...another, more nuanced take on the "physicality as the demise of tennis" discussion

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by interjim, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. interjim

    interjim Rookie

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    Much more agreeable, I think, than the piece I posted last week:

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012
    Nadal-Djokovic: A look at the rivalry

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    By the time I got back to the press room outside of Rod Laver Arena, the discussion was well underway: "Was this the greatest tennis match of all time?" Reporters from all over the world asked each other that as we stood milling around our desks, waiting for the two men who had just played that match, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, to come down to the interview room and talk about it. As we waited, tweets with similar responses began to pile up. One journalist who had written an entire book on the last "greatest match of all time," the 2008 Wimbledon final between Nadal and Roger Federer, now wondered on Twitter whether his verdict may have been a bit hasty.

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    After the initial rush of 2 a.m. excitement, it was finally decided by most that, no, the 2012 Australian Open final, while it was very long, very dramatic and often brilliant, was not the greatest ever. You can't really anoint something the "greatest ever" every three or four years, anyway without losing a little credibility.


    What was surprising to me over the next couple of weeks was how far the match fell in estimation, particularly for journalists and serious fans. By the end of the week, two topics dominated: 1) How much time both players took between points; and 2) How "brutal" the tennis was when they did get down to playing it. There was a sense that rather than pushing each other to new heights, Djokovic and Nadal have taken tennis to new lows of grinding, inartistic "physicality."


    It's true that both of these guys play a physical brand of tennis. Each specializes in defense, so their rallies are long, and most of their shots are punctuated by grunts. And for all the balls they've hit at each other in their seven finals in the past 11 months, precious few of them have been volleys.


    Still, I get the sense that Djokovic and Nadal are being judged not for who they are, but for who they aren't: i.e., Roger Federer. And it's true, neither of the top two players can match his maestro's elegance or variety. Their two-handed backhands are more utilitarian than Federer's sweeping one-hander, and they're much more rooted to the baseline than he is.


    Thankfully, beauty remains in the eye of the beholder, and there's no reason to judge these greats by the standards of another great -- no one derided Federer because he didn't own Pete Sampras' running forehand or Andre Agassi's bullet return of serve. If we're going to judge Rafa and Nole by someone they're not, why not choose players like the ultra-practical David Ferrer or Andy Roddick instead? Those comparisons give you a better idea of the subtle all-around skills that make Djokovic and Nadal special, and which have put them in three straight Grand Slam finals.


    Such as: Nadal's hands around the net -- he rarely fails up there; Djokovic's ability to get his body out of the way of a serve hit right at him and still nail his return close to the baseline; Nadal's overhead, one of the most authoritative in history; Djokovic's patented curling crosscourt forehand, which he can hit on the run and from outside the doubles alley for winners; Nadal's full-run passing shots; Djokovic's skidding backhand gets.


    There's more where that came from, and none of it, in the eyes of this beholder anyway, qualifies as brutal.





    (from http://espn.go.com/tennis/blog/_/name/tennis/id/7578770/nadal-djokovic-rivalry-taken-tennis-new-low)
     
  2. TennisFan3

    TennisFan3 Legend

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    Excellent article. Thanks for posting!
     
  3. Rozroz

    Rozroz Legend

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    Their special individual moves and techniques are very good points.
    But i'm still not convinced it was a beauty to the eyes except for the superhuman drama of course.
     
  4. Lsmkenpo

    Lsmkenpo Hall of Fame

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    Here is my nuanced take on this BS article. The author like most other journalist wouldn't know good technical tennis if it hit him right between the eyes. WTF does Federer have to do with Djokovic and Nadal playing a match that included arguably the worst 1st set of tennis ever played in a major final. Somehow it is Federer's fault that they played like crap the first set, or Nadal played like crap the 2nd, and 3rd set? There was perhaps 1 set of good tennis in the 4th, the 5th was more crap because both players were too tired to play good tennis after playing largely uninspired error filled grinding for 5 hours.

    The author is simply trying to defend his initial ignorance, with more ignorance.

    The tennis played in that final was not the best from either player, the two have played many better matches than this one against one another. The author picks out 4 or 5 good shots hit the entire match and thinks that somehow quantifies the match as great. A Nadal Overhead? LOL, Djokovic returning Nadal's weak second serves deep? LMAO and a couple of good passing shots out of 6 hours of play? LMFAO

    I guess a few good shots, some over the top celebrations of UFE's and 5 sets over 7 hours makes it the match of the century, never mind the multitude of uncharacteristic UFEs, or the uninspired play of the first few sets, that didn't happen it is the imagination of these so called bitter fans.

    I say anyone who thought that was the match of the century doesn't watch much tennis , or doesn't know the sport very well to make an informed opinion. The author is the editor of Tennis magazine, the most useless sports magazine I have ever had the displeasure of reading, 90% fluff and BS, rarely is there a single article in the entire magazine worth the time to read. Now I know why.

    Rewatch this so called match of the century now, without the drama, and if you can stay awake till the end, you will know this match wasn't even the best match of the tournament, let alone match of the century.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  5. tenniselbow1

    tenniselbow1 Rookie

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    Please stop posting garbage like this that i'm forced to read. Christ what fan girl wrote this up.
     
  6. vernonbc

    vernonbc Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, what does Steve Tignor know about tennis? Compared to all the knowledgeable experts on this board. :roll:
     
  7. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, Steve the tennis guru who played division III tennis for college? Hah! Don't kid yourself, that man does not have any experience playing tennis at a pro level. He has just watched pro tennis for a while and has opinions about it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2012
  8. MG1

    MG1 Professional

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    He is obsessed with rafa like bodo obsession with fed.

    they always try to make it natural but most of the times they could not hide their likeness!!
     
  9. MG1

    MG1 Professional

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    You can enjoy yourself with his latest piece of gyan!!
     
  10. sdont

    sdont Legend

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    So, we should not compare Rafa and Nole to Fed, but rather to Ferrer or Roddick? That's a new take on the trivalry, lol.
     
  11. Sentinel

    Sentinel Talk Tennis Guru

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    The article talks about whether the AO final was the greatest or not, but the title seems to be about the "demise of tennis". ???
     
  12. nereis

    nereis Semi-Pro

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    Unfortunately you don't make much of a convincing argument against the article.

    Quite frankly I enjoyed the match and it did give me something I did not expect, a glimpse of a Nadal come-from-behind victory over Djokovic. He also played in a way I did not expect him to.

    While it was not "The Greatest Match of All Time" it is difficult to anoint any match as by its very nature such titles are subjective and prone to the biases and personal preferences each individual is subject to.

    I do agree with the author, that the elephant in the room when talk of a six hour battle being the demise of 'tennis', is the fact that neither Nadal nor Djokovic are Federer nor should they be. That Federer can play the way he plays and be so successful is an anomaly in the world of tennis.

    People have short memories and forget that twenty years ago we had number 1s who were routinely getting bounced in the early rounds of some majors to comparative nobodies just because their game was not complete enough.

    We are now back to the days when the top players can be expected to reach the late rounds of the majors again, which have not been seen since the golden years of the 70s and 80s.
     
  13. interjim

    interjim Rookie

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    Sorry about that. Will try to keep your delicate sensibilites in mind, next time.
     
  14. Lsmkenpo

    Lsmkenpo Hall of Fame

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    Here let me see if I can do better, since you want to make it personal.


    Thats what you got from the match a fantasy vision, thus your opinions are shrouded in fantasy not reality.

    The author tried to strengthen his initial viewpoint by attacking the fans and calling them bitter Federer fans because they don't agree with his ignorance, very unprofessional to say the least, his credibility as a journalist flew right out the window. Reading anything he ever writes again is a waste of time.

    Players don't need a complete game to play on other surfaces it is the same game every tournament. Defensive baselining now works at every tournament on the schedule, there is no diversity in play. Surfaces were homogenized to minimize the chance of an upset against the top players to benefit big business, not tennis or the fans.


    Your living in fantasy land again, thanks for the laugh.
     
  15. Polaris

    Polaris Hall of Fame

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    Tignor has written a good article, in which he address both sides, which is that (1) neither Djokovic nor Nadal can hold a candle to Federer when it comes to classically beautiful tennis, (2) the first point should not matter too much because both Djokovic and Nadal have plenty of redeeming qualities of their own.

    Still, vernonbc is not satisfied with how the article - written by a self-confessed Nadal fan - represents Nadal and feels obligated to write a mushy hosannah. Too funny.
     
  16. SLD76

    SLD76 Legend

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    /thread.

    Basically.

    Bolded for emphasis.
     
  17. Polvorin

    Polvorin Professional

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    Fanboy detected. Credibility lost.
     
  18. vernonbc

    vernonbc Hall of Fame

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    Do you often have trouble with reading comprehension? Or was my sarcasm too subtle for you? I said nothing about the article and simply gave a back handed compliment to one of the most respected tennis writers around these days.
     
  19. urban

    urban Hall of Fame

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    I miss some sort of explanation of the overused term physicality. Means it stamina, footwork, or sheer power, weight of shot, heavy hitting. In terms of stamina and defense, Nadal and Djoker showed great resilience and recovery footwork (imo no more than Borg or Wilander). In terms of heavy hitting and power game, they were imo far away from poeple like Becker, Philippoussis or Safin, some ten or twelve years ago. Maybe they recover so well on the defense, because neither of them has the deadly winning shot, based on sheer weight of shot.
     
  20. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    Maybe the ATP tour should just make it an official rule change that you must hit from behind the baseline only and also they might as well discard the serve since it is pretty useless nowadays. Just start with a baseline shot and have the two players bash at each other for 6 hours or more until one of them collapses. Great tennis bah.
     
  21. kragster

    kragster Hall of Fame

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    I don't typically agree with your views but in this case it was a major reading comprehension miss by Polaris. I think the problem with people on this forum is a severe lack of ability to isolate a post from a poster.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  22. li0scc0

    li0scc0 Hall of Fame

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    Sensational post.
    This match was atrocious. I preferred the women's final at the Australian. At least it was over quickly, with the good shots compressed into one hour instead of 5+.
     
  23. Polaris

    Polaris Hall of Fame

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    I have no trouble with reading comprehension. I was not referring to your comment on this thread, but your comment on Tignor's article on that website. So, don't bark up the wrong tree, please.

    Go back and read your comment, if you don't remember. Or better yet, let me quote it for you here:

    That qualifies as a mushy hosannah to me, huh?
     

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