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Speak, Warrior 07/14/2009 - 4:56 PM

86262095 by Pete Bodo

Well, we had that conference call with Pete Sampras a few hours ago.Pete made himself available on behalf of the upcoming Los Angeles Tennis Open (title sponsor: Farmer's Insurance Group), where he'll be honored, as well as play an exhibition match against Marat Safin.

Most of you remember that the Sampras-Safin U.S. Open final of 2000 was a match of astonishingly high quality - at least from Safin's end of the court, although truth be told it wasn't as if Sampras, the no. 4 seed, was off his game. We didn't actually get to see enough of his game to come to any conclusions about that.

Safin, who was seeded 6 and on his early-career upward arc, simply bludgeoned Sampras off his theoretical home court in what remains a high-water mark for power tennis. It was a 4-3-3 whitewash, and Sampras himself was so impressed that he couldn't be bothered to work out what he might have done differently, or even indulge in a little bit of that hateur to which a stung champion is entitled. Jimmy Connors would have snarled words to this effect: Yeah? Let's see if this Commie with the head shaped like a can of dog food can back it up for a few years, and then get back to me about how great he is. . .

Sampras, to his credit, just shrugged it off with the proverbial hat tip: The guy played great, give him all the credit. He's got a big future in this game.

Watching that match led many journalists (and other pundits) to a Jon Landau moment. Landau almost single-handedly launched Bruce Springsteen's career when, after seeing the E-Street band perform, he wrote a blathering rave review containing those now immortal words: "I have seen rock and roll's future and its name is Bruce Springsteen." 

Well, Safin turned out not to be tennis's equivalent of Springsteen (although it would have been an appropriate analogy in many ways if he had). What we ended up with instead was tennis's equivalent to the Beatles in Roger Federer, and the more I think about the parallel the more it apt it seems. Let's stretch the analogy to the breaking point: in tennis we have the Beatles vs. Rolling Stones reprised in the Federer vs. Rafael Nadal rivalry. Almost everyone in the baby boomer generation fell into either the Beatles or Rolling Stones camp, although if you were insufficiently fanatical you got to enjoy both. Being more than adequately fanatical, I was a Stones man myself, and wrote the Beatles off for good after that much ballyhooed White Album.

So naturally, Pete was asked about the Federer-Nadal rivalry - specifically, if he felt that Roger could be considered the Greatest of All Time if he can't establish superiority over his career rival (as Sampras did in his rivaly with Andre Agassi). You'll see from Pete's answer that he was slightly flummoxed, but one of his outstanding qualities always was his determination to honest, even if it meant delivering his opinion or thoughts through clenched teeth.

"I do understand the argument as far as being the best ever. You have to be the man of your generation.  He (Roger) has come up short against Nadal. I can see the point. It's hard to answer that. I don't know how to answer it.You know, it's not done yet.  Roger's career isn't done yet. He's going to play Nadal a number of times over the next number of years, and he has to beat him. He has to beat him in the finals of majors. To be considered the greatest ever, he certainly in my book is (already that). But he has to figure this kid out.  He has to beat him.  He's lost to him a number of times. You know, you got to be the man of your generation. He certainly is the man of his generation; he just has to figure out Nadal."

Pushed to elaborate vis a vis his own experience wih Agassi, Pete added: 

"Well, God, you're giving it some thought, huh (laughter)? It would have bothered me if I had a losing record against Andre in majors. It wouldn't have sat well with me. Did it mean I was the greatest or not the greatest? I don't know. It's the debate of greatest of all time. We so badly want to pin it on someone.  With the numbers you have to give it to Roger.  His record against Nadal, okay, you might not give it to him. 

"I mean, if I was 7-15 against Andre and I was done, it's hard to say I was the player of my generation - just because he got the best of me. Like I said, the story's not over yet. We have another probably three, four years of these two guys competing against each other. If anything, I think Nadal is going to be hungrier now, seeing Roger getting back to No. 1. It's hard to give you a definitive answer when it's not done yet. I think Roger knows he's got to figure out this kid.  It's a tough, tough matchup.  Nadal is one of the few guys that believes in himself that he's better than Roger."

You may remember that in his Wimbledon press conference, Rod Laver took the position that in one match, on grass, he would pick Sampras over Federer. Laver wasn't the only one who took that tack. Just a few weeks ago, John McEnroe told me, "Watching these guys today, I keep thinking that if Sampras walked out there, he’d still drive these guys bananas. In my opinion he’s still the greatest fast court-player who ever lived. Where Roger is the greatest, period."

I asked Sampras about that, too. He said:

"Well, I think one thing Roger doesn't see on grass the last number of years is really a true serve-and- volleyer, someone that's willing to come in and put the pressure on and make him pass, make him return these big serves. I don't think anyone really scares him. I think my game would make Roger a little bit more uncomfortable. I would obviously come in on both serves and put the pressure on his backhand, sort of go from there. . . I would sort of dictate the play.  But, you know, he'd be a tough guy to break, especially when he's hitting 50 aces like he did (in the recent Wimbledon final).  It would have been a great matchup.

"If I would beat him?  If I felt my best on grass, I did feel unbeatable, especially in the mid '90s.  I was a tough guy to break, played well from the back court to have chances, and I moved well enough. It's a flattering comment.  Do I think I could have beaten Roger in my prime?  Sure. I don't think anyone could beat me in my prime on grass. I felt as Roger does now - he feels unbeatable."

In terms of this discussion, Sampras also made an interesting observation about Andy Roddick, appended to his evaluation of how much Roddick seems to have improved: "(Andy's) backhand driveup the line is better and he's slicing a little better.  His transition game has gotten better.  As you saw on that set point, 6 5, he's still a little uncomfortable, but he's getting better at it. (But) I was sitting up there watching, (thinking) just serve-and-volley one time on your second serve because all Roger does is chip it. Put something in his head."

This is to me an endlessly interesting if unresolvable discussion, and it's what tennis players talk about when they gather to jaw about the players and game of today. But let's wrap it up with a bit about Safin, the player whose personality is as big as his talent, probably to his long-term detriment as a player. Surprisingly, the two men (Sampras and Safin) were friends - at least to the degree that anyone as soulful as Safin could be friends with someone as coldly realistic as Sampras. Sampras explained:

"Marat and I always got along very well when we were playing. He's a really nice guy, great player, showed what he could do especially at the US Open the one year, he tuned me up pretty good. He's an expressive guy on the court, shows emotion. Off the court, he's a happy-go-lucky guy. I was pretty reserved when I was playing, to myself.  For whatever reason, he and I seemed to get on really well.  We practiced quite a bit together. 

"You know, he's a champion. He got to No. 1. He won a major, I think two majors.  It's sad to see him go because I think he brought a lot to the sport. Haven't sort of kept in contact with him.  But certainly when I see him, we'll talk about some of our matches.  When Paul (Annacone) was coaching (Tim) Henman, Marat would ask Paul, How is Pete doing?  He was always just a personable guy, really nice guy, and someone that I've always gotten along really well with."

One day, Federer will be talking about guys -  Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, maybe even Nadal - just like this, just like the tired warrior that he will no doubt have become.

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Posted by TripleF-FedFanForever(Fed's Second Reich - We are in it!) 07/14/2009 at 07:46 PM

Pete (one of you, especially you, you know who I am talking about)

Here I was, winding down from Clay down to RG over to Wimby sort of purging a bit of active live tennis, only to get ready for USO series, minding my own beeswax...and look what you have done! You proud you! Just look what you have done.

One thing: Death, taxes, Global Warming and Goatederaf (belongs to a semi mutated, self-selected Giraffe phylum and no, it doesn't resemble that humble herbivore that supply mutton)...TWibe will never get tired of this!

Posted by MikeDC 07/14/2009 at 07:47 PM

If having a losing record to Nadal eliminates you from being the GOAT I wonder what the penalty is for losing to Jaime Yzaga in an early round of a slam during your prime. Or Petr Korda. Or Gilbert Schaller. Or Ramon Delgado.

Sure the Nadal Head to Head is a blemish on Federer's record, no matter how you splice the clay vs. other surfaces thing. However, there is no potential GOAT that doesn't have some sort of major blemish, and elevating only Federer's H-H against Nadal to some sort of definitive disqualifier seems ridiculous. Especially when there are more obvious ones like that pesky French Open finalist requirement...

Also.. (anti-Sampras KAD warning)... does he hate tennis or have the worst memory in history? I've heard him get completely confused as to what years he won what slams in the past, and now he doesn't even know how many slams his friend Safin won? 2 is a pretty easy number to remember!

Posted by Grant 07/14/2009 at 07:47 PM

Oh noes, msf might call me a jackass!

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 07:47 PM

Mrs. Santa - but who did you hate MOST!!!!????!! You must be new here.

Yes, I am weak and came back but only because I knew Grant would make an appearance. Mrs. Santa is just an extra bit of salty frosting.

Ya know, when I first read the title of this thread I thought it was a command to a dog named Warrior. "Sit Ubuu., sit."

Posted by Emma (insertwittymantrahere) 07/14/2009 at 07:48 PM

"Soderling won that match at the anonymous GS because he was playing an injured player."
Lynne, I'm a RafaKAD, and yet, I'll have to respectfully disgree with the above statement. General Sod had a good game plan and stuck to it. He simply played better. Rafa is too classy to use his injury as an excuse, maybe us fans should follow suit.
I'm not denying that Rafa's knees affected his performance, but it is unfair to Sod to use Rafa's injury as the sole excuse for the result.

Posted by joe_can_bike 07/14/2009 at 07:48 PM

Well, I guess that's not much fun when I supply the answer in the same post. The heat in California is killing me. Can we just turn it off? (An homage to Fed & Hawkeye.)

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:48 PM

Nah, BlueDog. Pete S = Beethoven, in his Heroic period. :)

Posted by VC 07/14/2009 at 07:52 PM

"ladyjulia, so R U saying I should be charged for something I didn't request because I somehow benefit from it? How socialist!"

NP : On the contrary, it's more like second-hand smoking, I'd imagine. Hardly anything to benefit from... ;-)

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 07:54 PM

imjimmy, agree with you on Roddick and Hewitt, but think you underrate Safin a little. Except for 2003 Marat's records from '00-'05 were pretty solid, and he played some great tennis along the way. But as you know he faded away after the '05 AO, so his prime didn't last long enough to synchronize with Fed's for more than a year or two. Shame.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/14/2009 at 07:55 PM


Well, I respect your point of view, but as a longtime Rafa fan, I have to tell you from the little I saw, that it was my opinion that he wasn't able to run very well, the footwork wasn't there and Ithought that he was injured.

I am not making excuses and it turned out that he was actually injured.

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 07:55 PM I HAVE to hang around for the MSF/Grant smack down. It DOES make such a nice change from the Fedal wars.

Popcorn anyone?

Posted by TripleF-FedFanForever(Fed's Second Reich - We are in it!) 07/14/2009 at 07:55 PM

Rafa will retires eventually.
Fed will still have a full head of hair.
And so he will remain as the Hair God.
And Pete S's gray unibrows will resemble Andy Rooney's.
Rafa will play doubles with Soderling in the senior circuit.
And Fed will partner with FGonzalez. Both will run around each other to hit forehands. Their H2H against all seniors will be 1528:0
And oh, yes, Rafa will change to boxers.
And everything will be fine.

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 07:56 PM

PS - my money is on the Northern Lights.

Posted by BlueDog 07/14/2009 at 07:56 PM

No, no no! Laver would be Beethoven. Different era, and all. Pete would have to be the Kink's methinks. Beach Boys? Zeppelin? You choose.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 07:57 PM

Lynne, Rafa was tired, exhausted, injured, off his meds, and probably upset about his hairline or water bottle adjustment that day, so of course he lost!

in fact, unless he's 100 percent fit, ready, perky, in ideal health and humming on all cylinders, its only fair they postpone his match, lets petition the ATP!

the guy has never lost a match unless his body was falling apart, which I guess happens about 8-10 times a year

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 07:58 PM

Triple F - ROFL... I can just see Fed and Gonzo running INTO each other as they strive to avoid BHs.

But I do think, for his fans' sake, Rafa should go 'commando' on the senior circuit.

Posted by sally 07/14/2009 at 07:58 PM

yes it is better to lose to rafa in the finals than some of the tomato cans sampras lost to early.

Posted by Rosangel 07/14/2009 at 08:00 PM

Tim: we just know you're trying to get a rise out of someone when you make an absurd statement such as "the rest of his career and results is rather non existent":)

The respective career-winning percentages of the two men are 82.2%, and 80.9%

And it's the Mallorcan whose percentage is higher. However, both are up there with the very best that the game has to offer, which is what mostly matters. The Mallorcan's percentage overtook the Swiss' percentage in the past couple of years. But hey, that could change again. The only point I'm trying t make is that both guys have established a significant degree of dominance over the rest of the field - and those numbers are certainly drawn from big enough samples to be statistically significant, though not career-definitive, as both careers are still works-in-progress.

I don't think either player has anything much not to be proud of in his career to date, and I have really have had it with the idea that to build up any great player (take your pick) it's necessary to over-aggrandise him by tearing down someone else's accomplishments.

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 08:00 PM

Lynne - right on!! Just like Fed was devastated for all of 2008 by mono. Sick/couldn't train/tired, not moving well. Really...let's just toss out all Fed results from that year - except the US Open of course. An exception that proved the rule.

Posted by MrsSanta 07/14/2009 at 08:00 PM

CL the Beatles are the pillar that holds the noxious baby boomer edifice afloat and the Rolling Stones produced "Brown Sugar". I believe they are both more evil than NBC. The GOAT debaters should adopt this approach as well. I can provide additional haterade for those who lack sufficient quantities.

Posted by cout1234 07/14/2009 at 08:02 PM

the problem with the GOAT arguments it that's it's such of a heck of beyond the wall subjective topic..(of ALL TIME??) that on one level it can't even really be discussed properly.

If you are the champ of ALL can you have a losing record, including Majors , to your prime rival? If Roger wins a few more Majors it could muffle sume rumbling, but if he continues to lose to Rafa in future Majors it's hard to call
Roger the greatest of ALL TIME.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 08:03 PM

meaning, Ros, he's never beaten anyone else in a Slam, so his whole big headline career is about beating Fed, no?

Fed has beaten Safin, Roddick, nadal, Baggie, hewitt, etc etc in Slam finals...

Rafa has beaten Federer, and ...who was that guy in the french?

thats my point... his whole reputation is about Federer, stopping his domination, etc.

Posted by Syd 07/14/2009 at 08:04 PM

Triple F. erm, Giraffes do not have their own phylum, neither do sheep; they are in the same phyla. :) same as ours: Chordata, but I catch your drift.

Posted by manuelsantanafan 07/14/2009 at 08:04 PM

Errands to run.

Hasta luego.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 08:04 PM

lol cout Roger would win 20 majors and youd be harping about head to heads...

he can sit on the couch and eat Doritos and drink Coors Light and never hit a ball from here, he has nothign to prove to you or anyone else...

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 08:05 PM

VC, one difference: laughs = good for your health, 2nd-hand smoke = not so much.

Posted by TripleF-FedFanForever(Fed's Second Reich - We are in it!) 07/14/2009 at 08:07 PM

CL: Rafa is allowed to go 'commando' only if he chooses to wear Edberg shorts and Fed's Sergeant Pepper Military Jacket. When Rafa enters with the Jacket on, everyone would be like, is it there or is it not? And then the Jacket would come off and everyone would be like, why is he not pulling it, oh why!
Imagine that.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/14/2009 at 08:07 PM

CL: Don't think I made any mention of TMF, did I?

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 08:07 PM


If Federer did not exist, rest assured Rafa would have reigned No. 1 for atleast 3 consecutive years (basing it on the fact that he was ranked 2).

Rafa, himself, sometime in 2007 said that in a press conference. He didn't say he would have been ranked 1 for 3 years, but said that he would have already been No. 1 if it wasn't for Roger since he had accumulated enough points compared to other No. 1s who were not Roger.

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 08:08 PM

BlueDog, Laver = Bach. FYI I place Bach and Mozart above Beethoven, though I find most of Wolfgang's oeuvre too polite for my taste.

Posted by VC 07/14/2009 at 08:08 PM

"one difference: laughs = good for your health, 2nd-hand smoke = not so much."

NP : Ok, then. How about drivers honking outside your window? :-)

Posted by Mike 07/14/2009 at 08:10 PM

Well ... seeing as this thread has devolved into dueling regurgitation (AKA Fedal Wars), I'll leave my final contribution as ...

Here's to hoping Rafa comes back 100%, Fed maintains his health and clear head, and we get to enjoy some great Tennis. ;)

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 08:11 PM

by the way cout, to answer your question, its possible because youre up against the best clay courter in history, and you ALWAYS get to the finals, because youre so darn good on clay, just not quite THAT good .. so Fed is not the GOAT because his main rival is extra GREAT on one surface..

by the way he beat the guy who beat the clay GOAT in the French Open final, in straight sets :) that should count for somethin!

Posted by TripleF-FedFanForever(Fed's Second Reich - We are in it!) 07/14/2009 at 08:12 PM

Tim, dear Tim

You make the 'sit on the couch and eat Doritos and drink Coors Light' sound like it's a bad thing. Is it?

Your earlier point is a defining one. Rafa was made to, tuned to, and charged with to beat Federer to get his #1. He had to wait #158 weeks or so, but he did in the end. He honed his game to Roger's. He doesn't know what to do next. Let's see what he brings against all who are watching the RG round-16 tape of his studiously. Toni am sure is thinking hard as we speak.

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 08:13 PM

VC, laughs = good for your health, drivers honking = not so much. C'mon, get your SAT mojo working!

Posted by Grant 07/14/2009 at 08:14 PM

"No, no no! Laver would be Beethoven. Different era, and all. Pete would have to be the Kink's methinks. Beach Boys? Zeppelin? You choose."

Safin is the Beach Boys - capable of greatness, marred by headcaseishness.

Rafa is Zeppelin - his topspin is the Hammer of the Gods.

Borg, not Fed, is the Beatles - not quite as good 'under the lights' (the Beatles weren't considered a great live band), left in his prime.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 08:14 PM

NP...I can imagine how you would rub your hands in glee everytime a Rafa KAD or Fed KAD falls into the trap...

However, its not all smooth sailing for you, is it? Esp. *cough* now after Wimby.

Posted by VC 07/14/2009 at 08:15 PM

NP : Oh, ok. Laugh away! Was just trying to draw a bad analogy to the direction of this thread. :-)

Posted by BlueDog 07/14/2009 at 08:16 PM

How about if we move on to the GMOAT debate? That's "greatest mullet of all time", for those not in the know. If I'm not mistaken, I think we can reach consensus on this one.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 08:16 PM

but Julia, beating Federer is what made Rafa grow in stature, thats my point...if Fed lost early (which he never does of course) and Rafa beat some other guys, i wonder how the GOAT conversation would be, given that Fed would have the same # of Slams, just fewer losses to Rafa...

seems like hes punished, he should just lose a few RD16 matches, then for sure he'd be the GOAT!

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 08:19 PM

if Rafa beat Marian Puerta, David Ferrer, David Nalbandian and Verdasco in his four French Open finals, how would this GOAT conversation be going today??

think about it...

Posted by Matt C. 07/14/2009 at 08:19 PM

What does KAD stand for?

Posted by Sherlock 07/14/2009 at 08:23 PM

Am I reading this right. Tim's arguing that the only reason Rafa has clout is his ability to beat Federer in slams?

And this is a negative how? :)

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 08:26 PM

You nailed it, ladyjulia. What can I say, I love TW.

VC, I say it's not me who should be charged, but the TWibe. For endorphin overdose.

Lock, good one.

Anyway I'm off. Later, folks.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 08:26 PM


I agree that H2H may have been better if Fed had not reached the finals of the FO so many danged times..or the clay MS finals for that matter.

But, Fed had has his chances to improve that H2H...he's lost to Rafa in Dubai, Miami, Wimby, AO final. If he would have won those 4, the H2H would have been 9-11 instead of 13-7. Nobody would have brought up the 9-2 clay then, would they?

I don't agree on a GOAT...since the universe has not ended (its ALL TIME), the sun still has 4.5 billion years left...who knows what will happen. I can argue for the greatest of his which the Rafa H2H really causes damage.

But not all is over, Roger can still beat Rafa if he keeps his head.

Posted by Sherlock 07/14/2009 at 08:27 PM

I really do wish the word "GOAT" would become spam. What if we just stopped talking about it, cold turkey, right now?

Ahhhhhhh. What a wonderful world it would be.

Posted by BlueDog 07/14/2009 at 08:28 PM

Those are fair choices Grant (I thought you might be drawn in :)

Some other thoughts:

KC and the Sunshine Band= Verdasco
The Trogs= Stepanek
AC/DC= Dr. Ivo

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 08:28 PM

I love it when Rosangel brings out the stats

Yes they cant make excuses.

Posted by Grant 07/14/2009 at 08:29 PM

"Am I reading this right. Tim's arguing that the only reason Rafa has clout is his ability to beat Federer in slams?"

Yeah, not sure where this one's going. I can understand the argument that if Fed had made fewer clay finals he'd be getting less hassle about a certain head-to-head despite having actually done worse, but not the one that six-time slam winners only get clout from beating Federer.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 08:29 PM

Sherlock Welcome!

Better late than never I suppose.

Posted by Master Ace 07/14/2009 at 08:29 PM

Roger did not win 3 Slams in consecutive years. He did this in 2004,2006, and 2007. In 2005, Marat Safin defeated him in that semifinal match at the Australian Open(9-7 5th). Also, Rafael defeated Roger in the semifinals before defeating Puerta to win his first Slam. One negative on Rafael is injuries. He missed the French Open in 2004, Australian Open in 2006, and Wimbledon 2009. in 2005, Rafael won double digit titles and when he had to miss the 2006 AO, most of the media said that Rafael would have won it because Rebound Ace was tailored to his game.

Posted by Grant 07/14/2009 at 08:31 PM

"AC/DC= Dr. Ivo"

I dunno, I'd say that AC/DC has made a better career out of doing the same thing over and over.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 08:34 PM

Grant Please get with it

Dr Ivo is a Hip Hop fan.

Posted by Carol 07/14/2009 at 08:34 PM

I have a question to the ones that still insist Soderling played great and Nadal didn't play so good. Then when did Nadal get the injury? after finish that match? or between RG and Wimbledon? or when?
It's so obvious that Nadal got the knees injury before Madrid

Posted by TripleF-FedFanForever(Fed's Second Reich - We are in it!) 07/14/2009 at 08:34 PM

Life, not GOAT debate, is not fair.
2 of the Beatles are dead. And Keith Richards is a grand father. Go figure.
Fed is Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan combined.
Lendl is Grateful Dead.
Becker is Credence Clearwater Revival
Edberg is The Who.
Murray is Cure.
Wilander is Doors.
Nole is Millie Vanillie.

PS: Rafa will be 70s onwards Stones.

Posted by BlueDog 07/14/2009 at 08:36 PM

""AC/DC= Dr. Ivo"

I dunno, I'd say that AC/DC has made a better career out of doing the same thing over and over."

So what are you thinking for the Doc? Nine Inch Nails?

Posted by VC 07/14/2009 at 08:38 PM

Well, for all the talk of weak eras, H2Hs and such, Federer has added 11 Slams (atleast one of each type) to his tally since Nadal won his first. Nadal has added 5 more, and Djokovic picked up the one that was going spare. I'd take any negative H2H in exchange for that haul.

Posted by Sherlock 07/14/2009 at 08:38 PM

Grant @ 8:29, agreed. On both counts.

"I'd say that AC/DC has made a better career out of doing the same thing over and over."

LOL. :)

Hi, AM. :)

Sadly, this was a bit of a drive-by. Time to head for home. See y'all later.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 08:40 PM

Carol I feel Rafa knees started to go in that tournament in Rotterdam.He should have not play there so soo after the AO.

If you remember he had injury after that tournament.

Posted by Grant 07/14/2009 at 08:42 PM

"So what are you thinking for the Doc? Nine Inch Nails?"

No, AC/DC fits. They both do one thing, and do it well.

I'm not sure who'd be NiN. I will however suggest JMac as The Clash, if only as a description of his run-ins with chair umps.

Posted by Cosi 07/14/2009 at 08:49 PM

Posted by L.Rubin 07/14/2009 @ 6:42 PM

"We also have to figure in that Rafa is several years younger than Roger and started to peak when Roger had already just about done everything in tennis"

No, Cosi. TMF was 24 when Rafa started to peak. One would think, after reading your post, that Fed was applying for AARP membership in the spring of 2005. In addition, Roger, in said 2005, was at the beginning stages of a blitzkrieg that would last until 2008. The fact that the coltish Rafa managed to give him headaches during that three-year tear is to the Mallorcan's unending credit.


Wow, you have Nadal peaking at age 19? I think you do a disservice to Nadal, I think Nadal started to peak from 2008 to early 2009... when Roger was 26-27 and quite accomplished, not freaking 24... Sheesh, I guess you haven't noticed how much BETTER of a player Nadal is lately than he was at age 19-20

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 08:51 PM

Edberg = the!!!!!!!!! I dunno 'who' Edberg is, but it is not 'the Who.' nor is it ABBA. Stefan hears a who, maybe.

Mrs. Santa - forget Brown Sugar...the Stones gave us Mick's lips, for which they, and the lips, should be drawn and quartered which, in the case of the lips, would make enough to feed an army of pigs for 8.5 years. ***shudder***

Sherlock - I have had several too many glasses of wine, so I have no idea what you actually said, but whatever it is, you are RIGHT, now and forever more.

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 08:52 PM

Well, if we are talking about doing the same thing over and over, isn't that Mr. Federer?

Posted by Cosi 07/14/2009 at 08:55 PM

Posted by Rosangel 07/14/2009 @ 6:59 PM

Well, let's see about that H2H:

2:1 on grass isn't statistically significant - far too small a sample."

Well YEAH it's a small stat, the reason being there are hardly
any grass tournaments, the other extreme surface at the opposite end of the spectrum than the extreme surface of clay. So Roger didn't have the opportunity to play Nadal on his very best surface like Nadal had the opportunity to play Roger so very often on clay. As I said, all the elements of the rivalry so far have been in Nadal's favor, from surfaces played, to the SLOWING DOWN of grass and hardcourts which favor Nadal, to the ticking of the clock and timing of peaks and valleys for players. Head to head, Pfffttt.

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 08:56 PM

Laver- Beethoven??????? Don't be silly. Laver is Sibelius. Maybe Dvorak. But NOT Beethoven.

Posted by Grant 07/14/2009 at 08:57 PM

I'd say Lendl was James Taylor, because they both had a lot of success at the time despite boring people and aren't really thought about much anymore, but James Taylor was probably better on grass.

Posted by ladyjulia 07/14/2009 at 09:02 PM


Nadal took his chances...he didn't design the ATP schedule, neither does the schedule revolve around to when Nadal can play or not.

Besides, Roger HAS lost to Rafa on his best surface...the 9-7 is painful for a Roger fan, but nevertheless a loss on his best surface.

As I mentioned before, Roger has his chances to right the H2H in Dubai, Miami, Wimby and AO...he didn't take them and Rafa did.

Besides, Roger has had 4 years...yes, 4 years to solve Rafa. He's racked up GS yet he hasn't solved Rafa. He cannot be the greatest player in his generation if he folds quietly at 6-2 in the fifth set of a slam final to his main rival.

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 09:02 PM

"James Taylor was better on grass" For who? Him or the listeners? Lendl was on rosin.

Posted by Carol 07/14/2009 at 09:03 PM

Yes, aussiemarg, you are right, he didn't have to play after AO, that's my point, in Miami he didn't play good, and then worse and worse so in RG his knees were in very bad conditions
I hope he has learned the lesson

Posted by Grant 07/14/2009 at 09:05 PM

That part was left ambiguous on purpose, CL.

Ok, I should really be going. Drink one for me.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 07/14/2009 at 09:09 PM

what would Rafa kids have to do without that (clay dominated) head to head to cling to? geez...

Posted by BlueDog 07/14/2009 at 09:11 PM

I was just following NP's lead on the Laver thing. Truth be told I'd probably go jazz for Laver, Brubeck maybe.

Grant, the grateful dead would be prime grass specialists. Useless on anything else. Clash is good, but maybe even Black Flag for JMac.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Winner of Wimbledon Suicide Pool) 07/14/2009 at 09:12 PM

You know what folks, I have a confession to make. I use to love watching Roger the most before I started to post here. But now I find myself not getting excited by his matches and I think he is becoming boring. I think this is because of all the GOAT and fedal wars that break out every day.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/14/2009 at 09:16 PM

The trouble is that Rafa and Fed are the most interesting players on the tour. I wonder if we could actually go a whole day without discussing them?

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 09:18 PM

I think Pete Sampras

Is Jumping Jack Flash.

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 09:18 PM

Ciao Grant...and I already did! Wheee!!

Angel of the Surf - but that is not Fed's fault...that is US!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Winner of Wimbledon Suicide Pool) 07/14/2009 at 09:23 PM

I know that but you have turned me off him, I still like him but not as much. I only worked this out this week. Don't get me wrong I love the fact that he has broken PS record.

I going back next door.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Winner of Wimbledon Suicide Pool) 07/14/2009 at 09:24 PM

"James Taylor was better on grass" For who? Him or the listeners? Lendl was on rosin.

CL "This made me smile".

Posted by Rosangel 07/14/2009 at 09:27 PM

Oh Tim. If your man had never existed, without that H2H we'd just have to settle for the fact that he'd be a mere six-Slam wonder. Or possibly a seven- or eight-Slam wonder.

Posted by sally 07/14/2009 at 09:30 PM

it seems to me roger gets penalized for his consistency. he gets to 3 straight roland garros finals and who does he face-arguably the greatest clay court player ever. sampras never had a comparable situation.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! WTF?!) 07/14/2009 at 09:33 PM

the never ending GOAT's hilarious how the GOAT criteria keeps changing everytime the Fed gets another milestone, first it was he had to get to 15, then he had to win the FO, then he had to beat Rafa at the FO, now he's got to turn around the h2h?! Dude has 15 slams, for someone who I thought would forever remain a mental headcase, I'll take it...

ION, the Fed is hanging out with freaking Liverpool and Rafa who still needs to STFU?! UNFREAKINGBELIEVABLE...dude, I suggest you burn that jersey and it had better not see the light of day...pffffttttttttttt

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 09:36 PM

Beckham- and there is photo evidence of the Liverpool meet 'n greet. I take it this is a bad thing?

And yes, the GOAT debate is the GOAT in terms of moving the goal posts.

Posted by VC 07/14/2009 at 09:38 PM

"UNFREAKINGBELIEVABLE...dude, I suggest you burn that jersey and it had better not see the light of day...pffffttttttttttt"

Good point, well made. ;-)
In his defence though, apparently they were the ones who went to see him.

Posted by Tfactor 07/14/2009 at 09:40 PM

Tim, you're so predictable! Nothing gives you more joy than posting all things Rafa ;-)

Psapce your comment @7.06 pm was priceless. Now I have 'man in the mirror' playing in my head (wonder if Pete can do the moon walk) :))))

Ok I don't usually get into this but as a Roger fan the h2h doesn't bother me, Roger has 15GS and counting.
As a Rafa fan, I'm not concerned with Roger's GS count. Rafa is 23 and if healthy should get a few more.
I just don't understand the need to put down one to lift the other *shrug*

Posted by Christopher 07/14/2009 at 09:40 PM

"James Taylor was probably better on grass."

Best comment yet in the thread.

Funny that Lendl decided to spend his retirement (and train all his daughters) in a sport that takes place entirely on grass.

Posted by TripleF-FedFanForever(Fed's Second Reich - We are in it!) 07/14/2009 at 09:41 PM

I take back. All back. Comparing Tennis greats with Rock bands and acts is such a bad idea. I blame it on Scotch. Seemed like a funny idea at the time. Yikes!
Fabrice Santoro = Pet Shop Boys.
My bad.

I stop.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 09:43 PM

Golf is not a bad sport to take up

Gee Tiger hasnt done that badly at it lol!

Posted by BlueDog 07/14/2009 at 09:44 PM

Uh oh. AM, by now breaking this down to the song level, we'll never get a coherent list :(

AA (AotS) That is truly sad to be put off any player just because of the GOAT wars. I may get irritated with some of the comments on here, but most are well reasoned.

At the end of the day the GOAT is just an opinion, and therefore to each his/her own. It's like arguing over wether maple pecan pie is better than coffee ice cream, the great thing being that we get to have both! *goes to check fridge* Plus, Fedal has zero calories.

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 09:45 PM

TripleF - you are right.

Roddick - Bon Jovi

Posted by VC 07/14/2009 at 09:46 PM

"Golf is not a bad sport to take up

Gee Tiger hasnt done that badly at it lol!"

Indeed, Aussiemarg. And no pesky H2H issues to worry about, either. ;-)

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 09:47 PM

Who would be the tennis Willie Nelson? I read that Willie sez he has smoked so much grass that he no longer has dreams. THAT would be really weird.

Posted by BlueDog 07/14/2009 at 09:56 PM

CL- Poor guy burned out his dream circuitry.

Who would be the Tennis Yoko Ono?

Posted by manuelsantanafan 07/14/2009 at 09:57 PM

One of Willie Nelson's best lines (not of coke), alluding to his tax woes:

When you owe the government $1 million, you're in trouble. When you owe them $20 million, they're in trouble.

Incidentally, I missed the comments on this blog so much while I was out, I'm considering using some text to voice software, so that I can relive said comments while I'm driving or otherwise on the move.

Not really.

And, I've decided to leave jackasses and jennys out of these discussions. Unlike Fedal wars, for example, the activities of jackasses and jennys usually have some economic value.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 07/14/2009 at 09:58 PM


Just can't help thinking that would be Goran. Don't ask me why!

Posted by BlueDog 07/14/2009 at 10:04 PM

I guess it would be Larcher de Brito = Yoko Ono.

Posted by NP 07/14/2009 at 10:07 PM

"Who would be the Tennis Yoko Ono?"

BlueDog, Mrs. Sampras was called exactly that after Pete got knocked out by Bastl in '02 Wimbledon.

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 10:09 PM

Blue Dog - excellent! Bare Naked Ladies' "Yoko Ono."

Maybe Willie is just back... to have a doppelganger in tennis. Although Mr. Jackie sort of comes to mind.

Posted by CL 07/14/2009 at 10:12 PM

Lynne - hmm...Goran? A little too intense, too say nothing of misogynistic...

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 10:12 PM

Nah Pete still is,

Jumping Jack Flash to me.

Posted by aussiemarg [Madame President in Comma Rehab for 2009] 07/14/2009 at 10:21 PM

Well I am out of here

Its been fun

Stay cool everyone


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