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Around the World in 1000 Words 11/30/2010 - 12:40 PM

Debut by Pete Bodo

Hey, anybody know who won the final in that tournament in London over the weekend?

Seriously, though, Roger Federer's win over his nemesis Rafael Nadal this weekend brings with it a significant sense of "closure," at least to the tournament year in tennis. But, as I wrote in a post for ESPN, "closure" works better following an unexpected tragedy or bout in a court of law than in sports. So let's remember, there's still this little matter of the Davis Cup final coming over the weekend.

***

Bad News for Davis Cup Reformers

The run-up to this Davis Cup final vividly demonstrates the significance of the tournament to all but the most transcendent of international stars, and it ought to resonate with those who cling to the idea, promoted mostly in the American Davis Cup-averse media, that the premier annual international team sports competition is passé, or of no interest to anyone not wearing a seersucker suit and straw boater.

When Novak Djokovic said the impending Davis Cup final in Belgrade (where Serbia will host France) was a distraction that prevented him from perhaps having the kind of World Tour Finals he would ordinarily hope for, you know that this "nobody really cares about Davis Cup" meme is somewhat threadbare. And guess what? The increasing number of emerging, top-quality players from nations other than the U.S. is only going to boost the luster of the competition. 

Belgrade may not be a major tennis capital (yet) or media center, but if this final delivers what it promises, Djokovic may pull off a John McEnroe. When McEnroe arrived on the scene, Davis Cup was at low ebb in the U.S. He reinvigorated it, and it's safe to say he took the whole world with him. It was simply because he believed in the concept and credibility of Davis Cup. Also, McEnroe more or less shamed a number of his countrymen, including Vitas Gerulaitis and (briefly) Jimmy Connors into re-examining their indifference to the competition. So forget the problems of marketing Davis Cup, the so-called overloaded calendar, the trials of having to play a Davis Cup tie in the after glow of a major). The blunt truth is that top players—most top players—have the utmost respect for the competition and do their best to take part in it.

The Bureaucrat

While next weekend will belong to Djokovic, Janko Tipsarevic and company, this last one was all Federer's, although he did recognize his own supporting cast of two, even though neither man lifted a racket. After winning, Federer acknowledged the impact Paul Annacone has had on his results since they began working in earnest in June. Here's the exact quote from The Mighty Fed:

"I had to regain some confidence. That only comes through winning matches. After having somewhat of a disappointing clay season, Halle, Wimbledon stretch, where I wasn't able to win any tournaments and didn't play my best tennis, played a bit passive, it was important that I was able to pick up my game. I started moving better, started feeling well physically and mentally. I'm sure Paul has helped in this regard. So has Severin (Luthi). That's why I'm very happy with my team at this stage of the season."

This is typical Federer commentary, and it confirms the feeling that the guy could have a heckuva second career after tennis as something like a high-ranking UN official. Notice the baroque, elusive touches. "I'm sure Paul has helped. . ." not simply, "Paul really helped. . ." What exactly did he mean by "happy with my team at this stage of the season?" I thought the season was over. Note the patient stating of the obvious: "It was important that I was able to pick up my game."  How about the nod to Severin Luthi (how many part-time coaches can one guy have)?

The instinct to spread around the credit and not give anyone too big—or small—a share, to not leave anyone out while also not admitting to over-reliance on anyone, is typical Federer and not all that different from the hard-working bureaucrat's mindset. And yes, I know that you could parse anyone's comments, delivered in a press conference, in a similar fashion. There's a lot of fat and grisle in most conversations. But TMF's is of a certain kind that I believe sheds a little light on his personality. I have to admit that this manner of speech and the thinking it implies leaves me a little cold, because, hail, it is cold.

I don't want to take credit away from Luthi; he's served Federer steadily if, to us, opaquely. That's fine. But from here it looks like the big change in Federer's attitude as well as certain aspects of Federer's game, owe to Annacone, the apostle of aggressive, "show your opponent that you're Roger Federer and he's not" tennis. Or, if you prefer something less blunt and more literal: "Play to your strengths." (As in,  don't just bunt back some kind of return with your shotmaking arsenal.)

The rounded edges of Federer's speech can be explained various ways, starting with his talent for and presumed desire to avoid making waves. Note that Federer divulged no state secrets in praising Annacone and Luthi and contrast that to what we know about the working relationship between, say, Andy Roddick and Larry Stefanki, or even the late-career technical analyses freely offered by Andre Agassi, or even the obsession with the role of character in tennis so often indulged by Boris Becker.

Ironically, Federer's approach brings to mind something Becker once told me about Annacone's other iconic protégé, Sampras. I paraphase: Pete has a great talent for setting up walls that keep the rest of the world out and help him stay focused on his mission. You could say the same of Federer.

Three Things You Can't Avoid. . .

It's funny, but the news in tennis tends to come in bunches having a greater relation to the Grand Slam and Masters calendars than any other factor. That's because outifts like the ATP and WTA like to drop their big news items during moments when the eyes of the world are focused on tennis. Hence, it was a pretty big week for all kinds of news, resounding as well as ephemeral. Did you see that Serena Williams pulled out of Hopman Cup as well as the Australian Open? She's still recuperating from surgery and issued a heartfelt promise that she'd be back and "better than ever."

Rere Maybe, when she's fully healed, Serena could have a heart-to-heart with 40-year old Kimiko Date Kumm, who recently averred that she may not be able to compete in the next Asian games (she lost in the semis this year) because by then she'll be 44 years old. I'm just hoping Serena and her sister Venus Williams can stick around long enough to hit, say, 32. On the other hand, starting in their late 20s, players are basically hostages to the unpredictable master, injury.

Kimiko said she's been feeling the strain of top-grade WTA tennis in her 40-year-old body, and I say we need to immediately launch a Don't go, Kimiko! campaign. I'm not a sentimentalist who thinks players ought to quit while they're on top or near it. Play as long as you want and can, knowing that there are three things in life you can't avoid: death, taxes and the WTA or ATP ranking/entry system. That's something Serena will have to deal with as well, if and when she returns. She'll probably be out of the Top 10 by then.

Spouting off the Starboard Bow. . .

How about that tempest in a teapot in Wales, where the chief executive of Welsh Rugby Union got his shorts all in a bunch because the BBC stayed with that thrilling Andy Murray vs. Rafael Nadal match at the World Tour Finals. Because of the length of that match, viewers were denied the first seven minutes of a match between the Welsh and the All-Blacks (New Zealand). It's usually tennis advocates complaining about the lack of respect they get in the big picture, so while I sympathize with the Welsh, all I can say is:  a food chain is not a pretty thing, try to live with it.

***

Well, I'm already over my promised 1000 words, and I haven't even touched on the Aussie old guard, who are back in the news. John Newcombe called out 18-year-old Bernard Tomic for being in poor physical shape (while admitting he doesn't actually know what Tomic is—or isn't—doing, fitness-wise), and Tony Roche is back for another stint as Lleyton Hewitt's coach.

Let's leave the implications of those two items for the start of next year, when we'll be homing in on Melbourne and the Australian Open. For those of you who care, this is a spinoff of the News of the Day, which was a hard format to float because it appeared at random, and often dwelt on items (as does this piece) that are not exactly hot off the presses.

But this, or something like it, probably will become a regular feature at TennisWorld except during weeks when I'm traveling and providing on-site coverage. I'll try to keep to the word count, too. . .


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Posted by ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 08:47 PM

Ruth,

"I apparently didn't read as much as you did in that sentence, for example, in which the writer mentioned that Nadal was "tired looking.""

That is not our fault.

"And I thought that excuse-making was what the objections were about."

Not really.

Posted by Colette 12/01/2010 at 08:47 PM

Ruth, I see "you've been read" in Steve's latest post.

Posted by ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 08:51 PM

Vie,

I think Jon W is too ambivalent towards the sports...breaking rules, gambling...he seems to think its not a big deal. His reasoning for doing so dosen't impress me.

I side with Greg Couch.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/01/2010 at 08:52 PM

Hi Folks!

Got back from London late last night. Such a fun trip! What a treat to see a Fedal final but the really special match was the rafa/murray semi. The crowd was going nuts. Loved meeting jewell, gauloises, Nic and Or. Hope Or has arrived home safely.

We were on the same flight home as Adam Helfant and I had a very nice chat with him. We both agreed that the O2 is the perfect venue for the WTF's. I told him I hoped it would stay there permanently. He said they are committed there through 2013. Lovely guy, btw.

Posted by Sherlock 12/01/2010 at 08:52 PM

"Sick of all these uppity Laver fans."

Lol, Pspace. Welcome back, bro. And welcome to the west coast. :)

Posted by Pspace 12/01/2010 at 08:54 PM

Hey Sherlock! How's it going, bro?

Hehe...I see not much has changed in these parts.

Oh well...one day one of those two will retire, and we can talk about something else ;-).

Posted by Pspace 12/01/2010 at 08:56 PM

Congrats Annie, on witnessing "history" ;-).

I'm psyched up just thinking about planning to go to IW with y'all next year.

Posted by ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 08:56 PM

NP,

"Again, why are so many of today's players "creaking" while their predecessors could handle it without much trouble?"

Good question....and i don't know the answer. I would expect some journalists to tackle such questions...but they seem to be the type to merely observe (as you and others have reiterated recently).

Posted by Joe 12/01/2010 at 08:59 PM

Annie, Nadal/Murray was the big Tournament match, I was impressed with both guys, it was the best!!!!!

Posted by Colette 12/01/2010 at 09:00 PM

Welcome back, Annie. Wow! Except for one minor detail (ahem), you certainly got your money's worth!

Of course, we're all dying to hear your first-hand account of whether Rafa looked tired or not. *jukes to avoid fists*

Posted by Simon 12/01/2010 at 09:01 PM

I agree with Joe, that match was the best

Posted by Sherlock 12/01/2010 at 09:05 PM

Things are good, Pspace. And I'm about ready to leave work, so it's getting better all the time. :)

TMFunk had a good line about this place yesterday or earlier today. Can't remember it exactly, but the gist was, yeah, you can be absent for a while, come back in, and feel like you never left. We are nothing if not consistent. :)

Beth, loved your recent post on the NCAA, college football, etc. It's a crazy situation, which has been going on for a loooong time, most likely at every big time program.

Posted by Sherlock 12/01/2010 at 09:05 PM

Lol, Colette. You are positively evil. :)

Posted by ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 09:07 PM

Sherlock,

Consistency counts for everything...at least in the Tennis World

;-)

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 09:09 PM

Pardon me, but I thought it was 'fatty-gay.'? Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 09:09 PM

"I wanna be a guy who saw a guy win 4 in a row.

"Sick of all these uppity Laver fans."

Not so fast, P. Calendar Grand Slam > non-calendar "Grand Slam."

Posted by Ruth 12/01/2010 at 09:11 PM

ladyj: I'm trying very hard to keep my promise to myself to say no more on fatigue-gate. Please see the second sentence of my 4:45 comment addressed to Andrew (e: his @2:19) for my own summing up of my feelings on this matter.

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 09:11 PM

Andrew - 1/2 olive branch, 1/2 hawthorne stick. And the dog in the night said, "woof." And dropped the bone.

Posted by Colette 12/01/2010 at 09:11 PM

Hi, Sherlock. Good to *see* you again. Don't know if it was TMFunk, but someone aptly made a Twibe/Soap Opera analogy.

Posted by Sherlock 12/01/2010 at 09:11 PM

He he, Ladyjulia. Excellent point. :)

Posted by Master Ace 12/01/2010 at 09:11 PM

Annie,
Glad to "see" you have returned safely and a conversation to boot with Helfant. Now, I want pictures of the TWibe at the O2.

Posted by ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 09:13 PM

Ruth,

:-)

Posted by Pspace 12/01/2010 at 09:16 PM

NP, c'mon. What's the big difference between 4 in a row and doing it all in one year? Does synchronizing your peak with the revolution of the earth around the sun somehow make you a better player? ;-)

Besides, the difficult stretch is doing the French-Wimby-USO triple crown. Oz is by itself on an island anway.

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 09:17 PM

s/f - is there any word whether Robin is going to work with another coach. Could he ask Edberg? Pretty please?

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 09:18 PM

lj, the journos have already "tackled" the matter, alright. The game is more physical, players are stronger and faster, and blah blah blah.

Yeah, these old geezers couldn't chase down tennis balls to save their life:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSXETXKi7OI

And they hardly ever trained, or when they did, they were using primitive training methods:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP_N38TR7zI

What a bad joke.

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 09:18 PM

Pspace - yeah, but when Laver did it they had to travel around the world by clipper ship. ;-) not much room for practice courts.

Posted by Sherlock 12/01/2010 at 09:21 PM

Hi, Ruth!! :) Don't give in to the peer pressure. Let this fatigued sleeping dog lie! :)

Hi, Colette. :) I think it was TMFunk, but then I may just be subconsciously sucking up to the Fed fans for some reason, who knows.

Posted by Pspace 12/01/2010 at 09:22 PM

CL, dammit! We'll have to get Uncle Toni to make Rafa start swimming toward Oz asap ;-).

Posted by Nam1 12/01/2010 at 09:23 PM

I dont know about Nadal but almost everyone else on this board is tired, tired tired of tiredgate;

I thought I would go to Steve's post but the "usual suspects" haved popped up there as well demanding that Steve answer to them about the "tired Nadal" reports in the media; like poor Steve is responsible for all tennis media's foibles!!

I did not think Rafa looked tired in the final and nor did I pay attention to some headlines implying he was but now after 7 excruciating pages ...I am firmly convinced Rafa lost to Fed because he was tired.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/01/2010 at 09:25 PM

Pspace! You made my night! so thrilled to hear you're coming to IW!

MA: thanks, I do have a group photo. I think I'll try to upload it on the DC on friday maybe? Have to dig out my camera, find the wires etc...

It really was a 'ten strike' as my mom would say. Not only seeing the great rafa/murray match but seeing 'full flight Fed' in person was...wowza.

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 09:28 PM

Annie - glad you had such a , mostly, great time. I am quite envious of all the great tennis you saw and especially, of course, FFF. I hope to get a chance in Montreal this year.

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 09:29 PM

P, for one thing, you get only one chance to complete a calendar GS, as opposed to 4 for a non-calendar "GS." That's the statistic difference.

But more importantly, the CYGS carries more prestige. I'm not just talking about tradition, BTW, though the two aren't mutually exclusive. Just as the Slams are considered more important than, say, the MS events even though the latter are arguably more difficult to win, the GS is in a class of its own. And as such it puts more mental pressure on the player. Navratilova talked about feeling this very pressure when she failed to complete her CYGS (in '84, I think).

The significance of the CYGS wasn't just created out of nothing.

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 09:32 PM

Pspace -we can get him so of those water wings kids wear. Maybe he could swim with this guy as a swim buddy.

https://www.rogerfederershop.com/en/shop/detailansicht/procat/roger-products/prod/fan-kalender-2011.html

Posted by Sherlock 12/01/2010 at 09:33 PM

Nam1, lol. Next time, just go with the tired thing to begin with. :)

I don't mind it all THAT much really. This place is what it is because us tennis nuts like to have a place to vent about issues like this. I only really got annoyed when Tim threw out Rafa fans in general a couple times, like there was a link there somehow. But all the other Fed fans have been good about focusing on just the media. And some, Andrew, TMFunk maybe?, even disagreed with a lot of the others, so it's been interesting. Alexis had a good couple posts today. I thought it was interesting that she said no matter WHO won the Rafa-Murray match, she could see it coming.

Gah! Now I am even talking about it.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/01/2010 at 09:37 PM

CL: if what I saw in London is any indication, you most certainly WILL see FFF in Montreal! I'm not a student of TMF, but I think Mr. Annacone has been a great influence thus far...

I also hope that Andy Murray will have some luck next season and finally bag a major. He's certainly good enough. It's going to be a great 2011. Just hope all the players stay healthy and that Delpo comes back strong.

Posted by Joe 12/01/2010 at 09:38 PM

Nam1

+1000000000

If someones like it or not, wait! they don't like it LOL LOL LOL
Media don't know anything, wait! they don't like what the Media says. They don't like what Bob says, either what Galuoises said LOL LOL LOL

The point is......Rafa lost because he was tired!!!! wait, they don't like that either LOL LOL LOL

At the end, Nadal didn't say anything!! so...what's the Federer KADS point with "le fatigue"?

Posted by Ruth 12/01/2010 at 09:38 PM

Colette: (Re: Steve's blog) I have? Didn't know that. Must go to check. Hope I'm not in trouble. :)

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 09:38 PM

Sherlock - don't worry, I'll never tell.

Nam 1 - HAH! At this point, I'm not even sure who the two guys who played were. All I know is that one of them may, or may not, have been fatty-gay. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 09:41 PM

statistic = statistical

Posted by Ruth 12/01/2010 at 09:43 PM

Welcome back, Annie. We'll have to talk about that NYT tennis forum guy that you met. Ross also remembers a fellow poster of ours there who used Bjorn and a number as his moniker.

Posted by Joe 12/01/2010 at 09:43 PM

CL, who is the fatty-gay? what are you talking about?

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/01/2010 at 09:46 PM

NP: there was a guy sitting behind me who I had a long chat with after the final. He has travelled the world following rafa and is going to the AO in January to see rafa win the "Rafa Slam." Like the "Serena Slam," it's still a slam, imo.

I was watching my tape of the final and it's interesting that the mics don't pick up alot of the noise that was in the arena. I was sitting next to three Swiss who had cow bells they were ringing and I can't hear them at all on the tube. Nor can I hear my "undelay! undelay!" rafa cheers. *sad face*

Posted by Ruth 12/01/2010 at 09:46 PM

Annie: I've watched that Murray-Nadal match twice. Was up after midnight last night looking at it again. Anyway, off to Steve's place!

Posted by Colette 12/01/2010 at 09:47 PM

" Usually I have to brace myself when I click on the comments bar to find out what molehill is being turned into a mountain. But this time around it wasn't so bad."

This intro in Steve's latest post made me chuckle and yearn to say, "Oh, yeah? Head on over to Pete's place!"

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/01/2010 at 09:47 PM

Ruth: the guy I'm referring to above is that same NYTimes poster!

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 09:49 PM

Joe - look on page 6, starting around 7:30 pm.

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 09:55 PM

Annie, "Grand Slam" has historically meant 4 majors in the same year. "Serena Slam" is a cute name that the journos concocted to describe her winning 4 majors in a row and, of course, hype up the game. They're not the same.

I don't mean to imply that either the "Serena Slam" or the putative "Rafa Slam" is a small achievement. It's just not the same thing as a Grand Slam.

Posted by Joe 12/01/2010 at 09:56 PM

CL, it's VERY different the word "gate" and "gay", very...... let's go not to confuse both words, think about it!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/01/2010 at 09:59 PM

NP: i know. I happen to agree with you but keep in mind that Laver won the calendar slam when the AO was the last major of the year and played in December. Which, btw, I prefer. But what are we gonna do? Things change in this sport all the time. And I keep mentioning the fact that Laver won his slams back when there were only two surfaces to contend with. He never had to win one on hard court. Not that he couldn't. I'm sure he would have!

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 10:01 PM

Joe -hint - its a JOKE!'

Posted by Joe 12/01/2010 at 10:04 PM

Annie, then tell me, what amazing is to watch Nadal game live? I've heard that it's vey impressive. I'm dying to see him live

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 10:04 PM

And also- in French, 'fatigue'' is, in fact, pronounced fatty-gay'.

Think about THAT!

Not that there is anything wrong with thinking.. I know because NP tells me so.

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 10:06 PM

Annie, but he still did it in the same calendar yr, that's the important part.

As for the "only two surfaces" part, I addressed that (non-)issue just a couple days ago. Here's what I said:

"In '69, the year he won his 2nd official Grand Slam, Laver also won the most important HC events at Johannesburg (South African Open, over Okker) and the US Pro Championship (over Newcombe), not to mention the most important indoor events at Philly (Roche) and Wembley (Roche).

"And as our own Pete Bodo has argued, one could say it's actually HARDER to transition from grass to clay when 3 of the majors are held on the former surface, because players are more accustomed to it and its requirements. As you can see, it's possible to spin the surface issue either way.

"Also, when historians and seasoned fans say Laver won 2 GS's, they're not talking about his official '62 GS, but his sweep of the most important pro tourneys in '67 (Wembley, World Pro, Wimbledon Pro & US Pro)."

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/01/2010 at 10:08 PM

I think it was Tigress who was saying earlier that the WTF's should be the fifth slam (she would not be saying this if Rafa had won, obviously). But it can't until it's 3 out of 5 sets and that's probably not going to ever happen. Boy, I really prefer 3 out of 5. The matches have a chance to develop and each player has a chance to either, blow a lead, catch up, or close it out in three. There's something 'rushed' about the 2 out of 3 in such a prestigious tournie like the WTF's.

Posted by Joe 12/01/2010 at 10:09 PM

CL, it was a bad joke and bad information too, "fatigue" pronounced in french is "fatigue", think about it!

Posted by Ruth 12/01/2010 at 10:10 PM

Posting the following sentence -- with no additional comment from me -- written by Steve T. on the latest CE post:

"I did mention that Nadal looked weary during his trophy speech, but I wasn’t saying that’s why he lost—observing something about a player doesn’t mean I’m making an excuse for him."

BTW The comment of mine that Steve used in his latest "Reading the Readers" post had NOTHING to do with fatigue-gate!

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 10:10 PM

Annie- you are echoing Roger. ;-) He isn't crazy about 3 set matches all the time. The matches go by so quickly, "its a pity." ...he usually sez this after he has lost one..usually to Murray. ;-))

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 10:12 PM

"fatigue" pronounced in french is "fatigue", think about it!"

Can't - my head it too fatigue.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/01/2010 at 10:14 PM

NP: didn't see that earlier post of yours. Laver's slams are still the yardstick we all use for the pinnacle of the sport. No question about it. My sister and I were discussing him in London and saying how sad we are that, although we both saw him play in the early '70's, we don't remember it! I saw him play in New Hampshire (Rosewall was there too). I got their autographs but I was only ten and don't remember the matches.

Posted by Joe 12/01/2010 at 10:14 PM

I can see that.....:-)

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 10:20 PM

Annie, didn't know you've been following the sport for so long. Do you still have the autographs?

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 10:20 PM

Joe - Are you pulling my jambe, or do you really think that 'fatigue'' in French is pronounced fatty-gate? Or is this a deep variation on the whole gate gate meme? Just curious.

Posted by Joe 12/01/2010 at 10:28 PM

CL, I told you already how "fatigue" is pronounced in French, again?

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 12/01/2010 at 10:31 PM

NP: no, I don't. I remember looking at them and thinking "now what do I do?" I should have kept a scrapbook but unfortunately those autographs are long gone. But I remember it wasn't a big deal getting access to the players to ask them. I was at a tennis camp and a bunch of us just went up to them and asked. No screaming fans or security surrounding the players. And they were legends. Different times for sure!

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 10:32 PM

Joe - and is it 'fatty-gate'? I just want to be sure. In case I run into any tired Frenchmen.

Posted by susan 12/01/2010 at 10:33 PM

gah. pronunciation is different depening on whether it's a noun or adjective, right?

je suis fatigue ... adjective

pronunciation here of the sentence by a french speaker:

http://www.forvo.com/word/je_suis_fatigue/

Posted by Joe 12/01/2010 at 10:34 PM

Then what means to you "fatty-gate"?

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 10:34 PM

Annie - I am quite jealous of your Laver autograph...or I guess, more accurately GETTING the autograph. I have Bob Cousy's and Ted Williams, but no tennis stars. :-(

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 10:35 PM

I also wanna note that the old-timers didn't play on grass that much at all. In fact Laver played (not won, mind you, but played) only about 6 grass-court events in '69: the 3 majors (with very different grass, BTW) and 2 or 3 warming-up events in Australia and Queen's.

Posted by Ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 10:35 PM

NP..

I saw the first video...they appear fast...but neither can i see the ball nor can i figure out what surface they are playing on.

Do players, when they study the history of the game, watch these sort of videos, or has the sport never made any steps towards preserving archives and retouching them?

Posted by susan 12/01/2010 at 10:36 PM

This is what Steve said in his blog post after the r/r final.

"Nadal, on the other hand, looked weary in his runner-up speech. Weary from winning, I guess; he did a lot of this year."

Posted by Ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 10:36 PM


I have to say I am disappointed by journalists today.

There goes Steve with his apparent "observation" again...but no analysis on how a 24 yr old #1 dominant player can be *that* tired after 81 matches in a year.

Besides, Steve is only "seeing"....not "observing", IMO.Big difference. Sometimes makes all the difference. Even kids can "see".

Disappointing from a journalist who covers the sports.

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 10:37 PM

Annie, gotcha. And a nice changin' o' the times there.

Posted by CL 12/01/2010 at 10:37 PM

susan - thanks for that...interesting site.

I think je suis fatigue of the whole thing anyway. ;-)))

Posted by Ruth 12/01/2010 at 10:37 PM

NP: I'ms o glad to see that you identified the accurate origin of the term "Serena Slam." So many times, I've heard people say that Serena created the name for herself. I'm sure she loves it and accepts it graciously, :) but she definitely did not create it and/or assign it to her achievment.

I think that the current insistence on the 4 majors of the true Grand Slam's being won all in the same calendar year is a little precious when you consider th shortness of the break between one season and the next.

Posted by susan 12/01/2010 at 10:40 PM

cl. lol.

Posted by Ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 10:44 PM


susan,

If Nadal is that weary from winning 71 (or is it 79) matches in a year, is it mental weariness?

And there is apparently no other player on tour who can match him for mental strength, as the legend goes.

So, is he mentally weak (because a cry-baby once won 92 matches in a year)...or was it physical? If it was physical, how come only after 81 matches?

Do journos not have any curiosity anymore?

One line about what they saw...and that's it?

Spare us that line then in all the media reports...we can all see. We are not blind.

Posted by Joe 12/01/2010 at 10:45 PM

Susan, of course Nadal did want to win but I don't think because he lost it was the end of the world for him after his great season results.

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 10:45 PM

lj, I very much doubt that most players are well versed in the history of the game. You'd be hard-pressed to find many who could tell you how many--let alone what--tourneys Tilden won, or the drive-slice that used to be the bread and butter of top players in Laver's heyday but that's sorely missing from the game today. Even Sampras--who studied the game of the great Aussies closely and who modeled his serve, particularly his 2nd, on Laver's own--simply trots out the bland there-was-little-competition boilerplate when journos ask him to compare his or Fed's accomplishments to those of the old-timers.

As for the "steps towards preserving archives and retouching them," I'm sure there are tons of videos out there, but probably not too much demand for most of 'em in the market. And besides there's the IP issue that must be sorted out.

Posted by susan 12/01/2010 at 10:46 PM

steve also said:

"I’m not big on bringing up or focusing on perceived extenuating circumstances in general, be it knees, back, exhaustion, or a tummy ache. And when you win a tournament, you win a tournament, not just a match. If you finish your earlier matches more quickly and easily than your final-round opponent does (and the way Federer did last week), you’ve earned that edge. "

i have to work (time zones)!

Posted by GB 12/01/2010 at 10:49 PM

Pulling out one line doesn't really give the whole context though, no? IMO, Steve did cover in detail how Fed had changed the dynamic of their rallies. He did wonder how things would go in the future (i.e. how Rafa would counter Fed's backhand), which suggested that he didn't see this as some anomalous result that wouldn't be repeated if Rafa weren't tired. He gave Fed lots of credit (i.e. "Federer was simply playing too well all week to be stopped for long, even by Rafa").


Posted by Joe 12/01/2010 at 10:55 PM

OK garcons, Je suis fatigue with this converstion and I had a though working day
Bon nuite everybody!

Posted by Ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 10:56 PM


NP,

What's the IP issue?

Posted by TMFunk (formerly the prone-to-error typing TheMightyFunk) 12/01/2010 at 11:00 PM

Sherlock, colette from around an hour back - thanks for the line mention. Much like the fella I'm a fan of, I'm full of myself and love to read about me when the mention is good. :) Since you ask, I repeat: TW sometimes is like one of those soap operas that go one for years. You can miss months of episodes, but it only takes five minutes to get right back in!

I hope they put that on my tombstone when my wife finally keeps that pillow on my face long enough. Wait - they cremate us where I come from. Oh well...

on that morbid note, I wish everybody a very goon night. See ya tomorrow maybe, and hopefully not to one more episode of tired-gate...

Posted by susan 12/01/2010 at 11:01 PM

GB, misunderstanding.. I was actually trying to clarify something that was posted earlier about steve's blog.

I was trying to credit steve with giving fed credit for his play, which he did in that post after the final (and he mentions it again in his regular Thursday - today - post on Reading the Readers).

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 11:01 PM

Ruth, I thought it was common knowledge that the journos made up the term "Serena Slam." Well, you learn something new every day.

As for the shortness of the break, short it may be, but it's still a break between two separate seasons. This isn't unlike that other debate re whether being No. 1 at the end of the year is any more important than being No. 1 at any other time of the year. It doesn't matter when you're No. 1, the kiddies argue, 'cause you still get the same # of weeks if you've been No. 1 for that long. But the thing is, these rankings are based on points that revolve around a 12-month timeframe, and now, just as it has been throughout the history of tennis, the season is scheduled to start shortly before the AO and end with the YEC. If we're to accept the kids' argument, a job performance report at the end of the year is just as important as a preliminary report in the middle of the year, it doesn't make any difference to evaluate one's marriage status on his or her anniversary rather than any other day, etc. Which is absurd, of course. These things are not created in a vacuum.

Also, the break was just as short if not shorter back in the '60s and '70s.

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 11:02 PM

lj, IP = intellectual property

Posted by susan 12/01/2010 at 11:05 PM

anyone who comments here regularly has a role, major or minor, to play in this long-running soap!

Posted by Vie 12/01/2010 at 11:07 PM

ladyjulia, sorry just got back to read again. Just wanted to respond and I'm off to sleep.

My interpretation was Jon Wertheim was agreeing with Greg Couch and critical of the ATP's inaction and citing the underpinnings might be incestuous connections and cronyism. I also side with them on this. As an aside, I was wondering also, why isn't there media interest on this - is there nobody else worried about this? Why is there very little reporting or opinion writing on this. I've seen this only in a couple of news outlets.

Thanks for responding. G'night.

Posted by GB 12/01/2010 at 11:09 PM

Sorry for misunderstanding, Susan! I posted before reading your 10:46 post and didn't realise you were agreeing with Ruth's agreeing with Steve:)

Posted by Vie 12/01/2010 at 11:14 PM

NP, the 4 in a row is the same to me as a CY slam. Especially because the last one who did that was LAver and he only had 2 surfaces to contend with(is that right, maestro :)) Also, 4 Slams mean a full year of high ranking points and a player will surely hit one of his peak ranking points then. This is important, isn't it for goat purposes? double LOL.

Well, really off, this kiddie!

Posted by susan 12/01/2010 at 11:16 PM

i was not agreeing with Ruth agreeing with steve.

another misunderstanding!!

ahh.. good lord. too late to add all the context.

several people have mocked the tiredness issue and commenters associated with it, and are cherry-picking comments that support their original arguments/mocking of someone else who has strong views on it.

long story and we are all truly tired of the tiredness thingy!! :)

Posted by susan 12/01/2010 at 11:18 PM

i hope that made sense. but definitely was not agreeing with the poster you named.

davis cup, anyone?

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 11:22 PM

One more thing before I head out.

I've written about Emerson's fitness before, but one thing I haven't talked about is his world-class speed. So how fast was he? Fast enough to run qualifying times for the '56 Olympic 100m event--somewhere in the 10.5's, actually. To put this in perspective, these times would've been enough to earn him a top 10 spot in the Olympic team until the '90s. Of course there was no electronic timing back then, but still you can see what an athletic specimen he was.

But according to the know-nothing journos, today's players are more athletic than ever. What a laught.

Later.

Posted by Ladyjulia 12/01/2010 at 11:25 PM

Vie,


"As an aside, I was wondering also, why isn't there media interest on this - is there nobody else worried about this? Why is there very little reporting or opinion writing on this. I've seen this only in a couple of news outlets."

Excellent point...I seriously cannot believe there isn't. Jon W once wrote that we should "divorce" Federer from this issue until there is further evidence (Grant, TMFunk, CL etc are of the same opinion)...but i think that journos do have to give this some though...and do some snooping around themselves.

Why hasn't Fed hired IMG? Why hasn't he been asked why he hasn't fired IMG? Guy has given pages of interviews till now.

Nobody seems to want to know the truth, or find out what really happened. The lack of curiosity is surprising.

Posted by NP 12/01/2010 at 11:26 PM

Vie, frankly it matters little what a non-CYGS is to you or anyone. What matters is why you think it's the same as a CYGS, and if there's any logic behind it. Besides you obviously didn't read my earlier posts on this subject.

Really off.

Posted by rafadoc...Waka Waka...Its Stanzi time! 12/01/2010 at 11:39 PM

Hi TWibe!

Just popping in to say "Welcome Home" to Annie...can't wait to hear more. :)

And "Hey Pspace!". Great to see you here.

Now I am off to watch Tim "make it work" Gunn on Conan. *guilty pleasure*

Posted by susan 12/01/2010 at 11:55 PM

was happy to see pspace as well.

Posted by Tim ('Hearing voices' and seeing Moonpies!) 12/01/2010 at 11:59 PM

I think its fascinating that NO ONE can answer the most direct question of this whole saga--how can one of the best athletes of our time be worn out and fatigued after one 2 of 3 set match, and lots of time off beforehand? and a full night and afternoon of rest?

not one taker? LOL ... there are so few new angles to take these days in tennis, this is a fascinating story, fitness levels over the years, epic, long matches, what other legends have lost a match because they were 'tired'??

Frankly I cant think of one, other than Federer in Shanghai vs. Dave, when he wanst able to train for many weeks before the event and it was a 5 set marathon...and even then , the story was the stunning upset, not Fed's very limited preparation ...

the defeaning silence of Rafa kids really says it all, they cant speak to this directly, so either they will throw out in insult, change the subject to talk about the head to head!

LOL!

Posted by GB 12/01/2010 at 11:59 PM

Sorry again Susan. I didn't mean that you were agreeing with Ruth's overall position on the tiredness thing. Didn't mean to attach you to arguments you're not attached to etc. I just expressed my point badly. And the way today's going, I'm probably about to do it again:) I initially, incorrectly, thought you were bringing in Steve's original quote to disagree with what he had said, prompted by Ruth's posting of it. I realised in the end that you were fleshing out, rather than disagreeing with, the context behind the excerpt Ruth provided.

And, yeah, I'll steer clear of tiredness from now on! At this point, I'm just making myself tired with all the rambling.


In terms of the GS,
I think the pression in the final of the last one would be insane.

Hey and bye Rafadoc! And +1 on it being good to see Pspace!

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