Tuesday, June 9, 2009
TENNIS THOUGHTS (FEDERER IS THE GREATEST-CASE CLOSED, PREMATURE TO SAY NADAL IS THE GREATEST CLAY COURTER, RODDICK=CHANG)
I haven’t blogged at all about my favorite sport tennis either here or at my old blog http://www.xanga.com/rgdinmalaysia. However Roger Federer’s great victory has inspired me to start writing about tennis.
First off, Roger Federer’s finally winning the French Open should end all argument about his place in history….I recall all the hype in the early 90’s about Pete Sampras and the ad Nike ran for awhile featuring a very serious Sampras sitting at a changeover and his voice talking about his real opponent being history not other players….Well now Federer has tied his record of 14 grand slam singles titles and won the French Open (which Sampras never did) to boot.
Roger Federer is the greatest player in tennis history-end of story.
It is interesting to see how Federer and Sampras match up against each other….I think Sampras was the more powerful player with the bigger serve….His backhand was also slightly better.
However, Federer is a step or two quicker than Sampras with better anticipation, a better volley, and more varied stroke production….I also think his forehand is more consistent.
In addition, Sampras never really mastered topspin enough to be able to use it consistently….Federer can move between topspin and flatter shots effortlessly.
In Marvel Comics, there is an all-powerful superhero known as The Sentry whose power source is the fact he moves in time one second faster than everyone else….I think that’s the source of Federer’s power as well….There’s never been a player who has greater ball anticipation than Roger Federer….He seems to have a sixth sense as to where the next shot is going to go….I think that is the foundation of Roger Federer’s success.
Secondly, talk of Rafael Nadal being the greatest clay courter of all time are a step premature….He’s had an amazing last four and a half years(with four French Open victories) but consider this….Bjorn Borg played the French Open eight times and won it six out of those eight losing two times to the same man Adraiano Panatta (good trivia question)….Three out of the six times he won it he also won Wimbledon the same year by the way….Borg, Like Nadal, had a number of long, unbroken winning streaks on clay.
In my mind, Borg is still the greatest clay court player of all time but that’s not to say that Nadal could one day pass his achievements….I just think he has earn that title first.
Third, there is always some idiot commentator at every grand slam tournament who bemoans the poor state of American tennis and often the career of Andy Roddick….Just this morning, I read the nonsensical mutterings of someone who knows more about patriotism then tennis whining at length about Roddick’s failure to win more than one grand slam title.
Right there is a big misconception….When Roddick first appeared it was as if he was bathed in a golden light that robbed everyone of the power of analysis….According to the hype, he was the next big thing with his booming serve and power game….This only increased after he won his lone grand slam title at the US Open….However, Federer soon appeared thrashing Roddick every chance he got and it wasn’t long before Roddick started losing to lesser ranked opponents as well.
The problem is Andy Roddick, while possessing a miraculous serve, has a number of other serious problems in his game….It is well-known on the ATP Tour that you get Roddick’s serve back and start rallying with him and you have a better than 50% chance of winning the point….At some point, he will simply mistime the ball and make an unforced error….He’s a so so volleyer, his backhand’s not that good, and his concentration seems to come and go in important matches.
Andy Roddick’s not Sampras or Federer or even John McEnroe.
I would compare his career in the game to Michael Chang.
Consider this….Chang won his only grand slam title at the French Open early in his career….However, later he was the runner-up at the Australian Open, the US Open, and also at the French one time each.
Roddick won his only title so far at the US Open early in his career and was runner up at the US Open another time and at Wimbledon twice.
The reasons for this were different (Chang’s size and power was the problem for him) but Roddick is seriously overrated….The history books are full one time grand slam winners….Roddick’s nothing special….Maybe some people haven’t grasped that yet.