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  1. bjsnider

    Alarming deficiency of druck: Bjorn Borg's bizarre return to tennis in 1991

    For reasons best known to him (a phrase that could precede many reports about Borg), Borg decided to return to tennis at Monte Carlo in 1991. From Bodo's Courts of Babylon. "Soon a sedan pulled up to the curb and began to disgorge an astonishing succession of characters, including two...
  2. bjsnider

    Examining France's Greatest Generation

    This generation of thirtysomethings, particularly Gasquet, has been the most hyped in the history of France. Let's see how they've done as their careers wind down. Player Age Titles Masters Top 10 Top 5 Number One Major Finals Majors Gasquet 33 15 0 123 0 0 0 0 Monfils 33 10 0 83 0 0 0 0...
  3. bjsnider

    TSN showing RG this week

    From 2014. Djokovic vs. Nadal will be on Sunday afternoon. I think Bouchard's run was the reason they picked this tournament.
  4. bjsnider

    Bodo's criteria for an ATG (for those interested in shafting Murray)

    From Courts of Babylon, in the Lendl chapter: "Ultimately, Lendl would win eight Grand Slam titles, one more than his lifelong tormentor, John McEnroe, and the same number as his other major rival, Jimmy Connors. He would contest nineteen Grand Slam finals, appearing in the championship match...
  5. bjsnider

    What does everybody think of pressureless balls?

    I was surprised to find a bag of them in a sporting goods store here in Canada a few months ago, after having read years ago that they were available only in Europe. I should have bought them, because I have the time to hit them now, but I think those stores are closed ATM, and in any case I...
  6. bjsnider

    Did Thiem Overachieve?

    Thiem's rank in two abstract but important statistical categories from 2014-2019. The big 3 are typically ranked in the top 10 in both categories every year. Clearly, these numbers predict success. Stagnation in the return game since 2016, slight hold game improvement. It's unrealistic, given...
  7. bjsnider

    NextGen failing to take the return game seriously

    When we look at the service games won stat, there's are many nextgen guys in the top 25. Obviously, the offensive part of the game, the big serve and big forehand are important parts of the nextgen skillset. If we begin with 2018, there are 7 nextgen guys in the top 20 (if Kyrgios was counted...
  8. bjsnider

    Technical discussion of Dimitrov's game

    During the match against Federer at 2019 USO (just ID'ing it for people reading in the distant future, if any), Cahill and McEnroe talked at length about the issues that have kept Dimitrov in the 10-20 range in the rankings. In no particular order, here they are: * Small frame with less...
  9. bjsnider

    Ljubicic's coaching a mixed bag for Federer

    When Federer replaced Edberg with Ljubicic, the speculation was that the motive was an inability to overcome Djokovic. Ljubicic was said to be an expert on how to play Djokovic strategically, having won a couple of the head to head matchups against Djokovic. Since Ljubicic was hired, Federer...
  10. bjsnider

    The Greatness of the Big Three Doesn't Diminish Them

    In every era, there are a small cadre of exceptional players totally superior to the field, but not to each other. The current big three is no exception. They are so close to each other in facility that the conditions and other things, such as health and fatigue, have a strong influence on which...
  11. bjsnider

    Stop Complaining and Learn to Return the Slider

    In these conditions Nadal is basically a serve-bot with lots of additional high-level skills. So, if Pete Sampras's serve were given to Schwartzman, Nishikori, or a half dozen other guys. The Nadal team worked on this strategy from the time he was a little kid -- play left-handed, work on...
  12. bjsnider

    Andreescu Withdraws from RG

    Continuing shoulder pain.
  13. bjsnider

    Very Revealing Lopsided Scores

    I find it interesting that these top players needed to play twice in one day, and both matches featured sets won by multiple breaks, as if these guys were all in 2011 Djokovic mode. I wonder if correlation is also causation in this case? If so, does that mean most of the time the top guys are...
  14. bjsnider

    The clay umpire's bad news dance act

    Has anyone but me noticed that when an umpire is checking a ball mark on clay, and he thinks the call is going to go against the player on the same side, the umpire literally dances around the mark like Fred Astaire, looks at the mark from the side, bends over, waits a second or two, and then...
  15. bjsnider

    ATP announces mandate: players must use wood rackets and natural gut immediately

    Also, 90% of the tournaments must switch to grass. Outgoing ATP president Kermode passed a surprisingly candid but terse message along to shocked players via twitter: "Eff you too." This would be expected to be great news for all grass specialists on the tour, if there were any.
  16. bjsnider

    The Narrative on Young Players has Changed!

    For the past few years, we have heard many pundits explain that, since the game has fundamentally changed, youngsters aren't going to be fit enough or strong enough to hang with the older guys who bring years of training on the court with them. Some of us have questioned this narrative and...
  17. bjsnider

    Why does FAA spend so much time in Shanksville?

    Not that I don't spend any time in Shanksvillle myself... As great as FAA already is, and he's the top prospect on the tour right now, no question, it's puzzling that he finds Shanksville such an appealing place to spend time during matches. Some of the balls appear to fly out of the stadium...
  18. bjsnider

    Peter Bodo Ripped Me Off

    I say this half tongue-in-cheek. My post here appeared about two weeks before today's Bodo article on ESPN. My post: Bodo's...
  19. bjsnider

    'Pursuit of History' (GOAT) is a Marketing Gimmick

    In the 'Courts of Babylon' days, big media used to sell tennis to the masses using personalities -- 'what's Nasty gonna do tonight'?, or 'come and watch Mac and Connors tear strips of flesh off each other'. Worked well in those years, but then, with the corporatization of tennis, the...
  20. bjsnider

    Controlling the middle of the court: Why Djokovic is so hard to beat

    Disclaimer: I am not a fan of Djokovic, and I didn't write this post as part of some 'my guy is better than your guy' war of attrition. The biggest reason I created this post is to enhance my own understanding of the subject matter. I'm just thinking out loud, so I could be wrong about all of...
  21. bjsnider

    Federer's clay stance a negotiating tactic?

    Given the surge in ticket prices for the recent Nadal/Federer finals, I wonder if Federer might be laying the groundwork for his agent's negotiations with the clay Masters? Those tournaments aren't mandatory for him, unlike a typical ATP pro, due to his age and experience. Since there are three...
  22. bjsnider

    Contrasting Kyrgios and Federer's Strategies

    Last night was a remarkable example of a player losing not because of ability or lack thereof, but because of ill-conceived strategy. The match was incredibly close, and apparently turned on just a few points. Kyrgios broke and served for the first set, yet dropped serve. He had opportunities...
  23. bjsnider

    Tennis player stops match to laugh at her terrible opponent

    Whiffed on an easy smash. Excerpt:
  24. bjsnider

    Question: On Outlawing Rage-Smashing the ball

    Should the tennis authoritahs, eg. the ITF/WTA/ATP etc. outlaw the practice of players rage-smashing the ball in between points, given the Shapovalov incident? Seems to me this has always been a disaster waiting to happen.
  25. bjsnider

    Progressive Decline in Nadal's Hold Game

    All data taken from tennis abstract (click Show Yearly Totals): Nadal's return game has not significantly changed since he was a teen, although there was a small decline last year, followed by a return to form this year...
  26. bjsnider

    Murray's return game burying the needle

    As this season has progressed, it's possible Murray has developed the greatest return game in the recorded history of the sport. Murray's offseason began after IW/Miami, and since then he's gotten better and better. Currently, Murray is second on the tour in return games won at 37% (Nadal is...
  27. bjsnider

    Borg and Mac exchanged kicks in one USO rally

    Borg serving, hits the ball but the racket falls out of his hand and smashes on the ground, hoop broken. Mac sees it, returns a forehand slice that just floats over the net. Borg has a bit of fun, kicks the ball back over the net. Mac drops his racket and kicks the ball back, point over. This...
  28. bjsnider

    Murray grass timeline with stats

    Here's the way the SV/RET sections work: percentage/rank. For example, in 2005 Murray's grass return game stats were 25%/7th place. I adjusted these rankings based on a minimum of 6 matches played, so that's why the ranks don't match up with the ATP site (and I may have made the odd mistake)...
  29. bjsnider

    What kind of ball player is Gasquet?

    It occurred to me that, as far as I can remember, I've never seen a coherent strategy from Gasquet. It's easy to look at Ferrer's stats and see that he's trying to draw errors. His return game is always top 5. His hold game is in the 30s. For other guys, like Raonic, the reverse is true. Gasquet...