Saturday, March 21, 2009

Who Needs This Title Most?

There's a poll in the sidebar. Tell us why you voted the way you voted in the comments below.

Of course I'm biased, but Andy the Elder hasn't won a big title since Cincinnati in 2006. Unless you count Dubai last year.

If our poll results are correct, Andy the Younger will win the title because he faces the least amount of pressure.

48 comments:

tangerine said...

I'm biased too, Andy needs to win a Masters title which he hasn't done since 2006.

Cool fact: they said on MSG that this was the first all-top-ten semifinals in Indian Wells since 2001.

Roger is also in a somewhat desperate situation, of all the top ten players, he is the only one still without a title this year (minus Davydenko who's been injured).

I'm smelling a Rafa-Murray final. Of those two who needs to win the title the most? Seems about 50-50 to me. I felt that Murray got lucky at USO by virtue of Rafa being exhausted by Beijing/USO travel and play. If they meet in this final, Rafa should win.

Craig Hickman said...

So far in our poll, one of the two who needs this the most, the one who needs it the most, is out.

I've closed the poll.

If you're being prophetic, tangy...

Graf_sampras said...

we have biases obviously...

we have biases for DIFFERENT reasons...

i like roddick and will never abandon him as a favorite player because -- it JUST like him..period!

having said that -- HE needs this title as much as roger would have used it, for different reasons.

for roger to "re-establish" himself AMONG

Murray, Rafael and Djokovic as title holders.

djokovic fell to andy --and andy needs the title to say "I win NOT only because Novak was below par" -- but because I can defeat "RAFAEL or MURRAY AT THEIR BEST"...

and BELONG to the very top echelon of players CURRENTLY....

where roger does NOT need to prove himself as one of the very best STILL.

andy has to "re-prove" that.

and evne then -- it is still just a question of Andy proving he can win against nadal or murray through to a MASTERS LEVEL title -- not some "2nd tier" non-grand slam title when they are "away" - on the day of a match or literally away from the tournament.

today , obviously Roger dug himself a DEEPER hole than ever. it is a warning to him -- that should things proceed as they might - with murray gaining more strength as the months go - it will be the same as with novak :

where novak FAILED in his first attempt at a slam final in the USO 2007 against roger -- in similar fashion to murray -- it was followed by a "learning" curve - and toppled roger from the AO - just months later.

it can prove the SAME should murray - who fell as a beginner in the USO final in 2008 to roger - meet roger ANYWHERE in the USO of roger's defense.

as for rafa/roger -- i have said it many times over the years - while roger fans called me in ESPN or ohter message boards as "insane"......

"SO LONG as RAFAEL gets or stays healthy, focused and determined to improve --- ROGER WILL BE OWNED". ..almost in the same way that HE owned

players that have shown LITTLE TO NOTHING of what Rafael, Murray and Novak have shown against roger :

CHALLENGE and FEARLESSNESS .

Graf_sampras said...

ANDY RODDICK IS "GETTING MARRIED DURING THE CLAY SEASON".........

said the announcer...CONGRATS ANDY..be happy - as happy as you can be!

Beth said...

Anyone watch the Murray/Federer match? What happened to Roger in that last set?!?!?!

Graf_sampras said...

beth -- i saw the whole episode...

roger "woke up" in the second set as murray lost his serve to begin the set..and roger and he traded breaks until about the 6ytj pr 7th game - and then roger closed it out good.

in the 3rd murray adjusted to roger's "resurgence" -- cleaned up his shots - and although roger began to "read" murray's serve in the first 2 games -

murray raised his style and there was nothing roger could do..murray ran away with the final set 6-1.

Graf_sampras said...

roger also tried to continue his tactics in the second set -- by attacking more...which served him well in the second set...but murray came up with crucially superb passes or lobs and a few countervolleyes of his own and it basically deflated roger. it was clear -- even in the first set -- there was nothing roger could really do to "hurt" murray, so long as murray kept his cool..and that's what happened...even after murray lost the second set (where he ALSO threatened roger again with a break although roger broke for a second time to prevent Murray from going UP 4-3.

so all in all -- it was murray that was truly the BETTER player...it was not because roger "didn't play well".

it follows their clear pattern now since 2 years ago.....murray OWNS roger federer. that much is clear.

because where it concerns FACING roger -- murray , like nadal, is NOT berdych, roddick, ljubicic, ferrer, baghdatis, gasquet or any of those...

Beth said...

Thanks for your thoughts graf_sampras!! I just tuned into the Roddick/Nadal match which I will be able to see in its entirety. Go RAFA!!!!

tangerine said...

Graf_Sampras, you forgot to mention one cruicial element: Murray fell over early in the third set and right then Roger lost his concentration. He got broken right afterwards and never recovered.

Helen W said...

tangerine, the commentators mentioned Andy's fall again and again in their attempt to somehow link it to Roger's demise. But I just don't see it. Roger's mental frailty seems to be growing by leaps and bounds, and I honestly don't see anything positive in his futur.

b said...

the announcers kept mentioning the fall but it's hard for me to see that roger wouldn't have lost his concentration anyway..... it's not as if he required attention or a break of any sort....

mind you that fall did look pretty bad the way he clutched the groin/hip flexor as he hit the ground - even when keeping in mind that andy can be quite (make that extremely) demonstrative

echoes here of a few years back, when andy twisted his ankle playing haas and then won..... (of course that time he was writhing on ground, screaming, calling for trainer etc etc the whole 9 yards.... would have derailed anyone except sharapova) - and haas of course has had his own bad injury in past

b said...

Helenw - I was listening to koenig and (i think goodall) - major fedaiddrinkers and they would not let up the mentioning the fall over and over and over

they also basically stated that it was the worst final set they'd seen from Fed - when I've definitely seen worse (e.g. French open) and it was thereby somehow connected to the fall

Graf_sampras said...

Beth -- MAKE SURE that you download some computer player -=- like SOPCAST player or something...

then go to CHANNELSURFING.NET....

since Craighickman gave us that link years ago - it's gotten me LOTS of free streaming online -- and where they show if not all, MOST matches..

you have the chance to catch those live tomorrow in the finals.

right now -- it looks like nadal has no problem with roddick at all..and on a fast hardcourt too, although the high bounce does help some -- but that's the same for most players nowadays anyway.

STILL -- much has to be said for Roddick holding his own so far. that is a vast improvement from last year in his playing.

incidentally -- Roddick has the most matches won in the year so far. so that's also good for his ranking and draws coming up.

it's roger and djoko that have to do a LOT of thinking right now....as clearly -- the best players nowadays are Rafa and murray.

Graf_sampras said...

tangerine said...

Graf_Sampras, you forgot to mention one cruicial element: Murray fell over early in the third set and right then Roger lost his concentration. He got broken right afterwards and never recovered.

Sat Mar 21, 07:05:00 PM

=========


Tangering -- thanks for reminding of that. i shouldn't have forgotten it while typing. but I also think that you HAVE a good point.

even if the commentators "credit" it mostly to Murray -- - and over-all -- i do "give" the match to him on that sense..."loss of concentration" IS crucial at such levels where two players just traded sets - and more or less are "equal" or on fresh terms in the last set...

so - YES -- roger should be credited in a way that he TOO may have lost concentration and the momentum shifted to any murray.

over-all - maybe - on THIS particular time in their careers - it is just that murray probably STILL feels that "i have nothing to lose" regardless of his 4-1 record already and feel he has the room to improve even within a match - while roger is more under pressure to "prove" that he is ,as former number one, just as good as before.....

so - i can DEFINITELY understand the point you are making about mentioning the distraction when murray fell..

it's the sort of thing, i guess, that EVEN in Roger's level - accomplishment-wise - a player CAN'T afford that kind of distraction and start "thinking" AWAY from his game plan .,....whatever the potential results are.


this is , imo, also just in fairness to roger.

he after all -- HAS a proven record with all his titles, regardless of his slip-ups nowadays to a player like murray.
thanks for reminding me.

Craig Hickman said...

I can bring myself to watch the Rafa Andy match after Andy failed to break serve early in the first set.

Craig Hickman said...

Any and all updates will be appreciated.

Graf_sampras said...

Helen W said...

tangerine, the commentators mentioned Andy's fall again and again in their attempt to somehow link it to Roger's demise. But I just don't see it. Roger's mental frailty seems to be growing by leaps and bounds, and I honestly don't see anything positive in his futur.

Sat Mar 21, 07:09:00 PM

============

i am known in some message boards as a "fedhater" -- lol....and am very severe in my criticisms of his career...

BUT in this-- i don't agree.

Roger is FAR too great a player and champion to just take these things lying down.

just watch -he's got a LOT more in him in BIG titles. it will need some bit of luck , a lot of concentration and resourcefulness on his part, good health, etc..

but a great champion is a great champion for a REASON.

and THAT"s what roger federer is -- a GREAT champion. one of the very greatest all time, imo. he's just having some "trouble" that he's not accustomed to -- but he's got plenty of months and a few more years , at least, to dig deeper.

it's not as IF everyone on tour is so "great" that roger is some kind of wimpy player, u know.

we are talking about one of the very very best players EVER. ..who has great pride in his tennis and his fighthing ability.

NEVER underestimate that part, no matter how dire it may look to us...

i am critical of roger in more ways than fedfans like -- BUT i have more belief in his abilities than it appears.

Helen W said...

b, it takes watching for a maximum of 2 games to know who Robbie & Jason are pulling for -- they make absolutely no attempt to be even slightly non-partisan. It took Robbie at least 6 months to stop calling Federer The World No 1 after Rafa overtook him in the rankings last August. They never pull for Rafa, although they are forced -- grudgingly -- to acknowledge his athleticism. I barrage Tennis TV with complaints that are always unacknowledged.

Graf_sampras said...

Craighickman ..even if Nadal has won the first set -- ANDY is ahead in serving place...serving for 5-4 ...

he holds THIS and towards the tie break he has a GOOD chance..he is keeping it CLOSE. believe me.

it's not as if rafa is winning his service games 40-0. u know.

and this is as CLOSE as even ROGER can manage against rafa.

Graf_sampras said...

Helen W said...

b, it takes watching for a maximum of 2 games to know who Robbie & Jason are pulling for -- they make absolutely no attempt to be even slightly non-partisan. It took Robbie at least 6 months to stop calling Federer The World No 1 after Rafa overtook him in the rankings last August. They never pull for Rafa, although they are forced -- grudgingly -- to acknowledge his athleticism. I barrage Tennis TV with complaints that are always unacknowledged.

Sat Mar 21, 07:34:00 PM

=========

if they do that -- have they no SHAME?...

these must be the same group of people that during the AO -- let out some media suggestion that rafael was not "really" the "true number one".....if people caught up on that talk in january, february...

Graf_sampras said...

wow -- andy's service game -- to get to 4-3 lead..this is a tight game..

they traded slices - attacking the net also . nadal won that with a changeup net approach forehand for AD...


then roddick got the better with a great forehand volley for deuce...

nadal wins the next LONG rally cross courts - closed with a down the line open court forehand winner...for AD again..

andy wins for DEUCE again witha nice forehand -

then loses to AD for nadal with a long ANDY crosscourt forehand

and FINALLY -- nadal breaks with a fierce pass as andy tries to serve and volley...whew!

but andy should be proud of himself!!

even roger would have trouble with him playing those points just now.

Beth said...

Nadal up a break and serving at 4-3, 2nd set.

Graf_sampras said...

HAHAHAHA

Nadal is getting NERVOUS!!!1 andy has had 2 chances to BREAK!!

b said...

craig - the match is pretty exciting - despite fact that rafa winning

andy is really fighting 2nd set

it's much better than the murray-fed match

although i can't see nadal losing

wow nadal got a time violation

Graf_sampras said...

this is probably it...third DEUCE saved by nadal....

serving for the 5-3 again - 3rd time.

Graf_sampras said...

roddick better hold now to stay in match

Graf_sampras said...

WOW -- what a beautiful SERVE and VOLLEY by Andy for 40-0 on his service game!

GAME roddick...

nadal to serve for match

Graf_sampras said...

oh my -- WHAT A BEAUTIFUL VOLLEY BY RODDICK -- A BACKHANDER BEHIND HIM -- ONE OF THE REALLY DIFFICULT SHOTS...HE WON THAT =-FOR 0-15

Graf_sampras said...

but nadal comes up with a clever serve to 15-15

PLUS another serve -- an ace...30-15

Graf_sampras said...

hehe -- nadal's slices are improved -- some have become more aggressive - but andy wins this LONG rally. hehe

Graf_sampras said...

BREAKPOINT -- hehe

andy has a chance!

Graf_sampras said...

"ONE THING ANDY IS NOT...a quitter" ....STEVE TIGNOR .. tennis.com

Graf_sampras said...

HE BREAKS NADAL...hehe!!!

5-5

andy to serve to be ahead .inthe set and possibly EVEN THIS MATCH!!!

craighickman -- you are denying yourself some nice roddick play!! hehe

Beth said...

Rafa just blew his chance to close out this match and now it looks like we may be going to a tie break for the 2nd set.....

Beth said...

Let's hope that Nadal can force it to a tiebreak and pull the breaker out....

b said...

tie-break!

craig you are missing good stuff

Beth said...

Rafa closes it out! Yeah!!!!!

Craig Hickman said...

Well, that sucked.

I know Andy as improved, but from the few games I saw, this is a winnable matchup for him.

He's got to find a way through.

Craig Hickman said...

So the two players who needed this win the most are out.

One totally collapsed, the other couldn't take advantage of his many opportunities.

Bleh.

Craig Hickman said...

I find it shocking, actually, that Andy can't get to at least the final of this event.

He's won every big event in North America, but he can't even make this final?

That's most depressing.

Pamela said...

Sorry Andy fans, but Vamos Rafa!!!

I'm glad he's in the final and hopefully he takes out Murray in straights. I want him to win more titles as the #1 player, although he did win the AO while ranked #1.

Graf_sampras said...

Craighickman -- did you change mind and watch the ending? it was good.

Craig Hickman said...

Yes, Graf_Sampras. I watched from 5-3 in the second set.

b said...

Well.... I'm not fond of Big Andy and thought he played much better than In expected.... and he fought until the very end. I think any Roddick fans should be really happy.

In the past it really seems he would have collapsed (Roger style) towards the end of a match like this.

----------
HelenW - Have you seen Koenig defending his Federlove on his blog? Said domething to the extent that how could anyone not me mesmerised (and he's a rotten speller and can't possibly use spellcheck for his *professional* posts, apparently)

check it out:
http://www.tennisgrandstand.com/archives/1441
check his response to some of the criticism
"Jade, thanks for your comments, i guess my question to you is, how can you not be mesmorised by what Federer has done for the past 4 years, what he does with a tennis ball is phenominal. Have you ever watched him play live? Do yourself a favour if you haven't....and if you are at a Masters Series event, i'll get you a ticket!......." there's more there to read - including a semi apology w-out actually admitting that he's biased, and plenty poor grammar and spelling to follow....

I must say, I do prefer these 2 guys to the popular american announcers - (e.g. Shriver Carillo JMac etc etc) as they don't babble all over and during the points and generally, for most, not all players, stay away from gossip and trivialities while commentating.... They are still annoying but preferable to many others - unless it's a Fed match ..... And definitely the Nadal "athleticism" comments really bug me.... not to mention that it's so similar to how commentators discuss Serena and Venus

Craig Hickman said...

This Andy fan isn't really happy.

Helen W said...

Well Craig, one of the announcers mentioned today that this is the best start of the season (in terms of won-lost) for Andy Roddick -- ever. So I wouldn't despair.

Craig Hickman said...

Andy is of the "older" generation. You can't keep getting this close and keep losing and consider it a positive.

I can't, anyway.

Graf_sampras said...

imo....Andy Roddick still needs to firm up some things especially in his "fire in the belly" throughout the match.

he WAS close in that second set - and DID make rafael have to play to earn that set and match - but andy simply got "tight" in at least 3 crucial chances to break .

that's what andy has to keep working on because the rest of his game and fitness is DEFINITELY on the level of the top handful of players .

i actually think he has a good chance to win miami...and i am not pencilling in EVEN rafael to defend it - any more than I am dismissing for example, roger federer to again claim it.

This is the point in the season - i think - the "climax" of the "early hardcourt" AO season - where andy roddick has a clear chance to put HIS stamp on the tour with a title again.