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The Ultra Major? 11/20/2010 - 10:45 PM

Sod by Pete Bodo

If you're anything like me, you're thinking: Okay, let's get this baby over and done with. We're down to the last official tournament of the year, the ATP World Tour Final, and it's a big one—theoretically. But theory and reality are two different things, and the best we can say about the year-end championships is that it's a work in progress. Has been for a long time. Whether it can ever get where it purports to go, where many think it should go, is a question that remains unanswered.

Nobody ever seems really sure what to make of the YEC, by whatever name it travels under (that, I think, is part of the problem, but beyond our scope at the moment). This is, in a roundabout way, a testament to the four-cornered game that has proven to be remarkably resistant to alteration. Think about it: the four Grand Slam events have, for all practical purposes, been the only tournaments that really matter. That this has remained so despite the convulsions of the Open era, in which so many other aspects of the traditional game have fallen by the wayside, is remarkable. And it has to be discouraging for the visionaries who predicted or tried to effect a genuine revolution in how the game is adminstered and presented.

The four "majors" were once vulnerable and might have suffered a loss of status for various reasons. Instead they've grown stronger. This is a testament to how well-managed they've been in recent years. The Australian Open was dead in the water as recently as the early 1980s, due mainly to its awkward position on the calendar (it was once the final official tournament of the year, played during the holiday season). The timing of the event did not play well with players who were weary of travel and, much like today, prone to ask, When do we get some time off?

Fortunately for the status quo, the Australian Open re-invented itself with both a new date (it became the first Grand Slam of the year, played after an adequate interval for the holidays) and a new facility—an effective one-two punch that was bold, risky, and in retrospect, prescient.

Early in the Open era (we're talking about the 1970s) the French Open was woefully behind the times,  but an aggressive marketing strategy and infrasructural changes at the Roland Garros venue saved the day. It also didn't hurt that the advent of Open tennis helped break the Anglo-Australian stranglehold on the game. When players bred on red clay—think Bjorn Borg, Ilie Nastase, Adriano Panatta—rose to stardom, they took the red dirt tournament with them. Borg stood heads and shoulders above the other emerging European stars, and he deserves credit (which he rarely gets) for making Roland Garros relevant in the pro era. He was at his very best on clay, but able to dominate world tennis. This raised the stock of clay enormously.

Murray The U.S. Open did not have Australia's awkward calendar slot, but like the Down Under Slam, it was stuck in a facility (the private West Side Tennis Club, in Forest Hills, NY) that was no longer appropriate in the Open era. The tournament always had two huge advantages: the popularity of tennis in the U.S. and the preponderance of top players who were American. Although those two advantages might have been adequate to tide the U.S. Open through the growing pains of the Open era in and of themselves, the lords of the U.S. game, to their credit, aggressively pursued a growth strategy for the new era.

By moving from the WSTC to a new, "public" facility in 1978, the U.S. Open guaranteed its continuing success, set a percedent that the Australians would follow, and moved into a suddenly available niche that neither the French Open nor Wimbledon needed or particularly wanted to occupy. It was a terrific bit of market creation and/or exploitation. At a time when everyone was talking about the reshaping of tennis, the U.S. Open and then the Australian Open carved out identities that catered to the emerging sensibility.

Wimbledon, being what it is, didn't need to do much. The tournament's stroke of genius was (and continues to be) resisting pressure to re-invent itself. As the other majors were upgraded and re-conceived, Wimbledon officials seemed to recognize that the traditional baseline values and appeal of tennis were still valid, and they understood that as the other tournaments surrendered their cloak of exclusivity, Wimbledon would do well by cultivating it's elitist aura—while making subtle but wise changes to prevent it from becoming a mere curiosity, or anachronism.

So the Grand Slams found a way to remain relevant, the cornerstones of the game. This has hurt the year-end championships, which certainly would be a bigger deal if the majors hadn't been so successful in keeping control of the high ground. Given the way the pro tour developed, it would seem a given that the year-end championships would, if anything, eclipse the individual Grand Slam events. In the best of the world as envisioned by the professional establishment (the ATP), the YEC would naturally become the ne plus ultra among tournaments.

This, incidentally, is one of the reasons the round-robin format has proven so popular to promoters and administrators. How can you compare a single-elimination, luck-of-the-draw tournament with an eight-manm round-robin format in which every match is the de facto equivalent on paper of a tantalizing Masters Series or even Grand Slam semi or final? Today's first singles match (Soderling vs. Murray) is a testament to the genius of the format, as well as the mentality that created it.

I'll have more to say about this subject in the near future, but the main point for now is that despite the concept of the event (a year-end playoff among the top players) and the compelling format, the year-end championships, while undeniably important, has never really challenged the vaunted place of  the Grand Slams, nor has it been embraced for what it clearly wants to be—the ultra major. That won't diminish the enjoyment we take out of the next week, but it raises some questions and helps define how and why tennis still remains different—decentralized, parochial (loosely speaking), individualistic—from our other major sports.

Enjoy the tennis, everyone. Let's get it started!


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Posted by Kristy 11/21/2010 at 10:42 AM

yello fuzzy, I liked Muzz's kit too. Bit dorky, but cute.

Ohhh it's a round robin format -- that's why people haven't been despairing that much about AndyR's bad luck at getting Nadal in round 1.

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/21/2010 at 10:43 AM

MOYA, MOYA,MOYA!!!

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/21/2010 at 10:43 AM

what's this? Both Fed and Rafa are on the court and even Youz who is not even playing at this tourney is here. Why? why? Didn't realize that Moya was so popular among players.

Posted by temes 11/21/2010 at 10:43 AM

Fed *this* is the right time to sob, sob!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 10:44 AM

Carlos still Good Eye Candy for me

Vamos Carlos!!!!!!!

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/21/2010 at 10:45 AM

well, let's see. Roddick, Fed, Rafa, Verdasco, Djoker, Youz, Melzer, Bryan bros. and even Muzz are on the court. But no Evil Sod. No Ferru. No Berdie.

Posted by just horsen 11/21/2010 at 10:45 AM

left to get some work done, came back and it was over.

Congrats to Andy! and commies to Sod and his fans.

I'm off...hopefully will be back for Fed's match though! See y'all then!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 10:46 AM

Rafa your Hair is disgraceful ok

Needs some Hair product asap!

Posted by NP 11/21/2010 at 10:46 AM

sf, Sod did look flat out there today, but I still don't think he should venture to the net as often. It's not a high-% tactic for him, and his poor approach shots don't help, either.

Anyway I hope he can get his Paris form back. He'll definite need it against Ferru, let alone Fed.

Now I def need a power nap. Later.

Posted by jewell - back to the grind. Gah! 11/21/2010 at 10:47 AM

Who's criticising Rafa's hair? ;-)

yay Murray, sorry to Robin fans.

Posted by yello fuzzy 11/21/2010 at 10:47 AM

....here's a bit of troll bait

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 10:47 AM

Second thought its needs a good cut.

Posted by just horsen 11/21/2010 at 10:47 AM

AM: can get a stream to work. is Rafa's hair really that bad? as in worse then it was in the pics of the players the other day?

Posted by sf 11/21/2010 at 10:47 AM

alright, out for a while.

parting shot: mandy's shirt looks like the sweater i gave to my granma for christmas last year. what a girlie man...'o)

Posted by Cupcake Lurker 11/21/2010 at 10:47 AM

Nice and emotional Rafa saying goodbye to Moya.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/21/2010 at 10:48 AM

Rafa is speaking for Moya on the court. First in shaky English in a couple sentences and now in Spanish. Stop moving around and fidgeting. Rafa. Geez. Stand still.

Posted by just horsen 11/21/2010 at 10:48 AM

edit: should read "caN'T get a stream to work"

Posted by temes 11/21/2010 at 10:48 AM

AM Fed needs to loan his moisturizer and conditioner!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 10:49 AM

just horsen Rafa needs a hair cut ASAP

Its worse than the pics in my opinion lol!

Posted by temes 11/21/2010 at 10:50 AM

Are Fed's eyes wet! They are wet! Ha!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 10:50 AM

temes Verdasco is here remember he can borrow his Hair gel

Though Rogers conditioner would help lol!

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/21/2010 at 10:50 AM

I bet my English pal, Alyson, will now be sobbing her heart out ... she worshipped Moya.

Posted by sf 11/21/2010 at 10:51 AM

np, before i go, yes, the net is not my man's forte. but i thought he'd improved - example paris, last week. maybe it's because this court plays slower, it allowed the defensive-minded murray to return the approach shots better, leaving sod with little to work with once the return dropped at his feet. oh well... i hope magnus has some medicine for this ailment before next match. against whom, again?

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/21/2010 at 10:51 AM

Fed. Pay attention. That's you in 4-5 years. oh ha.

Posted by just horsen 11/21/2010 at 10:51 AM

AM: wow...'cause it was pretty awful in those pics! Hopefully, somebody will convince him to get a haircut this week.

Posted by Abraxas 11/21/2010 at 10:52 AM

Murray, the mystery man, has answered the questions and taken revenge on Soderling who recently took the world's number 4 spot away from him. After beating Soderling today Murray has a favorable 3-2 life time match edge on him.

Most importantly, by winning in straight sets Murray has, in all probability, booked his ticket to the semis, while at the same time making sure Soderling does not make it through. Barring an unforeseen result, like Ferrer winning a match, Soderling is now forced to beat both Federer and Ferrer. On the other hand, by simply beating Ferrer, Murray would make it through.

Welcome back Andy. Keep on playing the round Robin (pun intended)...

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 10:52 AM

Moya made the "tee singlet" work

Sniff!

Posted by just horsen 11/21/2010 at 10:52 AM

on another note though, I like Muzz's new shirt.

really going now. :)

Posted by GB 11/21/2010 at 10:52 AM

Rafa was teary there. Do not want Rafa to cut his hair any shorter.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 10:53 AM

Rafa is now signing auto graphs

Rafa you need to see a hair dresser ASAP get off the court

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/21/2010 at 10:54 AM

Let's see. Maybe we will see these retirement celemonies at YEC

2011: Hewitt
2012: Ferrero
2014: old man Fed??

Posted by temes 11/21/2010 at 10:54 AM

I think the wild wolf boy hair worked well for Rafa...he should return to that.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/21/2010 at 10:54 AM

2013: Roddick

Posted by Andrew 11/21/2010 at 10:54 AM

Well, congratulations to Moya fans. Nice touch - not quite as many tears as there were in Doha, the best efforts of the Swiss notwithstanding....

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 10:55 AM

GB Rafa needs a trim or something?

He needs a proper "style cut"

Posted by Kristy 11/21/2010 at 10:55 AM

AM, Rafa's hair just isn't controllable. He recently got a haircut and it's already flyaway -- it's just that kind of hair. Poor him.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/21/2010 at 10:56 AM

How come they had way more players for Moya then Safin last year? I find that interesting. Maybe Moya has gathered more respect among fellow players than party-boy Safin.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 10:57 AM

Kristy I am afraid Rafa will have to turn to Gel to keep his fine fly away hair in control.

Posted by Cupcake Lurker 11/21/2010 at 10:57 AM

I don't know about a hair cut, but a least he should get some deep conditioner.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/21/2010 at 10:58 AM

People, relax. Rafa's was due to what we call "hat hair". I bet he took off a wool hat off just before he went off to the court. Rookie mistake. Nobody, I mean nobody can get way with "hat hair"!

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/21/2010 at 10:59 AM

Nice tribute to Moya, even without the satellite interview with Flavia. (no you didn't!)

I would like to second another poster's suggestion (sorry, I forget who) that Gauloises be given an interview with Judy Murray. Please?

Posted by GB 11/21/2010 at 11:00 AM

AM: He needs to condition, and a lot! But he's just had a cut! And, I'll take today's hair over a slicked backed,gel disaster any day. Rafa and crazy hair go together, IMO

Posted by Kristy 11/21/2010 at 11:01 AM

Gel might work for Rafa's hair but I agree w/ temes -- he should grow it out again. It doesn't take a good shape so short.

Or maybe he should go Andy R's route and always have a cap on. ):

Posted by Kombo 11/21/2010 at 11:02 AM

So Murray won. Well played, problem is, he can't go through a tournament, particularly a best of 5 grand slam, successfully playing such a reactive style. Until he pulls it off, if he ever does.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 11:02 AM

GB I liked the photos that Tic showed on the other post with his hair off his face.Actually I prefer his hair when it was longer circa 2005 lol!

Posted by moen faucets 11/21/2010 at 11:03 AM

Rafa does NOT need to cut his hair, he needs to grow it out more and return to what made us love him. Short hair on him makes him look way too civilised and Federerish.

Posted by Kombo 11/21/2010 at 11:03 AM

Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan "How come they had way more players for Moya then Safin last year? I find that interesting. Maybe Moya has gathered more respect among fellow players than party-boy Safin."

Talk about making conclusions where there are none. How do you come up with some of this stuff?

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 11:04 AM

Also he was standing next to Roger when I noticed his hair lol!

Roger does have the best Hair in Tennis.

Posted by Kristy 11/21/2010 at 11:05 AM

Kombo, I think Murray played very canny tennis today, not purely reactive. He hit balls deep, got Sod out of position, then hit winners. Is that not a winning style?

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 11:06 AM

Yep I loved Rafa when his hair was longer and he wore singlets too.

Posted by GB 11/21/2010 at 11:07 AM

AM: I think Rafa's features look best with hair framing the face. I really flove him with long hair.

Posted by Ross (FOE, even Gael) 11/21/2010 at 11:09 AM

What a gloomy WTF; ballboys, players, everyone in black. (Perhaps Ferru will be in gray?) . And the court is Sooo Slow.

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

GB I think the longer hair days are over with Rafa.I agree with you though I prefer him with longer hair and the bandana he used to wear with it and the singlets too.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 11:12 AM

Rafa said he liked the court surface but didnt like the bounce of the court though.

Posted by wilson75 11/21/2010 at 11:14 AM

I'm late to the discussion but I watched the match. It didn't live up to the hype. Very boring, Soderling was poor and Murray was a little better. Too defensive for my liking. Murray was a little over-exuberant with celebration but at this stage +200 points he's back at No. 4, for the moment.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 11:18 AM

wilson75 Robbie and Jason were all talk about Robin when this match first started? then they tended to quieten down when he started soo poorly.

Posted by wilson75 11/21/2010 at 11:21 AM

AM: As usual, the player that wins the last tournament before a big event gets over-hyped. I thought Soderling would win today and even reach the SF but after what I've seen today, I don't think he win a match.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 11:25 AM

wilson75 Robin was doing a lot of heavy breathing in this match? Murray was controlling the baseline though.Maybe tiredness was a factor.Though he was out played by Murray today.

Posted by temes 11/21/2010 at 11:26 AM

Wait till Rafa is 26 he will start wearing collar shirts on court.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 11:28 AM

temes LOL! I hope not.I dont think Rafa could pull off that look quite frankly.

Posted by wilson75 11/21/2010 at 11:28 AM

AM: No excuses, Robin wasn't tired, he just played bad.

Posted by GB 11/21/2010 at 11:31 AM

temes: scary to think he's not far from 26! I thought he looked good in the collared yellow shirt at last years USO, though. Not his best outfit, but far from the worst *hello IW outfit*

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) 11/21/2010 at 11:33 AM

Didn't Rafa already have a collared-shirt period?

I guess I missed the Moya send-off, but I'm hoping everything's on ESPN3.

Just got here, off to check.

Posted by temes 11/21/2010 at 11:34 AM

GB yes it feels like yesterday he was 18-19 jeez time goes by fast sometimes lol.

Posted by GB 11/21/2010 at 11:34 AM

wilson75: agree there's a chance Sod might not win a match. I never saw him beating Fed and Ferru did beat him recently in Valencia. *really don't want Ferru to go winless here*

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 11:35 AM

wilson75 Agree.Though the commies brought that up in conversation? lol!

Look I think Robin deserved to win the Masters in Bercy though that dosent make him a potential GS winner in my eyes or future no 1 player as some commies have been saying.

Posted by wilson75 11/21/2010 at 11:35 AM

GB: I think Ferru has a very good chance against Soderling and Murray.

Posted by temes 11/21/2010 at 11:36 AM

Yes Rafa already had a collar period...my oh my the boy has been corrupted by Federer! lol

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 11:37 AM

oops Tina he did have a collared moment

Though if I Ever see him in those disgraceful brown/greeny jungle printed wallpaper shorts again I will Die!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 11:38 AM

temes Just keep Roger away from Rafa ok.This has got to stop ASAP

Posted by GB 11/21/2010 at 11:40 AM

Funny thing, though, is that Fed himself also wants the old Rafa look back! I remember reading somewhere that he thought having the huge visual contrast was a good thing.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 11:42 AM

GB My hubby still thinks Rafa has turned Gay when his new look came in by those idoits at Nike in 2009 lol!

Posted by jewell - back to the grind. Gah! 11/21/2010 at 11:43 AM

I thought Murray played very well in the first set and not so well in the second - his serve percentage went right down and I guess he finds it harder to dictate if he's not serving well. That said he employed some clever play in bringing Robin forward at times and I thought his defence was pretty decent throughout.

Soderling took a long time to warm up & wasn't as dominant on serve as he can be, and it seemed to me that when he did start playing better, in the second set, when he was returning better and cracking some huge forehands, he just couldn't take his opportunities, or make his opportunities big enough. I'd also say that Murray won the mental battle holding at 2-3 down for 3-all. I didn't get the feeling that Soderling ever gave up on the fight, but he did get a little frustrated with himself at times.

Posted by temes 11/21/2010 at 11:43 AM

GB I think Fed just wants to be fabulous and chic all by himself...I can't imagine what he'd do if Anna Wintour watched Rafa's matches!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/21/2010 at 11:47 AM

temes LOL!

Posted by GB 11/21/2010 at 11:49 AM

LOL temes!

wilson75: I don't know about Ferru beating Muzz on a British h/court. Besides, I want Muzz to advance:)

Posted by wilson75 11/21/2010 at 11:54 AM

GB: Ferru has good record against Murray and if it's true that the court is playing slow he has a good chance to beat him. We'll see what happens.

Posted by Slick 11/21/2010 at 11:56 AM

Don't worry, when Rafa wins the YEC it will be magically transformed into mythic status!.... :)

Posted by TripleF(FedFanForever): Biggus Servus 11/21/2010 at 11:59 AM

Good morning. Robin got rounded (bad round robin pun).

What time Fed starts? 8pm London right? So 3 EST? And Tennis Channel is showing right? Please confirm. Graci. Gracias. Merci.

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/21/2010 at 12:07 PM

TripleF, Federer and Ferrer match is scheduled for 6:00 GMT, so 1:00 EST

Posted by Info 11/21/2010 at 12:08 PM

TripleF, yes, it is 3pm est on The Tennis Channel.

Posted by Tim (Moonpies lead to violence!) 11/21/2010 at 12:09 PM

moen faucets speaks the truth on why his fans fell for Rafa...hair! lol well, biceps sweat fist pumps and hair ... but i think that last one is making a fast exit, no?

so much for the Sod Express, none of these guys can keep it up for more than a week or two at a time ....

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/21/2010 at 12:11 PM

my bad... Lukas Dlouhy / Leander Paes v Mariusz Fyrstenberg / Marcin Matkowski at 6, with the other singles match to follow at 8, so 3:00 EST.

Posted by Info 11/21/2010 at 12:11 PM

Doubles play first @ 1pm. But singles won't start till 3pm at least.

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/21/2010 at 12:15 PM

and while I'm apologizing, may I please retract the mention of Flavia Pennetta in the context of the tribute to Carlos Moya? Not my style... :-) I'm new to all this and hit post before I had a chance to self-censor. Darn this newfangled interweb contraption...

Posted by temes 11/21/2010 at 12:19 PM

Holds 2 Love don't apologize! That was very funny! LOL I myself could use some self censor but my philosophy on the internets is that if the unacceptable thought made itself into written form then it's good to go just hit post button lol.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/21/2010 at 12:26 PM

manel, 6:16.

Lucky for you that you were able to see Smith-Nastase in 1972, in Barcelona.

As you probably know, those two had already played some very important matches, including the five-set 1972 Wimbledon finals and a rubber in the 1972 Davis Cup finals tie in Bucharest.

In that tie, as you probably know, Nastase, Tiriac, and the Romanian tennis authorities tried to blatantly cheat their way to victory--and failed. Lots of outrage over the behavior of the Romanians lingers on this side of the Atlantic.

Posted by Colette 11/21/2010 at 12:27 PM

Hola, all. Just catching up on comments.

Holds2Love, I mentioned (maybe not the only one) that I would LOVE for Gauloises to interview Judy Murray.

Have to say, I just loved the Bryan Bros. videos. Great feel for "behind the scenes" - and thanks to whoever posted that pic of the lone Robbie Federer in the stands (priceless!)

Great to see Murray get the win. (I vote "nay" on the argyle shirt, tho')

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/21/2010 at 12:33 PM

thanks, temes. and speaking of tributes to Moya, during one of the tournaments (Wimbledon?) a couple of years ago, a television reporter went around asking several ATP players a list of questions, to which they could give one-word or very brief answers, IIRC. To the question, "who is the worst-dressed player on the men's tour?" Nadal answered without hesitation, "Moya."

yes Colette, that was you. great idea!

Posted by GB 11/21/2010 at 12:42 PM

LOL Holds 2 Love. Rafa and Moya seem to love teasing each other.

Part of what Rafa said during the ceremony ( http://tinyurl.com/22tbzq5 ):

It's a sad day for me because I'm saying goodbye to a friend and tennis is saying goodbye to a great ambassador,"
"He was the first Spaniard to be number one and he helped me a lot when I was a young player. I've missed him a lot this last year when he's not been on the circuit."

And Moya's later comment on Rafa:

"Maybe I said a thousand times, but the same way I helped him, I think he helped me," Moya said. "When he was 13 or 14 we were practising together. I was near the top 10 and sometimes he was beating me during the practice.
"That made me think, that made me improve and evolve. You see a kid like this kicking your ass so you try to avoid that. So he made me improve and made me more positive."

Posted by manuelsantanafan 11/21/2010 at 12:43 PM

NP, 9:13.

I agree that Roland Garros, from 1977-1989, experienced some notable absences, such as Borg, that one year and Connors for several years, I believe. I wouldn't be surprised if certain top players, such as Roscoe Tanner, who were much better on fast surfaces than on clay, often skipped Roland Garros.

However, I wouldn't agree (and I don't believe that you are arguing) that, generally, for this time period, the YECs were considered more important than Roland Garros--especially in Europe--which, last time I checked, constituted and still constitutes a significant segment of the tennis fan population.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/21/2010 at 12:45 PM

fre$king great. The 250 tourney organizers won the battle.

http://sports.yahoo.com/tennis/news?slug=ap-atp-offseasonextended

ATP is extending 2 extra weeks instead of 3. Basically going back to how it used to be about 4 years ago. If any of you remember, the small tourney organizers were pushing all their mights to push for 2 instead of 3. We will see how they decided on exo rules for top 30 and one 250 tourney requirement post US open thingy, which those guys also pushed hard. The politics as usual everywhere.

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/21/2010 at 12:49 PM

thanks for the link, GB. love Moya's comment about the motivational value of having your elite tennis playing ass kicked by a kid. :-)

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/21/2010 at 12:49 PM

I bet ATP probably granted that 250 requirement. So my guess is that starting 2012, all top players will have to play all 4 majors+9 masters+3 500+1 250. This is so stupid. Mandating all over. It's take it or pay the hefty fine and point penalty. Poor Fedal. They are killing Fedal's tennis lifespan with all these mandates.

Posted by zenggi 11/21/2010 at 12:49 PM

Robin wasn't there today. What was he thinking with those net approaches?
Congratulations to Murray and fans. Commisserations to Robin and fans. Two more chances and then the calculations start for the SF's

Teary adieu to Carlos Moya from me and my friend. We left the alpha species at home. And I'm not talking about the dogs this time.

Posted by CL 11/21/2010 at 12:54 PM

"I must be strong and try to pass many balls". ****ouch!**** ;-)

g-day everyone. Not so surprised that Muzz was able to handle Robin. I think Robin might a bit emotionally spent after his historic, (for his career), win in Bercy. Still, Muzz played well, and full credit to him. Good serving when it counted most.

Posted by jewell - back to the grind. Gah! 11/21/2010 at 12:55 PM

Two nice pictures:

http://yfrog.com/nfrdgyj

http://www.daylife.com/photo/0bWKgub6EQ29n?q=nadal

I'm off for the evening, see you all later. :)

Posted by Colette 11/21/2010 at 01:00 PM

Seems like Sod benefited from the court conditions in Bercy, but maybe not so much on the slower-than-Bercy O2.

Posted by zenggi 11/21/2010 at 01:00 PM

CL,
That's David for you. Candid to a fault. And adorable. I hope he wins some matches this WTF but not tonight. :)

Posted by zenggi 11/21/2010 at 01:04 PM

By the way do you know if Tim Henman was commenting for the BBC?
My friend and I were watching the match but half listening to the commentators. I heard one of them saying that he had won a tie-break against Roger during practice,(what else is new?)
Another one, I think Tim, was saying that the indoor courts (including also the O2-court) were now really slow in comparison with when he was competing.

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