Winning all 9 Masters

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Winning all 9 Masters

Post by Henman Bill on Mon May 16, 2016 11:44 am

Djokovic has won 8 out of 9
He has won all 8 of those at least twice!!
He has won 6 of those at least three times!
He has won 4 of them at least 4 times! Of those, he has 5 Miamis and 6 Indian Wells
He also has 5 finals at Cincinatti, the one he hasn't won

Rafa has won 7 out of 9 (and finals at all)
He needs Miami and Paris
He should have won Miami at some point - 4 finals there

Federer has won 7 out of 9
He needs Monte Carlo and Rome
He has already made the final at each 4 times.

Murray has won 6 out of 9
He needs Indian Wells (I am surprised he hasn't won this, I thought he might have done it years ago), Monte Carlo, and Paris
Monte Carlo is the only one where he hasn't reached a final

Other interesting thoughts: Murray's win means that we will have a 2-year period where no-one outside the big 4 has won a Masters series (Tsonga Canada 2014).

Is there even an active player that has more than 2 from 9? Tsonga has 2, I don't think anyone else has more?

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by Henman Bill on Mon May 16, 2016 11:51 am

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis_Masters_Series_records_and_statistics is an interesting article. According to the article, there has been a masters series of 9 events since 1970. I'm not sure if that's true or not, or how valid comparison with today's statistics are.

Turns out Murray just overtook Pete Sampras. here is the all time top 10, it makes good reading for Murray fans.

1. Novak 29
2 Rafa 28
3 Roger 24
4 Lendl 22
5 McEnroe 19
6 Connors 17
6= Agassi 17
8 Borg 15
9 Becker 13
10 Murray 12

The above linked article is quite an interesting one to look at.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by socal1976 on Mon May 16, 2016 3:05 pm

Good post HM. I think it would be an amazing accomplishment on the part of Djokovic if he could complete the career grandslam and the career masters set. If he wins RG, Cincy, and Olympic gold and nothing else this season I would be happy. That probably would be enough to secure him world #1 and mean that he has basically won every major or first tier event in tennis. Davis Cup, Olympic Gold, Career Slam, and Career masters set. It would be a unique accomplishment that would take a helluva an effort to repeat. And he would be the only one to have pulled it off.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by barrystar on Tue May 17, 2016 8:39 pm

@socal, and I am sure you have not forgotten that Djoko's collection includes the WTF

This time five years ago, Djoko was going into RG having beaten Nadal at Madrid and Rome and it looked very likely that RG would be his 3rd slam and first away from Australia.

It seems extraordinary that the RG odyssey for Djoko continues; he's now a year older than Federer was at RG 2009.  Each time he's gone into RG with the edge over Nadal, he's run into a Swiss guy playing lights out tennis, Federer in 2011 and Wawrinka in 2015.  He's probably got no more than 2-3 more chances, he's looking tense, and Murray's win in Rome can't be helping his nerves....


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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by HM Murdock on Tue May 17, 2016 9:02 pm

The incredible stat hidden in here is that Pete Sampras won more slams than Masters!

(Stan, JMDP and Cilic have too but I don't think their numbers are as statistically odd)

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by dummy_half on Tue May 17, 2016 9:29 pm

It would be interesting to see the breakdown of wins by surface - obviously, Rafa has a high proportion of his wins in clay events and Fed a high proportion on hard courts. My feeling with Djokovic is that his strike rate at MS level is probably only slightly better on hard than on clay.

Of course, following HMM's stat above, the other one that is a bit mind-boggling is that no-one younger than Djokovic has won even 1 MS event...

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by HM Murdock on Tue May 17, 2016 9:34 pm

dummy_half wrote: My feeling with Djokovic is that his strike rate at MS level is probably only slightly better on hard than on clay.
The clay/HC split of Masters events is 33% - 67% (3-6).

The clay/HC split of Novak's Masters titles is 28% - 72% (8-21)

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by Henman Bill on Wed May 18, 2016 1:48 am

dummy_half wrote:It would be interesting to see the breakdown of wins by surface - obviously, Rafa has a high proportion of his wins in clay events and Fed a high proportion on hard courts. My feeling with Djokovic is that his strike rate at MS level is probably only slightly better on hard than on clay.

Of course, following HMM's stat above, the other one that is a bit mind-boggling is that no-one younger than Djokovic has won even 1 MS event...

That's interesting. So with Rafa turning 30 on 3rd June this year, Murray on 15th May, 2017, and Novak on 22nd May, 2017, rather an end of an era. Could we end up with the top 4 ranked players being 30+. Even if one of the big 4 isn't ranked in the top 4 in one year, Stan could step in. Failing that, there could be an opportunity for an up and coming youngster such as Berdych, Tsonga, Gasquet or David Ferrer. All 30+ or will be by then. Will be quite interesting to look at the 30+ ranking stats after that date - 22nd May, 2017. It could be the date the confirms the failure of the current generation...

Of course that "youngster" Nishikori (26 now) could step in and spoil things. Thiem is the only real youngster perhaps could be in the top 5 or 10 by then.

So, I wonder, on 22nd May 2017, will there be a player under 30 with a masters title to his name!!

The day before that - 21st May 2017 - will be the Rome final, the last chance. I'd make it about 50/50. Could be an interesting one to watch.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by Henman Bill on Wed May 18, 2016 1:55 am

As to slams....Juan Martin Del Potro will turn 30 on 23rd September, 2018 and Marin Cilic on 28th September, 2018. So, a situation where no-one under 30 has won a grand slam looks less likely, you would think we would have a new winner by then, that's 11 more opportunities with the last at US Open 2018.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by HM Murdock on Wed May 18, 2016 2:03 am

^The almost-as-shocking stat that nobody under 28 has won a slam is only 4 months (and two slams) away though.

I haven't considered it in those terms before. Total generational failure.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by socal1976 on Wed May 18, 2016 2:38 am

barrystar wrote:@socal, and I am sure you have not forgotten that Djoko's collection includes the WTF

This time five years ago, Djoko was going into RG having beaten Nadal at Madrid and Rome and it looked very likely that RG would be his 3rd slam and first away from Australia.

It seems extraordinary that the RG odyssey for Djoko continues; he's now a year older than Federer was at RG 2009.  Each time he's gone into RG with the edge over Nadal, he's run into a Swiss guy playing lights out tennis, Federer in 2011 and Wawrinka in 2015.  He's probably got no more than 2-3 more chances, he's looking tense, and Murray's win in Rome can't be helping his nerves....

Yeah, to be honest I actually think clay is a very good surface for his game and grass isn't as much. He has 3 wimbys and no RGs. And if you see how many Masters and finals he has on clay you see that really if not for Nadal and that crazy performance by Stan, which even Stan says was the best he ever played in his life, and Novak would probably have a couple of RG titles by now. There was this really bright guy on here who said that playing other multi-slam champions is what will determine how tough your competition is, and we can clearly see that in the case of Djokovic. Nadal has been the stingiest gatekeepers on clay, Fed got a bit lucky the year he won it. Novak on the other hand ran into a Wawrinka who played in his own words the best match of his life and had a couple of close losses to Nadal at the end of the tournament keeping him from that prize. Conversely, Novak is not a great grass courter although he has aspects of his game that transfer well to the surface, yet he wins it three times because there is no Nadal like gatekeeper at SW19, Fed used to play the role but he was too old to keep it up.  Its sports crap happens, overall its not as big a deal as Novak is making it for himself or his legacy.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by Born Slippy on Wed May 18, 2016 2:51 am

HM Murdock wrote:^The almost-as-shocking stat that nobody under 28 has won a slam is only 4 months (and two slams) away though.

I haven't considered it in those terms before. Total generational failure.

I don't think Cilic is playing (may be wrong) and Del Po definitively isn't so, in relation to the French, we have the remarkable stat that Novak is the youngest slam winner playing.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by banbrotam on Wed May 18, 2016 8:36 am

It's mighty difficult to see how most of the next two years of slams won't be just contended by the current Top 6

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by barrystar on Wed May 18, 2016 7:15 pm

socal1976 wrote:
barrystar wrote:@socal, and I am sure you have not forgotten that Djoko's collection includes the WTF

This time five years ago, Djoko was going into RG having beaten Nadal at Madrid and Rome and it looked very likely that RG would be his 3rd slam and first away from Australia.

It seems extraordinary that the RG odyssey for Djoko continues; he's now a year older than Federer was at RG 2009.  Each time he's gone into RG with the edge over Nadal, he's run into a Swiss guy playing lights out tennis, Federer in 2011 and Wawrinka in 2015.  He's probably got no more than 2-3 more chances, he's looking tense, and Murray's win in Rome can't be helping his nerves....

Yeah, to be honest I actually think clay is a very good surface for his game and grass isn't as much. He has 3 wimbys and no RGs. And if you see how many Masters and finals he has on clay you see that really if not for Nadal and that crazy performance by Stan, which even Stan says was the best he ever played in his life, and Novak would probably have a couple of RG titles by now. There was this really bright guy on here who said that playing other multi-slam champions is what will determine how tough your competition is, and we can clearly see that in the case of Djokovic. Nadal has been the stingiest gatekeepers on clay, Fed got a bit lucky the year he won it. Novak on the other hand ran into a Wawrinka who played in his own words the best match of his life and had a couple of close losses to Nadal at the end of the tournament keeping him from that prize. Conversely, Novak is not a great grass courter although he has aspects of his game that transfer well to the surface, yet he wins it three times because there is no Nadal like gatekeeper at SW19, Fed used to play the role but he was too old to keep it up.  Its sports crap happens, overall its not as big a deal as Novak is making it for himself or his legacy.

Absolutely - which is why I have always rolled my eyes when I read predictions like so-and-so will end up with masses of slams. Bottom line is they are incredibly difficult to win and serendipity, or not, plays its part. Nadal has been a hugely stingy gatekeeper at RG - when he left the door open a chink Fed seized his opportunity in 2009, but in 2015 Stan was an extraordinary barrier for Djoko. If Djoko ends up without an RG on his CV the one defeat he might really rue is Federer 2011.

You might have added in that the mismatch between Djoko's results at the Australian Open and the US Open is another quandary overall.

I agree with you that Djoko is one of the all-timers whether he gets RG or not, but I think that getting it is a big deal, especially for someone who is so proficient on clay and who has been Nadal's toughest opponent on the surface in his career.
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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by bogbrush on Wed May 18, 2016 7:40 pm

HM Murdock wrote:^The almost-as-shocking stat that nobody under 28 has won a slam is only 4 months (and two slams) away though.

I haven't considered it in those terms before. Total generational failure.
All dialogues need a USP.

This just consigned "weak era" to the dustbin, in no small part because it's a fact.
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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by dummy_half on Wed May 18, 2016 11:19 pm

Barry

I think the difference in Novak's results at AO and USO are more easily explainable - the slower hard courts of the AO give him sufficient time to not be 'hit through' by anyone but the biggest hitters on a really top day, whereas at the USO the higher speed means there are more players with the capability of beating him with a 9/10 performance. Obviously he's still the man to beat at the moment, but there is just that bit more scope for his opponents.

RG is a bit the other way, in that Novak is not himself the biggest hitter and so it's a bit more of a challenge to finish off the points and so dominate his opponents. Also of course Rafa has been a very tough opponent on his favourite bit of real estate in the world, and Stan just produced one of those matches in last year's final. I'd still be very surprised if Novak doesn't win one FO either this year or next (once beyond 30, predictions of slam success become rather bold), but regardless he has already had a career that puts him up there with the all time greats and (currently) just below the serious contenders in the GOAT discussions.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by HM Murdock on Wed May 18, 2016 11:35 pm

^I think the difference between AO and USO is not so much court speed as overall conditions. Melbourne is dry heat and relatively little wind. New York can be humid and is nearly always quite blustery.

Also, in the case of Novak specifically, his form tends to 'top and tail' the year. He hits good form early and nearly always does well in Australia, IW and MI. Clay through to Wimbledon can be patchy. North America is normally a struggle. Then he usually comes to life again in Asia and WTF.

I've no idea why this should be the case but it's a recurring pattern.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by Born Slippy on Wed May 18, 2016 11:44 pm

I think court speed plays in a role in that though. The Murray/Novak dynamic splits as follows:

Oz/IW/Miami - 11-1 Novak
Can/Cin/US - 5-1 Murray

Factor in that Murray is 3-0 in Dubai/Wim and the picture seems to split fairly clearly based on court speed.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by banbrotam on Thu May 19, 2016 12:24 am

Born Slippy wrote:I think court speed plays in a role in that though. The Murray/Novak dynamic splits as follows:

Oz/IW/Miami - 11-1 Novak
Can/Cin/US - 5-1 Murray

Factor in that Murray is 3-0 in Dubai/Wim and the picture seems to split fairly clearly based on court speed.


I've noted that Murray's wins against Novak have come in more or less the fastest conditions they played in, i.e. Murray's 10 wins will almost have certainly coincided with the 10 fastest conditions they've had

Significant exception is Rome, which is why it's more than just a rare Murray win

I think Novak isn't as good as Andy in the fastest conditions, problem is we rarely have them and in fairness it weighs everything in favour of Roger as we saw at last years Wimby SF.

Brazil will be interesting. Not certain that Novak will relish the quite typical August conditions of 30 degrees C / 80% humidity

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by lydian on Thu May 19, 2016 1:05 am

Yes but Rome was likely an anomaly as Novak was knackered basically...

In any case, the court surfaces are markedly different.
AO is known for being slower as its a different surface vs USO (Plexipave vs DecoTurf).
Plexipave is a cushioned acrylic surface, vs DecoTurf cement.

Plexipave themselves say this of their AO surface: "Tennis Australia tests have shown that the Plexicushion Prestige courts already were faster than the old courts (Rebound Ace). They would however, still be slower than Wimbledon and the US Open."
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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by Born Slippy on Thu May 19, 2016 1:15 am

lydian wrote:Yes but Rome was likely an anomaly as Novak was knackered basically...

In any case, the court surfaces are markedly different.
AO is known for being slower as its a different surface vs USO (Plexipave vs DecoTurf).
Plexipave is a cushioned acrylic surface, vs DecoTurf cement.

Plexipave themselves say this of their AO surface: "Tennis Australia tests have shown that the Plexicushion Prestige courts already were faster than the old courts (Rebound Ace). They would however, still be slower than Wimbledon and the US Open."

Supremely fit Djokovic was too tired to compete for an hour with Andy but in 2006 Fed was able to go toe to toe for 5 hours with Rafa after a near identical QF and SF? Presumably you were busy asterisking Rafa's victory in the same way back in 2006?

I'm sure Novak wasn't feeling his absolute best on Sunday but I suspect if Andy hadn't played the big points so well in the second he would have looked fresh as a daisy in the 3rd. There were clear improvements from Andy which, if he can maintain them, will give him a great chance against Novak on any surface moving forward.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by Henman Bill on Thu May 19, 2016 1:25 am

Born Slippy wrote:I think court speed plays in a role in that though. The Murray/Novak dynamic splits as follows:

Oz/IW/Miami - 11-1 Novak
Can/Cin/US - 5-1 Murray

Factor in that Murray is 3-0 in Dubai/Wim and the picture seems to split fairly clearly based on court speed.

Very interesting comment. I had never even noticed. It's 4-1 to Novak on clay although he has been pushed close in some of those 4.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by HM Murdock on Thu May 19, 2016 1:54 am

Re: court speeds.

AO and USO are different but there's not a huge amount in it.

Melbourne is Plexicushion, which is ITF Category 3 Medium:
http://plexipave.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/3-MEDIUM.pdf

New York (and Canada and Cincy) is Pro Decoturf, which is ITF Category 4 Medium Fast:
http://www.decoturf.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/ITF-Certificate-CAT4-Pro-DecoTurf-expires-5-7-2016.pdf

Does this surface hinder Novak? I don't think so.

Canada and Cincy have the same surface. He's won Canada three times but has never won Cincy.

The struggles in Cincy stem more from the wind and humidity than the surface.

We should also note than he won Dubai four times. That's a fast court but the environment is dry heat. It has also been pretty windy the last couple of years and, sure enough, Novak didn't perform as well those years.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by socal1976 on Thu May 19, 2016 2:14 am

bogbrush wrote:
HM Murdock wrote:^The almost-as-shocking stat that nobody under 28 has won a slam is only 4 months (and two slams) away though.

I haven't considered it in those terms before. Total generational failure.
All dialogues need a USP.

This just consigned "weak era" to the dustbin, in no small part because it's a fact.

No what it seems to have done is to destroy the idea that you and others put forward that there is no such thing as a weak or weaker era in terms of competition. The fact that the golden generation is better than the rollover gen before them and the generation that came after them proves if anything that the fluctuations are real and discernible and that different periods can provide different levels of competition that impacts results. Actually this cuts against those arguing against Golden era/weak era.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by socal1976 on Thu May 19, 2016 2:21 am

barrystar wrote:
socal1976 wrote:
barrystar wrote:@socal, and I am sure you have not forgotten that Djoko's collection includes the WTF

This time five years ago, Djoko was going into RG having beaten Nadal at Madrid and Rome and it looked very likely that RG would be his 3rd slam and first away from Australia.

It seems extraordinary that the RG odyssey for Djoko continues; he's now a year older than Federer was at RG 2009.  Each time he's gone into RG with the edge over Nadal, he's run into a Swiss guy playing lights out tennis, Federer in 2011 and Wawrinka in 2015.  He's probably got no more than 2-3 more chances, he's looking tense, and Murray's win in Rome can't be helping his nerves....

Yeah, to be honest I actually think clay is a very good surface for his game and grass isn't as much. He has 3 wimbys and no RGs. And if you see how many Masters and finals he has on clay you see that really if not for Nadal and that crazy performance by Stan, which even Stan says was the best he ever played in his life, and Novak would probably have a couple of RG titles by now. There was this really bright guy on here who said that playing other multi-slam champions is what will determine how tough your competition is, and we can clearly see that in the case of Djokovic. Nadal has been the stingiest gatekeepers on clay, Fed got a bit lucky the year he won it. Novak on the other hand ran into a Wawrinka who played in his own words the best match of his life and had a couple of close losses to Nadal at the end of the tournament keeping him from that prize. Conversely, Novak is not a great grass courter although he has aspects of his game that transfer well to the surface, yet he wins it three times because there is no Nadal like gatekeeper at SW19, Fed used to play the role but he was too old to keep it up.  Its sports crap happens, overall its not as big a deal as Novak is making it for himself or his legacy.

Absolutely - which is why I have always rolled my eyes when I read predictions like so-and-so will end up with masses of slams.  Bottom line is they are incredibly difficult to win and serendipity, or not, plays its part.  Nadal has been a hugely stingy gatekeeper at RG - when he left the door open a chink Fed seized his opportunity in 2009, but in 2015 Stan was an extraordinary barrier for Djoko.  If Djoko ends up without an RG on his CV the one defeat he might really rue is Federer 2011.

You might have added in that the mismatch between Djoko's results at the Australian Open and the US Open is another quandary overall.

I agree with you that Djoko is one of the all-timers whether he gets RG or not, but I think that getting it is a big deal, especially for someone who is so proficient on clay and who has been Nadal's toughest opponent on the surface in his career.

Oh of course winning RG is a big deal to complete the Career slam. Regarding the AO and USO there are numerous factors like the wind, speed of courts, the generally nasty partisan crowds in New York that has seen Novak play a little less well there. But he still has a number of finals and semis basically every year at the USO. Dummy makes a good point that there are a few more players that can hit through Novak on that surface than at the AO. Plus you have the issues like wind and timing in the schedule towards the end of lengthy usually successful campaign also plays a role.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by HM Murdock on Thu May 19, 2016 2:30 am

socal1976 wrote: Dummy makes a good point that there are a few more players that can hit through Novak on that surface than at the AO.
This point exists in theory rather than fact though.

Novak's list of defeats at USO:

2014 - Nishikori
2013 - Nadal
2012 - Murray
2010 - Nadal
2009 - Federer
2008 - Federer
2007 - Federer

He gets beaten by the same players that beat him at the other slams (with the exception of Nishi, who is hardly a big hitter).

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by socal1976 on Thu May 19, 2016 2:41 am

HM Murdock wrote:
socal1976 wrote: Dummy makes a good point that there are a few more players that can hit through Novak on that surface than at the AO.
This point exists in theory rather than fact though.

Novak's list of defeats at USO:

2014 - Nishikori
2013 - Nadal
2012 - Murray
2010 - Nadal
2009 - Federer
2008 - Federer
2007 - Federer

He gets beaten by the same players that beat him at the other slams (with the exception of Nishi, who is hardly a big hitter).

Yeah but Nish is a perfect example. I don't think he can play the same match in 2014 at the USO at the AO. Nish was lights out swinging for the fences and connecting in that match. At the AO I think Novak gets a few more errors and the targets become a little smaller due to hit ability to close down. Nadal also in 2013 hit through him in that match, didn't out grind. All Fed's losses where Fed hitting through Djokovic.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by lydian on Thu May 19, 2016 2:53 am

Born Slippy wrote: Presumably you were busy asterisking Rafa's victory in the same way back in 2006?
No, I was enjoying being away from your perennially heart-warming sarcasm...
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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by lydian on Thu May 19, 2016 2:58 am

HM Murdock wrote:Does this surface hinder Novak? I don't think so.

Canada and Cincy have the same surface. He's won Canada three times but has never won Cincy.

The struggles in Cincy stem more from the wind and humidity than the surface.

We should also note than he won Dubai four times. That's a fast court but the environment is dry heat. It has also been pretty windy the last couple of years and, sure enough, Novak didn't perform as well those years.
Agreed, I don't think ANY surface hinders Djokovic tbh.
Sure Cincy is also usually very hot too which can make the balls fly faster.
Typically Djokovic prefers slower than faster courts but he's pretty adept on any of them considering none of them are truly quick now.
Re: the US Open series surfaces (which includes others like Washington, etc.), yes they are all DecoTurf but you'll also find they vary a lot due to the amount of sand put in the paint by each TD.
Again, we're not talking night and day but the Canada ones do tend to be a little slower so probably have a little more paint-sand there.
And we know how much sand Larry Ellison ensures gets onto IW each year....its like Blackpool beach in emulsion there!
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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by Born Slippy on Thu May 19, 2016 3:10 am

lydian wrote:
Born Slippy wrote: Presumably you were busy asterisking Rafa's victory in the same way back in 2006?
No, I was enjoying being away from your perennially heart-warming sarcasm...

My sarcasm only pops up occasionally when wind/tiredness is brought up, which I've seen a fair few times over the last week ;-). I enjoy reading your comments and you clearly know your tennis but I do think occasionally you start from a position that Andy can't possibly beat these guys normally. The reality is that he averages a win in about 1 in 3 matches. He isn't as good as them overall but matches between them do depend both on his level and on theirs.

I saw him play really well on Sunday with some really strong improvements. Serve volley to save a break point, 105mph second serve on another critical point, aggressive throughout. All the things we've (as a forum) been saying he should do and, strangely enough, they resulted in a win. However, all I've seen on here since have been indications he only won as Novak was tired. Sarcasm notwithstanding, I don't feel that reflects the true narrative.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by temporary21 on Thu May 19, 2016 3:18 am

Just a quick point. You can't call a new generation of djokovics competition as not very good, but simultaneously hold that no weak eras exist. They are the same thing.

He's either gained the same advantage of a weak gen that peak fed got, which is fine, or he made one himself by beating them all to a pulp, just like fed, which again is fine I personally go for the latter

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by lydian on Thu May 19, 2016 3:24 am

Fair enough BS...in some respects it was a glib summary and I'm usually the last guy to defend Djokovic on here. I do actually wholly believe Murray can beat these guys (indeed that long "forehand" thread started with the notion that Murray typically did so much more when he was employing more variety) but I wouldn't normally place him as favourite vs Novak at Rome.

But hey, players can have great/bad days, maybe Murray's focus on new-variety is starting to work or maybe Djokovic was just off. Novak looked jaded to me and much more emotionally effervescent than normal which was a pointer to something being amiss. But that doesn't mean Murray didn't play well of course. His clay level has been steadily rising these past 2 years for sure. If Murray can continue to embrace the aggression and variety he has within him then that's fine for me and those wins will keep coming.
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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by socal1976 on Thu May 19, 2016 3:29 am

temporary21 wrote:Just a quick point. You can't call a new generation  of djokovics competition as not very good, but simultaneously hold that no weak eras exist. They are the same thing.

He's either gained the same advantage of a weak gen that peak fed got, which is fine, or he made one himself by beating them all to a pulp, just like fed, which again is fine I personally go for the latter

Spot on. I also struggle to see how certain critics can see the generational failure of the next generation of stars but they couldn't see the generational fail of Fed's contemporaries. The fact that the Nadal/Djoko/Murray/Cilic/Del po/Wawrinka group of guys are just a level better than both the crop that came before and after them. And from this fact they extrapolate that there is no such thing as differences in competition level and that these differences don't matter, huh? Sounds contralogical to me, if anything the two generational fails we have seen recently prove both weak eras and golden generations.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by lydian on Thu May 19, 2016 3:34 am

We all accept that on average players get better from Bill Tilden to Novak Djokovic right?
It stands to reason that at the latter end of that continuum that Djokovic et al...will be better than those 10 years ago.
By definition, each preceding era surely has to be weaker then?
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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by Guest on Thu May 19, 2016 3:43 am

The best tennis I have seen Murray play has been at Queens.  He just seemed to have time to place the ball anywhere on the court.  It didn't seem to matter where the opponent was - he always seemed to find the space.  

Then comes Wimbledon and he lost.  He just seemed to lose the "time" he had in playing the shots and it became more of a baseline slug fest.  

I think the difference is in the intensity of the play from the opponent.  That creates the pressure.  And it is known that under pressure Murray's game often breaks down. although sometimes he is still fighting to the end but still loses.  

But in general the variety he displayed at Queens I think is only possible if the opponent doesn't play a high energy "pressing" game.  Sort of reminds me of football - the high pressing game is being used more and more and teams that rely on "skilful" play like Arsenal generally can't handle it - there play breaks down - they don't have the strength along the spine of their team to resist it.  Lendl helped Murray find his spine.  Then Murray's spine broke down  Smile

There I did it - fusing tennis with football styles of play.


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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by socal1976 on Thu May 19, 2016 3:49 am

lydian wrote:We all accept that on average players get better from Bill Tilden to Novak Djokovic right?
It stands to reason that at the latter end of that continuum that Djokovic et al...will be better than those 10 years ago.
By definition, each preceding era surely has to be weaker then?

Yeah, but that isn't really the analysis we are doing. First off we really are comparing players that most of us have watched play in a GOAT debate or that are still recent in memory like Borg, few except for Laverfan mention lets say Gonzalez. Secondly, we accept that the level improves so we don't make comparisons too distant in time frame. You can more easily compare Djokovic to Federer although not exact contemporaries than to compare Djokovic lets say to Laver. So when judging the strength and weakness of a period what we do is measure them against what their near contemporaries at the ELITE LEVEL brought and what they bring. Again to be in the top 5 or 10 or even 100 is always tough even in the weakest of eras, and the level over the long haul always goes up. But if you have a two or three year period where you get a beyond normal number of great level guys (and I am talking a handful or less) then in the fickle world of sport that is a golden era. Just like if you have a 2,3,4, or 6 year period with no upper level greats then you have a weak era. The comparison that is most pertinent is that group of players to their immediate near contemporaries that came just before and just after. Those comparisons while not perfect are the most telling because most things are pretty similar throughout the whole period with more minor changes (generally).

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by lydian on Thu May 19, 2016 5:15 am

Yes I understand all that...

So you're basically comparing Fed/Djo/Nad/Murr vs ?/?/?/?

And presumably ?/?/?/? <<< Big 4

Or are you rather saying... Djo/Nad/Mur >>> Fed/?/?  Wink
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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by temporary21 on Thu May 19, 2016 5:45 am

Yeah I mean the AVERAGE goes up in general, but its not monotonic. Tennis competitiveness ebbs and flows, but with a slight upward trend, it tends to go down a bit once a bunch of great guys at once retire.
You then need time for the new big players to build themselves up to get to another peak.

Thats when you sometimes get that transitional period inbetween, where you dont have to beat 2 or 3 multi slam winners to pick one up, since the old multislam winners have gone or got too old, and noone new has yet to come up to fill the void. Theres your "weak era" if you like...

Probably had one in about 04, where the last big great was 34 years old, and it probably did help give Rogers slam career a bit of a jump start, and were closing in on one of those again now, the beneficiary as we start to slump being Novak hovering the titles up.

I dont really understand why thats so reviled a concept, does anyone seriously think that a quick start would stop Roger having at the very least a double digit slam career? Youve still gotta be good enough to keep beating down the new guys...

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by Guest on Thu May 19, 2016 6:21 am

One needs to be careful with "serious" GOAT debates because the whole framework behind GOAT issues promotes shoddy, low-level thinking in which specific historical detail is washed out and ignored.  Tennis is a chronology.  One should "read" tennis as a narrative and a chronology not as a GOAT debate.  GOAT debates are religious in flavour, they promote concepts of universality, where history dissolves into rigid, timeless structures.  Unfortunately that is not reality that is ideology.

I think a better approach that leads to more analytical, scientific, progressive forms of thinking is to consider tennis as a chronology, a time progression, an evolution, a narrative.  I like to know what new developments if anything new players bring to the sport.  How is the technology of tennis changing and what impact does this have on the game.  How does the fitness and heaviness of the modern day player impact on the playing surface.  etc.  

For example I was interested in the discussion Lydian and Socal were having with regard to Kyrgios - it seems like he is bring something new to the game: the short back swing.  Maybe players in the past had short back swings - but the context would have been all different - a less advanced technology etc.  Players that are innovative and successful with their innovations gain kudus points for me in the history of the sport of tennis.  Players that adapt innovatively and successfully to the changes in the game brought on by changes in technology also play an important role in the history of tennis.  

In the past I think Federer was mentioned as a "transition player" with Nadal and Djokovic as maximisers of the new conditions that favour baseline tennis under reproducible conditions.

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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

Post by lydian on Thu May 19, 2016 6:41 am

Sure, but you're preaching to the converted as I've discussed this countless times...e.g. "transition era" concepts.
But I'm not getting into "weak" discussions.

Transition periods occur for many reasons...changes in the tour & tech, e.g. early 00s killed off many 90s players due to changes in racquets, strings, surfaces and balls.
e.g. Henman sat on Wimb court in 2002 and saying "I don't recognise this as grass anymore".

The success of an "era" can often be judged by how its dominant players coped with conditions, tech, new players, etc, over a general 10 year career window (10 years prime tends to work pretty well +/- a year or 2).
Any interesting discussion is who of the recent multislammers had it hardest around their best 10 year periods? (from when they first made their big thrust on tour)

Sampras - 90 to 00? (started vs. Becker/Edberg...Courier --> Agassi...but rapidly finished off by the slowed conditions and new racquet tech?)
Agassi - 94-05? (struggled vs Sampras prime (1-4 GS finals)...then led the transition phase as conditions slowed which suited his baseline game?)
Federer - 03-13? (late Agassi surge...picked up the transition era and led into prime Nadal then later prime Djokovic but also affected by extended rallying conditions? He came from faster court era...)
Nadal - 05-15? (prime Federer into prime Djokovic...but biggest issue aside prime Djokovic was foot bone/injury issues?)
Djokovic - 07-17? (struggled vs later Fed prime/early prime Nadal...then Djoko 2.0 at same time Fed started to decline, Nadal injuries...but leading the charge into a new transition period?)

How you see the above affects the merit of their achievements across their career...one man's weak era is another's transition, etc.
But the game is moving forwards again...look at Kyrgios...a new prototype in how to play the game...although arguably short back swings aren't new...but they are new to the current conditions.
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Re: Winning all 9 Masters

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