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Australian Open 2023

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theslosty
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Post by sirfredperry Sun 08 Jan 2023, 11:12 am

First topic message reminder :

The AO starts on Jan 16 with some notable absentees including number one Alcaraz, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep.

As I write Djoko has just won a three-hour battle with Korda to take the Adelaide title. I would make Novak favourite to win again in Melbourne. Rafa was a somewhat surprise winner last year and the new daddy has been in relatively poor form of late. So another AO triumph may be beyond him.

Swiatek will obviously be the favourite on the women's side, although she suffered a shock defeat to Pegula in the Cup thingy that's been won today by the USA. Gauff, who has just won in Auckland, could be a good bet.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 25 Jan 2023, 7:24 am

sirfredperry wrote:I see that there is still talk about Djoko's so-called injuries. This is what Taylor Fritz had to say:
"I don't think people fake injuries, I do think sometimes players stretch the severity of the injury because it depressurises them and helps them play better."
  I reckon he's pretty much hit the nail on the head with that remark.
  For Djoko to say he has a hamstring problem and then to demolish de Minaur in the way he did surely bears out what Fritz was saying.
  But the question here is "Why does Novak keep doing this?" He's old enough, experienced enough, fit enough and good enough to know better.

I suppose if it serves him well, and it absolutely has throughout his career, then why change it.
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Post by sirfredperry Wed 25 Jan 2023, 7:36 am

Wins today for Linette, Sabalenka and Tommy Paul who has just won the Battle of the Americans in the 4th set.

Djoko v Rublev up next. Djoko in three or four is my forecast.

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Post by CaledonianCraig Wed 25 Jan 2023, 10:03 am

Djokovic demolishing Rublev. He leads 6-1 5-2 in just 1 hour 13 minutes. This could be over inside two hours.
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Post by sirfredperry Wed 25 Jan 2023, 10:17 am

Djoko takes the first two sets. Doesn't look like this is going to last very long. Must say I thought Rublev would make more of a match of it than this.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 25 Jan 2023, 11:37 am

Rublev only got seven games. On paper, Djoko's semi ought to be an easier match than his quarter. But I'm prepared to forecast that Tommy Paul will get more than seven games.

Saw a few clips of the Paul-Shelton match. Shelton, only 20 and still doing college course work online, looked good. American tennis is on the up. Before this tournament there were, if my stats are correct, NINE US men in the top 50.

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Post by dummy_half Wed 25 Jan 2023, 12:05 pm

sirfredperry wrote:Rublev only got seven games. On paper, Djoko's semi ought to be an easier match than his quarter. But I'm prepared to forecast that Tommy Paul will get more than seven games.

Saw a few clips of the Paul-Shelton match. Shelton, only 20 and still doing college course work online, looked good. American tennis is on the up. Before this tournament there were, if my stats are correct, NINE US men in the top 50.

This trip, with a warm up tournament in NZ and then the AO is the first time he's ever left the USA. As with Norrie, one who's come through the US college system, and does look a good prospect. Massive ranking jump to 43 from 89 thanks to this performance.

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Post by sirfredperry Wed 25 Jan 2023, 2:19 pm

There's little doubt that US college tennis is strong and a good preparation for the main tour.


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Post by sirfredperry Thu 26 Jan 2023, 8:20 am

Stories this morning of Djoko's dad pictured with pro-Putin supporters in Melbourne.

What a weird family the Djokos are. It seems they actually want to court controversy.

Back to the tennis. I see that Sabalenka wants an all-Belarus final. Doubt if many others do. In any case, my reckoning is that Rybakina will beat Azharenka. Twould be fitting considering she won Wimbledon but got no points for it.

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Post by sirfredperry Thu 26 Jan 2023, 12:16 pm

Rybakina is thru to her second GS final and AO fans will be spared what could have been the noisiest final ever, with Azashrieker mercifully knocked out and unable to face fellow Belarussian, the equally noisy Sabalenka.

Sab is very close to victory over Linette in the other semi.

In the junior girls, UK's Ranah Stoiber, who made the qfs in the junior USO, is thru to the semis. She's 17 and Middlesex-based.

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Post by slashermcguirk Thu 26 Jan 2023, 2:08 pm


To be fair, hardly Novak's fault this one. As the saying goes, you can choose your friends but you cant choose your family.

sirfredperry wrote:Stories this morning of Djoko's dad pictured with pro-Putin supporters in Melbourne.

What a weird family the Djokos are. It seems they actually want to court controversy.

Back to the tennis. I see that Sabalenka wants an all-Belarus final. Doubt if many others do. In any case, my reckoning is that Rybakina will beat Azharenka. Twould be fitting considering she won Wimbledon but got no points for it.

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Post by No name Bertie Thu 26 Jan 2023, 3:38 pm

History links Serbia and Russia. Both suffered at the hands of the Germans during WWII. Secondly when Yugoslavia began to break up British and American aircraft bombed Serbia as it tried to hold on to breakaway regions of Serbia such as Kosovo. Russia was not in a position to intervene because of the recent break up of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile in 2014 a bloody coup in Ukraine replaced a neutral / pro Russian government with a pro Western government - Southern and Eastern regions of Ukraine (high ethnic Russian population) and Crimea protested the coup and Crimea and the Eastern regions wanted to break away. Crimea broke away and joined Russia, while the Eastern regions fought to get semi-independence. The Ukrainians with western support refused the Eastern regions to break away and there was a civil war with shelling of the Eastern regions. Then there was the Minsk Accords recognizing semi-independence of the Eastern regions. Then there was a build up of the Ukrainian army, then they started shelling the Eastern regions again, and then Russia intervened and we have what we have. Interesting that NATO bombed Serbia in recognition of the breakaway regions, while NATO shells have been used to bombard civilians in the Eastern regions with NATO now demanding the Eastern breakaway regions and Crimea must be returned to Ukraine.

Hopefully this might help explain such weird behaviour.
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Post by superflyweight Thu 26 Jan 2023, 3:53 pm

No name Bertie wrote:History links Serbia and Russia.   Both suffered at the hands of the Germans during WWII.  Secondly when Yugoslavia began to break up British and American aircraft bombed Serbia as it tried to hold on to breakaway regions of Serbia such as Kosovo.  Russia was not in a position to intervene because of the recent break up of the Soviet Union.   Meanwhile in 2014 a bloody coup in Ukraine replaced a neutral / pro Russian government with a pro Western government - Southern and Eastern regions of Ukraine (high ethnic Russian population) and Crimea protested the coup and Crimea and the Eastern regions wanted to break away.  Crimea broke away and joined Russia, while the Eastern regions fought to get semi-independence.  The Ukrainians with western support refused the Eastern regions to break away and there was a civil war with shelling of the Eastern regions.   Then there was the Minsk Accords recognizing semi-independence of the Eastern regions.   Then there was a build up of the Ukrainian army, then they started shelling the Eastern regions again, and then Russia intervened and we have what we have.  Interesting that NATO bombed Serbia in recognition of the breakaway regions, while NATO shells have been used to bombard civilians in the Eastern regions with NATO now demanding the Eastern breakaway regions and Crimea must be returned to Ukraine.

Hopefully this might help explain such weird behaviour.

It might if it wasn't so one-sided and pro-Putin.

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Post by No name Bertie Thu 26 Jan 2023, 3:57 pm

ps: in 2017 the Cataluna regional government held a referendum with 90% of the Catalunian population voting for independence. The National Government of Spain declared that referendum illegal and threw parts of the Catalunian regional government in prison. Pep Guardiola wore a yellow ribbon to protest that. Meanwhile the Westminster Government is refusing to allow Scotland a second referendum despite there being a massive change to the conditions under which the first referendum was held.
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Post by sirfredperry Thu 26 Jan 2023, 6:33 pm

Djoko should win fairly comfortably v Tommy Paul tomorrow. However, this is a slightly different scenario for Novak than in some of his Slams.

Quite often he's appeared a bit diffident in the early rounds, dropping a few sets and then been quite brilliant in semis and finals.

This time, for once, he's been utterly dominant in the 4th round and the quarters. So could he have already played his best tennis? I don't REALLY think he will lose now, but I thought I would just chuck this into the mix.

In the other semi, it would be a surprise if Tsitsipas doesn't come thru.

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Post by Henman Bill Thu 26 Jan 2023, 10:07 pm

No name Bertie wrote:the Westminster Government is refusing to allow Scotland a second referendum despite there being a massive change to the conditions under which the first referendum was held.

In May 2013, The Conservatives outlined plans for a Brexit vote: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-22530655

The bill was voted for and passed the commons in November 2013 but did not get through the house of Lords: https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/1202

In January 2014, David Cameron said it would be reintroduced in the next session of Parliament https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-25977258

However, that meant that if the Conservatives lost the UK election in 2015, the chance of Brexit would be fairly low, since Labour and the Liberal Democrats probably would not have held the vote

At the May 2014 European Parliament election UKIP won more seats and vote share than any other party, the first time that neither Labour nor the Conservatives came first: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_European_Parliament_election_in_the_United_Kingdom
This increased the chance of Brexit

The Scottish referendum was then held on 18th September 2014.
At the time opinion polls for the 2015 election has Labour slightly ahead of the Conservatives, but the total vote share of Conservatives plus UK slightly ahead of Labour + Lib Dem https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_2015_United_Kingdom_general_election

Opinion polls at that time suggested that remain was slightly ahead, but only by a tiny amount well within the margin for error
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum

At the time of the Scottish referendum therefore it was VERY well known that a Brexit referendum might occur. At the time a reasonable estimate of Brexit occurring in the next few years might have been 30%, or 50%.

So to say that the vote needs to be redone because of Brexit (I assume that's what you mean by conditions?) seems unfair given that the vote took place at a time when the chance of a referendum was well known.

A double referendum for Scotland where the first one in a few years says “should we have a referendum or should we respect the result of the previous one” is perhaps fairer, although I don’t think this is on the cards.

Opinion polling for Scottish independence currently suggests a vote would be a coin toss: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_on_Scottish_independence
The above link also shows polling on whether a second referendum should occur suggests a majority opposed to it

I think having another referendum on Scottish independence quite soon – say 2025 – would be unfair to the people that already voted. You can't revote until you get the result you want. That is not democracy.

Another referendum in 2035 or 2040 seems more reasonable or maybe 2030 if the polling numbers substantially shift.

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Post by Henman Bill Thu 26 Jan 2023, 10:11 pm

sirfredperry wrote:Djoko should win fairly comfortably v Tommy Paul tomorrow. However, this is a slightly different scenario for Novak than in some of his Slams.

Quite often he's appeared a bit diffident in the early rounds, dropping a few sets and then been quite brilliant in semis and finals.

This time, for once, he's been utterly dominant in the 4th round and the quarters. So could he have already played his best tennis? I don't REALLY think he will lose now, but I thought I would just chuck this into the mix.

In the other semi, it would be a surprise if Tsitsipas doesn't come thru.

Would be quite the surprise if Djokovic loses.

His semi final record at the AO is 9-0 and his final record is also 9-0. Very impressive. That also included a fair number of matches against Federer, Nadal and Murray including at least two that went to something like 7-5 in the final set. Amazing record. If he'd had as good a record at the other slams there wouldn't even be a GOAT debate. It would have been ended a while ago.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 27 Jan 2023, 7:17 am

Tsitsipas made heavy weather of it but he's thru to the final after eventually seeing off Khachanov in four.

The Greek served for the match at 5-4 in the third but was broken. He then had two MPs at 6-4 in the ensuing tiebreak only for K to take the set.

But Tsitsipas managed to regroup to win the 4th set 6-3.

That British girl who was doing well in the junior event is out - beaten in the semis by a 15-year-old Russian who is already in the top 300.

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Post by sirfredperry Fri 27 Jan 2023, 12:42 pm

Well, Tommy Paul DID get more games against Djoko than Rublev managed. But only one more.

I guess he might not have got even as many as that had not Djoko chucked away a 5-1 lead in the first set.

Not sure if Novak has ever had three such overwhelming wins in a row at the business end of a Slam. He's dropped just 20 games in his 4th, qf and sf matches.

He's obviously firm favourite to clinch another AO but surely, and hopefully, Tsitsipas will make a match of it in the final. For the second Slam final running the number one spot is on the line.


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Post by sirfredperry Fri 27 Jan 2023, 4:33 pm

I know some were upset that Djoko was not able to play at Melbourne last year.

I also realise that you do want all the best guys playing in a Slam. But Djoko has been/is so dominant at the AO that it added more interest to the tournament having Novak absent in 2022.

This year things have reverted to type and the main interest has been to see just who Djoko plays in the final. Given doubts about Rafa's form and fitness it was always likely that Novak's opponent on the final Sunday would be Tsitsipas.

It seems that until Rafa and Novak pack it in, the only up-for-grabs Slam is the USO, with Djoko likely to win the AO and Wimbledon and Rafa, if fit, taking his umpteenth RG.

In the women's final I would like to see Rybakina taking it, if only because Sabalenka is annoyingly noisy.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that Wimbledon will NOT be banning the Russian and Belarussian players this year.

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Post by sirfredperry Sat 28 Jan 2023, 3:26 pm

As many as 50 winners helped Sabalenka to the women's title in a three-setter. But she saw three MPs escape in a nervy final game before clinching it.

By all accounts it was a good match.

Two Russian 15-year-olds fought a 3hr 17min battle for the junior AO crown. Might be worth watching out for their names in the future - Mirra Andreeva and Alina Korneeva.

In the junior boys, American Learner Tien was just edged out of it by Alexander Blockx of Belgium who won a final-set tiebreak 11-9.

On to tomorrow's men's final. Can't really see Tsitsipas winning. He might get one set, he might even get two (he did in the 2021 French final) but I can't see him winning three sets.


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Post by sirfredperry Sun 29 Jan 2023, 8:47 am

Djoko's final about to start. Pundit Pat Cash is tipping Tsitsipas as he reckons Novak's movement is slightly impaired and his ball toss for the serve is going off to the right.

Well, Djoko has hardly been troubled in his last three matches, so something must be going OK.


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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 29 Jan 2023, 9:02 am

Early observations and Tsitsipas is annoyingly lazy at times with his footwork. If the ball is hit near him instead of taking an extra half step to get into prime position he'll stop and swing from where is is even if it cramps his action up and invariably hits into the net.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 29 Jan 2023, 9:03 am

A double fault from the Greek and Djokovic leads 3-1.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 29 Jan 2023, 9:30 am

Djokovic cruising along leading 6-3 1-1.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 29 Jan 2023, 10:08 am

Tsitsipas hanging in much better in the second set. On serve and Djokovic leads 6-3 4-5.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 29 Jan 2023, 10:32 am

Djokovic stands on the brink of levelling Rafa Nadal on 22 slam wins. He takes the second set tiebreaker and leads 6-3 7-6.

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Post by 88Chris05 Sun 29 Jan 2023, 10:35 am

Tsitsipas was poor in the tie break after doing well to get there. Unforced errors at crucial times and Djokovic didn't really have to excel to get over the line in that one.

I'm expecting Djokovic to win the third set relatively comfortably.
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Post by sirfredperry Sun 29 Jan 2023, 10:43 am

We could have had something resembling a match if Tsitsipas had been able to take that second set.

As it is, it could be all over fairly soon. Fraid to say that with Djoko (and a fit Rafa) around, the Slams, apart from the USO, are going to be fairly predictable.

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Post by 88Chris05 Sun 29 Jan 2023, 10:46 am

Bit of a casual game from Djokovic there - a double fault and a sloppy backhand error see him go a break down in the first game of the third set. Could that give Tsitsipas a little spring in his step? Let's see how this game unfolds. As the old saying goes, it ain't really a break until you win the next game....
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Post by 88Chris05 Sun 29 Jan 2023, 10:51 am

And there it is - almost inevitably, Djokovic breaks straight back. Trademark return winner plus a couple of superb defensive points.
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Post by CaledonianCraig Sun 29 Jan 2023, 11:44 am

Congratulations to Novak Djokovic. He wins 6-3 7-6 7-5 to win his 10th Australian Open, his 22nd slam (top of the tree with Nadal) and back to No 1. Tsitsipas had the odd chance in the second and third sets could not take them.
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Post by 88Chris05 Sun 29 Jan 2023, 11:57 am

Tsitsipas played well at times in the second and third sets, but tightened up in the breakers. I think he'll bag a Slam sooner or later but when the big moments have presented themselves in the two finals he's made so far, you'd have to say he hasn't quite been up to it mentally.

As for Djokovic, we can't have seen too many sportsman like him ever across all sports, never mind just tennis. In his mid-thirties and he's made the final of six of the last seven Slams he's entered, winning five of them. Still the best player in the world by a country mile. Yeah, I know it's tiresome but I've had him as the top man in the Open Era (hard to compared beyond that) since 2019 and he's strengthening his case every year. I don't think he needs the Slam record to be honest (almost sure to get it regardless), but it's only non-tennis factors which have prevented him from owning it outright anyway. Without Covid and its related factors and the DQ at the US Open 2020 he'd probably be on at least 24 Slams by now rather than his paltry 22.

Just an absurd tennis player and all-round athlete.
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Post by laverfan Sun 29 Jan 2023, 12:08 pm

Congratulations to Djokovic on #22. clap

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Post by sirfredperry Sun 29 Jan 2023, 12:17 pm

An air of inevitability hung over the final, and indeed over the whole tournament.

Perhaps they can ban Djoko next year just to make it a bit more interesting. I'm only joking of course, but, more seriously, did anyone REALLY doubt that Djoko, once allowed to turn up, would take another AO crown?

Djoko could stay top for a while as he has no points to defend from IW or Miami. He only reached the quarters at RG last year so could improve his points in Paris and he could benefit from Wimbledon having ranking points this year.

As 88Chris says above, Novak seems certain to get the overall Slam record. Let's say he stays fit for 2023 and 2024, then I can see him winning two more Wimbledons and another AO.


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Post by Oioi Sun 29 Jan 2023, 12:57 pm

Djokovic is simply a cut above the rest of the tour. Barely has to even get out of 3rd gear against players that don't have elite backhands, too easy for him to exploit that weakness. I'd say the depth of men's tennis is as good as it has ever been right now, with the top 50 being very strong, but it is a bit weak at the absolute top aside from the 2 legends and (hopefully) Alcaraz.

Congrats to Novak and his fans, he's continuing to add to his GOAT case!

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 29 Jan 2023, 2:20 pm

Great win for Djokovic.  Djokovic and Tsitsipas were the two best in form players of the tournament.  It was a close match with Djokovic winning two sets in tie breaks.  I think if Djokivic had lost the third set tie-breaker he would have struggled to win given he seemed to aggravate his low level injury.   Sinner could have stopped Tsitsipas in the fourth round - I think Sinner was the third best in form player in the tournament.  Sinner very rapidly is developing an impressive consistency in the slams - reached the fourth round or quarter-finals in the last 6 slams tournaments.  He is still only 21.

Finally I just would like to thank Henman Bill for his informative comment.  Much appreciated.
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Post by No name Bertie Sun 29 Jan 2023, 2:27 pm

sirfredperry wrote:An air of inevitability hung over the final, and indeed over the whole tournament.

Perhaps they can ban Djoko next year just to make it a bit more interesting. I'm only joking of course ...
Djokovic is still banned from entry into the USA (and Canada?) and will miss the masters tournaments to be played there. It is also looking very likely he will be banned from entering the USA for the US Open 2023 as the USA ramps up the mandatory status for the m-RNA vaccines.
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Post by No name Bertie Sun 29 Jan 2023, 2:41 pm

Jannik Sinner last 6 grand slams
AO 2023: 4R: loses to Tsitsipas (finalist) in five sets
US 2022: QF: loses to Alcarez (winner) in five sets
Wi 2022: QF: loses to Djokivic (winner) in five sets
Fr 2022: 4R: retires injured after winning 1st set 6-1 against Rublev
AO 2022: QF: loses to Tsitsipas in straight sets
US 2021: 4R: loses to Zverev in straight sets (final set in a close tie-breaker)
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Post by Henman Bill Sun 29 Jan 2023, 3:35 pm

sirfredperry wrote:

It seems that until Rafa and Novak pack it in, the only up-for-grabs Slam is the USO, with Djoko likely to win the AO and Wimbledon and Rafa, if fit, taking his umpteenth RG.


Given their ages it's amazing that they are so good that you are able to make such a statement unchallenged. We certainly didn't feel quite that way when Federer was winning slams at the same age.

Also in the 1980s and 1990s and 2000s no-one was getting close to winning slams at 35/36. Even a 32 year old was notable. I suppose some of that change is due to the fact that Djokovic and Nadal are exceptional players, and some is due to the current lack of an all time great in the next generation. But I assume a large chunk of it is due to improvements in diet and fitness regimes and treatments.

I would challenge your statement a little bit. I think decline can set in quickly especially if an injury occurs which is more likely at this age, and anyone can lose on a given day. Surely the players at their physical prime have to be capable of beating 36 year olds on a given day. There's also the possibility that Novak can beat Rafa at the French Open.

Didn't watch the match today due to time zone, but interesting to see Novak going for and making the big shots on break point against him and match point.

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Post by Henman Bill Sun 29 Jan 2023, 4:39 pm

Oldest grand slam winners:

Roger Federer
Born: August 1981
Won 2018 Australian Open
Age: 36 years 6 months

Rafael Nadal
Born: June 1986
Won 2022 French Open
Age: 36

Novak Djokovic
Born: May 1987
Won 2023 Australian Open
Age: 35 years 8 months

Ken Rosewall
Born: November 1934
Won 1972 Australian Open
Age: 37 years 2 months

Do we need to asterisk the 1972 Australian Open though? There were only 6 rounds, with top players like Rosewall playing only 5. This was different to the other slams which had a fuller draw. John Newcombe, 1971 Wimbledon champion did play at the 1972 Australian Open, losing in the QF. 1971 US Open champion Stan Smith was not at Australian Open 1972. Arthur Ashe was not at Australia 1972 either. Neither was Ilie Nastase. The draw does look weak, but in his defence Ken won all his matches in straights sets except for one which he won 6-2 in the 4th.

There are several people on the top ten oldest slam winners list who were only about 31. Agassi`s oldest was 32.

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Post by No name Bertie Sun 29 Jan 2023, 7:07 pm

Henman Bill wrote:Oldest grand slam winners:

Roger Federer: Won 2018 Australian Open
Age: 36 years 6 months

Rafael Nadal: Won 2022 French Open
Age: 36

Novak Djokovic: Won 2023 Australian Open
Age: 35 years 8 months

Ken Rosewall: Won 1972 Australian Open
Age: 37 years 2 months

Do we need to asterisk the 1972 Australian Open ... top players playing only 5 rounds ....players not at Australian Open 1972.
1) I remember when Federer started winning slams again in 2017 after Andy Murray (hip) and Djokovic (elbow + personal life) "disappeared from the scene", it was still a shock, given he had been out injured for some time and it seemed was being by-passed by non top four players plus his "elderly age".   But he was "only" 35 and a half to 36 and a half.  I think his efforts at Wimbledon 2019 losing in five sets in the final aged  "37 years, 11 months" lives long in the memory and I think it is that age that I had falsely remembered him winning a slam.

2) It is an a bit of an eye opener seeing how similar there ages are in the above last slam won stat.   Many many thought Nadal would be the first to "go" because of the unbelievable physicality of his style when he was winning slams early on in his career.   Djokovic seemed to rely on an unbelievable elasticity of body when he was in his 2010+ prime when again it seemed unlikely that would endure.  But here we are, as you mentioned, looking at Djokovic and Nadal and considering them favorites if "healthy" for slams this year and maybe the next.

3) Ken Rosewall.  It is fair to have a "half" asterisk.   Not many people went to Australia given its distance and many wanting to extend their winter break but it is still notable.  He won the US Open in 1970 aged 34 years and 10 months and reached the final of the US Open 1974 aged 38 years and 10 months indicating he was definitely in the ball park.  But it was a different era where maybe the strength in depth was shallower but then knowing how to preserve the body (diets, supplements, oxygen tanks etc) was less developed.
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Post by dummy_half Mon 30 Jan 2023, 2:23 pm

Still don't know how Federer failed to win Wimbledon 2019 - absolutely dominated the final but Djokovic nicked two tiebreakers and then won the epic final set as much on stamina and heart as on quality.

I'm starting to have doubts about Nadal's future - could be that the wear and tear is finally catching up with his body. Doesn't look to be the case for Djokovic though - he may not be quite as ridiculously fast for court coverage as a few years ago, but he retains that flexibility that's become the hallmark of his game, and his consistency is just too much for most opponents. I honestly think that, outside of injuries, the only player with the game and mentality to beat him at Wimbledon would be a resurgent Murray, and I think that's more wishful thinking than reality (Andy would need to rediscover a dominant first serve, which seems to be the thing that has declined most since his hip op). I don't think the rest of them have it mentally to beat Djokovic in good form on grass.

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Post by 88Chris05 Mon 30 Jan 2023, 3:05 pm

As a Federer fan (at least in terms of his style of play) 2019 stung a little, @dummy_half. Easy to obsess over the match points Federer missed in the fifth set (albeit I think you'd have to say they were well saved by Djokovic more than anything) but to be honest the damage was done in the first three sets, because as Becker himself noted during the match on commentary, Federer could, and maybe should, have wrapped up the match in those sets alone, given how much better he seemed to be playing and how comprehensively he'd cruised through the second.

At the absolute minimum he should have been 2-1 up, rather than down. Credit to him for still nearly pulling it off - it would surely have been his greatest victory - but once Djokovic saved those match points I had absolutely no doubt that he'd go on to win.

Amazing that, before 2010 or 2011, we used to question Djokovic's heart or mental resilience. As the years rolled on he matured into probably the toughest player mentally on the tour. Looking back I do think that's an area where both he and Nadal have pretty much always had an edge over Federer, prime for prime. That's not to say Roger was some kind of soft touch under pressure or in adversity against those two by any means - you don't win everything he did without some steel cladding - but I think there were more matches against them where the occasion got the better of him and he wilted under the barrage than vice versa.

As for who could stop Djokovic at Wimbledon this year - might not be a popular choice, and I'm not sure of the severity of his knee injury which caused him to miss Melbourne, but I really think Kyrgios could be the man to lift a title at SW19 if / when Djokovic starts sliding in the next year or two. That run to the final last year seemed to indicate a bit of maturity and some evolution to his game, and he had a decent hard court swing afterwards, to the point where I was convinced he was going to win in New York after he beat Medvedev.

True to form, he found a way to disappoint me in the next round, and who knows how this layoff will effect him mentally and physically. But no doubt in my mind that a focussed, fit Kyrgios would always be amongst the four or five favourites for Wimbledon.
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Post by Henman Bill Mon 30 Jan 2023, 9:54 pm

If indeed we think Djokovic > Nadal > Federer than mental strength may be what it comes down to. If you recalculate all the stats based on Federer winning all the 3 Djoko slam matches he had match points and lost, and also the possible knock on mental effect of this in future matches, the statistical GOAT order might have ended up the other way around.

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