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  1. Unless Nadal picks up the pace over the next several years, I fully believe that Federer has to be considered the better all time player. It will be hard for me to think of Djokovic as a potential #1 of all time but, as you say, the book's still open. The players just keep getting better and better and it becomes unfair to compare one generation against another. As someone old enough to have seen Laver et al play (in person), then to continue thru the Connors, Borg, McEnroe, Sampras, Agassi eras, I am continuously amazed at how each "new" great player is so much better than the ones before them. And I expect this to continue. I have some perspective on this issue. Having converted from tennis to squash in college & graduating in '74, I played NYC league squash in '81-'83 while I was ranked in the top 100 (amateurs) nationally. I played on a co-ed team and played #1 for a season, with the #2 player being the #2 women's pro. in the country. I could beat her in a match, barely, but I could (the #1 woman's player at the time could roll over me like I was hit by a train, but that's another story). At any rate, a # of years later, by the time Venus was coming up in the tennis ranks and I was playing tennis again (at a much lower pedestrian level), I remember standing court side and having a revelation that, in my prime, I wouldn't stand a chance against the then current top 50 women squash players and would be lucky to win a game (okay, 2 points) against a top woman's tennis player. Not even a tough analysis. They were just that much better. I cannot fathom how good these current players are. Yes, as you (Don) say, the training is better, the equipment much better and everything else is a better environment to produce better athletes. But, the bottom line remains -- these are the best ever. And soon there'll be better. By the way, I still have my Tad Davis Imperial wood racquet & the "new" racquet I replaced it with"¦ the Wilson T-2000. Both are strung and usable. Neither can be used effectively & I'll stick with my current Head Radical. Too bad I didn't keep a container of white balls.
  2. I've seen enough of Naomi Osaka where I'm thanking the Lord that we have the next Women's superstar who doesn't squeal like a sodomized chipmunk every time she strikes the ball. Osaka grew up idolizing Serena_Williams, and was wonderfully deferential to her after a somewhat controversial victory (which included three code violations that went against Williams). In fact, when Williams won her first Grand Slam title, Osaka wasn't yet born. Remember the name, Naomi Osaka: You'll be hearing it for years to come.
  3. Speaking of young Canadians ... "'My Dream Came True Today,' Says Denis Shapovalov" by Peter Bodo on espn.com
  4. Going to the 1st day of the US Open Quals in an hour or so. I just looked at the drawer sheet. At 11am, on adjacent courts, which can both be viewed by standing in between, are matches featuring Felix A-A (court 4) & Denis Shapovalov (court 5). I know where I'll be heading.
  5. Well, it's happened: There's no more "Big Three" (and I don't think there ever was a "Big Four"), and Novak Djokovic just won the 2016 Australian Open to remove all doubt that he has risen to be the #1 tennis player in the world. And quite honestly, I don't see that changing anytime soon, short of a catastrophic event. Between being six-years younger than a still-great but declining Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal's frame giving way, there is nobody out there right now who is even close to Djokovic, and he is a legitimate threat to overtake Federer's record of 17 majors (after winning the Australian Open, Djokovic now has 11). He could theoretically pass Federer *next year*, although that's highly unlikely. In today's power-baseline game, Djokovic is the perfect tennis machine, and one of the fittest people I have ever seen (yes, I think he probably "has some help"). He's basically out there doing wind sprints for hours on end, he can do a full split, he practices yoga, he's gluten-free - and he is absolutely driven to play for Serbia which he seems to view as a "bigger cause" than personal glory. Djokovic has gotten to the semi-finals in 22 out of the past 23 Grand Slams. In the last 7 Grand Slams, his record is 47-2. His game relies on pure fitness, so he'll break down eventually, but right now, I don't think he's ever been in better physical condition - this man seems to be in almost perfect shape. "Novak Djokovic: Can Australian Open Champion Become Greatest Ever?" by Aimee Lewis on bbc.com Yes, he most certainly can.
  6. And on the women's side, there's Cori Gauff, who was one-year old when this website was founded.
  7. In a 4-hour, 55-minute thriller of a match in yesterday's Wimbledon Gentleman's Finals, Novak Djokovic barely defeated Roger Federer, the final score being 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-6(4), 4-6, 13-12(3). The match was so close that, at one point, Federer was serving with two match points on his racket, with the score in the fifth set 8-7, 40-15; yet, Djokovic somehow managed to draw even at deuce, and go on to break Federer's serve. The match was so close that Federer actually won more games (36-32) and more points (218-204). Today, Monday, a growing coalition is forming, contending that Federer actually won the match, and that he is the rightful Wimbledon champion. Reginald Halliday, one of the leaders of the movement, says, "Federer won more games, and most importantly, more points. How could Djokovic possibly be considered the champion, when he didn't even win a majority of these? The rules of tennis are archaic and unethical, and Federer will always be the 2019 champion to anyone of sound judgment." A representative for the Wimbledon tournament has not yet responded.
  8. Kibbee, (I'm on-record as saying I believe that many athletes, including Williams, use steroids (and I hope that when people read this post, they'll see that neither gender, nor color, nor nationality, nor even *species* has anything to do with me saying that - it's purely circumstantial). In Williams' case, I don't see how she can perform what amounts to several hours of wind sprints, at age 34, with that much mass, and be *so* muscular even though she says she does almost no weight training. I personally think it's humanly impossible, but I also think that about many other athletes, and I'm the first to admit that I may be wrong about any or all of them. Look at Lindsey Davenport, a former World #1, who was 6' 2 1/2", and not a small lady. However, her final singles Grand Slam came at age 23, and this is *before* tennis turned into such an all-out fitness competition. How can someone do this at age 34?) Serena Williams has always been a big, muscular girl. Look at this 1999 video of her playing Steffi Graf. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_iAya_PHYo
  9. Chris Evert just said (after the 2019 Wimbledon Singles final, in which Simona Halep defeated Serena Williams, 6-2, 6-2), "Boy, I wasn't expecting this." I'm surprised Evert said that - I would have put my money on Halep before this match. The two-time former world #1 has now won two Grand Slams, one on clay, and the other on grass.
  10. In the post-match interview, Simona Halep thanked (among others) Ion Țiriac, who most people reading this have never heard of: Țiriac is also Romanian, and used to play with Nastase - more interestingly, he's the single richest sports personality in the entire world. Really. <--- This guy is a billionaire!
  11. This 1974 episode of the "Dinah!" show just popped into my head, and I found a picture of it - Dinah Shore pronounced the name "Nav-ra-ti-lo-va" veeerrry carefully, reading it from the teleprompter. Martina was only 18, and hadn't lost her baby fat yet!
  12. Past or present. I decided to ask this in a new thread instead of distracting another one.
  13. This guy is from another world - I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone use the court - not side-to-side, but back-to-front - more effectively, and I'm certain I've never seen anything like Dustin Brown's jumping two-handed backhanded robo-kill shot.
  14. "Arthur Was Always Different": Reflecting on Ashe's Legacy, 50 Years after U.S. Open Win" by Ava Wallace on washingtonpost.com I remember pulling for Jimmy Connors in the 1975 Wimbledon Finals - had I only known better ... I am *so glad* Ashe won that match, and it took a lifetime of living (not just being a tennis player) to understand *why* I'm so glad Ashe won.
  15. The date besides Félix Auger-Alissime's name isn't the year he went on tour; it's his birth year. At age 16: * He's the youngest player in the World Top 800 (currently ranked #749) * He's the youngest player ever to qualify for, and win a main draw match, on the ATP Challenger Tour (the Challenger Tour is just one step below the full-fledged ATP World Tour - sort of like AAA Baseball). * He won the Sopra Steria de Lyon in June, making him the 7th-youngest player ever to win a Challenger tournament. * He has won both the U.S. Open Junior Singles and Doubles titles. Auger-Alissime is someone to look out for in future years - here's a highlight film of his Sopra Steria de Lyon victory. Notice the way he can play side-to-side, but also that he's not the least bit afraid to come to net: This represents the next generation of great tennis players (with Federer, and to a lesser degree, Sampras, already having paved the way). This will place more emphasis (slightly more) on speed and quickness than sheer endurance, and will probably make players like McEnroe and Sampras very happy. I don't think he's going to be able to get away with drop shotting this much as his competition gets better-and-better: You don't beat a great player hitting short.
  16. I knew that racket technology had ended serve-and-volley tennis, but I never really knew if there was a specific "moment in time" when it ended. Well, there was - in 1997, when Gustavo Kuerten won his first French Open using Luxilon polyester strings. This article says it better than I can - especially the video which shows Kuerten's returns dipping down at Sampras' feet at the net in a 2000 tournament. Because of these strings, players were now able to swing as hard as they could, off both wings, and almost never miss. Look at what the game is today - the best players can rally for hundreds of shots without missing, all the while swinging as hard as they can swing. Tennis is now a sport of who is in the best physical condition - there are twelve-year-old kids who can hit better ground strokes than many college players could a generation ago. Oct 8, 2015 - "1997: Gustavo Kuerten's Game-Changing Win with Polyester Strings" by Steve Tignor on tennis.com Pete Sampras was *so much better* than Gustavo Kuerten that it was a travesty that he lost, and Sampras will quite possibly be remembered as the last pure serve-and-volley player in history, thanks to these strings. A quote from the article: "By 2000, Kuerten was No. 1 in the world, and some of his fellow players began to whisper that his string should be banned for giving him an unfair advantage. Tour stringer Nate Ferguson has said that as he watched Guga dip passing shots at the feet of Pete Sampras on his way to the title at the Tennis Masters Cup (now called the World Tour Finals) in Lisbon in 2000, he wondered how anyone would ever be able to rush the net again. Ferguson’s thought proved prescient: Fifteen years later, now that polyester is the standard on tour, virtually everyone rips the ball with pace and spin the way Kuerten did back then, and few dare to venture to the net. The feel of natural gut is out; the power of poly is in." The game has been forever changed. I think it's a very similar concept to "clap skates" - the speed skates with blades that were only attached to the boot from the front, which interestingly caught on around the same time as Luxilon strings did in tennis (and, not long before Mark McGuire hit 70 home runs). This article explains it very well: Feb 15, 2014 - "How a Century-Old Skate Design Completely Changed Modern Speed Skating" by Bring Back (?) Anthony Mason on kinja.com I'm not being judgmental here - however, one thing technological advances do (as is touched on in the speed-skating article) is take away valid comparisons with past and present generations. Baseball - steroids excepted - is the one sport where the equipment was mandated to stay basically the same as it was almost one-hundred years ago, so it's much more reasonable (and fun!) to compare Ty Cobb to Rickey Henderson, than it is to compare Jack Kramer to Roger Federer.
  17. Yes, but only when they've played away against the NY Sporttimes over the past couple of years. These matches are very informal, lots of fun and yet highly competitive. Well worth going.
  18. I have something bordering on total respect for the tennis game of Pete Sampras. Awhile back, I read his autobiography, "A Champion's Mind" - I was impressed with his competitive demeanor, but was equally impressed by how focused (I'm trying very hard not to say, "self-centered") he was - to the point of excluding any acknowledgment to his peers. To this day, Sampras appears to be this way. People accused Sampras of being "boring," and I never thought such a thing, but quite honestly, on the Jerk-o-Meter? McEnroe was a first-class jerk during the heat of battle, but is someone I'd love to have a beer with; Sampras comes across as simply being a first-class jerk, with a perma-chip on his shoulder, and a perma-axe to grind, against the world, to this very day. You want respect "from the media," Pete? You have it from me (and have always had it) - in terms of the greatness of your game. But if you don't think tennis players should be media monkeys, then why are you strutting your unveiled anger in front of the media? There's still time to change your attitude, and I hope you do - you're probably a great person, but you're not showing it to the public. Do you not care? Then I urge you to live a reclusive life and stop parading your resentment before the world. Think about what the love of the public means to you going forward, because there is still a lot of time to change your surly image, and I really hope you do: If all you still care about is "setting records" - your records have already all been broken, so maybe time for plan B? You know who had a right to be long-term pissed? Arthur Ashe; not you.
  19. It has been said about Michelle Larcher de Brito that, 'Every time she hits a tennis ball, a little girl falls off a cliff.'
  20. I might split this thread up at some point, as there are *so many* of these players who deserve their own, but for those of you who think Johnny Mac was the pinnacle of tennis genius, this video should put you in hog-heaven - it's the 1979 U.S. Open, and pits McEnroe against "the other" all-time great wooden racket genius, Ilie Nastase. I'm not going to say that either of these players was "better" than Laver or Borg, but McEnroe and Nastase were simply the two-greatest shotmakers of the wooden-racket era (plus, the Borg Donnay had carbon fibers in it - it was one of the first).
  21. There are several highlight films of Roger Federer hitting near-miraculous shots on YouTube. This 2008 Wimbledon tiebreaker against Nadal is as good as any highlight film - this is some of the greatest tennis ever played (by both players):
  22. Steroids? Maybe. A class act? Absolutely. "Berdych Withdraws: Nadal to Face Djokovic in Final" on miamiopen.com "It's very unlucky, very unusual," Nadal said. "Sorry for Kei, sorry for Tomas, and sorry for the tournament, especially sorry for the fans."
  23. International Tennis Federation Wheelchair Tennis Home Page on itf.com --- If you're like me, you know Wheelchair Tennis exists, but you've never taken the time to look into it, or know much about it at all. I finally decided to take some time and look into this sport, its sanctioning bodies (the International Paralympic Committee and the International Tennis Federation), the qualifications for entry, rules of play, etc. I went so far as to complain to myself that people having a lifetime of disability would have an unfair advantage over someone like me, if I got into an accident later in life, because they've been playing so much longer. Then, I realized the absurdity of what I was thinking (sorry, that was the natural competitor in me). I've had a lifetime of normal activity; *so what* if they have an advantage because they've been disabled longer! I mentally kicked myself for letting myself go there. Anyone interested in looking at this should begin at the ITF's (International Tennis Federation's) Wheelchair Page. This page will quickly direct you to the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Classification Manual. In fact, it's so comprehensive that it's almost pointless for me to type much more. There are actually two different divisions of Wheelchair Tennis being played right now at the U.S. Open: "Normal" Wheelchair Tennis, and a Quad Division - the Quad Division is reserved for athletes disabled to an even more severe level, and can give them the right to use power wheelchairs, tape the rackets to their hands, etc. If anyone reading this has ever considered participating in wheelchair tennis, start with these as your references, and write me if you need any further help. Wheelchair or not, I cannot imagine the thrill of coming home holding a Wimbledon Championship trophy. That is awesome. Kuneida Shingo is one of the all-time great players:
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