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Miner Willy
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Nah, I watched the semi and I think Ruud will get munched up if Nadal is fit.

 

I don't quite see the draw in the same way. In reality he's played a great match against Djokovic and a good one against FAA. He hasn't really gone through Zverev: he played less than two sets, the second of which was really quite ropey from a Nadal performance perspective, and ultimately he's been very fortunate not to have to win a match he very well may have lost.

 

So while the draw looked awful at the start, it rarely works out like that as unexpected stuff almost always happens. Overall as it worked out I don't actually think he's had an especially tough route, given that aside from the Djokovic match he's not really played his best tennis and has still reached the final.

 

But clearly what he's doing continues to be ridiculous. I wanted him to win yesterday and can't see anything but a routine win on Sunday. I'd just like to see him tested in the final - the achievement deserves it. 

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Terrible first set for Gauff, seemingly gets over her nerves for the start of the second set to break and take a 2-0 lead, but in fact only succeeds in angering Swiatek into battering her for the next 5 games straight.

 

Swiatek is a huge talent but the lack of any kind of consistent opposition anywhere else in the women's game is pretty disappointing, with this being another tournament where the rest of the top 10 immediately evaporate in the first couple of rounds. Another reason that it's a shame to have lost Barty because it could have been a great rivalry between the two of them.

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It's hard to disagree with Amelie Mauresmo's comments about the current state of the women's game. Now that Venus, Serena, Sharapova and Barty are all gone, the new generation aren't up to the same standard. Hopefully, Raducanu, Fernandez and Gauff can all step up to the plate over the next few years.

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5 hours ago, Miner Willy said:

He hasn't really gone through Zverev: he played less than two sets

 

See I look at it this way, it took Zverev over 3 hours to lose a set and get to a tiebreak with Rafa which he may well also have lost. Even if he had won it I don't think he would have been able to keep going like that for another 3 hours. Rafa did get broken a lot in set 2 but he was able to stay in the match whenever he needed, I guess we'll never know which is such a shame as it could have been an epic classic and as you say Rafa was lucky to get out of the match with a win too.

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The same problem as most of the 'next gen', or maybe 'next next gen', in that as soon as they come up against one of the big dogs, they know they've lost before they've even hit a ball. Rafa is as extraordinary as ever - on some measures, this year's more extraordinary than ever - but the mental side is the biggest reason that the 3 GOAT candidates have been and are still so successful.

 

I'm delighted that he's got no. 22 - and here's to no. 23, as long as he doesn't retire in his victory speech - but it could be less of a procession!

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I'm not sure it was about the occasion or mentality or intimidation. It was basic technique: you can't compete with Rafa on a clay court with a slightly underpowered backhand. It felt like watching Federer trying to live with him 15 years ago: you can dominate the point for six or seven shots, but if you're only really strong on one side then you can't maintain the pressure because he'll keep looping it to your backhand, which is really tough to attack, and the moment you hit just one slightly less than perfect ball he pounces on it and ends the rally with one beautifully brutal forehand.

 

Not sure there's ever been a more perfect sporting performer than Rafa on clay, but it made for a predictably one-sided final today. 

 

I suspect that Sinner was maybe the only guy in the bottom half who could have had a chance of standing up to Nadal today - a shame he got in injured really.

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A little of column a, a little of column b, I think. The deficiencies in Ruud's game may explain why he was never likely to win against Nadal on this surface but I think the other aspects perhaps explain more why he played below his own level or how he lost the final eleven games in a row.

 

But I was talking more generally as well, not just about this match.

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But he lost the last 11 games, not the first. So he didn't walk on the court beaten before he hit a ball; he got demoralised when he realised there was literally nothing he could do to counter Rafa's game.

 

We've seen this so many times down the years: on a clay court the level of high risk tennis required is impossible to sustain unless you're impeccably solid (and ideally hugely powerful) off both sides. And even then it's usually not enough, as you'll just push Rafa to unleash the even more aggressive game plan which he only brings out when he really needs to. 

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Yeah that was a weird performance from Rafa to begin with, almost like he contained himself waiting for Ruud to raise his level, then after being broken and getting that back he just decided to shift gear and we saw his true form, like a From boss entering it's second phase and suddenly Ruud looked extremely average. It was shades of 2013 where the semi against Djokovic was one of the most memorable matches they've ever played, a 5 set thriller and then the final was against Ferrer which was a complete damp squib. I'd say this campaign was far harder for Rafa due to having to get through Felix, Djokovic and Zverev before the final but once he was there it was never in doubt. It's such a crazy record he has there that as Willy says I can't think of a more dominant sports figure than Rafa on Chatrier, if he is still playing next year you'd be silly to bet against him. I hope he skips Wimbledon personally as I don't think he can compete and he would be better off preparing for the North American hard court swing where he has been most successful outside of the Clay court season. Really sad for Zverev as he was the no.1 in waiting and not only had the game to challenge Rafa on Chatrier he would surely have been a big contender at Wimbledon which it seems he won't play now. Lets see if anyone can stop Djokovic from taking the title there as he still looks sharp enough to beat the rest of the field. Anyway congrats to Rafa, a hero and an inspiration and forever a legend.

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On 03/06/2022 at 20:17, hmm said:

Like, not finishing the match bad, sure, but not, say, surgery and months out bad. It didn't look like he put that much weight on the twist really.

 

This was a completely accurate armchair diagnosis, besides the minor detail that Zverev just had surgery and is out of contention for Wimbledon.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Anybody been watching any of Wimbledon so far?

 

Just now, the second game in the second set of this Serena Williams/Harmony Tan match was pretty epic - ended up going nearly 20 minutes and about 10 deuces before Serena broke Tan's serve!

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4 minutes ago, Nick R said:

Anybody been watching any of Wimbledon so far?

 

Just now, the second game in the second set of this Serena Williams/Harmony Tan match was pretty epic - ended up going nearly 20 minutes and about 10 deuces before Serena broke Tan's serve!


i watched second set of radacanu’s game and Murray yesterday, glanced at Nick today, not convinced I can hack watching serena and Han spend three hours playing each set.

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Quite a few Brits looking great so far: Murray, Raducanu, Norrie. Draper, Peniston. Any one of them could go on a fairly deep run, I think. Draper I haven't seen before, that I recall, but he looks like the real deal.

 

Rafa the consummate showman as ever. Two dominant sets before nodding off a bit in the third (well, and Cerundolo raising his level, to be fair), then doing his usual 'oh, actually I can put about 20% more into all of my shots when I need to' routine. I don't know how far he'll go, but he looks fit, will probably only get better as he reacquaints himself with the surface, and already has a few major rivals absent or eliminated.

 

I'm there on middle Sunday but I think it'll be the Djokovic side of the draw on that day, sadly. Not that I'm going to seriously bemoan the opportunity to watch Djokovic etc. live, but I would love to see Rafa.

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What a win for Tan. Incredible match.

 

I feel strangely sad for Williams, so much noise around her return and given her age and time out of the game, in many respects she was both an underdog and favourite. I wonder what happens with her now?

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1 hour ago, hmm said:

Quite a few Brits looking great so far: Murray, Raducanu, Norrie. Draper, Peniston. Any one of them could go on a fairly deep run, I think. Draper I haven't seen before, that I recall, but he looks like the real deal.

 

Jack Draper plays at my club. Not very often for obvious reasons, but still, he and I are basically best friends.

 

(I've never seen him there.)

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10 minutes ago, Gabe said:

I feel strangely sad for Williams, so much noise around her return and given her age and time out of the game, in many respects she was both an underdog and favourite. I wonder what happens with her now?

 

I guess she can have wildcards into any tournament she likes if she does want to continue but it wasn't that clear from interviews that she did before Wimbledon that she can or wants to invest the time it would take to make serious inroads at a slam. Not that she looked very below par for most of the match this evening, against a tricky opponent, but unless she's going to put in the kind of work that Murray has, number 24 seems like a very distant hope, especially in any tournament featuring Swiatek. If that's off the table then I think it's more likely she'll call it a day, at least at some point this year.

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Raducanu was completely outclassed in her match, so many unforced errors and the power difference between her and Garcia was massive.

 

Crazy to think how inexperienced she still is though - I can't imagine dealing with all that pressure and expectation whenever she steps onto a court, when in reality she should be learning her game in peace.

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She's barely played for months, and especially over the last few weeks with the latest injury. I don't think her level today is at all reflective of her ability. Power is as much a function of confidence and timing as anything else - she wasn't exactly lacking for it last year.

 

I agree with the coaching and crowd expectation being major issues generally, but I don't think they're particularly responsible today.

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I doubt she’ll win another tournament in her career, let alone a slam. Not because she lacks the ability to do but rather the pressure thrust on sports stars to perform by mainly the English press/media, and the subsequent follow-ups to that, is borderline abusive. She perhaps shouldn’t have played this year’s tournament after recent injury issues, but I’d bet a decent sum there was pressure on her to do so.

 

There’s enough candid biographies out there to realise it takes a select few to be able to handle that expectation, particularly in an isolated sport like tennis where there’s no one else out on the court with you. Add in the increasing physical demands and there’s a pretty small window of opportunity for success unless you’re in that elite handful that is able to exceed expectations, and willing to essentially break your body in the pursuit of glory.

 

Hopefully she’ll have someone in her camp that recognises her long-term needs and not just the short-term gain from an unexpected US Open win. At least she has that victory to draw on and use as a foundation.

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1 minute ago, glb said:

I doubt she’ll win another tournament in her career, let alone a slam. Not because she lacks the ability to do but rather the pressure thrust on sports stars to perform by mainly the English press/media, and the subsequent follow-ups to that, is borderline abusive. She perhaps shouldn’t have played this year’s tournament after recent injury issues, but I’d bet a decent sum there was pressure on her to do so.

 

There’s enough candid biographies out there to realise it takes a select few to be able to handle that expectation, particularly in an isolated sport like tennis where there’s no one else out on the court with you. Add in the increasing physical demands and there’s a pretty small window of opportunity for success unless you’re in that elite handful that is able to exceed expectations, and willing to essentially break your body in the pursuit of glory.

 

Hopefully she’ll have someone in her camp that recognises her long-term needs and not just the short-term gain from an unexpected US Open win. At least she has that victory to draw on and use as a foundation.


the English media are only really there for the slams and the grass court season.

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I think the Raducanu discussion is rather missing the point that she's doing exactly what you'd expect someone her age to be doing. She clearly has a brilliant game but isn't yet able to put it together consistently. That's not only perfectly normal; anything else would be incredibly abnormal. 

 

I genuinely don't think it's about pressure or media or coaches or endorsements or anything else. She's just a young player with enormous potential and a slightly patchy injury record who needs time to develop her game and body. Plus Garcia was a very tough draw and to be honest I thought this was by some distance the most likely outcome from that one.

 

Anyway, real shame for Murray today. I thought he could have a good run here, but it's hard to see what more he could have done against serving like that. 

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55 minutes ago, footle said:


the English media are only really there for the slams and the grass court season.


Fair point. I hope I’m wide of the mark and she goes on to enjoy a glittering career. Hell, the reality is even regularly going deep in major tournaments will be landmark progress for British women’s tennis.

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53 minutes ago, Miner Willy said:

Anyway, real shame for Murray today. I thought he could have a good run here, but it's hard to see what more he could have done against serving like that. 

 

Quite - Isner was basically serving like a robot, and Murray never looked like getting close to breaking him - even though he had two break points in the match, even returning the ball looked a million miles away.

 

On another day, maybe Isner doesn't get that early break and Murray takes the first set on a tiebreak, and that lead is enough to put doubt in his opponent's head. Or maybe that backhand in the fourth goes over the net rather than into it and Murray holds serve throughout and forces a fifth set. As it was, it was just like facing a T-800. No pity, no remorse, no fear, just relentless serve after serve, and one mistake and you're gone.

 

Not just the serves, of course. Hard to find points against him even if you get the ball back. 

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