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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:01 am

...are looking much better than two weeks ago.


1 Nadal, Rafael (ESP) 14,330 0 21
2 Djokovic, Novak (SRB) 10,620 0 18
3 Wawrinka, Stanislas (SUI) 5,710 5 25
4 Del Potro, Juan Martin (ARG) 5,370 1 22
5 Ferrer, David (ESP) 5,280 -2 24
6 Murray, Andy (GBR) 4,720 -2 19
7 Berdych, Tomas (CZE) 4,540 0 24
8 Federer, Roger (SUI) 4,355 -2 20
9 Gasquet, Richard (FRA) 3,050 0 25
10 Tsonga, Jo-Wilfried (FRA) 2,885 0 21
11 Raonic, Milos (CAN) 2,770 0 23
12 Haas, Tommy (GER) 2,435 0 26
13 Isner, John (USA) 2,320 0 26
14 Youzhny, Mikhail (RUS) 2,145 1 26
15 Fognini, Fabio (ITA) 2,100 1 28
16 Robredo, Tommy (ESP) 1,980 2 22
17 Almagro, Nicolas (ESP) 1,930 -3 23
18 Nishikori, Kei (JPN) 1,915 -1 21
19 Dimitrov, Grigor (BUL) 1,810 3 23
20 Simon, Gilles (FRA) 1,700 -1 25

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:07 am

Thanks to not playing AO last year, Nadal has increased his lead considerably (and thanks to Stan not stratospherically!), but it's all points defending for him from now on.

I have no idea how this chart will look come Wimbledon, two biggest question marks for me are Djokovic and Federer.

Will this be the first season (apart  from 2011) when Nadal is not going not a clay points rampage?

I know we keep asking the same question every year, but it's got to end some day!!!

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Post by Tenez on Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:13 am

I just hope that the youngsters can still improve. On one hand it's sad to see such talent as Stan only able to win his slam through a bit of fortune and at 28 yo...quite late in his career....and that is essentially due to slow conds and those physical players having stopped him so many times before.

It does not bode well for the new generation.

The final looked good for a set and a half yesterday but after that it was all about Nadal. Real shame...it would be good to have such upsets more often without the ridiculous drama....which we would on faster surfaces.

But let's not delude ourselves Yonex is never going to be as influencial Nike when it comes to forcing pace conds!

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:38 am

I got myself another racquet on Saturday (HEAD, the graphene one) and look forward to trying it out today.
The strings are very different from the Babolat ones but similar to Yonex.
I was tempted to go for Yonex and was nicely surprised that the shop lets you have it for test trial just for £10, but has to be done through the coach, so that's what I'm planning to do, otherwise it's all a waste of money.
I was amazed at how much Babolat gear they were selling, virtually all tennis clothing was made by them, so I ended up getting a pair of tennis shoes as well from them - that's what I came for in the first place! (although I didn't even know they were making them before!)  as there was not much other choice.

I love my canvas Spring courts, but have worn the soles and now that the courts are often wet, started slipping...

The shop assistant was great, we even had a chat about women's final which she also watched!
She knew a lot about Babolat and said that Nadal has done the miracles for that business, which apparently has been family run for nearly 200 years.

Well, at least he's done some good Winking

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Post by Tenez on Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:48 am

noleisthebest wrote:Well, at least he's done some good Winking
I keep telling you. His popularity benefit all the other players too. A Stan v Berdych final would attract only the hard core fans...Federer and Nadal simply reach a far wider audience and that guarantee some good price money for all players. This is why they tolerate some of Nadal behaviour.....and Djoko and Murray will never attract that many fans.

However guys like Dimi could be star potential. Should he win a few slams he'll get some popularity.....but before we have another Nadal or Federer (popularity wise) it's going to be water running under the bridge .

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:50 am

As for the young players, I hope Stan's run encourages them all.

He really did suffer a lot and lost so many close 5 setters,  and not just against Nole, the one that stands out to me is the match he lost to Murray in Wimbledon, that was the first ever match under the roof, a year after Murray beat Gasquet also in Wimbledon, also in 5 sets in the fading light....

Murray's definitely 2nd behind Nadal in the "luck" department...

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:54 am

I could live with Nadal's antics and all his gamesmanship, had he not been pushed for years with draw-fixing, courts slowing etc...
Surely ATP could have PR-ed someone else! Nadal is neither good-looking nor can he play tennis, as if they chose to run an experiment and see how much they can get away with!
His acting yesterday was (in hindsight only) highly hilarious and entertaining. But imagine if he had won....
Was it worth sacrificing several generations of young players and all that happened to tennis for the sake of millions of TV viewers that will stop following tennis once Nadal retires?

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Post by Tenez on Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:01 am

noleisthebest wrote:Was it worth sacrificing several generations of young players and all that happened to tennis for the sake of millions of TV viewers that will stop following tennis once Nadal retires?
Good question....it's really like the golden goose. They have killed it cause it's going to be hardly imporssible to follow on the Federer and Nadal footstep. At least before we had Federer as the new benchmark for all tennis players...now we really have 2and the second one is more than dodgy. Those who know how a business works (and tennis is a business) will find it hard to believe in what sport was really about originally: competition.

I'll find it difficult to get enthusiastic again for the sport once Federer leaves. Before him I really thought tennis was a proper competition sport, with certainly some dodgy treatments then but they have pushed it beyond reason with Nadal.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:10 am

Poor effort from the BBC to sell us Stan as "popular".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/25905700

Stan needs to be self confident, even arrogant or extremely good (that is keep winning big ones) while staying genuinely modest. The game is in need of players with the X factor and I doubt Stan is one of them. Even if personally I don't care much about that x factor, it's still raises the interest of all for the game.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:13 am

You are right, sport is definitely entering a stage where it's going to be very hard to get enthusiastic...it's just become too plastic, the balance has gone.
Only another prodigy could salvage things in tennis, and I'll be waiting and hoping for one as long as there is breath in me!

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:21 am

Tenez wrote:Poor effort from the BBC to sell us Stan as "popular".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/tennis/25905700

Stan needs to be self confident, even arrogant or extremely good (that is keep winning big ones) while staying genuinely modest. The game is in need of players with the X factor and I doubt Stan is one of them. Even if personally I don't care much about that x factor, it's still raises the interest of all for the game.

Poor Stan...
He'll never win in a poster boy contest, and his tennis is good but (at least for me) lacks some spark, a bit of smoothness and elegance.
But I can see him being able to appeal to "matcho" types, Stan the bloke you can have a beer with kind of fan.

I am happy he is in the picture now, definitely more charisma and everything else compared to Ferrer.

Despite everything, I think he could be marketable if he keeps playing well and reaching SFs and Fs.

Assuming Fed's back is healthy, who do you think belongs more to top 4 right now Stan or Murray?
Who'd win if they play in Wimbledon tomorrow?

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Post by Tenez on Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:42 am

Assuming Fed's back is ok...he is still the best...on the day. Wactching a bit of Federer Murray again, I thought it was worrying for Murray the way he played the last 2 sets. Clearly hampered too so Stan would keep his advantage over Murray if his back does not improve. In his post match interview he seemed to say he regreted the way the op was done.

Delpo in my view will be the real deal this season. He had a bad AO (a bit stupid to play all the way to Aukland the week before) but I think he can suddenlky switch it on again.

My top 5 end of Wimby:

1 - Djoko
2 -Nadal
3 -Federer
4 - Delpo
5 - Stan

I think I still see Djoko returning to number one, Nadal going down to number 2 end of FO, Fed 3 if back holds, Delpo 4, Stan 5.

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:50 am

Sounds good Winking

Just read an interesting interview from Serbia's DC captain who insinuated that Nadal has been injured this year, mentioning his below par play in Abu Dhabi.
As you say, his physical tennis is bound to feel every percent of dropped fitness levels and he only has himself to blame for it.

In fact, he can't blame it as it brought him everything he has won, he certainly couldn't have done it any other way.

Agree about Delpo, I thought he'd be in top 4 even last year, unlike Murray, he plays well on all surfaces, just was unfortunate with that wrist injury surgery he had right after his USO slam breakthrough, but again, he is bashing that ball very hard, so the injury is a natural consequence of his style of play, as well.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:00 pm

yep and yep. Still Nadal was very impressive in 2 matches in that AO and he himself acknowledges that he played extremely well there while I also thought he played poorly v Dimi....(did not see any of his Nishi match).

The IW/Miami/clay season is going to be interesting ....but for now it is rest for everybody...including Federer.

Strange I thought to have Federer playing fewer tournaments but in succession!

Dubai/IW/Miami
Then Madrid/Rome!

Strange schedule!

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:04 pm

Well, it's all contracts, business...I saw he earnt $75mil last year!!!

He's at the stage where it's almost irrelevant what results he makes, so long as he is in top 8/10.

Tennis wise, all those are best of 3 tournaments, and it gives him more of the much needed match practice, I really look forward to seeing him peak with this new racquet, could be really exciting in Wimbledon, and who knows, maybe even RG!

Imagine a Fed - Nole RG final Winking

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Post by gallery play on Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:00 pm

Through the years there have been plenty of threads about which player out of the traditional top 4 would win a slam first. Has Stan ever been mentioned? I guess not. A next step up the rankings seems a bridge too far but given his skills on clay, I can see him defend this position for quite a while.

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Post by gallery play on Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:01 pm

Tenez wrote:The game is in need of players with the X factor and I doubt Stan is one of them.
His shots do have the X factor  Winking

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Post by noleisthebest on Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:25 pm

gallery play wrote:Through the years there have been plenty of threads about which player out of the traditional top 4 would win a slam first. Has Stan ever been mentioned? I guess not. A next step up the rankings seems a bridge too far but given his skills on clay, I can see him defend this position for quite a while.

Stan is an interesting one.
He has been very good for years, I remember Nole beating him in Rome final, I think it was 2008 or 9.

His rankings have been against him in slams, but I think the real difference was made by hiring Norman as his coach.
He has really transformed Stan's FH.

When you look at top SBH-ers, esp Gasquet, you realise that they neglect their FH, and it's an undeveloped shot.
Gasquet is, in fact an extreme case, I have a feeling that if he could - he'd serve with nis BH!

Stan was relying on his BH is a similar way and his game suffered because of it.

Of all the current SBH-ers I think only Fed and Kholi have balanced FHs and BHs.
Haas has a better FH, Youzhny is pretty balanced as well, maybe stronger on his BH a bit.

So Magnus has done really well to spot that and look what a difference it has made!

Now that Stan is in top 4, he'll have an easier life with draws, will be interesting to see what he's going to look like now after winning this slam, when ATP PR people and money get their claws into him!

I say, more polo, collared tops a la Gasquet please!

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Post by luvsports! on Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:27 pm

gallery play wrote:Through the years there have been plenty of threads about which player out of the traditional top 4 would win a slam first. Has Stan ever been mentioned? I guess not. A next step up the rankings seems a bridge too far but given his skills on clay, I can see him defend this position for quite a while.

Yes potentially. There is only 1400 points between 3rd and 8th. 
Of his competitors around him there are a mixed amount of points to defend until after wimby.

rank 5 - Ferrer -  has to defend 2 masters qf's and a masters final as well as FO final, wimby qf and several other final/winner 250 events. Could drop further down as others can make substantial gains. 
rank 7 - Berdych -  realistically will only gain in MC where he reached 3rd round and 1st round FO. Fair few points to defend. 
rank 6 - Murray - only really has to defend his miami win, so he can gain a lot in dubai, IW and the clay season, including missing the french. Lots to gain, he will probably be back in the top 4.
rank 8 - feds - chance to gain a fair bit at IW & M as well as clay season (bar rome final). 2nd round wimby, he could move up a bit but I can't see him reaching top 4 again. 
rank 3- Stan - A 250 win & few final losses in 250's, big gains can be made in IW-M double. Has to defend his FO qf and masters madrid final appearance. WIth his new confidence he should have a good clay season but he can make big gains at wimby as well where he lost 1st round. I think Murray will overtake him and delpo as well. 

Rank 4 - Delpo - Only really has his IW final to defend. Lots of gains to be made potentially especially at the clay season, may struggle to defend wimby semi. Probs top 4.

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Post by Tenez on Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:48 pm

gallery play wrote:
Tenez wrote:The game is in need of players with the X factor and I doubt Stan is one of them.
His shots do have the X factor  Winking
Yes I like his game no doubt. he needs to sort out those dips he keeps having but I agree his game is great to watch...even if as NITB says it lacks a bit of swiftness and grace. But my main problem I have with his game is actually his hands. He gives many free points by not having the quick enough hands to keep the ball in court. It's important when not in a good position to still be able to bring the ball back (defensively even). Federer, Murray, Djoko and Nadal are excellent at those. They don't look great shots but it gives them the chance to keep the ball in play and wait for a better chance. I noticed that Stan has not got that...bizarrely as he is extremely talented.

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Post by gallery play on Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:50 pm

Tenez wrote:
gallery play wrote:
Tenez wrote:The game is in need of players with the X factor and I doubt Stan is one of them.
His shots do have the X factor  Winking
Yes I like his game no doubt. he needs to sort out those dips he keeps having but I agree his game is great to watch...even if as NITB says it lacks a bit of swiftness and grace. But my main problem I have with his game is actually his hands. He gives many free points by not having the quick enough hands to keep the ball in court. It's important when not in a good position to still be able to bring the ball back (defensively even). Federer, Murray, Djoko and Nadal are excellent at those. They don't look great shots but it gives them the chance to keep the ball in play and wait for a better chance. I noticed that Stan has not got that...bizarrely as he is extremely talented.

True, he's not a handy player:  not so good in non-standard situations. It’s the power he produces when power is needed, this is what makes him an attracting player. A bit like Delpo, although Delpo’s shots are a little less risky. Bottomline is: he makes  a pleasant match-up against a defending player

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Post by Tenez on Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:13 pm

gallery play wrote:.... he makes a pleasant match-up against a defending player

Yes but up to last week he was on the losing end on way too many times.

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Post by noleisthebest on Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:38 pm


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Post by Tenez on Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:18 pm

they must be hitting so hard so that a RHer injures his LH wrist hitting the ball.

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Post by noleisthebest on Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:05 pm

And despite his weak wrists, he still chooses to extend rallies by keeping the ball in play slicing CC BHs.
Wouldn't have the injury if he had a SBH, though...

Still, I feel sorry for him, all that excellent hard flat hitting, and the slow courts are negating it all.

I have been thinking about how slow conditions have transformed  players' games individually since 2009 when everything seemed to have peaked and gone the physical way.

More fragile players started disappearing from the scene (Nalby, even Safin retired just because I reckon he was lazy to kill himself in the gym), baseliners become roadrunners, tall players become huge-legged retrievers or ralliers at best, Fed increased his racquet size, young players fell behind and lost 3-4 years catching up with older players...
Nadal only changed things a little once the 25 second rule started getting implemented.
Did you notice how he is not ploughing through the draw in slams with ease like he used to now that he is aware of the rule? No more easy wins for him.
No wonder he has a problem with umpiring in almost every match now.

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Post by Tenez on Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:41 pm

noleisthebest wrote:Did you notice how he is not ploughing through the draw in slams with ease like he used to now that he is aware of the rule? No more easy wins for him.
No wonder he has a problem with umpiring in almost every match now.
I can't remember Nadal cutting through his draw easily in many slams actually. Not even at the FO bar FO2008. He still takes too long anyway. I m curious to see how he does handle the pressure this year starting IW.

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Post by noleisthebest on Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:05 pm

I remember years of easy slam draws filled with fellow - Spaniards and Argentinians who couldn't say no to Mr No?
How will he handle pressure?
Same as ever, esp in IW, where the red carpet treatment awaits from one of his many TD friends Larry.
His game is hanging in the limbo, though, he looks tired of playing it for some reason.

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Post by bluenose on Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:41 pm

Very sorry to hear about Del Potro.  His shambling about the court is annoying, but there is something undeniably exciting about the unleashing of that forehand!  And he is surprisingly good at the net, although too reluctant to go there.

Can I bring up Milos again?  He is shorter than Del Potro, remember, even though he is always tagged as the tall Canadian.  He has been working hard on his return game with considerable success, and his big challenge now seems to be that his serve is too readable.  If he doesn't ace, he gets a decent return.  This is probably a shock to him, but something he can sort.

In my view he has more upside than Berdych or Gasquet because he is evolving and they are fixed.  Milos is young and determined and intelligent and has composure, while they have seen all opportunities pass them by.  Maybe they'll take heart from Stan's victory, but I doubt it will help.  Stan threw himself into a trajectory of victory and neither Berdych nor Gasquet has done anything like that.

So I look for Milos in the top 10 this year.

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Post by Tenez on Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:56 pm

I also thought that Milos would have broken into the top 10 by now. I ven said at the time that he had more weapon than Delpo. However it seems to be lacking serious confidence. Those things can click in suddenly...but his mental weakness actually shows more or less clearly in his physiognomy nowadays. I hope e can change his whole approach to the game but I doubt.....sadly.

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Post by noleisthebest on Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:06 am

Milos is same as Berd - big body - small spirit.

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Post by Daniel on Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:12 am

Raonic and Tomic will do a lot better in the future.  Trust me.

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Post by bluenose on Wed Jan 29, 2014 12:46 am

oh no, not at all.  You don't understand Canada, we live next door to the elephant.  It is completely amazing for us to have Milos and Vasek and Genie break out, and it's a huge boost for them to lead their American counterparts.  This is the necessary beginning, knowing they have leapfrogged any American resurgence.  Plus Milos has the Balkan input.  He is building, but Berdych just keeps hoping his game will work.

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Post by summerblues on Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:16 am

For me, the fatal problem with Milos is his build.  Not only is he tall, but he is also quite bulky.  I do not think he will ever be a good enough mover to make it really big.

He is a very intelligent young guy and I think he understands that in today's tennis you just have to be very good at baseline rallies, so he has been working on that.  However, because of his build, I do not think he will ever be able to become really solid from the baseline.

For him, it might indeed be best to try to play very forward moving attacking tennis.  He would have to accept that he will never become #1 - you cannot become #1 moving forward these days - but he might still end up doing better than when he tries to make himself into a baseliner.

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Post by noleisthebest on Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:45 am

I think I do understand Canada. In fact, I have a step uncle in Vancouver who has recently retired as a sports journalist/director from one of  TV stations there called Global BC.
Funnily, he is in the UK at the moment and visiting this Friday, so I'm plannning to have a game of tennis with him.
He doesn't seem to be worried about the elephant neighbour at all, though.
I know Raonic is basically a Serb from Montenegro and that his parents emigrated to Canada.
I am really happy for him there, that he seems to have embraced his Canadian nationality healthily, he is a great addition to your Davis Cup team, and has a much better attitude than Tomic who is in the same situation being a Croat from emigrant parents in Australia.
Had he stayed in Montenegro, Milos would have probably never even picked up a tennis racquet, so it's good that he made the most of all the opportunities Canada offered to him.
Tomic is still struggling with his national identity, mainly due to his father, and his undoubted tennis talent has suffered.

I liked Milos when he came on the scene, his game was simple and exciting, but then he, like Dimitrov disappeared from the scene and came back bigger and fitter, losing the original attacking instinct - morphing into baseline blandness.

In fact, I was in O2 two or three years ago when he received the young player of the year trophy/award and gave him a big clap and a cheer in Serbian.

I don't see his game as "building", though. If it were possible, I'd have him play with a SBH, his game would be really dangerous then.
As he is now, there are a lot of weaknesses, he doesn't have much game in fact which is why he flails when the serve and his Plan A stop.
It was also a bit disappointing that he cheated Del Potro with a double bounce last year, but at least he apologised afterwards.

It's definitely good to have him around, and nice to see the new wave of tennis his success seems to have inspired in Canada, and that he is not alone but has Vasek there, too (and good old Nestor who was also born in Belgrade).

All in all, I hope that with Stan's AO win and this unexpectedly optimistic start to tennis 2014 we will be having a bit more of that type of excitement.

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