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Post by sirfredperry on Tue 01 Jan 2019, 7:44 am

Andy Murray has won his first match of the season 6-3, 6-4 against Aussie James Duckworth. Murray said afterwards that he was happy with his effort after a bit of a rusty start. He now takes on Medvedev which will be tough.
Encouraging start, also, for Jo Konta who beat Sloane Stephens. Rafa is playing in Brisbane, Djoko is in Doha and Federer is in Hopman Cup action in Australia.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue 01 Jan 2019, 10:19 am

Great to see Andy back in action. It is clear he has to expectations or aspirations and is just happy to be back playing and will just take each match as it comes. He realises he does not have long left in the sport now and his doctor confirms he will always now play with pain.

Best of luck Andy. Every win is an achievement.
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Post by No name Bertie on Tue 01 Jan 2019, 12:11 pm

CaledonianCraig wrote:Great to see Andy back in action. It is clear he has to expectations or aspirations and is just happy to be back playing and will just take each match as it comes. He realises he does not have long left in the sport now and his doctor confirms he will always now play with pain.

Best of luck Andy. Every win is an achievement.
The bit in bold comment "shocked" me - and a quick google search led me to a Daily Mail report confirming it:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/tennis/article-6540555/Andy-Murrays-surgeon-says-hip-pain-never-away.html

I have long concluded that Rafael Nadal was "mad" in terms of pushing his body into destruction - now it seems the same might be said of Andy Murray.   If I had received such a prognosis I would have 'retired' from singles tournaments and maybe started a doubles career with Jamie (assuming this would be less intense).   I really thought keyhole surgery would have eventually cured his condition - but it seems his condition is far more serious.

It really is such a shame for Andy - being long in the shadow of all time greats Federer, Nadal and Djokovic - Andy could have picked up most of the tournaments in the past three years plus the next few years.  But it seems that ultimately he was the first to physically break down to a level that saw him no longer competitive in the major tournaments.   I blame it on those two intense years he gave to the British Davis Cup effort - all those extra matches (often involving best of five sets on three consecutive days) plus the 2016 Olympics.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Tue 01 Jan 2019, 12:38 pm

Playing doubles or singles or any form of tennis will bring pain for Andy.
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Post by Nathaniel Jacobs on Tue 01 Jan 2019, 6:49 pm

Think Murray will retire after Wimbledon nothing to gain by potentially damaging his body beyond repair. There's more important things in life than sport e.g. his wife and children

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Post by Born Slippy on Wed 02 Jan 2019, 12:37 am

All Andy’s comments recently suggest it’s probably going to be a retirement this year. Odd given the previous comments were suggesting the training block was going really well. The key questions though are whether (I) the hip is influencing him in matches and (II) if it stopped him having his usual training block.

Notwithstanding his comments, he dealt with Duckworth fairly easily. Will be interesting to see how he gets on against Medvedev. If he is in decent shape, it’s a tough but winnable match.

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Post by CaledonianCraig on Wed 02 Jan 2019, 10:25 am

A day for British tennis to forget in Brisbane. Johanna Konta crashed out of the women's singles, Edmund lost to a qualifier and Medvedev is on the brink of a straight sets win over Murray. Rumours also abound that Nadal has withdrawn from the tournament.
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Post by lags72 on Wed 02 Jan 2019, 10:40 am

Yes, Nadal has withdrawn.

On hearing announcement of the above just now on BBC Five Live radio, I learnt on the same report that Nadal has ‘completed’ only ONE of his last nineteen hard court entries ; this was Toronto, which he actually ended up winning.

I was surprised by the stat ..... but assume it is factually correct .. ??

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Post by No name Bertie on Wed 02 Jan 2019, 11:10 am

Nadal has a thigh problem - sounds like a similar thigh problem to that which he complained of last year that caused him to retire during AO2018.

Have just seen the 11 minute highlights of Medvedev vs Murray 7-5 6-2 (Brisbane).   From the first set it was clear that Murray's posture is all wrong - his right hip sticking out with a slight limp.  Murray still played at a good level but he is clearly not reaching the top level.  He is also becoming more vocal when he is moved from side to side - and has to make that explosive effort to get his body to move sideways quickly.

ps I guess everyone has already heard of the news that Del Potro has withdrawn from AO2019 - he hasn't yet recovered from the injury that cut his 2018 season short.

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Post by No name Bertie on Wed 02 Jan 2019, 11:28 am

Kyrgios lost to Chardy 7-6 6-2 6-3. Kyrgios is still young enough to make an impact but he is just not kicking on with his career (has reached a plateau which is strewn with small injuries).

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Post by MrInvisible on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 11:33 am

Bit of a sense of deja vu at start of 2019 in that we're talking about injuries like we were 12 months ago.

On Nadal, I'm assuming he will be fit for Aus Open but will play minimally/if it all before then.

For Murray the match against Medvedev was a good reality check, and its concerning to hear his posture/movement isn't right. I tend to agree we are looking at a retirement year, and probably the best he can hope for is to knock a big name out of a slam in early rounds, in same way that Hewitt tended to do in the twilight years of his singles career.

Sad news on Del Potro missing out again though I think he can bounce back like he has before.

More positive news for couple of other players who've experienced injury woes over past couple of years - Nishikori looking in good form beating Dimitrov in straight sets, whilst it was good to see Tsonga back in action and winning too. Also, wanted to put in a mention for Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter teaming up in Hopman Cup to beat Tiafoe and Serena - I sense that Boulter will start to make breakthrough in the slams in 2019.

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Post by lags72 on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 12:36 pm

Rising young talent Stefanos Tsitsipas took on a guy close to twice his age in the Hopman Cup.

I was expecting youth to triumph, but the old engine in the Federer machine had just about enough to come out on top in two TB’s.

Some quality highlights of what seemed a fast & furiously-fought encounter (esp. closing stages, from around 10:30) for anyone interested

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6ymakjhN2Y8

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Post by sirfredperry on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 1:35 pm

Lags72: Fed aint even the oldest on the circuit. That's Karlovic at 39 who today bt Gulbis.
I see that Nishi bt Dimi in Brisbane. The Japanese seems to be almost back to his best.
Wonder if Rafa is going to be fit for the AO. His whole year is based on being in peak condition for the European clay-court season during which he gathers a good percentage of his points.


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Post by lags72 on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 3:15 pm

@sfp - true enough, Karlovic is older ..... in fact, I believe the ONLY top 100 player who is actually older than Fed ?

I guess the key difference between them (er .... as well as many other things Very Happy ) is that Federer has a LOT more mileage on the body-clock, having played around 800 more matches than Ivo !!

As for Rafa : he did say in his withdrawal ‘apology interview’ re Brisbane that he is 100% sure of being fully fit to contest the AO OK

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Post by No name Bertie on Thu 03 Jan 2019, 4:17 pm

Rafael Nadal just has to make sure he is "injury free" for the clay season - where he should pick up another Roland Garros title.  My concern for Nadal is that he is picking up a lot of non knee related injuries (muscular & ankle) suggesting his body can't take it anymore.

Not sure how Djokovic is faring but he should clean up most of the slams this year as long as he remains injury free (AO 2019, Wimbledon 2019, USO 2019).  Djokovic needs one more slam title to become part of the all time greats era (Federer, Nadal, Djokovic) - and bettering Sampras' record.

With Federer he needs a good rest and to be injury free to have a chance at a grand slam - hence AO2019 and Wimbledon 2019 (with a clay season opt out) are his best chances.

It is painful watching Murray nowadays - he still has the talent - but his body is crocked (right hip).  I feel he needs another operation but the word seems to be his condition is not really treatable (that he cannot get back to his injury free condition).

Cilic has a chance if he remains injury free to pick up something.

Good opportunity for Thiem as have a few of the next generation.  It will be interesting to see if there is a transformation in Zverev at the AO2019 - now that he has Lendl in his camp.

Nishikori seems to be back from injury but has yet to show any recent grand slam winning potential.

If Wimbledon is wet and slippery then that could boost Federer's chances (his footing on grass is second to none).

Last year at AO 2019 we had Kyle Edmund & Hyeon Cheung in the semi-finals.  Both developed injuries during / soon after their semi-finals and have not shown the same promise.   Cilic reached the final last year as did Federer.

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Post by MrInvisible on Fri 04 Jan 2019, 12:21 pm

Whilst Edmund had a disappointing loss the other day in Brisbane of far greater potential concern is his knee injury causing him to pull out of next week's tournament in Sydney: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/46749072.

Meanwhile, Medvedev has beaten Raonic to reach the semis and looks a good bet to win the Brisbane title.

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Post by lags72 on Sat 05 Jan 2019, 1:21 am

Djokovic taken down by Bautista-Agut in Doha SF.

Came from a set down and will now play Berdych - who has fallen to 71 in the rankings - for the title.

It’s a second win for RBA over Djoko. He can put in some very high quality performances at times .... took a set off Fed in Shanghai last year.

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Post by sirfredperry on Sat 05 Jan 2019, 8:05 am

I noticed Djoko had twice been taken to three sets in his previous matches before losing to RBA. Not sure how much we can read into this ahead of Melbourne where I expect Djoko to triumph.
Cameron Norrie withdrew from qualifying for Auckland. Hope he's OK.
In the women's, it's interesting to see a number of teenagers already making their mark this season

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Post by lags72 on Sat 05 Jan 2019, 8:26 am

Warm-up events ahead of Slams have rarely been a reliable indicator of things to come in the ‘main show’.

I would still consider Djokovic as favourite for the AO.

Federer may perhaps put up a respectable defence of his title ; but three AO’s in a row will prove beyond him ..... seven Bo5 matches is just too much for a man of his years, however uniquely talented.

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Post by lags72 on Sat 05 Jan 2019, 10:30 am

It was World No. 3 versus World No. 4 in the first rubber of the (fairly meaningless !) Hopman Cup Final this evening, Perth time.

Federer came through in straights, and was looking pretty sharp in highlights against a very spirited Zverev. The win edges him ahead 4-3 in their h2h.

The old man has subdued all four youngsters played this week.

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Post by sirfredperry on Sat 05 Jan 2019, 3:40 pm

Anderson beats Karlovic in final in three tiebreak sets in which there were no breaks of serve and 57 aces.

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Post by lags72 on Sun 06 Jan 2019, 8:35 am

sirfredperry wrote:Anderson beats Karlovic in final in three tiebreak sets in which there were no breaks of serve and 57 aces.

I can’t help wondering just how much tennis there was to be seen in that one Rolling Eyes

Not really the sort of match-up I would be queuing up to buy a ticket for ........

I think with a serve like Karlovic’s he can very likely hang around on the circuit for a few years still, simply because there’s always the chance of him taking virtually anyone into TB sets .... and then getting lucky. His game is such that the vast majority of the time he does of course get found out - as illustrated by a total of just eight minor titles in around two decades of tour. But he’s a good pro, obviously keeps himself in shape, and the sport has no doubt brought him a very good living. And he doesn’t care what I think Wink

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Post by sirfredperry on Tue 08 Jan 2019, 7:59 am

Interesting to see one of the Auckland winners today was a certain D. Ferrer of Spain. I thought he'd retired. He had, but was persuaded to play Auckland and is going to play five more tournaments this year in a farewell tour.

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Post by No name Bertie on Tue 08 Jan 2019, 10:41 am

sirfredperry wrote:Interesting to see one of the Auckland winners today was a certain D. Ferrer of Spain. I thought he'd retired. He had, but was persuaded to play Auckland and is going to play five more tournaments this year in a farewell tour.
D Ferrer (36) is nearly a year younger than R Federer (37).

Would people agree that Ferrer had a career similar to Tim Henman - both sort of nearly men.   One was a baseliner ("clay court specialist") the other a serve and volleyer (who was affected by the slowdown in the surfaces - in particular at Wimbledon, which he commented on).

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Post by MrInvisible on Tue 08 Jan 2019, 12:05 pm

In the end Nishikori beat Medvedev to win the Brisbane title.  Whilst I've always felt the warm-up tournaments for Australian Open are less of a reliable guide than is the case for the other slams, I do think we can expect quarter-finals or even better from Kei this year in Melbourne.

Hats off to Ferrer on his win in Auckland - he's one of those players who's been a great role-model - humble, great work ethic and temperament, and in his prime has pushed Federer and Nadal hard in matches.

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Post by sirfredperry on Thu 10 Jan 2019, 11:41 am

Draw has been done for the AO. Fed is in the bottom half with Rafa. Murray has a tough opener against RBA, while Edmund faces Berdych and Norrie has Fritz who he has just beaten.

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