Thoughts On Djokovic-Becker, Potential Federer-Edberg… Will They Work?
by Sean Randall | December 20th, 2013, 12:10 pm

They say it’s the off season but if you’re a coach it’s really the “on season”. This is the time when players makes changes to their roster in hope of bettering themselves for the new season which begins just around the corner.

Kei Nishikori snared Michael Chang in a promising move. Richard Gasquet recently added Sergi Bruguera in a curious hire. And there have been some others.

But the big news is that of Novak Djokovic signing up Boris Becker. And also the hint that Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg could also have a future.

First, I have to applaud both guys for at least trying to improve. Neither Becker nor Edberg have much if any past coaching experience. But they know what it takes to win and they understand the game. And therein lies the value. Novak and Roger know how to hit the ball, how to move, how to serve, but adding a Becker/Edberg might (and should) offer a different viewpoint in terms of strategy. And that advice could be a huge pay off.

So handicapping both moves…

Novak Djokovic and Boris Becker
Djokovic, who underperformed for the middle of 2013, trialed Polish great Wojtek Fibak while his current coach, Marian Vajda, was home taking care of family matters. Novak still finished second and nearly stole the top spot from Rafael Nadal, but fell just a few wins short. So Novak at least ended on a high note and has to be overflowing with confidence entering 2014.

And with Vajda cutting back on his travel to be with his family, I understand the need for Novak to look for a new coach. I’m just not sure Becker is the answer right now.

Boris has never coached anyone. Since retiring he’s been a bit of a playboy. He’s also done some TV and obviously promoted poker websites. That said, as a former serve/volley guy there’s no doubt he’ll have some interesting insight on Novak’s game and forward strategy, I just don’t know how committed Boris will be overall to the job.

Travelling, practice, schedules, media, scouting matches. Does Boris really want all that? Is Boris really going to watch Novak’s next opponent play? For such a big persona guy like Boris, that remains to be seen.

Novak’s problem hasn’t been his game really, it’s been his head. Self destructing in big moments, lapses in play during matches and losing confidence in his strokes. And I just don’t see Becker as a “between the ears” guy like a Ivan Lendl or even a Stefan Edberg would be.

So while I don’t think adding Becker will necessarily hurt (unless he makes Novak rush the net at all costs!), I’m not sure what the real upside will be or how he really fits in. Another voice, yes, but is he that dedicated?

Before this hire, Novak was my favorite to finish 2014 No. 1 anyway. Now? I’ll stay the course.

Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg
This partnership is not yet confirmed though both parties sound interested and open to the idea. I would guess Edberg just needs to get his schedule set and perhaps there’s a money issue to be resolved. But I’d be surprised if it didn’t happen at some point during the year.

The question is, would it be worth it? Unlike Djokovic who’s already at the top and soaring, I think this relationship would bear more fruit.

And at Federer’s age, why not? Status quo doesn’t really seem to be working and maybe a fresh face, new outlook would produce a spark.

After a shaky season, Federer did turn it around at the end playing his best tennis. So there’s some momentum. But with Andy Murray coming back, Juan Martin Del Potro playing well and of course Djokovic and Nadal, it’s going to be such a tough landscape next season for a 32-year-old with an aging body. So Roger’s going to need some help to compete.

And on the surface it would seem like Edberg and Federer would mesh. Two smooth-swinging, mild-mannered connoisseurs of the game. Edberg is known as one of the greatest serve/volley players ever. Federer use to play that style long ago when he first won Wimbledon. And of course there are the backhands.

Now I don’t think that Edberg (or Becker) can bring back the serve/volley (those days are unfortunately done), but he can fine tune Federer’s net game, that’s for sure. But Edberg’s real value will come from his wisdom. Edberg would give Federer a different gameplan on playing a Nadal or Djokovic. And also help Roger with the mental aspect, something he also needs.

But similarly to Becker, I don’t know how Edberg would gel with the day-to-day tasks of coaching. Severin Luthi would handle most of the chores but Edberg would still be expected to scout players, be on the practice court, etc. Unlike Becker, however, if Stefan agrees I think he’ll be 100% committed. He just strikes me as that kind of a person.

So if it happens, which I think it will, I think Federer-Edberg is a good fit. With Novak, I would argue he needs more of a mental guy and to me, Becker just doesn’t seem like the solution.

Regardless, it’s an interesting trend we are seeing as the current players, Nadal aside, tap into the minds of the past champions. Murray did it successfully with Ivan Lendl who taught the Scot how to win. Djokovic and Federer are already well-versed in winning, they just want more. It’s a low-risk, high-reward gamble I think. And if nothing else, it will add some more flavor to an already spicy 2014 season.

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87 Comments for Thoughts On Djokovic-Becker, Potential Federer-Edberg… Will They Work?

Humble Rafa Says:

Uncle Toni adds spice to my tennis every day.

SG1 Says:

Interesting that Mats Wilander, perhaps the ex-player with the highest tennis IQ of all time, hasn’t thrown his hat into the coaching ring. I hear that when Uncle Toni gets stumped, even he calls the red phone at Mats’ house. Wonder if there’s any truth to this?

van orten Says:

thats because u dont know boris that well. enough said . wait for this guys charisma. noles matches will be even more fun to watch. boris all thumbs up

hawkeye Says:

“Before this hire, Novak was my favorite to finish 2014 No. 1 anyway. Now? I’ll stay the course.”

Who did you pick last year Ben?


Steve 27 Says:

With or without the result would be the same. The mental strenght, this “thing”, is the most important against big champions and the serbian is below Rafa and Federer. Nor the forheand, backhand, serve and volley, slice, this weapons are not sufficient against the best mind of all time. If the serbian lose in his “home” against his biggest rival or Murray also, I dont know he would deal with this potential drop in its more precious grand slam. I’m sure that hurt more to him than Wimbledon or U.S. Open.

hawkeye Says:

I don’t see Edberg coaching Fed. Just respectful and friendly talk between the two.

Boris is a mistake, like Fibak and Todd Martin were. Like Connors was for A-Rod and Shazza.

Too bad Agassi isn’t a candidate. He’d do wonders if motivated.

Steve 27 Says:

Interesting that Mats Wilander, perhaps the ex-player with the highest tennis IQ of all time, hasn’t thrown his hat into the coaching ring.

Hahhaha. His articles is Eurosport are crap and very biased.
The last one in the US Open:

Sean Randall Says:

van orten, that’s true. I don’t know Boris’s opinions. Living in the U.S. we don’t hear Boris’s commentary so admittedly for me it’s hard to gauge his insight.

But judging from his off court antics, Boris strikes me as aloof.

SG1, didn’t Mats burn the bridge with Federer years ago? Or was that someone else.

SG1 Says:


No clue. Mats just seems like he’d be a great coach. Down to earth guy, cunning as a fox on the court.

Steve 27 Says:

Federer and his lack of balls, Randall.

madmax Says:

Boris is full of his own ego.

Some of you will know that he does a lot of commentating for BBC sport, especially around wimbledon.

I am surprised that Novak has hired him. I think it will be short lived. May be Novak wants someone to talk through tactics, but regarding Novak’s tennis – he is head and shoulders above Boris.

Ben Pronin Says:

Hawkeye, get some reading glasses.

Brando Says:


Spot frigging on!

I’m glad a Fed fan has said what I have mentioned re the Boris pick.

Being a Rafa fan it could be interpreted as a natural bias but you being a Fed and Novak fan shows that their is a GENUINE reason why people from all side’s are voicing a real suspicion on whether Boris is up to the job.

Re Boris:

I have seen him commentate many a time over matches during Wimby. And the truth is:

He comes across as a Personality as opposed to a expert opinion on the game.

Good for a giggle but not exactly mr ideal when it comes to tennis strategy. Even on Sky the likes of Annabel Croft, Barry Cowan, Greg Rusedski etc talk more sense than good old Boris.

Brando Says:

@Sean Randall:

‘Novak’s problem hasn’t been his game really, it’s been his head. Self destructing in big moments, lapses in play during matches and losing confidence in his strokes. And I just don’t see Becker as a “between the ears” guy like a Ivan Lendl or even a Stefan Edberg would be.’:

Again: spot on!

As I said in a earlier post: Novak needs a Coach who can provide great strategy and also keep him mentally solid. Like you Sean I also doubt Becker’s appointment regarding this element. I think Novak could have hired a better person for such a job.

I can completely understand Novak looking for a Coach, but surely there must have been better alternatives for him out there.

Brit Says:

I think tension with Boris will start in the Australian and he will be head coach in name only for the French. After the French Boris will be out.

I think that Novak, really, really wants to win the French. Unfortunately I only see Boris hurting his chance of doing that.

I really have grown to like Novak and cheer for him, but I am not excited about this at all.

Brando Says:


Nice to see a new poster around this place. As a Novak fan I suppose you have a better gauge of him as a individual than someone like me who rarely sees him play outside the big matches.

I agree with you: he definitely wants the FO. And in theory it’s tough to imagine how Becker’s expertise can help on Clay.

But IMO: there is now way on earth Novak will fire Becker before Wimbledon. It would be craxy to fire Boris after FO when the time of the year where he could be a real help is immediately after that slam.

IMO, regardless of the results, Becker stays until at least end of USO. Unless the results are a real calamity or that they have a clash of personalities, I do not see Novak hiring and firing BB in less than 8 months.

the DA Says:

It’s an interesting question. When Andy hired Lendl I immediately felt that it was a good move because of the similar career trajectories, temperaments and -not least- because Lendl was a multiple slam winner.

With Djokovic I’m racking my brains to see what Becker can bring to the table. Sure, his game was predicated on attacking and net play which Nole could improve on. I just don’t get the sense that Boris is the type of guy to articulate it. I’m just basing that on the commentary that I’ve heard. He doesn’t seem to have the analytical smarts of, say, a Wilander. In the article I posted on the other thread, Becker says that Nole expressed how he admired what Lendl had achieved with Murray. Maybe just having a slam winner in his corner will be enough to get an extra 2-3% which makes all the difference at this level.

As for Edberg, it can’t hurt to have one of the best 3 volleyers of all time giving you tips. But let’s be realistic, there’s not going to be any technical work at this stage of Roger’s career. Fed has won just about everything. I think he’s looking beyond what a traditional coach can offer. Maybe the presence of a slam winner in your camp is enough to inspire a last push.

Just my $0.02

Humble Rafa Says:

I would like the Ballsman to coach the Arrogant One so that they can settle the “balls issue” once and for all.

No truth to the rumor that my Uncle Toni calls the Ballsman. Uncle Toni is his own man.

SG1 Says:


No man, not even Uncle Toni, is an island.

VTE Says:

Wonder if Novak is looking at Becker to improve his net game. Given Novak’s mechanics at the net, I think he needs to start over with his volleying skills, which may be impossible to do at this time.

And for all the reasons mentioned in the article, I am not sure Boris is the right guy for this. If I need someone to teach me how to volley and be dedicated at that, I’d go to Edberg.

And if Novak is trying to win the French, he should have gone after Wilander or maybe even Bruguera, definitely not Boris. Complete headscratcher if the Boris hire is to get Novak to win the French!

One thing though, Novak and Boris’ on-court temperaments are similar, although Novak is probably more dedicated to his trade than Boris ever was.

mat4 Says:

Just a few words.

It seems from some articles I read that Vajda had his part in chosing Becker.

I believe, first, that Novak didn’t want a “classical” coach, since Vajda will remain on the team. He doesn’t really need somebody to help improve his shots, or his movements, to change his routine and his practice. Vajda will still be somewhere near, their relationship is almost a father/son relationship, and this move is probably made in complete agreement.

But why Becker?

In my opinion, for a few reasons.

First, Novak trained under Pilic in Germany, and speaks german fluently. I presume that he has spoken with Pilic too, who has worked with Becker and knows him well.

Then, Becker was a complete, alround player, very difficult to beat on any surface when he was at his best. He played three RG semis, just to remember, and won titles in the other three GS. He had an excellent ground game while being a very offensive player. Had he worked more and been more ambitious, I have no doubt that his GS numbers would have been much better.

From his interview we can see that he was working with Novak from Beijing, and those who closely follow Novak’s game have probably noticed (just watch his match against Wawrinka in Paris) that he was already changing his game. I think that Novak is satisfied since he has decided to make this cooperation permanent.

mat4 Says:

To finish: Sean here, and Bodo on tennis dot com have written about the mental aspect of this cooperation.

Could work. Could fail. We’ll see.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Mat4 nice to see you posting again,and congrats on winning the year end contest,just wondering what did you win?

mat4 Says:

Hi, Alison!

What year end contest? What did I win? You’re joking, aren’t you?

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Mat4 hi seriously no joke you won the 2013 top 10 ranking contest,contact the webmaster with your mailing address to claim your prize as i would hate for you to miss out,i dont know if there is a deadline but hurry up whatever you do please..

mat4 Says:

Just found that post!

Although my picks were… a bit off, since this year was full of surprises, I am very, very glad to have won, especially since I am one of the worst poster at predicting results in tournaments (just ask Kimberly).

And, Alison, since I beat you in the breaker of the fifth set, I wish to congratulate you too, and Scineram was close too.

Overall, I didn’t miss too much. Roger played a sub par season, Tsonga was a bit injured, I had luck to put Andy at the fourth place (I believe he wouldn’t be as consistent as the other three, not that he would finish injured), and I picked Almagro, a player with a similar game as Wawrinka for the tenth place, so I feel it perhaps 1/4 of a point…

Thank you all! The posts you all wrote made me very happy!

mat4 Says:

And, about the prize:

whatever it is, I would like it to be offered for Xmas to an orphan from the nearest orphanage, if it is possible and convenient.

Bad Knee Rules Says:

Boris will be right, good choice Novak, already working hard somewhere in Spain, methinks?

Sivaji Says:

Good analysis Sean as you ever do.

Giles Says:

Why is joker and team working in Spain of all places. Are they spying on Rafa perhaps? I wouldn’t be at all surprised!!

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Thanks Mat4 glad you found the thread,i saw Tipsy falling out of the top 10,and Nishikori replacing him somewhere,i suppose we shouldve all believed in Stan a bit more,other than that i got the rest of the top 10 right,but only two in the right order,its the second year ive made the runner up spot maybe next year ill crack the case,so you beat me in the tie breaker it couldnt happen to a nicer person,and to donate your prize to charity is a nice gesture,congrats again :))..

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Meant maybe ill crack the case next year,damn the typos.

roy Says:

federer is just treating himself because he loves edberg. fair enough, he’s got the money.

novak is an idiot. becker has ”personality” but his commentary hardly shows a sophisticated understanding of what’s going on tactically/technique-wise in the modern game in comparison to so many other ex-players/coaches on air.
in the london finals, rusedski was far superior, and even that multimedia ”expert” went far beyond becker’s analysis.

mat4 Says:


For my part, I decided to retire while at the very top (you don’t get such luck twice..;-).

Alexandra Says:

I still have no idea why Novak chose Boris to help him. But you have to give them a chance, I think. It was Novak’s decision so he must think Boris can help him. Now I don’t know where he needs help, certainly not in his game. The only area would be the net game. Of course Becker was one player who had a strong mind, but it’s not like Novak chokes all the time. So this really puzzles me.
I see Fed and Edberg more on a friendly training basis, not as coach and pupil. That would be okay for them. Their personalities seem to match.
Chang helping Nishikori makes sense to me. He is still a young player who can get a lot better. You can influence him in the right way. Bruguera and Gasquet make no sense for me. Just a weird combination.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Mat4 you still havent told us what you won?

mat4 Says:


I really don’t know. I hoped they would really give the prize to an orphan, if it is possible. Xmas is just in a few days, and it would be really nice.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Mat4 that would be a nice gesture,or the salvation army,i would probably do the same if i had won.

mat4 Says:

But this site is in the USA, while I live in Europe, and am so seldom at home. So, it is much easier to give that “fabulous prize” right away.

If you still work as a nurse in a nursing home, I would be very glad if you claimed the prize and gave it to an elderly person. I think that it also could be a very nice gesture.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Mat4 thats a lovely thing to say,but to be honest they dont really want for anything,they are all well fed and taken care of,i appreciate the gesture though,but i think theres people who need it more,i think you have the right idea with orphange you mentioned,cheers though:-))..

the DA Says:

Here’s something interesting I just saw on twitter. Todd Woodbridge says that a new ball will be used in Melbourne. He also says it will be an advantage for players like Nadal/Stosur because it takes a lot of spin. If that’s the case I hope they also speed up the courts.


Sirius Says:

More spin?? ‘Rafa slam’ is in the making. Watch out for something similar at wimbledon! ;)

Roger That Says:

I hope this is not true!

With these slower bouncing balls, Nadal will surely be the favourite and also winning the French Open he could have 15 slams only two behind Roger the Maestro!

So typical I cannot understand it!

They need to be speeding up the court and forcing of the time violation rules maybe more like 20 seconds or so and seriously watch the on court coching!

Hoping that Novak wins again in Australia as he is now being my favourite!

the DA Says:

@Giles – oh, I missed that.

Giles Says:

@ RogerThat. I have a better suggestion. Only 10 seconds allowed for Rafa between points and the rest of the players 30 seconds! Ok?

James Says:

New ball or not, I think Rafa wins AO ’14. He’s confident and determined.

Giles Says:

James. Ditto
Vamos Rafa!

skeezer Says:

“….I have a better suggestion. Only 10 seconds allowed for Rafa between points and the rest of the players 30 seconds! Ok?”

I like this. Good idea! After all, Rafa has won how many titlles breaking this rule. Time to give back the time he took, no?

Giles Says:

^^^ In the meantime your clock is ticking, no?

M Says:

“With these slower bouncing balls, Nadal will surely be the favourite “

Despite Rafa’s ’09 championship, both Roger and Nole are four-time champions, and Nole most recently.

Rafa is not the favorite.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

M i agree Rafa is not the favorite,and Nole is,however that might work in Rafas favour,and im sure he will be fired up as a second career GS is on the cards,and he came close in the 2012 final,who knows maybe the 2014 AO will see a new champion,or a new old champion?

Giles Says:

Don’t mind if Rafa is not the favourite just so long as he is the WINNER!!
Vamos Rafa!

Giles Says:

Joker was the favourite for every single HC tourney this year and also US Open. We all know what happened! The bookies made a packet and the tipsters were left with egg on their faces!

Okiegal Says:

Rafa isn’t by himself regarding time. Once at the USO Novak bounced the ball more than 20 times…because I counted them. I will agree Rafa and Novak need to speed it up…. and I think they are both doing so much better, but there are a couple of officials that don’t enforce the rule very often. I keep up with the time at home. But, all in all it is better. What’s funny about the whole deal is they give a time violation and then sometimes it’s another 15 or 20 secs to get going again. The majority of the players are always looking at their coaches. I think Novak does this as much as anybody….so does Murray..among others. Didn’t mention Rafa….cuz I know my man does. As for as coaching goes, if these players don’t know tactics by this time……to have to look at their coaches for instructions….they might as well hang it up. I bet anyone of these champions could be a coach right now. I think they mainly look at their coaches for support and encouragement.

Okiegal Says:

Rafa will be very nervous coming in to the Aussie Open, as he usually is, which he himself admits to. Having the number uno ranking will push his nervousness up a notch or two. I hope he settles down and can get the job done. The new ball thing……you tennis players out there……Will it really help him that much?? Just wondering.

Okiegal Says:

I will be watching Rafa and the rest of the field Dec 26th at Abu Dhabi. It will be interesting to see how they will do after the lay off. Well, I will be watching if the matches are live streamed, I hope so. I am ready to get all up in some tennis!!

Anxiously awaiting the Aussie Open in Oklahoma!!

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal yeah agree with all your above posts,and i hope Rafa speeds things up on court which i think he has to an extent,two wrongs dont make a right but like you i also do get irritated when people single him out when hes not the only one that takes alot of time between points or looks to his coach,anyway some say the new balls favour Rafa at the AO if they do all i can say is time will tell,im hoping for either a new champion at the AO(Murray),or a new old champion(Rafa),i would like them to be on opposite sides of the draw for a chance to meet in the final,as we have never had a Murray/Nadal final in a GS as yet.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Also looking forward to watching some tennis,cannot wait for Abu Dhabi on boxing day.

Okiegal Says:

Looking forward to some tennis too. During the Christmas vacation, our college in my hometown host a girl’s basketball tournament that has been going on forever…..I have never missed a game. I just hope Rafa’s match doesn’t interfere with it. If it does….I will be missing my first game ever….but Rafa comes first! LOL. You totally understand…I’m sure.

Maybe Abu Dhabi can give us a little insight to what is in store for us in regard to AO…..can’t wait. We are having a very cold winter here,17 degrees now. When I watch the AO I almost feel like it’s summertime here too.

Rafa does get singled out on everything. The SB was brought up on another thread the other day…..and that makes me furious. Some folks sure like to spread the hate……on both sides, I hate to say.

Have a nice Christmas. I have been up all night cooking. I have our family dinner on Christmas Eve….and I’m beat!! Happy New Year and Merry Tennis!!! Okiegal.

Okiegal Says:


Andy vs Rafa would be a final I would love to see. So much can happen in a tournament….we just have to take everything in stride when things don’t go our “way”……sigh……

Roger That Says:

No not officially favourite because subtleties like the ball type rumours is not enough to effect substantive betting swings.

However, I do not think Nadal should be getting any of the special advantages or he will be passing Roger’s 17!

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

If Rafa is meant to surpass Roger he will,if not then he wont,pure and simple,and it wont have anything to do with court conditions or the type of balls that are been used,it will all be down to guts,true grit and sheer determination and merit,and thats true of both players.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

My heart goes out to Nadia Petrova at this very sad time, whos had to pull out of the AO as her mother was killed in a car crash,so sorry Nadia :(

madmax Says:

Hey Giles, hoping for a better tennis relationship in the New Year, which may or may not happen, but we can try.

I am very, very seriously interested in this hitting the ball after a point discussion and the time rule.

Your comment to Skeezer:

Giles Says:
^^^ In the meantime your clock is ticking, no?

December 22nd, 2013 at 3:44 pm

It’s not really answering the question and the reason why I raise it, is to find out whether you feel, as a rafa fan, that this is fair. Plain and simple. You are not criticising his game by replying, no one is, just trying to find out why you think that the umpires choose to overlook this?

I know umpires are umpires and it is their job to enforce the rules, written and “unwritten”, but I just want an honest answer. I do feel that Rafa gets away with a lot, and that is not taking away his talent from the tennis court.

Why is it do you think the umpires, “overlook” this about rafa’s game, time and time again? The question is not to cause trouble, at all.

If you are prepared to offer an honest appraisal in an honest discussion here, I would really like to know – and for any rafa fan, to be honest.

No back biting though. Just pure analysis.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Madmax i know you were talking to Giles,but i will offer my two cents,i dont think Rafas perfect by a long chalk, and as a fan of the game as a whole no i dont think its fair that he gets away with it,all i can say is i dont condone it or turn a blind eye to it either,and i do think the officials should be more stringent,but thats their doing unfortunatly,we have no power as spectators other than giving our own opinions,Happy Christmas and New Year by the way.

Okiegal Says:

I can’t believe that the powers that be would do anything to give Rafa an advantage… me he doesn’t seem to be that popular in that way. Of course, we fans think he is the best thing since sliced bread…..but for the most part, the media is on his case about everything!…….just saying. I don’t think there is any danger of anybody doing anything to give Rafa the edge so he can surpass Rogers record, he is too loved by many. I know Rafa has lots of fans too, but he is not as well liked as Roger by the media. That’s my take. If the balls are changed, there will be an ulterior motive……maybe to help a woman so she might have a chance to take out Serena?? It won’t be to help Rafa!

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Okiegal thanks i will be working on christmas day,but busy cooking on boxing day, after that im looking forward to getting my teeth back into some tennis,anyway i hope you have a lovely christmas and new year,who knows maybe the haters will make a new years resolution to be a bit nicer,although i dont think ill be holding my breath?

Giles Says:

Hey Madmax. ” Why is it do you think the umpires “overlook” this about rafa’s game time and time again?” TBH I cannot venture a clear- cut answer nor I dare say can anyone else. I guess at the end of the day it all depends on how kindly the umpire at the time is feeling towards Rafa. Having said that, he has, I think, had his fair share of warnings since the rule was tightened up this year. I do believe he even received a point penalty as well. (Could be wrong on this one). It maybe that the umpires have their favourites as well??
That’s the best I can offer on this topic.

Giles Says:
Breaking News. Mirka is pregnant! Congratulations!

Okiegal Says:

I think the umpires get paid by the hour……LOL
Seriously, I think with some of them they just don’t really care…..obviously. Rafa pushes the envelope but so do others….Novak for one. I really don’t have any idea why some umps are lenient and others are not…..makes no sense to me…..but they all need to be consistent. Definitely sends out mixed signals.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Thats fantastic news,congrats to Roger and Mirka and the twins who will have a little brother or sister.

Skeezer Says:

Congrats Fed and Mirka! Wow 3 kids now and 17 Slams. Amazing :)

Giles Says:

They might have twins again and that would make it 4 kids!!!

Brando Says:

Well Fed did say he would get to 20 didn’t he?

17 on court and now likely 3 off it. :-)

Congrats to I am sure the Happy Couple.

holdserve Says:

madmax if you are really asking the question objectively then you should ask yourself why for years the media has been raising a hue and cry about Rafa taking more time between points. I had the impression that only Rafa was doing it. Last year when the rule was implemented at Fed’s behest, lo and behold, it turned out Djokovic is also guilty in this respect and most of the other top players are too. So how come the media never raised a hue and cry about so many players? Tell you what, if they did that, i.e. gave publicity to this fact then the rule would be revealed to be no longer relevant and ATP would be under pressure to change it.
The golden guiding principle regarding making any rule or law is that it must not result in the majority being offenders. If that happens, then the rule/law has to be changed.

skeezer Says:

^what a bunch of crock.

holdserve Says:

Check with lawmakers. All penal laws, tax laws, traffic rules are created and implemented for instilling order and discipline for the benefit of the community on the principle that the majority would be able to follow them. A rule flouted by many is as good as no rule as it would be hard to implement and would be perceived as unfair.

Can it be denied that the media especially TV commentators went on ad nauseum about Rafa taking so much time but did not mention most of the top players were offenders under this “rule”? Especially Djokovic.
Only after AO 2012 Djokovic’s “offense” was mentioned.

With the improvement in technology and roads have speed limits remained the same on US roads and Freeways from say early 20th century till now?

But why argue with Fed fans who do not respect facts?

holdserve Says:

Also look at tax laws. Why are tax rates changed so many times? Why have countries moved away from imposing more than 90% tax on the highest bracket ( which some used to do in the past).

holdserve Says:

The point I am trying to make is that there are different levels of rules for tennis. Some define the game. That can be considered most basic and first level. Tennis is a game where ( in singles) there is a court with lines drawn in a particular way on a court with a net midway and the two players stand on opposite sides of the net and wield a racket. Their aim is to send the ball to the other side and it must fall within certain lines.
Second level rules would be how the scoring is done and winner determined,dimensions of the court including how the lines are drawn, height of net, dimensions and weight of ball and size of rackets. Third level would be type and quality of court surfaces. Fourth level would be technology permitted for racket and strings and balls. Fifth level would be other rules like time between points, how the seeds are determined, how many seeds, how the draws are made including placement of seeds and non seeds,how many points for each tournament, how the ranking is determined etc.
There have been amendments in all levels from 2 to 5. The rule regarding time between points was in fact introduced to dull the menace of McEnroe and did not exist earlier. The time of 20/25 secs was chosen looking at the time then taken by most players. The time permitted is not intrinsic to the game and needs to be evaluated and revised from time to time to ensure that it is considered reasonable.
Some notable changes, introduction of hard courts, number of sets to determine winner in masters, introduction of tie breaks, ranking points and countable tournaments, seeding system, making of draws , string technology etc.
What makes the Fedfans think that the time permitted between points is an immutable law and needs no changes despite so many changes in technology and training and fitness regimes?

holdserve Says:

I am also disappointed with some Rafa fans who agree with Fed fans in regard to the time rule.
I am even more disappointed with okiegal who described Rafa’s game as limited. Why echo haters? For my information, I would like to know why okiegal described Rafa as a limited player. In my opinion he has at least as much variety as any of the top 4 and he has some unique shots/strokes which no coach will teach his pupil for they are likely to work only for someone hugely talented like Rafa.
Federer and Djokovic’s shots/strokes can be taught as they are the usual except that these two geniuses execute them better. Clearly they had traditional coaching but Rafa followed his natural instincts and his uncle, not being a pro coach, did not discourage him.
All the top 4 (Rafa, Novak, Andy and Fed)have incredible hand eye coordination and magical shots. Rafa has the most amazing tennis brain and incredible variety.
So why did a Rafa fan describe him as limited? in fact, clay court game produces more variety and requires thinking and patience for point construction.
Even Rafa’s volleying skills are better than Fed’s and we saw how he defeated Fed on his best surface.It was by no means a fluke as Rafa improved dramatically between 2006 and 2007 Wimbly and came close to defeating Fed in 2007.But for the unfair scheduling of Wimbly 2007 when Rafa had to play back to back matches and was tired and injured in the final, Rafa would have won in 2007 itself.
How can anyone describe a legendary clay courter,the greatest of them all, a great grass courter, a great hard courter, as limited?
If I am missing something, pl enlighten me.

Rogerisclass Says:

holdserve is Nadal’s arrogant fanatic and blind fan.

as usual.


Okiegal Says:


Where in my comments did I say Rafa was a limited player?? I read all my posts over again and I don’t know what you’re talking about. I think you should read them over again too.

Regarding time rule……I could care less if Rafa o anyone else took 35 or 40 secs but it’s a rule. I don’t see why you think me as fan of Rafa could possibly agree with a Fed fan. I am a tennis fan first of all and second of all Rafa is my fav and therefore if he takes over the tome limit and loses a point at a crucial time during a match, well that concerns me. You echoed me….I called out Novak too if you would scroll back up and re-read my older posts. It’s not that I want to agree with a Fed fan per say……but it is a RULE and when he is taking too long I get nervous…..simple as that.

Are you the same poster as Mem?? I ask that because she jumped all over me one time by something I had said. She took it totally out of context just like you are doing now…..just wondering.

Holdserve, make no mistake, I am definitely a Rafa fan who believes in following rules……if that belief coincides with Fed, Tom, Dick or Harry fans beliefs, then so be it.

Wishing all tennis x posters a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year……you too, Holdserve. Lol

Tootie Says:

So far, not so good with Becker; I hope that changes. But I am so excited when I saw Novak and Marion B. having a friendly encounter in New York! I have actually been praying that those two would marry.

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