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Rock Stars For a Week 11/25/2010 - 11:38 PM

Bb by Hannah Wilks, TennisWorld Contributing Writer

Numbers are a big part of any tennis fan's life, and there’s always a day at the year-end championship when the numbers take centre stage. Last year, Andy Murray was denied a place in the semifinals by an abstract mathematical calculation, a del Potro second-serve ace and a Hawkeye challenge; a matter of millimetres and the progress of the championships was altered. This year, Murray is ranked No. 5 and back at the O2 among the elite; del Potro, last year’s finalist, played six matches in 2010 and is currently ranked No. 262 due to the vagaries of injury. Sometimes numbers do tell the whole story.

It’s clear today that the organizers here at the ATP World Tour Finals have learned from the embarrassments of last year. Everywhere, the big screens flash group standings and qualification scenarios for the crowds; the media are handed briefing notes updating the latest outcomes and possibilities at regular intervals. Permutations and probabilities are bandied back and forth at the bar, on the stairs, in whispers inside the arena. It starts to feel like a drinking game (sponsored by Corona, of course)Soderling took it to a tiebreak: two fingers! Murray won more than four games in a set: down in one!

As it turns out, however, everybody might as well have left their calculators at home, as the Group B progressions were settled by the simplest of eventualities; Roger Federer defeated Robin Soderling 7-6 (5), 6-3 in a majestic defensive display, leaving himself in solitary state as the first player to qualify for the semifinals. The Swede is eliminated from contention and heading home for the holidays, with the second semifinal spot to be decided between Andy Murray and David Ferrer. The consensus is that Murray has to win a set, or win a minimum of seven games in losing. It sounds simple, but when is anything with the Scot ever as straightforward as it should be?

It turns out you can’t even depend on Murray to be undependable. He starts off in woeful fashion by losing serve, but before anyone can hunker down for a long night, he recovers and doesn’t look back, winning not just the first set but the second to book his semifinal spot. David Ferrer leaves London without winning a match, Murray gets to experience a semifinal Saturday at the O2, and everyone’s left with rather an anticlimactic feeling.

But the most interesting numbers of the day for me are the ones that come up in the Bryan brothers’ press conference, after the twins have sealed their qualification for the semifinals by beating Lukas Dlouhy and Leander Paes in straight sets, afterwards being presented with the ATP fans’ favorite award. Their numbers in 2010 tell their own story: two Grand Slams, in Melbourne and New York. Their 600th match win in Delray Beach. The sixth time they have finished the year ranked No. 1. Their 62nd championship win in L.A., surpassing the all-time career titles record. Those are GOAT numbers, even if they have to be marginally qualified with the insertion of' 'team.'

Having accomplished all of this, there’s a sad inevitability to the main thrust of the questionsthe health of the doubles game. Usually, it’s the aging of the viewer demographic that is the concern, not the participants. But the average age of the players in this year’s draw is 32, as opposed to 26 in the singles; the youngest player in the doubles draw is the 26-year-old Philipp Petzchner, a relative baby next to 39-year-old Dick Norman. The oldest player in the singles is Federer at 29 and the draw includes two 23-year-olds, Murray and Djokovic. A Bryan (I can’t tell them apart when they’re not holding their racquets) acknowledges the problem: These 20 guys are the same guys we’ve been playing against for the last 10 years. We’re all still at the top of the game. There aren’t a lot of guys breaking through. It’s being repopulated by singles players. It used to be the Top 50 guys used to have two or three singles players in it. Now it’s half and half.

Think about that for a minute. Then name, if you can, one successful doubles specialist who is under 25 and who promises much for the future. It’s easy to dismiss doubles, an attitude that I’ve been guilty of myself; it’s an opportunity to see more of your favourite singles players, perhaps, or a way to kill time while you’re waiting for some real action to begin. I’ve had the opportunity this week to watch the best playing the best, and yet until today, the most attention I’ve paid to the top seeds is to enjoy the slo-mo replay of Mike getting hit in the back of the head with Bob’s serve. Or possibly the other way around.

Doubles doesn’t just require discipline; it is a discipline. Jurgen Melzer, No. 11 in the world, teamed with a solid singles player in Petzchner, still found himself eliminated today by Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski. Nobody’s going to stop the latter team in the street, but they are masters of their sport and the specific skills it rewards. Power from the baseline can accomplish much, but it can still be rendered impotent by the cool head and practiced hands required to finish a point at the net. How different might today’s singles results have been had Robin Soderling had the split-second confidence to put away Federer’s high, floating ball?

It may all too often be treated as an encumbrance at worst, a consolation prize at bestnot a lot of kids growing up wanting to be the best in the world in doubles, as even said best players admitbut if doubles as an end in itself dies, to be replaced by singles players supplementing their incomes and match play, something will be lost. Not just the particular skills of serve and volley, familiarity and precision at net, but a sport that rewards eccentricity and uniqueness, the coming together of two players that separately would have been very ordinary to become something greater than the sum of their parts.

Any commenter or commentator is familiar with those who lament tennis’ increasing homogeneity; they should watch more doubles. Yesterday, a day that saw public complaints from one singles player about the time his opponent was taking in order to be physically able to continue the match, I witnessed Max Miyrni bending down to the ground to chat to his partner Mahesh Bhupathi while he received medical attention, folding his angular limbs to put their heads close together. Their opponents, meanwhile, the soon-to-split Nestor and Zimonjic, were as far apart as two players could be, Nestor slumping in a chair shrouded in towels while Zimonjic took energetic practice swings at the far end of the court. Talk about the range of human experience. And today, I’m listening to two people I’ve often derided talk with warmth and a total lack of self-pity about the senescence of the sport they have dedicated their life to, the sport that has made them extraordinary. 

That at least is one thing that the World Tour Finals has going for it, despite the occasional limpness of the round-robin format. I haven’t seen the arena less than two-thirds full for a doubles match this week; they’ve been cheered, slow-clapped, bemoaned, had their names chanted. There’s nothing like it, a Bryan says; when you have intros, smoke, lights, music, you have goosebumps … We feel like rock stars.

To be treated like stars one week out of fifty-two isn’t the best ratio, but for a team who have broken the greatest of records, it’s a lot better than none.


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Posted by NP 11/26/2010 at 11:11 AM

Ugh, Berd had a freebie with that OH, but he just just turned the ball over meekly to Rafa's wheelhouse. What a dumbass!!!!!!

Congrats to Rafa, I guess. What a piss-poor ending to what started out as a decent match.

AM, but these guys are dumbasses. Major dumbasses.

Later.

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/26/2010 at 11:11 AM

yay

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 11:11 AM

Match point Rafa

Well he has moved through to the s/finals with that win

So different from last year.Rafa has improved with each match he has played

His serve stats more impressive today.

Hey theres that sng Gimme Shelter Yay!

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) 11/26/2010 at 11:11 AM

I'll say this much: Fed has the Greatest Tweener of this Era.

Posted by GB 11/26/2010 at 11:12 AM

Vamos crazy Rafa! What does this mean for Nole's chances?

Posted by just horsen 11/26/2010 at 11:12 AM

Yea!! Rafa goes undefeated in RR play!!! and will play the semi's as the #1 from his group!

commies to the Berdych fans. he put up a good fight in the 1st. just couldn't keep it up.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 11/26/2010 at 11:13 AM

So Rafa secures the top spot in his group with a 3-0 result in the round robin. A 180 turn around from last year.

Federer is clearly playing better than anyone else at the moment, though. And the Murray semi is tomorrow. It's going to be tough.

Commies to Birdman and fans. He hung in there as long as he could.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/26/2010 at 11:13 AM

Congrats to my fellow Rafa fans. This was an entertaining match, so I'm sorry that Berdy didn't make it through. Oh well, can't have everything we want.

Posted by The Mighty Nadal 11/26/2010 at 11:13 AM

Jenny-What is really DISGUSTING is your comments. I wonder what do these posters want to do by posting these nasty comments.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 11:13 AM

Tina

I agree with you regarding Rogers Tweener

Posted by jenny 11/26/2010 at 11:16 AM

Karma is going to catch up with nadal. Just wait.

Posted by just horsen 11/26/2010 at 11:16 AM

GB: all Nole has to do is win 1 set and he's in. If Roddick wins in straights then Roddick will get in.

Posted by The Mighty Nadal 11/26/2010 at 11:16 AM

Solid match from Nadal. I hope he carry his confidence against Murray.

Posted by lilscot 11/26/2010 at 11:17 AM

wilson:

Maybe you should read my post again. I said, "maybe," you're a more serious person than I am, not that you WERE a more serious person. But thanks for kind of giving credence to my point.

Your posts are always very on point and precise and very very cerebral. That's great. But not everyone is like that. In my head, when I read your posts, I picture someone sitting at the computer, glasses on, and tennis encyclopedia close at hand.

I love how you always have the answers to everyone's questions regarding tennis, and how quickly you come up with them. That's why your displeasure over something as insignificant as commies going on too much about a particular player struck me as odd.

Other than that I have absolutely no problem with you and can't, for the life of me, figure out why your tone seems so defensive. In the end though, it's not a big deal. Maybe it's just coming across as a bigger deal to you than it really is. Communicating on the computer can sometimes do that.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 11/26/2010 at 11:17 AM

By the way, did anyone else notice Todd Martin gave up making predictions in his atpworldtour.com WTF column? After he got both predictions wrong on Rafa/Djokovic and Roddick/Berdych, he is just making some talking points about each upcoming match and leaving it at that, hehe.

Posted by NP 11/26/2010 at 11:17 AM

The Mighty Nadal, not sure who you are or how long you've been lurking here, but I don't "always" root against Nadal. And you really shouldn't take my "dumbass" comments personally. FYI Kobe Bryant is my favorite basketball player active today, but I call him a dumbass all the time. It's out of frustration rather than any nastiness on my part. And my comments were not "nasty" towards Nadal like those of jenny, who was an obvious troll.

Really off.

Posted by GB 11/26/2010 at 11:18 AM

Thanks just horsen! I really hope he can

Posted by just horsen 11/26/2010 at 11:18 AM

I hope Rafa can keep up this level of play vs. Andy. or get better!

I'm off. see y'all sunday!

Posted by wilson75 11/26/2010 at 11:18 AM

Here are the scenarios for this evening's match:

Roddick defeats Djokovic in 2 sets and Nadal defeats Berdych in 2 sets = Nadal Wins Group and Roddick Qualifies 2nd

Roddick defeats Djokovic in 3 sets and Nadal defeats Berdych in 2 sets = Nadal Wins Group and Djokovic Qualifies 2nd.


Posted by gauloises 11/26/2010 at 11:19 AM

What if Djokovic wins?

Posted by The Mighty Nadal 11/26/2010 at 11:19 AM

Moderator-Could you ban jenny from this site.IT is nothing but a TROLL!

Posted by Master Ace 11/26/2010 at 11:20 AM

London Order of Play:

Friday evening session
Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi vs Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman at 1:15 PM
Novak Djokovic(58-17; 3-7) vs Andy Roddick(48-17; 4-4) at 3 PM

Saturday
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan vs Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic
Andy Murray(46-17; 7-4) vs Rafael Nadal(70-9; 10-4)
Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski vs Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi or Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman
Roger Federer(63-13; 14-6) vs Novak Djokovic(58-17; 3-7) unless Andy Roddick(48-17; 4-4) win in straight sets

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 11:20 AM

NP You know you are a "misunderstod guy" ok

Dont worry I happen to understand you which is indeed scary at times

Posted by just horsen 11/26/2010 at 11:20 AM

P.S. Here's hoping for a Fedal final too! What a way that would be to end 2010!

really off now. :)

Posted by The Mighty Nadal 11/26/2010 at 11:20 AM

NP-I got it.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 11:21 AM

Vamos Andy Roddick then lol!

Posted by mg 11/26/2010 at 11:22 AM

This is so much better than last year! Rafa continues to reward my patience as a fan by figuring out how to win at his weaker tournaments.

Question: How does the current top 4 (ignore Murray being #5 currently) compare to others in the open era? Have there been 4 players who have been this consistent as a unit? I've only been watching since the 80s so I'm not sure.

Connors/McEnroe/Borg/____?
Were Agassi/Sampras/Courier/Chang ranked in the top 4 for a significant period of time?

Posted by just horsen 11/26/2010 at 11:22 AM

MA: i thought per your post yesterday that Murray\Rafa was going to get the evening slot?

GB: you're welcome.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 11:23 AM

The Mighty Nadal

Hey we get those type of people here just ignore ok.Actually todays match was good compared to other Rafa 's matches ok lol!

Posted by lilscot 11/26/2010 at 11:24 AM

Alrighty then. That was rather anti-climactic but so glad Rafa is through fairly easily. Poor Tomas needs to go back to the drawing board and search for a way to get over the hump when it comes to the big guns. It seems to be more of a mental thing with him rather than his tennis ability. He has lots of that.

AM:

Okay, totally unplugged from all substances now and can get on with my day in the real world! :) I'm going to be taping the afternoon match as my better half is working and I want to wait and watch it together.

Posted by The Mighty Nadal 11/26/2010 at 11:24 AM

Last year due to his poor confidence, Nadal couldn't win any matches. This year he won all matches in round robin. How confidence plays a great role in deciding the outcome of the match!

Posted by Heather 11/26/2010 at 11:24 AM

I'm torn, I want Andy to win in straights so London won't be in vain but then he'll have to play Roger and I don't think I can stand another Roger loss in London no less.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 11:25 AM

lilscot Well its good to have quality time together.Go and enjoy the real world lol!

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) 11/26/2010 at 11:25 AM

mg: I suppose Lendl would be the 4th to your Connors/Mac/Borg/___ grouping?

Back for Djoko and Roddick.

Posted by Master Ace 11/26/2010 at 11:26 AM

Just Horsen,
When I do not put a time next to the match means the OOP is not out yet. Sky Sports is guessing that Nadal and Murray will be in the afternoon session which would be fair to the Djokovic/Roddick winner.

Posted by wilson75 11/26/2010 at 11:26 AM

lilscot: I'm not angry with you. Although, I don't know if being a called tennis nerd is compliment or not:)). (Hey, I'm joking). It's easier to misjudge people when we just read their words and not see them speaking. Uhm, I'm getting a sense of deja vu.

Anyway, I'm just saying that I beg to disagree. I had no intention of upsetting you or insulting you. I like to have discussions and we don't always have to agree on an issue. I assure I'm not being defensive and I thought we were having a good dialogue.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 11:26 AM

MG I would say Lendl

Posted by just horsen 11/26/2010 at 11:27 AM

MA: got it. thanks!

Posted by wilson75 11/26/2010 at 11:29 AM

gauloises: If Djokovic wins, he qualifies second.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 11/26/2010 at 11:30 AM

Here in Colorado the afternoon match is at 7 AM. Murray/Nadal would be one heck of a match to wake up to.

Posted by lilscot 11/26/2010 at 11:31 AM

wilson:

Hey, we're good my friend. I wasn't mad even in the slightest and I'm glad we were able to clear up any misunderstanding that may have occured. Like I said, I always love reading your posts and the fact that you keep us all in line when it comes to facts and stats! :) Now I will slide away from the screen and get some damned work done!

See you all later after the second match...

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/26/2010 at 11:31 AM

BTW, I'm also with those who think that Andy Murray is playing mind games with his remarks. I'm sure he will come out fighting, it is not as if he hasn't ever beaten Rafa.

Poor David goes home with nothing. I didn't even watch the match last night after taping it ... I was that disappointed.

Posted by wilson75 11/26/2010 at 11:31 AM

lilsot: No hard feelings. Later.

Posted by The Mighty Nadal 11/26/2010 at 11:34 AM

AM-Thank you very much for your kind remarks. I don't usually post a lot but I watch all of Rafa's matches on TV. When I do try to post on this site, it is really sad that so many posters try to attack Nadal (I personally think it is because Nadal beats Federer so many times that their fans are sour), but I am happy that you are always cheering for Rafa fair and square and you are also a good role model for many posters.

Posted by wilson75 11/26/2010 at 11:34 AM

Lynne: David gets some cash. I know it's not the same but maybe it will dull the pain. Overall, he's had a very good season, returning to the top ten is a great achievement. I remember, I think it was last year, he was saying that he didn't think he could make back to the top ten.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 11:35 AM

Lynne Agree.Most players play mind games especially in the context of this up coming match.Murray has shown he can beat Rafa on a hard court.He is trying to down play himself in this match.We shall see.

I too was disappointed about David.

Posted by GB 11/26/2010 at 11:36 AM

Sorry mg, in Rafaspeak "I wasn't in this world" then.

Posted by wilson75 11/26/2010 at 11:37 AM

AM and Lynne: I looking forward to what Rafa has to say about Murray's comments. You know the press is going to ask him about them.

Posted by GB 11/26/2010 at 11:39 AM

MAndy had a cryptic tweet today, which some journos are taking as evidence that he was being sarcastic: "If sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, why don't smart people get it? Or are they smart?"

Posted by izidane-It's t-shirt tyyyyyyyyme! Nole face/hawk shirt on. 11/26/2010 at 11:41 AM

Hi all.
Congrats to all the winners' fans, missed it all but I'm staying put from hereon.
Nole v Andy looks murky since I like both guys.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 11:44 AM

The Mighty Nadal

Thank you.I always try to give credit to Rafa's opponents whoever they are.

Please dont let today upset you and come and post here as often as you can.Look its just the passion as a fan and sometimes people post things at times without thinking.I have done that myself many times ok.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/26/2010 at 11:45 AM

wilson75 : It's true that David has had quite a good year. I just didn't want him to go home winless, like Rafa did last year.

Posted by jackson 11/26/2010 at 11:46 AM

mg at 11:22 AM "This is so much better than last year! Rafa continues to reward my patience as a fan by figuring out how to win at his weaker tournaments."


It really is, isn't it mg? For those of us that hung in with him through his woes last year and continued to believe in him, this is all very rewarding. And he continues to amaze me with his determination and mental strength. This surface is never going to be kind to him and he really doesn't like playing on it, but damned if he doesn't bust his gut to conquer it. He's so impressive.

I thought Tomas played a great game today until he ran out of steam midway through the second. Both of them made some brilliant shots and it was a very exciting match to watch.

"Question: How does the current top 4 (ignore Murray being #5 currently)"

I don't know the answer to your question but actually, Murray is back to #4. He was only 20 points behind Sod and has earned 200 more points (so far) in the tournament so he'll go to fourth with a lead of at least 180 points for the year end rankings. I imagine he's pleased with that.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/26/2010 at 11:46 AM

AM : I think we both have Murray "taped." lol !

Posted by CL 11/26/2010 at 11:49 AM

"I guess the more important reason I enjoy the continued Fed presence is that it legitimizes Rafa. For some reason I suspect that if Roger was not around some of Rafa's accomplishments would be questioned. E.g. "did he benefit from a generation with weak competition?" Every time an article is written about Fed's brilliance it makes me realize how awesome it is that Rafa is winning slams in this era."
Good point mg. Rafa can never be accused of winning his titles in a weak era."

But Roger can. By some. And by extension that means that Rafa is winning titles in a weak era as well. Because if he, for the most part, just keeps beating this guy Fed who is just beating all these weak players, then how big a deal can it be for Rafa to beat a 'King of the Weak Era?'

And the Merry-Go-Round goes round and round.

Congrats to the Rafalites. He is looking better as the tourney rolls on. As for TByrd, the man showed up in the first set, then got very scared of angry Rafa at the send of the set, transformed himself into a mouse and ran away.

Murray comments? Either the biggest British pre-battle surrender since ... I dunno when... or a bit of pre-match reverse trash talk. Wonder what BG thinks.


Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 11:51 AM

Lynne I like Muzz as a player and I wish he would just hurry up and win his first GS title lol!

He has soo much variety in his shots,a insinctive volley player,great ROS.love the off pace he gets and he can change the direction of the ball with ease.its just he is soo frustrating at times.Oh well thats just Muzz I guess lol!

Posted by Moderator 11/26/2010 at 11:56 AM

The Mighty Nadal: welcome. Please do check out the Site Rules. Saying negative things about a tennis player isn't against the Site Rules. Baiting or berating other posters is: your 11:13am comment comes pretty close. Pull it back a notch, please. There are lots of Nadal fans and fans of other players here, let's treat all with courtesy.

Posted by AB 11/26/2010 at 11:57 AM

Hi TWibe:

Felicitaciones, Rafa! You made it to the SF without dropping a set. Lo siento, Tomas - you have the game but so far, not the ability to focus for long enough to beat the best under pressure.

Thank you de-lurking and new posters for comments, esp. the posters in London who've been lucky enough to watch live. Special shout out to Northern Lights (did I get that right?) ad Metro - I've really enjoyed the thoughtfulness and detail of their posts.

Weighing late on Challenge-gate: Rafa raised his hand at the exact same time that Carlos B over-ruled the no call from the lines judge. I thought it was simultaneous live and on the replay - both hands went up I could see Rafa in the upper right hand corner and Carlos middle left.

Regarding mad-face Rafa: In my opinion working with Spaniards in Europe, their cultural style (in Spanish) can be seen as blunt and even harsh. Would be curious to hear Mr. X or gabby's opinion on whether Mallorcans' style is different.

So for me, Rafa's "tantrum" was pretty mild. When you factor in the fact that he was serving to stay in the set and how tight and good the play from both had been up to that point, I don't see what there is to criticize.

These are (sports-wise) high stakes and I expect competitors to be highly charged and in the moment. It happens all the time and I don't think it's negative at all.

PS - he had a big smile and laugh with Carlos after the end of match handshake.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/26/2010 at 11:59 AM

AM : Murray is talented in many respects. It's just that he is so damned inconsistent. I find that more irritating than anything and I'm sure that if it were not so, he would have won a slam or two by now.

However, I'm a patient woman or a long-suffering one, whatever, lol !

Posted by GB 11/26/2010 at 12:00 PM

Rafa - Muzz confirmed for 2pm saturday

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 12:07 PM

Lynne Indeed.He has to be more consistant in his tournaments.This year I have to say overall it hasnt been a good year for him.It took him soo long to get over losing the AO final.That to me isnt a good sign.The game is soo mental and thats why Roger and Rafa have remained on the top.

Posted by mick1303 11/26/2010 at 12:08 PM

Posted by The Mighty Nadal 11/26/2010 at 11:19 AM
Moderator-Could you ban jenny from this site.IT is nothing but a TROLL!

===============================
According to the site rules there it is not forbidden to attack any players. What is forbidden though - is to attack other posters. And this is what you're doing.

Posted by AB 11/26/2010 at 12:09 PM

I think Roger has looked the best so far, but I also think his RR opponents' play has helped.

I don't think Ferrer, Le Sod or MAndy brought their A games into their matches with Roger the way that RAndy, Nole, and Tomas did (at least in the 1st sets) against Rafa.

I think those testy RR matches actually help Rafa more than the dominant wins help Roger going into the SF.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 12:09 PM

GB Thanks.Okay what time is that for us if you dont mind

Posted by Andrew 11/26/2010 at 12:11 PM

AB: Nadal did lose a set to Roddick - in the end it made no difference, but might have done had he lost today (it could make a difference if Roddick beats Djokovic in straights to who comes in no 2 in Group A).

For my part, I thought Bernades was correct in not replaying the point - in my judgement, Nadal signalled out and stopped play prior to the Bernades ruling. I didn't see too much amiss in Nadal remonstrating with the umpire. It seemed heated but respectful: sometimes sportsmanship is shown by getting on with it even when you're upset or disgruntled. And in no sense did I think Nadal's dispute with the umpire was motivated by a desire to affect Berdych's play.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 12:12 PM

AB Hi!

Have you gotton over your Yummy sweet by the way?

I too think Roger has been the most impressive soo far.Rafa has improved with every match.I like his serving stats today.Thats the one thing he needs most as he moves now into the s/final.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/26/2010 at 12:13 PM

Well, black Friday forces me to reluctantly go and browse around the sales. Later, everyone.

Posted by Sandra77 11/26/2010 at 12:14 PM

Poor Jenny - frustrated even in her attempts to be a troll.

Posted by GB 11/26/2010 at 12:15 PM

I think 1am AM

Posted by CL 11/26/2010 at 12:17 PM

Andrew or Master Ace - what happens if Andy R wins today in 3? Or Novak wins today in 3? Or if either loses in 3. I guess if Andy loses, then he is right out?

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 12:19 PM

GB Sigh! I was hoping for a later start

Have I mentioned I cant wait for the tennis to start Down Under lol!

Posted by AB 11/26/2010 at 12:23 PM

Thanks for the correction regarding the sets won count, Andrew.

AM: My Fudge Melt-a-ways were a hit at the T-day party. They're actually too intense for me, but the Sweet Tooth crowd was going gaga.

Your boy is looking better and better, esp. his serve. During the Asian swing and in the 1st 2 matches it looked like he did not have enough bend or torque and he was reaching too much. His timing looks better now.

I'm hoping the Nole v RAndy match will go 3. I would like to see RAndy salvage his not so great 2nd half of the season by winning a match. He's still a good competitor, though not nearly the threat Roger is in each and every match. I'm comparing them because they're in the same tennis generation.

Posted by Tuulia 11/26/2010 at 12:25 PM

AB - must say I agree, it was pretty mild, I understand he took it bad for a moment there, but let it go quickly as usual. He was fine with Carlos afterwards and was joking about the whole thing in the on court interview, saying he wouldn't try to explain it in English since he'd probably be wrong, and said that he had thought the umpire was wrong but maybe he was wrong himself - saying all that with big smiles.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 12:28 PM

AB Even Rafa ground shots are in better rhythm now.Hmm the serve in Asia went right off.I think he needed more of a break and he didnt need to play all 3 tournaments and it told he was tired and I could see even his footwork which is excellent was labouring.Though he did commit to those tournaments.I hope next year he "re thinks".To me his match scheduling will be the most important thing for his ongoing career.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 12:31 PM

Tuulia Methinks over the past couple of days with Rafa and umpires it was good to see at the end of the match all smiles with him and Carlos.By the way I thought Carlos was correct.I also like him as a umpire.

Posted by GB 11/26/2010 at 12:33 PM

AM: I think he knows 3 weeks was crazy. He was very careful when asked in Thailand to say he couldn't commit to coming back next year, but that he loved the country and would definitely visit. In terms of Tokyo, he did say in his winner's speech that he was going to play next year.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 12:40 PM

GB Yes I hear the comment about coming back in Tokyo.I also realise that Rafa has a large fan base there as well.I just hope he thinks more about himself in ways thats all.He has come back this year to a great level and achieved a career slam.He will also be defending a lot of points next year as well.

Posted by jackson 11/26/2010 at 12:43 PM

GB, he has to play a 500 after the US Open so it makes sense to play in Tokyo to warm up for his mandatory 1000 in Shanghai. It's all the mandatory tournaments that are the problem, not his scheduling.

Tuulia, that interview afterwards was so cute, wasn't it? (Thanks again Tina for that link!) The crowd loved his comments so if any of them had been turned off by his yelling, I think he won them all back. The Sky commies were also saying that they wouldn't be at all surprised if Rafa is the crowd favourite over Andy tomorrow, that he's insanely popular in London.

Posted by Andrew 11/26/2010 at 12:43 PM

CL: If Roddick wins in 3, he will have won 3 sets, lost 5, and have 2 points. Djokovic will have won 3 sets, lost 4, 2 points. Berdych won 2 sets, lost 4, 2 points. Three players have same points, so H2H doesn't decide. Next is sets won ratio: Djokovic is 43%, Roddick 38%, Berdych 33%. Djokovic advances.

If Roddick wins in 2, then it's Roddick 3/4, Djokovic and Berdych 2/4: sets ratio is Roddick 43%, Djokovic and Berdych 33%. Roddick advances.

If Djokovic wins in 3, it's Nadal 6 points, Djokovic 4, Berdych 2, Roddick 0.

Posted by Master Ace 11/26/2010 at 12:45 PM

London Order of Play:

Friday evening session
Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi vs Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman at 1:15 PM
Novak Djokovic(58-17; 3-7) vs Andy Roddick(48-17; 4-4) at 3 PM

Saturday
Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan vs Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic at 7:15 AM
Rafael Nadal(70-9; 10-4) vs Andy Murray(46-17; 7-4) at 9 AM
Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski vs Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi or Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman at 1:15 PM
Roger Federer(63-13; 14-6) vs Novak Djokovic(58-17; 3-7) unless Andy Roddick(48-17; 4-4) win in straight sets at 3 PM

Posted by Syd 11/26/2010 at 12:46 PM

" I didn't see too much amiss in Nadal remonstrating with the umpire. It seemed heated but respectful: "

Andrew, c'mon now. You can't really mean that.

Posted by Master Ace 11/26/2010 at 12:47 PM

Saturday Order of Play from London:

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan vs Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic at 7:15 AM
Rafael Nadal(70-9; 10-4) vs Andy Murray(46-17; 7-4) at 9 AM
Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski vs Mahesh Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi or Wesley Moodie and Dick Norman at 1:15 PM
Novak Djokovic(58-17; 3-7),unless Andy Roddick(48-17; 4-4) win in straight sets, vs Roger Federer(63-13; 14-6) at 3 PM

Posted by Tuulia 11/26/2010 at 12:48 PM

I also agree with Andrew's comment about the, em incident.

AM, yes good to see the smiles. I also like Carlos. So does Rafa btw.

And yes, it's been really good to see the improvement in Rafa's play during the tournament.

Posted by GB 11/26/2010 at 12:48 PM

Jackson: he doesn't have to do anything. Sure, he'll get penalised in terms of points etc if he doesn't play but IMO that's immaterial if it's better for his health.

I was surprised/thrilled that he's chosen to limit his Feb play to DC.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 12:50 PM

Well I beg to differ its not his scheduling very strongly?

I think people have short memories where Rafa is concerned?

Playing for one on the hard courts with Rafa is a problem in itself.Over time he has been injured? this is the first year he has arrived at the USO in good health and not fatiqued? well we all saw the results.

He will always have a on going problem with his knees.Even though he has responded well to this new treatment as the dr told him he still has to watch it? it is not ever going to go away.

Posted by Kristy 11/26/2010 at 12:51 PM

I'm really surprised Roddick is still alive after losing twice. Obv. the round robin format is beyond me. But go Andy.

Nole, please have a breathing/vision/stomach issue, lol.

I can't watch because I have to go have tea somewhere, sigh. I'm 0-3 for Andy's matches. ):

Posted by Tuulia 11/26/2010 at 12:52 PM

jackson, yes the on-court interview was lovely. :) I was watching on tv, and thank goodness I realised in time (late in 2nd set) that they would NOT show the interview and managed to find a useful livestream in time, which even worked perfectly unlike other days.

Posted by GB 11/26/2010 at 12:54 PM

*jealous I missed the interview*

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 12:56 PM

Kristy I didnt think you would post such a thought LOL!

Hmmm dont worry I have thoughts go through my head at times and thank goodness I dont post them lol!

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/26/2010 at 01:00 PM

rafa the drama queen, what a sportsman, he's great til he gets a whiff of losing, THEN he starts his nonsense, ugh ... what a tantrum lol

and that spoiled child scowl "i want my way!' face he makes throughout every match just makes me cringe ... he's so totally in your face, Im still not believing for a second the players voted him Sportsman, no way ...

Posted by Andrew 11/26/2010 at 01:02 PM

Syd: nope, if it's heated but respectful, they're two grown ups, no need to look around for the fainting couch. I didn't think Federer should have been censured for using a profanity while talking calmly with Jake Garner about Garner's ruling at the USO, and I don't think Nadal should be docked sportsmanship points for getting in a dispute with Carlos Bernades. Nadal made his views clear: Bernades had the final word, Nadal got on with the match.

Posted by CL 11/26/2010 at 01:02 PM

Andrew - thanks. I think. ;-) My head STILL hurts.

Kristy - so glad you made it to Vermont. Even if it was via the 'not so scenic route.' ;-) Next time you are up here and have some time to spare, I would love to do a meet and great...I have never met ANY TWers in person. There used to be two other Vermonters who posted here, Maple Sugar and one other...but they haven't been posting in a while. With you near Woodstock and us near Rutland, I'm sure we could find somewhere in the middle to meet. Like on Rte. 100. There is a wonderful brewery/restaurant in Bridgewater. Good food/great beer.

Posted by Kristy 11/26/2010 at 01:06 PM

Tim, I read that as "nole the drama queen" and applied it all to him. Rafa?? He doesn't throw tantrums, c'mon. Also, the *players* voted him the sportsmanship award -- they'd be the ones to know.

AM, I know I shouldn'ta said that but it's the desperation of a Roddick fan. I like Nole, don't wish him any ill.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 01:06 PM

My Dear Tim

Indeed Rafa does 'drama well" no?

Hey its just that hot blooded Spanish side of him coming out mind you

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/26/2010 at 01:09 PM

so more fans of a certain player basically acting and posting like theyre 12 years old ... maybe its time for some here to band together and petition a rule that bans all Nadal posts that dont include "Cute, hot, vamos, i love him," oh and maybe a few more... what part of posting any and all opinions about tennis players is legit dont you understand?

i mean u hear it a million times and STILL dont get how the rules of this site work... Nadal acted like an idiot today, when he's in trouble he freaks out and pulls his bag of tricks into play... this isnt new, people

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/26/2010 at 01:11 PM

oh hoy, what's this? Rafa beat Berdie in 2 sets, but got so pissed off that it's on the front page of yahoo sports? That's new. Somebody post the link at youtube since I missed the match today. It's crazy that Roddick can still qualify if he beat one-eye pirate Djoker in 2 sets.

And see, I told you so yesterday, Master Ace; so Muzz-Rafa will be 1st SF, eh? It should be since it'd be cruel for group A runner up to face Fed less than 24 hours.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 01:13 PM

Tim

Vamos to you a million time then ok?

I just thought you needed to heat that one more time

I forgot to add my boy still has Sumpreme Teeth by the way

Posted by imjimmy 11/26/2010 at 01:13 PM

Strange match today. I guess the life was sucked out of Berdych (and even the crowd in the arena) after Nadal's outburst, which admittedly was justified, albeit at a lesser intensity. The match was very anti-climatic after that, much like the Djokovic- Nadal RR.

Anyway, I thought Nadal moved ok, and hit his forehand decently well - especially in the 2nd set. His backhand, however, remains a problem. If he continues to loop it the same way against Murray, it might be over very quickly for him. He needs to hit deeper, harder and serve better to have a decent chance..

Posted by Kristy 11/26/2010 at 01:13 PM

Hi CL! I'd love to do a meet 'n greet sometime. And I might even know the brewery you mean, near Bridgewater. Does it overlook a river? Good pizza?

I guess I was wrong in that Rafa does throw some tantrums... he certainly scowls and broods on court. And he complains about time violation warnings. I just don't think of him as a chronic scene thrower like Roddick or JMac.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/26/2010 at 01:15 PM

imjimmy I too am waiting for the b/hand? some of those returns on the b/hand wing from Rafa Ugh!

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