Blake Falls as Del Potro, Simon Move Closer to Shanghai
by Sean Randall | October 24th, 2008, 3:47 pm

Lots of great tennis action this week, and with Rafael Nadal already wrapping up the year-end No. 1 ranking, the spotlight is now on those last few precious Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai berths. ADHEREL

The top five entries are set of the eight-man field with Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Nikolay Davydenko already qualified.

That leaves just three spots remaining with about six guys chasing. Andy Roddick I think gets in despite his loss to today to Robin Soderling. The way it looks, Roddick, ranked No. 6 entering the week in the Race, will likely wind up as the last guy to make it into Shanghai after he eventually gets passed by the hot Juan Martin Del Potro and the indefatigable Gilles Simon, who both won their matches today.

Idle No. 7 David Ferrer has already been bumped out of the Top 8 and I don’t see him making any kind of surge in Paris next week. Ferrer seems more interested in ending his season ASAP rather than making a strong push for Shanghai.

No. 10 James Blake suffered a serious setback losing to Feliciano Lopez in Basel earlier today. Also I’ll also include Stanislas Wawrinka, Fernando Gonzalez, JW Tsonga, Fernando Verdasco and David Nalbandian as guys who all are still alive, but really longshots. With the way JMDP and Simon are playing they are going to have put up a big, big result next week at the Tennis Masters Paris to pass Roddick and get in.

As for tomorrow, we have some interesting semifinals starting with Basel where Nalbandian gets another shot a Del Potro (hard to bet against Del Potro with the kid having now won 35 of his last 38!). Local favorite Federer plays Lopez in a tricky one.

In Lyon it looks like we’re heading for a Simon v. Tsonga final. Saturday Simon gets Soderling while Tsonga meets the Darcos/Benneteau winner.

Murray has maintained his strong play and focus, reaching the semifinals in St. Petersburg where he’ll run into Fernando Verdasco. Golubev and Hanescu are in the other semifinal.

The Paris draw will also be out soon, and it will be interesting to see just who plays and who doesn’t. Will Rafa? Will Raja? Novak?

You Might Like:
Blake Bids for Nadal Upset in Shanghai
Del Potro Withdraws from Shanghai
Tsonga, Del Potro Make Shanghai Masters Cup Debut Sunday
Murray Crashes, Federer Betterer In Shanghai; Djokovic Moves Closer To No. 1
No Federer, No Murray Leaves Shanghai Masters Field Wide Open

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79 Comments for Blake Falls as Del Potro, Simon Move Closer to Shanghai

zola Says:

Blake could have won that match. He fell behind 6-3 or 6-2in the second set tie-break and Lopez couldn’t use the match points. It became 6-6 and then Blake lost 9-7 ( If I remember correctly).

Blake wasn’t in the contest anyway and I agree that Ferrer will be knocked out. It will be Roddick, DP and Simon.

here is the Paris draw:

DP, Nalby and Murray , all in Rafa’s half, but luckily in the same quarter. Rafa’s first match will be Llodra, ( and I heart Llodra!), and can be tricky. He then can have Safin, Monfils, Wawrika, Berdych….you name it!

Djoko, Simon and Roddick are in the same quarter. Fed has soderling, Blake, Kohli or Youzhny in his quarter. The only one that can trouble him might be Soderling.Other than that, he can reach the semis with his eyes closed.

johanne Says:

I’m bummed about Ferrer. He’s such a good player and so fun to watch – I don’t know what’s going on with him. Assuming he’s still playing for Spain in Davis Cup, I hope he unearths some of that fire we know he has in order to really compete! We’ll see I guess.

Zola, is the Paris draw really out?

zola Says:

yes, it is out. Just press on that link.

Ferrer had some shoulder injuries this summer. Je played lots of clay events and then faded away. I hope he can make it to Shanghai, but very slim chance.

kamret Says:

Unfortunately, I see Roddick being bumbed out by the end of the Paris Open. I expect the last 3 spots to go to Del Potro, Simon, and Tsonga.

zola Says:

Ok, let’s do some picks for Shanghai!

Del Potro

Del Potro

sensationalsafin Says:

I pick

Beatrice Says:

I pick:


jane Says:

I pick, in whatever order, what sensationalsafin and Beatrice said. Because let’s face it ladies and gentlemen: who cares about the order? What matters is who is gettin there. May the final 8 kick some tennis butt and set the scene for 09 eh?

Daniel Says:

I go with Jane (Beatrice, sensationa safin and zola).

But the order makes a difference: N. 8 is for sure on Rafa’s side.

Dr. Death Says:

It will be interesting to see who emerges from the huckleberry patch to be a serious challenger in 09. Unfortunately I have not seen enough tennis over the last few months, but my general impressions are:

– Murray: He is no longer a huckleberry but a serious contender. “Stella!”

– DelPorto: Needs to gain some weight. The shadow of the ball often blocks my view of his strokes (bad word in my home). He also needs to find the sleeves to his shirt so we can tell his arms from the shirt’s seams.

– Djokovic: If he goes to a good sports psychologist, says his prayers and takes his vitamins every day, he may hold on to third place, but I doubt it.

– Simon – simple.

– Roddick: One day, his luck will turn and he will have a good luck streak for a while. I saw a replay of his final in China and he hit some great backhand down the line winners! OR it could be the meds I am on. Right now, he can play a great match but not a great tournament.

– Federer: He is fighting with Djok for the same sports psychologist.

– Nadal: He may reach his playing maturity in 09 or 10. I expect more from him.

– Then there is that nameless kid who just appears and raises the game to a new level.

I hope to be back for Shanghai.

gulu Says:

Von , where are you?

jane Says:

Thanks for clarifying why the order matters Daniel; there is that silly little matter of a draw isn’t there? ;-)

So Fed and Nalby will once again face off on indoor hard courts, in the final no less. Should be interesting; could be an utter blow out by Fed, or on the other hand… who knows?

Murray should hold onto his St. Pete title, and Soderling, hmmm? Will he win in Lyon?

andrea Says:

18 times facing each other…that has to be a record.

gulu Says:

Hope tomoro’ll be a good win for Roger, the consistent against Nalbandian,the inconsistent ! Keepin my fingers crossed. ALLEZZZZ…. ROGERRR….! ! !

zola Says:

yes, thanks Daniel fr clarifying that order matters and I want Simon to be in Rafa’s half!

Fed has already had 18 matches with Rafa. Nalby will just match that ( but not the H2H!)!

That final should be interesting. Fed had two medicore matches at the beginning of the week, but then crashed Bolleli and Lopez. Same with NAlby. Seems to be in the “zone”. This could be a very interesting match.

gulu dear,
Roger is that favorite tomorrow. This is his tournament and his hometown.

zola Says:

Dr. Death,
like your huckleburry analysis. I would say next year Murray will perhaps win a major and Del Potro and Simon will part themselves from the rest. I also agree with Del Potro changing his outfit. It just doesn’t look good on him. Sleeveless looks good on say Blake, Ginepri, Monfils and Rafa, but not on Del Potro. He needs to wear a bulkier top with sleeves.

grendel Says:


Gulu says: where are you, Von?

I’m going to take a chance. It may well be that what I have to say is absolute rubbish, in which case: my apologies in advance – but I am the one who will have made a tit of himself.

I have no expertise in people, know very little about them really, rum bloody lot so far as I am concerned, but – over the last year or so – I have been obliged to observe you a bit, and what comes across loud and clear is that you have a skin thinner than a butterfly’s wing. You seem to take umbrage very easily, and (if I am right) have a tendency to assume people are after you when they are not. Sometimes they are of course. Just not as often as you seem to think. This must make life uncomfortable, sometimes, for you – I sort of understand, actually, since (personally speaking) I am more or less a shrieking paranoid, but never mind, that’s my problem, and you get used to it over the years, you can get to like anything, even a sore gum.

To get to specifics. You addressed a post to me concerning the deficiencies of Federer’s forehand. I read it carefully, but found I didn’t really have anything to contribute. But then I thought, since you had taken the trouble to address me, I ought at least to acknowledge this, just to be polite, but since I didn’t quite know what to say, I ended up making a semi-humorous comment which was meant to be forgotten so soon as seen. I had absolutely no intentions to mock you. However, I realised some time after I had posted it that it could be taken as, in a fairly gentle way, taking the mick. Furthermore, I found, when I thought about it, that I didn’t mind this, and even rather liked it. Partly because your post had been, perhaps, a little bit solemn (somehow, when we get to considering what is happening to Federer’s forehand, there is this tendency to get extraordinarily serious, as if the fate of nations is at stake), but it wasn’t just that. Zola noticed that there is a cruel streak in me, not (I think) terribly vicious, and perhaps not so very different, in fact, to the cruelty which I suspect lurks in most people. Still, it is there and, that part in me which compulsively questions everything wonders whether when I did my little post, even though I felt quite innocent, the old subconscious was at work, doing the dirty on me and revealing me in my true, dismal colours. Can one be responsible for one’s subconscious? Tricky one, eh – I daresay your profession, the law, sometimes gets its knickers in a twist over that one.

You demanded, in a fairly peremptory manner, an explanation. I just didn’t feel inclined to give one. (But all good things come to those who wait – here I am, spilling the beans like nobody’s business). I can guess that this might have heightened your feelings of being hunted. Silence has its own language; you are speaking it now. And then I intervened in a conversation you were having on Safin; now I have noted in the past that you (Von)can take this kind of “intervention” as a sort of indirect way of getting at you – because you have implied as much – and it occurs to me that perhaps on this occasion you thought, here we go again. Please may I assure you that is not true. You are not alone in being very fond of Safin, and also I am personally very interested in this whole business of failure, what constitutes it, and so on. If I am on the right tracks, I believe you have made a mistake. I can’t be absolutely sure, because I think motivation is a slippery old thing, even one’s own, even to oneself.

But the real reason I am writing this is that I am actually distressed to think that I may be the cause of you withdrawing. To those who only post once in a while, this will seem mad. But you are an inveterate poster, and even just missing a couple of days is sort of heavy stuff. The thing is, you are someone who likes to establish a rapport with a lot of people, and you clearly do. To someone with all the social skills of a reclusive hermit crab, this is pretty impressive, and I think it would be a great pity if you were to deprive the “virtual friends” you have made here of your camaraderie – and, just to be selfish, I would feel a great spoilsport.

As I said at the start, all this may be pure bullshit, and in fact, you have simply found yourself behind in the gardening. But I thought – just in case – I ought to try to set the record straight

Noel Says:

“But the order makes a difference: N. 8 is for sure on Rafa’s side.”

Only the top two seeds are 100% sure of being placed in different groups at the TMC.The players seeded 3-4,5-6 and 7-8 have as much probability of falling on Rafa’s side as of falling on Fed’s side.At this moment I am assuming Fed will be seeded number two at the TMC even though he hasn’t clinched it mathematically as of yet.Therefore, number 8 has only a 50% probability of being in Rafa’s group.

zola Says:

This is the latest standing from ATP site:

Latest ATP 2008 Race Standings

1) Rafael Nadal* 1310
2) Roger Federer* 1001 (1016 if wins Basel title)
3) Novak Djokovic* 914
4) Andy Murray* 644 (659 if wins St. Petersburg title)
5) Nikolay Davydenko* 418
6) Andy Roddick 369
7) Juan Martin del Potro 354
8) Gilles Simon 341
9) David Ferrer 338
10) James Blake 310
11) Stanislas Wawrinka 301
12) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 290
13) Fernando Gonzalez 284
14) David Nalbandian 275 (290 if wins Basel title)
15) Fernando Verdasco 268
16) Gael Monfils 264

So, Ferrer is officially knocked out. what a shame.And the Simon machine was stopped by Soderling. But I assume both him and DP will take this momentum to Paris. The question is how much gas they have left in the tank.

nice post. You want people to think you are cruel or a loner or whatever, but you have a very soft heart and you really care. scary! huh?

zola Says:

I din’t put that smile before Simon. I swear! it is supposed to be a number 9!

zola Says:

oops! 8!

Von Says:


Thanks ever so much for your kind post, but please let me assure you that my withdrawal from posting is in no way whatsoever connected with you or anything you’ve written on any of the points made in your posts. To be truthful, since your return to posting at Tennis.X, it’s been a joy reading your posts, and if I might add, I have felt at times, somewhat regretful that I didn’t appreciate your input to a greater extent in the past. The post ref. Fed’s forehand, I didn’t understand your comment and asked for an explanation out of curiosity. I had completely forgotten it until reading your post a few minutes ago, so please don’t agonize over it. Same goes for the Safin post. I was merely agreeing with Sansationalsafin, and your input was very iluminating and insightful, hence no problem was caused, and I wasn’t in the least bit upset.

Yes, I’m a very sensitive person, not thin-skinned, but compassionate, which is a bit different. I’ve seen many suffer from injustices and the repercussions thereof, and this is where I have learnt to reach out and show compassion, which accounts for my humor. I use humor to put people at ease because I genuinely love people and to see them laugh is a joy indeed. The world I see is pretty painful at times from my coign of vantage. Quite the opposite sentiments you’d expect from someone with my background, don’t you think? We’re not all money grabbers. :D

Please let me reassure you that you are totally without blemish with respect to my decision to take a sabbatical from posting, something I’ve been contemplating for sometime due to time restraints, but the addiction to tennis has kept me from so doing, and when i get going, it’s difficult to put on the brakes. Again, thanks ever so much for your genuine concern — Beau geste, merci. :P

Von Says:


How are you? Your Rogi is in the final, which should put a smile on your face. Here’s one from me to you. :P I’ll catch up with you later. :D

Von Says:


BTW, I don’t know if you remember my joy over watching the Wimby McEnroe/Connors matches which I had recorded and saved on my DVR a few weeks ago? Well, something terrible happened, it appears I overworked the DVR. :D To make a long story short, the DVR has been malfunctioning, and today the cable company replaced it with a brand new machine, however, in so doing, all of my recordings were wiped out. A sad day for me indeed. Anyway, the Tennis Channel is showing the past Bercy finals, and I’ve been able to record some today. I’ve even been blessed to see my sweethearts Marat and Roddick playing today. In every dark cloud there’s a silver lining.

bob22 Says:

Hi Von, I like yours recent postings. They r so entertaining. It seams you are in good mood even season is almost over :(

Von Says:

Hi bob 22:

Thanks for your kind thoughts. I’m not so happy that the season is nearly over, but my one saving grace is the Tennis Channel, which is the panacea for my tennis addiction/obsession, in that TC really fills the void by showing some classics of yesteryear. This year they’ve made a concerted effort to step up their programming and I’m privileged to see a lot of old Bercy matches that I’ve never seen before. Recently they’ve been showing some quotes by the players on what they did with their first paycheck; your boy Nole, said he was glad that he finally got some of his own money to spend. He was smiling from ear to ear. In that little clip of his, it’s clearly evident that he’s just a young boy/man who is struggling with the many pressures placed upon him, and makes me realize that we the tennis fans, expect too much in the way of decorum from these youngmen.

I have to tell you that you do provide some very good hunour yourself, especially your last post, which I won’t quote, but if your memory is in gear you’ll remember which one. I’m still laughing at your spunk. :D

Von Says:

MMT: a quiz for you, and no cheating:

Of the 10 “worst” tennis outbursts/scenes on court, who was the worst offender? A hint, it’s neither Connors, McEnroe nor Nastase, and the player is an American.

grendel: Which one of your distinguished statesmen said: “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” Hint: He was famous for literally taking the English language and sending it to war, vis-a-vis: “We will nevah, nevah, surrendah”, correctly written: “We will never, never surender.” No cheating, but the war is a huge giveaway.

NachoF Says:

Wow, Im really worried about Federer tomorrow… Nalbandian can be pretty dangerous when he’s focused and motivated… and he just beat Del Potro in straight sets so….

tennismonger Says:

Nalbandian would be much more dangerous if he could just stay away from Krispy Kreme…

zola Says:

The Fed-Nalby match will start at 10:20 am ET tomorrow morning. I will try to watch it. Should be very interesting.

Nalby takes almost the whole year off, then he comes and plays two good master series and that’s it for him. Who knows what his ranking would have been if he was consistent.

NachoF Says:

He used to be consistent… he was no.3… If he were consistent right now he would be no.5

zola Says:

wasn’t it about 2005-2006? still, didn’t he have several injuries and also involved in car racing?I think without ijuries and with full dedication, he could have been either of the top 3.

Monsieur Says:

Hello to everyone.
For those interested in Sunday’s Basel final,
this head-to-head info was copied from the ATP website:

Federer vs. Nalbandian:

Federer (9)
Nalbandian (8)

Federer (3)
Nalbandian (1)

Federer (3)
Nalbandian (3)

Federer (3)
Nalbandian (4)


ATP Masters Series Monte Carlo (clay)
FEDERER 5-7 6-2 6-2


ATP Masters Series Paris (hard)
NALBANDIAN 6-4 7-6(3)

ATP Masters Series Madrid (carpet)
NALBANDIAN 1-6 6-3 6-3


Tennis Masters Cup (carpet)
FEDERER 3-6 6-1 6-1

ATP Masters Series Madrid (carpet)
FEDERER 6-4 6-0

Roland Garros (clay)
FEDERER 3-6 6-4 5-2 RET

ATP Masters Series Rome (clay)
FEDERER 6-3 3-6 7-6(5)


Tennis Masters Cup (carpet)
NALBANDIAN 6-7(4) 6-7(11) 6-2 6-1 7-6(3)

Tennis Masters Cup (carpet)
FEDERER 6-3 2-6 6-4

US Open (hard)
FEDERER 6-2 6-4 6-1


Australian Open (hard)
FEDERER 7-5 6-4 5-7 6-3


Tennis Masters Cup (hard)
(Houston, TX)
FEDERER 6-3 6-0

US Open (hard)
NALBANDIAN 3-6 7-6(1) 6-4 6-3

Cincinnati TMS (hard)
NALBANDIAN 7-6(4) 7-6(5)

Australian Open (hard)
NALBANDIAN 6-4 3-6 6-1 1-6 6-3


Basel, Switzerland (carpet)
NALBANDIAN 6-7(2) 7-5 6-3

Monte Carlo TMS (clay)

NachoF Says:

I didnt know about the car racing… what I mean though is that I dont think he ever played better than what Djoko and Murray have been playing lately…. at least not in a consistent tournament to tournament basis… but thats just my opinion…. he did get to one Wimbledon final I think.

gulu Says:

Hi everybody! Hey Von, I m very happy 2 see u back here with ur sweet smiles ! NachOf, I too m very tense about Fed facin Nalby! Still I believ that if there’s Roger,there’s hope ! My Fingers crossed thou.

gulu Says:

I don’t want a whole lot of losses for Roger. Don’t know a lot about this,but there’s some gossip going on Mirka’s expectin a baby! Read a littl about it from members’ posts.However they r also not sure about it n r just hopin it 2 b true.

gulu Says:

Needless 2 say dat I’d b one of d happiest person d day Fed confirms his fatherhood ! I wish dear Roger all d happines in d world! Don’t worry dear Fed,tennis isn’t everything in life,there are many more things in ur life lik ur family etc ! :-)

andy fan! Says:

My pick for shanghai is Andy Roddick.

he will be there!

Daniel Says:

Wow, what a match!! So far is everything we expected from a Fed x Nalby one. Fed in particuar is playing free, with awsesome shots and Nalby is very steady, going for the lines (he painted those 5 times that I count). Both are serving aces, very few UE and hiitng the ball hard. I remember the Djoko x Cilic US open match when I said Fed couldn’t handle that speed, well I was wrong. He is dictating the speed of the match!

Daniel Says:

So far this is the best set Fed is playing the whole year!! Whoever is watching this match can reinforce it. Just brilliant display in all aspects of the game. His backhand is killing Nalby and the forehand looks as good as 2006. He can return almost all Nalby serves (who is puttung a lot of first serves in). Seems like he is havina “the” day.

Daniel Says:

gulu, you can be very, very happy: Fed is in grace state! I am in frenesi here, this last game he put a bakhand paralel down the libe, than a backhand return winner and to break a backhand crosscourt winner from the baseline that Naby didn’t move, One after the another. Just spectacular!!!
Fed confirmed all his service games 40-15 or 40-0 which is giving him a lot of foccus to break Nalby, you can see it in his eyes.

I hope he keeps this form to Paris and Shangai. I have a theory that if he wins MS Paris one day he`ll win the French, he has to break the non title situation in French capital first. :)

zola Says:

you can breathe easily. Fed is a set and a break ahead. He has the trophy in hin pocket!

Daniel Says:

Fed won!!! Conceed just 7 points on serve! I have no more words, just happyness. He is back!

zola Says:

and now he is serving for the title.
40-0, 3 match points
and the winner is: Roger Federer……..
Congratulations to gulu. :) and all Fed fans here.

zola Says:

I think Murray plays differently than Nalby. Maybe Djoko’s style is more similar. But the way Nalby plays with the lines and angles is just incredible. I hope to see a Nalby-Djoko or Nalby-Murray in good helth ( both sides) and then maybe we can decide.
CAr racing is a big hobby for Nalby. Apparently it is huge in Cordoba and if I am not mistaken he has his own team or is in a team with someone.Here is a pic for you:

grendel Says:

Von – no, I am not familiar with that quote, but as you say, the other one is a giveaway – Churchill. And yes, technology can be a bummer – can drive me right round several bends at once, actually, but that’s because I don’t understand it. Perhaps the matches you lost are buyable? You seem o be able to get most things these days.

Daniel, so you have been shown to be spot on. After a couple of very iffy matches, to say the least, Federer upped his form against disappointing opposition, especially Lopez, but was simply majestic today against Nalbandian.

Nalbandian seems to bring out the best in him these days – perhaps because he respects him so much, and also with an element of sibling rivalry being thrown in, Federer brings his best to the table. After a poorish start to the season, the quality of his match against Nalbandian in Monte Carlo was high. Today, Nalbandian was playing well – this was good Nalbandian – for the first 4 games or so. He was fighting hard to stay with Fed, but he couldn’t quite keep it up, and ended up being more or less blown away.

Everything was singing for Fed to day – even the forehand, which we have all been putting on the psychoanalytic couch, was behaving itself. His backhand drives – generally the weaker component in his backhand armoury – were excellent, including one sizzler, going from corner to corner crosscourt, you could have fried an egg on the disturbed air molecules. Volleying, too, was enormously improved – only the smashes conformed to type, often giving the opponent a second chance.

Clearly the surface suits Federer. Even so, you can’t help feeling there is some ground for optimism after an electric performance like this.

grendel Says:

Daniel – I hadn’t seen your recent posts; when i just now said you’d been proved right, I was referring to your post earlier this week.

gulu Says:

O Daniel my friend,thank u very much for informing about how Fed was playing in the match ! I couldn’t see d match,but thanks to d description in ur nice posts, I can now relax,sit back and watch the match’s highlight in my
imagination and be happy ! :-)

gulu Says:

Thank you so much dear Zola! I m very :-) very :-) very :-) happy :-) as Fed won the title in front of his home crowd in straight sets against a player of the caliber of Nalbandian whom few’d like to face on hard court or indoor carpet !

Daniel Says:

grendel, it is within enormous satisfaction that I say: I told you so!.. :)

The thing with Fed is that he knows against who he has to increase his level, he did in US Open (versus Djoko and Murray) and today too. This way we can know who are the players that he feels can beat him, the ones where just playing to win won’t be enough. Murray last week was serving perfectly and sometimes there is nothing you can do against a player with his game when he happens to serve that way. But usually Fed came trough this big matches.

The sole exception, of course is Nadal, the only one that can neutralize an in form Fed. It’s just a bad match up for Fed and it will always be, unless the physical part of Nadal game diminish. Nadal has an incredible talent to dictate the rythim of the match, or lack of it, avoiding the player to play their style. But in hard courts a solid payer with an attacking game working troubles him.

Now I wil do some polemic remarks:

After Wimbedon everyboy was saying Nadal was the “real” n. 1 even if the rankings didn’t show it. Now after Nadal took n. 1 (post Olympics) I say Fed is the better player second by Murray, their resuts show it:

– Fed has US Open win, Semis in Madrid and title in Basel (1000 pts + 225 + 250 = 1475)
– Murray has US Open runner-up, win in Madrid and win in St. Petersburg (700 + 500 + 250 = 1450)
– Nadal has US Open semis and Madrid semis (450 + 225 = 675). Didn’t play a smaller tourney, but even a win would give plus 250 pts.
– Djoko has US open semis and Madrid R16 (450 + 75 = 525)

This is interesting and I want ot see how the rest of the season unfold, Paris and Shangai. If Nadal stays without a final in these two tourneys will means that ever since he became n. 1 he doesn’t have a single final and this could add extra spice in the beggining of next year. Will see…

Daniel Says:

gulu your welcome! Too bad you couldn’t saw that display of tennis. Inspired by it I am going to play my weekend ball and face the cruel reality, that if I can make just one great shot like those it will worth it! :)

lucy Says:

If Nadal stays without a final in these two tourneys will means that ever since he became n. 1 he doesn’t have a single final and this could add extra spice in the beggining of next year. Will see…

And, if you followed tennis the last few years Federer wins the same indoor tournaments every year. I don’t know why u Federer fans cannot enjoy him winning without making digs at Nadal. As for your previous ,I bet, Federer/Murray would have rather had the 8 titles Nadal has won except maybe the USO.

Von Says:

To: All Fed fans, a hearty congrats on his win in Basel. gulu are you smiling or what? :P I’m happy for you. :D

Well, if Fed takes his present form into Paris, I can’t see too many players who are going to put a spoke in his wheel. I believe both Del Potro and Simon are tennised out — I’ve been expecting this crash for a while now, and am sorry to see it happening before the TMC. Quite a few tired bodies will be showing up at Shanghai, which makes me want to say to Fed, keep some of that energy on ice for the real thing – the TMC, when he faces Murray.

Andy Fan:

I’m not worried about Roddick getting to the TMC — he’s a smart player and knows to play the numbers. He should be admired for turning around what has been a horrible, topsy-turvy year, which many seem to ignore, still remaining in the top 10 and making it to the TMC, after being laid up with the shoulder/back injury, and ‘stinking up Wimbledon’ per Mr. Randall. Ya just can’t keep a good man down! Realistically speaking, Andy doesn’t place too much emphasis on being in the TMC tournament, since he’s been there 5 times already, and could have made it 6 due to his back injury the year he missed out. I believe the novelty for him has worn out it’s appeal.

I’m somewhat disappointed Blake is so worn-out and there couldn’t be two (2) Americans at the TMC instead of one. Anyway, the silver lining in the dark clouds, the Bryans will be there, but Bob’s shoulder is somewhat still suspect, so we’ll see what happens. Damn, those Americans, do they have to be so ubiquitous?

Again, Fed fans congrats on your guy’s performance and win. Remember the little engine that could: “I think I can, I think I can”. Now Fed has taken that one step further: “I know I can, I know I can.” :P Oh ye of little faith, why do you not have more confidence in your man?


I still hold to my theory that Fed’s errant/aberrant/fallible forehand is = nervous tension. Today was the deciding factor.

Kimmi Says:

Wow ! From these posts, it looks like Fed played well. I did not see the match, what a pity but I am very happy for the results. Nalbandian is a tough costomer.

Somebody said that fed played like 2006, is it true ? If its true then he is baaaaaaack !!!

Skorocel Says:

Man! Is this guy named Federer a big mystery these days! One day he plays total sh.t (as vs Nieminen and Reynolds), but once he reaches the final, it all somehow clicks together, and it’s game over for the opponent… Today it was exactly one of those days, as the guy simply played a superb match, whilst Nalby himself DIDN’T play a bad match by any means! Just as it was in their last match at MC 2008, today’s encounter too was filled with top quality rallies (especially in the 1st set), and to be honest, if I was in Nalby’s place, I wouldn’t be that much disappointed… He played a great match, but what the hell can you do when this Swiss guy plays like that? Phenomenal showing from both guys! I’ve already said it million times before, but I’ll say it again – these two players are without question the most talented ones on the tour, and it’s just a joy to watch them playing against each other! Without question a great day for tennis!

P.S. Von, thanks for those heartfelt congrats! Btw, you’re perfectly right about that Fed’s FH – it has always been sort of a barometer of his performances (especially these days)…

Von Says:


“P.S. Von, thanks for those heartfelt congrats! Btw, you’re perfectly right about that Fed’s FH – it has always been sort of a barometer of his performances (especially these days)…”

You’re very welcome! You were uppermost in my thoughts, among others, when I posted my congrats on Fed’s win, which was a big one imo, confidence-wise for him, going into Paris and the TMC – it’s certainly positive momentum for him. I am serious about his forehand, and believe it or not, he’s human and has tension-ridden moments just like very other player. some more than others. Watching my fave a-rod, i can tell when he’s nervous, double-faults.

On another note, am I losing my touch or what? I’m now relegated to a postscript instead of the main topic of your post? :P Seriously speaking sweetie, I was wondering what else I had to do to bring you out of hibernation with respect to posting again. My jokes didn’t do the trick, and I’m now of the opinion I’m spoiling you with too many of them plus my couple paragraphs of email correspondence. Anyway, be that as it may, I’m hoping you’ll be posting next week on Paris so we can talk some tennis. BTW, is your faithful Eurosport televising the matches? My ever-so-gracious TC masters feed, starring Jason Goodall and Robbie Koenig, is going all out, so I’ll be watching too, day and night. enjoy when you watch. I’d love to play hookey this week from work, but I can’t. I’ll catch up with you later as time permits. :o

Skorocel Says:

No, keep those jokes coming, Von! Just as we in Slovakia say: A fun has to be there – even if we’d be starving :)

I’m sorry I haven’t replied on your emails yet :( I just don’t have that much time now, ya know… To tell you the truth, I’ve completely lost track of the recent posts here at, but anyway, I’ll do my best to reply to your recent letters in the days to come… Boy, am I getting boring with these promises :)

P.S. I’ll watch the Paris MS event on the Galaxie Sport channel, as the Eurosport isn’t going to cover the Paris MS event (they only covered the Basel tourney). Actually, the last time they showed a MS (or a Mercedes Super 9) tournament was back in 1999 (i.e. the year before they renamed it to Masters Series).

P.P.S. I knew Goodall used to work for the UK Sky channel, but who’s Robbie Koenig? Is he a former pro or what?

JoshDragon Says:

Roddick and Blake are on their way out of the top 10. The future doesn’t look too good right now for American tennis players with only Querrey an Young to replace them.

NachoF Says:

Ok, I cant believe I didnt get to see the match!! form what I gather reading here Fed played insanely!!… Im going on youtube… hope I can find at least the best points!

gulu Says:

Dear Von,whenever Fed wins I becom as happy as a monkey eating the sweet,ripe and sweet-smelling Indian bananas ! :-]

gulu Says:

Lucy,why u always think Fedfans tak a dig at Nadal? What’s wrong in comparin results of Fed n Rafa at different points of d year?Moreover what’s wrong in speculatin a littl about future?BTW,true Fedfans r not at all losin sleep over Rafa’s achievements !

gulu Says:

Lucy, you do a favour to Fedfans please ! Stop taking their opinions in a bad sense and please don’t try to do misinterpretations of their views !

Von Says:


OK become a monkey eating the sweet bananas — you’re entitled. Yummy. :P

gulu Says:

Oh Von,it has been long since you have send me some smiles! I really want them,especially after Fed’s win ! Coz sweet bananas and sweet smiles are all a monkey like me needs to celebrate the moment ! ;-) :-)

MMT Says:

MMT: a quiz for you, and no cheating:

Of the 10 “worst” tennis outbursts/scenes on court, who was the worst offender? A hint, it’s neither Connors, McEnroe nor Nastase, and the player is an American.

I’m going to guess Jeff Tarango, who in 1993 (I think) in a match umpired by frenchman Bruno Rebeuh, he exclaimed was, “…the most corrupt official in the game today!” to which Rebeuh promptly handed him a point penalty violation, to which Tarango promptly exclaimed “I QUIT!”

Later, his french wife walked up to the umpire and slapped him, then attended Tarango’s press conferenced and claimed he overheard Rebeuh at a party earlier in the fornight, hamming it up with a couple of tennis groupies and claiming that he was, “…the most powerful person on the court,” and was, “…capable of controlling the result of any match he wanted.”

Most assumed Rebeuh, who was wont to imbibe generously, was just trying to get laid (sorry ladies), but apparently Mr. Tarango begged to differ – vociferously.

Okay, so who was it really?

MMT Says:

Sorry, Von – that was directed to you! :-)

MMT Says:

Skorocel and Von – I’m going to beg to differ only slightly with your conclusion about the Fed’s FH and his form. In my view, his backhand, good as it looks, is his albatross, when it lacks bite and/or he can’t hit winners from it, puts too much pressure on him to win points from the FH, and this is when he has most of his problems.

At the top of his game, Federer hit a lot of winners with his backhand, making it difficult for opponents to target it and this kept them honest. If he has to spend a lot of energy and pervert his footwork to constantly run around the backhand, his forehand goes to crap.

We may be saying the same thing, because ultimately his game goes as his forehand does, but I really thin, his forehand has had to over-compensate for a backhand that has lost it’s bite.

I also feel he is overly dependent on his serve, which may explain why he’s had so much trouble this year breaking his opponents. I think he broke Nadal once at Wimbledon, generally seems to need 3-4 times the break chances to break his opponents.

That said, he looked pretty good yesterday. I don’t care what anyone says; Nalbandian is always a tough customer, especially for Federer, no matter what “form” he’s in.

Von Says:


Gosh, you’re good!! You’re a virtual tennis encyclopedia. Yes, it is/was Jeff Tarrango. I didn’t know about his wife slapping the umpire; talk about spunk. I would have loved to watch that scenario. That match cost Jeff $50,000 in fines and he was banned from playing the two subsequent grand slams. Talk about a costly moment of anger, WOW. Agassi was interviewd on the clip I watched. Andre mentioned he had spoken to Tarrango on the matter because he (Andre) was questioned about the situation, which angered Tarrango, who didn’t speak to Agassi for 3 years. I think the present crop of players pale in comparison to those of years gone by for their on-court outbursts.

On Fed’s forehand, yes I agree about the BH problem which in turn places pressure on the FH. I believe most of the players have come to this realization, and are targeting his BH, esopecially Nadal. Juan MDP tried to do that in his match with Fed recently, but that strategy didn’t work for him. JDMP needs more finesse and experience to be successful in his future endeavours against Fed.

Nalbandian is always good value to watch. He’s presently not in his best form due to an existing hip problem for which he needs surgery. If he does have the surgery, I believe it will place him at a huge disadvantage and will end his career much sooner than he’d bargained for –Gustavo Kuerten is a prime example of this scenario happening. Hopefully, he’ll be able to find a more natural alternative to surgery, because I’d like to see him play for some more years.


Yes, it was Churchill – The “British Bulldog”.


Robbie Koenig is a South African tennis player turned commentator. I don’t know much about his career as a player, but he’s a very good commentator and I enjoy listening to him and Jason Goodall — they make a great team.

Kimmi Says:

“Nalbandian is always good value to watch. He’s presently not in his best form due to an existing hip problem for which he needs surgery”

So this is what is happening to Nalbandian, thanks for the news. I heard he had an injury but was not sure exactly what it is..

NachoF: federer vs nalbandian Link in great. Enjoyed watching it. i missed the match yesterday. Was a very high quality match. hard hitting and fed forhand and backhand was magnificent.

“Robbie Koenig is a South African tennis player turned commentator. I don’t know much about his career as a player, but he’s a very good commentator and I enjoy listening to him and Jason Goodall — they make a great team.”

I have subscribe to MS TV and I like listening to them too, especially Goodall, I like his cold sense of humour.

Von Says:


That’s what I’ve read about Nalby and I’m sorry to say, it’s not good news.

I like Jason’s dry sense of humor also. I also like Doug Adler, the American, who’s part of that team. Jason mentioned during Madrid that Doug likes to ‘chat up’ Judy Murray. I was so surprised hearing that from Jason. If I wasn’t listening carefully, I would have missed that statement because his tone remained the same. Unreal. :D

Today, I heard them stating that Roddick might not go to the TMC even if he qualifies, and for tomorrow’s Schedule of Play, I saw a question mark next to Roddick’s name, so now I’m at a loss as to what’s happeneing with A-Rod. Gasquet pulled out with an injury. That’s all the news I have. :)

Kimmi Says:

Von: “Jason mentioned during Madrid that Doug likes to ‘chat up’ Judy Murray”

LOL, that is a “very” english humour there ! Judy Murray is divorced I hear, so maybe Doug has a chance.

Oooh no! What is wrong with Andy ? i hope not injured again. IMO he hasn’t seem to be too excited about his prospects of qualifying to shanghai ? You can tell there was not a lot of excitements from him. I hope he goes there, he has enough points to qualify even if he does not do well here. Del potro and Simon looked very tired to me. It will be interesting to see how far they can go in paris.

gulu Says:

Von,I m really sorry 2 say this but 2 me it hurts 2 see Rod playin below his top level n lose 2 mediocre players, particularly d slamless ones.So if Our Andy has got any physical problems n for dat reason he decides 2 skip Shanghai,it’d be better .

gulu Says:

Yesterday I was watchin Mario Ancic’s match.What Mono had done 2 poor Ancic ! :-l He was lookin so depressed,weak n so lustreless! I felt really sad 4 him! Has anyone seen him yesterday?If yes,then I m sure you’d believ me! I m so happy dat he won! :-)

gulu Says:

I m thankful to God for protectin Fed from a more virulent strain of Mono! :-o Thank God that Fed recovered early from it! I’d hav been so sad if I had seen Fed in such a sorry state as Mario now is in! Oh God , be kind to destroy Mario’s disease!

Von Says:

Hi gulu:

I saw Ancic’s match and it was a good win for him, but it was obvious he was struggling. . Today that tiredness was very visible — he lost rather easily to Del Potro. Mono is a horrible disease.

You’re correct about our Andy losing to lesser ranked players and should skip the TMC, which it is rumored he’ll do even if he qualifies. He’s been playing catch-up ever since being laid up with his injuries and that has got to be very problematic for any player. One observation I’ve made is that most of the hot players are not playing so great either, which translates to a not so sparkling Shanghai. Them’s the breaks for playing so many tournaments. Here’s the usuaul smileys. :P :D

gulu Says:

Von, I think you are right in your observation. I m afraid, this year we may hav a rather uninteresting and unattractive Shanghai tournament. Just hopin Shanghai masters to be action packed !

Skorocel Says:


I would actually say Fed’s BH has improved over the last couple of years – it’s just that he doesn’t use that (once very formidable) slice anymore… 2-3 years ago, it was a very dangerous stroke, which he could use either as a defensive or offensive shot, but nowadays, he doesn’t use it that much often, and when he finally uses it, it’s not that dangerous as it once was (partly maybe because the opponents, especially guys like Djoker, are more prepared to it and can even hit occasional winners of it)… The same goes for his FH – it just isn’t that unbelievable stroke anymore…

I may be way off on this one, but I strongly believe that, over the last 1-2 years, the guy has somehow tried to alter/adjust his game to one particular goal – that is, beating Nadal at the French… Those weird topspin-like FHs, which you could so often see in his matches nowadays, or indeed that “overusing” of the flat/tospin BH at the excess of his once formidable BH slice, clearly lead you to this conclusion… One may say it’s a logical development, since the FO title is the only big title missing in his collection (or in other words, it’s the only thing which keeps Fed’s motivation still high enough these days), but it may be that it somehow backfired on him in the other tourneys… Who knows, maybe he will indeed beat the Spaniard in Paris (which, though, would certainly be a miracle considering that beating which he suffered this year), but still, it’s a pity that he decided to make those changes… Again, I may be way off on this one, but that’s how I see it…

I mean, that Fed’s FH from the years 2004 through 2006 – I don’t know whether there’ll ever be a better shot in tennis… A pure perfection! That shot simply had everything – power, elegance, quickness, disguise, reliability… I could watch those slow motion replays ad nauseum, and still couldn’t get enough of it! That unbelievable & yet so gracious approach to the ball, and then that superquick flick of the wrist, which could decide the rally literally in a nanosecond – it just isn’t there anymore…

2-3 years ago, he could give it that unbelievable flick of the wrist, but nowadays, he hits it differently, a bit weirdly I would say… Who knows, maybe he was fearing some wrist injury, but anyway, it’s clearly not the FH which it once was – and you can bet on it that I don’t like it even a bit! Who knows, it may be that the guy’s slowly and surely getting slower with the age (which is indeed true, as you can often see him hitting those FHs late), but still, I think he’s quite possibly made some unnecessary changes to his game… I especially mean that immense flick of the wrist – he just doesn’t use it anymore on his FH… It’s a pity, because it could not only decide the outcome of the rally in a flash (Sampras actually mentioned this as Fed’s biggest weapon – and rightfully so), but it gave the stroke that much needed DISGUISE… That shot was simply Fed’s trademark, as he could not only dictate most of the rallies with it, but also, thanks to that insane flick of the wrist, this stroke was both powerful and unpredictable as well… That unpredictability was actually its main asset – just as it was with Sampras’ serve (which only few players could read)… Nowadays, though, it’s simply a different stroke (with some notable exceptions like that USO final against Murray or indeed that recent win against Nalby)… It just doesn’t have that much needed penetration and zing…

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