• Murray getting the feel of top status

    10/4/12 12:29 AM | Johan Lindahl
    Murray getting the feel of top status Andy Murray stepped onto the court in Tokyo for his first match since becoming a title-winner at a major, with the Scot producing a feel-good opening victory at the Japan Open in Tokyo.

    The top seed admitted that it might take some time for his new elite tennis status to sink in after claiming both the Olympic gold medal and the US Open crown.

    For right now, it's business as usual for the world No. 3, who won three straight titles last autumn during a torrid run of form through Asia. "It doesn't feel much different as I play now," said Murray after beating Ivo Karlovic.

    "When you are playing a guy as tough as Karlovic, you have to concentrate on the match at hand. I played well when I had to, especially on passing shots. It's been a few weeks since I played, and the thing I need now is matches.

    "I hope that when I'm playing the next Grand Slam, it will mean something to me that I won the last one. I have a responsibility to myself even more now."

    Murray will play only two Asian events this month, going onto Shanghai after this week in Japan. He and Novak Djokovic are chasing Roger Federer, who leads the rankings at No. 1 thanks to six titles so far in 2012.

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Love the new found confidence and positivity - he's going to need it with all those points to protect for the rest of this year.

ed251137 , 10/4/12 8:59 AM

ed really nice interview with Andy: -interview-i-now-know-what-it-takes-to-win-grand-slams-8194667.html

deuce , 10/4/12 1:45 PM

He has certainly come of age.

ed251137 , 10/4/12 2:41 PM

keep smile grinning guys :)

croc , 10/4/12 5:25 PM

croc, I know u like Karlovic and u used to like Soderling. Who else these days? Just interested, is all.

deuce , 10/4/12 6:16 PM

Comment deleted.


chr18 , 10/4/12 6:50 PM

Comment deleted


rafaisthebest , 10/4/12 7:08 PM

Er...nothing to do with Andy so why post here?

deuce , 10/4/12 7:30 PM

Thank you cheryl for deleting the offensive posts.

My apologies to Tennistalk and all decent posters for my offensive post.

No apologies to chr18 though, to whom my offending post was directed, in response to his offensive post. He is the instigator here.

rafaisthebest , 10/5/12 1:37 PM

Thanks for cleaning out the bile, Cheryl - I can come back on now:-)

alex , 10/5/12 2:26 PM

deuce - i like to watch dolgopolov, f mayer, tsonga and del potro... and always top four guys of course, but it is even more fun when they get beaten. klizan and goffin will be fun to watch in the future i hope.

croc , 10/5/12 3:06 PM

Cheers for that croc :) We have 3 players in common at least :)
I personally like guys and gals with gr8 movement and anticipation round the court so I like Goffin too. Don't think I've ever seen Klizan

deuce , 10/5/12 5:56 PM

Croc - you like the big hitters then. Goffin is indeed fun to watch. He's going to be dangerous someday I think.

cherylmurray , 10/5/12 8:25 PM

So many young guys appear, so full of talent, promise so much, and yet don't really burst through, even at Masters level. Remember Gulbis - "this guy's really got it" - he's still young and already pretty much a write-off. Is young Tomic already last year's Raonic - not in playing style, but in breakthrough potential? What Delpo did was thrilling, charging right through ... but then the wrist (hopefully he can still do it, but not looking so good if that thing's gonna be recurrent). When I first saw shades of federer in lacko and had really high hopes for him, but he just seems too lightweight now. Now dolgopolov comes along with a bit more bounce, muscle and consistency ... who knows, he might yet come right through??? It seems like too many of these 'what ifs' seem to hit a ceiling. The French must be so frustrated at how their guys have come so close to the top tier over a longer period without one of them settling in the top 5 - mountains of talent between them - Jo-W, monfils, simon and, imo, the first and biggest disappointment of them all, gasquet - these guys can barely win through at Masters level.

I think the way nole and muzz burst through had everyone thinking a big rush was now on, but the years have started ticking by again and nothing (other than the delpo flash) has really happened. Folk have said how incredible it was for nole to be able to break through with rafa and roger playing at the top of their game, but what's it going to take now for a young guy to break through with the top 4 scrapping for all the big stuff? Even when one or two of them are out resting/injured, two or three of them are still there to pick up the prizes.

Bodo talks about a fifth slam, but what would be really exciting would be a fifth slam-winner - that said, I'd like muzz to win a few more first :-)

For me the exciting thing isn't so much wondering which of the younger guys might another level, but what youngster is going to suddenly burst through, becker-like or rafa-like, skip out all this 'maturing' malarkey and start winning slams before they're out their teens? It could happen. It's maybe even due to happen ... just when we're talking about how the 'Big 4' are going to divide the slams between them next year ...

alex , 10/6/12 12:12 AM

Very interesting thoughts Alex. I have been thinking along much the same lines. It must be so discouraging for the good young players to have such a brick wall to get past all the time.

Raonic has just showed he has the potential. Ousting Andy will have been a big confidence booster and sends out a message to the other guys. We will have to wait and see if he can do it consistently.

ed251137 , 10/6/12 8:36 AM

alex, so what youngster is gonna burst through then? i think tennis is not that becker-like, rafa-like anymore. you have to be really FIT to win a slam, and have a good head.

i have really high hopes for del potro. he has had a great year and is in fact underestimated, imo. i think he will win a slam 2013. andy another one. djokovic one or two or three or four. nadal maybe one if he'll be fit.

raonic yes...

croc , 10/6/12 3:39 PM

I agree with croc. The game is different now. Talent alone is not good enough to make a dent in the game. You have to be strong, fit and mentally tough.

When Nadal was a teen, he won on sheer tenacity. He hadn't particularly developed good court acumen and even with his "guns" he wasn't as strong as some of the others. And Becker won on talent. His athletic ability wasn't of particular note.

Now, you have to be able to do MANY things extremely well to even have a shot at an important title. For now, the days of the teen phenom are behind us.

cherylmurray , 10/6/12 3:50 PM

^^^Until the next teenage phenomenon.

I don't think those days are over at all. McEnroe and Borg were teenage phenomenons, followed by Becker, Edberg and Wilander, then Sampras and Agassi came along followed by Safin then Nadal.

The trouble now is there are 4 players at the top who are still that good even into their mid 20s and in Federer's case into his 30s; On top of that, the 2nd tier isn't that bad either - like Ferrer, Tsonga, Monfils, Berdych. So it is hard for young players to make a break through. I feel that players like Tomic and Harrison almost feel entitled to it, but they really haven't got what it takes yet.

If you watch the match between Albert Costa vs Nadal in MC when Nadal was 17, Nadal didn't win only because of tenacity, he was obviously talented and knew what he was doing against the man who was the holder of the FO title.

nadline , 10/6/12 5:08 PM

I agree. The young Rafa didn't win because of tenacity, or tenacity alone; he won with intelligence. During his match against Fed at Miami 2004 when he was only a 17 yo, he was playing intelligent tennis, moving Fed from side to side and then came to the net to finish the point. He didn't have great volleying skill then, neither did he have a great serve, but he won because of him playing intelligent tennis. He was also aggressive back then, attacking whenever possible and he could defend so well too because of his speed. What he lacked back then was stamina, and so he couldn't compete match after match against adults so he lost in the next round.

luckystar , 10/6/12 5:35 PM

Actually Nadal had no 'guns' when he beat Costa 75 63 in MC in 2003.

nadline , 10/6/12 5:40 PM

I believe Cheryl was referring to 2005 when he won the FO, you know an important title i.e. a GS since that's what's being discussed. Both Andy and Cheryl Murray are right about Nadal btw. The courts are too slow so every best of 5 is a grind so teenagers won't win GS going forward. You have to be ready to play 5 hours several times at the end of a GS. Supreme fitness is needed with some skill and guile. Guys like Delpo and Raonic have everything except the fitness and there aren't many impressive teenagers atm.

chr18 , 10/6/12 6:37 PM

If we're talking about the FO2005, then I don't agree that Rafa won by tenacity. He didn't even need to go to five sets to beat his opponents, and that included Fed. And don't tell me he outlasted his opponents round after round, when he's only a 19 yo and they're all adults.

luckystar , 10/6/12 7:03 PM

chr18 , 10/6/12 6:37 PM

1. "Both Andy and Cheryl Murray are right about Nadal btw." Care to elaborate? What exactly do Andy and Cheryl agree on about Rafa?

2. "The courts are too slow so every best of 5 is a grind so teenagers won't win GS going forward. " This does not make sense to me, sounds more like a conclusion arrived at to suit a preconceived narrative, that if Rafa appears to be winning easily at Slams, blame it on the slow courts! Are you saying all best of 5-set courts i.e. Slams are all slow? To suit Rafa or players of his ilk? So how come other players are winning at these "slow courts".....Roger, Novak and Andy?

3. " Supreme fitness is needed with some skill and guile." You think? Tennis IS a sport, supreme fitness would be a basic requirement, no?

I really do not understand some people's "arguments"'s like they expect Rafa to apologise for his fitness! He works at it, people. He has ALWAYS worked hard. If other people cannot keep up with him in that department, that's their problem, not his.........

rafaisthebest , 10/6/12 7:11 PM

............and why is Rafa being discussed on a Murry thread?

rafaisthebest , 10/6/12 7:14 PM

Well said RITB! And it's not as if Fed, Nole and Murray are poor in their fitness! And how did Fed won some of his matches? He won by outlasting his opponents, like AO 2009 against Berdych for example. They all do that, especially when they're not playing their best tennis!

luckystar , 10/6/12 7:31 PM

The implication is that a teenage Rafa would be languishing outside the to 30 like today's teenagers. Hahaha!

One day, Rafa will get the credit he deserves.

nadline , 10/6/12 7:59 PM

^^^^^^If it wasn't for his "supreme fitness", like it's a disease perculiar to him. Sigh.

rafaisthebest , 10/6/12 8:06 PM

I agree with the comments that Rafa did not win when he was young on sheer tenacity. His mental toughness was amazing even at that time. However, Rafa doesn't get nearly enough credit for his tennis i.q. He is always thinking on the court, understands how to construct a point and has proved to be a master at changing tactics mid-match.

Rafa taking on Fed in 2004 in Miami showed us all that there was someone new to be reckoned with in tennis. Many players felt they were defeated before they ever took the court against Fed. But Rafa came out fearlessly and played aggressive, used his speed and smarts. We can see how much more his game has developed since that time.

I don't care if some ever give Rafa the credit he deserves. Great champions from the past have already given Rafa enormous respect. I think Rafa's achievements will speak for him.

Nativenewyorker , 10/6/12 8:09 PM

You don't win 26 matches in a row including the FO at the age of 19 on tenacity alone as Rafa did before he turned 20 in 2006.

nadline , 10/6/12 8:17 PM

If players like Gulbis, Gasquet, Monfils had been under the tutelage of Uncle Toni in their formative years.............the mind boggles how they would have turned out, with all that "natural talent".

rafaisthebest , 10/6/12 8:23 PM

Boris Becker's movement was awkward, but I wouldn't say he wasn't fit and athletic. Boris was good at throwing himself about on a tennis court. Ivanisevic was also a teenage prodigy.

No teenager today has a quarter of the talent that former teenage prodigies had, maybe Gulbis comes close he just has the attention span of a hummingbird.

nadline , 10/6/12 8:34 PM

We shouldn't run down the teenage prodigies of yesterday simply because there aren't any on the horizon. Give credit where credit is due. I don't see that Tomic or Harrison would be beating the calibre of players that former teenagers had to beat to break through in the 70s, 80s, 90s and noughties had they been teenagers then.

It's not because the game has got harder. After all who made it harder to break through? It's the teenage prodigies like Nadal, Murray and Djokovic who made it by beating the best at a young age that today's teenagers have to get past.

nadline , 10/6/12 8:48 PM

I agree about Gulbis. If only he has some of Rafa's tenacity, his never say die attitude, I think Gulbis would have achieved much more out of his career, maybe winning some slams. They're all born different, with different personalities, different backgrounds etc, and so they've different career paths.

luckystar , 10/6/12 8:53 PM

Andy made a similar comment regarding Nadal's intensity,tenacity, etc. a short time back which was posted by nadline. My comment about supreme fitness wasn't only regarding Nadal. You could include all of the top 4. My point was no teenager has that kind of fitness and even the guys with the big games such as Delpo, Isner and Raonic are always let down by their fitness in GS. The courts are all slower than they previously were 15-20 years ago. This makes for longer points and longer matches. Hence a teenager has no chance unless there is a Lebron James out there who will play tennis. Most of the physical phenoms pick other sports.

chr18 , 10/6/12 9:39 PM

Rafa didn't break through 15-20 years ago!

nadline , 10/6/12 10:06 PM

So chr18, how many Masters series have Delpo, Isner and Raonic won if GS are the only ones they can't cope with?

nadline , 10/6/12 10:22 PM

Masters 1000 are even harder on those guys because there is no day off in between like in GS. Please everything does not relate to Nadal as my comment about the slowness of the courts was relative to teenagers breaking through now as opposed to before. I don't know exactly when the courts started to slow down. I think Wimbledon was around 2002 and not sure about USO and AO but I didn't want to say 10 years ago so somebody would correct me so I gave myself some room for error. FO has always been slow and a fitness test so not much of a change there.

chr18 , 10/6/12 10:42 PM

chr18, I don't follow your logic. Are players not supposed to slow down as they get older? Shouldn't the teenagers be able to run around all they want now that they are young?

As ritb pointed out, you reached a conclusion first then look to justify it later.

nadline , 10/6/12 10:50 PM

Anyway, Isner is older than Rafa., he's no teenager.

nadline , 10/6/12 10:53 PM

Delpo is 24, Harrison is 20, Raonic is 21. Who are these talented teenagers who can't make a break through because they lack tenacity. Name one.

nadline , 10/6/12 11:07 PM

there aren't many impressive teenagers atm.
chr18, 10/6/12 6:37 PM

I hope that answers your question. I guess I was trying to make 2 points:
1. Teenagers can't win GS these days because it's too physically hard on them and there really aren't many talented candidates.
2. Even the past teen years players like Raonic and co. can't breakthrough because they don't have the fitness of the top 4.
Regarding players slowing down when they're older: athletes don't usually peak physically until early to mid 20s and older athletes like Fed are still successful because as they age they just have to work harder to keep up. Speaking from personal experience I didn't peak physically until after age 30 because I was so academically engaged at a younger age. I'm in the best shape of my life now but I have to work extremely hard at it : Insanity workouts, weights,multiple supplements,etc. Guys like Delpo frustrate the hell out of me because they just look lazy and uncommitted to fitness.

chr18 , 10/7/12 12:04 AM

@Nadline, Isner's not been on the tour one-half the years as Nadal. He put tennis on hold to obtain a college education and degree. Most of the American players have HS and some college education.

I think fitness is cumulative and it will take years for a teenager to get to the desired level of fitness to beat a top player, who has peaked in fitness and wisdom/experience. By 24, (except for Isner) both fall into plays. Isner has peaked physically, but not in experience. I believe DelPo's fitness was disrupted by his long lay-off when his wrist was injured. With a hand injury, or any upper body injury, there's very little an athlete can do. Lower body injuries allow the athlete to develop upper body strength, but upper body poses more problems.

scoretracker , 10/7/12 1:30 AM

Nadal has been on the tour since he was 14, approximately 10 years more than Isner. That's a lot of years between the two in fitness and experience.

scoretracker , 10/7/12 1:32 AM

Still doesn't make Isner a teenager.

nadline , 10/7/12 8:13 AM

1. Teenagers can't win GS these days because it's too physically hard on them and there really aren't many talented candidates.
2. Even the past teen years players like Raonic and co. can't breakthrough because they don't have the fitness of the top 4...................

...........Speaking from personal experience I didn't peak physically until after age 30 because I was so academically engaged at a younger age. I'm in the best shape of my life now but I have to work extremely hard at it : Insanity workouts, weights,multiple supplements,etc. Guys like Delpo frustrate the hell out of me because they just look lazy and uncommitted to fitness.

chr18 , 10/7/12 12:04 AM

But why don't the teenagers of nowadays have the required fitness levels? If Becker, Ivanisevic, Rafa could achieve desired firness levels at an early edge, why couldn't Raonic, or Harrison etc? Of course it's not just fitness alone that made these guys successful at such an early age, but it helped.

I guess I am more inclined to believe a lot of today's teenagers are soft. they do not put in the required dedication.

As you point out yourself, chr18, you are in the best shape of your life now because you are working extremely hard at it! Isn't this what the "precocious" teenagers of yester-year did? This is what I suspect is missing from the training schedules of these youngsters.............

rafaisthebest , 10/7/12 8:13 AM

To get back to Andy and the point alex made @ 10/6/12 12:12 AM: Where are all the former rising teenage stars in the current era? Only the three musketeers have stayed the course.

Andy was still a teenager when he became one of only two people to beat Federer in 2006 (the other being Rafa). In spite of losing a major part of the 2007 season through a serious wrist injury he managed to finish the year at No.11 and entered the top 10 in early 2008 at the age of 20, climbed to No.4 mid year and has been in the top 4 for ever since.

His teen years were blighted by 'growing pains' and his congenital knee problem but he embarked on an intensive training programme to build up stamina and strength (leading to the famous 'Popeye' moment after his five-set win against Gasquet at Wimbledon 2008).

I agree with Cheryl's conclusion: 'Talent alone is not good enough to make a dent in the game. You have to be strong, fit and mentally tough................ the days of the teenager phenomenon are behind us.'


ed251137 , 10/7/12 8:19 AM

Another thing, Rafa broke out on the slowest surface, clay. Even if we accept the argument that all courts have been slowed down, we cannot say they are all at the same levels of slowness. What about indoors, are they also slow? Why haven't these teenagers been winning left right and center indoors? For the "slow courts impede teenage development" argument to hold, these youngsters should be taking it to the older, slower players indoors!

Sorry, I am not convinced. They are just lazy............

rafaisthebest , 10/7/12 8:21 AM

As far as I know, there are no teenagers in the top 100 so I'm not sure who we are talking about. Even Tomic who claims to be only 19 will reach the ripe old age of 20 in a couple of weeks time.

Rafa was a teenage phenomenon because he had talent and tenacity. I don't buy the idea that there was a time when it was easy for teenagers to break through. I saw Boris Becker live at Wimbledon the year he won the title and he was no slouch.

Let's not diminish the achievements of Becker, Nadal, McEnroe, Borg, Ivanesevic, Wilander, Sampras, Agassi, Safin et al simply because there are no good teenagers on the tour at the moment.

nadline , 10/7/12 8:46 AM

Add Djokovic and Murray to the list.

nadline , 10/7/12 8:48 AM

I tend to agree with ed and ritb. I think that today's youngsters just aren't putting in the hard work and practice required to attain the level of fitness to compete with the best. I think about Borg, whose practices were like a thing of legend. He didn't just go out there and be able to hit endless long rallies and outlast his opponents by waving a magic wand. His fitness regimen was discussed in the excellent documentary - "McEnroe/Borg - Fire and Ice". He talked about how hard he worked to become the athletic machine he was. He even said that he never got tired in a match. Now I know that some will tell me that the game was much different back then. That is true, however that takes nothing away from the fact that in his time Borg was the most athletically strong. For his era.

As far as Delpo, he had fitness issues even before his wrist injury. In fact, he skipped playing Cincy just to be ready for the USO in 2009. Many tennis analysts believe that this was a big reason why he was able to win. I remember watching him play Murray in the Toronto/Montreal final. He was completely gassed and out of breath. The commentators praised him for at least hanging in and completing the match, as opposed to just retiring. Delpo always had fitness issues and will most likely continue to have them. He also seems to be a player who is injury prone.

I think fitness is a big problem for Isner. He has been around long enough, even with taking some time to complete his colleged education. He loses matches because he just runs out of steam. Even with the advantage of that big serve, he succumbs to the conditions. He also seems to have trouble closing out matches and ends up playing many five setters.

I remember how hard Murray worked to build up his endurance and fitness. That's one reason why he moved to Miami. So he could train in the hot, humid conditions. He has put in the hard work required to become fit enough to get to the top echelon of this sport. Nole also had to work on his conditioning to become the Nole 2.0 that we saw in 2011. He didn't just wake up one day and become a beast. He went on that gluten-free diet and worked hard to improve his level of fitness. The top four guys have shown that they have enough in the tank to deal with long, grueling matches.

I think Rafa working with Uncle Toni helped him to get strong both mentally and physically. Toni was a hard task master and Rafa had to play under terrible conditions. That's how he learned.

Nativenewyorker , 10/7/12 8:48 AM

This discussion is about teenagers breaking through, what's that got to do with a 27.5 year old Isner.

Some say Rafa won't be able to come back from injury and dominate the tour like he did in 2010 because he is older the next minute they are telling us that the older you are the fitter you you. Scratches head.

nadline , 10/7/12 9:02 AM

Maybe talented young athletes are choosin other sport probably because they've looked at the gruelling tennis calendar and decided they don't want to be on tour for 45 weeks a year. If Rafa had chosen football over tennis, we wouldn't have had that particular teenage breakthrough.

nadline , 10/7/12 9:45 AM

I can't think of a serious, professional sport out there which does not require serious dedication all round. Maybe hot-dog eating.....................they do call that a sport in some parts of the world.

rafaisthebest , 10/7/12 9:57 AM

^^^In that case there are no physically able teenager any where in the world they are certainly not in tennis.

nadline , 10/7/12 10:19 AM


deuce , 10/7/12 10:32 AM

Yes, but he had no right losing that match yesterday after holding MP :-(


ed251137 , 10/7/12 10:56 AM

Watching how Tsonga plays against Nole in Beijing now, I do agree that it's not only the top four guys whom the up and comers have to beat to win a slam. The so called 'second' tier of Ferrer, Tsonga and Berdych are already hard to deal with; just watch how hard they pushed the top four guys in their matches! Tsonga is doing just that to Nole at Beijing now.

luckystar , 10/7/12 11:02 AM

nadline, 10/7/12 9:02 AM,

Isner was brought into the discussion, so I wanted to weigh in on the issues I have seen with him. I also stated that he has been around a while, even given the time to get his college education. He is not part of the rising young kids in the game today.

Age is not necessarily determinative of how fit a player can be. It depends on the player's work ethic, the time and effort that is put into practice and training. Young or old, conditioning and fitness is key. We are seeing young players who don't have the required fitness level to play with the top players. Age will take its toll, but looking at Fed one can see how with good scheduling, a player can remain competitive even past 30.

I wanted to be sure that the great champions from the past also got due credit. Borg was very much like Rafa in that he started quite young. I believe he was 15. But he didn't just morph into the great Borg overnight. He trained rigorously. Also Murray's coach, Lendl, set the standard for fitness training. I remember watching a very young Lendl, maybe 17 or 18 years old, get hammered at RG by Borg. But Lendl was willing to do whatever it took to be able to win and compete at the highest levels.

Nativenewyorker , 10/7/12 11:03 AM

NNY, this discussion is taking on a new life. My original point was that it wasn't easier for Becker and Rafa to break through than it is for teenagers to do so today because Rafa didn't really know what he was doing but had tenacity, and even though Becker had talent he wasn't that fit.

nadline , 10/7/12 11:46 AM

Andy has had back problems since RG. Has had cortisone injections. Clearly not OK in Tokyo.
Hope he can last till WTF

deuce , 10/7/12 12:05 PM


Fine, to get back to the original discussion then I also believe that it wasn't easier for Becker and Rafa to break through that it is for teenagers today.

The thing is that when there are a lot of comments, a discussion kind of evolves and can go in a different direction. The things I spoke about are of some importance to me.

It sure wasn't easy for Lendl to break through. When he started in his late teens, he had Borg to deal with, McEnroe and Connors. There were others, but those were the biggest threats. When Borg came along in this teens, there were still some of the greats from the 60's like Laver, Ken Rosewall and Roy Emerson.

I was never a big fan of Becker. He did have talent, there's no question about that. I remember when he won his first Wimbledon at 17, I believe. He came out of nowhere it seemed.

It's way past my bedtime, so on that note I will leave the discussion to you and the others.

Nativenewyorker , 10/7/12 12:08 PM

deuce , 10/7/12 12:05 PM

I had forgotten about that. Makes his Olympics and Slam wins all the more impressive.

rafaisthebest , 10/7/12 12:11 PM

I remember the talk about his back problem but he kept making light of it so assumed things were OK. It always worries me when they start to rely on cortisone to get them through matches - understandable when it is an important final - but they risk making the problem even more serious, or picking up another injury, when they cant listen to their body because the pain is masked being masked. Rafa did it for years and paid the price.

ed251137 , 10/7/12 12:48 PM

Hey croc and cheryl (3:39, 3:50), you say things have changed since the days of rafa, but he's only 26! All I'm suggesting is that every so often, a new phenomenon suddenly bursts through and takes EVERYONE by surprise, frequently at a young age, and it happens once a decade or so - there's no reason to suspect history's gonna change in that respect. Just as all the experts and wise owls were surveying all the young talent and analysing where the NEXT federer might come from, all of a sudden we got something no one was expecting: the FIRST rafa. That's what's so exciting, it' all so unpredictable. That said, raonic looking very promising and appears to have everything delpo has. And delpo's still young too, but this wrist thing's going on far too long.

alex , 10/7/12 3:46 PM

I just hope that when Rafa retires they don't ask Cheryl to give his valedictory speech.

nadline , 10/8/12 8:12 AM

Supposing Raonic, being 3-5 years younger than top players, peaks in 4 years time. Was wondering whose going to really challenge him then.
Do hope we're not heading for another Sampras era :(

deuce , 10/8/12 8:24 AM

^^^^ Harrison, Tomic and Dmitrov. Delpo and Marin are not that old, Kei too, so they should be in the mix then.

luckystar , 10/8/12 9:13 AM

Do hope we're not heading for another Sampras era :(

deuce , 10/8/12 8:24 AM

Given how Kei dismantled Raonic in the final set yesterday, I do not think there is a danger of that happening. There is competition.

rafaisthebest , 10/8/12 9:25 AM

.......and watching Raonic play in Tokyo, the improvement in the quality of his return game was clear. Even he has concluded that a bomb serve is not enough!

rafaisthebest , 10/8/12 9:52 AM


I agree. Raonic has been working on all aspects of his game. He seems to not be content to just have that huge serve. You need to have groundstrokes to back it up. That's what Kei showed everyone!

Nativenewyorker , 10/8/12 10:14 AM

Raonic seems streets ahead of the first 3 and I don't share your confidence that JMDP and Marin will be much of a challenge in 4 years time. JMDP is only 1 year younger than Andy and Nole and has too many injuries, that age will only make worse.
I love Cilic but I think Raonic is better than he is now.

deuce , 10/8/12 10:59 AM

Raonic will be 22 by end of this year and he's one to two years older than the other three guys. He may be better than they're now but nobody knows they won't catch up with him when they grow more mature in future. Those three guys have games, it's a matter of putting things right before they can actually challenge Raonic or the other guys.

Raonic may be doing better than Cilic now but don't forget Cilic has his injuries and misses part of the season this year. He's slowly getting back on track; what he needs is to fix his head, his mindset I mean. Delpo when no injured, is a force to be reckoned with; Raonic also has his fair share of injuries too. Next we have Nishi who's one year older than Raonic. He's also plagued with injuries in the past, hopefully it's all behind him now. Nishi has the game to deal with Raonic.

I feel that Raonic won't dominate the tours in four to five years time, as i feel players like Nishi, Harrison and Tomic are good enough to deal with Raonic's big serving game. I'm not sure about Dmitrov but he does have the speed around the court and that may help him against Raonic (Raonic doesn't have great movement).

luckystar , 10/8/12 12:20 PM

lucky, do hope you're right and they catch up and put up some opposition. Hope Kei gets better and better and stays injury free. Also like the way Harrison plays, he has a lot of potential and seems very hungry. The opposite of Tomic isn't he? Tomic is so laid back he's vertical.
Hadn't realised Raonic was 22 this year. He looks so young.

deuce , 10/8/12 2:31 PM

Raonic also hasn't finished maturing in his game and has lots of room to improve. His advantage over the others you've mentioned is maturity and attitude which remind me of Sampras more than his other attributes including his serve.


Conspirator , 10/8/12 4:03 PM

Nishikori is a year older than Raonic and will turn 23 later this year.


Conspirator , 10/8/12 4:07 PM

Nishikori's maturity and demeanor is also good but I'm doubtful Harrison and Tomic can get over their attitude problems.


Conspirator , 10/8/12 4:14 PM

@ Conspirator
Agree re Raonic, he can improve, which is why I said I thought he'd be at his peak in 3- 4 years time. A scary prospect indeed. Yes, he is amazingly calm on court. He used to be a "hot head" apparently, so all credit to him.
Harrison does tend to go into melt down but but I'm hoping he can sort himself out. Perhaps Ivan can take him over when Andy's career is done....;)
As for Tomic :( Used to really like him but......hoping he can get rid of his father and get a "sane" coach. Tony Roach would be good.

deuce , 10/8/12 5:12 PM


I think you made some excellent points. I do believe that Raonic's big advantage is his mental strength and maturity. I think that is the one intangible quality that puts him ahead of the other young players. I also totally agree with this quality being much more like Sampras than the serve. Sampras was one cool player under pressure. He didn't get rattled, kept his poise and stayed tough. That was as much a part of his greatness as his brilliant serving.

I think you also were spot on in stating that Harrison and Tomic have real attitude problems. Harrison is so incredibly naturall gifted, but his attitude seems to be his undoing. I have never been fond of Tomic's unconventional game but he's got the kind of quirky, unusual shots that can keep opponents off balance. His cocky, brash attitude is a big weakness.

Raonic is the one young player who has matured the quickest and realized some potential at this point. I would love to see Harrison mature a bit and get it together. He's got the game to go far in this sport. He just has to harness his emotions and play intelligently with more poise. I hope he keeps working because he's too talented not to try and realize his potential.

Nativenewyorker , 10/8/12 10:05 PM

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