I have noticed that the U.S. Open buzz is in the air everywhere. This one is going to be one of the most anticipated U.S. Opens in recent memory. There is so much that is at stake here. Everybody is fired up about this last slam of 2008. This is our last slam party of 2008 so lets get it started and have tons of fun posting about it. Is thewre anybody here who is going to Flushing Meadows?
Everyone in the tennis circles has questions. Can Fed rebound from his Wimbledon loss to capture at least one slam in 2008? Here is a man who is used to capturing no less than 75% of the slams in a single year. How about Djokovic? He is the new hard court king with a very solid hard court resume. He too was dealt with some disappointment at Wimbledon. Can he surge again at the U.S. Open?
And then there is Nadal. Some have to wondering if he can keep it going with his new, more aggressive game and the confidence that comes along with winning both the French Open and the Wimbledon in a same year.
There are others who will also look to make their mark. Roddick, Nalbandian, Ferrer, and Gasquet will hope for deep runs here. Could Gulbis announce his arrival here? I believe he has a huge upside.
What is your early read about the U.S. Open? Is it relatively open this year or does it belong to Fed? What must he do to capture this slam and keep his dream alive of catching Sampras? Is anybody giving Nadal a chance here?
Thoughts and comments? Let the party begin. What is your dream semifinal look like? My dream semifinal would be something like Fed vs Djokovic in one semifinal showdown and Nadal vs Gulbis in the other one.
on a sidenote, here is what Sampras had to say about that great Wimby final. Check this article out. He doesnt believe that Fed is done. Far from it according to Sampras. he is still convinced that Fed will break his record. In any case, check it out. Pete has some interesting takes on the important matters concerning Fed.
Fish to Fry
Posted 07/09/2008 @ 2 :06 PM
Well, just in case you think you've read pretty much every possible take on the recent men's Wimbledon final, I bring you this gem from Los Angeles via the northerly outpost of Montreal. Let me just warn you: anyone who would get his or her shorts in a bunch over this might be the only person on earth who's a bigger tool than the dude who wrote the piece.
Personally, I find it hilarious - right up there with the time my sister (name withheld to protect the guilty) admitted that she sat through This is Spinal Tap and, thinking it was a documentary, couldn't understand why everyone was laughing so hard.
Anyway, on to more worthy preoccupations. I spoke with Pete Sampras yesterday, and he says "Hi' to all his fans at TennisWorld. Time out for a shameless plug: the book we wrote together, A Champion's Mind, has been on the New York Times best seller list (at no. 20, now 21) since shortly after it was published. We talked mostly about the Wimbledon final, and his pal and hitting buddy, Roger Federer
So what did you think?
I thought it was great, maybe the best match I've seen in many, many years. Two all-time greats, at their prime, playing great on the best court on earth. if you wrote a script it couldn't have been any better - Roger coming back from two sets to love, Nadal showing his heart. . . I thought it was great tennis and great drama.
I think Roger handled himself with a lot of class. What I really liked is that the match goes to show that when you come right down to it, great moments aren't about controversy, and they aren't about personality. They're about two great players who manage to reach beyond the usual audience for the game - that's especially big in this country. It was impressive that two guys who aren't American could capture the American sports fans that way. It was one of those moments in all sports that we'll never forget.
Did you talk to Roger, Pete?
It wasn't the right time, I didn't think. But I did send him a text, and told him, "Bad luck, too bad there had to be a loser in that one." I said he should take pride in the way he and Rafa are taking the sport way beyond the usual audience. He should feel great about that. He texted me back to say thanks.
I know it was disappointing for him, I'm sure hes still playing that match in his mind. But in years to come, he'll look back on this match and appreciate the moment. No question in my mind about that.
So do you think Roger needs to make any changes at this stage in his career, given Nadal and Djokovic's emergence?
I heard quite a few people saying he should come in more, serve and volley more. But Roger is just so much better than anyone except Rafa from the backcourt that you wonder if that would be a smart move. Sure he could attack a little more, but I still feel that if you put Rog and Rafa on that Centre Court 10 times, I think Roger wins 7 of them. He was right there with Rafa, neck-and-neck, and that's the opposite of how it is on clay. Rafa's already a legend on clay, but I'm sure Roger thinks he's still the better player on grass, and I believe that's true. But Rafa showed that it now comes down to form of the day, and on Sunday Roger just came up a little short.
Do you think Roger should have a full time coach, for either technical or emotional reasons?
No, I don't think he necessarily should. Everybody is different, and Roger's won plenty of Slams on his own. Maybe that's more his comfort zone. On the other hand, a coach can see things that a player can't, and he can emphasize things and come up with a plan when a player might just want to go out and play his game. I always found it valuable when Paul (Annacone, Sampras's former coach) would say something like, "I think you should serve big to his backhand at the start, just to plant a bug in his mind and open up the court, then try to do most of your damage on the forehand side."
That kind of simple advice was always welcome to me, even if at the last minute I didn't always carry it out. A coach can help, what, 2 per cent, for a player of Roger's caliber? But then again - this match came down to that small a difference between the guys. So who really knows.
What I think is important, though, is to keep a perspective on this and not over-analyze the match. Roger played well enough to win, only he didn't. On another day, he does. Contrary to what a lot of people are saying, I think Roger is having a good year, it's just that he's set such a high bar for himself. But can anybody say he's fallen off the pace, or that his game has holes in it? No way. He's right there, ready to strike, and he will - given the opportunity.
Do you still expect Roger to break your Grand Slam singles title record (14 titles)?
Oh, absolutely. It's inevitable. He'll be in contention for all the majors, and he'll win a few more Wimbledons and U.S. Opens before he's done - no doubt in my mind.
Do you plan to practice or play any exos with him, like you did last fall?
We have nothing in the works. We talked about trying to put something together for London, an exhibition or something, but we couldn't make it work, schedules-wise. It would be nice to do it again, but right now Roger has other fish to fry.
What do you think about the Olympics; is Roger making a mistake by taking part, instead of concentrating on the U.S. Open, as Andy Roddick decided to do?
I think it's apples and oranges there. I think the Olympics is in Roger's heart; it's a really big deal for him. Maybe it's because he's the (arguably) greatest athlete ever produced in Switzerland, which is a small nation that does a lot better in the Winter Games than the Summer Games. But the Summer Games are bigger.
It means a lot for Roger to be able to carry that Swiss flag, like he did at the last Olympic Games. By contrast, Andy skipping the Olympics isn't that big a deal. The Olympics aren't quite as important in the U.S. as elsewhere, and the tennis event will be overshadowed because we have so many great athletes in the other sports. The Olympic thing - it's either in your heart or not.
What are you doing in the near future, public appearance-wise?
I'll be on the Charley Rose show this Friday, promoting our book. I'll be playing a senior event in London and a few one-night exhibitions, with Sam Querrey and a few of the other guys. I'll stay busy, play a little bit. . .
What major will you be attending next?
The one where Roger is poised to break my record. I'm kind of selfish about it, though - I told Roger that if that happens to be at the Australian Open, I may not make the trip. It's far, I've logged a lot of miles in my life going to tennis tournaments. I half-kiddingly told him he'll have to do it at Wimbledon or the U.S. Open, so now we'll just have to see what happens. Emotionally, I'd like to see him do it at either of those two places, preferably Wimbledon. And I want to be there out of respect for him, but I also would like to go back to Wimbledon someday, because I love that place.
07/09/2008 in 2008, Players - Male Pros | Permalink | Send to a Friend