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pound cat
01-28-2006, 03:02 PM
Baghdatis style will be all Greek to Federer
PAT CASH



PORING over the tennis history books, seeking some relevant connection between matches of a bygone era and modern-day confrontations, has never appealed to me. The entrancing although hugely unlikely prospect of Marcos Baghdatis beating Roger Federer today interests me far more than anything from yesteryear.
So it should come as no surprise that I was nonplussed when somebody asked me who was the last male player to win a Grand Slam title with the reigning world No 1 as his final opponent. ďMate, I havenít got a clue,Ē I responded. The answer? Pat Cash against Ivan Lendl at Wimbledon in 1987.



To make things more curious, Lendlís coach that day was the same Australian who will be sitting in Federerís corner today, Tony Roche. We all know what to expect from Rochey and can make an educated guess as to how Federer will respond to the occasion, given his record of six wins from his previous six Grand Slam finals. The great unknown factor is how Baghdatis will react to biggest day of his career.

General opinion insists he that can only benefit from almost three days of rest after beating David Nalbandian. I disagree. Fitness is clearly not a problem for the 20-year-old, but potential anxiety is another matter.

Baghdatis has played with a wonderful freedom, feeling no pressure and revelling in the uncertainties he can spread in the minds of his opponents. What did he have to lose against Andy Roddick, Ivan Ljubicic and Nalbandian? The same could be said when he meets Federer, but it is a Grand Slam final, and that knowledge eats into the mind.

Casting my mind back to Wimbledon all those years ago, I was riding the same sort of carefree emotional wave that Baghdatis is experiencing. I did not have to endure the marathons that have tested the resolve and stamina of the Cypriot, as I dropped only one set, but I overcame the potentially intimidating opposition of Mats Wilander and Jimmy Connors because I did not feel any pressure.

Yet for the 48 hours between the semi-final and the final, my brain was working overtime. Sleep was much harder to come by, little domestic issues suddenly appeared to be huge distractions, and by the time I walked out on to Centre Court, it was not just adrenaline taking hold, it was a severe case of nerves.

I was fortunate that Lendl had more demons running rampant in his mind. Most were connected with his obsession of winning Wimbledon and dispelling the doubts that grass turned a player otherwise feared as almost superhuman into somebody fallible. Federer has no comparable uncertainties on the surface at Melbourne.

However, I have not been totally convinced by his play in his past few matches. We have all seen the black ankle strap that he insists is only precautionary after suffering the consequences of playing while injured in last Novemberís Masters Cup in Shanghai, but he does not appear to be moving as well as normal. This has manifested itself in some mistiming of shots. There is also a visible reluctance to attack the net.

Baghdatis is exciting and plays extremely intelligently. He does not go for the outright winner on returns in the same way as Andre Agassi, but stands about 8ft behind the line for the first serve, advancing a little on the second. And he is happy to get involved in extended rallies because his great strengths are his speed around the court and the power he can generate.

He has great wheels. You can mention him in the same breath as Lleyton Hewitt for fleet-footedness and he can impart as much force as Marat Safin, who got the better of Federer here last year.

Another factor will be the influence of the crowd. As a Melbourne boy, I am well aware of the sporting passion of the cityís Greek population. Baghdatis has managed to get his highly vocal cheer squad into every match, and their football-like chants got under the skins of Roddick and Ljubicic.

Federer does not revel in rowdy atmospheres and has a history of being unhinged in this stadium; his defeat to Hewitt in the 2003 Davis Cup semi-final after leading by two sets is still remembered as one of the great victories for not only an Aussie player but also the intimidatory powers of an Aussie sporting crowd.

The retsina is already on ice for Baghdatis fans, but common sense tells me it will be drunk in commiseration rather than celebration.

Docalex007
01-28-2006, 03:05 PM
Let's do this shall we? Let's get this show on the road. :)

federerhoogenbandfan
01-28-2006, 03:11 PM
I hope after Australia Roger takes a full 5 weeks off until the Pacific Life. Maybe then his ankle, which he should not have played on injured at the Masters Cup, and probably aggravated more by doing so, will be fully recovered.

Docalex007
01-28-2006, 03:21 PM
I hope after Australia Roger takes a full 5 weeks off until the Pacific Life. Maybe then his ankle, which he should not have played on injured at the Masters Cup, and probably aggravated more by doing so, will be fully recovered.

I am thinking the same thing. If he wins the AO here in a few hours, he will already have won two tournaments this year and one of them is a slam which is a much much better start than last year. Therefore I really think he should then take the time to play it safe and jump in when the Pacific Life rolls around in mint condition.

First things first, win the AO in 7 hours!!!!

Yours!05
01-28-2006, 03:26 PM
I hope after Australia Roger takes a full 5 weeks off until the Pacific Life. Maybe then his ankle, which he should not have played on injured at the Masters Cup, and probably aggravated more by doing so, will be fully recovered.I saw his matches at Kooyong from the centre of the baseline, about row D (?), which is very close at that venue, and my impression was that his bad ankle was less stable.

Moumine
01-28-2006, 03:29 PM
Baghdatis style will be all Greek to Federer
PAT CASH

Pat Cash against Ivan Lendl at Wimbledon in 1987.


Casting my mind back to Wimbledon all those years ago, I was riding the same sort of carefree emotional wave that Baghdatis is experiencing.



I love how Pat always coincidentally casts his mind back to Wimbledon 1987.

pound cat
01-28-2006, 03:33 PM
Whether Baghdatis wins or loses, he has single-handedly save AO 2006 from being a dull and boring Slam, given that 3 of the top seeds were missing. Paul McNamee better slip him a couple of hundred thousand dollars under some table somewhere in Cyprus, Ella Marcos.

Yours!05
01-28-2006, 03:38 PM
Whether Baghdatis wins or loses, he has single-handedly save AO 2006 from being a dull and boring Slam, given that 3 of the top seeds were missing.Yeah. After a desperately dull Davenport match, you should have heard the crescendo of buzzz that grew and grew in the Laver when we realised the Greeks were coming. We could hear them long before we saw them.:D Such a contrast to last year's AO.

federerhoogenbandfan
01-29-2006, 10:40 AM
I saw his matches at Kooyong from the centre of the baseline, about row D (?), which is very close at that venue, and my impression was that his bad ankle was less stable.

Thanks for the info. Hearing that worries me a bit. I hope he does take the beneficial break after the Australian Open. Winning a slam already should make him feel more relaxed going into a Masters event, to the point a break and less preparation would not hurt him too much, and would be worth the additional recuperation. He probably is not too worried about the points race yet which his main rivals far behind after Australia.

Fee
01-29-2006, 10:42 AM
There should be a rule that no articles featuring or quoting Pat Cash can be posted on this board. Why does anyone ever care what he has to say, he is just a publicity *****.

federerhoogenbandfan
01-29-2006, 10:44 AM
There should be a rule that no articles featuring or quoting Pat Cash can be posted on this board. Why does anyone ever care what he has to say, he is just a publicity *****.

I dont mind the guy. He usually has some insightful opinions. I hated his comment about Davenport having a shot puters build. That was completely inappropriate(and people get on me for saying she is a choker, LOL!). That was just one completely unacceptable comment though.