Jun/19

7

Rafa and Nole Are Passing By Roger

Today Rafael Nadal dominated Roger Federer in the French Open semifinal 63 64 62. The loss for Federer proves again that both Djokovic and Nadal have passed him, particularly in majors.

Federer is now an abysmal 9-19 vs Nadal and Djokovic in Grand Slams. That’s a devastating statistic.

If you do the math and combine, Federer can’t claim a positive head to head at any majors vs Djokovic and Rafa.

Australian Open: 2-6 (1-3 against Rafa, 1-3 against Djokovic)
Roland Garros: 1-7 (0-6 against Rafa, 1-1 against Djokovic)
Wimbledon: 3-3 (2-1 against Rafa, 1-2 against Djokovic)
US Open: 3-3 (no match against Rafa, 3-3 against Djokovic)

The longer Federer continues to compete on the ATP Tour, the disparity of these major head to heads will expand wider and wider.

Which will weaken the position that Federer is the greatest of all time.

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54 comments

  • Dan Markowitz · June 8, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Fed is more of a 2 out of 3 set player now so slams look to be out of his sphere, but he had beaten Nadal five straight in a row so he can obviously still compete with Nadal and Nole.

    Is this the women’s finals no network head wants to see? Ash Barty v Vondrousova! Wow, I can’t even bear to watch that match. I mean it might be competitive, but this is a bad look for the women.

  • Hartt · June 8, 2019 at 8:53 am

    I am looking forward to that match, and imagine there are a lot of tennis fans who feel the same way. I enjoy watching Ash, and haven’t seen a lot of Marketa, so am curious to see her in the final.

  • catherine · June 8, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Dan – who was your pick for the final ? I thought you liked Barty – or maybe I got that wrong.

    Why is it a bad look for the women ? Either of these two could win all sorts of titles in the future. Are you suggesting the WT should fix the final for the TV from those players who bombed out ? Keys vs Anasimova ?
    Sloane Stephens anyone ?
    As you know, tennis can be like this. Your fave Osaka lost I believe, but that’s life. My fave didn’t get past the first match but I’m not complaining.

  • Hartt · June 8, 2019 at 10:28 am

    That was such a great win by Thiem, especially when the rain break disrupted his momentum in the fifth set.

    My pulse has finally returned to normal. That match was TOO exciting.

    Having to finish a long, tough match today will make it even harder for Dominic to defeat Rafa tomorrow, but I hope Dom can make it a close, entertaining match.

  • catherine · June 8, 2019 at 11:48 am

    That was over quickly. Marketa sunk by nerves and the occasion I would guess. Ash fired up to win. First Oz women’s title since Margaret Court in 1975. The crowd can go home now.

  • catherine · June 8, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Court won in 1973 I think.

  • Hartt · June 8, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    Yes, the on court interviewer said Court was the last Aussie to win RG, and it was 1973. Ash was quick to say that Sam had done well at the tourney.

    It’s a shame that Marketa was hampered by nerves, so it was not a competitive match. But it will be a good learning experience for the youngster, and she should be able to play better in her next big match.

  • Thomas Tung · June 8, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Not a competitive match, but we got to see Barty show off a bit of her arsenal there, along with making full use of her doubles experience to make the ball dance every which way on the court — something that rarely happens on the women’s tour (Su-Wei Hsieh excepted, of course).

  • catherine · June 8, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    Thomas – Just be grateful you weren’t watching in 1988 when Steffi Graf beat Zvereva 6-0 6-0 in just over 30 mins. On her way to the Grand Slam. Sometimes one-sided matches tell you something.

    I’m slightly disgusted, but not amazed, at the number of unpleasant comments on social media about this match. Same old same old…men’s final might also be one-sided but we won’t see much criticism of that I bet. (I know I know – I should stop reading online comments )

    I thought Ashleigh played brilliantly, mixed style, everything people have always been asking for in women’s tennis. Barty and Halep are both shortish players but Ash has developed a game where this is not so much a disadvantage. Simona hasn’t done the same and she seems to have peaked now.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 8, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    It was a Barty masterpiece, Andreescu gets a lot of credit for her variety and creativity, so too should Barty.

  • Hartt · June 8, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    I agree, Ash was brilliant. Even she acknowledged that she’d played very well. She is fun to watch, with her wonderful variety. She especially likes grass, so she could do very well at Wimby.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 8, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    It’s really silly to mock a major final that has a blowout scoreline, it happens in every sport, first round knockouts, 48-0 playoff games, 10-2 World Series games, Kentucky Derby winner by 25 lengths. Why not just credit the dominant winner for a masterpiece instead of ridiculing the result or the loser? Bottom line is Barty created a tennis masterpiece. And she has a lot more experience in major finals than young Vondrousova.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 8, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    It’s not so much about the players, but the stories attached to these players. People like to follow the stories attached to players as much as they like to watch a player play. That’s why Serena is larger than life or Navratilova was or Evert or Graf or Seles. The story of Ash Barty is developing, but she’s not a colorful personality and her story of giving up tennis to play pro rugby is a very unusual one, but I don’t know if at Wimby or the US Open, people will be flocking to her matches. Vondrousova does not strike me with her story although it’s just beginning. The stories in women’s tennis are not very compelling right now except for Anismova and Andreescu. And we’ll see if they soon add to their stories.

    On the men’s side, obviously the stories of the Top 3 are epic. Who would ever believe the GOAT would come from Switzerland?! None of the American men except for Tiafoe have interesting stories. You don’t have the brash precocious New Yorker or the skinny mop-haired guy taught by his mother and grandmother. You don’t have the Las Vegas flash taught by his Iranian boxer father sent off to a Florida academy where a the Forehand Maker ran the shop. There are none of those stories out there.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 8, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    Bartys story is as dramatic and touching and compelling as any player story in tennis. She is likable and first class. She is the best thing to happen for tennis since Osaka emergence. Wta could not ask for a better story.

  • catherine · June 9, 2019 at 1:40 am

    Dan – people can’t help their ‘stories’ or their personalities. Everyone has a story somewhere but some are more public than others. Remember when Chris was criticised for being bland and boring ? You might not, but I can assure you she was. And Navratilova ? Her story’s a bit complicated as I’m sure you know. Not tremendously popular for a while. Justine Henin, who seems to have acquired legendary status, she didn’t have much of a story, or to me, much of a personality. I could go on.

    I imagine most spectators watch tennis for the game, not just the personalities. Not much good having a great personality if you’re crap at the game. The WTA tries to build up the players in this way and ends up looking silly. I’ve been critical of the women’s event at RG this year because I think quite a few players underperformed – I couldn’t care less about their life histories, many of which we don’t know anyway.

    And what’s epic about Nadal ? Spain has a famous tennis history. Rafa was a talented boy who was groomed to become the great player he is. Admirable but hardly ‘epic’.

    Scoop’s right. Ashleigh is a gift to the WTA. And it was cricket she gave up tennis for, not rugby.

  • catherine · June 9, 2019 at 2:01 am

    I notice the WTA is now trying to bolster the Barty story by reporting her height as 5’7″, which would make her taller than Simona, instead of5’5″, a fact which actually makes her feats more remarkable. Can’t get anything right, the WTA 🙂

  • Dan Markowitz · June 9, 2019 at 6:08 am

    Nadal’s story? Quite possible the best of the bunch. He comes from where, Majorca? Alright, Moys came from Majorca, but no one ever knew that until Nadal came around. His uncle was a famous soccer player. The other uncle, a failed tennis player, takes Nadal under his wing, switches him as the story is told from being a righty to a lefty—whoever did that before?—and teaches the young Nadal all these arcane discipline rules that Nadal lives by and makes him not only this historic junior player—Spain has had good players before but nothing like this devout from Majorca—but a kind of Forrest Gump of tennis. He’s got biceps—what tennis player before Nadal had biceps?-/and he wears sleevesless shirts to display them and Pirates baggy shorts. He hits the ball like a combination of Bjorn Borg/Guillermo Vilas and Muster zapped with steroids (not saying he was on them, but he’s from Spain, one of the steroid capitols). All that and he’s got all these tics on the court like pulling at his crotch and lining his water bottles up just so. He’s like this tennis genius aligned with an obsessive compulsive. He’s like Babe Ruth married to Bobby Fisher. Nadal’s story—Epic!

  • Dan Markowitz · June 9, 2019 at 6:30 am

    And I don’t want to be criticized as being sexist, but a player like Ashleigh Barty is never going to be the Next Big Thing. And we all know why? It’s no mystery. Yes, her game is interesting, different, but come on, she looks like she just walked out of the pub. Alright, I hear she has a boyfriend, not gay that’s good because we all know that a gay female player with the exception of Navratilova, who’s body was epic as were her famous or beautiful girlfriends–is not going to draw the attention of a Sharapova or a Bouchard.

    Osaka again is a women’s player who is not overtly attractive. That’s also why in my mind–I know it’s a bit of a warped one–why players like Halep, Kerber and Kvitova are not big big stars. Are they attractive? Yes, each one, but their not beauties or sex sizzlers. Venus Williams was big when she broke through, but it was her younger sister who was better, we soon found out, much better, but also had a body built by Atlas and Racquel Welch. Was she beautiful or a beast? Both, and that added to the intrigue. Stephens and Keys both have that attractive sizzle, but you’re right, they’re both not that good of tennis players and that’s why they’re not widely popular. Bouchard had the chance to be the next wildly popular star female player, but she blew it by playing like she’s Anna Kournikova.

    Clijsters a bigger star than Henin even though the latter was a better player. Pierce bigger than Mauresmo even though the latter was probably the better player. Why? Both were more attractive and in the women’s game more than the men’s game, but it’s still a factor, looks and having the sex sizzles builds a player’s stardom.

  • Hartt · June 9, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Mladenovic and Babos just won the doubles championship against the Chinese team of Duan and Zheng. They won in SS, and showed their doubles experience. The Chinese team had played together just once before, in an ITF back in 2012. In her speech, Zheng said they will play more tourneys together. Duan was in tears during her speech.

    Kiki will become the No.1 player in doubles. It’s also nice for the French fans to have a title winner in this RG.

  • catherine · June 9, 2019 at 7:54 am

    Dan – I really don’t know what to say, so I’m not going to say anything except women’s tennis isn’t a beauty contest and some of your other comments are outrageous. I don’t have the energy to get into a hissy fit about these things and I’m not overly bothered.

    Barty’s not the NBT because she’s already there. And I doubt if she gives a damn what anyone thinks of her looks. You seem to confuse ‘stardom’ (ie physical attractiveness) with being a great player. Not so.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2019 at 8:29 am

    I see Nadal’s story as no more intriguing than any other no. 1 player in the world, they are all miracles. What I find most intriguing is why was Uncle Toni not there in Paris in Rafa’s box but he was there to sit in Ruud’s box vs Federer?

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2019 at 8:33 am

    I think to assert that Barty’s only shot to become a major tennis or sports star is to develop sex appeal is irresponsible and unfair. That is to objectify female players as sex objects over being great tennis players. A female tennis player does not have to be a beauty with a perfect model body to be a star. They only need to play great tennis, win big titles and have a pleasant attractive personality which Barty has in excess.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2019 at 8:35 am

    Ying Ying Duran is a good story, she was a volleyball player and got a late start in tennis and struggled for many years. I saw her crush a NJ girl Jan ABaza in US Open qualies about eight years ago 6061 after Abaza got the WC last minute and drove up from FL.

  • catherine · June 9, 2019 at 8:48 am

    Hartt – Kiki and Babos make a great team and if I were Sascha I’d be looking to see Kiki build on those doubles skills on the singles court. Certainly has helped Barty.

    Chinese pair did pretty well considering their lack of experience. Interesting background from Scoop on Duan.

  • Hartt · June 9, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Apparently Uncle Toni is there. In fact, someone said that her Spanish friends saw him at Rafa’s practices at RG.

    Ruud trains at Nadal’s academy, so Toni would be watching him in an official capacity.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Rafa may get old over an afternoon. Thiem now has momentum to shock the world. Fantastic high quality final. Rafa wants this more than his first. Incredible desire passion.

  • Harold · June 9, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Or, Nadal breaks first game of 3rd and rolls 1and1 from there..

    Dont want to harp on gamesmanship, but Nadal leaving the court after losing the 2nd, turned out to be the momentum changer he needed.
    Thiem has probably seen every kind of gamesmanship, but it still works..Nadal comes back looking like he showered, hair combed..its a joke..

  • Dan Markowitz · June 9, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Women’s tennis isn’t a beauty contest, at some level of course it is. Why was such a fuss made over Kournikova? Did Bouchard’s looks and the attention paid to them drop her from being a Top 5 player at 20 to being no. 77 today at 25, of course they did. Was Ana Ivanovic such a great player or did she get so much attention because of her looks.

    I’m not objectifying women’s tennis player on their looks and sexuality alone, of course they have to be good tennis players too to get attention, fame and fortune, but is not the Billie Jean King era where top players looked like Betty Stove or Pam Shriver or Rosie Casal. Women’s tennis now is Madison Avenue and to become a big star you have to command the fashion, attractiveness and sexuality stirrings.

    I’m sorry, Ash Barty can win 10 slams in a row and she won’t be a star on the level of Sharapova or a Graf. I’ve seen people rave about her game on this site. I must be missing something because I don’t see greatness in her. She plays variety like Andreescu and that throws all these other one-dimension women’s players out there today into a tizzy. The young Serena would clean her clock.

    As for Nadal’s story, you don’t find it more compelling than other no. 1 players like Sampras or Edberg or Wilander? I do. I don’t think every no. 1 player has an incredible story. A lot of the times they’re not Djokovic’s escaping civil war they’re just privileged kids who had one parent who moved the earth to get their kid the best training like an Andy Murray and that kid had preternatural talent. What’s special about Murray’s other than he’s from Scotland?

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    Harold, the delay seemed to change the match. How many minutes was it? Rafa on clay and Mike Tyson 1986-89 are the two most brutal, formidable aura of invincibility examples in the history of sport.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    That he was coached by his mom, and a skinny beanstalk of a kid fought his way to the top of the tennis world after Rafa Fed and Djokovic tried to destroy his career with all those heartbreaking losses. Murray overcome the 3 greatest players of all time and became a great himself. I can’t think of another player who suffered for so long before becoming the top dog himself. Plus Andy is a relaxed funny guy, the most normal of the big four. You can learn this in Facing Andy Murray, which is just about complete and should be ready by Wimby. $8.99 on amazon 🙂

  • Harold · June 9, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    I know I’ve been away for a bit. But Dan’s two favorite players now, are Fed, and Serena? Wow!

    Old Tennis Week posters would be scratching their heads

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    Harold you should know by now Dan is well known for making 180 degree spins. Remember he reversed on Blake and Fish too. DAn has eclectic or oddball tennis tastes, he is the only tennis expert who still lavishes praise on Gianluca Pozzi and Vince Spadea. Ivanovic was a great player, won a major and got to no. 1, Hall of Fame she’s a shoo in.

  • catherine · June 9, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    I think Dan’s a bit confused about women’s tennis and ‘stardom’ – one moment he’s talking about being super-attractive and a sex symbol and ‘Madison Avenue’ and the next he’s including Steffi Graf in this gallery. Now Steffi was a great player but she wasn’t in any way a natural beauty and wasn’t marketed as such. People came to see Steffi because she was good. You try to sell glamour, sex etc without the talent and see what you get. Kournikova ? Right. Bouchard ? Right again.

    There’s being a sex symbol and there’s being a great player. No reason the two should exist together and the likelihood is that most of the time they won’t. Who cares ? This is a ridiculous argument to be having in 2019. I suspect Barty would find it laughable.

  • catherine · June 9, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Now here’s a thing – is Ashleigh 5’5″ or is she 5’7 ” ?
    The records say the first but out of her own mouth I’ve just heard her say she’s 5’7″. What happened to those 2 inches ? Did Ashleigh suddenly grow or did the WTA tape measure lie ? I think we should be told.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 9, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Never the case I changed on Blake. True story yesterday my son was playing in the quarters of the 16’s event at the NY Tennis Club in the Bronx that hails itself as the first tennis club in NYC and it was a long afternoon he’d already won in the Rd of 16 earlier. I walked into clubhouse and on the counter was Blake’s Breaking Back, a clear thievery of title from my Break Point book with Spadea and I picked it up and brought it out to the court Callum’s match was on and tried reading it as he played (something I once saw Blake’s father do during one of his son’s matches in Miami that impressed me), but I couldn’t read it because there’s still a block u have with Blake and also when Callum’s playing I can never avert my eyes. Maybe I should have he lost.

    For the record Harold my three favorite players are still Dustin Brown, Dudu Sela and Mannarino and on the women’s side, Giorgi.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 9, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Blake’s father was not reading his son’s book but rather some big time on Western Civilization or some weighty subject.

  • Jeff · June 9, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    I certainly think women’s tennis would be helped by more attractive and successful players. Sharapova brought many casual viewers to the sport for sure. The German girl who scored the goal the other day in the World Cup is a beauty too.

    Having said that, there have been many great women champions with great personalities like Barty and the sport hasn’t suffered. They can’t all come from central casting.

    And while it’s true that Bouchard has washed out, Svitolina is arguably more attractive and has to be considered a possible future Slam contender. And in general, you would have to believe the odds are in favor of a few cutie pies in the top 40 on any given year just based on numbers alone.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 9, 2019 at 3:27 pm

    Rayni Fox was my personal favorite. You’re right, Catherine, Graf was not a beauty, great legs though, awesome player, but there have been a number of beauties who were slam winners or contenders over the years, Ivanovic, Sabatini, Hantchova, Sharapova and Hingis was certainly attractive. Never been any great American female players who were beauties. See, I love discussing this topic. There’s always the wax that beautiful women don’t want to put the effort and toil into becoming tennis champs. Svitolina has a great body, but I don’t think she’s beautiful.

    Go to my new web site, tennisbodies.com.

  • Hartt · June 9, 2019 at 4:45 pm

    How about equal time for women tennis fans? We demand more top male players who are exceptionally good-looking as well! Why do we have to cope with players like Novak, who is merely a great talent, but will never win any prizes in the looks department? 🙂

  • Hartt · June 9, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Catherine, maybe Ash Barty really is 5’7″. Today she looked about the same height as Chris Evert, who is listed as 5’6″ and probably was wearing heels.

    Bianca Andreescu said she had to get her height changed on the WTA site, and it took a long time. She said she is 5’7″ and was listed as 5’5″. She changed the info on Wiki herself.

  • Dan Markowitz · June 9, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    You make a valid point: Djoko, Fed, Nadal no Brad Pitt’s. Diego Schwartzmann’s a good-looking guy, kind of looks like Matt Damon. Benoit Paire handsome as is Nico Mahut and Herbert, Fognini’s handsome as is Pouille and Pella.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    Dan are you sure Mr Blake was not reading Facing Federer? James and Brian Barker had some interesting anecdotes about Roger in it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    Sharapova definitely has attracted a lot of non tennis fans, I know several who love her and she is the only player they really follow. Sharapova story and character transcends the sport, the father and her coming to Florida with a few hundred bucks and made their dreams come true. Maria story may be the best tennis story of all time. I can’t think of a better story, one that would make a better movie than the Maria Sharapova story. Her book was excellent too, loved it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    Chris Evert was beautiful in my opinion and she was my first sports crush age 8 or ten, we saw her in Boston hotel lobby and she was super nice to me and gave autograph. Didn’t even know what tennis was back then. Then saw her later on TV and that’s how I got into tennis. Then McEnroe and Connors were fascinating, Borg too. But I always rated Evert even with them interest wise. Followed her whole career then even did a Biofile with her on the phone in my rookie year in 1992 and during the interview she said, “You ask great questions” after I asked her her favorite athletes from other sports to watch.

  • Scoop Malinowski · June 9, 2019 at 11:20 pm

    I think the ATP players I hear females talk about the most for being most attractive are Haas, Lopez, Fritz, Moya, Rafter, Tsitsipas and Nadal.

  • Jeff · June 10, 2019 at 12:14 am

    Lots of people are enamored by Tsitsipas. His countrywoman Sakkari at the top of the list and Naoimi too.

    Taylor Fritz? Don’t know about that.

    The best looking player in history may be Dimitrov based on the attention he has gotten from females everywhere he goes. One can only imagine what it’s like to be swooned over by the ladies like that.

    Sharapova had the total package. Good looking enough to be a model, amazing legs and Russian smoldering sexuality. Maybe a Blake Lively could play her in the movie. I would be interested in being one of her love interests in the movie.

  • catherine · June 10, 2019 at 5:28 am

    Hartt – I’ve read a few reports of Ashleigh’s FO triumph and it seems her height is now firmly fixed at 5’5″ and will be until she retires I dare say. Some unchivalrous reporter also referred to her as ‘squat’. Dear me.

    5’5″ seems the WTA go-to height. Bianca is clearly taller than that. You wonder where WTA gofers get their information from.

  • Hartt · June 10, 2019 at 6:29 am

    There are some good looking male players, and I admit, watching an attractive player does not hurt one’s enjoyment. I just wish there wasn’t SO much emphasis placed on the women players’ looks.

    While we are on the subject of male players, I was downright sad when Haas retired, and was pleased whenever they showed him watching matches during IW.

    The women on the other tennis site where I chat, and we probably outnumber the men on that one, do discuss the men’s looks. We agree that Moya needs to lose the beard. The Rafans think Rafa is extremely attractive. We agree that James Blake is very good looking. And we think Fritz looks a bit like an odd character on a TV show, I forget the character’s name. It’s the widow’s peak that does it. And we think Karen Khachanov is very attractive.

  • Hartt · June 10, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Catherine, I am glad there is now agreement on Ash’s height. The fact that she is a short player makes what she is accomplishing even more impressive.

  • catherine · June 10, 2019 at 7:25 am

    Hartt – I think the truth is that Ashleigh is indeed 5’7″ because that’s what she’s said herself, but some tennis reporters have simply looked her up on the WTA site and now firmly believe she’s 2 inches shorter 🙂

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