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The Silk Shirt 11/17/2009 - 12:42 PM

92896493
by Pete Bodo

You gotta love The Mighty Fed. Just about the time that everyone is trying to adjust to a world in which Roger Federer doesn't - or maybe, no longer can - win everything in sight, he comes out with this (in an interview with Paul Kimmage of The Times of London):

"I'm midway [through my career]. It feels like the second part of my career right now, although I am trying to avoid saying that because the second part sounds like ‘neehhhhrrrrr' [motions straight down]. You can definitely play your greatest tennis until 32 or 33, it's just a matter of how you look at it. I've always been a big believer in looking at the big picture. It's not about, ‘What will we do tomorrow?', it's about, ‘How will my life and tennis look in the next five years?' And I still have the same vision, so that's going to help me."

I had laugh out loud when I read that - especially the "neehhhrrr" bit. Anybody want to talk about handling pressure with grace? Actually, the entire piece is a good read; you could call it TMF's Sermon on the Mount - a discourse on how to handle being the guy with the target on his back in perpetuity, a meditation on the importance of taking joy and pleasure out of even a stressful life, an exposition of the workings of the mind of a confident, imperturbable genius. This guy needs a coach! It may be the dumbest thing I've ever said (but stick around, there's always tomorrow).

If you want to understand Federer, you really need to start with the fact that despite his resemblance to a regular if very nicely-dressed guy, he really is different; you have to throw out everything you known about other guys who have walked in similar shoes.

For example, look at the contrast between the way Federer and his pal Pete Sampras drove on to greatness. Having written Pete's book, A Champion's Mind,  with him a couple of years ago, I feel pretty qualified to make this comparison. Pete took his mission to make the most of his God-given talent as a challenge, and decided a few years into his pro career that he was willing to make the sacrifices required to fulfill his destiny. His drive to secure that sixth-consecutive year-end number 1 ranking (a first-order record that is now safe even from Federer,which makes it hard to imagine anyone every toppling it) almost wrecked him; the day he won his record, 14th singles title, he was ready to quit. Sampras had as deep and abiding a love for the game as any player who ever laced them up, but he grew tired of having to wear the hair shirt.

Federer's shirt, by contrast, is made from silk. And you can't help but notice how much, well, easier, it all seems for him. In the interview, he even mentions how he decided to take pleasure out of the things that drive so many pros batty - the travel, the itinerant lifestyle, the 24/7 bugle-call of competition. Once Federer decided that winning majors and making a run at the record established by Sampras was a worthwhile goal, he essentially shrugged and decided: Well, it's going to be a bear, but I may as well have fun doing it. . . 

And that's a conclusion that escaped most of our other, recent male tennis icons. Bjorn Borg, Ivan Lend and Sampras were all about the discipline of greatness (anyone else notice that the word "discipline" just doesn't appear to be part of Federer's vocabulary, and probably won't be, until his twins, Wimby and Rolanda (sic) start school?). Jimmy Connors was all about bringing the poor schmo across the net to his knees, begging for mercy. John McEnroe's schtick was, as that successful but cheesy reprise of the famous James Dean Rebel Without a Cause poster (on behalf of Nike) demonstrated, mostly about being the misunderstood, alienated genius. And what is Roger Federer about? Try enjoying life; having fun. Nike probably rejected the idea of a poster: We can't dress Roger up like Cyndi freakin' Lauper!

Andy Roddick, 16-14 in the fifth in the Wimbledon final? Hahahahaa! Isn't this great! Rafael Nadal, beating him to a pulp on the red clay?  Man, this is going to hurt in the morning, but it's kind of cool seeing all those Spanish princes and stuff here . . . Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open? Alright, I had him, but you can't win 'em all and did you catch that serve of his, pretty awesome, huh?

I can think of only one aspect of Federer's legacy that may be negative. It's going to make you wonder why all those other guys seemed so tortured, why everything had to be so danged dramatic, like in some stupid Ken Russell flick.  No matter what Andre Agassi might say, it's possible to love this game, from beginning to end. The "sacrifice" narrative is a gripping, honorable one, great fodder for hero-worshippers, role-model seekers, and amateur psychologists.

But what about the "fun" narrative?

Federer has made his life in pro tennis seem a little like the story of a a teen-ager who got to go snowboarding instead of back to school for the entire month of January. Sure he wiped out a bunch and got a little tired as Februrary bore down, but it sure beat struggling with geometry.

It turns out that even that tearful, post-Australian Open final moment earlier this year wasn't nearly as traumatic as some wanted, or hoped, it was. When Federer, wiping way a tear, said,  "God, this is killing me. . .", he was referring to having to make a speech while in the grip of turbulent emotions, not the actual, emotional pain of losing. It was more like having to talk to your mother on the phone while sitting in the dentist's chair, having a cavity drilled, than having to address the mourners at your best friend's funeral. 

I thought this nugget from the interview especially telling:

He (Federer) begins with a story about a script he received for a commercial for Nike with Tiger Woods in 2007. "We had these different lines," he explains, "and I was reading through it and said" ' I’d like to take the text where it says, ‘I love winning’. And they said, ‘Well, that works perfectly because Tiger says he hates losing’. So that’s a part of it, I suppose. I feel I’m the ‘love winning’ rather than the ‘hate losing’ type.” 

This is a pretty radical confession, given what we know about most great players, who fall almost exclusively into the Woods camp on the subject. And it's easy to underestimate how difficult it is to take the Federer stance on this, either naturally (which almost never happens) or through a lot of hard work on the mental aspects of competition. For you risk a lot more when you hitch your wagon to the idea of winning instead of the fear of losing, in roughly the same way that it's a lot easier to avoid doing bad than it is to actively do good.

The desire to win is driven by hope and optimism; the hatred of losing draws to a greater degree on fear, a constant looking over your shoulder. The guy who hates losing stands in danger of becoming a hoarder, a miser. The guy who loves winning stands a chance to become rich and make others wonder how come he's so "lucky."

And let's be frank about this: haven't we all thought, at one time or another, that Federer is lucky? That he's got that "easy" game, that rational, even-tempered nature, all those cupcake draws, all those unworthy Grand Slam final opponents, greasing the skids for his slide to tennis immortality. If Nadal wouldn't have come up lame at Roland Garros, Federer would still be chasing Sampras! Yeah. Cry me a river, begrudging his success. Then try opening your eyes, unclencing your fists, and relaxing that frown on your face.

As Roger well knows, life can be fun. And so can tennis.

PS - This is also your Watercooler post for today.


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Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 03:20 AM

Thanks Jewell,then that time you posted is probably right

You know time zones isnt my best thing

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 03:20 AM

The site seems to say that it'll be at 9.45 am London time (so an hour and 20 mins away). 8.45 pm Sydney time AM.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 03:25 AM

GB See I told you I was hopeless where times were concerned lol!

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars... 11/18/2009 at 03:25 AM

I can just about remember that most of Europe is an hour ahead of the UK, that TW time is 5 hours ahead, and that Sherlock and Greenhopper Time is 8 hours ahead...everything else is a bit of a mystery. Neil Time and Rafadoc Time are somewhere in between...and I can never remember if Sydney is 11 hours ahead or 12.

And then we have to do the silly clock change thing which messes it all up for a week or two.

Posted by JohnC 11/18/2009 at 03:26 AM

Personally, I'd like to see YEC draws totally randomised. First out of the hat in the first group, second in second group, third in first group, etc.

Since anyone of these guys can beat any of the others, I don't see the point in all the structure. Why not open the door to Roger and Rafa being in the same group? We've only seen them play twice this year.

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 03:28 AM

AM: Wasn't a timezone issue that got us confused (it was the 9.15 versus 9.45 London time thing).

Hate timezones AM: have to look them up & they mainly stuff us up with being in the middle of the night.

Posted by JohnC 11/18/2009 at 03:30 AM

If we all worked off TW time it would be easier. Each person can instantly see where they stand in relation to that (for me it's subtract 4 and swap AM/PM).

Posted by Angel of the Surf (A Complete Bobblehead) 11/18/2009 at 03:31 AM

This is my ideal draw for WTF

Roger's Group: Murray, Davydenko, Del Potro
Rafa's Group: Djokovic, Verdasco, Soderling

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 03:31 AM

Of course John Rafa and Roger playing each other

That would be a match made in heaven

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 03:32 AM

AA Good draw

Posted by jewell - Just say no to Fedal wars... 11/18/2009 at 03:34 AM

I think I'm just fundamentally confused by numbers. :)

Anyway...work calls. Bye, everyone. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 03:34 AM

So Tsonga must be there in London also,just in case anything happens I suppose.

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 03:35 AM

AA's draw is my very close to my nightmare draw! Also, aren't Nando and Sod 7 and 8 (so only one could be in each half)?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 03:35 AM

Bye Jewell

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 03:36 AM

Bye Jewel! Agree on numbers being evil

Posted by JohnC 11/18/2009 at 03:38 AM

you can't have Sod and Sauce, and Kolya and Elf in the same groups.

Posted by JohnC 11/18/2009 at 03:39 AM

This thing's going to done on the London Eye with Murray in attendance, I believe.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 04:00 AM

Miss Jackie This is for you

Hulk Hogan was KO'd before his Australian Tour,ouch!

Posted by Sned Jax 11/18/2009 at 04:46 AM

What is the correct download site to see the ATP Barclays World Tour drawing??? I can't find it???

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 04:48 AM

I also can't find any live screening of the draw. There doesn't seem to be anything on the official site.

Maybe it's not being shown?

Posted by md 11/18/2009 at 04:51 AM

Interesting article - Federer obviously loves the game and knows its history. This indicates two things a. he loves his job and is therefore as good as it as he possibly can be (hard to be at your full potential if you hate it) and b. he has respect for those who have gone before him (funnily enough this may be his weakness - this awareness of history puts pressure on him). The contrast with Agassi, in particular, is stunning. I have to admit I always disliked Agassi. When he first emerged he was rude and disrespectful to opponents and the public, despite the showman veneer. I am not sure I can buy into his "I hate tennis" mantra. I suspect it is shorthand for "I hated my childhood and my father". His tearful reactions to winning key GS indicate it meant something to him.

As for Sampras, obviously Pete is the expert here, but I always had the impression that Sampras loved the game and loved winning, not just hated losing. I think had it been about hating losing he would have not had as many bad loses in meaningless tournaments. I always felt Sampras was a craftsman who took great pride in his work and in true artisan fashion didn't boast or gloat, it was a quiet inner satisfaction.

As for Borg - hard to know but I suspect he loved tennis more than any suspected. It was that love of the game that killed him mentally when he started losing to McEnroe when it mattered. I feel his long supressed emotions could not handle it.

As for McEnore and Connors - well they were appalling cheats - and should have been disqualified many more times than they were. I think they both were motivated by a one on one warrior instinct - to kill or die trying to kill. Connors never lost that instinct, McEnroe lost it in 1985 and it never came back - what followed was a pastiche.

Lendl - hard to know - I suspect he never really liked tennis - he was pretty joyless about it all. But people forget quite how good he was, at his best he was brilliant. At he worst sulky and petulant - even throwing Davis Cup matches (thinking of when he lost to Sundstrom after winning the first two sets - then had a row with Kodes and t hrew the match).

Federer has the demeanour of the amatuer who simply loves the game. he is of course very professional but has that wonderful amatuer quality.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 04:52 AM

Gb The ATP site is dreadful,even their SB freezes half the time

I will send a SOS to Greenhopper she is usually on the boil for these things

Posted by Caroline 11/18/2009 at 04:54 AM

draw is on ATP twitter feed - Group A Roger, MAndy, Verdasco, Delpo

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 04:55 AM

Better hurry up I am eating my dinner,I have to go to work

Posted by abbey 11/18/2009 at 04:56 AM

thanks a lot, draw gods.

rafa has djokovic, kolya and the sod.

roger has murray, del potro and nando.

pfft!

http://twitter.com/atpworldtour

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 04:57 AM

Thanks Caroline

Gee Rafa must have Novak,Soderling,Koyla

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 04:58 AM

Rafa got my nightmare draw!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 04:58 AM

abbey Hi,long time no see

Yes the Tennis Gods have spoken,pretty loud too lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 04:59 AM

GB Well if Roger can beat that lot

I will eat my hat lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:00 AM

oops should read "cant beat the lot"

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 05:01 AM

In no mood to lol AM! Poor Rafa, Poor Nando!

Posted by abbey 11/18/2009 at 05:01 AM

oh, aussiemarg. i think i'll just sleep through the entire week, next week. ;)

and i'm pretty sure OOP would be the top seed versus the bottom seed in the group going first. so rafa's first match would be against the sod. double pfft!

Posted by JohnC 11/18/2009 at 05:01 AM

Well, at least we'll be spared the "cupcakes for Rafa" mantra. That would seems to be the worst set of matchups for him, on paper at least.

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 05:02 AM

Lucky you made the correction AM, don't want to start a war:)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:02 AM

Gb Well thats the luck of the draw,I am afraid

Gee if I hear Cup Cake draws or being rigged I will hurl lol!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:04 AM

abbey I will start drinking ASAP and taking valium lol!

Please post more,I have missed the good old Rafa fans

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:06 AM

Rg Nadal Are you still with us?

Ok your views for your man Murray please

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:07 AM

Abby reminds me of draws 2007 hey lol!

Posted by SimonSays 11/18/2009 at 05:13 AM

bodo is so in love with Federer its starting to get uncomfortable

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:14 AM

Well Rafa fans this is really a "dream" draw for Rafa

Lets forget 2009 and move quickly to 2010 lol!

Posted by mina (meanie ignoring the Trifecta) 11/18/2009 at 05:17 AM

it will be a miracle for Rafa to make it out of RR unscathed. 2 out of 3 schooled him on HC this fall.

thanks tennisgods. pfffttt.

i blame Mr X and his supposedly powerful Spanish Conspirators... you just fed rafa to the wolves. heh, 'fed'.

Posted by Kit 11/18/2009 at 05:17 AM

Rafa fans, would you have fancied his chances against Murray, Del Potro and Verdasco?

[ No loaded tone, just a straight question from someone curious... you have to make these things clear on the internet, I've found :) ]

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:18 AM

Hang on,lets just remember up to May this year and we will forget the rest of the year

That sounds good to me lol!

Posted by Tennissy 11/18/2009 at 05:20 AM

i see my post got lost.....Fine..

Why so negative AM? Rafa aint gonna lose to Sod or Koyla.

if everything goes according to seeding, we might see a rafa-roger, mandy-nole semi....

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:20 AM

Mina yes we will just Kill MR X I blame this on him

He will be surrounded by soo many Demerit Cards

He will be able to build cities and buildings around where he lives

Posted by Mr.X 11/18/2009 at 05:21 AM

*phone call to the guys of the Spanish conspiracy*
Look, i'm at work right now, and dont have much time, but WTF was that? No, i'm not talking about the name of the tournament, you idiot. I thought we had everything well arranged last night. What the heck happened?
What do you mean that you did indeed fix it? No, the fixes were meant to be in RAFA'S GROUP, you moron! We are Spanish, remember? Evil dark minds from the Iberian Peninsula! And you come up with this kind of crap?
I mean, the Sod first? Are you kidding me? THE SOD?????
And Nole last, to leave with another one of them beatdowns. Meh, you are just a bunch of minions. I'll make sure this has consequences...big time.
*hangs up phone*
Meh, we cant even get a decent conspiracy right. Or maybe it's that there's no conspiracy and all those theories were delirant?
Later.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:22 AM

Tennissy I wish I could be positve

Ok I have still got My Sod Doll from RG,I need to get some more pins ASAP lol!

Posted by mina (meanie ignoring the Trifecta) 11/18/2009 at 05:22 AM

LOL AM, the year that ended in May. love it.

Kit, given the recent drop in form slash injuries of those three in Fed's group, i'll (quite gladly) take my chances with them.

Posted by abbey 11/18/2009 at 05:24 AM

aussiemarg, i've always enjoyed your posts. thanks for the laughs. bye for now!

oh, and hello and bye to mina, too.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:25 AM

Mr X I will be waiting for you ok

I am not impressed at all

The Sod??? have dare you

This is evil,evil,evil and more evil,

Expect Rafa Inc Private Jet at your place ASAP

Posted by mina (meanie ignoring the Trifecta) 11/18/2009 at 05:26 AM

Mr X, just admit it. the Swiss just beat the Iberians in scheming, wheeling and dealing. don't trust them Swissers... never thought i'd see the day. and what a bloody day it is.

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 05:27 AM

AM: that's right, one giant blackout from May -December. DC and then straight onto 2010

Kit:

For me, in my pessimistic view, it was a case of the lesser evil:

Of everyone, Nando was my best bet for a Rafa win (not because he's Rafa's minion, but because he's something like 6-36 against the whole field; isn't in amazing form; has never beaten Rafa etc)


Do think Murray would have been better than Nole (i.e. he hasn't just easily beaten Rafa).

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:30 AM

Bye Abby

Please come back and post,I miss you

Remember the good old days.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/18/2009 at 05:31 AM

Ack!!! whaaaaa? terrible draw gods. bad draw gods.
OTOH, Rafa may surprise. He doesn't want another beat down from any of the guys so he could surprise and blow them all out of the water.
not buying it?
eh, i tried.

Posted by JohnC 11/18/2009 at 05:31 AM

"Lets forget 2009 and move quickly to 2010"

The only problem with that is Rafa is defending a bucketload of points in the new year -- 3,525 before he hits the relative safety of the clay court season. So anything he can score here is much needed buffer.

Posted by Tennissy 11/18/2009 at 05:32 AM

Guys and girls have some faith...
I can clearly see a rafa-roger/murray semi.....
and remember novak will be hell tired and besides, rafa is not going to lose for the third straight times against him.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:32 AM

This is a bad dream

I have to go to work with this

if any screaming woman in labour give me hell tonight

Watch out ladies,I am in no mood

That also applies to doctors.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:34 AM

JohnC have you always been a party pooper

Posted by Jasson 11/18/2009 at 05:34 AM

My perdictions:
Federer vs Verdasco, Murray vs Del Potro, Federer vs Del Potro,
Federer vs Murray
Nadal vs Soderling, Djokovic vs Davydenko, Nadal vs Davydenko, Nadal vs Djokovic
Federer vs __________
Nadal vs __________
Winner: ______________

Posted by mina (meanie gets the frazzling started) 11/18/2009 at 05:35 AM

i guess the best thing to do is just sit back and watch this unfold. no matter how sucktastic said unfolding might be. afterall, it's all we can do :P

*frazzles some more*

*doesn't care what people say abt frazzling*

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:36 AM

Roger must be shaking in his tennis shoes with his draw

just like his fans,lol!

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 05:37 AM

"i guess the best thing to do is just sit back and watch this unfold" --while drunk/sedated if a Rafa fan

Well, I guess I found a benefit to it being in the middle of the night for me.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:37 AM

Mina You are right

I am over this

I got it all off my chest so to speak,but still,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Posted by Jasson 11/18/2009 at 05:40 AM

Federer always plays better with a hard draw. Remember the Master Final in 2007. Federer took everyone off the court. Federer is prepared for this. That's why is took some time off prior to Basel. He'll be fit for London.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:41 AM

Well I need to have a shower and get ready for work

Bye for now

Keep smiling Rafa fans,Rafa I know will give his best regardless

I firmly beleive next year will be his year again.

Posted by mina (meanie gets the frazzling started) 11/18/2009 at 05:41 AM

totally with you, GB. you are in Sydney, right? we must meet up, and frazzle together in person LOL

Posted by JohnC 11/18/2009 at 05:42 AM

"have you always been a party pooper"

I'm trying to be realistically sympathetic, rather than crowing about Roger's good luck.

But as we say after every draw: who knows what's actually going to happen? Tournaments aren't played on paper!

However, Rafa really does need to put some daylight between himself and Nole before the new year, if at all possible, or it all starts to look very hard.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:49 AM

Well John I just saw your post

Maybe you have a strange way of saying it sometimes

Though being a jurno,you shoot straight.lol!

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 05:50 AM

LOL Mina!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,thinking of Fish and chips,London 11/18/2009 at 05:50 AM

Really going now

I have babies to deliver

Posted by brewer 11/18/2009 at 05:54 AM

Honestly, I don't think this is just an awesome draw for Fed.

If all three of them (Fed, Andy and Delpi) would be in top form, this would be a death group. But even now, I would fear much more of players who knows how to win big matches, and knows how to compete on a different level, than players who never really had that "clutch" mentality (Kolja) or players who are not accustommed to playing in the big league (Söd), even if they haven't been playing their best tennis during the last weeks.

Add to this, that Murray is the local hero, and JMDP wants to prove his worth after the US Open victory, and the fact that Djoko has to be tired after the weeks he had, I am not so sure that Rafa has an awful draw, while Fed has a good one. IMO, of course.

Posted by Mrs Tennis 11/18/2009 at 05:55 AM

Hello and Happy Wednesday - wherever you are...
Two things:
1. I was glad to read Rafa's comments from the Guardian interview (See the Ticker). He relieved my mind when he talked about what affected him at Roland Garros this year (parents' divorce, pain). Of course, that was a terribly heavy weight for a young person to carry, and I hope that his family heals as well as his mind and body. But at least his loss wasn't because he clay play has diminished (giving Soderling his props, of course) and the rest of the field has caught up with him on clay. I heard Rafa give comment in an interview once when he said about his Roland Garros title: "I'm prepared to stay out on the court all night to defend my title." That's the Rafa I want to see emerge from all of this suffering...The Raging Bull!

2. Federer's outlook on life on the tour - It's going to be a bear, but have fun with it. Very refreshing. That's exactly the outlook I carry so I can relate. My job is a bear, but I'm determined to enjoy it and have fun with it! I find ways to enjoy it - and bring my co-workers along for the ride. Sometimes we can take life too seriously and miss the blessings and the fun. So, thanks, Roger...

Here's hoping all the athletes do well in London and that Andy (and all the injured) mends quickly.

BTW: Le Monf's desire to work harder and be better is heartwarming. I love his spirit and his entertaining ways. He's also determined to enjoy his sport and it shows.

In the long run...I remember that they are all so young and living a life so many people only dream of. Carry on, kids. Have fun!

Posted by mina (meanie gets the frazzling started) 11/18/2009 at 05:57 AM

poor babies... they're gonna be delivered by the most frowntastic midwife in history. bye AM.

seriously GB, i'm gonna need a vent buddy for WTF. and since Annie is busy living her life in upstate NY, i'm gonna have to find one in my time zone.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 11/18/2009 at 06:05 AM

mina, i'm here at all hours willing to frazzle with you girl. Brewer's post makes sense. this could go any way. just hope rafa feels good and is psyched for a fight. if first up is sod, just take him out, quick and dirty.

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 06:07 AM

So long as it's an asset for you to be surrounded by the very drunk, Mina.

Posted by Jai 11/18/2009 at 06:07 AM

"Rafa fans, would you have fancied his chances against Murray, Del Potro and Verdasco?"

Kit: not sure, actually. Depends partly on the current fitness of Murray and Del Potro, plus how well Murray responds to the home pressure. If both of them are fit and ready, they could be just as tough for Rafa as Davydenko/Soderling are.

Djokovic is another matter entirely, but I wanted to throw this out for consideration: does anyone think he might be due for a letdown? I know conventional wisdom says he's the favourite, but let's remember that he's already played over 90 matches this year, and just won back-to-back tournaments for only the first time in his career. Wonder if he can keep that level up for another week.

Posted by mina (meanie gets the frazzling started) 11/18/2009 at 06:09 AM

"first up is sod, just take him out, quick and dirty."

ROFL. you did know i was gonna pick up on that, right? would love to see that happen, on court of course. :D

Posted by Or 11/18/2009 at 06:12 AM

Well, the thing is - the draw really can't be balanced.

Rafa has issues with both Kolya and Sod, for him - that's a tough tough draw. For Roger - that draw is a piece of cake, because he's like 23:0 against those two.

Djoko is the in-form player, but is Murray on HC less dangerous? The danger of both is equal to both Roger and Rafa.

And - Does Rafa really care whether he gets Del Potro or Soderling? Both pose him similiar issues.

Very balanced, IMHO. Verdasco is a minion for both.

Posted by VC 11/18/2009 at 06:13 AM

"Guys and girls have some faith...
I can clearly see a rafa-roger/murray semi.....
and remember novak will be hell tired and besides, rafa is not going to lose for the third straight times against him."

I agree with this, Rafa has lost his last meeting to each of those players (last two meetings to Djoko) and it would be a small miracle for Sod to beat him again. I really can't see it. Djokovic would be favourite against Rafa but he will be prepared for the other two, I think (not to mention really, really, REALLY fired up for the Sod).

Actually, it's hard to create a lopsided draw this year, all 8 players in the draw are well-worthy of being there and capable of beating the rest.

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 06:16 AM

Jai:

Maybe Nole could have a letdown. But I don't see him having it against Rafa. He tightened up and got pissy hawt against the Sod and very nervous closing out the final, but he never had a let down against Rafa. He just has heaps of confidence now against Rafa.

Posted by GB 11/18/2009 at 06:16 AM

Jai:

Maybe Nole could have a letdown. But I don't see him having it against Rafa. He tightened up and got pissy hawt against the Sod and very nervous closing out the final, but he never had a let down against Rafa. He just has heaps of confidence now against Rafa.

Posted by Or 11/18/2009 at 06:16 AM

I also think that Djoko is most likely to suffer some kind of let-down, while Murray would come a lot hungrier. Plus, he's defending Champion, he's never defended a title before.

Posted by JohnC 11/18/2009 at 06:16 AM

brewer, all good points.

On the specifics, Murray's crowd favourite status could be a burden as much as a gift. Kolya is no stranger to YEC, and has had his share of big moments at YEC, Sod will want to show his RG upset was no fluke, DelPo's fitness is questionable, and Nole is pumped and will have had a full week's rest.

So for every factor pushing in one direction, there appears to be an opposite and perhaps equal reaction. Newton's second law of tennis.

Posted by VC 11/18/2009 at 06:17 AM

I agree with Jai that Djokovic might be due for a bit of a letdown/burnout with the amount of tennis he has played this year. Or maybe not. Who knows? But the chances are there.

Posted by mina (meanie gets the frazzling started) 11/18/2009 at 06:22 AM

agree with Or.

there really is no way Rafa can get a favorable draw in London. reason lies right in the form he is currently displaying. any one on the kind of spotty play he has been having would easily be thought to have a bad draw, cos everyone is tough match anytime, anywhere.

GB you're on. drunk or not. hehe are u on TW FB?

Posted by Tennissy 11/18/2009 at 06:25 AM

"Newton's second law of tennis"
I would love to know the first and the third one.....

Posted by JohnC 11/18/2009 at 06:43 AM

Actually, Tennissy, I got it wrong: it's actual the third law. As originally formulated: Actioni contrariam semper et æqualem esse reactionem: sive corporum duorum actiones in se mutuo semper esse æquales et in partes contrarias dirigi.

The first law, the law of inertia, explains how Roger and Rafa have been able to stay in the top spots for all these years.

The second law explains why Federer can generate so much pace off his forehand and serve despite such skinny arms -- since the mass of a tennis ball is more or less constant, the force is directly proportional to the acceleration he achieves with his alien wrist. It also explains why Rafa has knee problems, given his larger mass.

Posted by brewer 11/18/2009 at 07:02 AM

JohnC, I can't argue with any of these points you raised. Ok, well, maybe with Murray's reaction to his crowd favourite status: he didn't seem to be bothered by it during Wimbledon, and I don't think he will start to succumb to it now.

I think on paper or rather if we look at the players' all-around performance, Murray and Nole are in the same league, just as Nando and Robin are(maybe Robin is the weaker of the two, with a small margin, as it is reflected in their rankings), but the difference between Delpi and Kolja are quite big, and this is the reason I find Group A stronger than Group B.

Of course, what is on paper and how it playes out in reality can be very different. And I am aware of the problem of the different match-ups. Or I would rather say, I think for Rafa it would have been hard to get a really favorable draw in his current form, but there could have been more favorable draws for Fed :) But I don't think Rafa get the worst possible draw, for exemple, he could have get Delpi instead of Kolja ;)

All said, I am quite sure, it will be Novak and Rafa who will reach the semis in Group B, while with the exception of Nando, it's a toss up between the other three in Group A.

And the reason that this draw is not good news for Fed fans, is the fact that the RR matches are very important this year because of the ranking issue, and with this draw, the chance of winning (one, two, three) mathes are bigger for Rafa than for Fed. On paper, of course.

But this is the WTF, there are only good players, so none of us can really complain :) I just hope Fed will be fired up, and will find some decent form for the WTF :)

Posted by Tennissy 11/18/2009 at 07:03 AM

o i knew its the third,was just curious to know your thoughts on the other two...
Well ive a hard time understanding how newton's laws of mechanics explains Roger's and Rafa's long period of dominance...

Posted by Jai 11/18/2009 at 07:03 AM

Agree with JohnC's point about Newton's third law. Another example: nearly everyone seems to agree that Verdasco (a.k.a. Minion) would be the one "easy" opponent for Rafa among this lot. But what if Verdasco is really motivated by this occasion and fired up to get that first win against Rafa? (Remember Gonzalez beating Federer for the first time at the 2007 year-ender?) That could make HIM a potential minefield for Rafa.

Guess we can only wait to see how it plays out - who's playing well against whom, how the match-ups stack up. But generally speaking, I don't have high hopes that Rafa will make the semi.

Posted by VC 11/18/2009 at 07:12 AM

The Minion Theory is nonsense, I thought Almagro and Robredo had blown it out of the water? Repeat after me, there are no minions for Rafa, and no player willingly folds before the might of the mighty Fed either. (how many times have we been informed otherwise?)

Posted by JohnC 11/18/2009 at 07:16 AM

brewer, with nothing happening now for several days we can at least rest assured that every possible angle will be floated in relation to the draw on these boards -- over and over and over again, lol!

Tennisy, there's been no forces acting on them. Ask NP, it's a weak era :-)

Posted by Tennissy 11/18/2009 at 07:17 AM

Jai everything is just hypothetical....Wasnt Sod one of the so called minion of rafa before french????
We will see what happens next.

Posted by Jai 11/18/2009 at 07:22 AM

Tennissy: yes, that's pretty much what I meant. I only hope that both Murray and Del Potro are reasonably fit. That factor apart, when you're talking about the top 8 players in the world, anyone can catch fire at any time and beat anyone else.

Posted by JohnC 11/18/2009 at 07:22 AM

You're a spoilsport, VC, trying to trash people's treasured theories. Next you'll be claiming that the draws aren't rigged or that the CIA didn't organise 9/11. Sheesh!

Posted by Or 11/18/2009 at 07:22 AM

That's exactly the thing. There aren't really favorable draws for Rafa, but Roger's draw could have been easier (assuming Del Potro and Murray are fit - and even if they aren't, there is nothing Roger hates more than injured rivals who take injury timeouts)

Posted by Tennissy 11/18/2009 at 07:24 AM

oh but the sod was pretty unbalanced during the french open and so was Delpo at US...

Posted by Carol ( 2010 Nadal Reign) 11/18/2009 at 07:24 AM

So group A Federer, Murray, del Potro and Verdasco
Group B Nadal, Djokovic, Soderling, Davydenko
Hummmmm I don't know how all you see this draw but to me group B looks pretty "rough"

Posted by Angel of the Surf 11/18/2009 at 07:26 AM

AM please put down that Sod doll immediately. You know what I don't really care about draws as players need to beat the other person over the net period.

Posted by Suze 11/18/2009 at 07:29 AM

"All said, I am quite sure, it will be Novak and Rafa who will reach the semis in Group B, while with the exception of Nando, it's a toss up between the other three in Group A."

True. Federer's draw is more loaded than Nadal's that I'm starting to frazzle. I actually think Nadal's got an easier draw. True, he lost to Davydenko and Soderling recently, but I still think that Nadal is the better player than the two and can beat them. The only danger I can see for him is Djokovic.

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