Thanks Nachiket. I did respond to your comment, but it disappeared! They're taking their time aren't they?
Got a reply on ideas going forward: They would rather use this the next time wind does affect a big match (like USO 12 semi/final), so that it would be more relevant to link to the moment. It would likely be a column to compare to other moments when certain stars were clearly able to take advantage of the wind--Agassi, Nadal, Murray etc...In the past we used to have a lot of random list ideas, but we are making a more concerted effort to link these kinds of ideas as they unfold. But it's on the idea spreadsheet waiting for the right time.
Yes, I'll submit the idea and see if the team accepts it. It's an interesting idea because there are those memorable matches where a player can really take advantage of his opponent with cleaner ball-striking. There are players who definitely get affected by the wind. I thought that the wind from semis to final at USO 2012 was something that helped Murray and hurt Novak.
Andy really did look great in the first set and fought hard in the third. He pushed Rafa, but you are correct in assessing that he seemed to wear down in the last few games. The good news for Rafa was finding more of that snarling edge and bigger shots at times, once he was backed into a corner. It's another good step for him, but once again does not look like the old clay-court dominator we've seen for years....Was only able to catch some of Novak-Ferrer--Novak is getting work he needs but he's not all the way back either. As long as that wrist is healed, strengthened even, he has a great shot at the FO this year. We'll see.
The windy conditions idea is very interesting. Our assignment team is going to be prioritizing FO coverage coming up, but eventually, and during some of the slower times--late July for example--could be a great time to blow through (no pun intended) this topic.
I don't see Murray as being a clone of Djokovic. It's easy for people to say during h2h matches because Murray is good at tracking down shots and keeping the rally going. Djokovic does not play as aggressively against Murray as he does against Nadal, so takes less risks and then it can turn into a match with more of Murray's tempo. But Djokovic's power and angles are better, and his footwork on clay is superior. Murray is not only more inept with sliding into shots, but he doesn't generate his own power or pace as well. It's a little like Lleyton Hewitt who was more effective on grass and hard courts because he could counter-punch rather than generate his own pace. Djokovic is able to dictate much better on clay and call his shots. Right now, there is a world of difference in the way they are playing but maybe Murray will have a resurgence after the clay-court season.
Sorry for the delay... but I've been busy. I reviewed the tennis matches and it's safe to say, Novak is a cold blooded killer again, Stan W cooled off after AO, Sharapova will NEVER beat Serena Williams ( and she's not even playing her best tennis ) and Roger Federer is playing consistent tennis again. Well, you know ( QF/semis/finals ). The clay season will be about one thing and one thing only, Nadal/Djokovic. I'm on the record. If Nadal doesn't beat Novak at one of the three masters tournaments, he will get his ass whipped at the FO ( no more confidence, just like 2011 ).
I still think a healthy Nadal struggles against an in form Stan, Del Po, Novak and
Murray. The competition is rough and Rafa's body is breaking down, damn it! By
luck, he won the 2011 FO and he's been bounced out of early RD Wimbledons.
Saying that Nadal is a lock to win tournaments/GSs by facing the field except
Novak... is absolutely insane. On clay, hard court and grass, Stan has the
vicious power, freezing Nadal. Please, let's not even get started with the
weapons Novak Djokovic brings to the table.
Again, Rafa blew another opportunity, winning a slam. I believe he could have
beaten Stan. The proof was Rafa messing up on 3 break point chances on weak
second serves. Clearly, he was mentally corrupted and battered. You cannot
defeat someone like Stan ( playing the best tennis of his life ) with so many
problems and screw ups. Actually, Rafa needs one AO, 2 more USOs, 2 more
Wimbys and 2/3 WTF. That's my opinion for Nadal being the greatest. Time is
running out. Novak cannot possibly catch Roger, so there's no pressure on him.
Nadal must win this year's FO, make the final of Wimbledon ( perhaps winning it )
and retaining his USO championship to erase the painful defeat at the AO. Call
me crazy, but I think Rafa is on the decline, AGAIN!!!!
IW/Miami proves nothing. We already know that Djokovic/Del Po/Wawrinka/
Murray are great on those surfaces. The clay season explains it all.
Stan has done the unthinkable. He has me questioning Nadal/Novak's future.
The good news for Rafa is that he's way ahead in the race. The bad news was
Rafa blowing an opportunity to win the AO... and he has to defend all those
points. I swear, if Nadal sits out this season, I'm done with him, period. The
guy's health is as bad as grandpas. Plus, I'm wondering if this is 2011 all over
again for Nadal. Remember, Rafa was #1 in the world... and got injured against
Ferrer in the QF, ruining the Rafa slam dream. It was also in that same year,
Novak exploded. Now, Nadal has to worry about Stan?????????? Ranked # 3?
Chances are, he'll be in Rafa's section of the draws. That's not good for Nadal.
In fact, if he doesn't dominate the clay season, it's over for him. Djokovic does
need the FO title. You can't be the GOAT conversation without it. Sadly, Novak
at his best cannot beat Rafa at his best... on clay. Monte Carlo, Rome and
Madrid will tell us everything we need to know.
The big four is now the big five ( Rafa, Stan, Novak, Andy and Roger ). I could
careless what Federer's number is. He's a threat and too experienced. Dimitrov
is the ATP's guy once every star legend retires. I know for a fact Nadal never
wants to play him again.
Yeah, I see so many riding the Stan bus now.