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Gilbert and Evert on Djokovic, Federer,etc

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Gilbert and Evert on Djokovic, Federer,etc

Post by truffin1 on Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:12 pm

Brad Gilbert and Chrissie Evert were on ESPN with AO preview and had a long and extremely in depth discussion about mens tennis- mainly Djokovic's current level, his growing place in history, and Federer's age defying prospects. Lots of points that have been raised on here were echoed by them so kudos to all of us- we actually might know something.


Its long but I will recap best I can and I dvr’d it and took notes of interesting quotes.


I didn’t realize how long until I wrote it so forgive me!

Brad Gillbert thinks Djokovic is unique in that he was clearly the 3rd best player for several years but took the best attributes of Federer and Nadal- became incredibly well rounded, and somehow became dominant in his mid career. Now dominating at a level that Gilbert has only seen from Federer in 05-06 era. Says Federer maintained that level consistently longer than Gilbert has ever seen, but Gilbert actually agrees with Nadal that Djokovic might be hitting a level higher than Federer even did, and that if he can keep it up through this year- it would surpass Federer’s peak consistent level.

Federers late career level even enhances his legacy in Gilberts eyes.

Era talk from Gilbert- Federer’s early years competition is underrated. He and Agassi used to marvel at the talent that was emerging that Agassi was dealing with as the elder statesman of tennis. Federer’s peers were “scary good” in our eyes, but Federer’s greatness just suffocated them, he swamped them all” “Federer made everyone look worse than they were” “ Also, early on, Agassi playing at a higher level than was thought possible in modern tennis at the time at that age held off younger guys.

Djokovic doing the same thing by swamping the competition, and Federer now taking the Agassi role and playing at an even higher level at 34. Field is deeper than even before, but hard to break through because established stars are playing better at an older age than before. Federer took away hope from his peers and they never recovered. Djokovic peers already established since he’s dominating later, so he’s taking hope from the younger guys.

Federer had to then fend off not one but two all time greats as he entered mid to late career and did so for a long time. Djokovic yet to see a younger rival emerge. But has to deal with “federer playing amazing tennis at 34” and Nadal who is "working hard to get back."

Chris Evert- agrees, but doesn’t view it as eras but as a 10 years cycle- says “No 1 players- there is always an improvement from each decade” Says Laver, Sampras, Federer are the unique ones that stand out as the all around benchmarks and Nadal on clay.
Agrees Djokovic is as complete as ever seen but says that is natural as each great builds on the other. “I think the physical thing and talent was awesome with Roger. He didn’t have as much defense as Djokovic and maybe didn’t need as much of the mental” “Roger is the most majestic in the talent part. I think Djokovic excels in the physical part as well, the defense, the offense, and mentally he’s just ahead of everyone else now” “He took the best of what Nadal offered with fitness and defense and combined it with Federer, and is so complete”
Goat talk

They are asked- Federer is widely seen as best of all time, how does Djokovic stack up. Is Djokovic’s dominance more impressive than Federer’s was

Evert: “ I would give it a few more years before I can say that.”

Gilbert: “Djokovic has been best player for 4 out of last 5 years. If he does it again, it might be the best five or six year cycle ever- right there with Federer.” He’s 16 consecutive finals. Lendal and Federer at 17. His constistency is outrageous.”
“The key is the French open. He’s missing that to really enter the Federer zone. He’s all but guaranteed 3-4 more majors, will match Sampras and Nadal, and if he gets the French, he blows by those two with all his other achievements, and now his resume matches up to anyone. Then it’s a real Federer, Djokovic debate”“Right now, Djokovic is complete a player as I’ve even seen” “incredibly young for 28 and set to dominate next couple of years.”

On Nadal

Evert “ He’s having a resurgence. He got killed by Djokovic but didn’t play badly He’s back to beating the players he should beat. He had a win over Stan and Murray. He seems to be at least taking care of everyone else, but DJokovic really has his number”

Gilbert- “Rafa, might do a bit better than last year. In Doha final, you saw he’s nowhere near beating Djokovic on any surface. That will be his priority, trying to figure that out, trying to beat the guys in front of him. I do expect him to move up from 5, but I don’t know where exactly to”

Question about Federer being “ageless wonder”

Gilbert “Honest to God, I get asked a hundred times a day can Federer win another slam, I’m like, first of all, he’s playing at 34 better tennis than any 34 year old I’ve ever seen. Amazing tennis. He’s right in thick of things. He’s just got to be able to find a way to beat a guy that is six years younger than him in a slam final. That’s basically it in a nutshell”

Evert: “federer is always looking for an edge. It shows by changing coaches he still is in the hunt. He definitly can win another Major.”


On Djokovic popularity:

Federer and Nadal are two most popular players ever.. Djokovic unlucky he came around after they had gobbled up most fans who liked to battle each other which made the camps even more entrenched than normal.. Everett says Djokovic doesn’t play quite as beautifully as Federer and not quite as passionate as Nadal so it’s hard for him to take fans from either of them. Both agree he will continue to grow in popularity though, but unfair to compare him to the other two.

How to beat Djokovic? My answer “good luck!” lol.

Evert “You’ve got to get him off the baseline Short cross court angles, dropshots. Easier said than done You can’t trade groundstrokes, but have to break up his game. Federer has that ability to come in on good shots. You’ve got to take every one of those chances. Murray has second or third greatest groundstrokes in the game and still can’t beat Djokovic. We’ve seen what happens to Nadal. IF you’ve got that type of game as them. You know you won’t beat him from baseline. You have to come up with angles, net play. Mix it up”

Gilbert
“I watched as couple of tapes last year when Fed beat him on faster courts, Karlovic at Doha. We saw Stan at the French, an amazing amount of winners. You’ve got to keep points short and litter up the stats sheet. It’s hard to do with the way most tournaments play now, but if you can go big- you have to go big. Keep going big as long as you can.”


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Re: Gilbert and Evert on Djokovic, Federer,etc

Post by Tenez on Wed Jan 13, 2016 8:52 pm

Thanks Truffin and happy new year to you.

No time to read it all for now looks interesting.

I don;t give Gilbert lots of credit though.

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Re: Gilbert and Evert on Djokovic, Federer,etc

Post by noleisthebest on Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:26 pm

Hi Truffin!

Good to see you posting here after a while, always interesting to hear how US sells/sees tennis as it's they that run it behind the scenes to the best of my knowledge.
And your Fed tribe updates.

Gilbert seems one of those people who was never good enough at anything.

When he was a player he never reached highs, when he was the coach - he taught his players to win ugly, so when he commentates, he does it ugly, too - i.e. he rarely really says what he thinks, just tries to please and sell the game.

I first realised it in the longer version of the famous "Nadal is beatable" clip.
Gilbert mocks Djokovic and makes him look like an idiot - and Nadal a god.
Well, how he is eating his words now...(please see the clip after the 2 min. mark)



So, for me he is a dishonest half-truth salesman.

Evert...never heard her commentate, but read her column on tennis.com a few weeks ago and was disappointed - she said even less than Gilbert - ex tennis stars are rarely even average commentators.

Mac also comes with some ridiculous stuff - like that Nadal is the best volleyer... 

Wilander, Mercer, Koening - they are much better.
Even Becker was not bad.

But the most insightful and interesting comments I actually read here.

Back to your OP - I agree Fed's early opposition is unfairly branded as weak, but that "creation" came from the team that PR-ed Nadal into Fed's rival and "equal" he never truly was.

Where would Nadal be if courts were not slowed down, if draws were not rigged?

Humble bull, warrior, people's champion...I just want to know who masterminded it.

Djokovic "unpopularity", I think is part of the same story & partially masterminded PR.

He was quite liked when he burst on the scene.
Remember that first USO final against Fed in 2007 (he lost in three TBs), when De Niro and his wife were in his box.

Then the spat with Roddick in NY...and it started going downhill for him.

In many ways, 2007&8 were the last year of "real" tennis.

After that everything went super-physical,and unchecked until that ridiculous AO 2012 "They Kill Horses, Don't They?" 6 hour final match....


So now that Nadal is fading away, they are trying to PR Nole into Fed's records contender...

Media always need some competition and rivalry.

But the fact is that Federer is the greatest player of all time, that Djokovic has always been a superior player to Nadal, and that Nadal was helped a lot along the way, the way noone ever was before him.


Still, they all made this era captivating and raised popularity of tennis.

What I want to know is when is the next cocky young player going to come out and say: "I don't need to play anything special to beat Djokovic."

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Re: Gilbert and Evert on Djokovic, Federer,etc

Post by Tenez on Wed Jan 13, 2016 11:25 pm

truffin1 wrote:.........but Gilbert actually agrees with Nadal that Djokovic might be hitting a level higher than Federer even did, and that if he can keep it up through this year- it would surpass Federer’s peak consistent level.
yes but only because Fed is 6 years younger and they grew with different technologies. Djoko woudl have been nowhere as good with nat strings, smaller frame and end of 90s diet. The quality of shot making cannot be more striking between Fed and Djoko. So we cannot actually compare those 2. Howerver we can compare Djoko v Murray and Nadal.

Era talk from Gilbert- Federer’s early years competition is underrated. He and Agassi used to marvel at the talent that was emerging that Agassi was dealing with as the elder statesman of tennis. Federer’s peers were “scary good” in our eyes, but Federer’s greatness just suffocated them, he swamped them all” “Federer made everyone look worse than they were” “ Also, early on, Agassi playing at a higher level than was thought possible in modern tennis at the time at that age held off younger guys. And that is very true. Djoko in a way is the best of his generation but simply because he is teh fittest, most professional player and most consistent over 5 sets. On a day many can play better than him. During Federer's dominination, no-one could play better than him.

Djokovic doing the same thing by swamping the competition, and Federer now taking the Agassi role and playing at an even higher level at 34. Field is deeper than even before, but hard to break through because established stars are playing better at an older age than before. Federer took away hope from his peers and they never recovered. Djokovic peers already established since he’s dominating later, so he’s taking hope from the younger guys.
in a year of 2 Djoko will face a much better competition....again some will talk about him declining, the truth is everybody else will improve. I am convinced than someone like Dimi for instance will have Djoko's number within 18 months. Thiem and many others will blast him away within 3 years.

Federer had to then fend off not one but two all time greats as he entered mid to late career and did so for a long time. Djokovic yet to see a younger rival emerge. But has to deal with “federer playing amazing tennis at 34” and Nadal who is "working hard to get back."
difficult to gauge what of nadal is gioing down and what it is that the rest is playing better. Nadal never had an amazing level....but he had amazing stamina allowing him to win so many matches over the distance.

Chris Evert- agrees, but doesn’t view it as eras but as a 10 years cycle- says “No 1 players- there is always an improvement from each decade” Says Laver, Sampras, Federer are the unique ones that stand out as the all around benchmarks and Nadal on clay.
Agrees Djokovic is as complete as ever seen but says that is natural as each great builds on the other. “I think the physical thing and talent was awesome with Roger. He didn’t have as much defense as Djokovic and maybe didn’t need as much of the mental” “Roger is the most majestic in the talent part. I think Djokovic excels in the physical part as well, the defense, the offense, and mentally he’s just ahead of everyone else now” “He took the best of what Nadal offered with fitness and defense and combined it with Federer, and is so complete”
I'd agree with this.

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Re: Gilbert and Evert on Djokovic, Federer,etc

Post by Daniel on Thu Jan 14, 2016 6:54 am

Don't need good luck at all - he's now exiting his physical prime while other players are entering their prime.  Anyone who thinks Djokovic is going to get near 17 slams isn't seeing the big picture.  It's highly doubtful he'll even beat 14.  Also, please quit with the "Federer playing amazing tennis at 34".  He simply isn't.

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Re: Gilbert and Evert on Djokovic, Federer,etc

Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jan 14, 2016 10:56 am

FedererKing wrote:Don't need good luck at all - he's now exiting his physical prime while other players are entering their prime.  Anyone who thinks  Djokovic is going to get near 17 slams isn't seeing the big picture.  It's highly doubtful he'll even beat 14.

Anything can happen...and you still haven't said who else will/may win slams this year.
As for physical prime, I think you are wrong there.

Who was beating Djokovic this year?
Fed 34, Stan 30, Karlovic 35, Murray 28 (same age).

He is not beaten by physical strength or fitness but good shotmaking and bold play.

I agree with Tenez that the likes of Dimi will begin to threaten him properly next year.
Even Raonic if he gets confident.
Maybe not dominate but definitely beat him on their own terms.

FedererKing wrote:  Also, please quit with the "Federer playing amazing tennis at 34".  He simply isn't.

Of course he is.
I am surprised you can't see it.

Do you serve and volley when you play?


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Re: Gilbert and Evert on Djokovic, Federer,etc

Post by truffin1 on Thu Jan 14, 2016 4:55 pm

Good to see you guys too!  I look forward to a fun season!

Thought it was pretty good conversation.

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Re: Gilbert and Evert on Djokovic, Federer,etc

Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Fri Jan 15, 2016 7:09 am

Thanks for taking time to post this truffin.

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Re: Gilbert and Evert on Djokovic, Federer,etc

Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:44 pm

truffin1 wrote:Good to see you guys too!  I look forward to a fun season!

Thought it was pretty good conversation.

Truffin,

I noticed media are starting to paint Nole with a positive brush this year.

What is your view on that from your US corner?

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Re: Gilbert and Evert on Djokovic, Federer,etc

Post by truffin1 on Fri Jan 15, 2016 6:46 pm

noleisthebest wrote:
truffin1 wrote:Good to see you guys too!  I look forward to a fun season!

Thought it was pretty good conversation.

Truffin,

I noticed media are starting to paint Nole with a positive brush this year.

What is your view on that from your US corner?

Oh for sure.  Mainly out of necessity. They continue to try and ring every last drop out of the Federer popularity phenomenan and Nadal as much as they can get him,but they are surely nervous behind the scenes with the possibility they lose that draw.   The head of espn said last year or the year before that Federer was the only guaranteed ratings winner outside of the americans with Nadal getting a certain level too., they literly know any match they show Fed will garner a certain level of viewership.  They need to pump up djokovic to rake in the tv dollars.  their commentators then follow the bosses lead and pump him up as much as they can as viewership also leads to their job prospects.

"The only proven ratings winners for us now are the Williams sisters and Roger [Federer], Rafa has shown that he can bring some people in too. But we haven’t seen that with matches between Novak [Djokovic] and Andy [Murray] yet. Tennis can still be a challenge without a name-brand star."


In my leagues, my club-  people just don't warm up to Djokovic. Sometimes to the point I don't even understand the dislike.  They knows he's dominant, but you always here some complaint about him as a personality.  funny, as Djokovic tries harder than anyone too be liked at times.

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Re: Gilbert and Evert on Djokovic, Federer,etc

Post by noleisthebest on Fri Jan 15, 2016 7:03 pm

truffin1 wrote:Oh for sure.  Mainly out of necessity. They continue to try and ring every last drop out of the Federer popularity phenomenan and Nadal as much as they can get him,but they are surely nervous behind the scenes with the possibility they lose that draw.   The head of espn said last year or the year before that Federer was the only guaranteed ratings winner outside of the americans with Nadal getting a certain level too., they literly know any match they show Fed will garner a certain level of viewership.  They need to pump up djokovic to rake in the tv dollars.  their commentators then follow the bosses lead and pump him up as much as they can as viewership also leads to their job prospects.
"The only proven ratings winners for us now are the Williams sisters and Roger [Federer], Rafa has shown that he can bring some people in too. But we haven’t seen that with matches between Novak [Djokovic] and Andy [Murray] yet. Tennis can still be a challenge without a name-brand star."
That is quite funny!
truffin1 wrote:In my leagues, my club-  people just don't warm up to Djokovic. Sometimes to the point I don't even understand the dislike.  They knows he's dominant, but you always here some complaint about him as a personality.  funny, as Djokovic tries harder than anyone too be liked at times.
It took me a long time to work out why.

The actual thing I liked most about him: his roaring, fire, wildness, shirt-ripping etc, put others off -  Serbs all went through post90s war catharsis with him like that, venting all the injustices etc...but the average tennis fan used to smooth behaviour (Mac and Connors were just actors, after all) must have been aghast with all that threatening eye-bulgeing aggression.
Now, he has got it all out of his system, happily married with a baby and much more controlled on court...part of it is PR, but still there is some genuine calmness (relative).

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Re: Gilbert and Evert on Djokovic, Federer,etc

Post by Tenez on Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:28 am

noleisthebest wrote:

The actual thing I liked most about him: his roaring, fire, wildness, shirt-ripping etc, put others off -  Serbs all went through post90s war catharsis with him like that, venting all the injustices etc...but the average tennis fan used to smooth behaviour (Mac and Connors were just actors, after all) must have been aghast with all that threatening eye-bulgeing aggression.
Now, he has got it all out of his system, happily married with a baby and much more controlled on court...part of it is PR, but still there is some genuine calmness (relative).
yep...like Nadal and Murray actually...all the aggressiveness is in the behaviour, not in the shots.....unlike Fed and Stan.

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