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The Next Number One Empty The Next Number One

Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:59 am

Number One seems to be the buzz words these days.

First, Ivan Lendl said that players care more for slams than the top ranking.
"Every champion knows how many majors they won. Nobody remembers how many weeks they were No 1."

Then, ATP published the book "No.1" last week, commemorating 40 years of that iconic achievement.
http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2013/06/26/ATP-Launches-Commemorative-Book-No-1.aspx

This morning, when I looked at the rankings, I have realised that we may be entering a new era of Number One-ship.

Watching Novak Djokovic carefully this year, I have noticed that he has lost the edge he had over his opponents and I am still not sure what is the exact reason.

I did observe he is not physically as strong as in 2011, and that he also plays with less confidence now. His unlucky loss to Nadal in RG definitely did not help.
He appears to be at the crossroads right now and that the rest of the season will determine hugely how his legacy unfolds, with the game still being on his racquet.
If he manages to stop the rot and win USO, he will probably secure the third consecutive year as the top player and then have the off-season to work further on his game and consolidate his position for 2014 with a lot less pressure.

I see this scenario quite feasible, as Novak seems to be very resilient as a character and does not allow himself to be down too long.
Until Federer regains his 2012 form, Novak is still better than all competition.

But what if he suffers another set of circumstances that won't allow the natural order to take place?

Murray seems to be the next in line, but I can't really see him dominating anyone. He is yet to play Nadal this year, and  defend a lot of points.

Unbelievable as he has been in the first half of this year, it's still hard to imagine Nadal rip through his traditionally weak part of the year - American hard-court season + indoor & Asian autumn swing and top the ranking. 

Are we entering the era of frequent, short-lived Number Ones, like WTA had a few years ago?

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Post by Tenez on Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:43 am

If he stays injury free, I think Delpo coudl well be the next one. He did very well on grass despite being probably his worst surface. Shame he di dnot play the FO.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:50 am

Delpo seems to find it very hard to win a tournament since that USO. He has had a few very close losses to Federer last year and Nole in Wimbledon just now.
If it wasn't for his size, he'd be a lot more dangerous. I don't know if he can improve his movement a bit, JJ is taller but a lot lighter on his feet.
He certainly has the game, and with a bit more confidence and belief from  a winning roll, who knows....
He would definitely benefit in the long run if he tried to shorten the points a bit more.

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Post by gallery play on Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:31 pm

My pick: Murray will be the next number one, simply because it's the most logical and yet realistic goal to pick for him. His hunger to take it will be stronger than Djoko's will to keep it.
But Murray's indeed no dominator, he'll probably won't hold the top spot longer than a few months. Apart from the traditional top 4, Delpo is the only one who is able to take it. But he needs to take all the chances he gets. Right now he's  is too often on the wrong side of luck.

Federer is out of this competition, Nadal prob has a few more number 1 weeks/months 'in' him.
Actually: Nadal obviously is very much in the mix to win the race this year. I'm really curious how he does at the USO this year.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Jul 15, 2013 5:08 pm

Nope. I don't think Djoko is going to give up the number 1 spot to Murray or nadal. He is simply the more complete player of the 3. In effect he is still paying for that stupid smash he missed in that FO semi. Without it he woudl be ahead of Nadal in the race and comfy above the other 2 in the main ranking.

I want a brand new number 1...outside those 3....Hopefully 2014 will bring new blood.

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Post by DEC1M8 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:52 pm

Nadal definitely won't be number 1, nor does he really want to be tbh.
Murray could, if he improves on clay. Frankly I see Djokovic holding that spot due to sheer consistency. Don't see Fed getting it back at all really.

Tenez, didn't you predict USO 2013 to be the slam where the young guns break through... we will watch that one closely. For the future I think Dimitrov looks the best bet.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:58 pm

Julia Santamaria wrote:Nadal definitely won't be number 1, nor does he really want to be tbh.
Murray could, if he improves on clay. Frankly I see Djokovic holding that spot due to sheer consistency. Don't see Fed getting it back at all really.

Tenez, didn't you predict USO 2013 to be the slam where the young guns break through... we will watch that one closely. For the future I think Dimitrov looks the best bet.

 In fact I though Rao would be very difficult to stop at Wimby but he went completely off track recently. I think Jerzy can be the dangerous one from now on. He certainly looks like someone who wants to do well.

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Post by DEC1M8 on Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:11 pm

Well we'll see, Jerzy isn't looking bad.

I do disagree almost totally with you about this USO 2013, or even next year, for me none of the players outside the current top 10 will get to number 1 in the next two years.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:22 pm

Well clearly it is impossible for a youngster to be number 1 in 2013 but what I said is that they will start to challenge the top 5 in slams. I think Jerzy was really close to Murray and the crowd was really key in unsetling the youngster. Don;t think Jerzy would have beaten Murray (though he did in Paris) but certainly the match would have been closer....anywhere else.

I maintain that the youngsters are going to create more surprises soon.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:41 pm

Yes, the tour has really gone stale for so long, it's good to have a couple of young guns able to beat the top guys.
To me, JJ is the most dangerous and has the best attitude.
Unlike Dimitrov who can't seem to make his mind up whether he wants to attack or just scramble, JJ is quite smart in his play and clearly knows what he wants to do on court, and most importantly - doesn't waste any time on it!
Raonic is the opposite from JJ in his mindset, he appears to be attacking, but doesn't seem to have the belief both JJ and Dimitrov do.
Although they are not quite spring chicken, because of their injury problems, I'd like to believe that Delpo and Monfils can still have a say and make at least semis in slams.
Tsonga seems to have overdone his fitness with Rasheed and has bad knee tendonitis, possible missing of USO for him, shame, just as he was gathering momentum.

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Post by BlueClay on Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:45 am

Julia Santamaria wrote:Nadal definitely won't be number 1, nor does he really want to be tbh.
Murray could, if he improves on clay. Frankly I see Djokovic holding that spot due to sheer consistency. Don't see Fed getting it back at all really.

Tenez, didn't you predict USO 2013 to be the slam where the young guns break through... we will watch that one closely. For the future I think Dimitrov looks the best bet.

What do you mean he does not want to be number one? Huh? He is not out there for shits and giggles. Right now he is leading the ranking race and he has NO points to defend for the rest of the year. The only question will be can he do well on hc's for the rest of the year and actually win tournaments or make it very deep?

Nadal and Murray both have a shot at becoming number one but it won't be easy for either and Djokovic will have to really screw up on his best surface. Don't forget Djokovic is defending a mountain of points. He can't afford to slip up a lot for the next few months.

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Post by BlueClay on Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:49 am

Julia Santamaria wrote: For the future I think Dimitrov looks the best bet.

On paper maybe but what has he won? Nothing. He is continuously hyped up only to lose early in almost every event and he should have some ATP titles at least at his age. I think Sharapova needs to give up Connors as a new coach and give him to Dimitrov! Big Grin

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Post by summerblues on Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:05 am

Not sure who from the next generation.  If I had to pick the most likely next number one, I would go with Murray but in reality I think even he is a long shot - at least in the near to medium future.  Unless Djoko starts seriously collapsing, I do not see anyone overtaking him very soon.

Andy has improved and is quite competitive now - and as he showed over the last year, he is able to compete with Nole on the biggest stages.  However, when all is said and done, he is not quite at Nole's level.  He can compete, and win his fair share of matches, but he is still very much the second best between the two of them.

Federer is likely out of the equation now, and Rafa will find it relatively hard too, as he traditionally does not do all that well on hard courts (relatively speaking).

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Post by raiders_of_the_lost_ark on Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:37 am

Murray has the shot to be the next #1 but he needs to capitalize on it. Though he won't be a dominant #1 and will definitely lose it in a few weeks/months but currently he looks most promising for that seat. BUt not playing RG could hurt his chances by the YE.

Fed won't, I guess his motivation to be #1 isn't as strong as it was when he was chasing Pete's 286. His main goal is to stay in top-4 and try to win slams. He himself said its fine as long as he stays in top-4 ( which he isn't now btw and perhaps won't even be by US open )

Nadal would have been the favourite for the YE #1 had he performed better at W. But he did worse so it would depend on his USopen result.

With HArd courts coming up and Djoko still #1 by some distance, he is likely to retain it even by YE.


Ferrer??? ha ha

Outside of them, Delpo has time on his side but he keeps getting injured and doesn't help is cause.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:37 am

Amazing to think there once was no ATP ranking at all....no Number One at all!

"It’s hard to imagine now what the big deal was; weekly rankings have become so associated with tennis that Roger Federer could appear in a commercial about it. That’s largely because we’ve forgotten, if we ever knew in the first place, about what came before. During the amateur era, there were no official, objective rankings. Instead, national federations decided who would be allowed onto the invite list for the Grand Slams, and who would make up the country’s Davis Cup teams.

The players were at the mercy of all-powerful amateur officials, who were known to play favorites. To build their careers, Los Angeles natives Bobby Riggs and Pancho Gonzalez had to work around the head of the Southern California Tennis Association, Perry Jones, who controlled much of amateur tennis in the United States. Jones suspended Gonzalez for truancy, and he tried to keep Riggs out of prestigious national events because he thought he was too short to become a champion. When Riggs finally made it to Wimbledon, in 1939, he proved Jones wrong by sweeping the singles, doubles, and mixed.

The tournaments themselves had their own favorites. As Stan Smith told James Buddell for the ATP’s website earlier this year, “The history leading up to the ranking system included a ‘star system’ as far as entries into tournaments. Some players would be on a list as players that could help sell tickets, and they would have priority over others. The ranking system was a hot point for the players. The ATP felt that it wanted to control the ranking system and not let the ITF or anyone else control it.”

On Monday, August 23, 1973, a year after its formation, the ATP produced its first set of (then-monthly) “computer” rankings based strictly on the players’ results from the previous 12 months. I put “computer” in quotes because, as Doug Robson wrote in a USA Today piece on the 40th anniversary of the rankings this summer, “At conception, there was no computer.”

Mike Estep, who ran the ranking system for much of the 1980s, told Robson, “The computer was just an adding machine that had the ability to divide by 12.” The calculations were done by hand, printed on a giant piece of paper from a dot-matrix printer—“it went halfway around the room”—and “hung like giant tapestries in the locker area so players could verify their results.”

The first ranking list included 186 players, and the man at the top of it was Ilie Nastase. Unlike Scanlon, who was a product of the all-business pro era, Nastase had begun his career in the looser, less-lucrative amateur days. He was honored to be the first No. 1, but this most artistic of players had reservations about the new, coldly meritocratic system of skill assessment. Nasty claimed that the atmosphere changed on tour once the rankings became a fact of life. He had idolized the 1960s Australian greats, men who had brought a macho, self-deprecating bonhomie to the locker room—camaraderie was the name of the game when there was no prize money to be had. Nastase said that hanging out with other players was different once “everyone had a number hanging over them.” Hierarchy, rather than camaraderie, would become the rule in tennis for the next generation. By 1981, John McEnroe would speak for his tour mates when he said, “Deep down, nobody gives a s--t about anybody else.”

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Post by Tenez on Fri Dec 06, 2013 10:49 am

Very interesting again. Thanks NITB. So it does not change. Even back then there were organisers favouring some over others purely based on friendship and public tastes.

Also interesting what Nastase says about how ranking and money changed the spirit. It was again a time when money was not ruling everything.

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Post by noleisthebest on Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:18 am

I suppose you can always bring it down to the club level where there is no money and virtually no ranking involved, so there,  even when you strip all those external divisions (money and ranking) you still have good old human nature in action - ego wars and cheating.
Even when you are playing just for fun, some people will always be frustrated.
Not easy to find chivalrous kind these days...
Fascinating, isn't it!

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Post by summerblues on Sat Dec 07, 2013 2:31 am

So the correct answer was "Rafa".

So much for this:

summerblues wrote:Unless Djoko starts seriously collapsing, I do not see anyone overtaking him very soon.   ...  Rafa will find it relatively hard too, as he traditionally does not do all that well on hard courts (relatively speaking).
Rafa overtook him very soon indeed. Sad

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Post by Tenez on Sat Dec 07, 2013 8:58 am

Well no one expected him to come back so quickly and so fit. Science has no limit it seems.

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Post by Daniel on Thu Dec 12, 2013 2:57 am

We all just assumed he had a real career threatening injury but the reality was he didn't.

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Post by noleisthebest on Thu Jul 10, 2014 4:54 pm

We all know that Nole's back to number one.
Tbh, before Wimbledon, I didn't think it was going to be such a big deal, but after reading what Connors just said, I am ecstatic Nole knocked Nadal off the perch!

Connors:
"In this game we need someone like Rafael Nadal to be World No.1. He puts such passion in his game in a way that never fails to excite me. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic sure have the talent, but Rafa has it as well, but he brings a whole lot more of emotions together with that. An example? When he came back from his injury in 2013, to end up collecting all those incredible wins.
I think Nadal's best shot is his return of serve. He is the best in that in the tour, and numbers are there to confirm it. Someone like Rafa needs to always be aggressive and play close to the baseline, like I did at my time using flat shots. Against Kyrgios however, his return didn't work. Sure the Australian played a great match that day, but I am sure that if Nadal were to play better with his return, trying to be more aggressive, he could have won the match".


I just want to know how much he and Mac get paid to say this trash....or maybe they really think what they say, in which case... The Next Number One 2355573927

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Post by Tenez on Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:34 pm

I agree. It's pathetic! But to be fair, Connors is the worst great of all time. He did not have a FH, nor a serve and most of his slams were won by asking the crowd to get involved beyond reason.

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Post by Daniel on Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:37 pm

The fact that he doesn't seem to know that Nadal is a baseline defensive retriever tells me that he is clearly an idiot. That's the biggest pile of nonsense I have ever read from an ex-player.

The fact he has now lost to massive outsiders at the greatest slam, in his prime, 3 years on the trot, is obviously making them scurry around like mice.

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Post by paulcz on Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:51 pm

Just don't want to discuss things around Nadal, but shortly, everybody who supports such a player is a trash in my eyes, a full stop here.

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Post by Autumnleaf on Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:08 am

Connors - another guy who confuses obnoxious fist pumping, excessive sweating, mindless grinding, gamesmanship bordering on court cheating (to not even mention what goes on off court) and vamosing with "passion" and "bringing emotions". I really wonder why all these ex pros feel the need to hype Nadal in this way and put down Djoko and especially Fed the next second? It's painful. Can they really not see how the sport is hurt by his presence? 

"Someone like Rafa needs to always be aggressive and play close to the baseline, like I did at my time using flat shots."

Really? He needs to? So why doesn't he then? Could it be, he doesn't have the ability? Very telling the reference to himself there. I guess he feels somehow familiar to the gamesmanship.

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Post by Tenez on Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:41 pm

Anyway, Nadal is number 2....despite having played a full schedule. ...and he has more to defend on the line in the coming weeks .

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Post by Daniel on Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:41 pm

He's toast.

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Post by Tenez on Sat Jul 12, 2014 12:02 am

FedererKing wrote:He's toast.

I guess on that we agree. Winking

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:08 am

Talking of Nadal, can anyone see him recapture number one?

To me, although greedy, he looks terribly tired at the same time, too.
American hard court season should be a good indicator.

Another thing...we haven't heard much about his knees for a long time...
Seeing that clip from  Wimbledon final In 2007 he had both knees strapped.

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Post by Tenez on Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:29 am

noleisthebest wrote:Talking of Nadal, can anyone see him recapture number one?

To me, although greedy, he looks terribly tired at the same time, too.
American hard court season should be a good indicator.

Another thing...we haven't heard much about his knees for a long time...
Seeing that clip from  Wimbledon final In 2007 he had both knees strapped.
I have buried him many times in the past and was almost always wrong ..but I know one day I'll be right. He is 28, so only starting his peak years, in theory, except that he has probably abused his body too much....so this is exactly where I have been wrong in the past.

I think his downfall, Like Djoko, will come from the next generation, able to hit through those spinny and retrieving games, like Courier, Agassi and Kuerta were able to hit through the Spanish spiny armada on clay in the 90s. being exposed young to Djoko and Nadal will automatically help them develop a game against the current top players.

Vesely will be the new Djoko. excellent keeper of ball with better shots. He will be the real challenge for Kyrgios, Rao and Dimi.

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:44 am

Interesting observation on Vesely. I like his hands and natural ball-striking but do you really think that big, tall body will able to keep up?

Nole's court coverage is so impressive you'd really need a talented, consistent ball striker to be able to blow him off the court over the best of 5.

Raonic came quite close in RG, but I prefer Vesely's  game, looks easier.

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Post by Tenez on Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:59 am

noleisthebest wrote:Interesting observation on Vesely. I like his hands and natural ball-striking but do you really think that big, tall body will able to keep up?
he'll probably run a bit less but hit also harder. A better more efficient compromise between attack/defense.

Nole's court coverage is so impressive you'd really need a talented, consistent ball striker to be able to blow him off the court over the best of 5.
You will see. Frankly, Fed played average and it took 5 sets to beat him....the new generation will have harder shots from both sides, and Djoko will need more than 2 MTOs over 5 sets....if it gets to 5 sets.

Raonic came quite close in RG, but I prefer Vesely's  game, looks easier
Both should be quite pushing him out....imo....couple of years max!

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Post by noleisthebest on Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:40 am

I just wish they weren't so tall... one of the things I love about watching tennis is nice movement, and for players over 1.85-1.90m absolute max it's almost impossible to look graceful.

There is this inherent perfect aesthetic dimensional ratio between the tennis court and players, but with new strings evolving the game into this generation of giants...it's losing the element of creative abundance all-court tennis, but will be interesting to see...

It looks like tennis is moving from linear (90s) to lateral (2000s) and back again...

Shame Berankis wasn't a bit taller.

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Post by Tenez on Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:52 am

noleisthebest wrote:I just wish they weren't so tall... one of the things I love about watching tennis is nice movement, and for players over 1.85-1.90m absolute max it's almost impossible to look graceful.

There is this inherent perfect aesthetic dimensional ratio between the tennis court and players, but with new strings evolving the game into this generation of giants...it's losing the element of creative abundance all-court tennis, but will be interesting to see...

It looks like tennis is moving from linear (90s) to lateral (2000s) and back again...

Shame Berankis wasn't a bit taller.

I agree but there is so much more for me in tennis, essentially the shot selection and the execution. That's what it is all about.

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