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The French Open 2020

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 24 Sep 2020, 5:38 pm

First topic message reminder :

With the draw about to be made for RG, I thought I would get this topic going.

For me - and I say this every year - Rafa is clear favourite, although the strange nature of all sport this Covid-19 year might mean someone else (Thiem? Djoko?) might have a chance.

Halep stands out as the women's favourite, particularly as some of the top women are not appearing. More on this after the draw.

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Post by dummy_half Thu 15 Oct 2020, 11:36 am

Slasher

Interesting comment about Djokovic's weight of shot - something he generates without an extravagant swing of the racquet, so probably something that isn't that obvious when you're watching rather than at the other end of the court.

I do think in some ways his game is 'simple', just that his level of execution is very high and very consistent, allied to some of the best movement ever seen on court. Unlike Rafa, Roger and even Murray, there isn't anything he obviously does that others don't, it's just he does it better on a reliable basis than anyone else.

A little cricket (batsman) analogy:
Federer = Ian Bell. Classically stylish.
Nadal = Kevin Pietersen. Capable of the outrageous and flashy
Djokovic = Alistair Cook. 12000 Test runs by having a game plan (leave, leave, leave, clip off pads for 4, leave, leave) and playing to his strengths.

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Post by No name Bertie Thu 15 Oct 2020, 7:21 pm

dummy_half wrote:Slasher

Interesting comment about Djokovic's weight of shot - something he generates without an extravagant swing of the racquet, so probably something that isn't that obvious when you're watching rather than at the other end of the court.

I do think in some ways his game is 'simple', just that his level of execution is very high and very consistent, allied to some of the best movement ever seen on court. Unlike Rafa, Roger and even Murray, there isn't anything he obviously does that others don't, it's just he does it better on a reliable basis than anyone else...
I would be grateful to hear what Rafa, Roger and Murray does or did (presumably in their prime) that others don't or never did? Maybe others would suggest the same for Djokovic.

For Roger Federer I suppose the serve has to be included when analysing his armory. For Rafael Nadal I suppose it is his backhand and ability to spin the ball. Nadal is right handed but plays with his left hand which makes his double handed backhand interesting. For Djokovic it has to be his flexibility, ability to slide to get into position to hit the ball that has to be special. For Andy Murray I am not sure what was particularly unique in his armory.

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Post by Born Slippy Fri 16 Oct 2020, 10:20 am

I think if I was doing a cricket analogy, it would probably be:

Federer - Lara: extravagantly gifted and phenomenal at his best.
Djokovic - Tendulkar: all-round excellence and understated brilliance.
Nadal - Dravid: unspectacular but incredibly effective.

Novak’s particular ability which marks him out from most others is his return game but it’s so consistent that it just doesn’t get noticed as much anymore. The number of times that he will hit returns at pace just a few inches from the baseline is incredible.

As for the GOAT debate, it feels like it’s probably between Novak and Nadal now. My suspicion is that his error at the US Open combined with his loss at the French will probably ultimately cost Novak in the slam race. It’s hard to see Nadal not winning next year’s French given how dominant he was here and it’s only a few months away. If so, that means Novak needs to win an entire season of slams just to get level and realistically that means he’d either need to win everything else over the next year or still be winning at 35+. I can’t see either of those things happening in all honesty. He will end up with the weeks at number 1, YE1 and Masters records (and the better H2H) and the question will be whether that’s sufficient to overcome Nadal having the slam record.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 16 Oct 2020, 12:41 pm

BS - The French is, as you say, practically a gimme for Rafa. But I can still see Djoko overtaking him eventually.

Djoko has a far better chance in the other three slams than Rafa who has a comparatively poor (although still quite decent) record in Melbourne and who hasn't reached a Wimbledon final since 2011.

Re the USO. This is the one where some of the younger bloods might do well. Thiem has, of course, already won it, albeit with a depleted field. You can see the likes of Tsitsipas and Zverev challenging in New York from now on.



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Post by dummy_half Fri 16 Oct 2020, 1:35 pm

Born Slippy wrote:I think if I was doing a cricket analogy, it would probably be:

Federer - Lara: extravagantly gifted and phenomenal at his best.
Djokovic - Tendulkar: all-round excellence and understated brilliance.
Nadal - Dravid: unspectacular but incredibly effective.

Novak’s particular ability which marks him out from most others is his return game but it’s so consistent that it just doesn’t get noticed as much anymore. The number of times that he will hit returns at pace just a few inches from the baseline is incredible.

As for the GOAT debate, it feels like it’s probably between Novak and Nadal now. My suspicion is that his error at the US Open combined with his loss at the French will probably ultimately cost Novak in the slam race. It’s hard to see Nadal not winning next year’s French given how dominant he was here and it’s only a few months away. If so, that means Novak needs to win an entire season of slams just to get level and realistically that means he’d either need to win everything else over the next year or still be winning at 35+. I can’t see either of those things happening in all honesty. He will end up with the weeks at number 1, YE1 and Masters records (and the better H2H)  and the question will be whether that’s sufficient to overcome Nadal having the slam record.

Born Slippy
I did actually start thinking of the analogy of Lara and Tendulkar, but couldn't figure out who would be the Nadal-alike...

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Post by 88Chris05 Fri 16 Oct 2020, 5:16 pm

Although the hard courts, particularly down under, have always been Djokovic's best surface and where he's had most success, I actually think Wimbledon is going to be his 'safest' Slam in the next year or two. None of the emerging guys have yet shown that they can master the vagaries of the grass or adapt their games to really make a challenge at Wimbledon. It could be that, over the next year or two, Djokovic's main challengers at Wimbledon could still be an almost forty-year-old Federer and Nadal, and he's favourite against both of them there. Djokovic's style might not be a classical grass court one, but he certainly has mastered the art of moving effectively on grass and making the adjustments necessary to succeed there. Thiem has broken his duck but doesn't look a threat at SW19, and while I expect Tsitsipas to win a Slam in the next eighteen months or so (I think he'll just pip Zverez to his first), he along with Medvedev seems more likely to prosper on the hard courts.
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Post by Derek Smalls Sat 31 Oct 2020, 7:31 pm

Murray was essentially a counter - puncher so a cricketing analogy doesn't work quite so well. His return of service was his best asset, and I for one win never forget his drop shot (!)

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Post by Jeff Navarro Sat 31 Oct 2020, 7:44 pm

Djokovic’s record at Wimbledon massively flatters him. Is he anyway near fellow 5 time champion Borg? Like hell is he. He’s been massively fortunate that he’s cashed in against an ageing Federer.

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Post by Derek Smalls Sat 31 Oct 2020, 11:01 pm

But people have always said that, used the argument of poor opposition laying an easy path to victory. Eg, was Sampras lucky because he merely fought, say, Courier etc? Personally I believe that Agassi would have a much better slam record had he not coincidenced with Pete. Was he unlucky, though?
It's also been said by Fed's detractors that he had a clear run in his early years. It's interesting to me to hear of people's take, such as, Novak would certainly have beaten peak Fed, etc ad nauseum. The mundane truth in my eyes is that most of the match ups would be "pickems",despite the consideration of stage of career. That Fed list a sl from match point down to Novak so recently is amazing, seeing as he was so roundly ground down during their last five setter at Wimbledon some four or five years previous.
My own view concurs with other posters who assert that whilst ND has a game that is nowhere near as attractie as Fed's, and that Fed could reasonably be considered a genius whereas Nadal and Novak encapsulate effort and functionality, the Serb will win the tally for slams. Bearing in mind the obsession with slams is a comparatively recent thing, I don't think that it matters quite as much as some seem to think.

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