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Slow boat to China .......

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Post by lags72 Tue Oct 06, 2015 4:36 pm

First topic message reminder :

I see that a return to the competitive scene by both Djokovic and Nadal is not quite enough to wake 606 regulars from their state of forum hibernation. Maybe we will have to wait for Murray and/or OAP Federer for that to happen ...... chin

Meanwhile in Beijing itself, Rafa has been talking pre-tournament of his motivation to qualify for London, and his (understandable) fondness for this week's venue in the context of memories of Olympics success. And asked about his prospects for this current event, his response had a rather familiar ring to it when he described the field as "Very, very tough. From the 1st round, all the matches are tough"

Hmm. So I thought I'd check out who exactly Rafa's 'tough' first round opponent might be. It was apparently none other than the battle-hardened Di Wu. (yes, him !). Ranked 230 (although he did make 161 a coupe of years ago) and his best win this year to date was, I believe, over a 207-ranked Aussie at a Challenger event in An-Ning, China.

I didn't see the clash, so can't say just how 'tough' it was for Rafa. BUT .... Di Wu did seemingly acquit himself well in taking eight games off Rafa - so perhaps he was right to be wary ?! And eight games is, after all, six more than Bolelli managed against Novak.

We live in exciting times !

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:54 am

I would say the other three guys upped their level having played against Novak in 2011 and knowing that they had to do so to win.

You talked about match up but Rafa was already playing against Novak back in 2006 and he was always having the upper hand on clay and Novak on HCs. I would even say that had the 2008 Rafa met this current Novak on clay, Rafa would still be having the upperhand most of the times even in BO3 matches.

The thing is Rafa is clearly not that 2008 version anymore and so now its not surprising that Novak is having the upperhand. I dont think its a match up issue, more a surface issue and their style of play more suited for whichever surface(s).

Novak is a tough opponent for anyone now, regardless of matchups, just like Rafa was one not long ago and Fed during his heydays and even now.

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Post by HM Murdock Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:33 pm

Belovedluckyboy wrote: I dont think its a match up issue, more a surface issue and their style of play more suited for whichever surface(s).
Yes, I wouldn't disagree with that.

Their careers have had very different arcs but the h2h has ended up being remarkably balanced:

Nadal 23 - 22 Djokovic

Nadal 14 - 6 Djokovic on clay
Nadal  7 - 15 Djokovic on HC

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Post by Henman Bill Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:23 pm

Murray upped his level in 2012. His forehand was much better than 2011.
Djokovic dropped.
Federer upped slightly, but not much. I think the courts seem to be faster in 2012 (e.g. Madrid).
Rafa upped slightly at the start of the year at the AO, but the rest of his year was not better.

I think it was more Djokovic dropping than anything else.

I also think the slowness of the courts peaked in 2011, and 2012 saw a slight reversal.

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Post by Belovedluckyboy Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:40 pm

Rafa certainly played better at the clay courts in 2012, found his depth and penetration on his shots. Just looked at his 2011 and 2012 FO matches and see the differences. He was struggling at the FO in 2011 but not so during 2012.

I dont think the courts were quicker in 2012 except for the blue clay courts at Madrid. Like i said, he lost his matches mostly to Fed, Rafa and Murray, when in 2011 he narrowly beat them in some of their matches.

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Post by socal1976 Tue Oct 13, 2015 7:05 pm

For my money, I think Nadal needs to make a series of small tweeks that when they are all added up will be a dramatic change. I think he has to stop running around so many backhands and putting himself in drastic positions on the court. Secondly, I think he needs to play a step to a half step closer to the baseline and look to hit the flat FH a bit more and earlier in the rally. Also solidifying and improving his up the line BH to go with a very good CC BH and slice that he has will help as well. Of course we aren't talking about dramatic and drastic changes. But several small adjustments in a number of areas that will dramatically change his game and results. Of course part of it is that he has had so many injuries and that he is an old 29 as opposed to some players nowadays who look as they always have at 29 or 30.

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Post by socal1976 Sat Oct 17, 2015 9:39 pm

Wow is all I have to say. Amazing precision and variety by Novak, he made the world number 2 look like the world 222. I mean people have to start appreciating this type of tennis, to borrow a term from the militarists this was full spectrum dominance. Yes Murray aided in his demise by double faulting but that had a lot to do with the fact that he was late in the first set was winning just 9 percent of his second serve points. I think these type of wins and this level if maintained by Novak will see more and more of the biggest trophies falling in quick succession.Novak in my mind has now surpassed 2011 levels because of his ability to hurt opponents from all areas of the court and with variety. Best pure baseliner ever some genius once said that and had to put up with a tidal wave of recrimination and questions of his sanity. It is sad that true genius is never appreciated by contemporary critics. Neither mine nor Djokovic's. If he plays this way next year Novak will for certain have his best year ever.

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Post by summerblues Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:35 am

socal1976 wrote:If he plays this way next year Novak will for certain have his best year ever.
Neither will happen.


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Post by Henman Bill Mon Oct 19, 2015 12:46 am

you hope

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Post by temporary21 Mon Oct 19, 2015 12:57 am

Might not even HAVE to play this way next year to get similar results, wheres the new Nadal to stop the dominant force? Old Nadal Maybe? Feds got stamina issues, Murrays a level below...

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Post by summerblues Mon Oct 19, 2015 2:32 am

Henman Bill wrote:you hope
Well, I do not deny that my preferences lie that way, nor do I claim to have a functional crystal ball, so I suppose the term "hope" is not entirely misplaced.

But in all seriousness, I just do not see it happen.  Years like this are hard to repeat and he is no spring chicken anymore.  Even if nobody emerges as a challenger I would expect him to start losing more - perhaps to his contemporaries as his own consistency will decline.

Anyway, it should be an interesting year - if I am wrong and he collects another 3+ slams next year, he will have a good shot to catch up at least with Rafa, and if I am really wrong and he has another two comparable years then yes, even Fed will be reachable.

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