federer - best returner of fast serves?

Discussion in 'General Pro Player Discussion' started by Jack Romeo, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Jack Romeo

    Jack Romeo Professional

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    seeing how roger diffused isner and raonic this week made me think that he has to be one of the best, if not the best, returner of fast serves. particularly fast right-handed serves. (too bad there aren't any fast-serving lefties like goran ivanisevic playing these days - maybe roger can prove himself against those types of players too). he obviously has the best feel for faster courts and quicker-paced shots. i mean he lost to isner on clay (at home!) but handled him pretty well just now when the conditions should theoretically favor the big server.

    nadal said that djokovic has the best return, maybe because he feels his own serve gets threatened more by novak than by roger. i guess roger does have a little more of a problem handling the heavy lefty spin of nadal's serve. but this week, when the court played slicker because of the conditions, the spin wasn't as accentuated and roger took charge with his return, even off the backhand. it was the same thing he does every time they meet at the tour finals. other courts tend to emphasize the effect of spin more so federer has more trouble, but not so on a faster, lower-bouncing court.

    i think djokovic also returned isner's serve pretty well but he himself didn't serve as well as roger. novak could be better at handling the spinning serves on a slower court. but if you look at roger's career results against big servers, he seems to own them all. he beat sampras in their only professional match. he totally owns roddick and has a great record against others like karlovic.

    how do you think roger's return stacks up against other great returners, namely andre agassi (who played in the era of some of the biggest bombers like becker, sampras and ivanisevic), lleyton hewitt (in his prime), as well as his own contemporaries like djokovic, nadal and andy murray?
     
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  2. jayoub95

    jayoub95 Semi-Pro

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    Indeed he is a great returner of fast serves. He watches the ball so closely so i guess thats the most obvious reason as to why.
     
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  3. OddJack

    OddJack Legend

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    Aye, he is. Best returner of fast serves, hardest guy to ace.
     
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  4. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    No, Federer is not up there with Agassi and Hewitt. When Agassi, who's considered the greatest returner ever says that Hewitt is the hardest person to serve against, that pretty much puts it into perspective. Federer simply uses his head: the big servers of today do not have ground games OR are not used to their serves coming back. Roddick, Karlovic, Isner, Del Potro. Return deep, slice it low, etc. They're done.
     
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  5. RCizzle65

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    There is, Lopez
     
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  6. BobFL

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    Imo, Roger is by far the best serve - reader on tour...
     
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  7. Fed Kennedy

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    Hes actually just the best tennis player
     
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  8. Wilander Fan

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    I would agree with this. I think Fed reads servers really well. Belluci has a big left serve as well which Fed handled. He does have problems at Wimb though. Both Berdych and Tsonga were overpowering Fed with their serves on grass where they were not able to do it later on HC.
     
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  9. Towser83

    Towser83 Legend

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    The key I think is, Federer reads serves very well. Djokovic actually does more with a normal serve, in other words he often gets the ball back in a very tough place that takes the server out of control of the point, however with a big server a lot of times you just want to get the ball back into play and try and not set them up for an easy put away. Federer is better at getting those hard serves back into play probably because he reads the serve a bit better.
     
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  10. SeeingDusk

    SeeingDusk Rookie

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    #10
  11. BobFL

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    That was legendary but Roddick at the same time :) Fast, flat and predictable - Fed's favorite serve to be dismantled in no time.
     
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  12. Cup8489

    Cup8489 Legend

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    he actually did the exact same thing to Isner today. Right on the line, flick of the wrist, unplayable. When I saw that, I immediately thought of the video just posted.
     
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  13. Radical Shot

    Radical Shot Semi-Pro

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    I remember when they interviewed Rog before his Wimbledon final against Mark. The interviewer asked if his big serve would be an issue, especially on grass. I'll always remember the casual way in which Roger simply said something like...."I can handle big serves - it won't be a problem".
     
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  14. Love all

    Love all Semi-Pro

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    Yes he is, no doubt.
     
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  15. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    I try to point this out whenever people say Roddick has a better serve than Federer (or whoever else is being discussed). Lack of variety and placement renders pace almost irrelevant. Roddick has proven this point over and over, year after year.

    Federer is, without doubt, the best person in decades to figure out big servers - and definitely better at it than Hewitt.
     
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  16. purge

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    hes always done very well against the serving giants. compared to roddick who usually hit like 30 aces in a regular best of 3 match compared to federers 10 or something, but when they played each other andy barely ever lead the ace count. acing federer with rocket serves is about 2-3 times harder than against most other players.

    its not all just the return tho. federers obviously been very good at exploiting the big guys weaknesses further into the rallies. moving them around with his mix of angles and spins always put the screws to them. also mindset is a big thing here. he seems to shrug it off better than others if he gets a couple aces fired past him in situations where he might have been able to go for a break of serve. he usually stays very calm just thinking "whatever.. ill get you sooner or later pal"
     
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  17. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

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    Of course it is. No (at lest decent) return => no rallies.
     
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  18. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

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    Absolutely. In my mind, that goes without saying. Roddick is glorified by some underpowered people who think that mph is everything. Federer is in different universe both as a player and especially as a server compared to Roddick.
     
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  19. purge

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    true but its not like fed is the only one who manages to get into a few rallies here and there against isner or karlovic or whoever. but he also makes the most of it

    besides in such a match its not just about the giants service games, its also about your own service games. something that people tend to forget is that in this matchup youre serving with the extra pressure of knowing that surrendering your serve once most likely means giving the set away. and when rallies occur on your own serve its easy to panic or overpower, even more so since the match gives ou little to no rhythm on your groundstrokes.

    beating a big server is just as much about being confident on your own serve as it is about getting and then seizing that golden opportunity to break through his
     
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  20. Wilander Fan

    Wilander Fan Hall of Fame

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    Well said. Also, none of these big servers can demoralize you the way Fed can with his 50 second service games.
     
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  21. droliver

    droliver Professional

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    While Federer is clearly a better player, he's not a better server and never has been. Andy is either the best or 2nd best server (after Ivo) of the last 30 years on tour as measured by most metrics of the service game ATP stats (aces, % held, break points saved, etc...). The numbers don't lie.

    The career ATP leaders for % service games held (source ATP Match Facts)
    1. Karlovic 91%
    2. Roddick 90%
    3. Isner 90%
    4. Sampras 89%
    5. wayne Arthurs 88%
     
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  22. Evan77

    Evan77 Banned

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    yeah, the fed church strikes again. Fed has the prettiest hair, he has the best purse collection, his body hair is simply amazing, he is the best returner (lol, NO) ... whatever people...
     
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  23. sonicare

    sonicare Hall of Fame

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    Yeah. People think he is Jesus or something. I mean, the guy is good but he's no federer.






    [​IMG]
     
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  24. purge

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    you couldve at least tried to read the full topic title -.-
     
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  25. Wangtang1

    Wangtang1 Rookie

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    Back in his prime the answer was an obvious yes but he's been overpowered in his final matches in each of the last three Wimbledons.
     
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  26. Leelord337

    Leelord337 Hall of Fame

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    he used to be.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxzFlrFfUrg

    i would have to argue that nalbandian is a tad bit better returner of hard serves. i remember when he was playing karlovic and took it early about every time. Also throw agassi in the mix in that epic 5 setter vs joachim johansson in 05
     
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  27. djokovic2008

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    When fed slice returns the way he does he is 45-55 % down in the rally until he turns the situation around but when agassi, nalbandian and djoker do it they actually are on the attack with their aggressive return styles which give them a 60-40 % advantage or sometimes they win the point outright from on return BIG DIFFERNCE.
     
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  28. monfed

    monfed Guest

    Federer imo.
     
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  29. Evan77

    Evan77 Banned

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    yeah Mirka, whatever ... watch some more tennis instead of over eating cookies, lol ... Djokovic and Murray have the best ROS, get it hun? I guess not.
     
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  30. monfed

    monfed Guest

    yea Djokovic is the best returner,best server,best volleyer, best ,best best....yea LOL EVAN EL OH FREAKIN EL..rejoice...LOL
     
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  31. Bobby Jr

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    Actually, they do, and it brings up a problem with using these sort of stats. Not all matches are equal.

    Whereas Federer has had to play the overall in-form players hundreds of times late in tournaments Roddick has with few exceptions lost a couple of matches earlier than Federer - meaning he's avoided playing the number of successive harder/closer matches that Federer has had to. This massively boosts Roddick's numbers in this respect - as it also does for Karlovic, Isner etc. They can go through the first 3-4 rounds of a tournament with their eyes closed serving-wise but once they come up against someone who can handle it they bow out too often. Federer/Nadal/Djokovic/Murray by contrast have to play the best returners almost every tournament they play (basically: each other) - sometimes a couple in succession. This massively dents their serving numbers on career-long lists.

    Sampras on that list is about the only player who, week in-week out, was competitive a top 10 level. And it shows - he's #2 on the all time success list at slams.

    I'd hazard a guess that if you looked at the percentage of unreturnable serves/aces against players at the quarter-finals stage or later in tournaments Federer is a more effective server than Roddick.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
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  32. Evan77

    Evan77 Banned

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    oh, Mirka has some sense of humor... I like it :), now we are talking ... how was that cake? lol
     
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  33. monfed

    monfed Guest

    what does your wife think?
     
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  34. Evan77

    Evan77 Banned

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    not sure, my wife is actually bisexual ... not sure how to deal with it, she wants an open relationship... not sure what to do. can you help? I need some good advice.
     
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  35. monfed

    monfed Guest

    Open relationship? More like getting dumped. Aww, sorry to hear that. :(
     
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  36. NamRanger

    NamRanger G.O.A.T.

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    Federer barely maintains a better service win percentage despite the fact that he has infinitely more game to back up his already very good serve. Should tell you how good Roddick's serve is.


    Also, in their best years when they were both making deep runs in slams and masters tournaments, Federer still never surpassed Roddick in overall service stats. If you seriously think Federer doesn't have a better serve than Roddick, then let me ask you this. How many matches against Nadal would Federer have won if he had Roddick's serve? A whole lot more.


    Roddick was top 10 for almost an entire decade. Please, don't make me laugh.


    And the last bolded part is fairly biased, since Roddick primarily faced Federer in the QFs or better of slams. When he faced opponents that weren't Federer, he was generally averaging close to 20 aces from what I remember.


    Federer's ace stats recently vs current top 4 in slams

    vs Nadal

    Roland Garros 2005 : 5 Aces
    Roland Garros 2006 : 6 Aces
    Wimbledon 2006 : 13 Aces
    Roland Garros 2007 : 9 Aces
    Wimbledon 2007 : 24 Aces
    Roland Garros 2008 : 2 Aces
    Wimbledon 2008 : 25 Aces
    Australian Open 2009 : 11 Aces
    Roland Garros 2011 : 11 Aces
    Australian Open 2012 : 12 Aces


    vs Djokovic

    Australian Open 2007 : 12 Aces
    US Open 2007 : 11 Aces
    Australian Open 2008 : 10 Aces
    US Open 2008 : 20 Aces
    US Open 2009 : 8 Aces
    US Open 2010 : 12 Aces
    Australian Open 2011 : 5 Aces
    Roland Garros 2011 : 18 Aces
    US Open 2011 : 11 Aces


    vs Murray

    2008 US Open : 3 Aces
    2010 Australian Open : 11 Aces




    Contrast it to Roddick


    vs Nadal

    2004 US Open : 10 Aces
    2011 US Open : 9 Aces

    vs Djokovic

    2008 US Open : 14 aces
    2008 Australian Open : 16 Aces

    vs Murray

    2006 Wimbledon : 21 Aces
    2000 Wimbledon : 21 Aces

    vs Federer

    2003 Wimbledon : 4 Aces
    2004 Wimbledon : 11 Aces
    2005 Wimbledon : 7 Aces
    2006 US Open : 7 Aces
    2007 Australian Open : 4 Aces
    2007 US Open : 14 Aces
    2009 Australian Open : 8 Aces
    2009 Wimbledon : 27 Aces


    I'm not even counting Master Tournaments, which would make Roddick's serve look alot better. With a smaller sample, Roddick still has been able to consistently outserve Federer for the most part, particularly against Djokovic and Murray. Roddick really hasn't played Nadal enough in the slams, so it's hard to quantify whether or not he's a better server against Nadal. Also you have to remember Roddick is usually equaling or outdoing Federer in less sets. For instance, Federer in fact rarely hits more than 15 aces unless it is a long 4/5 setter. The only person Roddick struggles to hit aces against are Federer and Nadal, and really he just hasn't played enough sets against Nadal, and Federer is just a terrible match-up for Roddick. Against everyone else, Roddick outperforms Federer in less sets for the most part.


    If we take Roddick against his own current generation, his numbers look even better


    vs Hewitt

    2001 Roland Garros : 0 Aces (lol)
    2001 US Open : 21 Aces
    2005 Australian Open : 31 Aces
    2006 US Open : 17 Aces
    2009 Wimbledon : 43 Aces
    2012 AO : 12 Aces

    vs Safin

    2004 Australian Open : 18 Aces
    2007 Australian Open : 14 Aces



    This is against the cream of the crop for the most part too. If we're talking about just QFs and up, I guarantee that Roddick has Federer beat in the Aces department alone.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
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  37. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

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    Numbers do lie if you don't understand them. Every statistics require 1) context 2) interpretation.
     
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  38. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Connors,Agassi,Rosewall,Borg,Laver were great returners, not Federer.
     
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  39. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    I didn't say aces, I said aces/unreturnable serves. That is a huge difference. It's hard to factor out the rest of a player's game I agree, which is why I said the above.

    Even watching Roddick vs Isner it's clear that while Roddick serves plenty of aces his touchable serves are much more returnable by most players he faces. Much moreso than Federer's average touchable serves.

    I totally see your point about 'if Federer had Roddick's serve when playing Nadal...' but would counter it with this: If Federer was playing a Roddick who had a Federer serve how would it affect the match? Roddick would be miles better off.

    I think Nadal/Djok/Murray also consider Roddick's serve to be one of the more gettable ones regardless of the aces which might come flying by - the ones which aren't aces are quite returner friendly in their books. I highly doubt Federer would have done better against Nadal if he had Roddick's serve. More aces don't necessarily mean more pressure on returners. You also need to factor in how well you serve when it's tight or on break points etc. Roddick isn't nearly as clutch as Federer in tight situations against top players.

    As you say though, it's hard to back it up with stats because a player like Federer who can back up his serve better than Roddick will force people to be more pro-active on return, or do more research etc.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
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  40. TTMR

    TTMR Hall of Fame

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    Federer also has the best backhand on tour.
     
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  41. Xizel

    Xizel Professional

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    The title is realistic, Fed having a better serve than Roddick MUST be a troll attempt.
     
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  42. purge

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    aces/unreturnable serves is not the sole measurement of a quality of a serve anyway. someone mentioned fed only hit 3 aces vs murray in the USO 08 final. yet his serve was working great and setting up lots of free points/easy winners.
    also karlovics old record of most aces in a match (before that ridiculous isner-mahut match) was about 60 or something i think.. and he went on to lose the match

    anyway this is about the return of fast serves. so when fed plays roddick and usually outaces him there its the return that makes the difference there rather than the serve.
     
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  43. fed_rulz

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    78 actually, in a DC match against Stepanek on clay that lasted over 6 hrs.
     
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  44. droliver

    droliver Professional

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    Exactly, the context is the ATP tour, and the interpretation is comparing objective #'s in ATP tour matches. THEY'RE IN THE EXACT SAME POOL of tournaments and players to compare.

    The ultimate measure of the serve is measured by just a few metrics which are pretty self explanatory (Aces, service winners, % hold). The same people show up at the top of each of these lists and highly correlate to most people's subjective evaluation of the biggest servers. Roddick has a measurable career advantage by every conceivable metric of the serve over a large sample of matches versus Federer.
     
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  45. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Djokovic is much better than Federer at both returning big serves and doing something impressive with returns rather than just slicing CC.
     
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  46. Sid_Vicious

    Sid_Vicious G.O.A.T.

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    Lol.

    Don't forget that he also has the best net game, best overhead, and best ever one hander. Yeah, that's right. Federer's one hander is greater than Guga and Edberg's.

    Oh, and he is the creator of the universe


    :lol:
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
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  47. purge

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    thats bullcrap

    he didnt create the universe ;P
     
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  48. fed_rulz

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    that stmt is completely untrue; NOT definitely greater than Edberg's, and debatable vs Guga's.

    otherwise, you're post is 100% correct :)
     
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  49. kiki

    kiki Banned

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    Federland, Nadalmouse and Djokorella...oh¿ and don´t forget Uncle Toni, the Donald Duck Uncle...
     
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  50. fed_rulz

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    you forgot laverpuss, Rosesmall, and Gonzaless....
     
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