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Risto

Tennis Volume 7: Roger That!

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2 hours ago, chiKanery et al. said:

Finish him Isner!!!

aaaand 2 hours later, same situation.  Really should be a 5th set limit.  Whoever gets through was a massive underdog anyway, without the added disadvantage of being totally fucked. 

Edited by BigFatCoward

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2 minutes ago, BigFatCoward said:

without the added disadvantage of being totally fucked. 



While I agree they should change the rules, in this instance it's quite possible that whoever they plays will have played a five setter finishing tomorrow afternoon which would equal it out some.

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1 hour ago, BigFatCoward said:

aaaand 2 hours later, same situation.  Really should be a 5th set limit.  Whoever gets through was a massive underdog anyway, without the added disadvantage of being totally fucked. 

The funniest part about the match was every time I refreshed ESPN at work, the Nadal-Joker match kept getting pushed back. They had like a 4 hour delay.

Also, I feel like this match was a pair of giant arms holding racquets battling each other while riding around on segways.

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I dunno, I feel a fifth-set tiebreak (as happens at the US Open) is a bit of a letdown. Some of these marathon matches have become the most memorable titanic battles in recent history. Admittedly 26-24 is absurd, so maybe they need to max it out at a fifth-set tiebreak at 10-all or something. But I do like the idea of the match going deep.

I'd love for Anderson to win it but his service game is not going to hold up against either of Nadal/Djokovic, who have to rank among the best returners of all time.

Serena is going to smash Kerber today, I'm pretty sure. I know Kerber beat her once before in a Slam final, but I just don't see her having the firepower to win unless Serena is very off her game and makes lots of errors.

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I really don't like the idea of the 5th set tie-break (and wish things like the end-of-year tour final would increase to 5 sets) - if you have to have one, it needs to be because the 5th set is getting ridiculous; maybe at 12-12 go for a tie break; or if the match has exceeded 6 hours or something.

If you just put it in the usual place; we'd have been denied fitting finales to some of the greatest tennis matches ever played (Federer v Nadal 2008; Santoro v Clement at Roland Garos 2004; or that doubles match with Berdych+1 against Warwinka+1 about 5 years ago etc; Nadal v Djokovic 2018).

Yes, somtimes it's because the serve is too dominant, and no-one gets close to a break, and those are interminable; but it can also be because there's nothing to choose between the two players; and those are absolutely rivetting and some of the best matches.

Edited by Which Tyler

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I put the curse on Serena Williams. Kerber's taking control here, and Serena is making unforced errors like it's no one else's business.

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Kerber in straight sets that’s a bit of a turn up for the books.

 I haven’t got anything against Serena Williams but it’s a little amusing to see her lose given all the build up was how amazing she is.

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Regarding the fifth set tie break thing, it's only relevant because of John Isner and although he is currently better than he has ever been I don't imagine he'll still be involved in a few years. That said, just in case there is another player so extraordinary at serving and so relatively bad at receiving I think a tie break at either 12-12 or maybe 16-16 would be a reasonable amendment.

Sad that Nadal didn't make the final. I'll be cheering on Kevin Anderson in the final as I loved his demeanour after the epic with Isner. True sportsmanship!

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Djokovic vs Nadal was an incredible clash though, what a game.

Back and forth, some superb winners from Nadal especially, but Djokovic is fully returned and with that comes incredible toughness and ability to stay in the rally.

Still the only guy to outlast Nadal in baselines rally's.

As for the final, I agree with Jeor, Anderson's game will not hold up to a Djokovic in this form, he will be made to play from the baseline more than he wants.

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Great to see a Kerber win over Serena. She's now defeated Serena in two Grand Slam finals, the only player besides Venus to do it. Kerber doesn't exactly have an elegant game, but she scrambles and makes a lot of balls that she shouldn't get to, which meant that Serena somewhat imploded with all the unforced errors.

Anderson is a class act and I hope he wins against Djokovic, but I very much doubt it. Hopefully I'm wrong again like I was with the women's final.

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Wonder if Djokovic can still catch Nadal’s total Grand Slam titles. 2 years ago I thought he would surpass even Federer’s total, but then Novak went off the rails and Federer came back to win a few more, so I guess that’s no longer possible.

But now the Joker seems back in form, so Nadal might be in reach.

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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At 31, Djoker is not going to catch Fed (13 titles to 20) but he might cancel out Nadal so that Nadal (17) can't reach Fed either. Anywhere but the French, Djoker would probably have an even money bet vs Nadal.

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Worst tennis weekend ever. Isner could of won, but choked, Nadal could have won, but choked. Serena just flat out choked. And to cap it off, the men’s final was awful.

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I may have asked this before but have forgotten the answer. Why is Djokovic disliked?

He is a great player, works very hard, has a great sense of humour, is always humble in victory, and is a dedicated family man.

He has a positive winning record against both Federer and Nadal and might yet overtake at least Nadal in total Grand Slam titles.

So why is he less popular amongst many fans?

Edited by Free Northman Reborn

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22 hours ago, Jeor said:

At 31, Djoker is not going to catch Fed (13 titles to 20) but he might cancel out Nadal so that Nadal (17) can't reach Fed either. Anywhere but the French, Djoker would probably have an even money bet vs Nadal.

See I still think it is too early to say these things with any degree of certainty.

So after Wimbledon, Djoker has 13, Nadal 17 and Federer 20. All 3 of them are top level right now ( which is so so awesome for tennis, I am already looking forward to the hardcourt season). I can see Federer win more tournaments, he's got solid chances at 3 out of the 4 slams if he keeps up that level. Nadal, likewise, has solid chances of winning several more, I can see him go to 20. Djokovic, what if he goes on a run now and wins a few more? If Federer had retired and 20 was the definite end point, then Djoker might still get there. I still don't see the young guard beating the top 3 of the world, they are still the best and by a fair margin, and thus more Slams are in sight. It really speaks to how incredibly talented this generation is.

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19 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I may have asked this before but have forgotten the answer. Why is Djokovic disliked?

Oh, boy... Here comes an essay.

It is such a complex issue that it is impossible to pinpoint it entirely correctly. Needless to say, it is a number of factors and the blame is on entire bunch of people.

I believe it all started when Djokovic began his professional career. In his early days, he was not known for his athleticism as he would be later known. The allergies, especially gluten allergy was causing a lot of health issues. Now, that would only be his problem but he was somewhat ungraceful about that. He was retiring from matches but in interviews he wasn't entirely truthful. Roddick was especially annoyed with him, numerous medical time-outs, after which Djokovic would go to the press and say "I was in control of the match" Many considered his unpreparedness for matches extremely tiring and a good excuse. Needless to say there were many moments "I could have won but my health was not good today". 

Then you have his family. People in Serbia know too much about these hillbillies, but their antics have been becoming known to the wider public too. When playing against Federer in his early years, Djokovic had a very vocal support from his box to the point when Federer had to react and simply say "Shut up!" Was he justified? Absolutely. Federer rightfully ended a very problematic behavior. That led of course to famous 2008 AO semis, when Djokovic won Federer, after which his mother, infamously, said "The King is dead. Long Live the King"

And after family, you have his fans. Serbians are very culturally different from Westerners. Novak became a symbol of the new, strong Serbia and people from here weren't very graceful in their admiration towards one of their own. Furthermore, we are somewhat prone to conspiracy theories. Like, the entire central court thing. People around the world would understand that Federer is the golden goose of tennis and that every organizer wants to cash it. But, not for Serbs. For some of us, it is the intricate plot that involves (or now, involved) Nike, Rod the God Laver, ATP and probably Illuminati, Voldemort and Sauron in order to, and I am quoting this, so help me God "to stop one Orthodox Serb from winning the tournaments" And now that everyone speaks English, this easily crosses the borders and the natural reaction of moderate tennis fans is to turn against Djokovic.

But Djokovic is not without blame. He had its moments and they don't speak highly of him. No matter whether you are 99,99% polite and nice, if you start yelling at a ballgirl, it is not an appropriate behavior and not something people forget. And that was just one moment. There were many others. He also seems constantly displeased with something and he is someone who wants to be loved. And he is a bit of attention whore. At times, he just looks like a spoiled child.

And then there is perhaps the biggest reason - he was born in the wrong time. Narratives are amazing thing and the one that Federer and Nadal created in years before Djokovic's rise was one for the ages. Tennis is, after all, a two persons game. And Federer and Nadal beautifully opposed each other. Federer, a classy gentleman, with his ivory cardigans and style that matches a grace of Bolshoi ballerina matched a Spanish bull who would dig trenches in tennis like Nadal. The first was a grass champion, the second excelled (and still does) on clay. So, when Djokovic came, who was good on all surfaces equally, he became the odd one. Yes, he is amazing, yes, he was perfect and his score with both Nadal and Federer speaks for itself, but there was no story there. No narrative. And his "poor boy from Serbia" story didn't get much traction (perhaps because it was a false story as his family was in 5% of richest in Serbia).

I think I covered the most important points... :D 

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20 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

I may have asked this before but have forgotten the answer. Why is Djokovic disliked?

@Risto gave a good answer to this.

I actually don't mind Djokovic, although I do like Federer and Nadal more. I don't like Murray because he's always negative on court (scowling, shouting - very rarely positive body language and it's very rare you'll see him crack a smile).

If I were to ask why I don't like Djokovic as much as Federer/Nadal, part of it is the medical timeouts. I remember Djokovic early on in his career where he would take a medical timeout basically every Grand Slam match. He would have breathing issues, or a sore leg, etc, but after a while it became clear that at least some of those timeouts were tactical rather than medical. There certainly was an element of gamesmanship in his earlier years.

A second reason is that, like 99% of the world, he lacks the class of Federer/Nadal and suffers in comparison to them (and they had established that standard before Djokovic came along, so he doesn't look as good). Nadal is loud on the court, but off the court he is a mouse. Djokovic is loud on the court but off the court he can also come off as boorish. He's had some tussles with linespeople and umpires. Federer or Nadal might have a quibble with an umpire from time to time but they'll never carry on about it, whereas Djokovic has at times and ended up looking like a petulant kid or a bully.

A third and more intangible reason is that you just get the sense that Federer and Nadal love and genuinely enjoy playing tennis. Their manner on court and their comments off the court attest to this. With Djokovic, it seems to be more of a job/career, especially when you build in his entourage and off-court empire.

 

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1 hour ago, Jeor said:

@RistoI remember Djokovic early on in his career where he would take a medical timeout basically every Grand Slam match. He would have breathing issues, or a sore leg, etc, but after a while it became clear that at least some of those timeouts were tactical rather than medical.

Djokovic just reminds me of the laughable way tennis battles doping.

Let's not forget that Djokovic turned from the player described in Jeor's post to a beast that could play 5 hours AO semifinal against Murray and 6 hours AO final without having significant problems in a couple of months. The official explanation? Gluten. Makes sense? Didn't think so.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that he's the only one. Nadal and Federer had some injuries they came back from in best form of their lives, and it does raise some eyebrows. Murray had a year of great results and just fell apart, nowhere to be found since. Of course I have no proof of that, and I doubt that any will ever see the light of day.

The only men I can think of right now who were suspended for doping were Troicki (not for testing positive but for giving urine sample only and no blood) and Cilic (suspension was lifted after a couple of months). Among women, Sharapova is the only high profile player to get suspended and for using a medicine that has been added to the banned substance list just recently. In a high profile sport with hundreds of millions in play, it's extremely naive to think athletes are that clean, especially when they perform at the level these athletes are.

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