Aug/19

14

When Will Novak Djokovic Overthrow Roger Federer As The GOAT?

There’s little doubt that Roger Federer is the ‘Greatest of All-Time’ (G.O.A.T) when it comes to men’s singles tennis. The Swiss Maestro has a record 20 Grand Slam titles, including eight victories at Wimbledon, six at the Australian Open and five at Flushing Meadows. Spaniard Rafael Nadal may sit two behind him, with 18 Grand Slam titles but undoubtedly, the one to watch is Novak Djokovic who is two behind him, on 16.

The Super Serb has already won two of the three Grand Slams in men’s singles tennis this year, with victory at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Can he make it a hat-trick and retain the US Open title? The bookies seem to think so, with Djokovic the outright favourite and online, you can find the US Open tennis best odds. At the age of 32, Djokovic has age on his side and if he stays injury-free, there’s no reason why he can’t carry on playing until he’s 38 like Federer. Former World number 4 and two-time French Open runner-up Robin Soderling seems to think so, too.

Grand Slam success

Excluding 2017, when an elbow injury plagued his season, every year since 2011, Djokovic has won at least one Grand Slam title. 2011 and 2015 saw him come agonisingly close to winning all four major titles in a calendar year – with defeat in the semi-finals of the French Open in 2011 and losing the 2015 Wimbledon final to Stan Wawrinka.

On average, Djokovic wins two Grand Slams a year; more recently, the Australian and French Opens in 2016, and Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018. With this in mind, he could make it 20 Grand Slam titles by 2021 at the very earliest.

As well as his 16 titles, Djokovic has finished runner-up on nine occasions and if you look at the opponents he’s come up against in those nine matches, five are against Federer or Nadal – meaning in other circumstances, he could be on top in terms of Grand Slam titles. Across all four major tournaments, Djokovic has a win percentage of 87%, which is surprisingly higher than Federer’s overall win percentage (86%) and on-par with Nadal’s whose is also 87%.

2019 so far

As we have already discussed, Djokovic has two Grand Slam titles to his name. He beat Nadal in the final of the Australian Open (6-3, 6-2, 6-3) and successfully defended his Wimbledon title over Roger Federer, in what proved to be a thrilling final. The Serb won the longest singles final in Wimbledon history 7–6(7–5), 1–6, 7–6(7–4), 4–6, 13–12(7–3).

Away from the four major tournaments, Djokovic has had success in other ATP World Tour events, winning the Madrid Open and losing the final of the Italian Open. In the former, he defeated up-and-coming Greek player Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4; while the King of Clay was victorious on his favoured surface in Rome. He’s currently playing at the Cincinnati Open, another ATP World Tour event and another title he aims to retain.

Last year’s US Open

Despite an early scare in the first two rounds of the US Open 2018, which saw Djokovic take both contests to four sets (vs Marton Fucsovics and Tennys Sandgren), after dropping one to two unseeded opponents, he soon found his stride and went on to record straight-sets victories over all of his competitors.

The draw was kind to Djokovic, who could have quite easily found himself up against long-standing rival Federer in the quarter-finals. However, the Swiss Maestro lost to unseeded Australian John Millman. No such issues for Djokovic, who dispatched him convincingly 6-3, 6-4, 6-3. He also managed to avoid a final showdown against Nadal who lost his semi-final to Juan Martin del Potro. It meant that the two met in a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2013 Wimbledon semi-final. The Serb was triumphant that day and was victorious over the Argentine once again winning the final in straight sets 6-3, 7-6(7–4), 6-3.

Conclusion

It’s definitely a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ Djokovic overthrows Federer as G.O.A.T, in terms of Grand Slam titles anyway. One thing is for certain though, the ‘big three’ have done wonders for the sport and we hope that they continue for a few more years yet.

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104 comments

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 14, 2019 at 10:40 am

    At this point the writing is on the wall and there can be no doubt that Djokovic is destined to overtake Nadal and finally Federer as the leader of the all time Grand Slam total. My guess is Djokovic will amass 24 Grand Slam singles titles. Maybe even more. And Felix Auger-Aliassime is his heir apparent.

  • Harold · August 14, 2019 at 1:16 pm

    When all 3 are retired there should be a Tennis Town Hall with the best Tennis writers, and seats filled by tennis fans to discuss the GOAT question.

    You can have the numbers crunchers, the style points army.

    But it probably is an individual thing who is considered the best imo..

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 14, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Harold, it will be undisputed that Djokovic is going to be the new king when the dust settles in about 2025. Who knows, maybe Felix will suddenly turn it up five notches after he adds Pete Sampras and Marcelo Rios to his coaching team in 2020 and suddenly wins the Grand Slam five years in a row (for 25)

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 14, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    Had a feeling Nishioka would beat Nishikori, he was really excited for this first meeting with the Japanese hero, and he rose to the momentous occasion.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 14, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Worried about Tsitsipas, since losing to Felix in Queens, he has lost first round at Wimbledon, Canada but won three rounds in Washington DC before losing to Kyrgios. He just won the second set breaker vs Struff and is in the third set. BTW listed as Tsitsipas coach is his father Apostoulos, not Mouratoglou.

  • Andrew Miller · August 14, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    I’m rooting for their opponents these days. I’d much rather see Dimitrov get his first slam than any big three player get another one.

  • Hartt · August 14, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Yes, Novak could well end up with the most Slams, but of course that depends on him avoiding a serious injury.

  • Jeff · August 14, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    One more note on Tommy Paul. Andrew said that he isn’t too upset about the wild card, it is only Fritz and his buddies. Looking at Paul’s Twitter confirms this since he has not gone on a rant.

    It stands to reason then that the USTA told Paul that he wouldn’t get a WC because of his shenanigans two years ago with Johnson in the doubles. No doubt Paul’s tanking was probably a result of his bromance with Kyrgios and he tanked to look cool to Kyrgios and probably some babes as well. We know Paul is quite friendly with the Bouchard gals, as is Nick.

    So basically the USTA laid down the law to Paul that he can’t get anymore WCs and he has accepted and taken responsibility for his behavior. It seems like a sign of maturity.

    Did anyone remember that double-bagel doubles match or watch it? How bad was it?

  • Andrew Miller · August 14, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Sorry to hear Tsitsipas hasn’t hired a full time coach. Mouratoglou academy is a good place to train, but players need a set of voices to find their mark on tour. Seles always had a lot of different coaches, even if her dad was a coordinator.

    Speaking of which: Seles fall to earth could also be seen as the absence of her dad in her court. She came back on tour in 1996 or so. He died in 1998. So he saw her win another AO crown, get much of her form back, and then he was sick.

    Can’t underestimate this kind of event in a player’s career. For Blake, he achieved after his dad’s passing, and had some kind of promise he kept to go on. Seles though I’d imagine she was crushed (as anyone would be) – she truly did lose her main coach and inspiration. Remember he would draw faces like whiskers on tennis balls to motivate a very young Seles.

    A death to Peter Carter motivated Federer, who had dedicated titles to his former coach. Without Peter Carter, Federer would be a nice player but he wouldn’t be Federer.

    A player’s place in the game is determined as much by chance and alchemy as it is by other things. A player works hard, fine. But why? What pushes them to hit another thousand balls, or change their serve, or watch endless clips to scout opponents?

    It isn’t always the desire to be better, or even the desire to be the best. It can also be they have commitments and are keeping promises. I have no idea what drives Nadal but I guarantee it’s not something that’s created from scratch.

    Richard Williams, always a character and a half, had a huge impact on his daughters. They were going to be pro tennis players even without any history of tennis in the family.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 14, 2019 at 9:35 pm

    At this point for Dimitrov winning any tournament looks impossible for him, even a 250. Maybe he should go the doubles and mixed doubles route for a whole to regain confidence. Or WTT next year. His confidence tank is bone dry.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 14, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Jeff, two of my friends were at the Johnson Paul double bagel loss to Fognini and the other Italian, he said they were goofing around the whole match, were not trying.

  • Andrew Miller · August 14, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    People think I’m crazy when I suggest players can get confidence from any win anywhere. From a well played doubles match. From WTT. It was no coincidence that DY and Harrison both played WTT and both did well there and then both had great summers in 2016. It’s not the same for every player but look at it this way, Harrison won his qualies match then immediately played the WTT finals, was selected MVP, his brother qualified for US open also, then Harrison played his heart out through to the third round in 2016, then onwards to his first and only title in 2017.

    One year later he becomes himself again, and now in the muck.

    When a coach now says we’ll go to the challengers blah blah. Ok, I think it’s more than singles match play…it’s match play, as much as possible. And good vibes. And learning new stuff.

    Isnt the confidence tank theory real?

  • Hartt · August 14, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Andrew, your idea doesn’t sound crazy at all. It seems perfectly sensible.

    Shapo lost his singles match today, but won in doubles with Bopanna. He and Bopanna got to the SFs in Montreal. Denis’ net game has improved and these wins must help his confidence when he is having a bad patch in singles. (Not to mention bringing in some $.)

  • Jeff · August 14, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    Scoop, that confirms what I read about it as well. No one should ever be double bageled in a Slam doubles match, and especially not versus Fognini and Bollelli – who are hardly formidable and ended up defaulting out of the tournament.

    There is no doubt the USTA is punishing Tommy for that tomfoolery, which likely came as a result of Kyrgios’ influence. Kyrgios can get away with things like that but Tommy Paul can’t; let’s hope he knows that now.

  • Andrew Miller · August 14, 2019 at 11:44 pm

    Rublev d. Wawrinka. Nice work. Rublev has a fine game.

  • Jeff · August 15, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Another boorish display by Kyrgios. First he admitted he would tank, he broke rackets in the back, yelled obscenities about Nadal and then spit at the chair umpire.

    Why does the Tour condone and placate this behavior? Just because so-called “fans” like this? Because he signs autographs and thinks that makes him a role model for kids when he acts like a 6 year old all the time? No real tennis fan thinks much of him; if you do, you really don’t appreciate the greatness of these players.

  • Hartt · August 15, 2019 at 6:46 am

    I imagine there will be major repercussions for Nick’s behaviour. However, yet another fine won’t accomplish anything. At the very least they should do the same as with Fognini at the USO two years ago. Any major bad behaviour and Fognini would get suspended. He is nearing the end of the two-year time period and cleaned up his act. I don’t know if the same sanction would work with Kyrgios, but it is worth trying. Supervisor Gerry Armstrong watched the match, and so he certainly has enough evidence for the ATP to take action.

    I kept watching last night’s match because I am a Khachanov fan and wanted to see Karen win. But otherwise I would have stopped, there was no real enjoyment once Nick started his antics. I won’t watch a Kyrgios match in the future unless one of my favourites is playing and am not sure about watching even then.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 15, 2019 at 9:11 am

    I didnt’ see the chaos Kyrgios created last night but as an unofficial clinical psychologist my guess is it’s just Nick hating, HATING losing and the pressure from everyone expecting him to win that is the root of this behavior. Nothing short of no. 1 or winning a major will ever be enough for the gallery, the media, the fans. Everyone expects the highest from Nick every week and when he fails to produce, he feels like a shi7 loser. He fights back he fights as hard as he can and then when he concludes a loss is in the cards, he just can’t swallow it and then the behavior starts and snowballs and Nick spread the torture he is feeling to everyone watching. It’s a unique experience to see the best and worst Nick. He’s become a major star attraction, which Nick will show up? Hope it’s the Super Nick, let’s go watch. Last night was the worst Nick, next week who knows?

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 15, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Jeff, Actually Fognini and Bolelli were a top team for a while, they had many wins together, maybe even won a major doubles title together, or made a major final. One bad doubles match is no reason to hold against Paul though who has redeemed himself this year with his very positive results.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 15, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Andrew, if Harrison valued and loved WTT why didn’t he play this year or last year, or since his big WTT year? I don’t believe he’s ever played it since. It was a good fun time in 2016 but it’s minor leagues and maybe he didn’t want to lower himself to minor league ball again, as fun as it was. Nobody wants to be remembered for being a WTT hero.

  • Harold · August 15, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Was st the Harrison /Raonic match at US Open the year Harry has the good run. Raonic was hurt the last 3 sets. Should have stopped.. let’s not give Harry more credit than he deserves.

    Another young American that fell for the hype, and never came close to reaching anything near those goals

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 15, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Yes Harold, my take on that Harrison vs Raonic match was that Raonic was overconfident going into it, expected a cake walk but Harrison stunned him with excellent tennis. Raonic crumbled and blamed it on injury. Raonic has had that habit. He ducked the 17 Delray Final vs the red hot Sock a few years ago, blaming some leg injury vs Delpo in the semi which I saw but he showed no sign of any injury in that win. Sock was red hot then and Raonic could not afford the loss as he was struggling with confidence and had a shaky history vs Sock. This was back when Raonic was on the edge of being an elite player and I believe he faked out of a feared loss to Sock. Sock beat Raonic 75 64 in Wash DC later that summer. Just my theory but I’m entitled to it.

  • Andrew Miller · August 15, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Hartt, Pouille when playing well is outstanding. He’s another guy like Baghdatis – sometimes he looks like a top five player. Then he has Top 300 losses. When Pouille is seeing the ball well, he’s a fantastic player.

    I’ll need to watch some clip. My guess just looking at Shapovalov is that he’s not at the consistency level needed and is a little smaller physically. Guys like Mardy Fish, who weren’t as good as Shapovalov in terms of technique, benefitted from hard core physical fitness and training. Really let them play through tough spots.

    Assuming Shapovalov gets the right regime for fitness, I like him. I like what he’s capable of. He’s got a thirst for big matches. But not a thirst for early rounds! Same problem for a few players.

  • Harold · August 15, 2019 at 11:10 am

    Guess in your world every loss can be explained. Raonic faked an injury after splitting sets. Guys lose to number 1-5, but they get to 4, and 4..you always say theyre playing top 5 tennis because they kept it close. Its never maybe 1-5 played top 100 tennis that day..

    Everything can be explained to fit any narrative, my point was, watching, I didnt think Raonic was faking. Harry won 3 qualies, beat Mannarino in the first round, then fell to Bags after the Raonic win. If thats considered his best run, we were all wrong about him

  • Andrew Miller · August 15, 2019 at 11:17 am

    Scoop, Harrison played WTT in 2017 (another pretty good year for him). And he’s playing this year too – given he’s returning from injury, this is a good move. Harrison is a guy that wears the emotion on his sleeve and doesn’t pretend otherwise, so soaking up some applause this summer in front of crowds helps him a lot.

    I appreciate the Harrison bashing but need to look at the facts, which I didn’t do. Harrison’s 2018 wasn’t awful. He’s smart to play doubles (I imagine this boosts cash flow – Harrison’s married so he has some pressure to do well out there!). He’s kept this up, good for him.

    On the singles side of the ledger, Harrison plays opponents well that he’s played before. From what I can tell looking at the results alone, Harrison needs his coaches to do some serious scouting so that he doesn’t spend the whole match against a new player trying to understand their tendencies.

    We already know Harrison thinks a lot on the court. But Federer has tons and tons of scouting. Agassi had Gilbert scout, and BG had no problem scouting.

    Anything that works for guys at the top of the ladder works for guys that aren’t.

    I’m not as negative now after taking a look at Harrison’s results. They’re bad for this year and they’re bad against most lower ranked opponents that he’s never faced but who have the benefit of having seen a ton of Harrison (they can even prep by watching his matches on YouTube).

  • Hartt · August 15, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Shapo hits with surprising power for a player his size, both his serve and his groundies. I am not sure the problem his fitness, he’s had a regular fitness trainer for some time and is said to be a hard worker.

    I agree with what you said in an earlier post about players in general. They have to keep improving their games. I think Shapo needs to make a few changes, and he has said that he is working on some things. But he seems to find it difficult to make adjustments during a match. However, he did manage that a couple matches ago. After losing the first set he started to show more patience and used more topspin. I thought he might do that yesterday, but did not see many signs of it.

  • Andrew Miller · August 15, 2019 at 11:23 am

    Scoop, you ask a fair question. Do players like Harrison, Bouchard, Keys – do they actually understand what helps them?

    Serena Williams does. Right off the bat, loses a Wimbledon final to Halep playing lights out tennis, says “I need match play before slams.” Agassi said something like “I can go without practice but not without matches”. Some serious del awareness there.

    We have this idea that players know what’s best for them, that they know they’re entering a tournament with their confidence high, etc. Do they? Doesn’t it start to unravel when they see a shot they didn’t expect? Or when the balls they use are different from the last tournament, and the court surface has a different bounce, and there’s a small army of supporters for their opponent?

    I’d love to say: players know their opponents tendencies. They had some match play. They watched some clip. They know their opponent likes a low ball so make them uncomfortable.

    They read Scoop’s book etc.

    Guess what. They didn’t!

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 15, 2019 at 11:31 am

    I did not see Harrison in any WTT results this summer, he tried to qualify into Atlanta but failed. Lost in Aptos Challenger 1R. I think he focused on rebuilding his singles ranking which is down to 238 now. If he played WTT it was only for one or two matches, but I don’t think he played this year.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 15, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Courier critiqued Querrey’s game the other day and concluded what has held him back from becoming an elite player has been his mediocre second serve. He only wins a shade over 50% of his second serve points. As great as his first delivery is, his second is very average. Courier said if he could get the percentage up to winning 53% of his second serves, it would improve his results significantly. But Querrey has not been able to beef up his second serve. I heard through the grapevine, Querrey’s serve faltered since being paid to use Babolat, his serve was better with the Prince racquet. So Courier showed the fine line between a player being average and or very good and elite. Querrey gets a better second serve and it could be the key to unlocking his full potential. You wonder what are the other minute flaws of players like Pouille, Raonic, Shapovalov, Harrison, Young, etc, which hinder their progress as the second serve woes drag down Querrey?

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 15, 2019 at 11:40 am

    Like Federer said about the blue clay (my translation of his words), just shut up and adapt to it! Tennis players even great tennis players have a remarkable ability to complain and make excuses about conditions, ball bounces, ball air pressure, ball fuzz, towel softness, sun angle, wind, string tension, line calls, lucky shots, lucky junior shots, their own form, their coach’s advice, their box’s lack of animation or support, etc. The best solution is to just shut up and hit the damn ball. Or as Rick Macci coached, “Hit harder!”

  • Hartt · August 15, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Laver said it best: think about nothing except the ball. Block everything else out.

  • catherine · August 15, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Any ever thought that Twitter etc showed the ‘real person’ behind the PR ? Here’s Svitolina to enlighten you: ‘We (her & Monfils) have people who take care of our social media’. You mean people who filter out all the nasty comments and make sure E & G appear in the best possible light ?

    Actually I imagine most top players have people who ‘take care’ of their employer’s images.

  • catherine · August 15, 2019 at 1:33 pm

    Kyrgios fined $113,000 for his tantrums. He won’t even notice it.

  • catherine · August 15, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Barty bt Kontaveit in 3 sets and Sakkari on the way to do the same v Sabalenka. Sakkari beat Kvitova so she’s having a good tournament.

  • Hartt · August 15, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Commies seem to agree that a big weakness is Shapo’s ROS. They all say he needs a block return, that trying to hit a big shot on the return is not working, and he doesn’t get enough balls in play. I just heard Gill Gross talk about one-handed BHs and he thought this was a problem for both Tsitsipas and Shapovalov, especially on faster courts.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 15, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    I have not watched Shap play for a while, and your ideas sound reasonable. What I remember is he was too offensive at all times, going for too much and making dumb errors. He is a great athlete and capable of using it for defensive purposes instead of predictably always being on the offensive. Defense wins championships, offense makes highlight reels.

  • Andrew Miller · August 15, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    Scoop, it’s magic for players to acknowledge and take prudent advice and work on areas that make a difference form them. Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, Murrayz Wawrinka…this was all part of their process, so it’s almost second nature.

    Everyone else? I’d imagine, vast majority more like Querrey than Kerber.

    It’s so rare for a player to see what the issue is and decide to work on it. Fish? He made a huge decision to revamp the forehand. Spadea, a huge decision to rework the forehand, seek out Lansdorp, seek out Fischer.

    This is what separates the talented players that go very far vs the talented guys and ladies that we all write, wouldn’t it be wonderful if….

    Shapovalov, Zverev, even Felix etc should all take note. There’s no guarantee they’ll do well just because the best guys retire. Someone on tour is already getting wise to how to leapfrog everyone else.

    Look at all the evidence…even the big three make remarks such as well so and so is so talented but you know….

    Yeah. We know! Trust me, we know.

  • catherine · August 15, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    One reason Sabalenka succumbed to Sakkari – 17 dfs.

    Andrew – you make good points but as far as Angie goes I don’t see her taking prudent advice and working on game enhancing areas. Not on the evidence of W’don, Toronto or Cincinatti.

  • Hartt · August 15, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    As you’ve probably guessed, I follow Félix very carefully, and he has said consistently that he needs to work hard to improve his game. When asked what he needs to improve FAA usually has a long list, even though he does understand what he does well. That is part of the reason I am so keen on him. I don’t know enough about Stefanos and Shapo to say if that is true for them as well.

  • Andrew Miller · August 15, 2019 at 4:13 pm

    Hartt, yes, Felix says the right things and heads to the practice courts to improve his serve. I haven’t seen as much improvement, and there’s a tendency of players that experience success early to go with what got them there. We’ll see, the proof is whether he develops an array of shots over time and the ability to play a point as if the past point didn’t happen and the next one didn’t matter.

    From what I understand of Tsitsipas he’s good at learning from his experience. Wilander loves him, but I find his serve very awkward and predictable. Will he, like Nadal, work through it? Does he have someone like an Uncle Toni, who isn’t Nadal’s dad but also has enough influence, to impress on the guy: hey, your serve I second class, we need to fix it? Like, now?

    Who knows.

    Tsitsipas has great court knowledge – not like Rios or Nadal or those guys, but very refined.

    Felix has a nice ability to hit through the ball. I found he doesn’t quite have the court knowledge yet or anticipation, and his strategy could use a lot of work. But he’s aggressive and should stay within the top fifty.

    As you can tell, where they end up depends on whether they learn from their matches and develop some strategies out there that work. Nadal, those guys go to war out there. When you come in with a “just going to play my game”, don’t be surprised that they exit with a “sheesh those guys are just too good”

    When are these guys going to become too good? As of now, that’s up to them.

  • Hartt · August 15, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Andrew, I think you are being very tough on Félix. He turned 19 a week ago. A year ago he was playing the Vancouver Challenger and he was still playing Challengers last fall.

    So this is his first full year on the main tour. He will gain court knowledge and improve his strategy with more experience at this level. A year ago he was ranked No.120, now he is No.21 (No.18 in live rankings) That is quite a jump. I don’t think the issue is FAA staying in the top 50, I think he will be in the top 20 soon.

  • Andrew Miller · August 15, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    Catherine, Kerber seems to have a lot of self awareness, that she needs the right advice at the right time, otherwise she won’t be motivated to do what she does best.

    Hard for me to criticize a three time slam winner with her last slam a mere year ago.

    Kerber also cleared the field to do just that. It could have easily been otherwise, where everyone figured out Kerber and she had no answers

    To her credit Kerber has some kind of impatience and understanding that when something isn’t working for her she clears house. Somewhat of a primadonna move but what is Federer and the gang if not a bunch of primadonnas! They are finicky, they aren’t go with the flow types. They like controlling everything!

    So good on Kerber for knowing what she needs to get where she needs to go. I’d say Osaka probably made the right move too firing her coach, other than she hasn’t found a good replacement. She must have felt like Scoop suggests she had to cut bait no matter the consequences.

  • Andrew Miller · August 15, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    Hartt I’m tough on the talented players! I think they underestimate how much the top guys would like to stay around and win for the next five years.

    I don’t think it’s humanly possible but look at them, do they seem like they are giving out freebies these days?

    Felix hasn’t yet developed what Scoop has referred to as this kind of primal need to win matches, the addiction of winning, that once they get a taste of the champion cup they can’t accommodate anything less.

    Kerber has this now. Champions aren’t happy for more than a few days!

    And because so few make it up there, that’s just the job requirement. Guys like Kyrgios fall apart. He has a tough time admitting he wants to join the club, but his outbursts show just that.

    So can Felix win a Master’s, then make a semi of a slam? We’ll see. That’s the job! It’s a tall task for anyone which is why so few do it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 15, 2019 at 4:42 pm

    Question: Kerber does nothing but practice serve and volley and attack returns and charge net for one week, playing quick points attack tennis, how would that refine or alter her game?

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 15, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    Andrew I told this story a few times before your triumphant return, Jimmy Arias spoke with a hitting partner at one of the tournaments, a chap who hit with all the young guns of the ATP, Felix, Shap, Tsip, Tiafoe, etc, and he revealed that it is Felix who hits the heaviest ball.

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 15, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    “Felix staying in the top 50?” Is that some kind of joke? I think he’s more likely to win 50 majors than be a steady solid top 50 player. Possible future no. 1, McEnroe, Rafa, Courier, Djokovic, Navratilova all agree.

  • Andrew Miller · August 15, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Scoop, Felix hits a heavy ball. So have many over the last 16 years, since the beginning of the Pax Federiana or the reign of Fedalovic 🙂

    I like Felix a lot. But everyone was annointing Zverev the Younger as the chosen one (he still may be), until Wilander comes out and says Tsitsipas is better than everyone combined (which, he isn’t, yet…and probably not?)

    Shapovalov shows some lovely and brave net skills and winsome ways.

    The up and coming players are very good. But so what? This is pro tennis!

    No spot is guaranteed. No one calls in favors. It’s a gladiator sport and until a player runs the tables they aren’t getting by the guardians of the trophies.

    I don’t dispute they hit the heaviest balls or drop shots that die on players. Just that putting together a run of runs of runs is very hard, and players rise and fall. Even Nadal etc rise and fall, just not by a whole lot and usually not for all that long.

  • Andrew Miller · August 15, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Players that made runs:
    Berdych
    Gonzalez
    Baghdatis
    Del Potro
    Cilic
    Nishikori
    Thiem
    Ferrer

    It’s always possible. But so few make it beyond their career best moment. It’s tough out there!

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 15, 2019 at 5:17 pm

    Felix is more than just a good ball striker. Won a Challenger round at 14. Into the top 25 already as a teen. Felix is going to have the far better career than any on your list. Far better. 100% money back guarantee!

  • Andrew Miller · August 15, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    “Seeing is believing” – anonymous.

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