Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wimbledon 2009 Day 4 Open Thread

Spectators look at a scoreboard at the Wimbledon tennis championships, in London June 24, 2009.
Reuters

Back to the top half of the draws second-round matches for today's action. Centre Court features Juan Martín del Potro against former champion Lleyton Hewitt, flavor of the year Caroline Wozniacki against fan favorite Maria Kirilenko, and Andy Murray against waste-of-talent? Ernests Gulbis.

The defending champion is up first on Court 1 against the younger Radwanska following by Andy Roddick against Igor Kunitsyn and Fernando Gonzalez against Leonardo Mayer.

But check out the slate for Court 2. Just call that an orgy of headcases.

Couldn't the AELTC give the only British woman in the second round (I think!) a show court today?

Will Sara Errani upset Ana Ivanovic?

CENTRE - SHOW COURT - 1.00 PM START

1. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [5] 1 vs Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) 3
2. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [9] 17 vs Maria Kirilenko (RUS) 20
3. Andy Murray (GBR) [3] 33 vs Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 36

COURT 1 - SHOW COURT - 1.00 PM START

1. Venus Williams (USA) [3] 33 vs Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 36
2. Igor Kunitsyn (RUS) 30 vs Andy Roddick (USA) [6] 32
3. Fernando Gonzalez (CHI) [10] 49 vs Leonardo Mayer (ARG) 52

COURT 2 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Paul-Henri Mathieu (FRA) 22 vs Tomas Berdych (CZE) [20] 24
2. Dinara Safina (RUS) [1] 1 vs Rossana De Los Rios (PAR) 4
3. Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP) 53 vs Fabrice Santoro (FRA) 55
4. Iveta Benesova (CZE) 62 vs Jelena Jankovic (SRB) [6] 64

COURT 3 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Pauline Parmentier (FRA) 29 vs Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) [5] 32
2. Thiago Alves (BRA) 61 vs Gilles Simon (FRA) [8] 64
3. Amelie Mauresmo (FRA) [17] 9 vs Kristina Kucova (SVK) 11
4. Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) [19] 41 vs Martin Vassallo Arguello (ARG) 44

COURT 4 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Jurgen Melzer (AUT) [26] 25 vs Benjamin Becker (GER) 27
2. Elena Baltacha (GBR) 5 vs Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 7

COURT 6 - 12.00 NOON START

1. Victor Hanescu (ROU) [31] 57 vs Nicolas Devilder (FRA) 59

COURT 7 - 12.00 NOON START

1. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 37 vs Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 39
2. Olga Govortsova (BLR) 53 vs Na Li (CHN) [19] 56
3. Tathiana Garbin (ITA) 22 vs Anabel Medina Garrigues (ESP) [20] 24
4. Pablo Cuevas (URU) 46 vs Jesse Levine (USA) 47

COURT 12 - 12.00 NOON START

1. Sabine Lisicki (GER) 26 vs Patricia Mayr (AUT) 27
2. Philipp Petzschner (GER) 6 vs Mischa Zverev (GER) 7
3. Radek Stepanek (CZE) [23] 9 vs Potito Starace (ITA) 11
4. Melanie Oudin (USA) 58 vs Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) 60

COURT 14 - 12.00 NOON START

1. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) [11] 49 vs Shuai Peng (CHN) 52
2. Nikolay Davydenko (RUS) [12] 17 vs Victor Crivoi (ROU) 19
3. Daniel Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 38 vs Viktor Troicki (SRB) [30] 40

COURT 18 - SHOW COURT - 12.00 NOON START

1. Samantha Stosur (AUS) [18] 41 vs Tatjana Malek (GER) 44
2. Sara Errani (ITA) 45 vs Ana Ivanovic (SRB) [13] 48
3. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 13 vs David Ferrer (ESP) [16] 16
4. Vania King (USA) 13 vs Flavia Pennetta (ITA) [15] 16

103 comments:

Karen said...

Morning All. You know what I can never figure out about the AELTC - are they really bigots or are they just really ignorant. I can never recall seeing Roger Federer being given anything less than a show court on which to play, i.e. Center Court, but Venus keeps getting shoved off Centre Court. What reason could there possibly be for putting Wozniacki on Centre Court. Somebody please tell me. And Craig when did Kirilenko become a fan favourite? The girl has done nothing in her career, so much so that her clothing sponsor has fired her. Please tell me a piece of news that I missed.

Karen said...

Venus is taped. When the hell did that happen? Oh man. I hope that is a precaution because she has doubles today

Tennis Vagabond said...

Gulbis and Hewitt must give us the entertainment we crave! If they do, the 3rd round could actually be less interesting than the 2nd.

T. Vag
www.TennisVagabond.com

Matthew said...

Just for reference, some odds! (from BetFair)

Alves is 10:1 against Simon.
Hewitt is 3.85:1 against Del Potro.
Crivoi is 13.5:1 against Davydenko.
Kunitsyn is 23:1 against Roddick.
Gulbis is 14:1 against Murray.
Santoro is 3:1 against Ferrero.
Fognini is 8.6:1 against Ferrer.

Bondarenko is 21:1 against Venus.
Errani is 5.4:1 against Ivanovic.
De Los Rios is 19:1 against Safina.
Kucova is 6.4:1 against Mauresmo.
Benesova is 5.5:1 against Jankovic.

I'm not really a betting man, but I do think it's interesting to see how the "free market" decides who the likely winner of each match is, and how likely they are.

Pamela said...

I heart Ernests, I do - but he gives me heartburn. lol I can't think of another way to say it. Sooo much potential but he did say that his game has suffered because he's been putting in the physical work and it's taking time for his body to catch up. Ok. I can work with that Ernie, I won't give up on you just yet.

I want to see Mischa Zverev play.

Venus' strapping is said to be preventive and she looks fine so far.

Karen: Maria Kirilenko aka "the other Maria" has always been a male fan favorite. It has nothing to do with her tennis.

Craig Hickman said...

Pamela beat me to it re: MariaK

Matthew said...

Look at Hewitt, going off on a tear! I don't know what you folks think about Lleyton, but I bet you that he thinks this is his most important match in years. After Nadal withdrew, I'm sure Hewitt realized this may be his best chance to make a deep run at a major. If he makes it past this hurdle, he should get to the quarters, wouldn't you think?

I mean, ideally. He is getting on in tennis years, and his style of play does not do well with the wear and tear, so maybe seven best-of-five matches in a row aren't in him anymore.

Anyway, he still has to beat the up-and-coming young gun - Hewitt serves for the set!

Tennis Vagabond said...

Look at that lil dude serve! Del Potro is in shock, he looks like he expected some old cracker with a cane to come out and play him today.

Matthew- Brad Gilbert just repeated your comment about Nadal. He must be reading this blog for ideas!

T. Vag
www.TennisVagabond.com

Karen said...

@Pamela, oh I get it. Took me awhile, but I finally get it. Frankly speaking as someone who onece ventured into the "unknown" I cannot see what is so desirable about her, but there you go, different strokes for different folks

Craig Hickman said...

Obviously, one has to have a big ego with at least a bit of narcissism to write a blog. I probably allow myself a minute or two every year or so to wonder which, if any, pundits read this blog but would never admit it aloud.

::

Del Potro just got his knee wrapped. Hewitt's game has always been dangerous on grass, especially to the big hitters because he still returns serve so well and his own serve is helped tremendously by the surface.

But I wouldn't write him into the quarterfinals just yet because Ferrer and Stepanek are also in this section, and though I didn't list him in my mind as a darkhorse because I had no idea about his health, Zverev can play lawn tennis.

Craig Hickman said...

And is Berdych going to wake up and play spoiler in this quarter?

Matthew said...

Vagabond - did he really? That's great. I'm at work and just watching score updates (but I'm taping the tennis at home) so I didn't hear him say it, but it's good to know I'm at least as good a tennis analyst as Brad Gilbert!

Matthew said...

Craig - I don't give Berdych much of a chance. His next round opponent (in all likelihood) is Davydenko, and Berdych is 0-8 against Nikolay. Of course, if he manages to get past Kolya, then he'll probably have Roddick, and they're 2-2.

So it's possible - he has made the quarters at Wimbledon before, but I assume he's going to have a meltdown here, pretty soon. Not against Mathieu, though! That match is over.

Matthew said...

Alves takes the first set against Simon, too. I've got a feeling that his ranking is going to drop like a stone this summer. He's got so many points to defend and his year thus far as been pretty unremarkable, except for his QF showing at the Aussie Open.

Craig Hickman said...

I call Gilles Simon the accidental Top 10-er.

He got really hot on the hard courts last year and took that confidence into Melbourne, but it's difficult to maintain a place in the Top 10 year in year out.

oddman said...

Morning all. What's for breakfast, Craig? Kinda hungry here.

Nice win for Dulko yesterday. I fully expect AndyR to come through today over Kunitsyn. Also expect JMDP to overcome Lleyton - but does Juan have an injury to deal with?

Have not watched AndyM play yet, and if Gulbis is on, he could be in trouble. But I do expect a double-Andy semi.

Love those fans with the signs up supporting Rafa - my sentiments exactly, sigh. If I imagine him jetskiing, fishing, and having fun with his friends in the Med Ocean, then it's a bit easier to take his absence here. Agree with the earlier sentiment expressed by The View cast, that his not being here has taken some of the buzz out of Wimbledon. Perhaps things will liven up in the next days, no? And I'll try to quit talking about him here, lol.

Matthew said...

Interesting! Hewitt is up two sets to none and a break on DelPo. Roddick is up an early break on Kunitsyn, and Safina is up a break over De Los Rios as well.

James Blake and Mardy Fish, playing the doubles, are also up a set over the third-seeded Dlouhy and Paes.

And waaaaaaay out on Court 18, Ana Ivanovic is playing Sara Errani. That's got to be a bummer for Ana.

Craig Hickman said...

Why does ESPN always do this when Andy Roddick plays. They spend more time in the studio than when any other American is playing a match. There's no live stream for the match either.

Craig Hickman said...

So Del Potro said Hewitt was his childhood idol.

No wonder why he can't play today.

Karen said...

Is anyone else sick and tired of the fist pumps from Ana Ivanovic. God, they are getting on my last nerve

Craig Hickman said...

oddman, just some homemade granola with berries and yogurt for breakfast today.

pompelmo said...

Sara Errani can't convert two break points and immidiately gets broken and loses the first set.

Ana has it. She just has to find her game back.

oddman said...

That sounds perfect - and a cup of Earl Grey?

Ahhhhhhhh.

Thanks!

Craig Hickman said...

So Andy is up two sets to love and ESPN has shown all of about three games of the match.

Tennis Vagabond said...

Is that DelPo's coach with the mullet or has ESPN put Barry Melrose on tennis as well?

pompelmo said...

Del Potro breaks back at 2-0, 5-4 down. Is this the moment?

pompelmo said...

no it isn't. LOL

Craig Hickman said...

Andy Roddick REFUSES to break serve in this third set. The minute he gets a break point, he retreats and lets Igor control play.

When will he learn that the server is the one under the most pressure on break point?

It remains the single most frustrating thing about his tennis. No matter what form he's in, he flat out refuses to play break points aggressively.

I want to grab him by the shoulders and shake him.

oddman said...

Am smiling at the different opinions re: AndyR and 'what he should be doing' that both BG and Cahill present. I like what Cahill says more.

But yes, not much to see of the actual match. I did see Andy's confident walk for a change - I knew that strut was in there somewhere, just haven't seen it for awhile. Just believe a bit, Andy!

Matthew said...

Tough for DelPo. It's hard to play your childhood idol, but I'm sure JDP will have a lot of success at Wimbledon in the future.

Roddick is not playing nearly as cleanly as he did on Tuesday (his differential is only +12!) but he hasn't faced a break point yet, and that's pretty impressive. He's 3 for 8 on conversions himself, which is pretty good for Andy.

Looks like Simon bounced back pretty well, too. He just took the match in four.

Did ESPN show any of the Petzschner-Zverev tiebreak? 15-13 sounds pretty exciting. But I don't know if they even have cameras on court 12.

Seppi-Gicquel is going into a fifth set ... The Frenchman did well to fight back from 2 sets to love down, but Seppi is serving first in the fifth. Always a huge advantage.

And Blake-Fish are up two sets to love in doubles! I hope James does well there, at least.

Matthew said...

And I jinxed him. Break for Kunitsyn! Sorry about that Andy. Maybe he just thought he needed more match practice today?

Craig Hickman said...

Andy, run around your backhand and whack a forehand. Remember that play?

And now he breaks himself with errors and double faults. Igor plays exactly one aggressive point, break point, and wins the game.

oddman said...

I dunno, Craig. It's damn frustrating. Let us hope Larry is noting this and taking measures to fix it. Hard to fix ingrained habits without a lot of repetition, no?

Craig Hickman said...

Andy did the exact same thing in his last match.

He always plays two and half good sets on grasscourt tennis and then blinks.

If Igor has enough game and belief to make him pay, he's going to be in a fifth set in no time flat.

Matthew said...

Look on the bright side, Craig - more Roddick tennis to watch! Even if it is painfully frustrating.

Craig Hickman said...

oddman, I would like to think Larry has noticed, but I have to say, none of his former coaches has ever mentioned it, either while coaching him, or in retrospect.

All they point to is his terrible conversion rate and they blame it on his return of serve. But his return isn't the problem. He gets lots of returns in play on break points, but then he retreats and dinks the ball around and then WAITS FOR HIS OPPONENT TO MAKE THE ERROR.

Sometimes, you can't see the forest for the trees. I suspect his coaches suffer from this affliction.

Once Andy fails to convert umpteen break points, he drops his head and loses confidence in his game and it can get really ugly.

::

Here's another break point. What will he do?

Craig Hickman said...

Fowler just announced these stats:

Andy's break point conversion rate overall is 37%.

In the matches he loses, it's only 5%.

Cahill just put meat on the stats, saying almost exactly what I typed above.

Craig Hickman said...

ANOTHER break point.

Craig Hickman said...

FINIALLY.

This time, he cracks a backhand winner crosscourt that skids right under Igor's racquet.

Craig Hickman said...

Back-to-back double faults?

15-30.

Matthew said...

Let's look at break point conversion percentages for the top ten, and their ranking among all players in that stat, for the year.

Nadal: 48% (2)
Federer: 45% (8)
Murray: 49% (1)
Djokovic: 41% (31)
Del Potro: 43% (16)
Roddick: 37% (51)
Simon: 42% (22)
Verdasco: 44% (13)
Tsonga: 41% (32)
Gonzalez: 43% (19)

One of these things is not like the other! Here's another funny stat. Numbers 3-7 in break point conversion percentages are Soderling, Zverev, Robredo, Troicki, and Nalbandian.

But Roddick - oof - isn't even in the top 50 when it comes to breaking. That's not a good stat.

Craig Hickman said...

I think Andy wants this too much as well.

::

Blake and Fish beat No. 3 seeds Dlouhy and Paes in straight sets.

Craig Hickman said...

Matthew, stat man, thanks for bringing them.

If Larry isn't working intensely with Roddick on playing break points more aggressively, then he's of no good use to Andy. It needs to be the first order of business.

Unless, of course, it has been but Andy's too stubborn to change.

Roddick is starting to do that grunt/exhale he does when he's feeling anxious/stressed/tight/tired on the court.

He better close this out in four.

Karen said...

I take it back, Kirilenko looks really nice

oddman said...

Yes, he'd better. He's notorious for collapsing when he wants it too much. I can feel *myself* feeding off his anxiety right through the tv set.

Just want to scream sometimes - RELAX!!!

oddman said...

Things looking good here, but I thought that in set three too. It ain't over till it's over, sigh.

Roddick Roller Coaster Time?


(another cool verication word 'affedoni' - sounds like a real word, no?)

Craig Hickman said...

That's exactly right, oddman.

Craig Hickman said...

So he breaks Igor twice in the final set as he did in the second set.

He can do it when it puts his mind to it.

That third set better not become a habit.

Matthew said...

Match point for Andy! Seems like he bounced back pretty well in the fourth. Good for him! He ended up +13 in winners to unforced errors, which is a good differential, but nothing compared to how well he did in his first match.

5 for 12 is 42% break point conversions, which above average for Roddick, but he's really going to need that stat to be higher if he's going to make a deep run. And 5 double faults! Kunitsyn wasn't returning well enough to justify that, was he?

Matthew said...

So the next "exciting" match is Gulbis-Murray, right?

In the meantime, Mauresmo is kicking butt, Santoro is dominating the first set TB against Ferrero, Petzschner won the fourth set TB to take it to five, and Kirilenko is actually putting up a fight in this second set. And Davydenko and Ferrer seem to be cruising, each up a set.

Maybe Gonzo-Mayer will be interesting? They've never played each other!

pompelmo said...

Kirilenko breaks and then holds, saving 3 break points. Interesting.

Matthew said...

It looks like Petzschner might beat Zverev! He's up two breaks in the fifth, after winning the second and fourth sets in tiebreaks. That would be incredible, if he can hold on to it.

pompelmo said...

Go Gulbis!

Craig Hickman said...

Matthew, Andy goes for more second serves on grass, should his DF's rise. But he did drop serve in a game where he double faulted, so....

Craig Hickman said...

So within 5 seconds, Murray is Federer and Sampras all rolled into one according to PMac and Enberg.

Matthew said...

In his last round, Andy has 1 double fault out of 32 second serve attempts. Today, he had 5 out of 30! And Kunitsyn was only winning 49% of those points, anyway, while Chardy was winning 51%.

I'm just saying that Kunitsyn was returning worse than Chardy was (not by much, I admit) so there was no reason for Andy to go for more on that shot, and definitely not enough to quintuple his rate of double faults.

Ooh, Gulbis is having trouble.

Matthew said...

Sorry, not trying to be fussy - but I'll take any excuse to dig deeper into the statistics!

Matthew said...

Look at Jesse Levine, following up that good Safin win by (so far) blowing Cuevas out of the water!

Graf_sampras said...

DON'T OVERLOOK the OTHER american........

JESSE LEVIN ..won

6-4, 6-2, first 2 sets...1-1 against Pablo Cuevas..

Craig Hickman said...

Between the two Andy's I've seen enough dinky doo tennis on grass to last the rest of the forthnight.

Kendrick may have lost, but I was impressed he never allowed himself to be lulled into Murray's game.

Graf_sampras said...

Craig Hickman said...

I call Gilles Simon the accidental Top 10-er.

He got really hot on the hard courts last year and took that confidence into Melbourne, but it's difficult to maintain a place in the Top 10 year in year out.

Thu Jun 25, 09:26:00 AM

========

a LOT of them in the past six years have been accidental players.


funny that I never used that word....

but i have often called many of these top tenners around roger most of these years as ......bench-warmers......


they are the "default" "top ten" in lieu of better , more properly called Top tenners.

Had Roddick NOT been a Majors Holder and established HIMSELF convincincly against the declining group of andre, sampras, etc...

there would have been NO real top tenners worthy of being called as such. ...from the moment safin, ferrero, hewitt, nalbandian began getting too problematic after 2003. their replacements are


NOBODIES. i include in this Ferrer, Berdych, Ljubicic, Gasquet, etc...

talented folks -- but unworthy of being called "top ten".


that's my opinion anyway.

Craig Hickman said...

Igor put more pressure on Roddick in rallies because he's a counterpuncher who returned second serves better, even if Andy won a higher percentage of points. Chardy just hit the ball hard and made plenty of errors, giving Andy no rhythm but also putting him under no pressure, really.

Stats only tell part of the story, but dig away.

Graf_sampras said...

Karen said...

Morning All. You know what I can never figure out about the AELTC - are they really bigots or are they just really ignorant. I can never recall seeing Roger Federer being given anything less than a show court on which to play, i.e. Center Court, but Venus keeps getting shoved off Centre Court.

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


what you are forgetting Karen is the part where Roger Federer is supposedly -- SUPPOSED TO BE the "best ever" -- everything laid out in advance to ensure as LITTLE problem as possible. this means of course


Center Court at ALL times.

so he can "master" the surface with such "familiarity" compared to his opponents.

No player BEFORE has ever been accorded this kind of "honor".

NOT navratilova, NOT graf, NOT sampras, NOT mcenroe....

the williamses are the "interlopers" to Wimbledon's Lilly-white Symbol of the Past Glories of British Empire.

of course they've had to adjust but it's like pulling teeth out of a brat....

and if they can hang on to "tradition" by way of "PERRY-izing" the EVER TOO WILLING roger.......

hey - why not, eh? let's GIVE HIM the ROYAL treatment....

but NOT QUEEN VENUS. she's.........AFRICAN , for the love of the queen!!!

vw said...

Two brits commentating on Roddick Kunitsyn match.

Do you think Roddick could win Wimbledon?
Well, Fed and Murray are the favorites.
Roddick is on the second tier of players who could do it. Others would be Tsonga, Karlovic, Haas or someone like that.

Graf_sampras said...

Craig Hickman said...

Between the two Andy's I've seen enough dinky doo tennis on grass to last the rest of the forthnight.

Kendrick may have lost, but I was impressed he never allowed himself to be lulled into Murray's game.

Thu Jun 25, 01:33:00 PM

======

Kendrick was MAGNIFICENT, as far as I am concerned. it was A TREAT to watch him play.


as for Andy Murray - he is maturing...but he will need to mix in MORE power shotmaking...he can't rely on too much dinkydoo only - sooner or later, EVEN federer will "learn".

if murray wants to win - he better be sure he can SHOW that he can HANG with LOTS of power, if necessary and THEN mix in his other shots.

Craig Hickman said...

G_S, I'm so tired of Murray's tennis my head is ready to split.

Sure it's effective against these opponents who can't create their own pace if their lives depended upon it, but Kendrick made it crystal clear it's really not that difficult.

Craig Hickman said...

Gulbis is officially a waste of talent. Kendrick can fashion a set and a few tiebreaks and this higher ranked big guy with this big game wilts like a spring green in the sun?

rabbit said...

Craig, completely agree. This was so boring and depressing to watch. Murray hitting slow balls landing in the middle of the court and Ernests just unable to put it away. If this is the future of tennis, I'm so turned off.

Tennis Vagabond said...

Disagree with the sentiment on Murray.
I saw a lot more power out of Murray today than in the past- he is getting stronger and more offensive. Lots of variety on display today. Yes, lots of dinking still, lots of slice, but he's showing some real potential offensively.
I was hoping for Roddick to beat out Murray in the semis, but if Murray can keep playing like this, I'd love to see him against Fed in the finals.

T. Vag
www.TennisVagabond.com

Craig Hickman said...

This Mayer from Argentina is KILLING the ball.

Craig Hickman said...

If Levine loses this match, his career will be permanently wrecked.

Hyperbole?

Perhaps.

But when a young player blows a two set lead to a relative nobody at a Slam, it means long-term trouble.

He better win this match.

Craig Hickman said...

Tennis Vagabond, we didn't watch the same match.

That's all I have to say about that.

Craig Hickman said...

rabbit, in my dreams, players like Tsonga, Cilic and del Potro and a few other young South Americans will usher in a new era of power tennis.

Andy Roddick lost his power trying to out counterpunch the counterpunchers. So what he lost the the 2004 Wimbledon final. He should never have abandoned that kind of tennis.

For me, the "modern game" is far too passive.

rabbit said...

Craig, even if you call Federer a counterpuncher (it's a matter of terminology), he is ridiculously more aggressive than Murray (see 2008 USO final). Even Nadal, the quintessential clay court player, is so much more aggressive. I don't care about success, but both of them are much more fun to watch than Murray with his slow forehand slices.

I agree about Del Potro, Cilic and Tsonga.

Craig Hickman said...

Levine serves for the match.

If he chokes...

Craig Hickman said...

Great job, Levine.

These young Americans need to grow some gonads.

Levine needs to keep building on this. Wawrinka will be a tough customer, but grass isn't Wawrinka's best surface, so.....

Craig Hickman said...

rabbit, all of my turtles are more aggressive than Andy Murray.

I call Federer a counterpuncher because, by his own admission, he's lazy. That's mindset more than arsenal.

I prefer tennis that is first, last, and always AGGRESSIVE. Hit big, play inside the baseline, and play the forecourt as much as possible.

Sure, if your opponent is a worldclass counterpuncher, you may suffer. But suffer. Play your game and win or lose the match playing your game.

I'm really becoming bored with all the PASSIVE aggressiveness.

I don't like it in life, I don't like it in tennis.

MMT said...

Craig:

I beg to differ. Power, like talent and luck, in tennis is vastly overrated. There are a lot of ways to win a point, game, set and match in tennis. To me, that's the beauty of the game.

I rather enjoy Murray's game on grass - the points don't last as long as they do with him on hard courts, and I find his game to be quite creative and interesting. I've never been a big fan of his, but I really enjoyed watching him at Queen's this year, and I think he's a favorite to win Wimbledon...and that's not just because of the media hype.

I myself have relatively little power for my level, but I try every chance I get to use spin, placement and my legs to win points particularly against players that could blow me off the court with power. I attack the net as often as I can when I feel I can't get it done from the back, which is my preference.

I don't think there's much honor in losing a tennis match playing the same way, particularly if it isn't working! Just ask James Blake. He plays his game all the time and you see the results.

Spotty at best.

I say kudos to Murray for developing a game with a lot of options. It will help him win a lot of matches, and there are a lot of players on tour that would do well to learn from his versatility both in shot selection and tactics.

I for one, am not remotely interested in big babe tennis, regardless of who's playing it.

kraa said...

I agree with MMT this this time. Love watching Murray play. Diversity is the thing I vallue most in this game.

Karen said...

I am sorry but Murray's game is to me the worst on the men's tour right now, perhaps second only to Gilles Simon, another player's game I detest.
@Craig, you must have been watching a different Roger Federer, because I have not seen Roger play passive tennis in a long time, if ever. For my money that is Roger's undoing a lot of the time because he gets very impatient and starts going for too much, especially on the forehand side.
Murray though plays lazy tennis. Content to sit on the baseline and dink the ball back and forth, back and forth all day long. I saw that even more in his match against Roger at this year's IW (think it was IW). The court was playing slow so it basically played to his game. Very boring.

Tennis Vagabond said...

Karen
Humble opinion: '08 was Passive Roger. Don't know if it was because he couldn't make the shots he wanted consistently or lost confidence or which was chicken and which was egg, but the Roger that painted lines for years was gone. He seems to be back, lets hope it stays that way.

Agree with your distaste for Simon's game, but there's something charming about him nonetheless. There's not much charming about Murray, and I was also a disser of his game as boring until today. I was so impressed with his control, his variety and his newfound offensive weapons. Though his game is still dominated by defensive play, I think he's learning some new tricks, and he has learned to incorporate his new muscles.

T. Vag
www.TennisVagabond.com

Karen said...

but Tennis Vagabond, he was able to show that during his match against Gulbis, who lets face it, is not going to be winning any tournaments with his kind of mindset that he has these days. A few weeks ago, Gonzalez showed just how ready for primetime Andy Murray was when he bagelled him in the 3rd set and made him look ordinary. You best believe that if he faces Roger at this year's Wimby in the final, then he is going to have do a lot more than dink the ball back because Roger will be looking to be assertive. You can already see that Roger is changing up his game by trying to add a little bit of s/v to his game. If Roger and Andy gets to the final, you better believe that I will be cheering on Roger from the stands.

Graf_sampras said...

Craig Hickman said...

G_S, I'm so tired of Murray's tennis my head is ready to split.

Sure it's effective against these opponents who can't create their own pace if their lives depended upon it, but Kendrick made it crystal clear it's really not that difficult.

Thu Jun 25, 01:49:00 PM

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

OH NOOOOOOOOo.....no HEAD-SPLITTING please!!!


just AVERT the eyes, think about VENUS bending low on the grass and voila ! things are alright again!... when dinky-doo comes around. lol...

--

my new favorite line is from NY times article on Venus:

"to measure Venus William's chances for the WImbledon title...all one has to do is gauge how low Venus bends ...the lower she bends the HIGHER the chances of being Champion once more....this week . Venus Williams has been bending low"......

hehe...i love that.

Graf_sampras said...

Craig Hickman said...

rabbit, all of my turtles are more aggressive than Andy Murray.

I call Federer a counterpuncher because, by his own admission, he's lazy. That's mindset more than arsenal.

I prefer tennis that is first, last, and always AGGRESSIVE. Hit big, play inside the baseline, and play the forecourt as much as possible.

Sure, if your opponent is a worldclass counterpuncher, you may suffer. But suffer. Play your game and win or lose the match playing your game.

I'm really becoming bored with all the PASSIVE aggressiveness.

Graf_sampras said...

Craig Hickman said...

rabbit, all of my turtles are more aggressive than Andy Murray.

I call Federer a counterpuncher because, by his own admission, he's lazy. That's mindset more than arsenal.

I prefer tennis that is first, last, and always AGGRESSIVE. Hit big, play inside the baseline, and play the forecourt as much as possible.

Sure, if your opponent is a worldclass counterpuncher, you may suffer. But suffer. Play your game and win or lose the match playing your game.

I'm really becoming bored with all the PASSIVE aggressiveness.


=========


HEAR, HEAR, HEAR , ALL.

and PREACH ON!! Craighickman!!

Graf_sampras said...

Matthew and TennisVagabond...

i'm also impressed by how Hewitt keeps at the game even at his age and so many injuries now. grass should be more forgiving for him and his style actually, as it showed today -- he relied more on his shot accuracy on the move which is very important in grass...his placement and hitting the ball cleanly , and of course making sure that you grab the moments because on grass they do come and go quickly..and it undid Del Potro.

i was impressed that hewitt imposed his experience, PROUDLY, as he should.

Graf_sampras said...

Pamela said...

I heart Ernests, I do - but he gives me heartburn. lol I can't think of another way to say it. Sooo much potential but he did say that his game has suffered because he's been putting in the physical work and it's taking time for his body to catch up. Ok. I can work with that Ernie, I won't give up on you just yet.

I want to see Mischa Zverev play.

========

Pamela -- for me -- it's a matter of giving gulbis his proper time.

he had his big splash 2 years ago at the USO etc...but after that he still has to find the room to "grow" into everything that is expected as well as of course his own body. this is really the "awkward phase for him". i wouldn't worry , if you were a fan.

Graf_sampras said...

Craig Hickman said...

rabbit, in my dreams, players like Tsonga, Cilic and del Potro and a few other young South Americans will usher in a new era of power tennis.

Andy Roddick lost his power trying to out counterpunch the counterpunchers. So what he lost the the 2004 Wimbledon final. He should never have abandoned that kind of tennis.

For me, the "modern game" is far too passive.

Thu Jun 25, 02:32:00 PM

=========

EXACTLY!!!

ANDY Roddick should NEVER have swerved away from that all-out, aggressive power game. come what may.

look --

DOES NADAL take OFF anything from HIS game? sure it costs him at times in the year -- but that also is just part of the game - you wanns be the best? wanna be REAL contender? DO WHAT YOU DO BEST! and let the chips fall where they may! don't be someone you are NOT.

and what Andy Roddick did was take his foot OFF the pedal.

GET IT BACK ALL THE WAY , ANDY! he should be blowing away opponents, PERIOD!

Graf_sampras said...

it really began RIGHT ON THAT DAY - right AFTER that rain delay in wimbledon 2004.

it had little to do with roger "changing" tactics. no

it had more to do with ANDY taking the venom out of HIS game.

"i was lucky for the rain delay - it really helped me think , Andy was REALLY KILLING ME".

roger federer - 2004 wimbledon

Craig Hickman said...

Karen, please re-read my comments.

I didn't say Federer was passive.

I said that he said he was lazy. I see exactly what he means by that and I agree. He's not always lazy, but....

::

MMT: for me, power tennis is not Big Babe tennis as is commonly discussed by Maro Carillo and crew on ESPN.

James Blake is not an example I'd cite because he loses more matches in his head than he does with his tennis.

I have no problem with spins and slices and defense as part of a player's repertoire. I have no problem with variety.

All of that can exist in the aggressive tennis I prefer to watch.

Murray plays passive aggressive tennis.

I don't like it.

rabbit said...

I agree. Passive aggressive tennis is the best way to describe Murray's game.

Graf_sampras said...

i think you will all like this article about Lleyton Hewitt.

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

Still Firing: Unseeded Hewitt upsets del Potro


Lleyton Hewitt
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
The veteran Hewitt upset the fifth-seeded del Potro in their first career meeting.
By Steve Tignor

Uh oh, he’s pointing again.

That would be Lleyton Hewitt, of course, who kept jabbing his finger toward his loyal and long-suffering supporters in the stands this afternoon as he turned the clock back inside Centre Court. The aging, scrapping Aussie upset No. 5 seed Juan Martin del Potro, and briefly returned us to an earlier and . . . well, not a better time, exactly, but at least to a time when he was the No. 1 player in the world. Those two years, 2001 and 2002, the rarely mentioned interim period between the reigns of Pete Sampras and Roger Federer, will never be remembered as a glorious period for the sport. But for a couple of hours it felt like they had never ended.

So much was unchanged. The hat was still backwards. The stringy yellow mullet was still poking out below. The backhand was still straight-armed and the wheels were still churning along the baseline. The return and the lob were still first-class, while the serve, up to 122 and painting the sidelines, was better than ever. Even the moribund and much maligned “Come on!”/fist-pump-to-the-face combination was broken out after a crucial crosscourt pass late in the third set. The audience kept up a low but vivid hum of support through it all. It was like Federer and Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray—and Juan Martin del Potro—had never happened.

“I executed perfectly, hit the ball great,” Hewitt said afterward. He still looks as compact and solid and unadorned up at the mike as he always did. Most pros are bigger than they appear to be on TV—encountered on the street, they can seem like a race of supersized human dolls—but not Hewitt. He looks pretty much as you would expect, just redder. “I served unbelievable throughout the match. Took it to him right from the start.”

==


the rest is on

tennis.com by steve tignor

Graf_sampras said...

John McEnroe actually notioned last week that

==========

for a few years now - "players have been playing RIGHT INTO ROGER's hands...no one is really playing really aggressive tennis against him and that fits right into his style".

Graf_sampras said...

there are TWO things Roger Federer does not like -- where most of his losses are, if the player has a big game also:


he does not like it when a player MIXES things up consistently ....as murray can - for it takes away Roger's "rythm" - roger is really a "rythm player".


and he does not like it when a player with a big game consistently, unlrelentingly plays an oppressive, attacking game.


there are simply NONE that have the SECOND kind of game against roger today

although we have seen occassional examples as Marat Safin in AO when they fought in the semis.


or of course when Nadal comes around. the others are unable to SUSTAIN that kind of big , oppressive pressure game on roger.

Graf_sampras said...

roger IS in fact a "passive-aggressive" player.

he mostly lets his opponents play to a rythm, which si what roger likes and then at the slightest miscue , or off-balance in the exchange- that's when roger will get "aggressive'
but he will RARELY initiate the true "aggressive game"
.

usually that comes as a measure of "desperation" in his Basically DEFENSIVE game....

more often than not - it of course unbalances most players./ most people take THIS as "roger raised the game".

THIS is the point usually where andy roddick "goes away"..and doesn't see that it's a ploy of desperation actually.

watch closely ALL of roger's
net "attacks"....they are really not real attacks - .


but a nadal , for example, SEES IT as a sign of DESPERATION and never allows it to take them off their aggression against roger.

oddman said...

Hmmm. About Murray's tennis. I recall Graf_Sampras calling it 'dinky-doo' tennis. And last year, I would have agreed. But after seeing Andy play Rafa in Doha, (I believe it was), I was quite amazed at the difference.

That strengthening and conditioning Andy'd talked about was noticeable - he was faster, stronger, hit the ball harder, less defensive. I liked what I saw. Can he put it together for grass? And in his own backyard, so to speak? We gonna see, no?

Mad Professah said...

I think Murray likes to dink and slice the ball just to toy with the opponent, but do not be fooled, he has plenty of firepower, on both wings and with 130+ MPH serves.
He's also an EXCELLENT mover on all surfaces.

I would agree with Craig that Raja's counterpuncher status is really a matter of mentality, not talent. It's a choice. He CAN be aggressive, he just doesn't usually have to do it against most people because his "B" game is enough to roll over most opponents.

Where Raja gets into trouble where there are POWER players (Nadal, Djokovic, Murray) who also have excellent movement combined with "aggressivity" and Raja refuses (or can't) respond in kind.

Graf_sampras said...

oddman said...

Hmmm. About Murray's tennis. I recall Graf_Sampras calling it 'dinky-doo' tennis. And last year, I would have agreed. But after seeing Andy play Rafa in Doha, (I believe it was), I was quite amazed at the difference.


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

yes - i've always identified his tennis as dinky doo - since we were talking at Bogledance's years back

I also thought even then that he would NEED to strengthen himself physically, play with BIGGER shotmaking more often , serve bigger. etc...because i always thought that his PHYSICAL build, his FRAME - has a very good potential as a really fine tennis player.

i often pointed out that he should fill out a bit to have more power that he can consistently use as a real weapon - especially with those wide shoulders of his .

i think it is paying off. look at the way he ENDED the match today.

those last TWO shots were superb. ended by a running crosscourt forehand pass winner with lots of pace. gulbis couldn't do anything. but murray needs to do a bit more of that - just to send the signal that he CAN power up a lot and often , if necessary. a MIX of Dinky doo shots with LOTS of power and aggressiveness . and of course it doesn't hurt that his returns are very good and his serves are better.

oddman said...

Oh, sniff - a Rafenglish word... aggressivity.

Don't remind me, he's not there, wahhhh.

Thanks, Mad Professah.

*sniff*

Graf_sampras said...

Where Raja gets into trouble where there are POWER players (Nadal, Djokovic, Murray) who also have excellent movement combined with "aggressivity" and Raja refuses (or can't) respond in kind.

Thu Jun 25, 08:27:00 PM

==========

this is what i've been pointing out for years now>

PRESENT ROGER with a player with big shots also that DOESN"T sit back and just wait for raja to dictate - and instead :

1) either initiates and MAINTAINS an aggression with that power while mixing it up to get him off rythm
2) or - RESPONDS to HIS 'tactical changes' with something IN KIND (such as when raja TRIED "volleying and aggressing" against Safin in the AO semis years ago and safin responded in KIND nearly knocking out Raja's raquet from his hands )

ROGER WILL RETREAT to where he REALLY IS - as Mcenroe SAYS:

"he's really a baseliner"...

what's "needed is a player that KNOWS how to mix it up against roger and NOT let him get comfortable at the baseline"......

because IF he is made uncomfortable at the baseline by equal power - ROGER WILL "change tactics" and try "aggression"

BUT there is where a player has to respond IN KIND because THAT is a tactic roger uses - NOT as A NATURAL function of his game but a DESPERATE , last resort effort (unless of course the other guy is simply an idiot and let's roger get away with easy volleyes following mediocre approach shots).

Graf_sampras said...

it's not ONLY about "match-ups" as some federer fans like to explain on nadal against roger.

it is really because nadal FIGHTS HARD - and will do EVERYTHING to RESPOND in kind to roger. and THAT is what roger Does NOT LIKE..someone who actually will

STAND UP TO HIM.

why else would I or anyone say such phrases?

it's been so obvious for so long.

Graf_sampras said...

oddman said...

Oh, sniff - a Rafenglish word... aggressivity.

Don't remind me, he's not there, wahhhh.

Thanks, Mad Professah.

*sniff*

Thu Jun 25, 08:34:00 PM

===========

I LOVED that word-coining by Mad Professah!!

come up with MORE !!!

Graf_sampras said...

one thing to keep in mind though:

if Murray can mix in more consistently powerful shots...(not that he doesn't know what he's doing or wants to do anyway - after all - HE"s the pro, not us) -

it would resemble a bit more what Patrick Rafter used to do (outside of patrick's very aggressive attack tennis itself) .

patrick was in fact fond of "dinky shots" too - BUT it was well within the context of power tennis.

Tsonga does some of that too. but Tsonga really LOVES playing BIG! but has to be more consistent. and avoid getting too much into passive backcourt rallies. or it becomes like Novak trying to show he can win everything from the backcourt, lol.