Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor - There Will Be Sweat
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There Will Be Sweat 08/17/2010 - 9:39 AM

Nd I'm at the beach this week, so I'll wrap up Toronto (seems so long ago, doesn't it?) and do a quick preview of Cincy as I head out.

Tennis tournaments carve up time; you can live in them. When you look at a season’s worth, only four will become part of fans’ collective memory. Only four will mean anything after their final Sunday. Cincinnati had begun almost before Toronto ended. But while you recognize, in the back of your mind, the virtual irrelevance of the results in the long run, while it’s happening a tournament is a self-contained world, the whole world in a week. It begins all at once, a mass of striving spread out on various backcourts and played from morning until late at night. How long ago did I watch Ernests Gulbis knock a sweatband at a girl on a quiet evening in the Grandstand in Toronto, or see Sam Querrey and Kevin Anderson trade howitzers for three long, intensely muggy sets on Court 1? It seems like, in the hermetic world of a tennis tournament, a lifetime ago.

From that early free-for-all, the weeding process begins and a sense of order gradually materializes. You watch various players have their striving ended, face their farewell press conferences, and get in cars heading for the airport. Finally, it comes to Sunday, a day of fanfare in the stadium and frenzy in the pressroom. At the end of it, the computers get packed away and the wheely bags come out. Everyone says a temporary goodbye; with each person you see, you have to figure out when and where you’ll see them again. To live like this week after week would have its drawbacks and dangers—buffet dinners, airport fear, unlimited Haägen-Dazs bars—but the upside is that the little world will soon start over again somewhere else. You never say goodbye for good.

The tennis universe has picked up and moved itself wholesale to Cincy. Before they vanish entirely, here are a few stray images from Canada, the kind of stray images that give the little world its color and meaning, as temporary as it may be.

***

It’s three hours before the quarterfinal night match on Friday and I’m upstairs in what’s known as the Rogers Lounge, a gathering spot above the stadium for assorted VIP, as well as the press, whose members are invariably the most indifferently shaven and least expensively coiffed people in the room. I walk past a large table, which at first glance looks empty. But scattered around, at a safe distance, are little groups of people who all seem to be covertly looking in the same direction. When I walk back, I see what they’re looking at: Roger Federer is alone at the back of the table, leaning forward, sticking a forkful of pasta in his mouth. A glimpse into the glamorous life of the tennis superstar.

Later, during Federer’s match, I spot Paul Annacone in the same lounge, watching the final unfold from above. According to Federer, he can’t sit courtside when he’s playing Murray, due to LTA obligations. Annacone has a much better view of what’s going on and how points are developing from up here.

***

When I was younger, I’d read profiles of tennis players and shake my head at how one-dimensional their lives were. They all holed up in their hotel rooms and never bothered to see anything else of the cities they visited. Now I’ve begun to see some of the appeal of that hotel room. The good big bed, the deep darkness in the morning, the flat screen TV right smack in front of you, That 70s Show reruns on each night when you get back from work at 11:30. There’s not much more you can ask. Each day last week, there’d come a point in the press room when I would feel myself wishing I could get out of there and go, not to a museum or a concert or a restaurant or a neighborhood in Toronto, but back to the dark haven of the hotel room.

***

My only real-life Toronto adventure came on the first weekend, when my friend Tom Tebbutt, tennis writer for the Globe and Mail, invited me to play at his home club, the ancient and venerable and surprisingly large Toronto Lawn Tennis Club, founded in 1876 and home to a version of the Rogers Cup in the early 1970s. It was charming and absurd to see how modest the pro tour once was. “Center court” was the middle court in a line of five normal-sized club courts. The TV crew set up behind the back fences, and small temporary bleachers were constructed. That was the set up when Rod Laver reached the final one year.

Even better for me was a chance to check out a small collection of hard-to-find tennis books that Tom has tracked down during his travels over the years. One dispiriting aspect of writing about the sport in the U.S. is that it simply isn’t taken seriously, either as a major sport or a writing subject. I don’t care if tennis gains significant mass appeal here—the chances are beyond slim—but I would like to think that what I do has some kind of history or tradition, the way golf and baseball writing do in the States. Tom’s collection was an eye-opener and an inspiration because it contained old volumes of the best British tennis journalists of their time. John Oliffe of the Telegraph, David Gray, Rex Bellamy, and three great Americans, Allison Danzig of the NY Times, Herbert Warren Wind of the New Yorker, and Al Laney, from the days when the sport was covered on a daily basis in the country’s biggest papers. The bookcase that held all of this history wasn’t big, but it was enough to make me feel that tennis writing has its place and its honor. It’s nice to be reminded of that now and then. It’s even nicer when you realize it for the first time.

***

What is a tennis tournament? To you and I, it’s part of our daily lives, maybe even our daily jobs. To its officials and ball boys and merchandise hawkers and food staff and ice haulers, it’s a one-week paycheck. But what is it to the average ticket buyer? They are, after all, the vast majority of people who will experience the event. Their time with the sport can be summed up in two very different scenes from last week.

1. It’s 7:30 P.M., a warm, bright Tuesday evening, and the stadium court is a rare sell out for an opening-round match. Roger Federer, the man who the city has come to see, is playing in a pink shirt. The atmosphere is half sporting event, half performance—I wonder how Federer doesn’t let himself get caught up in the latter. The fans run the gamut from upper crust/middle aged to young guys in baseball hats who feel free to yell whatever they like. Federer, the modern incarnation of the tennis gentleman in flannels, glides over the court and seems only to have to caress the ball with his racquet—it barely makes a sound coming off the strings—to send it exactly where he wants it to go. This is tennis as the elite of all elite sports. It stayed amateur for decades after other sports in part because it wanted to stay above those other sports, a clean little world of its own. Even now, in the pro era, when the money involved is obscene, its retains that elite status for most people. There’s an elevating effect to watching Federer; the people here seem to be looking up at him.

***

2. It’s early evening a day later and the Grandstand court is half full. Two players of relative distinction, Fernando Verdasco and Eduardo Schwank, are facing each other, but it’s no blockbuster—Verdasco is killing him. The sun is setting and the air has cooled, People sit back and put their feet up on the chairs in front of them. Not much is really happening; there’s no fan favorite out there. The entertainment level is just enough to keep people’s attention, nothing more (or less). There’s no sense of occasion, just a chance to see the traveling tennis world come through and watch how ridiculously good even its average members are—when Verdasco hits a forehand winner, the oohs from the crowd are a little like what you might hear for a tightrope walker at the circus.

A mishit sends a ball into the stands, where a spectator stands up and makes a one-handed catch. Everyone cheers; he takes a bow. When, after half an hour, Schwank finally wins a game, he raises his arms in triumph. The audience claps and whistles. When the match is over, there are spirited cheers that die away quickly. We stand up, raise our arms and stretch, and slowly shuffle out together. It’s the last match on that court; the tennis world has shut down for the day.

***

So, Cincy. The players have gathered again. Is it too late to do a preview? How about we just call it a "look ahead" then? I’ll give you a few possible highlights from each quarter.

***

At the top, Nadal could get a test from Taylor Dent right away. Tiebreakers may be in order, but on most days Nadal will be out of Dent’s league. The match to hope for here is a quarterfinal between Nadal and Tomas Berdych on Friday. We’ll see if Berdych is for real against players other than Federer.

Semifinalist: Nadal

***

Speaking of Federer, he should be OK until the quarters, though I’d love to see a Fed-Monfils fourth round at night. The bottom half of his section is fairly strong—Querrey, Ferrer, and Davydenko are all there. Is it time for Kolya to find his game again? It’s got to happen at some point.

Semifinalist: Federer

*** 

Murray, fresh from his Toronto win, will presumably struggle, but he’s been given the best draw of the top four, with Verdasco the highest seed near him. Based on very little, I’ll take a flyer on a another guy with talent who’s due to do something, Ernests Gulbis.

Semifinalist: Gulbis

*** 

Novak Djokovic has had success in Cincy in the past, but he may have a few tough opponents to contend with this week—Soderling, Roddick, Nalbandian, and Isner all stick out as dark horses. Even his first round, against countryman Victor Troicki, will be tricky (Troicki and tricky).

Semifinalist: Djokovic

Semifinals: Nadal d. Federer; Djokovic d. Gulbis

Final: Nadal d. Djokovic

***

If the weather is bad where I am, I may be pop in later this week. Otherwise, be thankful you can watch from your couch rather than having to play in Cincy in August. Whatever happens, there will be sweat.


 
136
Comments
 
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Posted by antoinette 08/17/2010 at 09:58 AM

Steve

You are nothing if not consistent, still picking Nadal to win everything eh?

That being said I enjoyed your blogs from Toronto and always look forward to reading your comments. Have a great time at the beach.

Posted by antoinette 08/17/2010 at 09:59 AM

Oh..by the way, my first FIRST!! yay ( or not)

Posted by griff 08/17/2010 at 10:30 AM

though luck antoinette lol.

Posted by griff 08/17/2010 at 10:37 AM

Or not haha

Posted by fedfan 08/17/2010 at 10:51 AM

Shouldn't it read: 'to you and me'? Sorry to be nit-picky, and my own posts are full of errors, but there seems to be some massive disease affecting all media, print, tv, radio, etc., that causes misuse of first person pronouns. Your writing is usually quite good, although I know you are pounding words out without benefit of copy editors and so forth, but I've just seen and heard this first person pronoun thing too often recently.

Posted by Nina 08/17/2010 at 10:54 AM

Hope Novak really does something and reaches the final or else. However I'm more interested in his form at the USO which is what counts.

Posted by Drawsdontlie 08/17/2010 at 11:05 AM

Murray just played as well as he ever has and you say GULBIS?!With all due respect, you, my friend, are nuts.

Semifinals: Nadal d. Federer, Murray d. Djokovic

Nadal d. Murray

Posted by SRao 08/17/2010 at 11:13 AM

Steve,

When can you say boldly," Federer d. Nadal?Why?is it a given thing?

I throughly enjoyed Toronto posts,you simply are a great Tennis writer,wait...non-tennis too.

Posted by Michele 08/17/2010 at 11:14 AM

Just reading about Federer eating pasta in the player's lounge makes me giddy. Oh to have been there. What is wrong with me?

Also, I don't think Nadal will win this or the US Open -- ever.

Posted by feedforward 08/17/2010 at 11:15 AM

Good catch, Fedfan. As an old codger, hearing "to she and I" or "He gave he and I" drives me nuts. I remember when high schools taught direct objects and objects of the preposition, but even highly skilled writers misuse these pronouns now. Still hardly anyone (even today) would say "give it to I." But they say "Give it to he and I" or even more confusing "give it to him and I." In my day, admittedly quite a while ago, the big problem was the opposite with people using "me" instead of "I."

The problem now is that because nearly everyone misuses these pronouns, it sounds funhy to say the right thing. I grew up with parents who spoke well and thus the correct usage sounds right to me. There are many other irregularities in use today and I won't bore the readership here except to say I wish people would quit saying, "I feel badly" instead of "I feel bad" when their physiology is out of sorts (now meaning that their tactile facility is lacking).

Yes, there are bigger problems, but being constantly bombarded with this stuff must be like a person with a fine musical ear hearing music or singing off key. I would not know the latter due to my tin ear. :-)

Posted by Zarko 08/17/2010 at 11:15 AM

Semifinals: Federer d. Nadal; Murray d. Djokovic

Final: Federer d. Murray

Posted by SRao 08/17/2010 at 11:20 AM

"A glimpse into the glamorous life of the tennis superstar".How true,indeed!
Steve...you pick the best of words,to describe the-best.

Everytime I watch Federer play,I began to imagine,about his life.That's the only way I shut myself out from the match especially when Fed is behind and trying to rally.I begin to wonder about the life he leads,the way he lives and how devastatingly handsome he is.Hmmmmmm

Posted by SRao 08/17/2010 at 11:24 AM

Zarko,

THANK-YOU,THANK-YOU..."n" number of times.
I like your predictions.

Hope Steve can get the courage from you.

Posted by fedfan 08/17/2010 at 11:24 AM

Thanks feedforward. I, too, am an old codger with an otherwise tin ear. I hear this mistake made so many times by speakers whose grammar is generally very good, that I assume it is because 'I' just sounds inherently more correct than 'me' to many.

Steve, personal pronouns aside, as an old codger, I think tennis and writing about tennis are worthwhile and honourable occupations.

Posted by sebastiandiplo 08/17/2010 at 11:28 AM

again this article confirms my theory about steve `jerk´ tignor, he fell in love of nadal, as in toronto he is putting a medium level nadal as a winner on cincinnaty, I would say that the winner is roddick or federer or even murray but nadal???? gulbis on a semifinal ????? please, it looks like tignor knows much about everything but knows anything about tennis........ please stop posting these articles stinknor

Posted by tennisfan 08/17/2010 at 11:48 AM

That would be so awesome if Gulbis did make the semis. Lets hope your predictions are right! :)

Posted by wjr 08/17/2010 at 11:49 AM

feedforward, you really need to get a LIFE..... are we in grade 5?????? ps,if you don,t like , don,t read..................

Posted by wjr 08/17/2010 at 11:54 AM

sooner or later you stick your hand in the hat, and the rabbit bites you. that time is nigh,for federer..... hoping finesse stays in the mens game.....

Posted by sebastiandiplo 08/17/2010 at 11:58 AM

those predictions of stinknor are always wrong, nadal and gulbis in the semifinals ???????oh `please ........... djokovic and fed and murray of course but those two, hummmmmm i doubt it

Posted by Master Ace 08/17/2010 at 12:28 PM

Steve,
Monfils have lost to Falla and you are reaching with your Gulbis pick for a SF as he is still coming back from injury.

SRao,
Hello! It has been a while since I have "seen" you.

Prediction : See Zarko post at 11:15 AM but if Novak is not in the SF, do not be surprised as he has a tough draw with Andy, Robin and David.

Posted by Vijay 08/17/2010 at 12:30 PM

If Fed and Rafa do meet in Semis and Rafa beats Fed, it will be the first time for Rafa to beat Fed in a late season hard court match, if my memory serves right....

Murray vs Nadal in hardcourt - I'll pick Murray easily. The consistent bounce of hardcourt helps Murray and his backhand cross-court is one of the top 3 shots in the game right now...one of the few shots that gives Rafa real (REAL!) trouble...

Rafa vs anyone else in the final goes to Rafa....

Fed vs anyone else in the final this time goes to Fed...don't see him dropping this final if he gets there...esp. if he beats Rafa to get there...

Posted by sebastiandiplo 08/17/2010 at 12:34 PM

again this article confirms my theory about steve `jerk´ tignor, he fell in love of nadal, as in toronto he is putting a medium level nadal as a winner on cincinnaty, I would say that the winner is roddick or federer or even murray but nadal???? gulbis on a semifinal ????? please, it looks like tignor knows much about everything but knows anything about tennis........ please stop posting these articles stinknor

Posted by 1963USCtennis 08/17/2010 at 12:37 PM

"nadal???? gulbis on a semifinal ????? please, it looks like tignor knows much about everything but knows anything about tennis........ please stop posting these articles stinknor
"

relax dude

Posted by pov 08/17/2010 at 12:45 PM

To the Grammarians(Fedfan, Feedforward)
Thanks for the grammar tips. I needed to get back up to speed myself so I Googled and found this.

***************************
Jayden and I versus Jayden and Me

For some writers and speakers, the case of a pronoun becomes especially troublesome when that pronoun is compounded with something or someone else. When the pronoun is being used as a subject, there is usually no problem:

Jayden and I are playing tennis this afternoon.
Jayden and she are playing tennis this afternoon.

We learn this lesson so well — getting cuffed on the ears and being forced to stand in the corner when we say "Jayden and me are playing tennis. . . " — that when the object form of the pronoun is truly called for, we're apt to come up with the subject form instead, as in "Grandma left Jayden and I her rocking chair," which is bad form, indeed.

There is a simple rule here that seems to work very well, at least in writing. Ask yourself what pronoun form you would use without adding the other person — "Grandma left me her rocking chair" (coming up with the correct form for the indirect object) — and then, when you add the other person, don't change the form of the pronoun: "Grandma left Jayden and me her rocking chair."

This rule works whether the pronoun is being used as an indirect object, as above, as a direct object — "The policeman stopped Jayden and me" — or as the object of a preposition — "Grandma gave her rocking chair to Jayden and me." Some writers and speakers will mistakenly say "This is just between Jayden and I," not realizing that the preposition "between" calls for the object form of both pronouns, including "me."

The rule also pertains to sentences in which a pronoun is compounded with yet another pronoun: "Grandma gave her rocking chair to him and me, but that's just between you and me."

Notice that when "I" is compounded with another subject, the "other person" or people get first billing: "Jayden and I are playing," not "I and Jayden." This is one of the very few polite forms in English.

Posted by sebastiandiplo 08/17/2010 at 12:48 PM

again this article confirms my theory about steve `jerk´ tignor, he fell in love of nadal, as in toronto he is putting a medium level nadal as a winner on cincinnaty, I would say that the winner is roddick or federer or even murray but nadal???? gulbis on a semifinal ????? please, it looks like tignor knows much about everything but knows anything about tennis........ please stop posting these articles stinknor

Posted by wjr 08/17/2010 at 01:04 PM

shooting the s h i t about tennis, who gives a crap about grammer.....are these guys for real.???? i don,t get all these people on nadal,s band wagon either?? who ever,s winnig all you guy,s like????i like the way he compete,s....thats it, he cheats,picks his azz, gets coaching from box,ask,s for trainers,when hes losing,grunts like a girl,takes forever between points,shall i go on........oh sorry grammer and spelling police i forgot the N in winning....man oh man what shall i ever do,maybe go back to , too.... school, or maybe ill just buy a school..... any one see tsonga???

Posted by wjr 08/17/2010 at 01:05 PM

of fish

Posted by sebastiandiplo 08/17/2010 at 01:08 PM

again this article confirms my theory about steve `jerk´ tignor, he fell in love of nadal, as in toronto he is putting a medium level nadal as a winner on cincinnaty, I would say that the winner is roddick or federer or even murray but nadal???? gulbis on a semifinal ????? please, it looks like tignor knows much about everything but knows anything about tennis........ please stop posting these articles stinknor

Posted by toronto_lawn 08/17/2010 at 02:06 PM

Hey Steve,

Great blog - I read your stuff all the time (but I don't post). I wish I'd known you were at our ancient club last weekend hitting with Tom Tebbutt - I would have liked to see that western forehand you've been writing about !! Oh well, I guess I'll just ask Tom to give me an overview ;-) Keep up the great writing!

Posted by sebastiandiplo 08/17/2010 at 02:18 PM

again this article confirms my theory about steve `jerk´ tignor, he fell in love of nadal, as in toronto he is putting a medium level nadal as a winner on cincinnaty, I would say that the winner is roddick or federer or even murray but nadal???? gulbis on a semifinal ????? please, it looks like tignor knows much about everything but knows anything about tennis........ please stop posting these articles stinknor

Posted by FED FRED 08/17/2010 at 02:33 PM

Michele,

I am so glad what you think has no significance on the outcome of the matches.

Any of the top five players in the world certainly have
a great chance to win the U.S. open or any other professional tournament.

Posted by wilson75 08/17/2010 at 02:55 PM

fed fan: I grew under an English/British based school system and I was taught that "you and I" was the proper way and "you and me" was wrong grammar.

Steve: Once again thanks for not picking Federer to win. That being said, Nadal is not going to win Cincy for the mere fact that the speed of the court does not suit his game.

SF: Federer d. Nadal
Djokovic d. Soderling

F: Federer d. Djokovic

Posted by SexyCommenter 08/17/2010 at 03:00 PM

@feedforward

Are you a control engineer? Why the name feedforward? Why not feedback?

Posted by RubyF 08/17/2010 at 03:03 PM

Steve,
Although I know that you love Nadal above all - I forgive you, because you bring out the writer in me. Recently I visited Sea World and the Seaquarium (I live in Miami) and found myself looking at the interesting people around me and wanting to describe them like you. At the Seaquarium last Sunday, I sat beside a Scandinavian family at two of the shows (just by coincidence), and I wanted to write how beautiful the 12 year old boy was, and although we smiled at each other in recognition, we did not speak, because we both thought of the language barrier. Later, I regretted not addressing him in English, as I remember how all the Scandinavian tennis players speak good English. Because of the way you make the people you meet at these events come alive - even Federer lifting a forkful of pasta to his mouth, becomes very real, I want to copy you. You have a special gift, but I don't want you to get swell-headed (ref. Ja Karen), so I'll still rip into you if I don't like what you write. Keep sweet (one of our nicer expressions),
Ruby

Posted by JohnP 08/17/2010 at 03:07 PM

Speculating (i.e., criticizing )on others' speculations leaves something to be desired. Many things are possible, including a Gulbis, otherwise considered not a serious threat, to emerge. In last year's US Open pool, I picked Del Potro to get to the final and thus beating Murray. Based on form, Murray had been considered one of the favourites to win the Open last year.

So, relaxxxxxxxxxxx everyone.

Posted by JohnP 08/17/2010 at 03:09 PM

Ah, my mistake.....Murray did not lose to Del Potro last year (it escapes me to whom he lost)........but my point was that Murray had been considered a favourite to get to the final at least.......

Posted by JohnP 08/17/2010 at 03:10 PM

It was Cilic, now that I think of it...........badly in straight sets, too.

Posted by @work 08/17/2010 at 03:17 PM

Even as a Rafa fan I can't pick Nadal to win Cincy. Not based on Toronto for sure.
I am not even too concerned about his result here. I hope he can defend last year's points. That should be enough match play for the USO without putting too much strain before getting there.

I have no idea who will win but I will see the other top four have a good chance. I doubt we'll see a surprise winner and as much as I would like Gulbis to reach far I don't see him making a semi here.

Posted by 1963USCtennis 08/17/2010 at 03:33 PM

Rafa will get to the SF vs Roger, and then he will play once again relentlessly (sorry if it is not relentlessly; member boldly go...) to his backhand, and will most likely beat him once again; but he could lose to him if Roger plays very well. Rafa has reached the level where he has bigger fish to fry.

I would expect Rafa to beat Roger and then an interesting matchup with Murray/Djoker (most probable) where Rafa could get beat, letting all the haters come out of the woodwork to proclaim how ineffective he is and has been on hcs (internet myth).

The bigger prize awaits, but I will be watching with my son as he has now become a big Rafa fan. Will be fun to watch.

Vamos Rafa!

Posted by !whatthedeuce? 08/17/2010 at 03:43 PM

I thought that Fed should be and is encouraged by Toronto. He wanted to avenge some matches that slipped away earlier in the spring and showed in the quarters and semis that he can fight, even when the tide seems against him, and win a tough 3rd set. May have run out of gas due to previous match timings and intensities in the final - also a superbly on form Murray may have had a role - but this grittiness and desire look to be taking hold at a good time. Next time Steve you should get around TO some more...lots to do.

Posted by Ryan 08/17/2010 at 03:48 PM

Very interesting picks and each person is entitled to his opinions. I do thoroughly dislike the show of bad character in some of the comments. I would love to see Nadal go through and win this final and I wouldn't be surprised if he did beat Fed and Murray. Nadal wasn't in his best form last saturday. He was catching the tape much too often on some routine shots and his first serve percentage was what sealed him down in it all. Assuming he fixes those things Nadal could very well go on through to the final and even win Cincy. Also, to those who came onto this just to criticize other peoples opinions... You weren't forced to come to this website. You weren't forced to read this article. You weren't forced to read peoples comments on this. Stop the trolling please :D

Posted by Being Practical 08/17/2010 at 03:51 PM

Vamos Fed!!

Posted by felizjulianidad 08/17/2010 at 03:58 PM

Nadal beating Djokovic on a fast hard court? Even I'm stretched for that one.

Posted by Nam1 08/17/2010 at 04:06 PM

thank you Ryan!!!

Posted by fedfan 08/17/2010 at 05:13 PM

Wilson75, please read post from pov. pov, thanks for the clarification. I know that many posters on this site are native speakers of other languages and I am always impressed by their expressiveness and fluency in English, as Americans are woefully lacking in language skills, myself included. The little grammar gripe was not directed to those who are not native English speakers. My gripe is with newscasters, actors, scriptwriters, etc., who are native English speakers, who make this error constantly. I actually don't include Steve in this group as his writing is normally of a very high standard, even though I know he is pounding out words on his laptop without benefit of the proofreaders or copy editors that he would have if this were printed in his snail mail magazine.

Posted by lilscot 08/17/2010 at 05:16 PM

sebastian-whatever:

Give it a rest already. Posting the same thing five or six times doesn't make in any more interesting. Resorting to insulting Steve with names like "Stinknor" is just beyond childish. If you don't like something say so, but try not to sound like you're sticking your tongue out and going nyah nyah at the same time.

As far as Rafa and Cincy/Toronto, I saw him not really putting forth his A game. In my mind I feel he is truly saving all his best for the USO. He wasn't running to get a lot of shots and not really playing that aggressive. I take that as a sign he's trying to just work on his hard-court game getting ready for the big one.

Posted by Rafur 08/17/2010 at 05:40 PM

Sebastiandiplo
I WISH THE MODERATORS would ban all your posts. Steve Tignor writes some Amazing articles
Thankyou Steve

Posted by Roastie 08/17/2010 at 05:54 PM

Hmmm nice blog but a bit too wistful. I loved Judy Murray's blogs on the LTA site. Very informative and entertaining. Made me giggle a few times. I went to all the quarter-finals, the evening semi-final and the final. Federer, by far, is the most popular player then comes Rafa then Djokovic and Andy takes the very distant last place. For me, it's Andy then Rafa. No one else comes close. It was very hard for me to be surrounded by Fed fans. But I'm happy that Andy shut them all up come Sunday. Actually, I don't know what made me happier - Andy winning a final in my hometown (finally!) or him beating Fed in straights. Or both. But Sunday was one of the happiest days of my life.

Posted by Ramana 08/17/2010 at 06:13 PM

sebastiandiplo back off Tignor, we all enjoy his posts, if you dont like his posts read ESPN

Posted by Ramana 08/17/2010 at 06:16 PM

If Fed can up his serve, attacking game, cut down on unforced errors he is our US open winner, If his serve or attacking game or errors are what they are now, Murray is the winner. Same thing at Cincy.

Posted by Corrie 08/17/2010 at 06:19 PM

fedfan, I agree about all the misuses of grammar. And it does matter! With some posters, you can't make head or tail of what they're saying because of lack of it.

If tennis is so ignored in the US, as Steve says, that seems to bode badly for the future. What's the USTA doing about it?

Posted by mel 08/17/2010 at 06:22 PM

I agree with some of the comments about a certain sebastiandiplo and some other federer fans. Such mean comments have no place in polite society. If you do not like Steve's blog, why can you not disagree politely like well mannered people do?To name-call Steve that way- how childish. I feel so sorry for you.
And to a certain wjr saying Rafa grunts like a girl and printing some indelicate terms(with wrong spelling), grow up. If you're a guy, I don't know what kind of girls you date! They must be pretty manly since Rafa is the most macho-looking guy in the circuit! Or if you're a girl/woman, do you grunt like Rafa? That would be pretty scary.

Posted by Ryota 08/17/2010 at 06:56 PM

Nadal again?

Posted by John 08/17/2010 at 07:53 PM

he he he, reading this blog I can see clearly tha Fedex KADS. They'd love to see him winning everything, match by match, tournament by tournament, nobody else, just Fedex. it looks like a *secta*, really ridiculous
Hey guys, there are another players!!!!!! there are another winners!!!!there is the #1

Posted by John 08/17/2010 at 07:57 PM

mel

+100000000000000000

Posted by thooz 08/17/2010 at 07:58 PM

Sebastiandi...whatever---I'm a great fan of Federer, but I find your posts insulting. Here's something for you to ponder: only an adolescent mind could write such drivel, so if you're an adult, you suffer from arrested development.

Posted by John 08/17/2010 at 08:09 PM

sebastiandiplo

Now that I've read your comment let me tell you that you are a ridiculo, envidioso y acomplejado "sudaca". You understand perfectly well what I say to you because your lenguage is spanish but not from Spain.........
Go to another blogs full of people like you, you know what I mean.......

Posted by N 08/17/2010 at 08:15 PM

Fed will win at Cincy.

Posted by John 08/17/2010 at 08:24 PM

Relax Fed, nadal, Murray etc etc fans. Toronto was a practice tourny. We'll see how they play in this one. Results will be different and it doesn't matter who is going to win, USO will be different too
Calm douwn!!!!!!!

Posted by Carol (ready for USO) 08/17/2010 at 09:02 PM

Steve, amazing article, hope you are right like in FO and Wimbledon.
Rada didn't play so well in Toronto but he wasn't the only one.
Cincy is going to be a little different, I don't care if he wins or not but I wish he will bite the USO trophy

Posted by keith 08/17/2010 at 09:26 PM

Sorry I'm late responding, but like i said before davydenko is always in federer's section or set up to meet federer in the quarters or the semis. check out the draws of the first half of 2010 with these 2 and watch for the upcoming draws. I'm a big fan of davy and he's always set up!! I'm sure davy would not mine meeting fed, but is the ranking system being rigged? what is going on...? nobody is in a players section that many times for years.

Posted by Tim (Outlaw the Moonpie!) 08/17/2010 at 09:54 PM

oh steve picks nadal, what a shocker! has he ever picked anyone OTHER than Nadal like the whole year? lets review :)

that said, if Nadal had the week Feddie had in Toronto, wouldnt everyone be talking about his 'ominous' form, beating Berdy and djoker on a hard court, and testing murray severely in the final?

lets he honest now...

Posted by michael 08/17/2010 at 10:17 PM

hey, that's good. You write well, it's reads with a nice journeyman's sweat on the brow. Maybe it's time for you to come up with some tennis based fiction- it'd suit you.

Posted by tennis faaaan 08/17/2010 at 10:24 PM

gos u r all wrong nadal d fed???jaajajaj how fed has been playing he could beat nadal easilyyyyyy....and gulbis!!!!!!

Posted by FED FRED 08/17/2010 at 10:43 PM

Sebastiandiplo....

How can I say this....

You are a moron and an idiot the knows nothing about tennis.

Go away and stop bothering everyone with your insane comments.

Posted by FED FRED 08/17/2010 at 10:48 PM

Thooz,

You comments are appreciated.

Cheers Mate!!!!

A fan that makes sense.

Posted by Mark 08/17/2010 at 11:32 PM

Whenever, Tignor has Djokovic advancing, he regulary does not. So the predictions are lame. Of course it does not matter because he;s been playing bad. In any event, I believe an American will win the title.

Posted by OG Fearhand 08/17/2010 at 11:59 PM

Why is everyone so heart set on nadal to win everything? Federer and Novak have equal if not a better chance on the hard courts then Nadal. My pick Novak Djokovic D. Andy Murray.....Nadal goes out in the quarters Berdych is quite good on hard courts anyways.

Posted by Ankit 08/18/2010 at 01:01 AM

djoker won't make to semis its going to be nalbandian or soderling

Posted by Aussiemarg,Madame President.I'am Back and I Am Taking No Prisoners! 08/18/2010 at 03:00 AM

Steve Thanks.Well Toronto in my view isnt really a great indication for Cinncy or the USO.Though well done Murray for his great week and win.

Cinncy being a fast hard court will give everyone a better indication which players have the game not only to win in Cinncy also the USO.

In saying that draws are also a key factor.

In Masters Series you cant really hide cause the competition is strong usually from the first rounds.

In Grand Slams the seeded players are given some shelter before the quater finals start.

In Cinncy again the draw cant determind though we have already seen some upsets.Marin Cilic for one.Whose game I feel is suited on the hard courts.Since the AO this year he appears to be in some type of "slump" hopefully before the USO he cant get himself together he also has youth on his side.

Federer,Murray,Nadal,Novak will play all eyes will be on them.Though there are a few other players that can also play on the fast hard courts.

At least Rafa this year has arrived at Cinncy without injury and not fatiqued like in past years.He has never made the final.He can make a statement for sure.

Though I am certain the rest of the big 3 will be out to do the very same thing.

Posted by lilscot 08/18/2010 at 05:53 AM

Aussiemarg: 3:00 a.m.

Well said. I totally agree. Toronto is no indication of what will happen at the USO, or even Cincy. It's the first tournament back after a long break. They guys were just stretching out their muscles and tuning their games. Cincy will be the fine-tuning before the USO. I think the top four are all just as capable of winning in Cincy, and I don't think any of them is a clear favourite, and I'm a Rafa nut. But I'm also a realist and know that hard-courts seem to be the great equalizer.

Posted by Prashant Sharma 08/18/2010 at 05:54 AM

Federer was asked this question before the start of Australian Open 2010. This answer just shows why Federer is the GReatest Ever to play the game. He KNEW that Rafa would be back with guns blazing. That is why Roger has won 16 slams and hopefully will win more, if he says so. Just appreciate this champion and great Tennis Thinker.

Q: Nadal has not won a tournament since Rome last year, in May. Some think he’ll never be what he once were.
RF: This is bullshit ['conneries' in French]. It reminds me what people said about me last year. I’ve seen Rafa play in Abu Dhabi and in Doha: he lacks absolutely nothing. Granted, he’s not won in a long time. But look at those who beat him: Del Potro, Murray, Davydenko, Djokovic, Soderling… They’re not bad! Think about it: had he played Wimbledon last year and not lost 2,000 points from his victory in 2008, where would he be right now? He came back from injury, so it’s normal that he lacked confidence. But to me, the really great Rafa is still to come.

Posted by aubur 08/18/2010 at 05:56 AM

Damas y caballeros:

Para evitar cometer errores escribiendo en inglés, lo hago en español. Viendo el nivel poco convincente y efectivo del mestro suizo, me late que pierde con el "terror de los clasificatorios": Mr Alejandro qualy Falla.

Saludos

Posted by brent 08/18/2010 at 06:18 AM

Hey tigs you got a crush on nadal you tip him for everything how about getting real and relise nadal is not that good on hardcourts as shown in toronto when murray destroyed him. My tip Fed to beat joker and tignor you are a loser

Posted by Joe 08/18/2010 at 07:23 AM

Hey brent and you got a crush on federer who I can bet he won't win Cincy and USO and probably same about Murray so maybe the loser are you

Posted by lilscot 08/18/2010 at 07:27 AM

Prashant: 5:54 a.m.

Wow, what a nice response from Rog about Rafa. I always love it when the two guys defend each other. Maybe we should get them to come on here and teach a few of us how to respond to each other with the same kind of respect. :) I'm just now reading Strokes of Genius and it's so cool to get that inside look into the two great champions. It'll be a very sad day in tennis when we no longer have these two in the game.

Posted by lilscot 08/18/2010 at 07:31 AM

brent:

I guess I must just be getting too old or something because it just really irks me to see people having to resort to calling a professional doing what he's paid to do a "loser." There must be more mature and effective ways of getting your point across without having to use adjectives like that. Do you really think anyone takes you seriously when you write like that? I'm guessing you're still a teenager.

Posted by JohnP 08/18/2010 at 08:05 AM

A lot of hot air on the board these days......it's giving a voice to some who should not have one, choosing to spew garbage while hiding in the anonymity of it....Come on.....

Back to tennis, how times have changed! Saying that the champion of Wimbledon, once the fastest surface, may be less of a favourite at the US Open because the surface is faster!!!! Times have changed. Perhaps Wimbledon is now the "neutral" surface ??

Posted by fedfan 08/18/2010 at 09:59 AM

Agreed with all posters who feel we are lucky to have Federer and Nadal, and I am one who began watching tennis with my father in the 60s.

Posted by Eliot H 08/18/2010 at 10:38 AM

watching the great Roger over the weekend, my wife loved his pink/kakhi combination and subsequently ordered if for me.

if only i had the game to carry if off!!

Posted by alex 08/18/2010 at 10:53 AM

SFs: Berdych vs. Federer; Murray vs. Nalbandian
F: Federer vs. Murray
W: Federer :(

Posted by blog 08/18/2010 at 12:52 PM

i think miss spelling was on purpose???? wry humor love it. ill be back,right after i get my underwear out of my mouth,i mean azz?????

Posted by Fot 08/18/2010 at 03:02 PM

Gulbis knew Steve picked him to the SF so he's really fighting to stay in this match. lol! He was down match point but held on. So this is 2 3-set matches so far. He keeps this up he will really be 'match ready' by the SF (or dead tired). lol!

Posted by FED FRED 08/18/2010 at 03:49 PM

It was a good win for Nadal over Taylor Dent.

Taylor is a member of the famous Dent Family.

There is his father Car and mother Pepso....
Along with the siblings, Major and Minor..

They live next door to the Wrightnows.

Posted by bemol 08/18/2010 at 08:00 PM

Well, Gulbis fought like hell today, saving 3mp in the last tie break and walked out victorious over Meltzer(13) 6-7(8) 6-3 7-6(5) and smashed 21 aces.
So up to Murray tomorrow; at least, he is up to 3rd round and we could have a good match.
Too bad, there were no streams for his first 2 matches.
So a Steve's prediction almost concluded. Chapeau!

Posted by FED FRED 08/18/2010 at 11:17 PM

The top players are just not in great form.

It was impossible to tell where FED is at over 7 games.
Soderling is not playing at a high level.

Murray looked hung over from his victory in Toronto.

Rafa is still not on his game but Taylor still couldn't make a Dent in it...

The Joker is so inconsistent it is frightening. Querry does vary from week to week.

Posted by FED FRED 08/18/2010 at 11:21 PM

Zarko,

I love your predictions.

Way to go out on a limb and pick FED...
That takes some guts Skippy.

The thing I love most about you predictions is they are always wrong.
Yet, you keep making the same ones over and over.

Posted by SexyCommenter 08/19/2010 at 01:49 AM

I am a Rafafan, but after watching Toronto I have to say: Rafael Nadal can only win the US Open with luck. He still plays the topspin balls to the backhand side of a rightie. He has not hit the ball flatter, and his serve was better at Wimbledon. There are too many guys who can beat him with his style of play. They are: Andy Murray, Tomas Berdych, Roger Federer, Juan Martin Del Potro (assuming he is healthy again) and even Robin Soderling. The last two are less dangerous, but the first two are a real threat! Let's see how far can he go at Cincinati.

Posted by retro jordan shoes 08/19/2010 at 02:34 AM

I like the tennis, my favorite star is Andy roddick.

Posted by fred (sweet sixteen) 08/19/2010 at 03:34 AM

Federer - Kohlschreiber will be an interesting match, a very good preparation for Fed. Too bad Falla didn't make it, he's a gifted player.

Posted by sebastiandiplo 08/19/2010 at 10:50 AM

bah, everyone in this blog say that my comments are insulting and blah blah blah............ yeah four sure....... but I think that the one who is insulting and also someone who overrates rafael nadal is mr stinknor... not me.... he is the one that says that federer would ever win another gran slam, he is the one that said that roddick should retire... he is the one that says that underrates the remain top 20 players on the tour not me......... so for those rafa fans who say that rafa is the best ever bla blah blah, andy roddick would beat nadal as easy as he do it in miami or you dont remember?????? are you suffering from amnesia???? pos: nadal would NEVER win the us open, and federer is the best in the whole tennis history......

Posted by sebastiandiplo 08/19/2010 at 10:53 AM

mr stinknor predictions are just trash, oh and he has a crush on nadal................ roddick champion in cinnci and the uso.. nadal wont go beyond third round in this years uso

Posted by genetica 08/19/2010 at 10:57 AM

WHy do u love Nadal?
Everyone knows that Berdych can easily defeat Nadal. I dont see Nada winning the tournament after beating Berdych, Federer and Djokovic
This preview of yours sucks.

Posted by sebastiandiplo 08/19/2010 at 10:59 AM

oh finally some one who thinksd that steve predictions are just trash and sh!t

Posted by sebastiandiplo 08/19/2010 at 11:07 AM

I dont like nadal, therefore i dont live mr stinknor blogs, im just writing here because i love when stinknor predictions are wrong, well taking into account that stinknor always put nadal as winner in every single tournament...... jajajajaj

Posted by JohnP 08/19/2010 at 12:40 PM

Predictions are exactly that - predictions. For anyone who could have foreseen 9-11 or the economist who predicted the 2008 financial market collapse (forget his name....Roubini ??) may have been disregarded as nonsense or not possible.....we all know what happened in those cases.

They're predictions, people, and tennis is a game. Get a grip.

Posted by Kamamura Kamamuri 08/19/2010 at 01:29 PM

Sebastian... My prescription to you is: Stop immediately watching tennis on tv. You'll discover that there is a way to be happier and more productive in life.

Posted by Fot 08/19/2010 at 02:44 PM

Watching Gulbis in this Murray match makes me realize why I would NEVER predict him to get to a SF or F of ANY tournament.

Posted by BrooklynNY 08/19/2010 at 03:15 PM

FOT: why do you say that about Gulbis?

Posted by mel 08/19/2010 at 07:15 PM

TO THOOZ: Your comment is well appreciated considering especially so because your a Federer fan.Thanks for putting that Diplo guy in his place.

TO JOHN: Completely agree.

TO A CERTAIN BRENT: We all wish you and DIPLO will grow up and please don't read Steve Tignor's blogs anymore. Read someone else's so as not to plunge your surly and mean streak further down to the pits. Like JOHNP said, these are predictions!!!

AND AGAIN TO DIPLO: GET A GRIP. WE DON'T WANT YOUR COMMENTS IN THIS CIVILIZED BLOGS. THERE'S NO ROOM FOR YOUR INSULTING COMMENTS HERE. GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! AND BTW, THERE IS NO SUCH WORD AS "THINKSD". MR WEBSTER WILL TURN IN HIS GRAVE. AND IF YOU DO NOT READ STEVE'S BLOGS AS YOU CLAIM, HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT HIS PREDICTIONS ARE? WHO ARE YOU? WHAT KIND OF CHILDHOOD DID YOU HAVE TO TRANSFORM YOU INTO A MEAN-SPIRITED,FOUL-MOUTHED,VENOM-SPEWING, SAD CREATURE? YOUR ORAL DIARRHEA IS SICKENING.AND TO SAY THAT STEVE'S WRITINGS ARE TRASH IS LIKE THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK. GO AWAY.

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