa semi? do you think fed could win this time?

i was checking their h2h earlier and was surprised to find out that fed has won against rafa only 4 times since rafa won wimbledon in 2008! (that is to say, 4 times in 15 matches).

however, the last time fed beat rafa, it was at indiian wells 3 years ago (2012). fed’s playing well right now, but it’s difficult to know if it’s just purely a match up thing or what.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

Quite the contrary. But Kei has been playing a lot lately, going deep into the last two tournaments (two finals). The surface in IW has a relatively high rebound, it’s slow, but the serve remains efficient (that’s one of the difference with clay, where the serve is also slowed down). So, I guess that Harrison could make a surprise, serving well and hitting big FHs. But Kei remains the favourite here.

On the other side, I don’t see him beat Andy, who could really feast on Kei’s serve and, if he serves decently, put a lot of pressure on the Japanese. Kei will have to play flatter against the best mover in the game, and to do it under constant tension. I don’t think he can do it. In fact, I even believe that Andy has good chances to make the final.

It is very difficult to assess Roger’s chances against Rafa. Rafa looked very bad at the AO, in the meantime, he has lost to Fognini, he recently lost to Murray in Dubai and he lost in Doha too. Roger won Dubai, where he played beautifully, and he seems to be in good form. But it is a bad, bad match-up for Roger, who basically can’t break Rafa’s serve. But good serving, a bit of luck, and it could be possible. Anyway, it is not certain he will have to face Rafa in the semi, although the draw has been fixed to offer Rafa an easy path to the semi (like always in IW). Then, Stan and Berdych are in Roger’s quarter, so it’s hard to tell.


jane Says:

i agree with you about andy, mat4. kei did win their last match at the world tour finals, but i think he was gassed there, from so much play leading up to it. it would be interesting to see how they’d match up here, and i hope that match comes to pass.

yes, i kind of feel like fed might have a better shot if they meet, considering he is relaxed and in form, and rafa is working his way back into form. but rafa seems to love IW courts (desert air, high bounce) and as you say he has a favourable draw for working his form into shape as he played through it. plus, one almost gets the feeling that stan is due a win over roger? and berdych is playing well too. so as you imply, they might not even meet.


Margot Says:

@mat4
Interesting discussion folks.
@mat4
You seem to be saying Andy’s a quicker/better mover than Nole, or am I miss-reading?
On clay, I’ve read Andy comes onto the ball too quickly! How ironic!
I never vote, but if I did wouldn’t be voting for Andy.
a) coming down from a Davis Cup high
b) never done well at IW
c) long distance travel/new surface etc.
One tournament I’d love to go to, but alas on “wrong side” of US for us Brits.


sienna Says:

h2h fedal is somewhat strangely taken apart from wimbly down.
Ik believe they split 09/10/12 and 13 was a slump year for Federer losing 4/5 counting Au meeting.
h2h is what it is but breaking down year by year doesnot portray fed being outgunned from wimbly 08.

08 and 13 where blowout years 8/9 – 0 counting Au.

Federer needs a victory to give him some confidence against Rafael.

but


sienna Says:

but and this is somewhat overlooked.
Federer always reaches the stages to meet Rafael. 08 clearly after effects of mono hampering his fysique. 13 still reaching semi/finals just to loose.

when Nadal is of he chooses not to play or loses in early rounds. remember wimbly 09, Nadal dropped out after receiving though draw.
how many times have they played Halle?

so with some luck and good timing fed can beat Rafael on quicker courts again.


Giles Says:

” he recently lost to Murray in Dubai and he lost in Doha too”.
Lol. Rafa must be one helluva guy to be in Rio and Dubai at the same time!!
Get your facts straight!


KatH Says:

The other day I read (I think it was the ATP main site) that out of the last 23 Majors, 20 were won by Nole, Fed, Rafa, Andy. Of these Andy won 6: Fed & Rafa 5 each and Nole 4. !!!!!!!!!!!!


mat4 Says:

@Margot:

I have no doubts whatsoever that Andy is faster than Novak, who has to make all those splits when Andy manages to position himself on the ball.

I think that “bulking up” was a good idea, but Maclagan and Murray overdid it, and it was wiser to be a bit more conservative here (Reyes destroyed Jankovic’s career in 2009 with the same recipe).

Andy has more power, but in a 5 setter, his weight, against Novak (who has probably more than 15 pounds less), becomes a handicap: Novak just wears him down. That’s what happened at the AO 2013, 2015, at the USO 2014, and had Novak not played a match the day before (muscles need 48 hours to fully recuperate), it would probably have happened at the USO 2012.

That’s why Andy has lean down this year a bit.

But the key, for him, will be to play his FH taking the ball very early, and finish points faster.


Margot Says:

mat4: just checked ATp web site, don’t know how up to date it is,
Andy: 6’3″ 84kgs
Nole:6’2″ 80kgs
I think Nole’s physique, which is extraordinary and due to his “lucky genes, gives him such an advantage, wouldn’t you say. He is like a piece of wire – supple, bendy, not an ounce of fat anywhere and immensely strong.
He is like some skinny thoroughbred race horse built for speed, whereas Andy is well…..not exactly a work horse, but you get my comparison.
Nole should thank his mum and dad for his fantastic genes, every day :)


brando Says:

@Alison: it’s not addressed to yourself since its for those beyond yourself. It’s an open one which is relevant for rafa fans. Those who know they have been negative will feel personal relevance as you have done. End.


Hippy Chick Says:

Brando true….


Emily Says:

@mat4, little confused about your Rafa stats at 11:05. I wouldn’t say Rafa looked really bad at the AO; he was doing pretty well until the 1st two sets against Berdych and in the 2nd round, I feel like a win’s a win. He also didn’t lose to Murray in Dubai b/c he didn’t play in Dubai and Doha is an exhibition so I never care who wins those matches. If we pay attention to those then it looks like Dimitrov is going to beat Federer next time they meet. I think Rafa is the question mark of the tournament, which leads to this rampant speculation. We all just seem a little stir crazy waiting for the big boys to play each other.


Hippy Chick Says:

Please can we stop saying Federer lost the W final to Nadal because he had mono,he sailed through the draw with mono,and lost to Nadal because Nadal was better simple as that,fans dont except excuses about Nadals losses,so why should they except them about Federers losses,otherwise its reeks of hypocrisy and double standards?….


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 i know you were probably teasing about Rafas draw been fixed,but it will all be pointless if he loses early….


mat4 Says:

@Emily:

Sorry, it wasn’t in Dubai, but in Abu Dhabi, and he was bagelled if I remember well. Exho or not, Rafa is not the kind of player to lose 6-0 without a fight.

Doha is not an exho — Rafa lost to Michael Berrer, ranked 127, and Djokovic played too, losing to Karlovic.

Rafa’s results in the last year are very strange, to put it mildly. He lost to:

- Ferrer in MC,

- Almagro in Barcelona,

- Dustin Brown, r. 85

- Nick Kyrgios, r. 144

- Martin Klizan, r. 56

- Feliciano Lopez, r. 21

- Borna Coric, r. 124,

- Michael Berrer, r. 127.

- Fabio Fognini, r. 28.

While I understand that he had health problems, it seems a bit too much.


Ben Pronin Says:

And despite all these crazy losses, Nadal still has only one loss at the French Open.

I get that the expectations and standards are high for Nadal. But I think every athlete in the world would gladly be in his position of “no matter what, I’m always going to win a Championship.”


Emily Says:

@Mat4, thanks, I get confused b/w the transition from the exhibitions to the actual tournaments at the beginning of the year. To be fair to Rafa, Novak didn’t even play the final and Rafa did play the 3rd/4th place match even though no-one will remember that result in a year.

I know everyone looks at the people Rafa has lost to, but we’ve seen healthy top players lose to lower ranked opponents countless times. Some of those aren’t that shocking and Coric just beat Andy after all. Rafa should’ve beat Fognini for sure, but it’s 2015 and it’s a bit premature to use last year’s results to assume he can’t have a good season.


mat4 Says:

@Emily:

But Rafa is NOT a “normal” top player! When Federer started losing against all those outsiders last year, it was clear that something was happening with him. Fortunately, it was his back problems, and he solved it.

Rafa obviously has a problem for some times now, and time will tell what it is: health problems/ less training/confidence lost — it could be this, but it could be something else: a lost of speed, long term knee problems, something that could be a career changing element.


brando Says:

So a injured player losses to players he ought to beat and we are at a panic station? Okay. How about when you lose to robredo, karlovic, Tsonga, to a 33 year old past his prime years, to a debut SF who’s tired in Nishikori and be the number 1? Aw that’s all good, as he’s my fav. LOL: some people need to get a grip with things. The overreaction you see on here regarding players form, expectations of performance is just flat out idiotic. Too many geniuses in their mind, but chumps outside it. And Nadal now had the IW draw fixed for him? Only a deluded idiot would think that.


mat4 Says:

There is something bothering me there, too. Rafa’s dominance ratio is about the same as ever — it means that in general, he wins the same % of points per match. But he lacks the resilience he showed for years in key moments. Could it be only mental?

@Ben:

I am ready to bet my grey metallic non mercedes-benz that I don’t have anyway that Rafa won’t win the FO this year.


mat4 Says:

@Brando:

No, it’s not OK, and the result was visible at the USO. But then, the causes were clear, and a few months later the world no 1 proved that he still is the world no 1, winning 2 of the last 3 GS, and the WTF.

Of course, since I am a fan, not a worshipper like you, I ask questions about the fact that Novak still has problems against big servers (and don’t think he plays them so often lately “by chance”), and I am worried by the resurgence of Federer, the maturing of Nishikori (who is a better baseliner than Novak) and Wawrinka, and the potential of Dimitrov.

I don’t expect Novak to last indefinitely, and I already think that, at this point of his career, every new win is a bonus, a gift. You don’t win much slams past 27, 28, in general. I don’t believe that Novak will be an exception.


Hamza Says:

Barring a major physical problem that has shown up for Nadal in the last year or so which we don’t know about, the fact that Ferrer has been able to play at the highest level (beating Nishikori recently is one such example), makes me feel that there’s still life left in Nadal’s body. It’s a case of how well he manages his body, keeps his season breaks to a minimum, and peaks at the right time in majors. It’s not easy because the season is long and full of terrors.


mat4 Says:

@Brando:

Federer is not past his prime, and his stats for the last year proved it. His problems are physical recuperation and “off days”, not his game. In fact, he has never played better. But you don’t have time to check, I guess, even when they are posted on this blog.

And I would have liked to see a Rafa being righthanded playing Fed… the H2H would have been quite different, even on clay. 31-1 for Fed, probably.

Then, I also make a valid question, and time will answer it: is Rafa’s slight slump in any relation with the blood passport? Because it started right at the time the blood passport was introduced. Was his mental resilience the product of doping? We know that it has those effects too…

And don’t worry… I asked the same question for Novak in 2011/2012, when he ripped his shirt at the AO. Roid rage?


brando Says:

“since I am a fanatic, not a worshipper like you”: fixed. You could add deluded idiot, cynical chump with an agenda to your list of qualities. But I’ll stop there- like you they are small.


mat4 Says:

@Brando:

“You could add…”

I didn’t, nor do I intend to do. Don’t put words in my mouth.

The difference is that I am always willing to debate about Novak, while you believe that rafans are the only one with the right to write about Rafa.

In my first post about Rafa, there was nothing not factual and disrespectful, anyway.


brando Says:

What a utter clown! States that one should not put words in his mouth and then does the exact thing immediately towards others. Your mind is turning to mush old sport. All that cynicism, conspiracy theory allied to depression. Poor guy. I’ll stop now out of pity. I’ll even be charitable: yes you are right. Rafas on steroids, the draws are fixed for fedal and the sun rises out of novaks behind- happy now? Now take your medication with a smile at the sight of seeing you ain’t the only one in on that truth. Lol: adorable fool.


skeezer Says:

mat4,
Hey there. Taking a break from posting after seeing the same type thread runners ….spout the same ole stuff of worshipness.
You? Great posts throughout this thread by a tennis FAN, keep em comin, good stuff 👍
Looking forward to IW, as a Tennis fan.


jane Says:

sienna, you do make some valid points about the H2H between feral that i hadn’t really considered, i.e., that there were a couple of particularly bad years for fed, and that even when injured fed played the whole year, and took a number of losses to rafa in 2013 for example, whereas nadal was off the tour entirely when he was injured so his h2h’s with rivals are not negatively impacted. i had not really thought of that, but it’s valid.

still you must agree that there are match up issues between the two?


jane Says:

*fedal. lol, my spell checker changed it to feral.
well, there is something wild about this rivalry, ha.


Daniel Says:

Haha, Brando, I am just reading your post here and right at “old sport”, DiCaprio Gatsby just said it on my TV, watching the movie.
Odd coincidence!


Giles Says:

mat4. Pointing a finger at Rafa once again on doping? How dare you! The finger should be pointed at joker. The man never tires, he plays a 5 hr match and then goes on to win a 6 hr match the very next day. Just unbelievable. He is for sure on some banned substance which I don’t think will ever come to light. Look, his compatriot Troicki was banned for doping. Time to catch joker now. There will for sure be a leak in his camp at some point, maybe BB will spill the beans, who knows? It’s funny I was watching a joker match a while ago with a friend and he looked at the joker camp for the first time and said “those guys look like the mafia”. Hmmm they certainly do!!


brando Says:

@Daniel: yes old sport it is a coincidence. Did you laugh old sport at how often leotardo dicraprio said old sport in the film old sport? I chuckled greatly when that amateur believes yelling at the top of his shrill voice, raising his eyebrows, going red as if he’s suffering from constipation is a good way of showing male intensity. What say you old sport? P


TennisVagabond.com Says:

Mat4, I have to disagree with your assertion that Fed is playing as well as ever. He may be serving as well as ever, and his net play may be back to the level of his EARLY dominant years, but his groundstrokes are just nowhere near what they were in the mid aughts. We’ve all seen the shanks. That is the most obvious decline.

I would add that in my own opinion, he has lost a step and does not return as well, but I wouldn’t say that with the same confidence.

Jane, in terms of the Rafa-only-plays-at-his-best argument, yes, I’m sure a few wins losses could change sides if Rafa played through injury the way Roger does. But I certainly don’t think that would qualitatively change the lopsided relationship.
As you say, the match-up issues are obvious. If I;m not mistaken, it was an Indian Wells match a few years ago that was the most obvious examples: one of the most boring Fedal matches ever, it consisted entirely of Rafa going crosscourt to the high Fed backhand, and Fed flubbing it. It was, as a Fed fan, painful to watch. He had no answer, and I doubt I’ve ever seen a player use a single shot so repeatedly, to such effect.


jane Says:

true tennis-vagabond, the match up issue is indisputable. i think i recall the match you’re talking about, and incidentally, fed’s last win over rafa was at indian wells too. i was just noting that sienna made some valid poitns about the h2h.


TennisVagabond.com Says:

By the way tennis fans:

I HAVE A NOVEL JUST OUT.

Its a thriller, THE FLOOD. My real name is David Sachs. Please check it out on Amazon.

(there is no tennis in this book, but as some of you know, I have another story about underground tennis legend Bacon O’Rourke that will be launched in a few months)

TX, I hope as a longtime commenter here you won’t consider this too spammy!!


TennisVagabond.com Says:

Jane, I well remember that Fed win. He was at his best that day, for sure. Gotta admire the man’s fight.


jane Says:

congrats on your novel TV; that’s wonderful news.


Margot Says:

TV: I love thrillers. I certainly will check it out. Well done you :)


brando Says:

@TV: provide some more detail. Some snapshot, synopsis. I have stopped reading work of fiction. Far too often I find writers fellating to their own neurosis-well ego- publishing what they consider as genius but actually is a crock of sh-t. I don’t want to have such a opinion of you my mine. So provide some excerpt of it if you can with more detail, since all we have is title ripped off straight from the good book! The Flood- lol my good man, nice one! :-)


TennisVagabond.com Says:

Thanks Jane and Margot!!

B: I don’t want to steal the thread. You can search my name and title on Amazon, but I’ll just drop the synopsis here:
***
When the Flood hit, America’s East Coast was evacuated by every means possible. Now, a luxury cruise ship overloaded with refugees lies dead in the water: no power, no communications, no sign of rescue… and a dwindling buffet.

For those that escaped the Flood, the real nightmare is just beginning.

For three years, Travis Cooke had been desperate to reunite his family. But not like this.

Fleeing New York ahead of the disaster, trapped on the disabled ship, Travis and the unforgettable cast aboard find themselves alone in a big ocean. As the panic rises like the water, Travis finds behind each door an unexpected new side to the ship, but no way out. How far will a good man go to save the people he loves and has lost once before? How far would YOU go?

A retelling of Lord of the Flies as a fast-paced modern fable that forces you into the minds and choices of the characters on board.

A gripping thriller and mythic tragedy.

You’ll remember where you were when the Flood hit.

Welcome aboard.


madmax Says:

mat4 Says:
@Brando:

Federer is not past his prime, and his stats for the last year proved it. His problems are physical recuperation and “off days”, not his game. In fact, he has never played better. But you don’t have time to check, I guess, even when they are posted on this blog.

And I would have liked to see a Rafa being righthanded playing Fed… the H2H would have been quite different, even on clay. 31-1 for Fed, probably.

Then, I also make a valid question, and time will answer it: is Rafa’s slight slump in any relation with the blood passport? Because it started right at the time the blood passport was introduced. Was his mental resilience the product of doping? We know that it has those effects too…

And don’t worry… I asked the same question for Novak in 2011/2012, when he ripped his shirt at the AO. Roid rage?

March 12th, 2015 at 10:47 am

Mat4, you quote some thought provoking issues, that have done the rounds.
I remember when Fed won the FO in 2009, his obituary started then – look at him now, 6 years later.

His record is the greatest for so many reasons.


brando Says:

@TV: thanks. Sounds interesting and well done for writing something of your own, wish you the best of success with its release. Prediction: Oscar 2022: best adapted screenplay winner (insert name) for adapting the best selling The Flood. Matthew Mcconaughey wins his 2n best actor for playing the lead role in this famed survival tale. Sounds good no? And I’ll give you my email in due time regarding royalties as I do know you are fond of my unique writing style that surely imitation has possibly occurred for commercial effect. :-)


Daniel Says:

Indeed too many old sports kkk


mat4 Says:

Ok, here to answer all the previous comments to my post.

About Federer: first, I can`t really quantify the inner quality of his FH and groundstrokes in general without precise data about the speed, the depth, and the spin of his shots.

I have those data: the ratio of dominance, which is the same as it was in 2006, 2007. It means that, in average, he loses the same percentage of points on serve and wins the same percentage on the return he did when he was at his peak. I also have the following data: he wins almost the same number of points on the return as Novak and Rafa. Yes, I have the impression that he is doing less with his return, but the numbers show that it is not the truth. I also have another numbers: that his median opponents, and the average ranking of his opponents, is the second best in the game, far superior than Rafa’s, to give an example.

So — while absolutely he probably doesn’t play as well as he did, relatively, he still is there. He is slower: but he changed his game to cover that weakness. He has changed his racquet, and adapted his game to his age and possibilities. Tennis is also a game where intelligence matters.

About Rafa: why nobody answers my questions? Alison was the only rafan I could discuss doping suspicions about the top players: not only Rafa, but Novak, Fed, Berdych, Murray, Serena Williams… But the truth is that, in the men’s game, Rafa is the most suspicious. Just to quote a Belgian coach who played as a junior against Andy, Novak and Rafa: “Murray was the best. He never missed. Novak missed even less. Rafa was just another player. But then, he stopped playing tournaments for a year, and came back completely changed physically.” I can still find the complete text…

Even in the post I wrote higher, I asked questions about Novak — but no, nobody noticed it. Did he cheat in 2011? Why are his results now as good as they were then, after the introduction of the blood passport? Is there a correlation? I am ready for an argumented debate. I think it is possible.

@TV: Congratulations for your novel!


Thangs Says:

its a perspective issue on doping.

For me Nole is more suspicious than others. Total change in terms of physical ability from 2011 onwards.

Second is federer who doesn’t even sweat in long matches.


brando Says:

@Mat4: you fully well know what I think of your theories on those topics. So I won’t go there. That said: I’d like to tend an apology for my knocking you as badly as I did early, my bad. I know you have your issues so I’ll cut out the vitriol towards you when I find one of those irk inducing posts from you for myself. I’ll stay schtum in the future. It’s time for bed here in UK, I wish you a goodnight.


mat4 Says:

@Thangs:

There are a lot of elements to analyse here.

First, did really Novak changed in terms of physical ability from 2011 onward? Disposable stats suggest that it isn’t the case. It is just a false impression. The only thing that makes me suspect a use of some kind of “potion” was his behaviour after the wins against Andy at Rome in 2011 and Rafa at the AO 2012. Compare it with his usual behaviour, which is quite different.

But then, Novak has never changed his overall physiognomy in his career: he has not bulked up, he still plays subpar in the heat, and, his resilience is rather the fact that he has less weight that Andy and Rafa, who, just like him, play long points and long matches (Rafa and Andy are among the “slowest” players on Tour, something that can be easily checked, and I gave those data a few threads ago).

Usually people forget that Novak has changed his racquet in 2011, tremendously improved his FH, and that he was… lucky. Just compare 2011 and 2013, and the importance of luck will be clear.

It is not a question of impressions, but facts. That Novak has improved his stamina is an impression, that can be easily disproved — you just have to watch his match against Rafa in Madrid, or against Stepanek at the USO. That he changed his behaviour can also be checked — the problem is to weight the circumstances.

Novak covers an average of 1,4 miles per game at slams. Is it something impossible? And don’t forget that the famous final of 6 hours, he played it against Rafa… who has at least ten pounds more, and ran at least as much as Novak in that match. Novak is built like a runner of 400m, Rafa like a sprinter on 100m. Why do you think those sprinters are morphologically different?


mat4 Says:

@Brando:

First, you don’t stand a chance: I take tranquillizers because of my heart condition among all the other medications, so I don’t get angry in those debates any more. Then, I am a bit older so it is easy to be wise and measured, even when somebody writes that you are an idiot (just quoting, was in your first post). Then, you didn’t knock me — you were just rude.

I have nothing against arguing, with arguments. Can you explain why Rafa has such a high median opponent? So higher than Federer or Djokovic? I can, and it is quite normal. But the fact that the avg ranked of his opponents is always higher than Djokovic’s… could be strange. It’s debatable.

One day, Rafa will stop playing, Novak too, and you will have to look on their careers and personalities from another perspective. My favourite player is still Jimmy Connors, but it doesn’t mean that I am not critical about him. The fact is that I don’t like Novak’s interviews, while I esteem his generosity. I prefer Rafa’s press conferences, on the other hand.

Finally, I don’t have issues… I don’t even know what it means.

Apologies accepted, of course.


Sidney Says:

Some people it seems are still just a tad bitter about Novak crashing the party of two!

Enjoying Novak’s turn at the top! It won’t last forever but am enjoying it at the moment.

I believe Novak is the overwhelming favorite in IW this year (again, and for several years now).


Sidney Says:

I like Kei’s game, but I think Andy wins their section of the draw.

For me, it’s the Big 3 plus Andy in the semis!


Sidney Says:

Roger will reach semis I think and hope. Stan is not consistent. If Stan’s A game is on, he easily beats Roger. Though I doubt both will reach quarters.


jane Says:

mat4 @ 7:36, that’s so true, but i think to a lot of people that didn’t follow nole, they didn’t notice all the incremental shifts and just saw it as a miracle, ha ha. but of course, he hired a new trainer in 2009; also he got rid of todd martin in 2010 after his serve was almost destroyed.

but there was a positive that came out of that which almost *no one* talks abuot.

nole’s trademark *return of serve* (which was already good) improved tremendously when he was having so many troubles with his serve that he became “the double fault king” in late 09-mid 2010. in order to maintain his #3 ranking, which he did, he had to compensate with his return game, and he did. so after he sorted out his serve again (and vajda said they worked on this in 2010 off season, as well as forehand, as well as specific tactics for rafa…), it meant he was much more lethal/able to do damage.

all of these changes led up to his best year, and his consistency since then has not faltered. he’s not won multiple slams, but since 2011, he has won a slam and multiple masters every year: 2012, 2013, 2014, and now 2015 (the slam part). not to mention all the WTFs.


Sidney Says:

Rafa is my default choice out of his section. Raonic could spring a surprise, but I wouldn’t bet on it.


Sidney Says:

@jane, Best season ever, according to some explayers and experts!


Sidney Says:

In the semis, I think Novak beats Andy maybe a bagel or two. Or in 2 tiebreakers. Depends on which Andy shows up.

And of course in the other semi, Rafa wallops Roger. Again. Amazing how this matchup has become so predictable on any court surface! From their nailbiting earlier clashes to the lopsidedness of the most recent years, the transformation has been astonishing, unbelievable even.


Sidney Says:

And in the final, I think Novak edges Rafa in a 3rd set tiebreaker!


mat4 Says:

@jane:

I compared stats of the return too. In 2008 he won 40.9 % of return points; in 2011 he was at 44.6%. Last year he won 42.7% of these points, but he played less on clay, and had a lot of encounters against top servers: Raonic (3), Karlovic (1), Federer. The quality of the opposition was also the higher he had in his career so far, ranking wise.


mat4 Says:

Another thing: I long thought that Murray was the best returner of first serves. But no: Novak is the marginally better player here. When you check the stats only on hard, Novak is most of years on the very top.

It seems strange since he is the top returner who has the most problems against big servers. Novak’s problems seems to be that he needs to get into the groove, to have enough rallies to find his range, and he gets almost none in those kind of matches.


TennisVagabond.com Says:

Jane, absolutely true. Easy to forget how embarrassingly bad Novak’s serve was in the Martin experiment- and yet he was still #3!


mat4 Says:

@jane:

Anyway, it is futile to try to explain. I quote numbers, stats, facts of all kind of nature, and you saw what I get for it.

Hopefully, I really do take medications, so it’s easy to stay calm. And, to say the truth, I enjoy asking irreverent questions.

The other day it was question about the old guard here(BTW, where is WB? and Conty?). It so simple: those are the one who show mutual respect, even when disagreeing.


jane Says:

mat4, wog boy said he was taking a break. conty, i don’t know, but goodness i miss that gal!

and by the way, i recommend wine instead of medications. “spirits” are more poetic than mere “meds.” n’est-ce pas mon ami? ;)


ANEL BOJANA Says:

mat4,I really respect You and Your posts, even though we disagree on some things that You said about Novak, but there are many things that I agree with You. I even said once that You are not real Nole,s fan, but it was more positive and respectful because You are just a fan not a worshipper.I would like to be more a worshipper because there are too many people on this site who see every Nole;s fault and make some even though they do not exist.Also I think that Nole,s fans are the most respectful to each other.
Yes Your posts are full of numbers,stats and facts and that is good for normal discussion but not for this place.Here you got names as an argument.

Good luck to You and good luck to NOLE.


jane Says:

mat4, that’s high praise from bojana, who has been here off-and-on since nole was his first slam! :)


Wog Boy Says:

@mat4,

I took a long service leave, I needed fresh air, I’ll be back.. But not soon.
There is more than enough No1e fans on this forum now, compare to 4-5 years ago, very eloquent and knowledgeable ones.
My invitation to you for August in Serbia (Guča) is open..it is not carnival in Rio, it is not Woodstock, it is Madness in Guča, five nights and five days, inly for pure hedonists, this short video is made by Brazilian tourists, half a million people comes each year, sleep wher ever they can and if they can:)

http://youtu.be/Q0Ri4mUP4zY

Take care my friend:)


bojana anel Says:

Hi Jane,

I do have the most respect to You and I think that You are the best Nole,s fan and that is why You are so often attacked by non Nole’s fans.


jane Says:

thanks bojana! always nice to see you around; we’re long timers, that’s for sure. ;) cheers!


jane Says:

wog boy, nice to read your cheery words. looking forward to the end of your hiatus.


Wog Boy Says:

jane,

Thanks, before I go, you are invited too, you can change Canadian mountaines for Serbian ones in August, green and hilly and “hot”, have a look, this one is better:)

http://youtu.be/eb453P3cfvM

Take care


mat4 Says:

@jane:

I am very ill, unfortunately. I am taking very long walks and working less, but medications are compulsory. C’est la vie, ma chère amie, malheureusement.

Passent les jours et passent les semaines,
ni temps passés ni les amours reviennent.

Just some poetry for you.

@bojana:

Thanks. I knew you didn’t really mean it. You take it too emotively. And I assure you, I am a No1e fan.

@WB:

It mainly depends of my work and health. Usually, when I am on holidays, I go to France. But a meeting in Belgrade could be arranged. But I can’t drink any more. Just two vodkas a day. Not worthy of a man.


Okiegal Says:

This thread has turned into a mutual admiration society…….Love it, so refreshing!! :)


Wog Boy Says:

@mat4,

Then Belgrade it is, accomodation, transport and food provided by myself (extra amusement is negotiable;), and August / September it is (I already bought the tickets). Don’t even try to find exuse, two vodka’s are better than none. I’ll be back here by August.


jane Says:

mat4, prenez soin mon ami. walks are good, and don’t work too hard! some music is good too:

La musique souvent me prend comme une mer!
Vers ma pâle étoile,
Sous un plafond de brume ou dans un vaste éther,
Je mets à la voile…


jane Says:

wog boy i hope you come back before august. : /

okie, yes, it’s nice to spread a little good cheer sometimes, and set the debates and battles to the side.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

Je sens vibrer en moi toutes les passions
D’un vaisseau qui souffre;
Le bon vent, la tempête et ses convulsions

Sur l’immense gouffre Me bercent.
D’autres fois, calme plat, grand miroir
De mon désespoir!


mat4 Says:

I have a good collection of piano music. I love Gilels very much, especially his Beethoven, from the Hammerklavier to Waldstein, but I most often listen the Appassionata.

And a bit more:

To-day I shall be strong,
No more shall yield to wrong,
Shall squander life no more;
Days lost, I know not how,
I shall retrieve them now;
Now I shall keep the vow
I never kept before.


mat4 Says:

@Okiegal:

No, it is an habitude we had, a few years ago. You’re welcome too. Poetry, music, tennis, and grammar, of course!


jane Says:

hang in there mat4…and don’t forget the tom waits. you have to balance all that classical you know.


Hippy Chick Says:

Its nice to spread a little cheer and set the debates and battles to the side ,which is absolutely true,but sometimes i feel unless your nodding your virtual head at everything you will get crucified for having a difference of opinion,it gets very cliquey on this forum at times,some people fit in,some people dont,some posters are welcome here and some are not,thats the way it has been,and thats the way it will always be….


mat4 Says:

@alison:

C’est dans l’ordre des choses, ma chère Alison. One can not avoid it. But when you are in the mood, I am always for a friendly little chat with you.


Hippy Chick Says:

Miss Conty,and also Kimberly and Nadalista,whom are very knowledgeable ladies when it comes to their tennis,spoke to Kimberly at the AO bracket challenge who said she was busy,but i rather got the impression she was a bit sick of this forum,and all the arguing….


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 thankyou your very sweet,im afraid i got a bit irritated yesterday,Jane and i got into some back and forth on the Murray/Bjorkman thread,i know she enjoys the possibity of a Andole final,its just i dont anymore,the sole reason why i like seeing them on the same side,shes a great poster,but i just dont feel it went down very well….


mat4 Says:

@alison:

It doesn’t matter. You are a Rafa fan, we are Novak fans, on the other side of a fence, so, sometimes we express different wishes. But we can always debate in a civilized way. And we’re on this forum for years, almost a decade now.


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 exactly,we can agree or disagree,but we can also agree to disagree,one thing i cant/wont keep on doing is apologizing for having an opinion or difference of opinion,i will celebrate if Rafa wins the FO,you will celebrate if its Novak,someone else might celebrate,but why the hell shouldnt we anyway,as long as it aint Cilic?…


Hippy Chick Says:

Ive been here nearly four years now though,so not quite a decade….


mat4 Says:

@alison:

But be serious, please, you know Rafa won’t win the FO this year…

;-)


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 lol,well put it this way,i wouldnt be one bit surprised if he does win it,and i wouldnt be one bit suprised if he doesnt either,i keep saying it and im getting sick of my own virtual voice when i do,but the law of averages will catch up sooner or later,hope its later lol….;)

I wonder if Maria will defend the FO this year,i would say yes providing she aint facing Serena in the final?….


sienna Says:

Ah that Cilic. Did Ik already explaine his victory US Open was epic. He set tennisworld on fire. Victory is on par with some of Fedals wins.the New standard.

you can win slams, stumble into winning it but there is also a way where you set new standard. that is done in the past but not this decade.


mat4 Says:

I came long before. Skeezer and jane are the oldest posters here. Skeez, btw, plays tennis, and when I read some young posters showing disrespect for his knowledge… He used to write reports from IW, in the time. There were also a few great posters like TL, TF76, whose knowledge of tennis was undeniable, and who wrote well. A pleasure to read too. There was especially one, I forgot his moniker now, but he was the best of the best, and every post was a short story.

Then came Rafa… who had mostly attracted a younger population to tennis, and his fans… the first wave was bearable, but then came the second, from the late tennistalk, and we almost all left, because it wasn’t debate any more, but ill-mannered rudeness (although we had Dave, in the time, for the ugly things).

Most of the old posters finally left. You mentioned Nadalista, but, in fact, she also was very ill-mannered in her first posts here, a real savage. With time, she became a bit more normal. But you are sometimes partial toward rafans, who, very often, reject you and your balanced posts, and you can’t deny it is the truth.

That’s why we are all always on the side of each other in disputes, arguing, debates. Old timers solidarity.

There were also a lot of thread like this, with poetry and easy chat, with youtube “gifts” for the others. I miss those times.

For you, a link, a nice song for a rainy day:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYsv2qa1BTc

Hope you’ll enjoy it.


sienna Says:

it has been done by TMF and the young Bull. Sampras etc

note.
NOT DJOKOVIC / NOT Murray


mat4 Says:

@alison:

I don’t understand how Dimitrov hasn’t still won a GS. For a shiny gaze of the blonde Russian, even I would be able to do it… even the FO, against Rafa in the final…

Polish girl, BTW, are even more beautiful than Russian, while the Serbs are the prettiest brunettes in Europe.


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 i have had my disagreements with fellow Rafa fans,quite a few in fact simply because i dont believe hes perfect,and as Giles said i can be a bit negative about him sometimes,and i think some feel im too aplogetic and trying to curry favour,when in actual fact all im trying to do is play fair,however i will defend him and his achievements,just as i do with all the players….

Dave was a very clever and knowledgeable man,and did back up his posts with facts,although it was all very Federer influenced and heavily biased,and always at the expence of the other players,i wouldve been more impressed had he posted some stuff including links about the achievements of other players too,and even actually from time to time praised their achievements ,he never once did that or congratulated any other player….

I do for the most part get on OK with Skeezer,but when my favorite gets pulled apart for no reason,and refers to his fans as fangirls,armani man etc,then i do get annoyed with that assumption that his fans are all women,and only interested in him for his looks,Steve-O i used to get on with but i feel scared to disagree with him as his virtual tongue is quite cutting at times,TV on the other hand is very approachable….

I do get on with most people i believe for the most part,but nobodys perfect,i miss Grendel,Ajet,Harry,Swiss Maestro and hope they will be back one day….

Thanks for the song,although its a gorgeous spring like day here in Norfolk ;)….


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 lol,if she could instill some of that mental toughness into Grigor,he would be a GS champion for sure,our Colin thinks shes overated looks wise though and my hubby doesnt see the facination either,but i suppose its all a matter of preference,as the saying goes whats one mans meat is another mans poison,theres beautiful women all over the world,and dont dare count out us Yorkshire women either he he….


Hippy Chick Says:

I love Neil Diamond that song made me cry buckets….


mat4 Says:

Grendel… It was him I was referring to. But it means that you are here for more than four years, if you remember Dave.

Are you hiding your age? :-)


Emily Says:

There’s so much love going on right now. I’ve been reading tennis-x for a long time now (10 years maybe), and I remember all these posters you’ve been mentioning. I was always nervous about posting b/c I’ve had some bad experiences on other non-tennis forums, but everyone I know is sick of me talking about tennis in real life. I’ve enjoyed trying to become part of this little community and sharing opinions w/ knowledgable people starting interesting debates.


Hippy Chick Says:

Mat4 the very very post i sent was in summer 2011,as Alison Hodge,before i dropped the surname,then i became a Pagan so i became Hippy Chic,then i put a K on the end,it fits what im about in the real world,as the saying goes a typical woman always lies about her age,Chrissy Hynde of the Pretenders always said i lie about my age,i say im about 3/4 years older than i am then people will say how good i look for my age,im 47 for the record,or am i lying,am i older or younger lol?

I did actually read the posts on this forum for many years just like Emily before i bit the bullet,and sent in a post,i remember my very 1st post, it was about that Novak/Janko gun incident….

I love and miss Grendels posts,he once reffered to me as Alison Hodge in a post,and i replied in that i felt like a naughty school girl,he said go to your room Alison Hodge and dont come out till after W is finished,or words to that effect,it was hilarious,much more approachable and much less biased than Dave IMO….


Hippy Chick Says:

Sienna what are you talking about,whats been done??


sienna Says:

Winning slam with the marging Cilic had with US open.
That doesnot happen every slam but from time to time we see a performance so good and above the level of the rest.

Us open was the first since garros 10.


brando Says:

@Mat4: thank you for accepting my apology. I know I can be a prickly character on here at times but usually it’s without apology.But I do feel sincerely bad at going for you so I am grateful you accepted my genuine apology. I promise in future I won’t rail against you regardless of whatever you post. Above all else though: wish you good health my man! It’s a personal situation but if I can suggest without being intrusive I would say: the older you get the more vital, beneficial it is to get plenty of fresh air, exercise and just being in the outdoor. Seeing that you are is great to hear. Also swimming helps greatly. Eat a lot of natural food: more fruit and vegetables the better. Glad you are surrounding yourself with what you enjoy: the more mentally and emotionally you feel good, your physical condition shall follow suit. So I’m glad you have music, poetry etc that are joyful passions. I suggest when your fav suffers lose (they all do) just stay away from blog sites, even articles since it can get mean, nasty. Ultimately: it’s not worth the fret, worry and anxiety. Once again: wish you the best Mat and keep your head up, your a steely character so I am sure you’ll be fine!


Hippy Chick Says:

Brando nice post theres alot of me in there too euphoric highs and really low lows,also did i read rightly in that you suffer with OCD?if so me too,that can also be connected to a form of depression,something ive suffered with right from been a young child,i will walk to work in a minute,and avoid the double yellow lines even though i tell my self i wont do it again i still do….


skeezer Says:

mat4,
Didn’t know you were so ill. Sorry to hear :(.
Oh well, chin up, enjoy what you can, walk more, listen to music more, write more poetry, and write more here. 😊


TennisVagabond.com Says:

Have I woken to a Bizarro world?

For myself, Grendel is the poster I miss. But Matt4 reminds me of TF76 who was really knowledgeable.

Occasionally Skeeze talks tactics and techniques and you can tell he (and Kimberley) have been very experienced players. MMT is another one.

My own tennis is piss poor, but I try! They say you can’t learn tennis from a book, but I actually did. When I was 11 I found an instruction book by Rod Laver and Roy Emerson, and by 13 I peaked. Its been downhill ever since!

I expect this is rather like the sheepdog and wolf from bugs bunny- soon someone will punch the time clock and everyone will be back at each others throats.


Markus Says:

So there, contrary to what some posts may suggest in the heat of an argument, when you peel off those layers, everybody has a pleasant, caring core. I’ll remember that next time I disagree with anyone. Hate the comment, not the person. Everybody has his own point of view.


brando Says:

@Alison: thanks Alison. Yes OCD, its more like Rafa really: I like order, familiar pattern of behavior. But everyone has OCD to a degree studies show, and mines not all consuming really. You won’t hear of some Howard Hughesesque tales about me lol. Depression? I think everyone and anyone can be low at times. Life’s hard. One day you will pass away, you will physically weaken, become frail with age and modern society places alot of demands on individuals just to exist. Those cold facts are enough to knock anyone down: regardless of your station in life. So yeah I do feel empathy for those who get down. It’s like I said to Mat4: you should have passion in life: some source of enjoyment. So should that be poetry, classical music or whatever else it maybe you should enthusiastically engage in it. And if you have a problem: share it. Converse with loved ones about it. I don’t really think there is a problem beyond individuals (outside unfortunate health issues) that one cannot address successfully since a quick glance at history shows mankind is great at overcoming. And to be honest: those who have gone before us have faced and overcome way, way bigger ordeals.


sienna Says:

Dave the ultimate poster.

I remember him posting on Tx, ttalk, but his best and longest comments came on bleacherreport.

mindblowing the detail and depth he portrayed. if you could be GOAT in tennis comments he surely was it.


sienna Says:

I remember when Elaine entered bizarro world.
first glance it looked fine but later not so good.


wilfried Says:

I’ve been reading tennis-x about 5 years now, and I appreciate the plurality of comments of the different fan bases on this blog a lot, though I don’t like the rudeness or disrespect expressed in some of the comments.
Got banned myself in a humiliating and hypocritical way from another tennisblog because the owner of the blog couldn’t deal in an adult way with a commenter questioning or opposing respectfully his speculative theories, blaming me for being disrespectful while I don’t even dispose of the English vocabulary to be disrespectful.
Love the comments in this thread, particularly those from Mat4.


jane Says:

“I appreciate the plurality of comments of the different fan bases on this blog a lot, though I don’t like the rudeness or disrespect”

well put and i agree wilfried.


mat4 Says:

@Wilfried:

Thank you, Wilfried. I try to be informative whenever I can. Lately, since I watch my son’s trainings and talk with his coach, my knowledge of tennis has improved a bit. I even hit a one handed backhand once (it finished in the net, but who cares? my son was impressed).


Hippy Chick Says:

Sienna Daves posts were very heavily Federer biased to the very point that no other player was given an ounce of credit for their own achievements,many a Federer fan dared to defend other players and were lambasted for it,i dont ever recall him sending in a post or link praising another player,or ever saying congratulations for winning a title either god forbid,been as your also Federer fan you are unlikely to see it that way though….


vijayaganesh Says:

Swiss express Roger Federer will be win this tournament. Now roger in full form and he is cool and tough player to all.common roger you are the best in the world


sienna Says:

HC
You should have commented back then. He can’t defend himself anymore. He gave Nadal credit but he brought it in perspective.
I remember him not as Fedfanatic. He covered all era and would acknowledged Rafa ongoing clay dominance and 2013 comeback and Novak’s #1.

His comments where to the point, well documented, funny, long, showed tremendous insight,….


Hippy Chick Says:

No player was ever allowed achievements that were theres, and theres alone,he had to even bring Federer into their achievements too,but as i say your a Federer fan your unlikely to see it that way,and there were alot of personal attacks on fellow posters,including Federer fans,god forbid they ever dared to disagree with him,or give another player credit,i never did see him congratulate another player on winning a title,or post a link on achievements unless they were about Federer,unless it was actually dissing another player,as i say a clever and knowledgeable poster,but always from a Federer fan point of view….

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