Half a set has determined the GOAT

A Wimbledon ballboy once told Jeff Borowiak to get to net, sound advice which helped Borowiak turn a loss into a win at Wimbledon.

Tennis intelligence of the highest form can come from any source. A friend at the local courts I play at made a smart point this week that not one expert tennis pundit, yours truly included, has been able to see. The greatest of all time debate has been determined by a half a set.

The 2017 Australian Open final fifth set had Nadal up 3-1 on Federer and then it was 3-3 before Federer rolled to the 6-3 triumph. Federer now stands with 20 major titles and Nadal’s recent Roland Garros win tallies his total to 18. So, as Pete Lavalle points out, if Nadal closes out Federer in that AO final, their Grand Slam total is locked at 19 apiece.

Federer is four and a half years older than Nadal, with only two more majors. That is a fragile advantage. But considering the wear and tear on Nadal’s legs, you never know when the engine is going to explode.

It’s a marvel that a combined 2,162 ATP match wins (1,211 for RF) and 183 singles titles (101 for RF), that the greatest of all time difference maker is that single half set in Melbourne two years ago.

It’s fascinating evidence of the minute closeness of this rivalry which commenced in 2004 at the Miami Open R32 when the 17 year old Nadal upset ATP world no. 1 Federer 63 63.

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  • Hartt · June 20, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Félix has his doubles match coming up soon. He and Alex de Minaur will face Evans and K. Skupski. Then, no earlier than 5:00 London time will come THE match, FAA vs Kyrios. If FAA wins that, I think he has a shot to win Queen’s. I just hope he is not too exhausted for that match.

  • catherine · June 20, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    Kerber bts Sharapova SS. A pretty worthless match. Angie plays Badosa or Garcia next. She is playing scrappily but improving. I don’t know why the crowds come out for Maria. Conditioned reflex ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 20, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    Could see Maria retiring at US Open. Hope she gets one more crack at Serena, be nice to see that draw rigged in Wimbledon, imagine the ratings for that.

  • Hartt · June 20, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    It looks like they took pity on poor Félix and postponed his match to tomorrow.

    He had a close match against Kyrgios. The first set TB went to Nick and Félix won the 2nd set TB. It looked like it would go to a third set TB, but Nick seemed to be hampered by his knee, although he wasn’t wearing the big knee brace today. Anyway, he did not show a lot of effort at the end of the third set and FAA won.

    There were lots of boos from the crowd. It is hard to know if he just gave up, or whether the knee was not allowing him to play properly. I will give Nick the benefit of the doubt in this case, because he did put forth a good effort in the first two sets.

    He did have one major meltdown, but I was trying to watch Fed’s match at the same time, so doubtless missed other drama.

    This is great for Félix, who is having a terrific grass-court season so far.

  • Hartt · June 20, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    I was glad to see that Kerber won against Sharapova. I don’t watch Maria’s matches, and would be just as glad if she retired. As for fans coming out to watch her, so many are just interested in big name players, and she still seems to be a “name.”

  • catherine · June 20, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Hartt – Re Felix’s match, it was a pity Nick had an injury because it took some of the bloom off Felix’s win. But he’s doing well enough to have a shot at the title.

    I called the Kerber/Sharapova match ‘worthless’ because it told us nothing – except Maria is no longer playing at a pro level. The standard was dire and that wasn’t Angie’s fault. She plays Garcia next which should be better – I expect her to win because exhaustion must catch up with Caro sometime.

    Naomi was listless in Birmingham – she really didn’t appear too engaged.Putinseva is listed at 5’4″ but she seems tiny beside Osaka. Buzzed around like a jet-propelled bee.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 20, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Yes Sharapova has become a bore, she’s only interesting vs Serena at this point. She is overdue to retire. Surprising the media is not pestering her with retirement questions as they constantly did to Seles at the end. That really bothered Seles and her supporters.

  • Hartt · June 20, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    Nick had a bad fall and I just saw it in a replay, had missed it during the match because of watching Fed at the same time. He had treatment during the match – looked like his hip or upper thigh.

    But I lost all sympathy for him when I read about his behaviour during his earlier match. Matt, on “The Racquet” described Nick berating the umpire and then being nasty about the line judges.

    Matt went on to write:
    “(Personally I don’t care about Kyrgios getting angry by a line call, despite it happening to every player and most not getting anywhere near this irritated. But mocking linesmen and woman is low and a step too far. Also have no idea how Carballes Baena was expected to focus on the match when this weird, angry monologue was happening across the net. Probably one of Nick’s biggest matchplay advantages: tilting opponents. The handshake wasn’t the friendliest either).”

    Nick was yammering away during his match with FAA, but the youngster showed wonderful focus in being able to ignore it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 20, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    Catherine are you sure it wasn’t a phantom injury to excuse the painful loss? Great day for Felix, I believe he can reach Wimble QF, SF or F. Or win.

  • Hartt · June 20, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    Scoop, I just saw your post. I believe that Nick was actually injured. As well as the bad fall today, he had been wearing a large knee brace recently (although not during today’s match).

    I saw Nick tank those last points, but did not see him throw his racquet. No wonder fans booed. I have no respect for Kyrgios whatsoever. Some day he will injure a fan or official with this type of behaviour. And this took away from FAA’s moment.

    From “The Racquet”:
    “And finally, after tanking the last few points away of his match vs Auger-Aliassime, Kyrgios threw his racquet out of the stands (into an area with people walking), leaving the court to boo’s. Eventful day for Nick..”

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 20, 2019 at 5:26 pm

    Hartt, he was better behaved when he was first breaking into the tour, he’s getting worse as he gets older. Wonder which player will be the first one to tell it like it is about Nick. So far everyone just stays silent and lets the ship sink. Someone like Federer or Nadal or Djokovic should unload. It’s past the point of absurdity now. It really proves how politically correct 99% of the Tour is now. There’s a lunatic on the loose in pro tennis and nobody is saying anything. Maybe a year in an insane asylum would help Nick snap out of it. Maybe he needs to wear a straitjacket 🙂

  • Hartt · June 20, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    Scoop, I doubt there is anything to be gained by the top players speaking out about Nick. He isn’t going to change his behaviour and the media reports on his behaviour pretty thoroughly, so fans are aware of what he does. If Rafa or Novak spoke out they would just be accused of trying to get back at Nick after he criticized them.

    The tennis officials need to take stronger action. If he repeatedly abuses officials during a match he needs to be disqualified. The next step would be a long suspension. He is now No.43 in the live rankings. If he continues to go down in the rankings he will reach a point where he can’t enter ATP tourneys in any case. He is becoming less relevant as a player, so now he gets attention through what he says.

    I had hoped to avoid watching any of Nick’s matches, but of course I watch all of Félix’s, so had no choice today. Am looking forward to the match between Félix and Stefanos tomorrow. Hopefully it will be an entertaining match between two excellent players and no unnecessary drama!

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 20, 2019 at 8:56 pm

    Yes they don’t really care about Nick, let him keep on imploding, it’s one less threat to them. Let him walk off the cliff. Stefanos is desperate to put Felix in his place, being 0-4 against him lifetime. Stefanos is desperate for that first win. If he loses again to Felix, it’s devastating. Very very devastating to his psyche. More pressure tomorrow on Stefanos, he has to win. To prove to himself he can beat Felix.

  • Doug Day · June 20, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    Scoop, I got it! First Gimelstob pummels Nick to a pulp. Nick “earns” his lesson via amnesia and Justin starts over as a tennis’s Gary Busey.

  • Hartt · June 20, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    Everyone seems to be predicting that Stefanos will win against Félix tomorrow. Both are treats-eligible, so obviously I am a fan of both players, but I will be rooting for FAA.

    Scoop, as you said, this match is extremely important for Stef. I wonder if he will get tight.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 20, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    Doug did anyone ever say you lack creativity of thought? My guess is NO.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 20, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    Hartt, Felix has a major mental edge on Tsitsipas, that IW beatdown of 64 62 was absolutely crushing for Tsitsipas. Perhaps it was permanent damage? Tomorrow will tell a lot. If Felix blows him out again, it’s an ominous sign for Tsitsipas. A loss to Felix tomorrow could Dimitrovize Tsitsipas. If that makes any sense?!

  • Jeff · June 21, 2019 at 1:40 am

    Kyrgios needs to be suspended. Then he had the nerve to criticize Novak’s behavior afterward. How about how he played those last two points against Felix?

    I was just glad that Felix proved himself as the superior player and superior talent. You are not that talented if you are clinically insane, which Kyrgios is. Scoop, you are right. The players do not care about Kyrgios; idiocy since it only helps them to see him implode. If there was a Harlem Globetrotters tour of tennis players, he would be perfect. Since he loves basketball so much, he should play for Harlem anyway. Before he gets sent into an asylum. He needs mental help.

    To beat Dimitrov and Kyrgios on the same day illustrates the failure of that generation compared to Felix’s peers.
    This is a big match for Tsitsipas and Redditors all want him to lose. I think Felix will continue his mastery of the Greek.

  • Hartt · June 21, 2019 at 5:52 am

    We keep hearing that other players like Nick, that he is a great guy off the court. I can’t imagine that they want the worst for him. But to be realistic, what can they do? Perhaps Andy Murray, someone whom Nick likes and respects, has tried to help. But in the end Nick needs to want the help of a psychologist. I know the ATP got him to work with one under the threat of a longer suspension, some time ago. But if the initiative does not come from Nick himself that may not be effective.

    But for now he is not doing himself or tennis any good by his ongoing terrible behaviour on the court.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 21, 2019 at 7:06 am

    Nick is an embarrassment to the sport and himself. Hes become a freak show at this point and it may only get worse. I see no solution or hope. Unless this is all a choreographed charade to get attention.

  • catherine · June 21, 2019 at 9:19 am

    Hartt – I’m still looking for confirmation of Bianca’s w/drawal. She’s still on the players’ list at Eastbourne and no mention on WTA site or anywhere I can find but Tennis Tonic. The tournament starts on Mon so if she has w/d the organisers should tell people and not sell tickets on the assumption that she will be there.

  • Harold · June 21, 2019 at 9:24 am

    Kyrgios is probably getting as big an appearance fee as Tsitsipas. Attracts a crowd, waiting for an explosion.

    Cmon, one good win at Wimby, and Scoop will be saying he can win it all.

    Nobody wants to play him early at Wimby. If semi normal Kyrgios shows up, they’re in danger. He’s a clown! Nike must not have a problem with him, probably run an ad series of his misbehavior, if he ever wins anything

  • catherine · June 21, 2019 at 10:14 am

    Cutie pie silenced 🙂 Bencic rolls over Amanda A 6-2 6-2. Amanda is over promoted IMO. Also, isn’t she Nick’s new squeeze ? I think I read that here.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 21, 2019 at 10:22 am

    No Harold, I’ve given up on Nick, he’s the biggest talent waste in tennis history. He can’t change. Maybe the only hope is Dr Frankenstein giving him a brain transplant trade with David ferrer.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 21, 2019 at 10:24 am

    Felix devastates Tsitsipas again, easily. My pick for Wimbledon is felix.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 21, 2019 at 10:27 am

    Catherine, all teen girls who do well always get major media attention. Media loves to celebrate phenom and public loves new faces, new energy, new talents.

  • Jeff · June 21, 2019 at 10:43 am

    Felix spoke in French about Kyrgios and confirmed he doesn’t like the insane personality:

    “Of course, I could never be friends with someone like that.”

    “I don’t like associating with a person like that.”

    Not sure all the players really like him because he is so annoying to play against. The emperor is showing he has no clothes on.


  • Hartt · June 21, 2019 at 10:59 am

    That is a good interview because Félix talked a lot about the match itself, how he approached it, and how he managed to maintain his composure.

    I was surprised he was so direct in his comments about Nick. He does admire Kyrgios’ skill as a tennis player, however.

    Of course I was absolutely thrilled that FAA won against Tsitsipas today. Poor Stefanos probably would be just as happy if he never played Félix again.

  • Jeff · June 21, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Here is the racket toss on Reddit.


    You will notice so few comments since Kyrgios is a darling in the Reddit community. Hart is right, you can’t take reddit seriously but it is interesting to see how their minds work. Half the Redditors are as mental as Kyrgios himself.

    Tough 3-set loss to Goffin for Zverev. Opens the door for Federer to win in Halle yet again.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 21, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Scathing rebuke by a teenager for an ATP veteran. But he’s right and he knows Nick is a negative influence on any tennis player. Look at all his allies – Sock, Kokkinakis, Tiafoe, Murray – ironic how they are all fading or stagnant or in limbo, though Andy has a legit reason for his fall, the injuries. If Andy can’t get through to Nick nobody can. Smart of Andy to not play doubles with Nick though.

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