Djokovic Cleans Up in Dubai; Monfils Not the Man in Mexico
by Sean Randall | March 1st, 2009, 12:45 pm

Is there a better Garbage Man in tennis than Novak Djokovic? Probably not. When the top guys withdraw, leave it to Djokovic to clean up the mess and take the title, and the Serb did just that again this weekend in Dubai where he beat Gilles Simon and then yesterday David Ferrer en route to victory. ADHEREL

With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal injured, Andy Roddick making a political stand (a right one in my book) and Andy Murray withdrawing before his quarterfinal with a virus rumored to be mono, that left Djokovic as the man to beat in the desert, and full credit to him for taking care of business.

Now if you think I’m taking an underhanded shot Novak you’d probably be right. All though I think it’s a minor one. The guy’s a Top 5 player, there’s no doubt, but I still question his ability right now in this environment to legitimately contend for No. 1. We’ll see.

As for the Dubai controversy, after the WTA’s 300K slap-on-the-wrist I’ll be interested to see what comes of the event next year. My guess is absolutely nothing, and because of money it will be status quo. And that’s too bad. But tennis is money-starved and Dubai as we know has the money, so it’s going to be tough to kick that piggy bank to the curb. If anything does come out of this mess is I hope that in the future the respective tours will give a closer look to whom they award tournaments to. It’s often worthwhile to check under the hood before signing on that dotted line.

Dubai wasn’t the only place where things were happening – is there a less interesting month on the tennis calendar than February? In Acapulco my man Gael Monfils, playing his first week as Top 10er, was upended last night in the final by Nicolas Almagro who successfully defended his 2008 title there.

Monfils is really coming on nicely this year. He’s been in one final (Acapulco), the semifinals at Doha and Rotterdam and the fourth round at the Australian Open, where he meekly retired. Hopefully he can stay injury free and keep up the progress and improve his dismal record in finals – after winning his first one in Sopot in 2005, Gael’s lost six straight finals. That’s pretty troubling. No, very troubling!

Later today we also have the Delray Beach final between Mardy Fish and Evgeny Koralev. Fish is the clear favorite, but like Monfils he too has trouble closing that door on titles.

Next weekend is Davis Cup, and I’ll have a preview of sorts ahead of the first round ties, and tomorrow – it think it’s tomorrow – there’s some HBO Serena/Venus vs. Ivanovic/Jankovic much-ado-about-nothing exo happening at Madison Square Garden. Honestly, I think I’d rather see the Knicks play.

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87 Comments for Djokovic Cleans Up in Dubai; Monfils Not the Man in Mexico

jane Says:

Ah yes, to be expected. I was waiting for this Sean, the belittling of Novak’s win, just as you probably knew I’d be the first to respond.

But to call him a “garbage man”? He IS NUMBER 3 in the world. And you do a disservice to his opponents, I think, in making your swipe. It’s not like Cilic or Simon are easy guys to beat, and if you look at some of the rallies Djoko had against Ferrer, you’ll see that he had his hands full. There’s a 30 stoke one on youtube if you’d like to see for yourself. It’s sick how many “winners” Novak had to hit at times just to earn a point against the road runner, who does seem to have found some of his 07/08 form (let’s not forget Ferrer made the semis of the USO and AO, and was #4 in the world at this time last year).

Besides, a player can only beat who’s across the net: is it Novak’s fault that Murray retired, or that Fed, Roddick and Rafa withdrew? No. So to call him a “garbage man” is harsh, imo. When he signed on for the tournament I am sure he expected a deep field. It’s not like he’s playing in obscure or small potatoes tournaments to rack up the points.

That said, I am still only tentatively hoping that Novak’s back to his best. He is still too consistently inconsistent and occasionally loses focus when he has a lead. His serve needs to be on form regularly and so forth. But I do think he’s getting used to the new racquet, and that’s a good sign.

And b.t.w., you’ve wanted to see Novak gut out a match, and I think that his match against Simon was a decent example or at least a step in the right direction. Sure, it wasn’t a slam and only best of 3, yet Novak was clearly not playing his best, but he stayed with Simon – an incredibly tenacious and solid player – until the last point, and won only by gritting his teeth and fighting though. Barry Flatman wrote a nice piece on it in the TIMES:

TD (Tam) Says:

I don’t follow Novak too closely but I do recall him beating Federer, Nadal, Murray, Roddick et al to win some big titles so I don’t think it’s fair for you to call him the garbage man just because nobody showed up for Dubai. He did beat Simon here, a top ten player correct? So congrats to Novak on his first title of 2009.

jane Says:

Monfils proved last year that he will be a contender on clay. But he might’ve done better against Almagro, though this swing does seem to belong to Almagro, given he’s swept it two years in a row. I still think during the European clay swing that Monfils will be a threat to anyone.

Watch for Monfils, Querrey, JMDP, and Djoko to push Rafa and Roger. Okay, maybe only Roger. And maybe not even Roger. But, beyond the usual suspects, these guys will be legit fighters on the red stuff.

jane Says:

I should say there are many others who can contend on clay, but I just think those 4 sent signs last year that they could play on clay. Maybe some will say it’s silly to include Djoko, but I think he showed last year that he’s improved on clay and that he likes to play on it. He’s the pretty much the only guy who pushed Rafa at RG and he played well at Hamburg too. I don’t know about Murray on clay yet, need to see where he’s at this year. And I don’t know how much Roddick will push himself on clay, as he’s more likely to focus on grass and hard. Same with Tsonga; I haven’t seen him enough on clay to know, as he was injured last year.

But likely RAFA will dominate. Maybe win everything again? But there are some guys who will be gunning for it on clay. And why not? There are a lot of points to be had on that surface.

BTW, I think I was wrong up there – Ferrer was ousted in the Qs at the AO in 08. My points stands though; he can play well on a hard court.


TD (Tam) – Yeah, a congrats post might’ve been a little nicer than calling Novak a “garbage man”. Last I checked, Cilic, a rising comer; Simon, a top tener who’s beaten Fed more than once; and Ferrer, a previous top fiver, are not “garbage”. Sheesh.

Metaphor, or no, it’s an insult to the rest of the field at Dubai.

bob22 Says:

Is this a first time that you are using insulting language? No I don’t think so. Sean you are showing that you are a garbage! You are the worst kind of person someone can become.
In order to step up and critisize someone you need to show a respect and credibility. We all know that you do not have any of this. It is a shame that tennis-x have you as part of a team!

Bojan Says:

I won’t be surprised if Novak gets his entry next week as “in the trunk”..

TD (Tam) Says:

jane, I believe it was the garbage man Dokovic who pushed Nadal hard on clay last year even more so than Federer who is widely regarded as the second best on clay. I remember their Rome semifinal, the number two spot was to be decided in that match and in terms of quality and drama it did not disappoint.

I think after he lost to Nadal at Queens something went amiss and he hasnt been the same since. he has become inconsistent and unhappy. I hope now that he has won Dubai it will put him back on the right track to defend his spring hardcourt titles.


Sean Randall Says:

Well, in my defense the numbers don’t lie. In the last six/seven months Novak’s best ranking wins are two victories over #5 Dayvdenko.

And no real shame really in being the garbage guy. Lots of players would love to be good enough to win titles absent of the bigger guns.

Rain delay in Delray for those interested.

TD (Tam) Says:

Bojan Says: “I won’t be surprised if Novak gets his entry next week as “in the trunk”.. ”

Bojan, knowing TennisX they would rather put Almagro at the top of the In the Funk list and I’ve yet to see any comments from them with regards to Federer pulling out of Dubai and Davis Cup with a phony injury. Here is the link-

TD (Tam) Says:

Sean Randall Says: “Well, in my defense the numbers don’t lie. In the last six/seven months Novak’s best ranking wins are two victories over #5 Dayvdenko.”

Sean, Federer has yet to win a title this year does that make him a garbage man too? These six month slumps players go through periodically does not make them has-beens IMO. It is a natural process of being an elite athlete. Nadal has had similar slumps in the past and look where he is now.

You could have focused your story on a more hopeful note for Dokovic, his winning Dubai may have been the confidence boost he needed before hitting the North American hardcourts, instead of writing him off as a garbage man. As jane has said that is an insult to the players he beat. I dont think Simon or Cilic are garbage players neither.

Colin Says:

If Mr Randall was insulting anyone, it was not Djokovic but his opponents. To call someone a garbage man is not to say they are themselves garbage. A garbage man is someone who COLLECTS garbage. Perhaps Randall meant that without other top players there, the TITLE was garbage?
As for the rumour that Murray has mono, all I can say is, surely he could afford stereo.

Sean Randall Says:

TD, regarding Federer, as I’ve said before and I’ll now say again I’m not buying into this back injury. I agree, it’s phony.

Regarding Novak. I’m not saying he’s washed-up. All I’m saying right now he’s playing at a level where he can beat the guys below him, but not those above him. And when the guys above him don’t show up that’s when he wins his titles. That’s all.

This wasn’t the case a year ago, but right now I think it is.

Simon, Ferrer, Cilic, etc., are all excellent players, but I wouldn’t label them as elite level guys.

Colin, what I mean by garbage is that when Roger, Rafa and now Murray don’t show, get upset, get sick, etc., Novak is there to “clean up” their mess. Look at his last three titles, there’s a common thread.

tenisbebe Says:

I was so very disappointed with Monfils play in the Acapulco final. All credit to Almagro – he came out with guns blazing from the first point whereas Gael looked asleep. Hopefully he will do better during the European clay court swing.

FYI – rain has stopped in Del Ray and play should resume shortly.

tenisbebe Says:

Colin says:

As for the rumour that Murray has mono, all I can say is, surely he could afford stereo.

Colin – please enlighten me. What does “stereo” mean in this context? Thanks.

jane Says:

Simon is not elite? He’s top ten, and as mentioned already, he’s beaten Fed the last two times they’ve met, I believe. Oh yeah. And he beat Rafa last year indoors and pushed him this year; he’s pushed Murray. Come on! He is currently one of the best in the world. Ferrer was one of the best, only last year. Cilic is on the rise, having won two titles this year, and having broken into the top twenty.

Your article might’ve been more balanced is all. You’ve said that you don’t like Djokovic outright to me before, and it shows.

I agree with Colin’s point about the garbage insult, and I agree with TD’s point, that while you might’ve questioned Djoko’s future prospects and whether he’s actually found his best form (certainly I even questions these things and I am a fan!), you didn’t need to belittle his win and his opponents in the process.

BESIDES, is it Novak’s fault that neither Fed nor Murray could get to the Masters Cup final? SHEESH! They were there; they played that event. But Murray was worn out and could not beat Davydenko, who, b.t.w., was playing some fantastic tennis in Shanghai.

Let me ask this: did you actually SEE any of Novak’s Dubai matches?

jane Says:


I was wondering the same thing about Colin’s “stereo” comment; maybe it’s a Brit saying?

jane Says:


“I remember their Rome semifinal, the number two spot was to be decided in that match and in terms of quality and drama it did not disappoint.”

That was actually Hamburg but you’re right that it was an excellent match; Novak took a set from Rafa at 6-2! On clay no less! It was well contested even though Rafa won.

“I hope now that he has won Dubai it will put him back on the right track to defend his spring hardcourt titles.”

You’re a sweetie – how about one for Andy and one for Novak?

TD (Tam) Says:

jane says: “You’re a sweetie – how about one for Andy and one for Novak?

Your on!

Sean thanks for clarifying your comments but I still think you are going to get in a lot of trouble with the fans when they see your article. ;)

When Davis Cup rolls around I hope you wont let Federer off the hook for his bailout, he has surely disappointed many fans in Alabama who would not get to see Federer play otherwise.

Sean Randall Says:

Jane, I did see the last set of the Novak’s match with Simon. I missed the final yest, was hoping to catch a replay but no luck today.

Simon’s not an elite guy. Elite guy’s contend for Slams. Simon, Ferrer, Cilic aren’t in that category. Not yet anyway.

Re: Colin’s statement, stereo, as in stereo sound vs. mono sound.

jane Says:

As to Novak’s Rome title Sean, which again you suggest was a “clean up” exercise, Roger got beat by Stepanek, Roddick retired with a shoulder injury, and Rafa was knocked out by JCF, partly due to his blisters and over-playing, and partly due to JCF’s excellent play, which was undervalued.

This “clean up” business is nonsense: what titles did Fed win in 2008? Hmmm? Oh let’s see:

Davy in Portugal, who retired, while winning, if I recall correctly.

Kohls in Halle, the lighter grass field compared to Queens, where Novak lost the final to Rafa.

Murray in the USO, who was in his 1st GS final and was exhausted due to having to play Rafa over two days.

Nalby at Basel, and Nalby is nothing if not the icon of inconsistency.

But so what? Fed bested who was in front of him to win those titles. And that’s the way it goes. We could spin all those wins another way:

Davy – always a tough competitor and tough out on clay
Kohls – playing at home with crowd support
Murray – up and comer who’d been riding high on confidence
Nalby – always dangerous.

See? It’s a matter of perspective, bias, and spin. That’s all.

Anon Says:

Disgusting to see the ass-licking TD and Jane are upto. I lick yours – you lick mine.

Novak is a garbage man right now. And the substitute is roddick. if novak also misses he does the cleaning.

jane Says:

“Elite guys contend for slams” – oh, okay Sean. So top ten doesn’t matter.

Well thanks for clarifying, and also for clarifying Colin’s joke – good one Colin! Had forgotten about mono actually; am “living in stereo” (to quote an old Cars song) myself.

tenisbebe Says:

Are we still going on this old saw about Fed pulling from DC? The only ones that should be upset about Fed missing DC are the Swiss as they surely need him on their team to have a chance. Many, many, many players opt out of DC because it’s (1) played too frequently (2) one more thing on an already packed schedule.
DC is a wonderful concept but it is simply played too often and thereby has lost much of its significance over the years with fans and players alike. The argument from the anti-Fed front that he should be crucified on behalf of the people in Birmingham Alabama who bought tickets in the hopes of seeing him compete is imo disingenuous. What about, for example, when Serena pulled out of Cincy ’08 the opening day of the tournament (no injury)? Many fans had bought tickets with the hopes of seeing her play & her face was plastered on the cover of the program, but I didn’t see the inquisition coming after her. This imo is just an excuse to get digs in.

Michael Says:

Novak is undisputed #3, so anybody ranked under him is a garbage player. What an insult!

I think that the comments by Sean are garbage that pollutes Internet.

jane Says:

Here’s Novak cleaning up the mess / collecting garbage:

Duro Says:

Shame on you, Sean! This is the only comment that your article deserves. You didn’t even see the final match and you leave an article to the public in such manner? And you are suppose to be a professional…? Sad, very sad.

Von Says:

Fish has broken the curse at DelRaY. Hooray!!! He beat Korolev 7-5, and 6-3. Talk about windy, blustery conditions, it was there at DelRay.

Congrats to Mardy for a great win. He went out fishing and caught a Russian Trout. Ha ha.

Von Says:


“DC is a wonderful concept but it is simply played too often and thereby has lost much of its significance over the years with fans and players alike.”

I like the DC format. For instance, this week there aren’t any ATP tournaments, but we get to watch some wonderful matches in DC with top players from countries world-wide. I love it, and I think most of the athletes look upon it as an opportunity for representing one’s country. Additionally, they get the opportunity to promote camaraderie among their fellow county players — getting to know you, getting to know all about you. I’m all for keeping DC in the present punctuated format in DC. I especially look forward to DC at the beginning of the off-season, when we have to enter the “tennis weaning” drought stage.


You injected some humor into your post. Very nice, but so unlike you. I personally prefer stereo to mono, and I hope Andy will opt for stereo as well. Say NO to mono, Andy M, and get back on track because I’ll miss your fuzzy head and the roll out of the bed look.

Von Says:

I touched on this on the other thread, but gosh, those vases for the men’s trophy are becoming ridiculous. The DelRay vase is multi-coloured — a perfect container for my pot pourri, colours, et al. It would look very nice on my entertainemnt center. I wonder if Mardy would consent to giving it to me, considering he held it as though it was a bit insignificant.

jane Says:

Yep good for Fish, and good that he’s hit form now as well; the IW and Miami events will be deep.

I hope Andy M gets well in time too.

Danica Says:

This is exactly why I didn’t bother to visit this site for the last month and a half. I knew I would have gotten mad over some comments so I stayed away.

I must be very naive for not understanding such animosity. Anyhow…

CONGRATS to Nole for winning and putting up a great fight to prove many naysayers wrong.

As for clay – Murray had no success on clay so far. On the other side, Novak grew up on clay courts. He was the only one who really pushed Rafa last year – that semifinal match in Hambourg was close and phenomenal. He has three titles on clay.

jane Says:

Hi Danica,

I understand why you don’t visit but it’d be nice to see you around more often! Hope you’re well.

vesna Says:

If we are talking about garbage,this article is garbage!!!you give yourself the right to insult someone who has accomplished hundreds times more then you ever will..basically that is all you do insult tennis players,not just Djokovic, but also Federer, Nadal… As a garbage writer that is all you do…Shameful…and how many of the tennis matches you write about have you actually seen…very few I’d guess…

jane Says:

Here’s a very interesting article from Canada’s Globe and Mail that examines the so-called “big four” as well as Tsonga, and discusses the next hard court events as well as clay. It also touches on Davis Cup ties. The link follows for those who care:

Danica Says:

Thanks Jane,

Am alive and kicking but lacking time as always :). Will stop by more often.
Best wishes to all ;)

ojo Says:

I agree totally with your post. Novak was the NUMBER ONE seed and he won. Simple.

Cilic, garbage? That’s funny Agassi’s pop picked him to win the AO.

Sean’s guy Gael who has many retirements during matches, is a head case.

Simon’s not an elite guy-from Sean.
Well he managed to beat Fed twice last year.

Fed bested who was in front of him to win those titles-from Jane
But that doesn’t count for Sean don’t you see Jane?

is it Novak’s fault that neither Fed nor Murray could get to the Masters Cup final” fr Jane

Yes, to Sean it is Novak’s fault that they were incapable of getting to MC final. LOL Jane, you can’t change the mind of haters like Sean.

ojo Says:

Tennis planet has an excellent video of Djok/Ferrer match summary.

ojo Says:

Alex, it’s irrelevant what Murray did or did not do at Dubai. Novak was the number one seed and won, deservedly so. As for shanghai, Fed and Murray got beat. Tough.

Ryan Says:

I thought cilic fought well but he has some weaknesses in his game.His forehand is not solid.
His serve was nothing that its supposed to be a for a guy who is 6 foot 6. Nole was readin his every serve and he wasnt doin a good job returning Nole’s serve as well.I feel like his game has stagnated coz he was in this same position last year and as a player you have to evolve every year.If u dont then something is wrong.I think he has to change ur coach or do something.Ofcourse I know a gotta lil unlucky on the break points but some of that was due to the lack of proper returning and his forehand errors.

Ryan Says:

When he got beaten by jmdp earlier this year I knew cilic wasnt in top form….something is definitely wrong with him.He is supposed to be up there with tsonga and company….

MMT Says:

Nico Almagro is beloved in Acapulco, almost as much as Flavia Pennetta, and I’m happy he pulled out a win to avenge his terrible AO loss to Monfils – as I’ve said many times, I don’t believe he’s the real deal on any surface – even clay.

I don’t think we’ll see him pull an upset of not in Paris, but he’s a good player, and it’s always fun to watch a little guy mix it with the big boys on any surface – particularly one with a one-handed backhand, to which I’m very partial.

Bravo Nico

Ryan Says:

Nicolas Almagro is the most hyped piece of trash I have ever seen in my life. Everyone was like this kid is the real deal on clay and then he got his ass handed to him by nadal in FO 08 taking only 3 games. Same thing happened fed but thats coz he didnt care for that match and not coz he didnt have a choice.
Another thing that I’m curious bout is why is djok tryina change up his bad boy image. I thought women like bad boys.

Ezorra Says:

I kind of agree with Sean regarding the “elite” thing. IMO, only players with slam title can be considered as elite players. However, it doesn’t means that other players like Simon and Cilic are not good, it just that we need a solid criteria to recognize the player as an elite players. Murray, Simon, Cilic, Monfils, Tsonga and Del Potro are players with huge potential to put themselves as part of the members of elite group. At the moment, to me, elite group are consist of Nadal, Federer, Djokovic, Roddick, Safin and Hewitt.

Great is another thing. I like the list by Sergey Zikov regarding “THE 25 GREATEST MALE TENNIS PLAYERS OF THE OPEN ERA.” He is currently a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland.

Sergey Zikov: Here are the 25 greatest athletes of the tennis world in the Open Era, meaning since 1968. I can’t acknowledge greats like Fred Perry, Don Budge, and Bill Tilden for that reason, but they would all certainly make the list. These men come from all over the globe. From Australia to Sweden and South Africa to North America, they are all united in a common goal: to win Grand Slams. Some did this extremely well (see Sampras, Pete) and some spent more time as the lovable runner-up (see Lendl, Ivan). All title wins and Grand Slam victories listed are for singles only.

So let the fun begin!

25. Patrick Rafter (AUS)
– Career Duration: 1991-2002
– Career Titles: 11
– Career Grand Slams: 2
Rafter may very well be the last true serve-and-volley Grand Slam champion. Although he played a short career, the Aussie won back-to-back US Open titles in 1997 and 1998. Rafter was also twice a runner-up at Wimbledon, one of those times falling to Pete Sampras. He also won 10 doubles titles, winning the Australian Open title with doubles legend Jonas Bjorkman in 1999. He was elected into the Australian Open Hall of Fame on Australia Day in 2008.

25. Lleyton Hewitt (AUS)
– Career Duration: 1998-Present
– Career Titles: 26
– Career Grand Slams: 2
Lleyton Hewitt, the fiery Australian kid who could, reached the world No. 1 ranking faster than anybody else. At 20 years and 268 days old, Hewitt became the world’s best. He defeated Pete Sampras in the US Open to win his first Grand Slam title, then went on to win at Wimbledon the next year. Hewitt also won the 2000 US Open doubles final, with Belarussian Max Mirnyi as a partner. He has been an exceptional hard court player throughout his career, and is commonly regarded as one of the elite defenders in the game.

24. Andy Roddick (USA)
– Career Duration: 2000-Present
– Career Titles: 27
– Career Grand Slams: 1
Roddick is the prototype Power Era player. He plays his points short and holds the ATP World Record for fastest serve, clocked at a ridiculous 155 mph. He captured his first and only Grand Slam title to date when he defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets at the US Open in 2003. Roddick has also reached three other Grand Slam finals (twice in Wimbledon, once more in Flushing Meadows) but lost to Roger Federer each time. He is currently engaged to model Brooklyn Decker.

23. Manuel Orantes (ESP)
– Career Duration: 1967-1984
– Career Titles: 33
– Career Grand Slams: 1
Orantes had a unique knack of playing extraordinarily well in minor tournaments, but falling apart in Grand Slams. However, his only Grand Slam victory was a very impressive one to say the least; he defeated American Jimmy Connors at the US Open in 1975. He also did it in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3. Orantes also gave Bjorn Borg an excellent match at Roland Garros in 1974, where he won the first two sets before collapsing. He also partnered with Jose Higueras in 1978 to reach the French Open final in doubles.

22. Yevgeny Kafelnikov (RUS)
– Career Duration: 1992-2004
– Career Titles: 26
– Career Grand Slams: 2
Kafelnikov has a very special mark on his record. He is the last man to capture the singles and doubles trophies at a Grand Slam event (1996 French Open). He partnered with Daniel Vacek and defeated the team of Guy Forget/Jakob Hlasek to win the doubles title, then went on to pummel Michael Stich for the singles title. He would also win the Australian Open in 1999. The heavy-swinging righty from Sochi also had four career Grand Slam doubles titles and an Olympic gold medal in singles at the Sydney games in 2000.

21. Michael Chang (USA)
– Career Duration: 1988-2003
– Career Titles: 34
– Career Grand Slams: 1
The diminutive Chang (5’9″ 160 lbs.) had a reputation of winning young. He won countless titles as a teenager, but none more famous than his Grand Slam victory at the French Open in 1989. The 17-year-old Chang faced World No. 1 and three-time champion Ivan Lendl, and won in a five-set epic that lasted well over four hours. Chang never reached No. 1 in the world and he never won another Grand Slam after his win in 1989. He was a runner-up three times. Chang still is considered one of the best defenders in history, thanks to his blinding speed and recovery.

20. Thomas Muster (AUT)
– Career Duration: 1985-1999
– Career Titles: 44
– Career Grand Slams: 1
Dubbed the “King of Clay” in the 1990s, his lone Grand Slam came at the French Open in 1995, where he defeated Michael Chang. Although he never won the event again, he won nearly all of his career ATP titles on clay courts. The southpaw won 40 out of his 44 tournament wins on the sands. The skinny Austrian reached the world No. 1 ranking in the early stages of 1996, but he did not hold it for long. He won a title he probably never wanted in 1990, when he was awarded the ATP’s “Comeback Player of the Year.”

19. Gustavo Kuerten (BRA)
– Career Duration: 1995-2008
– Career Titles: 20
– Career Grand Slams: 3
Guga Kuerten was easily the best Brazilian to ever play the game. He was a clay court specialist who won all three of his Grand Slam titles at the French Open, in 1997, 2000 and 2001. Despite never making it past the quarterfinals in any other Grand Slam event, Guga was practically automatic at Roland Garros. The vast majority of Kuerten’s ATP titles came on clay, although he did have several hard court championships mixed in. He also dabbled in doubles towards the end of his career, teaming up with fellow Brazilian Fernando Meligeni to win five ATP titles.

18. Ilie Nastase (ROM)
– Career Duration: 1969-1985
– Career Titles: 57
– Career Grand Slams: 2
Nastase won Grand Slam titles in every way possible. He won two in singles, three in doubles, and two more in mixed doubles. His most impressive win was over Arthur Ashe in the 1972 US Open, where it took the Romanian five sets and close to five hours to seal the deal. The versatile Nastase won ATP events on all surfaces, too. He may have possibly been one of the best carpet court players in history, as he won practically every carpet tournament he entered during the 1970s.

17. Jim Courier (USA)
– Career Duration: 1988-2000
– Career Titles: 23
– Career Grand Slams: 4
Courier started out his career with a bang, defeating fellow young star Andre Agassi in five sets at the French Open. He would go on to win four Grand Slam titles, two at Roland Garros and two more in Melbourne. Courier faced his arch-nemesis, Stefan Edberg, three times in Grand Slam finals, winning two of them. He spent 58 weeks ranked at No. 1 and despite having a decent game on all surfaces, the majority of his tournament wins came on hard courts. Courier founded the non-profit organization “Courier’s Kids” to help children play tennis after his retirement.

16. John Newcombe (AUS)
– Career Duration: 1968-1981
– Career Titles: 32 (68 in total)
– Career Grand Slams: 5
Newcombe had a very productive career as a singles player, winning multiple titles at the US Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon. His signature match was a victory over Ken Rosewall at Wimbledon in 1970. However, Newcombe may be most famous for his ATP-record 12 Grand Slam titles in doubles, many with fellow Aussie Tony Roche as a partner.

15. Stefan Edberg (SWE)
– Career Duration: 1983-1996
– Career Titles: 42
– Career Grand Slams: 6
The big Swede was also big on serve-and-volley. He is one of the few players to ever be ranked No. 1 in the world in singles and doubles at the same time. Edberg won every Grand Slam event twice except the French Open, in which he made it to the final and lost to Michael Chang. He was fierce rivals with Boris Becker; they met at Wimbledon three consecutive years (1988-90). Edberg took two of those crowns. He also won two doubles crowns with fellow Swede and doubles titan Anders Jarryd.

14. Arthur Ashe (USA)
– Career Duration: 1966-1980
– Career Titles: 33
– Career Grand Slams: 3
Ashe was not only a leader on the court for advancement of American tennis, but also an activist in social issues as well. Ashe won every Grand Slam event except the French Open. He defeated fellow American Jimmy Connors in 1975 at Wimbledon to claim his final championship. He had a rivalry with Roy Emerson before the Open Era in the early 1960s. He was the first African-American to win a Grand Slam, and he was also a major activist in the worldwide fight against AIDS.

13. Guillermo Vilas (ARG)
– Career Duration: 1969-1992
– Career Titles: 62
– Career Grand Slams: 4
Vilas was a southpaw baseliner in an era where players commonly would serve and volley. He was the first South American male to ever win a Grand Slam event when he defeated Brian Gottfried at Roland Garros. He would win four Grand Slams in total. Vilas holds two impressive ATP records. First, he had a 46-match winning streak on all surfaces in 1977 which still hasn’t come close to falling. Second, he won the most titles in a season, also in 1977, with 16 ATP Tour championships.

12. Boris Becker (GER)
– Career Duration: 1984-1999
– Career Titles: 49
– Career Grand Slams: 6
Boris Becker accomplished just about everything a tennis player could possibly imagine. He won six careers Grand Slam titles (three at Wimbledon), won an Olympic Gold in Barcelona, and led the West Germany Davis Cup team to a dramatic victory over the United States in 1989 where he beat Andre Agassi in five brutal sets. Becker won an unheard of 26 titles on indoor carpet courts over the course of his career, still a record today. Bizarrely enough with how tremendous of a singles player he was, he reached a higher mark in doubles first, despite never winning a Grand Slam doubles event.

11. Mats Wilander (SWE)
– Career Duration: 1981-1996
– Career Titles: 33
– Career Grand Slams: 7
Mats Wilander is in exclusive company because he can say that he has won a Grand Slam on all three surfaces (the other two are Rafael Nadal and Jimmy Connors). Although he never won Wimbledon, his grass title came at the Australian Open when it was still played on lawn. The all-purpose Wilander also won a Grand Slam in doubles, and reached finals two more times. He was at his best when playing on clay, where he won the French Open three times, defeating Guillermo Vilas in the first and Ivan Lendl in the second.

10. Ivan Lendl (CZE)
– Career Duration: 1978-1994
– Career Titles: 94
– Career Grand Slams: 8
Lendl, despite winning eight career Grand Slams, may be better known for another statistic. He has competed in ATP-record 19 Grand Slam finals and made it to at least one in each of 11 consecutive years. He helped to usher in a Power Era of tennis, utilizing heavy topspin forehands from the baseline. He won every Grand Slam event except Wimbledon, despite making it to the finals in two consecutive years. The lovable loser from the Czech Republic is second all-time in the Open Era for career titles.

9. Rafael Nadal (ESP)
– Career Duration: 2004-Present
– Career Titles: 32
– Career Grand Slams: 6
Don’t expect the Raging Bull to sit here for the rest of his career. Nadal has already put together a phenomenal body of work, and he’s only 22. He has won Grand Slams on all surfaces and has put himself in prime position to become only the second man in Open Era history to win all four Grand Slams in a year. Although Nadal calls the red clay of Roland Garros home, he has certainly expanded his horizons. His rivalry with Roger Federer may end up being the best of all-time.

8. Ken Rosewall (AUS)
– Career Duration: 1950-1980
– Career Titles: 25 (132 in total)
– Career Grand Slams: 6 (12 in total)
Ken Rosewall’s picture should show up in the dictionary under the word “consistency.” He was a Top 20 player in the world for 25 straight years, and even won the Australian Open at 38 years old. The minuscule Rosewall (5’7″ and 145 pounds), played with constant agility and had a never-ending motor. Although Rosewall won the majority of his tournaments before the Open Era, he was still winning Grand Slam events deep into his 30s, where he won three of them after his 35th birthday. Talk about impressive.

7. Jimmy Connors (USA)
– Career Duration: 1972-1996
– Career Titles: 109
– Career Grand Slams: 8
Jimbo Connors was one of the best to ever play the game, and yet he doesn’t even get serious contention for the best American player in the Open Era! Connors won an ATP-record 109 career titles and added a friendly eight Grand Slams to go with it. He could dominate all surfaces at any time and spent a mundane 268 total weeks at No. 1 in the world. Connors also double dipped for a while with Ilie Nastase, where the duo won two Grand Slams (Wimbledon & the US Open). Jimbo also holds the strange record of being the only man to win the US Open on three different surfaces.

6. John McEnroe (USA)
– Career Duration: 1978-2006
– Career Titles: 77
– Career Grand Slams: 7
Yes, Johnny Mac, we are serious. You are sixth best in the Open Era. Although John McEnroe was one of the best to ever play, he will be most remembered for his Hall of Fame conniptions on the court. He had intense rivalries with any player who would give him a decent match (mainly Borg, Connors, and Lendl). Despite McEnroe never winning the French or Australian Open, he more than made up for it in Wimbledon and US Open titles. His most famous match without doubt would be the 1980 Wimbledon final against Bjorn Borg, which Borg ended up winning 8-6 in the fifth set.

5. Andre Agassi (USA)
– Career Duration: 1986-2006
– Career Titles: 60
– Career Grand Slams: 8
The Wonder Boy, Andre Agassi didn’t turn out so bad after all. He is the only male player to complete a career Golden Slam (all four Grand Slam events plus an Olympic gold). Dubbed the best serve-returner in history by many of the top players who have faced Agassi, he had insane hand-eye coordination. He was a truly dominant force on the hard courts, winning 46 of his 60 career titles on the concrete, but he was no slouch on other surfaces. The only grass court tournament he won happened to be called Wimbledon. He is married to former WTA star Steffi Graf.

4. Pete Sampras (USA)
– Career Duration: 1988-2002
– Career Titles: 64
– Career Grand Slams: 14
Pistol Pete Sampras will always be remembered for his mind-blowing seven Wimbledon singles championships. Sampras had literally no weaknesses in his game, and could use any weapon at any time. His serve could win points. His forehand was deadly. And his net game was unparalleled. His 14 career Grand Slams remain an Open Era record. His only weakness may have been his complete inability to win on clay. He made it to the Roland Garros semifinals just once in his career, and never went any further. He was a prime-time performer who had an 84 percent winning percentage in Grand Slams.

3. Roger Federer (SUI)
– Career Duration: 1998-Present
– Career Titles: 57
– Career Grand Slams: 13
You can’t say enough about Roger Federer. The Swiss master-tactician has already nearly matched Pete Sampras’ record 14 Grand Slams, and Federer has done it in half the time. He combines a mixture of power and shot-making that has dazzled crowds around the world for many years. He remains fierce rivals with Rafael Nadal. Nadal has mauled Federer on clay, while Federer still has the upper hand on grass and hard courts in terms of victories. If Federer can stay healthy, he could possibly reach Connors’ mark for career titles too.

2. Bjorn Borg (SWE)
– Career Duration: 1973-1993
– Career Titles: 63
– Career Grand Slams: 11
Borg was a multi-faceted machine who could transition his game to any surface. He won back-to-back French Open and Wimbledon titles three straight times. Rafael Nadal has done that feat only once. He currently holds the record for most French Open titles won, with six, but that record could fall in the near future. Borg made the game look like a stroll in the park. In a game that was evolving away from finesse, he used his racquet like a magic wand to return everything in sight. Although for a guy that couldn’t stand being second best, that’s where he stands here.

1. Rod Laver (AUS)
– Career Duration: 1962-1979
– Career Titles: 40 (198 in total)
– Career Grand Slams: 5 (11 in total)

Finally, the best player of all time… Laver is the only man in Open Era history to complete a calendar year Grand Slam, where he won all four titles in 1969. The miniature left-hander from Rockhampton, Australia, did things never before seen with a racquet. He revolutionized the way the game was played…spinning the ball and expert volleys. He is credited with 198 singles titles (most before the Open Era), but his sheer dominance over the entire field was brilliance on a level never seen again. Laver also showcased his mastery of the doubles game while partnered with Roy Emerson, where the two won in Melbourne and Wimbledon.

He also has a stadium named after him.

Source: (

Ezorra: Just curious, why Safin is not included in the list. I don’t know about his overall achievements but is he isn’t that great to be part of the list? Can someone clarify this to me… thanx…

Ezorra Says:

BTW, congratulations Jane and S.Green (miss your view!)and other Novak fanson Novak’s win. He deserves it! :)

Ezorra Says:

I mean, “Novak fans on Novak’s win.”

Von Says:


I’ve wanted to talk to you for a while — missed your input.

Anyway, I was watching the final bit of Lansdorp’s breakdown of the serve and he feels, and I’ve said this more than once, when the big servers are criticized, that the serve is the most important part of the game. It begins the game. I enjoy Lansdorp’s game analysis. I sometimes wish that Roddick had used Landsdorp as a consultant coach.

Have you noticed recently, that the chip ‘n charge play has become extremely difficult for the big servers? Sampras got away with it, but I don’t think it’s working nowadays. It was especially obvious yesterday in Fish’s game. He tried to chip and charge and Chardy, with only a small amount of court available to him, was able to make a very effective pass. I see Murray do this as well. I believe the reason chip ‘n charge does not work as well nowadays is due to the players having such great all-court games, with groundies that are mind-boggling and absolutely fantastic. Also, they are able to return the fast serves very quickly, because they are stronger, making it impossible for the server to sometimes even hit a return, much more c hip and charge. If you think back to Sampras’ day, not too many players were able to make such expert returns and/or passing shots, hence the Sampras advantage was very effective.

I was bemoaning Monfils’ loss and forgot to congratulate Almagro on his win. Good win by him in Acapulco. I’ve become accustomed to the two-handed backhand, and his one-handed backhand looked sort of strange. He does at times employ the use of the reverse backhand, which is very effective. The crowd seemed to want more — a third set. I suppose Almagro would want to avenge his FO humiliation by Nadal this year.

jane Says:

Almagro does well this time of year. I also thought his hardcourt match against Youz, the infamous one in which Youz smashed his own head, was, that aside, a great match, and enjoyed watching Nico in the match. But he is not consistent enough. I had thought, after his success this time last year, that he’d be a force on the Euro clay, but he really wasn’t. I wonder why that is?


Ezzora, thanks for posting that list, very interesting, and for the nice words also. Cheers!

jane Says:

Von, b.t.w., I agree with you on the weird vases as such; I saw the picture of Fish’s vase at the ATP site and it does look like it’d look good on my mantle! LOL. Next they will be giving the guys flowers to go in the vases…. Also, did you see the other ones this weekend? Djokovic got a ship! And Almagro got a gigantic Pear! I can’t figure it out. What’s the connection to tennis? Too funny. Last season Djoko’s IW trophy was a whale or dolphin or some such.

Sean Randall Says:

Von, the chip-and-charge/net play carries with it such a high degree of difficulty because of the strings, the racquets, the power of the players and the lack of skill the guys have at the net these days.

Coming to the net on anything but a sublime approach is a virtual death wish unless you really know what your are doing at the net.

RG Says:

Sean says:

“Regarding Novak. I’m not saying he’s washed-up. All I’m saying right now he’s playing at a level where he can beat the guys below him, but not those above him. And when the guys above him don’t show up that’s when he wins his titles. That’s all.

This wasn’t the case a year ago, but right now I think it is.

Simon, Ferrer, Cilic, etc., are all excellent players, but I wouldn’t label them as elite level guys.

Colin, what I mean by garbage is that when Roger, Rafa and now Murray don’t show, get upset, get sick, etc., Novak is there to “clean up” their mess. Look at his last three titles, there’s a common thread.”

My take:
I am a Djokovic fan, but I have to grudgingly agree with the gist of what Sean had to say – especially his comments later in the thread.
Though – his choice of words to describe Novak as the “Garbage Man” in the main article was unfortunate.

Novak’s level of play has dropped considerably from the previous year. Last year when he won the AO, or later when he played Nadal at Hamburg or Queens (where he lost) – he still looked in great form.

Though he won the season ending Masters Cup last year, he has not done well against the tennis elite – Nadal, Federer, Murray… and I would also add Tsonga to this list.

I agree Cilic is a very good and upcoming player -but currently Cilic, Ferrer and Simon are good solid players and not part of the tennis elite.

tenisbebe Says:

I agree with you. Let’s see if he can defend his title in IW. Looks like Murray might miss it but Rafa & Rog should be there.

jane Says:

Well, RG, first of all, Hi! Second, I can see where Sean is coming from too, and I am the first to admit, no, lament, that Novak hasn’t been playing his best, at least not with any consistency, since Wimbledon last year. I think he’s been going through various things: on-court embarrassments, personal/family issues, the Serbian tournament, retirements, and also the new racquet.

What I took issue with, mainly, was the way Sean belittled the field at Dubai, not to mention Novak’s title. He did this with the AO title last year too.

There is nothing wrong with criticizing a player for realistic faults, but on the other hand, there is no reason to deride a player for things beyond his control, like who he has to beat to get a title. After all, the “elite” players, minus Rafa, were at the Master’s Cup; it’s not Novak’s fault he didn’t meet them to get the title. If Fed won it without having to face Novak or Murray, but having beat Simon and JMDP, would it mean less? Personally, I don’t think it should.

Anyhow, we’ll see what this all means for Novak going forward, but in the meantime, I personally see this title win as a step in the right direction for his 2009 season, and I saw his competition, esp. Simon, as being very good. To imply they are garbage is just wrong.

We need to be realistic about Novak’s latest matches against the top three also:

1. Fed at the USO: Novak had a late Q with Roddick and of course made the dumb mistake of blasting Andy. That cost him his focus when he played Roger. Had that not happened, maybe Novak could’ve won? Who knows? He won a set and came close in another.

2. Rafa at the Olympics: Novak started slow but was coming back, won the second set in a wash out, and blew the 3rd set with a badly timed OH smash. That was it.

3. He lost to Murray in two tiebreaks at Cincinnati. And he had played the late semi against Rafa the night before and won.

So I am just saying, the losses against the “elite” guys haven’t been wash outs or anything.

I believe it’s a confidence thing; Novak needs to steady himself and play the big points well. I also believe that Rafa wears Novak down. If he’s going to beat Rafa he needs to do it in straights, or well, get fitter. As for Roger, I’d like to see a match up between them again. I think Roger has more variety obviously, but I think Novak could beat him.

Novak needs to apply himself more; I don’t dispute this. And if he does, I think the confidence and wins will follow. Apologies for blathering on in this long post!!

jane Says:

correction: what I mean by “against the top three” is against the top three, besides himself, since he is number 3.

Ezorra Says:

which means against the top 2. ;) hehe… (jane, just kidding…)

tenisbebe Says:


Just a note, I was at the Nadal vs Djoko match in Cincy last year. It started at 7pm on Friday night & they were done around 8:30-45pm (then of course the presser, etc). Murray had to play his SF in the heat of the day (125F/52C on court) so each were disadvantaged in their own way.

Shan Says:

Sean, don’t sweat the animosity, stick to your guns, good post! Of course in the top tier of men’s tennis today there really are still 3 guys – Rafa, Roger & Djokovic. We have to go all the way back AO 2005 – yes, 4 YEARS AGO – to see anyone else’s name on a grand slam trophy – yep, Safin. And he’s a joke and a half now. Anyhow good wins for Djokovic & Almagro!

Simon Says:


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

So, going by your analysis, we’d have to agree that Sampras in his day, even though I’m as big a Sampras fan as Roddick, maybe a touch more, he had an easier path winning points than the players of this era. I always wonder how Sampras would fare against the present day players with his game. He speaks of “he’d know how to play Nadal”, but I often wonder whether that’s just wishful thinking.

Pete was not the epitome of the strong muscled type, and playing Nadal, unless a player is built like a fortress, e.g., Tsonga, would be worn out in a 5 setter. I honestly believe such is the case with Federer after 3 sets of battling Nadal in the slams, Federer begins to tire and with the tiredness comes the loss of focus = mental toughness. As opposed to Nadal who doesn’t tire easily = mental toughness.

Von Says:


Haven’t you noticed that they DO give the guys large bouquets before their finals in the slams.

I rather like the Dubai trophy which is a ship/oil tanker. That’s the oil tanker that brings the oil to the US and then returns loaded with our money for the tourneys, and the reason some people are pedaling bicycles. (smiley here)

The pear I suppose is indicative of the desert pear — very soothing to eat in the hot sun.

The IW trophy is the dolphin which is the tour’s sponsor insignia or emblem. That makes sense to me, but the vases are just a cheap piece of glass, which detracts from the trophy’s significance. The Del Ray trophy was busy looking with the colours peeping through the iridescent glass. I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want it for my fireplace mantle, you can have it. I’ve not seen such effeminate looking trophies in other sports.

The next time ATP sends me a survey I’ll mention the vases. I did complain about the lack of TV coverage and the ban on live streaming in the US and coincidentally, ATDHE began streaming the matches the next week. Do you think someone listened to me? I doubt it.

I don’t think all of Djoko’s problems are due to some of the reasons you put forth, especially late night match in the QF. He had a free day in between to recuperate. I look for excuses at times too, but the bottom line, our player is just not playing well period.

There are ebbs and flows in every athlete’s game, unfortunately, they need to accept that, and the fans need to understand those problems. We tend to expect that which we ourselves are incapable of doing. Just because they are athletes and are more conditioned than we are, they are still human beings with frailties and foibles similar to ours, or even worse. Being an athlete does not necessarily make them King Kong and many suffer their own psychological problems/mood swings, etc., just like we do. It’s not easy to wake up every day with the sole and express intention and purpose of performing. Some days, I’m sure they want to play hooky, but unfortunately there’s a public awaiting. I could call in sick if that mood hits me, but they can’t. Bottom line, we expect too much and some of them can’t deliver every time that which we expect. I sincerely believe for Djoko it’s probably a combination of confidence and being physically worn out.

Congrats to players: Djoko, Almagro, Mardy, Venus, and the Bryan bros., and least but not least, their fans, all winners this weekend!!

Von Says:


Look up 5-Loxin at You can add this to your chron/gloco regimen. It works and it’s very inexpensive!!

Von Says:


“I agree Cilic is a very good and upcoming player -but currently Cilic, Ferrer and Simon are good solid players and not part of the tennis elite.”

Hi, I wouldn’t include Ferrer with Cilic and Simon, perhaps on clay, but definitely not on hard-court. Ferrer, had a good run from the latter part of ’07 up to the middle of ’08 and then he just faded. I doubt whether he would have gotten to the finals had the field not been so decimated.

I wouldn’t say Safin is a joke and a half. He’s a very talented player, but he’s had to deal with a long patch of injuries which has undermined his confidence. Be nice, he still, has fans you know.

I’ve never jumped on the JMDP bandwagon, but I feel that he’s also not playing very well. He got beaten very easily in the last two tournaments he played.

Cilic is an iffy one, and I feel both he and JMDP will fade before they even fully bloom, unless they add some more muscle and pounds on their puny frames. Cilic looks like a good puff of air will tumble him and JMDP is not far behind — probably waiting to catch him when he does fall. I think if Cilic played at Del Ray today, he would have been blown away by the blustery conditions. He came to mind when I saw the palm tree branches being blown around.

jane Says:

Von, both you and TD raise a valid point about players’ ups and downs and slumps. And you’re right; we are too hard on them at times.

Von and tenisbebe,

Apologies if it came off that I was making excuses for Djoko; I didn’t mean to. My objective was only to point out that his last losses against the top guys weren’t utter blow outs. So maybe the scheduling shouldn’t’ve been mentioned. It’s more the scorelines really, that he was competitive in his last outings against Fed, Rafa, Murray. So we’ll just have to wait and see going forward.

tenisbebe, I am so jealous you got to be at the Cincinnati matches!! Lucky you.

jane Says:


I guess if the trophies have some connection, though the pear seems like a stretch then it’s alright. But the vases are strange. And I had forgotten about the flowers; what a waste. Maybe they give them to their girlfriends or mums!?

margot Says:

Ho,Ho, Ho, Colin, have you heard the one about the British Team winning a Davis Cup match? No, nor have I!

Von Says:


I’m a perfectionist and I’m very hard on myself, but an injury to my shoulder forced me to forgive myself for not being speedy Gonzalez, and it was probably the best thing that could have happened to me in terms of perspective. I won the award from myself for multi-tasking. I think that some players are perfectionists also, and it’s the reason we so many broken racquets, flared nostrils etc., but they’re young and will learn that easy does it.

Did you see what Michael Phelps did with every one of his little bouquets, he handed them to his mom. It looks pretty silly having a guy stand up with a little posy of flowers in his hand. With Phelps the flowers looked lost in such a big hand.

Please stop apologizing to me for anything you say, remember what the poster said, and I don’t want him to say it again. He made me stop and think. You have every right to any arguments you put forth, just like everyone else, so fire away.

I don’t know where the pear fits in, but I think the vases are probably due to a small budget. here’s to more vases, ha, ha. I know my tax dollars are in that ship.

margot Says:

Hi Von, guess u r just off 2 bed!
Andy Murray officially out of Davis Cup, says he feels “horrible”
Team will be from Chris Eaton, Josh Goodall, Ross Hutchins and possibly James Ward.
Now, excse me please, I’m off to have a medicinal glass of bubbly and a quiet weep…

jane Says:

Okay Von – I’ll fire away. Or try to! LOL on this one: “I know my tax dollars are in that ship.”



Too bad about AM & D.Cup – any news on his virus?

tenisbebe Says:


Thanks very much for the link. I will check it out. Muchas gracias!
Sorry – did not see your DC comments until this a.m. Yes I too enjoy DC but unfortunately I think we are in a growing minority. What with the increased physicality to the sport & thereby the need for more intense training, conditioning, added to the heavy tournament schedule, players have complained the current format (every 3 months) is unrealistic. Coaches have had trouble fielding teams; some of this is due to injury of course. Hopefully this will change with the ITF now paying a little more attn & also the ranking points earned from playing. When they do play, they seem to enjoy the team atmosphere & camaraderie. So let’s hope a compromise is found and DC lives on!
P.S. I don’t have TC so hoping the matches are on ADHE – US/Switzerland & also Spain/Serbia.

tenisbebe Says:

Jane (Von):
I said “It started at 7pm on Friday night & they were done around 8:30-45pm (then of course the presser, etc).”

Should have been SATURDAY night (not Friday), the night before the final Sunday 4pm – my bad – sorry.

Jane says:
“tenisbebe, I am so jealous you got to be at the Cincinnati matches!! Lucky you.”

Yes, I am very lucky! I’ve worked the ATP tournament as a volunteer for 6 years now (before was a spectator) & the WTA for 2 yrs (they begged me as they were short on people) & I thoroughly enjoy it. It’s great to enjoy the sport I love up close and personal, sometimes forming a different perspective on matches when you see them live.

Von, you are/were an Agassi fan, yes? I have a story for you. Agassi entered Cincy ’04 not having won a title for over 18 months. After he won the final match vs Hewitt, he did the pressers, showered etc & when most people had left, he ran over to the golf course adjacent to the tennis complex and ran around in the sprinklers, whooping in joyous celebration. This was the last Master he won before retirement.

Sar Says:


I am going to Cincy for a week this year. Just got my tickets ordered this morning when they went on sale. Any hints on seeing the players up close during the day? I read on another forum about players drinking at their hotel bar at night, I believe it’s the Sheraton.

tenisbebe Says:

Von says:

“I wouldn’t include Ferrer with Cilic and Simon, perhaps on clay, but definitely not on hard-court. Ferrer, had a good run from the latter part of ‘07 up to the middle of ‘08 and then he just faded. I doubt whether he would have gotten to the finals had the field not been so decimated.”

Just a note, apparently Ferrer suffered a very traumatic breakup last fall with his longtime girlfriend. He said later that the last place he wanted to be was on a tennis court.

tenisbebe Says:


Hi there!! No it’s actually the Marriott NE – the official players hotel. I stayed there 3 yrs in a row (got Agassi’s room by default in ’05 when he had to pull out). I’ve talk to a few players in the bar, Marcos and Novak being the most prominent. In 2007 some of the Spanish players must been bored – they streaked through the lobby and pool area. I unfortunately only caught the “tail” end of it. Tee Hee.
What days are you attending? Have you made your hotel reservations yet? I can make some recommendations. The Marriott takes wait list reservations only this time of year. Let me know.

Von Says:


So sorry about Andy M, I have to differentiate on my Andys. The DC team is very young, but you never know with the young people, they can sometimes be a huge surprise.

I see Jason Goodall’s son, Josh, is playing. He should be good. His dad is a good commentator which means he’ll ensure his son becomes a good player.

Don’t sweat the small stuff, it will turn out fine, if not this year, next year. There’s always another time. It does show me one thing though, that the LTA and John Lloyd are very serious about getting the ship righted, and that should translate to some improvements over the next couple of years.

Von Says:


You’re welcome.

Lucky girl, up close and personal with the players, eh?. Volunteer work got my girlfriend a top notch job at Disney World many years ago and now she’s a big wig there. People meet very interesting people while volunteering. Have you ever seen my sweetheart while at Cincy? He’s won Cincy twice.

How do you handle the heat at Cincy? I know it’s very bad. I hope you do volunteer work inside.

So sorry about David Ferrer. That sort of thing will send anybody into deep depression.

That story on Agassi with the sprinklers is Andre alright. He’d do something like that, but not Sampras, who was too serious.

Von Says:


My tax dollars are in Dubai. US money built all of those concrete metropolis in the Middle East. Oil’s the name and money’s the game. Got money, we got oil.

Sar Says:

We got tickets for the whole week, day and evening sessions, every day. Since we won’t be in the room, we got a cheap Amerihost room. Can people who are not at Marriott go to the bar? Tennisbebe, email me about Cincy. Jane, Von my email just in case….powyss at aol. Put tennis and your names in subject so I will know you. I am leaving for Arizona today but will check mail.

Von Says:


Thank you for trusting me with your email. I did that a while back but then I got scared someone else might be using it. Enjoy your trip to the desert.

That was smart about the room. I’ll do that in the future. I always get the nice rooms on vacation and then when I return I think to myself what a waste of money because the only time we used the rooms was for sleeping.

tenisbebe Says:


I have never talked to your sweetie pie at Cincy but have seen him play many times (last year he had to pull out as you may remember). He stays at a different hotel but I know which one if you want to come up and try to run into him….. Ha ha. Seriously, it’s just hit-or-miss talking to the players-doesn’t happen too often. By up- close & personal I was referring to how close you are to the court – on the outer courts you are so close, the players are practically sweating on you. I did speak briefly with Andy Murray last year when he cut in front of me in line at one of those buffet-like things. It was kind of funny.

I am outside all day, every day and it can be brutal, like a chicken in a roasting pan, just sizzling. I swear my skin has aged 20 yrs since I began working that tournament. I would love to get a permanent job working in tennis – we shall see………

Florida is a big state but will you attend the Miami event this year?

Von Says:


Well, your loss that you didn’t speak to my heart throb. No, I wouldn’t travel to Cincy for all the money in the world just to see a player in that heat.

Thus far, I made tentative plans to travel to South Florida to see the Miami tourney with my son who’s practically Serena’s neighbour, but it’s conditional: his finals and his fiance (they’re both too young for marriage IMO) if she’ll be out of town. She works with TV so she’s always roaming around. If I do go to Miami I’d ensure I see A-Rod. I mean I need to make that trip count for something, right?

Gosh, being outside can be so brutal, I feel for you, and I hope you get the job for your suffering. That’s only fair, right?. I like the warm weather, but I enjoy it in the shade. From 6:00 pm onwards is my outdoors time.

jane Says:

Sean – you got put in the trunk!? LOL. Or did you put yourself there? hehe.

Bojan Says:

Oh, my God, I was laughing for 5 minutes when I saw it :)))
You’re crazy :)

Duro Says:

He deserved the every laugh possible and got slapped for his comments proving that he has so much to learn. And he’s giving advices to Novak… No professional should make such a mistake as Sean did. Sean, see the Steve Tignor article and learn what it’s like to be professional, objective, impartial, clever, systematic and thorough in someone’s analysis. Novak Djokovic is a pearl of the tennis game, and your hatred is excluding you from the circle of serious reporters whose article are respected and have certain level of needed value. 12 titles out of 18 finals, 1 GS title, 4 master titles, 1 muster cup title, Olympic bronze medalist and he is only 21! Wake up, man! Where are you! You are only writing articles and you suck! What did you achieve in your life and profession to underestimate someone so brilliant? This is just the slap you needed for the sake or your journalist profession. Hatred not allowed!

Milan Says:


nicely said, spot on! I appreciate your comments.

I also think Sean’s garbage style is despicable and that he should apologize to Novak’s fans and to all tennis lovers too.

MMT Says:

Hi Von:

Yes, the chip and charge is far less effective today because generally players are able to generate a lot more racquet head speed than in the past, making passing shots, even on low heavily spinned approach shots, easier.

That said, I still don’t think it’s used often enough, primarily because it often requires more than one volley, and even the best volleyers on tour aren’t nearly good enough at COVERING the second and third volleys as they have to be in order to make this play effective.

I feel these days players really have no idea where the pass is going, and as such often guess incorrectly on the first volley, so we’ll need to see some serious changes in either the ball or the racquet equipment for this current crop of players to be able to chip and charge. Furthermore, because strokes are hit harder with more spin, it takes superior athletic ability to pull it off; I’m talking Tsonga level athleticism, and as you know that is really lacking in tennis.

If tennis truly opened up to a different class of athlete, we might see a resurgence in the quality of net play, but for now, I see it only as a tool to end points that start with some groundstrokes.

Almagro is an interesting case – he played his first futures tournaments when he was 14 years old – that is way too young – but it shows that a lot of people have been waiting for him to fulfill his potential, and I really thought 2008 would be a breakout year for him. However, he got crushed at the FO, and subsequent injuries really made him fall off the pace. His fitness levels aren’t where they need to be to make an imact in Paris, and his game is still too high risk. Ironically, clay lets him set up his big strokes in a way that allows him to be more effective going for winners on clay than your average player. But put him on a surface that rushes him, and he’s not nearly the same player.

I actually think Monfils is better suited for 5 set matches on clay than he is because his athleticism allows him to bide his time moreso than Almagro.

Should be an interesting spring season.

gordon Says:

Good luck Milan. Apology does not exist in Sean’s vocabulary.

margot Says:

MMT: cheers, I thought that was really interesting. As a spectator I feel serve and volley, chip and charge are more exciting to watch than a baseline duel going way into double figures, and I mourn its passing. Interesting you mention two of the most exciting players to watch as well, Tsonga and Monfils, I’m not so familiar with Amalgro.

MMT Says:

Nico Almagro is a very interesting guy – if he were a higher ranked player or won a slam, you’d be hearing about him every week. Not only does he have an aesthetically appealing technique (one handed backhand, lots of variety and angles on his strokes, huge forehand and big serve for a little guy) he’s also a bona fide hot-head.

A couple weeks ago he got into it with the fans in Brazil who were insulting him left right and center. Apparently, he had to be restrained from attacking his abusers by security. He also has words with his opponent in the previous round – can’t remember who.

2 years ago he won his first ATP level even in Valencia, beating Marat Safin along the way. In reaction, he lay supine on the clay for an uncomfortably long time soaking up the sounds of cheering Spaniards. Safin, who lived and trained for years in Valencia, was not amused, and actively refused to shake Almagro’s hand. Safin is about a foot taller than Almagro, so it was probably best for the little guy to escape with merely the insult, and not a beating.

Even this week in Mexico he seemed easily distracted by people coming late to their seats or calling out during the points. Needless to say his concentration leaves something to be desired. I can’t imagine Nadal quitting on a shot because someone in the crowd yelled out – he’d probably knock the hell out of it and ask questions later…but I digress

BTW – he beat none other than Gilles Simon in the Valencia final in 2006, which he won again in 2007 – both were his only 2 victories of those years.

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