Miami Round Up

Hey guys, sorry that I haven’t posted in a while. It’s mostly due to the fact that I found Miami a pretty disappointing event. And not just because Roger lost early. I thought I’d rather do a round up post than about separate things that weren’t all that interesting. As you probably know by now, Nadal resigned from the players council. I thought about doing a post about that, but I don’t want to make this look like a Nadal bashing blog. It didn’t seem like a great move. He has been pushing for the two year ranking system for some time now, among other things. It just seems that he is only looking out for himself, and that he has a very capitalistic outlook. I even heard him say that he is looking out for his players, which to him means the top 25.

That pretty much sums it up to me. In other words the top 25 ranked players take all the spoils and the rest can go to hell. To me this is a shocking attitude. This is exactly how capitalism works. S0mething like 5% of the world owns 90% of the worlds wealth(I don’t know the exact figure), which is just absurd. Nadal wants the same thing in tennis. I have already talked about this before. Prize money should be more evenly distributed in ATP events, down to challenger and future levels. The top players make more than they can ever spend in a lifetime, while lower ranked players sweat blood just to make a living. I just think Nadal is not a good representative for all the players and is a very greedy guy. Therefor it is good that he stepped down and leave the job  to someone like Roger who cares for all the players.

Now onto the tennis. The big news after Roger lost to Roddick was that Roddick went on to lose 7-5, 6-0 to Monaco. Roddick will still take a lot of confidence away from beating Roger, but he was clearly drained against Monaco. He was a break up early but he said himself afterwards that from 4-4 onward he had nothing left. That is just what happens when players beat Roger. It takes such an immense mental and physical toll on players to beat the GOAT. More so than against any other player I think. It is such a daunting task to play Roger that when players beat him they almost feel like they have won the tournament. In a sense they did, because beating Roger takes about as much mental and physical effort to win an entire tournament.

Monaco ended up being the surprise of the tournament as he also went on to beat Fish easily to make the semis. But after Roger lost, that quarter of the draw was always going to be pretty open. Otherwise there weren’t many surprises. The rest of the top four all made semis as expected. Djokovic started playing well from the quarters onward, and I felt he was the favorite for the title. He had a point to prove after losing in the semis of his last two events and looked sharp. I thought Murray would do well in this event as well, having crashed out early in Indian Wells. He had a pretty tough match against Tipsarevic in the quarters, but came out victorious after losing the first set. I think he was feeling sick in the first set as well.

Nadal on the other hand looked slightly vulnerable to me after beating Tsonga 6-4 in the third. He was also complaining of a knee problem again, the same knee tendinitis he was suffering from in 2009 when he missed Wimbledon. He consequently withdrew from his semi-final appointment with Murray. I thought Murray had a great chance to beat Nadal and Nadal’s withdrawal was yet another big disappointment for me in Miami. I don’t think it can be much fun to be a fan of Nadal. He gets injured a lot and it will only get worse as time passes. Roger on the other hand do get injured, but he plays through the pain. I have noticed something about Nadal’s mentality in Miami as well. He is not nearly as humble as people suggest.

People often criticize Roger for the way he psyches opponents in the media. We are not even sure if it is meant as psyching. It could just be honesty. But Nadal has a much subtler way of psyching his opponents. If you have noticed there almost always seems to be something wrong with him. He always has some kind of injury or illness. In other words he always has an excuse when he loses. This puts pressure on his opponents because they never feel like they can beat him when he is at his best. Personally I much prefer Roger’s way of going about this psyching business. I’m not saying the way Nadal does it is wrong. I just think it makes you look like a weakling if you are always whining about injuries and again it looks like gamesmanship, which Nadal is the king of.

Like I said, it makes his opponents feel like they can never get a legitimate win over him because he is always ‘injured’. That’s not very sportsmanlike. If your opponent beats you they should feel like they were better than you on the day. Roger on the other hand lays down the challenge beforehand. He is in your face and doesn’t make injury excuses when he loses. I like to believe that is the spirit in which tennis should be played, and not this false nonsense Nadal is always coming up with. It just makes him look like a shady character. In other words the opposite of Roger, who has class. My honest opinion is that Nadal is terrible for tennis. The uneducated fan won’t notice this, which is why he does have a lot of fans.

He is like a new blockbuster action movie with no substance. In the short run it is a big deal among the uneducated movie goer, but in no time forgotten. But like I said, this is not a Nadal bashing blog. Lets continue with the tennis. Murray got his second walkover of the tournament into the final, after the walkover over Raonic earlier. This means he lacked match practice and confidence. In the other semi Djokovic took care of Monaco in straight sets. He started developing the pattern where he played lights out tennis in the first set, while the second set was more competitive. In the final it was a similar situation, especially with Murray lacking match practice. I thought if Murray beat Nadal in the semis he stood a much better chance in the final.

But he came out looking pretty average. He started catching up in the second set but never quite found his game. He had chances but couldn’t take advantage. The second set ended in a tie break, where Murray served a double at an important junction that pretty much ended his hopes. It looked like the old Murray that choked in the big moment, but I wasn’t so sure about that. I’m quite amazed at how many people wrote him off all over again after this loss. Tennis fans and journalists are extremely short sighted. They are the same with Roger. They tend to completely live in the moment and have no perspective. I am not saying there is a Murray 2.0. For all I know he hasn’t changed. But I think he should at least be given a bit of a break here.

He clearly came into the match not really feeling the ball on his racquet, while Djokovic was in superb form from the matches he had played. Since Lendl started coaching Murray he has had some encouraging results. He won Brisbane at the beginning of the year, made semis of the Australian Open where he lost in a terrific match against Djokovic, and then made the final of Dubai after beating Djokovic in the semis. So he lost in the second round of India Wells, but Lendl wasn’t there after all. And now he makes the final of Miami and people are writing him off. I don’t think that is quite fair. Him and Lendl are still in the beginning stages and they have already had some encouraging results. You know I used to be one of Murray’s biggest critics ever.

But I think sometimes you need to give people a break. If you can’t give other people a break, how will you ever give yourself a break? I say give Murray 2.0 some more time to emerge. Having said that, he has some very stiff competition still if he wants to win a slam. Especially with Roger 3.0 around. What about Nadal? Should we give him a number too? Nadal 0.5? Haha. Nadal was very upbeat about 2012 and it was clear that he had to make a move. He first loses to Monfils in D0ha. Then he lost yet again to Djokovic in a slam final, and this one was a very tough loss. Then he loses to Roger in Indian Wells, and now he has knee tendinitis again. Obviously the clay season will be very important for him. It is make or break.

If he keeps losing to Djokovic again and loses to him at Roland Garros we may have Nadal 0.0. I mean that would devastate him. So come Paris he is playing for his life. If he does win the French again it will give him some confidence to fight another day. Of course the fact that Nadal didn’t make the final means he loses 240 points from last year’s final. So in the end Nadal did gain some points over Roger in Miami, but not much to speak of. The big question is now whether Roger will play Monte Carlo. It could make the difference between him being ranked number two or three in the rankings come the French Open, which could make a big difference if Djokovic and Nadal is drawn in the same half. If this happen I believe Roger can win the French again.

But if not it will be a very tall order. So Roger has a lot to think about at this point. Does he take a long break to avoid getting tired later in the season, or does he risk it and go all out for that number two ranking at the French Open? Roger has quite a few points to gain in the clay season, but if he doesn’t play Monte Carlo his chances of catching Nadal before Paris is virtually zero. Nadal has quite a bit of points to defend, with two titles and two finals. And with his dodgy knees he probably needs to skip one event. If he does it will probably be Barcelona, which will cost him 500 points. I think it is possible for Roger but but he doesn’t base his decisions on ‘maybe’s’ or another player’s health. It will be interesting to see what he does anyway.

Having lost early in Miami it just might tempt him to take that wildcard…

Photobucket


Posted in Uncategorized.

31 Comments

  1. Hi RU-AN, good and fair analysis of Miami. The biggest change i saw in Murray is that he didn’t lose it like he so often has in the past. Lendl has taught him to stay focused. Nadal acts like a baby when he doesn’t get his way. It’s very unattractive for anyone who has achieved so much and been given so much. Because of that knee and Novaks dominance over him Nadal seems to be on a true decline. It would be great to see Roger get to #2 but i have complete faith in Roger and his team as to how they will approach going to Monte Carlo or not. Miami wasn’t much fun after Roger lost and then Andy loses the next round. Did enjoy Monacos run, good for him. Long while until we see Roger again. Really appreciate your posts always but also when The Maestro isn’t playing. Thanks RU-AN.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You are welcome Susan!

    [Reply]

  2. Nice round up. You’ve said it all, well, almost: There is one more event at Miami I found interesting. Tsonga going on to criticise the umpire for having a biais towards Nadal! Since when are lower ranked players allowed and entitled to criticize Nadal, and speak out that umpires do not enforce the same rules when Nadal plays? That was very interesting I found. Do they feel empowered now that Federer has started to point out the breaking of time limits of Nadal and the excessive tolerance of the umpires towards the Spaniard?
    Ruan, I have a suggestion for a blog entry to bridge the time until we get to see Federer in action again: There are some nice clips on youtube showing ‘the Genius of Federer’, the ‘Religious Experience of Federer’, the ‘Magic of Federer’, you name it. Some really nice collections of intense moments. I would like to now which ones are your favorites, what do you watch when you want to relive some emotions? Why don’t you post once your top 5 video clips of Federer?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Chris. I did post some videos that I like under videos on the top bar. But Roger has played quite a few good matches since then, so I will definitely look into it.

    [Reply]

  3. i ask my self why i com to this blog. now i have my answer. as much as this is Federer’s blog, it is also Nadal’s. might as well change the name. Nadal’s name is mentioned here almost as much as Federer, if not more. please keep it light, you ppl get too heavy bashing Nadal. tooo much negativity. he is human too you know. surely he is not as bad as you make him out to be?

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    Ok tell us how he loves kittens.

    [Reply]

  4. Why did Nadal play doubles in both Indian Wells and Miami if he is concerned about his knees?

    [Reply]

    rich Reply:

    What kind of knee injury is gonna be right in about 5 days, as he has said? I’ve had headaches that last longer. If his knee is really bothering him he would have to be out for most of the clay court season. Can’t see it. Anyway, after Wimbledon in 2010 he said his knees had been cured by Dr Sanchez’s magic PRP treatment. So how come it’s the same old injury again? The guy is full of it. Excuses.

    [Reply]

  5. love the post and love the analysis on Nadal, who is so tied up in Roger’s legacy.

    It’s funny, you have to wonder about the future of tennis. When Roger exits early, as he rarely does, the event is just drained of any drama. I think it’s also reflective of the nature of the tennis. Murray and Djokovic I just find ultimately boring. They just keep it hitting back to each other, there’s very little strategy or shot-making, at least compared to the Maestro. One of his biggest gifts is his intelligence, so much more strategic than his rivals, which has allowed to overcome his age and beat guys 5-7 years younger.

    [Reply]

  6. I think Roger should just chill. With Nadal being injured, it’s more likely that he probably may skip Barcelona or at least lose to Djokovic in Monte Carlo.

    With this being an Olympic year and do much to play for, Roger should ne fresh and primed come middle of May and onwards.

    By the way, even if he does get the number 2 ranking before the French, he could still be drawn to Nadal in the semis which would make it just a terrible waste of energy without any benefit.

    I’d rather see Roger be fresh and actually win Madrid by taking Nadal in the semis and put a great SF result in Rome. And if he is not number by then, so be it. He’ll be full of confidence if that happens.

    Anyway, still to early to predict but I still think Roger should continue to rest while Nadal will be forced to play with an injured knee again.

    [Reply]

  7. Ruan:

    It is very sensitive and considerate of you to have hopes about Murray 2.0. But IMHO, there will never be a Murray 2.0 as long as Novak, Roger and Rafa around. IMHO, Andy has no weapons other than great defence or service returns! I just see him as a brainless robot.

    I am pretty sure that he is going to be the greatest No. 4 ever to have held that ranking for the longest time.

    Seriously what aspect of his game tickles you! In my opinion he is simply a scaled down version of Nadal. In spite of many things we despite about Nadal, his game is at least far more tickling than Andy’s.

    Andy has no flair, no innovation and his game is no more than a ball machine. Even Novak has lots of spice and flair when he plays. Andy is the most boring Tennis player I have ever seen. God, I enjoy Tsonga, Gasquet and Monfils more than Andy.

    His semi final in AO is not to be extrapolated as some Andy resurgence, IMHO it was simply because Novak was tired after his previous match and not serving good 1st Serve %.

    Please convince me otherwise about Andy with more substance.

    [Reply]

    Dave Reply:

    I think Murray has a decent forehand and backhand. I believe the biggest problem with Murray is consistency and mental fortitude and a bit of immaturity and maybe not the most intelligent shot-maker in the game but I think Lendl will help in this aspect over a long period of time. I thought Murray played good against Djokovic and didn’t give up. Small changes over a long period of time can greatly improve one’s game. Look at Roger and Paul Annacone. I think Murray will start owning Rafa once he gets over this hump.

    [Reply]

    sraman Reply:

    Dave:

    Thanks for your perspective. I guess I was too biased against Andy. I hope you are right at least for the possibility of Andy taking out Nadal in GS Semis.

    This is why this blog is great as people like you and Ruan with open mind could help others open up theirs.

    [Reply]

  8. I will be surprised if Federer takes the wildcard to Monte-Carlo. He is aiming at the Madrid-Olympics stretch (May 6th-August 5th) – 6 tournaments including Halle. It’s going to be very demanding and his health is on his mind. He also knows that getting to #2 (or higher) will be a by-product of success in this stretch. He is not going to risk it.
    ===
    Another point. Forget about Nadal and Djokovic falling in the same half of the draw in RG (even if Federer gets to #2 before hand). You mentioned Capitalism… no tournament organizer will miss the chance of having a Nadal-Djokovic final. Nadal’s pursuing a record 7th winning and Djokovic’s pursuing the calender slam – that’s worth a lot of money. No one will let them fight in the semis.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    I agree. As much as I want Djokovic and Nadal in the same half, it probably won’t happen. Roger should concentrate on Madrid – US Open stretch. Btw a week after the Olympics, it’s already Rogers Cup. So resting now will pay off huge for Roger!!!

    [Reply]

  9. Its a blessing in disguise that he lost early rounds, he needs a good rest. I am little surprised with Nadal’s resignation, his fighting spirit on court did not translate to his desire off court.I guess his losses to Djoker must have really eating him that he wants to full focus on his tennis and winning RG again this year. Now knee injury, no doubt he will feel pressured to defend his points this Apr/May. I don’t think Roger needs to play in MC, its going to be a long 5 months stretch. He needs to pace himself to avoid injury and burnout.

    [Reply]

  10. I knew you were European! Lol. The capitalism bash was a bit misplaced though – corporatism (where government’s overly big influence is used to dole out all the benefits to politically connected corporations), not capitalism, is what we have to blame for the skewed distribution of wealth. Actual capitalism would provide a level playing field, where you are rewarded for providing a product or service that benefits others.

    But enough of the politics. I will be interested to see if in fact Nadal is pressured, or devastated by additional adversity. I can’t believe how after any loss, no matter how difficult, he is able to shrug it off without even the most remote display of disappointment or emotion. It bothers me. It’s pretty easy to read Roger, as he has a hard time concealing his disappointment after tough losses. But I think it’s because he’s so invested in the big games. I don’t know. It seems like he has a bigger heart than Nadal.

    [Reply]

  11. Off topic…. Some time ago, I picked up a paperback spy thriller, Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carre. I didn’t get around to reading it until recently. The main character (and clearly the author as well) is a huge Fed fan, and the plot has him attending the 2009 French Open final. It’s such a pleasant surprise to come upon passages describing the beauty of Federer’s game in a spy thriller.

    [Reply]

  12. Hey Ruan LOVED the analogies coparing Nadal with capitalism and an action movie.. And coulden agree more on the point that he dosent give the credit to oppenants when he lose a match. When he lost to Roger at WTF he said that i have also begeled Roger in a “SLAM FINAL” so this was nothing compared to that. I think it has to do with how uncle Toni has shaped him while growing up. To win at any cost and use every possible trick (the bathroom break in IW semis) to win and cover it up with ‘gamesmanship’. So i think some of the blame should go to uncle Toni as well. That aside he’s a great player and as u put it a perfect ‘anti Roger’. So we need him around to make things interesting…

    [Reply]

  13. A lot of great comments by Gary, Veronica, Vily and many others here recently about Federer and his remarkable human qualities.

    Regarding the aftermath of Miami, I think Federer will be best served by skipping MC. He’s played a lot of tennis in the last couple months. It’s no good if he overexerts himself and loses early at RG or Wimbledon as a result. He also wants to play well at the Olympics for Switzerland.

    He can’t make any serious progress towards #1 without winning majors. To win majors he has to build confidence in his game by winning smaller titles. That he has done.

    But there is no point in exhausting himself playing lots and lots of smaller tournaments just to chase ranking points.

    I don’t think his momentum will be in the least halted by his loss to Roddick. This was the best post-AO hard court season he’d had in many years. He’s raised his game successfully and he can carry that over to clay season.

    Djokovic has come back strong; he served brilliantly in Miami, especially in the final. It looks like he’s shaken off the aftereffects of the AO final and his head is once again clear. Having a long break from the mind-numbing game of Nadal must surely help.

    Regarding Federer’s chances at another French Open title, he will probably have to beat Djokovic and Nadal back-to-back to win. He has the tennis needed to do it, the challenge is mental, not physical.

    After he turns 31 this year Federer will have met certain conditions the ATP has for veteran players and he will be able to play as few (or many) tournaments as he likes.

    It’ll be interesting to see what he chooses to do with his newfound freedom. Aside from the Grand Slams, I’m sure he will continue to play the majority of the Masters but he might change the three or four smaller tournaments he plays. He will probably be playing more in South America, he’s already lined up a series of exhibitions in Brazil for later this year.

    He’s entering a new phase of his career and I’m looking forward to where it takes him.

    [Reply]

    Vily Reply:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Steve. You couldn’t have said it nicer. It’s going to be a very exciting summer for tennis fans. I love the fact that Roger is recharging right now so that he can give himself the boost he needs in order to win these big tournaments.

    I personally am looking forward to Madrid, Roland Garros, Halle (possibly), Wimbledon and the Olympics.
    I don’t care much about Rome although I do feel with the rest Roger can make semis there as well. It will be so awesome.

    For now, I’ll switch my attention to soccer and the Champions League where there are still exciting things happening. ;-) We’ll see!

    [Reply]

  14. I really don’t think Roger should play MC.
    He has a very grueling year ahead.
    Obviously first the summer, which everyone is talking about: Madrid, Rome, RG,Halle, W(7 out of 9 weeks). But that is just the start of it.
    He has a month off after W,then Olympics, Toronto, Cincinnati in back to back weeks, and USO immediately after(5 out of 6 weeks).
    His season end is pretty bad too.
    First Shanghai, then a week later Basel, Paris,WTF back to back(Just realized this. Not very good for Roger). That is 4 out of 5 weeks.
    His schedule was a lot more spread out last couple of years. He should take this break, as it will help him a lot in the rest of the season

    [Reply]

  15. With such a full year of tennis, I don’t understand Roger’s decision to play several exos in South America in December. Is he planning to change things in a big way in 2013?
    I didn’t realize there were different rules for veteran players. Any ideas why he would expend the time and energy in South America? Semi-retirement in 2013?

    [Reply]

    Wilfried Reply:

    It depends where he’s going to play and stay. AN important part of SOuth America, more particualarly the Andean countries, are situated in altitude. If he spend some time in La PAz in Bolivia and play his expos there, he could increase his level of red blood cells and be in very good condition to go to Australia afterwards. The Andean countries in general are a good place to be in that regard.

    [Reply]

  16. I just saw this in response to an article about allowing women to be members of Augusta. I guess there was some talk about Tiger, and this just gave me a little chuckle. Maybe you’ve seen it before, but I hadn’t….. OK, here it is: Golfers What if ? #1. – Tiger was the all time majors leader in his sport? #2. – What if Tiger was the most respected athlete in the world? #3. – What if Tiger was voted the greatest player of all time in his sport? #4. – What if Tiger was a good role model and a devoted family man and never went to sex rehab? #5. – What if Tiger was ALL OF THE ABOVE and still good enough to WIN MORE MAJORS? – Than Tiger would know what it feels like to be – Roger Federer !!!

    [Reply]

  17. It looks very doubtful Roger will play MC. Maybe he’s at home planning to practice there.
    As far as South America, I think he’s planning on playing all over the place…Brazil, Columbia, Argentina, etc. Makes no sense to me.
    Well, let’s see how Davis Cup pans out….or watch Tiger at the Masters!

    [Reply]

  18. I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about this year’s clay court season. In an era like the current one, which clearly is a solid, longtime hard court era (6 hard court ‘1000’ Masters Series events – including the WTF in London which is a 1500 event – as opposed to 3 clay court ‘1000’ MS events), clay is always a nice, refreshing break from the routine. If only Nadal wasn’t that good on the red dirt! Needless to say, grass has become a joke; the transition process between clay & grass court season should take at least 2 or 3 weeks. What is happening now is unacceptable (and yet acceptable by the ATP) in my opinion. There is just no margin at all. There is no such thing as ‘grass court season’ anyway. Having said that, both Queen’s and Halle are ‘250’ ATP events. So the grass court season consists of two ‘250’ events which are even being held in the same week, and Wimbledon. That’s flagrant injustice. 2012 will be slightly better for grass, as it is already known that the Olympic tennis tournament will be held at the All England Club this summer.

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *