Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Out of Remission
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Out of Remission 09/16/2010 - 10:16 AM


by Pete Bodo

So you think Andy Roddick has had it tough, being denied an almost certain Wimbledon title and pehaps another U.S. Open championship as well. Well, it might be cold comfort but consider the plight of Novak Djokovic. Like Roddick, he's been stuck and spinning his wheels with one major title to his name (Australia 2008). But unlike Roddick, Djokovic is an all-purpose—or, all-surface—threat whose next Grand Slam title is just as likely to be captured on the red clay of Paris as on the verdant lawn at Wimbledon.

The just completed U.S. Open final accurately framed his dilemma; he wants to win, he's ready to win, but then...up pops Roger Federer. And if it's not Federer, it's Rafael Nadal, who's more of a contemporary of Djokovic's than of Roddick's. Roddick had one iconic player with whom to grapple even under the conditions most favorable to his game; Djokovic has two.

I'm not sure that, until the early stages of the fourth set on Monday, I've ever seen a Grand Slam loser play as boldy and courageously as Djokovic did against Nadal (well, there was that Federer-Roddick final at a Rafa-less Wimbledon in 2009...) Nor have I seen a truly great effort buried so deeply under the volumes of earned praise heaped upon the victor. Sorry, Novak, wrong place, wrong time. If it's any consolation, Roddick and Andy Murray often experience much the same problem.

Still... Everything was working for Nadal in the final. He's never played better on his least favorite surface, and were not for a newly developed serving superiority he still might have been in trouble. That's because Djokovic played remarkably positive tennis. And the adjective is the operative word for our purposes.

The narrative that emerged over the past few years has cast Djokovic—the ultra-talented, curiously personable Serb (has anyone from his part of the world seemed simultaneously so "exotic" and so familiar to us?)—as a perpetual semifinalist or quarterfinalist at the majors. The guy who, having already earned national hero status in his homeland, could certainly pick up the odd Masters 1000 title here and there. But he was soft at the majors. Sometimes, he seemed too preoccupied with entertaining the crowd and acting as an unofficial ambassador for his nation to pose a serious threat to Federer or Nadal.

But let's remember, 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro is the only man other than Djokovic to have won a major since Djokovic first played one (Australian Open 2005). It's a mind-boggling statistic, and enough to tempt any player to fling up his hands and say, To hell with it, I'm just going to have a good time and pick off whatever low-hanging fruit comes my way. I'm serious when I say that Federer and Nadal may have inadvertently ruined any number of otherwise impressive men. After you spend a few years in chains, you might find their rattle musical.

But on the floor of Arthur Ashe Stadium the other night, Djokovic suggested that he wants to cast off those shackles. He often outmatched Nadal in force of shot, and he managed to look—accurately—as a man both confident and fighting for his life. At times, the grunt accompanying his swing was almost otherworldly, more evocative of a death rattle or cry of anguish than the pleasantly guttural exclamation of a guy doing his job with complete attention and effort. More than once, he loaded up and tagged that forehand in a manner that made me think, Surely, this is the last tennis shot this guy will ever hit, and he's determined to go down in a blaze of glory and self-destructive abandon.

Yet those balls continually fell inside the lines. Djokovic made Nadal's life very uncomfortable for three-plus sets at the National Tennis Center.

You could put this heroic, almost Wagnerian degree of effort expended by Djokovic down to desperation. That extra day of rest he earned via the postponement of the final because of rain on Sunday was a godsend. But it's all relative. As many players have shown, the effects of a tough, emotional five-setter in New York aren't wiped away in fewer than 48 hours (just think about Fernando Verdasco, playing his semifinal against Nadal). Djokovic insisted after the final that he felt fine, physically, but I suspect that after the win over Federer, his emotions took charge and demanded that his body—the corporeal realities—stay out of it. But they never do. He was, in my view, more tired than he knew, but men are capable of doing extraordinary things when properly motivated.

I wrote yesterday about Nadal's forehand. But in the final, Djokovic hit one more winner (he had 22) off that wing than did Nadal. Nadal hit 12 backhand winners, to Djokovic's 9, giving Nadal a slight edge in the winner count (49 to 45). The key statistic was unforced errors: Djokovic had 47, Nadal just 32. So Nadal finished with a +18 net in the error-to-winner ratio, while Djokovic ended up -2. But the most important thing this tells you is that Djokovic was more inclined to swing for the winners.

The most startling element in the match was the way Djokovic played when he found himself in a do-or-die situation. He converted three out of the only four break points he held—a tribute to his courage as well as to Nadal's talent for taking care of his serve. Nadal, by contrast, converted a dismal six of 26 break points. But nobody who watched the match would call Nadal to the carpet for that 23 percent break-point conversion rate. Djokovic played so well with his back to the wall that Nadal was moved to joke about the trouble he experienced breaking serve.

"In the statistics of the ATP I was No. 1 in break points converted," Nadal said, grinning. "So I think after this tournament I don't want to [he meant "won't"] be No. 1 on the break points converted."

All this must have been a bitter potion for Djokovic to digest, but he took it like a man. The good news is that in the latter stages of the tournament, Djokovic played anything like the perpetual semifinalist. I had to ask him if he felt as if he reinvented himself. He replied: "I've played the best tennis certainly in the last seven, eight months, maybe the whole year... I feel much more comfortable on the court, more confident, and getting this aggressive game back, the game I need to have in order to stay at the top, and a game that has been a part of me, always."

A part of him, yes, but sometimes in remission. It was nice to see it back.

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Posted by gauloises 09/16/2010 at 08:06 PM

Meh, I liked the way Sherlock told it better.

Posted by £££ 09/16/2010 at 08:07 PM

I am afraid that Gasquet is basically done as a slam contender; he never really was, by the way. It's shame as I liked his backhand. He's continued to display how weak he is mentally as he got dropped from Davis Cup over Clement, the 30+ year old.

Everyone remembers how he bailed out against Roddick a few years ago. I don't understand how he didn't get all fired up when the supposed close friend Monfils basically called him out and basically questioned his cojones at the post-match interview at US open...Based on this recent drop from Davis cup, I guess Gasquet will be a top 30 player and a once-in-while-QFist at a slam, but nothing more. It's really getting hard for Gasquet fans to root for him...

Posted by John 09/16/2010 at 08:13 PM

Hehe gauloises, of course you *must* to like better the Sherlock way LOL

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 08:16 PM

I fell Sherlock always does "better"

Though his better and mine are not always on the same path

Posted by Sherlock 09/16/2010 at 08:21 PM

My better is setting the bar pretty high, AM. :)

Hang in there, G. I'll recite it to you on a weekly basis. Sort of like a bedtime story. :)

And on that note, it's time to head for home. 'Night, gang.

Posted by Carrie 09/16/2010 at 08:26 PM

*On a different note, i wonder how a healthy DelPo would have fared at this years rather windy US Open ?

If I recall- he can actually play decently in the wind. But I may be making it up because it has been so long since he has been out on a freaking court.

Gauloises- I miss your blog. Where I am to look for funny captions for the Argie DC pictures.

Re Rafa never getting tird. To me that is a myth. He does seem to get tired- it is just he seems to be able at times to put it out of his head at times better than most.

Posted by gauloises 09/16/2010 at 08:31 PM

Lol Carrie, I know what you mean :) I'm starting to think that Delpo actually playing tennis was just a figment of my imagination.

I miss my blog sometimes too - especially now that we're facing a Davis Cup weekend and I can't actually stand how excited I am about it. Love Davis Cup so much! Although I think this may be one great escape too many for Argentina.

Posted by Nina 09/16/2010 at 08:34 PM

@Lollipop said "going forward, I have no idea what to expect from Nole. He's tricky like that. get your hopes up, he'll crush them. don't believe, he'll prove you wrong. I hope he proves me wrong for the rest of year, and for many more years to come :)"

And how exciting is to follow a player like that? I also love how Novak proves me wrong time after time. And when i doubt him -no, he can't do that-, he comes back and does it and leaves you dumbfounded, ecstatic.

His forehand was swinging in full glory, it was a joy to watch. I simply can't enjoy any other player's tennis quite as much as Djoko's. He has something special, magic, about him.

Anyway, great piece Bodo, i was waiting for this from you for a long time and you finally delivered. You're in peace with Nole's fans now.

An off side note... can the usual fedtarts stop hacking every post that is about Novak with their boring and dull GOAT talk? really guys give it up, it's deeply annoying. I don't know how you can go at it for ages and not die of boredom.

Posted by Diane 09/16/2010 at 08:35 PM

Hi all

A bit overtime but I finally found my cable to me camera and downloaded the pictures from my trip to NYC and the Open. I posted the TW pix of our gathering at the Dublin House on my Facebook page and so please go and check out all the fun we had. If we are not frinds, no problem as I have set the security for all to view. My full name is Diane Francini.
Still waiting to hear from Annie as she is in Atlanta today with her son as they were visiting Emory.
Well I am now 0 for 3 as I lost my match today in a third set, it was 90 degrees and I do believe that fall will never come to Atlanta!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 08:36 PM

I also feel Novak has one of the best defensive b/hands today in the mens game

Posted by John 09/16/2010 at 08:36 PM

Well, everything that Rafa fans always were expecting is done.
He has won 3 GS in one year, his serve is great as the same like his forehand and BH. He has showed to the world what amazing game he has when he's injuries free, that's all, can we to ask more?
Of course I can't stop to ask more from him, still he's 24 and I'm sure he can do more


Posted by Carrie 09/16/2010 at 08:37 PM

G- have you heard anyying about when he may be back.TTC keeps just having cryptic messages on their scoreline and news banner.

He's now ranked in the 30s...sob.

Posted by Nina 09/16/2010 at 08:39 PM

@Gamelover... Believe me, a lot of people and I mean A LOT wanted Novak to win this. Just visit some tennis forums and you'll realize, so stop generalizing like that. Rafa's got it, that's ok, don't gloat about it.

Posted by AmyLu 09/16/2010 at 08:42 PM

*waves hello*

I loved this piece. Am very happy that Nole seems to be firing on all cylinders again -- and I really, really hope that he has enough left in his tank to play well this weekend, as I'm sure this tie means quite a bit to him. I wish that tie would be on the Tennis Channel, as I'd love to watch.

Joins the chorus of missing your blog, gauloises! :)

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 08:43 PM

Rafa I feel is at the age where men do "peak" so in ways I am not at all surprised with his continual level of play.

On a selfish note I hope he can also take that level till the end of the season.As in the past couple of years he hasnt been able to do.

Then come to the AO 2011 and at least make it till the 2nd week.So I can again marvel at this young man.

Posted by gauloises 09/16/2010 at 08:44 PM

I haven't heard anything at all, Carrie. The closest thing to 'news' is that he's in the entry list for Vienna, but that really doesn't mean much except that they want to sell tickets.

I'm starting to think he really won't be back until 2011, which I would be fine with, if it wasn't for the fact that I really want to see him in Bercy!

I dread to think how low he'll be ranked after his WTF points drop off. But really, just let him be healthy and able to play and I could care less about anything else.

Posted by AmyLu 09/16/2010 at 08:45 PM

Carrie, I think the most recent thing I've read said DelPo is planning to return in Vienna? I could be making that up, though, as my brain stopped being fully functional about a week ago, and I'm still waiting for it to kick into gear. :)

Posted by gauloises 09/16/2010 at 08:45 PM

Hey AmyLu! Hope things are OK. Did you enjoy the final?

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 08:45 PM

Waves back to Amylu

Count me in as a fan who was soo pleased at his play throughout the USO

Welcome back Novak on soo many levels and please dont go away again lol!

Posted by Carrie 09/16/2010 at 08:50 PM

One thing that I noticed about Nole this tournament was that he seemed very natural and comfortable in his own skin. He wasn't the constant joker who was always putting on a show as he was in 2007, nor was he the angry young man of 2008. He seemed more at ease here than I have seen in a while. Joking and joyful at times but without having to "be on," serious at times without seeiming angry.

Posted by AmyLu 09/16/2010 at 08:54 PM

Hi gauloises! Yes and no on enjoying the final...I handled the first part really well. I missed most of the first set because I was teaching (although I did have a scoreboard running on my laptop at the front of the class so that I could keep an eye on it). I was able to start watching the match when Rafa served for the first set. I found the rain delay absolutely agonizing (and infuriating with all of the TV nonsense) so that when the match resumed, I was a bundle of nerves. I found it really, really hard to watch the third set, as I worried that Rafa was going to rue all of those break points. His face in the third set was the tensest I've ever seen so that had me unsettled. I didn't really exhale until the last ball was struck...and I feel like it took a day or two to sink in what actually happened. It may have sunk in faster if I could have actually watched the entire trophy ceremony. :) I want to re-watch the match because I feel like it went by in a blur -- and I didn't get a chance to truly appreciate and marvel at what both were doing.

Posted by gauloises 09/16/2010 at 08:59 PM

I know what you mean. I'm rather gutted that I didn't get the chance to really appreciate the match - when they resumed after the rain delay, it was like 1 a.m. over here and I had to get up for work the next day, so I was battling with myself not to fall asleep - which I did at some point during the fourth set.

I'm still pretty confident in saying that it was by far the best ATP final in 2010.

I hate doing this when you've just turned up - but it's nearly 2 now and I have a long day of Davis Cup watching tomorrow. (Originally took this day off work because I thought Delpo might be back and decided to keep it anyway.) So I think it's time for me to sign off.

So nice to see you, AmyLu and Carrie - and fun chatting with you all.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 09/16/2010 at 09:00 PM

Well, I won't see any DC as I'm going to visit family and friends tomorrow. So, in the meantime I'll just say enjoy and be nice to each other.

Posted by John 09/16/2010 at 09:02 PM

Of course many of Federer fans wanted that Rafa lose, why? because Nole had beaten to Roger so he had to beat Rafa too, LOL

I'm going to watch the final again!

Good night guys

Posted by AmyLu 09/16/2010 at 09:05 PM

Hi AM! Good to see you. :)

Good night, gauloises! Enjoy your day watching Davis Cup -- I wish I could watch it live, but sadly I think I'm going to have catch recordings of most of the matches tomorrow night.

Carrie, I agree about Nole. I also feel like it was a good thing for him to have his parents there (and his parents didn't feel the need to be muted, not really the right word but can't come up with a better one, in their support of him).

Posted by CL 09/16/2010 at 09:07 PM

But Lady Julia- if Roger keeps making finals on his WORST surface and Rafa keeps flubbing the opportunity to do the same how is this a strike against Roger more than Rafa. Does NOT compute.

Posted by RW 09/16/2010 at 09:09 PM

I know I'm going way back earlier today, but Charlie, if you're out there, by your own rationale, Rafa can't be the GOAT bc he has a losing record against none other than Nikolay Davydenko (4-5 in fact and assuming you think the 29 year old is a player in his "own" time) and a neutral record against Roddick.

I'm really happy to see some of the improvements Nadal has made to his game, and I appreciate him (and Fed, Delpo, Murray, etc) for making mens tennis interesting.

Heres to the rest of the men making major adjustments on clay next year :) I'd like to Rafa get seriously challenged there.

Posted by Amber 09/16/2010 at 09:19 PM

"if Roger keeps making finals on his WORST surface and Rafa keeps flubbing the opportunity to do the same"

Well this year Roger didn't make it to the French final on his weakest surface but Rafa made it to the USO final his own weakest surface so maybe this marks a trend reversal? :)

Seriously, I wish they would meet more often but they have been taking turns, when one is on the other is off. 2011 should be interesting!

Posted by CL 09/16/2010 at 09:19 PM

Was Gasquet ever NOT done as a slam contender ? (sorry beth...)

**waves to Amy** JJ must be both pleased and disappointed at the same time by/for Novak. I totally empathize with your 'tenseness' - i think it it perfectly possible to do damage to one's arteries from wishing/hoping/believing/fearing re your fav. Oooooohhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.


Posted by Master Ace 09/16/2010 at 09:22 PM

WTA Friday Order of Play:

Guangzhou at 2 AM - Groth vs Camerin to be followed by Gallovits vs Han
Guangzhou at 3 AM - Kudryavtseva vs Pervak
Guangzhou at 6:30 AM - Zhang vs Mirza
Quebec City at Noon - Arvidsson vs Paszek and Dubois or Glatch vs McHale
Quebec City at 7 PM - Marino vs Mattek-Sands to be followed by Safarova vs Oudin

Posted by CL 09/16/2010 at 09:23 PM

Amber - sure - agreed - but what about all those OTHER years...since 2006????? Until THIS year...Fed keeps making the date at Wimbledon, the FO and the USO...and MOSTLY at the AO...but Rafa's appearances, EXCEPT in the FO during that time are much more sporadic. So again, how is the is 'failure' on Roger's part as opposed to Rafa's?

Posted by AmyLu 09/16/2010 at 09:29 PM

Hi CL! Yes, that describes JJ pretty accurately. He was absolutely shocked that Nole won on Saturday against Fed. And he's hopeful that Nole has found himself again and can build on this tournament. He was MUCH better at handling lost sets than I was on Monday. I had a meltdown of sorts when Rafa lost the second set, whereas he was more even-keeled emotionally. It was not the easiest for either of us to watch that final because we both were so invested in opposite outcomes. We've definitely rooted for opposites quite a bit in the past, but this one was probably the one that had the highest stakes involved.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 09:29 PM

Master Ace I hope Jarmila can do well in this tournament.Surprised with Bartoli.

Posted by Amber 09/16/2010 at 09:30 PM

I don't know who said it was anyone's failure. I certainly don't believe it is.
There is an age difference, even if Rafa started on tour rather early he certainly couldn't have been expected to perform at the same level he is performing today when he was a teenager. By the same token, if Roger's results from now on do not match his best years we cannot overlook an age related decline. It is what it is, nobody's fault, imho.

Posted by Diane 09/16/2010 at 09:33 PM

A little OT again but today after my match which I lost in a 3rd set so now I am 0 & 3; we went out to lunch and I ran into my first tennis coach that I started with when I moved to Atlanta. He was really resposible for teaching me all that I am capable of now which isn't much. The point of this story was after a long discussion he told me that he thinks Roger has won his last grand slam, was very depressed with that conversation although I was thrilled to see my old coach.

Posted by TMFunk (formerly the prone-to-error typing TheMightyFunk) 09/16/2010 at 09:35 PM

Well Diane,
Here's something to lift your spirits :)

Posted by Master Ace 09/16/2010 at 09:36 PM

Agreed about Marion(Maybe, she was low on sugar after USO) winning only 4 games against Rebecca, who gave Venus a tough matchup at USO. As Samantha Elin would post, a player get hot for a short period of time but flame out for a while afterwards(ie - Petra Kvitova)

Posted by CL 09/16/2010 at 09:39 PM

Amber - ok..nobody's 'fault' - and yes this lack of 'fault' has often been used, somehow, AGAINST in he showed up all those times at the FO final so Rafa could beat him up one side and down the other, so check FOR Rafa/Minus AGAINST Roger. Yet, during that SAME period of time, especially at the US Open, 'there was Roger and where was Rafa?' somehow gains Roger no check and no one considers this a minus against Rafa? STILL does not compute. From what you are saying, ONLY at the French Open do Rafa's results count - FOR him and against FEd.....everything else..well, Rafa was so YOUNG...therefore..doesn't count???? Even though he was at the same age winning the FO as he was, mostly, not showing up at the finals of the other GSs...except at Wimbledon. DOUBLE does not compute.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 09:39 PM

Master Ace Well at least Samantha Elin will be pleased that womens tournaments are underway again no doubt we will hear more from her soon.

Posted by Amber 09/16/2010 at 09:40 PM

And by the way Roger, like Rafa now, was 24 when he made it to his first FO final.

Posted by ladyjulia 09/16/2010 at 09:42 PM


I had a reasoning on why its a mark against Roger. To me, it looks okay to put a mark against Roger. Its...err...kind of long,essayish, and I may be wrong..but I take the media's side on this.

Its at 7.56 pm on page number 2.

Posted by Master Ace 09/16/2010 at 09:42 PM

As you know Samantha Elin stepped in but Rafael was still getting praise for him collecting the Career Slam and whatever else but now, WTA should get some posts along with Davis Cup.

Posted by Amber 09/16/2010 at 09:43 PM

No, no I'm not saying anything about what results count!
I don't really pay too much value on the h2h really. Not sure who said otherwise but it wasn't me.
I was just pointing out that it's neither Rafa or Roger's fault :)

Posted by CL 09/16/2010 at 09:44 PM

Come to that - where ARE all the clay court players to even get close to Rafa? Where is the next Guga? The next Coria with the mental stability of a widget. The next Tomas Muster?

Plenty of players who can challenge/defeat both Rafa and Roger on hcs...tougher at Wimby...but on clay? No one even in Rafa's neighborhood...why is that? Where is Roger's Rafa?

Posted by Diane 09/16/2010 at 09:46 PM


Thanks so much, it sure is nice to see Roger rated # one somewhere!

And loved the Ivan Lendl picture, he was one of my first favs, those little shorts were cute, I used to tape all his matches and study them and then go out with the ball machine to hit; I credit my one handed backhand to him!
I met him long ago here in Atlanta at a restaurant after a match; he and Tony Roche were at the next table and we talked on the way out of restaurant, I was star struct!

Posted by Amber 09/16/2010 at 09:47 PM

Serves me right for trying to make a little joke about the trend reversal and it was only a joke :)
Nothing I would want more than to see them meet across all surfaces even if others find the Nadal/Federer duopoly boring, I find it very exciting!
Didn't mean to upset you, Cl, honestly :)

Posted by CL 09/16/2010 at 09:52 PM

lady j - I responded at 9:07 and that is all that me and my martini have to say on the subject....except all that stuff I said to Amber. Sorry but this really tees me off... it is, IMO, a blatant case of the kind of double standard applied to Roger and Rafa...both by the people on this board...which is one fan based thing...and by the so-called professional media, which is a very unprofessionally biased sort of thing. If an asterisk fits the gander, it fits the goose as well. full stop. and if it doesn't - it doesn't.

Posted by TMFunk (formerly the prone-to-error typing TheMightyFunk) 09/16/2010 at 09:56 PM

you are welcome Diane. :) I was never much of a Lendl fan. Too young to appreciate his game at the time and the guy was always too grim! I was a big fan of Becker and Edberg in that generation as a kid growing up. In many ways Becker and Edberg contrasted each other in much the same way as Federer and Nadal today - Becker was the Nadal of the day with his energy and intensity and Edberg was Federer-like in his elegance and non-display of emotion. Really enjoyed that rivalry and brand of S&V tennis.

that said, in hindsight, its unfortunate that Lendl hasn't been recognized as much as his accomplishments deserve

Posted by CL 09/16/2010 at 09:56 PM

Amber - ***lesigh** I am not "upset." Just tired of defending the breach of logic that seems to pass so unremarked around here..yes..this is a 'fan' supported site and we all have our favs and see their results through 'fav colored' glasses...and as Sienfeld said, 'there is nothing wrong with that...' but at SOME point basic fairness and logic SHOULD enter into the discussion. At least a little.

Posted by crazy spaniard 09/16/2010 at 09:58 PM

Well, if some consider that Nadal's USO victory deserves an asterisk (only because Murray's inglorious defeat blew open his side of the draw), one could easily argue that his victory at the '09 Australian Open (with one less day of rest after his epic SF match against Verdasco than Federer's walk-in-the-park against Del Potro) deserves a massive exclamation point

Posted by CL 09/16/2010 at 10:01 PM

Yup - crazy is as crazy does as crazy matter what the nationality.

Posted by Amber 09/16/2010 at 10:01 PM

I'm afraid I responded to your initial post without knowing what you were talking about, my bad.
Glad you're not upset but please do not count me as one of those people who are ready to asterisk any player's victory, my fave including.
I still think that what I said is a valid point and has nothing with assigning blame or asterisking anyone and it's irrespective of my own player preference.

Anyway, I better say good night before I get myself into any more trouble :)

Posted by Amber 09/16/2010 at 10:04 PM

i meant to say 'has nothing TO DO with'

Posted by Diane 09/16/2010 at 10:05 PM

Yes TMFunk

Lendl was grim but I was new to tennis as a player and desperate to learn the game , he for some reason captured my attention as far as trying to emulate strokes.
I liked Becker but Edbergh was almost in the class where I put Roger, his game just flowed so beautifully, just like Rogers' and of course he wore those little short shorts also!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 10:11 PM

I have been online watching the Aussies against Belguim

Justr learnt it is being aired live through one of our tv stations here

Lleyton Hewitt took the first set 7-6

Very hot conditions in Carins which is northern Queensland.

Posted by CL 09/16/2010 at 10:11 PM

Lady J - btw - from the last thread? IMO, you apologize too much when you have NOTHING to apologize to ANYONE, (on this board), for.

Posted by crazy spaniard 09/16/2010 at 10:13 PM

CL... wow... that was well thought through. I'm impressed!

Posted by CL 09/16/2010 at 10:15 PM

c/s - si

Posted by Master Ace 09/16/2010 at 10:27 PM

Any breaks of serve b/w Lleyton and Steve

Posted by IndianFan 09/16/2010 at 10:28 PM

the GOAT debate around Federer and Rafa goes on. Hopefully Djokovic,Murray and a few others can win a few majors.
I dont think FedEX or Rafa are the GOAT ever. They remind me of the McEnroe - Lendl rivalry.One all grace and elegance and the other hard, workmanlike tennis player. McEnroe gradually had to give in to Lendl's grinding type of tennis.
Hopefully Djoko and Murray & Co, would be the Wilander, Mecir and others of that era

Posted by manuelsantanafan 09/16/2010 at 10:28 PM

There are quite a few double standards when Rafa and Federer are compared.

For example, Rafa is criticized by some for not showing up for finals.

Rafa is 24 years and four months old.

So far, he has made it to 11 majors finals and 43 other finals.

Federer, at the same age, hadn't come close to making that many finals.

Of course, at that age, Federer hadn't

1. Won nine majors;

2. Won a career Grand Slam;

3. Won an Olympic Gold Medal in singles;

4. Won 18 Masters 1000 Shieds (or their equivalent). In fact, at 29 years of age, Federer hasn't achieved this.

I don't understand the logic of any Federer fan criticizing Rafa for not showing up in finals when, at his age, Rafa has made and won far more finals (including majors finals) than Federer did at an identical age.

Posted by Nadal THE GREAT 09/16/2010 at 10:31 PM

There's nobody to challenge Rafa on clay- Why? Because he's the best clay courter in the history.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 10:33 PM

Master Ace No its on serve in the 2nd set and Steve Darcis isnt playing pulled out with a injured shoulder

Ruben Bemelmans has taken his place

Posted by Master Ace 09/16/2010 at 10:35 PM

WTA Friday Order of Play:

Guangzhou at 2 AM - Groth vs Camerin to be followed by Gallovits vs Han
Guangzhou at 3 AM - Kudryavtseva vs Pervak
Guangzhou at 6:30 AM - Zhang vs Mirza
Quebec City at Noon - Arvidsson vs Paszek and Glatch vs McHale scheduled
Quebec City at 7 PM - Marino vs Mattek-Sands to be followed by Safarova vs Oudin

Posted by Nadal THE GREAT 09/16/2010 at 10:36 PM

I agree with manualsantanafan-People tend to forget the age factor. Nadal is 5 YEARS younger than Federer. His accomplishment at a younger age is far more better than Federer.

Posted by Master Ace 09/16/2010 at 10:36 PM

Thanks for the information

Posted by Master Ace 09/16/2010 at 10:38 PM

Davis Cup Weekend Matches(* - number 1 players on team)

World Group Semifinal Lineups:

France vs Argentina (7:30 AM - 9 AM - 7 AM)
Michael Llodra vs Juan Monaco*
Gael Monfils* vs David Nalbandian
Arnaud Clement/Michael Llodra vs Eduardo Schwank/Horacio Zeballos

Serbia vs Czech Republic (9 AM - 9 AM - 8 AM)
Novak Djokovic* vs Radek Stepanek
Janko Tipsarevic vs Tomas Berdych*
Viktor Troicki/Nenad Zimonjic vs Jan Hajek/Ivo Minar

World Group Playoff Matches

Israel tied with Austria 1-all (started today - 5 AM - no play - 7:30 AM)
Sela* defeated Haider-Maurer 6-4,6-1,6-3
Melzer* defeated Levy 6-4,6-3,6-3
Erlich/Ram vs Melzer/Peya
Sela vs Melzer
Levy vs Haider- Maurer

Colombia vs United States (11 AM - Noon - 11 AM)
Falla vs Fish*
Giraldo* vs Querrey
Farah/Salamanca vs Harrison/Isner

Germany vs South Africa (5 AM - 9 AM - 5 AM)
Kohlschreiber* vs DeVoest
Mayer vs Van Der Merwe*
Beck/Kas vs Coetzee/Moodie

Sweden vs Italy (9 AM - 8 AM - 7 AM)
Vinciguerra vs Starace*
Soderling* vs Fognini
Aspelin/Lindstedt vs Bolelli/Bracciali

India vs Brazil (2 AM - 5:30 AM - 2 AM)
Bopanna vs Bellucci*
Devvarman* vs Mello
Bhupathi/Paes vs Melo/Soares

Australia vs Belgium (9 PM Thursday - 11 PM Friday - 9 PM Saturday)
Hewitt* leads Bemelmans 7-6(4),4-all
Ball vs O Rochus*
Hanley/Hewitt vs Darcis/O Rochus

Kazakhstan vs Switzerland (4 AM - 4 AM - 2 AM)
Golubev* vs Chiudinelli
Kukushkin vs Wawrinka*
Korolev/Schukin vs Allegro/Lammer

Romania vs Ecuador (4:30 AM - 5 AM - 4:30 AM)
Hanescu* vs Endara
Ungur vs G Lapentti*
Hanescu/Tecau vs G Lapentti/N Lapentti

Posted by Master Ace 09/16/2010 at 10:39 PM

Just watched WNBA final and guess where is the MVP from? Australia. Lauren Jackson was the regular and playoff season MVP. Her teammates gave the Aussie greeting.

Posted by CL 09/16/2010 at 10:40 PM

msf - not a criticism - just a fact. **shrug** just as it is fact that Rafa regularly beat up on Roger at the FO when Fed was THERE to get beat up on. But Roger never got the opportunity, as it were, at the USO and until very recently, at the AO...MAYBE they would have all gone the way of the AO '09...MAYBE. But maybe they wouldn't. The FACT is we will never know. But to put a minus against Roger's name because he succeeded in making the finals of the FO but was beaten, and NOT put a minus against Rafa's name because, up until this year, he didn't even MAKE the finals of the USO seems to me the height of hypocrisy.

Enough..those who will agree will, and those who won't, won't - ever.


Posted by beth 09/16/2010 at 10:41 PM

CL - never say never :)
although I would agree Gasquet winning a slam is a pretty unlikely occurrence
luck would have to play a huge factor
but hey - Thomas Johanson won one , as did Iva Majoli - so anything is possible
of course , he would have to believe in himself . and that would require some serious therapy

and to Triple Pound - yes , it is hard to be a fan of his , but does that mean he does not deserve fans ? Do only slam winners deserve fans ? Then Murray is out of luck , as are Verdasco , Lopez , Davydenko, Youzhny , Nalbandian - heck any number of slam less players . And yet , they have fans as well
It is way easier to cheer for a consistent winner . I know - it is really easy for me to cheer for Nadal - he makes me so happy as a fan . But that does not stop me from cheering for other players in their successes.

one of these days I am going to be rewarded for my fandom of this player .
I hope - I am always fighting an uphill battle

Thank goodness I also cheer for Rafa - it is way easier on my typing fingers

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 10:43 PM

Master Ace LOL! I think Lauren has been such a great ambassador for the game of womens Basketball just not here in Australia also over seas.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 09/16/2010 at 10:45 PM

Pete great story on Nole, I am happy that he is back and seems to be getting his game back to where it was a couple of years ago. I thought his serving was pretty decent also his movement. On a shallow note though could he ditch his clothing company, I know he has only been with them less than a year but ST clothes are terrible. I wouldn't mind Nole winning the AO 2011. I don't even mind his parents being vocal and supportive in his box, though I am not sure about the t-shirts.

I think he has more than a chance to get his second GS before Murray gets his first. With Delpo I'm not going to put to much pressure on him for the next 12 months.

Are we allow to discuss DC here. If so, am who is the player Hewitt is playing atm, he looks about 17. Ohh I saw Rafter sitting with the players and let at a sigh. I was in the work kitchen at the time and got a couple of looks from the men.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 10:45 PM

Beth LOL!!!

Thank goodness I also cheer for Rafa-it is way easier on my typing fingers?

Well soemtimes in his matches I cant type quick enough make comments which are sometimes soo far behind not funny.

Posted by beth 09/16/2010 at 10:46 PM

yay! Rafter!
I miss him

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 10:48 PM

AA The player is Reben Bemelmans

Anytime is Pat Rafter Time!!!!!!!!

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 10:48 PM

oops Ruben sorry

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 10:49 PM

Lleyton with 2 sets points in the 2nd set

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 09/16/2010 at 10:50 PM

Ok I am sure Australia has a better doubles combination than Hewitt/Hanly. I'm not so sure about the Argies doubles combo either though anyone playing the French doubles team is going to find it tough.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 10:51 PM

Wow great shot from Rubens down the line there

Come On yells Lleyton

Hewitt 7-5 2nd set

Australia 2 sets to love

Posted by beth 09/16/2010 at 10:51 PM

AM - I just don't type during Rafa's matches
it saves a great deal of time and effort
I just watch and enjoy
I am way past frazzling - everything that he has accomplished is so unbelievable
that anything else will be just a bonus

and it saves me from dealing with the annoying trolls and naysayers who drop in during his matches

I always feel compelled to stick up for Richard -he makes me want to give him a motherly hug and say it will be ok , honey . One of these days people will see just how good you really are .
all those stupid generic things you say to your kids when they get dumped or picked on by the other kids - ya know

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 09/16/2010 at 10:54 PM

Beth he looked just as hawt with his blockout on and hat. No mistaking his smile. Agree I wish there could be more Pat Rafter time.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 10:54 PM

Beth I think I should follow your suit in Rafa's games lol!

Sometimes I decide just to watch match in peace and then I cant help myself

I agree with Richard.Well he has the shots for sure.Sorry people cant see that.

Oh well one of these days.

Posted by beth 09/16/2010 at 10:56 PM

Angel - has Rafter ever had a day when he did not look good ?
I cannot imagine it
he is one fine lookin man

shallow end , shallow end
ok - I will climb out of it now

AM - you should try to follow my lead
it helps maintain the " colm "

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 10:59 PM

AA Carsten Ball is the 2nd singles player

I would have liked Carsten to play with Paul Hanley like before

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 11:01 PM

Beth Theres the word again "colm" lol!

Well the young Belgium has a broken and leads 2-0 in the 3rd set

Posted by beth 09/16/2010 at 11:03 PM

it is a good rafaism ,am
like pression
it may not be grammatically or phonetically correct - but you know exactly what he means

Posted by Angel of the Surf (The Youz for the top 10) 09/16/2010 at 11:05 PM

Beth I didn't really like Rafter's buzz haircut all that much.

Posted by ladyjulia 09/16/2010 at 11:05 PM


oops...had missed your response at 9.07 pm..

If Roger never made 11 clay finals, no one would hold it against him.

But Roger needs every chance to right the ship..Rafa does not...

so, if Roger misses this USO final, its "his" chance that is lost. Not Rafa's chance.

It dosen't make an iota of difference to Rafa, but it leaves Roger standing on the shore where he was. Only one person stood to lose by Roger not reaching the final this time. And that was Roger. And only one person can be blamed for Roger not making the final...that is again only Roger.

Every time it matters, its Roger who buries himself deeper. Sure, Rafa did not reach USO final six years. That was a great argument until Rafa finally did.

And then Roger flubbed it up (he being the one who had something to prove). That flubbing is much more important that Rafa flubbing it up. For the simple reason that Rafa had nothing to lose by flubbing it up. He could afford to flub it up for himself w.r.t H2H.

Roger can't afford to. And to make things worse, he did.

Then, earlier...he loses at Wimby...he loses at AO. These finals were very important to Roger. He couldn't afford to lose them (because they are his favored surface)...but he did.

But we can agree to disagree..but I bat on the side of the media on this issue.

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President,Rafa Did Do It For Wayne! 09/16/2010 at 11:07 PM

Well I out for lunch

Go Australia

Belgium leading 3-1

Hewitt just got on the board and broke the young Belgium to love

Hewitt to serve

Posted by beth 09/16/2010 at 11:07 PM

Angel - he had a buzz cut ?!?!?!

"slaps forehead "
Why ?
I am so glad I missed that phase

Posted by TMFunk (formerly the prone-to-error typing TheMightyFunk) 09/16/2010 at 11:24 PM

msf@10:28pm - sorry, but in this case it is your logic that I feel is flawed. Between late 2005 and last week, Nadal and Federer were #1 and #2 in the world for most of the time except a few weeks here and there when Nadal and then Federer slipped to #3. As long as you are #1 or #2 in the world, it is fair game to expect that you make the final of every tournament you enter. Does not matter if you are 12 or 120 years old. The argument is simply that during the time Fedal were #1 and #2 in the world, Federer made the USO and FO finals every time but Nadal only played to his ranking in the FO, not in the USO. As long as we stay within the bounds of the time period that they were #1 and #2 it is a perfectly logical argument - age doesn't matter - with either player btw. If one talks about the time Federer was #1 in the world and Nadal was say #25, obviously that's illigical. But that's not the argument here. Of course, if one is talking about how it took time for Nadal to evolve as a player and adapt his skillset to hard courts, that I can appreciate. But that's just the time it took for him to "construct" his tools, as mariej put very eloquently in a different thread. Don't bring his age relative to Federer into it.

Have to call it a night now unfortunately, but look forward to seeing your perspective in the morning.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 09/16/2010 at 11:29 PM

'evening tennis fans! And Nole fans especially. I was thinking about him today as I was driving along for hours and hours through South Carolina and Georgia. He's so lovable. And an incredible tennis player when he's feeling good. As Gauloises calls him her hothouse flower, we never know when he's going to play out of his mind or fold up and fall over. This year he did both in the same tournament! I really thought he was going to withdraw in the first round and frankly don't know how he managed to play 5 sets in that stifling heat. But he made it through and then played better and better and came very close to winning the title. His time will come!

G: don't know if anyone answered your earlier question but Marian's wife is ill. Don't know with what or how serious, but serious enough to call him home. :((

MattZ: did anyone answer your asterisk question? Was it the '26 white sox scandal?

Posted by Sherlock (AgnostiGoat) 09/16/2010 at 11:56 PM

Evening, TWibe. :)

Beth, no, Rafter never has a bad day. And I don't think Jon Hamm does either. Geez, those guys could make me switch teams. :)

Annie, good guess on the White Sox, but I think Matt was talking about the Roger Maris asterisk that got attached to his homers record to keep Babe Ruth's name in the record books. Not Ford Frick's greatest decision. :)

Posted by Carrie 09/17/2010 at 12:01 AM

Annie- hope you enjoyed SC and Georgia. I grew up for a good bit in South Carolina and went to University of Georgia for undergrad. But I have been to the Emory campus when I attended *puts on nerd hat* forensics/speech camp in high school*.

Did you enjoy the drive? I imagine you must have gone by my old SC hometown if you took I-85. Does your kiddo like Emory?

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 09/17/2010 at 12:05 AM

Sherlock! I swear Maris was my other choice :) I guess you just saw Jon Hamm on The Daily Show? Even Jon Stewart was gushing over how good looking he is! (unfortunately I'm not crazy about MadMen. I know, what's wrong with me?) I think it's too dark and a tad too 'familiar' with my upbringing.

I hope beth saw Gauloises avatar of Rafter wearing a kilt and scratching his bare fanny. adorable!
OK, my son has asked me to "stop blogging" so I'm going to stop blogging.

talk to you guys later...

Posted by Carrie 09/17/2010 at 12:08 AM

Sherlock- the whole Roger Maris* really irritates me. He was treated like such crap. Poor guy.

The 1919 Black Sox story also makes me sad. I think one thing that is lost in modern memory is that Charles Comiskey severely underpaid his players. Not that they should have thrown the series- but still. Also- too me there is too much conflicting evidence regarding Shoeless Joe as to whether he was in on the fix or not. I have always felt bad for him. He by the way spent much of his life in or around the SC town that I grew up in.

Posted by Aube,poor acid on your own face for attention???seriously America??? 09/17/2010 at 12:11 AM

Early morning all.
Anybody here knows when Venus is playing next?

Posted by Sherlock (AgnostiGoat) 09/17/2010 at 12:16 AM

Bye Annie!

I actually just saw the ad for the new Ben Affleck/Jon Hamm movie. Looks interesting. Funny about Mad Men. I actually haven't watched it all that much. Though Christina Hendricks I could watch for, um, quite a long time. :)

Carrie, yes, the Maris story is very sad. A good guy treated very poorly.

The whole Sox episode is also sad. Comiskey was a jerk, and yes, as wrong as it was, it's easier to understand how it happened.

Shoeless Joe, what a story. Seems like his family has kept on trying to get his record posthumously cleared, but no go. Sad. And while he may have been in on it, he played a pretty good series anyway.

Posted by Geellis 09/17/2010 at 12:23 AM

I think the asterisk discussion is interesting 2 b sure. As a died-in-the-wool Rafa fan, I'll be the first to admit that I was at the front of the line in saying that the Fed's '09 RG should have an asterisk. There are,however, some differences between the two wins. Rafa was the reigning FO champion when Fed won in '09. The same was not true of Fed. But if one wants to say that Rafa had a cake draw, I'll be the first to agree. I'm not sure, given Fed's form of late that the asterisk represents Rafa's not having had to face the Fed; but I'm okay with the asterisk representing Rafa not having to face any of his HC difficult opponents (Soderling, Berdych, a health Davydenko, the Fed, and of course JMDP). So here's to the dreaded *

Posted by Northern boy 09/17/2010 at 12:52 AM

Well, if some consider that Nadal's USO victory deserves an asterisk (only because Murray's inglorious defeat blew open his side of the draw), one could easily argue that his victory at the '09 Australian Open (with one less day of rest after his epic SF match against Verdasco than Federer's walk-in-the-park against Del Potro) deserves a massive exclamation point

Just wanted to correct this earlier post - it was Roddick that Federer beat soundly in straights in the semi finals that year, in something like 2 hours 20 minutes. Rafa/Verdasco semi went 5'14", longest ever match at the Aussie Open, and yes it was a day later.

Still can't believe that match ended on a DF after Verdasco saved 2 match points. It deserved a better finish.

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