Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor - In the End, a Beginning
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In the End, a Beginning 01/28/2008 - 3:29 PM

TsdjEvery major overflows. After two weeks of tennis, seemingly unforgettable moments from earlier in the tournament teeter on the edge of oblivion. Remember the Hewitt-Baghdatis five-setter? The one that ended at 4:30 in the morning? It’s been wiped away, at least in my mind, in a blur of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga forehand winners and Novak Djokovic chest thumps, and won’t be heard from again until tennis journalists make up their year-end Top 10 lists.

In Melbourne this year, we started out debating court speed and late-night starting times, but we finished with two logical, acceptable champions, and a potentially galvanizing new star. So I’m going to forego the tournament wrap-up this time and stick with the two guys who played the best tennis these last 14 days.

To start, Djokovic’s breakthrough should have been a surprise to no one, even though he's only 20 years old. The Serb, with his customary matter-of-fact self-assurance, even said in his victory speech that he was happy that his “first” major came in Australia. The implication is that there will be many more, and they won't just happen in Oz.

He won with his strong point: all-around competence. Djokovic didn’t offer us anything we didn’t already know about his game, but the slow surface gave him a chance to show off his defense like never before. Few players counterpunch their way back into points as aggressively as he does; he runs forward and into hard-hit shots, turning the tables from there. I felt like Djokovic’s backhand was the key in the last two matches. It gave him another attacking option, but a safe one. Both Federer and Tsonga, who relied more heavily on the forehand, went for broke and missed on numerous occasions with it.

Djokovic also won efficiently. He lost only one set, on a miraculous running topspin lob by Tsonga in the final. He vanquished Roger Federer by playing the important points more confidently and serving more effectively than a 12-time Slam champ. And he wore down Tsonga in the final by not making careless errors. Unlike the Frenchman, when Djokovic gained the advantage in a point, he made no mistake with it. In the fourth-set tiebreaker, with his opponent surging, Djokovic didn’t commit a single unforced error, while Tsonga made three and threw in a double fault. After all the running, slugging, jumping, and fist-pumping between these two guys, that mundane fact decided the tournament.

The win was the first at a Slam by someone other than Federer or Rafael Nadal in three years. The crowd was giddy from the start and the match felt fresh, even from the perspective of a TV viewer. It was frankly a relief not to have to hear the announcers try to come up with new and ever-more-grandiose ways to describe Federer’s play. As good as Djokovic is, he remains human for the moment. He showed a lot of that humanity in the final. The man who has worked for the crowd’s love in the past suddenly couldn’t get any of it from the Aussies, who were enamored with the more unlikely—and therefore hipper—Tsonga. Djokovic was thrown off for a full set because his family was involved in an altercation with a group of nearby Tsonga supporters. That’s the downside of making your support group such a big part of your performance. Djokovic's family really does function like a team, which is touching; but it’s also dangerous in an individual sport where you have to isolate yourself to play your best.

As a fan, I’ve enjoyed the wacky Djokovic clan so far—their brazen cheesiness was refreshing on Sunday after the long, entitled reign of that sphinx of the sidelines, Mirka. But how will we feel about Srdjan and company as Djokovic continues to ascend? On Sunday we saw Djokovic as a future king of the sport for the first time, rather than an up-and-coming, attention-seeking class clown. Here’s a guess: His crew’s coordinated shirts and relentless cheerleading—not to mention his own “Yes, I have heart, it’s located here!” chest thumps—are going to wear extremely thin if Djokovic begins to dominate the sport. But we’re not there yet, and we should forgive him his over-the-top excitement this time. He certainly went a long way to charming his enemies in the audience with his victory speech. “I know you wanted him to win. But that’s OK, I still love you guys.” Those are the gracious and honest words of a future king, not an obnoxious attention seeker, and I thought it was one of the highlights of the tournament.

Which leads to a final question: What does his win Down Under mean for men’s tennis? After the final, I had a sense that the days of Federer’s easy dominance were suddenly over. That’s just a feeling, of course; only time will tell, and all predictions are useless. I’m not saying the guard has changed after one match, but Djokovic is also too good to say that this was merely a one-day occurrence. Federer remains the man to beat, but Djokovic just took a big step toward making that a two-man position.

Djokovic will be in Federer’s head the next time they meet. It will be up to Federer to get him out. Until now, I don’t think he’s considered, or wanted to consider, Djokovic as a full-time rival—that spot has been reserved for Nadal in his mind. I don’t get the feeling Federer was fully prepared, from a mental standpoint, to engage in total war against the Serb in Melbourne. That should change when we get to Indian Wells and Key Biscayne, two places that have brought out the best in both guys in the past.

Now what about Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the man who single-handedly called to mind two American sports legends, one with his name (as in Jo Willie Namath) and one with his face (as in Cassius Clay), and who was the phenomenon of the event? Is he for real?

For obvious reasons, the player I think of first is Marcos Baghdatis. Like Tsonga this year, at the 2006 Open the Cypriot came out of nowhere to reach the final, win the first set 7-5, and lose the next three. The two players also faced off in the U.S. Open junior final a few years ago (Tsonga won). Again, predictions are useless, especially with someone who has been so hit-and-miss in the past, but right now Tsonga appears to have more upside than Baghdatis. He can go off form at times, but the Frenchman wasn’t flaky or faint-hearted at any point over the last two weeks. Put that together with all the athleticism and hitting ability and . . . well, we’ll see.

I’ve never seen a pro play as straight up and down as Tsonga. He barely bends his body during his ground strokes. The effect is one of utter relaxation; the paradoxical result is more racquet-head speed, more pop on the ball, and a high strike zone, which makes taking the ball on the rise a no-brainer. Tsonga also distinguishes himself from his fellow young French rivals, Gasquet and Monfils, with his ability to move forward and take the ball early. He doesn’t camp out behind the baseline and rally passively, which makes for better entertainment. The downside became visible as Tsonga got tired in the final. His relaxed stance and footwork left him out of position as the rallies wore on. He was no longer getting to the ball in time to take it early and dictate play.

Tsonga has seemed too one-dimensional and erratic to me in the past. He bombed out of the U.S. Open last year to Nadal in an unsightly straight-setter. This makes me think he can be distracted and adversely affected by surrounding conditions, expecially wind and noise. Tsonga’s other trouble has been his fitness, and it cost him over the last two sets on Sunday. Otherwise, his attitude in Melbourne was the right one. As relaxed as he appeared to be during points, he maintained that attitude between them. Like Cassius and Jo Willie, Tsonga looks and acts like a star who loves to be at the center of the arena.

If, after two weeks, the Aussie Open has given us a new challenger for No. 1 and a new charismatic athlete, that’s more than enough to remember, and a very promising start to the year.


 
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Comments
 
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Posted by Love 40 01/29/2008 at 04:57 PM

Hay,
if you play any sport you should know what I want to say. When I play somone better than me I still try and I have a chance. It has nothing to do with being a serb or a swiss (or whatever).
Let them believe for god sake. Do you thing thay should try to learn how to give up?

Posted by Love 40 01/29/2008 at 05:03 PM

SwissMaestro

Yes, we will wait for Dubai. That is the point and the whole fun!
I wish all of them the best!

Posted by zolarafa 01/29/2008 at 05:12 PM

***I do not remember exactly where it was (2007) Nole lost against Roger and he explained at the pressconf: "We still haven't found the way how to play Roger" (he and his team). Many think they have found the way now!***

To play Roger after he is struck with a stomach bug?
I am waiting for Dubai too!

Posted by Serpiko 01/29/2008 at 05:20 PM

You are mentioning this stomach problems all the time...when he was trashing his rivals until the finals (apart from Tipsy but you will hear from this guy much more this year...) NOBODY mentioned his stomach issues..but as soon as he was beaten by Djoker you start over and over again..
DUBAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by SwissMaestro 01/29/2008 at 05:24 PM

I hope you all Djokovic supporters do understand that it will take a monumental effort from Novak to beat Roger again. His "A" game is not enough to beat a perfectly healthy Federer (nor anyone else's for that matter) so beware...

Posted by seaweed 01/29/2008 at 05:38 PM


Love 40,

if i have to explain everything to you,

this

...if nole finally ascends to the top, no one--certainly not nole--can take anything away from the greatness of roger's many achievements....

does not mean nole intends or even wants to take anything away from roger's greatness.

it means that no matter what happens in the future, and no matter what nole says or does in praise or in diss, twenty years from now, we will still remember roger as the most dominant athlete of his generation.

Posted by Love 40 01/29/2008 at 05:44 PM

Of course. Roger is great we all know that.

But what that has to do with an "Open". Open is an "OPEN"
3:0 makes people believe in Novak having a chance againt Roger.

Why not? Oh well...the BUG ... OK. If Roger would have only known how pathetic this whole thing about his BUG would sound he would have never signed for the AO 2008.

Or perhaps we shuold blame Djoker an his family for the Rogers bug.

Posted by Veka 01/29/2008 at 07:13 PM

SwissMaestro

Had you seen the match Djokovic played in Hamburg against Moya you`d know that it was a very close match, and because of rain Novak had to win two matches a day before in Hamburg so I think playing 3matches in 2 days had smth to do with the Rome match was close. And you`re not going to tell that Moya is better player than Novak. And he is only going to get better as he matures. You feel it as smth personal when he says he is to be no 1. it has nothing to do with Federer. Novak has grown up on clay so he knows the stuff it even used to be his favorite surface. His first big result was French open 1/4 in 2006.And he won two tournaments on clay. And he will beat Federer on clay whether he brings his A game or not. But Nadal is still by far the best and the only reason he lost in Hamburg was because he was tooo tired winning in Rome.

Posted by Veka 01/29/2008 at 07:34 PM

SwissMaestro

And if I remember correctly Federer lost to Murray in Cincy having won in Toronto. Since these are back to back masters and so close to USO he it had smth to do with that loss. Last year it was differrent since he lost in Montreal he needed a win...

Posted by long_time_lurker 01/29/2008 at 07:49 PM

"Which leads to a final question: What does his win Down Under mean for men’s tennis? After the final, I had a sense that the days of Federer’s easy dominance were suddenly over."

The Fed has had it easy. Up until now that is. He never struggled with Nadal, Nalbandian, Canas, Tipseravich, Hewitt, Agassi, Henman and so on. These guys are (were) ok but they're no Djokevich, lemme tell ya!

Easy dominance.................wow. It's like the line in Juno where she's says you're so cool without even trying and he says, "actually I try really hard."

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 01/29/2008 at 08:02 PM

"Djokovic will be in Federer’s head the next time they meet." Yeah, that's what I'm afraid of. It's getting pretty crowded inside Fed's head now. He already has Nadal and Nalbandian in there.

Posted by svelterogue 01/29/2008 at 08:04 PM

steve, amazing article, thank you for writing this. a joy to read and with several memorable lines to make one smile... i can't wait for the rest of the year to unfold.

i still hold out for my serbian players --- ajde!

i still think justine will bounce back with panache. as will roger.

i still believe rafa will win the FO. ferrer, nole, tsonga notwithstanding.

i think nole will overtake rafa in the rankings soon. oh, my heart. :((

i still hope that rafa will get himself a proper coach, even if not as handsome or classy as tio toni.

and steve, i loved your line about mirka as an entitled sphinx. bravo! :)

Posted by svelterogue 01/29/2008 at 08:05 PM

crazy for rog

this can only be good, to have an overcrowded fed brain :)
i wish murray could join the club, too, of bugging roger.

Posted by wen 01/30/2008 at 01:08 AM

i dont see Tsonga as the new star..not yet..=)

Posted by 01/30/2008 at 02:02 AM

SHITTY POST YOU OBNOXIOUS FED-HATA! REVEL NOW, THE ORDER WILL BE RESTORED VERY SOON!

Posted by 01/30/2008 at 02:02 AM

SHITTY POST YOU OBNOXIOUS FED-HATA! REVEL NOW, THE ORDER WILL BE RESTORED VERY SOON!

Posted by 01/30/2008 at 09:37 AM

"The Fed has had it easy. Up until now that is. He never struggled with Nadal"

Huh?

Posted by SwissMaestro 01/30/2008 at 10:02 AM

Veka,

Federer is a player for the ages and he is only 26. He is already one the 4 greatest players of all time (the other 3 being Sampras, Laver and Borg) and his greatness is always measured by how he bounces back after a defeat. Think of 2005 after he lost to Sainf in the SF of the OZ.

Seeing Federer's march towards greatness is incredible because Roger plays as if he has the obligation to live up to his gifts. We should realize we all are very lucky this is happening under our watch. This being said I am willing to give credit to Djokovic for what he has achieved (his first GS) but I very much doubt he will ever pull Federer-like years of Grand Slam success.

Federer follows a pattern to figure out the players that represent a tough challenge for him: see Nalbandian and Nadal. I remember Nalbandian winning their first 5 meetings or something and then it became all more balanced. With Nadal, well Federer beats pretty much on anything other than clay (5 of the last 7 meetings) and as for the Cincinnatti match against Murray in 2006 Federer did not give any excuses when he was asked if he tanked the match due to exhaustion, he just said that Murray played better as he broke him 7 times in 2 sets (7-5 and 6-4).

You haven't seen Roger abandoning matches like Djokovic has so many times in the past. Again, Federer is a class above everyone else. Djokovic might be hot now but it is not meant to last.

Posted by Tom 01/30/2008 at 10:14 AM

Djokovic 'wore thin' (to quote Mr. Tignor) on me over a year ago. Now he's grating. A thoroughly unlikable sort. Tsonga is the opposite. Liked him from the moment I saw him give Roddick a hard time last year. Had the Aussie Final been Tsonga vs Federer I would have been neutralized, wanting both guys to win at the same time.

Posted by PKL 01/30/2008 at 10:34 AM

I can't believe people are still talking about this so-called illness of Federer's. If it's so serious, what is it? And is it Justine-serious, or Ancic-serious?

Posted by jhurwi 01/30/2008 at 12:20 PM

PKL: re Federer's illness: apparently there were more details in Federer's German-language press conference than in his English-language conference (though unfortunately I can't find the links at the moment). In both press conferences he said that he was not moving well even before the Djokovic match and (in response to questions from the journalists) that the illness might have had something to do with it. However, in the German-language conference he added that he had called his trainer Paganini (?) on the telephone after the Berdych or Blake match to discuss the problem. Of course journalists then interviewed the trainer, who was much more outspoken than Federer had been in attributing his poor play in the Djokovic match to the aftereffects of his illness. He stressed Federer's weight loss (3.7 kilos, or over 7 lbs)and said that Federer had complained of not having any power in his legs.
I have no idea how much the illness actually affected Federer's play. Many commentators remarked that they were not particularly surprised at Djokovic beating Federer (given that he had done so in Montreal and had his chances in the U.S. Open final) but rather at his winning in straight sets. So maybe a healthy Federer would have lost in four or five sets rather than three.
No one has reported that Federer is suffering from a long-term viral illness like Justine Henin or from mononucleosis like Ancic. Doctors attributed his illness to food poisoning, which presumably has only short-term effects, and seems to be something of an occupational hazard among professional athletes (e.g. Tommy Haas, as well as several football players in this week's Super Bowl). Blog posters who have suffered from similar ailments report feeling weak for up to several weeks after recovering from the acute symptoms. However, Federer is not scheduled to play any more tournaments until March, and should be recovered by then if the illness actually was food poisoning.

Posted by SwissMaestro 01/30/2008 at 01:11 PM

Exactly! it is not the virus that affected him during his loss against Djokovic. It is the fact that the virus kept Federer from improving his level of play round after round. Djokovic is too much of an opponent to face him withouth having built any momentum so Federer did not arrive to the semifinal meeting against the Serb with all he could give (and still had the chance to take the first and third sets). This does not necesarily means he would have won, amybe he could have lost anyway but not like that in straight sets. Clear enough?

Posted by zolarafa 01/30/2008 at 02:46 PM

I don't think Fed playing with illness, makes an excuse for either of them. There have been many times that a player has not been 100% due to injury or illness and has lost a match ( Rafa vs Ferrer). That doesn't mean the other player did not win the match. Doesn't take away credit from Djoko, but it is a fact that the match could have been different. The magic of Federer was in the fact that he was able to attend all these tournaments at 100%. This time was ust very unlucky.

It also gives an indication that the next match between them may be more exciting.

Posted by steven nash 01/30/2008 at 02:47 PM

"Best of Federer is better than the best of anyone"

Of course, the only problem being that any time he has lost,it is because he was not at his best, while his opponent was obviously at his best because "Worse of Federer is still better than the worse of anyone". The virus? Not mentioned while wining by 3:0. Even against Tipsarevic the comment was like 'well, it is good from time to time to get used to 5 sets (as I normally win in 3)' Arrogance?

About Novak: I happened to watch the final only today, and I was very curious in view of the negative comments on him and his family. I could see no significant difference between the behaviour of his and Tsonga's parents (especially the mothers) and the fans during the game, neither I got impression that Novak was shouting more than Jo after missing some shot. I also observed Novak two times congratulating Tsonga on a nice ball and I heard a very polite speech and interview of Novak afterwards. Arrogance? Of whom, and when?

Is Novak better than Federer? Obviously not (yet). What is however worrying for Federer is not that he will suddenly forget to play tennis, but his mindset of 'the invincible', which is so badly fed by his supporters, and was helping him in many critical points, before. Now that that image has been shaken, it will be very interesting to see if and how he will recover. Yes, he is still no. 1 but imagine what if he looses the next game against Novak, as well? Or against Tsonga?

In any case, the mom will have to stay at home next time, to prepare the supper before Novak comes back, the little fella will have a cup of milk before going to sleep (wishing all the best to his brother) and the dad and the older bro will get an intro in nice behaviour by watching a snooker match, before they are allowed to enter the box.

Posted by Duello 01/30/2008 at 04:06 PM

Steve,
Just wanted to write to tell you that your columns are the reason I visit this site. They're intelligent, down to earth and fun to read. As a former journalist at a metro paper, I hold writers to pretty high standards....Keep up the good work.

Posted by turtle 01/30/2008 at 04:06 PM

steve, hey, thanks ever so much about writing absolutely NOTHING about the wta final!

Posted by turtle 01/30/2008 at 04:10 PM

steve, hey, thanks ever so much about writing absolutely NOTHING about the wta final!

Posted by Veka 01/30/2008 at 04:13 PM

SwissMaestro

You can say now that Federer is great but 6 years ago you probably wouldn`t have. And we all know Federer is great and he is just Federer. But it doesn`t mean that nobody after him will play good tennis. New players will come. And perhaps I am biased but I think Novak will be great. He has something that only the greatest athletes have, this spirit. he hates to lose. you just have to be born that way. Everything he does, the way he moves, hits the ball,it seems so simple but it`s very hard. and having seen all 7 matches he now wins with ease, a year ago it would have different. He would make a mess of it. He has grown. He will only get better.

Posted by SwissMaestro 01/30/2008 at 04:44 PM

No doubt Veka, no doubt.

What I very much doubt though is that he will translate his game into Federer-like success. It will be a great while before we see any player of Federer's caliber, not in the next 15 years for sure.

Oh! one more thing, once Murray and Gasquet master their games (they have much more talent than Djokovic but not as much substance) they will be on the run for Slams too (Gasquet is specially good on grass). Also don't forget Nadal as he is just one year older than Djokovic.

Posted by Veka 01/30/2008 at 05:19 PM


SwissMaestro
I doubt it. But you have to have brains to go with the talent. A They simply don`t have IT.They are not hungry enough. probably they will win something..but I very much doubt they will be dominant. Probably someone new will come along. Perhaps that Djordje Djokovic in some 7 years :)) They say he is the most talented of the brothers...You might even like him more ;)

Posted by Marisa 01/30/2008 at 05:27 PM

"As a fan, I’ve enjoyed the wacky Djokovic clan so far—their brazen cheesiness was refreshing on Sunday after the long, entitled reign of that sphinx of the sidelines, Mirka." I just loved this line. As always, your observatations are spot-on. Another great article. Thank you.

Posted by janet 01/30/2008 at 10:32 PM

I gotta say that tennis has never been so enternating. I love every moment of it. You have classy Federer, sweaty Rafa with defined muscles and corky Djokovic that no matter how goofy he appears he just wins your heart. Federer more or less represents perfection. And as much as I love this guy I don't expect him to play 110% all the time. I never beleived that I would say this but I think that Fedex will have a serious rival and that is Djokovic indeed. Thanks to these guys tennis has never been so amazing.

Posted by Dee 01/31/2008 at 04:55 AM

THanks to everyone at tennis.com - Tom, Steve, Pete, Kamakshi etc for bringing the AO closer to us - writing about anything and everything that transpired the last 15 days.

Steve, for me it is two C's that gave Djokovic the championship: Competence and Confidence.

Defense vs Offense - I do not remember a previous match of Novak, where he defended as vigorously as he did than during the AO finals.

Shot selection - I have not reviewed the tape again (vintage VHS taken out of hibernation just for the AO), but the only times he executed poorly was the first 75% or so drop shots he made --- absolutely horrific!

The tiebreak - showed the coming of age of Djokovic. Stability under pressure. He did not crumble under the pression, as Nadal calls it, whereas Rafa predicted correctly that Tsonga will feel the pression. Tsonga rushed his shots and committed too many errors. He could have extended it to a 5th set, which would have been bad for my heart, but that is all water under the bridge now.

Family altercation with Tsonga supporters - Thanks for mentioning this, as I could not make head nor tail of what REALLY happened from the various postings I had the opportunity to read.

Speech - well said, except for the part where Novak said, "I am proud of myself today" or something like that twice, in the early part and before the end of his speech. That will do for the AO 2008, given that this is his first grand slam. If he says that again the next time he wins ... @#$%!


Posted by Someone 01/31/2008 at 05:21 AM

Nice article, Steve.
As for the blog - some of the contributors really take tennis too seriously.

Posted by jojo 01/31/2008 at 05:42 AM

How could anyone have thought that Federer is not vulnerable in big tournaments before this Australian? He was extremely lucky ot win both Wimbledon and The US last year. Rafa choked on 4 game points in the Wimby final in the 5th set, and Novak choked away 3 of the 7 set points he had in the first two sets at NY.
Novak is 20. The next year will prove him to be the world's best hardcourt player.....in the tradition of Ivan Lendl. Incredibly consistant, powerful, and DEEP shots. Roger's defense, which is declining by the month, will not be able to consistantly deal with it. Novak's game will continue to improve for 3 or 4 more years. Roger has peaked. he will have to get to the net more often to survive at the very top. Roger's best chance of winning a slam this year is still at Wimbledon, although he may be vulnerable to Rafa and some others (Ivo or Isner or maybe Novak, we'll see), but Roger's second best chance may be the French! Rafa's defense is slowing down with injuries and age (I know that sounds strange for a 21 year old, but he just can't keepit up quite like he used to), and Roger has really mastered that dropshot and defensive slice. He must learn to use that Spanish style defensive backhand low-to-high slice to counteract the cross-court Rafa Forehand, ifhe is to beat him. Don't be surprised if Roger has a tough time passing Pete for slam wins. Borg and Mac never won a major after 24. Neither did Mats. Even Becker only won one.....it's a young man's game when you play 5 setters evey other day for two weeks............

Posted by jojo 01/31/2008 at 05:51 AM

My prediction is that Tsongas will hang around the top ten or twenty for a couple of years, then fade. His groundstrokes are over-rated...he hits a lot of short balss, and the top players will learn to deal with that.

Posted by jason 01/31/2008 at 06:25 AM

jojo, that is certainly possible about tsonga,that players will adjust to his game. But, tsonga has a very natural aggressive game, meaning that he knows how to attack his oppononts effectively.that speaks more about his skill level so he is more than a guy with a big shot,on a hot run. If he stays healthy, and focused he may hang around for a while.

Posted by jason 01/31/2008 at 06:35 AM

i am not sure if fed. has peaked as much to the fact players (besides nadal) are starting to figure out how to stay with him fromthe baseline. He has really improved his serve.. he is on the top 3 level. Also, fed. consistenlt plays on a high level,regardless of who is on the other side of the net. Djok. has that consistency, but not at feds. level.

Posted by 01/31/2008 at 03:52 PM

I was in Melbourne watching Aust Open men’s final, and I have to say, Djok”b*tch* is so hateful!!!! He is not only annoying, rude, up himself, and arrogant; he does know what respect is and very show off. Everyone there was supporting Tsonga, (how I wished that was Fedex instead!), NO ONE, except his family and Serb fans supported him. He even spat on the guy (not physically on the guy, but spat towards that direction) who told him to hurry up to serve whilst he was bouncing the ball 14 times before serve. And of course, he got BOOED! Also, he had a medical timeout, after loosing to Tsonga first set, his physician came on the court and gave him the thigh massage for about 5 – 10 mins. How dodgy was that? We all knew there was nothing wrong with him, he was just playing mind game. Poor Tsonga was forced to rest and waited for him. Although he won the open, but no one wanted him to win and no one respected him for winning. Simply because he is a bad winner! He and his family are simply low class, or I should say, NO class at all! They are like those people who suddenly got rich and don’t know what to do besides showing off and putting other people down. Or like those small dogs who think if they bark louder, people will pay attention on them. Doesn’t matter how good he is, with the altitude like that, one way he is going – down and all the way.

I respect Fedex a lot, not only he is a tennis legend, he has a great personality, also very diplomatic, always shows his respect to all his opponents. That’s a winner.

Posted by 01/31/2008 at 03:52 PM

I was in Melbourne watching Aust Open men’s final, and I have to say, Djok”b*tch* is so hateful!!!! He is not only annoying, rude, up himself, and arrogant; he does know what respect is and very show off. Everyone there was supporting Tsonga, (how I wished that was Fedex instead!), NO ONE, except his family and Serb fans supported him. He even spat on the guy (not physically on the guy, but spat towards that direction) who told him to hurry up to serve whilst he was bouncing the ball 14 times before serve. And of course, he got BOOED! Also, he had a medical timeout, after loosing to Tsonga first set, his physician came on the court and gave him the thigh massage for about 5 – 10 mins. How dodgy was that? We all knew there was nothing wrong with him, he was just playing mind game. Poor Tsonga was forced to rest and waited for him. Although he won the open, but no one wanted him to win and no one respected him for winning. Simply because he is a bad winner! He and his family are simply low class, or I should say, NO class at all! They are like those people who suddenly got rich and don’t know what to do besides showing off and putting other people down. Or like those small dogs who think if they bark louder, people will pay attention on them. Doesn’t matter how good he is, with the altitude like that, one way he is going – down and all the way.

I respect Fedex a lot, not only he is a tennis legend, he has a great personality, also very diplomatic, always shows his respect to all his opponents. That’s a winner.

Posted by Crazy-for-Rog 01/31/2008 at 05:46 PM

Federer is in the States, visited the Nike campus in Portland, and answered questions on a radio show. Here's the audio: http://www.wfan.com/topic/play_window.php?audioType=Episode&audioId=1385361

The good news - he plans to consider the coaching situation.
The bad news - he thinks going to the net too aggressively against Nadal is a "panic play" and thinks he should continue to play primarily from the baseline. Although he did say "play from the baseline and transition to the net".

Posted by Dale 02/01/2008 at 02:26 PM

Wow,

More than a week since Fed's loss and Federer fanatics still can't let it go.

To all Fed Fans: You are right, wait until Dubai. Can we put away the excuses and the hysterics over Federer's supposed decline and let what happens on the court speak for itself.

If Federer can win, great, if he loses please shelve the excuses and congratulate the victor...without desperately looking for an explanation.

Posted by xargon 02/01/2008 at 03:15 PM

I read that the virus was more serious than reported and he was under medication in most of the matches

Yeah but he played just fine against Blake in 3 sets. ;-}

Posted by xargon 02/01/2008 at 03:21 PM


Antihype; The parents comments could not be as bad as the worst comments ever made after Goran Ivanisevic 2001 Wimbledon GS win at a press conference. Sorry it's so awful it wouldn't let me post the whole thing.

http://outsports.com/antigay/ivanisevic.htm

Posted by xargon 02/01/2008 at 03:24 PM

Also, he had a medical timeout

and when you were in Melbourne watching, did you notice there was no Djokovic time out against Federer? What does that say?

Posted by tesa 02/01/2008 at 10:10 PM

I don't speak englsh very well, and because of that don't write anything here, but anonymous post about watching AO men's final in Melburne is so untrue and extremely hateful that I just must to write some words.
Anonymous>
I doubt you was in Melburne, I even doubt you watched match on TV.
If you had been there, you would have known that Djokovic took medical timeout after 3th set, when result was 2/1 for Djokovic, not after first like you said.
You say it was mind game. OK, maybe, but maybe not! Can anyone prove it?
When we're talking about timeouts, Tsonga, also, took one when he started loosing (he went to toilet, tennis players don't do that usually). Can it be a part of mind game? Why not!
I understand Novak isn't your favourite playar, but why do you lie?
I think that comments about Novak as a person are really out of mind. It may be, someone he seems arrogant or annoying (maybe he really is), but noone here don't know is it truth.
He is a tennis player, not priest! Can we discuss about his game, please?
Speaking he and his family are like those small dogs is rude and totally out of class.
As you can see I like Novak a lot, think he is a very talented player, but also respect Fed, Rafa... They all just humans, aren't some posts too rigid?

Posted by king novak has arrived 02/02/2008 at 02:47 PM

"he has a great personality"
Who? Robo-Fed? lol. Djokovic is leagues above him in that department for sure.

"always shows his respect to all his opponents"
Rotflmao. Since when has Federer ever shown any respect to anybody other than himself? He called Djokovic a joke a while back its no wonder Novak's family hates Federer, he who pretends to be so humble but he really is not.

As for the tired excuse that Federer was ill- he obviously wasn't so ill that he deemed it necessary to withdraw. Once you enter the court you are 100% fit and ready to play. He got outplayed and outclassed by a better player that day. Federer's fangirls are just going to have to grow up and accept that fact.

Posted by 02/02/2008 at 02:49 PM

== More than a week since Fed's loss and Federer fanatics still can't let it go. ==

Sad isn't it? You won't find a more embittered, immature, jealous, and thin skinned group of losers.

Posted by Lo Svizzero 02/02/2008 at 08:13 PM

Hey ´king Novak has arrived´

hahaha what a stupid comment. The next time Fed pounds Djkovic for all that post-talking he has done in Dubai you will be blown from the face of the earth alongside al that people thinking Federer´s dominance is over. He is the king and the best player ever wether you like or not. Fed 12 slams - Djokovic 1??????? hahahahaha

Posted by Cp6uH7 02/02/2008 at 09:15 PM

1. This Forum should have policy that all discutants had to put their names on. Or, just delete all comments without Name.

2. Apparently clay court Tourneys don't determine #1 world player. It is the hard court.

3. By having say so, now it is easy to conclude that it is Djokovic only to compete Federer.

4. Before the USO 2007 most commentators agreed that it was Djokovic only to possible dethrone Fed from that title.

5. Speaking of the next world #1: As per the current standing list, it takes one GS win for Djoko to climb to World #1!

6. Comparison FED vs. DJOKO:

- Fed holds 12 GS titles, Djoko holds 1.
- Fed is 26 Djoko is 20.
- Fed was 22, Djoko was 20 when won thier first GS.
- By every year over next 5 years Fed is going to be closer to 30, Djoko closer to 20.
- Djoko won two out of their three clashes.
- Djoko's desire to be World #1 is stronger than Fed's desire to remain there.
- In order to remain world #1 Fed has to beat Djoko several times during this year.
- In order to get to World #1 Djoko needs to beat Fed several times this year.

7. After the Wimbledon it will be more than clear who #1 is and who is going to remain tthere for a while.

8. That also will be the answwer is Fed going to break Sampras' s record 14 GS! If Fed does'nt do it this year, he is most likelly not to get it!

9. 5 months of waiting is not really much time. Especially that we are going to watch some amazing tourneys and matches.

Posted by Chuck 02/03/2008 at 01:55 AM

Roger will WIN again. Many more tourneys and Grand Slams, he will WIN. He's still only 26, and has more good prime years left in his already established career. 12 Slam wins and 53 total tourney wins will not be anywhere near the end for him or his career. When he gets healthy again and motivated again, watch out! Rafael, on clay and at the next French Open, watch out! Novak, at the next Aussie Open, watch out! A dominant, big, unstoppable hurricane is coming through ad its name, Roger Federer, will be back to kick some tennis ass again soon and for a while longer if he's in good health.

Posted by Gregory Helms 02/03/2008 at 02:09 AM

The young Serbian guy, Novak Jerkovic, or whatever his name is, will not ever (never) dominate men's tennis. He's too immature, not good enough physical fitness wise or consistent talent wise on all surfaces at all tourneys, and is too much of an arrogant, cocky, classless guy for all of the other players to continue to and consistently allow him to win that much and often.
Novak Jerkovic will NOT be World #1, or maybe even #2, anytime before this year's Fall hardcourt season, at the earliest, if even this year or next year at all.
Live with that probable fact and reality, all of you, increasingly many, Novak Jerkovic fans.

Posted by Deuce 02/03/2008 at 04:19 AM

In Novak Djokovic we finally have a player who is cunning enough to neutralize a player like Federer's array of great shots. All of federer's rivals before Djokovic ( Andre Agassi, Marat Safin, Andy Roddick,Lleyton Hewitt) have tried to outplay Federer by matching there best shots against Federer's best shots and always came out short. Which is why Agassi (he was never a very cunning player) is so in awe of Federer. However, Rafa and Novak has shown that you do not need a wide range of shots to beat a talented player like Federer. All you need is a great strategy and the ability to execute it. Ivan Lendl, Mats Wilander were players who didn't have wide range of shots, but was able to consistently beat a lot more talented players like John Mcenroe, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and even Pete Sampras. In Djokovic we have a similar player; cunning, consistent, and he gives Federer few chances to produce his great strokes. If Federer, does not produce his best game, he will surely loose.

Posted by Lo Svizzero 02/03/2008 at 11:11 AM

I do think Agassi is someone whose word ha to be taken into consideration as he has had plenty of experience playing through a lot of generations in 21 years he was in the tour. Agassi has said of Federer:

1. "He is the best I have ever played."
2. "With Pete (Sampras) you always felt like you had a comfort zone, like you could go somewhere and see if you had a chance whereas against Federer that does not happen because anything you feel you can come up with he potentially has an answer for."
3. "watching him you watch history, no doubt about it."
4. "You think speed and you say Lleyton Hewitt but Federer is just as fast. You think forehand and you say Roddick but Federer´s is just as good... He is good"

nuf said...

Posted by Cp6uH7 02/03/2008 at 02:25 PM

Posted by Lo Svizzero 02/03/2008 @ 11:11 AM

I do think Agassi is someone whose word ha to be taken into consideration as he has had plenty of experience playing through a lot of generations in 21 years he was in the tour. Agassi has said of Federer:

1. "He is the best I have ever played."
2. "With Pete (Sampras) you always felt like you had a comfort zone, like you could go somewhere and see if you had a chance whereas against Federer that does not happen because anything you feel you can come up with he potentially has an answer for."
3. "watching him you watch history, no doubt about it."
4. "You think speed and you say Lleyton Hewitt but Federer is just as fast. You think forehand and you say Roddick but Federer´s is just as good... He is good"

nuf said...

----------------------------------------------------------------

Well, if he is so good, then how good is the one who beat him???

Posted by king-roger 02/03/2008 at 07:02 PM

Although the huge dominance of roger has been challenged severely and both djoko and rafa are pressing hard, but i think roger wouldn't loose no 1 position at least for 2008. the rifts in rafa's game is predicting his lost in RG. But djoko is a rising star and its gona exciting contest how the king deals with it. At least 2008 should remain of rogers, because a 4-years no one must not die too briskly.

Posted by Cp6uH7 02/03/2008 at 07:17 PM

Posted by Deuce 02/03/2008 @ 4:19 AM

Very good analysys.

Posted by Scott 02/04/2008 at 05:14 AM

Posted by Deuce on 02/03/08 @4:19AM

Very bad, unrealistic, inaccurate, biased, dishonest analysis.
Novak is not cunning. He's just plain lucky that Roger was physically sick against him, moved very poorly, and still almost won, played badly, and did not allow himself to play his own great shotmaking. That semifinal result had very little to do with Novak, and a lot to do with Roger, honestly and obviously.

Posted by 02/04/2008 at 08:43 AM

@xargon

How many times do you have to post that link about Goran's distasteful remarks after winning Wimbledon? It is so stale at this point. Get over it! You are acting like you have some personal vendetta against him. He isn't even an active player anymore. Can we please move on to the next victim? You're boring me.

Posted by 02/04/2008 at 08:45 AM

"My prediction is that Tsongas will hang around the top ten or twenty for a couple of years, then fade. His groundstrokes are over-rated...he hits a lot of short balss, and the top players will learn to deal with that."

Sounds like a pretty good career to me. Players that "fade" don't hang around in the top ten or twenty for a couple of years BTW.

Posted by just horsen 02/04/2008 at 04:25 PM

Fed will bounce back but WATCH OUT for Rafa. I think he'll be #1 by the end of Wimby

Posted by Greg 02/04/2008 at 05:18 PM

What was Roger doing at the American Football SUPERBOWL in Arizona yesterday? Can someone explain to me why that's so important and caring to him, and not even to American tennis players?
He should be focusing all of his time and energy on getting healthy, playing better and on tennis, like all of the other professional world-class tennis players, not any time or energy on the American NFL, especially all of his additional traveling to get there, instead of training in Dubai or his native Switzerland on tennis. It just doesn't make any sense from his standpoint to be there, or pay any attention to the game itself. Why should he care so much about it, rather than tennis?

Posted by just horsen 02/05/2008 at 10:06 AM

Greg, Isn't he allowed to just hang out and have fun sometime?

Posted by Supersnark 02/05/2008 at 11:04 AM

I wonder what Novak's stance (if any) is on the recent Presidential elections and the impending seccession of Kosovo: http://www.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=75510 He seems to enjoy being a Serbian flag-bearer, but what are his thoughts on the real issues?

Posted by Cp6uH7 02/06/2008 at 12:53 AM

Posted by Supersnark 02/05/2008 @ 11:04 AM

hahaha...why don't you ask Novak? Need some stuff to spread the rumors, eh? haha

You confused two things: The Patriotism and Politics. Novak is great Serb patriot but is smart enough not to go into murky waters of politics. Novak is proud of Serbia and the Serbia is proud of Novak.

BTW, "the impending seccession of Kosovo" is false information, buddy. That's what some of your friends (Including you) want to be, but...wishfully thinking is different from reality.

Posted by seaweed 02/14/2008 at 09:57 PM

Rafa #1 by end of Wimby? I just think it's not going to happen.

Novak just lost in Marseille to Gilles Simon. Now, to the people here who think illness can not be used, even by Roger Federer, as an excuse to lose a tennis match, do not ever, ever say the words "flu" and "blood pressure."

Greg, the world is a much bigger place than a tennis court. Why can't Roger Federer watch the superbowl?

Posted by seaweed 02/14/2008 at 10:13 PM


i'm not trying to gloat, ok? i'm just saying that people should apply the same standard to everybody. and no, just because you show up for a match doesn't mean you're 100% fit and ready.

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