Thiem Wins Second ATP Title in Umag

Hello, folks. First of all a very happy 90th birthday to a long time reader of mine Dolores! You are setting the bar high for the rest of us! Congrats! And another congrats is in order for Thiem who won his second career ATP title today in Umag when he defeated Sousa 6-4, 6-1 in a very confident performance. This comes after his first ATP title in Nice just before the French Open. It is also his second ATP Tour 250 level title and second title on clay.

He didn’t have a great grass court season, winning only two matches in four tournaments, but he seems to be heading back up in the rankings now that he is back on his beloved clay. With this title, he climbs to #24 in the rankings and #22 in the race. Not bad at all for a 21-year old these days. I think this title is huge for him, especially with how easily he won the final. In the final of Nice, he went to a tie-break in the decider, although granted Mayer is better than Sousa.

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Who does this hairstyle remind you of as a youngster? 

I didn’t watch the match, but from what I read it sounded like Thiem was a lot more confident and decisive, especially in the second set. His lack of decisiveness was something that bothered me about his game, but it looks like he is maturing and gaining in confidence. That is great to see. He also breadsticked Monfils in the decider in the semis. With this title it appears he has now mastered the ATP 250 level. At least on clay. The next step would be to win a hard court title or an ATP 500 on clay.

But it is great to see him backing up his first title so quickly with a second one and after a slow start to the year he is making quick progress again. I don’t think it’s a big deal that he is getting his best results on one surface either. He has already had great results on hard court too and will develop as a player on other surfaces than clay as he matures. I don’t even think he is a bad grass court player. He just needs more tennis on it.

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The legend graced Umag with his presence

In the long run, he will probably be more like Stan though as far as favoring slower surfaces go. He has a very similar game to Stan with a great one-handed backhand, heavy groundstrokes, a big serve, and very competent volleys. As far as slams go he will favor Melbourne and Paris like Stan as well. He needs time to set up those big groundstrokes like Stan. He will be devastating off the ground when he ages some more and gets even stronger.

He already hits it with a ton of power off the ground. But what I love about his game is that he also has the variation and touch. It’s hard to say at this point just how far he can go in the game, but I think he has loads of potential and I will keep following his progress eagerly. His progress has been fast and steady, bar a few hiccups and I will also be keeping a close eye on him during the hard court season. He already made the fourth round of the US Open last year.

  • Elsewhere this Week

There were, of course, two other events being played this week in Bogota and Bastad. Bastad was on clay as well and there Paire won his first title. Another talented French player but mentally fragile as the French are. Then in Bogota which was a hard court event another youngster Tomic(22) won his third ATP title 10 days after being arrested for partying too loudly in Miami. And you can add Tomic to the list of talented but mentally fragile.

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Third ATP title for Tomic!

Alexander Zverev(18) made the semis in Bastad as well so it’s been another good week for the youngsters.

  • Dimitrov Turns Over New Page

Now to someone who is a bit older but still relatively young at age 24. Dimitrov has already been top 10 but his results have been poor of late and he hasn’t lived up to the big hype surrounding him. As far as I was concerned he needed to ditch both his coach Rasheed and his girlfriend Sharapova, which is exactly what he did. Coincidence? I don’t think so. He has also been seen training with Lendl which can only be a good thing.

If he does get Lendl on board that would be huge for him and exactly what he needs at this stage of his career. He needs someone strict to kick his ass into gear and teach him a winning mentality. For all his talent, he is mentally lazy and weak. His mind is not in the game, but it may be now after deciding to get rid of Sharapova and training with Lendl. I’m not saying he is the one who left Sharapova but I think it is likely and it is a good thing either way.

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It’s over

Here is what he said:

“Now I’m concentrated entirely on the game and I’m sure the results will soon be seen… This is the summer of the new beginning for me.”

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/07/24/tennis-sharapova-dimitrov-idUKL3N1043UB20150724

It is yet to be seen if Dimitrov will live by these words and changes his attitude to tennis but if he does then he could be a threat to anyone probably. Maybe he lacks a really big shot but his serve and forehand are pretty big and he is talented. I’m sure with a coach like Lendl he can possibly contend for slams. With Stan, Federer, Murray, Nadal, Nishikori, Raonic, Dimitrov, and the new group of youngsters coming up there are many good players, but the Djoker remains in a league of his own.

The is in your court.

Posted in ATP 250, Bastad, Bogota, Umag.

76 Comments

  1. First of all, a grand happy birthday to Grandma Dolores. Ru-an, though I have not been commenting of late to your last few posts, be assured that I have been following them. I didn’t comment because, I feel, it will be more pragmatic for me to bite my own time to come to a conclusion than to comment on something which is yet to come. In my opinion (again, it is just my opinion), quite a few of the observations made by the contributors here are a tad immature and (should I say) a bit disrespectful also. There is always a fanatic inside a fan or a membrane of fanaticism wrapped over every fan. Depending upon what amount is showing up in a particular situation, somebody may label a person as a fanatic or a fan which again depends upon the perspective of the person labeling the others as a fan/fanatic. We have seen almost the whole Federer saga while for others we cannot say whether it is still a long way to go or going to come to an abrupt end! Tennis, for that matter every sports is a funny game. As somebody has pointed out, arguably the GOAT himself has only 2 grandslams to show up against his name after turning 28, and except for Cilic (and Del Potro who is off the road), all current grand slam holders are 28+. And we are still extrapolating the numbers!

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    HI Jiten, Thank You for your Happy Birthday good wishes to my 90th year which Ru-an has so kindly honored in his blog.
    Much appreciated by your tennis fan Grandma Dolores.

    [Reply]

  2. I think Thiem is at the pefect age. He can take his time to mature but in 5 years time he will be 27 bang in his prime and there will be no Federer, Nadal, Djokovic or Murray not to mention all the other guys who are second fiddle to them right now like Stan, Berdych and Tsonga. But he will still contend with the Cilic/Nishikori/Dimitrob/Raonic/Del Potro generation of players and its going to be really interesting to see whether that generation ever does anything or the Coric/Zverev/Thiem/Krygios/Kokkinakis/Tomic just takes over immediately after the present generation finishes its domination.

    I would also like Ruan to keep Djokovic’s age in mind. Federer, Nadal and Sampras won a grand total of 4 grand slams after turning 28 (not counting the French Open Nadal won last year immediately after turning 28). Come to think about it, I don’t think Djokovic will do much after 2016. So for the next year and a half even though he will be expected to win everything, there will be a lot of pressure seeing what the guys before him have done. I know you will say he stretches well but that will only take him so far. Federer not only declined physically after turning 28 but also mentally he didn’t have that confidence anymore. In his first 11 slam finals, Federer was 10-1 and in the next 15 he was 7-8. Djokovic already is not the most confident guy in a final and as he ages I only expect that to get worse. So although your statement that he is in a class of his own right now is true, I am gonna enjoy seeing how long it lasts. Because I know he badly wants to eclipse at Nadal in the slam count and Nadal himself will badly want to add next year’s French so I think 2016 could actually the culmination of the big 4 era and it will be a huge year with the Olympics as well !!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ‘I know you will say he stretches well but that will only take him so far’.

    Didn’t know you were a mind reader now Ajay. I was actually not gonna say that. I haven’t made any predictions about Djokovic’s slam winning potential. In fact, I said it’s better to stay in the moment and enjoy what is happening. It seems you are way more concerned about the number of slams Djokovic can win than I am.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Well yes I am. No doubt about it. I am very curious to see if he can succeed where all three of Sampras, Nadal and Federer have failed. I know how good Djokovic is and I will always be a big fan of the pre 2012 Djokovic. When most of you always thought of him as the third guy for me he was always the second guy. The guy who I really wanted to win outside of Federer. But he is not that attacking, fearless guy anymore and so I am not a fan. But still curious to see what happens.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, Federer, Nadal, and Sampras are the three biggest failures in tennis history. I’m sure surpassing them will be no problem at all. And yes the pre-2012 Djoker was much better than the current Djoker, especially pre 2011. He is now way more defensive with his weakened serve, volleys, and groundstrokes and he is now mentally weak, winning 0 of his last 4 slam finals. I hate this Djoker. Not a fan at all. Wish he would go back to the pre-2011 version.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    I never told they were the three biggest failures. But I am still gonna be curious because while I know he can do it, I also know how incredibly difficult it is.

    And no I am pretty sure you didn’t follow Djokovic well enough to know him. Just look at this video to know how aggressive he once was. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yu5AU1er_Do

    And you can be a fan of whoever of who you wish and I will be a fan of who I wish its a free world isn’t it ? :-)

    PS: If you think you followed Djokovic very well before you need to look at your own almost hateful remarks about him in your old posts. You had absolutely blasted him before. I am not saying this to hurt but to let you know that you may know the new Djokovic very well but I know the old one and if you think the new one is more aggressive well….. Both you and me know what being aggressive really means and lets now try to say this Djokovic having better volleys means he is more aggressive.

    And btw it is not pre 2011 it is pre 2012. The 2011 Djokovic was so aggressive and yet so quick with his feat, he was crazy and that why he was unbeatable

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The old Djokovic was rubbish just like the one in that video and I was justified in criticizing him, although you are probably exaggerating about that. He is definitely more offensive now and an altogether different and better player. Anyone who says otherwise is a moron.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Of course now you just went ahead and called me a moron. Good for you.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    If you don’t think he is a better player now than pre-2011 then yes I’m afraid you are a moron. If you don’t think that his serve, volleys, and fh has improved recently I have to question your intelligence as well.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    That’s some straight talking. Loving it. :-P

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    He has a way of drawing it out of me :-??

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Well glad you guys can have a laugh at my intelligence. Sadly you guys don’t know what intelligence is and so I think I can laugh at you as well.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Just to make sure you guys know what I meant exactly I told Djokovic was a more aggressive player than he is now. Not ‘better”. I would say he is around 1.5 times as good as the old Djokovic on an average, His volleys and serve as improved amazingly but his aggressiveness from the ground has decreased. You just need to see US Open matches in the past 3 years to know what I mean. And see the Toronto match link (see sets 2 and 3 not 1) to see how aggressive he was before.

    Jiten can love whatever he wants to but since I never meant “Djokovic pre-2011 is better than the present Djokovic” I think both of you got it wrong here.

    [Reply]

    Eric Reply:

    Haha :-)

    And HAPPY BDAY DELORES!!!!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    ;-)

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    THANK YOU, Eric!

    Kindly,
    Dolroes

    [Reply]

    Matt Reply:

    Ajay,
    I addressed that flawed age analysis on my blog a week or so ago. That’s not reading the game very well, imho. Djokovic at 28 quite different from Nadal at 28, or Roger. Roger woke-up at 28 and saw two other greats he had to deal with. Nadal is “old.”

    You say Djokovic won’t do much after 2016. This is entirely possible, but this will most likely have to be of his own doing. Who will challenge Djokovic in the next 6-7 slams? Certainly there are guys like Stan, Cilic (have you seen him lately; tell him I said Hi), Nishikori, Tsonga, Raonic. . ., but the time is very ripe for the Serb. He could continue to stumble in finals, so we’ll have to wait and see.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I’m glad you addressed that Matt. I don’t have the time to deal with everything I don’t agree with from every comment. IMO it’s silly to say Djokovic won’t do much after 2016, just as it was silly to say he will win the calendar slam this year. It’s better just to live in the moment and enjoy it. But I do agree with you that Djokovic can win slams past 2016 and that every player is different. Maybe Djokovic is only now hitting his peak after that 2011 blitz and then lapse? It is entirely possible and he could dominate tennis for the next 5 years. Or he could be done winning slams. Saying he can’t do much past 2016 is just silly. No one knows that, so it just sounds like bias.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    I think we are all going to be seeing who is silly in the next 2 years right.

    Don’t worry I am still gonna read your blog but no more commenting from me (I am sure you are happy). You questioned my intelligence which is something you just don’t do. Completely abandoning the fact that I am going to sound cokcy/arrogant I want you to know I am not only intelligent, I am in fact one of the most intelligent guys in my country. Yeah that’s right among a billion damn people. I have represented India in both the Olympics of Maths and Computer Science and have numerous other laurels that will prove it, if you really care about how intelligent I really am. I don’t talk shit unless its logical. That’s something I was born with.

    And like I said it is adios from me as far as commenting is concerned. I have always admired Ruan both as a person and as a writer and thankfully since I am not going to make him angry again he can go back to being the good old Ruan.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    The problem is you get emotional and defensive very quickly. Take for instance this statement:

    ‘I think we are all going to be seeing who is silly in the next 2 years right.’

    I never said you were going to look silly because you will be wrong. Whether you are going to be right or wrong has nothing to do with it. My point was whatever you predict is silly, whether it is that Djokovic will win nothing or everything because we just don’t know. Understand now?

    Your statement suggests that I will look silly but how can I when I didn’t predict anything? If you are as intelligent as you say you are you should easily be able to understand that.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Look let us part on good terms. Like I said I have always considered you to be a good guy and a good writer. I know what you think of me, but as a man of principle myself I have read what you (and Jiten, I have no idea why he needed to get into it) told and I have also seen your replies to me in previous posts. I don’t think you consider losing me as a commenter to be a big deal and I know I can still read what you and the others think without actually commenting.

    So all in all I wish you the best and hopefully this blog stays strong over the coming months and years :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Ok, first of all, I never actually called you a moron. Go read what I said again and you will realize it. Maybe you misunderstood. Whatever the case may be I think you are a good commenter and know a fair amount about tennis, but you are too sensitive. If I don’t agree with you I will say it straight up.

    There have often been heated debates on my blog and that’s just part of the appeal of it. Some people don’t like it and stop commenting or reading my blog. But I don’t want to be a bad guy or bully people either. If that’s what you experienced then I’m sorry. I certainly don’t think you are a bad guy. I just think you are over sensitive and that if you can’t deal with a heated debate it may be better if you don’t comment.

    Matt also disagreed with you so I am certainly not the only one. As for Jiten, I can’t answer for him. But I don’t have a personal vendetta against you and neither does Matt. We are just disagreeing with you. That is all. And we will continue to disagree with you if we think it’s necessary. So it’s really up to you if you want to continue commentating or not. I like getting comments, but I don’t always want to have a conflict with people either which seems to be the case with you and me.

    I appreciate the blog support anyway and saying that I am a good guy and good writer.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    Thanks for your kind words. As you said things have been getting too heated lately between us. So lets just let it cool off. I will still maybe commentate on and off for now.

    Like you say I am sensitive and its tough for me to have a tough skin in general. Maybe I will grow one in the future but for now with so much stuff going on in my life I think it is better if I don’t to worry about things like growing a tough skin and getting into heated debates. I am an honest guy but I only make remarks that I have analysed deeply. When things are going Federer’s way or things seem to be going against him like now, I still am the same person and I still hope for the best for him while at the same time anyone who defeats him fair and square I congratulate them.

    But one thing I would say is just like you want me to not take things seriously I would suggest you actually check if Djokovic is more aggressive now. All I am asking is to take maybe 1 hr of your time whenever you are free and actually see the old Djokovic. I would be the first person to say that the old Djokovic, overall, is nothing compared to the new one. But just try to see how aggressive he was from the ground before. Of course if you feel I am surely wrong I can’t do much to convince you.

    About the other things, I have already told numerous times that winning 9 grand slam is an awful lot. I already consider him to have a better body of work than Nadal. I also don’t think he dopes or does other shady things like him. Overall he is right up there in the GOAT conversation. I only told I am curious to see if he can do something which Federer failed badly to do which is to win many slam after turning 28. I know what Matt told but I don’t think you get what I am saying. I am not saying Federer didn’t have his reasons for not winning. I also agree that Djokovic doesn’t face the same competition Federer faced. All I am saying is it will still be nice to see what Djokovic does from now, because just like how Federer winning a slam now at 34 will be remarkable whether the field is very strong or not, it will be pretty remarkable if Djokovic does win 5-6 grand slams from now. The remarkable nature of the achievement would not be one where he fights the odds of beating tough players, but rather one of fighting history and showing us that things Federer couldn’t do (even though there were good reasons he couldn’t) he can.

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    And yes I did take the moron comment pretty badly but I think I have my reasons for doing so. First of all I am an almost ancient visitor to this blog. I remember reading this blog during 2010 and 2011 and you know very well that I don’t randomly say stuff.

    Also I have myself gone and scolded guys who put crap in this blog and for you to question whether I am even intelligent, don’t you think if you were in my place you would have taken it badly ?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I didn’t have time to read your other comment yet, but thanks for the blog loyalty and I appreciate the fact that you are a long time blog follower. I actually don’t like to lose blog followers although that will happen if you speak your mind and don’t really care what people think about it.

    For the record, I don’t think you are unintelligent. My points were that Djo is now better than pre-2011 and his serve, net game, and fh(which are all attacking shots) has improved, and I am not willing to negotiate those points. I think you just misunderstood what I meant.

    Anyway yeah, maybe it’s better if you just comment less for a while. I wouldn’t want you to just stop commenting altogether. You still bring good insights. Just comment less as long as you feel things get too heated for you.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    All right, Since my name has been broached up, let me clarify my stand. As Ru-an has pointed out, there has been several heated debate in this blog over the years and it is obviously one of the reasons that readers are drawn into it (of course, apart from Ru-an’s excellent analysis). I actually enjoyed this particular exchange between Ajay and Ru-an a lot. IMHO, I found some of the comments by Ajay very amateurish and immature, because it came from person who claim himself to be a sincere student of the history of tennis and in the past, he has written quite a few thoughtful comments which I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. One does not need to claim oneself to be intelligent, it will show up itself by one’s own acts. And Ajay, you really become sentimental sometimes unnecessarily. Hopefully after five or six years, if you go through your comments again, you will laugh at yourself. And please, don’t take anything personally. You are intelligent, but sometimes your comments written at the heat of the moment, make people to think otherwise.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Good comment Jiten. Being a longtime follower of my blog you have a good idea of what goes on here! I agree with everything you said.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Thanks Ru-an. I really appreciate your stand. By the way, are you going to cover the Hamburg tournament? Yesterday I was keenly watching the match between Robredo and the new kid in the block Zverev. It was really interesting see experience winning over brute force. No doubt this kid has some talent; but he still needs a lot of polishing of his game. I also watched the match between mental midget Verdasco and our very own Dull :)) :)) (we love following him, don’t we, to watch him decline?), where the former meekly surrendered by playing some horrible tennis in the second and third set. In my opinion, if Dull is to make some sort of revival, his survival in this tournament till the end is crucial. If this is to happen, do you think that the confidence gained on his favorite surface would be enough to propel him through the long hard court season ahead?

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I appreciate your stand and the stand of many of my readers too Jiten. I am in a race against time this week because I have to hand in 6 assignments by the end of the week so I don’t have much time for blogging. But I will see what I can do. At least I will make a post when the week is over. I agree that Hamburg is important for Nadull. At least he beat Verdasco for a change =)) He is doing what Roger did in 2013 by playing Hamburg. I’m sure if he wins it will boost his confidence, but that is easier said than done. He’s confidence is still low. And even if he wins it that doesn’t mean he will win anything significant in the HC season. There will still be plenty of players who can beat him on hard :-bd

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Just curious, what are the courses you are taking this semester? Any Math course? I could have helped! :-P

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha no. I’m taking Information Systems, Visual Programming, and Sustainability and Greed. Wish I had some help with Visual Programming tbh, especially since four assignments was due already by the end of registration. But that’s South Africa for you. Doesn’t make much sense.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Sustainability and Greed. Quite an interesting subject. If I were your course instructor, I would have given you an assignment of writing an essay on “Sustainability of Federer blend of tennis in the face of onslaught by greedy Fedfans for the elusive 18th.” 8-> :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Haha yes, that could have been an interesting topic. The greed of Fedfans is not sustainable that’s for sure :))

    [Reply]

  3. Happy birthday Dolores, I always enjoy reading your comments. The way you talk reminds my of my own grandmother who is always so sweet to me :-)

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    Hi Ajay, Am ever so delighted to read your Happy Birthday wishes to my 90th….very much appreciate being reminded of your grandmother who is always so sweet to you. That is what grandmas are for, give love to our grandchildren.
    Thank You, Ajay,
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ajay Reply:

    It is lovely to hear that you delighted. Sadly I am not going to be commenting here anymore. But I really hope you take care of your health and hopefully we can have another conversation when you turn 100 :-)

    PS: Hopefully Roger is still playing as well !!

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    I shall miss you, Ajay…..know we both will be supporting and cheering on our favorite tennis player, Roger! Blessing to you, Ajay.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

  4. Hi Ru-an, Greetings to you! First of all, many thanks for remembering my 90th birthday, honoring it on your blog. Thank You for both. Yes, to answer your question and Katyani’s in your previous post, my ID is legit…..you just have to believe me…ha-ha-ha. Katyani, I will reply to you on your comment on previous blog
    Had a beautiful day celebrating with family and friends.
    Before I go on, do want to answer your question you had, Ru-an, on the photo of the young tennis player on your blog…is it by any chance Roger in his younger days?
    I have refrained from commenting on your previous blog as I did not care to get involved in your Fedfanatic subject. I consider myself a loyal, solid Fedfan, period, it does not mean that I do not like other tennis players, Djoko, included recognizing his fame, being #1 in the world, etc. I have and will be coming to your blog as I have for many years.
    Again, my appreciation with many thanks for your kindness.
    Btw., was delighted that Thiem has won a title, am looking forward for younger tennis players to make a place in future in tennis. Thiem, being Austrian, reminded me of Thomas Muster, the popular clay tennis player in years past.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Hello, Dolores. You are welcome. Turning 90 is a big deal so of course I would mention it here. You are right about the photo. It is Roger I was referring to. You are the only won who mentioned it and you are right. Here it is

    That’s great that you can appreciate other players and will continue to follow my blog. I believe that you are a loyal, solid Fedfan too. Yes, Thiem have the similarities with Muster that he is Austrian and a good clay courter. I was a big Muster fan.

    [Reply]

  5. Just wondering when you guys think Djokovic will start his decline? Personally I think he will start to drop off a little next year (he will be turning 29 in May) and that will allow either Murray or Federer a chance at no.1 mid-way through the year (probably after Wimbledon) then I think Novak will take it back for another 6 months to a year (into early-mid 2017), and that will be his last time at no.1 before the young guys take it.

    That’s just my guess based on his current level of play and assuming a career arc similar to that of Federer, i.e. stay at no.1 most of the time up to about age 28-29, then lose it before briefly regaining it (as Federer did from mid-2009 to mid-2010), then the real decline starts.

    That brings me to another stupid thing you read on forums from Fedfans, the idea that Federer’s peak was 2004-2007 and his prime was 2003-2009, and effectively discrediting everyone’s wins before and after his peak/prime. I would argue for a peak of 2003-2009 and a prime of 2003-2012 at the very least. It’s absolutely ridiculous to say that it only counts during those four years.

    And then those same Federer fans start insulting Nadal and his fans over his recent losses, calling for his retirement, when he is obviously no longer at his peak. Really hypocritical, and the same is true of the extreme fans of other fan bases, not just tennis but in all areas. One rule for your favourite team/player/celebrity, one rule for everyone else’s.
    ~x(

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Neither Federer nor Murray will see the #1 ranking again(not that Murray ever has). Djokovic should keep it for the next three years probably. Who else will get it? Djokovic is currently having his second best year on tour and it may soon become his best year, so I don’t see why he would decline anytime soon.

    As for Federer’s losses past peak/prime they all count. He is 3-8 vs Djokodal in slam finals and 14-1 vs the rest. That tells a story of its own. Of course dull got 5 of his wins on clay but he has also beaten Federer in the Wimby and AO final and beaten him two other times at the AO. Then Djokovic defeated him in two Wimby finals where he played well and it’s his best surface. That’s because Djokodal are better competitors than him and doesn’t fear him like the rest.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    I agree with everything you said apart from the first paragraph. The analogy I am using here is Federer’s 2009-2010 where by 2010 AO he had won 3 of the last 5 slams and lost in the finals of the other two in close matches. Then he doesn’t win another major until 2012 WB.

    You are right though that Djokovic does not look like declining at the moment, but I think that three years is a huge stretch of time to not get injured at all. And even if he doesn’t, he might start to get upset more often by younger players like Dimitrov, Kyrgios and Thiem which might prove enough to knock him off the no.1 ranking briefly. After the big four, I think the next no.1 will probably be one of those three, but more likely Thiem or Kyrgios.

    My main reason for this would be this article:

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/happy-birthday-nadal-youre-probably-too-old-to-pass-federer/

    Which details open era championships by player age.

    I can adapt the maths from there for Djokovic:

    According to the article the average champion wins 0.65 slams after age 28, and up to and including age 28 Djokovic has 10 GS (assuming he wins 1 more before next May, which seems likely).

    The average champion that age had won 2.43, so 10/2.43 = gives 4.12 as his ratio compared to the average. 0.65 * 4.12 gives 2.68, which is the number of GS Djokovic would be expected to win. Obviously since you can’t win fractional slams the most likely outcome is either 2 or 3 slams (in addition to the 10th slam I assumed he would win).

    Even if we assume Novak defies the odds a little (due to having no obvious successor at this point in time), given those numbers I would be reluctant to give him more than another 3-4 slams after that 10th slam I assumed he would win, so I predict that Novak will finish on 13-14 slams.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah, predictions don’t matter much. Djo could win no more slams or double his slam count. No one knows. I don’t think your stats mean much either. The age of peak tennis has gone up a lot in the last few years and Djokovic never gets injured. There is also no one in sight right now who can succeed him as the #1. His attacking game has improved which will serve him well as he ages as well. He is constantly improving himself and raising the bar. That is a recipe for longevity at the top. No one knows.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Another thing that is worth adding here is that I’m not even sure Djokovic has peaked yet. He had that 2011 season and then dropped off. Now he is having a similar season as 2011? Maybe he has learned some important lessons and this time he will not drop off as much again? Maybe his real dominance still lies ahead. Remember he is a late bloomer with a prime that started in 2011. That’s why I say he could probably do this for three more years.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    Yes there is always a chance he could defy the odds like (in order in the open era): Rosewall, Connors, Agassi or Federer, but they are just four out of over 50 open era champions to have been very successful late in their career. If I missed any significant ones I apologise, but you get the point. So I could well be wrong, but the odds say I am likely to be right. Perhaps your unique tennis insights will once again triumph over statistics though, as they have many times before, so given it is you we are talking about I would not be surprised if I turned out to be wrong. :-)

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    You are right. According to your stats, he should win 2-3 slams more after he turns 29. But he could win the USO, AO, and FO additionally by the time he turns 29. Or not. Or he could enter his peak now after starting his prime in 2011. The age for prime in tennis has gone up lately and there is no one on the horizon to really challenge Djo at this point. Unless Stan starts his own peak now.

    The stats are important, but they are not everything. There are others factors at play. What I would like to see now is for Djokovic to keep his current level up for the next three years and break all the records, including Federer’s slam record. That is unlikely, but I want to see him do something inspirational.

    Those slam losses to Murray and Nadal from 2012-2013 hurt, but it could be that it made him stronger and better. I mean it is probably wishful thinking but look how he came back from those losses to dominate 2015. His game and his mind have improved. Maybe he needed those setbacks to become what he is now and maybe he can keep this up now.

    It’s going to be exciting to find out anyway.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    I think next year will determine which way it will go. If he can win 2 or more slams next year he has a chance of becoming a potential GOAT candidate by the end of his career. But with every passing year it gets harder so two or three slams next year is almost a must to even have a chance, even if we assume he wins the USO this year. He would then probably need another two or three in 2017 followed by 2-3 slams once he is past 30. He has a mountain to climb, but as you say unless someone steps up to stop him he may just do it. The key thing is how well he deals with being hunted over the next few years. I remember reading an autobiography (think it was Pete’s) and he talked about the pressure of having that target on your back for years on end. You have no one to try and surpass in the rankings as you are already no.1, and everyone else is motivated to knock you off that spot. That’s why the YE no.1 records and consecutive weeks records of Sampras and Federer respectively are so impressive.

    To be honest as much as I like Djokovic, I do think that him holding ALL the major records would not be good for the game though, just as if Federer had been unimpeded by Nadal and could have won multiple CYGS and 25+ slams. The issue with that is it renders all discussion worthless as there is no way you can make an argument for anyone else to be GOAT. So therefore I hope Djokovic develops a rivalry with someone at least 2-3 years younger who he can have some epic matches with at the slams over the next few years. But yeah the young generation is non-existent at the moment, if you think about where the Big Four were at their age. Both Federer, Nadal and Djokovic were slam champions and Murray was a finalist at the same age or only a year or two older than Kyrgios. I just hope we see some new names on the tour soon, it’s ridiculous to still be talking about the same rivalries between the Big Four (or Big Three as it is right now, sans Nadal), 12 years after Federer won his first slam and 10 years after Nadal’s first.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    It’s not like Djokovic will win 25+ slams is it? It will be a big enough miracle if he somehow wins the most slams. Why would you be worried about that?

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    “What I would like to see now is for Djokovic to keep his current level up for the next three years and break all the records”

    That’s what you said in your comment above, and that’s what I would be bothered about. If he breaks some of the major records and becomes a legitimate GOAT contender or even a clear GOAT I honestly wouldn’t be bothered, it’s just that if he holds EVERY major record there is no room for discussion, he would be unquestionably the GOAT without any chance for debate. It’s not even a personal thing about not wanting Novak to be GOAT, it’s just not wanting anyone to be GOAT by a huge margin.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah as in every record he needs to break to be GOAT. By that, I didn’t mean he must break so many that no one will be able to ever catch up with him! 25 slams is ridiculous. There is no way he reaches that anyway.

    [Reply]

    Matt Reply:

    The premise of that article is ridiculous. The statistical argument here doesn’t pass simple tennis intelligence. Rafa has a ~16% chance of finishing with 17 . . . LOL. Has the mathematician ever watched a tennis match? Nadal has ~10 more years of his major window? LOL.

    Nadal at 28 and Djokovic at 28 is apple and oranges.

    The Spaniard is done. You heard it here first.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I didn’t bother to read the article, so again thanks for dealing with that Matt. I didn’t have time and just took Charlie’s word for it. If it said Nadal has 10 more years of his major window then it’s garbage. Hilarious statement.

    [Reply]

    Matt Reply:

    “During the Open era, winners have ranged from age 17 to 37. Hence, based on the age curve, Nadal has 10 years left at championship contention level. With four tourneys per year, he’s got 40 remaining opportunities to win.”

    Sounds about right. Ha!

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Lol. I guess if he dopes hard it’s not impossible, but that statement brings the whole article into doubt. There are surely stats for this kind of thing but after what you said I don’t know if it’s trustworthy. Maybe I will read it myself later. What is your view anyway?

    [Reply]

    matt Reply:

    My view of Nadal? I think we’ve touched on that. We agree. The eye-test we all have access to says he’s finito. I suspect his body is fighting back quite a bit ala the well-known description of Agassi in his autobiography.

    We’ll all need to discuss Nadal more as 2016 begins and he casts his eyes toward that 10th RG trophy. I suspect that is his swan song. Of course, this should not happen under normal circumstances (he’s breaking down before our eyes).

    I thought he was done in 2012 or so, but he came back with a vengeance in 2013. That was a huge run or high, whatever he was on.

    But he looks awful, really. That article, btw, was written in spring of ’14, so again, way off the mark.

    [Reply]

    Bjorn Eirik Reply:

    Well, he just won in Hamburg, so maybe he’s finding some form again. I actually hope so, because I want to see a more competetive field. I’ll regret saying that if he gets another slam :(( , but that seems very unlikely now. He’s probably done as a top dog. Will be interesting to see how he performs in the hard court season soon.

    Just watched some of the highlights of the Hamburg final and he didn’t look very convincing despite winning. But a title is still a title. Also noticed that Nadal and Fognini had quiet a hefty verbal exchange during a changeover. Fognini was pissed off about something, not sure what it was about.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I actually agree that Nadal winning Hamburg isn’t bad. It makes things more interesting for sure, but I still think it’s unlikely he will win anything in North-America. I just hope he runs into the anti-Nadull again.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    No, I meant Djokovic!

    [Reply]

    Matt Reply:

    You know my view on the Djoker! We focus on HC/USO and then re-group. 😎

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    I meant in terms of the stats as far as past results go, when applied to Djokovic.

    [Reply]

    Matt Reply:

    I responded to that other article that made the same argument: 28 is too late to win many more majors. Agree 28 isn’t “young” but each player is a different case. Rafa, roger and Novak are all very different, especially at 28. My god. So different.

    To accommodate both views, I would just say that he has 2 really a solid years ahead – that’s 9 majors including ’15 USO. I like his chances to win 4-5. I think he’s a bit of an outlier if you look at the context of his rise to #1.

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah Djoker’s peak started only about 4 years ago so surely he has some gas left in the tank. Fedal’s peaks started back in 2003/4.

    [Reply]

    Charlie Reply:

    I think the premise of the article there was purely theoretical, obviously Nadal is not a main contender at 37, but going on past evidence it is theoretically possible. There is no way I believe it, and the guy who wrote the article was just quoting stats as to the oldest GS winner in the open era, Rosewall. Oh and the 16% chance of Nadal surpassing Federer was based on his results around the time of the 2014 FO. Obviously he had won 2 slams in the last 2 years at that point so the figures quoted in the article make sense. However now it does sound ridiculous.

    [Reply]

    Jiten Reply:

    Is Duckworth-Lewis coming to tennis as well? You know how South Africa was robbed off a finalist spot in 1992 Cricket World Cup because of this stupid rule. Sometimes Mathematicians-Statisticians could be the most impractical persons in the world! ~x(

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yeah SA has had some bad luck in WCs but they are chokers too. D-L is a joke.

    [Reply]

  6. Am delighted to receive your honoring my 90th birthday with your good wishes, Steve.
    Thank You so much. Am looking forward to see Roger in action this upcoming month of August. Know you and I along with many of our Fedfans will be anxious, too. Always enjoy your comments you make on Ru-an’s blog, Steve.
    Kindly,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

  7. Ru-an, am excited to see Thiem in the Gstaad’s Final tomorrow, bet you are, too.
    Will he be able to defeat Goffin and win his 3rd title? We shall find out tomorrow. I will say, Good Luck, Dominic!
    Best,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Me too Dolores! I think he has a good shot given his recent run of form. It would be very special if he can win a third title in such a short span of time. And next week he is back home in Austria also on clay. I can see him being top 20 by the end of that which would be superb :-)

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    Double good luck for Dominic, Ru-an. Appreciate your analysis, let’s keep fingers crossed.

    [Reply]

    Dolores Reply:

    Ru-an, he did it, Thiem won! Congratulations to the young man from Austria. Am very pleased….did you see the match? Hope I can watch it on replay. Looking forward to your analysis, Ru-an.
    Best,
    Dolores

    [Reply]

    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, he did! Very promising sign and now Kitzbuhel. Can he win his home tourney as well or will he be tired?

    [Reply]

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