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Toni Nadal Throws The Gauntlet!

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HM Murdock
hawkeye
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Post by hawkeye Mon 25 Nov 2013, 18:31

This from Neil Harman's twitter account

Toni Nadal: "Challenge in 2014 will be Australia - it would achieve something only Laver did, twice winning the Big 4." Gauntlet thrown.

https://twitter.com/NeilHarmanTimes

Dam it Neil! I wish I was the one that referred to this as "throwing the gauntlet"...

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Post by HM Murdock Mon 25 Nov 2013, 18:56

The Australian Open is Rafa's Holy Grail...!

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Post by kingraf Mon 25 Nov 2013, 18:58

Have to be honest, that sounds like a Gauntlet....

Everyone say it with me:
Holy Grail
Holy Grail
Holy Grail
Holy Grail
Holy Grail

(sang to the tune of "Gonna fly now" from the Rocky movies)

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Post by kingraf Mon 25 Nov 2013, 18:58

Damn you HMM - you typed yours seconds before mine!
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Post by LuvSports! Mon 25 Nov 2013, 19:01

Hows your African adventure KR?

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Post by kingraf Mon 25 Nov 2013, 19:07

Ended prematurely LS - A guy I played cricket with passed away, so I cut it short by about seven weeks, and pretty much lost the desire to do anything except moap around in my boxers. Might attempt an abbreviated safari for the last two weeks of the year.
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Post by kingraf Mon 25 Nov 2013, 19:08

Ended prematurely LS - A guy I played cricket with passed away, so I cut it short by about seven weeks, and pretty much lost the desire to do anything except mope around in my boxers. Might attempt an abbreviated safari for the last two weeks of the year.
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Post by LuvSports! Mon 25 Nov 2013, 19:09

Sorry to hear that man. My condolences.

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Post by kingraf Mon 25 Nov 2013, 19:14

Thanks man. 'Twas just a freak accident. Got struck on the side of the head playing cricket. Went to bed fine, didn't wake up again.

Was suffering from serious altitude sickness in Addis Ababa for the few days I was there" though!
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Post by hawkeye Mon 25 Nov 2013, 22:25

HM Murdoch wrote:The Australian Open is Rafa's Holy Grail...!
Dam it HM Murdoch! I wish I was the one that referred to it as Rafa's Holy Grail... Wink

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Post by HM Murdock Tue 26 Nov 2013, 08:53

Getting back to the OP, I think rarely has a player been in such a strong position to achieve something extraordinary.

Rafa starts the tournament at worst as the marginal second favourite but many might say he is the favourite.

I think, on RLA, A-game Novak is favourite. But a consistently good performance in a slam final from Novak has become a pretty rare occurence since AO12. Until I see evidence otherwise, I will be working on the assumption that Novak will play really well until the match v Rafa or Andy and then he'll lose his mind.

The Andy v Rafa match up is the great mystery. It's crazy that they haven't played in over 2 years! We also have to see how long it takes Andy to get back up to speed following his surgery.

I consider it very likely that Rafa will achieve his "at least two of each" in January.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 26 Nov 2013, 09:47

Incredible, really, that no one has done the "two of each" in the Open era (saving Laver who did it once as an amateur).
Of course, the main problem for nearly everyone has been the French. Winning it has been beyond the likes of Pete and Johnny Mac and winning it even once with Rafa around is almost impossible, so that has cut down the chances of the present lot doing a two-of-each considerably.
  Fed, probably, would have done it, although he'll be glad to have settled for winning the French once.
  Clearly, eventually, someone else has got to win the French but will they be good enough to get two each of the others?

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Post by Danny_1982 Tue 26 Nov 2013, 11:21

Murdoch - I would have Novak as my slight favourite for AO ahead of Rafa. It's the surface he's most comfortable on and he has the slight edge in the rivalry right now. It's paper thin, but I fancy Novak to win it.

Has anyone won the AO 4 times in a row? Could this be Novak's true holy grail? Laugh 

I think this might come a little too early for Murray. It will be his second tournament after back surgery, so to be honest if you offered me semis right now I'd take it.

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Post by HM Murdock Tue 26 Nov 2013, 11:42

Danny_1982 wrote:Has anyone won the AO 4 times in a row?
No. In fact, Novak is the only player to win 3 in a row.

A win would take him to 5 overall at AO, which means he would stand alone as the player with most wins there in the Open Era.

Re. Andy, without surgery I'd rate his chances very highly indeed. What is he at now, 3 finals in the last 4 years? I'd be surprised if he didn't win one at some point. If he comes back fit and firing, he has a great chance.

The big difficulty is that, with his ranking at 4, he may well have to go through both Novak and Rafa to win. Which is tricky!

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Post by Danny_1982 Tue 26 Nov 2013, 12:04

Well, the tougher semi has played a part in some slams over the last year or so. AO 13 Murray had an epic with Roger, Novak had a stroll v Ferrer and consequently Murray faded in the final. Wimbledon 13 Novak had the tougher semi, and he faded in sets 2 and 3 of the final.

So you're right, it does make a difference being at 4, minimises his chances not just because they're both great players he'd likely have to beat but because of fatigue.

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