Was the final a high quality match?

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Post by Tennisanorak on Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:17 am

Ignore the result for a moment (tough to do, I know).

Was this really a good tennis match?

If this weren't a grandslam final with a British player in it, would you have watched after the first set?

The last 3 hard court slam finals have now produced incredibly long matches. And there I was thinking that this is a surface that favoured the aggressive players.

It's tough to believe that these are the same tournaments where we saw matches between two aggressive players like Federer/ Safin, Federer/ Roddick etc just a few years ago.

Whenever these two play, they seem to engage in a lot of pointless defensive backhand to backhand ralleys with neither one looking to hit a winner, both just content to put the ball in play.

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Post by Guest on Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:30 am

Was it a good match in quality? No

The wind was a hinderance to both players. Murray's slice in the first set was awful. I think he lost the feel for the ball unlike in his match with Berdych. Djokovic however coped much better than he did against Ferrer. Granted he couldn't get the best out of his FH or BH, but Andy you could tell felt much better about the conditions. Yes alot play was played up the deuce court, but I think many underestimate how difficult it is playing with gusts up to 20mph on court. Whether to go for more umph or not, whether to use less umph or not.

When conditions improved, both players felt more comfortable to play attacking shots. The court opened up for both players. Many would fancy Djokovic on that basis, but both men were tight.

I also think that you need to look at the match up. These guys can play shots from any part of the court. They were not playing compact players. Djokovic knows he can hit a BH CC pass and Murray still get racquet on it. Same with Murray. They can reach the shots that the rest can't.

What this match had in buckets was guts and mental nerve. If anything this makes the victory the more sweeter for Andy as he knows now in a BO5 Slam final he can hold his nerve when it really matters. The first and final set has proved that.

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Post by Guest on Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:31 am

The bar has been raised.
The game has moved on.
Only rule changes will bring it back to previous lower levels.

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Post by Tennisanorak on Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:35 am

Legendkiller, I agree it was a dramatic match. My only question is whether the tennis itself was good. I find Djokovic- Murray matches to be tepid affairs often. Their match in the AUstralian Open 2012 was similar, and the same was the case when they played in Miami. Just too many passive shots with no intent. The matches tend to be more interesting when either plays Federer because the points are shorter and there is attacking intent.

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Post by Guest on Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:39 am

The question you have to ask TA is did the conditions prevent the players from giving that extra 25-30% on their shots? I agree the quality wasn't there, but what that opened the door to was who could hold it together mentally and play the tennis required to succeed in those conditions.

Murray and Djokovic are the best counter punchers out there and that being a massive strength to both would prevent them playing to that strength.

Yes I agree Federer may have been more forceful, but that would lead to greater risk for error like it did in the Wimbledon final in the first set and a half.

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Post by Tennisanorak on Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:29 pm

Also, I think Murray and Djoker are at their best when they play a really attacking player, not when they play each other. Did anyone else feel astonished at how similar their games are!

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Post by Guest on Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:37 pm

Essentially they are a bad match if it is pure attacking tennis fans want to see. Djokovic in a way has developed a more passive play in big points. Murray has decided to attack more on biggger points. So you can they have mirrored each other in that respect of development on the tour.

They seem to have too much respect for others game and hence it brings out a more defensive counter-punching match. Because the court was slower, it looks uglier. Their matches are often decided by nerve. AO 2012 this year another example of that.

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Post by Jeremy_Kyle on Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:44 pm

NO! It was a low quality retrieving battle of wills and bodies. To be fair the weather conditions made it, in the first set an a half, nearly unplayable. When the wind dropped slightly in intensity the quallity raised no more than half a notch, I'd say 6--. The only reason I watched it, was because of the novelty represented by a Slam win outside the usual suspects club. I am glad Muzza won, and especially I am pleased for the old man from Czech Repubblic, who was watching from the stands.

Other than that: a truly boring and unexciting match for whoever wasn't a fan of one of these two guys, and the feeling right now is that we are in for 5, 6 or even more years of such unidimesional brand of tennis.
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Post by Josiah Maiestas on Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:51 pm

The two guys have relatively weaker serves than most slam finalists, so basically they couldn't come to the net enough times to finish points quicker. It was very much like watching a Roland Garros match. Possibly the most unattractive GS final i've seen since Berdych/Nadal. I still blame Djokovic for lacking the variety to change the situation
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Post by Tennisanorak on Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:20 pm

Jeremy_Kyle and JM, thanks for your views. I completely agree with you guys. This match was all about the occasion and the protagonists; the tennis itself was underwhelming.

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Post by Henman Bill on Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:56 pm

one of the poorer slam finals in recent years, but we have been spoiled

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Post by bogbrush on Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:12 pm

It was stunningly dramatic and incredibly impressive that they could do what they did for almost 5 hours.

It was poor fare though partly because of the wind but mainly because it was as close to the nightmare of ATP becoming WTA in a Slam final as has been seen.

I'm not taking an iota away from Murray nor devaluing it, and I was really happy for him, but this is not a match anyone will be able to watch again.
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Post by newballs on Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:21 pm

The answer undoubtedly is no.

There were far too many errors and tedious rallies due to the windy conditions. If I had a £1 for every horrible backhand slice Novak played just to stay in the point then I could retire a very wealthy man.

The fact that Andy won shouldn't disguise the fact that it must surely rank as on of the worst five set slam finalsever.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea on Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:22 pm

bogbrush wrote:
I'm not taking an iota away from Murray nor devaluing it, and I was really happy for him, but this is not a match anyone will be able to watch again.

unless you're a Murray fan Very Happy

I jest, but I actually think the quality of the tennis was pretty decent in appalling conditions, and certainly was a better match once those eased a bit. The trouble with Djokovic-Murray matches at the moment is that both players feel they can outlast the other from the baseline. Certainly yesterday they were many many occasions where Murray could have come in to the net (where he's actually pretty good) to shorten the points, and I wondered if in fact it was a plan of his to wear Djokovic down by making him chase the extra balls. Fair play to him, it worked, as there's no doubt Djokovic was struggling at the end. Maybe once (if?) one of the two gains an ascendancy in this rivalry (at the moment H2H is 8-7 to Djokovic I believe) we'll see the one who goes behind change his tactics a bit (as with Djokovic vs Nadal, or Murray vs Federer).

Having said that, it was hardly the worst slam final of all time, and you'll have to forgive me if right now I'm not worrying too much about the general level of play Very Happy

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Post by bogbrush on Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:29 pm

Quite right too!

A fair match for me is the Federer / Roddick 2009 W final, which I was delighted about, involved great skill, but is unwatchable except for some really important bit we all remember.

I do think the problem with these two is as you say, and the wind wasn't the whole reason it turned out so attritional; indeed I did post that prediction on the match thread before it began (1st page).
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Post by 88Chris05 on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:03 pm

I think the level of the tennis was fair, on the whole.

Both slipped between the sublime and the poor pretty regularly. Unforced errors were thrown about with gay abandon at times, but at other stages we saw Djokovic's improved net play, Murray's ability to claw his way back in to points via fantastic defensive skills when he was pinned to the back of the court, Djokovic's devastating forehands (particularly when he was forced to go gung-ho from the third set onwars) and also Murray's return game, which at times was excellent.

A few too many long rallies, I agree, but in general those rallies didn't tend to contain too many half volleys which could be put away with aplomb. In quite a lot of those rallies (not all, by any stretch) I was fairly impressed with the depth the two of them were consistently getting on their shots. Such strokes may not have looked damaging, but at least they prevented the likelihood of either man looking to come in to the net.

Certainly not a great match by any stretch from a technical view point, but a fairly good one all the same, I think.
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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:18 pm

I wouldn't say it was a classic but it certainly doesn't merit trashing like some are doing. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and many unbiased US fans present were very pleased with what they saw.
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Post by JuliusHMarx on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:22 pm

I think the crowd at any 5-set final are usually pleased with what they see regardless of players, surface or quality. It's as much the drama and atmosphere when you're actually there. I doubt the people in the high seats could actually see the match Smile

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:27 pm

As I said beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Now I am not saying it was a classic match but to try to rubbish it is wholely unfair in my opinion.
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Post by maverickmak on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:48 pm

The rallies were long, brutal and both players often produced magic on the court, despite the challenging conditions. But the drama, and the physical, mental and emotional aspect of the match made it a classic.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:52 pm

maverickmak wrote:The rallies were long, brutal and both players often produced magic on the court, despite the challenging conditions. But the drama, and the physical, mental and emotional aspect of the match made it a classic.

I would agree with much of that. People within tennis are describing it as an epic (not me) so there you go like I say it is all personal opinion and preference.
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Post by slashermcguirk on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:52 pm

I would say it was a decent match given the poor conditions. Tennis is just not meant to be played in the wind. All things considered, the players did well considering the strong winds. Not a classic match but they could only work with the conditions they had. Interestingly Djokovic hit more winners in the match and he broke murray more times than he murray broke him. its a funny old game. most important stat is murray won by 160 points to 156. how close is that !!

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Post by bogbrush on Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:54 pm

My "problem" isn't restricted to the match itself, but the fact that we had this in 2012, the Match of Death in 2011, where the two finalists were basically done after three sets and the winner was the one who didn't seize up in the 4th and the Australian Open semi and final 2012, all in quick succession.

And the fact that it was very predictable that this would be attritional. Put the same guys together in three weeks and it'll happen again.
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Post by newballs on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:06 pm

TA's question was a simple one.

"Was it (the final ) a high quality match?"

I can't for the life of me see an answer other than "No" given the type of rallies on offer for most of its duration. Sure the quality improved when Novak started fighting back and Andy needed to see him off in the 5th set. As others have stated this was partly due to the windy conditions but also due in part to their respective games.

If the question had been (for example) "Was it an epic and gripping contest" then the answer is of course "Yes" but that's a different matter .

Any tennis purist will tell you that a "dog's dinner of a match" remains just that and nothing more. Some seem to be confusing quantity with quality here.

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Post by bogbrush on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:08 pm

newballs wrote:Any tennis purist will tell you that a "dog's dinner of a match" remains just that and nothing more. Some seem to be confusing quantity with quality here.
This has been happening for a while.

There was an old TV series, a bit before my time, about two tailors called "Never mind the quality, feel the width". This sort of debate always makes me think of that.


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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:08 pm

BB, with all due respect though there are many qualities people can and do admire. Fair enough you admire the sublime tennis of Roger Federer who has shanks to blot his matches. Novak and Andy play a different brand of tennis that also holds appeal to millions of tennis fans as does Rafa. Wouldn't this world be boring if we all liked the same brand of tennis?
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Post by Guest on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:11 pm

Any match that boasts a 54 shot rally cannot be taken seriously as a high quality match. The match was tortoise and hare all the way in terms of the pace of the play at times and also who made it to the finish line first.

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Post by bogbrush on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:11 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:BB, with all due respect though there are many qualities people can and do admire. Fair enough you admire the sublime tennis of Roger Federer who has shanks to blot his matches. Novak and Andy play a different brand of tennis that also holds appeal to millions of tennis fans as does Rafa. Wouldn't this world be boring if we all liked the same brand of tennis?
True, some people admire Mozart while others swoon over Tracy Emin's unmade bed.

Personally I am not seduced by postmodern arguments.

I must reiterate though that the event was thrilling because of it's importance and the result delightful, and the achievement of the two incredible.


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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:14 pm

newballs wrote:TA's question was a simple one.

"Was it (the final ) a high quality match?"

I can't for the life of me see an answer other than "No" given the type of rallies on offer for most of its duration. Sure the quality improved when Novak started fighting back and Andy needed to see him off in the 5th set. As others have stated this was partly due to the windy conditions but also due in part to their respective games.

If the question had been (for example) "Was it an epic and gripping contest" then the answer is of course "Yes" but that's a different matter .

Any tennis purist will tell you that a "dog's dinner of a match" remains just that and nothing more. Some seem to be confusing quantity with quality here.

No that is fair enough I can agree with that. I have said I don't think it was a classic. Now the first part of the match was blighted by winds so quality amongst that is hard to display and even BB himself said during the match he was glad Fed never had to play in it. The quality improved as the match progressed and had some great rallies as well with drama and tension. If a match is described as being epic and gripping then I take that as a compliment rather than it being as dull as dishwater like some people are trying to make it out to be. Now I can understand their views if their avourite player wasn't involved as I have watched matches with no Murray involvement and found them dull and yes some of those matches did include even the great Roger Federer.
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Post by mckay1402 on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:42 pm

I think it was a high quality match. It may not have been blinding, attacking tennis with each player scoring winners down the line but there were many great passages of play and the wind was extremely challenging.
In order to play the kind of tennis most observers on here appear to want you would need passive atmospheric conditions.

Both players realised that the weather would cause mistakes and tried to cause the other to make mistakes.
In this they were both extremely good. The tennis on show was very high quality even if it was not always the most easy on the eye.
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Post by Tennisanorak on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:56 pm

Okay, let me sumamrise what I feel is the most common view from whatever I can read on this thread

(a) The match was dramatic and gripping. This is without doubt.

(b) This owed a lot to the occasion, a British player winning it, and also it going the distance.

(c) The tennis itself was good only in patches. The winners/ UE statistics clearly illustrate this.

(d) The worry is that if these two play in some other tournament, the tennis could be similar and the occasion would not make up for the attritional tennis unlike last night when it did.

(e) This problem arises when these two play each other due to their games being similar in a way. When they play another player, the tennis is normally much more exciting.

(f) All in all, if conditions remain as slow as they are, all the above factors may have a say in this rivalry not maybe attaining the cult status of Federer- Nadal or, of late, Nadal- Djokovic matches. People might be more interested to know who won the match rather than watching the match itself.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:59 pm

And no mention whatsoever of the troublesome wind? picard
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Post by Tennisanorak on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:01 pm

CC, there was no wind at AO 2012 or Miami, was there? The matches these two played there were as tedious as this one. As BB repeatedly states, he expected an attritional battle even before the match began, and expects one should these two play three weeks from now. The absence of the wind may have decreased the unforced errors, but the rallies would still have been long and the tennis would still have been defensive/ counterpunching kind of tennis.

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Post by Tennisanorak on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:04 pm

Just think about it. Djoker- Federer FO 2011 is a classic. Murray- Federer Wimbledon 2012 is a classic. Is Djoker- Murray AO 2012 a classic or just a 5 set match with long rallies? (By classic, I don;t mean dramatic. I am talking about the quality of tennis on display).

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Post by Mad for Chelsea on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:07 pm

they weren't though, AO 2012 was, objectively speaking, a better match than this one (didn't see Miami so can't comment). "tedious" is an extremely disappointing word to use IMO. I just think it's a real shame people can't just let Murray have his day in the sun (so well deserved) without immediately having to be critical of things.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:09 pm

Tennisanorak wrote:Just think about it. Djoker- Federer FO 2011 is a classic. Murray- Federer Wimbledon 2012 is a classic. Is Djoker- Murray AO 2012 a classic or just a 5 set match with long rallies? (By classic, I don;t mean dramatic. I am talking about the quality of tennis on display).

yes, first set aside it was a cracking match. Djokovic played well below par in the first two sets vs Federer in the FO, but because Federer won (somewhat unexpectedly given previous form) people talk about it being a great match. I thought AO 2012 was better in all honesty.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:09 pm

Sorry TA but BB thought the Australian Open semi was a drab match but does that make it so? That is his opinion and as we know he is a staunch Federer fan with a totally different brand of tennis and we can ascertain that Novak and Andy's style doesn't appeal to him. Again his choice and opinion. You will find others with differing opinions though and I thought that semi was a cracking match.
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Post by Tennisanorak on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:12 pm

Okay, this is just a case of being too touchy. It was an awesome performance from Murray, and he deserved the win. I don't think anyone is talking about that. This is just a comment on this particular match up, not Murray's abilities as a tennis player. If I remember right, similar sentiments were expressed even about the Djoker- Nadal marathons in the USO and AO. And "tedious" is a question of judgement. As Julius said on another thread, sometimes one got the impression that one could safely do a series of tasks and return to watch the match without missing match. Or as BB says elsewhere, if Ferrer and Simon had played a similar match, would people have watched it intently? This match was really about the occasion.

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Post by Tennisanorak on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:14 pm

CC, I think it's more about being a fan of attacking tennis rather than attritional tennis rather than being the fan of a player. For example, the Murray- Djokovic match at the Olympics was nice to watch, because of the fast surface. On slower surfaces, there would be many who find this brand of tennis unappealing.

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Post by Tennisanorak on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:16 pm

Mad for Chelsea, we'll have to disagree on that I guess. The first set of FO 2011 between Fed and Djoker was spellbinding and, to me, defines irresistible force meeting immovable object. Many would consider that the best set of the year!

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Post by Mad for Chelsea on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:17 pm

and many more who absolutely love it, judging by the crowd yesterday. there's something to be said for actually constructing a point rather than going for WHAM BAM winners all the time. Otherwise I'd suggest watching Kukushkin, fabulous shot-making ability, equally fabulous ability to spray it all over the place.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:18 pm

Ta you are asking people to conform to one form of tennis. There were moments of high quality for sure and yes the first two sets were scrappy/edgy and affected by the wind so it wasn't a classic throughout definitely not but did contain passages of high quality play. People will have differing opinions on standards/styles and you won't change that ever. I have sat through many slam finals that have been lower in quality and whats more have lacked the great rallies and the epicness and tension we had last night but never seem to hear anyone complaining on those occasions.
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Post by Mad for Chelsea on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:20 pm

Honestly had Federer been playing yesterday (against either of these) it would have been over in two hours of UEs, the conditions for the first two or three sets just didn't allow for shotmaking. I thought the last two sets were really good tennis.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:28 pm

Tennisanorak wrote:CC, I think it's more about being a fan of attacking tennis rather than attritional tennis rather than being the fan of a player. For example, the Murray- Djokovic match at the Olympics was nice to watch, because of the fast surface. On slower surfaces, there would be many who find this brand of tennis unappealing.

Well it really is again a matter of taste. There are many ways of viewing tennis. Sure you get attacking tennis which both Djoko and Murray can and have played but that Federer (for example) plays more often. Akin to boxing I suppose. Federer being the man with the knockout punch but Djoko and Murray being more like boxers who use their shots like jabs probing for weaknesses and then looking to exploit them. An art in itself.
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Post by bogbrush on Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:55 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:And no mention whatsoever of the troublesome wind? picard
I'm very sorry, it was something I ate.
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Post by socal1976 on Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:13 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:As I said beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Now I am not saying it was a classic match but to try to rubbish it is wholely unfair in my opinion.

The match fails craig on the new calculus of what is a good match. Too long, too many shots, too many errors etc. No longer is a match judged by how close the competition is, how back and forth it is, or how many great shots you see. Now before a match can be judged great we need to make sure the match finishes in the proper number of shots per point.

Personally, I am sure you will find that the media, critics, and fans that attended or watched the match found it very entertaining, but what do they know only the moaners online who want to drastically change the entire game from banning technology, to juicing balls, to switching the surfaces of the majors so as to avoid the horror of ever having to watch a match like that again understand tennis. Don't pay attention to those fools who spent their money, braved terrible weather, and a late night finish to give standing ovations to the players what do those idiots know about tennis. Did they bring their calculator to the match if not how could they determine this to be a good or great match? The fools

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Post by socal1976 on Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:21 pm

newballs wrote:TA's question was a simple one.

"Was it (the final ) a high quality match?"

I can't for the life of me see an answer other than "No" given the type of rallies on offer for most of its duration. Sure the quality improved when Novak started fighting back and Andy needed to see him off in the 5th set. As others have stated this was partly due to the windy conditions but also due in part to their respective games.

If the question had been (for example) "Was it an epic and gripping contest" then the answer is of course "Yes" but that's a different matter .

Any tennis purist will tell you that a "dog's dinner of a match" remains just that and nothing more. Some seem to be confusing quantity with quality here.


Tennis purists like purists in every other field are generally wrong. Do you find 50 aces in a match to be a reflection of quality. Did we see a lot of "quality" in the Isner v. Mahut match was that quantity or because there was a lot of winners and aces was that quality? Most purists are generally snobs who believe that they know better than everyone else because they possess the knowledge. Like wine purists, I have drank wine that is 5 dollars a bottle that I think is great, I have drank 700 dollar a bottle of french wine that tasted like cooled down urine. I am sure pursist would talk themselves into loving that 700 dollar bottle of urine because it has a fancy french name and 100 year old winery. Big serve tennis is like a 700 dollar of french swill it sounds good before you actually taste it and are forced to drink it repetively.

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Post by JuliusHMarx on Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:25 pm

Everyone loved Sampras vs Henman at Wimby as well. Wouldn't it be great if we could have matches like that AND matches like last night?
As CC said earlier to TA "you are asking people to conform to one form of tennis". I suspect you have your own calculus socal, as applied to, say Dubai - if the points are too short, and it doesn't go to a final set, you don't enjoy it. Neither is right, so why not just have both, instead of limiting it to one?
If you had to eat smoked Alaskan salmon every night, you might want some caviar for a change (or vice versa).

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:29 pm

JuliusHMarx wrote:Everyone loved Sampras vs Henman at Wimby as well. Wouldn't it be great if we could have matches like that AND matches like last night?
As CC said earlier to TA "you are asking people to conform to one form of tennis". I suspect you have your own calculus socal, as applied to, say Dubai - if the points are too short, and it doesn't go to a final set, you don't enjoy it. Neither is right, so why not just have both, instead of limiting it to one?
If you had to eat smoked Alaskan salmon every night, you might want some caviar for a change (or vice versa).

I's agree Julius. We all love our own brands of tennis for varying reasons. The only right form of tennis is the type that appeals to us personally. We all have our own preferences and that will never change. I like to think I have a wide range of taste in various things in life.
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Post by JuliusHMarx on Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:32 pm

CC, would you have stayed up and watched it if it was Djoko Vs Ferrer 5-setter?

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