Favorites Federer, Murray Land on Red at Tennis Masters Cup
by Sean Randall | November 5th, 2008, 9:36 am

The groupings for the 2008 Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai have been released, and even with the withdrawal of Rafael Nadal the field is very, very loaded. ADHEREL

In the Red Group, it’s Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Andy Roddick and Gilles Simon.

The Gold Group will be home to Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Juan Martin Del Potro.

For my money, the Red Group is the far tougher of the two, but you could make a case for the Gold Group, which I think is really, really wide open.

My initial picks are Federer and Murray to come out of the Red, and right now I’ll go with the guy with the momentum, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and take Davydenko. And in the end I like the two best players in the field, Federer and Murray, meeting for the title with the Swiss coming through yet again for another Masters Cup crown.

Federer has lost to each guy in his group this year but I think he’ll turn it around here, though it’s going to be tough. In fact, Murray’s my favorite to win the group.

I think Tsonga can knock out both Djokovic and Dayvdenko. And in the battle for the No. 2 two spot – I think JMDP might be looking ahead to the Davis Cup final – I’m not confident that Novak’s found his form yet so I’ll lean to Davydenko getting wins over the Serb and JMDP to get to the Final Four.

Each player gets $100,000 for qualifying plus another $100K for each round-robin win with a maximum of $1.3 million for an undefeated champion. So there’s a lot of dough on the line. Players also pick up 100 ATP ranking points per victory in the round-robin with a tournament-max of 750.

The event begins Sunday.

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67 Comments for Favorites Federer, Murray Land on Red at Tennis Masters Cup

gulu Says:

Can anyone tell me where the hell is the “confirm” button to comfirm membership in RF.COM? It’s killing me!!

MMT Says:

It’s very hard to say how Nadal’s withdrawal would have affected the groupings, because Djokovic could have wound up on either side, although his current form (once again at year-end) is no where near where it was earlier in the year. He’s really fallen off since the clay court season.

I’m just so excited that Tsonga is in on the action, because he’s a real wild card – he could win the group and the whole tournament, and if he does, I’d say he’s among the favorites in Australia, but that’s a long way off.

I would have to go with Murray and Simon 1 and 2 out of the group, based on Federer’s back injury. As for the Gold group, I see del Potro and Tsonga 1 and 2 meaning (I think) Murray will play Tsonga, and del Potro will play Simon, with Murray and Simon coming together in the final and Murray winning the whole thing.

gulu Says:

MMT, may your prediction regarding Fed’s ouster before the semis in Shanghai go wrong! ;-)

andrea Says:

i like the gold group – a real challenge for roger. this event will be very interesting.

andrea Says:

er, make that the red group.

MMT Says:

gulu: many of us have been burned by writing Federer off, but I don’t see him taking too many chances with it, since similar injuries have led to the end of many a tennis career (Hoad, Agassi, Austin, Jaeger, etc.)

I hope I’m wrong about Tsonga, and that he wins the group, and have the chance to face Murray in the final. That would be interesting since Tsonga beat him in Australia, but Murray’s in great form these days.

I have a feeling that this could be Murray’s tournament. I’ve not been his biggest fan up to now, but I have to admit that he’s really growing into a seasoned professional and a final with him and Tsonga would really be a great way to end the season. Versatile players that are thinking every minute of every match is always a good thing.

NachoF Says:

I didnt realize the points for the Masters Cup have already been dropped…. that means that Federer can get pretty close to Nadal if he wins it… especially if he goes undefeated (which will give him 750 points… thats almost a Grand Slam)… I dont know who ever said that Federer´s chance of regaining his spot will only come at the Miami Masters 09… thats not accurate, he could actually regain it if Nadal does poorly at Australia and Federer wins it. Unless the point allocation has changed for next year and Im not informed of it.

MMT Says:

I really think this defending points thing is totally overrated for anyone who wants to be #1 – for everyone else it’s important for seedings yes, particularly early in the year, but you it seems to me that whether your defending points or getting new ones, at the end of the day the objective ought to be to win as many points as you can at every tournament you’re entered.

Having just recently been elucidated on the points race vs entry ranking system, I really wish they would rename the entry ranking system, the seeding system, and stick to the race.

Kathy Says:

I thought the winner of the masters cup was awarded 650 points. Where does 750 come from?

Kathy Says:

Surely Federer can only gain 200 points on Nadal, since those are the points that Rafa won last year and will not defend this year.

Noel Says:


“I thought the winner of the masters cup was awarded 650 points. Where does 750 come from?”

750 is the maximum number of ranking points on offer at the TMC.You must remain unbeaten in the tournament to get 750 ranking and 150 race points.You are probably going by the 650 points Fed earned at the 2007 TMC.However you must remember that he lost one of his round robin matches to Gonzalez and that cost him the 100 points you are wondering about.The group or round-robin wins carry 100 points,the sf win is worth 200 points and the final win gives 250 points.Therefore,3*100+200+250=750.Fed won all the 750 points at the 2003,2004 and 2006 TMC events where he remained undefeated throughout the tournament.I hope my memory is serving me well here.

Fedfan Says:

I don’t think Fed’s back will be an issue. he would have had almost 10 days rest with no matches. He never had any particular injury, it was just stiffness, which can CAUSE injuries if you keep playing with it. He is 27, now he WILL have some nagging problems. He will have to play fewer tournaments and keep the focus on slams, so it may be difficult for him to get back no 1.

On the other hand, Nadal is also sure to have crossed his physical peak. So HE may have trouble retaining points next year. All this augurs very well for Murray, who is younger to both.

However, Nadal and Federer are such great competitors, that I see them taking at least 3 of the 4 slams next year as well. The fact that Fed did that alone (take 3 out of 4 slams) for 3 years (2004, 06, 07) is a remarkable achievement that we may never see again. Or 10 slam finals in a row. Or 18 slam semis in a row (and counting).

Nadal really needs to win one of these year end masters, and a slam on hard courts, to have a complete resume.

I don’t think Djokovic will perform anywhere near to what Fed and nadal have achieved (they are not done yet anyway). Tsonga has perennial injury problems – given his heavy frame, he is likely to always have some issues. Del Potro is too new, lets see how he does next year – he needs to beef up his lanky frame, a bit like what Murray has been able to do.

Fed won 5 consecutive wimbledons, and 5 consecutive US opens. Lets see if Nadal can make it 5 in a row at the French this year. I think he will.

gulu Says:

From wat MMT says,I m further convinced that Fed must hav skipped Shanghai as I actually liked him 2 do.Why’s Fed carin at all about Shanghai? Oh God,plz save Fed from all troubles n mak him lose early if ther’s any danger 2 him playin longer this year.

Noel Says:

All the points that players earned at last year’s TMC are already out of the system after the conclusion of the regular season with AMS Paris.Therefore,Fed can potentially gain 750 points on Rafa if he goes undefeated at this year’s TMC.It is highly unlikely though because of his back injury as well as the presence of some dangerous players not only in his group but in the form of prospective opponents in the knock-out stages as well if he does reach those stages.At the moment, Murray -and to a lesser extent,Tsonga-appears to be the only player who has a chance to go unbeaten.

NachoF Says:

Kathy Says:

I thought the winner of the masters cup was awarded 650 points. Where does 750 come from?

Federer only won 650 points last year because he lost the first match vs Gonzalez…. if one goes undefeated its 750

Kathy Says:

Noel, Thanks for the explanation on the points.

NachoF Says:

Noel Says:

At the moment, Murray -and to a lesser extent,Tsonga-appears to be the only player who has a chance to go unbeaten.

You honestly think Tsonga has a higher chance of going unbeaten than Federer?…. interesting, especially considering Federer easily beat Tsonga less than 2 weeks ago.

gulu Says:

Just coz Fed beat Tsonga doesn’t mean it’s gonna repeat! If Tsonga beats Fed, Novak, Murray and the rest I’d be happy for the talented Tsonga instead of being surprised at his doing so.Tsonga’s good enough to blow Murray away.Murray fans should pray to God for Murray to come through safely if he faces Tsonga.Tsonga indeed is the deadliest player who’d humilate the opponent most on his day.If one can destroy Rafa in a slam semifinal and get further wins against the truly dangerous guys like Nalby,Nole etc. why will anybody dismiss his chances of remaining unbeaten at Shangha? I mean ,if the body and mind hold for Tsonga,then he may walk away with the trophy and even the ‘Still The One’ guy may fail to stop him. However I wanna make amply clear that I m whole heartedly rooting for Fed to go as far as possible,though not at the expense of his body! After Fed, it’s Rod and Tsonga for me!I seriously want Fed and Rod to make their way to the semis and same is my prayer and hope for Tsonga from the other side.I don’t have to lose my sleep over other guys.If one of these three don’t win the title,then for me it’s not like fully worthless,but not that much worthy either!I don’t care much about others!That said I would of course like to see Del Potro gettin better and better with time. ;-)

funches Says:


That’s really going on the way-back machine. It reminds me of the back problems that ended Bronco Nagurski’s career. And the sciatica troubles that affected Moses after he came down from the mountain.

NachoF Says:


Im not dismissing anybody’s chances of going undefeated… Im just saying Federer, being the defending champion and having done it a couple of times already and also just because he is the most talented tennis player ever, definitely has more chance of doing it than Tsonga…. but Im not denying the possibility of a surprising upset.

MMT Says:

Funches said: “Hoad?

That’s really going on the way-back machine.”

I take it you’re not a fan of tennis history, but to be fair, Lew Hoad won 4 Davis Cups (back when it was as important as slams), 2 Australians, 3 Wimbledons and 1 US Championships. He won 3 of 4 in 1956 and was the # 1 ranked amateur in the world.

When he turned professional he was the only amateur to win with any consistency against reigning world champion Pancho Gonzales going 18 and 9 in 1957. (I know, you probably don’t care about Gonzales either, but he was the #1 ranked professional for 8 years and won top level tournaments for over 24 years from 1949 to 1973). Eventually (as we common place at the time) he lost out on his professional series with Gonzales 51-36.

Hoads career was derailed by back injuries which prevented him from playing at a higher level for a longer period of time. By 1963, in his early 20s, he was a non-factor. The biggest problem he had – serving hard and changing directions – two things players today still do! :-)

Noel Says:


“You honestly think Tsonga has a higher chance of going unbeaten than Federer?…. interesting, especially considering Federer easily beat Tsonga less than 2 weeks ago.”

My thinking is based primarily on the condition of Fed’s back and the current form/momentum of Murray and Tsonga and the relative lack of it as far as Nole is concerned.If Fed is healthy,I won’t rule out another unbeaten run completely.Even then,he has to first qualify for the sf before a meeting with Tsonga even becomes probable.It is not entirely out of the realms of my imagination.Fed has a tough group with players perfectly capable of beating him.If you insist on considering the last match as an indicator,I think Fed has lost his last meetings against all three players in his group.I won’t be surprised if he beats all of them but I won’t be shocked either if he were to lose to all of them esp Murray and Rod.It is a best of three format against some of the very best players in the world.Murray and Rod can easily qualify from Fed’s group esp if Fed is not 100%.

As for Tsonga’s chances of going unbeaten,I fully realize it is a bit of a gamble on my part whereas Murray is a much more solid bet.It all depends on how fit/healthy Tsonga is after Paris.He won Bangkok and got injured in Tokyo next week.It will be interesting to see which Tsonga turns up in Shanghai if he does turn up at all given his injury-prone body.However,I do think he can beat Nole,Davy and JMDP.After that,it is a matter of carrying the momentum for two more matches and Tsonga can beat anyone on his day even if his opponent is playing well.On the other hand,he might go out tamely after the group stage itself.

Of course,we are all talking of probabilities under the current circumstances.Who knows what will happen there.A Nole might decide to go unbeaten or a Simon may get lucky.So much for speculation!

Noel Says:

“Eventually (as we common place at the time) he lost out on his professional series with Gonzales 51-36.”

Even though Hoad did lose that series,Gonzales had the highest respect for Hoad because he knew-I think he admitted it- that Hoad was the only player who could thrash him even if he(Pancho) was playing at a very high level.Mind you,a lot of experts rate Pancho the greatest ever player.Sampras idolized him.Apparently,Hoad could reach incredibly unbelievable levels on a good day but definitely wasn’t very consistent.That-and the back issues- probably explains the final score in Pancho’s favour.

Sean Randall Says:

I would agree with Fedfan, Fed and his back should be fine. Although I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that Rafa has crossed his physical peak. You could make the case that the best is yet to come. At what age on average to players play their best? I think for the men the 23-25 range is probably the general peak. So Rafa is still has some room to grow (maybe).

Hard to pick one guy that will go undefeated. If I had to I’d say Fed only because I’d rate his chances of beating his Gold Group SF opponent higher than Murray. I think Fed would beat Tsonga or Del Potro or any of the rest in that group, but Murray could slip up against any one of them.

Von Says:

Sean Randall:

With respect to the money paid to the players, why is there a participation fee of $100,000? Do the players pay this amount to ATP for the privilege of participation at the TMC, or is this gratis money from ATP to the players for their participation? I’m somewhat confused.
Laugh if you must, but did Fed requisition Roddick, again? What’s the law of averages for player “B” to always land in player’s “A” side of the draw. This scenario is so ingrained in my brain, that whenever the draws come out, I always look to see where on Fed’s side of the draw Roddick lands. :P

Von Says:


Thanks for getting my back. :P How’s the new home shaping up? Must be pretty exciting. Enjoy. I have the TC 5 best and 5 worst recorded and will present my quizzes when the TMC is over, so stay tuned. :D

Sean Randall Says:

Von, I believe that’s a bonus for showing up. Almost like a first round prize money loser.

Von Says:

Sean Randall:

Thanks for shedding some light on the participation fee. I was thinking if the players had to pay $100,000 and only receive $100,000 for each match won, then it would have been ridiculous making the trip. For seome reason I have $125,000 in my memory banks as the amount paid for each match won in prior years, or is that the amount of money paid to the women. Dementia is slowly creeping in.

Kimmi Says:

Von: “Laugh if you must, but did Fed requisition Roddick, again? What’s the law of averages for player “B” to always land in player’s “A” side of the draw”

LOL. Roddick beat federer last time they play, so Roddick should feel good about his chances. maybe he is now on the road to reverse the (2-15) head to head.

Von Says:


“LOL. Roddick beat federer last time they play, so Roddick should feel good about his chances. maybe he is now on the road to reverse the (2-15) head to head.”

It’s now 3-15, we added one on the positive side. I don’t know if Andy can repeat it again. I think Fed has a secret deal with ATP to place Andy on his side of the draw. I mean 18 times, it’s a record for sure. :P


tennismonger Says:

Sean, Von, etc. –

You bring up something I always want to focus on when the Masters draw comes out which is, who will be the “whipping boy” this year? There’s usually at least one guy who just can’t win a single match to save his life & it’s not always the “worst” ranked player. I remember one year in the 90’s when Agassi was sent packing, winless.

It really all depends on who’s physically & mentally fit + who really wants to be there to play…

Kimmi Says:

I think for Murray to beat Federer in Shanghai, he needs to come serving big the way he did in Madrid. Murray serve in Madrid was the best I have never seen him play. If Murray serve like this will definetly be hard to beat. His serve in Paris was so and so, thats why it was easy for Nalbandian to take him out.

Slightly dip of form on the serve from Murray in Shanghai, means Federer is winning. I hope for good matches were both players play at a very high level.

Djoker match is set to start at 2 pm shanghai time sunday, this is equivalent to 1 am eastern time. Looks like I have to watch live matches at night….no sleep tennis fans. I hope we get some exciting matches that will make the whole “staying up at night” worth doing.

Von Says:


“Sean, Von, etc. –

“You bring up something I always want to focus on when the Masters draw comes out which is, who will be the “whipping boy” this year? There’s usually at least one guy who just can’t win a single match to save his life & it’s not always the “worst” ranked player. I remember one year in the 90’s when Agassi was sent packing, winless.”

Last year was Djokovic, but he was really tired. From the draw this year, I hate to say who that person’s going to be, but in my heart I feel there’s a possibility it could be Roddick. However, considering he beat Simon recently, he has a 2-0 record, I’d say he’d win that one. Maybe he’ll even beat Fed too. Who knows the cards could be stacked in Andy’s favor. :P The other group is weak and Tsonga has a good chance of winning, except he won’t have the French crowd to egg him on. Tsonga’s a player who feeds off the crowd, so we’ll see. Novak should easily take out Davydenko, who I see as the winless one, but then again, DelPotro has not exactly been a firecracker recently and could very well end up being the winless one in that group.

“It really all depends on who’s physically & mentally fit + who really wants to be there to play…”

That’s the key. Physical + mental + desire. Only time wil tell. whatever happens none of the players should feel ashamed of their results.

Von Says:


Do you have the schedule of play?

Ra Says:


Thanks for the kind words on the other thread.

Regarding the schedule of play:


Von Says:


You’re welcome. Thank you for the schedule of play. I would have preferred to see A-Rod play Simon first instead of Murray. Roddick’s a front-runner and plays best when he has a win under his belt. Maybe Murrray might not be as hot, so who knows. To delay the inevitable is similar to procratination being worse than thief of time, n’est ce pas? :P The other group’s schedule of play is pretty interesting conidering Tsonga has never played against Davydenko and Djoko against Del potro. I suppose I’ll need a few bags of popcorn — something to still my nerve endings.

NachoF Says:

I fail to see Tsonga’s big “momentum”… by beating #11 in the world Nalbandian he won a FRENCH tournament that both Fed and Nadal had to retire from…

Kimmi Says:

Von, I feel for you. Roddick has a very tough draw, same as the other three guys in the group. Its good for confidence to start an easier match, if one loose the 1st match its hard to be positive on other matches. But hey ! this is TMC no easier matches.

Federer lost to Simon, Roddick and Murray when he played them last, hope he comes strong this time.
Tricky group for Fed too.

tennismonger Says:

Von: Last year was Djokovic, but he was really tired. From the draw this year, I hate to say who that person’s going to be, but in my heart I feel there’s a possibility it could be Roddick.
I didn’t wanna say that but yes, he is a potential candidate this year’s “whipping boy.”
HOWEVER – Though the poor guy seems stuck in 3rd gear most of the time, he has paced himself well this year, he sorta got himself in peak mode in Paris & you get the impression he’s not as beat up as the other guys. SO – he just might bust out of the gate a bit in Shanghai. Surely, if there was ever a year to tip Le Fed @ the M-Cup, this is it –

Other candidates – 1) Simon – will he play like a cash-flushed alternate or catch fire like an inspired lucky loser? 2)Davydenko – not as extreme as Safin in the “box of chocolates” category but really, you just never know w/him…
3) del Potro – Has the hot hand cooled? Or might he take a cue from teammate Nalby & save his juice for Davis Cup?

Ve shall zee…

Von Says:


Let’s see — Simon = royal flush
Davydenko: Godiva chocolates
DelPotro — Cool hand Luke
Djokovic – The joker’s wild

What a combination: royal flush + Godiva chocolates + Cool hand Luke + Joker’s wild. :P

Von Says:


I agree, no hand-outs.

alex Says:

Yeah, Fed should rest. I don’t care about his ranking just want him to be healthy. For next year Fed please rest.

NachoF Says:

I think Fed will have plenty of time to rest… this tournament is very important… and its his chance to gain many points on Nadal, who hasnt won a tournament in a long time.

Lenny Says:

Kimmi says:
“Looks like I have to watch live matches at night….no sleep tennis fans. I hope we get some exciting matches that will make the whole “staying up at night” worth doing.”

LOL Kimmi. I know how you feel. I’m pretty much jetlagged without flying throughout the US Open. :) I’m in India, so that means the day session goes on till around 2:30am and then the night session begins at 4:30am!!

gulu Says:

NachoF,I too agree with you that Fed’s the most talented tennis player.However his fitness is what I am not sure about.If he was fully fit,I’d have given him thumbs-up!But his back problem may curtail his free flowing game.

Catherine Says:

Too all posters here making a big issue of Fed’s back injury – he’s been having problems like that for YEARS. Read Stauber’s biography “Quest for Perfection”, and you’ll see it mentioned very often.
Each time, he’s managed to get over it in time, and I trust this will be the case in Shanghai as well. He wouldn’t have appeared over there if he weren’t fit.

MMT Says:


Couldn’t help but jump in on JJFAN on the other post – that was a bit over the top. Move went well, but it’s still going. Loving that I now have FIOS and TC in HD.

Catherine said: “[Federer] wouldn’t have appeared over there if he weren’t fit.”

I beg to differ – since Roger has no hard committments after Shanghai, I would guess that he sees this as a chance to gain some valuable points edge over Nadal and everyone else for that matter, in 2009. That is assuming he still cares about being #1.

Hopefully he can make it through the week without any problems – I always enjoy watching him play indoors, and last year, he really blew through the competition with some great tennis after spotty results in Madrid and Paris.

Von Says:


Thanks for your help, I appreciate it.

So you’ve graduated to the big times now eh? WOW, FIOS, TC in HD — you sound exstactic. That’s what I have. The FIOS HD TV is absolutely magnificent. I love it. Remember to order the HD X-treme package too. I’m a little upset though, because now that you have TC I won’t be able to quiz you, and we’ll have less to talk about. I know I’m being selfish. A thought just occurred to me, instead of the quizzes we can discuss our thoughts on what we see, so that could make our discussions more fruitful. BTW check your TC guide, they are showing the Senior Champions tour this week in the evenings. Last evening I watched Arias v. Pernfors. I don’t care much for Arias’ matches, but I have to follow the whole series to be educated. Imagine my having a tennis education — funny. Anyway, enjoy your new little toy, it will give you many hours of pleasure. :P BTW, the women’s YEC is being televised this week from Doha. You’ll be able to watch the TMC which begins on Sunday through TC and I believe ESPN2 also. Enjoy!!!! :D

MMT Says:

Yes, in the words of Michael Corleone, I guess the FIOS makes me another “pezzonovante”.

As for the YEC in Doha, I saw the Jankovic/Ivanovic match the other day, and that was pretty interesting – always fun to see domestic rivalries, but it didn’t help that they were dressed almost exactly alike, because from a distance I had a hard time telling who was who with the sound down!

I’m looking forward to the Venus Serena match (today I think, right?). I wonder what their career head to head is now?

Von Says:


The Venus/Serena match is on right now on TC — move pronto. Several breaks in 5 games. Serena just broke back again and is leading 4-2. the matches are repeated in the evenings around 7:00 pm and thereafter.

An interesting stat for Serena; she’s played 13 tournaments this year and has 4 titles, including a USO GS and a Wimby final. jankovic has played 22 tournaments has 4 smaller titles and one GS final. Summation, it’s not how many tournaments that a player plays, the results are what counts. I say this because the Williams’ sisters have been criticized from here to ying yang for not playing a lot and are dubbed ‘prima donnas’ but there’s a method to their madness and why knock oneself out if it’s not absolutely necessary to so so. They’ve been on the tour the longest and are still achieving good results. I don’t think the tour would be very interesting without them.

On the rivalries on the women’s side. there is a rivalry between Ivanovic/Jankocic — according to the commentators they dislike each other. So that’s as good a basis for any rivalry.
Hop to it — the clock on the match is ticking away; the statute is running its limitations. :P

MMT Says:


I agree 100% on the Williams sisters – if they can still cut it playing 60% the matches of the others, then good for them. That’s not their problem; other women need to raise their games like Henin did, and it would be nice if there were some better athletes out there to make the game more aesthetically appealing.

As for the Serbian sisters, I suppose a little animosity never hurt the ratings. It’s not necessary, as Roger and Rafa have shown, but they’re also playing tennis on a level that in and of itself makes it so appealing. I could have cared less if Lleyton Hewitt had a big rivarly because his game is about as exciting as watching paint dry – never mind the fact that I can’t stand him.

I’ll catch the matches on the replay, but I wouldn’t mind a quiz or two to keep me occupied? :-)


Von wrote in part:

On the rivalries on the women’s side. there is a rivalry between Ivanovic/Jankocic — according to the commentators they dislike each other. So that’s as good a basis for any rivalry.

JJFAN says:

Aside from having incompatible personalities for hanging out together off court, I find only evidence of both of them being professional and controlled. Both travel with their mothers, so spending time together is probably only at organized activities.

I see the editorials in some cursory research on the premise but do not find reports of any real evidence of rancor between the two women. They did, after all, hug at the net after Ivanovic took the semifinal match up at Roland Garros this year.

It seems like people need for there to be a problem or melodrama in the girl’s relationship, so they fabricate and speculate, looking for evidence to prove their point. I would be open to any evidence that I am mistaken or uninformed. I am not saying the girls are pals, but I don’t see where they openly dislike each other either.

Von Says:


I forgot to mention that Venus played a couple more tournaments than Serena and she won Wimby.

I like your comment of watching paint dry — it’s funny. I began disliking Hewitt after that altercation with Blake.

You’ve got it. I’ll get together a few quizzes. surely you can’t see everything on TC and read everything on other sites, which means that there’s always something i can find to put your grey matter in gear.

Von Says:


You’re a puzzlement to me with respect to your comments on the two Serbs. I really don’t know how to interpret your statements, all I can say is what I heard from Barry MacKay on the Tennis Channel when he was commentating on Ivanovic’s match v. Jankovic yesterday, and he emphatically stated he liked Ivanovic but the two young women do not have much love for each other. I read a while back that Ivanovic is somewhat upset with Jankovic for making fun of her fist pumps. I suppose it’s all pure conjecture, but behind every bit of gossip there’s some truth. Hugging at the net does not mean much. Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters kissed each other at the net, and I’ve heard it from Justine’s mouth that Clijsters is not someone she’d have lunch with. These players are celebs and they do things which are good for their image. They don’t have to scratch each other eyes out to show the world they dislike each other. It’s those subtle little hints that makes us put two and two together. Feel free to dispute anything I’ve written.

Fedfan Says:


Normally I would agree, most tennis players peak around 23-25. But some that start younger peak earlier. Take Becker for example – his peak year was 1989, when he was 21. After 23 (1991), he was pretty much washed out.

Nadal started pretty young. PLUS, his game is more physical than anyone I know. And knee injuries are notorious – they never really get better. The natural aging process anyway starts by the time we hit 21. So it is quite likely that we have seen the physical peak of Nadal. And in his case, the physical peak is also his tennis game peak, given that he relies so much more than others on his physical prowess.


Maybe if we repeat often enough that the two women have a problem, people will take it as fact. With a nose for melodrama and an inclination to be judgmental as much as having a genuine interest in tennis, we might have to be careful that what we repeat is well founded. I was wondering on what that conflict story was based.

grendel Says:


“After 23 (1991), he [i.e.Boris Becker]was pretty much washed out.” Well, whilst I agree Becker reached his peak in 1989 when only 21, I think it is a bit of an exaggeration to say he was washed up by 1991. He used to be my man, you know, bit like Fed is now, and whilst I certainly suffered big disappointments with him, I do recall that every now and then he gave me occasion to rejoice. ‘Fraid I can’t remember the details, so I’ve had to check a few out, e.g. in’95, he got to Wimbie final (lost to Sampras in 4), also in that year won ATP Tour World Championships as well as the Grand Slam Cup. In 1996, he won the Australian Open and got to the final of the ATP World Championships, losing to Sampras in 5. Also in 1996, he won the Grand Slam Cup.

So I dunno, the boy didna do too bad, did he? Still, given what Becker achieved in his first 5 or 6 years – well, put it this way, I can remember rubbing my hands (after his second Wimbledon title) thinking: there’s just no limit to what this fellow’s going to achieve; all those lovely records, let’s see now, how about 10 Wimbledon Crowns, 6 US Opens….you know how we vicariously bathe in other people’s achievements and glory. There certainly seemed a realistic prospect of plenty of delightful bathing in Becker’s. It didn’t quite work out like that, did it – but all credit to Becker’s fierce competitive spirit; despite his decline, he literally willed a certain degree of success out of his great and weary frame.

Is, then, Nadal a similar case? Even if he is – as the above shows, he has quite a bit to look forward to, if not to the extent his fans would desire. But it is a risky venture to compare people – so many supposed similarities, so many subtle differences. For one thing, I doubt if Becker’s tremendous serve improved much from his magical debut at Wimbledon when he was 17, and it started to decline too early, too damn early. But Nadal’s serve, this subtle, sneaky, twisting, spinning, spitting, slicing lefty problem poser – this will only improve with age.

The knees? Yep, they won’t go away. But that doesn’t mean he can’t live with the problem for a substantial part of the year. Patch the fellow up. Live with pain. I think he’s like that. Surprising what the body will endure if the spirit is not just willing, but able. Nadal, more than anyone, fits this picture.

So Nadal’s future is uncertain – but “uncertain” doesn’t mean doom, doesn’t mean triumph. Means we don’t know, no one does, not even Nadal.

Ezorra Says:


“So Nadal’s future is uncertain – but “uncertain” doesn’t mean doom, doesn’t mean triumph. Means we don’t know, no one does, not even Nadal.”

I am totally 100% agree with you! Some people might think that they are god and with this believe, they tend to make assumptions as they are surely true, which will usually make me feel very annoyed with their statements. I think your opinion is absolutely fair and square!

It’s ok to predict anything you want, but make sure what you have stated is exclusive from any form of favoritisms. Then our opinion will accepted by everyone. Remember, it doesn’t have to be agreeable and pleasurable, but it’s nice if it is acceptable by majority of the people.

andrea Says:

Physical + mental + desire.

if that’s the winning formula, then fed’s your man. he hasn’t won a masters event this year; he wants to keep momentum into 09; he wants to re-assert that he’s still got it; he’s got a mental edge…as long as his back is fine.

that being said – the best of 3 format can catch someone who’s asleep in the first set.

jane Says:

No one can deny that the tennis season is very long; too long? Here’s what Murray said about it:

“”The tennis season is so long that there are arguments for stopping the season after the US Open, and finishing with a tournament like one of the grand slams perhaps makes sense,” Murray said.

“For the players, it (Masters Cup) is huge. But I don’t think people outside tennis really know too much about it, which is a shame.”

Personally, although I love it – I think that Jan – mid November (for the final 8) IS too long.

IMO, the ATP tour needs to make some adjustments, maybe letting the players opt out of 2 or so MS events per season?

The problem is that the players want to play and play and play because they don’t want to lose their position/ranking, which will affect their seeding in other events, or in some cases I suppose it’s the money, but I think for most it’s the ranking.

But then if the top guys stop going to smaller events, they may begin to lose money, etc, and so on, and they’ll shut down and it’ll be bad for the sport, etc.. It seems like there is almost no solution.

Except this – end the tour after the last Grand Slam like Murray said – why not? Or have only one indoor event then the Masters Cup. Cut the season off by end October latest.

I feel for these guys; they have a longer sporting season than any other sport I can think of.

Von Says:

“‘No one’ can deny that the tennis season is very long; too long?”

That’s an extremely broad statement/assumption. Well, this ‘no one’ or ‘someone’ disagrees that the season is NOT too long. The season is what the players make of it, just like life is what we make of it, and should be lived and governed by choices.

As I’ve previously mentioned, the season is contingent upon the player making conscious choices; it can be as long or as short as they want it to be. The players can incorporate mini-vacations in between the slams and the MS tourneys; e.g., between the AO and IW/Miami, there’s a six (6) week break, which means they could vacation and refrain from playing in other tournaments. There really isn’t any need for the higher ranked players to play in the smaller tournaments; give the lower-ranked players a chance to win a title, and not grab everything for themselves. The higher ranked players do so to gain points to place themselves in a good position in the rankings. The season could comprise of the whole year and some players wouldn’t mind it at all. For those players who want a shorter season, the choice is simple, don’t play — no one is twisting their arms to play more than is required by the ATP mandates, hence, why the complaints. I don’t understand the quibbling. A change that could be made to the calendar and on which would be helpful to make it more player friendly, pertains to the four MS tourneys that are played back to back, where they could be more spaced out instead. E.g., Rome/Hamburg, now Madrid, and Toronto/Cincinnati. Apart from those 4 MS tourneys, thereare 10 days in between, IW/Miami and a week between Madrid/Paris. This year the calendar became compressed due to the Olympics.

I don’t understand Murray’s complaints. No one told him he had to play in St. Petersburg — he did so to defend his title, however, he had a choice. In view of the fact that he is ranked 4th and the difference in points between the 4th ranked player and 5th/6th ranked players is approximately 1500 points, there really wan’t any need to push himself in St. Petersburg for 225 points, was there? How much of a difference would that have made in his ranking points? A very inconsequential amount and he would have still maintained a cushy lead from the 5th/6th ranked players.

It’s difficult for the ATP to cater to every player’s whims and fancies — they have a business to run. The players on the council are not fighting for calendar changes, they are bargaining for more money and points for the tourbnaments in which they play. What sense is there in having them on the council if their main objective is money? Asolutely none. We the fans feel such sorrow for the players, but when we consider so many of us have jobs where we work for 40/80 hours per week and are compensated so meagerly, I’d say let’s save our sympathy for the poor man with a family of 4 or more to feed and clothe, instead of the tennis players who’ve got the life of Riley, made in the shade, one which would have been a fairy tale to many, had it not been for the sport of tennis. It’s not like they play for 8-10 hours a day similar to a member of the proletariat. A match is approx. 2-3 hours in duration, and they have quite a few hours left over for relaxation, when they’re done playing.

In sum, the players have choices and the only reason they are complaining is due to the fact that they refuse to cut back on their schedules of their own free will; they want ATP to do it for them, which is unfair to the players who want to play. In some ways it’s rather selfish. Ending the regular season after the USO, which is the first week in September is ridiculous. This translates to a season beginning from the 3rd week in January to the first week in September, to play only 11 mandatory events in 8 months. The players’ mentality is one of if others are playing then they should play also, because they will lose out on points and money. Well, too bad, they can’t have their cake and eat it too. Simply put — play and shut up, or don’t play and enjoy a lengthy sabbatical of 4 months and some additional weeks in between the regular eight month season. I’ll wager that if the season were indeed to end after the USO and begin again with the AO many will be complaining of rust and not being match grooved. ATP has a business to oversee and the players have a schedule to maintain and twain will never meet and/or agree.

jane Says:

The “too long?” part was couched as a question.

The “no one can deny the season is very long” as a statement; there are not many sports with seasons as long as the tennis season (Begin Jan – mid Nov).

Yes there can be breaks between events but I suppose the players don’t want to lose their positions in the rankings in part because it could affect their seeding position in the bigger events – and that can be crucial. It’s a tough decision they have to make.

I agree with Murray that the season could simply be cut shorter, maybe end either after the last GS, or at the end of October, so the guys have a decent break before they begin preparing for the new season in January.

jane Says:

I realize Paris ends beginning November, and that’s the last event unless a player is in the final 8. So they get Nov and Dec, 2 months off, before they have to prep for the AO, which although it doesn’t begin until mid-third week in Jan, almost every player wants to play some kind of warm up event, so most are back at it the first week in Jan.

Anyhow, it’s a difference of opinion that seems fair enough; I can see merit in both views.

For e.g., I take your point about the hours us regular folk work, but I wasn’t trying to draw comparisons with the work weeks for lay people, but more between other sports and tennis. I believe Roddick has said as much before as well – how long the tennis season is compared to most other professional sports.

Von Says:

There will be many who agree and disagree with the season, but it’s still a matter of the player taking charge of his schedule and doing what’s right for him. Even though players play 20 or more tournaments, how many tournaments do they actually go deep or play the entire tournament? When they go out in the early rounds, that’s down time for them. A sort of mini vacation. Tennis can’t be compared to team sports, because it’s an individual sport and the player is his own boss. A tennis player has choices, but a team sports player doesn’t; he has to abide by the rules laid down by the owner, coach, manager, etc.

“I realize Paris ends beginning November, and that’s the last event unless a player is in the final 8. So they get Nov and Dec, 2 months off, before they have to prep for the AO, which although it doesn’t begin until mid-third week in Jan, almost every player wants to play some kind of warm up event, so most are back at it the first week in Jan.”

So why don’t the players just take the two and one-half months and relax, why play tune-up tourneys? No one’s forcing them. Again, it reverts back to the player and his choices. Even though the off time is there they don’t want to enjoy it.

jane Says:

I guess the answer to this question ” why play tune-up tourneys?” is that they want to win, especially the big events, as that’s where the points (and yes, the cash) are. And given that they’re athletes with shorter career spans than most, they want to win as much as they can while they can. But you’re right; no one is forcing them.

And there are journeymen players who are content to be in the top 100 and have a life. So it balances out in terms of ambitions.

Of course they are paid bucket-loads of cash too, so why should I even care if it’s a long season for them? I guess I just think it is a little overlong, that’s all, and I don’t like to see them injured a lot, or playing injured. I’d like to see them all play for at least 10 – 12 years, as a selfish tennis fan.

Speaking of “why play tune-ups”? Why play exhibition events? I see Roger is scheduled still to play doubles with Bjorg against McEnroe and Blake (Rafa’s out). Seems kind of silly for Roger to play if his back is hurting him and after such a trying season. But I think the players commit to these sorts of things and then can’t, er, back out when/if the time comes that they want to or perhaps should.

Von Says:

Well, as I’ve said before and I will reiterate it again, the time is there for them to have a vacation and do whatever it is they want to do, but they seem to have a reluctance to let go. Why is Blake playing in Exhos when he was so vociferous about the long season? Probably just to hear himself speak. The money just draws them in and the love of power too. They can’t have it all, something has to suffer, and if it’s their health, then they have only themselves to blame. I rest my case.

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