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Archive for April 5th, 2008

Federer should flat out come out and say ‘I am in decline’, for crying out loud.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 5, 2008

Roger Federer, of Switzerland, stands next to his chair during a break in his match against Andy Roddick during a quarterfinals match at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., Thursday, April 3, 2008.  Roddick won the match 7-6, 4-6, 6-3.   

It’s like I have said before – Michael Jackson denying that he has ever had any surgeries on his face. Who the freaking whom are you fooling with this? Even your facial expressions belie you when you utter words like I am getting better, moving better and other freaking crap.

Just come clean and admit it. How long are you going to deny the stats from your first Canas loss last year to date? You are only hurting yourself and losing credibility with the fans.

Besides, the admission is bound to do a world of good to you transporting you, for starters, from the world of denial. It will take the pressure off you while maybe providing the competition a false sense of complacency and security when they face you. It will enable you to start fresh with minimum expectations and gradually build your career back at your pace and with no pressure from the press, fans and other players, past and present.

Roger Federer, of Switzerland, looks upcourt after losing a point to Andy Roddick during a quarterfinal at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., Thursday, April 3, 2008.  Roddick won the match 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3.   

What is there to lose? I cannot imagine the rationale of Michael Jackson denying the surgeries? What in the world can happen if you admit to it? No one will buy your records anymore? Your race will disown you for wanting to change the color of your skin and your features? You will feel humiliated for being so vain? WHAT? Well, clown, all of the above and more is already happening whether you admit to the surgeries or not. You are not gaining any freaking ground by denying the freaking obvious.

Wouldn’t it be better to give what the wolves are asking for, even if it’s not the case, just to shut them up and take away all their thunder? How insecure do you freaking have to be to believe that you can gain any freaking ground by holding on to a false facade?

Give it up and feel like a free bird left to reconstruct your career, without the painful scrutiny that accompanies the state of denial.

You have now played four tournaments so far this season, and have failed to reach the final at any one of them – two semis, one quarter and one opening round. Of the four losses, two of them have been in straight freaking sets – to Djokovic and Fish. And biggest billboard was the recent loss to Roddick.

If you are physically impaired and not in top shape, this clay season is going to be brutal and ugly. It could potentially end your career, confidence wise, if it is not already over.

Under current conditions, you are close to where Sampras was in his last two years on the tour. The chants of retirement may not be as loud due to your age, but the decline theories are only going to get louder and nastier, as more credible past and present tennis personalities and players come out on it publicly.

The difference? Sampras needed just one Grand Slam to break the all-time record. You have two. Age wise you may be ahead of Sampras but your odometer reading is about the same.

Translation: You are in a deeper hole and it’s only getting worse every freaking minute. This could be another record in your books: Not winning another Grand Slam, or should I say another title, after age 26 with 12 in the bag.

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Nadal vs Davydenko. Will it be even close?

Posted by tennisplanet on April 5, 2008

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, reacts after winning a point against Tomas Berdych, of the Czech Republic, during a semifinals match at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., Friday, April 4, 2008. Nadal won the match (6) 7-6, 6-2.  

Although Nadal has a 2-0 H2H advantage, Davydenko has been able to take a set at both matches. In fact, the one meeting on clay went to two tie-breaks, with Davydenko winning one of them. So past record is not so lopsided as it is made out to be.

But Nadal has so much at stake here that it could work for him or against him at the same time. Davydenko has absolutely no pressure and is more likely to play more freely of the two, specially with the near misses Nadal has had this season.

Davydenko has already played three 3-setters alongwith four tie-breaks, having dropped three sets so far. He has logged over ten hours on the court. Nadal has dropped just one set, played one tie break and has close to eight hours on the court. This has to be one of the rare occasions when Nadal beats his finals opponent with lesser time spent on the court.

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, reacts after winning a point against Tomas Berdych, of the Czech Republic, during a semifinals match at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., Friday, April 4, 2008. Nadal won the match (6) 7-6, 6-2,

Nadal obviously is the favorite and with so many motivators egging him on at this point of the season, he is expected to close the deal here – convicingly.

The only chance Davydenko has is to use his speed to frustrate Nadal by sending everything back to Nadal’s backhand and hope to close the match in first two sets. If the match goes to three sets, Davydenko will face what Roddick felt in his previous match – tired legs.

Nikolay Davydenko of Russia celebrates after defeating Andy Roddick during the men's singles semifinal on day twelve of the Sony Ericsson Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on April 4, 2008 in Key Biscayne, Florida.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) 

Davydenko has won just 11 titles in his nine freaking years on the tour. Except for the Masters Series title at Paris in 2006, all of his other titles are at insignificant and obscure locations. He hasn’t even reached a final of a top tier tounament in his entire freaking life and he is currently ranked No. 4, two spaces ahead of Roddick, with No. 3 as his career high rank? Go figure.

Nadal has to take responsibility for not having won a title so far. If you are the No. 2 player in the world and has been for so long, you are expected to find a way to win against Tsongas and Youzhnys of the world. If he fails to win this or gets into a dog fight here, he is just taking away the weight behind the No. 2 rank at least for this season.

Going into the clay season with no hard court title and the subsequent lack of point build up total towards the top spot, is bound to place immense pressure to perform and match last year’s incredible run on the red surface. What happened at Hamburg last year, when Federer not only beat him in the finals, but forced a huge bagel down his throat, could happen earlier if the physical and emotional need to play perfect tennis takes a toll.

However, what’s encouraging for Nadal is that his first serve percentage is hovering around 70 percent, his unforced errors are at just 13 per match and his ace count is steadily rising. That’s pretty impressive having gone through players like Blake and Berdych.

But if Davydenko can force Nadal to use his backhand more often than not, he should have a shot at it. But he has a very small window to run around before his fuel tank light starts to flash.

Any interest that remained after Federer made his departure has further evaporated with Roddick’s exit. I have a gut feeling that this may not be the most watched final in the history of sports. You think!!!!!!!!

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Nadal needs to lay off these victory dances, or he will be dancing for the knees.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 5, 2008

Rafael Nadal, of Spain, reacts after defeating Tomas Berdych, of the Czech Republic, 7-6 (6), 6-2, during a semifinals match at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Fla., Friday, April 4, 2008.  

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Tennis fans of the world (living in the U.S.)… UNITE! From Adrian. Thanks.

Posted by tennisplanet on April 5, 2008

Tennis fans of the world (living in the U.S.)… UNITE!

I have lived in the U.S. for several years now and I have been extremely frustrated with the T.V. coverage for most tennis tournaments abroad… but things have become even worse in recent months… and the last straw is this Fox Sports Network b.s. which about 4 people in all of the U.S. have been able to get. I have been able to watch the IW and Miami matches only because I subscribe to atpmastersseries.tv… and I just read this ticker on the tennis.com website… this is just RIDICULOUS! There MUST be something we can do to put pressure on the media, no? I feel so frustrated and hopeless…

“Coverage of Miami on Fox Sports Net has proven frustrating for US viewers, thanks to the channel’s limited and rigid broadcasting windows as well as an affiliate-distributed organization that has created inconsistency in the timing and amount of coverage available from area to area.

Even players competing in Miami have frequently been unable to watch the tennis unless they’re on the tournament grounds.

Jankovic will go into the final against Serena Williams without having seen how Williams played in her three-set semifinal against Kuznetsova on Thursday afternoon. “For some reason, in my hotel, they don’t show Fox Sports or something,” Jankovic told reporters after winning her own semifinal match later in the evening.

Kuznetsova, too, went into her encounter against Williams without watching her unexpected 6-2, 6-0 destruction of top seed Henin in the previous round. “I didn’t see anything,” said Kuznetsova, who had to settle for reality TV a more contrived kind. “I guess she played unbelievable, but I was in my hotel watching Next Top Model or whatever I was watching. I was not watching any of tennis. It was not on TV. I wanted to watch. It was interesting.”

Roddick’s upset of Federer was tape-delayed till 10:00 pm because of a baseball game, and Nadal went online to track the match from his hotel on Thursday evening. “I followed the match on the internet before going for dinner,” he wrote in his blog for TENNIS.com this week.”

From http://tennis.com/news/ticker.aspx

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