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The Sunset Dilemma

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The Sunset Dilemma

Post by legendkillar on Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:05 pm

In 2007 American Gangster hit theatres across the world. Denzil Washington portrayed Frank Lucas who was the dope king of New York from 1968 to 1975. Sold 100% pure heroin to users because he bought direct from the supply source and used American army planes to transport it. One of the more memorable scenes was when Frank visited Thailand following the fall of Saigon to score one last big shipment before the game was up and was given a piece of advice that is so sound "quitting while you're ahead is not the same as quitting" 

October 2016 saw Rafael Nadal open his tennis academy. First thing he said was "this is my future" a certain Roger Federer was in attendance to mark the occasion. I have to wonder if post tennis activities were discussed given both players were taking a break from the game to rest their weary bodies and mind. I should imagine them seeing Andy grounding himself into the ground for the Number 1 ranking, must've sent shivers down their spines. The WTF was a scary insight to what the future of tennis could hold. I would envisage that the Australian Open organisers like many saw Murray break the match time record for a BO3 match twice in under a week!

I reckon a conversation took place on the lines of: "If it took him this long to win a BO3, how long will it take for him to win a BO5?? We can't have another 2012 final!" And then I bet some rascal suggested tweaking conditions ever so slightly saving court time, bodies and TV time!

The Australian Open 2017 saw attacking tennis rewarded and complemented. Not only that. It saw Murray and Djokovic burn out quickly and Federer and Nadal turn back time, in a more tasteful manner than Cher. Federer came out successful and teased whether 2017 might just be the end. However, that wasn't the end of this Lazarus esq story. FedEx went on to win Indian Wells and Miami. Those victories set up his year. He skipped Clay to focus on his own history on Grass and then a certain Rafael Nadal cleaned up on Clay and achieved his Decima. 

Wimbledon. What was certain was the uncertainty of who would stand aloft holding the trophy come July 16th...

Djokovic owns Melbourne. Nadal owns Paris. Federer despite his echelons of greatness has shared tenancy with Sampras at London and Connors at New York. Today, Federer owns London lock and stock and now has the potential to evict Connors come September. Roger is setting records that are going to stand the test of my time and others after me. 

Going back to the AO 2017 and Federers tease. I imagine in his mind the question on his mind was playing similarly on Nadals following his defeat to Muller at Wimbledon: "Is this going to be as good as it gets?"

For Nadal is Clay where winning will be restricted? Clearly Federer felt his Clay days were behind him and has proved that theory with his results. Nadal might be thinking the same about Grass and that maybe it needs cutting from his schedule. How about Federer though? Despite this amazing renaissance, let's say he ends the year as Number 1 and 20 Slams in the bag, can that ever be topped? Sampras walked away when he realised his final Slam victory was about as good as it was going to get as a ride out into the sunset. I don't think Roger has issues with his hunger and desire that Sampras did. However, for me it would be so befitting of a man of Federer's stature for him to abdicate his throne as true king of greatness would.

The year in which American Gangster was released, Federer won 3 slams and 2 ATP Masters events and secured the No.1 ranking for another year. 10 years on history looks like repeating itself. I do ponder if Roger and Rafa will either have the same or differing views on quitting when faced with the Sunset Dilemma.

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Re: The Sunset Dilemma

Post by Jahu on Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:13 pm

Applause Cheers

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Re: The Sunset Dilemma

Post by bogbrush on Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:43 pm

That's a great OP.

Federer will play on until either he becomes completely uncompetitive or Mirka calls time. I really don't see him leaving any Slams on the table. The guy just loves tennis. He finds new challenges - duffing up Zverev etc must thrill him, overcoming not just the next generation but the one after that. I expect him to run with this managed schedule thing for as long as it hangs together.
I wouldn't be totally shocked to see him still active at 39 or 40, subject to the above. The family seem to handle the tour well so why would Mirka stop him? She's a former player, she knows she'll have a lifetime of retired Federer and I doubt she'd want to be the one to make him stop with regrets.

For Rafa, he also has his dreams but how many more FOs really does anything now? His other big aim was to take the Slam record (don't believe otherwise!) and that's moving away not toward him. But he's a brutally persistent guy and he'll not concede easily while it's still realistic. Federer might have to get another soon to convince him it's over. That said I imagine him like Ricardo Montalbain at the end of Star Trek 2 as he finally succumbs, spitting his last to Federers records. 

The other thing about him is that he's a true family man and a home town boy so how long before Xisca (just turned 29) wants kids and he embraces that? Will that pull Nadal back to domesticity? I really don't see him hauling the family around the World like the Feds.

My gut feel is Nadal is more likely to call time first; it's a tougher game for him, he's actively planning beyond tennis, and his private life will change soon, surely.

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Re: The Sunset Dilemma

Post by legendkillar on Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:53 pm

Cheers chaps smiley

BB I do agree on the Rafa score because as part of his interview where I pipped that first quote he spoke of Mallorca being his home and never moving from there. Without a doubt it depends on the limits of his body, which is why I think a reduced schedule would be beneficial.

I think with Federer, body and mind without a doubt and I do believe the hunger is there and always will be and the thrill of setting records will be the big source of motivation and as you say Mirka shows no signs of slowing him down. I do wonder if a Federer will call it a day when the desire for a normal family life.

He owes nothing to the game, but I do think a part of him would want to go out on top. A talent like that should too.

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Re: The Sunset Dilemma

Post by bogbrush on Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:03 am

Funny, I'd really like to see him go out because he can't cut it any more. Going out at the top feels like fear of losing. 
I hope he redefines his aims, less about #1 (which we're already seeing), more showing the next lot how it can sometimes be done. I do think he'll draw the line at being plain uncompetitive though. God knows when that happens.

What do you think for Djokovic and Murray? I genuinely fear for Murray, he has the look of a guy who's already flogged the best from himself.

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Re: The Sunset Dilemma

Post by legendkillar on Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:29 am

I dunno. I think given his standing in the game, I don't think it would be perceived that it's fear of losing, more that it's the standard of his level.

As for Djokovic and Murray, I feel physically they've reached the point Nadal did at 28 when the physical level is unsustainable. They are at the point of damage limitation and now have to look at pushing themselves right out of their comfort zone to remain competitive moving forward and in some ways a lot like Federer that accepting you need other ways to win against the harder and longer hitting runner. Nadal has had to embrace that as part of his longevity aspirations. Djokovic and Murray have to do the same and maybe time out from the game will lead to re-evaluation.

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Re: The Sunset Dilemma

Post by summerblues on Mon Jul 17, 2017 4:23 am

I am 100% with BB here.  Play as long as you enjoy it; you cannot undo at 40 all the wins you collected at 25.  If a player quits because they no longer feel like playing, sure, but the idea of being afraid to play at a lower level than you used to play at while you were younger strikes me as pathetic.

Famous golfers often participate in the major tournaments long after they can no longer have a chance (say into their 70s).  Nobody suggest it should somehow diminish their legacy.

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Re: The Sunset Dilemma

Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:20 am

When you love something you can't stop wanting to do it.
And you only stop when you are not able to do it any more.

In Federer's case it will be his body that stops him, nothing else. His desire and love for play will always be the same. Even when he eventually retires.

I assume same will be with Nadal.
However ugly his tennis is, he loves competing.
Though with him, and all other players, they don't have the luxury of Federer's talent, ability to effortlessly do what they like with the ball, so the enjoyment will never be the same.
 
That's why I in a way respect Dustin Brown. He doesn't care for anything but the thrill of the game...and he takes as much as he can...a set, two, a round, two...


He is not a competitor, and I would like to add that competitiveness is a very overrated value in our society, same as popularity.

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Re: The Sunset Dilemma

Post by bogbrush on Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:12 pm

One thing will be worth keeping an eye on; the size of the crowds when he plays his first seniors match at Wimbledon.

Of course, it'll be on Centre. Winking

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Re: The Sunset Dilemma

Post by Daniel on Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:29 pm

It would take someone else capable of this level of longevity.  Federer's record will likely last over 50 years assuming the level of competition remains relatively even. Some records of the Open Era have gone that long - it's just the slam total one and others are valued more.  But that won't stop them being held a long time by Federer.

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Re: The Sunset Dilemma

Post by legendkillar on Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:06 pm

summerblues wrote:I am 100% with BB here.  Play as long as you enjoy it; you cannot undo at 40 all the wins you collected at 25.  If a player quits because they no longer feel like playing, sure, but the idea of being afraid to play at a lower level than you used to play at while you were younger strikes me as pathetic.

Famous golfers often participate in the major tournaments long after they can no longer have a chance (say into their 70s).  Nobody suggest it should somehow diminish their legacy.


You forget though in golf if one wins a Major at 21, they get invited back for their rest of their careers! Without making the athletic requirements comparison, Wimbledon would not permit previous champions places in the tournament at the age of 45! Given the entry requirements vary between the sports.

See I don't believe Federer would hang around say if he had to play through qualifiers or challengers, hence why I believe any love for the sport an athlete professes carry a certain degree of condition.

Federer loves a record and loves Slam success, which is why there is enough to keep him interested and motivated.

My slant on this is that Federer has seen what results he can achieve cutting out Clay. I do wonder if Nadal will consider similar with Grass. Given what they've been saying this year, clearly to me (in context of the language used by Federer) is that life beyond the court is on their minds.

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Re: The Sunset Dilemma

Post by Emancipator on Tue Jul 18, 2017 9:47 pm

Great OP.

I haven't read all the comments yet but will contribute once I have.

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Re: The Sunset Dilemma

Post by DECIMA on Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:06 pm

Good OP + thread. I hope Nadal keeps playing as long as he's competing competitively.

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