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…