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Tokyo Olympics/North American hardcourt summer swing

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

First topic message reminder :

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 No name Bertie Fri 20 Aug 2021, 12:12 pm

theslosty wrote:... In an ideal world, Fed converts championship point at Wimbledon 2019 for his 9th Wimbledon, 21st slam and perhaps most significantly, his first ever slam beating both Rafa and Novak back to back. Then he could announce his retirement for the end of 2019, enjoy all the farewells in New York and in Basel etc while still leaving at near the top of the sport. I think then his GOAT credentials would be very strong even if Novak and Rafa eventually overtook 21. But as we know too well, sport isn't always a fairytale.
Would it be unfair to say that Federer has outlived the fairytale?  Wimbledon 2017 .... Australian Open 2018 ...  

That said the way you describe Federer's 2019 Wimbledon heroics at the age of 37 - and despite him losing in the final in the final set tie break - his greatness was surely on display.  I personally think that he is setting new milestones as he ages and is just showing how vast the gulf must have been between him in his prime and the latest next gen generation.   Even Andy Murray with his replacement hip is showing in glimpses his greatness.  In any other era Andy Murray would have likely won around 10 slams.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 20 Aug 2021, 12:14 pm

It's just been announced that Rafa is out of US Open and out for the season due to his foot problem.

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Post by theslosty Fri 20 Aug 2021, 12:40 pm

No name Bertie wrote:
theslosty wrote:... In an ideal world, Fed converts championship point at Wimbledon 2019 for his 9th Wimbledon, 21st slam and perhaps most significantly, his first ever slam beating both Rafa and Novak back to back. Then he could announce his retirement for the end of 2019, enjoy all the farewells in New York and in Basel etc while still leaving at near the top of the sport. I think then his GOAT credentials would be very strong even if Novak and Rafa eventually overtook 21. But as we know too well, sport isn't always a fairytale.
Would it be unfair to say that Federer has outlived the fairytale?  Wimbledon 2017 .... Australian Open 2018 ...  

That said the way you describe Federer's 2019 Wimbledon heroics at the age of 37 - and despite him losing in the final in the final set tie break - his greatness was surely on display.  I personally think that he is setting new milestones as he ages and is just showing how vast the gulf must have been between him in his prime and the latest next gen generation.   Even Andy Murray with his replacement hip is showing in glimpses his greatness.  In any other era Andy Murray would have likely won around 10 slams.
Well I suppose Australian Open 17 was a real fairytale and one that he really needed to even up the Rafa rivalry. And if you'd have told me at the end of 2016 Fed had 3 more slam victories in him I would have been very pleasantly surprised at that. I'm a bit of a Fed fanatic and told myself I would never work myself up for one of his matches again after that - and that was more or less true until Wimbledon 2019, where he played such a good tournament that it almost felt like an injustice he didn't close out the final. In fact had he won that it might have been his greatest slam victory ever. But as it has turned out, that agonising defeat is surely his last major involvement at a slam and it's just not quite right the way it looks like his career is about to end.
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Post by sirfredperry Fri 20 Aug 2021, 2:11 pm

With Rafa, Rog and Thiem out of the USO it just remains to be seen whether Djoko makes it to New York.

If he doesn't we will have a new GS champion unless Cilic performs wonders (likewise Murray).

Medvedev, in any case, looks to be in form and would have been a major contender whoever had made the draw. Only thing with him is that he has played Toronto and Cinci back to back. Will he have much left for New York?

Emma Raducanu had another good win in her Chicago Challenger and has a good chance in today's match.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 21 Aug 2021, 8:32 am

Top four seeds will contest the men's title at Cinci. Medvedev must be favourite.

Another Kerber-Barty battle in the women's semi. As at Wimbledon, it's a pity this isn't the final.

Emma Raducanu is thru to the semi in her Challenger event in Chicago after her opponent had to retire after losing the first set on a tiebreak.

The next big news, you imagine, will be whether Djoko will be fit for New York.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 21 Aug 2021, 6:06 pm

Barty takes out Kerber in a repeat win from the s-final at Wimbledon.

I thought Barty looked a bit rusty at Wimbledon but she still managed to win it. She is now in her 6th final of the year and has the most wins of the WTA tour so is quite worthy of her number one status.


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Post by sirfredperry Sat 21 Aug 2021, 9:23 pm

Medvedev's fine run comes to an end as Rublev comes from a set down to beat the Russian and make the final in Cinci.

Gives Medvedev a day extra to prepare for New York where he will be favourite to go deep.

Emma Raducanu into a final set in her semi in Chicago (25 or six to four?).

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 22 Aug 2021, 4:49 pm

Tsitsipas served for it at 5-4 in the final set but it was Zverev who came thru in a tiebreak.

The German was angered by Tsitsi taking an eight-minute toilet/shirtchange break after the first set. The Greek tried to go off after the second set, too, but the umpire said he'd had his break.

Seems to be some suggestion (unsubstantiated) that Tsitsi was receiving coaching via text during his break. He said there was nothing sinister going on. He just wanted to change a sweat-covered set of kit.

Emma Raducanu came thru 6-1 in her final set and today in the final in Chicago takes on another 18-year-old, Denmark's Clara Tauson.

Andy Murray has taken a WC into Winston-Salem and later today in the first round meets.....Nick Kyrgios.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 23 Aug 2021, 7:56 am

Titles for Barty and Zverev in Cinci, while Emma Raducanu went down in three sets in her Chicago final, but at least goes up 24 places to 150th in the rankings.

Kyrgios pulled out just before his meeting with Andy M which put organisers into such a pickle that they summoned an LL, Noah Rubin, to meet Murray only an hour after he lost his two-hour qualifying match.

Murray then demolished Rubin in less than an hour for the loss of only two games and now meets Tiafoe.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Mon 23 Aug 2021, 9:06 am

Zverev my second favourite for New York behind Medvedev.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 23 Aug 2021, 10:35 am

Jeff Navarro wrote:Zverev my second favourite for New York behind Medvedev.

Jeff. Surely Djoko, if fit, is favourite, albeit not so overwhelmingly as he would have been a few weeks ago.

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Post by No name Bertie Mon 23 Aug 2021, 2:47 pm

2020 & 2019 US Open respectively
Djokovic:  4R (defaulted); 4R (retired after dropping first two sets)
Medvedev: Semi-Final (lost to winner); Runner Up (5 sets)
Zverev: Runner Up (5th set tie break); 4R
Tsitsipas: 3R; 1R
Shapovalov: QF (5 sets); 3R (5 sets)

The question is, is Djokovic tournament fit?  

It was noted by SFP that Djokovic didn't look impressive at Wimbledon and that someone better prepared for the grass as well as good on the grass might have beaten Djokovic.  At the US Open there is going to be a better prepared opposition for Djokovic that are also very good on the hard courts, so Djokovic will have to be at the top of his game if he is to win it one might suspect.  But after his lengthy season, his blow out at the Olympics followed by no preparation tournaments leading up to this year's US Open one has to ask when does Djokovic stop becoming the tournament favorite?  

Maybe given all the circumstances it is fair to have Djokovic not as favorite for this years US Open.  Of course he still might win it as might a number of others including Medvedev and Zverev.  So for me I think it is fair to have Medvedev and Zverev as joint favorites, Djokovic third favorite and maybe have Berrettini, Carreno Busta and Shapovalov as contenders among others.

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Post by sirfredperry Mon 23 Aug 2021, 4:23 pm

NNB - Djoko was overwhelming favourite for Wimbledon and, for me, it's the same for the USO, but minus the "overwhelming".

You could argue a case for making Medvedev second favourite simply as he is the only one guaranteed not to meet Djoko before the final.

New York also gives others outside the Big Three their best GS chance, in my view. The USO has at least thrown up the odd win by an "outsider". Wimbledon, in contrast, has not seen a winner outside the Big Four since.....2002.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Mon 23 Aug 2021, 9:15 pm

sirfredperry wrote:
Jeff Navarro wrote:Zverev my second favourite for New York behind Medvedev.

Jeff. Surely Djoko, if fit, is favourite, albeit not so overwhelmingly as he would have been a few weeks ago.
Djokovic claims to be having issues with his shoulder. If he’s not able to serve properly or protect his second serve as is being suggested. I don’t see him being the favourite.

Especially as Medvedev and Zverev are pretty good on the cement.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Mon 23 Aug 2021, 9:17 pm

Also the majority of these younger players don’t seem to have the mental capabilities beating multiple members of the big 3 in the majors.
Considering it’s only Djokovic in New York i think it levels the playing field.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 24 Aug 2021, 8:05 am

Emma Raducanu heads six British women in the USO qualifying. Just the one Briton, Liam Broady, in the men's qualifying draw.

After that extraordinary do-I-play-tonight and who-do-I-play kerfuffle involving Murray at W-Salem, Andy tonight plays Tiafoe.

As for Djoko the shoulder looked to be troubling him at Wimbledon where, in the final, he was just dropping in his second serve. But all he had to do was to put it on to Berrettini's BH and it was point over.

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Post by No name Bertie Tue 24 Aug 2021, 9:32 am

If Djokovic had skipped the Olympics to focus on recuperation and played one hard court tournament before the US Open and looked physically fine, then I would have had Djokovic as favorite for the US Open.

If Djokovic had lost narrowly to Zverev and looked fine in the bronze medal match, and then played one hard court tournament before the US Open and looked physically fine then I would have had Djokovic as favorite for the US Open.

Instead Djokovic was completely outplayed by Zverev in the semi-final when Zverev raised his level - losing ten of the last eleven games played.  Djokovic also lost the bronze match to Pablo Carenno Busta in three hard fought sets.  In 2020 Zverev was the US Open finalist (losing in five sets) and PCB semi-finalist (losing in five sets).  Djokovic also pulled out the bronze match in the mixed doubles citing a left shoulder injury.  Since then he has not played any hard court tournaments leading up to the US Open and has also mentioned his shoulder injury was one of several injuries he had at the Olympics.   Two years ago he pulled out of the US Open injured in the fourth round, while last year he defaulted in the fourth round because he lost his mind.

Of course Djokovic may win the US Open, but I think a very compelling case can be presented to indicate that Zverev and Medvedev can be considered ahead of Djokovic given the current state of knowledge and circumstances.  It seems to me his decision to play the Olympics, significantly reduced the likelihood of him gaining the Calendar Year Grand Slam, especially given his previous two US Opens, the fact that he is 34 years old and picking up injuries, and the fact it has been a "long season" with many other players hitting form.

ps I know we can agree to disagree and that given this is a one off tournament there is no "proof" with regard to it - just arguments that may include stats - relevant or irrelevant.

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Post by sirfredperry Tue 24 Aug 2021, 10:40 am

Difficulty here is that you never quite know with Djoko just how injured he is.

It could well be that he will be somewhat hampered, and not 100%, in NY. But there have been times when he's either reported to be, or appeared to be, in injury trouble only for him to emerge playing brilliantly.

From some accounts, the Serbian team pleaded with him not to play the mixed doubles in the Olympics as they thought he was taking on too much.

What is certain that he's hardly had the kind of pre-Slam preparation that would give him the best chance of winning the USO.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Tue 24 Aug 2021, 11:20 am

SFP - I don’t see the Wimbledon situation against Matteo being comparable to a potential showdown with either/both Medvedev and Zverev.
Medvedev and Zverev are levels above Matteo, pains me to say that. Heck both are multiple 1000 winners and both have won the tour finals.
Should Djokovic’s shoulder issues be genuine I can’t see him rolling in second serves against those two as they have considerably better backhands than Matteo. Whereby they can literally crush winners from that side somewhat consistently.
That’s my rationale.
And finally I believe Zverev winning the gold medal could be akin to when Murray won London 2012. Zverev’s light bulb moment where he now realised his true ability. For example the comeback vs Tsitsipas. In years gone by Zverev would have given up. That didn’t happen in Cincinnati.

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Post by No name Bertie Tue 24 Aug 2021, 2:15 pm

For what it is worth, I kind of like Djokovic and would like him to get the Calendar Slam because I have never seen it done before.  However the manner of Djokovics defeat to Zverev etc makes me doubt it is going to be done this year - and hence unlikely to be done in the forseeable future.  I think there are a number of players on the threshold of being able to beat Djokovic and Nadal in grand slams on merit.

ps: Interestingly apart from Federer, Nadal, Djokovic and Murray, no one has exploded on the scene like they did - except for Del Potro, which turned out to be short-lived.   This new generation are slowly getting to the levels of the "top three" through hard work and over a period of time, while the "top three" are getting older and their bodies are beginning to break down.

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Post by slashermcguirk Tue 24 Aug 2021, 5:35 pm

As a long time fan of Djokovic, I hope he can capture the US Open and complete the calendar year grand slam, it would be a phenomenal achievement.

That being said, I dont think he will win it. He has not played enough tennis recently, this will be his first match since the Olympics where he was very poor in his last couple of matches. I just don't think he can expect to rock up with no match practise and expect to win. There are too many potential banana skins in the draw and I think any of the below are capable of beating him:

Medvedev
Tsitsipas
Zverev

I am less convinced that Berretini or Shapovalov would take him out over 5 sets. The biggest threat for me is Medvedev as he is very solid and I think he can hang tough over a sustained period. I know that Djokovic beat him comfortably in the Australian Open final but I think the occasion got to Medvedev and Novak was just in the zone that day and very few if anyone could have lived with him that day.

The other possible banana skin is an early round loss where he is caught cold by a dangerous unseeded player or somebody very solid like Bautista Agut that wont just hand you errors and could frustrate you. Then you have the likes of a Mussetti or Sinner who are very young and have nothing to lose and could just have one of those days like Rosol in Wimbledon against Nadal.

I think Medvedev, Tsitsipas or Zverev will take the US Open

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 25 Aug 2021, 7:08 am

Andy Murray lost to Tiafoe last night 7-6, 6-3. I thought he might have a chance of winning this match, although the important thing at the moment is improvement and pain-free tennis.

Also at W-Salem, Dan Evans won after a long, losing streak - beating Pouille after losing the first set. Today Evans takes on Gasquet


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Post by Oioi Wed 25 Aug 2021, 9:49 am

Enjoying reading all your interesting thoughts on the impending US open. Tennis-wise, I think the next gen lot have had the skills to beat the big 3 for quite a while. However, the mental strength part of the equation should never be overlooked; there have been many occasions where they've had a member of the big 3 on the ropes and failed to get it done. A big part of this is that none of the next gen contenders have gotten over the significant mental hurdle of winning their first grand slam, which would alleviate the pressure a bit. For these reasons, I still have Djokovic as a fairly firm favourite. He's just so tough to put away, I'd almost still have him favourite in a match against the next gen if he was 2 sets down!

However I will add two caveats: 1) this is assuming his injuries are just niggles and don't hamper him too much. 2) Djokovic himself has a lot of pressure on him given this is a chance for such an epic achievement. He is such a fortress in this respect but he is human and it may come into play for him.

Just thought I'd end by mentioning Pablo Carrena Busta as another player who could trouble Djokovic. At this stage in his career, he seems to struggle with really solid defensive players unless he can find his more aggressive game that isn't always working for him. He seems to get frustrated by "lesser" players that won't go away.

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Post by No name Bertie Wed 25 Aug 2021, 11:20 am

I don't think the Calendar Year Grand Slam is such a big thing or target for Djokovic - otherwise why play the Olympics given his shoulder seemed to be troubling him to some extent at Wimbledon.  It very much seems that for him participating in the Olympics was more important than the Calendar Year Grand Slam.  Djokovic has already achieved a Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam in 2015-2016, after which his form took a nose-dive. Some blamed that loss of form on injury (elbow), others on mental burnout, others on infidelity and the risk of his marriage failing.  It resulted in him changing his coaching team.  Only later did it emerge he had an elbow injury that required surgery.

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Post by Jeff Navarro Wed 25 Aug 2021, 1:45 pm

Serena Williams has a torn hamstring and is out of flushing meadows. Seems incredibly unlikely that she’ll get that 24 major

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 25 Aug 2021, 1:57 pm

Bad news for Serena but IMHO she was unlikely to take the title in New York. She has lost, badly, her last FOUR Slam finals and the other women are no longer afraid of her.

Remains to be seen if she'll be at Melbourne in January. She might decide to jack it in.

Oioi - some excellent points above, particularly on just how hard it is to get those three sets in a five-setter against the big boys. Even when Tsitsi was two sets up in the French final I thought Djoko would still win.

Much will depend on Djoko's fitness.

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Post by Atila Wed 25 Aug 2021, 5:11 pm

No name Bertie wrote:I don't think the Calendar Year Grand Slam is such a big thing or target for Djokovic - otherwise why play the Olympics given his shoulder seemed to be troubling him to some extent at Wimbledon.  It very much seems that for him participating in the Olympics was more important than the Calendar Year Grand Slam.  Djokovic has already achieved a Non-Calendar Year Grand Slam in 2015-2016, after which his form took a nose-dive.  Some blamed that loss of form on injury (elbow), others on mental burnout, others on infidelity and the risk of his marriage failing.  It resulted in him changing his coaching team.  Only later did it emerge he had an elbow injury that required surgery.
I think the calender year Grand Slam is a big thing for Djokovic. He played at the Olympics because he wanted to go one better and complete the Golden Slam. He's always going to be behind Federer and Nadal in popularity, doing the Grand Slam would give him the edge in the race for GOAT (at least in his mind).

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 25 Aug 2021, 6:50 pm

Emma Raducanu wasted little time winning her first USO qualie- dropping just three games.

Evans plays Gasquet in W-Salem later, while some of the GB qualifiers for NY are also in action.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 26 Aug 2021, 8:11 am

Evans went down to Gasquet in straight sets. Has Dan reached his peak ranking and will he now slide down the charts?

All the GB qualifiers for the USO made it through to round two. Particular mention should be made of Liam Broady who had an, on paper, tough match against Ito of Japan (once ranked as high as 60) but came thru with the loss of just five games.


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Post by Oioi Thu 26 Aug 2021, 5:30 pm

Just when you think Murray could have a few rounds in him at a grand slam, he gets drawn Tsitsipas in the first round! I suppose you could say he's due such a nightmare draw given his low ranking though. I've been encouraged by his post-Wimbledon performances this year, but this is a huge step up and I can see him possibly getting a beat down in that match. Hope I'm wrong and he gives a good account of himself.

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