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MindyM
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This is one time when I have to disagree with Steve. I like the friendly! When McEnroe and Connors were dominating tennis, I truly despised their antics on the court. It really interfered with my enjoyment of their great tennis. That was one reason why I loved Borg,not the most important one. Borg never had a hissy fit, threw a temper tantrum, acted like a spoiled brat or any of the endless histrionics that came with a McEnroe/Connors match. That's why he was the angelic assassin. He never said anything, just destroyed his opponents on the court. In the age of Nastase, McEnroe, Connors and others, this was such a wonderful respite. I am not saying that all the players have to like each other today and sometimes there are personality clashes. But I do like the respect between the top four and also among most of the players today. I think back to the golden age of men's tennis in the 60's with the likes of Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewall, John Newcombe, Tony Roche, Arthur Ashe and more. They were such gentleman and great sportsman. The craziness came in the 70's and 80's. Back then we had players purposely hitting the ball at their opponent and not even bothering to apologize. Maybe Johnny Mac liked the old days, but I like it just the way it is now.
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Pete, I can rest easy having read your comments on Rafa's loss. Every time I hear on another site that you have written something about Rafa, I have to ask myself if I really want to read it. You analyzing Rafa is quite amusing to me. For someone who has never gotten what he is about, I found myself chucking as you tried to explain why this happened. Oh yes, some of that toughness was missing or he didn't handle the conditions or he took it for granted, etc. It's true that Rafa has won matches like this many times. We have seen him pull off a "Houdini" and somehow win a match that he should have lost. The simple truth is that Rafa wasn't anywhere near his best form, slipping and sliding at times on the grass. He didn't look that good against Bellucci. The early rounds are always the most dangerous and this match shows us exactly why. It's interesting that Rafa served 19 aces and still lost. That says a lot. Rafa was caught off guard by a guy he never played when he was not match ready. Would he have won the fifth set if they hadn't delayed play for 45 minutes? We will never know for sure. He did have the momentum after winning that fourth set convincingly. But that's the way it is in this sport. Rosol will never play like that again. He looked positively ordinary against Kohls. Rafa seemed to be somewhat off from the start of the tournament. I don't know why and don't particularly care. I am sure that Rafa wasn't happy about this loss. He is a proud champion who has pulled off great wins on many occasions. On this day he didn't get it done. But he can rest easier because of his achievement in winning his seventh RG title. He does have that and no one can take it away from him. Rafa usually comes back strong from disappointments. I hope he gets some rest and is ready for the Olympics and the US hardcourt season.
Toggle Commented Jul 1, 2012 on The Aftershocks at Peter Bodo's TennisWorld
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Steve, I don't come here often, but I just had to post a thank you for your comments about Rafa and Borg. They are similar in many ways and it's kind of eerie. Rafa takes so much grief for his comments and accusations about fake humility. But you showed us that Borg was the same way. They both really believed it. No phoniness, no fake humility. That's why Rafa says the things he does - because he believes it. All anyone would have to do is make note of the 2009 RG, where everyone said the trophy was already his, a done deal, a sure thing. But in the fourth round Sod did the unthinkable - he beat Rafa. His only loss at RG. Reasonable people who live in the real world know that Rafa was hampered by acute tendinitis in his knees that had been plaguing him for a while. He mistakenly thought that he could play through the pain. It all caught up with him on that day. Sod played the match of his life, but Rafa wasn't moving like himself. It would get much worse when Rafa had to withdraw from Wimbledon and be out a few months to recover. He has never taken anything for granted, but if he ever did all he would need to do is remember that loss in the 2009 RG. As great as Rafa and Borg are, they both knew better than to take anything for granted. I like to think that is part of their greatness.
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Oh sorry to be a so-called Rafa Kad and come on here to comment on Bodo's latest "I really don't like Rafa" blog piece. So Rafa's peevish, you say? Well now, there's a capital offense if ever there was one. He likes his clay the way he likes his clay? Oh the outrage! Did anyone ask Borg what he thought of this blue pseudo-clay? He ought to know about clay. But then he didn't have to risk injury by playing on the stuff. I don't blame Rafa for being disgusted by this blue nightmare of a court at Madrid. He wasn't alone either. All you had to do is watch the players slipping as they tried to push off or plant their feet, or trying to keep their balance as they skidded on the blue skating rink clay. It was absolutely abominable. It's not what kind of clay Rafa likes or wants. It's about the safety and well-being of the players. So Rafa isn't being nicey nicey anymore? He's unhappy? I guess that's news for you. Rafa doesn't have to live up to your expectations of who he is and how he conducts himself in this sport. The idea that Rafa is the petty one who complains, while Fed is this saint of saints as he tries to look out for his own interests and keep the status quo is the stuff of imaginary thoughts. It's not like Fed is the benevolent one who is never ticked off by anything. He has no problem speaking his mind and neither should Rafa. I think Rafa has been trying too often to be Mr. Nice Guy. This is the human side of him. I like it. If he is in a bad mood or frustrated, then at least we know he still cares. I wish you would do me and Rafa fans a big favor and please, do think more about guys like Thomas Berdych and Jo Wilfried Tsonga.
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Pete, When you are not writing outlandish and tasteless blogs about Rafa's left knee, then you purport to analyze this match with Rafa and Nole. Thanks, but no thanks! As I have heard her endlessly, you are entitled to your bias. Everyone has their likes and dislikes. But that does inform your perspective on Rafa's matches. So we should be "concerned" about the fact that Nole was still able to get inside the court position? Well, what should we expect - that Nole will just roll over all the time? It's not like he isn't going to be able to dictate points or try to in the match. That's the point! All credit goes to Rafa, though, for changing the dynamic in their matches. It started with the 2011 USO. It took Rafa being two sets down to realize that he had to do things differently. Finallly he started to be aggressive and force Nole out of his comfort zone. He won that set in a tiebreak, but neither player had anything left in the fourth. However, I think that this was the first time that Rafa found some answers. At this year's AO, we saw Rafa incorporate different tactics in the final against Nole. He started hitting to his forehand more, taking him out of his rhythm. He also got better court position inside, allowing him to get better penetration with this groundstrokes. This time it didn't take being down two sets. He won the first but lost the next two. It was looking routine and then Rafa came back strong and fought hard to win the fourth set in a tiebreak and take it to a fifth set. We all know what happened. He got the break, but missed a dtl backhand and was broken back. It was on his racket, two more games but his serve didn't hold up. Rafa realized that his serve cost him that match. So he has been working toward this moment for a while. Things don't just magically change in the blink of an eye. Last year Nole came out like gang busters, playing brilliant tennis, fit and mentally stronger. At the same time, Rafa was never the same after that viral infection and losing the chance to get his fourth slam in a row. He wasn't himself, losing his focus and concentration and playing very defensive tennis. He was already struggling and the losses to Nole only punctuated the problem. That first week at RG, we saw Rafa struggle likd he never had there. It was unnerving. When Rafa lost both Madrid and Rome in non-competitive fashion, it was obvious that he wasn't playing anywhere near his best on clay. Nole was able to capitalize and everyone decided that he had the answer to Rafa and that was it. This year Rafa came out with a heavier racket and some real passion. Was it the defeats to Nole that awakened his competitive spirit again? We saw a different Rafa at this year's AO. He played some of the best tennis in more than a year. There he was at the baseline hitting cc backhands for ROS winners. He was hitting at the baseline or inside the court and being aggressive. Rafa came into MC this year without any practice. Two weeks with out picking up a racket because of the prp treatment for his knee. Yet he didn't drop a set and looked far better than last year. Now he is playing the brand of clay court tennis that has made him so invincible. However, you and everyone else should have a real concern that Rafa hasn't yet reached his best level. This was just a preview of what we can expect to see going forward. So if Nole was off because of the wind or his grandfather's death, then I can say that Rafa had not yet hit his stride. He will only get better. Rafa needed this win. He got it and made history. He learned his lesson from the AO. He served much better and was able to take Nole out of his comfort zone and not let him dictate points. They will meet again this clay court season. Rafa got the monkey off his back and is playing so much better than last year. Whatever it was with him last year, he has overcome it. I don't ever expect you to understand. You don't get Rafa and never will. You have become the master of damning him with faint praise.
Toggle Commented Apr 23, 2012 on The House Always Wins at Peter Bodo's TennisWorld
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I am again addressing my response to the moderators. So now we hear that there is doping in all sports, so why not tennis? Of course, it's all a conspiracy by everyone in the sport to keep this nefarious practice hidden. Then there are a few players quoted as saying they think there is doping in tennis. Well, that's all the proof we need, isn't it? Then I guess everyone is doing it. No, for certain people it's only Rafa. Bringing up this issue in a pseudo-serious way and providing links to articles discussing it, is supposed to pass for substantive and factual proof. Oops, I forgot! There can't be any real proof because the governing bodies are all intent on covering up the truth! Around and around we go. That is why one tennis forum on which I participate has forbidden any posts about doping. There is no concrete evidence that can be brought forth and the allegation is too serious and damaging to make on flimsy conspiracy theories and third party information. I don't care about cycling or wrestling or other sports. I am talking about tennis. The very fact that the accusation is almost solely leveled at Rafa alone, is proof that those people have an agenda. If you dislike Rafa, then why not trash him with the worst possible accusation? I repeat my belief that these baseless accusations that are continuously directed at Rafa, be deleted from a discussion about actual tennis. It is off topic in the extreme. If there can be no proof positive, then all you have is innuendo. That's not good enough. That's my last word on the subject. As far as the question as to why I come here, well I haven't been here in some time. That is one of the main reasons why. I am happy to discuss the game, matches, player's shots, analysis, the whys and wherefores of slam finals. What I will not discuss is any of these conspiracy theories that cannot be validated. Just saying it doesn't make it so! With this comment, I will again take my leave of this site. This is a waste of time and energy. If others wish to devote their time to discussing supposed doping in tennis, good luck to them.
Toggle Commented Feb 5, 2012 on Shot of Dreams at Peter Bodo's TennisWorld
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I came back to this blog to say one thing to the moderators. I respect the desire for a civil and respectful discussion about tennis. However, what I do not understand, is how you can continue to let posts accusing a player of "doping" or "juicing" stand on this site. I know at least one other tennis forum that will not allow any posts accusing players of doping. Without real proof and substantive fact, this is an indefensible charge. The most important thing every player has is his reputation. If you trash that by making baseless allegations and bringing up these bizarre conspiracy theories to the effect all of the governing bodies in the sport are behind this so-called "doping", then in my view you have seriously corrupted the level of discussion. Yes, it should be about the great tennis we have been privileged to watch in this year's AO and many of the great matches in recent years. This is a great time to be a fan of men's tennis. So why destroy it by letting some people continue to post these disgraceful allegations? Just reading it is enough to make me sick. That's why people get upset and the discussion veers off course. It's not easy to ignore these comments and why should we? They have no merit and are not related to discussion of the actual tennis matches. A great way to keep the discussion on a high level would be to rid this site of irresponsible accusations like the ones we see here too often.
Toggle Commented Feb 4, 2012 on Shot of Dreams at Peter Bodo's TennisWorld
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Sorry, it should be career slam, not slams. Second paragraph - Please spare me your endless vanity posts trying to tell Rafa fans how they feel and your incredibly biased and distorted view of this match! You really should find something better to do with your time than to devote these long, detailed posts with vitriolic attacks on a player you have never met, you do not know personally and who has done nothing to you. It's a waste of energy and a waste of life.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2012 on Shot of Dreams at Peter Bodo's TennisWorld
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TennisNerd, Maybe all the attention paid to Rafa is because he has won ten grand slams, the career slams, the most Masters titles, six RG's equaling Borg's record, the channel slam of RG and Wimbledon two times, and on and on and on. That's just the obvious accomplishments. Please spare me your endless vanity posts trying to tell Rafa fans how they feel and your incredibly biased and distorted view of the this match. Your cheap shots and lies about Rafa are just a reflection of who you are.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2012 on Shot of Dreams at Peter Bodo's TennisWorld
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Now that Pete has said that Rafa won't be haunted forever by that missed shot, I will sleep a lot better at night! Like I really thought he would let that affect the rest of his career. I don't even know why it had to be brought up. If Rafa would let something like that take him down, he would never have been able to last this long in tennis. Oh and some Nole fans are really getting quite carried away with their predictions. I hope they don't get too hurt when they crash back down to earth. Rafa's not going anywhere.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2012 on Shot of Dreams at Peter Bodo's TennisWorld
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I forgot to say how much I dislike Pam Shriver. She has to be the most obnoxious female broadcaster on ESPN. I can understand now why James Blake got so annoyed with her voice when she was sitting courtside doing commentary. She has a naturally loud voice and apparently, no common sense as to when to tone it down. I have to lower the volume on my tv when she is on. I also have to agree with the comments about Chris Evert. She really has this snotty attitude going on, like she knows more than everyone else combined. I have really been disappointed in her commentary. People need to leave their egos at the door when they come to work. One last thing to say - the comments from Corrie @4:53 pm and 5:55 pm. I am in agreement with Casual Observer. I grew up watching those so-called "ancient champs being wheeled out" and still admire and respect them all immensely. Just because they are old now, doesn't mean we need to cast them aside like old shoes. They helped shape this sport and contributed to its greatness. I hope that the slams will continue to honor them. I think it's a great gesture.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2012 on To the Woodshed at Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor
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Steve, I appreciate this blog about the different styles of broadcasting from Aussies and ESPN. You helped me to understand why ESPN's broadcasters are the way they are. I never understood their need to up the drama level. To me, tennis is tennis and doesn't need any grandstanding. I wish that I could have heard the Aussies. I even like the tennis channel better. They keep it more low key. On ESPN it's like they are personalities on air. However, my two favorites are Brad Gilbert and Darren Cahill. They are the most knowledgeable and the ones who can appreciate the pure tennis.
Toggle Commented Feb 2, 2012 on To the Woodshed at Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor
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Pete, So you picked Rafa to win the final and now you are here explaining why Nole is so superior and Rafa cannot beat him. Thanks, but no thanks. Your last point, #5, is the only one with which I agree. That is the reason that Rafa lost this match. As far as the others, Nole does have the superior backhand but that is not why he beat Rafa in this match. Rafa made some key adjustments that gave him chances. He went more to Nole's forehand and it helped get him better court positioning. Rafa was more aggressive and returned at the baseline, but needs to do it more. He was looking to move into the court and close out points more quickly at net. I just knew you would somehow stick in that business of Rafa being primarily a clay court specialist. After all, you are the one who famously said he was a "one-dimensional clay court player" in 2010 after he won all the clay Masters and RG. Then he went on to win Wimbledon again and the USO to complete the career slam. I think Rafa has proved that he has a complete game suitable for all surfaces. It's nice of you to try to make the point that Rafa being such a strong clay court player hurts him on hard courts, but I don't buy it. Rafa is not some dummy who can't figure out the importance of court positioning. In 2010 he showed how it was done. It's how he won the USO and the big serve helped, too. The problem is that Rafa retreated back to his defensive game last year. He seemed to have lost the passion, the love of the sport. Something was wrong and it wasn't just his problems with Nole. I do think a player can get in someone's head. Tennis is so much a mental game, that it's impossible to rule out that factor. Rafa is a confidence player. It's everything to him. When he is feeling it, that's when he moves into the court and closes out points with great play at net. That's when he can blister a great backhand cross court or down the line. Everything about his game improves when he is feeling confident. That quality seems to have returned in this match. Nole won but he was pushed to the brink by Rafa. I believe that Rafa will work on his serve to try to deal with Nole's strong returns. Rafa loves a challenge. He is not going anywhere. When he is at his best both physically and mentally, he can beat anyone. This is the best tennis I have seen from him in a year. It's the beginning of a new year and he will only get better. As long as Rafa is healthy, he can continue to compete with the best of them. If he read those five points and believed them, then he would just pack up, retire and go home to Mallorca. He knows better.
Toggle Commented Jan 31, 2012 on Is Nole in Rafa's Game? at Peter Bodo's TennisWorld
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Steve, I appreciated your wonderful words about Rafa. This was tough. He really was there. He was up 4-2 in that fifth set after showing so much heart and guts to claw his way back in the fourth set. But he fell short this time. I think Rafa faced down his demons with Nole in this match. I think he knows now that he can beat him. However, Nole has shown some real toughness of his own in winning back-to-back five set matches and beating two great players. Rafa found himself again. That fighting spirit that seemed to have vanished last year, has returned. Rafa seems to have rediscovered his love of this sport. That fire in his eyes, the passion, the competitive desire is still there. I wasn't sure after last year. I believe he will beat Nole this year. Rafa playing this kind of tennis at the beginning of the year, healthy and happy, is bad news for his opponents. I am proud of how Rafa handled this defeat. He is a true champion both in victory and defeat. His words in his press conference helped me to find calm and peace. He was so close. He dug deep and played some scintillating, brilliant tennis to get that fourth set. He put it all out there and that's all you can ask of your player.
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It's a measure of just how desperately Murray needs a win over Rafa, that this is news. Yes, Rafa was blown out in that last set in atypical fashion. However, he has had some stinkers in the fall season, as Steve pointed out. This is not his time. I think this win may be bigger in Murray's mind than this loss is in Rafa's mind. I am sure Rafa would have liked to defend this title, but with Shanghai around the corner he wasn't going to kill himself. Murray has beaten Rafa before in Masters events, so I don't necessarily think this means a lot in the big picture. We will have to see. Murray is racing to take over the #3 ranking from Fed and it should happen in Shanghai. I also think he is trying to build up some momentum for next year. However, taking out Rafa in a slam is a whole other thing. We will see if this is the beginning of a new phase in their rivalry. I have learned never to underestimate Rafa and I am not about to start now.
Toggle Commented Oct 11, 2011 on Atlas of the ATP at Peter Bodo's TennisWorld
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Pete, You must still be smarting over Fed's loss to Nole in the semis. So here you go making this the match of matches, the a pocalypse, armageddon. Throw in whatever other descriptive word you might like. As you pointed out, in the very recent past Nole suffered five consecutive wins and managed to turn it around. No one should ever be foolish enough to write off Rafa. He has triumphed over so much in his career and has confounded the skeptics and naysayers time and time again. Rafa is still in his prime and is not going anywhere. If Rafa approached this match with a "last stand" mentality, then he would surely lose. You may wish to frame this in such grandiose parameters, but Rafa will have a much more realistic view of what this match means. To equate it with a last stand would mean that Rafa can never beat Nole again, will never be #1, never win another slam unless it's against someone other than Nole. Nole has looked vulnerable at the USO this year. He has been tested by the likes of Dolgo and Tipsy. Of course, they had no chance of pulling off the upset win, but they made him look ordinary at times and quite uncomfortable. And then there was Fed, who really seemed to have Nole's number in the first two sets. Not bad for a supposed thirty year old who is past his prime! Fed had that match won, but in uncharacteristic fashion he again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Rafa needs to face Nole and see if he can block out those five losses and come out with real belief and confidence. Easier said than done. I also think that Rafa has found the magic again and is enjoying his tennis. He hasn't seemed to have that joy and fire for a good part of this year. If he can just go out and let it rip and play his game freely and without fear, then he can pull it off. Whatever happens, Rafa will live to fight another day. I hope he gets this win and knocks Nole down a peg. He is getting a bit too big for his britches. I respect his stellar year, but not his behavior at times.
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Steve, This really was one of your masterpieces. I was thrilled by the tennis today, but all the while the anniversary of 9/11 was in the back of my mind. I have been feeling emotional all day and tennis was a great escape for a while. But there will be no escaping tomorrow. As someone who was born in New York, this is intensely personal. I have lived in L.A. since 1980, but I will always be a New Yorker in my heart. It was terrible to know that my family was going through this unspeakable horror and there was nothing I could do for them, being 3000 miles away. All I could do was cry with them on the phone and try to find words of comfort. Tomorrow they will remember those they knew and lost. There will be tears in the phone calls and the pain will be as fresh as it was ten years ago. It really never truly goes away. I am so grateful to Rafa for remembering that there is a lot more going on than just a tennis tournament. His comments were remarkable in their generosity of spirit and wisdom from one so young. I love hearing him talk about how he deals with being on court, keeping his mind clear and handling the intense pressure of the moment. Rafa will have to stare down the man who has beaten him five straight times in Sunday's final. Maybe remembering the devastating loss New York and its people suffered ten years ago, will give him strength and courage to find a way to conquer his fears and doubts and win this title again. Win or lose, Rafa will always be a great champion.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2011 on Wise Kid at Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor
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Steve summed up my feelings about Fish's match with Tsonga perfectly. It did look like he had the match won when he went up two sets to one. Frankly, this was a surprise because I thought Tsonga would definitely win in a tough one. I have wondered if Fish played too much tennis during the summer hard court warmup tournaments leading up to the USO. It's important to find the right balance, so that you are peaking at the right time. I thought that Mardy looked kind of tired when he lost to Murray in the semis at Cincy. He was struggling with a heel injury and I remember thinking that this was for the best, so that he would have some rest before the USO. I didn't think Mardy looked like he was at his best right from the start. When he struggled to beat Anderson and wasn't serving well, then I sensed he would not get past Tsonga. Although Mardy has been playing the best tennis of his career, I think there is a mindset when you play in a slam. It's why the top players can come in not being their best and can manage to play their way into form and get to the latter stages. Rafa and Fed have been the gold standard for it. Now Nole is bidding to join them. I just don't think Mardy has that mentality. He had the match in hand and then played a bad game and Tsonga just jumped on the opportunity. Tsonga just ran with it and seemed to get the adrenaline going, just blasting big serves and powerful groundstrokes and pummeling Mardy into submission in that fifth set. That is what is meant by seizing the moment. Mardy looked tired both physically and mentally. That's the problem when you have been a journeyman player throughout your whole career. He just wasn't ready or able to step up and close out the match. He gave Tsonga an opening and that was all he needed.
Toggle Commented Sep 6, 2011 on Grounds Pass 9/6 at Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor
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At times I have had issues with Serena's behavior on court and the lowest point was that spectacle at the USO when she defaulted the match away to Clijsters after her tirade at the lineswoman. However, after watching her come back from a life threatening embolism, shocking to see in such a fit young woman, I have a new appreciation for what she brings to the game. She is a fierce competitor who always brings her best and gives it her all. She has the athletic ability, the mental toughness of a true champion and can always find a way to win. Steve really captured the essence of her greatness. It was a beautiful tribute. Watching the top women's seeds drop like flies in this tournament, there is an even deeper respect for someone like Serena. She always gives it her best and never goes down without a fight. She has surely earned her place alongside the greatest female tennis players, the true legends that I watched when I was much younger. Billie Jean King, Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf. We should rejoice that she is back playing like the champion she is, that she is healthy again and that we have the privilege of still watching her play. We may not see anyone like her again for some time. She has reminded me of the power and beauty of women's tennis when it is played the way only the greatest play it.
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Sorry, I meant to say in my previous post - As far as the question of whether Dolgp has a shot at BEATING Djoker!
Toggle Commented Sep 4, 2011 on Grounds Pass 9/3 at Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor
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@DJB, I agree with you that fitness will be the deciding factor in the match. I don't see any way that Nalby can stay with Rafa in a best three out of five match. He may give him trouble, maybe take a set or get it to a tiebreak. Rafa knows exactly what to expect. He knows the dangers of Nalby's game and usually rises to the challenge of matches like this. As far as the question of whether Dolgo has a shot at being Djoker? I doubt it. He has an unusual game that can make him hard to play, but his biggest problem is his inability to keep his concentration and mental focus throughout the whole match. He has a tendency to go walkabout and then, just when you think he's done out of nowhere he starts blasting big serves and winners. He might make it interesting if he goes out and plays freely and goes for his shots. However, I don't see him taking out Djoko at all.
Toggle Commented Sep 4, 2011 on Grounds Pass 9/3 at Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor
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This time I think Steve is right. I guess McHale was an obvious choice after her big upset win, but Roddick and Jack Sock was a dud. Steve pointed out just one of Sock's inexplicable blunders and errors. He was a bit of a mess and quite outclassed last night. Roddick had to struggle a bit to get by a journeyman like Michael Russell and he's not in good form as he himself admitted. However, he just schooled Sock and made it look kind of embarrassing. McHale did get her comeuppance against Kirilenko and admitted after the match that she played tight. It's not easy to duplicate bit upsets back-to-back, but she can build on her result here. I truly dislike the schedule being weighted to favor Americans. I think it's disrespectful to tennis fans. We want to see good tennis, even if it's not played by Americans. I would absolutely love to see Delpo play a night match. And I think real American tennis fans would feel the same way. The retirements are unbelievable this year. Not a good thing to see so many players with injuries and still so much more of the hard court season left to play. Rafa will have his first big test against Nalby. An injured Mahut was never going to trouble him. Even though Nalby's ranking has dropped and he has not been playing well, he has the game to make this a match. Rafa knows that he will have to play very well and be on his toes. This will be a good indicator of exactly where Rafa is at right now.
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2011 on Grounds Pass 9/3 at Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor
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I winced when I saw this blog. I cannot help but be concerned for this young girl and her future and the expectations that may be placed on her after a brilliant win over Marion Bartoli. The name Melanie Oudin did come immediately to mind. Too much attention, too much hype and media, can derail a rising young star. I have to say that I am surprised at Steve's snide remarks about Bartoli, in contrast to the quiet reserve and poise of McHale. Why be so petty about it? I do find it difficult to watch Bartoli's little idiosyncracies on court, however she is an accomplished player with an impressive game. I don't see the need to make it personal and deride her style versus McHale's. I am not surprised that some here thought it reeked of favoritism. I say let's give this young girl time to acclimate and find her way in this sport. She has a tough match ahead of her and will have to once again go out and play her best game to advance. I think it's best to enjoy the moment, savor a hard won and well deserved victory over an established top ten player. Then let the future play itself out. I hope the media doesn't suffocate her with overwhelming hype and over top expectations. I hope she is allowed to continue to improve her game, gain confidence, do the hard work required to be competitive in this sport and maybe most of all, to enjoy it all.
Toggle Commented Sep 2, 2011 on Closing Early at Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor
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I find it a bit ridiculous for some here to question Steve as to why he didn't speak out about this device earlier. He's not the one who is using it! The more important question is, why didn't Nole reveal that he used this device in the past. The only reason he is speaking out now, is because of the WSJ article. It's WADA's responsibility to investigate the possible unfair benefits and advantage this device may give to a player who uses it. Why have they had their heads in the sand? They obviously know about it, because otherwise they would not have even gone on record as saying that the use of this device violated the spirit of the sport. Why stop there? Why did they shirk their responsibility to thoroughly research the possible unfair benefits that could be obtained through its use? Blood doping has been banned and this device supposedly boost red blood cells. So why didn't they invest the time and make the effort to get the facts and then make a definitive decision? As for the Nole fans, all I can say is welcome to the club! We Rafa fans have been dealing with dirty allegations of illegal drug use, steroids and the like for years, all made with absolutely not one iota of factual evidence. Now it's your turn. I think there is a real concern about using this device, but since it hasn't been officially banned then one cannot accuse Nole of cheating. If this device has given Nole such superhuman power, then why did he look so tired in Montreal and Cincy? Fatigue was as much of a problem as his shoulder. He wasn't playing great and it appeared that his long run of success had taken its toll. So that would go against this idea that he has gotten some real benefit from this device. Also, Nole has planned his schedule this year to build in rest periods. He was exhausted after the Miami final with Rafa. He took three weeks off, knowing that he would be playing for three straight weeks in Belgrade, Madrid and Rome. He also didn't participate in any warmup grass court tournament,skipping Queens before Wimbledon. One could attribute his results to wise scheduling, a better diet and training, but most of all his mental toughness and strength. And you don't get to be mentally tough by sitting in some hyperbaric oxygen chamber! In closing, while I do think there are questions about why Nole didn't reveal that he used this device last year and whether he has used it this year, I don't think that his stellar results should be assumed to have come exclusively from this device. That allegation doesn't stand up in light of the facts as I have presented them and as Steve has also said.
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2011 on Egg Role at Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor
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I am glad that Steve wrote this blog. It's important to make people aware of this device and its possible advantages if used by tennis players. I think that WADA needs to investigate this device and come up with a definitive ruling regarding its use. It's not good enough for WADA to state that using these devices is "against the spirit of the sport". That's a copout. I think there is enough information to give real concern about a possible advantage gained by using this device. Boosting red blood cells is definitely like blood doping. WADA need to do whatever research necessary to come to a definitive ruling on this device. If WADA decides to ban its use, then the problem will be how to detect when a player has done so. This deserves the full attention of WADA. There should be no questions and no gray areas regarding this kind of device.
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2011 on Egg Role at Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor
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