Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor - W: The Lucky Few
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W: The Lucky Few 07/06/2009 - 6:00 PM

Rf In 2009, the headline-making players and stories have remained the same. The record books of the future will remind us that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Serena Williams continued to make history this season. What will be forgotten are the reasons that tennis fans kept watching in surprise from match to match and week to week: the sudden, unlikely rises and falls of the mortals who reside on the second rung of the sport’s totem pole. This year’s Wimbledon was rife with them. Andy Roddick, Tommy Haas, Elena Dementieva, and Andy Murray, while they didn’t end up winning anything, tantalized us with the idea that they could. If Federer made this year’s fortnight historic, it was those players who gave it its texture. I’ll memorialize their efforts here this week, before they fade out of our minds. But first things first: the A-plus performers.

Roger Federer

The spoilsports, curmudgeons, and logicians will tell us that we “can’t compare players from different eras.” I would answer by saying that we can do whatever the hell we want to do. Even if I admitted that their point, however prudish it may be, was a reasonable one, my mind would go ahead and make the comparison anyway before I could do anything about it—I’m a sports fan, which means I always want to know who's going to win. When I picture Roger Federer playing tennis, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the best in history at it. But just when that idea seemed to be corroborated by all relevant statistics, the fact that Federer hasn’t won a calendar-year Grand Slam, à la Rod Laver, has begun to be used against him, presumably by those same spoilsports and curmudgeons (it certainly can't be the logicians). Leaving aside the fact that Federer was one match away from doing it on two separate occasions, Laver’s two calendar-year Slams—the first took place during the amateur era, when he didn’t face the world’s best competition—qualify as single-season achievements, not career achievements. If you consider them, by themselves, a reason to think Laver is untouchable, you then have to ask yourself: What if he had never won another match aside from those Slams? Would he still have the greater career than Federer? The answer, I believe, is no.

Still, when I picture Federer playing, my analytical skills fall far behind my appreciative ones. On dozens of occasions I’ve tried to describe to myself how he won a particular match. Often all I can visualize is Federer patiently slicing his backhand from behind the baseline, and then . . . winning the set 6-3. But this year’s French Open and Wimbledon crystallized for me what it is that he does better than anyone else, on and off the court: He takes what you give him.

If a draw opens up for him with the shocking defeats of his primary rivals, which happened with suspiciously destiny-like regularity in both Paris and London, Federer is always there, uninjured, to take advantage. If you don’t punish his floating slice backhand with a perfect approach, he’s there to stun you and take the point from you with a crosscourt forehand. If you leave a ball hanging in the middle of the court, he goes from passive to aggressive in one long, predatory stride. And if you don’t close out a tiebreaker on your first opportunity, when you’re up 6-2 and serving, he’ll take a Wimbledon title from you.

As you know, the second-set breaker was the tide-turning moment of yesterday’s final. Andy Roddick looked assured of going up two sets to love and putting a firm grip on the match. As you also know, he would eventually blow his fourth and final set point with an embarrassing backhand volley wide (to win 15 Slams, you have to take everything you’re given). But it wasn’t that moment that seems crucial to me now, or that exemplifies why Federer won. It was the reflex flick backhand that he hit to save the first set point, with Roddick serving at 6-2. The American hit a strong forehand up the line; Federer stood his ground and found a way to short-hop the ball and direct it into the open court. Nobody else owns that shot. Nobody else would have been alive in that tiebreaker long enough to see Roddick stone that backhand volley wide at 6-5.

And nobody else would have hung around long enough to win that match. As in 2007, when he beat Rafael Nadal in five sets, Federer snuck past an opponent who was frankly the better player on the day. He did it the same way, by serving lights out—the only thing you’re given on a tennis court is your serve, and he took it with everything he had—and saving his best tennis for the tiebreakers. Like the man he passed on the all-time Slam list, Pete Sampras, Federer continues to succeed in his late 20s because he does nothing more, or less, than win. Sometimes that means finding a way to take a match that belongs to someone else.

After last year’s Wimbledon final, it appeared that Federer, whatever his other achievements, would be known for losing his greatest battle. Now, along with his 15 majors and umpteen other records, he has an epic victory to his credit as well. This is a fitting capstone to a fantastical six weeks for Roger Federer. While his French-Wimbledon double will be remembered as one more historic achievement from the greatest player ever, those of us who were watching Federer all year know that fortune has smiled on him to an unusual degree since the 4th round of the French Open. In tennis, however, “fortune” has a narrower meaning than it does just about anywhere else. 

In few other sports are you responsible for everything that happens during play, including your good and bad luck. Aside from aces, there are virtually no winning shots from your opponent that you can honestly say were “just too good.” Chances are, an imperfect shot from you allowed your opponent to hit that winner. (This is what makes a loss in tennis so hard to accept—deep down, you know it was your fault). And vice-versa, simply by putting one more shot in the court, as Federer did at 5-6 in the second-set tiebreaker, you give your opponent a chance to screw up, to send a volley 10 feet wide. If he does, you weren’t merely lucky; you had a hand in making your good fortune.

“You create your own luck”: It’s a phrase that’s both too optimistic and too cruel, but it’s undeniably true in tennis, where cause and effect, fortune and skill, are fully intertwined. Staying healthy for every Slam while your main rival falls to injury; getting yourself to the semifinals while your other rivals fall prey to pressure or exhaustion; remaining calm when you’re on the verge of defeat and you have a chance to break the all-time record for majors. These are seemingly routine marks of consistency, but no one else in tennis history has matched them. Luck? Roger Federer has earned more of it than anyone else. A+

Sw Serena Williams

Her competitive energy was wild and unfocused in Paris, where she trash-talked Dinara Safina and threatened an early-round opponent. At Wimbledon it was just as fierce, but she channeled it into pummeling the little yellow ball. Does anyone, other than perhaps Rafael Nadal, embody the desire to win as much as Serena? She grunts—no extraneous screams for her—and pumps her fist, she bends over in disbelief when she’s missed, and most theatrical of all, she leaps after she hits a ball that’s going to land close to the line, hoping to bring it down safely with the power of her body English.

And while she’s never tidy about it, Serena gets what she wants. Talk about creating your own luck. Down match point to Elena Dementieva in the semifinals, Williams played with no fear, taking the first opportunity to come forward. You can sum up her subsequent net cord volley winner in four words: “fortune favors the brave.” You can sum up her crucial first-set tiebreaker win over her sister Venus in the final the same way. A+

Men’s Final

Nadal-Federer 2008 overflowed, with long rallies, daredevil shot-making, rain delays, flashbulbs, operatic drama, darkness, tears. This year’s was fast and spare by comparison, a quartet rather than a symphony. The points themselves weren’t as spectacular, though you also got the sense that no one wanted to claim it was as good as last year’s final, right after we all got done calling that one the greatest match in history.

This was just as entertaining, however. I’ve never seen anything quite like the end. Each player faced a quandary. On the one hand, the longer the match went, the more emotionally drained Federer and Roddick became with each game—how many aces and service winners could they hit? But at the same time, the longer it went, the more there was at stake for each of them—they must have been winding down just as the drama was winding up. They were stuck on a high-wire together. I had a feeling that, unlike last year, the end would be anti-climactic. Roddick’s terrible mishit into the back tarp proved me right. It’s too bad, for Roddick and for us, that we’ll have to watch that shot replayed for so many years to come. A+

Ar Andy Roddick

Late in the final, John McEnroe seemed to overspeak while watching Roddick hit a strong backhand down the line. He said that that shot should make the people back home “proud to be Americans.” It’s probably a lot to ask from a ground stroke.

But McEnroe was right in the larger sense. We saw Roddick grow up in front of us over the July 4th weekend. He never lifted his eyes, changed his gait, or showed more emotion than what was absolutely necessary—he looked consumed by the task at hand. He ignored the wishes of 15,000 people in the semis and a soul-crushing blown tiebreaker in the second set of the final. Can you imagine him talking to the camera, the way he did the last time he played Federer in a Slam final, at the 2006 U.S. Open?

Moreover, has Roddick ever hit his vaunted serve so effectively or rushed the net with such intelligent selectivity? Has he ever hit so many forcing forehands and deadly backhands on the run? Has he ever looked more like a born tennis player rather than an all-around jock? This was muscular tennis at its most controlled and purposeful.

Roddick had been beaten three straight times by Murray and 18 times by Federer, but he approached both of this weekend's matches as if they were contested on even terms. He had been written off at Slams for years, but he set about remaking himself with a new coach for at least the fourth time. The upshot is that he just played the two best matches of his life at age 26: He pushed Murray back without trying to blast through him and controlled the rallies against Federer off both sides.

He's been known in some parts as the American who couldn’t keep his country’s tradition of great tennis champions alive. A win over Federer yesterday would have banished that criticism forever. Instead Roddick played beautiful tennis for 4 hours on Sunday only to run up against a brick wall and end the day in tears, a lifelong dream and career vindication thwarted by his more gifted nemesis again. Then he was forced to describe how he felt to the world. Asked by Sue Barker if he felt the sport could be cruel, Roddick said to the crowd, who had supported him as they always do at Wimbledon, “No, I’m one of the lucky few who gets cheered for, so thank you for that.”

Roddick may not be a champion on the order of Sampras or McEnroe or Connors, but none of those guys could match the breadth of his personality, or his unpretentious humanity. His performance on Sunday, first in his actions and then in his astoundingly stoical, winning words before a worldwide audience, was inspiring. It really did make me proud to be an American. A+

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Posted by Gordon 07/08/2009 at 06:11 AM

Mike! Your theory don't stand! In tennis, it is about compatbility. Well, in tennis is depends on the type of games that you play against the type of games that others are playing and your draws! Nowadays, even Haas and Roddick could give Federer real threats in the Grand Slam events. So the younger players with the games could put away Federer undoubtfully.

Posted by Gordon 07/08/2009 at 06:18 AM

Speaking of compatibility. Not to mention, Federer is also having problems with Nalbandian and Canas.

Posted by Ayear 07/08/2009 at 07:17 AM

Gordon, your frentic rebuttals are devoid of any semblance of coherent thought, all I can do is laugh and shake my head at your inane conjectures. I hope people like you can one day come to terms with the now almost nigh universal sentiment of Federer as the Greatest player of all time and appreciate his stature and what he has brought to the sport. Take care and be well. :)

Posted by catq 07/08/2009 at 07:29 AM

coming in late. mr. tignor, you do not disappoint. you've been amassing a rich trove of spot-on articles that we have been savoring with utmost relish. thank you so much. much appreciated.

Posted by embug 07/08/2009 at 07:54 AM

I'm late reading your post, Steve, but want to thank you for your thorough and thoughtful insight on why Federer is so great. He does take everything players give him. After I read that I've thought of Sunday's match, with your analysis in mind. It fits well, like the last piece in a puzzle.

Posted by Mike 07/08/2009 at 09:58 AM

Gordon, the toughest player Fed has ever played ... in regards to match ups, game wise ... is Rafa Nadal. The same Rafa that he beat in straight sets, on Rafa's favorite surface, in Rafa's home country. There couldn't have been a more adverse situation for him to have to rise above.

One reason for his success may have been Fed's decision to break routines that he tied into the negative results he had experienced playing Rafa in the past.

If that is true, it's quite possible that Fed's attitude towards players he may have felt threatened by in addition to Rafa (EX. Murray & Nole) may have changed enough for him to turn the tables on them. The success at the FO and Wimby should have only strengthened his belief.

The actual answer is ... we don't know, making my opinion as much of a reach as yours.

Posted by Babe 07/08/2009 at 10:43 AM

Great article:

Posted by Babe 07/08/2009 at 10:50 AM

Joe Montagnino & co--it takes a special special gift to make something decisively difficult look easy. Sampras did not have it any harder than Federer--there level of talent is just incomparable.

Surely, you can't also argue that Sampras didn't succeed on clay because his opposition was just too difficult. No, he didn't succeed ON CLAY because his game style was not adaptable to clay. He won on fast courts, more often than not, because of his fantastic serve, 1st & 2nd & big forehand. Some of the players who dominated Sampras cannot hold court with Federer & THAT'S BECAUSE HE HAS THE VERSATILITY THAT Sampras NEVER HAD.

He is just THAT good.

Posted by lois 07/08/2009 at 11:11 AM

VT, I said Rafa the person, not some 2-bit idiot(Soderling) that had never beaten him,think knees please. I am sure Uncle Toni and Rafa will review the tapes from that match and be prepared for thier next encounter. I spoke of Roger what has Soderling got to do with it. The only thing I can say about Soderling that he is big, dumb and ugly. One of us can't read Isaid quote" Rafa was a knunklehead for over playing for him to hurt his knees", I did not call Roger that. To the person that thinks I am stupid I have a college degree do you ? You were not even Man /Woman enough too post your name, Shame on you. Is it a crime to like someone other than Roger, or if you like Rafa you are a Troll. Get real,Lois Lame (I like that,very funny). Everyone who are writing dirty letters, get real. Everyone has an opinion which I try to respect, I never insult,call names or say anything that I feel is hurtful to anyone blogging on this site but "don't start no trouble and there won't be any".

Posted by Babe 07/08/2009 at 11:20 AM

Well said, Kennedy Myles. I wish I had read your post before I responded.

Posted by KJack 07/08/2009 at 11:20 AM

gordon: your comments are senseless. Federer has lost to a number of younger and/or lesser opponents in various secondary tournaments. Typically, these are 3 set tournaments, So what? He performs in the Grand Slams like no one else, that is why his record of 20 or 21 straight semifinal appearances in the Slams is so amazing. He consistently puts himself in a position to win. Nadal, who I love as a player and competitor, has yet to reach that level of consistency in all Grand Slams. He still has a way to go on hard surfaces, including the US Open.

Posted by Lynne Danley 07/08/2009 at 11:28 AM

I agree with Lois. Insulting each other and other players is unworthy of all of us. That's what a forum is about -- a place where people can express their opinions. The only rule should be that we do it respectfully, without foul language and rudeness. Funny how Fed and Rafa fans can be so hateful when these players like and respect each other so much. We could learn from them! I also agree with the poster who reminded us that Federer was ill through most of 2008, and at the end of the year he was suffering from back problems that affected his serve. He worked with Higueras to make some modifications that really affected his serve for awhile. One could argue that Fed's being only a few weeks out of the hospital with mono created some major "luck" for Djokovic during the 2008 AO. Fed was turning from white to red during his semi with Djoker and was having trouble moving toward the end. People won't remember that, however. They'll remember that NJ won the tournament. That's sports. Luck today, not so much tomorrow.

Posted by Babe 07/08/2009 at 11:33 AM

Interesting questions, Mike at 07/07/2009 8:51AM; interesting questions indeed. I believe that the pressure is now off. He has been chasing Pete for so long & in the past couple of years the pressure had intensified because he had gotten so close--plus, he hadn't won the French. Now that both monkeys are off his back, the old dazzling-shot-hitting Fed might be just around the corner. At least that is what I believe.

Also, he has also learned to "win ugly"--at least as ugly as someone like Federer can ever play. I sometimes got the impression that his artistic qualities would not allow him to "stoop" to the level of playing certain shots even if it ultimately cost him the match. Now that he has figured out that he doesn't always have to play pretty--some more versatility has entered the fray. I think that will be especially helpful when playing Nadal & even, Murray, in the future.

We shall see. So much intrigue still to come.

Posted by Babe 07/08/2009 at 11:46 AM

Lois--I wonder if Soderling would still be a "2-bit idiot" after he beats Rafa a second time. I think it is disingeniuos to call someone who did something his contemporaries had been unable to do in four prior years a 2-bit idiot.

Soderling played Rafa & beat him. Rafa was healthy enough to get-up, get suited & get himself to court PC. A few hours later he was beaten--he was still on both legs by the way. Soderling accomplished something that day; you may not like the end result but he did it. He beat Rafa--end of story.

Please also remember that Rafa was still winning matches with those same knees--that is, before he lost to Soderling. So, NO, Soderling is a whole lot more than a "two-bit" player. He is a guy who has one of the styles that Rafa will likely always struggle against. If Rafa wanted to used his knees as an excuse for Soderling entering the next round then he should have just withdrawn.

Beating Rafa does not make him better or a more accomplished clay-courter than Rafa; but on that day: SODERLING WAS THE BETTER PLAYER. No one can ever take that away from him.

Posted by clau 07/08/2009 at 12:29 PM

roddick es una persona maravillosa y ademas es el idolo de mi hijo queriamos contarle que hay mucha gente que lo quiere solo para que siga y sea feliz, es una gran persona.

Posted by grendel 07/08/2009 at 12:32 PM

And don't forget that Soderling's demolition of Davydenko was extraordinary - cleaner and more conclusive, I'd say, than Berdych's at Wimbie (once or twice, you had the feeling Davydenko was coming back against Berdych). And Soderling's fight back in the 5th against Gonzalez was testament to his new found maturity. I look forward to seeing Soderling at the US Open - he definitely has the potential to cause a lot of trouble. Probably not to win. I wonder why not. I mean, I could see him beating del Potro for example, and I could see del Potro winning the tournament. But somehow, not Soderling. Pity. An unfairly maligned character.

Posted by Mike 07/08/2009 at 12:47 PM

Lois, I apologize for taking a stab at you, personally ... that was out of line.

At the time, reading a post that identified not only a Professional tennis player ... but a very good one that has accomplished great things as of late, as a "2-bit idiot" ... had me assuming the author was simply a troll. Didn't think a regular poster would sink that low ... my mistake.

Posted by Babe 07/08/2009 at 01:06 PM

So true--grendel. Soderling's defeat of Rafa was no fluke. If it had been he would have beaten other good clay-courters & made it all the way to the finals. Heck, he continued his fine play right into Wimbledon where he lost a very tight 3-setter to Roger.

No matter what anyone might think of his personality he is extremely talented & has the game that could blow anyone off the court.I wouldn't want to see him in the quarter of any of my faves at the US Open. If he has the belief, he could certainly win the US Open--though, like you, I don't see it quite at the moment.

run at the French was no

Posted by Fot 07/08/2009 at 01:24 PM

I've read that some folks said Roger should have just told Nike "no" to the clothes and all. Well, maybe I'm different from the average person because I LOVE what Nike is doing with tennis fashion, particularly with Roger. I love the fact that he has his own "RF" line of clothing. (I even have my own RF cap). It is a fantastic marketing tool for tennis. When I wear my RF cap out, some folks actually recognize it and say "Oh, you like Federer"? Who would have thought that would have happened in the past?

Like in golf with Tiger Woods and his TW stuff, Roger's "RF" lines are getting noticed and people are buying them. It's good when I can wear the hat and people recognize it vs all these other people who have jerseys of their favorite football, basketball, or baseball players. Why shouldn't tennis get into the marketing business too? Nike just came out with a 15 t-shirt for Roger and I will be buying it too! I'm proud to wear the clothing my 'sport idols' wear.

I applaude Nike for getting tennis into the fashion era and I applaud Roger for being right there with them. I can't wait to see what they come up with next! And Roger looks GOOD to me in his outfits. I'm glad all the players don't look like "Roddick" (as someone said earlier) because his clothes doesn't fit. Roger looks great. But again, that's my opinion.

And for those who are saying Roger's French Open doesn't count because he didn't go through Rafa? Well, if you look at the last 6 grand slam finals...the only CONSTANT is that Roger had been in the final. That's something HE has control over. He can't control who is on the other side of the net. It's not his fault Nadal didn't make the final at Paris. It's like when Nadal beat Puerta at the French Open...You can't control your opponent. YOU just have to get there yourself. Roger has done that consistently.

Posted by Babe 07/08/2009 at 02:42 PM

Besides, the eventual champion beats the field to become the champion. If you didn't beat someone directly you beat someone who was playing well enough to beat that someone. Tennis, like driving, only requires you to take care of your own side.

This Roger didn't beat Nadal at RG nonesense is akin to those who argue that he reigned over a weaker era than Sampra. Both are distinctly unfair & quite bogus.

Posted by Moose33 07/08/2009 at 02:46 PM

It's amazing how many RF haters come out of the woodwork when he wins yet another GS. It's like none of his accomplishments count unless he beats Nadal in a final. Maybe we should take away a few GS from Pistol Pete, afterall beating Pioline (twice) and Martin hardly counts as winning a GS, right?

As for the H2H record debate, which is pretty much the last gasp Fed detractors have left, maybe if Nadal more consistently reached the finals of GS not played on clay, Roger would have a better record against him. Instead, we punish Roger for reaching every final and losing some to Nadal.

Posted by grendel 07/08/2009 at 04:00 PM

Fot: when you expressed surprise that some Fed fans were sad Roddick lost, would even like him to have won, I understood where you were coming from. I come from that country too. Nevertheless, there are some limits. As an analogy, one can be a patriot but decline to go along with the slogan:"my country right or wrong". Probably, as a patriot, one would not be precisely evenhanded - that would be to be robotic rather than humane. Even so, if one's country - and let us assume one loves one's country, not a given -if it does something clearly vicious, one dissents. Furthermore, one can dissent in the name of one's country; that is to say, one can feel that the honour of the country one loves has been besmirched.

All this is a bit heavy, but what I'm trying to get at is that Federer is giving ammunition to his enemies by donning this peculiar apparel at Wimbledon. Quite reasonable people, people who have no axe to grind against Federer, think he looks ridiculous. I've always contested this idea that Federer is bigheaded, as you may have noticed, since it is Zola in particular I have had battles with. I have felt she misinterprets many of his comments, takes them out of context and so on. But on this front, I can't do it. I just don't see how you can deny that Federer is being swollenheaded with that suit, that bag, all those embossed initials. I feel Federer has quite a nice, sly sense of humour. But it's deserted him here. And furthermore, he is taking himself so seriously somewhat at the expense of the other players.

Considering the almost insane attention Federer receives - and I doubt if you can overestimate the mischief inherent in this sort of thing, extreme fame is good for nobody and the casualty list provides sombre reflection - I am amazed at Federer's general levelheadedness. His fundamental decency comes through again and again in the interviews. But I suppose something has to give, and it does so in the shape of these cartoon clothes. Your enthusiasm for all things Federer, Fot, comes across as entirely innocent, and you have the ability to disarm the harmful. But not everyone is as good as you, and certainly not Nike.

Posted by Brian 07/08/2009 at 04:17 PM

Thanks for this, Steve. I enjoyed the last weekend all the way to the final point, and it was a shame that it had to end on an error (actually two forehand errors from Roddick). But you've really captured the beauty of the sport and of our champions, and I love the final paragraph - Andy Roddick should make us all proud. Winning is great, but "treating those two impostors just the same" is the mark of a true champion.

Posted by jb (waiting for DC!) 07/08/2009 at 04:52 PM

Why doesn't tennis market tshirts with their players names on them? like other sports do?

I have friends who have been stopped at tourneys because of the tshirts they were wearing. (they made them up themselves)

er - sorry, bit OT there - the FoT's post made me think of it. :)

Posted by Lynne Danley 07/08/2009 at 05:51 PM

Tennis is a media event as well as a sport, and it's a good thing. It's those companies like Nike that make it possible for us to see tennis played in beautiful stadiums via an expensive broadcast. The clothing companies literally make it possible for many players to participate in the sport. I think the outfits worn by the players on and off the court are part of the fun. You can like them or not, but to diss someone because of them is not cool. As for Federer's "15" jacket, it was remarkably subtle and tasteful. Have you seen the championship T-shirts and hats football, baseball, basketball and soccer players put on as soon as they win a championship? Sure it's marketing, but it's also a way for the players and fans to celebrate. Federer was very subdued and un-arrogant after his Wimby victory. He was probably exhausted and was certainly feeling for Andy, so while people criticized him for his low-key response (there are always critics, aren't there?), he was trying NOT to showboat too much. He knew what it took to win and how Andy felt. So he didn't flaunt the 15 jacket. In fact, he didn't seem to know quite where the 15 was. And the "What type of jacket or sweater will Federer wear?" question has become part of the fun before Wimbledon. It's not just him, anyway. You didn't criticize Serena's trench coat. I think people are hard on Roger when it comes to his post-match interviews. First, remember that although he speaks English well, it is not his native language. It's also refreshing to hear someone being honest and not coming on with a phony self-derogatory face a la "I just try to do my best." He has such joy about him. When he says, "I played great," there's something almost child-like in it. He's not modest, but that's okay. He's a great champion and he knows it. What's wrong with that? At least he didn't go around wearing T-shirts that proclaimed him to be the "real" #1 when Rafa held that position. I love his genuineness. To those who keep blasting Fed's clothing and associating it with arrogance and lack of sportsmanship, when you have been voted Sportsman of the Year for year after year by your peers, other tennis professionals, the press and the fans, you will have room to talk.

Posted by lois 07/08/2009 at 06:50 PM

Thanks for apologies and speaking on my behalf everyone. I guess I myself got a little carried away. I guess you can say my week just stank, with Rafa unable to play for his Wimbleton title and crying for micheal a hole week (along with his furneral) I just felt crappy. I apologize for any thing I may have said to offend some ones elses player or for spewing my ugleness around.
MY BAD,SORRY (I guess I can feel good about eating my cheries now LOL).

Posted by lois 07/08/2009 at 06:59 PM

P.S. a special THANK YOU to Lynne Danley and Mike, I am now not only going to eat my cherries but I am going to get my own but kicked with my Wii Tennis game. That should shut my big mouth.LOL

Posted by lois 07/08/2009 at 09:05 PM

So far Daveydinko 3 games and me none (on Wii).LOL Oh what a world ,what a world. Now I am mad with the Daveydinko Wii, I think I will take a sip of my Vitamen tea with my cherries and see if I can turn this thing around. Someone was right it depends on your DRAW and how well you can adjust to the player you are playing. Well here I go again I will not give up, there's going to be some but kicking on this machine.LOL

Posted by Shannon 07/08/2009 at 09:47 PM

Great post Steve, I could not agree more.

Posted by Mary Evans 07/09/2009 at 08:54 AM

I've read some great tennis writing over the years and agree this piece topped them all. Absolutely wonderful. Thanks.

At the same time I want to note that when people speak of comparing eras or who was or is the greatest player of all time, I also relished Bud Collins' comment to someone who was opining on the subject. What Bud said was "I guess you never saw Pancho Gonzalez play."

Posted by Eobalaenoptera 07/09/2009 at 11:31 AM


The only ommission in your fine article was that Roddick was injuired from his fall...and so his game was diminished (just enough to lend to his defeat?)

The GOAT for Fedderer is probably right for now...what an impressive record. Who will be named so in five years if a healthy Nadal returns?

Posted by Karl Romano 07/09/2009 at 12:16 PM

While the Fed-haters grunt, and continue to wish Roger the worst and write down 'clever' comments why Roger is just another average tennis player, he, to their displeasure, will keep collecting Grand-Slam trophies. All this, while there is always a new pretender and someone else "who deserved to win better". Roddick left his hip and his will trying to beat the Swiss Perfection. Nadal wore his knees off and a good deal of his love for the sport, but he, at least, got his place in tennis. They said the same about Cañas, and after that, Nalbandian, and Stepanek and ... who will be next?
Aren't there any videos of Fed-haters when they behold the Swiss maestro win the last point of a Slam?

Posted by lois 07/09/2009 at 07:52 PM

OK Guys, lets all stop beating ourselves to death over all this. Let's go on to something new like all the other Tornaments coming
up. Now we can all argue about what players we think is going to win lets, all start right now. OK I'll be the brave-one and comment first.Germany-Rafa, Rogers Cup-Rafa are there anymore that we can have a friendly debate on. Play nice guys, let us try not to hurt each others feeling, call names, etc-let's all be grown-up about this. Even tho Tennis seems to bring out the worse in all of us-Get Ready, Get Set, GO (LOL0.

Posted by Sun Storm 07/10/2009 at 10:27 AM

Federer is by far GOAT! Did Roddick play better? Possibly, but its because Federer was not at his best. Federer's B+ game beat Roddick A++ game. Why? Because Federer stepped it up when it mattered and his resolve after last year's loss to Nadal was so much stronger. Kudos to Roddick for making it that deep into the 5th set. But Roger won because he did not falter. It was not a display of brilliant shots like in the past, but a display of changing his game to match his opponents. He outaced Roddick and had 30+ more winners. So once again the question did Roddick play better? I don't think so, because Federer beat him to the finish line.

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