So what are everyone's choices for the top 5 matches of 2008? Interested to hear the different views. http://theatpblog.com/home/?p=329.
So what are everyone's choices for the top 5 matches of 2008? Interested to hear the different views. http://theatpblog.com/home/?p=329.
Hi Kid Carlos:
Not sure I can come up with five but I'd certainly nominate two. Wimbledon men's final - five sets of pulsating action.
And the Masters match between Federer and Murray in Shanghai. (Their match in Madrid was pretty darn good too). Federer was back to his imperious best before that injury intervened while Murray was good enough to weather the storm.
Most disappointing match for me, among quite a few, was the French Open men's final.
I'm sure other more learned members can fill in any gaps. Cheers.
I'd been hoping for a much closer contest. As a display of clay court tennis it was sensational but the match was too one-sided. I must say I probably was also hoping that Federer would finally win the French. I think his record is such that it'll be a shame (as looks likely) that he'll never win that title.
Regards and merry Christmas to you.
We live in a World, connected by a series of associations that mostly go unnoticed. I attribute this short-sightedness to why we need to struggle more as a Being, until we finally get a clue.
Andrea Gomez, was somewhat distraught about the French Open having lost to Ivan Lendl so many times in the past and had decided to pass on the indignation this go around until that is, he got word that Mr. Lendl was skipping the French that year to better prepare for Wimbledon, that being the only Trophy which had eluded him.
Now I've always being a strange character which reveals itself whenever someone says, "Good Luck" to me. I have & always will imply Luck has very little to do with it, I believe in Destiny" So Andres Gomez' destiny was to finally win the French Open now that his nemesis Ivan, yeah go play in the Grass, Lendl, was pulling out and all that was left was another Player whom he had a losing record against and would be first time French Open Champion, Andre Agassi, who was playing his best Tennis to date.
So my point here is simple, Ivan Lendl had an enormous amount of pressure on him to win Wimbledon, being of course he broke the record at number of weeks at #1 in the World and still no Wimbledon Trophy even though he was a shoe in for either the Semis or Finals each year.
Andre Agassi, at that same time was all about 'Image is Everything' and many considered him all style with no substance, having no Slam Titles under his belt whereas Michael Chang - Pete Sampras & Jim Courier, three of the Fab Four had alreadty achieved that accomplishment, was bound to finally get his due because Gomez could not be seriously considered a threat to beat him in the French Finals.
Roger Federer, was not confident enough in himself to beat Nadal at the French within his onw head. Why? Because the two years before, Roger put forth his very best effort against a Player (Nadal) who was clearly half the Player this new Nadal was proving to be. Yes indeed, Rafael Nadal, was an even better Player now than he was a year ago and on the Clay, Roger knew within himself, that he wasn't. Therefore, it is my guess, Federer lost that match before the first ball was struck. What unfortunately Roger didn't realize was, winning begots winning and losing begots losing.
I am equally convinced had Roger put up a fight in the French Finals, the end results of Wimbledon may have been slightly different. But Nadal did win so convincingly, that Nadal's confidence was soaring and thus carried him through to the Finals of Wimbledon with vigor. If the French had gone 5 Sets even with Nadal winning, there he (Federer) might have cast some level of doubt in the mind of Mr. Nadal, in that he might have once again beaten the World's #1 on Clay but only barely and since Grass in Federer's preferred surface (supposedly) the doubt of One's convictions would have been squarely on mind of Nadal.
All of that is garbage since none of this scenario took place but I'm in agreement with you that Federer was so blown away by Nadal's dominance on Clay that it lingered in Federer's head. Coupled with Wimbledon being only a couple of weeks later, is yet another case for Wimbledon & The French Open spreading apart a little more in order to allow time for the Players to put forth their best after their Clay Court efforts. In conclusion my friend, what I see happening before our eyes is not so much the changing of the Guard from a Spectator's viewpoint but sadly from Roger Federer's viewpoint as well. I believe Federer thinks Rafael Nadal is unbeatable at this juncture for him at least and my biggest fear is, when Nadal finally does fall to another at the French, it will probably not be Federer that does it. Someday soon, Roger Federer must win the French but if he does against any other Player than Rafael Nadal, it will be nothing less than a Bitter-Sweet victory. History will record that Federer did finally win the French but still was never better than Nadal on the Dirt.
Sorry fot the Book ..
Hi Coach. No apologies necessary for the length of your reply. Interesting stuff.
Not sure though whether Roger's loss at the French affected his Wimbledon. I kinda think he still saw Wimbledon as his personal domain and that the two tournaments weren't linked but who knows other than Roger.
Roger's problem in winning the French was three-fold. He came up against a clay courter at the top of his game, his lack of patience on the surface, too many unforced errors.
If his game continues to leak so many errors in 2009 he will again be in trouble.
It will be fascinating to see how he copes with Murray, Djokovic, Rafa et al this coming year. Cheers
Too much force from Rafa maybe? Nah, when you're at the Net, you should expect the velocity of your Opponents shot to be as hard as they can make it. I've noticed Roger seems a bit uncertain at the Net. I truly believe this is a weaker area for him. He didn't come in at the right moments, gave away too much real estate and declared himself way too early for a passing shot.
You understand what I mean by 'Declared himself' I'm sure. So Roger just gave Nadal batting practice both at the French & Wimbledon. Also Roger didn't get as many free points off his Serve like I've seen in the past.
IMO, nobody could count on Service Points like Peter Sampras. His shots were just too hard to read. Pete didn't have the speed off his delivery like say, Roddick but his serve was far more effective.
To sum it up, I saw a lack of confidence in Roger Federer and sometimes all it takes is a simple suggestion to remind someone of who they are.
What builds confidence in Tennis?
1. A few very good shots here and there?
2. A few convincing Game wins ?
3. Maybe winning matches is all it takes to build confidence?
Some would argue Confidence is built by [All of the Above] on a sustained consistent basis. When you're in the Top 4 in the World, you should at that point feel your Game is good enough to make the Semis. At this point, you should also consider that any one of those other three Players have enough game to send you home if you're not Playing your A-Game.
My friend Brad suggest that a Top 3 Player should easily get into the 2nd Week of a Slam with their B-Game alone. Up to the Rd of 32, you should be able to consider each Match as Warm-up and there you should try whatever You & Your Coach have been working on. By time you reach the Rd of 16, practice time needs to be over and it's down to serious business because any Player who makes it to the Rd of 16, has serious Game or for any surprise Opponent that made it through, they are obviously playing in the Zone.
You can not afford to take unproven chances while in the Qtrs to Semis. There you must be playing the type of Game that got you the Ranking you have. But Still depending on the circumstances, you can try a few things if you have a comfortable lead.
My friend, the Finals is no place to be uncertain about what works and what doesn't work. The Finals is all about Execution ...
You know who you are, you know what you are capable of and all that's left is going out and getting that Paycheck.
Execution is all that's required at this juncture. Roger Federer was the #1 Player in the World. Regardless of the surface, the mere fact that he was consistently getting to the Finals tell me, he does have the Game to beat Rafa on Clay. So what happened? Well I'm feeling the hidden factor is, Roger wasn't convinced of that. I firmly believe Federer believes in his head that Rafa is unbeatable on Clay thus producing hesitation on what he thinks he can do compared to what he does.
Until Federer goes out on the Court thinking this is his game to lose, he will never beat Rafa because Rafa feels Nobody can beat him on Clay (nobody).
Very Short Story - I live not too far from a Casino. For the past 6 yrs. My Wife & I have gone to this Casino on my Birthday. Each year on my Birthday, I go up and when a Jackpot playing the Slot Machines. Two years I actually won two jackpots. The other ten times during the year, I lose my money.
I am convinced that on my Birthday, I will win a Jackpot and thus far, I haven't been disappointed.
You see my friend, my Wife & I feel that I am so convinced that I will win that somehow, I make it a reality. There isn't one measure of doubt in my mind that on my birthday I won't win a jackpot. Do you get my point?
Hi Coach. Yeah good point regarding Federer's confidence (though I still think impatience on clay plays a huge role...and probably feeds his declining confidence levels when he keeps losing points). I think his match against Murray in Madrid this year was another good example of his lack of confidence under pressure.
As Murray worked himself back into the game, Roger's decline accelerated, the unforced errors accumulated and his serve went off.
As far as "declaring himself too early" obviously you mean that he let Rafa know too soon which side he was covering. Fatal at any time but particularly so on that surface against that opponent.
Regarding what a top 3/4 player can get away with in the first week of a Slam, I think you guys are right BUT there's one other category of player who should be on that list who poses a big threat: the guy/girl who "used" to be someone.
I lost a lot of money by betting on Djokovic to beat Safin in the Wimbledon second round. Djokovic had made the final at Queens if I remember correctly so I thought he was in pretty good touch fairly early. Ooops! Lesson learnt. Had I put the money on Safin I would be retiring from work a year early!
By the way I hope your terrific casino run continues.
I find it amazing to even think that the former #1 Player in the World would lack confidence. Of course we all know it's a real phenomena but when you break it down, it makes very little sense.
I coach High School Tennis both Boys & Girls. At this time, we have 16 Boys and 12 Girls. This year's team is our most successful in the years I've participated in this School's Tennis Program.
There are a few things about these kids that I feel relate to what we are discussing. Of the 28 Students we currently have, I'd say only 6 have aspirations of playing NCAA Level Tennis. Two Students have already applied to Stanford. One Student has arranged to attend a Summer Program at the Evert Academy, which I'm very excited about. She will be receiving a Scholarship if she maintains the level of grades she has achieved in the past 3 years. This Scholarship will all but pay for her training and I can think of no better place for her to get a start.
What I thoroughly enjoy about these kids is their persistence & dedication. Even for those who have other occupations in mind for their lives, they take their Tennis seriously and I can't help from being a little jealous that they got it much earlier than I did at their age. So we have these talks and they ask a bunch of questions about Tennis, like what makes a Champion.
So some months back, we talked about the difference between a Great Player and a Champion level Player. We even included one who may have won a Slam Title but never backed it up with another. The 'One Slam Wonder' These kids consider them, Great to Good Players but not Champion Level Players. Oh my these kids are scary sometimes. But yes indeed, they can tell the difference and know a Champion Level Player when they see one.
If you are a Champion Level Tennis Player, you have something most other great or just good players don't. First & Foremost, you have another level you can rise to at a moments notice. You can begin to focus at a level where only a few can imagine. When you're down, you don't worry because you know all you have to do is pull yourself together and turn the match around. But most of all what you have is a level of confidence that others in the Draw can only dream about.
You will hear the vast majority say things like, "Since I'm the Underdog, I have nothing to worry about so I'm going to swing from the hips and go for my shots". Yep, we've heard that crap before and mostly in the first few games, they do just that but as the Old saying goes, "The worst thing that can happen to you in a Casino, is to win".
Just think about this for a moment, you're in the 2nd Rd of the French Open and your opponent is none other than Rafael Nadal. This is his first match of the Tournament after his Bye and all he's done thus far is hit with his Hitting Partner, totally anxious about getting out there for real. You are playing out of your head and before you know it, you look up the Score Board and its' You're serving at 5-2 in the 1st. Set. Oh my God !!! You're thinking to yourself, "I'm about to win a Set off Nadal, all I gotta do is hold serve and the Set is mine. OMG I can't believe it !!!"
So what happens next? Well if you're like most people in that situation, you begin to take inventory of yourself. You start a mental checklist of what you must do to secure this Set. You might find yourself saying, "Ok, I gotta get my 1st serves in. I gotta come in and apply pressure on him. I gotta stay focused. Just stay focused - all I gotta do is stay focused.
Well my friend at that very moment you are the furthest from being Focused as one can be. The mere fact that you feel the need to convince yourself of doing something is taking away from actually doing it.
The phrase, "In the Zone" comes from methodical cohesion of Mind & Body fusing together as one. When you are actually in the proverbial Zone, you are not thinking about being in the Zone, You are infact not thinking at all. You are doing ! You have released your mental calculations and have relayed upon your instinct to carry you through. Your movements are not premeditated but instead fluid. Think about riding a 10-Speed Bicycle while talking on a Cell Phone. You carry a conversation and move forward with each up & down movement of your legs. while your arms steer your direction based upon the visionary mapping from your eyes. Do you find yourself telling your right leg to push down while your left leg is coming up? Are you mentally considering each motion that governs your muscle movement? Nah, it doesn't work like that.
So why should or would Roger Federer, who's beaten every Player in the World on multiple occasions, worry? How could someone of his caliber lose confidence. You don't have the Trophy totals he has by lacking confidence. Even if you're in the Finals of a Grand Slam, what happens if you lose? Does the World come to an end? Are you immediately placed in Jail? Do you lose your Home and all of your belongings. Do the Spectators get to stone you?
All that happens is, you lose a Tennis Match and life goes on as before and always. You win less money and get a smaller trophy and the history books record the event against your favor but really it's ok. What would Roger Federer have to truly worry about?
Players of lesser levels claim since they are not #1 or #2, they have no pressure on them because nobody expects them to win. Well why shouldn't Roger Federer be afforded the same luxury of being able to swing away? Because the Public expects him to Win? Sure they do but the Public wants a memorable Match more than anything. Nobody enjoyed seeing Steffi Graf beat Natasha Zvereva 6-0 6-0 in the 88' French Open Finals. That wasn't a match, that was 30 mins of boredom and many probably wanted their money back for the price they had to pay for tickets.
I love Roger Federer but if I had his ear for just an hour, I'd tell him all he ever has to do is go out and play the level of Tennis that got him where he is and if that's not good enough to win that match, then it wasn't good enough (period). You go home, take a shower, get something to eat and the next day start preparing for the next tournament. I heard Mr. Federer had some sort of Stomach Virus or something, I'm not certain but I believe when you walk out on the Court, you are saying, you're ready to play. Because had he won, that would not have been mentioned and it should not take away from Nadal's victory in the slightest. If you're sick, then concede the Match before you even get started. But once you start, finish .. no excuses.
I would just list my top 5 (not in orders)
Wimbledon Final Federer vs Nadal
Hamburg Semis Nadal vs Djokovic
Queens Final Nadal vs DJokovic
AO 3R Hewitt vs Baghdatis
AO Federer vs Tipsarevic
Beijing Olympics Semis Nadal vs Djokovic
Madrid Nadal vs Simon
Masters Cup Federer vs Murray
There are many matches I couldn't watch and I am pretty sure I am missing some great ones this year, but those are my favorites from what I watched.