Cincinnati Preview: Can Djokovic Keep it Going? Will Federer Defend?
by Sean Randall | August 13th, 2011, 1:44 pm

The final big test before the US Open begins Sunday with the Cincinnati Tennis Masters. The draw is much like Montreal’s with the additions of Andy Roddick and David Ferrer. Novak Djokovic is again in the same half as Roger Federer leaving Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal in the bottom section.

I thought in Montreal Djokovic had a tough draw and again I think he’ll have a tricky, but manageable road likely filled with American opposition. Novak could begin in the second round against teen Ryan Harrison, then John Isner in the third round before a Montreal rematch with Gael Monfils in the quarterfinals or Andy Roddick. The slumping Roddick will have to beat Phil Kohlscreiber then Feliciano Lopez just to meet Monfils. Harrison opens against Juan Ignacio Chela while Isner gets a qualifier before Stan Wawrinka. Still, unless someone like Isner catches fire on his serve or it gets incredibly hot, I think Djokovic gets through.

Federer could have the toughest test of any of the top seeds in potential opener against Juan Martin Del Potro. The Argentine only needs to beat the soft-serving Andreas Seppi to set up the salivating clash with the Swiss, and I think it happens Tuesday or Wednesday night. In that match right now I’m leaning toward Del Potro. With his the firepower if Delpo’s on his game he’ll beat the four-time Cincinnati champ and should emerge from that quarter. Tomas Berdych, Viktor Troicki and Ivo Karlovic are lurking in that section but I think it will come down to that Delpo-Federer match. Also embedded in there is one of the better first round matches in James Blake against Marcos Baghdatis.

Murray’s section has the potential to be tough with the mercurial David Nalbandian, then JW Tsonga and in the quarters Gilles Simon. If Tsonga doesn’t hurt himself later today against Djokovic I think he’ll come out. Otherwise, after his poor showing in Montreal I think Murray will get back on track. Ferrer, who recovering from a hand fracture will open against the Janko Tipsarvic-Grigor Dimitrov winner.

In the last section, it looks for the world like Nadal and Mardy Fish will clash in that quarterfinal. Both have good roads out the final eight. Nadal could meet Garcia-Lopez, then Fernando Verdasco before Fish, while Mardy, a finalist there last year, might have to deal with Nikolay Davydenko and Richard Gasquet. It’s hard to go against those two right now.

So my semifinal picks right now are Djokovic over Del Potro, Nadal over Tsonga with Djokovic beating Nadal, again! Although if Novak’s going to lose (assuming he doesn’t in Montreal this weekend), Cincinnati with heat/humidity would be the place.

Among the things I really want to see is the Federer-Del Potro clash. Roger really needs to win that match badly. I’ll also keep an eye on Roddick who’s played well in Cincinnati. He, like Federer, desperately needs a good, signature win.

I feel like even if Murray loses early -which he could- he’ll be okay in New York. But Nadal, after that Dodig loss, needs an injection of confidence.

The tournament starts Sunday with the Blake and Del Potro matches. The top seeds begin on Tuesday. Robin Soderling and Milos Raonic are the the big names missing from the tournament. And worth mentioning are some of the names in qualifying like Radek Stepanek, Ernests Gulbis, Kei Nishikori and Bernard Tomic.

And after the crazy week in Canada I expect things in the men’s and women’s draws at Cincinnati to go more to form.

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58 Comments for Cincinnati Preview: Can Djokovic Keep it Going? Will Federer Defend?

van orten Says:

what a tough draw indeed..great match!!! delpo vs fed what a starter

Brando Says:

Little summary on big 4:

1: DJOKOVIC: Will get to SF quite easily. IF- and its a big one after montreal- he faces federer or del potro i think it could be a real tough one for him.

2:NADAL: Has a good draw. He needs a confidence boost and a run to the SF should happen for him. If he can get to the final that would be awesome since this is the worst outdoor surface for him. HOWEVER, if as sean says- and i feel its likely- he faces djokovic in the final, i think rafa is in store for his biggest loss against djokovic this year! He’s lost twice before to djokovic at cincy in straight sets, the surface doesn’t suit his game, and psychologically speaking i think the loss would just kill his confidence even more against djokovic. As a rafa fan, if nole reaches the final i hope rafa has a 3 set loss in the SF.

3: FEDERER: HE NEEDS TO BEAT DEL POTRO. Anything after that is a bonus. Just to show that he can beat a champion still. My hut feeling is del potro with his power shall unfortunately blast federer off the quick cincy courts. Hope i’m wrong in this regard.

4: MURRAY: NEEDS TO WIN A MATCH ON A HARDCOURT. PERIOD! I think he will, and i see a Djokovic- Murray final with murray winning. HE’s done this before.

P.S: I do feel sorry for del potro, how he gets Cilic early at montreal and now federer at cincy. Hope he gets a good draw at the USO avoiding all the BIG 4 until the quarter finals.

madmax Says:

I think everyone is ‘bigging up’ del potro too much. What did he do in Montreal? His best showing was against Rafa at the FO, but a different surface and did anyone really believe that he could beat rafa on clay? Again, delpo was supposed to cause the upset.

I don’t see any reason why Roger shouldn’t come through. He has to be working his butt off right now though, with a practising tennis junior, ready for Cinni. I think Federer, being defending champion, will have more reason to put on his champion’s head, put Montreal behind him and just get on with what he does best.

Come on Federer!

jane Says:

Tomic and Chardy have lost in quallies.

ullas Says:

I think just because federer has lost, people have started to think that he can loose against any player. I agree with madamax that del potro has not done anything and we are still making a hype out of him. i think everyone has gone on a crusade to bring down federer. I still think that not all is lost for federer.

For federer fans, Roger Cup Defeats: A boon for Federer, Nadal and Murray?

And simply the fact that roger is a champion,he will bounce back!

jane Says:

Thought I would post this chart on this thread, since it applies to Cincy and the USO as well as Rogers Cup:

Year Rogers Cup Cincy US Open winner        
2010 Murray  Federer  Nadal         
2009  Murray  Federer  Delpo         
2008 Nadal  Murray  Federer         
2007  Djokovic  Federer  Federer         
2006 Federer  Roddick  Federer         
2005  Nadal  Federer  Federer         
2004 Federer  Agassi  Federer         
2003  Roddick  Roddick  Roddick         
2002  Canas  Moya  Sampras         
2001  Pavel  Kuerten  Hewitt         
2000  Safin  Enqvist  Safin

That list is from tennis planet. It looks like there is no consistency for Rogers Cup or Cincy winners in terms of how they do at USO. Four times in the last ten years, the Roger’s Cup winner has won the USO (Fed x 2, Roddick, and Safin) and three times the Cincy winner has won the USO (Fed x 2, Roddick)

Only once in the last ten years has someone won all three: that was Roddick in 2003. Nearly every time Fed has won the USO he has won one of the lead in Masters. Fed has five USOs meaning the exception is 2008. The opposite is true for Rafa. The only time he won USO, he won none of the lead in tournaments.


Delpo is a tough first/second-rounder for anyone, especially if his serve is clicking. Fed has a 6-2 record, but they haven’t played since 09. Gulbis and Cilic have both recently beat Delpo, but Gulbis was hot and went on to win the tournament and Cilic was coming off finals at Umag. It is difficult to know, then, if Delpo’s form is a bit off or if he keeps meeting hot opponents. I didn’t see either match because there was no stream for Gulbis’s match and I missed the Cilic one. I think Fed can get the win, esp if Delpo’s serve isn’t clicking. But if it is, then it could be a cracker, like the Tsonga match. Fed has better movement. He would probably want to get it done in straight sets though.

mem Says:


could you explain to me how nadal is suppose to beat novak again if he avoids playing him. your request for somebody to beat novak for nadal has gotten old and in my opinion, it indicative of the faith that you have in the player you call your favorite player. seems to me the only time some nadal fans have faith is after he wins.

it’s one thing to be objective, but there’s a difference between objectivity and pessimism. you are entitled to your thoughts, but with all due respect, you are consistently pessimistic and it’s not necessary, i think everybody on this blog gets your point. maybe you need to tone down the pessimism a bit and wait to see what happens.

the way i see it, true champions don’t run away from challenges they welcome the opportunity to have another shot. apparently, you don’t quite get what makes a winner! one of the reasons why nadal is my favorite player is that he is willing to take the test over and over again if necessary until he passes it.

men don’t become great by just playing the players they can beat. there are a number of factors that help define greatness, but a key factor is how one triumphs over challenges. you can’t triumph over challenges if you try to evade them.

steve-o Says:

Del Potro is an extremely tough player–he is a Grand Slam champion, after all. He’s mentally very strong, and if his game is working well, he can simply blow his opponent away.

I don’t think one should read too much into his performance in Montreal. It will be a different match.

Federer usually needs a little time to adjust to the fast speed of the Cincinnati courts. He would need to be serving fantastic and fully confident in all his shots to win quickly. If not, he’ll have to scrap and he might lose.

But Del Potro is not as fast as Tsonga, who really has the killer combination of power and speed. Federer can exploit his lack of mobility a bit more, but he’ll have to work hard to do it.

MIrko Says:

I like Roger but Novak has done this year something nobody has in the history of tennis.. altogether Masters and 8 GS – except Belgrade and Dubai – in just six months simply inconceivable !!!

El Flaco Says:

Nadal’s draw looks good, but there is the potential of facing a confident qualifer who has already won 2 qualifying matches and the 1st round against G-Lo. It could be Gulbis for example which would be a very difficult 1st round match.

Brando Says:

@MEM: I agree with what you are saying but right now i don’t feel confident about rafa’s chances against djokovic since I genuinely feel that rafa just lacks the confidence that he needs to beat him. The only person to beat djokovic in 8 months was a confident, fired up roger federer.

Poeple can talk endlessly- rightfully so- about how djokovic has improved x,y,z, but if they look at rafa in all of the 5 matches his body language has been very poor. He seems overly conscious of djokovic, far too often playing the player not the point. I only feel rafa shall beat him either when he forgets about the recent matches with djokovic and play his own game or, more likely, djokovic’s level drops a notch or two from where he is at right now

Nina Says:

If Nole keeps playing like he did against Monfils today, I don’t think anybody can stop him. What a superb performance, one of the best I’ve seen from him this year and that’s saying something. He doesn’t show any signs of slowing down and that’s just bad news for everybody else.

valentin Says:

Novak will win both Montreal and Cincinnati,and the US Open….only if he gets injured, then the injury might stop him….

Has anyone seen the NADAL FANS lately….or did they
run away with their tail between their legs after Novaks fenomenal victory at Wimbly… :-) :-):-)

The bull from Spain has lost his horns….:-), Djokovic The MATADOR!!!! :-)

serbian hammer Says:

chapter 1:Djoker vs Fed
Hey,hey ,hey where do you think you are going Brando,when Djokovic faces federer or del potro i think it could be a real tough one for him,oh realy,is that so,possibe.But if you realy watched Djokovic what do you have.Against Federer he has 3:1 this year,3:0 on hard courts,he has matured mentaly and physically and hold ho fear against nobody,and that minor setback he had at French,its like this:imagine that your quarterfinal opponent withdraw a match(that chicken Fognini)and you have 5 days off before you meet very motivated Federer and all France is behind him,you have the preasure of becoming number one,and your opponent is playing like he is going to die if he dont win,i dont think anybody would win like that,so dont fool your self saying that Djokovic has trouble with Federer,when on his highest level nobody can beat Djokovic and it will be proven over time,everybody lose once,its normal,so dont think that one win will define their rivalry,Djokovic will improve even more,Federer at his 30,wont,and that should be scary thought for every Fed,Rafa and Murray fan.

Chapter 2:Djoker vs Delpo

Djokovic and Del Potro are great players,similar in style,the way they moving their opponents with their deep,power strokes,Djokovic-backhand ,Del Potro -forehand.BUT!,trere is couple distinkt qualities that Djokovic has ,and Del Potro dont have:
1.Mind set:both strong,but Djokovic litle bit ahead
2.Movement:there is no question
3.Backhand:the best in the game
4.Strategy:that is one acpect where he has complete control over Delpo,why i explain later
5.Last but not least is pace

Now to explain about pase and rhythm:while i was watching Djokovic dismantle a player that has the most powerful forehand(holds a world record 192kmph)mr.Gael Molfils,who also has the best court coverage,sory second best in the world,i notised something that many others didnt notice,Djokovic actually play better when under preasure,why,its simple he like pace,he feads of it,he was like a fish in the water during that match.Monfils gave it all,but it was in vain.Its a similar stuff with a Del Potro,he give Djokovic rhythm and pace,and no mater how hard he hits,Djokovic will always redirect even harder.
Now about strategy.There isnt much to say except that he has a particular one for Del Potro.Changing dept of groundstrokes,aka dept control.Its the same strategy that Del Potro uses against others opponents,but against Djokovic he cant because of Djokovic superior movement on the court.So Djokovic is killing Del Potro with his own weapon,why do i say all this,just look at their head to head 4:0 for Djokovic with little trouble.Look i am not saying that Djokovic is unbeatabe,he is not,and that Del Potro cant beat him,its just that style and strategy he has playing is not so effective against Djoker,players like Davydenko,Tsonga have more chance to disturbe his rhythm,but only if Djokovic is off his game on a given day.
So with all said and done,i apologize to Del Potro and Federer fans,they are terrific players,capable of beating Djokovic ,but that will from now on only depend on Djokovic and his level of tennis,he is N01,he is the best in the world now.OVER AND OUT!

mat4 Says:

@serbianhammer, valentin:

Thank you very much for those insights. Just a few questions: who will win Marakesh? and what’s chapter 3?

mat4 Says:

Oh, dear, I forgot: !!!!! ????? :-)

mem Says:


sweetie maybe you need to visit more often, but this nadal fan have absolutely nothing to run away from, anytime you support a player as consistent and determined, a proven champion as is nadal, there’s no other player for me. btw, which would you rather your favorite player to have 10 slams or 51-1 winning streak? i’ll let you sleep on that.

nadal has made 8 finals this year and had novak not made such a m

mem Says:


disregard the last line, i forgot to complete the sentence before submitting!

kriket Says:

mem, I’ll take the liberty to answer your question. I’d rather have my favorite player dismantle your 10 GS champion, and in a way that the 10 GS champion didn’t really stand a chance. Looking forward to future Nadal dismantlings by the humble 3 GS champion and current world no.1 Đoković :) I actually hope that my favorite plays your favorite as often as possible and in tournament finals cos that’s one of the easiest opponents he can get apparently :)

jamie Says:

Djokovic- Murray final



Novak will win both Montreal and Cincinnati,and the US Open….only if he gets injured, then the injury might stop him….


Agree again.

mem Says:


first of all, be careful what you wish for you just might get it!

that’s what i’m talking about, i like it when a fan shows his bravado and ain’t afraid to step up to podium and speak boldly. the way i see it, if defeating a player five times is greater than winning 10 slams in your book, then you certainly think small, but i can’t blame you for putting everything you have on novak, who wouldn’t, the guy can’t lose no matter who he plays.

now that’s what you call a bold statement,”nadal is the easiest opponent novak can get in a final.” that’s a scary thought! i have to agree with pam scriver when she said she hasn’t seen anything like the clinic novak is putting on in her 33 years of tennis. i agree, neither have i in all my years of following tennis. it’s hard to believe this is the same novak who struggled last year all way through the usopen. things sure can change quickly in sports.

you might be right, nadal might not want to play novak in this kind of gluten-free mode. i hope my boy nadal eat his wheatles, even then, i doubt that he can outlast the djoker. he’s the man!

well, all i can say is the way things are going with novak, i guess if they were to meet, nadal will have to take his sixth beating like a man.

We will see!

Marylynn Says:

Rafael Nadal will be in the final at Cincinnati and I hope that it’s against Djokovic because I guarantee you he will be the VICTOR. He will win Cincy and he will defend his US Open Title, I also hope that it is once again against the Djoker. Trust me on this one. I normally do not make prediction statements but that’s how confident I am. Marylynn

Nikola011 Says:

Marylynn Says:

Rafael Nadal will be in the final at Cincinnati and I hope that it’s against Djokovic because I guarantee you he will be the VICTOR. He will win Cincy and he will defend his US Open Title, I also hope that it is once again against the Djoker. Trust me on this one. I normally do not make prediction statements but that’s how confident I am. Marylynn

I think u should stick to your own words.Pls don`t make predictions.

kyle21 Says:

^^^ comment above: haha… nuff said

Skeezerweezer Says:

I wouldn’t be boasted about Rafa’s chances right now, and hopin in he faces Nole anytime soon. He is not number 1 anymore , and 2010 is so yesterday. The way Nole has been playin this year, both Rafa and Fed are on the second level. Face it, as of now, Nole owns Rafa. You should be hopin for Fed to beat Nole and then a Fed Rafa final.

Re; Tsonga Nole semi. Tsonga was still playing inspired tennis from beatin Fed and havin a good year overall. But Nole is proving he is the real deal, and seems comfortable so far being #1. He battled on a fire hot player and poured the ice cold water on him and passed with flying colors. Nole for sure has the number 1 mojo right now and unlike Rafa, seems comfortable with the top dog ranking,

mem Says:


right on dude!
i’m happy you finally got your wish, a #1 that’s interesting and love the spotlight. what more can you ask for. allow me to borrow a line from you, “Nole for sure has the number 1 mojo…” i couldn’t agree more.

this is a defining moment when i agree with you, but spot on, rafa is no longer #1 and novak doesn’t look as if he’ll be relinquishing that spot any time soon. it’s like pam scriver and cliff drysdale said never seen anything like it ever, nor have i, so what can i say? novak has put my boy nadal out of business. well, i’ll have to live with it.

watch out federer, at novak’s pace he just might be the greatest play ever in two or three year’s time. wouldn’t that be the greatest story ever happened in any sport. he’s on his way for sure. if he can keep doing what he’s doing, i say power to you novak!

Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic could well end up as an all time great but I don’t see how he could possibly overtake 16 slams. He needs to win over 3 full years worth of slams to get to and overtake it. I don’t think people started talking about Nadal’s chances of overtaking Federer until he got his 5th or 6th slam. Let’s see if Djokovic can get that many before prematurely giving him potential-GOAT status.

Mila Says:


I think the slams are a bit overrated in the GOAT discourse. I don’t think Novak will surpass 16 slams, but if he puts 3 seasons like this one in a row and retires after that, he will be the GOAT, no matter how many slams he acquires.

Of course, he is unlikely to retire in 3 years, but I say even 3 years of this would be enough to cement his status as the sports greatest man ever.

Now, only a little task remains – to have 3 years like this one…

Drizzit Says:

Novak Djokovic has no magic stick.Novak Djokovic is just a guy who has confidence at sky high level and no more fitness troubles.Those two things was his only problems in past and when he solved them he became a monster.He has all the shots (except volleys),he always had….but those two things that he didn’t have until recently,stamina and confidence,was more important then having all the shots.I personally think that his family made things bad for him because they were greedy for money.Made him change his racket where he lost almost a year and then that stupid move with Tod Martin as a head coach putting Marian Vajda aside.Two years lost…what a shame!!

madmax Says:

‘enjoying losses’, I think I need to elucidate here.

If a player wins all the time, the enjoyment of winning must wane, so to ‘enjoy’ the losses, can only make the loser more hungry to win and to learn from their mistakes, is what I meant to say.

I think this is what both Rafa and Roger will do and come back in fine style, I believe.

Nina Says:

Ok, ok… I’m like Nole’s biggest fan but I am not even that deluded to think that Novak can match Federer’s 16 slams or even Rafa’s 10. Yes, he’s playing lights out tennis, he may have the best season ever had by a tennis player and, surely, he can easily become one of the greatest of all time, but I doubt he can match Fedal’s numbers simply for one reason: he’s too late.

I’m not saying he hasn’t got the talent or drive to achieve it, just that he started to do it too late for all the unfortunate reasons we know. I don’t value my favorite player for all the slams he has, if Nole keeps playing like he’s doing now and dominating the field for some years I will be happier than the morning sun.

Achievements only mean so much in my opinion. Nole’s leaving his imprint in tennis’ history and that’s all that matters to me.

serbian hammer Says:

Chapter 3:Nole vs Rafa

These two players have a long history meeting each other at the atp events,its a great rivalry between two greatest competitors of all time in my opinion.
In the first part of their rivalry from 2007-2009 Rafa was dominant player,wining most of their head to head meetings.In 2010 they meet only twice,with nadal win both matches,Djokovic was adjucting his game ,catching some form and try to find the right strategy for Nadal.In 2011 he was a diferent man,a new diet he has gained exactly what he lacked against Nadal,physical endurance.Once he found form,it was one way trafic.Here are some aspects that put Djokovic over Nadal right now:
-Nadal basic strategy is to attack opponents backhand and open the court for his top spin forehand,we all know what happens when Djokovic bachand is working,he is so stretchy he can hit diagonally and down the line and can realy catch Nadal on a back foot
-Movement and court coverage:again Djokovic has the upper hand,he is the best mover i have ever seen,a combo of stretch and sprint that Nadal realy dont have
-Return of serve:all have to agree that is the best return in the world
-his serve:although it isnt his best weapon he has improved it immensely,and it has more variation than Rafa’s
-Forehand:also very improved ground stroke,he can dictate point very easily and while its working its a formidable weapon
-Strategy:he use his forehand to close Nadal on a backhand side,and his backhand down the line to push him even beyond the base line and then create angle,very simple and effective strategy that work if you can be patient and stay with Nadal long enough and Djokovic can
Trere are many more aspects where he has advantage over Nadal so it realy again depends on Djokovic whether his game is on the right place at the right time ,and he has learned how to beat Nadal ,its no wonder they met 28 times so they know each other well
Nadal holds 16:12 advantage head to head,Djokovic won last 5 times they played,this rivalry can be the longest in history of tennis,no matter who wins we know its going to be a great match.

peRFect Tennis Says:

Very tough draw for Roger. Del Potro has similar power to Tsonga which ultimately beat him last week. Cincy mayb a different story but who knows.

Is Novak definitely playing? I heard rumours he may withdraw…

mat4 Says:

GOAT debate:

The GOAT, of course, is Jimmy Connors. There is plenty of arguments for this, at least 109. :-)

Jocking aside, things in tennis change so quickly, that any talk about Nole, Rafa and their potential goat status is unfounded.

It reminds me the famous story about Cresus, yelling “Solon, Solon, Solon” on the point to be burned. (For those who read Dostoievski, they know the story.:-)) We won’t be able to assess their careers before they end.

mat4 Says:

Just to add: I am a hug Nole fan. But I am aware that nothing lasts forever. He could drop to no 4 next year, start losing again against Rafa, be overhelmed by JMDP, have a knee injury…

I would like him to play this way another three years, win 18 GS, but he still has to win his fourth. In 1985, we were shocked by Ivan Lendl and the fading of JMac. No one knows what can happen next year.

nadalista Says:

Poor valentin……………he/she actually thinks the Fed storm troopers are showing Nole love because they love him and his game………..sigh

margot Says:

mat4:if you’re going to play Jimmy Connors, why I play Johnny Mac and I have 110 reasons and my spade trumps your club……;)

margot Says:

PS, mat4…am so glad u r a “hug” Nole fan…am sure jane would like to join u with that one…

mat4 Says:

@Margot: I thought about correcting that mistake, but I seemed unnecessary. Was it so hilarious in English?

mat4 Says:

And there’s only 104 reasons for JMac. :-)

I still remember that match at the FO, against Lendl. It’s interesting he didn’t even choke, but Lendl hadn’t nothing to lose and played a few lobs that changed everything.

margot Says:

mat4: Oh Johnny Mac, don’t quite know why I like him so much, because in many ways he was a jerk…..but, but there was something wild and unquenchable about him…and I loved the way he looked as if he’d wandered onto the tennis court just to get away from some street fight or that must be 113….. …
no “hug” not hilarious, just something his women fans would like to do and….having seen him up close and personal at 02, I can vouch he is even better looking in the flesh..:)

grendel Says:

Post match comments from Tsonga: “He plays incredible tennis, but he’s not an alien. In fact, what he does is doing everything better than the others … He doesn’t hit harder, he doesn’t hit the ball earlier. But he’s always there.

“He does not have the best return on the tour. But on every return, he returns well, and he’s always there. So what does it is his consistency – he has no weaknesses.”

There seems to be a contradiction in the 2nd and 3rd sentences, maybe Tsonga meant Djokovic was better than everyone else as a whole, but not in any of the parts.

After seeing the way Tsonga beat Federer, I thought he was a definite contender for the US. I think that even more, now, following that first set. If Djokovic drops his level just a bit, Tsonga has the capacity to be onto him – and anyone else, of course.

That said, Djokovic is going to be very, very cross if he doesn’t win the US. He is clearly ahead of everyone else at the moment. But will he still be so when it counts? Probably yes, but shocks happen.

As for the final tonight, I don’t see it as much of a contest but I will be looking to see how improved Fish really is. He is an interesting case, Fish, and it’s kind of a shame he wasted his early years. One astute commentator remarked several years ago, in Roddick’s heyday, that of the two Americans Fish was the more talented and he should go further. At this age, how much more can Fish improve?

skeezerweezer Says:


Thanks for posting that. I did not catch Tsonga’s post match presser but thought it was very interesting comments about Novaks game.

Me thinks Tsonga cannot continue to play this hot. After watching both matches(Fed/Novak), he is just hitting with confidence and aggressiveness. Both things great, but these are attributes of a “hot player at the moment”, and will eat my hat if he gets into the top 5. As Tsonga put it, doing all that and being consistent at it like Novak has been is the key.

Ben Pronin Says:

Grendel where did you read Tsonga’s comments?

The one thing Djokovic does better than everyone is defend and he definitely returns better, too. I’m not sure how Tsonga judges a returner but I’m basing this on how consistently deep Djokovic is able to return just about everyone’s serve.

Tsonga’s comments remind me of Djokovic’s when he retired against Nadal at the French back in 06. Too cocky. Djokovic has come a long way since then. And if Tsonga was so confident about Djokovic’s humanity he wouldn’t have quit so abruptly.

Brando Says:

I agree with Nina in regards to djokovic. He is streets ahead of the rest right now. He most likely will win the USO and pretty much most of the rest of the tournaments this year. But ultimately I also dont think he’ll catch rafa in terms of total slams simply because he has started too late (referring to him dominating). He is 24 right now just say he wins USO, so then he is on 4 slams- that’s still six short on nadal!!

Federer had a 4 year dominating period (2004-2007) say nole has the same- BUT better, he wins 3/4 slams per year from here, that shall give him 13 slams. But is it realistic to expect rafa to not add to his slam count when he is ONLY a year older than djokovic, i think not.

I feel nole will most likely end up with 10 slams, at best 12- so another 9 from here onwards. Rafa, safe to say another 2 more slams at best 4, to end up on 14.

Ben Pronin Says:

Brando, I think Nadal will get to 13-14 based on how this year has played out. As for Djokovic, until I see him pass 6, I’ll stick with 6. The rate that Federer and Nadal have swallowed up slams has given us a false sense of how easy it is. It’s not. I want to see if Djokovic can double his current count before I believe he’ll get into double digits. It took Nadal a while to get there and there were plenty of moments when he probably thought it might not even happen.

jane Says:

The first set between Nole & Tsonga was tight, but Nole created more chances in Tsonga’s service games. Nole didn’t face a break point, though obviously the match was truncated. He was winning over 70% of points on both first and second serves; he mixed up his serves well in that match. As for Nole being or not being “best” returner, Murray and Rafa are excellent as well, but overall, right now, he is winning the most return games, so it may be a consistency issue, as Tsonga mentioned.

If Nole ends with at least one of each slam, that’d be great (means he’d have 5 slams minimum). If he ends with 8, that would put him in the panethon with Jmac, Agassi, etc, even greater. But who knows? I am just happy he’s realized his dreams, is playing well and is staying healthy. I agree with Nina, though, that won’t climb up in the slam count like Fedal have. I’d gladly give him a “hug” either way. ;)

Enjoy the final today!

Brando Says:

@BEN: your a 100% spot on. When rafa won aus 2009 I remeber some commentators saying the calendar slam will happen now since the FO is a lock for rafa, he won wimby previous year, and if he can win AUS then he can win USO. Then what happened? rafa does not win any of the next 4 slams.

So i think what you are saying in reference to djokovic is the wisest and best approach to take. Rafa/ Federer have always been a different proposition at slams than anywhere else, even their performances this year show it to be the case. Same with Murray, he has done better at the slams than anywhere else this year. Del Potro too has improved at each and every slam and now is going into his best slam- one that crucially he has won before.

I also expect this time next year the ‘next generation’ of raonic/tomic to be in the top 20 so we shall see how things pan out. As rafa showed last year, just because you win 3 slams in a row doesn’t mean you shall dominate the next year. The same could happen to djokovic…..

ckr Says:

Do you guys know the weather forecast in Montreal? I see rain all the way…I just hope that match will be finished today…

grendel Says:

I got Tsonga’s comments from:

Yes, I agree, Djokovic has to be considered the best returner. One return he did against an excellent first serve of Tsonga’s had to be seen to be believed. Still, if Tsonga was “cocky”, maybe that’s a good thing – in the sense that he believes in himself. Pretty hard for anyone to believe in themselves right now, the way Djokovic is playing…..

Duro Says:

This is funny…

Average, average display, Fish even better, and in a blink of an eye 6:2 Novak…

Authority of a champion.

alison hodge Says:

so far nole has 3 gand slams,an 8 month winning record,and has been ranked world number 1 for just a few weeks,roger and rafa both have career grand slams,and have both been ranked world number 1 twice,roger has 16 grand slams and is arguably the greatest ever tennis player ever,rafa has 10 grand slams,and is one of the greatest ever with only a hand full of players to have won more,dont get me wrong nole is a fantastic player, and the best player so far this year,but to call him the goat like roger or even one of the goats like rafa,is rather premature and a case of people getting carried away,i think 1st of all he would have win the next 7 grand slam,to draw level with rafa, and then cross his fingers and hope rafa never wins another ever again,possible i suppose,whether or not roger will win another slam remains to be seen,but i dont think he would still be playing if he didnt think it was possible,and rafas rafa and thrives on a challenge,and if people think hes going to go aeay quietly without a fight,i think that they are mistaken.

kriket Says:

Duh… goat debate… boring!

alison hodge Says:

rep kriket,everyone has there own ideas and definitions of what a goat is,just giving my opinion now ill leave it at that,sorry yes you are right it is boring,just like the nole gluten free diet,and the serena blood clots,its nice to talk just about the tennis.

Kimmi Says:

ha-ha nole gluten free doet is boring..I agree with you. And serena blood clot? Clijsters taking 2 years to have a baby? rafa injuries?

alison hodge Says:

rep kimmi,yeah completely agree all boring.

Andrew Miller Says:

Here’s an unsettling narrative: the unraveling of Andy Roddick. He was the most dependable U.S. player out there. He was the “closer” in Davis Cup. He was a guy who somehow beat the players he was supposed to, most of the time, and the U.S.’ lone player in the top ten. Now? He is sinking. And quickly. And it’s ugly. Tonight’s unraveling was at hands of Kohlschreiber – and it was ugly! 6-1 third set, a set where Roddick chewed out the ump. It’s looking like a spiral out of which Roddick will not make it back soon.

grendel Says:

well, I don’t know. He’s just in the twilight of his career. Some sort of sinking is to be expected, isn’t it? He’s had a pretty good run. All good things.. and so on. So he’s had another bash at the umpire, eh? But he was always inclined that way. I think the day he no longer flares up – that’s when you’ll know he’s close to handing in his cards.

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