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Thread: Wimbledon

  1. #1
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    Wimbledon

    Today's final was one of the best tennis matches I have ever seen. I haven't been a Nadal fan, but today he seemed to be more mature, with fewer antics on the court, and his game was amazing. Roger Federer, for my money the classiest champion in sports and #2 isn't even close, was in big trouble at times but had the ability to raise his game to an unbelievable level at the times when it mattered most.

    The match seemed a lot like (dating myself) one of the McEnroe-Borg classics, with both of those two present and JMc saying as much. Federer told Nadal that they both deserved to win it, and I couldn't agree more. I wish I had recorded it, because this one belongs to history.

    Tennis was my game before cycling came along, and I played it for decades. I can't possibly relate to today's level of play, but I can totally relate to the pyschology and pressure of the game, which can be immense. Both of these players were up to it today.
    Last edited by mapei; 07-08-2007 at 08:40 PM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
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    The only thing that was missing was net play. I can't find any statistics but I only remember a handful. But the fifth set break saves by Federer show how he plays the big points on a different level, despite losing his cool for half a set. Actually, it would be interesting to know how many lines were hit during the match, it seemed like every point had one or two.

  3. #3
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    No kidding. I remember one game in which Federer hit three aces. And the athleticism of both players was something else.

    I have a theory about net play, which is not nearly so common as it used to be. With athletes much stronger now and rackets more powerful, there isn't as much time to approach as there used to be. You really have to go back to Edberg-Becker-Sampras to find the serve and volley game. But the baseline game is more exciting than ever when played at a high level.

    It's scary to think that Nadal is only 21 and still has an upside.

  4. #4
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    Ugh

    I totally dislike Federer. He just rubs me the wrong way- he just seems so smug. I can see how you can call him classy or whatever, but Mapei- Pete Sampras was an awesome champion too, and so was Agassi, once he hit 30.

    I still think if Sampras and Federer played, Sampras would win. I hate that the power baseline game has just taken over tennis. There's only one style of play now, and the matches seem so much more bland and generic.

  5. #5

    Hard to believe

    Well, that's a new one. I don't think I've ever read ANYwhere before someone saying they totally disliked Federer and that he was "smug". His peers and the vast majority of everybody else don't agree. Go back and do a little research - see what Sampras' peers thought of him - most said he was distant & unfriendly whereas Federer is anything but. Federer is far classier than Sampras ever was and, just like Agassi, has done way more off the court, not to mention being more dominant on it thus far, for others through his foundation, work with United Nations, etc.

  6. #6

    and by the way

    Federer & Sampras did play once. At Wimbledon with Federer, still a teenager I believe, winning 7-5 or 8-6 in the 5th.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnimalFriendly View Post
    Federer & Sampras did play once.
    And they'll play again soon -- four exhibition matches in Asia. Federer is incredible. I can't remember tennis ever being played at the level he and Nadal have taken it to now. Everybody who comes into contact with him talks about how friendly and accessible he is. No entourage, no barriers erected to fend off the public, always polite. The opposite of his buddy Tiger and virtually every prominent American athlete, in that respect.

  8. #8

    unexpected

    Federer may seem smug but he is very popular in the locker room and one of the most popular players on the tour and that has to count for something. In fact it is hard to think of a champion who was so popular in an individual sport you may have to go all the way back to Arnie Palmer.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by AnimalFriendly View Post
    Federer & Sampras did play once. At Wimbledon with Federer, still a teenager I believe, winning 7-5 or 8-6 in the 5th.
    Not only did Federer beat Sampras, he beat him while Sampras was trying to win his fifth straight Wimbledon title.

  10. #10
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    Reminds me of the people who couldn't stand Grant Hill or Shane Battier, "smug" always being one of the complaints.

    As an aside, watching Agassi's transformation from punk to statesman was amazing. I don't have a big problem with Sampras, whose impressive record on the court speaks for itself. But Andre became the most likeable of the American greats. I've always had a crush on Steffi, too, he has done well for himself on multiple fronts.

  11. #11
    Right on, mapei. When he first entered the scene, I abhored Agassi. Fifteen years later, I almost shed a tear after his last match at the U.S. Open last fall. Did you read that article about him in SI about a year and a half ago? Amazing, amazing story, and a remarkable man.

    Re: Federer, the "smug" thing is a damned if you do, damned if you don't proposition. If you reach his level of greatness, you're going to be perceived by some as either an arrogant blankety blank or smug, based solely on how vocal you are. He can't win.

    Or, maybe unexpected gets the impression of Federer being smug simply because he's constantly asked about his own greatness by the media. Despite all of us knowing that to be that good in a competitive sport you have to have a certain level of self-confidence or arrogance, we still expect a certain degree of false modesty from star athletes. But at what point does it become ridiculous to keep just praising everyone else and saying you got lucky? Two consecutive Wimbledon titles? Four? Federer avoided going beyond the platitudes for a long time. Totally in the eye of the beholder, so again the athlete can't possibly win. Roger's made that step now, and is willing to talk about himself openly as competing in his own mind against Borg, Sampras, and Laver. Perhaps he waited too long to get there for some? But if he had admitted as much earlier, he'd have put off other people.

    The way Federer plays the game is like no one I've ever seen, in terms of moving opponents around, knowing when to take chances and when to be conservative, and how to play the angles on the court. The variety of shots he has is simply astounding. He can change the apparent trajectory of a point in any direction at any time. There are just so many times where you think, "Wow, that's not at all how I saw that point playing out" when watching his matches. He's always had a lock on the biggest moments in a match, but Sunday showed he's got not one, but two more gears for crunch time. All he needs is a French Open title and there's little argument left in my mind that he's the greatest of all time. I wouldn't necessarily say that, except for the fact that to get that French Open, he'll have to beat a man who is basically the Terminator of clay court tennis, and before he's done himself perhaps the greatest French Open player of all time.
    Last edited by Mal; 07-10-2007 at 05:57 PM.

  12. #12
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    Nice post.

    I think Roger is actually very humble considering his talent and record. After winning on Sunday, he basically told both Nadal and the press that Nadal deserved to win it, also, and that Roger had been the lucky one. I can't remember the last time I heard an athlete say that.

    Contrast his comment with that of the most gracious S. Williams, after losing to world women's #1 Justine Henin: “If I’d have been healthy, I think I would have won. 100 percent.”

    Nice of you to say so.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by unexpected View Post
    There's only one style of play now, and the matches seem so much more bland and generic.
    I kind of agree although when played at such a high level it's still amazing to watch. I also agree with whoever suggested that the technology is mostly to blame. Part of the greatness of the Sampras/Agassi (or the Borg/McEnroe if I remember correctly) matchups was the pure serve and volleyer against the baseliner, the great server (especially the second serve) against the great returner. I do miss that. While the array of angles and spin keep the points interesting, it seems like some of the strategy is missing. Sometime it's like watching the Weaver Orioles or the current Reds, waiting for the home run.

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