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Old 02-07-2013, 04:40 PM   #1
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Default A great article from Steve Tignor


(answering a fan question)


You were one of the people who called the Nole-Andy final [in Australia] boring. I thought you were better than that. Isn’t it just bitter Federer or Nadal fans who don’t like this rivalry, because they can’t face the future without their favorites?—Rob

I didn’t call the match “boring,” exactly. How about “underwhelming," or, "It was just OK"? You’re right, fans of other players can be buzzkills when their guy isn’t involved. So many people in general consider Federer’s game the last word in tennis style that no Grand Slam final without him will measure up in their minds. I also think that you still need either Fed or Rafa there, either across from each other or across from Novak, to give the match an edge, a sense of something at stake beyond whether the rallies are interesting or uninteresting.

That said, I want to like Djokovic vs. Murray. I enjoy their games, their personalities, and their individual rivalries with Federer and Nadal. But of all of their matches this year and last, the only one that struck me as memorable for something other than length was the final in Shanghai. It seems like their playing styles, which are similar in their reliance on consistency and defense, tend to irritate, rather than inspire, each other.

This could change if one of them tries to make a serious adjustment to get the upper hand. After this match, it looks like Murray needs to find a way to attack Djokovic—for most of the last three sets, he seemed lost as to how to do it, which wasn’t the case when he played Federer in the semifinals. Maybe Djokovic can force Murray to show off more of his game. Short of that, maybe they'll get on each other’s nerves; that usually helps a rivalry grow.

Of course, there’s at least one person who doesn’t seem to buy into the Muzzovic vision of the future. Nadal, after his comeback win yesterday in Chile, was asked by L’Equipe whether his ego was hurt by talk of a “Djokovic-Murray era.”

“My ego is calm,” Rafa said with a laugh. “...I’m only one year older than Djokovic and Murray, so perhaps now is not the time to bury me.”
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