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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 Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 08:10 PM

BTW...a non sequitur....if he's ever that way inclined, I have the sense that one day Andy Roddick could be a highly entertaining commentator on the game.

Posted by rudy3 (proud Rafaelite since 2005) 07/04/2009 at 08:12 PM

Rosangel, i think you are right. Here's hoping he kicks Justin Gimelslob out of the birdhouse someday.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2009 at 08:13 PM

Carol Thanks but I cant read Spanish too well

I started last year,but personal stuff got in the way

I intend to start up again for sure.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 08:14 PM

Rosangel and Aussiemarg - The funny thing I was reading the WTA rule book (or whatever it is called) and it seems they are realizing that you cannot continue to make players play too much of a hectic schedule especially as they gro older. They have this clause for player 30 years and older about choosing not to be designated as a top ten player (if they are so ranked) for the purpose of the bonuses and other perks. If they make the choice they will not be subject to the point, suspension, and other penalties. But they just won't partake of the top ten bonus pool which I think is fair deal. All they have to do is just play mandatory tournaments and GSs and other if they choose to. I can definitely see Vee and ReRe embracing that when they hit 30 if they are still playing (they say they want to). Although I think the WTA may want to consider lowering that age to say 28.

Posted by sally 07/04/2009 at 08:19 PM

pete was not number 1 for a full six years. there were months he wasn't number 1. he would go to europe to play tournaments to get the ranking for the end of the year.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2009 at 08:19 PM

Avid Is there a clause in there for someone of my age? lol!

Drats I knew I left my run too late.

Posted by Jake 07/04/2009 at 08:22 PM

lois:

I hear you about Andy having worked so hard, and being deserving, etc. Like you, I wouldn't hurt too much if he won, but I can't see how Roger doesn't win THIS particular one.

Roger wants another monkey off his back apparently, judging from this London's Sunday Times quote...

"Every opponent, and especially Andy Roddick today, should fear the liberating effect of that victory (FO). In 2003, when Federer won his first grand slam title, he spoke of a similar feeling. “There was all the pressure of having to do it, of being expected to win a grand slam,” he said.” I was afraid of being put in the box of losers, underachievers, fancy players who didn’t make it. It has been a nightmare for me, but now it’s over. NOW I START AGAIN FROM ZERO.” Once again, he is starting from zero, attacking rather than defending his position. He has won 18 matches in succession, starting in Madrid, and has become instinctive again, sometimes even playful." Oops.

Andy Roddick will just be a casualty like John Stockton and Karl Malone were to Michael Jordan in the 90's NBA.

Sorry.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 08:23 PM

aussiemarg - LOL! Well at 25 all you need is five more years ;-)

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2009 at 08:26 PM

Avid Yes how silly of me,Phew I will start getting that extra practice seesion in right away

Time waits for no Woaman I'am afraid.

Posted by Carol 07/04/2009 at 08:30 PM

Aussiemarg, besides Rafa is going to reappear in Montral, they say he and his team have dicided to change his priorities, not to play so many tournaments, just the Majors 1000 and GS
I think it's a great idea

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 08:33 PM

I flove Vee ;-)

Q. Has retirement crossed either of your minds?
VENUS WILLIAMS: That's so not the subject right now.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2009 at 08:36 PM

Carol Well its about time too.

Gee I thought after the Paris Masters last year,that they would look and his playing schedule better this year.

Well better late than never,still he was in such a good position Major Sigh!

Well there is always next year.I had a dream the other night he did just that next year.

My wish and hope that his knees hold up inhis career.I have always said it would be the one thing that would stop him for further Greatness in this game.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 08:39 PM

aussiemarg - LOL! you need the extra practice sessions.

I like the decision of Rafa's team but why does he still have Bangkok on his schedule? Is it because he had committed to it before? Five tournaments after the USO is an over kill. He should do no more than Shanghai, Paris and WTF London.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2009 at 08:41 PM

Look lets get rid of these horrid h/courts here and now pftt.

Clay and grass is the way to go period.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/04/2009 at 08:44 PM

Well Avid I am actually off to practice by the way

Yes on those horrid h/courts too

See everyone later for the Mens final

Bye for Now.

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 08:45 PM

I'm interested (re Rafa's schedule) in what he will do about Davis Cup.

In that if he chooses to play something extra, I'd rather it was Davis Cup than a minor tourney like Bangkok.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 08:47 PM

Rosangel - I'm with you on Rafa doing DC rather than Bangkok if Spain makes it to the DC SF. I think earlier today in one of the threads Bangkok and Bejing were on his schedule in addition to the remaining masters series USO and WTF.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 08:52 PM

sigh. I'm really really glad for Nenad and Daniel. After how close they came to winning the FO title, dominating the clay season and losing the no. 1 spot, they've got it back with defending the W title.

I'm just getting around to watching Blake/Fish vs Nestor/Zimonjic.
David Mercer to John Lloyd: "He (Blake) should be in your Davis cup team. His mother is British." LOL.

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 08:57 PM

Well, given that the focus isn't on the ranking, the minor tourneys don't matter. If Barcelona goes, so should everything else that matters less, even if it attracts zero-pointers,

I continue to think that the clay season is a bit too compressed, but I think the bigger issue is probably that the three clay MS events follow so closely on the US spring HC season.

I certainly hope Rotterdam is a thing of the past, at least for now.

My only chance to see Rafa live in real competition this year is likely to be in London at the WTF (I might make it to Bercy, but it's a small chance as of now), so I hope he makes it there.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/04/2009 at 09:00 PM

Hello again everybody,

I see the conversation has, once again, turned to Rafa and his schedule. I feel that his team are always going to have a problem with him because of his (overzealous?) enthusiasm for the game. That is not a criticism of him, it is just the way he is.

I really don't want him to come back until he is completely fit and I don't want to see a repeat of the latter part of last year, when he had to retire early from the end of year championships.

There was no sparkle for me at Wimbledon this year and like many of us, I had to drum up some enthusiasm as I have always loved this tournament more than any other

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 09:01 PM

greenhopper - awh, don't sigh after all they finally have the #1 back. I'm sure the clay season bummer must have hurt them but finally they've got it back and defended their Wimbledon :)

Posted by Carol 07/04/2009 at 09:03 PM

Rosangel, Rafa was officially left off Spain's team for the DC. I'm glad he took that decision

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 09:07 PM

Carol: I know he's not in the team vs. Germany. I'm thinking about the semis and the final, if Spain get that far, which I certainly hope they do.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 09:10 PM

Does the dubs ranking work differently than the singles? By simply defending the title (and the Bryans performing better than in the prev Wimby) how can N/Z get back to #1 position?

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 09:13 PM

I feel like Rafa's already put in his time for Davis Cup. So, he should do it only if he feels motivated....and I hope the Spanish Tennis Federation doesn't pressure him into it...given that they have 5 players or so in the top 20. I'd prefer to see him rack up as many GS as possible, and hopefully a calendar GS one day. I don't see how he's going to do that and DC....given that he doesn't hold up for more than 5 months ATM.

Posted by Carol 07/04/2009 at 09:15 PM

Rosangel, well, I don't know, but remember he didn't play last year the final against Argentina because the same problem

Posted by Tfactor 07/04/2009 at 09:18 PM

Pspace,
That's the problem he always feels motivated to play DC. He's said more than once that he likes team competition more. He was extremely disappointed he had to miss last year's finals and I can't imagine he would miss another final this year if they reach there and he is healthy. I just hope he doesn't play DC before that.

Posted by Ruth 07/04/2009 at 09:25 PM

Rafa and his team have decided that they want to follow a schedule that pretty much mirros in its thinking what Serena was saying in her press conference and what several other players have said: let's focus on winning the Slams even if we have to relinquish many points that would help us to achieve the #1 or a very high ranking.

That's a decision that each player has to make for him/herself. But, having made that decision, that player has to accept that his/her Tour chooses to reward with a higher ranking etc those players who CAN or who DO put themselves and their records on the line more often during the season.

And, as I said when discussing Sampras, there's no doubt that credit must be given to those players who are willing to take on all comers and achieve excellent results when doing so.

Posted by Carol 07/04/2009 at 09:26 PM

Tfactor, it's true, if he is healthy probably wants to play the final because he likes team competition more than anything else Last year he couldn't because the knees

Posted by imjimmy 07/04/2009 at 09:30 PM

Tfactor @ 7:56 PM: Thanks for the translation.
I feel that Rafa should skip DC if he can. Even Fed's never played the first phase of DC since '04.

Also looking at scheduling this year which was unnecessary: (no of matches in each tournament)

Qatar exho (unnecessary) - 2 matches
Qatar 3 matches - 5 doubles (unnecessary)
Rotterdam (biggest mistake of his career) - 5 matches and actually got injured in the Final
DC (unnecessary) - 2 matches
Barcelona 5 matches (play Barcelona and drop Madrid; or vice versa..shouldn't do both)
OR
Madrid 5 matches

So just by eliminating Qatar, doubles Doha, Rotterdam, DC, one of Barca/Madrid - it is very likely Nadal would have won RG and could had made the finals at Wimb..

For injuries like tendinitis, the most important thing is rest between tournaments. So with a cleverly spaced out schedule, Rafa might last a whole year :)

Posted by Ruth 07/04/2009 at 09:32 PM

TC's Classic Tennis series is supposed to show a 1976 Ecert-goolagong match next. Should be good.

See y'all!

Posted by Tfactor 07/04/2009 at 09:33 PM

Carol,
I remember last year he still wanted to travel to Argentina with the team ;-)
I believe Rafa sometimes just wants to play even against the advice of his teams/doctors. After this year's experience, I really hope he really tailors his schedule to suit him better.

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 09:36 PM

"Even Fed's never played the first phase of DC since '04."

It's not "even Fed". He's a leading example of a player who hasn't played DC while focusing on Slams in recent years. Not the only one, but probably the most notable one.

It's a decision that many, many people support.

As a lover of DC, I would always rather see the top players turn up and play it if they can, and ditch un-necessary (but lucrative) stuff like Dubai.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/04/2009 at 09:39 PM

But the trouble is that, even with a full schedule, Rafa always maintains that it is fine for him.

We know better, don't we?

Posted by Carol 07/04/2009 at 09:40 PM

Tfactor, yes, you are right, I hope after this experience he has learned the lesson

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 09:41 PM

...and yes, I know he's turned up at certain moments in DC to keep Switzerland from being relegated from the world group, etc...

Rafa is a different personality, and when I've seen him playing DC he often seems to sparkle - he obviously loves it. Helps a lot that he has good friendships with the rest of the team. I'd rather he gave a bit of his time to do something that he clearly loves, is what I'm saying, in preference to certain un-necessary tournaments.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 09:45 PM

They've just moved up in the doubles race for 2009. Not the individual rankings. Because N/Z lost points for not making the FO final and failing to defend Queens.

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 09:46 PM

Tfactor, yeah. DC would be alright if either (a) they had it as a single tournament at some point in the year (with host as previous champ or something), or (b) they played it on the current surface (as far as ATP season goes). This year he went from hc to clay to hc to clay with about 1 week of adjusting between switches. He said that the injury first appeared in Miami....so I lay the blame on the transition. I assume the R'dam injury was something else...not sure if those details have been released.

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 09:50 PM

Rosangel, Fed also has good friends on the DC team. Marco and Yves are the closest. But, he and Stan also get along. And, he gets very sentimental about his anthem being played and so on...He's said on several occasions that he would love to play but sacrificed it in the interests of pursuing Pete's record. Not that that's for every1...but it is the most prestigious record in tennis, and it would be nice to see Rafa maximize his chances. But, yeah, there are other things to cut b4 DC.

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 09:51 PM

Lynne: last year in Paris, Rafa was overheard saying to the trainer that treated him for his right knee then something unhappy about the number of mandatory tournaments that the players are committed to. His words (I don't recall them precisely) are on the TV recording of the match that I have. I didn't hear it at the time (too busy trying to take pictures, like any photo-vulture, I think). But sometime afterwards I watched the match, which was waiting at home for me on recording.

So what he says officially and what he says in an unguarded moment may not always be the same thing.

Posted by Tfactor 07/04/2009 at 09:53 PM

I agree. Pspace, in particular about the surface adjustment.
J-Mac was proposing some changes today which made sense to me too. He didn't speak of surface but more about timing and not playing DC on an Olympic year, for example.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/04/2009 at 09:59 PM

Rosangel,

Didn't hear any comments in Paris at all.

However, I did hear that he was very unhappy in Miami about the mandatory tournaments and he was worried about the number of hard courts and whether or not they would be increased.

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 10:00 PM

Pspace: I know Federer has good friends on the DC team.

I have some sympathy with the theory that he lost a little heart for DC after losing a close match to Hewitt in DC that could have won Switzerland the trophy and also the Peter Carter Cup that's up for grabs whenever Aus plays Switzerland....or something like that. Then I guess there was a whole lot of DC politics, most of which I've forgotten except in outline.

I also think the friendships among some of the Spanish players are notably close. I have absolutely no idea who Federer would consider his closest friend on the tour, but I have a pretty good idea about Rafa (Feli).

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 10:01 PM

Speaking of Thailand open, Jo won that title last year. And Bercy. Uh, buh-bye top 10.

Posted by Carol 07/04/2009 at 10:05 PM

Pspace, yes, but as Rosangel says Rafa is a different personality, he love the team competition maybe more than Sampras records. He knows that tennis is not for ever, but a good frienships could be

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 10:05 PM

gh @ 9:45 -- Thanks.

Posted by RogerFederer_GOAT 07/04/2009 at 10:06 PM

Just before Roger Federer makes history tomorrow, here are some thoughts (from another blog) -

" In the modern game, you are either a grass court specialist, a clay court or a hard court specialist, or you are Roger Federer " - Jimmy Connors

- Roger Federer's Rolex asks him what time it is

- Roger Federer doesn't play God. Playing is for children

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 10:06 PM

Actually, Federer's "closest friend" on the tour by far is Mirka, I'd assume. It's probably a bit different for the players who don't typically travel with girlfriends/wives.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:08 PM

greenhopper - I think Jo will be fine. He did not play Toronto and Cinci last year and I know he would do well in those so he would be fine and will probably still stay in the top ten as long as he stays injury-free. He plays well on HC.

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 10:08 PM

Rosangel, Yves Allegro and Marco Chiudinelli were at the wedding :-). So, I assume they are the closest. Stan was not invited...surprisingly. Well, at least he beat him at MC.

Apropos of nothing, is there a player who has won all the MS level tournaments (at their time)? Sorta like a career MS slam?

I believe Rafa has not won Cincy (and perhaps anything post USO). Fed has not won MC and Rome...think he's won all the others.

Posted by Jake 07/04/2009 at 10:11 PM

"Actually, Federer's "closest friend" on the tour by far is Mirka, I'd assume. It's probably a bit different for the players who don't typically travel with girlfriends/wives."

Haha, Rosangel...

Talking of which marriage/companionship seems to be working very well for Roger's, Roddick's, and Haas' games, no?

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 10:12 PM

Carol, it's perhaps fair to say that prior to last year Rafa cared more for the team than the record. I don't know if his thinking has changed since then....I mean, when you have 3 or 4, 15 is a looooong way away. Fed also played DC when he had that many slams, IMR. Once you hit 7 or 8 and/or do a few in a row, I think it starts to look like a possibility. Toni has been willing to discuss Rafa's place in the all time greats...not sure what to infer from that, but I wouldn't be surprised if his thinking changed.

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 10:14 PM

Pspace: Rafa has won the indoor version of Madrid post-USO. But not Cincy, Miami or Paris, though he's been to finals in the last two.

Federer hasn't won Paris either.

Posted by Tfactor 07/04/2009 at 10:18 PM

I think Andre won all except for MC ? (not sure)

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 10:19 PM

Good point, ASF. I think JoWi can gain some major points during the USO series.. Also, JMDP could sweep all the points he won in the minor HC tournaments last year with just two decent showings in Cincy and Montreal.

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 10:21 PM

Tfactor, Andre's only clay MS was Rome '02. So, was MC the only other clay masters? Hamburg was around, no?

Posted by TennisFan2 07/04/2009 at 10:21 PM

Pspace I believe you are correct about Rafa and the team. He seems to enjoy the camaraderie that comes along with being an athlete. Judging from what other players on tour say about him (minus the Sod) he seems to enjoy the other players and is very social and he certainly has a team mentality - had it not been for his extraordinary talent he would really have been more suited to play on Spain's football team rather than playing in an individual sport.

I thought Andy Murray's comments were telling the other day - I think many players really missed the person and competitor that is Rafa. I imagine he livens up the locker room and his zest for life is probably infectious. I don't think anyone is looking to challenge Roger in a video game.

Also Rafa's experience at the Olympics shows his team mentality - he chose to stay in the village and hang out with the other players. He wanted to be part of team Spain and meet the other Olympians - he didn't want to stay holed up in a hotel somewhere waiting to play his matches.

Posted by Tfactor 07/04/2009 at 10:24 PM

Yes you're right Pspace he didn't win Hamburg either.
It doesn't seem anybody has won them all.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/04/2009 at 10:24 PM

Something must change as regards the playing surfaces. We are definitely seeing a lot more young players with tendinitis and knee injuries associated with too many hardcourt tournaments.
Monfils, Rafa, del Potro, Tsonga and Safina are all or have been suffering knee injuries and have you noticed how many players are appearing with knee strapping lately?

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 10:24 PM

Pspace/Tfactor: Right re Hamburg/MC. I assume he didn't win the Madrid HC Masters either and/or where that last AMS was played during his times. something like a Stuttgart AMS, maybe?

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 10:25 PM

TennisFan2, I don't think I said that :-). Perhaps, I might've said the opposite. Rosangel and Carol would be the ones you'd be agreeing with ;-). Yeah, I dunno that much about Rafa. You guys are prolly right.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 10:27 PM

seems like the Madrid AMS replaced the Stuttgart tourney in the early naughts. he won Madrid and not Stuttgart.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:27 PM

Arun - yupp about JDMP. and he could even play one more tourney in this post SW19 before the USO starts like Hamburg which is a 500 series.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 10:31 PM

oh.. is he in the entry list for Hamburg? Also, he is defending 250 points from his Stuttgart clay-court win last year, right?

Posted by imjimmy 07/04/2009 at 10:31 PM

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8132893.stm

BBC Andy Murray profile -
___________________________

""Murray loathes smoking, hates partying and is a devout teetotaller - he tried it once but ended up throwing up outside a nightclub in Barcelona.""

""Ms Sears is credited with getting him to lighten up and more importantly, according to his mother Judy, she made him cut his hair.""

""Sources close to Murray say he has the driest of humours, which is very often lost in translation. ""
____________________________

Posted by Tfactor 07/04/2009 at 10:31 PM

Andre won Madrid with a walk over in 2002

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 10:32 PM

Andre's MS titles are:

IW, Miami, Rome, Toronto, Cincy, Paris, and Madrid.

No Stuttgart. Interestingly, his opponent in the Rome finals was Haas whom he beat 6-1 6-3 6-0.

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 10:33 PM

""which is very often lost in translation.""

From thought to speech? ;-)

Posted by Carol 07/04/2009 at 10:35 PM

Well, I would love Rafa goes for the records, but that depends what is in his head and how much he takes care himself. I hope to see him playing better than ever and to win US OPEN and next year (not injuries) to win his fifth RG and second Wimbledon. He has enough talent and game to do it

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/04/2009 at 10:35 PM

In other words, mostly a typical Scot!

I only know this as my father was half English, half Scottish.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:36 PM

Arun - yes he is defending Stuttgart (500), Kitzbuhel (500), Washington (350), LA (350) between now and the end of the USO series, a total of 1,700 points. So even if he defends Stuttgart he will be losing points as it is now a 250 series tourney.

Posted by TennisFan2 07/04/2009 at 10:37 PM

From TMF's presser today:
Q. What do you think that you and the event have missed by not having Nadal here?

ROGER FEDERER: Look, I mean, sort of the tournament goes on. You know, if I or Rafa doesn't win the tournament, somebody will, and there will always be a story. ... I think that's why Rafa got forgotten quite quickly, to be honest.

FORGOTTEN QUITE QUICKLY?????? TMF should read more tennis.com blogs!

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog (Roger for the Channel Slam!) 07/04/2009 at 10:38 PM

Rosangel: During the last 3 years ('06, '07, '08), how many DC ties have Federer and Nadal each played per year? I'd be interested to know how they compare.

Federer intended to compete earlier this year in the tie against USA. Had it on his schedule for the first time in years. He pulled out to focus on his back rehab after AO (and also pulled out of Dubai). Incidentally, Nadal also pulled out due to injury/fatigue.

Posted by TennisFan2 07/04/2009 at 10:40 PM

Pspace: Carol, it's perhaps fair to say that prior to last year Rafa cared more for the team than the record.

Sorry Pspace, I saw the above and didn't read back far enough...

;-)

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/04/2009 at 10:41 PM

TennisFan2: Wishful thinking on Feds part. He must have seen the Rafa placards.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:43 PM

Arun - oh no he is not in the Hamburg entry list. I just mentioned that he could choose to play Hamburg since he has just one ATP-500 tournament on his ranking points right now.

Posted by Rosangel 07/04/2009 at 10:45 PM

CfR: this isn't a Federer vs. Nadal discussion. Plus I need some sleep, and until you apologise to me for your ridiculous accusations of bias you're not worth my time.

Goodnight.

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 10:45 PM

well. it's always fun to selectively pick a few words (without the context) from a player's presser and take offense. Have a go!

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 10:47 PM

TennisFan2 and Lynne, I'd suggest you read the entire presser rather than taking one statement out of context. Federer was saying that Rafa got lost in Murraymania...and went on to say that Rafa is the best player regardless of who is No. 1 on Monday.

http://www.wimbledon.org/en_GB/news/interviews/2009-07-04/200907041246709957062.html

Posted by Arun 07/04/2009 at 10:47 PM

oh ok, ASF. no worries. but I bet he isn't gonna play THAT many tournaments during this summer. Like you say, maybe defending Stuttgart (or getting a wildcard for Hamburg and earn those 500 points) plus the 2 HC AMSs, that's it.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 10:48 PM

Thanks, avid. I'm keeping it a negative, till he actually proves otherwise. Besides, I don't want Jo going into the WTF like last year and not winning anything (unless Nole gifts him another win).

Fishy after that hit-in-his-wrist/back shot to Nenad, after he apologizes: "You had the whole court (No, he didn't!), but you had to go after my wrist." ahem.

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 10:50 PM

Actually don't bother reading the entire presser. Just read the entire response rather than judiciously using ellipsis to propagate whatever view you want:

"""
Q. What do you think that you and the event have missed by not having Nadal here?

ROGER FEDERER: Look, I mean, sort of the tournament goes on. You know, if I or Rafa doesn't win the tournament, somebody will, and there will always be a story. I think the story definitely was Murray in this tournament, you know, because of where he comes from, because of how good his game's gotten, you know, that he had a real chance of winning here.

I think that's why Rafa got forgotten quite quickly, to be honest. There was a good semifinal match, that was Roddick, and there you go. It's unfair to a degree. But at the same time you have to move on, you know. I'm sure Rafa will be coming back next year and playing great tennis here. So that's the way this sport works really.
""""

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/04/2009 at 10:51 PM

Pspace: I had already read that presser. Still ridiculous to say that Rafa got lost in Murray mania, since he has clearly not been fogotten at all.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 10:53 PM

Okay, next game with Nestor serving, Zimonjic goes for a bh dtl, Fish is standing so close to the net, ball lucky catches the tape, bounces in deeper in the court. Fish throws a stare Zimonjic's way.
Game point, Blake totally aims a fh on Zimo, again catches the tape, Zimo recovers to put away a bh volley. David Mercers calls it a "full blooded swing at Zimonjic". Stay classy, kids.

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 10:54 PM

Lynne, well, Rafanation might care...but frankly, I'd entirely forgotten about that guy after the first couple of rounds...due to getting on the Mandwagon. The "We miss you Rafa" signs were there for one or two days...that's it. Fed wasn't asked a single question about Nadal until today...from the start of the tournament.

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog (Roger for the Channel Slam!) 07/04/2009 at 10:55 PM

Rosangel ... It was a question. I don't have the data in front of me to be positive, but if memory serves me right, both Rafa and Roger have played one tie each, in each of the years.

And if you're referring to my post from a few days ago, I guess you didn't read it, but I did apologize. Not going to keep doing so to pander to your ego.

Posted by greenhopper 07/04/2009 at 10:55 PM

What else do you want Roger to say? That is his life is not complete without Rafa? Please the question was really ridiculous, especially so far into the tournament, just before the final.

Posted by avid sports fan aka "Sigh-Rena" 07/04/2009 at 10:55 PM

Arun - yeah that is what I think he should do. One ATP 500 or since he was out of SW19 in the 2nd round, he could actually do Stuutgart and Hamburg if he can get the WC and then the North America AMSs.

greenhopper - I hear ya. It was unfortunate he ran into a red hot serving Ivo at SW19. I think he can do much better on the USO HC AMSs. What has happened to Kei?

BTW has anyone heard anything about Gael Monfils?

Posted by Tfactor 07/04/2009 at 10:58 PM

So Sampras gets a whole hour and I can't keep the interest on Andre for more than two seconds? ;-)
Even following the 14 to 8 GS ratio, Andre should get something like 34 mins, no? (just kidding)

Anyway, I'm off. Looking forward to a good match tomorrow!

Posted by se7en 07/04/2009 at 10:58 PM

Pspace @10:47 p.m." Second that! (+1)

Please never take someone's speech out of context before reading the entire transcript (better still if facial expression can be seen).

Also, with these athletes, they are usually ASKED of the question... so yeah, TennisFan2 and Lynne, read the whole thing, and not just assume just because of your liking of Rafa (who is a great great player, just like Roger).

Posted by TennisFan2 07/04/2009 at 11:02 PM

Pspace, I also read the entire presser and we all know that Murray was the story, but I think Roger has quite enjoyed not having Rafa around for a bit (with the Murray story and Rafa out he really hasn't had to relive last year's final).

I also think Roger can be so smarmy (although I will give him a wee bit of a break for language issues). Perhaps he's earned it as he's been a brilliant player but to say Rafa was quickly forgotten was arrogant (or maybe it was just wishful thinking). I guess I just like Rafa's humble pressers better.

Posted by Carol 07/04/2009 at 11:02 PM

So has been Rafa forgotten quite quicky? I don't think so and Federer knows better than anybody that Rafa has not been forgotten at all, I would like to know why he says that.....

Posted by Pspace 07/04/2009 at 11:04 PM

Oh great! Just wonderful. I give up. Yep, he's an arrogant ass. Lots of easy counter cheapshots available, but I'll hold my peace. 'nite all. TTYL.

Go Roddick!

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/04/2009 at 11:04 PM

Pspace: It's really not worth starting a Fedal war over.

Posted by TennisFan2 07/04/2009 at 11:05 PM

greenhopper, I guess since I heard other players interviewed, like Andy Murray (and perhaps this is because they are friendly with each other) who said Rafa was definitely missed...I thought TMF could say something like Rafa brings a great level of competition, or anything like that (they don't have to be social buddies) but to say he was forgotten was just arrogant IMO.

Posted by siggy stirring pot 07/04/2009 at 11:05 PM

hello all, cannot help self, Petenation and rafanation, take note! ;)

Players who have more than 50% of their head to head matches
with Sampras based on winning percentage:
Roger Federer 1-0
Yannick Noah 1-0
Paul Haarhuis 3-1
Andy Roddick 2-1
Richard Krajicek 6-4
Sergi Bruguera 3-2
Marat Safin 4-3
Michael Stich 5-4
Lleyton Hewitt 5-4

(Source: http://ca.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061108222959AAEWBa2)

Sooo, umm, you can draw whatever conclusions you like, context be darned! Krajicek, you can say, owned dear Pete, ho hum!

Posted by se7en 07/04/2009 at 11:06 PM

TennisFan2: How do you 'know' that Roger 'enjoy' Rafa not being around? Perhaps for him Rafa is forgotten (i.e. not missed) is true because he has a final to focus on.

Look, he did say Rafa will be back and play great, but to assume for another person just breeds discontent.

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

Here is an example of taking things out of context ;-)

As a Serena fan I am so used to it now but I will give you one of the most popular ones. This was the ungracious "LUCKY SHOTS" comment from Serena from USO 2007. One of the many "she never gives her opponent credit". It's so easy to vilify a player if we do not like them. Would you say she did not give Justine credit in these two statements?

Q. You fought pretty hard to get back into the first set. She played a good tiebreak. Second set, your level seemed to drop.
SERENA WILLIAMS: No, I just think she played better. I just think she made a lot of lucky shots, and I made a lot of errors. I don't think my level dropped.

Q. Isn't it making errors when your level drops?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I guess it is in a way, maybe my level did drop. I definitely made a lot of errors. I think she just played a little bit more aggressive and started hitting really, really hard balls.

Posted by Jake 07/04/2009 at 11:10 PM

If Roger wins tomorrow, would Rafa KADS discount it because Rafa decided not to participate? Just as they have discounted Roger's Roland Garros title simply because he did not meet Rafa in the final?

The atmosphere surrounding Rafa's withdrawal drew its press in the few days before the start of the tournament.

But once SW19 started, it's clearly been Murray's progress and a possible clash with Federer in the final - which all pundits predicted, myself included. Of course, Roddick had something to say about that.

Whoever wins tomorrow deserves it, they have earned it, with or without the defending champion Rafa's participation.

Leave Rafa alone, let the guy recover in peace, stop belittling others' achievements simply because Rafa is not participating.

Posted by TennisFan2 07/04/2009 at 11:11 PM

Good night TWibe - didn't really mean to start a Fedal war just wanted to note a statement from today's presser and got a bit carried away.

Wishing for the best for RAndy and getting the bar set for the Roddibago.

Conrats to Serena and the Williams Sisters Doubles team on a great Championship!!

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