Posted on: August 4, 2008 3:37 pm
Jelena Jankovic takes over number one for the women and Rafael Nadal takes over the top spot for the men on Aug 18th. The ranking is determined by how a player has performed between today and a year ago today. If a player skips a tournament this year that they won last year then they will miss out on those points. What it means is that Jankovic has been the most consistent woman on the tour for the last 12 months. She seems to make it to the final four in most tournaments. Maria has missed some tournaments and Ivanovic was knocked out early at Wimbledon which discounted her winning the French. I think you will see this change hands quite a few time in the coming months.
For the men it has been more stable. Rafa will hold his position as long as he doesn't get knocked off early in tournaments which is hard to picture. How balanced will that crown be on his head? Will Roger make a comeback now that the pressure is off of him? Will Rafa feel the pressure of being numero uno as much as he felt the challenge of being Numero Dos? Will he keep the crown as long as Roger did, or will Novak or Murray or Roger come and get it next? What say you?
Posted on: August 1, 2008 7:59 am
Some sportswriter asked Roger about his dropping to number 2 soon. His answer was "I don't care".
Some writer asked Rafa about his becoming number 1 soon. His answer was "I don't really think much about it"
Now the writers run off and build a story around these comments. Are you kidding me? Just write your stinking story and leave a guy who just lost in peace. Leave a guy who is playing the best tennis in the world alone to work on keeping it up. Let them play while you do the writing. No wonder Serena Williams is blistered for her comments after losing at the Wimbledon final. I think a player after a tough loss should say, "None of your stinking business" to the dumb sportswriter who asks, "How does it feel to lose?"
Posted on: July 26, 2008 10:31 am
Gasquet was playing out of his mind in the first set and won an incredible tiebreak 14 to 12. Then Rafa blows him away the next two sets. No discouragement. No mind games. No defeatist attitude. No 'wow the top seeds are all losing' running through his head. He just plays like the next number one. Maybe Yogi Berra was right. The game really is 90% half mental. Rafa has the head for it.
Posted on: July 7, 2008 4:34 pm
Wimbledon this year lived up to its billing in all respects. I personally like tennis doubles and while i was disappointed the Bryans didn't make it to the finals they still made it to the mixed doubles final and faced each other. Mike was teamed with Ekatarina Srebotnik and was the number one seed. They lost the final to Bob who teamed with Samantha Stosur. The mens final was won by Zimonjic and Nestor who beat the team that topped the Bryans in the semis - Ullyet and Bjorkman. Jonas Bjorkman is retiring and that may have been motivation enough to knock off the Bryans.
The women had plenty of drama. Venus played Serena for the title and it was a magnificent power game. They two have, not surprisingly, played pretty even over the years. Venus seems to have her heart set on Wimbledon and rose to the occasion to win for the 5th time here. Then the sisters teamed to steamroll Raymond and Stosur who are what you could call doubles specialists 6-2,6-2.
Yes, we haven't forgotten the mens final. It has joined the ranks of tennis classics as some are arguing it was the greatest tennis match ever played. No one is arguing that it was the longest. Nadal pried the crown away from Roger Federer's stiff fingers as dusk began to settle on the court 6-4,6-4,6-7,6-7, 9-7. I am thankful the majors still play best of five sets so this one could go down as one of the great matches for the ages.
All those prognosticators who picked these two to make the final must have been happy and all those who didn't pick them to make the final must have been happy, too. It was not a bad finale. What happens next? I don't think this will be the last we see of these two in the final of this and other tournaments. They both will win more majors and one or both will break Pete Sampras record of 14 grand slams.
What say you?
Posted on: June 9, 2008 1:47 pm
For over 150 weeks Rafael Nadal has been the number two tennis player in the world. This is the same world that only seems to respect number one. No one likes to lose. Avis years ago claimed to be number two, but everyone knew it was just a ploy to try to unseat Herz in the rent-a-car business. I think it was Lombardi who said 'winning isn't everything, but it sure beats everything else.' Nadal, however, is proving to be the exception to the rule. He is number two, but he has a following that continues to grow. On clay he fits the description of a sure bet. He has now won the French open four years in a row. Even more is the shellacking he just gave to Roger Federer in the final, 6-1,6-3,6-0. It was so bad he apologized to Roger afterward. This was no more a match than Marie Antoinette against the guillotine. If that's what the perennial number two does against the greatest player of all time then being number two isn't all bad.
Now we have a new debate on our hands. Is Nadal the greatest number two of all time? Is he better than most number ones in the past? Is he the greatest clay court player of all time? When you think about, the simple fact we can debate about the greatness of todays number two is amazing in itself.
Posted on: June 4, 2008 10:42 am
Nadal will have to beat the best tennis player this year (Djokovic) and the best player of the last 5 years Federer in order to file this French away. Federer on the other hand will have to beat Gonzalez and Ferrer then knock off Rafa. A possible scenario would be Novak knocking off Rafa and then losing to Roger to give the Swiss Swordsman his complete slam. I think right now Rafa is playing his best tennis and looking like a buzzsaw in this tournament. I would have to say the smart money is still on Rafa. Anna is looking good on the ladies side. Jelena, Kuznetsova, and Safina are still left but Anna should do it this time.
Posted on: May 8, 2008 7:58 am
I have thought about this before and most aspects of Nadal's game would be hard to improve. He fights for every point. He has the ground strokes and passing shots. When he comes to the net he does quite well. He doesn't rely on his net game but he has nothing to be ashamed of there. I think the area he could improve on which might make the difference is his serve. Whereas Roger and Novak seem to be able to come up with an Ace when they need it most, Rafa just pounds his serve in and hopes to wear out his opponent. Don't get me wrong. There is nothing awful about being number two in the world in anything. It's just that I think he could improve this part of his game. How? Well, I don't think he gets the full extention on his serve. He seems to be hitting the ball 4 inches lower in the toss than he has to. If he can get a better extention and more service winners he may even save a few blisters on his feet. Just like any sport. At this level its the little things that make the difference.
Posted on: May 7, 2008 3:56 pm
Not really, but Rafael Nadal has just lost on a clay court. The surest bet in Tennis would have been Nadal on clay but it didn't happen today. Juan Carlos Ferrero bid arreverdeci roma to Rafa 7-5, 6-1. Ferrero is no slouch on this surface. He has won the tournament in Rome before. He has also been ranked number 1 before a certain swiss came along. So much for Nadal's invincibility, win streak, chances at number one. It happens. Great players do lose. The only event which would be a bigger shock than this would be Andy Roddick winning this clay court tournament. No, there is one event which would be the biggest shock of all - The U.S. beating Spain in the Davis Cup on this surface.