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Miner Willy
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I don't think Djokovic will get to 24 as I think Rusedski said last week, but he will end up with more slams than Federer and Nadal, and people will justifiably call him the greatest. I personally believe that what we have seen with all of them - though Djokovic and Nadal have benefitted more than Federer - is the impact of consolidating and general slowing of court speeds - alongside developments in racket/string technology, of course. The sport has moved in a direction that has enabled the strong baseliners to dominate in a way that just wasn't possible previously: you barely need to adapt for different surfaces now, which I think is a huge shame.

 

As amazing as all three are, would they have won 50% more slams than Sampras playing with that same variety of court speed, and - given there were only 16 seeds - the potential to face a huge serving 17th ranked grass court specialist in the first round at Wimbledon? I just don't think there's a chance of that. I do think Federer would be the best equipped to succeed in that alternate reality, but clearly Djokovic is perfectly suited to the one we actually live in. Djokovic fans would I'm sure dismiss this as the ramblings of a sad Federer fan, which maybe isn't far from the truth.

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I wondered momentarily during Djokovic's speech last night if he was actually going to announce his retirement. There was just something about how emotional he was and the fact that he's never going to have the same opportunity again that slightly hinted in that direction. Never likely, of course - he obviously wants to be the outright record holder - but it would have been dramatic at least, and you could imagine he might have considered it in the event that he did pull off the calendar slam.

 

I think Rusedski's estimate was a range of 23 - 25 when I heard him talking about it. I'd be surprised if Djokovic doesn't win at least another 3. Hopefully Nadal can add at least another one, but I don't see much chance of him staying level now.

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I think Djokovic's haul is due to luck with the competition in a way Federer didn't. It looks like there might finally be a changing of the guard, but Federer ran into peak Nadal and early Djokovic and Murray, while Its primarily been the same faces providing challenge until now. I think Murray's injuries are very significant - he was at his career peak, had hit number one, racked a couple of slams and then boom, he's completely gone. In the alternative reality where his hip doesn't give in, there's a number of titanic battles and Djokovic doesn't win all of them. 

 

Also if Nadal was even fractionally worse on clay than the greatest of all time and its not even close, Federer would be out of sight. 

 

As for surfaces, I wish they'd add variety again, at least at Wimbledon. No one wants racket technology powered 90s blink and you'll miss it mens tennis, but I just don't think you should be getting 6 hour monster baseline rallies on grass. It should be fast enough to hit winners. 

 

Tl;Dr Federer is grace and beauty personified with amazing hair and he's the greatest ever and I don't care what you think 

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  • 1 month later...

Pretty good year for British tennis! There may not be much depth in the field but a couple of emerging stars with very bright prospects and many years to fulfill them will do me. Norrie has been fantastic all year, maintaining a steady upward trajectory for all of it. Have we had a top 20 southpaw before?

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Speaking of Googling tennis stats, the other day I wondered how many one handed backhand women are in the top one hundred. I suspected not many as I couldn't think of any, but was still pretty shocked to find that the answer was just one: Viktorija Golubic, ranked 45.

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Is it that surprising? I thought that the modern coaching approach is that two-handed backhand is basically the best choice for almost everyone and even more so for women due to the strength (and therefore control) disadvantage.

 

Not going to dispute the elegance of a one-hander but I think we'll only see fewer really.

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Even fewer than one in the top one hundred and a handful in the top thousand? Very sad if that's true, as you're talking extinction basically. 

 

I think it's an astonishing stat, personally. You'd expect two handers to dominate, but one handers have some advantages in terms of versatility and spin. And yes, coaches tend to start kids with two hands, due to strength and control, but many transition to one hand later. I don't think it's the case that women who can hit 100mph serves and 80mph groundstrokes aren't strong enough to hit a one handed backhand.

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