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The Lonely Coach (WCC, Day 12) 07/04/2009 - 8:26 AM

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by Pete Bodo

Mornin', everyone, and a fine one it is again.

A few days ago, I had an interesting conversation with Sven Groeneveld, who heads up the novel and productive Adidas group coaching effort. Sven has coached an impressive list of outstanding players, including Mary Pierce, Michael Stich, Nathalie Dechy, Greg Rusedski, Fernando Verdasco and, most recently,  Ana Ivanovic. BTW, Ana is back with the Adidas program after a patchy experience with Craig Kardon (formerly Martina Navratilova's coach). And Darren Cahill has joined Gil Reyes, that other member of team Agassi, on the Adidas coaching roster. Those are Cahill, Reyes and Groeneveld (L to R) in this photo.

It turns out that Sven and our mutual friend, tennis insider Lisa Sommermeier, had both read the on-again, off-again series I started on coaching (it makes me think I ought to continue it), in which I wondered why tennis coaches - who run the gamut from manipulative opportunists with precious little to offer  to distinguished Grand Slam enablers - didn't have some kind of official organization, or registry. I can think of a dozen ways in which an official organization, like the players, tournaments, umpires, and even press already has (and let's not forget that strong organization of teaching pros, the USPTR), would be a welcome addition to the growing infrastructure of our sport.

It turns out that Sven had been thinking along the same lines, and he already has an interactive website that functions as a virtual employment agency for coaches. It's called Orangecoach.com. The big news Sven wanted to share with me is that this is merely Stage 1 of a 2 stage effort - the second part will consist of creating a formal organization or registry of coaches. It will not only help coaches and players find each other, but also give coaches, those lone operators, an organization that will set guidelines, create opportunities (like sponsorship deals), and give coaches the backing of the same kind of official, institutional voice that others can fall back on in times of need.

To pick a simple example, right now any charge of inappropriate behavior of any kind against a coach is simply a "he said, she/he said" affair, and who would want to be the coach in that scenario - especially if it were one of the all too common partnerships of a young female player and an older male coach?  Moreover, the WTA commitment to on-court coaching means that coaches could potentially supplement their income with sponsorship deals on a less haphazard basis. "I was never for the on-court coaching experiment," Sven told me. "But it's here and there's no reason not to take advantage of it."

Largely, though, Sven sees "job security" as the most critical issue for coaches. He points out that coaches come and go randomly, usually at the mercy of the players for whom they work. When that player retires, or moves on, the coach is back at Square One. He or she has no real way beyond networking and personal salesmanship of staying in the game. "Not too many coaches stay in the game for more than five years," Sven said. "I want to try to find a way to enable legitimate coaches to stay in the game. For example, if the player I've coached for three years decides to move on, right now I don't even have access to my workplace - the tournaments. If we had a certification process, the members of our registry could stay in the game and enjoy the same benefits as other tennis professionals."

A registry would also enable the organization to police its membership and even institutionalize the background checks that are a reasonable burden. Sven objected to the heavy-handed way the official game instituted its intrusive background checks in a panicked response to abuse and gambling scandals, but has no problem with the basic concept. "It would be part of a general certification process that would take place in stages," Sven said. "People would know what the system expects and get comfortable with it."

Sven also noted that academies, representation firms, and even manufacturers (like Adidas) have increasingly close ties to coaches, and use them in increasingly inventive and diverse wasy (as scouts, for example). The coaches need to be better informed on everything from the available opportunities to the general task-by-task pay scale.

I think this plan will work, partly because sponsors already have greater grasp of inventive ways to use coaches. The coaches are not only vital to the players on-court success, they're an increasingly significant go-between with other wings of the game, like the media. And a coach is a pipeline to a player. I've learned over time that if you have a good relationship with a player's coach, you're more likely to develop the same with a player.

I hope Sven pulls this off.


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Posted by Carol 07/04/2009 at 11:16 PM

Anyway, I really don't care what Federer says, but what the good tennis followers say. I know that many, many of them miss Nadal a lot because is a great feeling to look at him playing

Good night!!

Go Roddick!!!

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog (Roger for the Channel Slam!) 07/04/2009 at 11:16 PM

But Nadal did get forgotten rather quickly. Because, for one thing, he was on Murray's side of the draw, and the British press would have you believe that Murray would have beaten Nadal regardless. Also, Nadal didn't get beaten at Wimbledon, he withdrew before the tournament began. His withdrawal was major news for a few days, but after that, Murray mania took over, and the story was all about a potential Murray-Federer showdown. Federer didn't mean any disrespect by his remark about Nadal being "quickly forgotten". Read within context, it doesn't come across as disrespectful, except to those who are searching for a negative meaning to implicate Fed. He's given Nadal plenty of respect in his interviews. Read his other comments and what he had to say about Nadal being a great player and respecting his accomplishments.

Posted by Jake 07/04/2009 at 11:18 PM

G'nite TennisFan2.

It's time for me to retire too.

Roger Federer makes it 15 tomorrow, and HE WILL STAND ALONE IN FRONT - the clear leader of the pack in all aspects of the game.

See y'all tomorrow!

Breakfast at Wimbledon - mmmm sumptious!

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 11:19 PM

TF2, I mean am not saying that's the best answer he could have given, but it's kinda pointless to take exception with that especially because he has a final to focus on with so much on the line. Also, he might have seen it as the interviewer implying that Rafa's absence makes it easier for him to go for the title. I've often felt that Federer "reacts" to questions, while Rafa "answers" them.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 11:22 PM

> I've often felt that Federer "reacts" to questions, while Rafa "answers" them.
so true. It's pretty similar to how they approach things in the match situation or solving a particular opponent, right?

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 11:23 PM

avid, last I read, Kei hasn't held a racquet yet. He's still in rehab and training to get in better shape.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 11:25 PM

greenhopper - how bad was his injury? Wa sit not his wrist? Did he need surgery?

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 11:31 PM

CfR: no, I didn't read it, so whatever was said by you came very late in the day, quite possibly after my internet connection had failed again.

This isn't about my "ego" - ultimately we have site rules, and personal attacks, especially repeated ones, aren't permitted. On me, or on any other poster.

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 11:34 PM

And by the way, I was there when Rafa played two DC ties in 2008, in Bremen and Madrid....so last year he was committed until he was injured.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 11:50 PM

avid, I don't think there was surgery. He injured right elbow at/after IW. Trained briefly in May hoping to play the French open, but realized he hasn't fully recovered yet and pulled out. His website has blog entries from time to time, last I read he was able to train as long as he isn't using his arm. :-/

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 11:53 PM

greenhopper - oh ok. I hope his rehab is going on well. I hope he can get WCs to some tournaments to get his ranking back up if not during the USO series, at least during the Asian fall swing.

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog (Roger for the Channel Slam!) 07/05/2009 at 12:20 AM

Rosangel - thanks for responding. Was it in '08 that Rafa withdrew from playing the tie in Madrid? I recall he went there with the team and pulled out at the last minute. In any case, regarding your wish that the top players would play DC, it seems Federer was finally planning to play the first round this year, but had to withdraw, just as Rafa also did from his DC tie. I have no doubt that he will be more committed to DC in the coming years, if not 2010 then by 2011 at least. Besides, I think he's paid his dues through 2003 for the Swiss DC team. Let's face it, at this level, if you want to be number one and playing for ranking points, it's tough to play more than one tie a year, given the rigorous ATP schedule. Even Rafa finds ways to get out of playing more than one tie - be it a real injury or just a convenient one (not talking about his recent woes).

BTW ... just want to clarify re. the previous issue - it was not a personal attack, more like a grievance. Whether completely off-base or containing a smudge of truth, you know the answer. Let's leave it at that.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 01:28 AM

Morning, everyone. :)

I'm so ridiculously excited for today's final...can't wait.

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 01:41 AM

I fear for Roddick. Funny, as a Fed fan I think this will be his first match where my rooting interests are conflicted. I was never much of a Roddick fan, but I've found these last few days of his, coupled with his career-long struggles, very inspiring.

Weird, if Fed bags his 15th I still think my memory of this tournment will be as much about Muzz-mania and Roddick as it will be about Fed breaking Sampras's record. Oh well. A story yet to be written.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 01:50 AM

Hee...I have a lovely image of all the players in the locker room gathering around photos of Rafa last year and weeping for his absence in my head, and sending him "We miss you so!" texts...no, it's no good, I can't see it. ;-)

I'm sure everyone was both sad and happy that Rafa couldn't play. But as people played their own matches, I guess they focused on themselves and on the main stories of the tournament going on. Guess that's all Roger meant. *shrug* It seems reasonable to me, although of course I am a well-known lunatic who enjoys ruining TW with Fedadoration...LOL.

and Spacie, if you're still about, I thought Roger's comments on the #1 ranking were indeed sporting - I wasn't expecting anything else.

anyway, it's natural that Rafa KADs are going to remember the tournament more because our boy was not there than anything else. But it's kind of daft to expect everyone else to feel the same, imo.

and there was plenty to enjoy and be excited about without Rafa, no? Roddick especially, Haas's run, too, Murray (aargh), Elena-Serena match, etc etc etc...the stories of the actual tournament take over a bit, and quite right too.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 01:57 AM

Do I dare go over to the Serena post? Skimmed a few comments and they look scary...

Morning, mcakron! I think today might be the first time I root for RAndy over Fed...I'm liking this as a year of fairytales, and I think Feddy will have more chances to get to #15 (although I can see he'd want to take this one now, LOL). Besides, his new variety and mentality was so impressive on Friday...so hope he can bring both today, although he'll presumably have a different game plan.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 02:12 AM

I like Rafa doing well and being ready for Montreal...*happier*

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 02:19 AM

Hi, Jewell. Yeah, hard not to root for Roddick. That hard luck loser stuff can pull at one's heart strings like Quasimodo.

And sorry about your boy Murray. Hopefully people won't be too hard on him. Unfortunately, we tend to obsess over some of these guys being the next Fed or Rafa, and when they're not we think of them as failures. When in reality it's a tremendously high standard to live up to. Anyway, I suspect he'll do quite well at the USO and I actually think he has nothing to be ashamed of regarding Wimby. That was probably the best match Roddick played in his entire life. And it was still squeaky tight as four-setters go.

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 02:24 AM

Oh yeah, Rafa will be back. I think the trick for him will be how he feels long-term, like say next year. I'm also interested to watch Djokovic in the hard-court series.

Posted by Sherlock 07/05/2009 at 02:25 AM

Morning, Jewell. :)

The Serena post is ridiculous. I read it for a while, and it's just the same stuff over and over.

"it was not a personal attack, more like a grievance."

Hmmmmm.

Posted by Codge 07/05/2009 at 02:28 AM

Bonjour Mcakron & Jewell. Have the run of the place tonite.

MIssed the ladies final this morning, but I'll be up for Fed/Roddick for sure. Can't wait!!

Mcakron can relate to your 1:41 post. Hope he does well, push it to a 5th set. Ultimately I want Fed to win though, i'm not that sympathetic :)

I wouldn't mind if Roddick won the USO though.

Jewell - you 1:50 post sums it up for me. Some posters take things to personal. Not healthy, blood pressure and all that :-)

Firworks still going here, sounds like a war zone ;-)

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 02:39 AM

Hey, Codge. Yeah, I didn't get what the big stink was about what Fed said. Basically, to me it's the old "the sport is bigger than any one player" mantra. Be it Rafael Nadal. Roger Federer. Or whomever. And the fact that he threw in the "unfair" statement and said he expects Rafa to be back next year and playing wonderful tennis, tells me he wasn't intending to be cold or callused.

Anyway, just another silly, contrived attempt to start a Fedal skirmish. Glad I missed it.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 02:42 AM

People! *adores you all* Morning, Lockie and Codge. :)

I was playing in the Serena comments field. :)

"I actually think he has nothing to be ashamed of regarding Wimby. That was probably the best match Roddick played in his entire life. And it was still squeaky tight as four-setters go."

Agree, mcakron. :) MAndy had set points in the third, too. It's disappointing, sure, but I'm not disappointed in Murray - he fought as hard as he could on the day, and what more could anyone ask? *shrug* All the coverage I've read (which consists of the Guardian yesterday, not terribly representative, I admit) has been very fair.

it'll only get bad when he loses in the SF for the next five years. ;-) LOL.

I do wonder though if he will be able to be "up" and play his game on the really big occasions? But he's still very young...perhaps he needs a few more of them.

Posted by imjimmy 07/05/2009 at 02:53 AM

""it'll only get bad when he loses in the SF for the next five years. ;-) ""

He won't. He'll win Wimbledon. More than once.

IMV Murray was very nervous throughout the SF. His play was absolutely horrid. Physical conditioning is also an issue given his style of play. How many times has he played 6 (or more) best of 5 matches in 2 weeks. He'll learn with experience. He's only 22, and should have a very long career.

Posted by Codge 07/05/2009 at 02:57 AM

Typo amnesty for all my posts please. 1 too many caipirinhas.

"I was playing in the Serena comments field. :)" I can only imagine...must be a cesspool by now lol.

Any predictions on the score tomorrow?
Speaking of which, is anyone left in the SP? I was out after the 2 round. Forgot to pick!

Boyfriend had Roddick winning in 4! Crazy...smh.
If he wins the bet I have to eat something I find repulsive. Luckily for me, there's no chance in hell of that happening, not in 4 sets.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 03:01 AM

I'd like MAndy to win a Slam. Wimbledon would be a bonus, but I don't think he *has* to win that one for credibility or whatever.

But I don't get the same sense, with Murray, that I got from Rafa in 2006 - Rafa was horribly nervous, too, and Federer played perfectly in the first set - but the way Rafa responded to that, although he lost eventually and was outplayed - I had confidence he would come back and win one day.

*attempts to stop fangirling now*

Whereas MAndy had more than a few chances, and came up short on them...agree he was nervous and wound-up, but it's like Safina - he's got to find a way to get past that and win the big points on the big occasion. So far, he hasn't. Doesn't mean to say he won't.

I think he's fine, conditioning-wise.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 03:03 AM

Hee, yeah, my attempts at spreading sweetness and light SO did not work. ;-)

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 03:04 AM

IMJimmy -- I didn't think he played horribly, but I do agree with the nerves/composure issue. IMV, he seemed to be celebrating and beating himself up, Azarenka-style, a little too much out there. Meanwhile, Roddick seeemd even keel and pure purpose. A single clenched fist after a breaker or a set and that was it. Well, until the final point, of course.

And yes, I think Murray will learn from it. If nothing else, he shouldn't feel the pressure he did at Wimby (or even the AO) when he gets to NYC.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 03:05 AM

Oh yeah, and Roddick should get a lot of credit too for fighting back from 0-40 several times...I mean, it wasn't all Murray going passive.

Posted by imjimmy 07/05/2009 at 03:18 AM

Actually the reason I said Muzz will def. win Wimb. is that his game suits this surface very much. You must have read Fed's presser in which he mentioned that grass might eventually turn out to be Murray's best surface. Murray has the movement, touch, slice, anticipation, reflexes, great hands etc.. What he needs is to improve his 2nd serve, choose when to be aggressive, and have a little bit of net play (given his great volleying skills).

Physical conditioning is definitely an issue with his game style. IMO The Wawrinka match took a lot out of him. In the SF, I did think his footwork was a little bit off sometimes, and he was (occasionally) slower in reaching to balls than usual. Murray hasn't played deep in the 2nd week of slams all that much. He'll learn with experience.

Oh yeah, did I mention that all others players would be playing for runners up at Flushing this year :)

Posted by Or 07/05/2009 at 03:19 AM

I imagine that - if Israel beat Russia during DC, Rafa could easily excuse himself from the finals. Honestly, Spain doesn't need Rafa to beat Israel on CLAY.

As far as what Roger said - from his percpective he's right. Due to Rafa's absense, this championship has been all about Murray, and about Roger's 15 slams (as it should be), but I think he has a negetive opinion about it, probably thinking to when the hype was all about Murray, Djoko and Rafa, and less about him due to his tough year.

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 03:24 AM

IMJimmy -- yep, spot-on analysis, though I think his conditioning has improved, but yes could still use a little more. Murray's FH sometimes leaves him for a bit, though it's still a solid stroke.

Ok, the suspense is murdering me. Who's your pick at the USO?

Posted by VC 07/05/2009 at 03:24 AM

Roddick winning today would be a redemption story similar to Federer at the French, wouldn't it? Even sweeter because he beat the guy who has denied him thrice before. Hmmm..

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 03:27 AM

"You must have read Fed's presser..."

Hm...confession: generally I mostly only read the press conference bits that get posted here, and mostly I even skim those...there's always so much fuss whenever anybody doesn't smile nicely at the exact right moment.

I read Rafa's more often, though, I admit...especially if I haven't seen the match he played.

I did like Roger's comments on how quickly stories can change in tennis though, spot on in my view.

Posted by imjimmy 07/05/2009 at 03:29 AM

mcakron: he he..thanks for playing along! Winner - Andy Murray and everyone else fighting for getting 1200 pts :)

VC: Actually I've not been too impressed by Roddick. Still a far cry from the Roddick of Wimb. '04 (IMO). Expecting normal service to be resumed, and Fed to win in straights. Actually Haas was a bigger challenge, and Tommy played quite well too. But Fed, to his credit, was sublime. Even while playing well within himself.

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 03:31 AM

VC -- a Roddick victory today would be a redemption/comeback/perseverence story for the ages. My only hope is the guy wins it or loses convincingly. A crushing five-setter would be cruel and unusual punishment.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 03:32 AM

It would make a *fabulous* film, too.

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 03:37 AM

IMJimmy -- ah-hah, like the pick. Certainly has the game to do it, and I suspect the story going into the USO will be all about Rafa (for obvious reasons), which could help Muzz.

Posted by VC 07/05/2009 at 03:43 AM

imjimmy, mcakron : Should be interesting. I'm expecting Roddick to come out swinging for the fences. If he wins the first set, and takes the 2nd to a TB, (big IFs, obviously) etc. etc... still Federer is obviously the favourite. And Roddick needs to start well like he did against Murray, otherwise Federer will win.

Federer played well against Haas, but his defensive game is no longer what it used to be and he tends to miss a few more passing shots. Roddick chose his moments to attack the net wisely against Murray, who IMO is the 2nd best behind Nadal at making passing shots from defensive positions. I think Federer will take the initiative in rallies more than Murray though, and bring Roddick in on his own terms.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 03:50 AM

No love for Rafa, imjimmy? *sad face* ;-)

it's hard to bet against Federer, unless it's Federer-Nadal in the final. *hopes* *misses Fedal special magic* And even then it'd be hard to place Rafa as favourite. I'm prepared for an earlyish loss for Rafa though, and for Murray. (preparing myself for disappointment, ok?)

Mind, I always pick Federer for the final...death and taxes and all that. ;-)

Hopefully Djokovic can pick it up, too. And if Roddick continues to play well, he'll be a contender. And maybe Del Potro, if he can make those big booming serves consistently.

Posted by imjimmy 07/05/2009 at 03:51 AM

VC: Analysis spot on. Except IMO Fed's a better passer than Murray esp on the fh wing, where Murray goes cross court pretty much all the time. Also Fed's such a bad matchup for poor Roddick. I've seen A-Rod so many times, trying so many different things, but every time Fed's just decimated him. 2-18 h2h - how do you overcome that? Nearly impossible.

mackron: Ah..just trying to amuse myself with the UsOpen pick. It'll be Fed most likely with the W. Rafa prolly won't be ready. And even if he is, we're talking about Deco turf . Murray will again loose before getting an opportunity to face Federer. And as for Nole. will he be a genuine slam contender any more? I would be half tempted to pick the Elf as a bigger threat.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 03:52 AM

Question - shall I install Internet Explorer 8?

It seems to want me to do it...

Posted by Codge 07/05/2009 at 03:54 AM

I don't know...if Roddick does lose, I'd prefer him to go down guns blazing in 5 sets.

May be a bitter pill considering how close, but a straight set loss would be demorializing.

I'm hoping for an exciting contest.

Posted by Codge 07/05/2009 at 03:55 AM

invoking typo annesty. "demoralizing"

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 03:59 AM

VC -- yeah, if Fed takes the first set, it's goodnight, Gracie. And you're right about Fed's defensive game not being what it once was. It's the one facet where I think his age shows. Then again, only Rafa seems to exploit it on a consistent level.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 04:01 AM

That article in the Times is very Fed-KADdish...oh well, I guess it balances out Neil Harman's appreciation for Rafa. ;-)

This annoys me though:

"That hurt, for ever since 1998, when Federer was ranked the No 1 junior in the world, that status has been the badge he most wants to wear. Quite right. No other number is appropriate for this prince of players."

it's appropriate when Federer is winning the tournaments, and I've no complaints about him regaining it, he totally deserves it - but, it doesn't go as of right to the player with "the most beautiful game" or even with the best claim for the GOAT. It goes to the one with the most points.

Ridiculous. And I hope that doesn't start a Fedal war, because it's not meant to. :)

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Kuzzy 2009 FO Champion) 07/05/2009 at 04:02 AM

Hiya Jewell, go on do it. It will make you feel good.

Posted by Codge 07/05/2009 at 04:03 AM

"Mind, I always pick Federer for the final...death and taxes and all that. ;-) "

Well put. Says everthing about this career in a nutshell.

Off for some zzzz b4 the grande finale.

Good night all.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Kuzzy 2009 FO Champion) 07/05/2009 at 04:03 AM

I have survived SP along with 17 other people. I have picked Federer for my final pick.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 04:05 AM

Angel! Well done on the SP. :)

But will IE8 change everything? *ponders*

Posted by VC 07/05/2009 at 04:06 AM

"VC: Analysis spot on. Except IMO Fed's a better passer than Murray esp on the fh wing, where Murray goes cross court pretty much all the time. Also Fed's such a bad matchup for poor Roddick. I've seen A-Rod so many times, trying so many different things, but every time Fed's just decimated him. 2-18 h2h - how do you overcome that? Nearly impossible."

imjimmy : Yes, Roddick does seem to have tried just about everything against Federer. Nothing's really worked. He's been the biggest casualty of Federer's 21-semi streak actually, I'm sure he would have got a Slam or two if Federer had slipped up somewhere.

"mackron: Ah..just trying to amuse myself with the UsOpen pick. It'll be Fed most likely with the W. Rafa prolly won't be ready. And even if he is, we're talking about Deco turf . Murray will again loose before getting an opportunity to face Federer. And as for Nole. will he be a genuine slam contender any more? I would be half tempted to pick the Elf as a bigger threat."

Murray seems to struggle to generate his own pace on the FH. Float some deep slices on that wing, and he usually comes up with a spinny shot. And the 2nd serve's a weakness, obviously. Actually, Djokovic has a "bigger" game than Murray when he's confident. He just seems to completely lack the belief right now. He played a very loose game to get broken by Haas in the 4th, and it wasn't the first time in the tournament either (he also gave away cheap breaks to Greul, Sela). I just don't think he'll ever be comfortable on grass, he doesn't move well or hit through his strokes with confidence. I could see him winning a bunch of HC majors and probably sneak one or two on clay, though.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Kuzzy 2009 FO Champion) 07/05/2009 at 04:09 AM

I asked this ? on the other thread but I have more hope of it getting answered here. What does Serena have to do to get the No. 1 position?

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 04:12 AM

IMJimmy -- well after the AO final, I put nothing past Rafa. To me that was an even more impressive performance than the Wimby 08 #, though I understand the love/best-ever accolades for the latter.

But yeah, Fed hasn't lost in NYC, in what, six freaking years? Good God. I'm trying to remember the last dude who beat him there.

Yeah, I can't get a handle on Djokovic. Maybe my eye's not trained enough, but I can't see anything different from his game when he was much closer to the top. Guess it could be mental, but what? Sometimes I wonder if he's overly concerned about being liked or something. Grasping here ...

Posted by VC 07/05/2009 at 04:13 AM

"it's appropriate when Federer is winning the tournaments, and I've no complaints about him regaining it, he totally deserves it - but, it doesn't go as of right to the player with "the most beautiful game" or even with the best claim for the GOAT. It goes to the one with the most points.

Ridiculous. And I hope that doesn't start a Fedal war, because it's not meant to. :)"

jewell : The press says the silliest things. ;-) Look at the headline of this article, and the quotes inside, which are entirely reasonable. The British press at their best. And it's actually coming from a respectable publication.

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/federer-slams-murrays-grand-ambition-1732047.html

Stefanki's comments on Murray are interesting, and reflect my (and imjimmy's) take on his play yesterday :

------------
"I think the difference was that Murray's second serve was very attackable. That was the plan, to move in and club some second serve returns," Stefanki said in an interview with Radio Wimbledon.

"I don't think Murray transitions to offence well enough. He is stuck playing defensive tennis only and, in my opinion, that was the big difference. I don't think Murray played enough offence yesterday.

"Besides Roger Federer he is the best mover in the game. He has the best footwork and he is technically very sound. He has to change his mentality of the way he wants to play this game at the very top level.

"His record is great and he is a very strong-minded kid, and I like that, but he needs to recognise when to play offence. I don't think he sees it while he is playing right now and that's the next step for him.

"He is going to have a great future if he gets to the point of recognising balls to attack and to come into the forecourt and play there rather than 15 feet behind the baseline. He will win a lot of slams, he is that good of a mover.

"I think he has plenty of weapons. He hits the ball as cleanly as anybody but you have to learn when to use them and unload on certain balls and I don't see him doing that."

Stefanki, who turned down a chance to coach Murray three years ago because he was not "mentally ready for the baggage" which would have come with the job, added: "You can get through the juniors just being a pusher, a retriever getting balls back.

"I call it negative tennis and that's not going to win you slams. You have to have some offensive threat. He has developed a big serve and can move the ball from A to B as well as anybody, he just does not know when to do it."
----------

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5hZOG1mVBmOgbnA0H7Evk8sV4nk2Q

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 04:14 AM

Win Rome and Madrid back-to-back? ;-)

Posted by VC 07/05/2009 at 04:16 AM

"All the coverage I've read (which consists of the Guardian yesterday, not terribly representative, I admit) has been very fair."

jewell, I was also pleasantly surprised to see that they haven't been that hard on him. For four sets, the script actually wasn't that different to last year's final, except Federer saved the MPs in the TB, and took it to a fifth.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 04:19 AM

LOL, VC, that is Sun-worthy. Ugh.

I hate that all everybody asks the other players is "What do you think of Murray?" - must be so bloody annoying for them, I'm surprised they don't just go immediately insane with rage and start frothing at the mouth.

Usually I like the Independent's coverage - Paul Newman is usually very balanced and astute, imo.

Posted by VC 07/05/2009 at 04:22 AM

"IMJimmy -- well after the AO final, I put nothing past Rafa. To me that was an even more impressive performance than the Wimby 08 #, though I understand the love/best-ever accolades for the latter."

Both were great performances from Nadal, the Wimby one got the plaudits because a.) he had been losing finalist the last two years b.) Federer was 5-time defending champ and c.) Federer had all the momentum saving 2 MPs and coming from 2 sets down, so Rafa needed to show incredible character to stop the tide in the 5th.

At the AO, Federer dipped considerably in the 5th set which was an unsatisfactory climax. In the Wimbledon match, he was hitting great shots even in the last game.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 04:22 AM

"except Federer saved the MPs in the TB."

that was the point I started hitting things and kicking walls.

Will *never* forget that backhand, though. Sickeningly good! And Rafa's the shot before wasn't bad, either.

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 04:22 AM

Interesting comments from Stefanki.

Posted by VC 07/05/2009 at 04:22 AM

Anyway, good night, need to get up in a few hours for the match!

Posted by imjimmy 07/05/2009 at 04:25 AM

""Actually, Djokovic has a "bigger" game than Murray when he's confident. ""

VC: Word. I said pretty much the same thing sometime ago. There's no technical deficiency in Nole's game: Serve, shots on both wings, movement, defense - all perfect. His problem is more in his head it seems.

Djokovic is a good sport. He is very gracious in defeat. In my mind, that's admirable. That's not the issue though (IMO). I think a big part of Djokovic's problem is that he's just too nice. Why is he constantly applauding his opponents' shots during the matches? You can be friends and you can be complimentary AFTER the match, but not DURING the match. What does Nadal do after his opponent hits a great shot? He usually has the determined look in his eyes, that says ' ok ..you got that one, but try doing it again' ..

Djokovic's obviously a great tennis player, but I think he lacks the "killer instinct". I get the feeling that he is too concerned about wanting to be liked by everyone. That's why I am pessimistic about his chances in slams coz he doesn't radiate the raw hunger, determined to win at all costs, attitude to me.

Posted by VC 07/05/2009 at 04:26 AM

"Rafa's the shot before wasn't bad, either."

jewell, you should read the description of that shot in Strokes of Genius. Probably the best passing shot I've ever seen. That tiebreak was one for the ages.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/05/2009 at 04:29 AM

Well coming back from my practice on the h/courts I began to think about what I said about Murray being too passive in his game against Roddick.

One poster said thats the way he plays and that has got him to no 3 in the world.Well yes in some parts it has.

When playing the role of a counter puncher like Murray does waiting for the opponent to make a mistake or forcing him into one,if that plan is working so bit it.

In yesterdays match it clearly wasnt.When playing defense then turning into offense are the correct time is a timing thing.

Murrays game wasnt working,he didnt seem to want to change it full stop.Roddick on the other hand was the agressor might of made more u/errors and in the end stats didnt win as many poin ts but hey won the match overall.

Roddick attacked Murrays 2nd serve all the time,Murrays 2nd serve is a area in his game he needs to work on.Yesterday it was slow and too short.Also his f/hand side which is his weaker side came under fire by Roddick.

Roddick had a great surprise game plan and executed it to a tee.

Murray said he will try to improve his game and its not the end of the world as he as more opportunities for Grand Slam titles.
He feels the US OPEN is his best chance of Grand Slam success,I agree there.Though on a fast h/court you cannot choose to remain passive all the time.

Look at Rafa he knew he had to change some parts of his game in order to win a h/court Grand Slam and to his credit he did.

Murray has a great game I wish him well in the future.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 04:29 AM

*clutches DVD and Strokes of Genius to self, smothers with kisses*

not that I'm obsessed with that match, or anything. Of course not. Not me. ;-)

the other thing was how well it started...it was as if they hadn't stopped playing the last match, with that first point. My God! It was wonderful.

That TB was shorter, but it's up there with "The Tiebreak" for me.

Angel - to answer seriously, I haven't a clue about the ranking points...*wishes for Tennis Fan or Master Ace*

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 04:34 AM

*the last Wimbledon match, or Hamburg final, or something.

Not the FO (sorry, Mike...*winces*) - I really believe that was an aberration.

About Murray - I really think when he's playing well he can do the aggressive thing, bit like Rafa in some ways, for me - defensiveness is kind of the fall-back position.

If he *was* fatigued, that's mildly annoying...he had time to recover from the Wawrinka match and had a fine time against JCF. Mentally a bit tired, that makes more sense.

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 04:34 AM

Ok, VC's gone but I'll clarify anyway. IMO, Rafa winning Wimby wasn't that surprising. One could see it coming. He was getting closer and closer to Fed each year. But I just didn't see him beating Fed in an HC GS. At least so early in his career.

But yes, Fed played like crap in the fifth set, and it was also the worst I'ver seen him serve. But I think Rafa, of course, had something to do with each. Wasn't comparing the quality of the two matches, only that Rafa's performance impressed me even more in the OZ final.

Posted by VC 07/05/2009 at 04:35 AM

"There's no technical deficiency in Nole's game: Serve, shots on both wings, movement, defense - all perfect. His problem is more in his head it seems."

Probably he could improve the backhand slice. It looks a bit unnatural. Second serve can also sit up a bit. His volleying also looks good when he's confident, there was visible improvement when he worked with Woodforde. But he's never looked a threat to me on grass. His game seems to be built for HC, and translates fairly well to clay as well.

About his graciousness, he needs to lose the "quitter" reputation fast, because that's what many people still judge him by. To be fair, he seems to have taken the RG and Wimbledon defeats with a lot of equanimity, which is nice to see, because the AO withdrawal reopened the doubts for me a bit.

I don't think his "niceness" is a problem, his recent reactions to defeat show that he is maturing, IMO. I think his problem (atleast this year) was grass. And his confidence level is obviously not great. He just never looked comfortable through the first four rounds, and he played some fairly ordinary opponents.

Posted by imjimmy 07/05/2009 at 04:37 AM

""IMJimmy -- well after the AO final, I put nothing past Rafa. To me that was an even more impressive performance than the Wimby 08 ""

mcakron : Actually the AO F 09 was the match where ( IMO) Rafa was rewarded *most* for all the hardwork he had done to garner the dominating h2h he had against Roger. I think Nadal had no business winning that day. He had played 5 hrs plus, less than 48 hrs before, and it wasn't his best surface. Yet he got into Roger's head, out-muscled Roger on a HC and won the mental battle in the 5th set. It wasn't just pure tennis (unlike the Wimb 08 F).

Anyway back to my original pt about the UsOpen. I still think it's the hardest surface for Nadal. There's a considerable speed difference between the plexicushion at AO and Deco Turf in NY. And even a 100% Nadal is susceptible to a lot of other players ( besides the big 4) on that surface. So yeah, I would place Rafa #3 or #4 in the favorites list for the UsOpen.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 04:37 AM

ok...I'm going to do it.

*presses Install button*

Posted by VC 07/05/2009 at 04:39 AM

"When playing the role of a counter puncher like Murray does waiting for the opponent to make a mistake or forcing him into one,if that plan is working so bit it.

In yesterdays match it clearly wasnt.When playing defense then turning into offense are the correct time is a timing thing.

Murrays game wasnt working,he didnt seem to want to change it full stop.Roddick on the other hand was the agressor might of made more u/errors and in the end stats didnt win as many poin ts but hey won the match overall."

Yes, what surprised me was that he was still falling back into the same defensive/neutral shots in the 4th set TB, which he needed to step up and try to win. He had to take a few gambles there.

Posted by VC 07/05/2009 at 04:41 AM

Ok, good night now.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 04:42 AM

Oh - Rafa can win on Deco Turf, proved that at the Olympics (agree it's the hardest for him, but certainly not impossible) - but dominating isn't so easy, and I think the SF-F final combination might be a factor, too.

He'll be going in fresher this year, but maybe with not so much confidence.

on the other hand, can't ever underestimate my boy's will to win, so, who knows?

I'll be sailing the crazy pirate ship across the Atlantic for sure. ;-)

Posted by NP 07/05/2009 at 04:43 AM

jewell, IE8 is a vast improvement over 7. Install it pronto.

Posted by imjimmy 07/05/2009 at 04:45 AM

Jewell: I prefer firefox to IE overall. However IE crashes lesser with TW (in my experience). I would never work on IE though, even ver 8 looks lousy to me.

AM: Good post. I would think, though, that Murray's counter punching game would work better on a hard court than on grass. That's prolly why he's had so much success on hcs.

VC: I had read Stefanki's comments earlier too. I just thought calling Murray a pusher was a little rude. But then his charge won, so Stefanki can say what he wants. But Murray might still have the last laugh.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/05/2009 at 04:45 AM

NP Are you upset that Pete wont be at Wimby for the match.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 04:46 AM

Did it!

*trembles*

it's going to change everything, isn't it? I hate changes to the look of my screen. But I'll get used to it, I suppose.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 04:47 AM

and I definitely can't cope with Firefox. Installed it once by mistake and it was horrible!

I know where I am with Microsoft, it's all designed for computer-challenged people like me. ;-)

Posted by imjimmy 07/05/2009 at 04:50 AM

NP: You shd have been here today evening when some posters were giving Pete a lot of grief for not attending the final.

Firefox - horrible? * Surprised*

Anyway, time to crash. Later everyone!

Posted by NP 07/05/2009 at 04:50 AM

"IMO, Rafa winning Wimby wasn't that surprising."

mcakron, there was a poll on the main page at the end of last year that asked what was the biggest surprise of 2008, and--I'm not exaggerating--over half the respondents picked Rafa's defeat of Fed in the Wimby final over Murray's and dP's ascendancy to the top 10. I got a good chuckle out of that.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/05/2009 at 04:51 AM

Jewell I put Firefox on my lap top computer then had problems with posting had to take it off.Though at the moment I have no trouble getting on this site or staying on

Fingers crossed of course lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/05/2009 at 04:54 AM

Np You "Chuckle"

Posted by NP 07/05/2009 at 04:55 AM

Actually, imjimmy, even I have to say IE8 should be satisfactory for casual Web surfers. I do 2nd your FF preference, though. Gives you more options.

As to people giving Pete grief for not attending the final.... let me take a wild guess... they were KADs of a certain GOAT. Can't figure out who.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/05/2009 at 04:56 AM

NP Please I dont fit into that category

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 04:57 AM

NP -- doesn't surprise me. I'm guessing you put the Wimby '08 final on any sort of tennis poll and people will just automatically vote for it w/out reading the question, or at least thinking about it.

Posted by NP 07/05/2009 at 04:59 AM

AM, I frankly don't care whether Pete will be at Wimby for the final. If Fed wins, good for Pete to be there to congratulate him. Doesn't bother me. It's not like Fed will have settled the GOAT question.

And yes, I do chuckle. A lot. That's why I keep coming here. :)

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 04:59 AM

LOL, mcakron...probably. :)

Posted by NP 07/05/2009 at 05:01 AM

AM, I wasn't talking about you. Besides, even if you were in the category I wouldn't hold that against ya. I know you already get enough Sampras slobbering from Peter.

mcakron, exactly. Like I said a few days ago, it's 1st-rate entertainment. :)

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 05:01 AM

Yeah, I'm cool with Pete staying home. But I do hope as he ages he starts showing up at some GS's. His decision, of course, but I think it's cool to see the legends in the stands. Even the greasy trio of Vilas, Tiriac and Nastase.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/05/2009 at 05:02 AM

Np I am glad we make you "Chuckle"

Also it doesent worry me or Roger I would think that Pete isnt coming

Gee I would to see the Queen though,pity Murray isnt in the final

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 05:03 AM

The homeboy-ness is one of the things I do find quite endearing about Sampras, really.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 07/05/2009 at 05:09 AM

I am going to buy Ear Muffs designer of course before Wednesday thats the day hubby is due home

I want to be able to block out the you know what lol!

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 05:14 AM

LOL, AM...records are made to be broken, no?

Posted by NP 07/05/2009 at 05:14 AM

Alright, I just went thru the last few pages and saw the utterly brilliant speculation that Sampras ain't coming for the Wimby final 'cause he doesn't wanna see his record broken, not 'cause he doesn't like the flight. Well, hate to break it to these geniuses, but Pete does hate to fly anywhere. Really. If you have bothered to follow his occasional tennis trips since his retirement, Pete has said on more than one occasion that he didn't attend this or that event 'cause it was far away from LA. Why do you think he missed the USO anniversary party last year? 'Cause of a peace summit? Seriously.

Posted by BC 07/05/2009 at 05:15 AM

Tomorrow's final -

Unless Roddick shows up with a serious Mallorcan tan, a bandana and capris, it´s a foregone conclusion.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 05:18 AM

doesn't Sampras really like Federer, anyway?

Posted by NP 07/05/2009 at 05:20 AM

mcakron, I'd like that me-self, but I don't see it happening. I mean, the guy never bothered to visit his ancestral homeland Greece till after his retirement! You won't be seeing him on Travel Channel anytime soon, that's for sure.

AM, you might wanna hide the Bible, 2, before you get those earmuffs.

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars! 07/05/2009 at 05:21 AM

I shouldn't laugh, but I have to:

"The wife of the new head of MI6 has caused a major security breach and left his family exposed after publishing photographs and personal details on Facebook."

Bad Facebook. ;-)

Posted by NP 07/05/2009 at 05:23 AM

jewell, Pete does seem to like Fed. The bromance is just too much!

Posted by mcakron 07/05/2009 at 05:25 AM

Poor Roddick. Dude breaks my heart. And even his fans on here -- Black Matt, Linz and others. Let's face it. You're a fan of Fed, Rafa, Sampras, Serena, etc., you get a lot of last laughs. You're a fan of Roddick, you're making a commitment. Gotta admire that.

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