The King of Grass' view of Wimbledon 2011

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by BrooklynNY, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. BrooklynNY

    BrooklynNY Hall of Fame

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    http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/wimbledon11/columns/story?columnist=ubha_ravi&id=6671956

    Not sure if this was posted, but as usual its the annual what does Pete think about the upcoming Wimbledon Q&A. For those interested. He is taking Roger as his pick.



    Pete Sampras ruled Wimbledon. He won at the All England Club seven times, the most titles in more than a century, overpowering opponents with his devastating serve. Tennis, perhaps, has never seen a better second delivery.
    So who better to discuss this year's tournament than Sampras, overall a 14-time Grand Slam champion and still a keen follower of the game?

    In a telephone interview with ESPN.com, Sampras labeled buddy Roger Federer as the "slight" favorite at tennis' beloved grass-court major, ahead of world No. 1 Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Federer is "oozing with confidence" after reaching the French Open final, Sampras said.

    Sampras praised Nadal, calling him a "machine" who surfaces "once every 25 years," but cautioned the Spaniard about his workload. He suggested Djokovic, owner of a recent 43-match winning streak, now has an "aura." As for Scot Andy Murray, the final member of the big four, Sampras says the type of pressure he's under at SW19 is virtually unparalleled.

    The Fed Express

    Federer, surprising many, ended Djokovic's winning streak in Paris. Two days later, give or take an inch, he might have upset Nadal in the finale.

    Federer -- who was playing under Sampras' former coach, Paul Annacone, for the first time at Roland Garros -- showed more variety versus Nadal on dirt than ever. He returns to a more comforting surface, gunning for a seventh Wimbledon crown himself.

    Sampras: "When Wimbledon comes around, you have to put Roger as the man to beat on that surface. He played extremely well in the French Open final and lost to one of the greats of all time on clay. I see him oozing with confidence.

    "I see different things, especially in the final of the French, that Roger is trying to do -- be a little more aggressive, take the ball earlier, which is obviously tougher to do against Rafa on clay. And I like what I see. He wants to improve, and he still enjoys it. I think Paul has helped him with the mental side, just talking about strategy. Paul knows what it's like, he knows what a great player goes through, and it's really helped Roger in my mind."

    The defending champion

    By Nadal's own admission, it wasn't his finest French Open. Coming off four losses to Djokovic, two on clay, he lacked his usual level of confidence. However, he managed to claim a sixth title.

    Nadal, as is his custom, hopped on a train and played the Aegon Championships in London, despite the fatigue, exiting in the quarterfinals. Federer and Djokovic, meanwhile, bypassed Wimbledon tuneups.

    Nadal seeks a third French Open-Wimbledon double.

    Sampras: "Whenever Wimbledon comes around and you look at Rafa's game, you might find him a little bit vulnerable. But year in, year out, he comes out with great results. He beats the guys he should, and before you know it, he's in the second week playing great. He saw what he had to do a couple of years back to play well at Wimbledon, and he's improved those areas.

    "He's a machine. He feels he has to put in the time ahead of Wimbledon, and I respect that, but there's a part of you that has to give the mind and body a break. It might be a blessing in disguise he went down early [at Queen's], just to regroup and enjoy Paris a little bit. He's just one of those athletes that come once every 25 years. He keeps going and going. I hope that Rafa, as he gets older, is aware of his schedule and body. That's the only thing that can hold him back."

    This year's phenom

    The unplanned four days off Djokovic had in the second week of the French Open might have disrupted his rhythm. Emerging from the break, the 24-year-old faced a difficult task, encountering an in-form Federer. Still, his 2011 record stands at 41-1. Djokovic, the top returner in tennis at the moment, is a different player than the one who underachieved most of the previous three seasons.

    Sampras: "It's incredible what he's been able to do, be so consistent. Mentally he's figured it out, really shown great improvement. I think now he has an aura about him. He's turned into a great player.

    "If you look at the history of the game, when I broke through and started to dominate, and Roger, we were about 23. Novak won that early major in 2008; it takes you a few years to figure out how you need to play, who you're playing against and to be really comfortable in your own skin, and I think Novak has turned the corner. With his game and athletic ability, I'm not surprised he's right there. When you break down his game, he doesn't have any holes."

    Wimbledon Withdrawal

    Pete Sampras says he won't be at Wimbledon this year, even if friend and occasional practice partner Roger Federer reaches the final.

    A title for Federer would mean seven at Wimbledon, tying him with Sampras for the Open era men's record. Sampras witnessed Federer eclipse his Grand Slam tally at the All England Club in 2009, the only time he's been back to the tournament since calling it quits in 2002.

    "Probably not in the cards," Sampras said in a phone interview. "The record breaker was something I wanted to be at. But if he's there this year, I'll probably stay home and watch it."
    So, could commentating be next for the 39-year-old? Chris Evert is back in the booth, returning at Wimbledon. Sampras said no. He still prefers spending much of his time in California, where he resides. "I still love the game, watching it and talking about it, but commentating is not something I'm willing to travel for. I enjoy sort of being in L.A."

    Sampras, comparing Djokovic to Andre Agassi as a returner: "It's hard to say who has a better return because pretty much the style of play is one-dimensional today. When I was playing, you had a lot of different looks. If he was up against a Goran [Ivanisevic], [Stefan] Edberg or [Boris] Becker consistently, you could really get a sense of how well he returns.

    "He's a great returner and will continue to be. I look at his percentage of breaking, and it's something ridiculous. I think it's the best in the world."

    The home hope

    Many know the numbers by now, but here's a reminder: No British man has won a major since the 1930s. And if the drought was to end, most locals would want the magical occasion to transpire at Wimbledon.

    Murray has been good enough to reach three Grand Slam finals, yet unable to produce his best at crunch time. A semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2009 and 2010, the often irritable (at least on court) Murray raised expectations by triumphing at Queen's this week.

    Sampras: "I look at him as one of the favorites, but maybe not quite the same as the other guys. On a given day, if he plays well and gets the crowd support, he could very well have some destiny on his side.

    "He's dealing with a lot more than the other guys, in terms of the pressure of the country and the media on every move and on everything he says. It's tough enough playing these guys, then you add all that. It's nothing that any other player has experienced. Maybe Becker, but he didn't have a major in Germany. Even in my generation with Tim [Henman], he talked to the press every day; it's like an ongoing thing in the back of his head. I hope Andy can shut that noise out and play his tennis.

    "I do see him get agitated sometimes. Every now and again, you see him yelling at his box. He's an emotional guy, and that's what makes him tough -- he's in every point. But you'd like to see him recover a bit quicker and potentially chill, into something more positive. He's a little temperamental, which is fine. It's just that in this sport, you have to have a short memory. You play a bad point, you move on."
     
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  2. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Federer is "oozing with confidence" after reaching the French Open final, Sampras said.

    Nothing like (once again) losing a major final to your biggest rival to boost your confidence.
     
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  3. BrooklynNY

    BrooklynNY Hall of Fame

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    Lol, well the somewhat close(er) scoreline may have helped. :twisted:
     
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  4. stringertom

    stringertom G.O.A.T.

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    Sampras Savvy...& PC

    Good points made but a little too PC for me. I'm glad he chooses not to enter the booth...an occasional "drop-in" would be nice. My guy in the booth is still JC. Knows the game and doesn't hold punches.
     
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  5. BrooklynNY

    BrooklynNY Hall of Fame

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    Same, I love Connors, How about him saying what everyone is thinking
    'It's going to take something special for Roddick to win a major now, and i dont know if he has it ' comment or whatever he said earlier this week
     
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  6. Semi-Pro

    Semi-Pro Hall of Fame

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    You're missing the point, just because you lose doesn't mean you can't take positives and confidence out of a match. Roger hadn't been in a major final for over a year, so just getting to the final could have boosted his confidence. Not to mention defeating Djokovic and his 43 match streak.
     
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  7. zagor

    zagor Talk Tennis Guru

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    Reaching the slam final on young man's surface(and also his worst even in his prime)at the age of 30,beating guy who no one else could this year,dropping only one set on the route to SF etc. There are plenty positives to take for Fed from FO this year.
     
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  8. Sentinel

    Sentinel Bionic Poster

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    Yeah, what does Sampras know that we tennis experts don't !
     
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  9. jackson vile

    jackson vile Legend

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    Can anyone refresh my memory, what was the scoreline and what made it close?
     
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  10. Hitman

    Hitman G.O.A.T.

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    Good interview!

    I do agree with a lot of what he said. It will be awesome if Federer equals his seven Wimbledon titles. :)
     
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  11. BrooklynNY

    BrooklynNY Hall of Fame

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    I think its the illusion of 2 7-5 sets and a breaker.

    ;)
     
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  12. AM95

    AM95 Hall of Fame

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    this mentality is exactly why you will never be able to play professional tennis, even if you were as talented as federer
     
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  13. BULLZ1LLA

    BULLZ1LLA Banned

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    (I wonder what Federer thought of the breadstick. Imagine if it was a bagel, that would have been awes0me)
     
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  14. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    C'mon on guys, Federer may have lost the French Open final to Nadal but he was serving very well and had a lot of variety in his game, including the use of dropshots. That will help him more if he translates it onto the grass at Wimbledon.

    Nadal needs his serve to work a lot more than it did at the French Open. There were some good signs at Queen's Club, although he was clearly physically exhausted.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
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  15. Omega_7000

    Omega_7000 Hall of Fame

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    I really hope & pray Fed destroys Nadal if they meet in the finals. Or Djokovic if he gets past Fed. Either way I hope your boy gets demolished so you can stfu!
     
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  16. BULLZ1LLA

    BULLZ1LLA Banned

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    (Rafa served 128mph a few times during Queens and often around 120mph 1st serve. Last year at Wimbledon Rafa averaged 116mph on 1st serve. So the signs are great so far. He ran out of energy vs Tsonga, understandably, but Tsonga did serve 25 aces and Rafa still won a set and 4-4 in 2nd set. Rafa looked surprisingly sharp on grass, better than last year's Queens. Uncle Toni said their strategy was not to serve his fastest during RG, use spin more and save the serving power for Wimbledon and US Open. Probably a precaution for arm tendinitis etc.

    I agree Omega, I mean can you imagine Rafa with 11 slams already! He'd be just one US Open away from challenging again for the dreaded Rafa Slam Down Under)
     
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  17. TennisFan3

    TennisFan3 Legend

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    The problem with Nadal is his intensity and the amount of punishment he puts his body through. He looks burnt out mentally and physically which is what Sampras is saying. He also feels the pressure this year, which is what he's been saying in his pressers continously. I think Rafa will do better once he loses the #1 and the expectations go more on Djokovic.
     
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  18. jamesblakefan#1

    jamesblakefan#1 G.O.A.T.

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    Guys, guys...lay off of Bud...he's 'special'....

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. tennis_pro

    tennis_pro G.O.A.T.

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    The more you post, the more I'm sure that you're Nadal_slam_king's son.
     
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  20. aceX

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    Is it true that Sampras once punched Annacone in the face?
     
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  21. Clay lover

    Clay lover Hall of Fame

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    This opinion is not valid without the validation of the REAL King.
     
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  22. BULLZ1LLA

    BULLZ1LLA Banned

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    (The number one ranking has never been a problem for Rafa. Rafa has never mentioned the number one ranking as a negative, in his pressers. Tying Borg's Roland Garros record was the challenge he faced mentally, similar to Federer's nerves during 2009 Roland Garros once Rafa had been knocked out, Federer played a very low standard compared to say.... 2011 Roland Garros. Plus obviously Djokovic would need to win more than the Australian Open if he was to be a regular number one, not likely)
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2011
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  23. "Old man Fed" pushed "prime-Nadal" to the limit at Nadals favourite-surface...what does that tell you?
     
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  24. BULLZ1LLA

    BULLZ1LLA Banned

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    (Djokovic beat Rafa in straight sets twice on clay this year, yet Federer beat Djokovic. So it adds up. Also, Federer has always troubled Rafa on clay, except for the 2008 RG match. Federer has beaten Rafa on clay and had a couple of other close RG Finals. Federer is one of only 3 men in history to make 5 Roland Garros Finals)
     
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