Cheryl Murray

  • Federer and company make no room at the top for youth

    2012-11-15 16:54:19

    Andy Roddick recently said something that was quite thought-provoking...which is not as surprising as one might think, actually. Roddick is often insightful and despite on-court behavior that would suggest otherwise, he is pretty mature in the intellect department. He made a statement to Reuters in which he astutely pointed out that teenagers are no longer contenders to win majors.

    Quite. In fact, the situation is far more dire for teens than simply the truth that Ryan Harrison (who isn't even a teen anymore) can't win the US Open. There aren't even any teenagers in the top 100. NONE. Maybe it shouldn't, but this takes me ever-so-slightly by surprise. I suppose it's easy to lose track when the last teen that did something notable was Bernard Tomic, and that had more to do with match tanking and trouble with the local traffic authorities.

    So, without "cheating" (ie, checking the ATP website first), I tried to think of players that were still teenagers. I came up with (in no certain order) Kei Nishikori (22), Ryan Harrison (20), Bernard Tomic (20), Ricardis Berankis (22) and Denis Kudla (20). Except for Nishikori, this isn't exactly a list of the movers and shakers, is it?

    This strikes me as a bit sad, if I'm being honest. There is little in tennis more exciting than watching some brash young kid come out of nowhere to win Wimbledon. I speak, of course, of Boris Becker, who burst onto the tennis scene in 1985 at age 17. It is not completely accurate to say that Becker was a nobody headed into the All England Club. He'd won the title at Queen's Club and got to the semis in Rome earlier that spring. Still, we're talking 17 years old...and Wimbledon is...well....Wimbledon.

    Sure, if you want to be negative, his draw was....favorable. No Mats Wilander, no John McEnroe or Stefan Edberg in his path. But that really proves my point more than anything. When Juan Martin Del Potro won the US Open in 2009, he did so beating the best of the best. It might be the finest collection of upset wins I have ever seen. But in 25 years, people are probably not going to be talking/writing about Del Potro's 2009 US Open title run. Yet here I sit, reminiscing about a Wimbledon final that actually included Kevin Curren and I get a little misty-eyed. Why? because young, fearless Boris Becker created magic during that fortnight.

    I regret that I have to agree with Mr. Roddick. The current tennis climate will simply not allow for such eventualities. Forget winning Wimbledon. These days, a 17-year old would be lucky to make a run and win the Guadalajara Challenger.

    There are plenty of "whys", of course...starting with the fact that the top 10 is outstanding and the top 4 are unquestionably the best tennis has ever produced. It is a generation of superstars that has redefined what consistency means. There was a time not long ago that consistent was just one in a series of check marks in the "strengths" column. Now it's a brutal and unyielding fact. They aren't going to lose. Short of a tennis Armageddon, there is simply no scenario which doesn't include 3 of the top 4 in the round of 16 (and let's be honest, it's almost always all 4 of them, with David Ferrer thrown in as well).

    But I think it's slightly more complicated than that the guys at the top are too good. It's that the guys at the top have set the tone for the entire tour. People will talk about the physicality of the game, a facet hewn almost single-handedly by Rafael Nadal. And it's a fair assessment. What 17-year old is physically mature enough to go toe-to-toe with Novak Djokovic? Regardless, it used to be that raw talent (Becker) and determination (Lleyton Hewitt) could compensate for the physical disparities. No longer.

    There is an old saying -- iron sharpens iron. And the top 4 have been sharpening each other (and the rest of the top 10 to a lesser extent) for years. This process of knocking into each other for so long has created something of a tennis super-species, that rare combination of outrageous talent AND superb athleticism that has left us with Grand Slam champions that simply don't lose.

    I mean no disrespect to Mr. Becker when I say this, but he's lucky he came along when he did. Otherwise, we might be talking about that German red-haired kid that took a set from Roger Federer in the third round at Wimbledon......or more likely, we wouldn't be talking about him at all.

Tell a friend »


As a side note - Tennistalk sleuth Ricky Dimon discovered that the top-ranked teen is one Clezar, Guilherme ranked No. 242 in the world from Brazil. He will be 20 years old on Dec. 31.

cherylmurray , 11/15/12 5:06 PM

Good article Cheryl. (thank you) Quite interesting, and somewhat shocking too, but with all things in life you know: "NEVER say never! (not that you said "never"! lol :) My point is a person can say can't or not likely but that does not preclude hard core facts of/in the future. I'm saying, sure (no doubt) there will be a surprise teen up ahead for us... The future is the future, and/but for the moment we wait... We wait for you Mr next Teenage tennis phenomena. Cheers Cheryl :)

sky , 11/15/12 6:28 PM

This is EXACTLY what I said a few weeks ago. Thanks for the article Cheryl.

chr18 , 11/15/12 6:56 PM

Could it be that elite young aspiring athletes are choosing alternate sports with higher earnings potential?


Conspirator , 11/15/12 7:16 PM

I mean we're not even talking about winning a slam - no teens in the Top 200.

This is not where tennis wants to be to stay healthy.


Conspirator , 11/15/12 7:21 PM

Ah sky...that's why I said in the CURRENT tennis climate. Obviously there is no forever in tennis. But right now, conditions are obviously not ripe for another Becker or Nadal to come through.

cherylmurray , 11/15/12 7:43 PM

not surprisingly, I disagree with just about everything in the blog.

First of all there are multiple players who JUST turned 20 in the Top 100 and about 10-15 20-year-olds in the Top 200. Is there a difference between being 19 and 20? Yes. But there's enough of a sample size of just-turned-20s to make this argument about teenager failure relatively moot.

Also the Top 4 have nothing to do with teenagers not being in the top 100. You don't have to beat Top 4 players to be in the Top 100 or even the Top 10. In fact, you can get into the Top 100 (quite far inside the Top 100, in fact) simply by playing Challengers. There a several guys between 60-100 whom many Tennistalk users will have never heard of. There is a guy ranked 117th whom even I have heard of no more than once or twice in my entire life.

Also, Kei Nishikori, Ryan Harrison, Bernard Tomic, Ricardis Berankis, Denis Kudla aren't teenagers so I'm not sure what that comment meant. Every player in the universe USED TO BE a teenager. ??????.

Becker won Wimby in 1985 because it was the mug era of tennis. No need to get "misty-eyed" over it. If you want another mug era, be my guest. But I'm not longing for another era that is so muggy that a 17-year-old can win a slam and do so by beating someone named Kevin Curren. That would be the current equivalent of Milos Raonic defeating Marin Cilic for the 2009 Wimbledon title. NO THANKS!

RickyDimon , 11/15/12 8:47 PM

You disagree because you didn't pay attention to what I said. I didn't say that every teenager outside the top 100 plays against the top 4 and that's why they lose. I said that the top 4 changed the way the game is played. They changed it for each other and for the top 10, who in turn changed it for the top 50, who changed it for the top 100. That is fact.

I know Nishi, Harrison and company are not teenagers. That was my point. Everyone I checked is no longer a teen.

becker won wimbledon because he got fortunate with a favorable draw. I don't see how you can assign the era of Lendl, Wilander, Edberg and others as weak. Roger Federer won the French Open with a favorable draw...but that doesn't mean he was playing in a weak era. That argument is poorly reasoned.

cherylmurray , 11/16/12 2:23 AM

Delpo was the last exciting teen... and he's still young. I believe he will win at least a couple more majors before his career is over. He is just hitting his prime now.

aegis , 11/16/12 2:33 AM

Del Potro is 24 years old, actually. And I agree that he was an exciting teen...but you have to admit...he was no Rafael Nadal. I don't know about you, but I didn't think "wunderkind" when I saw DelPo. I *did* think that about Rafa.

cherylmurray , 11/16/12 3:01 AM

Delpo IS just hitting his prime, as aegis said

he's younger in tennis years than his age suggests. Like Tommy Haas, for instance.

RickyDimon , 11/16/12 3:13 AM

Not the point.

cherylmurray , 11/16/12 3:14 AM

not what point?

that was a point in itself. I wasn't relating it to any other discussion.

RickyDimon , 11/16/12 3:34 AM

Just as Ricky states.

Delpo was out for well over a year. In essence, he's had about 2 years less experience than the rest of the co. He had an entire year off, and is first year back was tough due to being out of form. I'm not sure about you, but I imagine if he had not been injured, his post-USO win form would have been his years entering his prime, as opposed to now. But again, that's speculation, and all we know is that he is indeed, finally caught up with the rest of the tour, and finally returning to form.

aegis , 11/16/12 5:05 AM

Delpo, at age 24, is the youngest player in the top 10. Take out 1-2 years of inactivity and out-form, and he really is playing like a 22 year old. No matter how you look at it, he's still very young in tennis years with roughly 5 years experience.

aegis , 11/16/12 5:11 AM

That still doesn't make Delpo a teenager. He was 20 even when he won his first slam. There is a huge difference between 19 and 20, 20 and 21 and so on until you reach 25 as your muscle mass is still growing and your skeletal system is getting mature.
A 17 year old GS winner in today's scenario would be a freak.
Sampras and Rafa won their first slam at age 19 though both had given promise earlier.
Even though Fed won his first slam at age 21, his potential was recognized way before that.
Ditto for Nole and Muzza.
Where are the Rafas, Noles and Muzzas among the current teenagers?

holdserve , 11/16/12 5:54 AM

^^^^busy playing video games and finessing their twittering acumen. Tennis practice is for old fuddy duddies like Rafa, Muzza, Nole and Fed!

rafaisthebest , 11/16/12 6:26 AM

"finessing their twittering acumen"


RickyDimon , 11/16/12 7:06 AM

Gr8 article. Gr8 discussion.
But will the current crop of 20 year olds take over when Andy and co reach 30? Or will they be worn out already?

deuce , 11/16/12 7:22 AM

This is an interesting discussion and another nice blog from Cheryl. For myself, I don't see 1985 as a "mug" era. I think Boris Becker just got lucky with everything aligning for him at that time. Borg walked away from the game a few years earlier, but Lendl, Connors, McEnroe, Edberg and Wilander weren't mediocrities. I think Becker and Wimbledon was a marriage of player and surface.

We did have Sampras come along at 19 and win the USO against Agassi. It took Agassi a bit longer to win his first slam. I believe he was 22 in 1992 when he won Wimbledon.

Rafa as a teenager was a phenom. But how many Rafas have there been in this sport? The only one to compare him with is Borg, who was also a breakout star as a teenager. He won the French Open just before his 18th birthday, the youngest mane to do so. These two are a rare breed.

Nativenewyorker , 11/16/12 8:47 AM

Great post!
RITB- You get the pie for that one!

abhirf , 11/16/12 8:51 AM

Taking up Deuce's point: is it even desirable that teenies feature at the business end of tournaments?

The intense physicality of tennis today puts unnatural strains on the body as it is. Subjecting themselves to the gruelling efforts of Slams and Masters while their bodies are still maturing is a recipe for disaster. I haven't checked the stats but my guess is that the younger brigade in the top 100 have already amassed a laundry list of injuries that outnumbers those of earlier teenagers wonders. This bodes ill for their longevity.

It is also significant that the majority of the younger successful players fall into the giant catergory - is it their extra inches which allow them to go toe-to-toe with top players rather than superior tennis skills?


ed251137 , 11/16/12 8:58 AM

aegis - I don't really understand your argument. The entire entry is how young guys aren't physically mature enough to do what Lleyton Hewitt did back in the day. Del Potro, impressive though he is, is round about the same age as Nole and Muzz and didn't do anything of note until he was in his 20s, all of which supports the concept that tide of the sport has changed.

cherylmurray , 11/16/12 12:43 PM

Ed - interesting point about the height of the current crop of up-and-comers. It seems that one of the secrets to moderate success these days is the ability to win free points....though seemingly the rest of the their game is undeveloped. It'll be interesting to see if we can create anything resembling a new Sampras out of any of them. I'm guessing not yet.

cherylmurray , 11/16/12 12:49 PM

NNY - I would put Hewitt in that group as well. He accomplished an INCREDIBLE amount as a young teen...even younger than Rafa. Then again, he also paid a heavy price for success at such a young age. I've a feeling he would rather have started a little later like Roger did.

cherylmurray , 11/16/12 12:55 PM

Orthopedic surgeons specialising in sport injuries must be rubbing their hands in glee.

ed251137 , 11/16/12 1:55 PM

Well I'm glad you are all coming around to my way of thinking ;-)
Ive been saying these things on TT for 18months!
I still think the key to the whole late blooming situation with have here is developmental. Its the main reason rather than talent.
(Murray's trajectory that made me ponder on this the most).
And Nadal was the one that set this particular bar.
When he retires that's when tennis shall start to change again into something else again.

Twinge , 11/16/12 2:17 PM

how did Hewitt pay a heavy price for starting his career early???


RickyDimon , 11/16/12 3:13 PM

Dont be obtuse Ricky

ed251137 , 11/16/12 3:25 PM

He can't help it, Ed.

cherylmurray , 11/16/12 3:36 PM

Regardless of changes in equipment, training etc... Federer and Nadal were and are phenomenal and just on the strength of their work ethic, raw potential etc would have changed the game, at least for their own generation. I totally buy this point. They pushed the bar higher and higher for each other and then for Novak, Andy and everyone else. Novak is now adding to it.

But besides the phenoms these three are, and there have been phenoms before, there is the change in racquet technology before Roger rose in the ATP. Since wooden racquets have been replaced with faster and more accurate racquts the game has forever become faster and requiring much more power to be competitive. With wooden racquet you could never wack the ball as hard as you have to today if you wanted it to land in. And other technological changes have followed, e.g. computer analysis of a player's motions. There was no way they could have not slower down the courts around the time Roger was coming out of his teenage years.

On this account the game resembles gladiator games a lot more than twenty years ago. Sometimes it reminds me vaguely of that (cheesy, granted) movie Rollerball.

chlorostoma , 11/16/12 3:50 PM

Actually, that's also a good point chlorostoma. John McEnroe was a tremendous talent. I might even risk lynching by suggesting that he was a defter touch even than Fed. But he was not a great athlete. He wasn't even a good athlete. By today's standards he was positively out of shape when he was in his prime.

But the wooden rackets rewarded talent over athleticism such that he was able to keep pace with Borg, who was a FAR superior athlete. Today you MUST have both or else risk cramping every time a match extends past 3 sets.

cherylmurray , 11/16/12 4:09 PM

@ 3:36 PM


ed251137 , 11/16/12 4:26 PM

nobody ACTUALLY thinks Hewitt made a bad move by turning pro as a teenager, do they?

please god tell me no

RickyDimon , 11/16/12 4:30 PM

You are having reading comprehension issues again, Ricky. Nobody said he made a mistake. I simply said he paid a steep price for the abuses he put on his 16-year old self.

Obviously, he took advantage of the lull between the Sampras/Agassi era and the Fedal era. A couple of years either way and he'd probably not have a single slam to his name.

cherylmurray , 11/16/12 4:55 PM

"A couple of years either way and he'd probably not have a single slam to his name."

exactly my point (3:13 PM)

RickyDimon , 11/16/12 5:00 PM

I think Ricky made his point perfectly. If Hewitt had not started early he would never have won a single grand slam. So how did he pay a steep price? He got rewarded for starting early.
Every tennis athlete's aim is to win a grand slam. Would a tennis athlete prefer to be injury free to winning a grand slam? Please say that to Rafa who risks permanent disability even to win grand slams.

holdserve , 11/16/12 5:01 PM

Nobody is making a commentary on whether or not he'd have chosen to be injury free over winning slams. I'm simply saying that doing things the way he did cost him. He wanted slams, he got them. And he paid heavily to do so. I really don't understand how anyone could make an argument otherwise.

cherylmurray , 11/16/12 5:18 PM

they can, cheryl, if they want to be reason-less and proud of it :-)

chlorostoma , 11/16/12 5:22 PM

like chlorostoma

holdserve , 11/16/12 5:24 PM

i'm still wondering how Hewitt "paid heavily"

being injured during years that aren't the prime of your career even when healthy is not ANY kind of price for winning 2 slams

RickyDimon , 11/16/12 5:32 PM

please quote a specifc argument I put forward that is reason-less instead of a blanket statement. About any specific thing I wrote you may be right or wrong.

chlorostoma , 11/16/12 5:42 PM

cheryl, what we are arguing about is whether Hewitt paid a heavy price. You claim he did. I am claiming he did not. What we are assuming are obviously different things. You are assuming that for a tennis athlete being injury free is important. What I and I presume Ricky are assuming is that the most important thing is to win slams. That is the primary goal and athletes are therefore prepared to risk injuries, even permanent injuries. It is not a heavy price but the price which every athlete knows he might have to pay and Hewitt is fortunate that in risking his body he did achieve grand slam glory.
Like in car racing, motorists know they risk injury even death and in order to win they risk it. You cannot say poor guy, he paid a heavy price.
If chlorostoma can't see it, I am not surprised. I had suffered a mindless attack from this snail and I am not surprised that he ( or she) without bothering to understand has made another mindless attack.

holdserve , 11/16/12 5:42 PM

i'm not gonna go so far as to completely agree with holdserve. my opinion is not THAT extreme. but i certainly agree more with that than with an assertion that Hewitt paid a heavy price to win slams.

RickyDimon , 11/16/12 5:48 PM

see what?
first of, what attack today? You wrote 'like chlorostoma' and I ask for specifics.
You have been posting here for a couple of years and we never had a run-in. Until the one time a few weeks ago when I wrote one comment you took entirely the wrong way. Ever since I guess I am on your list of people that attack you mindlessly, that are unreasonable, and that you can call names. True, thalotia chlorostoma is the name of a species of seasnail, but there is no need to call anyone names. I thought we had explained each other in detail about that post weeks and weeks ago. It seems you never got to see what I meant by my original comment. I do remember that you accused me of being racist when in fact I was far from being so.

chlorostoma , 11/16/12 5:51 PM

I've re-read your post. If I am reading it right you took my post that says 'they can, cheryl, if they want to be reason-less and proud of it :-)' as being addressed to you.

fact is, i did not have you in mind.

time for your projection on me to fall off, no?

chlorostoma , 11/16/12 6:04 PM

chloro, Even if you did not have me in mind, it still proves you made a mindless attack.
I don't know what you mean by my projection on you.
I generally don't read lengthy posts especially if it is by usual suspects like you.
But this post of yours was short so I read it and found it contained a mindless attack. You seem to be too proud of your analytical skills but sadly you display the lack of it when you make mindless attacks. Reason-less and proud of it actually fitted your post to a T.
Anyway, I don't want to carry on this argument. Just stay away from me. I have been hurt by your mindless attack earlier as you are a Rafa fan and I never expected hatred from somebody I thought was part of my clan. It hurt like treachery hurts. You never even apologised properly and you actually tried to put me on the defensive by pretending to be the victim!

holdserve , 11/16/12 6:17 PM

you are getting me all wrong, honest. (That is exactly what I mean by projection.)

my post of 5:22 PM was a little joke direct to ricky's, this is not the first time and I don't believe he minds

I think you mis-read that post of mine from weeks ago and I tried to explain it back then. I think you have a pretty distorted view of me ever since. Perhaps there is nothing I can do to change that other than to write what I wrote to you in the last few posts today. I remember that you made one, just ONE, post that was in my view out of line and I and a couple of people wrote here about it. Then you took those comments very badly and wrote me off as a traitor, a mindless attacker, as personally going after you...
have you noticed I am not a poster at tt who is getting into all kinds of fights with others?
holdserve, I think that the picture you have of chlorostoma is not very much like what i am like or what my writing here on tt is like. That is what I mean by projection.
If you prefer not to interact with me, peace.

Have you noticed, perhaps, that I don't have these kinds of

chlorostoma , 11/16/12 6:44 PM

cherylmurray, 11/16/12 4:09 PM,

I agree with you about McEnroe. In fact, he would agree with you! He said as much in the documentary - McEnroe/Borg: Fire and Ice. He was gifted with so much natural talent and didn't want to spend all that time practicing. He was the opposite of Borg, who practiced endlessly to become so fit that, as he said, he never got tired in a match. McEnroe said he was good for two sets and after that, anything goes.

I also agree that playing in that era made it possible for McEnroe not to have to be that physically fit. Playing with wood rackets did reward talent over athleticism. Today McEnroe would never have been able to hang with these players.

I also agree with you about Hewitt paying a price for starting so early. Yes, it would be his only chance to win slams, but no one could know that then. He did sneak in between the end of Sampras/Agassi and before Fedal.

I think Rafa has paid a price for starting so early, too.

Nativenewyorker , 11/17/12 1:32 AM

Isn?t it true that there used to be major winners at a much earlier age than nowadays? Sampras and Nadal and Del Potro are no means lacking company as teen major winners. Besides Hewitt and Becker, I think of Chang and Wilander, all of whom I believe were younger than nineteen when winning their first (sometimes only) major. And of those, I don?t think Sampras, Becket, Chang or Wilander suffered particularly injury-ridden careers. So perhaps we should be looking to the extraordinary levels of fitness demanded of those who wish to be competitive to explain the difficulty of making a big statement, or even moving fast up the rankings, at a young age in this period.

jmk , 11/17/12 3:28 AM

Michael Change won his first slam in 1989, the French Open, when he was 17. It was his only slam win. Wilander won the 1982 French Open when he was 17 years, 9 months old. He would go on to win more.

Again the game was different back in the 70's and 80's. You could get by without being the fittest player back in the day. But today the physical requirements, the stamina necessary to compete and win in this sport are much more rigorous.

Hewitt won the US Open in 2001 when he was 20 years old. He won Wimbledon in 2002 when he was 21. But he started playing when he wasn't even 16. I don't know if he had a predisposition to injury or if it was because he started so young.

The sport of tennis was so different decades ago, that it's hard to compare it to how it's played now.

Nativenewyorker , 11/17/12 4:24 AM

Delpo wasn't a teenager when he won his first slam. Nor was Hewitt. He was 20.
However most of the pros start early so I don't know what some of the posters here are going on and on about Hewitt having paid the price for starting early. Did he start at 14? No. On the ATP site , it says he turned pro at age 17, which is the same age at which Fed turned pro.
He is so much injured mainly because he doesn't naturally have the powerful physique of players like Fed. He tried to get more power into his shots by trying to bulk up in 2003 and 2004.
His hip problems started in 2008 and in all probability it was due to his making his body take more punishment then it was naturally equipped to do. His bulking up itself might have strained his frame. There is no evidence that his chronic injuries from 2008 onwards ( he was 27) were due to his having started early. In any case he did not start early.
I would say his not being able to win slams after the rise of Federer caused him to put his body through more rigorous and punishing schedules than it was naturally equipped to tolerate. It was this desperation to catch up to Fed and other powerful players which might have caused his injuries, not starting early. In any case he started at the normal age, so why this false propaganda that he started early?

holdserve , 11/17/12 4:48 AM

Cheryl was the one who spoke about Hewitt's early start being responsible for all his injuries. She is entitled to her opinion. On the ATP site it does indicate that Hewitt turned pro in 1998 when he was 17, but he had been playing since the age of 15.

There is no false propaganda here, just a difference of opinion. So there's no need to make this into a big deal. Maybe he was genetically injury prone, maybe he did push himself to be stronger, fitter, whatever.

Nativenewyorker , 11/17/12 9:53 AM

By the age of 15 Rafa was already playing on the ATP tour.He beat Costa (reigning French Open champion) at the age of 15yr 10mths at the Monte Carlo Masters. We now know many of his problems stem from the foot deformity but his attritional style of play at such an early age can only have exacerbated the proneness to injury.

Do I believe this early start is responsible for the later injuries. Yes.

Would he have chosen to delay the start of his career if he had been told he was risking shortening it by doing so? We will never know, but I doubt it.


ed251137 , 11/17/12 12:04 PM

No, I don't doubt it. I think if he and his family knew about it earlier, they might seek treatment for him, or took preventive measures should they think he could still play tennis. I can't help but feel that Uncle Toni did the wrong thing by getting Rafa to play the professional tour too soon. Had Rafa been allowed two more years of honing his skills before joining the adult tour at age 17, he might be able to cut down on the running. Maybe concentrating on improving his serves back then would help him earned cheap points and reducing the wear and tear on his body.

luckystar , 11/17/12 4:00 PM

Okay, enough of this second-guessing Rafa, Uncle Toni, and, and, and......................I know it's the off-season and y'all mean no harm but is it possible that Rafa, his team and his family know better than us fans regarding when the best time was for him to turn pro, and that they made the right decision? After all, if it's his "aggressive" style of play that is causing him grief (a notion I do not subscribe to btw), would it make any difference when he joined the pro ranks? He is damned either way, no?

Just putting it out there...................

rafaisthebest , 11/17/12 4:36 PM

NNY, if Hewitt started playing only at age 15 then he started late. Most tennis players start at age 3 or 4.
While everyone is entitled to their opinion, it doesn't mean that others are obliged not to point out when that opinion is not based on facts.
Facts: Hewitt did not start playing early.
Facts: Hewitt's chronic injuries started in 2008 when he was 'middle aged" by tennis standards.
Facts: Once Federer, Roddick and power players came up, Hewitt who had a relatively light frame started taking training to bulk up in 2003 and 2004.
Facts: Hewiit then started to play more of the power game i.e. from 2005.
Playing a style not suited to his frame caused him eventually to require hip surgery etc.
Same thing happened to Martina Hingis who after the emergence of power players like the Wiliams sisters tried to put more power into her shots and eventually quit with injuries.
Moral: Play your natural style
Rafa's case is different. His genetic foot problem forced him to wear special shoes which put pressure on his knees and back with the results we have seen. Rafa knew the risks ( or the price he would have to pay) but took it as the alternative was to give up tennis

holdserve , 11/17/12 4:44 PM

You could well be right. Uncle Toni as his coach and family member must be held responsible for decisions taken early in his career. However Rafa was a mature man when he decided to return to the Tour after an extended injury time out in 2009 and picked up new injuries as a result. And it was Rafa who overuled Uncle Toni when he tried to persuade him to retire from the 2011 AO QF.


ed251137 , 11/17/12 4:49 PM

I don't blame Uncle Toni for Rafa's plight in 2009. It's Rafa's stubborness, that he insisted on playing at Madrid that did him in that year, costing him his FO. None of us know how Rafa thinks, sometimes I think he's rather foolish for doing certain things (which if I was in his position I won't even consider doing) but we won't know how his team function and why they or he make(s) certain decisions. Still, I find certain decisions and certain outcome regrettable.

luckystar , 11/17/12 5:12 PM

My comment @ 4:44 was in response to Lucky acknowledging her POV was equally valid.

RITB with the silly season looming we can look forward to several weeks of circular

holdserve: You've summed up very neatly. I would be interest to know what you thnk abouti Davydenko's former success. For someone not very tall and very slight I was always amazed he was able to go toe to toe with Nadal and, I think, still has a winning H2H against him. Sad to see his career fizzle out after winning the WTF.

ed251137 , 11/17/12 5:33 PM

If Rafa had been as boring as Fed is, I wouldn't have become a fan of Rafa.
I wouldn't care about men's tennis at all.

Augustina08 , 11/17/12 5:51 PM

Gussie: Keep to the subject darling! We're discussing Stepanek's sex appeal, Hewitt's hips, and various parts of Rafa's anatomy. We're not nominating who is the blandest man on the tour - that comes later.

ed251137 , 11/17/12 6:05 PM

Rafa won't be like Fed. Rafa played each point as if it's a match point, and he's so mentally focused that he could play at a consistently high level for an entire match (that's what Murray once said about Rafa). His topspin forehand would still be there even if he can have a better serve. His unparalleled movement on clay would still be there; the difference I believe would be in his results on the hard courts. He may have even better successes on the hard courts and they may come sooner.

luckystar , 11/17/12 6:09 PM

Hey chr18, instead of commenting ad nauseum about those fangled Spaniards, care to comment on why Fed is planning on missing Miami2013? His schedule as per his website: ogers-turnierplan-fuer-2013.html

rafaisthebest , 11/17/12 8:25 PM

Davindenko has a relatively small frame. But he is very fit. Has lots of power in that frame. And has plenty of technique, speed, smarts and mental strength. He too would give McEnroe a run for his money on the fitness side of things when using modern racquets.

chlorostoma , 11/17/12 8:57 PM

RITB: He doesn't have a bunch of points to defend, does he.

I see Basel got the elbow. Presumably they weren't prepared to cough up more dosh.

#VerySensi ble

ed251137 , 11/17/12 11:25 PM

Racquets have done it for the teens. You cannot win a slam based on precocious talent alone because you have to be that much physically in shape to play the modern game. Nadal of course was an exception; in more ways than one.

samprallica , 11/18/12 5:28 AM

Davydenko is super talented (definitely more talented than Hewitt) but he was interested in making money, not in grand slam glory. So he focused on playing more matches in as many tournaments as possible. Maybe he could have made more money had he focused on grand slams through prize money and endorsements but that was a chancy route with super champs like Fed and later the younger trio. Playing more tournaments was a sure way. Davy is also suspected of making money through throwing matches. One thing is certain: he had a non-grand (!) vision unlike players like Rafa, Fed, Nole and Muzz. A pity!

holdserve , 11/18/12 7:07 AM

Davy's speed and anticipation, the ability to take early the rising ball which greatly neutralized Rafa's spin, were instrumental in making it difficult for Rafa to beat him.
However, in regard to analysis of playing styles, I am not an expert. Luckystar can probably provide a better analysis.
I also think that now that Rafa is learning how to beat Nole (who is also super fast and unfazed by Rafa's spin), he would be able to beat the Davy of the pre-2010 days.

holdserve , 11/18/12 7:29 AM

Although Fed fans and samprallica (probably a Sampras fan) make much of Rafa's physical power, it is my opinion ( I would like to hear luckystar or ed's views) that Rafa depends more on his footwork, speed, anticipation and spin than power. In fact I think Fed employs more power but because he has skinny forearms, not many are aware that he has heavy shoulder and back muscles which allow him to hit his powerful serves and forehand giving the impression that he depends on subtlety rather than power. I invite anyone who thinks Fed does not use physical power ( in my opinion more than Rafa) but uses soft grace, to stand in the way of his serve or forehand ( and take it on the chin!). As a matter of fact, we do have measurements of his serve speeds.

holdserve , 11/18/12 7:40 AM

Rafa's movement on clay is a joy to watch, as is Andy's on grass...;)

deuce , 11/18/12 8:09 AM

I did not say that Hewitt just started playing at the age of 15. I got my information from the ATP site. You can reference it for yourself. I am not going to go back and get the whole history of when he first started playing tennis. As I said, Cheryl was the first one to make the point about Hewitt, so you think that her opinion is not based on fact. I honestly don't care to engage in an ongoing discussion when the word "propaganda" is used to describe what I or Cheryl or anyone else has said. I really do not appreciate that at all.

However I did briefly check out more info on the ATP site and it states that Hewitt playing Australian Rules Football until the age of 13 before deciding to become a tennis player. Now that might have had an impact on his body that maybe only came up later on after some years of playing tennis.

That's all I have to say on the subject. Oh and I am well aware of Rafa's genetic foot problem which necessitated him wearing orthotics that probably cause his knee problems. I also am not going to blame Uncle Toni years after the fact for having him turn pro so young. I am not into that kind of second-guessing.

I could give my opinions about Davy and Fed and Rafa's contrasting styles but since I wasn't asked to do so, I will refrain.

Nativenewyorker , 11/18/12 9:16 AM

If Hewitt started playing tennis only at age 15 and turned pro at 17 then it conclusively disproves the hypothesis that Hewitt started early. In fact he started late.
Somebody could say with greater justice that Hewiit paid a heavy price because he started late.
NNY, I don't know about others but I would definitely love to hear your opinions about Davy, Fed and Rafa's contrasting styles.

holdserve , 11/18/12 10:33 AM

Common sense tells you he didn't START playing tennis at 15!

I haven't read his biography (is there one?) and the wiki entry omits the usual 'he first picked up a racket at the age of 3yrs' blah, blah so we dont know at what age he showed promise and started training intensively. But sure as hell he didn't explode onto the scene winning his first ATP title with less than two years tennis tutition under his belt. NNY has dug out the info he switched from football to tennis at 13 but to make that decision indicates he showed greater promise as a tennis player. Similarly, Rafa, Federer, and Murray were all promising footballers before choosing tennis as a career.

The emphasis now in many countries is to spot and nurture young talent as early as possible. Money is being poured in to programmes aimed at bringing more kids into tennis and to provide a hot-house training for those who show early promise.

Whether this will be successful or not is questionable. To date the LTA have failed to produce a successor to Murray in spite of throwing money at a collection of hopefuls. Ditto the USA and Australia. Other countries with little or no financial resources invested in tennis have managed to produce a spate of world class players.

They either have it or they dont. I dont believe tennis champions can be manufactured .

#PayPromisingYoungFootballersToPlayTenni s

ed251137 , 11/18/12 1:32 PM

ed, they've got to have talent for sure, but they've also got to have encouragement too. Andy was lucky enough to have his parents and grandparents, Heather Watson her parents and Laura Robson too. Lucky old Oliver Golding has a tennis court in hid back garden.
But if you haven't got parental encouragement, it must be very tough and unfortunately the LTA can't seem to raise its little eyes further than the Surrey hills.
So if you're a talented kid from another part of the country chances are you'll take up a more accessible sport.

deuce , 11/18/12 1:59 PM

Uncle Tony mentions in Rafa's bio that he (Tony) never had enough of the killer instinct to go high in the ATP but Rafa did. Also, from everything I read about Rafa he had from a young age an unabashed youthful dream naive if you like of limitless achievements regardless of the odds of it happening. You may remember what Moya once said in an interview. That when Rafa was - I can't remember, maybe 13 or 15? - Moya asked him whether he wanted to win a slam one day just as Moya had, and Rafa answered with candour that he was after a lot more than that. Moya said that there was a look in Rafa's eyes that said as much. Given this mental disposition I doubt it would have been a good idea to stop Rafa's fast tracking through to getting into the ATP so young or his dedication to such intense playing when practicing and never say give up on a ball when in matches against much older players on the ATP. The way he did it was probably the only way to fan the flames of his passion and dedication, devotion if you will, and probably anything else would have doused them too much. If it has meant in the long run more injuries than most (not all) players, in part because of his foot problems, then that is the price he clearly has been willing to assume, year in year out. It is a rare person who digs so deep day after day for ten, fifteen days to come so close to their full potential as this Rafa has so far. Raw potential (talent is a problematic word) has many dimensions. In Rafa's case one of the important ones is his mental disposition, this ability and willingness to dig so much deeper, both in practice and in matches, and so consistently. Especially from reading his bio it is clear that he is willing to pay the price of pain later in his life for having lived his pro career this passionately. Of course I hope that various medical and non-medical methods will alleviate such pain as much as possible. Of course he has been vocal against the punishing schedule (even though any real progress will come to fruition after he retires). But at the same time he is willing to pay this price to have lived his dream so fully, so deeply. It is this passion in particular that is so inspiring. As is the happiness in his smile.

chlorostoma , 11/18/12 2:55 PM

If ATP/ Grand slam commitees did not shamelessly rig draws and arrange schedules in favor of Fed, he would have fallen out of top 4 last year itself and it would have become more and more difficult for him to keep from falling further. This would have ensured his retirement this year.
What a wonderful thing it would be for tennis if Federer were to retire!
For starters, the rigging would be stopped. Court allocation would be as per ranking. Schedules would follow a more equitable timetable for players.
ATP would amend its rule regarding time between points which would have been amended long ago but for Federer.
ATP would amend its grueling schedule to suit the current generation. If they could make it 4 slams, 6 Masters, one 500 and one 250, it would be perfect and win -win for all! Higher ranked players would not get injured so often just because they go deep in the big tournaments.
Players below top 4 would get opportunity to win more Masters, get better known to the public, win more sponsorships, more money.

holdserve , 11/18/12 5:49 PM

If the "great" Fed truly cared for his fellow tour mates, give other players a chance to win more prestigious titles, make more players better known so fandom and sponsorship would not be so skewed in favor of the top 4, then he would negotiate for real changes instead of the cosmetic ones he is currently advocating.
That would truly benefit tennis as tournament organizers would have a larger pool of well known players and a more diverse group of fan favorites.
But Federer is always looking for ways to get credit or himself, not for others.
He earlier refused to raise any issues as he was happy with ATP acting like his fiefdom. Once Rafa raised some issues, Fed realized he would become unpopular and the players may unite to bring more real equity into tennis.
So now he has started negotiating for cosmetic changes like better pay for lower ranked players, advocating faster courts etc, claiming that would benefit them.
Servile media and delu Fed fans now claim how committed Fed is to the cause of the down trodden.
But he reminds me of the crocodile which with gently smiling jaws welcomes little fishes in or the Walrus and the Carpenter who treacherously ate up all the oysters under pretext of taking them for a walk.

holdserve , 11/18/12 6:00 PM

chlorostoma, 11/18/12 2:55 PM,

I wasn't going to say anything more on this topic thread, but after reading your latest post I just had to tell you that I think you express yourself so beautifully. I love reading your thoughtful, well-written posts. You have a way of analyzing and getting to the heart of things, that is extraordinary.

I believe that your thoughts about why Rafa did what he did, about knowing the possible price to be paid but being willing to take it, are absolutely spot on!

There is no way that I could have described him any better. Thank you!

Nativenewyorker , 11/18/12 10:41 PM

Not all chlorostoma's posts are thoughtful and well written.

holdserve , 11/19/12 12:18 AM

^^^Got to agree with holdserve here. I don't agree with chloro's take on Fed. About Rafa, none of us know him and his family personally, so I don't suppose chloro knows for sure how Rafa feels and thinks. I was merely suggesting Uncle Toni made a mistake by getting Rafa into the adult tour so soon, when competing at the junior levels might help him hone his skills and yet its less demanding on the body, also satisfying his thirst for competition.

I don't deny Uncle Toni is a good coach, but every coach has his own shortcoming. Anyway I don't think Rafa would sacrifice the quality of his life after tennis by relentlessly pursuing success at the expense of his body. The fact that he mentioned, that tennis is but a game and it's not all of his life, and the fact he keeps complaining about the schedule and the courts, attest to that IMO.

luckystar , 11/19/12 4:38 AM

I couldnt agree more. Rafa has always made it abundantly clear tennis is not the be all and end all of his life. Uncle Toni is a hard task master and maybe has made some questionable decisions but he is not the Svengali figure exercising excessive control over Rafa that some people portray him as.

ed251137 , 11/19/12 7:43 AM

People sure are getting nitpicky here! I may not always agree with everything that chloro says, but I do enjoy reading his posts. Just to be clear, I was expressing my personal opinion.

I do not see Uncle Toni as a Svengali figure controlling Rafa's every move. I never have seen him that way. Rafa has things in perspective in his life. I think that's a good thing!

Nativenewyorker , 11/19/12 8:21 AM

nny at 10:41 PM,

thank you for the kind words

re the following posts: I agree that people are getting nitpicky here. And please don't encourage holdserve: I have never had a tangle with her except for the one day a couple of months ago when I (and at least a couple of other posters) thought ONE of her sentences was beyound the pale and called her out for it. Ever since she seems to think I am to be insulted without end.

Holdserve, did you not write a couple of days ago you were going to let it go?

chlorostoma , 11/19/12 4:23 PM

The headline of the article: __Federer and company make no room at the top for youth__

But the organizers of the events make room for youth!

Federer was not invited to the Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament to be held in the end of December. The reason of Federer's exclusion was the desire of organizers to invite past champions of the event and the youth (!) of the ATP.
Federer had been a part of this season opening event every year since its beginning in 2009. However, organizers of the event did not invite him for the coming event, saying that he did not go well with this edition's theme of the event.
Sproule (IMG's Managing Director) said: "But the celebration of champions and the youth of the ATP, which we have in spades here with arguably the six hottest young players in the game, was our aim from the outset. These guys have more Grand Slam victories ahead of them rather than behind them."
Explaining Djokovic, Murray and Nadal's inclusion in the event, Sproule stated that Murray has been invited due to a good number of UK citizens in UAE, Nadal was away from the tour for long time, so he needed a suitable place to make a comeback and Djokovic is the defending champion. Nadal and Murray are also past champions of the event.
[Quotes from "tennisworldusa", 19 Nov 2012]

Augustina08 , 11/20/12 8:06 PM

Rafa's mind says one thing, his body says another. It is quite clear that for Toni, that tennis is the end all. He wouldn't be where he is, with the money he's made, had it not been for Rafa's style of tennis. Toni knows this, he knows that tennis money is quick money. He's not setting Rafa up for his career at 30+ or life after 60+. But, there is nothing wrong with getting his accolades, awards, and prizes now, and sitting out the rest of his life. He's put his body through so much that I would say, he deserves to sit back and pile on the money. However, in saying that... That is where Fed and Rafa differ dramatically.

Fed actually has accepted that tennis is not the end all. The way he plays works for him. He plays a mind game, as opposed to Noles/Murrays/Rafas physical game. Why do you think he's formulated such strategies and partnerships? Cheryl touched on it in one of her blogs... The man is very very calculated and intelligent. When his career is over he has an abundance of options; commentary, academies, anchor, ambassador, etc. And it helps that he can speak like a lot of different languages...

aegis , 11/20/12 8:52 PM

Ah, probably a load of BS after Fed paired down his schedule.

Is Federer the greatest of all time? (from

#DontShootTheMess enger

Roger Federer has an Open Era best 17 Grand Slam titles and has spent the most weeks at No. 1.
Sang Tan/AP
Price: Yes. Until further notice, this argument is over.
Wertheim: Yes. To the point that the discussion is pretty much moot. By most every conceivable metric, he is the best. He holds the record for most records held. Qualitatively, his case is even stronger. No one has played at his sustained level of excellence. By winning Wimbledon, he not only increased his haul of Slams -- the primary measuring stick for a player's greatness -- but he showed that he has the competitive resolve to match his talents. For more than two years, he failed to win a major. Ignoring cries that the sport had passed him by, ignoring the annoyances of age, he won again, playing as well as ever for the final hour of the final match. In addition to the title, Federer took over the No. 1 ranking. And as far as the GOAT discussion, this was the deal-sealer.
Jenkins: I put him right there with Rod Laver, and because I was fortunate enough to watch Laver -- both in person and on big-event telecasts -- I'll never leave him out of this discussion. He had all the shots, he was great on every surface, and he was a fierce, classy competitor. Those qualities fit handsomely into any era. Give Laver today's equipment, and he's still an all-time great, still a cut above the rest as a player and a man.
As Federer solidified his grasp on Wimbledon dominance, Laver could hardly contain his admiration. Here was the same brand of champion, only faced with a deeper men's field, more variety in the Grand Slam surfaces and a greater test of hand-eye coordination. Modern-day tennis looks like a video game when measured against those classic films from the 50s and 60s. In the case of both men, however, there are no flaws, no "what ifs" on the resume. For my money, they go down as equals.
Nguyen: He's the greatest player I have ever seen swing a racket. That I know with absolute certainty. But I haven't seen everyone who ever swung a racket and that's where my analysis gets muddy. I've read books, talked to experts and watched grainy video footage of the all-time greats, but all we're really left with is numbers and that warm gushy feeling in your gut.
Graham: He's the greatest of my lifetime. That he was able to reclaim the No. 1 ranking past the age of 30 -- a feat that seemed impossible a year ago -- only solidifies the case. The eggheads may pick Connors and the oldheads may pick Laver, but Federer is my choice.

Conspirator , 11/20/12 9:13 PM

From the same article, I love all of these predictions for 2013...

Bold prediction for 2013

Price: Murray will win the 2012 Wimbledon singles title.

Wertheim: The four Slams will -- once again -- be won by four different players. The ATP is still terrifically top heavy. But with the emergence of Murray, the re-emergence of Juan Martin del Potro, the iffy status of Nadal's knees, the presence of Federer and, of course, the constant threat of Djokovic, it's easy to see the four big prizes getting divvied up equally again.

Jenkins: Tomic will play the eccentric Benoit Paire on a day of withering heat during the U.S. summer circuit, and after two hours of incomprehensible weirdness, the court will literally catch fire.

Nguyen: Federer will drop out of the top four.... Sam Querrey will displace John Isner as the No. 1 American.... Raonic will finish the year ranked higher than Jo-Wilfried Tsonga... Nadal will go undefeated through the clay season.... At least two Masters titles will be won by someone outside the Big Four.

Graham: Raonic will move into the top 10 and make a Grand Slam semifinal.


Conspirator , 11/20/12 9:24 PM

Excellent article... Raonic will be top 10 by 2013's year-end with Ferrer, Tsonga dropping down. Delpo will win 1 major next year (USO or AO). Rafa will obviously sweep the clay season, that's a given...

aegis , 11/20/12 9:58 PM

@aegis, 11/20/12 8:52 PM
__It is quite clear that for Toni, that tennis is the end all. He wouldn't be where he is, with the money he's made, had it not been for Rafa's style of tennis__

Actually, Rafa doesn't pay uncle Toni for the coaching.

Augustina08 , 11/20/12 10:12 PM

Conspirator, 11/20/12 9:24 PM

Please dont put anymore of those predictions up on this site!

I find it alarming when 4/5 SI writers voice the thought I've been trying hard to surpress :'''''(

ed251137 , 11/20/12 10:18 PM

Sorry ed, how about five things we could have done without in 2012 tennis...


Conspirator , 11/20/12 10:29 PM

Augustina08 , 11/20/12 10:38 PM

It must be depressing to be an up and coming young player and see so many hurdles in front of you and still hold onto the belief you have a chance to reach the top echelon in tennis any time soon.

Federer refused to grow old gracefully and instead launched his '2nd Coming' at the age of 31; Messrs Nadal, Djokovic and Murray are firmly entrenched and look set to repel any upstarts hoping to gatecrash the party for what could possibly be another four or five years if they stay healthy; and that's without considering the next tier most of whom are also likely to be around for several more years.

But they should take heart from the example set by Ferrer who proves it's possible to reach your best form at the age of 30 - way past what is regarded as the peak years.

If this state of affairs threatens to be detrimental to the long term health of tennis the ATP could always consider making room for new blood by enforcing early retirement and dispatching over 30 year olds to the senior circuit where they can continue to compete against each other ;-)

ed251137 , 11/21/12 2:13 AM

Please aegis, you talked as if Rafa is an orphan and is raised singlehandedly by Uncle Toni! Please note that Rafa was born into a quite wealthy family. He is the only son of his parents and they love him very much and do not need Rafa to bring in the loaf and so will not sacrifice the quality of Rafa's life in future.

Rafa was born to be a sportsman; his built and his athletism and his competitive spirit have destined that he'll be a sportsman and a very outstanding one. He could very well become a professional footballer like his Uncle Miguel Angel, or even become a golfer had he started young. He chose tennis because he was better in it and had more potential in it than say football at that early age.

Now about the playing style, both Rafa and Murray are better thinker than Fed is on the tennis court, hence their positive H2H vs Fed since the beginnings of their meetings with Fed. Fed planned his schedule well and hence reduced chances of injuries. He played only 17, 15, 17 and 16 events respectively from 2004-2007. Though he played more matches (in 2006 particularly) his matches were relatively shorter. However, with the alleged slowing down of the courts, Fed himself also has to play long matches these days, especially when playing against one of the trio of Rafa/Nole/Murray. Even against Delpo, at Olympics this year, Fed had to play a long match to beat Delpo on grass!

Whether the 'style' of Rafa/Nole/Murray is sustainable or not in the long run, only time will tell. Judging from both Nole and Murray only having niggles here and there, and Nole amazing hardly injured (save for his back injury last year after the USO) and is not injured this year throughout, I think Nole will be one like Fed, ie not plagued with injuries throughout his career. I think Nole is wise in his scheduling, he doesn't over play these two years, playing a maximum of 17 events per year and that'll bode well for him going forward.

PS. Rafa's case is an exception as he has his foot problem to start with; without which I firmly believe his body is strong enough to last a long time in the tour.

luckystar , 11/21/12 4:07 AM

@Conspirator, what exactly is your point in posting that SI article? To tell us that other people agree with you in declaring that Fed is GOAT?

rafaisthebest , 11/21/12 5:36 AM

I think Conspirator might be the fan equivalent of a double agent. He claims to be a Rafa fan but insists Fed is the GOAT. Further he produced bogus examples to prove Fed is kind and emotionally involved in charitable activities. I can understand a delusional Fed fan giving all those examples but not a Rafa fan who is expected to possess some logic.
Conspirator may well have named himself conspirator being part of a conspiracy to subtly undermine Rafa.
He claimed that Nole beat a fit and mature Rafa in 2011.
He claimed Fed has improved over his 2006...
By his wit and hash tags he has got himself a good following among Rafa fans but I suspect he is a Trojan horse intent on discounting Rafa and building a fake GOAT legacy for Fed.
I believe anyone who claims Fed is the GOAT is not to be trusted and cannot be counted as a true Rafa fan.

holdserve , 11/21/12 6:00 AM

I don't think it's that depressing for the up and coming youngsters. There's no need to be a slam winner in one's teen. Not everyone has to be like Borg, Wilander, Becker, Sampras or Rafa. Murray wins his first slam at age 25 and during this era where the top four are head and shoulders above the rest.

The up and comers have time on their side, Fed is aging and will lose his edge soon; the trio will be 30/31 in five years; so the teenagers and the 20/21 yo now still have time on their side to catch up and be ready to take advantage. Raonic and Jerzy may be the oldest of the lot at 22 this year but they're the two with the most potential to do well in their careers and I believe they're the two to win slams ahead of their own peers.

luckystar , 11/21/12 6:03 AM

Fed has definitely not improved over 2006. He is propped up by favorable schedules, rigged draws. 2006 was his best year.
Rafa was not fit last year. He struggled at Roland Garros and clearly showed evidence of a foot problem at Wimbly. At AO this year, the ominous pop he heard in his knee was clearly a sign of things getting worse but Rafa did not want to leave the scene before beating Nole lest the world think he is scared of Nole.
Even when he quit the scene after losing to a chap generally playing in challengers and qualifiers, there were morons claiming Rosol won because he was playing so well and that Rafa left the tennis scene as he was scared of Rosol!

holdserve , 11/21/12 6:08 AM

Yes, truly moronic. When did Rafa shy away or feeling scared after been beaten? He's always up for the challenge, even when he's beig beaten six or seven times in a row by Nole. He proved it by beating Nole thrice this year; and by beating Sod in 2010 FO after losing to him in 2009. I'm sure he'll beat Rosol the next time they meet, just like how he beat Berdych, Gonzo, Blake, Youzhny, Tsonga. Delpo, Nalby, Florian Mayer, Davy and Cilic after losing to them previously.

luckystar , 11/21/12 6:27 AM

Personally, I am convinced the SI Tennis writers are under orders to never write anything complimentary about Rafa and "big up" Federer, and they continue with this trend in their latest offering. Their latest ruminations about Rafa's "awfulness" are contained in the same article @Conspirator quotes from about Fed's GOATness.

To back up my contention about SI bias, ignorance and downright moronity (to paraphrase @holdserve), guess who most of them pick as the biggest disappointment/surprise for 2012: Rafa.

I quote:

What's the biggest disappointment of 2012? Biggest surprise?

Read More: ble/#ixzz2CpoHpWUq

Under normal circumstances I would post choice quotes but in this instance I will not because (a) I am too upset and (b) which quote do I pick, the whole article is so moronic!


At this point I am moved to extend a heartfelt apology to @holdserve because at times I have felt your posts too "hyper" but on the issue of people's perception of Rafa's loss to Rosol and his 2013 performance overall, you are spot on. Your choice of word is also spot on, people who think and say Rafa lost to Rosol because Rosol out played him are: morons! And the SI Tennis writers are exhibit A in this respect.

rafaisthebest , 11/21/12 7:17 AM say Rafa "flamed" out of Wimby is to say Rafa has been out for near 5 months licking his wounds because of that "flaming" out! Moronic...............

rafaisthebest , 11/21/12 7:38 AM

I truly believe Rafa has the highest pain threshold of just about anybody currently on the tour. We know he has played through pain - and still won - time after time. Therein lies the problem. In the past he has too often ignored the warning signs and refused to give up until it was impossible to continue. Whenever Rafa retired or withdrew from a tournament you knew the injury was serious or he was risking permanent damage by continuing.

I wanted to scream when the commies referred to Soderling as the only man to ever beat Rafa on clay at every possible opportunity. It is sad for Soderling his career has been cut short by illness and that his career will be defined by that one match against a wounded Rafa rather than his overall success on the tennis court.

As for Rosol, I wont even go there.

ed251137 , 11/21/12 7:51 AM

I am pleased that this guy Jenkins put Fed up there with Laver. I grew up watching Laver play and there was never anyone like him. Because of the situation with competing as a professional or an amateur, some of his wins aren't counted in the official record.

Laver won 19 major tournaments, including 11 grand slam titles and 8 Pro Slam titles. He is the only player, male or female to have won the calendar Grand slam twice, once in 1962 as an amateur and second as a professional in 1969. He won nine Championship Series titles from 1970-1975, the precursors to today's Master 1000's tournaments. He excelled on all surfaces in that era - clay, grass and wood/parquet. Laver is the second and last male player to win each major title twice in his career. He was ranked #1 for seven consecutive years (1964 - 1970), from 1964 -1967 in the professional circuit.

He has records that have stood for more than 40 years. For me he has always been the closest thing to a GOAT. However, I have never liked this whole GOAT argument started by Fed fans to promote their guy as the best ever. I think a player can only be the best in his generation.

Nativenewyorker , 11/21/12 7:53 AM

Whenever Rafa retired or withdrew from a tournament you knew the injury was serious or he was risking permanent damage by continuing.

ed251137 , 11/21/12 7:51 AM

Exactly. So, to even think he would miss 5 months of his playing career out of pique is just......................unbelievable.

rafaisthebest , 11/21/12 8:03 AM

If Fed is the GOAT, Rafa has been his farmer (who has decided between life and death for the goat).

Augustina08 , 11/21/12 8:13 AM

Well, SI Tennis normally produce their end of year report card for the players. Fully expect them to give Rafa a D-................for being off-Tour while injured!

rafaisthebest , 11/21/12 8:28 AM

Having worked many years ago at Time Life, including a stint on SI, I can assure you generally speaking sports writers are far from moronic idiots. But they are governed ? as are all the media - by the need to keep their big advertisers happy.

Federer is, as discussed many times, a global brand with a lot of money riding on him. So RITB right in suspecting there is undoubtedly pressure to ?big? up Federer and sadly they seem prepared to fore-go editorial integrity and diss Rafa to achieve this.

It would be interesting to hear Cheryl and Ricky's perspective on this issue and their opinion of the offending article.

ed251137 , 11/21/12 8:50 AM

I didn't read this article and after hearing what is said, I don't know that I even want to bother. I am not in the mood to listen to anyone talking down Rafa after what he has been through!

Sports journalists say stupid things to drum up controversy and get attention. I don't want to hear any negativity about Rafa now that he is back practicing again.

Nativenewyorker , 11/21/12 9:53 AM

For me, someone, anyone losing while playing injured is not a surprise/disappointment, it's sad. Someone, like Jerzy, reaching the final of a Masters 1000, given his ranking and the quality players he beat on the way, now THAT is a surprise..................narry a mention in the SI article, no surprise.

And how is this for a disappointment: an eccentric billionaire holding a whole Masters 1000 tournament hostage to stroke his own inflated ego. I'm looking at you Tiriac! Again, narry a mention from the SI Tennis cognoscenti..........

rafaisthebest , 11/21/12 9:58 AM

rafaisthebest, 11/21/12 5:36 AM

Yes. When I can't get any validation on here, I must look elsewhere for support.



holdserve, 11/21/12 6:00 AM

Oh, no!!! holdserve has outed me! I've been found out!

Too funny! Please to check...nevermind.

I don't swallow kool-aid of any kind. Too sugary.


Conspirator , 11/21/12 2:10 PM

Disappointment? C'mon now, it all depends on context. I don't think anyone said they are disappointed in Rafa himself (i.e., blaming him for his injury or questioning it).

Sadness IS disappointment.

After the FO, Rafa led the Race to London and was well on his way to becoming No. 1 by summer's end. Are you telling me none of you were not disappointed when he was unable to continue his assault??? I was. I think that is all they are saying.

I can't wait for Rafa to return. I don't doubt his ability to come back and win one and possibly multiple slams in 2013. Just look at what he did in 2010 after 2009.


Conspirator , 11/21/12 2:18 PM

Not so fast, buster! Now that your loyalty is under suspicion, you are on probation. You have to EARN your way back into the hallowed fraternity. Giving regular updates on all things Rafa would be a start.............

rafaisthebest , 11/21/12 3:16 PM

I've never said Rafa relied more on "power" than Federer or Sampras, in fact I do think Federer is one of the most explosive players to have ever played the game. The huge first step in each of his moves towards the next ball is testament to this.

And while Federer is a far cry from my favourite player - that position is for now with Sampras, I don't think there is much argument that he is the greatest player to have played the game. While it is impossible to compare across generations; Federer has pretty much been awesome through two generations, so I don't really see much argument to it.

samprallica , 11/21/12 3:47 PM

Sorry, RITB, not interested. You and anyone else are of course completely free to suspect my loyalty. I really don't care about that.

I've never been interested in earning anything on here nor convincing anyone of anything, just expressing my thoughts on the game and sharing tennis information among fellow fans.

I share information on all of the players when I think they might be of interest including ANY of the elite and will continue to do so. I'll leave the Rafa-only mantra to others. I'm a tennis fan first who loves Rafa's game on and off the court more than any other player and I don't apologize for that. Suspect what you want.

Not sure I want to be part of any fraternity that would have me as a member anyhoo.


Conspirator , 11/21/12 4:05 PM

"Federer has pretty much been awesome through two generations, so I don't really see much argument to it..."

Has he been awesome through this generation however?
Or just dangerous.
Certainly he was through the one before, the weaker one.
The MUCH weaker one.
But if testament of his awesomeness is to be judged from this present generation alone then it is clear he is not the G$%T.
As clearly he wasn't even close to being the most `awesome-ist`.
Not by a long shot.
Nadal has been awesome & Novak has been awesome, both for a time at least.
So for me there is still an argument there.

Twinge , 11/21/12 4:06 PM

Trouble is, as fans we get so involved with our "heroes" we lose perspective

rafaisthebest, 11/21/12 3:05 PM


Conspirator , 11/21/12 4:09 PM

Conspirator, 11/21/12 4:05 PM

Not sure I want to be part of any fraternity that would have me as a member anyhoo.

You've changed the face of TT
You've upped the level of debate
You make us all laugh
You've neutralised the enemy
Your input is valued

#CantAskForMo re

ed251137 , 11/21/12 4:39 PM

Thanks, ed. Tennis is not very prominent in Canada and I catch a lot of grief for my passion for the game so I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the game with truly educated fans on here including yourself, RITB and holdserv.



Conspirator , 11/21/12 4:53 PM

The Knitting Circle have put it to the vote.

Your temporary digression will be overlooked.


ed251137 , 11/21/12 5:00 PM

^^^grudgingly seconded......

rafaisthebest , 11/21/12 6:15 PM

Well, after the depressing SI article, thank Goodness for the following uplifting nike and babolat messages:

Never give up. He's back....#TennisRunsInOurBlood


Determination destroys adversity. Back to the courts.


rafaisthebest , 11/21/12 6:28 PM

A new battle cry, no?


ed251137 , 11/21/12 9:17 PM

If we are to consider 2008 the start of the new generation; then Federer has won as many slams as Nole, and been No.1 for around the same period. Besides, his age group through this period is one at which other previous legends have historically shown signs of decline.

Ok maybe he has not been awesome but he has been pretty darn good against some brilliant players at their peak. Besides, if there was such as thing as GOAT, who would you say is one? Nadal? No chance. Maybe Laver, but that's all the competition he has really.

samprallica , 11/22/12 2:31 AM

samprallica, 11/21/12 3:47 PM,

Sorry, but I have to stand up for Laver. He spanned more than one generation as a tennis player and dominated during an extraordinary time in men's tennis. There was a golden age in the 60's, when the men's game was something to behold. I know that many are fond of brushing off that era because the game was played so differently, but that is a mistake as far as I am concerned. A sport can only evolve through the decades, but you play the sport as it is in your era and if you can be the best and have records that no one else has and dominate over equally great players, then you have done something truly special.

Rod Laver changed the sport of tennis with his topspin. He played guys like Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewall, Arthur Ashe, Tony Roche, John Newcomb and Pancho Gonzales. I listed only part of the records he has amassed in my earlier post.

As I have said, I do not believe in the whole GOAT argument. And I never will. But Laver stands almost alone in his achievements in this sport. He cannot be discounted. Federer may be up there with him, but he has not surpassed what Laver did. No one ever will. Maybe down the road Fed will have records that will stand for over 40 years. When that happens, then let's talk.

Nativenewyorker , 11/22/12 2:35 AM

^^ I tend to agree with you regarding Laver, but then again, the conditions are so much of a factor across generations. When Laver played, we basically had two surfaces and very similar wooden racquets.

The 90s was probably the most polarized - surface and racquet wise - which meant you really couldn't have one basic gamestyle and win on different surfaces.

It is impossible to compare generations - but if you were to ask me to pick a GOAT, I would have to go with Federer/Laver. I wasn't born when Laver played - so I wouldn't know how to compare really but he seemed great from some of the old tapes I've seen. I'd pick him over the likes of Connors and Borg.

samprallica , 11/22/12 3:04 AM

Which of Fed's records could have stand for 40 years? Consecutive weeks at no.1, or consecutive semifinals at slams; or weeks at no.1? I think that consecutive week at no.1 seems the hardest record to break. I foresee Nole equalling or even surpass Fed's semifinal streak at slams in time to come. The 303 weeks at no.1 record may be matched or broken in future if there is someone who's dominant vs a relatively weak field.

luckystar , 11/22/12 5:47 AM

This is a far better assessment of the 2012 highs and lows than the SI nonsense: s-of-the-tennis-year/

What was the greatest moment of 2012? The biggest disappointment? The surprise of the year? The disappointment of the season? A selection of the tennis media share their thoughts:

Courtney Nguyen, Sports Illustrated:

Greatest moment: Andy Murray wins Olympic gold, beating Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer on the way. The US Open win was obviously more significant, but it was nice to see Murray do something none of the other top three will do: win Olympic Gold at their home Olympics.

Worst moment: Rafa goes MIA. He was on his way to another fantastic season and it?s hard not to wonder how the second half of the season would have unfurled if he had been healthy.

Biggest surprise: Angelique Kerber?s sustained form over the course of the season. She won more matches this year than she had in her six prior seasons combined and she?s one member of the top five to beat Serena all year. Her US Open semifinal run in 2011 was no fluke.

Biggest disappointment: Petra Kvitova. Just 115 points out of the No. 1 ranking at the start of the year, Kvitova looked poised to be the young name to sit atop the rankings. Instead, she proved remarkably fragile physically. I hope the Fed Cup win spurs her on in 2013. For my money she?s the most exciting player of her generation. When her game is clicking only Serena can rival her power and shotmaking.


Mike Dickson, The Daily Mail:

Greatest moment: Andy Murray winning the US Open.

Worst moment: Rafael Nadal being taken off court with light to spare at Wimbledon so they could close the roof with 40-minute hiatus.

Biggest surprise: Sara Errani?s mysterious rise from journeywoman Disappointment: Failure of new generation of men?s players to do better.


Simon Cambers, The Tennis Space:

Greatest moment: The noise on Centre Court at Wimbledon when Andy Murray won the first point of the final.

Worst moment: The retirement of Kim Clijsters. Great player, always a pleasure to deal with

Biggest surprise: Lukas Rosol?s victory over Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon.

Biggest disappointment: Nadal?s absence for the rest of the year. He is missed by everyone.


Alexandra Willis, The Tennis Space:

Greatest moment: Andy Murray?s reaction to winning the US Open title. No shirt-ripping, no falling flatting on his back. Just squatting down on his haunches to try and absorb the enormity of what he had just achieved.

Worst moment: The unnecessary drama drummed up by Margaret Court during the Australian Open.

Biggest surprise: Laura Robson. The British teen has always been highly thought of, but the manner in which she competed to beat Kim Clijsters and then Li Na in New York was nothing short of astonishing.

Disappointment: Bernard Tomic. So talented, and yet, nothing. The only news Bernard made in 2012 was bad news.


Paul Newman, The Independent:

Greatest moment: Andy Murray winning the US Open.

Worst moment: Rafael Nadal revealing the return of his knee problems.

Biggest surprise: Sara Errani emerging as a contender for major honours.

Biggest disappointment: Bernard Tomic

rafaisthebest , 11/22/12 6:08 AM

Deucey's List....;)
Best: Andy winning USOpen
Worst: Tiriac's Blue Court decision
Surprise: JJ's run in Paris
Disappointment: Rafa's absence

deuce , 11/22/12 7:28 AM

^^^^second that, makes sense. Wish those babbling morons at SI Tennis had the benefit of your educated opinion, deucy.

rafaisthebest , 11/22/12 7:43 AM

These are the opinions of legendary player and great player, and the Roger's.

"It's uncanny' he's never out of place. I would behonored to even be compared to Roger. He is such an unbelievable talent, and is capable of anything. Roger could be the greatest tennis player of all time."
-Rod Laver

"He deserves everything he gets. I want dislike him. But, I can't. He is such a nice guy."
-Andy Roddick

"The greatest? I have to give it to him. maybe say Laver, and Nadal's beaten him a few times, but in my book he is. Roger is the best player in the world. He's a legend. he's an icon."
-Pete Sampras

"He's a really great guy. He respects people." Doubles partner Jonas Bjorkman

"This is a guy who buys drinks for photographers and thanks reporters who show up for his press conferences." Sportswriter Stauffer

"He's the most gifted player that I've ever seen in my life. I've seen a lot of people play. I've seen the (Rod) Lavers, I played against some of the great players?the Samprases, Beckers, Connors, Borgs, you name it. This guy could be the greatest of all time. That, to me, says it all."
-John McEnroe

"We have a guy from Switzerland who is just playing the game in a way I haven't seen anyone - and I mean anyone - play before. How fortunate we are to be able to see that. If he stays healthy and motivated - and the wonderful feel he has stays with him - he is the kind of guy who can overtake the greatest."
-Boris Becker

"You can talk to Roger like a simple man on the street."
-tennis official Brennwald

"Roger is a magician."
-Marat Safin

I'm not greatest player - Roger Federer

"I don't feel better than anyone, because we need past champions to pave the way for our generation and we have become very professional," Roger Federer said.

"They have led the way and inspired myself and other players to chase the big records out there.

Back in the day they weren't doing that, they were just playing to play tennis. Things have changed dramatically with the press reminding us 'you should do this and win that and you'll be considered the greatest of all time'.

"And anyway I don't think you can compare different eras in tennis."

Q. Both McEnroe and Agassi said in the World Team Tennis match this July that tennis right now at the top, men?s tennis is the toughest ever. Do you think you four guys are the toughest maybe in history in terms of competing against each other and winning events?

ROGER FEDERER: I?d say no, but I don?t know. Just because you look back maybe 15 years, then you have Sampras, Edberg, Becker, and Agassi, I don?t know who else. Those guys weren?t good or what? Do you know what I mean?

You look back, further back, 20 years, and you have the Connors and the Lendls. Those weren?t good either? I mean, I don?t know. So for me I think that?s respectful.

It?s just different times and definitely more athletic, there?s no doubt about that. But then again we don?t play doubles. We don?t play mixed. Maybe we play less matches today because it?s more taxing, but we do play less best?of?five set tennis than they used to play. You can?t compare really.

but we have somewhat of a golden era right now. I feel that truly. It?s nice to see Andy making his move at the Olympics, nice to see Novak having an absolutely ridiculous year last year, and then Rafa and myself still being around. It?s definitely good times. Past that you still have great champions as well. It?s very interesting at the top right now, and the depth I think has never been greater than right now. There?s no doubt about that.

But then best ever? The four of us? That?s a really difficult call.

Although it may be interesting that an amateur says subjectivity freely. It should be aware of it being meaningless from these professional people's opinion at least.
especially, for here is the special forum in several persons' successive comment.

tennisnba , 11/22/12 8:09 AM

Oh lordy...*eye roll* was hoping for an excellent exchange of views on TT as to best and worst etc. Instead:

deuce , 11/22/12 9:26 AM

Novak Djokovic : The 25-year-old Serbian is the first player to clinch the year-end No. 1 South African Airways ATP Ranking in consecutive seasons since Roger Federer achieved four straight World No. 1 finishes from 2004-07.

ATP World Tour No. 1 Doubles Team
(determined by ATP Doubles Team Rankings)

Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan: The Americans finish as the No. 1 duo in the ATP Doubles Team Rankings for a fourth successive year and record eighth time overall (2003, '05-07, '09-12).

Sportsmanship Award (voted by ATP players)

Roger Federer : Fellow players voted the Swiss as the winner of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award record for the eighth time and second year in a row.

Comeback Player of the Year (voted by ATP players)

Tommy Haas : The 34-year-old German rolled back the years as he re-established himself in the Top 25 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings.

Newcomer of the year.

Martin Klizan: The 23 year old has jumped 88 places in the South African Airways ATP Rankings since the start of the season to hit a career-high World No. 29.

Most Improved Player of the Year (voted by ATP players)

Marinko Matosevic: At the age of 27, Marinko Matosevic enjoyed a career-best season that saw him finish 2012 as the No. 1 Australian with a career-high position of World No. 47.

Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year

Novak Djokovic: The Serb joined Nadal, Federer, Carlos Moya, former South African president Nelson Mandela and Arthur Ashe as winners of the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award. Fans' Favourite.

(Singles) Roger Federer: The 31-year-old Swiss has been voted Fans? Favourite presented by RICOH for a record 10th straight year.

(Doubles) Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan: Fans? Favourite for a record eighth time. Awards-2012.aspx

Roger Federer latest is among the most unexpected, especially for a man raised in a country known for its benign neutrality : backroom power broker.

But after leading the ATP Tour Player Council as president the last three years, Federer has become a savvy student of the laws of political governance.

"It's been a great life-school," said the tri-lingual Swiss star Sunday as he prepared to defend his season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals title."Can you say that?"

Much of Roger Federer's behind-the-scenes work this year has focused on persuading the four majors to share a larger piece of the revenue pie with players.
He has also lobbied that a larger percentage of prize money go to earlier rounds to rectify a growing income distribution gap.

That work has increasingly fallen on his shoulders, as Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, once Player Council members,left their leadership positions.

Take his pre-tournament schedule last month at the Masters event in Shanghai.

Under added security because of death threats, Roger Federer arrived on a Friday and discussed strategy with ATP player and board representatives till about 1 a.m.

He practiced the next morning, spent about 7 hours in meetings with various representatives of the Grand Slams and still attended the player party Saturday night.

On Sunday evening, he hosted three hours of meetings in his hotel room with the Player Council, ATP executive staff, and U .S. Open executives -- all before he struck amatch ball.

"Roger has so many demands on his schedule and the fact that he is investing so much time into the player council and these negotiations shows his character and how much he cares for the future of the sport,"

doubles specialist and council member Eric Butorac of the USA wrote in a recent email. "I believe it is very unprecedented to have a top player so involved."

It's not just Roger Federer's time than matters. It's his clout.

"I think having someone like him on the council can be a big benefit, especially if you're going into important meetings with the Grand Slams, "No. 3 Andy Murray said.

Reserved by nature, Roger Federer has come a long way in understanding the needs and concerns of everyone from players ranked well outside the top 50 to doubles specialists.

Roger Federer did not slip into the role of leader without some angst.

It is, like his precise shotmaking and fluid movements, a delicate balancing act. Demands can stretch on and on.The mind can become weary. Focuscan waver.

Despite threats of a boycott and other hard-line tactics -- for tennis -- Roger Federer and his fellow players and ATP executives have shepherded successes.

The French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open each contributed a larger percentage of prize money to earlier rounds this season.

The Australian Open will do the same in January, and in a pre-emptive strike already announced the biggest year-over-year prize money increase in its history.

More important, Roger Federer said, is the "productive" dialogue taking place.

"I'm happy that we've gotten to the table with the Slams and been able to explain our case," he said.

At 31, Roger Federer is brushing up against the usual threshold when age undermines skill, which means every minute and every decision he makescounts.

In that regard, time management might just be the Swiss' biggest asset. He seems to have found a formula that works.

Nad al and a small number of players had an idea which boycotts AO. For ego two-year ranking. Or, for the dissatisfaction to money.
Roger, the players' association chairman, and players' association members continued work. In order to avoid a boycott. I respect their self-sacrifice and efforts.

Nadal's requests which I remember are these.
Two-year ranking. The increase in clay. Reduction of a hard court. The criticism and the boycott threat to blue clay. Dissatisfaction to a schedule. However, the inside of tour and off-season plan the game of EX, etc.

I think that Nadal should boycotted also RG. If Nadal thinks that these Nadal's requests are for other players truly.

but, it does never happen. Because, Nadal is always moving for the selfish and ego of himself.

but, like a Holdserve arrogant fanatic fan never accept it. It is a reason I dislike nadal and fanatic fan of nadal. arrogant hypocrite.

tennisnba , 11/22/12 10:13 AM

We were trying to have an intelligent discussion and then you-know-who clutters up and clogs up this topic thread with endless links and epic-length posts of unintelligible gibberish!

What a waste of space!

Nativenewyorker , 11/22/12 10:26 AM

She has been warned many times but it falls on deaf ears.

ed251137 , 11/22/12 10:42 AM

NNY: I take it you mean in both senses. lol

But that is not a punishable offence. Unfortunately.

ed251137 , 11/22/12 10:56 AM

@tennisnba, 11/22/12 10:13 AM
_Nadal's requests /---/. The criticism and the boycott threat to blue clay_

Rafa was successful. Next year, there will be red clay courts at the Madrid Masters.

Vamos Rafa !!!

Augustina08 , 11/22/12 12:51 PM

"If we are to consider 2008 the start of the new generation; then Federer has won as many slams as Nole, and been No.1 for around the same period..."

Yes but in the same dominant fashion as Novak?
Or the was his spread of 4 slams (3 at the exense of the immature, demonized Andy Murray) a match for Rafa's reign in 2010?
Not even close as far as I am concerned.
And he will never have the chance to prove otherwise now if he could have matched up his dominance with theirs as he was born a little too late for it. Still a massive haul of slams won against a gaggle of unremarkable opponents is a good consolation prize.
In conclusion we might just well say Roger is a kind of GOAT or Laver is etc.
But the last 4 years have proven to me that he is, nevertheless, in no way better than his close competitors & perhaps might not be quite as good as some of them.
I think its a stlye issue really, one might like Roger's game better than the others & that combined with his records would probably swing it.

Twinge , 11/22/12 1:40 PM

Also Sampras should be included in any discussions of the greatest ever.
I mean Roger only has the one clay slam after all ;)

Twinge , 11/22/12 2:09 PM

I am always sceptical when Roger feigns surprise on being told he has broken yet another record - or if he wins he will break such and such a record.

He is self deprecating whenever the question of GOATdom comes up - he could hardly do otherwise - but I'm convinced achieving another entry in the history books is as important, if not more important, than the title itself and has been a powerful motivatior in recent years. This is the reason too why some losses visibly hit him harder than others.

ed251137 , 11/22/12 2:59 PM

Loved Pete Sampras in the 90's. Fed got him on slam count (including a French) and, for what it's worth (not much), h2h.

However, ol' Rog is/was more consistent in slams with this QF/SF slam streaks. In terms of longevity, Pete's level dropped off earlier than Fed permanently dropping out of the Top 5 before his 30th birthday whereas the old goat Federer (yes, pun intended) was still numero uno at 31 and could stay in the top five for another year or two.

Fed has Pete on weeks at No. 1. Also the time span between Pete's 1st and last week at No. 1 was 93 months and for Fed was 104 months (so far?).

It's the consistency and longevity that tips the scale (begrudgingly) in Fed's favour as Pete was my favourite player. It's probably part of what I hold against him.

Although, neither can beat Rafa on a consistent basis so why are we even talking about it.


Conspirator , 11/22/12 4:38 PM

Know something Conspirator, I couldn't care a fig who gets crowned: not even if it were Rafa - or Andy lol. And I certainly cant be faffed to argue the case for or against any one player. But since it consumes so many column inches in the press and on every forum, clearly I am in the minority.

ed251137 , 11/22/12 5:45 PM

"Although, neither can beat Rafa on a consistent basis so why are we even talking about it..."

Strange comment, Nadal never played Sampras, although he would never have beaten him on clay so that at least is a given. And you talk about `it` quite a lot yourself Conspiry.
Nice to see you, however, fall back into line for the sake of your friends sensitivities I suppose :)

Twinge , 11/22/12 5:46 PM

ed251137, 11/22/12 5:45pm;

Bless u for articulating my thoughts! I have tried summoning a modicum of enthusiasm for the "G" debate but failed miserably on every count. Could be something to do with the circularity of the arguments or that I am not particularly fond of the beasts, goats I mean.........

I can only observe in wonder.........

rafaisthebest , 11/22/12 7:05 PM

To the casual tennis/sports fan, Roger is the GOAT, due to naturally and logically, having the most consistent career, and most championship hauls (record leader, by the way)... Is that not what athletes across all sports play for? To win championships right? I may be wrong! Maybe they play because they aren't smart enough to compete in the working world? Hmm!

Unfortunately to the "holier-than-thou" tennis fan (usually die hards of a specific player i.e Rafa in most cases), Roger will never be seen as a GOAT because he is no sweet heart and or as humble as the Spaniard. But you see, Roger will always have the edge in "GOATness" due to his global appeal and the popularity he has brought to the tennis world. He's marketed himself in such a way that when a non-tennis fan speaks or thinks of tennis/atp, they think "Roger Federer".

It's a bit sad, and hard to believe, that people in the U.S STILL do not recognize Andy Murray, know his rank, or know of any of his achievements.

aegis , 11/22/12 8:16 PM

@aegis, 11/22/12 8:16 PM
__when a non-tennis fan speaks or thinks of tennis/atp, they think "Roger Federer"__

Federer is tennis for Fedfans.

Augustina08 , 11/22/12 9:37 PM

^^^ Fed and Rafa are tennis to non-tennis fans. They still hardly know a thing about Novak, forget Murray.

abhirf , 11/23/12 2:35 AM

Er..I'm not sure a non tennis fan knows who's Roger Federer! I don't think he's that famous that non tennis fans know him. Please don't generalize. I know of non tennis fans who DON'T know who is Roger Federer.

luckystar , 11/23/12 2:44 AM

^^^ I too know of many non-tennis fans who dont know who Rafael Nadal is. He's also not that popular.

Would like to correct my above post:
Fed and Rafa are tennis 'Usually' for non-tennis fans.

abhirf , 11/23/12 4:56 AM

Most non-tennis fans I know talk of rigged draws when tennis is mentioned, that, unfortunately, is Roger's indelible gift to tennis.......

rafaisthebest , 11/23/12 5:00 AM

Steve Tignor = poet
Jon Wertheim = savant

rafaisthebest , 11/23/12 5:40 AM

@Twinge, Conspirator - Sampras is hardly in the pundit's discussion of GOAT nowadays ; he seems to be some kind of footnote. Which of course is very unfair - who knows what Pete would have done with modern racquets and more homogenized surfaces. There are people who consider Nadal and even Agassi greater than Sampras because of the fact that they won all 4 but of course I don't read much into that.

Like I said, I don't believe in this GOAT concept - it relies far too much on statistics. If we are to go by stats, we'd probably have to give it to Federer and Laver. As a fan, if you asked me who I'd wanna watch on any given day, I'd probably say:

1. Sampras
2. Djokovic
3. Safin
4. Becker
5. Rafter/Agassi

samprallica , 11/23/12 6:30 AM

rafaisthebest , 11/23/12 7:22 AM

Most non-tennis fans hardly know a thing about draws, forget about rigged draws.
Moreover, have you seen any sport which is not mentioned to be associated with any sort of rigging and that rigging usually involves the name of the most successful athlete/team. It's just a way of downsizing one's achievements or the sports glory which these people havent even seen.

abhirf , 11/23/12 7:23 AM

abhirf , 11/23/12 7:23 AM

Sigh, here we go again................did you READ my post? It starts with, "Most non-tennis fans I know............", emphasis on I KNOW. I am beginning to suspect that, just like me, English is not your first language.

You don't know the non-tennis fans I know, so................try again.

rafaisthebest , 11/23/12 7:30 AM

ed251137, 11/22/12 10:56 AM,

You are spot on! A waste of space on this site and in utter lack of brain content in posts may not be a punishable offense, but spamming this site should be!

Oh and regarding your comment @5:45 PM, I completely agree! There is no GOAT. A player can only be the greatest of his generation. It's a neverending argument that goes nowhere.

I made my case regarding Rod Laver. It doesn't matter if you were born when he played or not. The record is there and the videos of some of his matches can be seen on youtube.

I would also include Borg on my list of the greatest to ever play this game. I think Sampras deserves to be up there among the greatest. There's no reason for him not to be in the discussion.

I can see a list of the greatest to ever play this game. Rod Laver, Federer, Borg, Sampras and Rafa would be on that list.

Nativenewyorker , 11/23/12 7:34 AM

ritb, 7:30am
Yeah, english is my 2nd language.
That difference in 'non-tennis fans' is attributable to differen region, no.
So we could agree to disagree here!

abhirf , 11/23/12 9:08 AM

abhirf , 11/23/12 9:08 AM

I think it also has to do with us projecting our "prejudices" onto the people we hang around. You being a Fedfan will project this energy around you and your pals, whether they are Fedfans or not, pick up on this vibe and voila, they have nothing but positive things to say about Fed and ergo, "negativity" about his rivals! The same applies to me as a Rafan............

So you could say there is no such thing as a non-tennis fan, only tainted samples.......

rafaisthebest , 11/23/12 11:49 AM

For people who are interested in debating the subject I commend the following article written by Clayking who few of you may remember was very active on TT for a while.

It always concerned me that he went off the air so abruptly soon after posting this meticulous analysis.

ed251137 , 11/23/12 12:46 PM

ritb, 11:49am
Maybe, but it's not really to that extent. These tainted samples are few in number.

abhirf , 11/23/12 12:52 PM

"I can see a list of the greatest to ever play this game. Rod Laver, Federer, Borg, Sampras and Rafa would be on that list..."

Yeah I agree with this list. Maybe Macenroe & Connors too & Lendl.
I hope one day for even Andy to become one of the greats (nothing more than a hope however) & i think Novak is well on his way already.
The reason we can argue about all of this is because it is arguable. It's debatable who is the greatest as there are so many ways one can put in a question mark or 5.
But at least we are talking about it when there is no tennis going on.
Now that is progress on TT!

Twinge , 11/23/12 12:58 PM


Conspirator , 11/23/12 1:07 PM

The problem Twingey, is that there no longer is a debate about the issue! Only absolutist statements laced with the same tired cliches i.e. number of slams won, style of play blah, blah, blah. No attempt is made to present a cogent argument, to persuade. I know Roger Federer has 17 Slams, I know he plays tennis like a ballet dancer.......does that make him the greatest ever? Not in my books, thanks. Why do I say that? He is NOT the greatest player of his generation (a sub-set of ALL) so how can he then be the greatest of ALL time?

Don't get me wrong, I am open to persuasion, but just do not trot out the same old tired cliches................

As for number of Slams........records are there to be broken, as sure as night follows day someone will break that record. As for like ballet, I like boxing, so.................

rafaisthebest , 11/23/12 1:21 PM

GOAT "argument" reminds me of the "predictions" that are trotted out pre-tournament......

Let's just get the ouija board out, shall we?

rafaisthebest , 11/23/12 1:33 PM

"He is NOT the greatest player of his generation (a sub-set of ALL) so how can he then be the greatest of ALL time?"

To me he is the GOHG actually.
But that generation, the last generation, have almost all retired now.
Or should be ie Roddick, Ferrero, Hewitt etc.
And lets face it, any of the top 4 had they been 5 or 6 years older would have fit the bill just as easily and torn up the courts just as he did.
Looking at it from a wider perspective that is intergenerational we just don't know how well Roger would have done if he was 6 years younger.
I am in a LOT of doubt about him managing anything like what he had done around 2006, unlike even certain Nadal fans here have claimed.
Its not inconceivable that he might be only on his first or second slam such is the competition.

Twinge , 11/23/12 2:35 PM

There you have it, another argument! I had the current crop of players as his generation........

rafaisthebest , 11/23/12 3:03 PM

You're on your own on that one I think.

Twinge , 11/23/12 3:16 PM

^^I don't even think Nadal and Nolandy are quite the same generation.

Twinge , 11/23/12 3:23 PM

Unfortunately, there is no right answer to the GOAT debate. There are legitimate arguments for an elite group of players(sampras,federer,laver,borg etc) but each of the players also have arguments against them. It all comes down to what you think I guess and what you value more, but everyone values certain criteria over others, and it can get pretty complex.

tj600 , 11/23/12 3:31 PM

Thank you Twinge, you have just proved my point! Everybody in this GOAT debate takes their OPINION as fact, how can there be a discussion on thAt basis? Nadal and NolAndy not of the same generation???? Why not? Oh let me guess:

1. Rafa had the temerity to be a precocious talent and matured early professionally;
2. He should have been borne within a week of Nole and Andy's birthdays to be considered their generational peer. Pray tell, are Fed, Hewitt, Safin, Roddick satisfy this criteria?

As I said, this GOAT thing can never yield a production discussion because everyone's opinion on every detail is "right"!

rafaisthebest , 11/23/12 4:41 PM

Everybody in this GOAT debate takes their OPINION as fact
rafaisthebest, 11/23/12 4:41 PM

Conspirator , 11/23/12 4:58 PM

Well we may not be able to say who is the GOAT but we do know who is not. Federer is not the GOAT. With 2-8 h2h against Rafa in grand slams and overall 10-18 he cannot claim to be the greatest of this era let alone of all time. Only delusionals can make such claims.

holdserve , 11/23/12 5:00 PM

^^Well we are never going to have a productive conversation anyway if you are going to be so damn oversensitive & lose it over absolutely nothing are we?
Imagine me suggesting that Nadal has more tour experience (much more) & that somehow that can be construed as an attack. I'm sorry but playing about 700 matches against 450 means you are the more experienced `older` player regardless of biological age.
Please stay away from the computer if `the decorators are in` and spare me your over the top reactions.
Have a drink and chill at least you've got decent weather in Mauritius.

Twinge , 11/23/12 5:07 PM

@Conspirator, thank you for proving my point...........

rafaisthebest , 11/23/12 5:08 PM

tj600: complex is an understatement!

It is impossible to argue the merits of one player over another on a statistical basis pre the commencement of the true Open Era in 1972. There were so many restrictions in place governing who could play when and where that any conclusion is even more subjective than is the case when assessing the post Open era.

NB: 1986-1972 was a confusing transitional period from closed to open.

Every era has produced its quota of legendary players. Why belitle their acheivements by trying to promote one particular player as superior to all the tennis legends who have preceeded him.

I dont get it.


ed251137 , 11/23/12 5:18 PM

^^The money and the marketing has grown immeasurably & i suspect that's it Ed.
Roger apparently is the cash cow that keeps on giving but it has become a self fufilling and sustaining prophecy & up until the whole Abu Dhabi thing I didnt think anyone would have the guts to step off ;)

Twinge , 11/23/12 5:32 PM

If no one had ever started this very questionable notion of chevre, sorry, I mean goat, there would probably have been a lot less hatred against the player who repeatedly stood between fed and so of the more important records, e.g. career slam (rafa, as it happens) building among those fedfans who are disposed that way (a minority among fed fans out there in the world I'm sure, but a majority it seems among those few fed fans who write often on blogs).

I never liked comparisons that should not be made, just because our language allows us to formulate them in a question. What is my favorite movie? I honestly could not answer but there are many movies I love deeply. My favorite song by one of my favorite singers or bands? Ditto. Who was the most accomplished actor of the 20th century? And I agree with ed that "the merits of one player over another on a statistical bases..."

I do buy the argument that has Roger been born to be the same age as Rafa, Andy and Nole (all no more than a year apart) he would have had a much harder time getting so many records: they may have been, for example, halved or cut into a third. BUT in this scenario had he practiced as much as he has, and I am sure he would have, then he would have been just as a superlative player as he has been. He is definitely and would have been one of the very best males to ever to play the game. Why, for the love of everything good, is that not more than enough? Is there anyone in the world whose sense of self really cannot be improved in any other way than to *possess* the certainty that their tennis fav is the goat? Does it truly change their soul, their humanity, all the love they are able to bring to world whether the goat question is reasonable or not, and if it is whether fed is clearly it or not?

You could also ask whether the achievements of the best female tennis players is higher than those of the best male players. Some of those ladies have records that make all male achievements pale. Yes, you could argue that perhaps the depth of talent in the female field was... but there have been very strong eras there too that the best had to play in. You see how subjective it gets?

chlorostoma , 11/23/12 5:37 PM

Oh dear, now I've gone and done it.........Twingey's gone and grabbed his toys and thrown them out of his pram............cue he's done "arguing"!

Check who used the words "damn", "attack", dear before deciding who has lost it......

Oh and of course, the default GOAT "argument" position? Adopt a superior, dismissive attitude and stomp off ..............very mature.

rafaisthebest , 11/23/12 5:43 PM

I'm not getting involved in some pointless, misguided argument with you RITB & I haven't stomped off.
Your the one who threw out the toys dear. Over nothing.
And trust me if I lost it with you, I would be using far more colourful language than `damn`.
We are trying to have an intelligent discussion & there you are whining & nitpicking & basically getting it all wrong.
Now run along and play with some plastic bags or something.

Twinge , 11/23/12 5:55 PM

Whoa, you are doing a good job of "getting involved" for someone who is not getting involved! Again, the superior, dismissive attitude................telling.

Chill, bro.............seriously.

rafaisthebest , 11/23/12 6:02 PM

whatever RITB,

Twinge , 11/23/12 6:13 PM

Cheers, Twingey..........

rafaisthebest , 11/23/12 6:18 PM

@ chlorostoma, 11/23/12 5:37 PM

Serena is, and will be, the GOAT both male/female. I predict she will finish her career with 25+ GS. I don't know how people can deny her feats. The way she dominates the game, she could give most of the men a run for their money. She is just that good, and has remained so consistently.

It's just my opinion any way that Serena > Fed/Rafa

*Cue the sexists/insults towards women/WTA in 3 2 1...

aegis , 11/23/12 8:02 PM


There is no arguing Serena is among the best women pros. Just as Fed and a few other names are clearly among the best male pros.

But as soon as you add the (imho flawed) notion of GOAT to the question... it gets really problematic and at least very subjective.

Are you sure that Serena is / will be clearly, UNARGUABLY, better than any of these legends:

Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, and maybe another one or two women? (listed alphabetically because to choose a clear ranking among them is, again, debatable).

As to comparing individual woman legends with individual man legends... this too is problematic. If you look at the fine details there are many possible variables/ dimensions to the question. The more sound conclusion may be again that the question itself is very problematic, end of. In any case, a record like Steffi Graf puts the record of any of the male legends into an interesting perspective.

chlorostoma , 11/23/12 8:29 PM

^^in my last sentence re Steffi Graf you could also substitute Martina Navratilova.

Any of these women's single records are awesome. But some of them also had awesome doubles and mixed achievements. When you put all three together it really puts the men's achievements into perspective.

And let us not forget how in most fields women's achievements are not noticed/ values as much or remembered until they get close or surpass the best of the men of their field.

chlorostoma , 11/23/12 8:35 PM

You are exactly right, which makes Serena's case even more special. Mixed doubles. Doubles. Singles. Olympic Gold. Grand Slams. Career Slam.

It's obviously subjective, but at the end of her career, she can make a very sound argument as for why she belongs up there as the "goat". I feel that Serena, even more than Fed, is the one chasing records and such... Although it's hard to deny those are Fed's motives, but Serena has come out clearly stating she intends to retire the best of the best. And that she's going out there, and doing it, makes it interesting.

There are too many factors that make someone a "GOAT". But to think, what did Jordan do for basketball? Tiger for golf? Gretzky for hockey? Beckham for soccer? ______ for tennis?

aegis , 11/23/12 9:42 PM

@Conspirator, thank you for proving my point...........
rafaisthebest, 11/23/12 5:08 PM


Conspirator , 11/23/12 9:46 PM

Cheryl: Congratulations! You scored a bullseye with this blog. Here we are at close on 200 comments with barely a spat in sight.

Instead it has generated thoughtful and thought-provoking comments galore.

Fortunately Ricky withdrew from the fray early on or things might have become more heated between you two ;-P


ed251137 , 11/24/12 4:20 AM

ed251137, 11/23/12 5:18 PM,

I wish people discussed this more, because before the Open era of tennis things were very different. We had this whole division between professional and amateur players. There were tournaments just for the professionals. There were rules for professionals not being able to compete in some tournaments. It was really quite a mess.

I know that Rod Laver turned professional in 1962 to save the professional game until the Open era arrived in 1968. I also read on the ATP website that Laver was not allowed to play slams because of his professiona status for five years. He came back in 1968 to win Wimbledon. That would explain why he didn't win even more slams.

Reading all of the records he amassed, all of the accomplishments, is staggering. He will always be up there on any list of the greatest to ever play tennis. It doesn't matter that he played in an earlier era. What matters is what he gave to the game and his singular achievements.

The GOAT argument is insulting in that it presumes to anoint one player with the mantle of ultimate greatness.

As far as Serena, I would not rate her as the GOAT in the women's game. If anyone would deserve that honor it would be Martina Navratilova. Then one would have to include Steffi Graff. See the problem? That's why there cannot be a GOAT in men's or women's tennis.

To be honest, I don't understand why there has to be one at all.

Nativenewyorker , 11/24/12 8:39 AM

nadal is making the remark which looked down on the Sampras era of quick surface. "it was not true tennis only in the serve." said nadal. should not write the name of Sampras and Nadal next.

I think that Nadal should have been in quick grass and the quick hard court era.

even at the time of the Roger Federer generation's heyday. grass and the hard court at the time were quicker than now.

Heyday Davydenko or heyday Roddick win to heyday Nadal easy in the quick surface.

tennisnba , 11/24/12 10:14 AM

tennisnba, Fox News called, they want their hate back.


Conspirator , 11/24/12 4:12 PM

the quick surface and indoor is The not really tennis.... Nadal.

tennisnba , 11/24/12 5:01 PM

Well...he's right it's not. Might as well play ping pong if you're gonna play indoors, no?

Conspirator , 11/24/12 5:22 PM

@tennisnba, 11/24/12 10:14 AM
_even at the time of the Roger Federer generation's heyday. grass and the hard court at the time were quicker than now_

Fed has kept whining for years that the courts have been slowed down, but it's not true.

Augustina08 , 11/24/12 6:05 PM

Truth? tennisnba (aka overrstimationNadal, seriously) can't HANDLE the truth.


Conspirator , 11/24/12 6:11 PM

Well if the grass and hard courts were as quick as they were in the '90s, then even Fed would lose to Roddick and even Davy! Didn't they slow down the grass at Wimbledon in 2002? The hard courts too I believe and so Fed only started winning when they slow down the courts, ie after 2002. Fed would definitely not win so many slams. Oh and Fed benefited when Rafa was injured and out of competition in 2009, and once again benefited when Rafa was out of Wimbledon this year. So Fed supporters should count Fed's blessings and stop bashing other players, for good days for Fed will end soon.

luckystar , 11/25/12 1:12 AM

Oh please: open the farmyard gate, push the goat towards some lovely green pasture far, far away in the mountains and never speak of it again.

deuce , 11/25/12 9:10 AM


I can't stop laughing at this!


You do have a way with words! LOL! Well done!

Nativenewyorker , 11/25/12 10:08 AM

On the topic of youthful success or lack thereof--
I tend to think of players in terms of career years, rather than their calendar age, so I started wondering how long it takes to find success these days. Taking the published year of turning pro, and looking at how many titles were won by the end of the third year after that, I was surprised to find Nadal, Djokovic, and Federer were all much the same. RF turned pro 1998, by the end of 2001 had won one title; RN 2001, end of 2004 one title; ND 2003, end of 2006 two titles. All those titles were won in the third year on tour. By comparison, Agassi turned pro 1986, by the end of 1989 had won eight titles; Sampras 1988, end of 1991 eight titles; Courier 1988, end of 1991 four titles. All those titles were spread over their early years. Even Del Potro, who garnered four titles by the end of his third professional year, got them all together at the end of that period. I suppose this doesn?t do anything other than confirm what everyone?s been saying, that it?s tougher to make your mark early on the ATP tour nowadays!
A couple of comments on the topics that this thread has strayed to: I heartily agree with Chlorostoma 11/23/12 5.37 pm, and I?m surprised no one has taken ritb to task over the juvenile bad taste of the end of the post 11/23/12 7.22.

jmk , 11/26/12 3:10 AM

What's the matter, can't take me to task yourself? You need other people to do that for you? So, in addition to not having a sense of humor, you are a coward too?

Thank goodness he rest of the TT posters are free-minded and intelligent enough to know a joke when they see one.

Not everyone has got their brains stuck up Federer's ass you know..........we can make fan of him and his entourage you know (yes his wife is part of his entourage) just as people make fan of other players and his entourage.

Federer may be a god to you and others, sorry, he ain't one to me...........

rafaisthebest , 11/26/12 6:36 AM

^^^^sentence above should read, ".......make fun of other players and their entourage". And btw @jmk, I do understand your loss of humor (I am assuming you had one), it is the off-season after all. Lack of tennis activity kinda makes some people excluded!

Cheer up, it's only a month away now.............

rafaisthebest , 11/26/12 6:42 AM

No, Rafa only played one ATP tournament in 2002, to be exact, at end of 2002 in Mallorca, so effectively he started the ATP full tour in 2003. By 2005, he had already won 12 titles, including one slam and four Masters. He's well ahead of the rest of them.

luckystar , 11/26/12 7:23 AM

It is an excuse that a fanatic nadal fan is usual.

This is a game of Sampras and Roger. 2001 final

2003 final

This is a game of Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. 2005 final.

When these are seen, Still it turns out that surface was quicker than now.

It is the reason the player with a serve & volley good at it was always advancing to the final.

tennisnba , 11/26/12 12:38 PM

Roger and Andy also held many games by the hard court. Even the fastest US open. (although even US open is slow now)

Roger was always simply doing the return of heyday Roddick's high-speed serve.

Moreover, Davydenko?

I think that Davydenko is also a player of defense fundamentally. Davydenko may be a player with a serve good. However, he is also a player of defense fundamentally.

Therefore, many of games of Roger and Nikolay are hard courts. A hard court is his most favorite surface.

Davydenko is not a player good at grass before the speed of surface.

tennisnba , 11/26/12 1:07 PM

nadal believes previous tennis eras cannot match the excitement generated by the current stars of the sport.

"Sampras vs Ivanisevic match, or one between those kind of players, is not enjoyable, It's not really tennis, it is a few swings of the racquet.

It was less eye-catching than what we do now. Everyone enjoys the tennis we play much more. I am not saying we are playing better tennis, just more enjoyable tennis. For me, in the past it was just serve, serve, serve." n-Diary-Day-Five.aspx

Yes, Nadal. You are a player who has fanatic fan most. maybe which exceeds Agashi. However,
There are also many people who dislike your play style. There are also many people who regard your tennis as boring.

Your tennis is defense and power. Are simple. It is the reason it is your strength. maybe Sampras was boring, or not. But, there are not difference those who feel you as boring.

You are very blessed with the slow surface age. Moreover, you are the only player by whom the excuse is justified of an injury etc when it loses.

You are the player who also has the custom of arrogant dirty gamesmanship.

You are in the very blessed position.
Have it in mind.

tennisnba , 11/26/12 2:20 PM

@tennisnba, 11/26/12 2:20 PM
__You [Rafa] are the player who also has the custom of arrogant...__

tennisba! Watch how your beloved Fed is showing his arrogance. When the umpire asked Fed to be quiet, your beloved man swore at the umpire.
"Don't tell me to be quiet, OK," said Fed. "When I want to talk, I talk. I don't give a s+++ what you say."

Augustina08 , 11/26/12 2:36 PM

to luckystar
I was using year turned professional as a point of departure--very rough, of course. And indeed once Nadal got going he accumulated titles very quickly. I think the main point, which surprised me, still stands, that it took even today?s most talented players longer to reach their first main level pro title than it did the top players of ten years ago.
btw, I don?t know what WS means--that?s the designation of the Mallorca tournament Nadal played in April of 2002. The rest of his matches in 2001 and 2002 were Challengers and Futures. Perhaps the ATP should rethink the short form of some of their tournaments, such as WTF and FU.

jmk , 11/26/12 2:54 PM

Did I write that Roger is perfect? He is not perfect. And, All Players are just human being. There is no perfect human being.

Roger at least is in the position of always receiving many criticism. It is criticized if it is his case.

Is there any report which criticized that Djokovic broke a racket even now repeatedly?

Is there any report which criticized that Murray shouted "fu*king !!" "fu*king" repeatedly?

Is there any report which criticized that Nadal the arrogant gamesmanship which collides Rosol purposely?

A negative article will be made if Roger Federer performs these. Or criticism of the comment from many tennis fans. here too.

Roger is never perfect. It has a mistake. However, he is a player of a play calm and fair fundamental also. Or great work is continued also outside a court.

It is one reason he has record of the sportsmanship prize which ATP players choose. Or the favorite player's record?

says honestly. I did not dislike Nadal before. However, much comments of the nadal fan for many years. has been disgusted with it.

I have never heard that other active players insulted the past time and past great players.

I have never seen the player who has in the custom of gamesmanship like Nadal.

I have never seen the player an excuse when it loses like Nadal is always justified. Injury. sick. surface..

I have not seen the player who continues a selfish hope like Nadal. Two-year ranking. The increase in clay, and reduction of a hard court. It always complains about a schedule and always plans EX. etc.

Even Nadal insults the Sampras era. Even Nadal makes arrogant diplomacy into a custom. Even if Nadal has an always annoying troublesome routine.

It is like a cult to continue saying that a fanaticism fan and the partial media are humble. Even in the when Nadal's making the remark which looks down on the Sampras era, I looked at it only in the topic of some tennis forum.

amazing. that all.

tennisnba , 11/26/12 3:35 PM

@tennisnba, 11/26/12 3:35 PM
__I have never seen the player who has in the custom of gamesmanship__
__I have never seen the player an excuse when it loses__

Look at your beloved Fed.

Augustina08 , 11/26/12 3:51 PM

count your blessings tennisnba. As luckystar pointed out, your crybaby started winning only after the surfaces were slowed down. He has been the biggest beneficiary. Also he is lucky two grand slam surfaces are hardcourt and 6 out of 9 Masters are hardcourt. Hardcourt is his favored surface.
Imagine if 2 Gs surfaces were clay and 6 of the Masters were clay?
Your crybaby also has the advantage of being 5 or 6 years older than the 3 players who could challenge him. So he could collect titles at breakneck speed while his 3 rivals were kids.
Be grateful and mindful of your blessings.
He also gets the benefit of rigged draws and favorable schedules. Without all these and age advantage he would probably have 5 or 6 gs titles.
Rafa is the greatest and you know it. That is why you whine about the 1 clay gs and 3 clay Masters which is half the advantage which your overhyped spoiled baby has.
Not counting the advantage of rigged draws and schedules.
He is arrogant, selfish, self centered with a sense of entitlement.

holdserve , 11/26/12 3:53 PM

Augustina08 , 11/26/12 3:55 PM

to ritb
Yes, I realised a joke was intended. It was a joke in bad taste. The puerile vulgarity in your angry reaction does nothing to counteract the earlier impression.

jmk , 11/26/12 3:57 PM

A tweet and link to an article on Roger Federer era:

Tennis Panorama News @ TennisNewsTPN

As the Roger Federer era comes to a close, we remember its beginning | by @douglasmperry

abhirf , 11/26/12 4:53 PM

If above link doesnt work, try this one d=PedGTEYU

abhirf , 11/26/12 5:00 PM

I am posting the article as the link doesnt seem to work

As the Roger Federer era comes to a close, we remember its beginning
Douglas Perry, The Oregonian
Posted: 11/26/2012 5:30 AM

The end of the Roger Federer generation is upon us. Federer, at 31, continues to win big titles,but that only tells us he's a tennis great like no other. His contemporaries are mostly long gone (Marat Safin, Gaston Gaudio) or staggering toward the exit (the 81 st -ranked LleytonHewitt). The 2012 season saw two more major champions of Federer's generation call it quits:Andy Roddick and Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Roddick and Ferrero's breakthroughs came during the same season as Federer's. That 2003 season proved to be a key turning point in modern tennis history, the birth of the Federer era -- though we didn't know it at the time. Four different men won the majors that year, promising a new era much like the one that came before it. PeteSampras was unquestionably the best player of his generation, but plenty of his contemporaries -- Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Yevgeny Kafelnikov,Pat Rafter, Sergi Bruguera and a host of one-slam wonders -- were able to get in on the party. With the arrival of Federer, Roddick and Ferrero in the sameyear, all following the earlier breakthroughs of Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt, we looked tobe heading into an unprecedented period of parity in the Top 10. Many observers thought Federer, Roddick and Ferrero all might eclipse the totals posted by Agassi, who won his eighth and last major title at the 2003 Australian Open.Needless to say, the ATP tour instead ended up being utterly dominated over the next four years by one man, Federer, with an upstart from the following generation, Rafael Nadal, snapping at his heels. Neither Roddick nor Ferrero would win another major. These weren't the only unexpected outcomes. The six-decade-long run of the Big Game came to an unceremonious close during this season, replaced by a supercharged, Agassi-like offensive baseline game that leftthe great Sampras with no heir.
While all of this wouldn't start tobecome clear until 2004 when Federer turned on the turbo jets,there were telltale signs in the breakthrough year. Roddick andFerrero's retirements this fall give us a good excuse to remember those signs: three disparate 2003 matches that represented the official changing of the guard and the uncharted path ahead. Here we go:

Monte Carlo second round: Rafael Nadal d. Albert Costa 7-5, 6-3
This match was perhaps the firstevidence, though unrecognized at the time, that the Federer generation would be largely defined by the threat from younger rivals, first Nadal and then Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. (Tomas Berdych also should be included in this list; asa 19-year-old he would stop Roger Federer at the 2004 Olympics, surely Federer's best chance at gold.)
In Monte Carlo in 2003 the 16-year-old Nadal took on the 27-year-old reigning French Open champion, a fellow Spaniard. Coming in, Costa probably thought the match wasa gimme, but of course he soon realized that something fundamental had just changed in the game. With his eagle's-wing backhand and forward momentum, Costa here is an Old Master at the dawn of the modern age. On the other side of the net, young Rafa is a macho-male version of the cudgel-tossing Viking girl from the famous "1984" Apple ad . The teenager's time-warping spin and catch-a-meteor sprints alternately resembled the muscular, relentless Guillermo Vilas and the spooked bull aggression of Magnus Larsson ...but not really. Comparisons with his elders simply did not do him justice. He was actually something entirely new. Costa, suddenly on the downward arc in his career, would never play his young countryman again -- and surely would be glad of it.
Wimbledon final: Roger Federer d. Mark Philippoussis 7-6, 6-2, 7-6
We often have been told that Federer's five-set, fourth-round victory over Pete Sampras at the 2001 Wimbledon marks the beginning of the Age of Federer.It wasn't. Federer clearly was toting around a huge bucket of talent, but he wasn't ready yet toproperly deploy it. The following year he would lose in the first round of two majors (including Wimbledon) and wouldn't make it past the fourth round in the other two. It wasn't until 2003 that he finally harnessed his unique brilliance...

abhirf , 11/26/12 5:10 PM

^^ ...At a nine-year remove, Phillippousis looks like a patsy for the Swiss great. After all, he'snow best known for appearing on an embarrassing reality-TV dating show , while Federer has won a record 17 majors. But as the two players headed into the final on that summer day in 2003, the outcome was very much in doubt. The 21-year-old Federer had never reached a major final and had a reputationfor falling apart in big matches. The 26-year-old Phillippousis, onthe other hand, seemed to have the Fates with him after upending Agassi in the quarterfinals with an eye-popping 46 aces. Just a few years before, the tall, good-looking Australian, the 1998 U.S. Open finalist, was widely viewed as a sure-thing Wimbledon champion, the natural successor to Sampras before knee injuries and a party-hardy lifestyle sidelined him.
One of the most striking things about this match is how cool Federer was throughout; the nervousness and indecision thathad afflicted him in big matches -- most recently in the Rome final that spring against claycourt journeyman Felix Mantilla -- never surfaced. He had finally, and quite suddenly, made peace with his outsized talent. Another striking feature is that, a year after Lleyton Hewitt and David Nalbandian played a volley-free final on Wimbledon's new, higher-bouncing rye-grass courts , Federer won the sport's most prestigious tournament by playing a lot of serve-and-volley tennis. The reason he did so: because Phillippousis was attacking the net at every opportunity. The old rules still applied: if you didn't get there first, you were at a severe disadvantage.
What does this tell us? Slower courts and copoly strings have had a significant impact on the tour over the past decade. But it's quite possible that the death of serve-and-volley tennis has just as much to do with the triumph of the tennis academy, which, because it gets its charges so young, inevitably focuses on baseline hitting over all-court prowess. (John McEnroe, with his new tennis school in New York , is trying to change this dynamic.) The academies, led by Nick Bollettieri's famous Florida factory, began to crank out top players in the late 1980s, but it took a while for the trend to completely overtake the junior ranks. Once Sampras and Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker and Goran Ivanisevic retired, the academy kids no longer had to worry about being run off the court by the net rushers. In 2004, Federer defended his Wimbledon title against Roddick without venturing forward much. His reasoning for changing tactics: why should he take a risk when he knew he could outhit his baseline-loving opponent from the backcourt?
U.S. Open semifinal: Juan CarlosFerrero d. Andre Agassi 6-4, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
This match marks the true end of the Sampras generation's run.The 33-year-old Agassi was the number-one seed and came intothe match on a roll, having easilydispatched former French Open finalist Alex Corretja, former Australian Open champion Yevgeny Kafelnikov, hard-servingAmerican Taylor Dent and rising star Guillermo Coria. Coria and the 23-year-old Ferrero, the French Open champion, were both slightly-built claycourt specialists without a big weapon, so the semifinal shouldhave been a repeat performancefor Agassi. Ferrero simply didn't have the heft in his game to staywith Agassi on a hard court. But the hyped-up Spaniard, playing for the number-one ranking, opened the match by breaking Agassi, and he never looked back. Ferrero's fast start seemedto unnerve the two-time U.S. Open champion, who surely knew he wouldn't have many more chances to win another major. The veteran American struggled with his serve throughout the match and flubbed repeated break-point opportunities on Ferrero's serve.
The mortal wound came in the ninth game of the second set, and it was self-inflicted. Agassi saved multiple set points on his second serve before throwing up a desultory double-fault to give Ferrero a two-set lead. Agassi would later admit he never regained his confidence, even after winning the third set."He had the freedom to take more chances with the groundstrokes," he said after the match. "By the time I was getting into the match I was already down two sets. Just a little too big of a hill to climb."
The loss signaled how big the gap would end up being between the two eras. Agassi, an all-time great by any standard, was aesthetically moresuited to the Federer generation's game than his owngeneration's, but he fell to a man who, though a decade younger than him, also didn't have what it took to run with the new era's big dogs. Ferrero had the quickness, but he didn't have the power or the triathlete's mindset...

abhirf , 11/26/12 5:15 PM

^^ ...Of course, Roddick couldn't stay with the new kings either. You could argue that it was Agassi's shocking loss to Ferrero that allowed Roddick to nab what would turn out to be his sole major title. Ferrero couldn't handle Roddick's massive serve. Agassi, arguably the best returner in the history of the sport, wouldn't have had the same problem. He'd won all three of his hard-court meetingsagainst the younger American -- all in straight sets.
It was Agassi's last, best chance. In his next two U.S. Opens, he would lose to Federer. For his part, Ferrero would never come close to reaching another final in New York.
-- Douglas Perry

abhirf , 11/26/12 5:18 PM

jmk, if you're counting only ATP titles, then by right you should look at the time a player started playing ATP events and not some futures or challenger events. As I said, Rafa only played one ATP event in 2002, and even his 2003 was not fully playing ATP events. I supposed for all those players you mentioned, their first year were also not fully playing ATP events. So Rafa had won 12 titles; compared to Agassi and Sampras, Rafa was even quicker in accumulating his ATP titles. Maybe you can check on Borg, John Mac, Wilander or Hewitt and see how they fared, they might be even better.

Regarding today's young talents, maybe they're really not as talented as those that you mentioned? Or they're simply late developers like Fed? Fed accumulated 53 titles from 2000 to 2007, despite winning only one in 2000.

luckystar , 11/26/12 5:32 PM

@jmk, me angry at you? Spare me! You are not worth it son, are the one who is upset no one came to your "rescue" despite your whining........

Now go play with your chewing gum slurping Mirka doll............

rafaisthebest , 11/26/12 6:38 PM

.......and btw, my post was not directed at you do me and you a favor and ignore my posts, hint: scroll down. This is the first time I have ever responded to your post, that's how interesting I find them........zzzzzz

No time for sour-pusses..........thanks.

rafaisthebest , 11/26/12 6:51 PM

The Roger Federer era or the weak era came to an end in 2007. From 2008, we have had the joint reign of first Rafa and Fed and then Rafa and Nole till 2011.
We do not know what exactly is 2012 but it certainly cannot be said to mark anything of the RF era which had ended in 2007 (sole RF) or 2010(jt Rafa-RF).
RF won the Wimbly this year because of a rigged draw and he almost won the Olympics and WTF on the back of rigged draws but was thwarted by Muzza and Nole.
At Wimbly, not only was the draw rigged for RF, it was rigged against Muzza. Apart from being tired and worn out from a draw rigged against him, Muzza had to fight his slam demons in front of his home crowd. It enabled RF to win his 17th slam but it in no way marks a part of his era as he failed to reach the finals of the other slams and had reached just one final in 2010 (which he won- AO 2010) and one in 2011 (FO which he lost), years in which Rafa and Nole won 3 slams and one or both of them reached all finals starting from FO 2010 till USO 2012 except for Wimbly 2012.
There should be an investigation into how RF won Wimbly 2012 at age 31 after having lost in QFs in two successive years. Rigged draw should be investigated and maybe even his blood sample should be preserved for more rigorous testing in the future as currently ITF is not testing for HGH and is lackadaisical in testing for blood doping.
RF is the holy cow of tennis. When Agate breathed his name in connection with a betting scandal, the whole thing was buried under and no one investigated on some pretext or the other.
Forstmann first said he might have spoken to Fed but after he was sure the cell company had destroyed the records, flatly denied ever having spoken to RF. Why did the ATP not ask the cell company not to destroy the records?
All well wishers of RF, if they were convinced he was innocent, should have called for a thorough investigation to clear his name. Why did they not? What were they afraid of?

holdserve , 11/26/12 6:54 PM

luckystar, I dont disagree with anything you are saying. What you suggest of counting only atp events would certainly be one way of assessing success. I certainly dont disagree that Nadal was, as Cheryl Murray said, a wunderkind.
However, I was interested in looking at the professional career as a whole, including the lower tiers, and seeing whether it has become more difficult (takes longer) to achieve success at the higher tiers. The whole exercise is really just playing around with numbers, but it interests me that it seems to support the general impression that the pro career is getting tougher. And I dont think that is just a problem of some very good players holding on to the top spots and the majority of big tournaments for a very long time. Although the sample size is insignificant, it may suggest that as it took the current top players 50-100% longer to hit the big money than their predecessors of 10-15 years ago, the same may be true for the current beginners in relation to the current top. Which is another way of suggesting that more money needs to go to the second and third tier tournaments, as well as to the lower rounds of top tier ones.
In a further waste of time, I took the same six players as in my earlier post and looked at the date of first professional tournament of whatever level, and the date of first title as recognized by the ATP site, taking in both month and year. The gap in months for the older group was AAgassi 21, JCcourier 21, PSampras 24. For the current top trio it was ND 42, RF 30, RN 35. I also checked DoB for age at the date of first tournament played. Youngest first, in year.month: RN 15.3, AA 15.10, ND 16.4, PS 16.6, RF 16.11, JC 17.5. As far as I understand ATP designations, ND and RN began with third tier tournaments, JC second tier, AA, PS and RF top tier.

jmk , 11/26/12 8:32 PM

Perhaps in short all this says:
1. The changes to racquet techology along with other changes has made the game a lot more physical than it used to be and that is self-enhancing process. So from this perspective it takes longer to get near the top level - your body needs the time (and your mind too - the triathlete mind as in the article quoted earlier). These changes have made serve-and-volley not the right tactic on most surfaces against most players, for better or for worse. But the changes are far broader than that of course.
2. Not paying much prize money to anyone not ending near the finals seems short-sighted... if you were to reduce the largest prices paid out by, say, a third... the ones at the top would not want for money... and you could divvy up that third among the next layers of players and give more players the financial means to improve and remain on the circuit.
3. It could be a bit of a statistical variation as to which 'generation' has a few more of the very talented ones with enough luck in their life circumstances to start training very young and have the means to keep doing it.
4. Is there a stronger or weaker work ethic among aspiring tennis players, *on average* today?

Thank you for the kind remark about my post from a few days ago.

chlorostoma , 11/26/12 9:21 PM

Like the discussion about Hewitt where many jumped onto the Hewitt is paying a price for starting early, the above discussion really has not presented any cogent argument for the hypothesis that it is becoming tougher for players to win at an early age.
Frankly without going into details, the top 4 are a cut above the field. Second, it was always true that in addition to talent, you needed to work hard on your game and your fitness.
In every generation there have been people who did not work hard, like Safin, McEnroe and now Gasquet and Gulbis.
Raonic, Tomic, Harrison just aren't of the level to be called geniuses like RF, Rafa, Nole or Muzza or Sampras, Agassi, Borg etc. So no wonder they aren't winning much.
We also have to consider whether the percentage of elite athletes taking up tennis has gone up or down before jumping to conclusions that now you have to be older to win. (What if the best athletes are taking up soccer or golf?)
I am not saying it is wrong. But none of the posters have presented any valid arguments to prove this.
As for reducing prize money for top players and sharing it among lower ranked, it will serve no purpose as lower ranked players are too numerous in every tournament as compared to the finalists who are only two.
The top 30, even 50 perhaps, earn enough to live very comfortably. The issue of inadequate income is for players ranked 50 or below and they are usually eliminated by round three. In a grand slam, there are 32 losers in round two. Increasing prize money in round 1 for losers would mean 64 claimants.
A million dollar decrease in the title winner's prize would give only about 10000 dollars more to 100 people.
If elite athletes are not taking up tennis, reducing prize money for winners would worsen the position without providing sufficient income to lesser lights.
We have to link prize money to revenue and also make it attractive to top talents. Clearly we don't have the figures for revenue to understand how much the tournaments can afford to pay.
The prizes and sponsorship for top talent are not exorbitant when compared to earnings of golf or football top pros.
We do not want to encourage average talent at the expense of top talent but we do want more players to join tennis as more the number, more the chances of finding a genius. So ATP/players have to work out what kind of prize money allocation would be big for top talent and sufficiently remunerative for 2nd tier players (i.e. those talented enough to qualify for slams, Masters, ATP 500 and 250).

holdserve , 11/26/12 10:46 PM

There is no medical evidence that in the last 10 years, age at which skeleton attains maturity or muscle mass becomes maximum has changed. Or that age at which reduction in HGH becomes significant (>30) has changed. Racket and string technology, diet etc affect all age groups. The players being able to return more balls has made stamina more critical. The strength they achieve by age 22, is there any evidence that it is not adequate? Is Fed hitting with greater strength at age 31 than he did at age 22?
Teen prodigies have always been exceptions. Most tennis players win slams from 21 to 30.
So the younger ones not coming up early enough (by 22)is due to lack of talent or dedication. Or most of the established older athletes (with greater resources at their command) are doping. With HGH tests not being available, all those who post 30 have gone on a hot streak are suspect. Blood doping is likely to be rampant among players (as suspected by tennis insiders even in the 90s) but ITF has adopted an ostrich like attitude and is not testing aggressively for it (unlike cycling union).

holdserve , 11/27/12 12:27 AM

Tignor in his article "Its not about the racket" : QBd2dn9zo
has written a thoughtful article raising the issue of doping in tennis.

holdserve , 11/27/12 12:58 AM

'Is there a stronger or weaker work ethic among aspiring tennis players, *on average* today?'

It does seem that in some countries work ethic is not what it could be. Andy Murray certainly thinks so vis a vis the younger generation of British players. I woulldn't mind betting Hewitt has a plenty to say about the lack of up and coming Australians!! ditto Roddick and the US.

Where money is available to help nurture young talent there is a school of thought that believes spoon feeding aspiring players is possibly diminishing the hunger for success which is the hallmark of great champions.

Although the current distribution of prize money means the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, the redistribution might help lower ranked players who have raw talent to rise further but in itself will not produce the next generation of stars.

It takes an unquenchable desire to win for its own sake and an unshakeable believe in their own own destiny to slog away year in and year out.


ed251137 , 11/27/12 3:13 AM

Rather than having 6 clay masters tournament, or having 6 masters tournament on h/c, why not even out the field by organising 3 masters each on clay, grass and h/c. That will definitely help more players to go deep in the tournament and maybe even win one of them.
ATP should make 2 masters on each surface that may help in evening out of the field.
If there would have been 6 clay masters with some variety, definitely more players would have improved and mastered the game of clay. That would definitely have made RG much more interesting.
This excess of h/c tournaments have resulted in bagful of h/c experts, a handful of clay court experts and very few grass court experts.

abhirf , 11/27/12 2:19 PM

^^ i meant ''ATP should make 2 masters on each surface compulsary that may help in evening out of the field.''

abhirf , 11/27/12 2:24 PM

Clay court Masters: Monte Carlo, Madrid (we will call it clay for argument's sake), Rome. That's 3 Clay Masters by my count. How do you get to 6, @abhirf?

rafaisthebest , 11/27/12 3:21 PM

^^^ ritb, I posted that as a reply to someone's else post who had asked for 6 clay masters. And where did I said, that 6 clay masters are being played. Please read my post more carefully.

abhirf , 11/27/12 4:14 PM

"The players being able to return more balls has made stamina more critical. The strength they achieve by age 22, is there any evidence that it is not adequate? Is Fed hitting with greater strength at age 31 than he did at age 22?.."

Clearly the game has changed & is slower than it was before & therefore one has to be fitter to stay in the rallies & matches that are often now much longer.
I would say that rather than strength, stamina (as you indicate) both mental & physical is the key, and overall sustained fitness that supports this requires time to develop in order to make the grade nowadays.
And clearly its something that has to be worked at over a longer period of time.

Twinge , 11/27/12 4:54 PM

^^I also think this has something to do with the defensive style of 3 the top 4 that demands more in order to deal with them in any kind of meaningful way.
Nadal is the main influence here. It took years of development for Djokovic to finally have an answer to Nadal's game.
Muzzy has yet to reach this stage.

Twinge , 11/27/12 5:07 PM

@abhirf, no need to be so defensive mate, it was just a question I posted. What is it with TT posters these days?

Jeez, anyone would think I called you a child-molester!

rafaisthebest , 11/27/12 5:15 PM

^^ whatever ;)
but I did felt that you were being sarcastic in your previous post, so my reply.
#chill out

abhirf , 11/27/12 5:53 PM

''Nadal is the main influence here. It took years of development for Djokovic to finally have an answerto Nadal's game.
Muzzy has yet to reach this stage.''

Well, Muzza's defensive game is as good as Rafa or Nole. IMHO, his defense was much better than Nole till 2010. Even now those 3 are almost equal on that aspect. It's Nole's flexibility that provides him a slight edge over the other 2 now. But yeah, Muzza is not even half good as Nole or Rafa in changing defense into offense.

abhirf , 11/27/12 6:03 PM

^^Andy will get better at being aggressive quite quickly now. The penny has dropped although it is Nadal that shall be the real test of this not Novak.
He is getting better, just this year he has gotten much better etc.
Stand by!

Twinge , 11/27/12 6:59 PM

abhirf , 11/27/12 5:53 PM

Like I said, not everyone is out to get you, you know...................seriously.

rafaisthebest , 11/27/12 7:37 PM

There are far too many HC tournaments, and I say that as a supporter of Fed. But even so, I personally don't find as much excitement on HC (outdoors & indoors) as I do grass, and even clay. It's my opinion that they really should push Wimbledon to or near the end of July, and include 2 or 3 grass 1000 Masters events.

I just don't like how we start the year off with a HC and end the year with a HC. How is that fair? If we do 3 months HC, 3 months of clay, and 3 months of grass, it would be much more fair that way.

By providing much more balance to the season, we also produce much more balanced players. Seriously, how is one player going to get a shot at Wimbledon when he or she has only one or two prep tournaments? Where as on clay or hc, they have plenty of chances to build, and develop.

aegis , 11/27/12 8:18 PM

^^^Thank you, well said....

rafaisthebest , 11/27/12 8:38 PM

Well said Aegis. I also think that it would be good for one of the majors to rotate it's surface type - 1 year grass, the next clay and then hardcourt and then to repeat the cycle.

lee214 , 2/1/13 3:36 PM

I was thinking along the same lines the other day, too Aegis. Having a couple of grass tournaments before Wimby is a joke. There should be more. There were more tournaments (including slams) that were played on grass. What is this now? Hard to take care of them? A shame really. At least one Masters should be played on grass.

danica , 2/1/13 8:27 PM

The ATP tour is overloaded with h/c tournys.

nadline , 2/1/13 8:56 PM

Everything depends on what Fed wants. ATP is always scrambling to create schedules, draws, surfaces etc to suit the darling.

holdserve , 2/2/13 12:30 PM

Holdserve why wasn't Murray put up against Nole in AO 2013. Or Maybe you think Ferrer would have provided tougher SF match to Fed. You are an epitome of double standards.

fedexal , 2/2/13 5:29 PM

fedexal, you are a Fed fan so ipso facto you are delusional. Fed has his reasons dear. He doesn't want to win a calendar slam. He wants to win two slams this year. One is Wimbly. Which is the other one we will find out soon when we get a blatantly fixed draw like at Wimbly 2012, Olympics 2012 and WTF 2012. The draws from 2007 defying statistical odds are no longer to be considered statistical freaks but are to be considered rigged draws. And Fed's amazing sf streak and qf streak are the result of this rigging.

holdserve , 2/3/13 7:46 AM

Tell me one player who can beat Fed before QF even now ? Your last post sums up your state of mind.

fedexal , 2/3/13 11:34 AM

How is your question relevant? Fed's draws are rigged. No one said matches are fixed.
As for who can beat Fed before QF, then in a general way, no one can beat the top 4 before QF but no one in the history of tennis in the open era has Fed's QF streak. Clearly, it is suspicious.
Your irrelevant point lends further credibility to my hypothesis that all Fed fans are illogical. State of mind of fedexal: delusional.

holdserve , 2/3/13 3:26 PM

Holdserve,you really enjoy the word delusional;it's in all your posts.How intelligent you must be!

stratocast51 , 2/4/13 6:48 PM

Conspirator , 2/4/13 8:03 PM


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