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Tokyo Olympics/North American hardcourt summer swing

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slashermcguirk
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Atila
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Post by MrInvisible Sat 24 Jul 2021, 7:30 pm

Thought it was worth putting up a joint thread to cover the Olympics tennis tournament in Tokyo and the hardcourt summer swing build up to US Open.

The inclusion of tennis in Olympics seems to be polarising but it does look like its here to stay in the games.  For me, I view it like the (pre-revamped) Davis Cup - a nice change for players to play for their country and win medals.  Since it was reintroduced in 1988 it has had a couple of surprise winners and finalists though really since Agassi beat Bruguera in 1996 its really only the 2004 tournament, won by Nicholas Massu (remember him?!) against Mardy Fish (Mardy who?) which sticks out.  The 2012 one was v memorable - held on the green grass of Wimbledon, that big win for Murray over Federer really setting up his career, whilst who could forget the heroics and passion of Del Potro in both 2012 and 2016.

This build up of course has been marred like the rest of Olympics by the Covid pandemic - the positive tests and a significant number of players out.  However, Djokovic is there, and raring to go, never having won a gold, and the likes of Rublev, Zverev, Tsitsipas and Medvedev are in the tournament.  There's also the doubles, and the most notable result of the tennis in Olympics this year so far has been (Andy) Murray and Joe Salisbury beat 2nd seeds, the highly accomplished Herbert and Mahut.

The quarter-final line-up is likely to see:
Djokovic v Rublev,
Zverev vs Karatsev/Fucsovics/Hurkacz,
Schwartzman v Tsitsipas,  
Carreno Busta/Cilic/Felix A A v Fognini/Medvedev

So, can Djokovic get the gold, and set himself up for a unique calendar year golden slam or will the likes of Schwartzman or Tsitsipas take it, with the extra motivation of winning Gold for their country?  Onto the doubles, can Jamie Murray/Skupski or Andy Murray/Salisbury go all the way?

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 25 Jul 2021, 10:43 am

Andy Murray out of the singles thru injury but intends to carry on with the doubles.

A pity, as I thought he could beat F AA who did go down in any case, losing in straight sets to Murray's replacement.

Easy wins for Djoko and Zverev so far, while Barty, who was far from impressive at Wimbledon despite winning it, is out. GB's Liam Broady beat a player ranked above him in a three-hour match.

Meanwhile, Cam Norrie's storming season continues with his first title win in California. Not a great field in this tourney but they all count.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 26 Jul 2021, 1:32 pm

Very few upsets at the Olympics today. Basilashvili beat Sonego, although the Italian was so poor in defeat at Wimbledon that this hardly counts as an upset.

Swiatek and Kvitova are out in the women, while Svitolina - the new Mrs Monfils - survived a three-setter v Tomljanovic.

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Post by lags72 Mon 26 Jul 2021, 5:31 pm

As you say, the inclusion of tennis as an Olympic event is indeed polarising.

My own perspective (FWIW !!) is very clear : Just shouldn’t be part of the Games, pure & simple ; which in turn means I struggle to generate enthusiasm, or motivation to actually watch. I do take a (cursory) look at the results, but little more than that.

Rarely are the fields truly comprehensive, and whilst a medal is something to be very proud of, I would rate even Gold as less of an ‘achievement’ than a Masters 1000 title  - and way below any of the Slams.

Many will disagree wildly …… of that I have little doubt !

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Post by Soul Requiem Mon 26 Jul 2021, 5:56 pm

I fully agree Lags.

The Olympics was designed to be the pinnacle of the sports represented, that just isn't the case for Tennis or Golf so it's inclusion feels out of place. Murray winning twice generated interest in the UK but those titles pale in comparison to his grand slams.

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Post by No name Bertie Mon 26 Jul 2021, 9:14 pm

Nowadays, the Olympics is nothing much more than a money making exercise for network television and the like.  For the hosts it is supposed to bring them prestige, although the local population usually end up having to pay higher taxes for decades afterwards for the honour.

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Post by Atila Tue 27 Jul 2021, 7:42 am

Naomi Osaka beaten in straight sets 6-1 6-4 by Marketa Vondrousova. So no Olympic gold for Osaka but I'm wondering,  did she do a post match press conference? 🎾🙂

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 27 Jul 2021, 8:13 am

Atila wrote:Naomi Osaka beaten in straight sets 6-1 6-4 by Marketa Vondrousova. So no Olympic gold for Osaka but I'm wondering,  did she do a post match press conference?  

Probably didn't but she'll no doubt continue the trend of issuing a statement which means she doesn't have to face questions.

Andy Murray and Joe Salisbury beat a German pair today to reach the quarter final.

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Post by Calder106 Tue 27 Jul 2021, 8:33 am

Firstly let me say that I don't think tennis should be in the olympics. However it is and it's significance to the players should not be downplayed. Yes it's nowhere near as important as a slam but in my opinion the top players would rate it higher than winning another master's, which they have numerous chances to do each year. I remember the Del Potro, Federer third set marathon in 2012. Murray,Del Porto final in Rio,where they could hardly stand at the end of 4 sets. Djokovic in tears after losing in round 1 in Rio. If these players didn't rate the olympics highly they either wouldn't go or bomb out early.

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Post by No name Bertie Tue 27 Jul 2021, 9:34 am

The Olympics is Nationalistic.  It is one time when nationalism is acceptable.   So it is sold differently to individual sports and becomes an entity that goes beyond sport.  Hence people not normally interested in various sports become interested in it and it attracts national governments attention etc.  So it puts the individual into the national spotlight and they might be considered as a national icon if they win gold even if they are largely overlooked in the individual sport.  Although Naomi Osaka was born in Japan she and her parents moved to America when she was three and she is effectively American.  Her mother is Japanese-American and her father American Haitian.  It was her parents decision that she would play internationally sport under the label of Japan.  Last year she was the highest female sports "earner" in the world. For Djokovic a proud citizen of Serbia, a newly minted independent nation from the ashes of Yugoslavia, its meaning goes beyond sport.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 27 Jul 2021, 11:37 am

Terrific win today by Liam Broady who has ousted 7th seed Hurkacz in three sets.

Olympics tennis is completely different from normal tournament tennis. Doubt whether Borady would have even got a set in the normal way.


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Post by sirfredperry Tue 27 Jul 2021, 12:16 pm

Osaka DID speak after the match. Said "I don't really know how to cope with the pressure".

What did she expect? As soon as she said she was going to play the Olympics there was going to be pressure. She was happy enough to light the Olympic torch making her even more high profile.

I suppose I should be more sympathetic towards her. But I just can't be.

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Post by JuliusHMarx Tue 27 Jul 2021, 4:57 pm

sirfredperry wrote:I suppose I should be more sympathetic towards her.

Yes, you should.

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Post by Soul Requiem Tue 27 Jul 2021, 5:48 pm

sirfredperry wrote:Osaka DID speak after the match. Said "I don't really know how to cope with the pressure".

What did she expect? As soon as she said she was going to play the Olympics there was going to be pressure. She was happy enough to light the Olympic torch making her even more high profile.

I suppose I should be more sympathetic towards her. But I just can't be.

Mental strength is every bit as important as ability, she lacks the former.

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Post by JuliusHMarx Tue 27 Jul 2021, 5:55 pm

I don't see how anyone can win 4 Grand Slams and get to world no. 1 while lacking mental strength.
What she is struggling with is mental health.
https://www.verywellmind.com/the-difference-between-mental-strength-and-mental-health-5078284

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Post by Soul Requiem Tue 27 Jul 2021, 6:12 pm

The excuse is mental health, the reality is mental strength.

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Post by JuliusHMarx Tue 27 Jul 2021, 6:30 pm

Soul Requiem wrote:The excuse is mental health, the reality is mental strength.

I bow to your expertise on the subject.

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Post by Soul Requiem Tue 27 Jul 2021, 6:33 pm

The first sensible thing you've said for a while.

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Post by JuliusHMarx Tue 27 Jul 2021, 6:56 pm

You're obviously well-read and have researched the subject extensively. I can tell by the fact that you sum things up in single sentences. How can anyone fail to be impressed?

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 28 Jul 2021, 8:05 am

Murray/Salisbury out of the doubles after being a set and a break up. Dodig, though, is a very tough opponent and I feared the worst for the British pair when I saw it was Dodig and Cilic they were playing.

Umbert has toppled Tsitsipas in the singles, while Med was taken to three by Fognini before the Russian went thru. Nishi also won.

Honeymooner Svitolina also progressed.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 28 Jul 2021, 12:16 pm

Djoko comfortably thru and next faces Nishi.

On paper, this should be a fairly straightforward match for Novak. But this is the Olympics and I think Nishi will put up a tremendous fight.

** On a personal note, I was able to get on the court today for a brief workout after being sidelined with a bad knee for a few weeks.

Oh the sheer joy of hitting a ball again.


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Post by sirfredperry Thu 29 Jul 2021, 10:36 am

Khachanov saw off Humbert in the Olympics to make the semis.

Bencic is thru to the final after beating Rybakina in a long, three-setter.

Djoko had to wait a while to get on but is already an early break up v Nishi.

Djoko has been talking about pressure and mental strength. I guess he's been among the strongest-ever in coping with the pressures of top-class sport.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 29 Jul 2021, 12:07 pm

Well, so much for my prediction that Nishi would give Djoko a good game. The Japanese won just two games.

Medvedev is out - losing in straight sets to Carreno Busta.

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Post by slashermcguirk Thu 29 Jul 2021, 12:17 pm

Djokovic beats Nishikori 6-2 6-0. I am stunned at that scoreline, while I know Djokovic is in great form and Nishikori has lost so many consecutive matches to him, I really thought this one might go the distance. With Nishikori playing in Japan and the emotions surrounding it, I thought that might be a potential upset, he was in good form this week too. Medvedev knocked out by Carreno Busta

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 29 Jul 2021, 1:42 pm

Zverev through to face Djoko in semi final. Haven't seen all the stats for the Zverev match but he never faced a break point so he probably served well (remember he had a horror time with DFs at Wimbledon).

The women's Gold Medal match will be between Bencic and Vondrousova.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 30 Jul 2021, 8:51 am

Khachanov makes the final after beating C-Busta in straight sets.

Djoko now takes on Zverev in the other semi.

Very difficult to see anyone stopping Novak right now. You can easily see him winning this and then completing the Golden Slam in New York.

But he looked very shaky at times in the Wimbledon final and a better player than Berrettini might have made him pay. Also an Olympic final - as Federer found out against Andy in 2012 - is completely different from a GS final.


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Post by No name Bertie Fri 30 Jul 2021, 9:32 am

There seems to have been some sort of update to the software - it now shows who has contributed to each thread.

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Post by No name Bertie Fri 30 Jul 2021, 9:34 am

sirfredperry wrote:.... But he looked very shaky at times in the Wimbledon final and a better player than Berrettini might have made him pay.
What is the difference between looking shaky and just being outplayed in certain parts of the match?

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 30 Jul 2021, 10:43 am

Well, well, well.

Went out shopping with Djoko appearing to be cruising to return to find he'd not won a game since and was 3-0 down in the final set. (now 4-0).

Unless something amazing happens the Golden Slam dream is over

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Post by No name Bertie Fri 30 Jul 2021, 10:48 am

The Calendar Year Grand Slam is enough. I will forgive him losing a match. It is just how the match switched from Djokovic dominant to Zerev dominant.

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Post by Soul Requiem Fri 30 Jul 2021, 10:54 am

Get in there, top stuff from Zverev.

What's the betting an injury or the heat is blamed?

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 30 Jul 2021, 11:13 am

Well I didn't see that coming (says the guy who has got most of his forecasts wrong of late!).

Have only seen the MP so I can't say what happened. Was Djoko hampered in some way in the second half of the match?

Zverev now has a great Gold Medal chance and perhaps he's given others confidence that they can take down Djoko in NY.

Djoko loves his country and would have been thrilled to have won Gold. But if he can clinch a Calendar Slam I think he'd settle for that.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 30 Jul 2021, 11:28 am

Stats show that Djoko only won 41% of his second-serve points which normally means defeat.

I thought there was something wrong with his second-serve in the Wimbledon final. But Berrettini's BH returning was so poor that he couldn't fully capitalise.

We're more likely to hear from Zverev whether Djoko may have been less than 100%. Normally players who have lost don't mention injuries so as not to detract from the winner's performance.

Of course, Djoko could say, disingenuously: "I was hampered by injury but I don't want to talk about it."

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Post by Atila Fri 30 Jul 2021, 1:50 pm

Didn't see the match, but is it really that much of a shocker that Novak lost? Novak has lost the first couple of sets in matches before, but his strength seemed to be that he is exceptionally tough to beat over five sets, but this match was only a three setter.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 30 Jul 2021, 2:38 pm

Atila. I would put it down as a shock. Yes, Djoko occasionally trails early on but it's not often he loses after being a set up. These days it's not often he loses at all.

It was very humid today, apparently. Djoko can sometimes be uncomfortable in the heat. One of the reasons he has such an impressive AO record is that he often plays at night in Melbourne.

Where I would agree with you is the nature of the five-setter as opposed to the three-setter. As you say, Djoko and all of the Big Three have proved to be very difficult to beat in five-setters as their opponents have to play really well for longer.

They might win one set, they might even win two (witness Tsitsipas at the French this year) but it's darned difficult to keep the performance going long enough to clinch that third set.

Perhaps if it had been best-of-five today, Djoko would have fought back.

I'm rather glad he didn't win the Olympics although not because I wish him ill. It's just that it was a somewhat depleted field in Tokyo.

But whoever does, or does not, turn up in New York, it will still be an amazing achievement if Djoko pulls off the Calendar Slam.

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Post by No name Bertie Fri 30 Jul 2021, 4:16 pm

An article from Reuters suggests that in the first half of the match Djokovic and Zverev were playing at a certain level and Djokovic was dominant, then in the second half of the match Zverev improved his play significantly (going up a gear) and Djokovic was unable to respond - and was easily beaten.  There was no indication of an injury - Djokovic was just unable to respond to Zverev improvement in play.  Djokovic later went on to lose his mixed doubles match.  He plans to compete for the bronze medal match.

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Post by laverfan Fri 30 Jul 2021, 6:09 pm

This may not work outside US.



This should...



Last edited by laverfan on Fri 30 Jul 2021, 7:33 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by No name Bertie Fri 30 Jul 2021, 6:34 pm

For the attn. of Laverfan: "Video unavailable. The uploader has not made this video available in your country."

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Post by laverfan Fri 30 Jul 2021, 7:31 pm

No name Bertie wrote:For the attn. of Laverfan: "Video unavailable.  The uploader has not made this video available in your country."

Thanks, NNB. Forgot about the NBC restrictions. Updated the video link. Let me know if it is broken.

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Post by laverfan Fri 30 Jul 2021, 7:35 pm

Surprised at Djokovic's loss. I was looking forward to his 'Golden' Slam quest being fulfilled. Sad

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 30 Jul 2021, 8:04 pm

Just seen some post-match words from Djoko. He said his game fell apart and he struggled against the vastly-improved play of Zverev.

No mention of the high humidity or any injury problems. Plenty of pressure (that word again) on Zverev now as he'll be favourite for the Gold Medal.

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Post by No name Bertie Fri 30 Jul 2021, 10:51 pm

Alexander Zverev is a good player.  Has won a number of Masters tournaments, won the end of year ATP Tour Final tournament (2018), is good on both clay and the hard courts.  Many people expected big things of him except while he was impressing in ATP and Master's tournaments his record in the slams was poor.  However, he has been progressively getting better in the slams.  He lost the US Open final in a fifth set tie-break against Thiem.  The Olympics is a best of three sets hard court tournament.  With regard the ATP Tour H2H we have:
Zverev vs Djokovic: 2 to 6
Zverev vs Nadal: 3 to 6
Zverev vs Federer: 4 to 3

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Post by No name Bertie Fri 30 Jul 2021, 10:56 pm

Looking ahead to the final we have the following ATP Tour h2h:
Zverev vs Khachanov: 2 to 2

2019 ATP Masters Canada Outdoor Hard QF Karen Khachanov: 63 63
2018 ATP Masters Paris Indoor Hard QF Karen Khachanov: 61 62
2018 Roland Garros Outdoor Clay R16 Alexander Zverev: 46 76 26 63 63
2016 St. Petersburg Russia Indoor Hard R32 Alexander Zverev: 76 64

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Post by Soul Requiem Sat 31 Jul 2021, 9:23 am

Surely that's a default.

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Post by Atila Sat 31 Jul 2021, 10:45 am

Djokovic loses to Pablo Carreno Busta in three sets 6-4 6-7 (6) 6-3 and doesn't even get the bronze.

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Post by Soul Requiem Sat 31 Jul 2021, 10:50 am

One match sums up why he's not adored like Fedal, the petulance he showed was pathetic for any sportsmen let alone a 20 time grand slam winner.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 31 Jul 2021, 11:54 am

Sad, bad end to Djoko's Olympics. Tantrums, defeat in the bronze medal match and then pulling out of the mixed bronze match.

Apparently, the Serbian team didn't want him to play in the mixed as they thought it would all be too much for him. I guess they were right.

You sometimes wonder what goes on inside Djoko's head...

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Post by No name Bertie Sat 31 Jul 2021, 12:00 pm

Maybe Djokovic didn't know how to cope with the pressure? I hope the media will be gentle with him like they were with someone else.

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Tokyo Olympics/North American hardcourt summer swing Empty Re: Tokyo Olympics/North American hardcourt summer swing

Post by sirfredperry Sat 31 Jul 2021, 1:41 pm

Just a couple of days ago Djoko was being quoted as saying that "pressure is a privilege" and that "without pressure there is no professional sport"

Since then we've had Ben Stokes taking a break from cricket while he copes with mental health problems.

IMHO it's difficult to comment meaningfully on these sort of problems as the restrictions necessary to cope with Covid have led to a whole new set of circumstances for sportsmen and women.

The confined-to-hotel, stay-in-the-bubble nature of the last few months has been particularly trying for players.

It's also difficult for those of a naturally sunny disposition to appreciate the dark places some sports people find themselves in.

But, to me, there's a difference between someone who's suffering acute depression or having panic/anxiety attacks and someone who is merely worried about their current form or concerned about how they will perform.

I would not like to see sports people who are fit mentally and physically pulling out of events simply because they fear failure. Failure is part of sport.

At every GS tennis event 127 of the men and 127 of the women have to walk away knowing they have failed to win the tournament. After just two days at Wimbledon HALF the men's field are out of the running. That's sport. There are a lot more losers than winners.

All you can do is to work as hard as you can and play as hard as you can. If this means you only get to 57th in the world, or 124th, or 256th then you know, at least, you've given it your best shot.

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Tokyo Olympics/North American hardcourt summer swing Empty Re: Tokyo Olympics/North American hardcourt summer swing

Post by laverfan Sat 31 Jul 2021, 1:57 pm

sirfredperry wrote:I would not like to see sports people who are fit mentally and physically pulling out of events simply because they fear failure. Failure is part of sport.



Sad to see Djokovic lose the Bronze. Sad

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