Federer and Edberg Splits Up, Ljubicic Lands the Job

Federer and Edberg Splits Up, Ljubicic Lands the Job

“Roger and I had a wonderful two years together. When he originally approached me at the end of 2013, I committed to work with him for only a year.

“It became very clear from the start that this was going to be a special partnership, working with the greatest ambassador tennis has ever seen. It was exciting for me to be back out on tour and to see that the sport has made so much progress.

“The quality of tennis today is stronger than it has ever been. After an amazing 2014, I decided to continue on for another year, but with a clear understanding that it would be my last year given the time commitment.

“I believe Roger still has a lot left to give to the sport of tennis and is capable of winning the big events. Roger and I will remain close friends and I will always feel part of the Federer team. I hope to try and come watch Roger play some tournaments in 2016.”

Hi, folks. It’s been a while since my last post and I hope you have all enjoyed the break from all the tennis. Today there was an interesting development when the news broke that Federer and Edberg decided to end their partnership. It’s disappointing because you would have thought that the Fedberg partnership would have been good enough to win at least one slam together. That was certainly what Federer had in mind when he decided to bring Edberg on board. When I first heard they would work together I thought here was the perfect partnership and Federer’s tennis improved almost immediately. They started working together after Federer’s disappointing 2013 season and Federer quickly found himself in a slam final at Wimbledon again. But there he faced Djokovic who started a partnership with Becker at the start of 2014 as well.

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It’s been a good run

As opposed to Federer and Edberg, Djokovic and Becker had a rocky start. It was only in that Wimbledon final that the Djokovic/Becker partnership started paying off after I expected much of them. They defeated Federer and Edberg in a very close final and since then defeated Fedberg in two more slam finals this year. So although I expected much of the Fedberg partnership no one could really foresee how dominant the Djocker partnership would be. They dominated Fedberg in almost all the most important matches. So it’s not all that surprising that Fedberg decided to call it a day. I think there was much hope among Fedfans that Fedberg would end the slam drought for Federer but like I said no one knew how good Djocker would be. Especially in 2015. They have gone from strength to strength and left only scraps for the rest. The three slam final losses for Fedberg must have taken its toll and you wonder if Federer made a desperate move now.
  • Federer Hires Old Friend Ljubicic
After 2 very successful years, I would like to thank Stefan Edberg, my childhood idol, for agreeing to join my team. It was a dream come true. Although it was supposed to only be for 2014, Stefan was great and agreed to extend the partnership through this year which I really appreciated. He taught me so much and his influence on my game will remain. He will always be a part of my team. Severin Luthi, who I have been working with since 2008, will continue to be my main coach and he will be joined by Ivan Ljubicic. Both Daniel Troxler, my physiotherapist and Pierre Paganini, my longtime fitness trainer, will remain part of my technical team.
It was quite a surprise to hear that Ivan Ljubicic would be Federer’s new coach, who had recently parted ways with Raonic. Federer and Ljubicic have always been good friends, but I have to wonder what the Croatian can add to Federer’s game. Is this the beginning of the end for Federer? This hiring seems almost desperate. Edberg did a good job with Federer even though they didn’t ultimately achieve what they wanted to achieve. He made Federer a better net and offensive player and gave him a certain calm on court. I don’t see what Ljubicic can add other than being an extra fan in the box. But what is Federer supposed to do anyway? Edberg is as good as it could get for him as far as a coach goes and it didn’t pay off. So I don’t think he actually expects much from a coach at this point. Ljubicic is just someone to fill up the spot.

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Sound like a fan much? Lol

In the last couple of years, Federer made three slam finals which is actually great at his age. He played especially well in 2015 but unfortunately for him, Djokovic did the same. In many other eras, he would have won a slam if not multiple slams but Djokovic denied him every single time. You just have to say to good and you can’t feel bad about it at his age. He still made a great resurrection of his career in 2014 and 2015 of which he can be very proud. From here on it is difficult to see Federer winning a slam and I think he will start winding down towards the end of his career. But he is still playing very well and I’m sure he still has plenty of good tennis left in him.

What do you think of the Fedberg breakup?

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The is in your court.
Posted in Uncategorized.

24 Comments

    1. I have an interesting thought though which not many people have mentioned. Although this may seem like a step back, I always thought that Federer’s backhand, though improved with the new racquet is still too easily broken down against Djokovic. Perhaps Ljubicic would be able to help him with that, as his groundstroke work from the baseline was excellent during his career, a very clean ball-striker similar to Davydenko.

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      Ru-an Reply: Ljubicic had a nice one-hander. Having thought about this a bit more, the change was a good thing. Fedberg was going nowhere after the slam final losses to Djocker. Maybe Ljubicic will be the guy that helps Federer finally bag #18.

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      universal123 Reply: Yeah Federer needs to get back to what Agassi used to say about him, that there was quote: “no place to hide on the court with him, and I don’t play well when there’s nowhere to hide”. Unfortunately for Federer, there is now a very obvious place for opponents to hide, where he cannot attack effectively: high backhands. If Ljubicic can eliminate that issue, or at least reduce it a bit, it will massively improve Federer’s chances of another slam.

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      Ru-an Reply: High backhands are a problem against Nadal. Not so much against anyone else. Against Djokovic is just the Djoker’s baseline consistency. I think it’s hard for Federer to beat either of them in a slam. It’s not gonna help his cause that Nadal is back. I expect a big year from Nadal in 2016. I can see the big battles being between him and Djokovic in 2016 as opposed to 2015 when it was between Djokovic and Federer. Sorry, don’t mean to a messenger of bad news for Fedfans. Just the way I see it.

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      universal123 Reply: Yeah its mainly against Nadal but that entire shot seems vulnerable these days. I have seen Djokovic expose the high backhand of Federer, and even players who he would normally beat pretty easily such as Simon and Monfils are finding it easier to exploit these days. As for your suggestion about Nadal, you could be right, but I’m holding my judgement on it until after the FO (unless of course he wins AO, which would mean he is definitely back). If he loses again at the FO, particularly if it were to Djokovic (most likely) or Federer (I wish lol) then I think he would be finished. On the other hand, if he wins at the FO being that close to Federer’s record (just 2 slams behind), might motivate him to play better, but whether he actually would get the record in that situation is another matter. Nevertheless, 2016 FO is probably one of the most important tournaments Nadal will play in terms of his career and future prospects. As far as Federer goes, I have a feeling that he will eventually be rewarded for his consistency. Remember people rubbishing his 2009 FO win? He thoroughly deserved that, because he kept making the final, and he knew that even if he couldn’t beat Rafa something had to give eventually. Same goes for Murray in 2013, with people saying he only won WB because he didn’t have to play Federer or Nadal, but again he had been in the semis so many times, and finals once, it was pretty much bound to happen that eventually some upsets would strike. I think Federer is about due for one of those rewards for being consistent again. Djokovic is an amazing player, but you can’t possibly shut out all opposition and never lose to anyone in the early rounds, even peak Federer and Nadal lost matches occasionally in the first few rounds. Particularly for Djokovic. Not saying that it is necessarily going to happen, just that probability dictates that given enough time it will happen. The other possibility is an absolutely amazing performance from Federer, in line with something like his Wimbledon 2007 semifinal form, where he destroyed Bjorkman 6-2 6-0 6-2, or RG 2011 SF, or AO 2010 F. In those matches there was just a sense that nothing could possibly derail Federer. That is the kind of match it would take to defeat Djokovic in a slam at the moment, and the keys to achieving it are: 1. Consistent serving – if Roger can keep his 1st serve % above 65 and win at least 70-80% of those, and win at least 50% of second serves, the chance of Djokovic breaking him is low, meaning he can swing with much more freedom on returns. 2. Break point conversion – Roger needs to be more aggressive on break points, particularly when he has 0-40 or 15-40, as he has a couple of chances. I would agree with not being too aggressive at 30-40 or 40-AD, but at 15-40 or 0-40 it is worth the risk to go for an extra-powerful or accurate shot. 3. No letdowns – Roger has, in far too many matches with Djokovic, started playing extraordinarily well and then gradually been worn down and let Djokovic back in. To beat him in a slam, IMO he has to win at least 2 out of the first 3 sets, if he goes 2-1 down he may still take it to a fifth but will most likely lose.

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      Ru-an Reply: Nadal doesn’t have to win a slam to be back in my view. Federer was back since 2014, but he didn’t win a slam. Nadal is already back far as I’m concerned. He just had one of his best fall seasons. You better believe he will come out firing on all cylinders in 2016. And that isn’t good news for Federer.

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      universal123 Reply: When I meant back I meant in terms of beating Federer’s slam record. Obviously in terms of playing well and being a top 5 player I don’t think there are any question marks at all based on his play in the last few months.

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      Ru-an Reply: Yeah, that will never happen. Not unless Djokovic goes parachuting and his parachute fails to open.

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      universal123 Reply: With how good he is at the moment I don’t think that would be good enough. I mean sure he might be injured a bit but he’d be back on the tour within a month or two. Maybe exposure to space without a spacesuit would be slightly more effective, but I still don’t think that would allow Nadal to pass Federer.

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      Ru-an Reply: Incidentally, I saw The Martian last night which also happens to be a terrific movie. One way Nadal could pass Federer is if Djokovic becomes stranded on Mars for a few years. It would have to be around ten years if Nadal wants to keep the record, though. Anything inside ten years and Djokovic would still come back and break the record whatever it is :))

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      universal123 Reply: Reuters: Today Novak Djokovic, aged 45, returned after being stranded on Mars for almost 20 years. Today, he made his triumphant return. “I had to keep practicing my tennis, so I built a tennis court on Mars. The surface was interesting, much faster than clay. The French Open should be renamed the Martian Open and played on Mars. Anyway I will continue to work hard to challenge Federer and Nadal’s joint record of 30 slams over the next few years.” Federer, now aged 51 and still playing singles and recently ranked at no.1 on the ATP Tour, has no doubts about Djokovic’s ability to continue playing. “Well I’m 51 now, he’s what 45? To be honest it would be disgraceful if he didn’t play until he’s at least 60.”. Nadal, aged 46, said “I can no do anything about this. I need to take a few years’ break from the tour with dozens of different injuries, no?”

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      Ru-an Reply: Haha, nice. How many knee replacements has Nadal had at age 46? Ps. I think the surface of Mars would be pretty slow unless the air is really thin there. If there was one guy who could probably find a way to improve his game on Mars that would be Djokovic :))

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      universal123 Reply: The air is about 1/100 the thickness of earth, but the tennis balls would have to be made of something special, it can get down to about -100 ish Celsius, and I don’t think the tennis balls would react very well. Also the gravity is less which would make for amazing jumping smashes.

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      Ru-an Reply: Interesting. I did not know that. Apart from the fact that it got very cold as portrayed by the movie. He’d have to build an indoor court with its own atmosphere like the guy did in the movie. Won’t say more in case someone still wants to watch the movie.

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      universal123 Reply: Yeah the air is much thinner, it’s why there’s very little if any water. Because the pressure is so low, even if it gets above 0 Celsius (which does happen quite often in summer on Mars), water just immediately turns to a gas, and skips over the liquid phase completely. If you put a solid cube of ice on Mars at say 5 Celsius it would just boil off into steam, just like dry ice does here on Earth.

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      Ru-an Reply: Ha, that would explain why it looks like a desert and yet it’s so cold! Amazing how conditions on earth is exactly right for life. Even a plant quite similar to earth compared to the others can’t sustain life.

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      universal123 Reply: Yeah we humans really are quite picky when it comes to what we call livable conditions, here is just some of the things we need: Correct temperature (say between about 0-40 Celsius on average, colder we get hypothermia, hotter we get dehydrated and die if it continues for too long). Breathable atmosphere (thick enough with enough oxygen) Pressurisation (otherwise we die because your body would expand as your blood turned into a gas, not exactly good for your health) Gravity (otherwise our muscles waste away, on the space station they have to exercise two hours a day to prevent this) Protection from radiation (or we get cancer and eventually die) Liquid water (otherwise we have nothing to drink and die) Adequate food (self-explanatory) The list goes on and on and on. Bacteria would fare a bit better, and it is thought that Mars was much warmer and wetter billions of years ago, and if bacteria were buried deep enough they could have survived by lying dormant. There is something quite strange about Mars, in winter its ice caps get bigger when carbon dioxide (dry ice) freezes out of the atmosphere into ice, so the pressure actually varies quite a bit.

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      Ru-an Reply: Yeah, life is very fragile. And so are we. All that makes the difference between life and death is a single breath. Miss the next breath and it’s all over.

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      universal123 Reply: Lol how we got from tennis to deep philosophical questions in the space of a few comments. To get back to tennis, Federer is just bombing at the IPTL, he’s losing to just about everyone: Nadal, Murray and Karlovic. I don’t really see the point of the IPTL any more. It was good as a one-off event, but now it has been done for a second year it seems a bit gimmicky now to me, just too many weird rules. For me at least, nothing will ever replace a 5-set Wimbledon, FO or AO match going deep into the 5th set past 6-6. The only change I would support is maybe a tiebreak at 12-12 or 15-15 to prevent another Isner-Mahut fiasco. Even as a fan of long 5-setters that was ridiculous.

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      Ru-an Reply: Yeah, I see Federer is losing to everyone. Not that I have watched any IPTL tennis. Good job from Djokovic to skip it. It’s stupid. That’s pretty much what I expected from Federer anyway. With Nadal back I can see him going only one way really. Nadal has been poor for most of 2014 and 2015 which gave Federer a window of opportunity. He couldn’t take advantage of three slam finals and now he’s with Ljubicic. It’s tough to see him winning a slam from here on, but I guess you never know. As for Isner/Mahut, I thought that was epic.

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      universal123 Reply: Yeah but it was a one-off thing for me. If it started happening again and again it would get tiresome is my point. Maybe even 15-15 is too soon, perhaps something like a tiebreak at 30-30? Just to prevent that from happening again as I don’t think many people would want to see it again. Also, it is thought to have shortened the careers of both Isner and Mahut by about six months, so it’s not necessarily great for the sport to have matches that long.

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      Ru-an Reply: I know what you mean. Still fun to see it go on for that long, though.

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      universal123 Reply: By the way, what are your ideal semifinals at the AO? In terms of quality of the matches (not in terms of Federer (in my case) or Djokovic (in your case) and their chances of winning, I would like to see Federer vs Nadal and Djokovic vs Wawrinka. Whoever wins out of those we have a good match in the final: Federer v Djokovic: always high quality, though there have been a lot of them lately Federer v Wawrinka: can Wawrinka overcome his countryman in a GS Final? Nadal vs Djokovic: can Djokovic finally take the lead in the H2H and potentially stop Nadal from winning any more slams? Nadal vs Wawrinka: can Nadal get revenge for AO 2014?

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      Ru-an Reply: I wouldn’t mind seeing a Fedrinka match at the AO, but I don’t feel great about Federer’s form so I’m not discounting another early exit for him. I wouldn’t mind another Fedal match at the AO either.

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Does Tennis Have a Doping Problem?

Does Tennis Have a Doping Problem?

I was hesitant at first to make a post about this, because there is no concrete proof that anyone in tennis is doping at the moment. But after I did some research I felt that this post is very necessary. The last player who was busted for doping was Wayne Odesnik, who was busted for importing human growth hormone(HGH) to Australia. HGH is a hormone that athletes take to increase muscle mass among other things. It also makes fat loss easier, speeds up recovery time, and makes a player look more cut and ripped. HGH can not be found in a player through urine testing. Only a blood test will pick it up. For maximum effect athletes use growth hormone together with other short-acting steroids. I found the below at RF.com:

“Players can use short-acting steroids in combination with human growth hormone which will produce muscle mass and enormous power, and while they c…an stop just before a competition and test clean, they still get the performance benefit of the drugs,” Mendoza said.”

I am the same guy who suspected that Nadal was using a two-tiered doping regime. He is administered his grown hormone weeks in advance of a slam event (Dr Sanchez’s “knee” treatments). Then takes something to “boost” the effectivesness shortly before (and maybe during) the slam event. The above quote indicates it may be some fast-acting (and fast cleansing) steroid.

You will notice that even though Queens, Cincinnati, and Toronto were all after “knee” treatments, Nadal performed poorly (much like most of 2009) at those tournaments. Yet, immediately after those poor performances, Nadal crushed the opposition at the slams.

If Nadal is taking the growth hormone well before competition (and we know there is virtually no out of competition testing in tennis), he will not test positive for it (I believe growth hormone is not detectable after three days of administration anyways).

The fast-acting “booster”, if it clears the system quickly, can be used much closer to competition. In fact, at grand slams, with a day off in between competition, may be administered on off days, without getting caught.

There was no link to the above quote, but it looks pretty legit nonetheless. Now look at the 2009 testing statistics HERE. Incredibly, the out-of-competition testing was only done for urine. In other words, players could freely use HGH with no fear of getting caught as long as they stopped using three days before competition! As far as the out-of-competition testing goes, it doesn’t seem very comprehensive at all according to this article. It seems the out-of-competition testing is done close to tournaments anyway, making it even easier for players to get away with doping. I’ve heard of HGH before and the possibility that tennis players are using it, but I am somewhat dumbfounded by how easy it is to use it. I don’t know if the ITF have changed their testing methods in 2010. I know they do the whereabouts thing where a player must report where they are every day for one hour.

And Nadal was one who complained about this new rule. Hmmm. But clearly it is not that hard for players to dope. With HGH I think you have to use it for at least 3 months to see any real changes, but when you take it with another steroid that isn’t necessary. I also find it quite incredible that a short-acting steroid clears the system so quickly that it can even be used during a grand slam event. I don’t know about you, but this is all pretty shocking to me. I never gave these steroid rumors much attention simply because there is no concrete proof until a player is caught. But since I did my research I can’t help but think it is inevitable that players use steroids. There just isn’t strict enough testing outside of competition as far as I can make out. Here is a comment from the blog post that I linked to earlier:

The top 10 men were almost all tested when they were NOT home training:

-Federer, 5 days before French Open & missed one a few days before the Basel tournament.
-Nadal, 6 days before French Open & missed one while playing exhibition in London.
-Djokovic: NOT TESTED AT ALL
-Murray, a week before US Open and again right before World Tour finals
-Del Potro: NOT TESTED AT ALL
-Roddick: missed test the day before Cincinnati and was not approached again
-Davydenko: tested 10 days before Kuala Lumpur and again a few days before World Tour finals. Does the first count as out of competition?
-Verdasco: NOT TESTED AT ALL
-Soderling: tested once during Barcelona and once out of competition during offseason
-Tsonga: tested OOC in July and once in the fall right before a tournament

So….
only 2 or 3 of those can really count as OOC. And many weren’t even tested at all!

Really?! If the testing is this lax then almost everyone has to be doping. Lets say Nadal wants to dope for instance. What is to stop him? I always thought they were so strict with testing that it was almost impossible to cheat! Check out the below video:

I can’t help but think this guy has a point. You may remember that for a long time I’ve been predicting the burnout of Nadal. So when he had that slump last year I thought that was it. I thought he would maybe win 2-3 more French Opens, but that would be it. Baseline grinders like Courier, Chang, and Hewitt all burned out mentally or due to injury early in their careers. For Nadal is was the knee problem last year, but I also felt like he was mentally losing his edge. To me it is nothing short of astonishing the way he has come back this year. I have never seen anyone come back from a year long slump in that fashion. It made Roger’s remarkable recovery last year look almost like a joke. The way his knee problem went away is in itself surprising.

Then of course there has been the mind-boggling increase in serve speed that he got at the US Open this year. I don’t know if that has ever been done either.A physical specimen like Nadal has never been seen in tennis before. For a tennis player to look like that is in itself a first, but that is not the amazing thing. The amazing thing is that he himself swears by it that he hates the gym and never spends any time there. So how on earth do you get muscles like that simply by playing tennis?! If that was only due to genes, and there was no steroids involved, then surely there would have been someone like that in the sport before. Monfils is also a physical specimen, but even him isn’t as buff as Nadal. And of course it’s not impossible that Monfils is doping either. But having said that, black people tend to be more athletic anyway.

Something else that is suspect about Nadal is the fashion in which he won the Australian Open of 2009. I just found it incredible how he could play that marathon semi-final and come back with one days less rest than Roger and win the final in another marathon. It just didn’t seem normal to me. And again, it was probably the first time we saw such a superhuman display of endurance and fitness in the history of tennis. As you can see there is a lot of firsts with Nadal. So we are left with the conclusion that he is simply superman, the likes of what we have never seen before, or he is in fact doping. I’m sad to say it, but I think there is a pretty strong case for him to be doping. But on the other hand there is no concrete proof, so it is just plain wrong to say that he is doping for sure. All that can be said is that there is a very good chance given all we have observed, and given how lax the doping controls is.

It is s shame to think that tennis can be a dirty sport, because it could mean that Roger’s career has been ruined by it to some extent, given what Nadal has done to him. But we live in a corrupt world. Corruption is everywhere. So for me there is hardly any doubt that there is doping in tennis. As for Nadal, I don’t think he is a bad guy. Him and Roger gets along well and he seems to be a nice kid. Look at the below video again for instance:

When I watch this video on Youtube where him and Roger is laughing together I find it hard to believe that he is a doper. He just look like a good, spontaneous kid. He doesn’t look like the type that deceives and cheats. Personally I’m not the kind of person that would accuse Nadal of doping just because he is threatening Roger’s records or something. If he is the better man than that is it. However hard it will be to accept, it must be accepted. But I thought this post was necessary anyway just to spread awareness and look at some of the facts. I don’t claim to be an expert in this area, and if there is anything that I left out or that is wrong, then please feel free to leave me a comment. I am really making this post to open a discussion more than anything else, because the facts say that there is something fishy going on here.

So to recap why Nadal could possibly be doping:

  • Although I don’t have data for 2010, it seems the drug testing is very lax, which means he could get away with it if he wanted to.
  • He is cut and has muscles like no other tennis player we have ever seen before. His muscles also looks like someone who is doping.
  • He admits that he never goes to the gym, which makes his muscles even more surprising.
  • He came back from being almost down and out in 2009 to winning 3 grand slams in a row in 2010 and in the process completing the career slam.
  • He never gets tired. He plays a physically very demanding game, yet despite of that he played two marathon matches in a row to win the Australian Open of 2009.
  • He seems to have unlimited reserves of endurance because he keeps grinding match wins year in and year out and looks like he is only now hitting his peak.
  • He improved his serve speed by huge amount from seemingly nowhere this year at the US Open, and it played a big role in his winning the title.
  • He seems superhuman, which seems to good to be true.

Like I said before, it is hard to ignore these facts. But on the other hand we don’t have any hard evidence either, and Nadal does seem to be a good kid. So lets have a discussion about this, but please try to keep it civilized. This is not to accuse Nadal of anything, because we just don’t know for sure until we have hard proof. Personally I am not committed either way. For me it’s just as likely that he is doping as that he is not doping.

The floor is yours.

Roger Federer

Posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , .

155 Comments

    1. Exactly. One of the things that bothers me the most is that every single tennis-related website and so-called tennis journalists suck up to a guy who has such an awful on-court behaviour. He fakes injuries during matches, receives illegal coaching from his box, grunts like a male Sharapova, gives his opponents stares and celebrates their mistakes with his shamefull fistpumping, takes 30 seconds between the end of each point and his next serve, and I could go on and on. And the comments by the fangirls (who dewell over Nadal´s body, failing to see how assymetrical his arms are and the fact that both his arms are giant but his chest is just flat) that flood the internet boards nearly cause me to vomit in my own mouth.

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    1. many things do not add up here 1. when nadal wins, he is on ped 2. when he loses, he is injured 3. after injury, he comes back crushing his opponents 3. he wont last as long as federer because of his style of play 4. he wont last as long as federer because he doesnt plan his tournaments as well as federer. 5. he has been tested as frequently as federer (per your tabulation above) 6. djokovic was never tested (per your tabulation above) as much as i want to believe your theory, something just negates it; and i hate to admit it that the more i explore nadal’s possibility of doping, i end up with the possibility of roger and nole also doping.. if ped makes you muscular-nadal is doping if ped makes your performance better-nadal, roger, nole are also doping if nadal is doping, how come he is not consistently winning tournaments? if nadal is doping, how come everybody else came down with the verdict of his short-lived dominance? if ped affects performance-then roger would have taken a dope when he beat an in-form nole at RG 2011? if ped affects performance-then nole would also have started doping this year for being unbeatable for months, considering his allergies and injuries in the past? with the large number of hatred against nadal, somebody would have made a way to ruin him easily based on this doping suspicion. also, it would have been more interesting and profitable for tennis if nadal would be declared a doper and that his 10 GS were illegitimate, ergo, we are all back to the roger era which is not only the best but the strongest.. but how come, nobody could pin down nadal? is it because there is really no proof to that? or maybe there is, but then, he is not the only one guilty of it? say, maybe all of them? that would be costly for the ATP. on the other hand, some things from your conclusions looks more consistent… he played like he never runs out of endurance in AO2009 beating roger, then he was down and out thereafter that he even lost the RG (his specialty) and missed out on the WImby and USO. if he was doping, he could have done it easily (as you said, ITF does not enforce strict drug testing) at least in RG and did not have to suffer a dismal loss. but it turned out, he had knee injuries (which i have loved to hear for roger’s sake)and needed the rest of the season to recouperate. if he was doping, he would have won more than 10GS from 2009 til date. on the contrast, nole’s last win at Australian open was in 2008..then no GS whatsoever after that.. come 2011, he started an almost flawless winning streak but for roger’s at RG..did diet (or haircut)dramatically makes you a very good all around tennis player? his coming to form is a lot more drastic than nadal who took several finals to beat roger. is he also on ped? maybe, not because he does not have bulky muscles..but then again..being UN-muscular does not necessarily mean he is not doping. just like you, i cannot prove my points but the more i dig deeper, i find myself with the possibility that even roger and nole use ped (especially when i apply the standards you enumerated).. being a fan, i would not want roger to be an exception to the standards set on nadal’s doping if only to prove he (roger) is clean.. but even i do not have proof to support roger except my favorable presumptions based on my own fanaticism for him.

      [Reply]

    1. It is clear that Federer is on EPO or on HGH. He has the build of Floyd Landis who was convicted of doping. Federer has plenty of muscles on his shoulders and lower body. Whoever said he doesn’t have muscles? What nonsense! Do you think he hits his forehand or his serve with magic? He is pretty powerful and he has incredible stamina. Also he either rarely gets injured or makes a quick recovery. These are all possible with doping.He has holed up in an out of the way place like Dubai where it is easier to carry on shady activities. Also did not Federer supply Forstmann with inside info about tennis players especially Nadal to help him in his betting activities? Looks like he has pulled out all stops in his effort to be considered GOAT. It is highly unlikely that Nadal is doping. If he were why would he draw attention to his muscles by wearing sleeveless? Also his frequent injuries are signs tht he isn’t using drugs like HGH which I am sure Fed uses. Explains his being able to remain in top 3 at age nearly 30.

      [Reply]

    1. Also what is the source for the claim that Fed asked ITF to preserve the samples for 8 years? Again doping in tennis is used mainly for stamina or speed or for quick recovery from injuries. All these are characteristic of Federer and can be achieved by EPO or HGH. Incidentally ATP has no tests for HGH so Federer is safe. Users of EPO or HGH have builds similar to Federer’s.

      [Reply]

    1. PREE almost said it all: “It would be great to do more serious tests but they will never do it. They are afraid some top pros will get caught, which hurts the business. That is all there is to it. I would imagine they could enforce Olympic standard if they wanted to but they will not do it.” And while Nadal has many admirable qualities, Alessandro aptly points out his shortcomings: “He fakes injuries during matches, receives illegal coaching from his box, grunts like a male Sharapova, gives his opponents stares and celebrates their mistakes with his shameful fist-pumping, takes 30 seconds between the end of each point and his next serve ….” Great stuff. Ruan, thank you for this post. Nadal juices. I don’t have any proof but deep down I believe it with all my heart. I’ll never convince his fans though and if he tested positive tomorrow the ATP wouldn’t let us know. Sadly, we are unlikely to ever know.

      [Reply]

    1. Beaware of some very simple fact. Those who despise Nadal of doping because of some of his irregular playin, overmore mentioning the seasons that comprehend years 2009 or 2010, may not be aware that he suffered the divorce of his parents, which coincidentally affected his play in a profound way. Nothing to do with doping. There might be, as with every outstanding sportsmen, a slight suspicion of doping, but without proof there is no real significance to this thread. Tennis is faraway from some endurance sports such as biking (Tour de France), though more and more resiliance proves to be more of a need (let’s see the last Djokovic/Nadal Australian Open final). That final, of such unbeliveable endurance, could lead to suspicions. But on which side?. Both?. Is it because two astonishing athletes beated a world record in a Grand Slam that they should become the target of our speculations?. Maybe right or not, whilst there is no viable proof to support any words here said, speculation is just that, speculation. Most of it based on ridiculous theories that support some of the yield curves from Nadal, forgetting and ignoring his personal life and how it could affect a number one player in his performance. Best wishes to everyone, Guilly

      [Reply]

    1. Just one thing, I had a schoolmate at elementary school and he was incredibly muscular. Like small bodybuilder. We all wanted to be like that. I was going to gym for many years and when I met him at school reunion, he was pretty the same as me. Just God given body. So Rafa can have biceps without too much gym.

      [Reply]

      Sadiqa Reply: …except….google up on youtube AO 20004. Rafa looked emaciated compared to how he looks today. Then google up 2005 Miami Nadal vs Federer. Nadal is all of a sudden HUGE in just a 3-4 month gap. I believe this is the time period where Uncle Toni states Nadal’s body suddenly “exploded”. Dunno about you but most guys dont have that dramatic a growth spurt. Especially a cardio intensive sport like tennis where its hard to put on and sustain muscle mass because of the amount of cardio. And especially a player whose whole game is based on incessant running and retrieving. No, rafa did not always have that huge body. The difference between his 2004 and his 2005 physique is tremendous, to say nothing of how he looked in 2008.

      [Reply]

      roger Reply: “No, rafa did not always have that huge body. The difference between his 2004 and his 2005 physique is tremendous” Nadal was 17 and 18 years old on the two occasions you mention. A boy at that age is still growing, especially if he is an athlete. And btw, isn’t this suppossed to be a Federer-blog. Seems to me like it’s more of a Anti-Nadal-Blog

      [Reply]

    1. Ru-an, you really make me smile ^_^ You actually keep all those horrible comments for an open discussion. Can’t those blind fans see what integrity you have? It’s okay holding different points of view, but it’s way too low distorting others’ so as to falsely validate your own. Thanks a million again for such a wonderful entry!

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Thanks Ja!

      [Reply]

    1. What caught my attention is the guy talking about a “secret suspension” for Wimbledon 2009 was it ? When Nadal supposedly retired. After he lost against Robin at RG. Look. Same thing over again. Nadal supposedly injures himself right after he exits an early round in Wimbledon (could be another disguised suspension, loosing against a 100 ranked player, really? or maybe he just wasnt allowed to use his products and he sucks this bad when he doesn’t have them), both time he finished the match btw, and didn’t look that injured to me… Next thing you know he supposedly have an injury and miss the next Grand Slam. Funny thing is he is fit enought to play the davis cup like one week later. C’mon seriously? You can’t play USOpen the biggest tournament on the face of the earth, but you are fit to play one week later at some no-life cup? I’m also totally convinced that if a top guy was to failed a test, it would be kept secret, and it break my heart to say it, EVEN if it was Federer. Now can they let that happen ? Not really, it could blow into their faces. And I’m not sure if you get a boner let a cheater get away with it. So yes a “secret suspension” seems like a very good idea. It’s money we are talking about. Ok we all love Federer but if Nadal was to blow in our faces, the entire tennis world would explode. It would even hurt Federer (let’s suppose he is totally clean), it would still hurt me because ppl would be suspicious on Tennis in general. Btw. ALLO. Did you guys remember when Juan Martin Del Potro got supposedly injured the next day or so after he won( he was on his two feet winning) against Federer in the USOpen 2009 final. It’s so fantastic that the minute they w-i-n a major trophy or exit a major tournament they injure themselves without even playing a match… Ok I’m pushing a bit they did play matches, but isnt it weird of a coincidence. And Del Potro is one hell of a machine too, you don’t know what products is being inside there. And btw since then he never got close to winning ever again… All this is too shady. Even if there is no “secret suspension”, I’m convinced that Nadal taking a vacation from 2GS+1 pathetic fail again in 2012, like in 2009 is no coincidence…For all we know, maybe they don’t even have serious proof, suspicions and stuff, and they made some kind of secret deal “You don’t play this and that tournament, and we will keep a lid on it”…Everybody wins. There is huge money involved, no way if a player as big as the current top 3 was caught red handed, no way they would let the world know, unless they had something to win from it, and they would only have stuff to loose… They almost make us a favor…But really it stinks. I don’t think Federer is in anything like this. There is just no comparison. And hell, even doped, go do 34 quarters finals in a row, and ring me back… Where can I hear more about this. I mean ppl talked about “secret suspension” back 2 years ago, when it had only happened once. But it’s twice now! It should be big news, no?

      [Reply]

      JT Reply: “Nadal supposedly injures himself right after he exits an early round in Wimbledon (could be another disguised suspension, loosing against a 100 ranked player, really? or maybe he just wasnt allowed to use his products and he sucks this bad when he doesn’t have them), both time he finished the match btw, and didn’t look that injured to me…” Haven’t people on here already stated that Federer has completed matches while being injured. Is it that unfathomable for a player to finish up a match in which he is slightly injured? “Next thing you know he supposedly have an injury and miss the next Grand Slam. Funny thing is he is fit enought to play the davis cup like one week later. C’mon seriously? You can’t play USOpen the biggest tournament on the face of the earth, but you are fit to play one week later at some no-life cup?” So you are equating playing the US Open which is two weeks work of possibly 5-set matches (Nadal never went to 5-sets at the US Open) with two Davis cup matches (one singles and one doubles) against a scrub team of Ukraine???? I’m sure it took a lot of effort for him to play those 2 matches for Spain. As for the “secret suspension” rumor. If they aren’t going to call him on it publicly, and then they are going to allow him to return to the tour (supposedly better than when he left and still able to dominate everyon). Why waste the time with a secret suspension? What does that even do for the tour or for Nadal? Is it going to make him stop doping if he already is doping? The only thing it would do is give conspiracy theorists room to speculate. I can imagine the conversation between the ATP and Nadal … “So we see that you failed a test. We are going to suspend you for 8 months. Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone; you just have to fake an injury. Then you can return to the tour and start dominating like you weren’t doing when we suspended you anyways? That sound like a good deal?”

      [Reply]

      JT Reply: Oh yes, should we start the Djokovic is doping rumor since he played in Davis Cup against a much tougher opponent only 2 weeks after a grueling US Open for him. I mean didn’t he look just exhausted in that final, but he was already recouped enough to win two matches in straight sets for his davis cup team?

      [Reply]

    1. Also when Nadal says “it would be my dream to play at the Davis Cup”. WTF. His dream? that’s his dream? Now put yourself in the shoes of a guy that got caught majorly red handed, that risks his entire career. Wouldn’t it be your dream to be allowed to play again ? to have a clean slate (once again), and be back at some useless second hand tournament ? The time I head this from Nadal, I thought he was on drugs or something (no joke). I mean why would you say that ? But now that I make the connection, oh man I could see perfectly clear now… It’s no proof, but take good note of that and add it all up.

      [Reply]

    1. Pingback: Does Tennis Have a Doping Problem? - peRFect Tennis
    1. IMO, unless one is doping, it is not physically possible to do as much running as is required in tennis and simultaneously carry as much muscle mass as Nadal and Murray.

      [Reply]

    1. So now a question. If doping is so easy in the sport of tennis. And everyone could be doing it from Nadal to Monfils to a completely unknown Odesnik, then whose to say Federer’s magical run didn’t include doping? I mean he’s made some pretty inhuman shots in his career as well. Or was Federer’s success due to the fact he was playing in an era with Roddick and Hewitt, two complete mental-cases when it comes to playing on the big stage? Prior to Nadal arriving on the scene, Federer won 7 grand slams against 5 players: Phillipousis (wow at the star power there), Safin, Roddick, Hewitt, and Aggasi. The first 4 there combined for 5 grandslams, fewer than Djokovic has at this point. We could argue that Agassi was the only top-tier player in that list, and he was coming to the end of his career when Federer was reaching his peak. I’d put Djokovic and Murray up there to contend with Agassi and Hewitt in terms of career greatness. Which of these eras looks better to you: Federer/Agassi/Hewitt/Roddick (28 grandslams total) or Federer/Nadal/Djokovic/Murray (40 grandslams total)? You insinuated that doping has helped Nadal physically and mentally, but can doping really help someone mentally? Isn’t it just that Nadal IS better mentally? Oh and of course the “Monfils could be doping, but he is black so that could just be genetics” argument. But there’s no way it could be genetics with Nadal. He’s dark, but not dark enough for it to be genetics. Too bad James Blake wasn’t fully black, he might’ve been able to overcome his lack of being ripped and been a little bit more like Monfils. Since Monfils already has the genetics, maybe he should start doping so he can get the mental edge since he’s clearly lacking there. Oh wait, there we go again. Monfils isn’t doping because he’s well-built but mentally lacking, but Nadal is doping because he’s ripped AND mentally superior to everyone. With no proof, as you state so many times, it’s interesting that you are trying to pin a “tennis has doping problems” article on one person just because you don’t like how they play and are tired of them beating the people you want to win. Is it really likely that in a sport with as many testing holes as you have pointed out that only one player is doping? If there are others doping, why aren’t they reaching the success that Nadal has reached? Is he just that much better at doping than anyone else?

      [Reply]

      JT Reply: And more realistically you are probably trying to pin it on that one person because he is the person who is winning it all. If it were Monfils winning it all, all the time, and completely dominating tournaments, we might be talking about him doping. Or we could just wash that subject away with the “of course, it’s because he’s black” arguement. Or if it were Murray who was winning it all, you could be on here talking about his drastic change in his muscle tone, and obviously that means he’s doping, but since he’s the one losing, then it doesn’t really help your argument to have a loser being the face of doping.

      [Reply]

    1. Lance Armstrong didn’t “look” like a doper either, and there he was putting syringes in his butt. Also, tennis is a lot more about technique than it is about athleticism. A player with outstanding technique and mediocre athletic capabilities could become great whereas the inverse is not true, or at least, far less likely to be true.

      [Reply]

    1. Read this fairly old article and comments for the first time. Seems to be one long discussion about one person really, Nadal, and no matter what Ruan says to the contrary, he is the one who casts the first suspicions in his original article. Unfortunately there is no hard evidence, it is all purely speculative in the sense that, apart from doping, other explanations can be given for bulk of muscle, stamina, etc. Some of the examples seem taken out of the air, fx Nadals sudden improvement of speed on his serve in USO 2010. No way you can dope yourself to that in such a short time, but change your technique somewhat and flatten your serve especially, you can indeed see marked differences, as anybody knows who has learned to serve both with and without or with little spin. I would be very careful to even throw suspicions on top players without any hard evidence. Tennis is being played year around, and top players stand an awful lot to loose by being caught doping. That alone would make them thing not only twice, but find other solutions, if at all possible. Objectively all you really can say, is that tennis has a fairly weak doping control, which is still the case in 2014.

      [Reply]

 

Djokovic Withdraws From Madrid Open

Djokovic Withdraws From Madrid Open

Untitled

http://www.marca.com/2015/04/27/tenis/1430133677.html

An interesting development today as the Djoker withdrew from Madrid after having won four big titles already this season. He gets an exempt which means he won’t be penalized for skipping the Masters, after having played on the tour for a minimum of 12 years, as well as more than 600 matches.

  • An Opportunity for Nadal

The first thing that comes to mind after the Djoker’s withdrawal is Nadal, and the fact that he could very much use the title in Madrid for his confidence. I already argued that the Djoker playing Madrid and Rome is a good thing so that he can prevent Nadal from winning any titles before the French Open, in an attempt to keep his confidence low. But as it turns out, I don’t think this is a bad decision. There is a certain amount of risk involved, but I don’t think Nadal will win Madrid.

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“Try my best, no?”

If the Djoker was going to miss one of Madrid and Rome, then Madrid is the right one because it is the high altitude and Nadal is less likely to win it. There are plenty of players who can hit him off the court in his current form. Of course, Nadal will view this as a great opportunity with his nemesis not in the draw, and he will do whatever is in his power to take advantage of it. Nadal’s form is even worse than it was last year though, and already there he should have lost to Nishikori in the final of Madrid, was it not for Nishikori getting injured.

Nishikori is looking very good again this year so he is there for insurance should Nadal make the latter rounds. Nadal is always hard to predict and there is a possibility that he can win Madrid, but there is also the possibility that he can get hit off the court early on by several players. Someone that comes to mind is Isner who is very difficult to deal with in the altitude with his serve, but there are several others who could prove to be a problem for him. Who knows, maybe even Roger if he plays well.

  • An Opportunity for Federer

Roger has already defeated Nadal once before in Madrid on clay. He will be the top seed in the Djoker’s absence while Nadal will be the third seed. I hope Nadal falls in Roger’s half because I don’t trust Roger to defeat Nadal if they both make the final. In fact, a match with Roger could be just what Nadal needs right now because he loves playing Roger. I prefer they don’t meet at all, but either way there is an opportunity for Roger in Madrid in the absence of the Djoker.

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Fed and his clone in Istanbul

He probably needs to win Istanbul first though to have any shot in Madrid. The loss in Monte Carlo would have hurt and he needs the confidence of a title right now, especially one as small as Istanbul. If he can’t even win that then his confidence will take another hit. If he wins Istanbul then he can go to Madrid feeling good about his game and have a real shot at the title with the altitude which suits his attacking game. So this is pretty exciting for Fedfans, but first we need to see what happen in Istanbul.

  • An Opportunity for Nishikori

Going by current form, Nishikori is probably the second best player on clay behind the Djoker right now. He played some amazing clay court tennis in Barcelona to win the title and other than the big three he is probably the biggest threat in Paris this year. He already made the final last year in Madrid and would have won the title had he not gotten injured. He may, in fact, be the favorite for the title in the Djoker’s absence. I’m pretty sure neither Roger nor Nadal wants to see him in their half of the draw.

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A serious threat on the dirt

  • Some Closing Observations

With the withdrawal of the Djoker from Madrid it certainly makes the event more open and interesting, all be it at the risk of Nadal winning the title. Fedal, Nishikori, and the likes of Raonic and Berdych will all be sensing an opportunity here. Raonic and Berdych with their big games will be a big factor in the high altitude of Madrid as well. Definitely guys Fedal does not want to see close to them in the draw either. Madrid is now quite open like I said and I’m looking forward to a very interesting event.

I think the Djoker made the right decision too. He has played an awful lot already and he does not want to burn out toward the end of the year like he did in 2011. And the facts that he will not get penalized as well as Nadal’s poor form in the high altitude makes it an even better decision. It seems he is learning and becoming quite wise with the scheduling himself, the way Roger always was. This break will do him the world of good before the big onslaught in Rome and Paris.

If he is going to finally win the French Open this year and clinch the all important career slam in the process, then he will need to be as fresh as possible and be at the height of his physical and mental powers. Let Nadal cope with difficult opponents in high altitude in front of a crowd that is basically anti-Djokovic anyway. Why waste his energy on that biased crowd when he can recharge batteries and watch Nadal deal with the likes of Nishikori, Raonic, Berdych, and Roger in high altitude?

The is in your court.

Posted in Madrid, Masters 1000.

11 Comments

    1. Oh My.. Probably Roger follows suit and withdraws from Rome. Is Nadal getting lucky again ? Nadal is almost certain not to be in the top 4 by French Open. Infact I actually calculated all the points and there is actually a chance he is not even in the top 8 come French Open if he loses by the quarters or 3rd round in both Madrid and Rome.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Not that Roger withdrawing from Rome would make any difference to Nadal. I bet he hopes Roger plays.

    1. I agree withayou anything less than the trophy would be a huge disappointment. title is title and its such an easy draw thttohe needs to win and it would be nice to see an 11th clay court title. And agood decision from djoko toiishe would have burnt till the FO so now he will be fresh which makes him clear fav to win FO . although i wouldn’t love to see him win FO but i t would be better if he beats nadal and prevent him from winning a horrible 10th slam in Paris.

    1. Federer said he believed that Nadal was still the man to beat on the red clay of Roland Garros, along with the in-form Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic.

      “At the French Open, Rafa for me is still the favourite alongside Djokovic who has been playing so well.

      “Even though his (Nadal’s) form is not as good as in previous years, I still believe when the French Open rolls around he is going to be very difficult to beat,” he told a news conference in Istanbul.

      Nakul Reply:

      Rafa is ‘still’ the favorite ‘alongside Djokovic’. Last year he said – “Rafa is the clear favorite.” Big difference right there.

      Ru-an Reply:

      True Nakul, Roger doesn’t seem so sure this time around. And like me he gives Nadal about a 50/50 chance this year. For some reason I don’t think Nadal will win it this year, but let’s see what happens in Madrid and Rome first.

    1. Roger must win Instanbul. Perfect tourney for him to practise and get some confidence back. If he doesn’t win it, he should be panicking; I mean just look at the draw! His points are dropping off like pants dropping off a slimmed hip. He seriously needs some clay cushion to maintain his ranking. Meanwhile the Djoker, true to his name, has truly come to spoil the Fedal party. He is running off with such a huge lead, he can literally shut down for the rest of the year and no one would come close to him! A lotta Djoker love going on here; understandable as he is on the cutting edge of tennis atm. But, Ru-an, I’ve been having bad mornings and when I open your blog, the Djoker’s face doesn’t actually cheer me up! Ha! I could do with a nice Roger pic for a change! Ha! My crystal ball shows a Djoker domination for the next couple years; with a very realistic chance of achieving the calendar slam. He’s the only player since Laver who has this realistic a chance. You can’t even say that Roger had a realistic CGS chance during his prime because of Nadal. It used to be you could always count on the weak Djoker serve and his weaker FH and of course his fragile mentality. But now, he is like a hybrid of Fedal!! Ru-an and all you tennis experts, a question for you. Speed; Prime Roger/Djoker, who is faster? Also, I don’t quite understand why Roger should choose Madrid over Rome although I understand he likes and plays well in Madrid. As I understand it, Rome plays more similar to RG whereas Madrid is completely different with its high altitude. I would think Rome would prepare one better for RG. I think Djoker got it right to skip Madrid. Get some rest, no points to defend and it doesn’t play like RG. And last but certainly not least, I think no one would want Nishikori in their draws this spring!

      Dolores Reply:

      Just wrote a comment and somehow it disappeared, maybe my mistake.
      Hello Ru-an, Veronica and all! Nice to hear from you, Veronica, like your comment, also agree with you on having Roger’s picture show on Ultimate Tennis. Thank You, Ru-an.
      Roger won his first match in great style today, continue so, Roger.
      Veronica, are you disappointed, too, Roger sinfully cut off his beautiful curls! Sorry, Ru-an, this comment is out of place but could not resist.
      Best to all,
      Kindly,
      Dolores

      Ru-an Reply:

      Again Dolores? Strange that. No problem for the hair comment. Roger is still a part of this blog and so are you. Nice to hear from you.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Well I guess we have some kind of telepathy going because I changed the cover photo today before I read your comment. You’re welcome! Haha. Seriously though I did think about you and Dolores and it’s nice to see you comment. Sorry if the Djoker header didn’t make you feel better, but at least I changed the one where he fist pumps while looking into the camera. You have a point about the calendar slam. I am still pessimistic about it but your logic is sound. Also since you are the official oracle here I can’t underestimate you. Lol. What do you mean about Roger playing Madrid instead of Rome? Who said he will do that?

 

Djokovic Wins Second Monte Carlo Title Over an Inspired Berdych

Djokovic Wins Second Monte Carlo Title Over an Inspired Berdych

Hi folks. So today I couldn’t watch the whole final but as far as I was concerned the final had already been played. Actually today’s match turned out to be a way more competitive match than the Djokodal semi, as far as the scoreline goes anyway. The scoreline of the Djokodal match was somewhat deceiving because they always play at a very high intensity and high-quality tennis. Credit to Berdych though because from what I saw he played well and he can be a very awkward opponent.

He has also been very consistent this year and lies second in the race behind Djokovic. I think the fact that Djokovic led the head-to-head 18-2 going into this match actually counted in Berdych’s favor because the odds of getting a win over a player who has a huge lead in the head-to-head increase the bigger the lead gets. We saw what happened at the Australian Open this year when Nadal led Berdych 18-3 in the head-to-head and Berdych defeated Nadal in straight sets.

But Djokovic is just playing too well at the moment for that to happen and found a way to win.

  • Opening set

As was the case against Nadal, Djokovic dropped serve in the opening game and trailed 0-2 against an inspired Berdych. This time he didn’t break back straight away, but he did get the break in the sixth game to tie at 3-3. He then also broke in the eighth game to take a 5-3 lead and serve for the set. Berdych was not gonna watch Djokovic turn things around that easily though and this time it was him who broke back and then he leveled at 5-5. Djokovic held serve and at 6-5 and 40-15 he had two set points on the Berdych serve.

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Look out Nadal, he’s coming…

Berdych saved both but on a third break point Djokovic made no mistake as he blasted a mid-court ball from Berdych down the line to force the error and take the opening set. So there were many momentum swings in the first set with a total of five breaks of serve. But by winning it Djokovic set the tone for the match and made sure that he remained the favorite for the title, despite facing an inspired Berdych.

  • Second set

Since Berdych has been in a rich vein of form this year and in Monte Carlo he wasn’t just gonna roll over and hand Djokovic the title after the opening set. He kept up his high-quality tennis and broke Djokovic in the crucial seventh game after a long baseline exchange, which consisted of Berdych moving Djokovic from corner to corner with big ground strokes and finally forcing the error after another big forehand down the line. Then at 5-4 Berdych made no mistake as he held serve to 15 to win the set.

  • The decider

So it was down to a one set shoot-out to decide who would take home the coveted 2015 Monte Carlo Masters title. As you would expect Djokovic took the initiative as he broke in the second game and never looked back to win the decider 6-3. Not that Berdych didn’t put up more stern resistance. At 1-4 and 30-30 there was another impressive point which Berdych won with an outright forehand winner. Then in the next game he set up a break point after yet another one of those impressive points which Berdych won with an outright backhand winner.

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Funny

When he hits those groundstrokes they sure stay hit. But Djokovic held on and at 5-3 and 40-15 Berdych steered a backhand return long which gave Djokovic his second Monte Carlo title and 23rd Masters title, equaling him with Roger.

  • Some closing observations

We gotta admit Djokovic is carving out a pretty impressive legacy for himself. Equaling Roger with Masters titles won is no small feat and it’s almost scary to think how many he can still win. You would think he will surpass Nadal on 27 Masters titles, even though Nadal may add a few more. Nadal is going to struggle to get by Djokovic at Masters anyway, even on clay as we saw this week. Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing the Djoker pull away from Roger in Masters titles and surpass Nadal.

Masters do not determine who is the GOAT and I don’t like the fact that Nadal racked up so many Masters on clay. As is the case in slam titles his resume is very unbalanced in Masters, because of the 27 Masters titles he won only 8 was off of clay. If there was at least one grass Masters, which there should be, he would already have won less and Roger would probably be ahead of him. So I wouldn’t mind if Djokovic surpasses Nadal in this regard as he has a more balanced Masters resume and deserves it more.

Facts are facts Nadal fans you can’t deny them. To get back to today’s match Berdych made a very respectable showing and like I said he is an awkward opponent, all be it a one-dimensional one. He puts a lot of heat on those groundstrokes and serves, and even on clay he can hit through the court quite easily. But in the end it was probably Djokovic’s unreal movement and backhand which won the day. No matter how hard Berdych hits the ball he still gets to most balls and has the control of a brain surgeon on that backhand.

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Nothing in it here

He can turn defense into attack with it in an instant. I think it was a great final with many twists and turns and I am happy for the crowd. Berdych played as well as he could but in the end Djokovic just had that little extra which is why he is the best player in the world. It is quite astonishing how he just keeps up this unbelievable quality and like I said the only player who could play at a higher level for longer periods was the GOAT Roger Federer himself. Really it is quite impressive to see and very enjoyable at the same time.

Especially the way he beats Nadal like a drum. Now he just needs to beat him where he is the most difficult to beat, which will probably result in him completing the career slam and Nadal contemplating retirement. That is surely number one on his list of priorities now as far as carving out a legacy goes. Given what I saw from him this week I wouldn’t bet against him either. He will now take a welcome two-week break and come storming back in Madrid and Rome. He could probably win both of those too given his current form.

But tomorrow Barcelona will start where Nishikori will be back as the number one seed and defending champion, and I see Ferrer is in the bottom half of the draw with Nadal which is good to see. The week after that it is the inaugural tournament in Istanbul where Roger will be the top seed of course. Hopefully he can at least win the title there to get some momentum going on the clay. So there is a busy time ahead and I will keep you updated on the action as well as I can.

Thanks for taking part this week and helping to make this the ultimate tennis blog!

 

Ps. Forgot to add Djokovic became the first player to win the first three Masters of the season.

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Highlights:

The is in your court.

Posted in Masters 1000, Monte Carlo.

25 Comments

    1. Congrats on your new blog Ru-an. The transition has been seamless and I absolutely enjoy your balanced and insightful comments. Nole seems to be more mature now and if he keeps this tempo he could easily surpass Nadal in MS1000 and H2H within next few years. Then one could make the argument that Nole is better than Nadal even though he would have less (probably) slams, similar to the arguments that Nadal fans make now for Fedal. Life is funny, isn’t it? Hope Roger peaks at Wimbledon and gives us another epic battle with Nole, he came so close in 2014 and I reckon this year he has the little extra to go all the way.
      Ru-an Reply: Thanks! Nice to get a compliment like that. I think I am a more balanced and insightful writer now as well because it’s not all Federer Federer Federer anymore. It is indeed funny how life works. Everything seems to come full circle in the end, so we better keep that in mind.
    1. Hi Ru-an,Very nice write up I would say.I am leaving a comment just to tell you that you are an awesome writer. Totally enjoy your blog! Keep it up!
      Ru-an Reply: Very nice of you to say Muhammad! I just read over my post and found a couple of stupid errors which annoyed me to no end but your comment made it all right again so thanks. I want everything to be perfect but it is almost 3 am here and when I write a post this late I do tend to make more mistakes. Should be all good now though!
    1. Djokovic is definitely creating a niche for himself. First he becomes the first player to win the first 3 MS events of the season. Another important and key record which he has to achieve is of course win the FO. That would not just give him the career slam but also the record of winning the first 2 slams of the season. He completely deserves everything he achieves. Fedfans might think that due to all his achievements, Roger’s GOAT legacy is at stake, but that’s completely absurd. I for one don’t think he can even come close to Roger in the GOAT debate. He can possibly become an overall better player than Nadal but that’s it. I mean, there is no way Djokovic is going to catch Roger’s slam record for instance. People who bet on it gotta be senseless. How can a guy who won 8 slams in the first 10 years of his career win 9 more in the remaining 5 years(at max.) Also the no. of weeks as world No. 1. This is a tough ask as he has to stay no. 1 till May 2018. I don’t think it’s completely out of his hands but it’s the law of nature that all players start declining at a certain age. For Djokovic it might happen later than others due to his flexible body, but even if he manages to be at the top of his game for the next 3 years, it’s difficult to see him staying at the top ranking continuosly for that long period of time.
      Katyani Reply: Hey Ru-an, great article. Very detailed. I loved the final, but more because of Berdych. Unfortunately this is his third final this year I think that he lost… Hey Nakul, great comment. Just wanted to say that I read an article that said that actually Novak might quite benefit a lot and for a long time with Roger being a certain age, Rafa kind of declining, Andy not at his very best and the rest of the field not being that good yet. Don’t know how much that is true or will be true, but we will see. I do think Novak will surpass Rafa in Masters, but again… RG is a different thing. Too many scarves. If he doesn’t win it this year… I don’t know if he will win it in the future. Look how long it took Roger to win RG and he hasn’t been able to repeat that for 5 years…. But this year I think it will be between Roger and Novak…
      elizabeth Reply: I was keeping my fingers crossed for Berdych although I wasn’t convinced he would win! However I was so glad that he played a good game and avoided the dreaded bagels. Although I would love it still can’t write off Nadal for FO. Congrats to Novak at the moment everything looks so easy definitely takes me back a few years, but he looks more determined than Roger was as they say ‘back in the day’ aaaahhhhh x
      Katyani Reply: Hey Elizabeth, you know why I wanted Berdych to win?? Because everybody (including me to be honest !!!) thought he would get atleast one bagel. But he made it soooo close actually. It was just those points at key moments that did it to him. And in the 3rd, I don’t think Novak played that great, but he was just better than Berdych. Berdych is still losing a lot (and gladly to see to Roger also), but he is improving. Beating Rafa after losing to him 17 times? Are you kidding me? For that alone he deserves to win a GS :-)
      Katyani Reply: Oh and Elizabeth, I don’t think this year everything looks so easy to Novak for winning. In 2011 I have to say he made winning look soooo easy, but this year…. he is winning…. but with difficulty. Look at how many finals are going to 3 or 5 sets… He is winning, but it takes a lot out of him. I don’t know, at some point even for him this has to stop right? Like after “Rafa 2013” even Rafa found beating everybody difficult. What do you think??
      elizabeth Reply: Katyani the reason I’m saying that Djo makes it look easy is because when cornered he finds an escape. I know he’s been lucky at IW when Roger double faulted well the rest is history. I was delighted that Berdych made a match of it. It would take a brave person to write off Nadal at RG. But my heart belongs to Fed I was at Wim when he beat Sampras and although he won he was so upset, even that day I never imagined he would be so successful x
      Nakul Reply: Thanks Katyani. I’m not sure for how long Djokovic will be able to dominate like how he’s doing right now. At one point Andy must stop losing to him right? :-) I didn’t watch the MC final but I heard that Djokovic was again cursing the crowd sometime during the second set. I assume it’s because they were cheering more for Berdych. In the third set when Djokovic held for 5-3, he asked the crowd to get behind him, just like how he did in that USO SF at 2011 after saving the first MP. His love-affair with the crowd exists almost everywhere he plays. Also, Berdych after breaking Djokvic at 4-0 in third set, did a finger wag which was very similar to what Roger did after that epic FO 2011 SF. :D Check out this article which analyses the MC final tactically. http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2015/04/15/Monte-Carlo-Final-Brain-Game-Djokovic-Berdych.aspx
      Ru-an Reply: Yes Djokovic does tend to be insecure about the crowd Nakul. Probably because he had a tough upbringing which involved spending time in his basement every night during the bombing of Belgrade. Just gotta remember not everyone had as privileged an upbringing as Roger. People like me and Djokovic endured tough times which left scars, but it also made as strong. It made Djokovic strong enough to endure and dominate a monster called Nadal, someone who owns Federer with his clean upbringing. Nice to hear about the finger wag anyway. Just Berdych digging his own grave as usual.
      Nakul Reply: Yeah Ru-an, I read your comment couple of posts back post where you mentioned how you suffered severe depression and anxiety attacks. It must have been extremely tough to get out of it and would require enormous mental strength and I hope you are doing well now. Knowing this makes me admire you even more.
      Ru-an Reply: Thank you Nakul that’s probably the nicest compliment someone has given me on my blog. It did take enormous mental strength and sometimes I have no idea how I made it through without either being dead or insane. It is without a doubt a miracle.
      Katyani Reply: Haha Nakul, I think Novak is in Andy’s head so don’t know when he will beat him :-) I cannot tell you much about the crowd and stuff, I was watching without volume, but since Novak lives in MC, I think he gets a lot of crowd support. More than anybody. Maybe even more than Roger….
      Ru-an Reply: Yes I find it hard to see the Djoker surpass Fed too Nakul, but isn’t it amazing how it is even a possibility, all be it a very remote one? I say that because it’s crazy how players just keep coming in a very short space of time and threatening his records, given how incredible his records are. First Nadal and now Djokovic is moving closer too. I guess it just shows you what an unbelievable period of tennis we have been a part of. But who knows, maybe in a few years Coric, Kyrgios, Kokkinakis, and Thiem will come along and do the same thing. The other scary thing is that Djokovic is not just going to easily surpass Fed in masters title, but he there is also a good chance he will at least equal Fed in WTF titles. Who will beat him there in the next few years? I thought Fed’s record there would be safe for a while but looks like the Djoker will chase it down and possibly surpass.
      Nakul Reply: Yeah it’s amazing how it’s a possibility. He needs to win 3 more WTF to surpass Fed but you can’t count Fed out from winning one more either. If you look at the years in which Fed has won and Djokovic has won, it’s obvious that when the courts were faster Fed won more, while Djokovic won only once in 2008. In the past 3 years courts have been slowed down like hell and it suits Djokovic the best, despite it being indoors. Who knows what could have happened if Fed played the final last year? The no. of weeks at no.1 and the no. of GS titles apart from the utter domination from 2004-2007 will most likely be matched by anyone at least in the near future. Also not to mention the record number of Wimbledon titles. If Fed wins one more there, it’s hard to not see him declared as the undisputed GOAT.
    1. New record Novak has broken(not sure if this is adjusted for when the old points system was still in place), but at least since the rankings change Novak has the biggest lead at no.1 ever with a lead of 5460 points.
      Ru-an Reply: Yes pretty impressive Charlie. Thanks for letting us know.
      Nakul Reply: According a source on FB, Fed had a 7000 point lead over Nadal in 2006.
      Ru-an Reply: Yes, If you look in my side bar where I update my fb page you will find it there.
    1. Ru-an, have you heard of this Russian teenager, 17 year old Rublev? He defeated Verdasco in the first round of Bercelona Open in his very first ATP main draw event today. I was able to catch up the last part of the match. Despite being in extreme pain, he was able to defeat Verdasco in straight sets 7-6, 6-3 by converting his 6th match point. He looked very impressive: kept a nice demeanor, a steady head over his shoulder and cool choice of shots; looks a bit like a young Stefan Edberg.
      Ru-an Reply: Yes Jiten, I wrote about him a few posts back.
    1. Great article. Love watching Djokovic play. So pleased for him that he’s dominating the game at the moment. Can’t wait for the French Open now. Summer’s nearly here and I can’t wait to start playing again as well. I found a site called http://www.mylocalpitch.com that makes it really easy to find places to play and book online. Anyone interested in playing should definitely check it out!
 

Djokovic Wins Doha Displaying Highest Level of Tennis Ever Played

Djokovic Wins Doha Displaying Highest Level of Tennis Ever Played

As I predicted Djokovic raised his level today for the final but what I didn’t expect was how high he would raise it. It was a mindblowing performance with Djokovic making 75% first serves and having a winner to unforced error ratio of 30-13.

That wasn’t only the highest level of tennis I have ever seen from Djokovic but from anyone. He quickly raced to a 3-0 lead after breaking Nadal and from there on just kept slapping winners almost at will to crush him 6-1, 6-2.

That is as close as anything to perfection you will ever see on a tennis court. Just very few unforced errors while taking huge cuts at the ball hitting winner after winner. Just when you think tennis can’t be played at a higher level Djokovic takes it up a notch.

For the people who doubted Djokovic and didn’t think he could keep his level from 2015 up this will be quite a rude awakening because today Djokovic played at a higher level than at any time during 2015.

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A special trophy for Djokovic whose late grandfather called him ‘Falcon’

If he keeps this level up he will win the calendar slam with ease, but it’s impossible to play this well all the time. At the very least it will send a strong message to his rivals who harbor any thoughts of dethroning him in Melbourne this year.

The holiday is officially over. Djokovic is back to business and he isn’t taking anything for granted. He will just be focused on the next match and on playing his best tennis. If he does that you’d figure he will be tough to stop.

This was Djokovic’s 60th title and 12th title in 12 months. Pretty dominant stuff and it sets him up as a firm favorite in Melbourne. It’s kinda scary to think what Djokovic can do in Melbourne in this form and it makes things more exciting going into the first slam of the year.

As for Nadal, he was made to look like a Futures level player by Djokovic but he would have done that to anyone today. It’s fun to see Nadal getting crushed like that with his negative retrieving game.

Nadal’s plan was to serve big and play aggressive but with the way Djokovic was returning and crushing the ball his only option was to revert back to his relentless retrieving while Djokovic was happy to boss him around the baseline like a headless chicken.

Very satisfying viewing indeed. It’s like I said in my last post if Djokovic plays at a decent level there is nothing Nadal can do. Djokovic is just too complete while Nadal is limited. Djokovic now leads the head-to-head for the first time(24-23).

He has also utterly owned him in their last 10 meetings leading 9-1 now.

  • Swiss Boys Into Finals of Brisbane and Chennai

So it wasn’t to be for Thiem as he went down 6-1, 6-4 to Federer but I saw that one as a freebie and still a very good week for him. As for Federer, it must have been an improved performance from the Dimitrov match but we will see what happens in the final.

I didn’t watch the match but Federer plays fast and that doesn’t really suit Thiem’s game with his big swings. Federer can certainly make things awkward for Thiem in a variety of ways with his experience and variety.

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So I’m hopeful that Thiem can do well in Melbourne while Federer plays Raonic tomorrow who defeated Tomic in two tiebreaks. Tomic is a very good player in Australia so that is a good win for Raonic who looks to be back close to his best.

You’d expect Federer to win the title but who knows. It is not a foregone conclusion.

Finally, Stan will play teenager Coric in the final of Chennai. You’d expect Stan to win as well but Coric is a very promising youngster so who knows. Maybe he can cause the big upset.

  • Update

Just found this on Twitter, in case you thought I was exaggerating. There should be no doubt left.

  • Highlights

The is in your court.

Posted in ATP 250, Doha.

14 Comments

    1. As I’ve already said in an earlier post congratulations to Djokovic once again. His level has to drop eventually, but right now he is unstoppable in this form. As for Federer, though Raonic played a good match, from what I hear Federer was coughing and spluttering throughout the match, and his backhand in particular was awful. He also served three double faults in one game. But one thing I didn’t like, even as a Federer fan, was when he said at the trophy presentation that he had been ill. I mean it was clear to everyone watching, and he had already made his case about it earlier in the week to the media. Repeating it again at the presentation just sounds arrogant. Sometimes I support Federer in these debates, but I do think that particular comment was uncalled for after a loss.

      Ru-an Reply:

      The problem with Federer’s remark is what must Thiem feel like? Or Kamke for that matter? Was he healthy against them? Or are they just that bad that they get destroyed by Federer on his death bed? I don’t think it feels good for a youngster like Thiem who I’m sure looks up to Federer.

      universal123 Reply:

      There’s only one possible interpretation I can think of. Before I say this, let me just note that I have no medical experience, nor have I ever had flu, so there are many people more qualified than me to comment. But the way I understand it, flu causes tiredness as well as the other symptoms. Let’s say for arguments sake that Federer can play, in theory, at 90% or more of his normal abilities for say 3-3.5 hours. If the flu reduces that to maybe 75 minutes or so, it means that he can play well and win easily, but if he gets dragged into a slightly longer match he is likely to lose. Apparently it was the same here. The first set and a few games of the second set were competitive, but then things seemed to go downhill dramatically for Federer. That’s the only explanation I can think of which can explain his strange performances this week. Could be right. Could be wrong. Who knows. Maybe one day Federer will bring out an autobiography and all will be revealed.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Doesn’t matter. Federer will probably do just fine at the AO.

      universal123 Reply:

      Key for him these days seems to be getting out of the first few rounds. If he gets to the quarters he’ll be fine until he plays Novak IMO.

      Ru-an Reply:

      So you think he is the favorite vs Nadal, Wawrinka, and Murray?

      universal123 Reply:

      Not necessarily. I don’t buy the Nadal recovery yet, though I wouldn’t be too surprised. If he does make it to play Federer he will probably win, but yeah I think Murray has a bit of a mental block against him these days. Wawrinka will either play amazingly well and beat Federer IMO, or it will be like the USO again, and TBH I think the latter is more likely.

      Ru-an Reply:

      But if Federer gets Nadal in the QF you think he will be fine.

      universal123 Reply:

      No, I don’t think that Nadal will get that far. So yes I think if he makes it to the quarters he becomes the favourite to reach a match with Djokovic in either the semis or the final. However, that is before the tournament. If Nadal makes the quarters and Federer would have to pass him to meet Djokovic then I would re-evaluate my opinion. So my gamble here is based on Nadal either being in Djokovic’s half and losing, or losing before the QF, or the unlikely chance that Federer beats him if he makes it there, though that is the most unlikely of the three ways Nadal could be eliminated.

      Actually just took at my post again, and the second line where I wrote “if he does make it to play Federer he will probably win” seems ambiguous now I read it back. The intention there was that [he] means Nadal, not Federer. If that isn’t what you are asking, the first paragraph is where my main point is.

      Ru-an Reply:

      Ok no worries I thought you said Federer would be fine from the QF onward but that he will probably lose to Nadal which seemed like a contradiction. Maybe you didn’t realize they can meet in the QF. Anyway, the way I see it if they meet in the QF there can only be one result.

      universal123 Reply:

      I would give Federer maybe a 15% chance of winning if Nadal makes it. 10% based on the prospect of Nadal collapsing injured on the court and retiring from the match, or limping around the court hopping on one leg or something. The other 5% would be an absolutely amazing performance from Federer from start to finish. The fact is that if Federer wants any chance of winning it has to be straight sets with no problems. The minute he starts to encounter any resistance from Nadal, Federer usually crumbles quickly, see AO 2012 where he was a set and a break up and lost despite having a massive series of chances in every set, particularly the second and third sets. It would literally have to just be one of those days (which all the top players have occasionally), where they just paint the lines over and over again, and his serving would have to be exceptional. He would have to repeat the Wimbledon semi performance against Murray from last year, but we all know that Federer rarely produces his best against Nadal. As much as I would like to believe otherwise, Nadal in either 3 or 4, with Federer having chances in the first 2-3 sets then losing something like 6-1 or 6-2 in the last set played (either 3rd or 4th) is by far the most likely if they play. Not an absolute drubbing, just a typical Fedal match: Federer has chances, maybe even takes an early lead, then crumbles and loses key points when he has the chance to REALLY get in front.

      Ru-an Reply:

      I was wondering why you thought Nadal won’t ‘make it that far’. Last year he made QF and he has been playing much better than last year this time. Federer, on the other hand, lost third round, and you could argue he is playing worse now since he won Brisbane last year and lost in the final this year. Don’t you think it’s more likely that Federer will lose before the QF than Nadal?

      universal123 Reply:

      I just think that the Doha loss will have seriously damaged Nadal’s psyche and I just think if he runs into a free hitting opponent he has a decent chance of losing. About Federer, the correlation between his warm-up tournament results and his performances in the slams is dubious. In 2012 he won Wimbledon after losing in the final to Tommy Haas of all people in Halle. In 2013 he won Halle but then lost to Stakhovsky in the 2R at Wimbledon (albeit 2013 had been a terrible year already). In 2012 he looked great in Cincinnati then came unstuck against Berdych in the QF at the USO when many people were even predicting two slams in a row, or at least reaching another final. In 2011 IIRC he won nothing during the clay season then played one of his best matches ever (IMO) in the semis of the FO and then pushed Nadal the closest he has ever pushed him at RG. If only for that damn drop shot… Anyway I think you get the point. It’s quite difficult to predict at the moment which is more likely but that’s my take on it. Obviously if Federer’s draw is stacked with guys like Raonic, Berdych, Cilic etc I will change my mind.

      Ru-an Reply:

      The fact that Federer kept bringing it up is also an indication to me that it didn’t affect him much. Everyone already knew about it, he was coughing etc. Why bring it up again after the final? That seems a bit desperate.

 

Djokovic Wins 6th Australian Open and 11th Slam to Tie Laver, Borg, Emerson

Djokovic Wins 6th Australian Open and 11th Slam to Tie Laver, Borg, Emerson

It was inevitable. Who was going to stop the slow hardcourt GOAT(and likely soon to be hardcourt GOAT) on Plexicushion in the prime of his career? That’s correct, no one. Djokovic was the overwhelming favorite to win a third consecutive slam in Melbourne before the tournament began.

Anyone who had a little bit of tennis knowledge and wasn’t biased beyond belief knew it. With his 6-1, 7-5, 7-6(3) victory over Murray today he proved once again that he reigns supreme Down Under and that he is going to be awfully hard to stop there over the coming years.

I overslept and joined the match when Djokovic was a break up in the second set only to get broken right back. Well, Djokovic didn’t waste any time getting that all important first set under his belt, did he? He couldn’t have made a more ideal start.

When I joined the match Murray was playing well though and doing everything in his power to square things up at a set all. He was being very aggressive, not only in his game but in his body language as well. It appeared to me like he was trying to intimidate the Djoker.

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I like how calm Djokovic stays in those moments. While Murray is grunting on every shot and seems to be making a huge physical effort Djokovic hardly even grunts himself and every time he wins a big point he makes sure to let Murray know it with a loud ‘Come on!’.

He really owns Murray big time in the mental department. Murray, to the contrary, kept ‘giving the business to his box‘ broadcasting his frustrations to his opponent and everyone else. I honestly don’t think he can help himself.

He needs Lendl in his box for whom he has too much respect to ‘give the business to’. Clearly Mauresmo has no effect on him in that regard. After Murray had broken back at 3-4 both players held serve and at 5-5 and 40-15 Murray had two game points on his serve.

Djokovic just wouldn’t let him go though as he won the next four points with more baseline mastery to break Murray. That was another key passage of play there after Djokovic breadsticked Murray in the opening set.

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With Djokovic serving for the set then at 6-5 and 30-15, something strange happened when Djokovic served two consecutive double faults to present Murray with a break back point. Djokovic wouldn’t be denied however as he won the next three points to go up two sets to love.

The outcome was inevitable but Murray did well to make the score respectable and force a tiebreak. As was the case in the second set, Murray came back from a break down after Djokovic broke serve in the opening game of the third set.

Murray could have just given up the ghost right there so credit to him for fighting back and making the third set the closest set. In the tiebreak, Djokovic quickly raced to a 6-1 lead. Murray held both serves to get back to 3-6 but Djokovic then ended it in style with an ace.

What a champion!

  • Final Thoughts

Winning never gets old they say. And they are right. I think most people expected Murray to win a set in the final at least and I think for Djokovic to get it done in straight sets was kinda special. That meant poor Murray fell to 0-5 in Australian Open finals.

And his problem remains mental as far as I’m concerned. Djokovic is just a far superior player in that department. Murray has all the shots. He may even be more talented than Djokovic. He certainly has better hands at the net.

But mentally the difference is light years. Like I keep saying, Djokovic is a mental monster. And it clearly wasn’t that way from the start. That is what is so inspirational about him. He actually used to be fragile mentally, retiring from matches for almost any reason.

Watching him grow and evolve as a tennis player has been a treat and gives anyone hope that you don’t need to be born with certain qualities to be successful but that you can develop them over time and that continual growth is all important.

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If you look at Federer, for instance, you see someone who was blessed with pretty much limitless talent. And yet it seems he is the one that stagnated and stopped growing. Of course, in recent times he has done very well to make changes to his game and reinvent himself as a better offensive and net player, but he isn’t making any progress as far as beating Djokovic goes.

If anything, the losses are getting worse. And yet, he still seems to believe the match is on his racquet against the Djoker. That’s what he says. But it sure wasn’t on his racquet when Djokovic ‘roasted him alive'(as an objective Fedfan put it) in the first two sets of their match in Melbourne this year.

This objective Fedfan made a comment on my last post saying that Federer can’t accept that the match is not on his racquet anymore and I agree. It’s the same thing that happened in the early days against Nadal. There is a kind of arrogant pride that doesn’t allow Federer to accept the truth and adjust accordingly.

When you get blasted off the court 6-1, 6-2 then there is simply no way the match is on your racquet. And then I see Fedfans comment on forums that Federer didn’t show up for the first two sets.

It is that exact kind of arrogance/denial which cost Federer and his fans on countless occasions. ‘Federer is a god that can’t do anything wrong and if something does go wrong then the problem must lie somewhere else. It is never Federer’s fault because he is a perfect god’.

This is why their newest angle is now the fact that Djokovic sits in an oxygen chamber to recover from matches which, by the way, is completely legal. It is one thing to accuse Nadal of doping but now they are seriously reaching.

Other than the fact that this scientific study proves that sitting in an oxygen chamber does nothing to aid recovery or enhance performance, how did Federer’s chronic back problems all of a sudden disappear never to return?

How does he show hardly any decline at all at age 34? You see, it’s not hard to invent conspiracy theories. And until someone comes up with some real proof, I am not going to assume things just because a desperate fanbase wants me to.

If Fedfans want to believe that Federer is a perfect god that never does anything wrong then I’m not going to stop them. But I don’t believe in that kind of idolization of a human being. As far as I’m concerned Federer has plenty of flaws as a tennis player and as a human being.

And unless he does something about it there is a good possibility that Djokovic will surpass him in the GOAT debate.

  • What Does the Future Hold for Djokovic?

So to get back to Federer’s flaws. There have always been a kind of denial about him which cost him big time against players who were not intimidated by him like Nadal and Djokovic. Djokovic is now probably a completer player than Federer ever was.

He has a better backhand, better returns, better movement/fitness, and he is mentally more stable under pressure. Federer has a better serve, forehand, and volleys. Djokovic has caught up with Federer and Federer doesn’t seem to want to admit it.

He is still using the same game plan and thinking the match is on his racquet. As a result, he just suffered his worst slam beating at the hands of Djokovic in recent times. He is still doing his real fans proud, but he is not getting any closer to Djokovic.

To the contrary, Djokovic is getting closer to him in the GOAT debate. With this title Djokovic equaled Emerson’s record of six Australian Open titles and he is also now equal with Laver and Borg in terms of slams won.

That is some serious company to be in and he is still in his prime. There is no doubt that Djokovic is currently playing the best tennis of his career and that he is completer than ever as a player and human being.

With the 6th Australian Open title behind him, we can now finally begin to seriously look forward. For the second time in his career, he is on a run of three consecutive slam titles. And for the second time, he will have a shot at completing the ‘Djoker slam’ at the French Open.

In 2012, Nadal spoiled it for him in the French Open final. With Nadal having seriously declined of late and Djokovic grilling him alive at the French last year already, you would think his chances of doing it this year are very good.

If it wasn’t for a brutal draw at the French last year Djokovic could have already completed the calendar slam. It is highly doubtful that he will receive a draw like that again this year. The argument from Fedfans is that it is said every year that this is the year that Djokovic will win the elusive French Open.

Personally, I wasn’t overly optimistic last year that Djokovic could get it done after I saw the draw. I think it is much more likely that he gets it done this year. My feeling is that this is the year he gets it done. But we will see.

I think the possibility alone is exciting. No one has completed the personal slam since Laver won the calendar slam in ’69. Strictly speaking, that is not a personal slam but like a personal slam, it is also four slam titles in a row.

Neither Federer nor Nadal has completed a calendar slam or a personal slam so if Djokovic achieves it, it would count for a lot. If he wins the French it would also mean he completes the career slam so the stakes will be at an all-time high in the French capital this year.

If Djokovic does pull it off, which I don’t doubt that he can, he will already be in the GOAT debate. He would have done something Fedal couldn’t do and he already leads them in the head-to-head. That would also release a lot of pressure on him and he could go on to win many more slams.

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Who knows, maybe even the calendar slam itself. So I think there is a very exciting time ahead in tennis. For some fans, this domination from Djokovic is becoming boring but it was the same with Sampras and Federer. Welcome to tennis.

For us Djokovic fans, it is exciting times because there is a possibility of something very special being done in tennis and by our favorite player at that.

  • Thank You

Just a thank you to my readers for the blog support over the past fortnight and I hope you enjoyed my coverage of this year’s Australian Open. As usual, there is a lot to cover after a grand slam final and I won’t fit everything into one post so I will probably make another one tomorrow and then take a break.

Until later!

  • Highlights

  • Presser

Q. It’s the first month of the year. You’ve already had convincing wins over your three biggest rivals in your career. Do you allow yourself in your mind to acknowledge that perhaps you’ve separated yourself from them a bit at the moment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I don’t want to allow myself to be in that frame of mind. Because if I do, the person becomes too arrogant and thinks that he’s a higher being or better than everybody else. You can get a big slap from karma very soon. I don’t want that.

I found this to be a very interesting presser. Did Federer become too arrogant and thought he was a higher being? His fans certainly treated him that way. I’ll let people make up their own minds but Djokovic has the ideal attitude I think.

He is humble and takes nothing for granted. Always trying to improve. Never getting complacent. For that reason, I wouldn’t be surprised if he surpasses Federer.

The is in your court.

Posted in Australian Open, Grand Slams.

10 Comments

    1. Hi Ru-an,

      As predicted, Murray could not breakthrough. He makes Djokovic work hard the last 2 sets but that’s about it, another beating at the hands of the undisputed world no.1.

      Somehow the Melbourne AO court suits Djokovic perfectly
      There was once Federer had great success by winning 4 before the change of surface. Australian Open prove to be the hardest to win for Murray. Even Nadal could only manage to win one in his prime.

      The probability for Djokovic able to win FO and rest of the slams is not impossible as no one seems to be able to challenge him consistently. Is like Serena in the WTA tour whom occasionally gets beaten but the win is largely in her hands.

      if Federer would have retired after winning his last GS at Wimbledon 12′ then his head to head record against Djokovic would be still intact. 3 years has since passed he make it to 3 GS final but all lost at the hands of Djokovic.mm

      it is still a joy to watch Federer as a fan whenever he makes it deep, but not so when he gets beaten repeatedly by the same player. It’s worse if he doesn’t accept the brilliance of his opponent and his gradual decline. It is no doubt in my mind whenever they in the court in a GS, Djokovic had the mental edge. Once the game gets started it almost feel like Federer is always playing the catch up. His energy level too dropped from the previous matches as though he didn’t want to be on the court facing his demons. I think until he fixed his mental strength there is no way he can beat Djokovic (unless he is injured) in a best of 5 format. However, time is running up, he will be 35 soon whereas Djokovic is still at his prime. Unless he is willing to die on the court to win he probably end up just 17 GS. For me, his best chance was the USO 14′ as he didn’t have to face Djokovic or Nadal in the final. But he screwed up and get beaten by a one slam wonder Cilic. Prove me wrong, I hope so.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Unfortunately for Fedfans, everything you say is true, IWC. This was supposed to be the time Federer wins #18 but he didn’t count of the Djoker’s dominance. In fact, if it wasn’t for Djokovic this would have been a new era of Federer dominance. But like you say, it is only getting worse for him and he is getting older. It’s not looking promising for him as far as winning #18 goes.

      [Reply]

    1. Very good analysis, Ru-an. Writing something critical of Roger takes guts, but you’re doing it. Not many have the balls to do it, especially the mainstream media, probably for fear of losing some revenue streams, which I understand.

      However, I don’t know for how long they can keep ignoring Novak’s achievements. Most articles I’ve read in the last few hours after AO still point to his alleged disconnect with most fans. Instead of celebrating his historic results.

      Another cause for Novak to aim even higher and prove them wrong.

      Go, Novak! The Djoker slam is a very real possibility.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thank you, Jun! Your comment means a lot. Fortunately, I don’t write for the mainstream media so I don’t have to worry about revenue streams or being fake. Integrity and enjoying what I do is more important to me. I’d hate to get paid to write for mainstream media but to be told what to write.

      Where is the fun in that? Eventually, people will appreciate Novak anyway and come to my blog. It’s just a question of time before he conquers all and they are back again.

      [Reply]

      universal123 Reply:

      You think your media is bad. Over here in the UK we have perhaps some of the worst media reporting in the world, at least as far as newspapers go. Our two main tabloids and two main broadsheet newspapers are both ridiculous. We have The Daily Mail (tabloid) and The Daily Telegraph (broadsheet) which are both ridiculously right-wing newspapers, presenting hugely biased accounts and literally directly endorsing the UK Conservative Party, whilst The Daily Mirror (tabloid) and The Guardian (broadsheet) are ridiculously left-wing and directly endorse the UK Labour Party. It’s absolutely insane over here, the only real source of fairly unbiased media is the BBC, which at least manages to present both sides of a story. Media bias is a huge problem over here, it’s insane.

      Charlie

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      That doesn’t surprise me about the UK. They are probably second only to the US in terms of media bias and brainwashing. Everything is about materialism, worldly success, conformity, etc. It’s a kind of oppressive society that doesn’t encourage you to think outside the box. That is why someone like Federer is so popular there while Djokovic is seen as an intruder/villain/unwanted because he is from an eastern European country and doesn’t belong to the status quo.

      [Reply]

    1. Hi Ru-an. Just heard the unfortunate news today that Federer has had knee surgery for a torn meniscus and will miss Rotterdam and Dubai. Hope he is completely fine and caught up on training by Wimbledon, but part of me is worried that this season will descend into another 2013, which wouldn’t be fun to watch no matter who you support. Just to clear up any doubt, I’m not saying that this played a role in his defeat to Djokovic, quite the opposite, Federer clearly said that he injured it the day after, presumably in a practice session I guess. Just mostly hoping that he will be OK. Apparently just a bit of keyhole surgery so nothing too serious hopefully. To be honest I’d rather he sat out a couple more tournaments to make sure the knee is OK before coming back onto the tour, rather than risk making things worse. But of course, Roger will have the best doctors and physios, etc and people who can tell him when he is OK to start playing again, so I’m sure he will make the right decision. Nevertheless, since I am a balanced fan, I will be watching Dubai and Rotterdam. To be honest I think that people who stop watching once their favourite player is out of a tournament are a bit pathetic, and it just shows that those people aren’t really tennis fans, they are just cult followers of a particular player. Some of the comments I have seen on forums actually disgust me. People just seem to lose sight of the big picture, which is that tennis is a sport, and your favourite player is just one small part of that sport, even as a top player. No one, no one is bigger than the sport and no one should be given favouritism because of their status. When I hear of things like Nadal/Team Nadal stopping an umpire from officiating his matches, it just smacks of favouritism, and there are numerous other cases with other players as well. It’s just unacceptable.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Hey, Charlie. Yes, a shame about the injury and I wish Federer a speedy recovery. But he also needs to find a solution to Djokovic. Maybe that injury is a physical manifestation of not being able to find a solution to Djokovic. The body and mind are connected so who knows. I’m glad it is not too serious anyway and that he will miss only two events.

      I’m also glad to hear the tear occurred after the SF and that it didn’t hamper him during the match because his movement seemed just fine. I’m glad you will stay interested in tennis as well. That is what a true tennis fan would do. But be careful about criticizing Nadal because that is exactly what the fanatical Fedfans do.

      Not saying what Nadal did was right, of course, but I think you know what I mean.

      [Reply]

      universal123 Reply:

      Yeah, but I feel like that is a fair argument. I would never take it any further than what I said there. I have seen things written about the families of players and criticising players for their relationships (there were some people trying to excuse what Kyrgios said to Wawrinka by talking about his relationship with Donna Vekic, which just doesn’t hold water in my book).

      [Reply]

    1. I’d just like to give Novak a shout out for his incredible consistency.

      I just noticed that – if not for one loss to Stan at AO ’14 in the QF – AO’16 would mark his 23rd consecutive showing of semifinal or better at major tournaments, which would have tied Roger’s record.

      Very well done indeed.

      [Reply]

 

Djokovic Wins 5th Miami Title to Do Record 3rd Indian Wells/Miami Double

Djokovic Wins 5th Miami Title to Do Record 3rd Indian Wells/Miami Double

Well there it is folks. It went to three sets but in the end Djokovic was just too strong as expected as he triumphed 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-0. It wasn’t always pretty but the Djoker fought through a first and second set onslaught from Murray as well as the extreme heat to complete a third perfect North-American hard court swing. And I don’t think there are many people left who would contest the fact that he is now the best slow hard court player in history. He already got the record for most Australian Open titles this year. After that he equaled Roger for most Indian Wells titles at four. And now he has done the Indian Wells/Miami double for a record third time after winning a fifth Miami title, one behind Agassi’s record and three ahead of Roger who has two Miami titles.

He also has three Canada Masters titles. So I think it is safe to say the numbers are on his side. Another interesting stat is that Djokovic tied Roger for hard court Masters won at 17. At least Roger is still quite a distance in front as far as overall hard court numbers go. The big differences are in the amount of US Open(5-1) and World Tour Finals(6-4) titles won. So Djokovic have some distance to go to catch Roger in hard court slams won(9-6) and World Tour Finals titles. But you won’t put it completely beyond him. For me Roger will always be the best fast hard court player anyway because even at 33 he is still schooling Djokovic on fast hard. These days there just aren’t many fast hard courts around.

It was a good final

Even the World Tour Finals has become a joke. But by the same token I think it is fair to call Djokovic the best ever on slow hard. His movement and base line consistency just makes him almost unplayable on the surface. Not to mention his returns and serve. I think it is also fair to say that Djokovic has benefited from the slow surface era, although not as much as Nadal. Lets not forget that Djokovic beat Roger in the 2007 Canada Masters final when Roger was still in his prime and the courts were still pretty fast if I’m not mistaken. Djokovic is a more attacking player than Nadal and can adapt better to faster surfaces. His returns are lethal on any court and his serve has become a serious weapon too.

In fact with his improved serve he may now be better adapted to fast surfaces than ever. With two Wimbledon titles he will be a serious threat at the All England Club for some time to come. I don’t see any improvement in his net game under Becker but it is good enough for the current conditions at Wimbledon. But more than anything Djokovic probably now desires a French Open title. That is the missing piece of the puzzle now and after another Indian Wells/Miami double he must be brimming with confidence. After getting it so badly wrong last year I won’t be making any predictions this year that’s for sure. But surely Djokovic has as good a chance as anyone at winning the title.

Respect

Even if it means someone else has to take Nadal out to open his path. And an early exit like in 2009 is not inconceivable this year. Someone like Nishikori, Stan, or Dolgopolov can surely upset Nadal on a good day, given Nadal’s recent fragility. But yeah lets not speculate about that too much because knowing Nadal he will just go ahead and win his 10th French Open. I didn’t say much about today’s final yet. Murray put up an admirable fight but as expected Djokovic just won the key points because he is mentally better. Djokovic clearly got flustered as he lashed out at the crowd and a ball boy, but as usual he found a way to get the job done. And although he showed poor sportsmanship I do admire how he just finds a way to win.

Since Indian Wells he got pushed to three sets four times and the best score in the third was 6-2 by Roger. The rest were all bakery products, including two bagels against Dolgopolov and Murray. Just to push him to three sets takes an immense effort, and the opponent can never keep it up in the third. And you gotta admire how Roger at the age of 33 still provided Djokovic with the sternest opposition. To know that you only have to remember Djokovic’s body language in the Indian Wells final. So I am proud of Roger for proving even on slow hard court that he is still the second best player behind Djokovic in the world. Well this coming week Roger will be training with Thiem for Monte Carlo of course and then it’s time for the clay court season.

Can’t wait!

 

Update: As usual the ball boy incident was much ado about nothing and just an opportunity for the haters to descend upon Djokovic and judge and criticize as much as possible. Djokovic was shouting at his camp and the ball boy got in the way. Given the good sport he is, he even made a public apology.

Highlights:

Posted in Masters 1000, Miami.

37 Comments

    1. Yeah actually we should add his three Paris Masters as well which are really slow these days. So he is actually by far the best slow hard court player as far as numbers go. But the best overall hard court player is still Roger. And Novak has 4 WTF’s not 3.
      Ru-an Reply: Thanks for the correction. Corrected. I hereby appoint you as my proof reader henceforth. Lol. I forgot to add last year’s title. Probably because he never played a final. I was hoping Fed could make it 7-3 and put it out of Djoker’s reach. Oh well.
    1. At least Murray tried something different in this final. I liked the way he attacked Djoker’s second serve. Perhaps other players can take cue from that. And he was winning most of the long rallies. Pity that he could not maintain the momentum going into the third set. His second serve is just a liability. At an average speed of 84m/h, it is even slower than Serena’s by two miles (borrowed from the commentators). I still think that Djoko has a long way to go as far as his volleys are concerned; at times it looks very amateurish. And Murray was not helping himself by successively missing those easy put-away volleys at crucial times. In my opinion, the position that Murray had been in the first set, he should have finished it at 6-4. Both the times he gifted away the breaks he had achieved in the previous games. The way the first game in the third set progressed (with multiple deuces), I knew that it will be a bakery product. Of late, we are having a lot of them, aren’t we?
      Ru-an Reply: Hi Jiten well said. I’m glad you analyzed the tennis a bit more than I did. My posts get too long so I don’t always get into it. But like I said I think the main difference was mental. Murray broke twice in the first set but yet he couldn’t pull away. And when the important tie break came Djokovic won it. And once he had the first set in the bag he was in a good position. But I think Murray should get a lot of credit here. Like you said he attacked the second serve and frustrated Djokovic. But in the end Djokovic is just mentally much better than Murray which is why he won their last 7 meetings.
      Ajay Reply: Murray always attacks second serves. I remember against Roger in Shanghai he had almost 12 clean return winners. The problem is Djokovic just plays the percentages better. Murray is way too erratic. Just look at the highlights of his match vs Djokovic in Miami 2014. I mean Murray was hitting winners left, right and centre and suddenly inexplicably he started making a lot more errors. I think this characterises the post surgery Murray very well, the lack of consistency over prolonged periods and more importantly physically he doesn’t even seem close to the old Murray. Sad stuff.
      Veronica Reply: Great observations Ajay. True. Every word!
    1. I agree that Djokovic is now beyond doubt the best slow-hard court player. However, that doesn’t explain his record at the US open finals somehow. I think the surface at USO is more or less similar to that in IW, but Djokovic has made 5 finals there but won only one of them. He has lost to all other members of the big-4 there as well. It’s safe to assume that he won’t break Roger’s record of 5 USO titles but he might end up with more number of hard court slams than Roger at the end. Also after today’s match it became clear to me as to why Djokovic gets very less crowd support during important matches. He is very temperamental and lets his emotions get the better of him during such matches. The ball-boy incident which happened in yesterday’s match has already created a lot of buzz in the social media. However Djokovic has apologized to the ball kid in a video which he uploaded on FB. He was apparently shouting at his box. These kinds of things never happen with Roger and that’s one of the reasons why he’s loved so much. Djokovic tries too hard sometimes to be nice and to be loved by people, whereas for Roger those things come naturally.
      Ru-an Reply: Yeah the USO surface seems the same as IW. The first USO he lost to prime Fed and it was pre prime Djoker. The second to Nadal was pre prime Djoker too. The one he lost to Nadal in 2013 was after that FO devastation which is understandable. Some people thought he was done winning slams after that. As for the final vs Murray I didn’t see it so I can’t really give an opinion but from what I heard the wind didn’t help things. I think he has been a bit unlucky there but I can see him winning two more titles there before all is said and done. There is no reason he should not do well there and he has. He just hasn’t been able to get over the final hurdle very often. But that’s fine by me I want Fed to be remembered as the best fast hc player. I think it would be a bit of a shame if Djoker catches his WTF count so I hope Fed can win one more this year.
      Veronica Reply: Yes, all his USO losses were understandable. I think he will win more USO too. It’s just that he does get a little exhausted by the time USO comes around. He doesn’t do well in Cincy too. But then he picks up again at the end of the year and by the first quarter of the following year, he is usually unplayable! That is Djoker’s cycle.
      Ru-an Reply: Yeah interesting that he has never won Cincy and he surely will at some point. I think then he would have all the Masters? Hopefully he passes Nadal’s Masters count too which is so inflated by clay.
      Ajay Reply: I am not so sure about Cincy. I think Fed is the favorite there for as long as he is playing and Murray will have a really good chance against him there as well. Somehow I think if he doesn’t win it this year or next it might end up like Monte Carlo for Roger, reaching 4 finals but never winning it!!
      Ru-an Reply: Nah he will win it this year probably.
      Nakul Reply: Djokovic has been schooled by murray twice on grass, so on fast hard courts murray might have the edge as well. The bagel which he received from Roger in the 2012 cincy final was amazing as well. I think Dubai 2011 final was the only time Roger lost to Djokovic on a fast hard court
      Ru-an Reply: Yeah we will see. I won’t be surprised if he wins Cincy. Especially if it is the only MS he lacks, which I think is the case.
      Ajay Reply: If he has to go through Roger to win it, he isn’t even going to get a set.
      Ru-an Reply: As for Djokovic trying so hard to be loved I don’t understand that either. Who cares whether people like you? He should just be himself and not worry about what people think. He is a great player and a funny guy. He is likable as he is. I thought it was hilarious when he shouted to someone in the crowd “Suck my d*ck, you ape.” The last thing he should be worried about is being liked like Roger. He is his own man and if people don’t like him they can go to hell.
      Nakul Reply: I guess it’s hard not to get affected by the crowd whenever he plays against players who get more crowd support than him. He might have been adjusted to that while playing against Fed or Nadal, but sometimes even against players like Nishikori, Berdych, etc it’s the same case. As a world no. 1 and having achieved way more than your opponent but still getting less crowd support must annoy him for sure.
      Ru-an Reply: Well that’s because he cares. If he didn’t care it wouldn’t be annoying.
    1. Andy’s serve has always been a liability from day one; first and second serves. Hardly ever gets a good serving day and don’t get me started on the second. At least, like Jiten said, he played differently this time but since his operation, he seems to have regressed physically. Why? He does well when he plays aggressively but it’s so against his natural instinct, he can’t maintain it and he is physically not up to Djoker/Nadal level. But if he wants to compete against the top 3, he has to learn to keep the points short….. and see a sports pychologist. Otherwise, I don’t see him being a threat anymore to top 3. His operation really came at a bad time, just when he broke through…
    1. First of all congrats to the winner. As for Murray although not a Murray fan I have always thought of him a great player and one of the most natural. I can’t see him beating Djo just from the baseline and of course we have seen the results Novak just too good when allowed to play like that. Indian Wells and Miami looked at times very edgy as we saw his coaches up on their feet applauding his shots, was funny the camera kept going back to Boris and on cue he stood up and clapped! Seems a shame that the crowd just don’t feel the love. x
      veronica Reply: Yes, Elizabeth, I always thought so too. He is so talented, has such great feel and hands. Works like a horse. Such a pity. What a waste. He should be winning more slams with his talent and work ethics. First, fix that serve. If Djoker can, why can’t he? Second, sort out the mental blocks. Can’t he see his mental needs as much work as his physical? Third, get a male coach, for God’s sake. He needs to man up; not run to another mummy!! Fourthly, adapt a more aggressive mindset. We’ve seen how well he plays when he is aggressive. Anyone thinks Djokeray is already heading in the direction of Fedal? The predictability, the inevitable melt downs…..
      Jiten Reply: Djokeray seems to be heading only towards the bakery these days. :-)
      Veronica Reply:
      Veronica Reply:
      Ru-an Reply: Two blank comments! Ronnie what did you do??? Lol.
      Ru-an Reply: Blank comment? That’s a first!
      Veronica Reply: oh dear, I tried to send something, it came out blank so I repeated and it blanked on me again! How embarrassing! Or are you blocking my comments, Ru-an??!! Haha!!
      Ru-an Reply: Lol no if you were blocked you wouldn’t be able to comment at all! Sorry about that I wouldn’t know why it happened. Glad you got through eventually :-)
      Veronica Reply: Thanks, Sir!! Must be something I did wrong then. Maybe I’m still not quite awake yet, Ru-an, as you so astutely noted! Hehehe!! Can’t wait for MC!! Btw, well done on all your post GOAT blog posts. It must have felt really good to freely write without burdens and expectations of a Fedfan. First time I see you freely write what you want without being overly defensive and careful. I can understand your predicament better and it becomes clearer now why you chose to move in this direction. You are clearly a tennis fan.
      Ru-an Reply: Thank you for understanding and being attentive Veronica. Your sensitivity is always appreciated. And yes it was a predicament. I wasn’t enjoying my blogging anymore. Biased Fedfans was starting to turn me off from Roger, and I’m not necessarily talking about people on my blog. I was just getting sick of the whole thing. To the point that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue blogging. I was unable to appreciate Roger anymore and I don’t want that to be the case. Hopefully by shifting him into the background a bit more I will be able to appreciate him more again. I’m just sick of all the blind worship and fanaticism. This is tennis. Not show business.
      elizabeth Reply: Veronica like you this new blog seems the way to go….very tennis minded, then I see a wee comment like ‘I’ll take Hantuchova’ and I realise that Ru-an is taking an interest in ladies tennis, very TENNIS minded haha!
      Veronica Reply: That is hilarious bro!! But my heart goes out to Andy. He’s such a tortured soul. I find that oddly touching despite his atrocious behaviour on court (but it is always directed at himself, never others). He doesn’t try to be somebody else, just a simple man who doesn’t care about being politically correct. And I just love his self deprecating humour that is often accompanied by that shy smile of his! I can just imagine the sneers (Andy attractive??!! You gotta be kidding!) from some of you guys here! Ha! I really hope things will only get better for Andy. This match is a small step forward compared to the last few Djokerays.
      Ru-an Reply: Yeah gotta feel for him I guess. He hasn’t had a big 4 win in ages. He is probably the second most talented of the big 4 but mentally he is for sure the worst. As for his anger always directed at himself at a change over he shouted “I’m done. Nice job!” to his trainer lol.
    1. Hey guys, it was pretty obvious that Djoko was screaming at his team and the ballboy just got in his way. Honestly, I don’t know why such a big fuss is being made about Novak screaming to him. You could see when it happened that he was not even looking at the ballboy. Novak’s so called “apology-incident” even got mentioned on CNN, can you believe that?? But I do think the guy has bigger problems. When he wins a 1st set and loses the 2nd one… it seems like he needs to get angry, scream to his team or smash his racquet to get back into concentration and focus. I have noticed that about Novak. When he does something he should not do and loses the set, for example, choking and losing the set, he doesn’t just normally sit down, think it over and try to win … no, he needs to break his racquet or/and shout to his team to calm himself down. Now…. how many times will that work?? Other players and their coaches will notice it too. The racquet smashing… more players do that, but that yelling to his box?? Why?? What did they do?? What can they do?? Just stop it Novak, it makes you look like a baby. Kudos for winning the match. Novak played good and great, hung on and took his moment. But dude…. I really don’t like you :-) And Ru-an and guys…. if Novak wants to be liked and the crowd is more for Berdych… then trust me… Novak IS doing something wrong :-) :-) And Andy… sometimes you bug me…. your girlfriend bugs me even more…. I love it when Roger bagels you… but not when Novak bagels you. You played good and great, but you did NOT deserve that bagel in the 3rd. And Muzza…. you really need to change your gameplan if you, of all people, you….get tired playing a 3rd set in a best of 3-match :-) :-)
      Katyani Reply: Oh and Ru-an, there is and will be life and tennislife when Roger does the R-word, but oh man… when he is not playing… it IS boring… no matter how many other good and interesting players there are out there :-) He DOES make the difference :-)
      Dolores Reply: For sure, Katyani,….”He DOES make the difference”, Dolores agrees with you on that sentence in your comment.
    1. Hi all! How’s it going on the renamed Ru-an’s Ultimate Tennis Blog? Murray doesn’t have the firepower of Djokovic. He doesn’t move quite as well as Djokovic, either. Djokovic has exceptional balance and flexibility on slow hard courts, Murray lumbers a bit more. He’s got great hands but not the efficient footwork. Djokovic has never beaten Murray on grass, but that may change going forward given the direction the rivalry has taken. No shame for Murray to be losing to Djokovic on slow hard courts–everyone else is, too. Only Federer has any real hope of finding a solution, I feel. Last year’s AO loss to Wawrinka is now a distant memory. Lightning ain’t going to strike twice. I still don’t think Djokovic can beat Nadal at RG. Best-of-five is a completely different beast from best-of-three. In best-of-three, he can just turn it on and blast Nadal off the court. To beat Nadal at RG, it would require a good five or six hours of baseline slugging (and slogging) and he would have to pace himself and maintain absolute concentration the whole time. Nadal is a robot mentally, he can just mechanically repeat his simple-minded game for hours without mentally flagging even once. It’s become harder for Djokovic to do that as he gets older. His best shot was in RG 2011, when he was at his peak. More importantly, he hadn’t yet won the other majors so there was no pressure to complete the Career Slam. Had he managed to beat Federer that year, he would have simply pulverized Nadal without thinking about it. The pressure to complete the Career Slam increases over time, and it’s very difficult to deal with that pressure and Nadal at the same time. I don’t care how many non-clay Slams Djokovic racks up or how many times he beats Nadal on clay in best of three, that pressure is always going to make it really hard for him to stop Nadal in Paris. Last year he had the first set and yet he let the last three slip through his fingers. You could say he was lacking confidence, but he had won the IW/Miami double and Rome. He should have been able to finish the job. So I don’t really rate his chances of winning RG as long as he has to face Nadal. If he doesn’t, that’s another issue, but I don’t think another Soderling will do the job for him anytime soon.
 

Djokovic Wins 30th Masters Title in Toronto

Djokovic Wins 30th Masters Title in Toronto

Congrats to Djokovic on winning a record 30th Masters title in Toronto today after defeating Nishikori 6-3, 7-5 in the final. He now leads Nadal by two titles who is in second place for all-time Masters titles.

I didn’t blog this week because I wasn’t enthusiastic enough about Toronto with the absence of three of the big four. But as usual, I followed the tennis and watched all Djokovic’s matches as well as some others.

Djokovic didn’t drop a set throughout the week so you have to say another amazing week for him. The closest he came to dropping a set was against Berdych in the quarterfinals when he trailed 3-6 in the first set tiebreak.

Berdych served a double-fault on the first point and on the second Djokovic made one of those amazing returns which forced the error from Berdych. Djokovic won five points in a row to win the tiebreak 8-6.

Berdych had already served a double fault at the start of the tiebreak and it’s very difficult to win a tiebreak against Djokovic serving two double faults. That has to go down as another choke from Berdych but Djokovic was lethal on the second set point.

Before the semi-finals, Djokovic was in his usual survival mode where he was not at his best but did enough to win in straight sets. Then in the semi-finals against Monfils, he was serving poorly to go down a break at 1-2 in the first set but quickly recovered to win the first set 6-3 and then the second set 6-2.

As usual, he changed gears for the semis and today he changed gears again for the final in a much improved serving performance. He served at 76% first serves as opposed to 65% against Monfils and 4 aces to 0 double faults as opposed to 1 ace and 5 double faults against Monfils.

So the serve was the main difference but, of course, Nishikori is better than Monfils hence the closer scoreline. Djokovic was 6-3 and a break up in the second at 2-1 at which point I was starting to lose interest in the match.

But fortunately, Nishikori raised his level and broke back soon to level at 3-3. That at least made things a bit more interesting but I still thought Djokovic would win in straight sets, which he did.

So Djokovic is right back to domination after his loss at Wimbledon and he goes to the Rio Olympics as the favorite. At the moment I’m just a bit bored with it all like Fedfans have probably been for months if not years.

CougWNDW8AQqjQ4

Federer’s withdrawal from the season is a shame because his rivalry with Djokovic was the best one in tennis. At least Murray will be back at the Olympics but his rivalry with Djokovic isn’t nearly as interesting as the Federer and Djokovic one.

To get back to today’s match, it should now be clear that Djokovic was not himself in Rome this year when he defeated Nishikori 7-6 in the third but it was nonetheless another good week for Nishikori.

Yesterday he defeated Stan 7-6(6), 6-1 after Stan checked out after losing the first set. That is a bad attitude from Stan and why he is not a big four member. He doesn’t have the fighting qualities of the big four.

With this title Djokovic stretches his lead in the race to 1815 points over Murray again but apparently it is even more than that due to Davis Cup. Either way, Djokovic is right back to a dominating lead in the rankings after Murray closed in on him at Wimbledon.

With this title, Djokovic also won his 50th hard court title surpassing Connors who had 49 hard court titles and is now second behind Federer who has 60 hard court titles. It looks like Djokovic will eventually win more hard court titles and hard court slams than Federer to become the all-time greatest on hard court.

He needs at least one more slam on hard court and 10 more overall so there is still some distance to go, though. The Olympics will be the next hard court event and it is a pretty big one which Federer could never win.

So winning that will not hurt Djokovic’s GOATness on hardcourt and neither will another World Tour Finals title to tie Federer at 6. It would be fitting if Djokovic ends up being the hard court GOAT, Federer the grass court GOAT, and Nadal the clay court GOAT.

This coming Thursday, the Olympics begin and I see Cincinnati starts right after that which will make it challenging for Djokovic to finally complete the career Masters. I don’t know when he will play his first match in Rio but at least he gets a few days off now.

He had plenty of rest recently and can probably win Rio and Cincy after winning Toronto. But yeah it will take some doing. Some good tennis ahead now!

  • Highlights

Posted in Canada, Masters 1000.

3 Comments

    1. Another great post, Ru-an. And I completely agree: it would be nice to see Fed = grass GOAT, Nadal = clay GOAT, Djokovic = hard GOAT.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply:

      Thank you!

      [Reply]

 

Fedal’s Last Stand

Fedal’s Last Stand

(I started a new page called Funny Photos under the gallery tab. Check it out and leave me a comment!) Hey, folks. I hope you are all having a good week and that the Fedfans have by now recovered from Roger’s loss in Rome after realizing that he is playing very well and still on course for resurrecting his clay court season which has been less than satisfactory the last couple of seasons. Ideally I’d like to see him make semis at the French and test himself against the best, but quarters would be fairly satisfactory as well as long as he plays a good match and loses to a good player. We know by now that Nadal will be seeded 7th and can, therefore, fall in Roger’s quarter. But he could also meet Nishikori or Stan in the quarters who on a good day could eliminate him. Not to mention a dangerous youngster like Kyrgios who already defeated him in Madrid. So the draw will already be very interesting, especially for finding out in whose quarter Nadal lands. This brings me to the importance of the French Open for Nadal as well as the importance of Wimbledon for Roger.

  • The Importance of the French Open for Nadal
We already started a discussion on my previous post about the Fedal era coming to an end and I’d like to continue it here. Nadal’s career is basically on life support right now and a 10th French Open title alone can save it in my opinion. He has been subject to upsets since Halle last year and for the first time in 10 years has not won a Masters during the European clay court season. In fact, he only made one final! Who would have thought that would be the case before the clay season began?

Rafa-Nadal-Roland-Garros

He has dropped out of the top 5 in the rankings for the first time in 10 years too. These are all signs of undeniable decline. Roger went through the same thing in 2013 and was able to resurrect his career by making changes to his coaching staff and equipment. But importantly, he has not been able to win a slam since then. As for Nadal, there has been no sign of resurrection so far. And I am afraid if he doesn’t win the French Open there may never be a resurrection. The French Open is no doubt Nadal’s last stand. At least for a long time to come. Maybe he can compete for the French Open in the future again, but I am not so sure about that if he doesn’t win it this year. If he can’t gain confidence from the clay season then where will he gain confidence from? Either way he has clearly come to a defining moment in Paris, and I am not so sure he can defy the odds this time. I always had 14 slam titles in mind for him, and I think there is a good chance he will remain on that number indefinitely.
  • The Importance of Wimbledon for Federer
With the arrival of Fed 4.0 at the beginning of 2014, Roger went a long way towards putting the steep decline of 2013 behind him. But I’m not sure anyone can say that the disastrous season is well and truly behind him before he wins another slam. He came awfully close at Wimbledon last year when he lost 6-4 in the 5th set in that epic final against Djokovic. The resurrection of Roger was never going to happen overnight though, and I think toward the end of last year and this year so far we have seen improvements from Roger. Roger_Federer-1200-3 He has already won three titles for instance compared to last year’s one at the same stage, and he’s been having a better clay court season too. The Australian Open loss was a setback, but I think it is fair to say his game has been fine tuned better since the beginning of 2014. But will it be enough to win a slam? I think most people would agree that his best chance is at Wimbledon and that it probably needs to happen this year. It will only get harder in the future. Murray will already be a huge threat this year along with Djokovic. Djokovic himself seems to be playing better than last year, so what would Roger’s chances be if they met this year? Then there are several other dangerous players like Berdych, Raonic, Dimitrov, and Kyrgios. The situation has definitely not gotten easier since last year, and I am not even sure how much Roger has improved. His serve, net game, backhand, and mental game have all improved. But won’t he need his forehand to be at its best to win Wimbledon with the tough competition?
  • Fedal: The Last Stand
For one era to end a new era has to come along. The decline is not enough, or else the Fedal era would have been over a long time ago. The Djokoray era has been threatening for some time now to take over, but Murray was not quite up to the challenge. With his form so far this year and his first clay titles in Munich and Madrid, he has made serious statements. He has been extremely consistent this year and therefore it is no surprise he is second in the race. The Djokoray era looks primed to take over from Fedal once and for all. The only way they will be stopped is if Fedal wins the French Open and Wimbledon. Here is an interesting excerpt from Roger’s presser after the Rome final:
“You cannot take away the last 10 years,” he said. “It’s going to be best of five sets, we know how tough Rafa is physically and mentally. He is the favourite still to me. “Novak at this point probably has to win, like in 2011 when he didn’t lose the whole year so it feels similar to that in my opinion. Maybe Rafa isn’t having the same success as before but nevertheless that remains the situation for me. It’s all talk, in the end it’s the racket that is going to do the talking. They are doing good and I hope it is not going to be between the two of them!”
Roger is usually very accurate with his predictions, but I’m not so sure here. It’s almost as if he wants Nadal to win to hold the Djokoray era off one more time. It can also be interpreted that he is trying to put pressure of Djokovic. This time Nadal is well and truly up against it though and it will take a heroic effort to win a 10th French Open. The same can be said for Roger at Wimbledon. Fedal have held off the next generation for an extraordinarily long time, simply because they are arguably the two best players in the history of the sport. Djokovic-Murray Djokovic has been winning slams for some time now, but one guy is not enough to hold Fedal off. He needs the support of Murray. Murray looks primed for big things like I said and it would be very interesting if Nadal lands in his quarter in Paris after what happened in the Madrid final. But as far as the title goes Murray is a bigger threat at Wimbledon. I wouldn’t be surprised if Djokovic finally wins the French this year and Murray wins Wimbledon. But one thing is for sure; the Fedal era is under serious threat. If they are going to extend their relevance for at least one more year then Paris and London will be the places to do it in the next couple of months. I would rate their chances of winning the French and Wimbledon respectively about the same as well. Nadal has been more dominant at the French, but he is in much worse form than Roger. And I don’t see them with much of a chance of winning slams outside of the two I mentioned, although Roger will still be a dangerous dark horse in New York. What do you think? Do you think Fedal have what it takes to make one last stand or is Djokoray here to stay? All opinions and thoughts are welcome.

Can Fedal make one last stand?

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The is in your court.
Posted in Uncategorized.

30 Comments

    1. I´m enjoing the fact that Roger can still compete with anyone as he approaches 34 years of age. The man is just amazing. I feel he will get another GS tittle. Djoko has gone to all kind of length to get his game up, Roger in top of his form great inborn talent did not need to do them.That´s shows the difference.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Indeed Ines. Amazing how well he is still playing and that he is still #2 in the world. But these days he seems to struggle at the slams. Probably due to stamina issues. As for the Djoker, I’m not quite sure what you are trying to say. That the Djoker is more dedicated, hard-working, and mentally strong than Roger?

      [Reply]

      ines Reply: No that the Joker is more dedicated than he needs to be dedicated to get his game up even being in his peak,Roger all talent in his peak.

      [Reply]

    1. I think we have been seeing a decline in Fedal for sometime now but I don’t see them going away for another 2 years at least. Maybe 2016 or 2017 will be the last time they win a slam.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Interesting Ajay. I don’t see them going away for two more years either, but winning a slam is another matter. Roger has not won a slam since 2012, and the more time passes the harder it gets. He seems to have stamina problems over five sets. That’s why I think he needs to get it done this year, even though I won’t completely write him off to win a slam for in 2016 either. As for Nadal, it’s about the same. His decline has been steep and if he loses the French I don’t think he can recover. He’ll be out of the top 10 and if he can’t do it on clay what will happen on the other surfaces?

      [Reply]

      Ajay Reply: Well clearly I think we are going down the same path we went last year with Murray. Nadal will have a grand total of 400 points to defend after French uptill the Aus Open next year. Surely he is gonna be back in the top 8 by year end maybe even top 5. And next year he might start feeling better like Murray this year. Nobody knows for sure. Maybe starting from 2017 I will start believing Nadal’s physical decline but right now I don’t really buy it.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Yeah, it’s difficult to say. But given the pounding Nadal’s body has taken over the years it’s certainly not impossible that his body is close to total collapse. Hasn’t it gotten much worse in the last few years? The injuries have become worse and the breaks have become longer. Ironically now that he seems relatively injury free his results are poor. I guess he doesn’t feel enough like the ‘underdog’ when he is not injured. :((

      [Reply]

    1. Who will get Rafa in their quarter?? Lets just make it easy on ourselves and say that with Roger’s luck he will be in his quarter :-) If Rafa and Roger are in the same draw…. then that will be Madrid, Rome and RG. I think Rafa is secretly hoping to get in Roger’s draw…. I think they will give Novak an easy draw to make it easier to get to the final. But nowadays… what is an easy draw?? And Roger saying Rafa is the favourite is logic. The guy lost just one match in 10 years. One match !!! And Novak is ofcourse also the biggest favourite. If Roger did it on purpose, then it is a good tactic to keep the pressure on Rafa and Novak. Let him be the “underdog”. By the way….I am not counting Murray out either…. something tells me… he will be a RG-SURPRISE :-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Personally I am in two minds about a Fedal QF Katyani. It could give Roger the chance to finally get a win over Nadal at the FO, but it could also boost Nadal’s confidence to get a win over his favorite whipping boy.

      [Reply]

    1. Yes! They can pull it off one more time! Fedal is magic, Djokoray is a joke who probably never could win a clay masters tournament when it was still played best of 5 in finals, Fedal won such Masters, fedal4life! Guys enjoy the greatest tennis clay court match ever played with arguably 2 best tennis players of all time, no prime Djokovic or Murray could ever come close to such mastery.

      [Reply]

      FeDaL Reply:

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Come on Fedal you are sounding awfully tardish here. The Djoker has come closer than Roger ever came at beating Nadal at the FO. And did you forget that Murray just destroyed Nadal in the Madrid final? To say that Djokoray is a joke shows a lot of ignorance. You don’t win 10 slams between you being a joke, with probably many more to come.

      [Reply]

      Ajay Reply: Obviously Djokovic is massive player but I just feel the Rome Masters finals, the two Wimbledon finals and the Aus Open final that these two played were out of the world. The matches that Nadal and Djokovic played that have been epic are the Aus Open 2012 Final and the French Open 2013 Final. But I just don’t think the level showed by Djokovic here matches the magnificence of those Fedal matches. Again I know very well Djokovic is amazing but aesthetically speaking Fedal matches actually look better.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Yeah, here we disagree. I think the Fedal rivalry is overhyped and overrated. It is a mismatch. Nadal owns Federer, whereas Djokodal is way more competitive. It’s a much better match up. I don’t think Fedal matches look better either. They no doubt had some epic battles but usually it comes down to Nadal moonballing Fed’s bh until it falls apart. It’s a very poor match up. The Djokerer rivalry is also way better and more aesthetically pleasing.

      [Reply]

      FeDaL Reply: Why should I bother to include a Murray match where Nadal played abysmal and without much Heart? This isn’t about comparing two player when one of them is in his worst form ever, its about comparing them when they were at their best. Federer and Nadal at their best would smoke Djokovic/Murray at their best any day of the week. The fact that the FeDaL era is coming to an end is just due to Federer’s age and Nadal being burned out, had they not regressed fed would be up on 20+ slams by now and Nadal 16+ easily.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Is that why Djokovic 1.0 defeated Federer in the 2007 Canada final, and Murray def Nadal at the 2008 US Open final when Fedal were in their primes? You know better than to make silly sweeping statements like that Fedal. Or you should. Djokovic 2.0 smoked Fed at the 2011 AO and he smoked Nadal in 7 consecutive finals that included 3 slam finals 4 Masters finals when Fedal was still in their prime. Let’s not get into silly arguments. I already said Fedal is arguably the greatest two players in the history of tennis. What more do you want from me? It doesn’t matter how good they were, because age catches up with everyone and Djokoray is more than competent enough to take over from them. Djokovic has already done so and once Murray joins the party Fedal is history.

      [Reply]

      FeDaL Reply: I am not saying that Djokovic and Murray are terrible compared to other greats in the sport, its just that fedal set such a high standard it will suck when its over, but it has been over for quite some time now. Murray is key to making this new era worth anything, or else Djokovic would have no real threats on the tour kind of like Federer in 2003-2005.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: No worries Fedal I understand that people don’t like change. But Djokovic is already getting up there and Murray has potential too.

      [Reply]

    1. Hey Ru-an, I know Roger is very respectful to Nadal, and I also realize that he knows more about tennis than I’ll ever imagine about the sport. But I do tend to think he might just be trying to put the heavy burden of expectation on Nadal’s shoulders by calling him the favorite this time around. Roger’s had that weight on his shoulders for many years, so he knows what it’s like better than anyone else. And we all know Nadal likes to play the underdog, right? He always prefers that someone else should be the favorite. Roger’s endorsement might even unsettle Nadal’s mental equilibrium somewhat. And I admit I like that thought! So I think Roger is definitely in a win-win situation here by saying Nadal is the favorite. That’s my interpretation, anyway – and I’m sticking to it! :-) It’s hard not to see where you are coming from when you say, “Roger is usually very accurate with his predictions, but I’m not so sure here.” This endorsement would really make me say hmm if I didn’t suspect it was really a mind game. And I can’t say how pleased I am that Roger is hoping to be in the finals himself. Many of us are saying QF or SF would be good. And it would be! But this year the FO is more open than it has been for a long time, and with a little luck Roger could be sitting on 18 BEFORE Wimbledon rolls around this year. Ru-an, on another note, I laughed out loud when I saw your poll! “I am a Fedfan and therefore only Federer can.” Tremendous! And then when I saw how many people picked that option I had to laugh again! Somehow I hope they are just having a joke with us… Best wishes, Joe

      [Reply]

      Joe Reply: Hey, something else. I wanted to shout out to someone who pointed out recently that Roger seems to be thinner these days. I haven’t been able to see Roger play lately but if it’s true then I’m sure it’s not an accident. I am hoping that it will help his stamina in 5-set matches. Glueckstern, allez, chum jetze,etc.! :-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Chris Evert said Nadal is thinner too. Hopefully, it doesn’t help his stamina.

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Joe! Nice to see you back ;-) And great comment too. Thanks providing us with a fresh perspective about what Roger said. I hope you are right because that is the kind of mind games I’d like him to play with Nadal. Hopefully, it has an effect on Nadal and he doesn’t win #10. And you are right it is more open this year. I hope they are joking with us too, but you know how fans can be :-?

      [Reply]

      Jiten Reply: Ru-an, I hope your readers like this video of Federer to put the opponent off the hook way back in 1998 while he was just 17. He has this talent of playing mind games under his armory, but uses them pretty seldom.

      [Reply]

      Katyani Reply: Hey Joe, I, Katanyi (as you call me :-) ) missed you and your comments :-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: So did I! Joe, Alex, and Eric always make interesting comments and they are very missed when they are gone!

      [Reply]

      Joe Reply: Hey Katyani! Thanks for your kind words. And I’m so sorry to misspell your name! I have a touch of dyslexia that messes me up on a personal and professional basis quite frequently. :\"> Not that it’s related to dyslexia, but I was misspelling Ru-an’s name for … well, about a year I guess! (Ru-an if it was much MORE than a year, please don’t feel any pressure to point that out!). :-) But it’s strange that I would misspell your name, Katyani, since I’m so curious about names (yours, for example) and what they mean. And when I think of your name, since I couldn’t find it in any searches, I put together Katy (=pure) and Ani (=grace) and came up with pure grace. And that’s how I think of you. But can you believe that after I thought that through, I would still continue to misspell your name? (!) Well, that’s dyslexia for you… :-) The best part is that whether or not it’s what your name means, that’s how you really are, sweet Katyani. So I’m just going to have to beg your pardon for misspelling! Everyone on this site is richer for your pure grace, and we’re always glad to hear from you. ;-) But after you pointed out that my slip was showing, I looked up your name again today, but I found a meaning this time! (Maybe I was misspelling it when I was searching before!!!) It’s listed as “Because my baby is gods [sic] gift” on http://cutebabynames.onlymyhealth.com/what-is-meaning-of-name-katyani-32884. That’s pretty good too, because you are a gift to everyone who knows you. But if you know the meaning of your name, and it’s different from these, I hope you know I’d be glad to learn it. And as far as my comment about who’s the favorite is concerned, I didn’t realize until after I posted it that you’d said essentially the same thing earlier! “If Roger did it on purpose, then it is a good tactic to keep the pressure on Rafa and Novak.” Ha, GMTA!! I’ve just been working too many hours, and jump on here briefly and then get back to work, so I miss a lot of good stuff from Ru-an and all the other great post-ers these days. But I want you to know that I miss you too Katyani, and your sweet comments. Please keep them coming! :-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: Nah Joe no problems from my side. I don’t remember you misspelling my name. That must be an annoying condition you have. It is not influencing the quality of your comments in any way though. :-)

      [Reply]

    1. Hey Ru-an, just saw the funny photo’s. I am sooooooooo loving them. Especially the one where Dull has to sign Roger’s cap, but the best one is Stan’s answer to Brad Gilbert :-) Yep, never take someone like Stanimal for granted and never assume he is going to lose. I guess we all learned that at AO 2014 right? Go Stan :-)

      [Reply]

      Ru-an Reply: I’m glad you like them Katyani, but in the future if you have a comment about them please leave it on that page. Thanks.
 

Djokovic Wins 24th Masters Title Over Federer in Rome

Djokovic Wins 24th Masters Title Over Federer in Rome

First of all my sympathies to Fedfans and second congrats to the Djoker and his fans. With his 4th Rome title, the Djoker surpasses Roger in Masters titles won and it looks very likely that he will surpass Nadal too to get the record. He has now also won every big tournament(Masters and up) that he played since losing to Roger in Shanghai last year.

  • Opening Set
There wasn’t much in his match until Roger set up a break point at 4-4 and deuce with a forehand drive down the line which forced the Djoker into error. The point that followed was definitely a key point. The Djoker played a rock solid point where he hit with great depth and finally forced Roger into error with an attacking inside out forehand. If Roger had won that point it is very likely he would have won the set, but the Djoker was just very clutch. In the next game, the Djoker played a very good return game to get the break and the set.

CFOgt3WWgAAlcQ4

Roger went down 0-30 I think but reeled the Djoker in with some great net play to 30-30. At deuce, there was another key point as the Djoker came up with a US Open 2011-like return winner cross court to set up set point. He then made another very deep return off a first serve from Roger and kept great depth until dropping one short which Roger netted.
  • Second Set
After winning the first set, the Djoker was immediately the big favorite to win it. The Djoker held his serve in the opening game of the second set after which he set up a break point in the second game. Roger saved it with a tremendous backhand winner up the line, but the Djoker ended up breaking anyway. And then when he consolidated for 3-0 you figured the match was pretty much a done deal. The Djoker had a break point in the next game as well for the double break, but at least Roger avoided a possible bakery product.

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Roger also did his part by making the Djoker serve out the match at 5-3 but this time there would be no miraculous comeback as Roger hit a routine forehand well wide to lose the match.
  • Closing Observations
In the end, it was a routine scoreline and it wasn’t a classic in any sense of the word, but it was still a high-quality match as you can see from the match stats. When both players hit more winners than unforced errors it is a sign of high-quality tennis. Both players had great serving days as well. The Djoker’s serve has improved recently and when he serves at 70% first serves on top of a rock solid baseline game then he becomes almost impossible to beat. The Djoker’s returns and passing shots is another big factor.

CFOguOEWoAEBhEv

As you can see Roger didn’t win a big percentage of net points because of this. His second serve was also under loads of pressure. On a slower court like this it was always going to be an uphill struggle for Roger. The courts were playing faster than usual this week and today was probably the hottest day of the week, but it still wasn’t enough. The Djoker is just too solid and impenetrable from the baseline. You had the feeling if Roger won that break point and won the first set, the Djoker would have won in three sets anyway.
  • Federer’s Week
As far as Roger goes I think Fedfans should feel very good about his week. At the beginning of the week, we were just hoping he could make semis, but he surpassed that and made the final. Of course Fedfans always want more and yes it would have been nice if he won, especially after losing last year to Stan in the Monte Carlo final as well. This was another chance that got away to win one of the two elusive Masters he has never won. That said, I think it is great that he is making the Rome final at this stage of his career. Maybe not necessarily making the Rome final, because he did that in 2013 when he was playing poorly too, but the level of his play on clay. It is nice to see after that Davis Cup match against Gasquet last year that he is indeed so far resurrecting his clay tennis. The performances from Berdych and Stan were strange, but Roger still played very well. And this was exactly the kind of result he would have looked for after the early loss to Kyrgios in Madrid. So from my point of view this was another superb week for Roger. CFO_wheWEAAnj5K I can only speak for myself. I know many Fedfans get very disappointed after a loss like this and tend to look at the negatives. The way I see it Roger did as well as he could and lost to the better player in the final. Simple as that. He will go to the French Open with loads of confidence with a great shot of making semis. I don’t know what more you can ask as a Fedfan at this point.
  • Looking Ahead
As for the Djoker, he continues his utter dominance of the ATP Tour after looking vulnerable earlier in the week. You gotta respect the way he came up with his best tennis when it mattered the most in the semis and final. Today he was impeccable. I think it is fair for me to say he is the French Open favorite again, even after I made the wrong prediction last year. Nadal is always a danger and Roger actually said after the match that Nadal is still the favorite. I don’t know if there was any emotion involved in that comment, but he will say that until Nadal loses again at the French Open anyway, so I’m not sure how much to read into it. Personally I hope the Djoker wins the French Open. I certainly don’t want Nadal to win it again and I think the Djoker deserves the title by now, having come the closest of anyone to beating Nadal at the French aside from Nadal’s loss to Soderling of course. Nadal’s loss to Stan in Rome, on the other hand, can’t bode very well for his French Open hopes. If he is to win the French Open this year it will be the first time he does it without winning a Masters on clay during the clay season.

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He looks more vulnerable than ever. He is already number seven in the rankings and if he fails to defend the French he will lose at least 800 points, but probably more. As the 7th seed, he will play the Djoker, Roger, Murray, or Berdych in the quarters. He could fall as early as that if not earlier, and it will be very interesting to see in whose quarter he lands. If he lands in the Djoker’s or Murray’s quarter I can easily see him losing. Roger and Berdych are another matter with their histories against Nadal but they could beat him too. But you are never gonna write Nadal off at the French. Not when he is the 5-time defending champion. All I know is that this is it for him. His obituary has been written a thousand times of late, but the final nail won’t be in the coffin until he loses in Paris. If that happens he will probably remain on 14 slam titles indefinitely, which is the number I had in mind for him all along. So yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens but I am not gonna get my hopes up too high until it actually happens.
  • Highlights
  • Match Stats

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  • Articles/Pressers

Djokovic feeling as good as 2011 Federer happy to back up late decision The Djoker provided the entertainment as usual =)) The is in your court.
Posted in Masters 1000, Rome.

40 Comments

    1. You summed it up pretty well Ruan. Like I thought Roger went very deep in the tournament and he can definitely have a crack at the French Open as well. Come Wimbledon what he really needs is confidence that when things get tough vs Djokovic/Murray/Nadal he is still gonna be able to come through and that will come only if he does well in Halle and French Open I think. I still think the French Open is pretty open because even though we all know Djokovic is the firm favorite nobody wants to rule out Nadal and Federer/Murray/Nishikori are right behind Djokovic as the in-form guys. With Berdych being ultra consistent this year and Raonic with his always reliable huge serve and Stan and Dimitrov having decent runs in Madrid and Rome respectively its gonna be pretty close affair this French Open I think. We should probably watch out for the young guns – Krygios/Coric as well I think !!

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      Ru-an Reply: Another good comment Ajay. I agree Roger needs to keep his confidence up if he wants to win Wimby and that the FO is open. I wouldn’t mind seeing Stan close to Nadal in the draw. Will be interesting to see what the liked of Thiem, Kyrgios, and Coric does too.

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      Charlie Reply: Without seeing the draw I can’t be too specific yet but at the moment (I will probably revise some of these when the draw comes out): Federer to make semis Nishikori to make semis Djokovic to win Nadal to lose before the final A player 23 or under to make the quarters No British players other than Murray in the 2nd round No American players past the 4th round Most of these are shots in the dark until we know the draw but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway. I don’t really see anything for Roger to be worried about with regards to his clay-court form: 2 early exits, a win and a M1000 final is not bad for a soon-to-be 34 year old on his worst surface by some distance. Just hope that if he loses to someone at the French it isn’t in a really crap way like against Gulbis last year or Tsonga in 2013. Or another capitulation to Nadal like FO 2008.

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      Ru-an Reply: Sound like good predictions Charlie. As for Roger I think he had a good clay court season so far and would love to see him make semis at the FO after the Tsonga and Gulbis losses, if only it is to test himself against Djokovic or Nadal.

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      Katyani Reply: “We should probably watch out for the young guns – Krygios/Coric as well I think !!” I think David Goffin can also be a threat :-)

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    1. Nadal only won Madrid last year due to Nishikori getting injured. He is the favorite for the French Open and only when or if he falls there will it be doom and gloom. I don’t see Djokovic deserving anyhing at the French Open, he will deserve it when he earns it.

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      Ru-an Reply: Right, but he did win Madrid. This year he got owned by Murray and didn’t even make another clay final in Europe. Very poor by his standards. I don’t see Nadal deserving anything at the FO. He will deserve it when he earns it.

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      Jiten Reply: “He will deserve it when he earns it.” Could not have been said better Ru-an and of course, this is what is called getting medicine from one’s own bottle. ~x(

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      Ru-an Reply: :))

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    1. Roger made again the final of a tour he was not sure he would enter. How can we not be proud of that?? At age 33,5. Respect. TOTAL respect. Today he played great, Novak was just better. If Novak will rule until Wimby, then he has to be too tired after that. So that time, if Roger keeps his schedule right, he can “rule” the other half of the year. Because, even with the loss today, he still is the closest person who can beat Novak. First I didn’t understand why Roger would say that Rafa is still the favourite to win RG, even when Rafa is losing so much now. But Roger is smart….. Rafa lost one match at RG in 10 years. One match !! How can anyone not say he still is the favourite?? Anyway, I am not counting Rafa out, but I am certainly not counting Roger out for RG. And you may disagree with me Ru-an, but I don’t think Novak will win RG. It “seems” like “the Universe” stands in his way (Roger beating him, rain delay, net incident, being sick). We will see if he wins it or not. Maybe just like USO…. there could be two finalists we never would expect……

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      Ru-an Reply: I don’t disagree that you think Novak will not win the FO Katyani. I’m sure you are not making that up. Anyway, no one knows who will win the FO. What we do know is that Djokovic is by far the best player in the world right now and that Nadal is pretty damn far from that.

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      Veronica Reply: Kat, Roger is very loyal to Nadal. He will say Nadal is favourite until the moon turns blue or when Nadal is crippled, whichever occur first :-) I would say Roger is in denial (sorry, just being realistic). How you label a favourite is based on history AND current consistent form. Roger, although he respects Djoker more these days, still refuses to admit Djoker into his tight inner circle of the greatest players of this era where he feels only he and Nadal belongs. He is also identifying Nadal’s spiral with his own life where people wrote him off and he came back and proved them wrong. I sometimes wonder too if the universe is conspiring against Djoker. It was looking like he would win it since 2011 but as you say, Kat, it was “Roger, net, rain, sick!” :-) but if you look at it properly, it was explainable. Djoker was under tremendous pressure to win it, he was not that experienced yet, Nadal was still in beastly form, Roger produced his greatest clay court game. The fact now is Djoker is at so much peace with himself, so happily married and a son to provide him with inspiration everyday. He feels joy, super confident with his game, sitting on top of the world mountain of points ahead of everyone, has a perfect team working for him, won all the big ones, no injury. And to make the argument even stronger that he will not collapse this year and that the universe will run out of things to stop him, Djoker is a “wholesome” sportsman. It works for everything in life, in work, in school, in play, in relationship. When you go on a healthy lifestyle of healthy food and healthy mind, you have the edge. How many tennis players look after themselves as well as the Djoker? None! He’s got everything covered. Where can you find a hole??!! Like you, Kat, I don’t like Djoker but I do admire all that he has achieved and doing to be a great player. What I’m saying is I think the universe has run out of ways to deter the Djoker at RG this year.

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      Veronica Reply: Also, Kat, he has added his serve as a weapon now! It wasn’t so few years ago. Heck Roger can’t get a look into his serve these days! As far as I know, players are usually a great server or a great returner. But Djoker is BOTH!!! Its hard to get into the match with him as how we saw Roger couldn’t get into yesterday. And even if you get a sneak, his baseline is so solid and strong, he neutralises at will!

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      Katyani Reply: Hey Ronnie and Ru-an, Novak totally deserved to win the match. Period. No arguement there. Even I could see that. Some of his returns…. how did he made them?? But I do have to say this too. In my opinion, Roger played amazing in the 1st set, but…. not in the 2nd set. Ofcourse that also came from the fact that Novak wasn’t ALLOWING him to play his best. Always pressuring him. Like the commie says… the point of the match that Roger made…. I think 2nd set, first game 30-40 for Roger…. Roger just had to play such a genius point just to stay in the match, let alone win it. That was Novak’s credit. He pressured Roger in every single way. It is not a secret that I don’t like Novak, but he played a fair and amazing match and totally deserved the win. But…. Roger should and could have made a 3rd set out of it. He ofcourse would lose that too, but….oke…. And guys, I know you think I am talking nonsense with my “Faith and Destiny”, but…. something is standing in Novak’s way to win RG. He might win it this year or not. Everybody says that the big big reason Roger won RG in 2009 was that Rafa was out, but…. Roger didn’t get a free ticket to the final right?? Wasn’t he almost losing to Haas and Delpo?? Yes, Rafa was out, but he had to get to the final. Same goes for Novak. He is not the best player on the planet, but the best player in the universe !!!, but he still has to make it to the final and win it. This is not me dissing Novak for winning Rome. He earned the win. Moving on. But I don’t think he will win RG too. I think Rafa will. (Hoping for Roger with all my heart !!!). Because…. the match against Stan….. If that is Rafa at his “worst”…. my God…. we should all fear. He was everywhere !!! Returning everything. Stan had literally play above himself just to win. I am not counting Novak out, neither Roger and unfortunately… neither Rafa.

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      Veronica Reply: Good comment Kat! I agree Roger played as well as Novak allowed him to and as well as his present form. I didn’t expect his present form to beat Djoker. I’m just waiting and hoping he hits a higher form heading into FO and Wimby because anything less will not win no 18 with present climate. As for FO, it’s open this year and it is still anybody’s slam. Who knows we could have a winner outside Big Four like AO and USO last year! No one saw that coming! But it’s fun to speculate, discuss and predict isn’t it?!!

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      Katyani Reply: Oh and Ronnie, forgot to say to you great comment you wrote. Also… I didn’t know Novak was that popular in Rome?? Wow, he has a lot of fans there. And both Rafa and Novak speak fluently Italian. Wow.

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      Ru-an Reply: Right, Veronica. Roger is too loyal to Nadal in fact. I think it may be Stockholm syndrome. But at the same time he always seems to be right. So I won’t write off what he says. For all we know Nadal will walk away with a 10th FO this year.

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      Nakul Reply: I’m not sure if you people know this, but Djokovic supported the stand that FO should give a ranking boost to Nadal. We know that’s not going to happen now. But his point was that when Wimbledon does it, FO should too. I’m not sure what Djokerer are thinking when they make such statements. Of course Nadal’s form and his performance at FO are sensitive issues for them and it’s sort of their duty to stand up to each other. For instance, when Roger was struggling in 2013, both Djokovic and Nadal supported him when the whole idiotic tennis media wanted him to retire. So in a way it’s nice how the Big-3 stand up to each other, despite their intense rivalries on court. Such a contrast to the Agassi-Sampras rivalry. As Ru-an said Roger is usually right when it comes to predictions and Nadal might even win the 10th FO but this time Roger definitely can’t stop Djokovic. Only realistic chance is Murray. Murray is in a similar situation which Roger was in 2011, having lost a series of matches to Djokovic that season. I know it doesn’t seem much sensible to think that Murray might upset Djokovic, that too on clay. But most people thought the same about Roger before the 2011 FO SF.

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      Ru-an Reply: Any scenario is basically possible Nakul. That’s why it surprises me when people are talking about the calendar slam already. The Djoker’s history at RG is enough not to even think about the calendar slam. But I guess his form suggests he can do it this year. It’s not like 2011 where Roger and Nadal are the same threats. That said, both of them can still beat him. And so can Murray. I don’t know if people realize how difficult it is to do what these guys do. The Djoker’s consistency is ridiculous, and it can only go on for so long. He also has loads of pressure to win the FO.

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      Charlie Reply: Great comment Ru-an, and you are certainly right about the CYGS. There’s a reason why it hasn’t been done since 1969. If Novak gets through FO and WB, then we can start to talk about it. The CYGS is so hard because one mistake and its over for the entire year. During Roger’s seasons where he was 27-1 at GS he played probably 20 good matches, 7 bad matches he managed to scrape through and then one bad match against Nadal each year. One bad match! But he lost that one match, and that was that. I would say the CYGS (if it ever happens again) would require some luck, and you would have to avoid the greatest champions of each event at least a couple of times I think. No way I ever can see anyone doing Djokovic at AO, followed by Nadal at FO, followed by Roger/Andy at WB, followed by Roger/Rafa/Novak/Andy at USO. I would give the probability of a CYGS in any given year as something like 1 in 100. Seen as Novak already won the AO and is in such good form I’ll say 1 in 25.

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      Ru-an Reply: Thanks, Charlie. Sound like fair odds. Another way to see it is that Roger was lucky even to get the career slam. If Nadal didn’t lose to Soderling in 2009 he would not even have gotten that. And if anyone was good enough to win the calendar slam it was him. So yeah it’s a very difficult task. I guess if Djokovic wins the FO he will feel very relieved and confident so that his chances increase of winning Wimby and the USO, but it would still be very difficult.

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    1. Hi Ru-an, before I make my comment, must comment on the video—Djoker needs to take a lesson on how to open a bottle of champagne more safely. Would you believe he saw a doctor to check his wound on his forehead? Luckily, it was a minor wound. Funny in way! A masterful blog, Ru-an, on today’s match in Roma. Thank You. It was “fair and square” imho, I watched the match, Djoker was playing superb tennis. Don’t know how to describe Roger’s game, but it was not there. My thoughts wandered a bit after Roger’s loss….here he is, approaching his 34th birthday and he is Nr. 2 in the rankings? He is still playing some super tennis even against some of the much younger players, playing aggressive tennis and he still wins on most occasions? Has earned 17 GS, was #1 for umpteen years and he is still playing tennis because he loves the game. He is amazing, in my eyes. Shall follow him as long as he is still playing the game he loves…I shall also appreciate the younger players from Nr. 1, Djokovic to the upcoming younger players as slowly changing of the guards takes place. Tennis is what we all like that come to your blog, Ru-an, and you know I like coming here, it is an expanding family that gathers here around you. Keep up the good work, Ru-an, Kindly, Dolores

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      Ru-an Reply: Hello, Dolores! First of all I’m sorry that Roger lost. I knew how much you wanted him to win. But I’m glad your thoughts wandered a bit after the match because he is doing exceptionally well at his age. The second best player in the world! If it wasn’t for the Djoker’s dominance he would be winning more titles too. As for Djokovic yes he needs to be more careful but pretty funny if you ask me. Also thank you very much for the praise. There is still a lot of work to do but I think my blog is an awful lot better already! As for Roger’s game not being there is it normal to feel like that after a tough loss like this, but personally I don’t see how he could have done much better. You just have to look at the match stats to realize this. In fact he did well not to get a bakery product in the second set. That is just how good and dominant Djokovic currently is.

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      Katyani Reply: “In fact he did well not to get a bakery product in the second set” Ru-an, will you believe I was almost praying that Roger wouldn’t get a bagel?? With the way Novak was playing… any other dude would have gotten one. Talking about bagels, Roger hasn’t got a single bagel in (coming May) almost 7 years !!! 7 years !!! How about that?? Lets just pray I didn’t jinx him now…. If he does get a bagel…. you can all blame ME for jinxing him :-)

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      Ru-an Reply: Exactly Katyani. Most players would have gotten a bakery product, including Nadal probably. Roger is the only guy currently that can even be competitive with Djokovic on a consistent basis.

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      Veronica Reply: Haha Dolores! Maybe he doesn’t drink anymore, the Djoker, healthy lifestyle and all, ha! But as far as SMOOTH is concerned, there is no one like Roger. All players look rather clumsy alongside the GOAT! Btw, so nice to have you commenting regularly and longer comments too, Dolores! keep it up! At nearly 90, you are an inspiration! You can bet many of us cant keep up with you at the pace you are going!

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    1. Good post Ru-an and thanks for all the consolation you are giving us. A loss in a big one always hurts even if it doesn’t stink as much as before. He played as well as he could, given his inconsistencies, and at 33 still at number 2! Really proud to be his fan. He exceeded our expectations of reaching semis and he has found some form and deleted the losses in MC and Madrid. It is all good and I’m sure Roger is going to RG on a high. If he can manage semi in FO, again, he would have exceeded expectations. Even getting to quarters would be good already. However if he or we fans are thinking about no 18 in Wimby, a lot more improvements have to be done. I don’t know how he intends to go about it. Besides the obvious things he would need to improve on like return game and playing the important points well; for me, I feel, the most worrisome is the fh. Without his trademark fh that has won him his 17 slams, It would be hard for him to win the big ones.

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      Katyani Reply: You know what I don’t understand Veronica? Why doesn’t Roger and Stefan work something out for him being a fulltime coach?? Look what that brought to Novak. This 10 weeks a year a coach…. why is he not his fulltime coach?? Didn’t Roger improve big time after getting Stefan on board?? What is the deal between them??

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      Veronica Reply: I think stefan can’t commit more time. Don’t you think relationship of boris and Djoker working out beautifully?!! I don’t know about you but I am touched when I see Becker watching Dkokers matches. He is like a loving father watching his son play, so absorbed, so supportive and so anxious and nervous too! But it’s a nice kinda nervousness. You feel he really cares for Djoker. And he is not biased and coach shamelessly like uncle Toni!

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      elizabeth Reply: Hi folks, another fair post by Ru-an and great to read how everyone can see the game a little different. First I have to congratulate Novak I thought he played as well as I have seen him play, thought Roger was a little flat just didn’t seem as up for it as usual although it would have been hard to beat Djo. As for RG I know that on form Novak should win and Nadal being off his game well you would think it a done deal….we know all this but everytime I think of RG I think of NADAL!

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      Ru-an Reply: No worries Veronica. Yes Roger will need that fh firing if he wants to win Wimby. Probably the improved serve, bh, and net game won’t be enough. But like Nadal at the FO you can’t count him out at Wimby. He is in good enough shape on clay now. So as long as he goes deep in the FO I like his chances at Wimby. So maybe me and you disagree there. But yeah someone like the Djoker will be very hard to beat there. Roger will have to play better than last year or he would lose again probably.

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    1. Well, Roger completely takes that 2nd round loss in Madrid out of the conversation by getting to the final in Rome, which I think is good for his confidence. Also shows that he deserves the number 2 seed in Roland Garros. I’m still amazed how much higher Federer is seeded than Nadal at the French this year, all despite Roger having put in a lot more years on tour.

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      Ru-an Reply: Right, Alex. Madrid and MC taken out of the convo with solid performances in subsequent events. You don’t think Fed should be seeded higher than Nadal?

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      Albert Reply: Oh, I agree that Fed should be seeded higher than Rafa. But in my mind it’s part of his legacy that at age 33 he’s seeded higher than the man who has won more titles at Roland Garros than anyone else in history.

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    1. Aha Ru-an, latest posts with their dates first on top. Liking that a lot. Keep to changes coming. Blog is getting better and better :-)

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      Ru-an Reply: :-bd

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    1. Ru-an, I am currently watching the Cilic and Rublev match live, This kid has got some talent! (I am finding his game more exciting than the useless IPL matches here.) Simply fearless shot making; I find some of the shots, particularly on the forehand side very similar to Federer. He has got a pretty good return of serve as well. Looks like a very exciting prospect to me. I am sure in the near future, he will feature in your blog by doing well in the circuit. :-bd Hopefully he will do some damage in the French open.

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      Ru-an Reply: I haven’t seen much of him, but I know he is a very promising youngster Jiten. I see he only just lost to Cilic. =D>

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      Jiten Reply: He had a matchpoint though. Once he lost the second set, he simply folded. Lack of experience. I am sure with more experience on his side, he would be able to win matches from situation like yesterday’s. :-S

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      Ru-an Reply: Yes I heard that Jiten. At least it was on Cilic serve though.

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