Agassi on the Federer/Nadal Era, Nadal’s Injuries and Andy Murray

I don’t always know how seriously to take Andre Agassi, but before Roger he was my favorite player, so at least its worth it for me to look at what he has to say. After Rafa won the Australian Open earlier this year, he said that Rafa will go on to win the calender year grand slam, but after Roger won the French Open he was there to hand the cup over to Roger, and he had nothing but praise for the GOAT. It seems like he likes to jump the gun, and the same may be true for his latest comments. According to him the Federer/Nadal era is coming to an end now, and Andy Murray is likely to take over from them. If he said Djokovic or Delpo I may still have taken him seriously, but Murray?! Murray made one semi-final in a slam this year, his best result.

Other than that he has actually been very disappointing in the slams. Djokovic the same, he only made one semi-final at a slam. As far as I’m concerned, the only guy who looks like he is taking over from Roger and Rafa at this point is Delpo, but the problem with him is that he could be prone to injuries. We will just have to see. Delpo is the only guy who I can see giving trouble to Rafa at Roland Garros and Roger at the US Open. I don’t think he can trouble Roger at Wimbledon and at the Australian Open he got schooled by Roger this year. Fitness is important Down Under and it’s yet to be seen if Delpo can handle the heat. I agree with Agassi about the possibility of the Federer/Nadal era coming to an end, but as I said he may be jumping the gun here again.

I don’t think just because Roger and Rafa have not won every single slam this year, means that their era is coming to an end. The same thing happened in 2008 when Djokovic won the Australian Open, but look at what he did in the slams in 2009. It’s one thing to get lucky and win one slam, but it’s a different thing to win multiple slams. We will just have to see if Delpo can win more slams. I think he should, but what if he becomes injury prone? Even though I also feel like Roger and Rafa may start winding down now, you can’t deny the fact that they are still the most experienced when it comes to the slams, and the fact that Delpo won the US Open is not exactly a ‘changing of the guard’. When I think of changing of the guard I think of the day Roger beat Sampras at Wimbledon.

After that Sampras never won Wimbledon again and Roger went on to dominate. I don’t see that happening with Roger and Rafa yet. I think Rafa still have French Open titles in him left while Roger still has Wimbledon-, US Open- and possibly Australian Open titles in him left. If he could win another French Open that would just be a bonus. After Agassi made these comments, Rafa reminded him that he is still only 23 years old. Lol! Even though Rafa is having problems, you have to say that 23 is a little early to just write him off. But I also agree with Agassi that Rafa’s injuries will probably be recurring from now on. Especially if you look at the fact that he doesn’t seem to be adjusting his schedule much. What Agassi says about Murray is a different story.

First of all I agree that he has a lot of talent and that he could be the next guy to dominate tennis. I don’t know about Murray being able to beat anyone on any surface though. I’ll be very surprised if he ever wins the French Open. Assuming that Agassi was talking about the present, then there is no way Murray can beat guys like Rafa, Delpo, Djokovic and Roger on clay, along with a few other. Forget it. But the fact that Murray has been very timid thus far in the grand slams is the most worrying thing for him. I have said this before and I will say it again: Murray has to make some big change before he can win a slam. His game style is too negative and he waits for his opponents mistakes when he needs to play more attacking in the slams.

This for me has a lot to do with Murray’s attitude. He is still too cocky and that ultimately comes from self doubt. Guys like Roger and Rafa are not cocky, just confident. There is something off about the way that Murray goes ‘Mon!’ all the time. I don’t see any grand slam champions doing that. Murray needs to change something about his attitude to win slams. He must become more humble, and instead of going ‘Mon!’ after every point, he must focus on playing attacking tennis when the chips are down. Fortune favors the brave. If you look at the future of tennis then you look at guys like Murray, Delpo and Djokovic. Of those three Delpo is the best mentally, but there is still a question mark over his physique for me. If he can stay injury free he has the best chance of taking over from Roger and Rafa.


I don’t understand why Agassi says that Djokovic and Delpo is gaining ground on Roger and Rafa. Didn’t Roger just school Djokovic in Cincinnatti and the US Open? Djokovic has been playing better since the start of the US Open hard court season, but the problem with him of late has been consistency. He hasn’t been the same player that he was in 2007 and first half of 2008. If he can become more consistent he can become a threat at the slams once more. So for me Delpo is the biggest threat at this point bar injury. At least Agassi admits that Roger could still do some special things. I think Roger is going to win two more Wimbledon titles, one more US Open and possibly another Australian Open. Anything more would be a bonus.

That would give him 18-19 slams, the most Wimbledon titles in history, the most US Open titles in the open era and possibly tie him with Agassi for the most Australian Open titles in the open era. I think you would agree with me that that would be pretty damn special. And that is only the slams, that doesn’t include all the other records he has already broken or could yet break. The Federer/Nadal era may be coming to an end, but it is definitely not over.

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20 Comments

  1. Good article on Agassi’s prediction, I was rather dumbfounded by his remarks about Murray being the next dominant tennis player….duh! Changing subject, Ru-an, did you watch Nadal/Ljubicic match? I believe if L. had not suffered an injury he might have taken the match. I believe Nadal will win over his countryman tomorrow.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes i did watch that match Dolores and i think there is quite a lot to be said about it. I just think that L has his chances when he was up 40-0 on Rafas serve in the second set to go up a set and a break. Rafa was really struggling at this point. When L missed all those chances to break he gave Rafa a life line and the momentum changed. So im not sure L would have won the match had he not get injured. Against Rafa you only get one chance and if you dont take it he will make you pay. It was sad because i like L and he is getting older in terms of tennis now. It would have been a huge win for him and Rafa would have suffered another big loss. I think Rafa is very fortunate with his draw.

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  2. “There is something off about the way that Murray goes ‘Mon!’ all the time. I don’t see any grand slam champions doing that.”

    In one sense, I agree with this while in another sense, I disagree as there are significant counterexamples. I agree in the sense that when the tennis era is best, no champions are doing those things. But it can happen when the tennis era is not very good. I’ll point out Sharapova for this case. Look at her clenching fist & pumping for every point, even on an opponent’s DF. Yet she’s won 3 out of 4 GSs.

    I’d think she’s pretty cocky, too. However, I still like the girl… she makes the very few women’s list I’d watch, she’s hot. It’s like watching catwalk models running around chasing balls & sweating — quite entertaining. Speaking of cockiness, well… I guess we all know who is at the very top of it. And she wins the most GS of any active player. LOL

    As for Delpo, he recently had an injury in Shanghai. Was it the wrist? That is pretty concerning.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I agree with you in a sense :-) But for me its hard to compare womens tennis to mens tennis. Its just so different, almost a different sport. But you are right about the era, it is a very strong one with Roger and Rafa. They basically have a monopoly on the slams. So yeah maybe if they wernt around Murray could have won a slam. The only slam would have been the US Open 08 though, where he lost to Roger. And yes, i agree with you about Sharapova’s hotness.

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  3. Ridiculous comment made by Agassi. I didn´t expect this from him.It sounds very strange that the era of two players are ending who are still the N°1 and N°2 players in the world.I don´t think there will be a clear favourite(other than Roger or Nadal)for a while.
    They either need to get the mental or the physical part of their game tuned better.I agree they will not dominate tennis the way that they have so far,but it´s a premature comment from Agassi.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    :D

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  4. I am assuming that Agassi is refering to probability which in 2-3 years time whereby younger players will take over the seniors. I don’t see that happen in 2010/11 season as I still believe Roger and Rafa has plenty left in their tanks. I don’t have enough respect for Murray as he has yet to win a GS unlike Djoker and Delpo. I have always have great respect for Agassi but sometimes he can be such a toad (sorry for name calling).

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  5. Btw, assuming Nadal win’s trow – will he be able to overtake Roger as No1 end of this year?

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Nah he has to do much more, the chances that he overakes Roger are very slim.

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  6. Is there an epidemic of injuries going on? Lopez retired, giving Nadal another match, two in a row? Hmmmm….. Your thoughts on Nadal/Davydenko match tomorrow, Ru-an. Thanks.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Ridiculous all these injuries, it just shows they must change the schedule or the players must schedule better. Nadal lucky as always. I will write a post some time about Shanghai.

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  7. I don’t agree with anything Agassi says, he’s a former player not a prophet. Murray will have to change his game slightly to win on clay, he can get to the quarters or semis with the right draw like this year but Del Potro and Djokovic are ahead of him on clay and there are the tricky spaniards that pop up for the french open only and south americans to dodge, i don’t see Muzza winning the french open, yet and those brits who like Murray will cheer him out of a title at Wimbledon which leaves the Australian open and the US open, who knows maybe a big hitter or a resurgant player will take him out until he learns not be passive or underestimate the opponent or maybe Cilic will become his nemesis.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Not much point saying Murray can win teh French when he cant even win slams on other surfaces is there?

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  8. Today is more evidence of the Nadal era coming to an end. Davydenko just beats Nadal in straight. Nadal used to school Davy in previous meetings. Although a consistent baseliner and in possession of good form of fundamental strokes, Davy is considered a player w/ no devastating weapon. Nadal already had lots of luck on his side: Cilic ousted by Berdych, Delpo injured & out, Djokovic ousted by Davy. With all these, if he still can’t win this… then there’s definitely serious problem. Roger didn’t have this kind of luxury in 2008.

    So, there’s a high probability that the Nadal era is coming to an end. As for Roger, I hope his back can recover fully. With his back OK, I have faith he can restore the dominant years again, albeit not like before… but perhaps he can, if he plays very few tournaments. Probably just 10-12/year.

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  9. Now I don’t know if this path will continue for Nadal. But if you read this article & pay close attention to how they discuss Nikolay play:
    http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2009/10/Shanghai-Final-Davydenko-Captures-Title.aspx

    It seems that more and more “mortals” have figured out the way to play Nadal, i.e. being very aggressive. As Ru-an pointed out before, Nadal only has one style to go, with relatively little tweaks here and there. When he’s posed to a problem that seriously troubles his gamestyle, chances are he’s not going to be able to solve it. The only way he’ll be able to is to keep grinding & hope that his opponent start missing & falter by himself. Otherwise, he’s meeting a dead-end, just like in AO 2008, USO 2009 & Beijing 2009 SFs.

    If this path continues, which is quite a significant probability by now, I see him no longer even a top 3 player. Djokovic & Murray are likely a class better than him now. They have crushed Nadal before even when he was playing in normal conditions (e.g. Murray — USO ’08 SF). Now w/ his conditions deteriorating & getting increasingly figured out, well… things are looking more grim for Nadal.

    OK, all of the above I am saying is if his conditions continue, but there’s also a probability that he might find some way. Don’t write him off yet, he’s one of the most mentally tough players out there, probably in tennis history, too. So, he might be able to pull off something… although the chances are slimmer than Roger recovering from the 2008-early 2009 slump.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    I agree, thanks for posting some stuff while i was gone.

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  10. Intersting comments from Agassi, will keep in my files to see if his predictions comes true. Why does tennis people always try to predict the future all the time? Oh those soothsayers!!!

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  11. Congrats and thanks to Nicolay for his win, he had an extremely tough draw.He deserves this win for sure. Nadal has to thank their lucky stars that see him in the final hardly playing any tennis at all.Good job Kolya! way to go!!!
    Sorry Ru-an I want to tell you something different, my best friend came back really fascinated from your country(Capea Town and others).

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thats cool, its pretty nice especially with summer approaching. We’ll see if i stay ;-)

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