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French Open 2018

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2 minutes ago, Gollum said:

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. 

Nalbandian,Roddick, Safin, Davydenko, etc. are the 'Federer generation' players, who were simply broken down piece by Federer at his pomp. 

In this respect, Nole is lucky he is six years younger, or else he'd have gone the Davydenko way - indeed, i see Nole as a Davydenko with more longetivity. 

People don't realize how dominant Federer was between 2003 and 2009 - his stats are not as inflated as Djokovic's from 2011-2016, because courts were a lot faster and thus, the tour was more upset-prone back then (stats back this up).

But as Roddick once said in his interview, how do you beat a guy, who is kissed by genius and making up shots that don't exist, has the best offence AND the best defence in the game ?

 

You don't. I think the underachieving of these guys has a lot to do with being repeatedly crushed by Federer while they were at their peak, driving out all self-belief in them vs Federer.

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11 minutes ago, Muloghonto said:

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. 

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. 

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.

1. I wasn't comparing Nole and Fed's level/body language post their comebacks. I raised that point to explain the difference in their rankings plunge compared to Nadal. Fed and Djoker missed a lot of tennis and hence points dropped off pushing them outside top 15. 

 

2. As I said earlier I don't like to compartmentalize all court specialist ATG players as servebot, pusher, grinder etc. Let's leave it at that, we have difference of opinion there and neither of us is changing the other's mind anytime soon. 

 

3. Your Meldonium theory is very interesting and entirely plausible. Only problem is it will remain a theory or speculation unless evidence comes to the fore....who knows you may be proved right one fine day in 2030 !!! Sharapova has a similar track record, she has lost her stamina post comeback, so you may be onto something. I was sucked into believing the magic due to his gluten free diet in 2011 and will still give him the benefit of doubt until it is proved otherwise.  I am medically illiterate and don't know whether floating bone chip can be medically managed or not. His elbow injury is real because after surgery his service motion has completely changed.

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3 minutes ago, Gollum said:

1. I wasn't comparing Nole and Fed's level/body language post their comebacks. I raised that point to explain the difference in their rankings plunge compared to Nadal. Fed and Djoker missed a lot of tennis and hence points dropped off pushing them outside top 15. 

 

2. As I said earlier I don't like to compartmentalize all court specialist ATG players as servebot, pusher, grinder etc. Let's leave it at that, we have difference of opinion there and neither of us is changing the other's mind anytime soon. 

 

3. Your Meldonium theory is very interesting and entirely plausible. Only problem is it will remain a theory or speculation unless evidence comes to the fore....who knows you may be proved right one fine day in 2030 !!! Sharapova has a similar track record, she has lost her stamina post comeback, so you may be onto something. I was sucked into believing the magic due to his gluten free diet in 2011 and will still give him the benefit of doubt until it is proved otherwise.  I am medically illiterate and don't know whether floating bone chip can be medically managed or not. His elbow injury is real because after surgery his service motion has completely changed.

Well i've played a lot of tennis in my time and having a floating bone chip in your playing arm is akin to having a groin muscle tear for a fast bowler. Its critical mechanical failure of the body - you won't be able to get a full extension on your playing arm, have power and everything you do tennis-wise with that arm will noticably drop. Just like no-matter how hard you try, with a groin tear as a fast bowler, you simply wont get complete hip rotation and thus will be down on pace. 


So a tennis player playing 5 hour grind-a-thons and then saying a year later 'i played with a floating bone chip in my playing arm elbow' is about as credible as a fast bowler who bowled 90mph for 5 consecutive tests saying 'i played with a total groin tear' a year later. Total, utter, bakwaas.

 

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1 hour ago, Muloghonto said:

Nalbandian,Roddick, Safin, Davydenko, etc. are the 'Federer generation' players, who were simply broken down piece by Federer at his pomp. 

In this respect, Nole is lucky he is six years younger, or else he'd have gone the Davydenko way - indeed, i see Nole as a Davydenko with more longetivity. 

People don't realize how dominant Federer was between 2003 and 2009 - his stats are not as inflated as Djokovic's from 2011-2016, because courts were a lot faster and thus, the tour was more upset-prone back then (stats back this up).

But as Roddick once said in his interview, how do you beat a guy, who is kissed by genius and making up shots that don't exist, has the best offence AND the best defence in the game ?

 

You don't. I think the underachieving of these guys has a lot to do with being repeatedly crushed by Federer while they were at their peak, driving out all self-belief in them vs Federer.

I think only Hewitt and Roddick suffered directly because of Federer. Take the Swiss out and both would have retired with 5+ majors. Davydenko was never good enough in majors while Nalbandian/Safin had serious work ethic problems. I know it may be a controversial opinion but the tour (except clay) was quite weak from 2003 to 2006 circa (similar to 2014-16 weak era when Nole benefited) when Federer ruled the roost. It doesn't diminish Fed's greatness because you can only beat what is in front of you and moreover he proved his mettle in his 30s by winning multiple majors. Quality of the tour peaked post 2008 but unluckily for Federer he had mono/back problem and courts became much slower eg AO shift from Rebound Ace to Plexicushion, end of carpet courts in ATP etc. 

 

I do rate Fed's domination in the 2003-2009 period over Nole's purple patch.

 

Regarding the hypothetical scenario of Nole being 6 years older we don't know how it would have played out. If he was indeed Fed's age he would have played on faster courts in his youth and his playing style would have been moulded differently. Who knows he may have developed as a more aggressive player with better serve/net touch/overhead etc. Or we could make Fed 6 years younger in which case he would have learnt his trade on slower courts, in that case maybe he would have developed as a grinder/pusher as you describe them...even his grass game would have been different. Player's from Nole's generation hardly come to the net, that wasn't the case in Fed's generation...it would be impossible to predict how they would have adjusted. I can give the example of Anand in chess. If he had been 10 years older he would have never had access to computers in his prime and his game wouldn't have developed enough to challenge Kasparov-Karpov...Soviets were very secretive w.r.t chess knowledge/database/opening theory and India had zero chess culture till Anand's emergence. Moreover with Soviet collusion he would have been kept out of the WC cycle like they did with Fischer for many years. If he had been born 10 years later he would have grown up with powerful chess programs and had a more thorough understanding of opening, theory and endgames but would have been less creative/tricky and his understanding would have been more machine like, almost similar to many top GMs these days who are slaves to the engine. Depending on the era and surrounding environment a player develops.  Moreover you must realize that Fed was a late bloomer, he wasted away his initial years. 20 year old Nole >>20 year old Fed and 20 year old Nadal isn't even up for discussion. So had they been the same age maybe for the 1st 2-3 years Nole would have built a healthy H2H advantage over him thus building a psychological advantage...impossible to say for sure. 

Edited by Gollum
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Back to -3 in GS tally. Rafa is 32, Fed will be 37 in 2 months. Man, if only Rafa hadn't choked in 2017 AO... could have already buried Kevin Federline's corpse and taken the GOAT mantle for good. 

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8 hours ago, surajmal said:

Back to -3 in GS tally. Rafa is 32, Fed will be 37 in 2 months. Man, if only Rafa hadn't choked in 2017 AO... could have already buried Kevin Federline's corpse and taken the GOAT mantle for good. 

He didn't choke, Fed outplayed him. That scoreline looks very flattering....the only reason it went to 5 is because of the mental demons in Fed courtesy his past beatdowns at the hands of Rafa. 

 

P.S.: He was 1-3 down in the decider but if you watch the match you'll see that Fed was deep in every Nadal service game while he himself had no problem holding. Rafa was a mere spectator from then on while Fed with his aggressive baseline game dominated the proceedings. 

 

 

Edited by Gollum

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@Muloghonto do you think Nadal will eventually surpass Fed's GS record? It is getting too close for comfort and the Swiss is unable to pull away in spite of his miraculous run since last year. I don't see anyone on the horizon who can take out the King of Clay on Philippe Chatrier. If Rafa can schedule smartly like Fed, he may win 3-4 more RGs IMO and even USO is playing very slow these days, perfect for Nadal's style. Also he seems to be obsessed with that record, even put off his marriage with Xisca all these years lest he lose focus/motivation. 

Edited by Gollum
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6 hours ago, Gollum said:

@Muloghonto do you think Nadal will eventually surpass Fed's GS record? It is getting too close for comfort and the Swiss is unable to pull away in spite of his miraculous run since last year. I don't see anyone on the horizon who can take out the King of Clay on Philippe Chatrier. If Rafa can schedule smartly like Fed, he may win 3-4 more RGs IMO and even USO is playing very slow these days, perfect for Nadal's style. Also he seems to be obsessed with that record, even put off his marriage with Xisca all these years lest he lose focus/motivation. 

Federer needs the difference to stay at 3 AFTER the FO next year. He will be 34 in FO 2020 and no matter how great he is, he will not keep winning RG. Even this year the cracks were visible, if there hadn't been a rain delay, Schwartzman may have been 2-0 sets up; Del Potro and Thiem both had chances to take the first set in their matches. The difference was 3 when Nadal won his first (Federer had 4 slams when Rafa won his first) and Rafa has not made a dent to that number. The spanner in the works is it took peak Djokovic to stop a 33-34 year old Federer from winning 2-3 slams in 2014-2015/AO 16 whereas there doesn't seem to be anyone close to that level yet to stop Nadal yet.

 

I feel the next 3 slams are very crucial. Assuming Rafa is a lock for FO 2019, Fed absolutely has to win at least 1 of Wimbledon 18, USO 18 or AO 19. If he doesn't win any of the 3, he has to hope Rafa has a slamless year as well until next Wimbledon...If Fed takes one of Wimbledon/USO this year and Rafa does nothing, then should be safe.

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17 hours ago, surajmal said:

Back to -3 in GS tally. Rafa is 32, Fed will be 37 in 2 months. Man, if only Rafa hadn't choked in 2017 AO... could have already buried Kevin Federline's corpse and taken the GOAT mantle for good. 

Federer absolutely outplayed him in that last set. He was blasting winners all over the place. If you want to talk about chokes, let's talk about AO 2009, AO 2005, Wimbledon 2011, USO 2011, Wimbledon 2008, Wimbledon 2014, etc. If Federer hadn't been stubborn about not changing his old racket and switched earlier, he'd be well ahead in the slam count by now. Of course if the time violation rules were properly enforced, then Rafa would have been left in the dust ages ago; and Novak would be somewhere between Murray and Andre.

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