Tennis-X Previews: Safin Beat Up, Doha Brings Big Guns
by Staff | January 4th, 2009, 11:58 pm

Marat Safin showing up in Australia with black eyes after getting his ass kicked (or winning a barfight?); Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams still injured; Pete Sampras saying the U.S. could be in for a long talent drought at the top. Welcome to the 2009 tennis season:
Qatar ExxonMobile Open 2009
DOHA, Qatar
Surface: Hard

Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick go from collecting bank at the Abu Dhabi exhibition to making real green this week as the top three under-the-table appearance-money gatherers in Doha, where Murray is the defending champ. The Brit is also coming off the Abu Dhabi exo title where he defeated Federer and Nadal.

Nadal opens against Fabrice “The Magician” Santoro, and faces a potential quarterfinal meeting against Gael Monfils then Roddick in the semis.

The talent level takes a steep dive outside of the Top 4, so don’t be surprised to see Nadal vs. Roddick and Federer vs. Murray in the semis.

Brisbane International
BRISBANE, Australia
Surface: Hard

Top seed Novak Djokovic, at No. 3 in the world, is within striking distance of overtaking Roger Federer for the No. 2 ranking. He starts his campaign at Brisbane, which offers half the prize money of the ATP event this week in Doha, but has a stronger overall field. The Serb is joined among the seeds by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, Robin Soderling, Tomas Berdych, Mardy Fish, Richard “Failed Fed” Gasquet and WTA lothario Radek Stepanek.

Djokovic starts a tough one against big-hitter Ernests Gulbis, with Verdasco opening against Aussie wildcard hope Bernard Tomic. Fish begins against Austrian veteran Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer, and Soderling against American thumper Sam Querrey. American Taylor Dent also gained direct entry into the event via an injury-protected ranking.

Defending champ Michael Llodra, again unseeded this year, will start against a qualifier before facing the winner of Stepanek and Russian Igor Kunitsyn.

Ana Ivanovic heads the women’s side as the lone Top 10-ranked seed. Victoria Azarenka, Marion Bartoli, Daniela Hantuchova, former No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo, Kaia Kanepi and Francesca Schiavone are the remaining seeds.

Wildcards went to the embattled Jelena Dokic and Aussie hopefuls Monika Wejnert and Isabella Holland.

Chennai Open 2009
Surface: Hard

Mikhail Youzhny doesn’t return to defend his astounding 6-0, 6-1 beating of Rafael Nadal in last year’s final, but fellow Russian Nikolay Davydenko will be the top seed, looking for a first Chennai title.

Also seeded is 2008 Top 10er Stan Wawrinka, Croat comer Marin Cilic, fellow Croat “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic, 1999 runner-up Rainer Schuettler, two-time winner Carlos Moya, Serb Janko Tipsarevic and Spaniard Marcel Granollers.

Wildcards went to American-raised Indian Prakash Amritraj, American-schooled Indian Somdev Devvarman, and Czech Lukas Dlouhy.

ASB Classic
AUCKLAND, New Zealand
Surface: Hard

The annual Hong Kong exhibition usually attracts the top women players and takes the thrill out of the opening week of WTA Tour play, and this year is no different as Auckland kicks off the 2009 campaign with one lone Top 10-ranked seed in Elena Dementieva.

Challenging Dementieva in the name game will be Nuria Llagostera Vives, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Klara Zakopalova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Anne Keothavong, Magdalena Rybarikova and Alla Kudryavtsova.

Also among the seeds at Auckland, where pregnant defending champ Lindsay Davenport won’t return, are Caroline Wozniacki, Anabel Medina Garrigues, Aleksandra Wozniak, Shahar Peer, Nicole Vaidisova, Pavlyuchenkova, and Carla Suarez Navarro.


SAFIN THE BRAWLER — Officials at the Hopman Cup exhibition were shocked when Marat Safin showed up for the event with a black and bloodied eye and cuts on his face after getting in a brawl in Moscow. Safin arrived in Perth on Saturday night and immediately asked tournament director Paul McNamee for a doctor and a practice court. “I wasn’t sure why he was arriving so late, why he was requesting to play a day later, and now I know why,” McNamee told the local media. “To see him like that, it’s amazing that he’s come. I know around Marat the unexpected happens, but you couldn’t really pick this one. When he arrived last night I saw him in the lobby and he didn’t look good. He said, ‘I need two things — I need to see a doctor and I need to practice.’ I dragged the doctor out of the hall and then he gave him some treatment and then he went and practiced. He said he had not been able to play in the last week (due to injury to his hands).” Safin won his opening-round match, and reports he won the fight.

TENNIS-X READER FEEDBACK ON NEW ATP WEBSITE RE-DESIGN: ‘Ground Control to ATP’ says: “That website design is absolutely brutal.” ‘Mark’ Says: “The old site was way too clean and easy to navigate.”

GAMBLING ON MATCH-FIXING IN TENNIS? SIGN US UP! — While the ATP and WTA continue to insist that match-fixing in tennis is a non-issue, former mafia crime boss Michael Franzese told AFP that top-level tennis matches are still being influenced by gamblers/match-fixers, and that the sport would be his prime focus were he still in the business. “It’s definitely going on,” Franzese said. “If I were in this business now, tennis would be my major target because one player can impact the game. That’s all you need.”

SHARAPOVA TO MISS AUSSIE OPEN? — Maria Sharapova’s recovery from surgery for a torn rotator cuff in 2008 has hit a snag entering 2009 as the Russian poster girl announced her withdrawal from a pre-Australian Open exhibition in Hong Kong in January. “It’s with much disappointment that I have to withdraw,” Sharapova said on her website. “I’ve been using this event for the last five years to get ready for the new season, in fact Hong Kong has been successful in preparing me for the Australian Open. I’m just not ready to play against the top-class competition in Hong Kong, although I remain hopeful for Australia where I’m the defending champion. It’s been a very difficult decision, but I only started practising 16 days ago.”

OMAN, WHAT A TIE — Pakistan tennis officials are asking for $60,000 compensation from the ITF after tennis’ international governing body decided Pakistan could not host their upcoming Davis Cup tie over security concerns. The ITF says Pakistan must choose either to have the tie played in their opponent’s country of Oman or in Malaysia.

40 YEARS UNTIL NEXT AMERICAN No. 1?: Pete Sampras says it could be a long wait for the next U.S. tennis No. 1 in today’s ultra-competitive international climate: “It’s a tricky time. The American media and the fans expect American champions and our guys to be No. 1, and when you don’t get that people start complaining. It’s a tough comparison for Andy (Roddick) and James (Blake) to be compared to myself and Andre (Agassi) and Jim (Courier) and Michael (Chang). That was a pretty unique crew…It’s going to take maybe five, 10, 15 years for another crew of really good young Americans. It might not happen for 40 years — it’s hard to say.”

INJURED SERENA OUT OF HOPMAN CUP — Current world No. 2 Serena Williams’ main foe during her career has always been injuries, and it looks like the trend will continue into 2009. Williams announced she is withdrawing from the Hopman Cup mixed team event in January, citing a hamstring injury she suffered during the WTA Tour Championships. The U.S. will retain the No. 1 seed in the event, but now James Blake will team with countrywoman Meghann Shaughnessy, who sat out much of 2008 with injury and is not expected to be in championship form.

MISC: Former Grand Slam doubles winner and Wimbledon singles semifinalist Mirjana Lucic has received a controversial wildcard into the WTA event at Auckland. The 26-year-old comeback Croatian is currently ranked No. 433 in the world…

According to AFP, a new government order bars non-natives from representing India could deny U.S. citizens Prakash Amritraj, Sunitha Rao, Shikha Uberoi and her sister Neha from representing India in Davis Cup and Fed Cup play…

Frenchman Richard Gasquet has teamed with former Marcos Baghdatis coach Guillaume Peyre…

From IOL: “Too many exhibitions and perhaps not enough rest may have helped contribute to the pullout of the American Bryan brothers from the January 5 start in Chennai of the 2009 ATP season. The 30-year-old twins gave the bad news to Indian organizers…

The world number two Bryan pair could now face a fight to get Bob ready for the Australian Open starting in three weeks. The side played in exhibitions during the December “off season” with Mike sometimes substituting on serve for his twin with few in the American crowds noticing a difference.”…

France’s Mary Pierce says test indicate her knee has properly recovered and she will shoot for an appearance at Roland Garros in 2009…

The WTA Tour announced that Kim Williams, the chief operating officer of NFL Network, and Darcy Antonellis, the president of technical operations at Warner Brothers Entertainment, will join the tour’s Global Advisory Council of international business leaders…

Serb player Novak Djokovic announced that as owner he has been granted a tournament on the ATP calendar in may in Belgrade. Word is that now Serb women’s player Ana Ivanovic is attempting to buy a WTA Tour event and bring it to Serbia…

Roger Federer will play two exhibitions and one ATP event in January 2009 prior to the Australian Open…

USTA officials are considering putting a roof on Arthur Ashe stadium and converting it to a multi-use sports arena, possibly attracting a pro sports team…

30-year-old Dutchman and former French Open runner-up Martin Verkerk has announced his retirement…

The Outback Champions Series senior tour has dropped the Naples (Fla.) and Dallas (Tex.) events off the calendar for 2009, but added events in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico…

Former French Open champion Albert Costa has been appointed as Spain’s new Davis Cup captain, replacing 33-year-old Emilio Sanchez Vicario who stepped down after Spain won this year’s Davis Cup title, defeating Argentina…

32-year-old Lindsay Davenport is pregnant again, and has withdrawn from the Australian Open. From “Pregnant Davenport could be at career crossroads again” — ya think?…

The Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex Arena in Birmingham, Ala., will host the 2009 first-round Davis Cup tie between the United States and Switzerland on March 6-8 featuring Roger Federer and Andy Roddick…

Frenchman and Florida resident Sebastien Grosjean had shoulder surgery in December, and will be out 4-6 months…

Former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt and wife Bec had their second child, a son named Cruz in December…

59-year-old Modesto Vazquez has been named Argentina’s new Davis Cup captain…

Russian Nadia Petrova was hospitalized in December with viral meningitis, a medical condition causing inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, possibly causing her to miss the Australian Open…

Between their Middle Eastern stops at the Abu Dhabi exhibition and the ATP stop in Doha, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were expected to rake in more than $1 million each in appearance fees alone, in addition to prize money…

Andy Murray took a pass on being represented by IMG for 19 Entertainment/CAA, which will be representing its first tennis player…

52-year-old Leo Clijsters, father of former No. 1 Kim Clijsters, died of lung cancer.

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144 Comments for Tennis-X Previews: Safin Beat Up, Doha Brings Big Guns

gulu Says:

Hey Sensational Safin, what are you doin man ? Beating people & gettin kicked in the ass in return !

kerry Says:

Safin does it again! Tennis will be boring without him.


Staff wrote:
Williams announced she is withdrawing from the Hopman Cup mixed team event in January, citing a hamstring injury she suffered during the WTA Tour Championships.


Serena’s claimed hamstring injury was not associated with the year end championship. Her complaint then was a stomach muscle and then only after soreness became apparent a day later.

Soon after announcing the hamstring problem she is playing in exhibitions and dancing along with the entertainers. Whatever, Serena :>(.

Her injuries are consistently ambulatory and thus associated with her weight and lack of fitness. Her mind makes promises her body can’t keep, and then she gets frustrated and sometimes acts out.

She will be at the AO like nothing happened, no problem, you watch.

jane Says:

I read that this is Safin’s last season; I agree with kerry to a degree. Wile tennis itself won’t be boring, when Safin leaves the game, he will be sorely missed.

jane Says:

oops while not wile… although Safin is a wily one.

Colin Says:

Can anyone suggest video links for Doha? The Spanish broadcasts from Dubai were not exactly crystal clear, but they were much better than nothing. When you can’t see the ball properly, it’s surprising how much you can guess. If a player’s shoulders drop, he just missed the shot. If he puts it in the net you can see the net flap.

gulu Says:

Seems like Colin’s watching the doha matches in a far-from- satisfactory manner ! :-(

Daniel Says:

Colin you were having a body lesson on how to hit a ball! :)

Good to know that Roodick starts the season with a confortabe win. I hope he will be fit and ready to face Nadal in the semis.

Colin Says:

gulu – it’s Doha I WANT to watch. The poor picture I was referring to was from Dubai, and I think that link was supplied by someone here.

Colin Says:

Yep, it was, and it was good ol’ Von who suggested it. Anything for Doha, Von?

gulu Says:

Colin, may be you can watch the live streaming of Doha matches in the Star Sports website too as this channel’s also showing live matches live from Doha today, however I missed it due to work, but at least had a glimpse of My Hot Rod’s match ! :-)

Von Says:

I’m sorry about the delay in responding. Naughty girl. I submitted a link previously, but it hasn’t shown up. here’s another:

Von Says:

I see A-Rod won. I haven’t been able to see anything due to a busy schedule, however, I’m happy our guy won. Is Stefanki working with Andy?

Von Says:

Here are two more links. There’s also a schedule for Brisbane and Hopman Cup for those who are interested in those tournaments. Enjoy all. :P

Von Says:

I don’t know what’s happened to my posts to you. I listed 3 live streaming sites and all gone. One is awaiting moderation and the other two have just been gobbled up. Sorry.

jane Says:


Even though the links and question weren’t pour moi, thanks for the links, and yes, Stefanki was there watching Andy. He’s got the kind of calm, cool demeanor to balance out Andy’s hyper-activity. They may make a great team!

G Rajesh Says:

Hi, here are the links that provide your detail information on Tennis 2009 championships and Australian Open Tennis 2009 Championships

Von Says:


You’re welcome. I made mention of Brisbane = Djoko, with you in mind. :P

It’s great that Andy has Stefanki, who is more like a father figure than Connors was to A-Rod. Andy needs someone with that cool exterior, and Stefanki has experience with hot heads, eg., Johnnie Mc.

Von Says:

MMT: Happy New year!! what’s up? It’s been a long time between chats. Did you watch your guy, Tsonga, last evening in the ’08 SF v. Nadal? It’s the first time TC has shown a re-broadcast of that match and it was every bit as exciting as the live match, except for Gimelstob’s incessant chatter = Chatty Kathy, :D ha, ha.

gulu Says:

I’d really hate to see Rod losing matches to guys like Rafa, Murray etc all the time, in fact I’d be damn happy to see Rod beating them, he’s certainly got the game to outdo them. He should try his best to reach the Wimbledon final at least ! Go Rod !!!

Ezorra Says:

Cash demands Nadal, Djokovic stop their time-wasting tactics

By Leo Schlink
January 05, 2009

PAT Cash wants a crackdown on serial time-wasters, accusing superstars Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic of being the two worst offenders.

The 1987 Wimbledon champion said world No. 1 Nadal and 2008 Australian Open champion Djokovic repeatedly broke rules by taking longer than the 20 seconds allowed between points.

Players are allowed 25 seconds in regular tour events between points and 20 seconds at the four majors.

Cash said the use of an on-court buzzer, which would sound after 20 seconds in grand slam matches, would embarrass players into action – and solve the problem.

Writing in London’s Sunday Times, Cash admitted stalling was not a new issue, and conceded he had deliberately played for time when the situation suited.

But he said Nadal and Djokovic were damaging the sport by wasting time.

“They habitually hold up the action by bouncing the ball far too many times before serving,” Cash said.

“Not only does this practice show contempt for the guy waiting to receive at the other end of the court, but quite frankly, it bores the pants off the fans. It’s wrong and it’s about time serious action was taken to stop it.”

Cash said Nadal’s pre-service routine was tedious.

“He makes a mockery of the rule in grand slam and Davis Cup tennis that states there should be no more than 20 seconds between the end of one point and the ball being served for the next,” he said.

“He calls for his towel, then fiddles with his underpants in that less-than-becoming manner, which has become his trademark. Finally, he steadies himself, gathers his focus and then sets out to bounce the ball about 15 times before getting it into play.

“Djokovic can be even worse. His ball bouncing can become almost interminable.

“Those who have either the patience or the willpower have counted up to 25. Then, when the moment comes to serve, his action is very quick, which means that the opponent is almost taken by surprise.”

Cash stopped short of declaring the practice cheating.

“Certainly it contravenes the rules of the game,” he said.

“The fact that somebody as impeccably mannered as, say, Roger Federer regularly gets a little bit peeved underlines the need for this issue to be addressed.

“Are Nadal and Djokovic playing on the fact that umpires are not going to take hard-line action and therefore using the knowledge to give themselves an unfair advantage? The answer is yes.”

Cash, who will feature at the Australian Open in an exhibition rematch of the epic 1988 Open final against Mats Wilander, said stalling had been around for decades.

“I can remember my early days on the tour and an American college player called Mark Dickson who came on the circuit and nearly sent us all to sleep by bouncing the ball 40-odd times before unleashing a ripper serve,” Cash said.

“There was another called Lloyd Bourne who was a college mate of the king of stalling, John McEnroe. Mac did not resort to ball bouncing. He simply used to stall the game by arguing with the umpire and even calling for the referee or supervisor.

“I cast my mind back to the last time we played each other in a big match in the second round at Wimbledon in 1992, which he would eventually win after five sets.

“During the third set tiebreak we were sometimes going three minutes between points as he was forever changing his racquet.

“Then there was the infamous Jimmy Connors shoelace routine, while Argentine Guillermo Vilas worked out several tricks that didn’t just give himself a breather after a long point, but also played on his opponent’s concentration.

“And I was no angel. I stalled with the best of them. The guy whose psyche I knew was best disturbed by a little gamesmanship, such as suddenly halting play because somebody was supposedly moving in the stands, was Ivan Lendl.”


Ezorra: Anything to say guys?

Von Says:

Don’t get me started on the above. It’s the main reason I dislike Nadal so much. I’ve voiced my opinion on his dishonest routine and got chewed up by the “jaws of life” repeatedly. Nadal’s time violations take the enjoyment out of his matches, and if it weren’t for his opponent, I’d never watch his matches. His antics are tantamount to cheating and/or gamesmanship. I’m totally nauseated by his hand fiddling with his behind that’s a la Jennifer Lopez; it’s disgusting to watch. If I were his opponent, I won’t shake his hand at the end of the match. He needs to wear better undies and more loose pants that won’t be pasted onto his derriere like the Boss girls. Too bad tennis attire has been turned into such a ridiculous spectacle, and the sport’s rules have been abused so badly.

gulu Says:

It’s strictly my opinion & I’m endorsing neither Von nor Cash, but I must say I agree with these two. I was unhappy with Rafa taking so much time to serve during Wimby 2008 final, such time violations can really affect concentration of his opponent !

Ezorra Says:

I love Nadal’s game so very much. But in my opinion, rules are rules and every player must show their respects towards the rules.

I don’t care if the opponent feels annoyed or distracted by anything he does on the court, as long as his actions are within the rules and regulations. But, if he does something that against the rules, he should be aware of it and never do that to any further extent.

I don’t know whether his intention is to cheat or not (because I’ve no psychic power to read people’s mind) but as I said earlier, Nadal can do whatever he wants during the game as long as its not against the rules.

However, I do respect Von opinion.

p/s: Von and Gulu, Happy “belated” new year :P

Ezorra Says:

Wo Wo Wo Wo WOOOO!!! Novak Djokovic has been sensationally knocked out of the Brisbane International in the first round by Ernests Gulbis. Are you freakin’ kidding me!!!

To Jane, sorry to hear that. :(

;o Says:

Even as a Djokovic fan, im happy that he lost.

He would have lost any match the way he was playing, and this is a really good wake up call.

Chalk it all up to Rust, but there was no heart, no intensity, nothing. Rust explains the crap shots and poor movement, not the lack of desire.

Heres hoping he trains his ass off and defends his AO :)

Von Says:

Another live streaming site for free.
A happy New year to you, and a great 2009 tennis year too. :P

Sorry jane/Djoko fans, I believe nervousness is is huge part of what’s happening to Djoko presently. On the positive side, he’ll have more time to prepare for the AO. With this loss Federer will be seeded No. 2 at the AO without even stepping onto the court.

Von Says:

Colin: This website seems the most informative. I like the layout. Hope it works for you too. As usual i posted a few more links and they disappeared. I don’t know what’s the problem.
Sean Randall:
Why is it that my links and posts disappear so often? Please advise — I’m becoming paranoid — Is there a hidden message i don’t understand.

gulu Says:

Though I’m happy that Nole’s loss means Fed’s position remains intact at least for the time being, I’m also worried that it may make Nole even more determined to perform well at Aus open. Hopin for Fed’s win at Doha ! I don’t think Murray can defend it !

gulu Says:

By the way Ezorra, why were you absent for so long ? I have wished you Happy New Year much earlier & you are wishing me only now !!! Anyway, as the saying goes – better late than never. :-) Do ya think Murray can defend Doha, somehow I don’t think so.

Colin Says:

Thanks Von. It’s annoying when posts vanish, isn’t it? I found the following on another forum:

And found I was with the same JustinTV link that was so poor in Dubai. This is better (you can see the ball!), and moreover the commentary is in English (with an Aussie accent). I’ll try your suggestions too. It’s nice to have a so many choices.

jane Says:

Thanks for the consolation messages people, but I agree with ;O.

I followed the first set, and Djokovic’s service woes from last year continued. He’s not going to win against any of the top guys serving in the mid-50%. After he nearly went down two breaks in the first set, I knew he was going to be knocked out.

I hope Novak wakes up, smells the coffee, and works on that serve, and his intensity. He could also add a little more variety. He was using a slice at the Masters Cup and should continue to follow Nadal’s lead by improving and adding shots to his arsenal. It’s the best way to compete these days.

I like Gulbis, so I am happy for him with this win; I only hope he can parlay it into something special and go deep into the tournament.

I probably won’t get to watch a lot more as I am back teaching today. But here’s to some good pre-AO results for the good guys! ;-)

jane Says:

Just read this, which partially explains the poor serving, but why would a player change equipment now, right before a slam?


“Playing for the first time with a Head racket after switching from Wilson, Djokovic’s first-serve percentage dropped to 48 and he was broken four times. He said he needed time to get used to the changes.

“I didn’t play well. I served really, really bad and couldn’t get any rhythm,” Djokovic said.”


Well, at least he knows what he did wrong, “served really really bad” – but can he fix it? Hope so!!

gulu Says:

How easily Rafa exorcised the magician’s ghost ! But one should not be surprised at all.

mem Says:

For Pat Cash to say that Nadal is a mockery to the sport is out-of-line! Nadal’s exemplary representation of tennis on and off the court is without question, not to mention the fans he has attracted to the game, internationally. The nerve of Cash to say that fans are fed up with the way Nadal violates the rules, as if Nadal is a deliberate cheater. How does he know what the majority of fans think? Did he take a survey? How does he know that Roger Federer is ticked? Did Roger tell him? These are questions that need to be answered. My quess is, he’s referring to a segment of fans who for the most part are probably Federer supporters and wants Roger to regain the #1 position. I’m just as much for abiding by the rules as anyone, but I don’t hear any complaining from players when they beat Nadal. Quite frankly, I don’t care if a player goes to the moon in between points as long as he is back (more often than not), in the alloted time to serve or receive. If you ask me, its a sneaky attempt to distract Nadal in an effort to slow down his progress; to ultimately plant a seed in the minds of fans that will cause them to question Nadal’s credibility!

jane Says:


I read that article and thought it was unduly harsh in some of its comments, even though I think ultimately Cash’s point is correct. Both Nadal and Djokovic have to play within the rules, like everyone. So if they get called on a few more violations until they speed up, so be it. They can do it. Djoko cut down his bouncing a lot last year, so I’m sure Nadal can speed up too.

gulu Says:

mem, Nadal can go to the moon only after he’s finished his match, he’s no right to visit moon or stars or asteroids when it’s time to serve in a match !
BTW, Fed fans don’t need to indulge in blame game to bring him down, his rivals’d take care of that !

gulu Says:

Honestly speaking, I’d have been ashamed of Fed if he had been making such time violations (regardless of his intentions) ! One must not be adamant if he’s doing something wrong ! If one wouldn’t try to correct his mistakes, then criticism is a must !

gulu Says:

Actually I’m now forced to say that be it Rafa or Nole or anybody else for that matter, if they are found making the breach of any law of the game, they must be penalised ! Equality before law’s a big necessity of the time !

gulu Says:

mem, I think this time it’s an unpleasantly biased comment from you ! You are capable of making a lot more sense. Sorry if you feel I have crossed my limit (which however I don’t think I have,but still…) !

MMT Says:

Hi Von:

Been buried in it at work – I did catch Tsonga’s absolute domination of Rafa at the AO last year. It’s even more impressive on the replay than it was at the time, given Rafa’s performance for the remainder of 2008.

And yes, Gimelstob is the worst commentator in professional tennis today.

Here’s an interesting tidbit for you – in the last 12 AO finals on the mens’s side, 9 have featured first time Grand Slam finalists.

Any bets on who will be this year’s “surprise”?

MMT Says:

First of all, I admit I’m old school, so take this with a grain of salt but…

I think the players today have achieved obsecene levels of pampering in their matches, and I wish they would cut all this out and let them get on with it.

First, there should be a clock on the court, because opposing players and umpires don’t have the backbone to call out these time-wasters. Let’s settle all this with a clock and get on with it.

Second, I for one have had just about enough of watching grown men have some 12 year-old child, on the verge of heat stroke or dehydration, chase after in between every point and changeover handing them towels, holding aloft an 8-foot wing-span umbrella, or rushing to reach into a 50 liter barrell of ice to retrieve some idiotic sports drink.

It makes these guys look like as arrogant and self-absorbed as Egyptian pharoahs, and I think it’s disgraceful. It’s one thing if you’re a boxer with gloves on, but these guys are just being pampered, and it’s obscene.

I think they should all suck it up, play within the time limits, get their own water and towels and for god’s sake, go to Target and buy these clowns a self standing umbrella!

Dandies, all of ’em!

grendel Says:

It was good to hear David Mercer, the fine British commentator (now THAT’s usually a contradiction in terms) and former top umpire, confirm that the Murray/Nadal final last week was for real. They both,badly, wanted to win – period. I would guess that those who insist otherwise did not watch the match, and have become hung up on the term “exhibition”, with connotations of loot and so on. (As if, anyway, money is on Nadal’s mind – that is sloppy thinking). Truly, this is to take the shadow for reality. If you see and enjoy a thoroughly good tennis match, you don’t say: “oh, but of course, it’s an exhibition. We can’t have that. No, the match is no good after all. I was deceived.” But what were you deceived by? An attachment to names, perhaps?

b.t.w. David Mercer and Frew Macmillan had a little parley on this business of Nadal and the Djoker time wasting. I t was noted that some umpires come down hard on Nadal right at the beginning of a match – and you think, ah, some action at last. And subsequently, never so much as a squeak. Naturally, in these circs, Nadal views the umpire’s blustering with the contempt it deserves. I don’t think we should blame Nadal too much, or Djokovic. I don’t think they are cheating really. They just happen, especilly Nadal, to have immensely long wind ups. It is up to the umpires to show a bit of steel and put a stop to it. They are all to frightened to at the moment. Human nature being what it is, you can’t really blame Nadal for taking advantage, since he is not (in my opinion) taking all the time in order to get at the other player. It’s just his way, which demands tremendous concentration. This is a man who wants to win every point.

grendel Says:

This is Federer again, musing on his prospects for the season.

He is certainly very bullish, and that is good to see. One senses real confidence rather than hopeful bombast. One thing occurs to me, though, after watching both Federer and Nadal today – didn’t get a chance to see Murray. I’d like to make this tentative suggestion now, before we know any major results. I mean, we all know exactly what’s what, don’t we, when the match is over- what so and so should have done, what he didn’t do (the idiot), and we profer advice, counselling, jeers or possibly cheers and naturally we knew what would happen anyway, so quite frankly it was a bit of a yawn to have watched the match in the first place, and one seriously wonders whether to bother next time.

So may I express a fear before anything else happens? I am going to take Federer at his word that things are going well – and (interestingly) innovatively in practice – and that he will come out and give us all delight as of yore (though please, please do something about that overhead smashing, Federer; against Starace today, whenever Federer shaped up to smash, one gripped one’s chair, chewed a hole in one’s cheek, stared manically at the screen in the hope of changing reality with a spot of quantum magic or something, and none of it did any good).


Yes, that’s the trouble. There’s a “but” lurking behind the sofa, itching to pounce. For, let us assume Federer has adapted his game (to suit his grey hairs, you know) with just the skill one would like. Will it be enough? Federer was pretty good today, against weak opposition. Nadal was just frankly terrifying against, well, the lovely Santoro who has the sort of game which it is easy for Nadal to dismantle. But even so, the way he did it. Never mind those bloody knees, this is a man of tremendous power, far far stronger than Federer or anybody else so far as I can see – and, come on, we anti Nadal types, let’s be honest, a player with matchless skill, in his own way the equal in this respect of Federer.

Federer has always struggled with Nadal, even in his prime. But Nadal, in a quite scary way, is getting better and better. Once he’s hit his top form, I doubt if even Murray will be able to handle him. Logically, I just can’t see how Federer will. If I prove to be wrong, come and jeer me from the roof tops.

I shall acknowledge the rotten eggs and squishy tomatoes with delight.

sar Says:

Wake up NOLE… to NOLE

sar Says:

Well, at least he got the WC into Sydney next week. Maybe he needs a new physio.

Daniel Says:

grendel I happen to desagree that it’s not entirelly Nadal’s fault regarding his long period between points, as you pointed they want to win every point, regardless I think… He knows the effect he has on umpires, specially now that he is n. 1, and he will keep acting like this because he knows if an umpire take a point away from him he will chase for the tourney president and make a scene, which will make the umpire even more afarid (we know everytime and umpire is caught in a conflict situation he is almost certain to not be in a semi-fina or final)!

But I agree with you that the umpires are the ones that must be instrcuted to proceed properly, within the rules. Although I don’t see it happening unless they use a clock.

My admiration for Djoko increased a lot after he cut the usual 22-25 bouncing to 8-12 nowadays. This may had cost him some important points even matches, but he was instructed to do so or felt he needed to, in respect towards other players and us viewers. That was growing up attitude and I wish to see it from Nadal too. Will see, maybe this year as he is more of an role model figure, he’ll chane…

Daniel Says:

grendel I didn’t saw todays matches but when I look at the scores I thought, well Nadal is getting better! And now that I read your description my fear come true. So we have to beieve in Fed and enjoy every moment from now on, this year coud be a very specia obe for him.

As for Nadal, we’ll only know where he stands after RG 2009 is over!

grendel Says:

Daniel – don’t go by my description! You know far more about tennis than me – I can only report that Nadal did look scary good. But we’ll have to wait till he faces stronger competition.
Yes, I agree with you about Djokovic, he’s obviously made a real effort to change his ways, perhaps even harming his game in the process. Nadal just hasn’t and – imo – won’t unless he is forced to, since that intense concentration would be affected, and his game might suffer. And Nadal is a much more driven young man than Djkovic, with really very big ambitions indeed (we’re talking GOAT, here, in my view),although he is so composed it seems strange, in a way, to say this.

But the umpires won’t move for the reasons you say, especially if it’s only just a few disgruntled fans who care. Most spectators, I suspect, don’t care one way or the other. This idea of a clock seems an interesting one. It might work – only imagine the resistance, behind the scenes, to introducing it! I think we can safely guess that Uncle Toni would take a dim view…….

mem Says:

gulu, please! don’t apologize for voicing your opinion. I didn’t expect a popular response, but I can take it. No harm done! Rafa has proven that he has thick skin, he has demonstrated that he can absorb the criticism that comes with being at the top of his sport. I’m sure the umpires know what they get paid to do. in the meantime, all rafa needs to do is do what he does best, play his game and win! after all, success is the sweetest revenge!

Von Says:


The foregoing is another great live streaming site for Doha. Now you can pick and choose — feast or famine.

gulu Says:

Hi grendel, there was a time (2006) when none except me became sure that Fed’s on his way to beat Pete’s slam record to submission ! Then he was winning everything ! But I knew he’d soon face crisis & it’s happened ! Rafa’s crisis time’s not far either !

Von Says:


If tradition runs true to form with the AO, then it could be either DelPotro or Simon, or maaaybbbeee even Davydenko.

gulu Says:

BTW grendel, this is not the real form of Murray, his true form’d come later & despite that he’s more or less dominated Fed,Rafa & Nole for the last 6 months ! Murray’s current form’s enough to outdo Rafa, so think what’d happen once he gains top form !

gulu Says:

Rafa may hit unbelievable heights at a time, but he too would hit low ! One great win against Santoro’s not to be taken too seriously, and as far Fed’s concerned, he’d now,more than ever before like to play Rafa, champions’d always fight the great rivals!

Giner Says:

Safin says he won the fight. We can only take his word for it, but it would take a pretty big and tough guy to beat Safin up.

Djokovic lost his first match to Gulbis, so I guess he won’t be seeded 2 for AO. Cold comfort that would have been anyway. So he can avoid Nadal until the finals.. but there’s still Murray and Federer who could land in his draw. No.2 seeding is overrated now. So is No.1 I would argue. The top 4 guys are about equal and you can’t avoid getting at least one or two of them in your half.

Giner Says:

“USTA officials are considering putting a roof on Arthur Ashe stadium and converting it to a multi-use sports arena, possibly attracting a pro sports team…”

I don’t know how they’re going to fit a roof on a stadium that big. It dwarfs Centre Court at wimbledon, and those guys took 9 years to install a roof (which should be ready by this year’s tournament, so no more rain delayed finals). By the way, Wimbledon’s roof cost around $400 million to install if I’m not mistaken.

“Former French Open champion Albert Costa has been appointed as Spain’s new Davis Cup captain, replacing 33-year-old Emilio Sanchez Vicario who stepped down after Spain won this year’s Davis Cup title, defeating Argentina…”

Emilio Sanchez can’t still be 33 years old. He was playing back in McEnroe’s day. Even his little sister Arantxa is older than that.

gulu Says:

Rankings might have been overrated at the moment, but I’m not particularly convinced about it !
With due respect to Fed, Murray & Nole, I must have to say that sadly for me, it’s Rafa who’s the best player right now !

gulu Says:

Grendel, I actually couldn’t understand it when you said that Rafa’s much more stronger than Fed ! Can you please tell me in what respect ? Were you talking about Rafa’s biceps ? ;-)

gulu Says:

Grendel, I actually couldn’t understand it when you said that Rafa’s much more stronger than Fed ! Can you please tell me in what respect ? Were you talking about Rafa’s biceps ? ;-) Even I agree that Rafa’s a pretty good-lookin guy ! :-)

grendel Says:

Gulu – no, not biceps. I’m talking about the power with which Nadal hits the ball, even from the most unpromising angles. This is indeed scary to observe and -if I am honest – exhilerating even though Nadal is the enemy so to speak. Furthermore, he has the confidence to unleash this power whilst still aiming for a precise position – namely, close to the lines. He is both uninhibited and careful? How is such a contradiction possible? Well, because he is an absolute master of his trade, I suppose. And – so far as I can judge – this strength is increasing; not altogether surprising, after all, given Nadal’s age, he’s presumably still not quite in his prime though he must be mighty close. Finally, contrast Nadal and Fed on a)drop shot, b)smash. a) one feels – surprisingly – that Federer is still experimenting, and a little unsure, so he doesn’t do it very often. But Nadal is deeply accomplished in this area, rarely misses,and has a wonderful disguise. b) Federer is, for some reason which I can’t understand, lamentable in this area. Nadal is extremely proficient, and a mark of his confidence is that he tends to angle his smashes at three quarter pace (unless they are extremely simple). They don’t come back.

It goes without saying that Federer has compensatory attributes. His backhands yesterday, especially down the line, were something to see. But in particular, I recall a sort of blocked backhand more or less crosscourt, with no backlift, which went sailing for a tremendous winner. I was put in mind of his extraordinary return of Roddick’s serve in that AO semi final when the ball landed back at Roddick’s feet before the American had had a chance to move. In some ways, this bh was even more impressive, because he didn’t have Roddick’s power to exploit. Also, Fed’s forehand was behaving itself much better – whilst the serve is looking, for the most part, rather ordinary. That’s alright I guess, I assume he is holding it in reserve.

Of course, you are right Gulu. At some point, the Nadal bubble will burst. Not any time soon, though, I shouldn’t have thought.

grendel Says:

oh, and gulu – I’m getting as bad as you with this afterthought business! – but of course you are quite right, there’s really no call to go overboard just on the strength of one match with Santoro, who anyway had absolutely nothing to hurt Nadal with. So I’m sorry if I have been sounding dogmatic. Really, it’s just a feeling I have about Nadal this year. We’ll see.

gulu Says:

Hey grendel, do you think you need to say sorry for praising Rafa’s talents & admiring his class? No no….. you don’t !!!! Even I am in awe at times by seeing some Rafa master-class , he’s a perfectionist & always tries to improve, am happy for him :-) !

gulu Says:

I got something to say about Fed ! I trust Fed the most, but I don’t like Fed trying to change his way of playing, coz by this, he may
lose his natural flair ! Again, no reason to believe that a change in playing style’d give Fed desired results only !

Colin Says:

Von, that link is brilliant – the sharpest picture of the lot, and furthermore there’s commentary in English.

jane Says:

Davydenko has pulled out of Chennai and the AO, citing a heel injury, so those wary of facing him won’t have to worry. Too bad: he was playing nice tennis at the end of last year.

Also too bad? Gulbis is knocked out right after his nice win over Djokovic in Brisbane. Maybe his win was due to Djoko playing poorly after all, and not so much that Gulbis has a new mindset and newfound consistency. Sigh. So much talent in Gulbis: his forehand is remarkable. I do hope he can become a more consistent player. He’s fun to watch, and his smile is infectious.

jane Says:

grendel, particularly striking in that Federer article you posted is his comment about pressure. It makes a lot of sense. Since Federer has slid just slightly under the spotlight, since players now have a sense that maybe they can beat him, and since he is no longer top dog, he does have less pressure. He can be a bit of a hunter now. Realistically, he is number 2 in the world and desires to be number 1 again, so he has tremendous pressure to (re)prove himself, much of that being self-created pressure, although his fans do want to see him at top form again too, but he can sit back a bit.

Also interesting is that he mentions the “big four” and discusses how the rankings may shift between the four of them. He doesn’t seem overly concerned about this.

The article does imply a renewed focus for a Federer who seemed to be somewhat less focused last year. He knows what he wants to do and seems clear about it.

These, in my view anyhow, seem all good signs for Roger and his fans.

MMT Says:

This time wasting is ridiculous. First, Djokovic has cut down on his ball bouncing and all he did last year was win the AO and the Masters. Big disadvantage there.

As for Rafa – wanting to win every point is no good explanation for time wasting. Everyone wants to win every point, it has nothing to do with his ridiculous antics between points.

Furthermore, have you seen how he makes his opponents wait for him while he goes through is OCD routines before they even start playing? At the very least, this is unbelieveably disrespectful to his opponents, and at the worst, cheating.

Enough is enough – put a clock on the court like they do in football and basketball and let’s be done with it already. Otherwise, we’ll soon be waiting for celestial bodies to align before a point can begin.

This is absurd.

MMT Says:

VON! What a feed! I’m very impressed – where do you find these?

gulu Says:

That’s why I always say, there’s nothing great about guys like Gulbis who merely spoil the party ! I’m recalling Karlovic v. Fed 2008 match which Dr.Ivo won serving outstandingly only to serve pathetically in his next match v. Murray & went crashin out !

gulu Says:

Good times have returned again & I enjoyed the below par performance of Fed during his 2nd round win over Seppi & now enjoying the Rod match sipping some cold coffee at midnight here in India at home ! I wish you people could join me now ! ;-)

gulu Says:

I think this is the right time for Rod to focus on his career & hit form so that he can make it further interesting by forcing his way into the top 4 territory, Rod’s certainly a great chance if he gets his motivation back ! WHAT’S NALBY DOING THESE DAYS?

Von Says:

Colin: I thought you’d like that new site I found, especially because it’s in “English”. On my new HDMI/TV 24″ monitor (eat your hearts out, those of you who don’t have one) the pictures are just awesome. I enjoy live streaming so much more nowadays, even though my neck hurts. According to LG Electronics, “Life’s Good”, and I’m a “penzovante”?, per MMT. :P The “P” is supposed to be a smiley, but I think Tennis.X has changed their site display and the smileys no longer show up. Sean’s comments are highlighted also. Has anyone else noticed this? Maybe they’re trying to send me a message to behave myself. Naughty girl, this Von. Ha, ha. I’ve got news for them, not even Mother superior was able to dampen my wicked humorous side.

I think they’ve abandoned

gulu Says:

David Nalbandian’s just unbeatable when he’s on, I think Fed’s the only guy who can stand his onslaught, but I won’t bet on even an in-form Fed beating Nalby (if he’s playing his A-game) ! Nalby’s agonisingly close to Fed talentwise,but achieved nothing.

gulu Says:

I believe that Fed will definitely beat every single rival of his if he’s playing at his highest level, but Nalby’s the exception to this rule ! None can stop Nalby if he decides to win a slam, I think he can do it even now if he really wants to !

Von Says:

MMT: I happened to find that site just surfing for some new live streaming websites and was captivated by the format and display. I’m not a very computer savvy user, but at times I surprise even myself with my search results. However, it’s not easy to repeat my performance. I’m a “flash in the pan”. Ha, ha.

On another note, and I’m being very wicked, have you been watching the Bud Collins micro-mini psuedo-type Aussie documentaries on the past great Aussies? Well, last evening I was watching Hopman Cup (I’m sorry but I’m a sucker for any sport that the Americans compete in). Anyway, dear old Bud’s docs were aired twice. I nearly choked laughing. He had on this striped shirt, white background, pink, orange and blue stipes, and a (get this) a tomato-laden pair of pants, which had these bright red tomates, with the green leaves, all over the pants, intertwined. Could you just picture it? I laughed until my face hurt. It was hilariously funny. What a character! If you do watch Hopman Cup tonight and Bud appears, please check out his duds and give me your opinion. I can guarantee you’ll derive some laughs. Drum roll …. James Blake played a great match v. Kiefer, but the US won’t win this year, much to my disappointment. I’m just being greedy because they won last year, and I’m one for sharing the spoils — I’m a hopeless liar when it comes to the US and my faves winning, what can I say.

On the topic of the tennis “dandies” as you call them, Michael Chang, in an interview on TC a couple of years ago, referred to the present crop of players as “spoilt”. I think they’ve been pampered too much, and they are all turning into little “King Tuts” and/or “Pharoahs” as you state.

At last year’s Toronto tournament, Nadal nearly had a seizure when Cedric DuMaurier called him out twice on time violations. Nadal’s attitude and body language was one of “how dare you, a lowly umpire, slap me, the “great Nadal” with a time violation. Don’t you know how great I am?”. Nadal called for the tournament referee, etc. It was just ridiculous. However, that didn’t stop him, he continued to do it, even more. He’s a very passive-to-the-extreme-agressive type and will continue to break the rules, regardless.

I know many say he’s “well-mannered” but I don’t see anyone who has such poor disregard for his fellow player, as “well mannered”. I call that being overly pompous. I know ATP won’t discipline him because he’s a good crowd draw, and as Daniel pointed out, the umpires are afraid, especially after Toronto, so Nadal will continue to do what he does best — chheeeaaatt.

Looking at the ’08 Hamburg match again, made me even more mad. His injury time-out clearly threw Fed off. In ’06 Monte Carlo, just a few seconds before they got on court, Nadal decided to call for a trainer to tape his fingers. Fed had to wait, and I’m sure he had to be angry. Another time, he called for the trainer to tape his knees just seconds before the match began. In Madrid last year, before 3 matches consecutively, after the players warmed up, and a few seconds before they took the court, he left to go to the bathroom, while his opponent meekly waited. The commentators were livid and even mentioned that they hope it’s not an additional antic he’s adding on to his OCD repertoire. I turned off my TV after that incident. Something needs to be done and I think ATP should develop some backbone because Nadal is making a mockery out of their rules. I don’t mind umpire/player tiffs, but I’m deadly against gamesmanship/cheating.

Oh “jaws of life” chew me out if you feel so inclined … drum roll. And, now enters …. ha ha.

gulu Says:

Rafa’s not as well-mannered or humble or good-hearted person as he projects himself, of course he’s not a very bad guy, but he’s too proud within ! Look – Nole’s hated & Rafa loved coz Nole’s not giving artificial & tailore-made statements like Rafa.

gulu Says:

The one good quality of Rafa’s that he’s not arrogant till now and despite his many glorious achievements, but his dark side is his hidden pride, superiority complex (a foolish idea), artificialness & also extreme passion, his statements lack sincerity

grendel Says:

MMT says: “As for Rafa – wanting to win every point is no good explanation for time wasting. Everyone wants to win every point, it has nothing to do with his ridiculous antics between points.”

There is a difference between trying to account for something and apologising for it – you have missed this distinction. When one says Nadal wants to win every point, leaving aside the deliberate hyperbole (poetic license sort of thing) one means he really is focused on each point as if it’s the only one. To say that everyone wants to win every point is true only in a trivial sense – like me saying I want to go to bed with so and so, or I’d like to have been able to play awesome tennis, whatever, true – but laughably unrealistic. Nadal looks hurt when he misses a really difficult shot even when the result of the match is not remotely in doubt. This is not because he wants to grind his opponent into the ground, but because he is an obsessive perfectionist. In this sense, his opponent is himself.

Does this excuse his delaying antics? No, absolutely not. I am no johnny-come-lately in this regard, I have been criticising Nadal for his procrastinations for years now, and usually a lot less cautiously than on this site – as the unfortunate members of my household can testify. I can be a bit of a ranter, I regret to say.

Because I am conscious of having been unfair to Nadal in the past, I have been making more effort to understand what makes him tick. Not easy, I have enough trouble trying to work out my own behaviour let alone that of somebody I have never met, but I don’t think he is a villain or, consciously, a cheat. Nor is he a saint, of course. He indulges in gamesmanship, as most of them do. And I have gone on record questioning his much lauded “modesty”, which I do think is pretty contrived. But there are plenty of good things about him, too.

Meanwhile, I wrote in an earlier post that MMT’s suggestion of a clock, seconded by Daniel, seems a very good idea. I have my doubts, though, that the idea will get off the ground.

grendel Says:

jane – it is true that Federer is talking the good talk, and that is all good, insofar as it goes. The question is, will the talk be translated into action? I just have this sneaking feeling that that old monster, Father Time, has got a beady eye on Federer, whilst he is smiling very indulgently on Murray and Nadal. To defy Father Time takes some doing, and very considerable guile, I would suggest. Part of the fun of the coming season will be to see if Fed possesses such guile.

Oleg Says:

So it’s time to call people on their bulls**t, namely gulu and Von.

“The one good quality of Rafa’s that he’s not arrogant till now and despite his many glorious achievements, but his dark side is his hidden pride, superiority complex (a foolish idea), artificialness & also extreme passion, his statements lack sincerity” – gulu

How do Rafa’s statements “lack sincerity”? Where is the “hidden pride”? none of your statements are backed up. They’re baseless attacks on character. Give concrete examples or your statements are worthless.

“Nadal nearly had a seizure when Cedric DuMaurier called him out twice on time violations. Nadal’s attitude and body language was one of “how dare you, a lowly umpire, slap me, the “great Nadal” with a time violation. Don’t you know how great I am?”.” – Von

Did Nadal get angry? yep. Does this happen often? nope. You make a gross exaggeration (seizure, ‘how dare you a lowly ump’ tirade) out of an isolated event.

“I don’t mind umpire/player tiffs, but I’m deadly against gamesmanship/cheating” – Von

That one is just a classic line. So Andy Roddick ( gets a free pass for his poor behavior, how convenient.
Poor behavior is poor behavior period. You can’t pick and choose, sorry Von!

Note that for the time issue all your (gulu and von) arguments are relevant. Unfortunately as it is not strictly enforced, there is little that can be done. A “shot-clock” is the best solution, and easy to implement.

jane Says:

Guile, sure, but a good coach and good training, too; that can at least hold the rampaging of nature at bay for a while. It can be done; Agassi and Samprass both won slams (Agassi the French even!) at the twilight stages of their tennis careers. So Federer, of all players, should be able to do it too. I only wish, for his sake, that he’d hire a good coach, as I’ve harped before. Maybe he doesn’t need one; he certainly has worked well on his own thus far, and he’s obviously got a great training regime, but I still think another pair of eyes could only work to his advantage at this stage of the game.

Apropos, time will tell.

Ezorra Says:

grendel says:

“…but I don’t think he is a villain or, consciously, a cheat. Nor is he a saint, of course. He indulges in gamesmanship, as most of them do. And I have gone on record questioning his much lauded “modesty”, which I do think is pretty contrived. BUT THERE ARE PLENTY OF GOOD THINGS ABOUT HIM, TOO.”


Daniel Says:

As Colin and MMT pointed out, that feed is really awesome, thanks Von!!! No more shadow of the balls leaving their trail like a comet crossing our images…

I won’t get into the time violation cause Nadal’s fans will always take it person, and as I am a Fed follower, it will sound suspicious. But the main thing that all of us can agree with is to use a clock!

After todays match, Fed won even playing bad which is good, but he sweat a lot, and served really poorly. It’s not just first serve percentage, but very few aces and easy points. Oddly, Nadal is serving poorly and some mention that Djoko did it too in his match. I wonder what is going on with them? Are they holding themselves to AO when it really matters, or are they just starting the season and are a little cold, or are the surface holding the ball (very unrealistic, since it is a fast surface)?! Any thoughts..?!

As the week go on will see if this pattern remains…

Daniel Says:

As Grendel pointed, maybe like Danny Clover Fed’s is getting “too old for this s..t”. That would explain the poor serve, sweat and some silly mistake. But c’mon, he is 27 (my age), I don’t buy it yet, denial I think!!

Von Says:

Approximately 75 percent of the players have umpire tiffs, but how many indulge in Nadal’s time violations? Sorry, I didn’t view the link on Roddick’s umpire tiff, I believe I know which one, since you’ve posted it previously, and I don’t generally view links unless someone calls my attention to them. Roddick’s not the only one that has had these umpire problems, and he won’t be the last. Truthfully, I find some of the umpire tussles between the players/umpires to be humorous. Additionally, I don’t consider these tussles to be gamesmanship. Andy has had very bad calls that have caused him to lose, and that’s become a problem for him. At Paris, there was a call the umpire failed to correct when Andy hit an inside-out forehand that landed smack on the line, and what did the umpire (Lahyani) do? He didn’t overrule; true Roddick should have challenged, but it was clear the umpire didn’t do his job. Roddick got broken and lost the match, however, he didn’t make a scene, nor did he even question the call. Even though I find some of Roddick’s umpire tussles to be humorous, I would prefer it if he would refrain from so doing because it’s injurious to his game and improper decorum. In all fairness to him, he has cut down drastically on his arguments.

I’m not picking and choosing on issues. Gamesmanship is a premeditated action that’s engaged in by some players to throw off their opponent, and to me, such an action falls under the category of “strategized cheating”. It’s (1)a deliberate act to place the opponent at a psychological disadvantage, thereby gaining a mental edge and upper hand; and (2) a carefully orchestrated action and a thought born from a crafty mind-set which manifest itself as a very present and conscious act.

I won’t defend a player for such behavior, because that kind of action resonates and reverberates that he feels he’s incapable of winning cleanly, and can only win when he engages in the use of ‘gamesmanship”, which is a very nice word for dishonest behavior. There’s a huge difference between an umpire tussle and gamesmanship. One is where the player goes into the match knowing exactly what strategy he’ll use if he meets up with a difficult opponent. On the other hand, an umpire tussle only ensues if there’s a perceived bad call by the player — hence an argument. We have calculated vs. spontaneous actions, hence, the vast difference. Nadal has quite a few tricks that he employs when he’s playing against a tough opponent. Vis-a-vis, a bathroom break after he’s lost the first set; a medical timeout if he’s down 5-2 or something to that effect; and, slowing down his opponent’s momentum with more towelling off and dawdling. When he’s winning easily, the semantics are put on the back burner. Nadal has the record for the most medical time-outs.

Yes, it’s not often Nadal gets warned for his numerous time violations, and because of that, he has indulged himself beyond the point of no return, and this is why some of his fans feel it’s alright. If more umpires had the guts to reprimand him for his flagrant disregard for the Rules and his disrespect for his opponents, Nadal probably would have exercised more restraint, but why should he? If he can get away with such actions and it benefits his cause, why do any differently? I suppose being the No. 1/2 player falls under the umbrella of “Rank entitlement” and as such, everyone turns a blind eye. Tennis would probably NEVER use a time-clock or buzzer, because of its origin as a “gentleman’s game”, albeit it’s now been turned into a “gladiator” war. A timer would be straying far from the original intents and purposes of the sport, which translates to players incurring time violations and becoming recidivists.

The ATP should be more judicious and/or conscientious in their employment of the rules, and if they did, there would be less antics and more enjoyable matches.

I’ve yet to see Nadal get to the net first at any of his matches and wait for his opponent. It’s always the other way around. And, however some look at it, it’s an unspoken showing of arrogance. Then when he gets there, the semantics begin. Such actions annoy people/players whether we perceive their annoyance or not. Just because the other players do not complain, or we don’t hear their complaints doesn’t make it justifiable. Nadal is a very calculating player and will do whatever it takes to win.

It’s obvious that Nadal’s actions are not unnoticed as is evidenced by the Pat Cash article/interview and many, many commentators’ remarks. If he wants to be a respected No. 1, then he should inject poise and grace into his on-court behavior, and the time violations would be an admirable place to start.

Von Says:


You’re welcome!! I’m very happy that it’s an enjoyable viewing for so many. I had posted a few more awesome websites of live streaming that I found, however regrettably, my posts vanished, and I can’t remember the sites. If you can believe it, there was one even more awesome than the one I posted. Boo hoo!!

I don’t think we shouldn’t speak up if we feel something is wrong because of our support for another player. Wrong is wrong, and the players’ on-court personna is not to be confused with their off-court conduct/personality. Our main concern is what happens on the court and how we would like to see tennis played. Since we don’t personally know these players it would be ridiculous for us to demonize their personalities — I’m just concentrating on their tennis mannerisms because it detracts from my enjoyment of the matches.

In every person there’s good and bad — angel and devil intertwined, hence I’m positive that there are many exceptional qualities in Nadal.

Lynx Says:

— Von says “Michael Chang, in an interview on TC a couple of years ago, referred to the present crop of players as “spoilt”. I think they’ve been pampered too much, and they are all turning into little “King Tuts” and/or “Pharoahs” as you state.”

Pharaohs? Spoilt? Was that a late night show or someting? C’mon let’s talk about tennis. By the way, remember Chang’s serve? Sometimes I thought that was a cheating serve! 8-)

— Von says “Cedric DuMaurier called him out twice on time violations”

The problem was not calling but *when* he called. For some unknown reason Cedric Mourier decided to call when it could affect Nadal’s score and concentration most. If Mourier felt the need to call, I think he should have used a warning-call at any other previous point, so as not to interfere with the match in the way he did.

I usually don’t remember umpire’s names, just get familiar with their faces. This is not the case with Mourier. I still remember well some of last year’s matches thanks to him. Here are some links so you all can also enjoy again 2008 and more:

–Von says “I don’t see anyone who has such poor disregard for his fellow player”; also Nadal is “overly pompous”, breaks the rules, cheats… You even judge gamesmanship!!

I’ve seen may players do all that things and some more. Being a tennis pro, you’ll have to wait for (and suffer if you want) injury time-outs, bathroom-times, tape-times, change-racket-times, etc. Changing sides, one day you’ll have to ask for a time-out, or go to the bathroom, maybe disturbing your opponent in an important moment. Do we need to change the rules? Would the alarm serve-now clock be one of the solutions? I really don’t know.

In fact, the only clear point I got from your destructive post is that you don’t like Nadal. That’s for sure.

Oh if Nadal makes you mad so you have to turn off your TV, then perhaps we could talk about an *obsession* here… :-)

Happy new year!

Ezorra Says:

To me, what we have discussed about Nadal’s behavior on the court is just the matter of opinion. Some might see it as nothing and some possibly would perceive it as wrong.

The main issue here is the appropriateness of Nadal taking so much time between points. Personally, I don’t think it’s appropriate just simply because it is against the rule. That’s all!

However, as some people might see Nadal as arrogant for not getting to the net earlier than his opponent, I also perceive Roddick’s attitude and words towards the umpire (on that particular day) as totally inappropriate. But, are those stuffs make them a bad persons, I do not think so! As what grendel has said in his/her previous post, “THERE ARE PLENTY OF GOOD THINGS ABOUT them, TOO.”

Ezorra Says:

Von says

“In every person there’s good and bad — angel and devil intertwined, hence I’m positive that there are many exceptional qualities in Nadal.”

-Totally with you!

gulu Says:

Hey Oleg, of course all of Rafa’s statements aren’t totally sincere, e.g. it was like the end of 2007/start of 2008, Rafa was asked if Fed’s ever best & he said he isn’t sure, but after kickin Fed’s ass at Wim & FO,he now says all the time-Fed’s best ever

gulu Says:

Oleg, you will fail to observe the pride of Rafa if you make yourself blind with Nadal’s love just like I’d never consider Fed to be arrogant if I allow Fed’s love to make me biased !
But as you seem to be biased at the moment, you don’t see his pride !

gulu Says:

grendel, even I’m hoping for Fed’s talk to be translated into action and not remain just as silly musings ! Whether Fed’s wishful or really determined, only time’d tell, though at the moment his words sound music to my ears but bombs to my hearts !

Daniel Says:

Well, Roddick isn’t for sure in the poor serving mode of our top dogs. He is serving near perfect against Hanescu, which always improve his confidence. I hope he can sustain it for the next match so he can give Nadal a good fight, I honestly don’t think Monfils can beat Nadal!

gulu Says:

Please don’t make fun of me if I prove wrong, but I’d like to make a guess regarding the man who’s gonna win this year’s Qatar Open ! Don’t know why, but I feel this year’s title’s going to. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rafa !!!

Daniel Says:

gulu, if Monfils can sustain the level he is in this first 4 games, I think Nadal will lose. It’s not like he is not missing, which he is, specially forehand, but he is going for the balls and just break Nadal’s serve with awesome winners.

Daniel Says:

But, Nadal is Nadal and he just break back, amazing how he doesn’t allow competition to get momentum!

grendel Says:

Vive Monfils!

Nadal serving at 5-6 is love 30 down and gets it back to 15 with a tremedous drop volley. But then Monfils runs a LONG way round his backhand and proceeds to smack the ball the entire length of the court, diagonally. Too much for Nadal. Boy, can Monfils hit a ball! And although Nadal claws back a point, again Monfils is too strongfor him, and the set is his.

Looks like Hewitt’s old coach Roger thingy is doing the business – we always knew Monfils had terrific power at his disposal but the bugger just wouldn’t use it. Remember his pathetic display against Fish in the US Open?

Few years ago, 2 or 3, Monfils was asked -just prior to a meeting with Nadal – if he held him in awe. He replied, with contempt, no he certainly did not. Well, that confidence proved a touch premature. But he’s showing now that it was not misplaced. Even if he doesn’t win.

Vive Monfils!

MMT Says:

Grendel – I think you and I are in agreement on Nadal’s time wasting. I just don’t like excuses for clear rule violations, but based on your explanation it was not an excuse, but an explanation. Fair enough, but I still think they should do something about it because really it’s very boring watching a guy towel off after every point, and take 30 seconds to serve. They should just get the next to balls and put it in play and get on with it.

Lynx – your argument about the timing of the violations is similar to McEnroe. But here’s the thing, this can only be a fair argument if he takes the same amount of time between insignificant points as he does on big ones. If he takes a lot more time on big points, then the umpire is well within his responsibility to all a violation. It’s not his fault if Nadal takes 45 seconds on set point, it’s Nadal’s.

Again, a clock will solve this problem. Now, there are cases where there’s a distraction, or the player gets something in his eye, or injured, that are legitimate reasons to be lenient on the 20-25 second rule, and in these cases a clock would be problematic. But, at least everyone would see the time has run out and Nadal or the umpire would have to give an explanation as to why there’s no violation.

As it stands now, the umpire is lenient until the violation is egregious, which usually happens on “big” points, and then get hammered for distracting the violator on big points. So, I still think there should be a clock.

jane Says:

Monfils is like a backboard today. Rafa can’t get much past him. And Gael is all over Rafa’s serve, innit? Plus he is fast like a rocket – Nadal’s really trying to move him around with the drop shots and such. But Monfils is serving as well as he is retrieving. This is looking like his day right now. We’ll see! No offense to Fed fans, but a Monfils vs. Murray final, if both were playing at their best, it’d be a lot of fun. I can’t recall watching the two play.

Daniel Says:

Indeed Vive Monfils!!!

I lost count of how many winners he made from behind the baseline, and those were 160 km/h, amazing!!!
That’s the kind of tennis I like to see! Some of the balls Nadal didn’t even move, and we are taking Nadal here, who is playing great too, a lot of angles and deep balls, even his net games is great, almost all the time he went for the net the points was his. Great match!

grendel Says:

don’t you just love the way Monfils languidly “lifts” the ball, apparently, but it just smoothly powers away from Nadal – still as a statue. What timing this boy has.
Monfils is controlling this match, there is no doubt who on the day – is the better player.
But Nadal is fighting all the way, just hanging on. That could be enough as we get to back end of set. Damn, damn, damn. Come on Monfils, don’t throw it away!

jane Says:

Congrats to Gael Monfils for a great match and start to the year! Lots of errors from Rafa; he was filled with tension. But Monfils WON that match, Rafa didn’t lose it.

Monfils is so fun to watch when he’s on!! Power, movement, excitement! Maybe this’ll be a great year for him. Let’s not forget – this guy can play on clay as well! Could he be the one to take the French? Maybe that’s a leap but he did push Federer in the semis last year.

I’d like to see either Roddick or Monfils through to the finals – good start for these guys.

Daniel Says:

Seems like Fed is not the only one who shake his forehand under pressure. The match point when Nadal missed that awfull forehand by a mile was really weird! Can’s remember tha last time he lost a match with a silly mistake, usually the othr guy has to take the win out of him (which Monfils did the entire match)!

osazone4real Says:

until Nadal can improve his serve to an extent he can get free bees on his serve he will never win a Hard Court GS.

grendel Says:

Nadal serving to stay in the match, is love 30 down. Serves nervously – a gift, really – and Monfils shanks. But then at 15-30, Monfils took all the pace off his forehand – a confused Nadal nets it. Magic! Match point, Nadal misses his first serve, but his second serve was of first serve quality. Monfils deals with it with ease – what a cool character he is, unlike us, watching.

Nadal under pressure today, and he proved human – came within an inch of hurling his racket to the ground, and looked extremely rattled on many occasions. Only goes to show – it is relatively easy to be composed when you are in charge. Oddly, you never see Monfils looking angry when losning – he just looks awfully sad.

Well, do we have another joker in the pack then? Monfils gets injured a lot, just like Tsonga. I so hope he stays clear this year. What a total joy to watch, on this form!

osazone4real Says:

I have no intention of taking anything from monfils win, He is an athletic player with good court coverage and an increasingly improved return combined with a Roddicklike serve he ofcourse WON today.

osazone4real Says:

But clearly this show for me that against people like nalby,fed,djoker when he is not off,an inform A-Rod,Nadal will not win a HC GS

jane Says:

PS – Sorry to Rafa’s fans. He wasn’t at his utter best today I don’t think, yet Monfils was.

osazone4real – I agree that Rafa’s serve was a weakness today against a good returner like Monfils. But Rafa is such a hard worker. He’ll be trying to hone that serve.

mem Says:

any true follower of tennis knows by now that anything nadal does is and will be put under a microscrope, disected, analyzed, and repeated over and over again. truth be known, nadal is indirectly blamed for coming on the circuit, stealing federer’s thunder and actually becoming a threat to federer’s superiority. had it not been for nadal, federer would have probably remained #1 until he decided to retire, would have won the french open by now and would have broken sampras’s record by now. who was there to challenge him? you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out. for the most part, all of this talk of nadal destroying tennis with his on-court antics stems from fear and paranoia. it’s amazing what fear will cause some people to do. nadal knows what the deal is! he’s not in the dark! everything is not always what it seems! it’s a pity that pat cash couldn’t get his point across without trying to damage nadal’s character. that says a lot about who pat cash is.

jane Says:

Fed wins but Kohls really fought back! When I left home to come to work the score was love-30 for Fed in the second set, and when I arrived here, it was a tiebreak. So it’s looking like another Fed vs. Murray match. This time, you’d think Fed will win. He’s going to want the extra points, and now Rafa is out. So…more motivation. Course Murray is defending the title so he won’t cave easily, that is, of course, assuming he makes it through today. Admittedly, I don’t know too much about Murray’s next opponent.

jane Says:

Judging by stats, the second serve and second serve return are what made the difference in Roger vs. Kohls, but I didn’t get to see the match so can’t say more. Both had a good first serve %.

jane Says:

Sorry, that should be love-3 in the first set, not love-30. Roger had taken the first 3 games.

jane Says:


You’re right in that Nadal deserves a lot of credit for disturbing Federer’s utter dominance of the tour. I was an instant fan of his because of his fire and persistence. He never let up, did he? That’s what I’ve always liked about Roddick vs. Federer; although the H2H is more lop-sided there, Roddick always fought and tried to find ways to win on the court against Roger. Nadal was simply more successful in this regard, due to styles and match ups perhaps.

That said, Rafa could speed up his service routine a bit. :-)

MMT Says:

I’m not ready to jump on the Monfils bandwagon just yet – he’s just too flaky…also I can’t stand his on-court celebrations, but that’s another matter.

Even if he won the tournament, I’d hardly make him a favorite in Australia. Flaky players rarely get the job done over 5 sets, which you usually have to do at a slam.

Not to rain his parade or anything, because this is definitely a great win for him.

mem Says:

MMT, you make a good point! i make it a point to never predict the future based on one or two matches. i basically look at how a player plays over a period of time. i think it gives a more accurate picture of what you can expect. monfils was undeniable on fire today! he had a plan and he executed it well. a round of applause for him!

MMT Says:

mem – let me guess, you’re a Nadal fan? I mean, come on, nobody said he’s destroying tennis. And Cash didn’t question his character. All anyone is saying about this is that he indulges himself when the ball’s not in play and it’s disrespectful to his opponents, and in the worst case cheating.

What in the world this has to do with Federer, I have no idea. I don’t think anyone even brought him up until you did. I don’t think any of his critics in this thread are diehard Fed-heads.

From my perspective, I just hate how long it takes to get the match and the points started. I’d like to see the players get on with it, period, and Nadal (and Djokovic) have been the worst offenders in this regard over the last few seasons.

Sergiy Stakhovsky is Ukranian and he won 2 titles last year, a challenger in Spain and an ATP event in Croatia where he beat Ljubicic in the final in straight sets. He looks like a bit of a serve and volleyer, and I even saw him chip and charge a bit too. However, I find his strokes to be rather unappealing – not very aesthetic, although he does have a one-handed backhand.

Prediction – Murray retains the title, beating Stakhovsky, Fed then Roddick in the final.

MMT Says:

That last bit’s for you Jane, you said you didn’t know much about Murray’s opponent.

gulu Says:

How can I forget Monfils ! He tortured me so much during the FO 2008 Semifinal match against Roger, after all I was about to fall from my chair that day ! Monfils can definitely beat the big guys if he has his adrenaline pumping, I can’t deny it.

gulu Says:


mem Says:

jane, i agree if time adjustments are needed, it’s only fair that nadal makes them. nonetheless, the fact is, the things said about the nadal in the article was distasteful and disrespectful to rafa and his contributions to tennis. the same point could have been made convincingly, but with respect.

gulu Says:

Believe me mem, once a guy rises to the top, he’d be scrutinised & it’s justified upto a limit, Roger too has been, is being & would be continuously scrutinised, nothing’d stop it regardless of whether we like it or not ! So get over it now, please !!!

mem Says:

MMT, apparently our interpretation of the article is quite different and that’s ok. conflict is good! all i’m saying is sometimes, there are other reasons behind why people write what they write, say what they say, or do what they do. it’s not always what’s before your eyes!

gulu Says:

Whether it’s net game or improvement of service game, stroke play or court coverage, hunger for win or mental strength, none excels Murray right now. He may beat Fed again tomorrow, he’s definitely a better player than Fed at this point !

Sean Randall Says:

Yup! Monfils did it. Awesome. I will have a post later.

gulu Says:

Hi Jane, these days Federer himself is giving his fans, more trouble than anybody else ! I think your prediction about Murray winning tomorrow’s match’s probably going to be correct ! Whatever may happen, but I just love Fed & Murray !

grendel Says:


It seems, like most people on this site, I am in your debt. Eurosport are covering Doha – but selectively. When the most enticing looking match of the day came on, Nadal/Monfils, they chose to broadcast something called “biathlon”, whatever that is. So I picked the site with the short link that you gave (I had a look at the other one, but couldn’t seem to navigate around, being pretty clueless in this arena). The commentators were good. I think it was Jason Goodall who said – when Monfils forced a weak volley from Nadal, and all Monfils had to do was put it away; both men were at the net; Monfils, not a man with a killer instinct perhaps, just tapped it for Nadal to finish it – yes, Goodall remarked something like:”you can’t afford to be nice in this game; Nadal should be in hospital by now”. In the heat of the moment, and off the cuff, I thought this was pretty funny. The image of Nadal, having taken the ball in the solar plexus, being carried off on a stretcher was sufficiently incongruous and improbable to have me grinning pretty widely. Nothing peronal, Nadal.

Recent quote from Murray a propos Nadal: “When we play in the Australian Open, I know I’ll be able to beat him in a tight match,” Murray confidently predicted. “It was an awesome way to start the year. It was a long match physically, it didn’t feel like an exhibition. Some of the rallies were incredible and I feel really good about the way I played.”

Kimmi Says:

Who would have thought Monfils winning Nadal ? Monfils was good from the beginning to the end, he made Nadal look like an odinary. Roger Rasheed must have something good going for Monfils during off season.

Federer and Murray at it again tomorrow. Will federer win this time after 3 consecutive defeate by murray.
I think federer is starting to play better, I enjoyed fed vs kolh, the tie break was phenomonal by fed. Comon fed you can do it this time.

Kimmi Says:

I meant Monfils made Nadal look odinary ! Nadal need to save better on hard courts ! Sean your guy did you proud today.

jane Says:

MMT – Thanks for the update on Murray’s next foe, and for your prediction. Clearly you were right, as Murray seemingly got through without too much trouble.

mem – Maybe Cash thought if he wrote something scathing people would sit up and take notice; and sure enough, they have. Just a guess though?

gulu – obviously, I have no idea who’ll win, and thus don’t often go in for predictions, but after a few matches, one assumes someone like Fed will figure out his opponent. On the other hand, as grendel’s post shows, Murray is flying high and awfully confident at the moment! We’ll see if he’s developing into another nemesis.

Von – yes, that link was great. The picture was the best I’ve seen on a streaming site.

MMT & mem – it’s true that it’s not great to jump on a bandwagon. Consistency speaks volumes. Look at Gulbis: beats Nole and then loses the next round. Tipsarevic does this sometimes too. Monfils, though, does have the ability and game to move up; he just needs to stay focused and injury-free. He’s a bit like a Tsonga or Gasquet. Sometimes they can be breath-taking in their tennis exploits; other times, quite mediocre. The last time he and Nadal played on a hardcourt, Rafa had no problem with him really.

BTW, I haven’t heard anything about Nalbandian or JMDP yet this season…are they playing?

MMT Says:

Nalbandian starts his 2009 in Sydney while del Potro starts his at the Heineken Open in Aukland, New Zealand.

Both are 28 player fields that start play on Monday, with the top 4 (I think) getting first round byes. I believe Del Potro will be the top seed in Aukland, while Nalbandian will be seeded 4th after Tsonga in Sydney.

gulu Says:

Jane, I think it’s gonna be Roddick vs Murray in the final. May Fed beat Murray tomorrow, I’d so love it ! But as far as figuring out opponents is concerned, Fed’s rivals are doing a better job than him ! Money has brought down Fed’s hunger for victory !

gulu Says:

May be there’s doubt about whether Murray’s Fed’s nemesis or not. I think yes, he’s . This Murray may be prove to be Rafa’s nemesis in the future too ! And Del Potro might become Murray’s real challenger in the future, or may be someone else’d arrive !

gulu Says:

Jane, I’m sincerely hoping for your dear Nole to become the real challenger to Murray in the future ! But it’s not gonna be easy for Nole to stop Murray, Nole’s to improve in almost every aspect of tennis !

gulu Says:

MMT, I’m a pretty die-hard Roger fan, mind you ! You need to peep through my heart to feel my real love, respect and passion for The Man ‘Roger Federer’ ! Come on Roger !!!

Von Says:

grendel & jane:

Happy to know you enjoyed the streaming. I’ve not had the opportunity to see any matches today. I love to listen to Jason Goodall — he’s very outspoken; he reminds me of myself. :P Ha ha.

Daniel: I’m assuming from your comments that you watched A-Rod’s match and he’s serving very well — I’m jealous because I couldn’t watch his match. :) I’m happy for him and I hope he can at least get to the finals. Monfils has proven to be tricky for Andy in the past, and from the posts I’ve read today, it seems Monfils is playing very well presently. In Paris he literally handed the match to Nadal on a platter, because Nadal was playing poorly and even though Monfils had many opportunities to break Nadal, he choked them away. I suppose his confidence is building up now that Roger Rasheed’s in his corner. May the best man win tomorrow — but I’m secretly hoping it will be A-Rod. Oh, if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride!! – modern day translation substitute airplanes and fly.

grendel Says:

jane: I was going to ask you why Federer to win? On the principle of Buggins turn? But now you have answered. I’m not sure you can figure out some one as good as Murray. Will it not depend on who is firing best on the day?

I agree with you absolutely about Monfils, and that is the answer to those who caution it is only one match. No one is saying that Monfils is about to take the world by storm. But what a lot of people have said is that Monfils has always had the potential armoury to do precisely that. He is a truly marvellous player, certainly as talented as anyone around. But I really can’t see him ever being consistent. The very quirkyness which makes him such an appealing figure and an utterly one off type of tennis player militates (imo)against him being successful over any lengthy period. What is it about these Frogs? Predictable only in their unpredictability…..

Colin Says:

I hadn’t realised that Stakhovsky was the guy Murray defeated to win the Junior US title.

jane Says:

MMT: Thanks again – you’re a wealth of tennis information. So Djokovic may run into Nalbandian, as I think Nole has accepted a wild card into the Sydney event.

grendel: well I suppose Murray is a different animal than, say, a Canas, who, after a couple of losses against, Federer dismantled at the indoor events in 07 – he had him figured. At least I think that’s what happened. But maybe, yes, it will come down to day form in the Fed vs. Murray semi. Maybe too I was thinking of the law of averages, not so much Buggin’s turn. Sooner or later a player usually gets a W against the person who consistently beats him/her – maybe that’s due to chance (illness) or fate (aging); whether that W turns out to be a one-off or a turn around in the rivalry is where it gets kind of interesting.

Murray has seemed to turn around his rivalries against both Nole and Rafa of late, and that is what makes him such a frightening foe for anyone right now.

Daniel Says:

Von, yeap I saw it and he served great and defended really well too. Tomorrow he has the edge since Monfils will look at that serve and try to copy it even more, a lesson for him. Another thing players tend to give lower performances after a big win, so, I think Roddick will be in the final, will see..

Regarding Fed x Murray, if Fed loses tomorrow and win agaisnt Murray in AO for the tilte, to me will be great. Murray wil have the better HxH but would have lost to Fed in two consecutive slams. The problem in this scenarium is what if Murray wins tomorrow and AO..?! Than the monster will be unleashed!
So, for the sake of my heart and gulu’s, I hope Fed wins tomorrow and stop the bleeding before it starts!

grendel Says:

Daniel, I read an interview a couple of years ago in which Monfils denied that – despite what everyone thought – his serve was a copy of Roddick’s. He adduced as evidence a video of himself as a young teenager serving the same way, the presumption being that he hadn’t at that time ever seen Roddick. This seems to me plausible. As I understand it – perhaps Von will correct me if I am wrong – Roddick came upon his very distinctive style of serve more or less by accident. Realising what a cracker it was, he gave thanks to the gods, kissed the ground, and resolved never to interfere with it. Talk about instinct brushing aside rigid coaching manuals. Well, might not something similar be the case with Monfils?

Von Says:

Daniel: Thanks for the feed-back on my sweetheart, A-Rod. I hope he does get to the finals. Nolthing personal against Monfils, but it’s mano e mano tomorrow.

Maybe Monfils is saying that, but I’ve heard from several commentators and read that both he and Tsonga, as kids, practiced the Roddick serve. Maybe all of the sources are incorrect and Tsonga is wrong too. Who knows. Considering Roddick is only 3 years older than Monfils, I’m amazed that as a teenager, Monfils hadn’t seen Roddick serve all of those years prior to his video. Oh well.

Yes, Roddick’s serve came into being quite by accident. He said one day he was serving and he hit a big one, and after overcoming his surprise, he repeated the motion again, that worked, and he did it again, and that worked. After that pleasant surprise, he began hitting the spot accurately and has never tinkered with it, except during his spell with Brad Gilbert, who tried tinkering with his serve, forehand and made him stand 10 feet past the baseline. Well, we all know how that partnership ended, but some of those bad habits, e.g., standing 10 feet behind the baseline, has remained with Andy.

Daniel Says:

grendel, I didn’t know that! You are probably right, it could be an instinct for Monfis too, I just think that their toss is very similar. As Monfils came with it late he will always be compared to A-Rod’s, but if he says he isn’t copying I will take his word. So far he didn’t gave any reason why not to!
But as Von pointed out it’s very unlikely that he hasn’t ever seen Roddick’s serve, although he saw it and realise they had simiar serves and there was nothing more he could do, except change it!

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