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Final Thoughts 11/28/2010 - 5:59 PM

Hp 

by Hannah Wilks, TW Contributing Writer

On the protracted journey to North Greenwich this morning (London transport is laboring under major engineering works and facing a tube strike), almost every conversation I overhear is a discussion of Federer and Nadal. It makes me so pleased that on a weekend when the first Ashes test is underway, England have taken on South Africa at Twickenham, and the usual round of high-profile Premiership football clashes are on—Spurs v Liverpool being today's hot ticket—tennis can still fill the O2 arena.

It also makes me feel slightly ashamed of myself for not being more excited. As far as I'm concerned, the greatest rivalry in sport—as I understand we're now obligated to call it—reached its zenith at Wimbledon 2008 when Rafa carved out the heart of Roger's empire and more or less devoured it, and since then it's basically been one-way traffic. Rafa is the best player in the world right now, Roger has had one of the greatest careers; these things seem obvious to me. They don't even play each other that much—twice in 2009, and this their second meeting in 2010—meaning that their rivalry is mainly played out in records and statistics, and on their behalf in forums and blogs across the internet by their fans.

If I'm not excited though, I'm clearly the only one. The crowd applauds politely during the doubles final, a straight-sets victory for Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic; the trophy ceremony resembles a game of musical chairs as all four players acknowledge the end of old partnerships and the forming of new ones. It's good fun, but it's not what everyone's come for today.

Never has the O2 arena been so full of flags, Swiss and Spanish, and signs, some painstakingly-sewn and impressive, others scribbled in felt tip on what looks like scrap paper. The reach of the Federer signs is impressively global: 'Lugano Greets King Roger!', and more bafflingly, 'Namibia Loves Roger.' The Nadal supporters' signs read 'VAMOS RAFA' or simply 'RAFA!!!!', as if the man needs no introduction, just punctuation. It's a breathtakingly international crowd, too; in the past few days I've met people—not journalists, just fans—who have come from all over the world to be here. For every estuary voice which howls 'come on, Rog!', there's an 'allez Rafa!' or an authentic 'vamos!'

I've heard enough serious discussion of the crushing psychological blow that one opponent can inflict on the other by making him wait at the beginning of the match to note down how events turn out. This time, Federer manages to stay seated, visibly twiddling his thumbs, until after Nadal has got up to join him at net for the coin toss. It's either a minor miracle or a bold statement of dominance, but Nadal strikes back immediately by being substantially late in rising for play. In the chair, Mohammed Layani is already holding his head in both hands, like the mother of two squabbling siblings on a long car journey.

By the time the first three games have been played, it's obvious that we're not going to see any huge tactical surprises; nobody's come up with a masterstroke since the last time they played. Federer is going all-out aggressive, ending points quickly wherever possible; Nadal is trying to break down Federer's backhand. Not earth-shattering.

Stationary, Nadal looks squat and chunky across the net from the lithe Federer. That impression all but disappears once they both start to move. Nadal's feet scuttle across the baseline like a beetle; it's better to watch the unbelievable speed with which his racquet whips around his head as he delivers each forehand like a grenade. Despite that, it seems to have been all Federer so far, bounding on to every short ball like an eager puppy to smack a forehand winner. More impressively, his backhand doesn't seem to be leaking errors; indeed, more often that not he finishes a protracted exchange by finding an acute and unexpected angle off that side. The same shot gets him the first break, his fifth forehand winner the first set, 6-3. He hasn't lost a point on his first serve yet.

Federer is playing great. Nadal isn't, quite. Whether it's the remarkable speed with which Federer seizes his opportunities or not, the Spaniard looks a step slow, and his shots don't have the same penetration they did against Murray. Time and again his balls have been landing short and Federer isn't giving him a second chance at any of them. At the changeover, he sits miserably with his hands in his lap, looking between coach and umpire as if unsure who to expect a telling-off from first. His is the only long face in here; Maradona, Princess Eugenie, Thierry Henry all get big cheers from a happy crowd. Boris Johnson gets the biggest, proving once again that the fact that people in this city have the good sense to fill arenas for tennis doesn't mean they display the best judgement in all areas of their lives.

Nadal, inevitably, regroups. A return winner at 1-2 lets him fist-pump and strut, predatory for the first time, and he breaks on Federer's first significant forehand error. When Federer slips and falls in the next game trying to reach a bounce off the net cord, the Swiss is starting to look a little frantic and Nadal firmly in control. One weak service game and the set is gone.

The crowd at least are pleased about it; everyone would have felt short-changed if this one finished in straights. It feels almost like the match proper is starting now, and the rallies are growing ever more spectacular; the tennis that these two men can produce on pure instinct, playing on their veins, is breathtaking. Nadal is hitting much deeper than he was at the beginning of the match, but Federer's serve—after a brief vacation in the second set—is clicking beautifully, time and time again leaving Nadal stranded by the wide serve to the deuce court. He's still finding those angles off the backhand, giving him a toehold on Rafa's serve at 1-2 down. When that toehold becomes break point, the roar from the crowd is earsplitting. Lars Graff would have barked 'Please!' down the microphone as if having to restrain himself from adding 'stop embarrassing yourselves!'; Layani, on the other hand, milks the moment, drawing out the words 'aadvaantaaage Federer!' Federer manages to box Nadal into a corner until his attempted passer flies wide and consolidates the break despite alternating service winners and groundstroke errors, and is suddenly looking rather impregnable at 4-1. When he breaks again, the Federer fans are ecstatic and the Nadal fans are putting on their jackets. It's a cold day outside.

There's a slight oddness to the end of the match, as Federer's winning forehand looks out to seventy-five percent of the stadium. The fans sitting behind that line are the first to cheer, then as Nadal shakes his head and starts walking to the net, Federer is next. He's actually won, even if it's taken everyone a moment to realize it.

During his speech, Nadal's voice creaks with fatigue. In a possible Freudian slip, he thanks the crowd for their support 'in Wimbledon.' Federer quickly reiterates the mention of Wimbledon in his own victory speech. Deliberate or not, both of them know that the real battleground is elsewhere. This has been an extended trailer for Roger and Rafa, 2011; coming soon to a Slam near you.

Watching the confetti and camera flashes, I think about the significance of this victory. I'm starting to share some of Pete's skepticism about the format and implications of this event. Nadal may have been defeated, but no-one can deny it's been his year, and a rocky one for Federer by his lofty standards. I doubt that this defeat will impact Nadal for long; and I don''t know what Federer's victory can give him in terms of motivation and confidence for next year that the champion doesn't already possess. The Fedal numbers may have shifted a little, giving the hardcore fans fresh ammunition in their ongoing battles, but I'm not sure it means much more than that.

But it has been a week of great entertainment, of tennis that's encompassed the entire range from execrable to exceptional. It's given the ATP a chance to showcase their product, and London an opportunity to demonstrate another facet of its nature as a tennis city. On a personal level, it's been a week of staying up until 3 a.m., trying to find the right words for the best players in the world; a week when taking longhand notes during Nadal matches left my fingers blistered, and Djokovic's smile distracted me enough that I left my mobile phone in his press conference. (He didn't call.)

It may not quite be the 'fifth Slam' just yet—but it's been a bloody good week all the same.


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Posted by Tigress 11/29/2010 at 04:10 PM

AB:

When Laver played, the USO was on grass.

Nadal's three surface GS streak is indeed an accomplishment. However, it comes with a very bold asterisk, since his USO win this year was essentially a fluke. It resulted principally from his "free ticket to the Final" draw, plus Djokovic's improbable upset of Federer in the SF which saved Nadal from a likely loss to Fed in the final. Yesterday's WTF Final further demonstrates how improbable a Nadal victory over Federer on fast USO HC was.

I very much doubt that Nadal will ever win another USO, or even get to the Final. I hope he does make the Final again, because I've been waiting for over 4 years for Federer to play him there and give him a good thrashing. Maybe next year, one hopes.

Posted by Mike 11/29/2010 at 04:12 PM

If it wasn't for that pesky Majorcan ... Fed would have 3 GS. ;)

When it comes down to it ... Fed was only 3 stinkin' matches away from being alone at the top. :P

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/29/2010 at 04:14 PM

I still think these matches should be referred to as "Naderer".

I'm going into lurk mode until Friday. Because for 8 players the season isn't over. :))

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 04:18 PM

Oh, Tigress, you never change. :)

Enjoyed the Budge stuff, NP. :)

Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 04:21 PM

"Enjoyed the Budge stuff, NP. :)"

Good. You're far from there yet, but still it's an improvement.

Posted by JB (FOOPs unite!!!) 11/29/2010 at 04:22 PM

cl: What I want and have gotten wonderful doses of from Hannah, is the look, the mood, the whacky zoo-iness of a bunch of multi-millionaires running around chasing a tennis ball and all the attendant kabuki with fizz folderol - pressers, officials, mood lighting, music, tantrums, cow bells, miens, etc, - that go with such endeavors.

well said cl!

Posted by BrooklynNY 11/29/2010 at 04:22 PM

Rafa looked like he was not even running for half the balls. Clearly, if you know Rafa's game, you knew somethign was not right.

To win a set, and not be 100% is a great sign for 2011.

Posted by CherryNYC 11/29/2010 at 04:23 PM

AB -- thanks for your suggestion back at 3:36 -- but it's not working. I cannot get off the mobile version....aaahhhhh!!!

Nice to see you Tigress.

Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 04:23 PM

TMFunk, glad to be of service. Just so you know, I know I often come across as a boorish d*ck sometimes, but I really have no problem with people having honest disagreements. For example, when you say, "I respect the achievements of the past GOATs, but to me Fed's dominance in the Open era and his career GS make him the GOAT in my book," or "Borg is the GOAT to me because of his insane FO-Wimby 3-peat," I've got no problem with that. What really tests my patience is this whole nonsense about Fed or even Nadal (Rafa hasn't surpassed Lendl and Connors yet, let alone Laver, Borg, Sampras and Federer) having already surpassed Laver and the other GOATs beyond all doubt, or today's players having improved so much as to be able to destroy their predecessors. That's when I get less than diplomatic.

Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 04:24 PM

Also, TMFunk, you seem very levelheaded despite your moniker. Do stay around. TW could use a few more posters like you.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/29/2010 at 04:25 PM

TMFunk:

I'm sure many of the more best-behaved TW posters appreciate your making your points in a civil fashion and trying to lift the level of discourse while I and others of my ilk are sniping away in the gutters and digging foxholes to go even deeper.

Gotta be somewhat productive this afternoon.

Catch you all later.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/29/2010 at 04:26 PM

TMFunk:

I'm sure many of the more best-behaved TW posters appreciate your making your points in a civil fashion and trying to lift the level of discourse while I and others of my ilk are sniping away in the gutters and digging foxholes to go even deeper.

Gotta be somewhat productive this afternoon.

Catch you all later.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 04:26 PM

I always like reading the stories and snippets even if I don't always say so. :) Not so keen on the GOAT debating parts though.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/29/2010 at 04:28 PM

TMFunk:

I'm sure many of the more best-behaved TW posters appreciate your making your points in a civil fashion and trying to lift the level of discourse while I and others of my ilk are sniping away in the gutters and digging foxholes to go even deeper.

Gotta be somewhat productive this afternoon.

Catch you all later.

If this post shows up 17 times, I apologize in advance. TypePad acting up

Posted by BrooklynNY 11/29/2010 at 04:29 PM

NP: I agree, the way some people downplay the greatness of the past is baffling.

Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 04:30 PM

Speaking of story-reading, any1 here has read both the old and new editions of Laver's Education of a Tennis Player? Do the additions to the new edition warrant another purchase?

Posted by sans nom 11/29/2010 at 04:32 PM

Interrupting GOAT and Fedal debates to say that Barca is currently kicking some Special Ones' posteriors! 4-0!

Posted by Legoboy 11/29/2010 at 04:32 PM

Maybe you should take Pete's role on the site...you seem to enjoy the tennis more than him! *snicker*
Well Done, great post! Enjoyed the read!

Posted by JB (FOOPs unite!!!) 11/29/2010 at 04:32 PM

crazyone - i think you asked about robin and magnus?

I heard that magnus didn't want to travel full time. :( not sure who robin will end up with as a coach; hopefully he continue on at his current level. Magnus did a great job with him, at imo. bit sad they're splitting up. :(

Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 04:32 PM

TMFunk, glad to be of service. Just so you know, I know I often come across as a boorish d*ck sometimes, but I really have no problem with people having honest disagreements. For example, when you say, "I respect the achievements of the past GOATs, but to me Fed's dominance in the Open era and his career GS make him the GOAT in my book," or "Borg is the GOAT to me because of his insane FO-Wimby 3-peat," I've got no problem with that. What really tests my patience is this whole nonsense about Fed or even Nadal having already surpassed Laver and the other GOATs beyond all doubt, or today's players having improved so much as to be able to destroy their predecessors. That's when I get rather not so nice.

Posted by AB 11/29/2010 at 04:32 PM

Hi Guys!: BTW you 3 are my favorite tennis geeks.

I'm not wedded to the "surfrace" transition contention, just offering reason why Uhba made the "comparation."

I agree that Laver's all-surface accomplishments in specific calendar years are astonishing. It may even be safe to say that they will never be bested.

I do think that Rafa's 3-in-a-row on different surfaces is an amazing achievement. And TMFunk, Roger has so far not been able to put together a 3 different surface Slams in a calendar year season which tells me just how difficult it is.

How surfaces amplify, subtract or are neutral to one's game is extremely significant, and I think NP's Laver stats just highlight how GOATy his career was because of his all-surface mastery and the fact that his calendar year records are not close to being surpassed.

Posted by TMFunk 11/29/2010 at 04:32 PM

Thanks NP - I started posting here right around the time Fed's was well entrenched in his "funk" around Wimbie, or maybe when he lost to Hewitt in Halle, hence the moniker. Hoping a change is justified in 2011, but as I was telling AM some time back - I ain't changing it until Fed can prove that he can lose no more than 2 matches in 2011 after having match points! :)

I'm with you on the GOAT debate - No way for me to add value to that debate when I've never seen anyone before the J-Mac/Connors era play...Fed's the best I've ever seen, and I like to leave it at that :)

I bow to the tennis knowledge folks like yourself and msf bring. Is it just pure interest on your part or is your work related in anyway to the history of tennis?

Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 04:34 PM

"Not so keen on the GOAT debating parts though."

Your boy has a long way to go before surpassing Lendl, Connors and Mac. Now I will say this: if Rafa wins the AO next yr, then, yes, I will accept that he has a strong case of being above the Three Bad Boys even at this stage of his career.

Which means I will be rooting against Rafa like crazy.

BrooklynNY, cheers.

Posted by Ruth 11/29/2010 at 04:34 PM

AB: I'd like to add to what you've said about the different surfaces in the second, third, and fourth Slams the factor of duration of time between the Slams. I remember reading a piece in which someone who pointed out the relatively short span of time between those three Slams compared with the long break between the AO and the FO. That break was even longer in the past when the AO was played in December.

I think the transition to different surfaces is actually more important or more challenging, but I just wanted to mention the time factor. Incidentally, the timing factor was part of a discussion of the insistence on the "real" Grand Slam being 4 titles being won in the same calendar year.

Posted by TMFunk 11/29/2010 at 04:35 PM

thanks msf, and boy typead is acting weird...

Posted by Cotton Jack 11/29/2010 at 04:38 PM

I think the GOAT debate is simple: the GOAT hasn't yet arrived.

When (eventually) someone acheives roughly as much as Laver, dominating his contemporaries, then we'll have the GOAT (because of the depth of the modern game, it not being just a nascent pro sport with deep deep roots in privilege)

However, if this player and his game have a charisma level similar to Lendl and his, then many people will say "ah but he doesn't draw the attention of the casual fan like the great Federer".

Furthermore others will say "but unlike Nadal he has no Federer against which to prove himself" and the words Weak Era will appear ...

If people have forgotten my description of what the GOAT, when he arrives, will achieve, I'm sure I can find it on Google .... ;-)

Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 04:39 PM

TMFunk, mostly pure interest. Well, I used to be forced to take tennis lessons as a teen--which I hated, and which, of course, I now regret not having taken full advantage of--as one of the obligatory "jobs" every teen is supposed to do these days, but I'm guessing that's not the type of "work" you had in mind.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/29/2010 at 04:39 PM

If you press control + F5 just after posting a comment, that should make it show up.

Posted by TMFunk 11/29/2010 at 04:39 PM

AB: "And TMFunk, Roger has so far not been able to put together a 3 different surface Slams in a calendar year season which tells me just how difficult it is."

I submit that has more to do with someone by name Rafael Nadal and less to do with the difficulty of putting together a 3 different surface slam calendar year :)

Like I said, if Fed had lost early transitioning from one surface to another, I'd be more inclined to agree with the argument. When he has made the finals of all 4 slams three years, not so much.

Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 04:42 PM

Heh, my original comment to TMFunk just appeared AFTER my 2nd and revised comment had been posted. TypePad is playing more tricks than Houdini did in his entire career.

Posted by TMFunk 11/29/2010 at 04:42 PM

sorry I should have said "difficulty for Fed in putting together..." above. I don't question that it is a very difficult thing to do. Just that Federer has shown strong evidence he could have done it if the slams were scheduled a bit differently.

Posted by Tigress 11/29/2010 at 04:44 PM

CherryNYC:

Hi. There's nothing like delicious major Fed wins to bring me back to TW. In the unlikely event that Nadal had won yesterday, I would't even be here or reading the posts.

It's not hard to imagine what they would be: Hosannahs, genuflections and general worship of the faux greatest one ever, plus a torrent of delighted obituaries and put-downs of Fed's place in tennis history.

Thankfully we are spared that Horror and thus I am here. So happy to be here.

Posted by zenggi 11/29/2010 at 04:49 PM

Fascinating article by Alex Corretja in El País today. "A goal for the future"
Some excerpts:

"At the end, Rafa Nadal ran out of gas. On Saturday I lived his match against Andy Murray, whom I coach, with great intensity and a lot of enthusiasm, almost as if I were playing it. When one competes against Nadal you know that you are going to a war while trying to get out alive. Few succeed. I am very proud of Andy, who died killing. He gave all he had. Nothing left in the reserve. Rafa won because he is who is."

"The consequence is clear: Rafa didn't need a miracle to have the best options to win the Masters Cup final but he needed time. That was just what he didn't have. The semifinal was agonizing and it had taken its toll. All the credit, however, to Roger Federer. That's how you play tennis. No excuses: the final is on Sunday, not on Monday. I am sure that Rafa will see it this way."

"Federer has also played 70 matches this year, but he doesn't wear and tear so much because of his type of play. He played at one of his highest levels of these past years, with high speed and big clarity of ideas. He played all the tournament at a higher level than his opponents. Roger has been the best."

"That Rafa has already reached the final is a great success. I think it is a matter of time that he wins this tournament… It's good that he has left something for the future!"

Alex also explains the mystery of the Spanish school of tennis.

"Foreigners hit more winners, they run less during the year. We leave our life in each tournament, psychologically and physically. It is the Spanish School."

http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/objetivo/futuro/elpepidep/20101129elpepidep_5/Tes

Have a nice evening/night everyone.

Posted by TMFunk 11/29/2010 at 04:54 PM

thanks zenggi - And this is the guy who coaches Murray? No wonder poor Muzz didn't have a whole lot of confidence going into his SF with Nadal... :)

I can just imagine Corretja's pre-match pep talk to Muzz: "Just try to come out of it alive Andy. Thats all. Lets go!"

Posted by TMFunk 11/29/2010 at 04:55 PM

and on that note folks, my "I'm going to totally goof off today coz Fed won yesterday" work day comes to a close.

Its been a blast. Enjoy the rest of the evening everyone.

Posted by zenggi 11/29/2010 at 04:57 PM

TMFunk,
Yes, who needs enemies if you have a coach?

I think Andy needs a Mourinho. Not today though. I cannot wait for his presser tomorrow. It will be fun.

Posted by Federax 11/29/2010 at 04:58 PM

Wow. If I were Andy Murray (and I'm obviously not), articles like these, written by MY coach would be grounds for instant dismissal. (You know, it's not like he is coaching some young up and comer or something.)

P.S. Thanks for the link.

Posted by AB 11/29/2010 at 05:04 PM

Hi Tigress: I have a perverse admiration for your willingness to set yourself up for major heart burn every time that pesky upstart Rafa refuses to lay down and die at the feet of his Lord and Master Roger the Magnificent.

Fortunately for sports fans, both are healthy and motivated heading into 2011 so we can only hope there will be opportunities for more Naderer match-ups. Off clay, these have potential to continue to be very exciting events.

Hi Ruth: timing *is* everything, which leads me to add to -

TMFunk; Of course Roger "could" do it, but he hasn't. You cannot play "what ifs" with the scheduling of the Slams. Roger hasn't come close to doing it. Why? Because it's an extremely difficult "ask." The pesky Mallorcan wasn't even around in 2004 at the FO, so we can't pin all the blame on Rafa.

Posted by SkipOtennis 11/29/2010 at 05:09 PM

What a fabulous ending for the year. Federer's confidence is coming back. With Annacone's coaching help, he is poised to have an exciting 2011. No one should be surprised if Federer wins 2 or even 3 GS next year. Can't wait for a wonderful 2011 season.

Posted by armonico 11/29/2010 at 05:27 PM

Talking about these two.

How many MS and GS are play in clay?

How many MS and GS are play in grass?

How many MS and GS are played in hardcourts?

Then make the percentages.

Since many years, the bulk of the important tournaments, (including the 50% of the GS) are played in hardcourts.

Roger Federer seems to have developped his game around the hardcourt/grass courts. He started to win GS latter in age and has become one of the best ever to play in those surfaces. In the mean time, he's being improving his game for clay.

Nadal seems to have developped his game around the clay courts. He started to win GS earlier in age and become one of the best ever to play in clay. In the meantime, he's been improving his game for grass and hardcourts.

I read an interview with Toni Nadal in a magazine that what he said was quite interesting to understand Nadal's game and his evolution. When he was a junior and play against players of his age, he was aggressive in his game. However, as he turn pro as a teenager, in order to compete with older and more powerful pros than him, he played much more deffensively.

In order to compete with Federer and others more succesfully and spend less time on hardcourt, Nadal will need to adjust his position on court, hit flatter serves, forehands and bakchands and being more aggressive in general. It is against his normal pattern of play and it takes time to develop a game that is not natural to him. He has improved a lot and surely he will try to improve further.

And Federer appears to has improved and made adjustments since he appointed Annacone. He seemed to go steadily downhill in the mid-season.

Posted by CL/AtheGoat 11/29/2010 at 05:34 PM

zenggi - fascinating bit from Coretja - if Muzz kicks him to the curb, can I have him? Alex is hott.
And in fairness to Alex, its not like he said anything 'anti-Muzz;' clearly he is quite proud of his charge. Just that...........

Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 05:39 PM

Having wasted an almost entire day, I also must go try to be more productive.

But a small addendum 1st: in my earlier post on the Fedal H2H, I didn't mean to say it's Rafa's lefty serve only that gives Fed fits. Obviously Rafa's left-handedness in general is a tough challenge for Fed, as his BH must counter Rafa's FH in CC exchanges, and Rafa's heavy topspin--which makes the ball *kick up high especially on clay--makes it particular hard for a 1-hander like Fed to rip his BH. (Yesterday's match was exception partly because, while slow, the court was low-bouncing and the balls off Rafa's FH fell right at Fed's wheelhouse.)

But that doesn't mean Rafa's lefty serve isn't a big advantage. When his opponent serves out wide to a 1-hander (Fed included) on the ad court, he must stretch out with their BH to return their serve. And unsurprisingly this is where their RoS tends to be at its weakest. Also, a lefty needn't be a Goran to trouble his opponent with his serve (had Rafa had Goran's serve at the start of his career, he would've have already joined Laver, Borg and Sampras in the 1st tier of GOATs, and Fed might not even up there right now), 'cause the returner must deal with the unfamiliar reverse ball flight each and every time.

That's it for me today. Later.

*Since I'm being anal, let me also point out that clay technically doesn't make the ball a higher bounce per se, but it changes the trajectory of the ball after it bounces off the court. On clay the ball doesn't travel horizontally as much, so the bounces are more vertical and FEEL higher. That's the difference.

That said, the clay-court layers do exaggerate the spin of the ball, which is why, again, the heavy-topspin shots kick up. But they also exaggerate backspin, and in fact a well-executed slice can be more effective on clay than on any type of HCs as it produces a very low bounce.

Posted by Ross (FOE, even Gael) 11/29/2010 at 05:43 PM

Another thought on the time factor--IMO the transition from clay to grass is significant (although less so than when Borg did it) because it's a few weeks' turnaround, but I don't see much of a "transition" between Wimby and the USO with a two month gap.

Posted by L.Rubin 11/29/2010 at 05:50 PM

Hello, Tigress! Long time no snark!

I imagine that 2010 was a difficult tennis-viewing year for you, what with Rafa's victories over his oh-so-dreaded rivals--to wit, Sod, Berdych, and Djoker. With many chuckles do I remember your posts (all written after the 2009 FO) on how these three would make Rafa regret the day he was born.

Hurts, eh?


Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 05:51 PM

"Another thought on the time factor--IMO the transition from clay to grass is significant (although less so than when Borg did it) because it's a few weeks' turnaround, but I don't see much of a "transition" between Wimby and the USO with a two month gap."

Ross, yes, good point. Two small things:

1) Borg had only one week to transition from clay to grass, as opposed to the 2 weeks' turnaround today. Makes his FO-Wimby 3-peat even more impressive than it already is.

2) I've long maintained that the surfaces changes are not as significant as the media make 'em out to be, and I've explained why at length. Suffice it to say for now that the changes LOOK more significant because most players today play pretty much the same style.

Really off.

Posted by Ross (FOE, even Gael) 11/29/2010 at 05:55 PM

BTW, thanks to NP for the Budge info and video. I did see Budge live once--in doubles, probably in his late 40s--and he didn't disappoint.

Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 05:55 PM

But that is not to say the clay-grass transition is just as hard as it used to be. Today you can get away with minor adjustments to your game, but back then you had to make major adjustments. I'll expand on this later when I've got nothing better to do.

And I'm off until the next time I post.

Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 06:03 PM

Ross, no prob. It's too bad we don't have any clips (or if there's any, I've yet to see it) that show the Budge BH in its full glory. Here's what Gonzales said just four months before his death in '95:

"Even now, I think he had the best backhand ever developed.... His ball off the backhand was the heaviest ball I can remember."

Two other favorite Pancho assessments:

Regarding Hoad: "He was the only guy who, if I was playing my best tennis, could still beat me. I think his game was the best game ever. Better than mine."

And Pistol Pete: "I rate him potentially with anybody, including Lew Hoad."

So Sampras had the best game ever, along with Hoad. Heh heh.

Posted by NP 11/29/2010 at 06:20 PM

Oh, Ross, I almost forgot to ask you. Have you read both the old and new editions of Laver's Education of a Tennis Player? If yes, would you say whatever new materials in the new edition warrant another purchase?

I really have to go now, but I'll be back and see if you have answered. Thanks in advance.

Posted by LOL 11/29/2010 at 07:05 PM

Great comment, Liron!

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/29/2010 at 07:06 PM

Warning: This will be a Caro and Robin praising post, please feel free to scroll. Thanks. I think with the tremendous success of these two player,Scandinavian tennis is returning to its former glory. Not since the days of Borg, Edberg and Mats has there been so many good players coming out of this area. For the first time in a long time we now have two players who are fully capable of winning slams. Caro won more titles then any other player this year and Robin is only one match away from his first GS. He had some really bad luck with always drawing Roger. With the exception of Roger, very few players can handle Robin when he is at his best. He has proven he can take down Rafa when he is at his best. I firmly believe that with a better draw he has the game to be a GS winner. Borg said this recently too. Both are young and with tremendous talent. But there is something more, with Caro's success and Robin's, you're going to get more young kids who will follow in their steps. The mighty Swede and Scandinavia's beautiful and talented world's no l are building a strong legacy and contributing to the future of tennis in this area of the world. I think the future of Scandinavian tennis looks very bright and that is something I'm very excited for. Kom sa, Caro. Kom igen, Robin

Posted by Ross (FOE, even Gael) 11/29/2010 at 07:07 PM

I've read very few tennis bios/memoirs, but I think I may try to correct that, and I've heard good things about Rod's. The best I've read are Handful of Summers, Levels of the Game, Andre's and Bobby Rigg's. All are good, Handful is terrific.

Posted by TMFunk (formerly the prone-to-error typing TheMightyFunk) 11/29/2010 at 07:16 PM

AB: "Roger hasn't come close to doing it. Why? Because it's an extremely difficult "ask." - Roger hasn't come close? Well, I'd say he came very close 3 times being in the finals and all, which is why I think it has less to do with transition and more to do with his opposition on those occasions. If you've been able to win 6 matches out of seven on the new surface, I'd say you've transitioned quite well.

Anyway, to your point, Rafa did it and Fed didn't so if you feel its a bigger accomplishment that 3 non-consecutive majors in a year, more power to you. I just don't think the two accomplishments are as materially different as you do in the context of how close Fed came to doing it as well. We can agree to disagree, eh? :)

Posted by TMFunk (formerly the prone-to-error typing TheMightyFunk) 11/29/2010 at 07:16 PM

AB: "Roger hasn't come close to doing it. Why? Because it's an extremely difficult "ask." - Roger hasn't come close? Well, I'd say he came very close 3 times being in the finals and all, which is why I think it has less to do with transition and more to do with his opposition on those occasions. If you've been able to win 6 matches out of seven on the new surface, I'd say you've transitioned quite well.

Anyway, to your point, Rafa did it and Fed didn't so if you feel its a bigger accomplishment that 3 non-consecutive majors in a year, more power to you. I just don't think the two accomplishments are as materially different as you do in the context of how close Fed came to doing it as well. We can agree to disagree, eh? :)

Posted by AB 11/29/2010 at 07:23 PM

Hi TMFunk: I can't compare the 2 accomplishments, they're very different.

I do compare each to Laver's though and both fall short.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/29/2010 at 07:30 PM

Tina, everytime I read your heading I can't stop laughing.

Posted by Ruth 11/29/2010 at 07:30 PM

TMFunk: I really don't think that you ( or anyone) should decide whether one accomplishment is more challenging than the other based on whether one player or another player did it or came close to doing it. That doesn't seem relevant.

Just look at the two accomplishments, totally separate from their achievement by any player. AB is not saying that the consecutive accomplishment is better because Rafa did it. I assure you that people have been marveling at that accomplishment -- the three Slams on three different surfaces in about three months -- long before Roger or Rafa came on the scene!

Posted by sisu 11/29/2010 at 07:34 PM

The only person I’ll listen to who says “I’m Tired” ;) -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-pmpgrYQgs&NR=1

“I'm tired,
Tired of playing the game
Ain't it a crying shame
I'm so tired
G-d dammit I'm exhausted”

(From the movie “Blazing Saddles”, the beautiful and talented, the one and only, Madeline Kahn, RIP.)


Nice article and liked what Roger had to say about his confidence. One quote -

"I had to regain some confidence after a disappointing clay- and grass-court season when I had been playing a little passive and Paul helped in this regard," Federer said. "But I am pleased I made the right decisions at the end, playing five tournaments in seven weeks and winning three. So I am quite exhausted, but who cares? I won't remember that in 20 years."

http://msn.foxsports.com/tennis/story/Roger-Federer-shines-in-indoor-match-against-Rafael-Nadal-112810

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 07:34 PM

AB and TMFunk,

I think Rafa's accomplishment ranks as "unique" in the open era. Simply because nobody as done it. Roger was two sets away from doing it for three straight years. But as AB said he didn't. We can only go by what he has done.

In that way Rafa's accomplishment is unique in the open era.

Now, does it surpass Rogers 3 a year, 3 times? I don't think so. First of all, Roger's 3 a year is coming off mostly 4 slam finals a year.

Rafa, who has been top 2 for over 5 years has yet to make all slam finals in one year. Roger's 3 slams a year out of 4 slam finals means that he fulfilled his seeding 3 times out of 4 in a year.

And he defended his 3 slams thrice.

I think the two accomplishments

1. winning 3 slams a year out of 4 finals and defending the slam wins twice

2. winning a slam on clay, grass and HC in the same year

are two different types of accomplishments. Each is unique in the open era. How can you statistically say one is greater than the other? Or have a logical argument that one is greater than the other?

Both are great accomplishments in their own right. I don't think its right to say Rafa has surpassed Roger's 3 a year three times accomplishment.

That's just disrespectful. There is no player in the open era who has even made four slam finals every year for three years. So, Rafa wins 3 slams on clay, grass and HC. Let's see if he can do it again. Tennis only rewards consistency, you get to be #1 next year only if you win all those points again. Otherwise, you fall.

So,ofcourse Rafa has the potential to win them again and win all four again next year. But Ubha has to wait before he says that Rafa has surpassed Roger's 3 a year thrice accomplishment.

Posted by CL/AtheGoat 11/29/2010 at 07:39 PM

"I really don't think that you ( or anyone) should decide whether one accomplishment is more challenging than the other based on whether one player or another player did it or came close to doing it. That doesn't seem relevant."

Does that "you(or anyone)," include the you that is you, Ruth? ;-)

Its all just TMFunk's opinion. Seems to me he is only deciding how it seems to him. (TMFunk - you are a him, no?) Just AB's too. And anyone else who wants to weigh in. We are back in Budge and Tilden land...not 100% sure THAT is particularly relevant today. But, just my opinion.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 07:44 PM

This is what happens if we encourage players to not take a Venus approach...we get statements like this:

"What Did We Learn From London?

I think it’s safe to say at this point that Roger Federer is the best hard-court player in the world when he’s fully healthy. There’s no doubt that Nadal wasn’t at his physical best during Sunday’ final, but the Spaniard has never possessed the slice and flat-hit variation that the Swiss has produced on the asphalt."

People stop using stats to reach conclusions...instead Federer is the best HC player when he's "fully healthy". Seriously, if the Fed is not healthy, he should step off the court and give some one else a fair chance.

I think its possible to reach a conclusion who is the best hard-court player in the world right now just based on stats...instead we have qualitative analysis "if he was" or "if she was"....i think this is the by product of the GOAT debate.

Posted by Ruth 11/29/2010 at 07:50 PM

I think that it is very simple to compare and contrast winning 3 consecutive Slams in three months on 3 different surfaces with winning 3 Slams on 2 different surfaces in a longer over 8 months. That is so obvious that I feel a little silly even stating or discussing it. :-)

Who defended or didn't defend what really has nothing to do with that basic fact/comparison. Now, the achievemnt of defending titles -- multiple times -- is a whole different kettle of fish, very important in its own right.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 07:53 PM

Ruth,

The exact statement by Ubha says that Rafa's slams wins on clay, grass, HC surpasses Roger's three slams a year thrice accomplishment...

that is what TMFunk objected to.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 07:53 PM

Ruth,

Its 3 a year, thrice

that is why the defending is a factor...

Posted by Joe 11/29/2010 at 07:54 PM

"Roger Federer is the best hard-court player in the world when he's fully healthy" or better to say "he's the best INDOOR-COURT player in the world when he's fully healthy like this year"

Posted by CL/AtheGoat 11/29/2010 at 07:56 PM

Ruth - well, I can certainly see your point, but I don't find it especially conclusive. Who were these finals played against? What was the quality of the opponent? Under what conditions? Were they interrupted by rain delays? Was it hot/cold/just right?

I am dutifully impressed by simple math. But it often turns out to be not quite so simple.

Lady J - who said that? Please tell me it was someone here.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 08:01 PM

"Rafael Nadal (A): Nadal had the type of 11 months Federer produced in 2004, 2006 and 2007, winning three majors. He surpassed Fed, though, by claiming three in a row in a single season."

Ubha is not clear by what he means.

If he means Rafa surpassed the 11 months Fed had either "in" 2004, "or" 2006 "or" 2007 with respect to slam wins, yes, Rafa has surpassed Fed.

He does not surpass Fed in win-loss record for 2005 (84-3) or 2006 (92-5) [which i may add we weren't bombarded the whole year with sighs of tiredness inspite of battling 3 hr QF,SF and a 5 hr F on 3 consecutive days without rest in 2006].

Overall, Fed statistically had a more accomplished season in 2004, or 2006 because of win-loss numbers, and winning the WTF and indoor court titles during the year as well. There wasn't a surface you could escape from the Fed.

But 3 majors in a year for Rafa >>> Fed's 3 majors in a year "in" 2004, "or" 2006, "or" 2007. Much greater than, not just greater than.

Posted by Vishal 11/29/2010 at 08:01 PM

In addition to 3 3-slam years, Federer was *points* away from doing the 3 slams in a row last year, that Rafa accomplished this year. But he played a rather casual match against Del Potro by his standards (something I think he regrets now). I suspect being a brand new father had something to do with this.

So saying that Rafa has overtaken Fed's accomplishments is moronic at best.

Posted by Ross (FOE, even Gael) 11/29/2010 at 08:03 PM

"I think that it is very simple to compare and contrast winning 3 consecutive Slams in three months on 3 different surfaces with winning 3 Slams on 2 different surfaces in a longer over 8 months. That is so obvious that I feel a little silly even stating or discussing it. :-)"

Of course, one could argue that being dominant over 8 months is superior to being "hot" for a brief period of 3 months. :)

Posted by Joe 11/29/2010 at 08:04 PM

Was last year Roger unhealthy or was Davydenko the best INDOOR-COURT player in the world when he was fully healthy?

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 08:04 PM

"Rafael Nadal (A): Nadal had the type of 11 months Federer produced in 2004, 2006 and 2007, winning three majors. He surpassed Fed, though, by claiming three in a row in a single season."

Ubha is not clear by what he means.

If he means Rafa surpassed the 11 months Fed had either "in" 2004, "or" 2006 "or" 2007 with respect to slam wins, yes, Rafa has surpassed Fed.

He does not surpass Fed in win-loss record for 2005 (84-3) or 2006 (92-5) [which i may add we weren't bombarded the whole year with sighs of tiredness inspite of battling 3 hr QF,SF and a 5 hr F on 3 consecutive days without rest in 2006].

Overall, Fed statistically had a more accomplished season in 2004, or 2006 because of win-loss numbers, and winning the WTF and indoor court titles during the year as well. There wasn't a surface you could escape from the Fed.

But 3 majors in a year for Rafa >>> Fed's 3 majors in a year "in" 2004, "or" 2006, "or" 2007. Much greater than, not just greater than.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 08:04 PM

"Rafael Nadal (A): Nadal had the type of 11 months Federer produced in 2004, 2006 and 2007, winning three majors. He surpassed Fed, though, by claiming three in a row in a single season."

Ubha is not clear by what he means.

If he means Rafa surpassed the 11 months Fed had either "in" 2004, "or" 2006 "or" 2007 with respect to slam wins, yes, Rafa has surpassed Fed.

He does not surpass Fed in win-loss record for 2005 (84-3) or 2006 (92-5) [which i may add we weren't bombarded the whole year with sighs of tiredness inspite of battling 3 hr QF,SF and a 5 hr F on 3 consecutive days without rest in 2006].

Overall, Fed statistically had a more accomplished season in 2004, or 2006 because of win-loss numbers, and winning the WTF and indoor court titles during the year as well. There wasn't a surface you could escape from the Fed.

But 3 majors in a year for Rafa >>> Fed's 3 majors in a year "in" 2004, "or" 2006, "or" 2007. Much greater than, not just greater than.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 08:07 PM

Joe, the writer is not clear...but i think he means career wise. Not just this year. But, the writer should be more specific.

Otherwise, that statement dosen't make sense.

CL, it was on tennisconnected.com...the HC statement i mean.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 08:11 PM

Joe,

the Wall Street journal has this analysis on the hardcourt season..

"Nearly the entire second half of the season is spent on hardcourts, and during that span this year, Federer arguably was as good as Nadal. Though it was Nadal who lifted the U.S. Open trophy, Federer won four titles and went 34-4 after Wimbledon, reaching the semifinals or better in all eight tournaments he entered. He held multiple match points in two of his losses. And, most impressively, he wasn’t playing an easy schedule during that span. He won 13 of 16 matches against players ranked in the top 10, including nine victories against fellow top-five players Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling. In less than five months, Federer had more wins over top-10 players than Nadal had all year, and the same number he and Nadal had last year."

http://tinyurl.com/38twbww

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 08:14 PM

If I was Annacone, I would use this to motivate the Fed. Nadal might be 3300 points ahead, but this is a good fact to focus on and use it to build next year.

"In less than five months, Federer had more wins over top-10 players than Nadal had all year"

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 08:18 PM

I don't think I agree with the Wall Street Journal totally...I don't think Fed's season and Nadal's season are comparable. It reflects in the ranking. The seasons are not even close.

The author has numbers, but if they were close, the overall ranking points would have been closer. On a miniscule level, yes...they might have been close. But not at the global year-long level.

And at the end of the year, the points accumulated are proof.

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 08:23 PM

CL,

This paragraph is for you...I don't agree with it...but i think you and TMFunk would:

"Nadal’s shaky history on hard courts is the best argument against using the two players’ head-to-head record to judge their rivalry. Nadal has won 14 of their 22 meetings, but 12 of those meetings came on clay, where Nadal won 10 times. Federer is 2-1 on grass and 4-3 on hard courts. (Federer’s all-surface excellence at the peak of his career may best be encapsulated by his reaching the final of an astonishing 17 consecutive tournaments through Toronto in 2006.)

During Nadal’s reign on clay, Federer has been the second-best player on the surface, reaching 11 of the 31 finals reached by Nadal. Federer’s two wins in those 11 finals may seem skimpy — until you consider that Nadal is a perfect 21-0 in clay finals against players other than Federer. Nadal’s improvement on grass and hard courts makes him a far better overall player than he once was, yet may also paradoxically diminish his head-to-head edge over Federer — if, as all tennis fans hope, 2011 and beyond bring many more Federer-Nadal finals."

Posted by ladyjulia 11/29/2010 at 08:23 PM

oh dear...I am talking to myself. Never a good sign.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/29/2010 at 08:24 PM

Ah, pardon my interuption of the Fedal wars, but notice to everyone, there are more than two players in the game and there is such a thing at the WTA. Thanks. Kom sa, Caro. Kom igen Robin!!

Posted by AB 11/29/2010 at 08:32 PM

For the record, the other "factor" in Rafa's 3-in-a-year is that they're consecutive, so it's 3 Slams within a 4 1/2 month span. Is that hard to accomplish? No one but Budge, Laver and Trabert? have done so, so I would say, yes.

Again, you can disagree, but it's not an outrageous contention.

Now onto my favorite nerdly stat hobby.

I've been looking at the year-end #1, total weeks @ #1 and, consecutive weeks @ #1 and conclude that Rafa has a looooong way to go to get into the rarefied air of All Time Greats.

I think these stats are more important than total # Slams, though it's unsurprising that those stats are connected, too.

NP conceding that Rafa makes a big leap if he manages to hold all the Slam trophies at the same time by completing a Rafa Slam is noteworthy within the geography of TW.

My totally random take is that if Rafa concludes his career: at #1 over 200 weeks, halves the distance between himself and Roger regarding Slams, and at least ties Borg's total of 6 FOs, but better if he could become the sole holder of FOs with at least 7, then he's in breathing distance of Laver, Connors, Sampras & Federer. I'm not going back to Tilden, Gonzalez and Budge so apologies to NP and msf.

I would bet money that Roger would like to hold a Most titles record in any of the 3 Slams that he has a chance to: AO - tied with Agassi @ 4, Wimbledon - 1 less than Pete @ 6, USO - tied with Connors & Sampras @ 5.

Next year he could do it. That would certainly add luster to an already glowing resume.

Rafa could tie Borg's 6 titles at the French and/or hold a Rafa Slam. There's a theoretical Grand Slam that's wide open for anyone to fantasize about, but it's hard to muster any excitement for that one.

Posted by Master Ace 11/29/2010 at 08:34 PM

Samantha Elin,
Agreed that there are more than 2 players in tennis. Now, I read your post and will make my opinion on Soderling and Caroline.

If Soderling and Norman split up like the rumor mill has it, I think Soderling will drop out of the Top 5. Matter of fact, Soderling would do well if he stayed in the Top 25. Caroline is a different story as I still have her on track on winning a Slam in 2 years but she normally starts her year out slowly and there are rumors that she will be changing from Babolot to Yonex racquets. IMO, Victoria has a better chance of winning the AO than Caroline due to Serena w/d and Caroline has been a slow starter for the last 2 years. Caroline still have a good chance of getting the job done at AO.

Posted by Joe 11/29/2010 at 08:36 PM

Well ladyjulia, we know that HC wasn't Nadal specialty before, but right now he is showing that he can win on all the surfaces. And they say "and the same number he and Nadal had last year". I don't think that 2009 it counts as far that Nadal was with injuries most of the time even that he won AO and IW, it was difficult to do same numbers

Posted by AB 11/29/2010 at 08:41 PM

ladyj: did you read the New York Magazine "Huggy Bear" article?

Posted by CWATC 11/29/2010 at 08:50 PM

Thanks for the Wall St. Journal article, LJ.

I have to say I'm a bit dissapointed that the media response to this result has been almost exclusively to try to put it in the context of the Fedal rivalry. Understandable, but to me that wasn't really the main story.

The story was the ressurgence of the Fed after the low point of wimby. It was a gradual, step by step process, which seemed to be ignored a bit by the press while it was going on. I thought that was understandable since despite overall improving play, Fed didn't win any hugely impressive titles: a 250, a 500, and Cincy against some surprising opponants. I felt like everyone was holding their breath to see if Fed could really win a big one again. To me the WTF was the culmination - victories against all the other top guys, a very prestigious title which he hadn't won since the good old days of 2007.

I was waiting for the purple prose to finally come; the return of the king, fighting spirit in an aging champion, etc.

Keep looking for that article and not quite finding it.

Is it because the TMC isn't a GS? Or that Nadal has become an entrenched enough #1 that he is the story at all times, so this TMC is more about his loss than Fed's win?

Posted by Joe 11/29/2010 at 08:54 PM

Moving on, who do you think is going to win DC, Serbia or France?
I'm not sure but it's going to be very interesting

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela YEC Doubles Champion and Winner of 7 Titles in 2010) 11/29/2010 at 08:55 PM

Samantha - Are you sure there is more than two players that play tennis?

MA - what is the rumour about Sods and Norman splitting up?

Marge - when you come on board? Work were offering two spots for 10 -16 year olds to participate in a clinic with two of the players at HC. Unfortunately I am not 16 and don't have anyone between that age I could take. What a bummer :). On top of that they got free tixs to session 3.

Posted by Master Ace 11/29/2010 at 09:02 PM

Angel of the Surf,
What I have read a few days ago(forgot from where) is Soderling and Norman may split up possibly that Norman wants to stay home. Uhba on ESPN mentioned that they may split up also.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/29/2010 at 09:05 PM

Hi Patrick, I think Serena did a lot of players a big favor by withdrawing, butn't sure Vika can consistently win 7 matches, she is far too up and down for that. The one thing Vika has proven is just how inconsistent she can be, Caro is now the much better player and has achieved so much more. Caro has won more titles this year than she has won in her entire career so I don't see why people still say that she has a better chance at a slam. To my knowledge, Vika has NEVER been past the quarter of a slam while Caro is a former GS finalist and made it to the semi this year. I don't see hardcourt specialist Kim winning a slam off the hardcourt of North America. Petrova knocked her out easily last year. I see Caro has having a great chance to go very far. Patrick, I think Robin would be making a big mistake if he left Norman whose career was ruined after he dated the black widow Hingis. LOL! Kom sa, Caro, Kom igen Robin!!

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/29/2010 at 09:08 PM

Hi Angel, after reading this board, no I'm not sure. This board is 99% Rafa and Fed. How is everyones Christmas shopping going? I went out on black Friday with my girlfriends at 3 a.m, it was a blast.

Posted by Ruth 11/29/2010 at 09:25 PM

++Does that "you(or anyone)," include the you that is you, Ruth? ;-)++

Yes, it does, CL. And if you ever hear me say that this or that is great or difficult or challenginmg just because a certain player (maybe ssomeone I may like)did it, feel free to bring it to my attention -- or anyone else's. :-)

I enjoy reading different opinions from different people, but I hope that we all have the right to question the soundness of the basis of anyone's opinion -- including mine and yours!

Posted by tennisfan 11/29/2010 at 09:27 PM

Horrible piece of writing. Horrible. Okay - the insight on the two chair umps was decent and accurate.

However, I think it is an error to downplay the significance of this tournament between these two competitors. It's the only thing Rafa hasn't won... and to lose it as world #1 to a guy he is supposed to 'own'. I believe it to be a pretty big deal for the both of them.

Posted by vetmama 11/29/2010 at 09:41 PM

After reading the horrible comments about the "horrible" post, I just have one thing to say...


Hannah -

Don't EVER let someone talk you into writing a post about Fed or Rafa.
And if the post concerns Fed AND Rafa...run away. Far, far away. Screaming.

Posted by Ruth 11/29/2010 at 09:46 PM

lj: I was aware of what Ubha had sad, and I share your opinion about that comparison. My comment was directed to TMFunk's apparent narrowing of the comparison to a 3 consecutive Slams vs 3 non-consecutive Slams discussion.


++Of course, one could argue that being dominant over 8 months is superior to being "hot" for a brief period of 3 months. :)++

Yes, indeed, Ross, but that would depend on what "dominant" means and which 8 months are involved! LOL

BTW Did you see Annie's comment in which she said that she met a fan at the WTF who used the moniker, Bjorn, when he posted on our old stomping grounds, the NYT tennis forum, and he said that he remembered me. Small world, no? Made me wonder again what's up with old Birk.

Posted by Master Ace 11/29/2010 at 09:47 PM

Samantha Elin,
I know Victoria has not accomplish much as Caroline but Victoria has played well during the AO swing only to be stopped by Serena in the last 2 years. Agree that Victoria can be very inconsistent with her game. Now, who do you think wins AO in January? If I recall, Kim and Justine will play an exo next week.

Posted by Ross (FOE, even Gael) 11/29/2010 at 09:47 PM

Thanks for the WSJ link, lady j--wonderfully meaty. The Journal is often a great source for sports journalism with perspective.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/29/2010 at 09:50 PM

Tennisfan, it is simply rude to come in and make such comment on a post that a person has taken such time and effort to write. The player are free game, but not a guest writer. And I would strongly disagree, this was a well written piece. Horribly rude, horribly!

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/29/2010 at 09:51 PM

Patrick, I think the 2010 AO finalist will win in 2011. Justine plays very well here.

Posted by GC20 11/29/2010 at 10:04 PM

SamE - What do you think of Caro switching from Babolat to Yonex? I'm guessing Yonex wanted someone to replace Elena. A lot of players have struggled after switching racquets (Djokovic, Jankovic, Tsonga, etc.) although I believe Ivanovic actually won the French after switching to Yonex but then went into her tail spin.

Posted by Ross (FOE, even Gael) 11/29/2010 at 10:08 PM

Could it have been Birk, Ruth? I seem to remember a Bjorn who was with us briefly. I was impressed because he said he had 5 HDTVs at a time when few people had any.

Posted by Samantha Elin, Caro 2010 YE #1 11/29/2010 at 10:10 PM

GC2O, thanks for the question on this beautiful player and reigning world's no l. The pride of Scandinavia.I love that saying, if it's not broke, don't fix it. I don't think it is a good idea. From what I can see, many top players have had a difficult time doing this. Go with what gave you the success, but from Caro's view, I'm sure they offered her a big contract, and money talks, no matter how much you have of it.

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