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I6MTW

French Open 2018

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Roland Garros is starting on Monday. Nadal the favorite as usual. But have a feeling Djokovic, thiem,zverev will come good. Even Del Potro and Fognini can pull off a surprise.

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Well he's pretty much guaranteed to have freebies especially in Roland Garros.He's a 10 time champion. I don't think draw wouldve mattered anyway. It's pretty much NID that Nadal will win. But if Thiem and djokovic were in the same draw as nadal. Things wouldve been quite interesting. Nadal is really the luckiest out there. Should've lost to zverev last week if it weren't for satanic intervention .

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So many withdrawals. 8 LLs so far. Had gunneswaran stayed instead of going to play a challenger he wouldve qualified as 8th in place of kyrgios. We couldve had 2 Indians in the MD. Now it's not possible.

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But actually players in Nadals half have been in better form than the players in the other half. Zverev is barely scrapping through to the quarters. This level is not enough to beat Nadal. Djokovic hasn't been that good. He got a nice draw to the semis, but his level is nowhere near his best. Thiem is the only player who's in form. But the players in Nadals half like fognini, del Potro,isner,cilic,schwartzman are all in good form and can trouble nadal.

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11 hours ago, I6MTW said:

But actually players in Nadals half have been in better form than the players in the other half. Zverev is barely scrapping through to the quarters. This level is not enough to beat Nadal. Djokovic hasn't been that good. He got a nice draw to the semis, but his level is nowhere near his best. Thiem is the only player who's in form. But the players in Nadals half like fognini, del Potro,isner,cilic,schwartzman are all in good form and can trouble nadal.

But Nadal will play Schwartzman and 1 out of Potro/Isner/Cilic/Fognini before the F....no other threat at all in his draw. I love Schwartzman's fighting spirit but he's a dwarf at the end of the day and Nadal's moonballs on Philippe Chatrier will bounce above the Argentinean's left shoulder. Even if he tries to rally from that wing he will eventually tire out...physics and biology conspire against him and will only be amplified on the 2nd slowest clay court (max bounce too !!!) on the planet. Diego has never beaten Nadal in 5 attempts (2 on clay) and won only one set in this year's AO (low bouncing speedy court). So even history is in Nadal's favor. In the semis he may be up against one of the giants who are all pretty nonthreatening on this surface but if it rains they make take a set. Hope he meets Fog in the semis, at least we'll be entertained either way.

 

In the other half you have 5 out of the 6 main contenders this year: Thiem, Zverev, Nole, Nishikori, Goffin. The betting odds HERE support my claim and bookmakers do extensive research before releasing the odds. They may not be at their best but they are the only remaining contenders, besides some of them can claim to have really challenged high level Nadal on clay. Nole may look subpar and has had a joke of a draw, I agree. But Nadal will prefer even higher ranked players than Nole who is his greatest rival on clay...you saw how nervous peak Nadal was against a shaky, unfit Djokovic in Rome last month, right? He is someone who can make Nadal under perform in PC because of his aura. Zverev still hasn't had that GS breakthrough but it's only a matter of time, he is destined to end up as an ATG and all ATGs starts somewhere. Thiem is atm the 2nd best clay courter but look at his draw (Tsitsipas-Nishikori-Zverev-Nole?-Nadal?). Even if he gets to the F he will be mentally and physically exhausted thus offering little resistance to the Spanish Bull. And we know how he follows up his big wins. If he beats Nole in SF, Nadal may beat him 6-0 6-2 6-1 in the F if the trend continues. Thiem mentally switches off after a big win and Nole will be a big scalp no matter what level he brings to the SF match.

 

So I stand by my premise that Nadal has been blessed with a lucky draw after last year's USO farce. I just hope it rains the whole week and Nadal plays the next 2 matches in overcast conditions on slippery clay. If the sun comes out may as well hand him the trophy already. 

Edited by Gollum

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1 hour ago, Gollum said:

But Nadal will play Schwartzman and 1 out of Potro/Isner/Cilic/Fognini before the F....no other threat at all in his draw. I love Schwartzman's fighting spirit but he's a dwarf at the end of the day and Nadal's moonballs on Philippe Chatrier will bounce above the Argentinean's left shoulder. Even if he tries to rally from that wing he will eventually tire out...physics and biology conspire against him and will only be amplified on the 2nd slowest clay court (max bounce too !!!) on the planet. Diego has never beaten Nadal in 5 attempts (2 on clay) and won only one set in this year's AO (low bouncing speedy court). So even history is in Nadal's favor. In the semis he may be up against one of the giants who are all pretty nonthreatening on this surface but if it rains they make take a set. Hope he meets Fog in the semis, at least we'll be entertained either way.

 

In the other half you have 5 out of the 6 main contenders this year: Thiem, Zverev, Nole, Nishikori, Goffin. The betting odds HERE support my claim and bookmakers do extensive research before releasing the odds. They may not be at their best but they are the only remaining contenders, besides some of them can claim to have really challenged high level Nadal on clay. Nole may look subpar and has had a joke of a draw, I agree. But Nadal will prefer even higher ranked players than Nole who is his greatest rival on clay...you saw how nervous peak Nadal was against a shaky, unfit Djokovic in Rome last month, right? He is someone who can make Nadal under perform in PC because of his aura. Zverev still hasn't had that GS breakthrough but it's only a matter of time, he is destined to end up as an ATG and all ATGs starts somewhere. Thiem is atm the 2nd best clay courter but look at his draw (Tsitsipas-Nishikori-Zverev-Nole?-Nadal?). Even if he gets to the F he will be mentally and physically exhausted thus offering little resistance to the Spanish Bull. And we know how he follows up his big wins. If he beats Nole in SF, Nadal may beat him 6-0 6-2 6-1 in the F if the trend continues. Thiem mentally switches off after a big win and Nole will be a big scalp no matter what level he brings to the SF match.

 

So I stand by my premise that Nadal has been blessed with a lucky draw after last year's USO farce. I just hope it rains the whole week and Nadal plays the next 2 matches in overcast conditions on slippery clay. If the sun comes out may as well hand him the trophy already. 

As of now it's delpo cilic and schwartzman Left in his draw. Schwartzman might not win but he will definitely tire him out and grind to his level best. Nadal may not have ever lost to Diego but he has lost the match after he played Diego many times(eg.uso 15,ao 18,madrid 18). So there is a small chance he maybe exhausted after getting through. Now if he were to face delpo after that then I'd give del Porto a fighting chance. He has the height and the power to trouble nadal. Plus the conditions will get worse as per the forecast. Cilic has no chance if he comes through. He doesn't have the game to trouble nadal on Clay. If nadal reaches the final I hope it's either zverev or thiem. I don't want Nadal to win his 11th but I don't think Nole suddenly peaking in the final and winning his DCGS is better. He doesn't deserve that after his form the past year or two.

Edited by I6MTW

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7 minutes ago, I6MTW said:

As of now it's delpo cilic and schwartzman Left in his draw. Schwartzman might not win but he will definitely tire him out and grind to his level best. Nadal may not have ever lost to Diego but he has lost the match after he played Diego many times(eg.uso 15,ao 18,madrid 18). So there is a small chance he maybe exhausted after getting through. Now if he were to face delpo after that then I'd give del Porto a fighting chance. He has the height and the power to trouble nadal. Plus the conditions will get worse as per the forecast. Cilic has no chance if he comes through. He doesn't have the game to trouble nadal on Clay.

Hope Diego tires him out, not very optimistic but I pray this happens. Delpo has 2 main problems, his movement on clay (as such he is a giraffe) and his BH against Nadal's top spin. I can see him troubling the King of Clay anywhere except on clay. 

 

BTW who are you supporting? Who is your favourite tennis player, favourite tournament....?  And do you follow WTA?

Edited by Gollum

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3 minutes ago, Gollum said:

Hope Diego tires him out, not very optimistic but I pray this happens. Delpo has 2 main problems, his movement on clay (as such he is a giraffe) and his BH against Nadal's top spin. I can see him troubling the King of Clay anywhere except on clay. 

 

BTW who are you supporting? Who is your favourite tennis player, favourite tournament....?  And do you follow WTA?

Which is why the overcast conditions and the wet muddy Clay will help against Nadals topspin.

In this tournament I'm supporting basically anyone except Nadal. Not a fan of djoker either. 

Favourite tennis player is federer. I do like a lot of other players but feds no 1 for me. Favourite Grand Slam is Wimbledon and Australian open.  Favourite masters is IW.

 

I do follow WTA but I feel it's become a joke in the recent years, theres no consistency and lack of quality has declined. 

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2 hours ago, surajmal said:

Haters not liking god of clay dominating again? trolol. 

Nadals form is nowhere near his best. Hes dominating because of the depleted Clay field. Thiem is the only threat to him. This is not 2008 or 10 Nadal. Hell, this version of nadal isn't even better than 17 Nadal.

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7 hours ago, I6MTW said:

Nadals form is nowhere near his best. Hes dominating because of the depleted Clay field. Thiem is the only threat to him. This is not 2008 or 10 Nadal. Hell, this version of nadal isn't even better than 17 Nadal.

2017 nadal, arguably, had the best grand slam tournament performance ('17 FO) of all time. He doesn't need to be anywhere near his best to win at RG. 

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1 hour ago, surajmal said:

2017 nadal, arguably, had the best grand slam tournament performance ('17 FO) of all time. He doesn't need to be anywhere near his best to win at RG. 

Maybe in terms of sets dropped. But Nadal was never tested. His level in 08,10,and even 13 was much better.He insanely raised his level. The Clay competition is extremely weak last few years. So that's why nadal didn't need to be near his best last two years. These versions of Nadal are just feasting on this field.

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So happy to see Djokovic get kicked out by a journey man. @bones and his ilk were running their mouths about how Djokovic is the BOAT when Federer lost matches to peak Djokovic as a 34-35 year old. Now a 31 year old Novak (same age as Fed in 2012 when he was still giving peak Djokovic bagels on HC) is getting routined by absolute journeymen. Karma!!!

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This is the level of Nadal this year. Losing a set to schwartzman. He might've lost the second as well if rain didn't come to save his ass.

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5 hours ago, I6MTW said:

This is the level of Nadal this year. Losing a set to schwartzman. He might've lost the second as well if rain didn't come to save his ass.

He would have lost a lot more if he wasn't allowed 35-45 seconds between points. It is ridiculous how he gets away with time wasting even now and to a lesser extent, Djokovic. These grinders have been allowed to abuse the time rule for too long. In no other sport would such nonsense be tolerated.

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2 minutes ago, Dil Dil India said:

He would have lost a lot more if he wasn't allowed 35-45 seconds between points. It is ridiculous how he gets away with time wasting even now and to a lesser extent, Djokovic. These grinders have been allowed to abuse the time rule for too long. In no other sport would such nonsense be tolerated.

In uso 18 they are going to enforce the 25 second rule. Let's see what happens there.

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Just now, I6MTW said:

Well Thiem is the last hope.

Match depends on the conditions and Thiems mentality in the final. Also on how his 1HBH will fare.

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On 6/6/2018 at 10:29 AM, Dil Dil India said:

So happy to see Djokovic get kicked out by a journey man. @bones and his ilk were running their mouths about how Djokovic is the BOAT when Federer lost matches to peak Djokovic as a 34-35 year old. Now a 31 year old Novak (same age as Fed in 2012 when he was still giving peak Djokovic bagels on HC) is getting routined by absolute journeymen. Karma!!!

Djokovic is/was the better Michael Chang. Ie, his entire game is based on his exceptional mobility/flexibility. However, like Chang, he does not have any weapons in his game. Federer has a killer serve and a mind for aggressively ending the points (either with his creativity or with his net-play). Nadal has his monster lasso-forehand. Djokovic's game has no weapons. Conversely, his game also had the least 'weaknesses'/never went through a stretch when some of his bread-and-butter shots broke down (like Federer shanking his backhand and Nadal's backhand reliability dipping periodically). 


But at 31, his prime strength - court speed- is gone. Throw in the fact that his shots are now much more underpowered than before and Djokovic is now a world #10-20 level player, who will struggle to put together 7 straight matches of dominance.

 

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6 hours ago, Muloghonto said:

Djokovic is/was the better Michael Chang. Ie, his entire game is based on his exceptional mobility/flexibility. However, like Chang, he does not have any weapons in his game. Federer has a killer serve and a mind for aggressively ending the points (either with his creativity or with his net-play). Nadal has his monster lasso-forehand. Djokovic's game has no weapons. Conversely, his game also had the least 'weaknesses'/never went through a stretch when some of his bread-and-butter shots broke down (like Federer shanking his backhand and Nadal's backhand reliability dipping periodically). 


But at 31, his prime strength - court speed- is gone. Throw in the fact that his shots are now much more underpowered than before and Djokovic is now a world #10-20 level player, who will struggle to put together 7 straight matches of dominance.

 

Djokovic has the greatest return of serve in the entire history of tennis. And also the greatest backhand down the line. These are 2 major weapons any tennis player would love to have. Also his ability to turn defense to offence which ofc can be tied to mobility/flexibility. I think Nole is the superior version of Agassi...Schwartzman is similar to Chang. IMO his decline post 2016 is more to do with his personal life than any technical/physical reason. 

 

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3 hours ago, Gollum said:

Djokovic has the greatest return of serve in the entire history of tennis. And also the greatest backhand down the line. These are 2 major weapons any tennis player would love to have. Also his ability to turn defense to offence which ofc can be tied to mobility/flexibility. I think Nole is the superior version of Agassi...Schwartzman is similar to Chang. IMO his decline post 2016 is more to do with his personal life than any technical/physical reason. 

 

Yes, his ROS is the best the game has ever seen and his DTL backhand is also quite good. However, these are not weapons - these very rarely get you free points like Sampras/Federer serve or Federer/Nadal forehand or Wawrinka's backhand. 


Nole is not the superior version of Agassi because Nole is a pusher, while Agassi was not one. What is a pusher ? A guy who will almost always take the safe option than go for an outright winner to end the point. That is the Michael Chang mode - where like Chang, Djokovic will keep playing the angles, will not go for an overpowered shot or try for the kill-shot. Agassi on the other hand, was an aggressive baseliner, not a pusher - the first option Agassi got to crush the ball and end the point, he'd take it. The closest to Agassi's game today, is Del Potro, though he lacks Agassi's mobility. 

 

Nadal on the other hand, i feel is a classic grinder - will patiently wait for his change & construct the point, but first option he gets to crush the ball for a winner, he takes it ( instead of constructing a winner out of nowhere like an aggressive guy like Federer for eg).

 

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1 hour ago, Muloghonto said:

Yes, his ROS is the best the game has ever seen and his DTL backhand is also quite good. However, these are not weapons - these very rarely get you free points like Sampras/Federer serve or Federer/Nadal forehand or Wawrinka's backhand. 


Nole is not the superior version of Agassi because Nole is a pusher, while Agassi was not one. What is a pusher ? A guy who will almost always take the safe option than go for an outright winner to end the point. That is the Michael Chang mode - where like Chang, Djokovic will keep playing the angles, will not go for an overpowered shot or try for the kill-shot. Agassi on the other hand, was an aggressive baseliner, not a pusher - the first option Agassi got to crush the ball and end the point, he'd take it. The closest to Agassi's game today, is Del Potro, though he lacks Agassi's mobility. 

 

Nadal on the other hand, i feel is a classic grinder - will patiently wait for his change & construct the point, but first option he gets to crush the ball for a winner, he takes it ( instead of constructing a winner out of nowhere like an aggressive guy like Federer for eg).

 

I think calling Nole a pusher is a tad insulting. Except against Federer he hits more winners against every player on tour (more often than not). He isn't as aggressive as Federer but is an aggressive baseliner nonetheless. He won't paint the lines out of nowhere but he will move the opponent sideways a lot and hit deeper as the rally progresses before finishing the point. His point construction is a work of art, he makes progress with every single shot...pushers (Monfils is the best example)  prefer safety even when they are in a position to land straightforward winners and Nole never does that. When dealing with ATGs I think it is unfair to put them in a compartment eg Federer=servebot, Nadal=moonballer, Nole=pusher etc. They are so much more than that and it is their all round game that has catapulted them to 10+ majors. A pure servebot (Karlovic) or pusher(Monfils) will never attain that level of success.

 

ROS and BH DTL are weapons, no doubt. Fed's serve doesn't always get him aces but puts him in an advantageous position where he can land the 1-2 punch or boss the subsequent rally with the opponent at his mercy every single stroke. Similarly Nadal's FH doesn't always land in winners but helps him soften the opponent, relentless pressure on the BH wing compounded manifold in case of high bounce court or against 1HBH players. Similarly Nole's ROS and DTL can land outright winners but more importantly help him take control of the rally. You may recall the SW19 2015 F where his ROS landed the ball near Federer's feet and Nole absolutely dominated the rallies from then on.

 

Regarding Agassi, I feel he was similar to Nole especially if you consider their ROS and BH....before Nole Agassi was considered to be the greatest in these 2 departments. Agassi was an aggressive baseliner and IMO even Nole is an aggressive baseliner, only the aggression is more controlled and refined. Agassi was from the Nick Bollettieri school of tennis and his pupils are mostly sculpted in the Agassi mould. Incidentally Nick considers Nole as the most complete player of all time and has used him as a prototype for his pupils to emulate more recently. I agree Del Potro too is similar in that he is an aggressive baseliner but I find it difficult to group him alongside Agassi. His ROS isn't very strong, his BH is pants and he relies a lot on his fearsome FH....also with his height he has a better serve yet less mobility.

 

To those who call the Serb a pusher I always recommend the 2016 Doha F against Nadal...look at the video in case you have time and judge for yourself, 30 winners in 2 sets (15 games !!!!).

 

Edited by Gollum

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@Muloghonto Regarding free points I believe only serve can get you that and not FH/BH because the latter involves counterplay and is retaliatory in nature as opposed to the former which is essentially first strike. That is why IMO serve is the most important shot in tennis and I respect Federer a lot because he is about as tall as his peers and doesn't have a booming high speed serve...it is his precision, placement and disguise that makes his serve so lethal. I have seen many interviews where players talk about the shot they would like to borrow from their fellow players and a vast majority pick the Swiss' serve.

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Nole is not a pusher, he's more of a grinder. I believe it's not possible to get away with pushing in the top level of men's tennis. A person who is solely a pusher cannot be ranked in the top 1000. Even Monfils and Simon are not purely pushers in the traditional sense. Monfils is actually more of a servebot. He relies more on his serve. 

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12 hours ago, Gollum said:

@Muloghonto Regarding free points I believe only serve can get you that and not FH/BH because the latter involves counterplay and is retaliatory in nature as opposed to the former which is essentially first strike. That is why IMO serve is the most important shot in tennis and I respect Federer a lot because he is about as tall as his peers and doesn't have a booming high speed serve...it is his precision, placement and disguise that makes his serve so lethal. I have seen many interviews where players talk about the shot they would like to borrow from their fellow players and a vast majority pick the Swiss' serve.

Serve is not the only one that can get you a free point, though it is the biggest earner of free points, yes. Having a crazy forehand like Federer/Nadal/Del Potro or a crazy backhand like Wawrinka will also earn a lot of free points, because its 'BOOM and done'. 


Novak lacks those weapons in his game. His game is built around 'can't lose/wont lose' mentality, rather than ' can win/will win' mentality.

 

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6 minutes ago, Muloghonto said:

Serve is not the only one that can get you a free point, though it is the biggest earner of free points, yes. Having a crazy forehand like Federer/Nadal/Del Potro or a crazy backhand like Wawrinka will also earn a lot of free points, because its 'BOOM and done'. 


Novak lacks those weapons in his game. His game is built around 'can't lose/wont lose' mentality, rather than ' can win/will win' mentality.

 

Let us agree to disagree on this one . 

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10 hours ago, I6MTW said:

Nole is not a pusher, he's more of a grinder. I believe it's not possible to get away with pushing in the top level of men's tennis. A person who is solely a pusher cannot be ranked in the top 1000. Even Monfils and Simon are not purely pushers in the traditional sense. Monfils is actually more of a servebot. He relies more on his serve. 

Nole isn't a grinder. A grinder is someone like Nadal, who will patiently wait for an opening and once he finds an opening, will crush the ball. 
Nole is a pusher - he rarely EVER goes for a full-throttle winner to the open side, he is more than content to keep bunting the ball back and even when the whole court is open, he will hold back on a sizzling winner. And he is not even the most 'pushiest' pusher, that is Andy Murray, who is even more 'pushy' than Nole. Too often Murray has an opening and he will just bunt the ball into the opening than crush it. Or like Nole, too often Andy has the option to go down the line for an easy winner but will play it safe and take it cross-court. Nole does this less with his backhand, because he has/had a great DTL backhand. But he does this way too often with his forehand as well.

 

You can say ' whats the point of going 100% BOOM to the open court, when a 75% safe shot will get the same result'. True, its called percentge tennis. And it mostly works when you are at your best. But when the physical aspect declines (which is inevitable in every player somewhere around the 28-32 years mark), thats when lacking a major weapon comes to haunt you. Just like it is haunting Nole right now. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Gollum said:

Let us agree to disagree on this one . 

Ok, i think we are getting hung up on the semantics more than the essence of the post. The essence of the point i am trying to make, is that Nole lacks a cracking anything in his game that will be a 'boom and done' point-winner for him. Whether its the serve, forehand or backhand, he doesn't have it. So now, with declining physical state of his (ageing), he is being exposed more easily than Fedal.

 

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16 minutes ago, Muloghonto said:

Ok, i think we are getting hung up on the semantics more than the essence of the post. The essence of the point i am trying to make, is that Nole lacks a cracking anything in his game that will be a 'boom and done' point-winner for him. Whether its the serve, forehand or backhand, he doesn't have it. So now, with declining physical state of his (ageing), he is being exposed more easily than Fedal.

 

I think there is a mental aspect to it. After RG 2016 (NCYGS) he simply lost motivation, even Becker indicated so. He stopped hitting balls in the practice sessions the way he used to in 2015. There are reports of marital trouble also....in contrast Fed has a loving supporting wife/family and Nadal will get married only after retirement. His head is no longer in the game, almost for 18 months he was vegan (look at his skinny arms and lack of muscle mass these days) and spending time with Pepe Imaz, a crackpot Guru who is into **** like telepathy, telekinesis and levitation. Apparently he helped out Nole's brother in coming out of depression and hence he is indebted to him. The competitive instinct is gone, it's all about hugs and kisses these days. Imaz is in control now and can't seem to get along with most of Nole's coaching staff (notice the frequent chopping and changing there). There are lots of non tennis issues going on in his life and unless he sorts them out quickly his career is done and dusted. We can't say for sure that his declining physical state is the biggest issue he is facing atm.

 

I don't think Nadal's game is built for longevity anymore than Nole, just that he is more focused, hungry and obsessed with Fed's major count. Fed is an exception and we can't compare the other 2 ATGs with him...I won't be surprised if the Swiss remains a contender in SW19, AO, indoor etc even at the age of 40 !!!!!

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@Muloghonto One thing I'll give credit to Nadal is that he has altered his game to become more aggressive since last year. His serve has improved, 2nd serve probably best since 2010 and he looks to finish points quicker. I noticed this especially in the clay tournaments in 2017 and somewhat this year, he spends less time on the court as a result and hence is fresher for the latter stages. Even he hits the BH flatter, goes for winners from that wing which he hardly did in his prime years. His BH is now officially a weapon while his FH has slightly declined. This works perfectly fine for him against the whole field except Federer who enjoys flat balls and shorter points, a big reason why he has turned the H2H to a great extent last year. 

 

I firmly believe that Nole has all the tools to be a very aggressive baseliner and tweak his game like Nadal to compensate his age related troubles like movement, flexibility, reaction time etc. For that he needs to stick with a set of trusted coaches and do many drills with the same intensity he did in his prime. If he can do that there may still be a chance for resurgence....but with his present mindset can he? Will he fire Pepe Imaz and come to the real world for tennis' sake? 

Edited by Gollum

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15 minutes ago, Gollum said:

I think there is a mental aspect to it. After RG 2016 (NCYGS) he simply lost motivation, even Becker indicated so. He stopped hitting balls in the practice sessions the way he used to in 2015. There are reports of marital trouble also....in contrast Fed has a loving supporting wife/family and Nadal will get married only after retirement. His head is no longer in the game, almost for 18 months he was vegan (look at his skinny arms and lack of muscle mass these days) and spending time with Pepe Imaz, a crackpot Guru who is into **** like telepathy, telekinesis and levitation. Apparently he helped out Nole's brother in coming out of depression and hence he is indebted to him. The competitive instinct is gone, it's all about hugs and kisses these days. Imaz is in control now and can't seem to get along with most of Nole's coaching staff (notice the frequent chopping and changing there). There are lots of non tennis issues going on in his life and unless he sorts them out quickly his career is done and dusted. We can't say for sure that his declining physical state is the biggest issue he is facing atm.

 

I don't think Nadal's game is built for longevity anymore than Nole, just that he is more focused, hungry and obsessed with Fed's major count. Fed is an exception and we can't compare the other 2 ATGs with him...I won't be surprised if the Swiss remains a contender in SW19, AO, indoor etc even at the age of 40 !!!!!

Yes, Imaz's influence has crushed Nole's mental game, there is no doubt about it. 

But it still doesn't take away from the fact that Nole has never been the one to just crack winners at will like Federer does or Nadal would do on clay. 

 

This is why Nadal, despite battling a lot of confidence issues after his injuries a couple of years ago, dipped down to 8-10 in the rankings, while Nole, undergoing similar crisis of confidence, has dipped down to below #20 - having these weapons in your inventory lets you win a few close matches that you shouldn't, when your fitness or mental game is not at the top. Nole doesn't have these weapons, so when his mental game is suffering along with his fitness, he plays like a world #20-30 player. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Gollum said:

@Muloghonto One thing I'll give credit to Nadal is that he has altered his game to become more aggressive since last year. His serve has improved, 2nd serve probably best since 2010 and he looks to finish points quicker. I noticed this especially in the clay tournaments in 2017 and somewhat this year, he spends less time on the court as a result and hence is fresher for the latter stages. Even he hits the BH flatter, goes for winners from that wing which he hardly did in his prime years. His BH is now officially a weapon while his FH has slightly declined. This works perfectly fine for him against the whole field except Federer who enjoys flat balls and shorter points, a big reason why he has turned the H2H to a great extent last year. 

 

I firmly believe that Nole has all the tools to be a very aggressive baseliner and tweak his game like Nadal to compensate his age related troubles like movement, flexibility, reaction time etc. For that he needs to stick with a set of trusted coaches and do many drills with the same intensity he did in his prime. If he can do that there may still be a chance for resurgence....but with his present mindset can he? Will he fire Pepe Imaz and come to the real world for tennis' sake? 

 

Thats the thing - Nole was an aggressive baseliner when he came around initially. Watch his matches from 2007-2010 and he was going for winners. Yes, made a lot of UEs too but also hit a lot more winners. But he was simply at not the same level as Fedal and would usually lose to them, so he changed his game to be a pusher.

From 2011 onwards, Nole has less winners and also less UEs than before, because he let his physicality drive his success. Stopped going for outright winners and instead just did the whole ' every shot is deep & heavy, using the court fully and i will out-last you' tactic. Which is fully using his excellent fitness and top-notch flexibility to its full advantage.


That is what got him 10 of his 12 grand slams and i don't think Nole has the mental fortitude or the skillset to revert to pre-2011 Nole and bash the ball more to save his body. 

 

What worked for him in 2011-2016 won't work for him anymore. He's had elbow surgery, his physicality has declined and thus he is no longer capable of replicating the formula of ' 4 hour matches where i wait for you to fail'.  His game has not evolved to take into factor that he is older, less supple and has less stamina than before. We've seen Fedal make these changes. As you correctly pointed out, Nadal has gotten more aggressive and everyone can see, Federer has gone from 'best offence and second best defence in the game' from his heydeys to 'all guns blazing, all attack, no defence' mode since his return last year. 


Nole as we can see, is still trying the old formula that worked in the past. 

 

Nole is fast running out of time, because his game matches up favorably against the likes of Zverev, Thiem, Chung etc - they are all Nole-type pushers with younger legs and in the case of Zverev, with a far better serve, while Thiem has a far bigger backhand than Nole ever did. 


People say ' he held 4 GS at one time, he is going through a bad patch and will be back if only he gets his head screwed on straight', but people are missing the point that Nole's game has declined in the mechanics of it - his shots have less power, his serve is less potent, his stamina is much lower and he is noticably slower around the court than his heydeys. 

 

As for going from 'hero to zero in record time', Nole is not an unique case. Mats Wilander comes to mind - i forget which year it was, but he won 3 Grand Slams in one year and held the #1 ranking that year, only to never make a semi-final again at a major. 
So we've seen this 'top of the world to a nobody' tale before. Nole is in the process of repeating Wilander's path.

 

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Also, Nole lacks the hunger for success. Its just that simple. Tennis is a mano-e-mano sport, where you must believe you are the best, inside your own head, regardless of the rankings. Yes, Fedal have the mental edge over practically everyone and except Nole, nobody truly believed they were better than Fedal, but most do go into the match thinking 'TODAY i will be better than Roger/Rafa'. 


Nole ? His comment after losing at the FO was something along the lines of ' there are worse thing to happen than losing a GS- world hunger for eg'. This year he's already made statements like ' i have made enough money to feed Serbia', 'theres more to life than tennis' etc. All these are comments of a man who is happy with what he's achieved and thinks everything from now on, is 'gravy on top'. 


He simply is not as hungry anymore and we can see that. This is especially big deal for a player like Nole, who can't just hit winners out of trouble at will and needs the self belief to outlast his opponents.

 

Also, i have my suspicions about Nole. All his marriage troubles, elbow injury etc. surfaced just a few months after meldonium was banned. It is well known in sporting circles that Serbian and Russian sporting federations are close allies, they share labs, they share administrative personnel and Russia has been exposed as the biggest case of systematic doping in modern sport in the last 30 years. So all this coinciding within a few months of Meldonium ban is a bit suspicious to me. 


Also the statements that Nole or Becker made about his elbow injuries make zero sense, so it seems like they are hiding something. Nole said a year ago that he had a bone chip in his elbow for a year before. Man wins 4 grand slams and like 12-13 titles with a bone-chip floating around his elbow ??? 
Thats about as believable as a marathon-runner saying they won 3 marathons with a sprained ankle or a dislocated knee. I am sorry, but grinding out epic wins lasting 4+ hours while looking like a physical monster at his peak vs Fedal is physically impossible with an elbow bone-chip on the playing arm. 

 

Edited by Muloghonto

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16 hours ago, Muloghonto said:

Yes, Imaz's influence has crushed Nole's mental game, there is no doubt about it. 

But it still doesn't take away from the fact that Nole has never been the one to just crack winners at will like Federer does or Nadal would do on clay. 

 

This is why Nadal, despite battling a lot of confidence issues after his injuries a couple of years ago, dipped down to 8-10 in the rankings, while Nole, undergoing similar crisis of confidence, has dipped down to below #20 - having these weapons in your inventory lets you win a few close matches that you shouldn't, when your fitness or mental game is not at the top. Nole doesn't have these weapons, so when his mental game is suffering along with his fitness, he plays like a world #20-30 player. 

 

Again don't want to get into the nitty-gritty :p: but IMO his BH DTL was similar to Nadal's FH when it came to finishing points.

 

The difference between current Nole and 2016 Nadal is stark. Nadal had confidence issues and injury concerns but Nole is mentally switched off. He seems to have lost interest in the game while Nadal was still trying hard to mount a comeback. Pepe Imaz is everything I need to say......this level of change in mentality is hard to come to terms with. Nadal didn't dip below no 10 because he didn't miss that much tennis, besides there were enough points on clay to keep him in the race. Nole had a surgery like Fed and missed out on action, since he couldn't defend his 2016 points he had a tumble in rankings. Recall that even Fed dropped down to world no 17 before the 2017 AO draw because he missed around 6 months of tennis. 

15 hours ago, Muloghonto said:

 

Thats the thing - Nole was an aggressive baseliner when he came around initially. Watch his matches from 2007-2010 and he was going for winners. Yes, made a lot of UEs too but also hit a lot more winners. But he was simply at not the same level as Fedal and would usually lose to them, so he changed his game to be a pusher.

From 2011 onwards, Nole has less winners and also less UEs than before, because he let his physicality drive his success. Stopped going for outright winners and instead just did the whole ' every shot is deep & heavy, using the court fully and i will out-last you' tactic. Which is fully using his excellent fitness and top-notch flexibility to its full advantage.


That is what got him 10 of his 12 grand slams and i don't think Nole has the mental fortitude or the skillset to revert to pre-2011 Nole and bash the ball more to save his body. 

 

What worked for him in 2011-2016 won't work for him anymore. He's had elbow surgery, his physicality has declined and thus he is no longer capable of replicating the formula of ' 4 hour matches where i wait for you to fail'.  His game has not evolved to take into factor that he is older, less supple and has less stamina than before. We've seen Fedal make these changes. As you correctly pointed out, Nadal has gotten more aggressive and everyone can see, Federer has gone from 'best offence and second best defence in the game' from his heydeys to 'all guns blazing, all attack, no defence' mode since his return last year. 


Nole as we can see, is still trying the old formula that worked in the past. 

 

Nole is fast running out of time, because his game matches up favorably against the likes of Zverev, Thiem, Chung etc - they are all Nole-type pushers with younger legs and in the case of Zverev, with a far better serve, while Thiem has a far bigger backhand than Nole ever did. 


People say ' he held 4 GS at one time, he is going through a bad patch and will be back if only he gets his head screwed on straight', but people are missing the point that Nole's game has declined in the mechanics of it - his shots have less power, his serve is less potent, his stamina is much lower and he is noticably slower around the court than his heydeys. 

 

As for going from 'hero to zero in record time', Nole is not an unique case. Mats Wilander comes to mind - i forget which year it was, but he won 3 Grand Slams in one year and held the #1 ranking that year, only to never make a semi-final again at a major. 
So we've seen this 'top of the world to a nobody' tale before. Nole is in the process of repeating Wilander's path.

 

Glad you recognize the offensive ball striking abilities of Nole in the pre 2011 period, he was very exciting to watch from the baseline back then. As you said he had to tweak his game to compete with Fedal. He became fitter with more endurance and better defence than ever before. But his baseline game transformed from reckless aggression to controlled aggression and never passive pushing, we focus so much on his wall like defence and long rallies with Nadal that we forget the fact that he still made more winners than almost all players, consistently losing out to only Federer in that particular stat column. Even if you look at the Djokodal matches post 2011 you will find him having more winners and more UEs than the Mallorcan in most if not all encounters (even the ones he lost decisively). 

 

I agree with the gist of your remaining post. Nole has failed to adapt like Fedal and unless he makes a conscious decision to do so his days are fast numbered. Longevity is an important parameter in judging a player's standing and suffice to say the Serb is failing that criteria. All legends across sports be it Federer or Sachin or Kasparov have dominated at least 3 generations of opponents, they varied their playing styles to keep up with the next generation and also overcame their own physical/mental decline via some tweaks in their playing style.

15 hours ago, Muloghonto said:

Also, Nole lacks the hunger for success. Its just that simple. Tennis is a mano-e-mano sport, where you must believe you are the best, inside your own head, regardless of the rankings. Yes, Fedal have the mental edge over practically everyone and except Nole, nobody truly believed they were better than Fedal, but most do go into the match thinking 'TODAY i will be better than Roger/Rafa'. 


Nole ? His comment after losing at the FO was something along the lines of ' there are worse thing to happen than losing a GS- world hunger for eg'. This year he's already made statements like ' i have made enough money to feed Serbia', 'theres more to life than tennis' etc. All these are comments of a man who is happy with what he's achieved and thinks everything from now on, is 'gravy on top'. 


He simply is not as hungry anymore and we can see that. This is especially big deal for a player like Nole, who can't just hit winners out of trouble at will and needs the self belief to outlast his opponents.

 

Also, i have my suspicions about Nole. All his marriage troubles, elbow injury etc. surfaced just a few months after meldonium was banned. It is well known in sporting circles that Serbian and Russian sporting federations are close allies, they share labs, they share administrative personnel and Russia has been exposed as the biggest case of systematic doping in modern sport in the last 30 years. So all this coinciding within a few months of Meldonium ban is a bit suspicious to me. 


Also the statements that Nole or Becker made about his elbow injuries make zero sense, so it seems like they are hiding something. Nole said a year ago that he had a bone chip in his elbow for a year before. Man wins 4 grand slams and like 12-13 titles with a bone-chip floating around his elbow ??? 
Thats about as believable as a marathon-runner saying they won 3 marathons with a sprained ankle or a dislocated knee. I am sorry, but grinding out epic wins lasting 4+ hours while looking like a physical monster at his peak vs Fedal is physically impossible with an elbow bone-chip on the playing arm. 

 

Agreed about the hunger part. Nadal's hunger has kept him going so far when many experts predicted that his knees would give way by the age of 25, later modified to 28, then 31........ In Federer's case I don't think it is hunger, it is more about love for the game. I have never seen a sportsman love his game so much, unlike Nadal who fixes goals I think Fed plays because it gives him happiness/peace of mind. His wife too is a great part of his success, no sportsman can get a more supportive wife than Mirka.

 

Regarding your meldonium/doping suspicions I think it is mere speculation at this point. Even Nadal had these regular longish breaks in the past after which he would come back in title contention mode, Fed made a miraculous recovery after his knee surgery.....if you look at the game today it is so physical and the players' fitness is otherworldly. I too have pondered about this angle in the past, maybe after 10 years we'll have a revelation that many players took some sort of medical help to compete at the elite level. But don't have evidence now and I don't really want to pass judgement. I'd rather believe that sports injury treatment, fitness training, nutrition etc are at the highest levels/efficiency now and that's why you have so many 30+ year olds still competing at the topmost level which was quite rare in the past. I even recall reading somewhere that the average age of top 100 is the highest it has ever been in tennis history.

Edited by Gollum

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So as many guessed it is Nadal vs Thiem in the final.

La Undecima coming soon :popcorn: 

Don't see Thiem pulling an upset here.  Rafa in straights with tight first 30 mins maybe.

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17 hours ago, Muloghonto said:

Nole is fast running out of time, because his game matches up favorably against the likes of Zverev, Thiem, Chung etc - they are all Nole-type pushers with younger legs and in the case of Zverev, with a far better serve, while Thiem has a far bigger backhand than Nole ever did. 

Bigger doesn't translate to better, Nole's BH will be in contention for greatest BH of all time with the likes of those of Agassi, Nalbandian, Kuerten etc. Thiem's BH is highly inconsistent and liable to break down on high bouncing surfaces...Nadal is toying with that wing as I type.....huge liability, even Fed's BH back in the day was more robust. 

Edited by Gollum
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On 6/7/2018 at 5:57 PM, I6MTW said:

In uso 18 they are going to enforce the 25 second rule. Let's see what happens there.

That's only for the qualifiers..correct me on this if I am wrong....Nadal will not allow his time violation cheating to be punished before he retires.

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On 6/9/2018 at 1:43 AM, Muloghonto said:

Djokovic is/was the better Michael Chang. Ie, his entire game is based on his exceptional mobility/flexibility. However, like Chang, he does not have any weapons in his game. Federer has a killer serve and a mind for aggressively ending the points (either with his creativity or with his net-play). Nadal has his monster lasso-forehand. Djokovic's game has no weapons. Conversely, his game also had the least 'weaknesses'/never went through a stretch when some of his bread-and-butter shots broke down (like Federer shanking his backhand and Nadal's backhand reliability dipping periodically). 


But at 31, his prime strength - court speed- is gone. Throw in the fact that his shots are now much more underpowered than before and Djokovic is now a world #10-20 level player, who will struggle to put together 7 straight matches of dominance.

 

Djokovic lucked out big time at AO 2013 where predictably he benefited from (and he actually pointed at the wrong mark to induce that decision, disgusting cheater) a bad line call in the last set which would have given Stan the chance to serve for the match and FO 2016 when he should have been disqualified for throwing his racquet which nearly hit a linesman who had to jump out of the way. That's not to mention how he has been getting away with the ridiculous time wasting and deliberate extra loud grunts and ball bouncing on break points...he's won at least 3-4 slams beyond his potential; pathetic cheating pusher. I relish him getting destroyed by mugs whose names hardly any tennis fans even know. Karma for him.

Edited by Dil Dil India

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Congrats to the King of Clay and his fans, 6 slams won by Fedal since AO 2017...who would have thought that was going to happen in 2016 end? I am sure Thiem will only benefit from this experience in a major final, he is definitely going to be a multiple time RG champ. Shot clock needs to be implemented sooner rather than later, sometimes the time wasting borders on the farcical. On to grass next, my favourite part of the tennis season....hope Fed or Nick win SW19 this time. 

Edited by Gollum

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Great performance from Rafa in the final, I was expecting a tougher match considering he wasn't really playing that well in this tournament but stepped it up big time today. #17 and not done yet! 

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2 hours ago, Gollum said:

Bigger doesn't translate to better, Nole's BH will be in contention for greatest BH of all time with the likes of those of Agassi, Nalbandian, Kuerten etc. Thiem's BH is highly inconsistent and liable to break down on high bouncing surfaces...Nadal is toying with that wing as I type.....huge liability, even Fed's BH back in the day was more robust. 

To me, the greatest backhand of all-time will be Marat Safin's backhand. Nole has everything in his backhand, except for the ability to hit clean winners off of it. His 'winners' are redirects into the open court or ROS winners. 

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4 hours ago, Gollum said:

Again don't want to get into the nitty-gritty :p: but IMO his BH DTL was similar to Nadal's FH when it came to finishing points.

 

The difference between current Nole and 2016 Nadal is stark. Nadal had confidence issues and injury concerns but Nole is mentally switched off. He seems to have lost interest in the game while Nadal was still trying hard to mount a comeback. Pepe Imaz is everything I need to say......this level of change in mentality is hard to come to terms with. Nadal didn't dip below no 10 because he didn't miss that much tennis, besides there were enough points on clay to keep him in the race. Nole had a surgery like Fed and missed out on action, since he couldn't defend his 2016 points he had a tumble in rankings. Recall that even Fed dropped down to world no 17 before the 2017 AO draw because he missed around 6 months of tennis. 

The difference between Nole and Federer's injury time off, is that with Federer, you could immediately see that he's put in a lot of work & practice hours, the moment he stepped on the court at Hopmans Cup in '17. Nole when he came back this year, looked like he came back from a six month binge from Ibiza. No stamina, no energy, body language was 'i wanna get off the court', etc. 

4 hours ago, Gollum said:

Glad you recognize the offensive ball striking abilities of Nole in the pre 2011 period, he was very exciting to watch from the baseline back then. As you said he had to tweak his game to compete with Fedal. He became fitter with more endurance and better defence than ever before. But his baseline game transformed from reckless aggression to controlled aggression and never passive pushing, we focus so much on his wall like defence and long rallies with Nadal that we forget the fact that he still made more winners than almost all players, consistently losing out to only Federer in that particular stat column. Even if you look at the Djokodal matches post 2011 you will find him having more winners and more UEs than the Mallorcan in most if not all encounters (even the ones he lost decisively). 

There was no aggression from Nole in the '11-'16 period. He was a pusher, who was content to tire out his opponents and not go for clean winners. This is why i consider him a pusher but Rafa as a grinder - Rafa patiently waits for his clean winner chance and then goes BLAM. Nole keeps pushing and pushing and pushing. 

4 hours ago, Gollum said:

 

I agree with the gist of your remaining post. Nole has failed to adapt like Fedal and unless he makes a conscious decision to do so his days are fast numbered. Longevity is an important parameter in judging a player's standing and suffice to say the Serb is failing that criteria. All legends across sports be it Federer or Sachin or Kasparov have dominated at least 3 generations of opponents, they varied their playing styles to keep up with the next generation and also overcame their own physical/mental decline via some tweaks in their playing style.

Agreed about the hunger part. Nadal's hunger has kept him going so far when many experts predicted that his knees would give way by the age of 25, later modified to 28, then 31........ In Federer's case I don't think it is hunger, it is more about love for the game. I have never seen a sportsman love his game so much, unlike Nadal who fixes goals I think Fed plays because it gives him happiness/peace of mind. His wife too is a great part of his success, no sportsman can get a more supportive wife than Mirka.

 

Regarding your meldonium/doping suspicions I think it is mere speculation at this point. Even Nadal had these regular longish breaks in the past after which he would come back in title contention mode, Fed made a miraculous recovery after his knee surgery.....if you look at the game today it is so physical and the players' fitness is otherworldly. I too have pondered about this angle in the past, maybe after 10 years we'll have a revelation that many players took some sort of medical help to compete at the elite level. But don't have evidence now and I don't really want to pass judgement. I'd rather believe that sports injury treatment, fitness training, nutrition etc are at the highest levels/efficiency now and that's why you have so many 30+ year olds still competing at the topmost level which was quite rare in the past. I even recall reading somewhere that the average age of top 100 is the highest it has ever been in tennis history.

I am not talking about 'miraculous fitness after layoffs' - these dudes afterall, have hundreds of millions of dollars and given that their earnings depend on their physical fitness, i am sure they have the best, cutting edge tech, doctors and physios propelling them to fitness in 1/10th the time it'd take us to do it. 


I am just suspicious about Nole's terminal & catastrophic decline four-five months after Meldonium was banned. Suddenly its about his elbow, its his wife, etc etc. and he even had the audacity to pretend that he had a floating bone chip in his playing elbow !! That is just ridiculous and smells like a cover-up. 

Meldonium is supposed to give you extra stamina - given how poor Nole's stamina has been in the last six months, it reminds me back to his pre-2011 days. People forget that pre-2011, Nole had serious stamina and attitude issues. He used to run out of gas routinely by set 3/4, would 'retire hurt' when he was a set and a break down etc. So much so that even Federer questioned his attitude.

Then suddenly, he found a magic bullet cure - the 'gluten free diet'. And in 1 year, went from a guy wheezing and panting after 2 hours of tennis to Ironman of tennis, playing 5 hour matches and looking like he can play 5 more hours. 

Then suddenly Meldonium is banned, he is off and after coming back, his stamina is back to pre-2011 levels. Gives one a lot of suspicion, especially since he is Serbian and Serbian sporting federation are in bed with the Russian ones and have been since the 70s.

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10 minutes ago, Muloghonto said:

To me, the greatest backhand of all-time will be Marat Safin's backhand. Nole has everything in his backhand, except for the ability to hit clean winners off of it. His 'winners' are redirects into the open court or ROS winners. 

Nice choice, his 2005 AO SF against Federer remains one of my favorite matches of all time. My favorite BH is Nalbandian's, such a wasted talent. Like Safin a big underachiever because of his poor work ethic, his inability to win a single major is perplexing. 

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