2012 US Open Predictions: Round #1

Before we get started with this quick review I want to go ahead and call my shot: I’m picking Federer to win this tournament, even though I think Novak may actually hold a slight edge. In other words, I’m a huge Federer fan, and I’m making an emotional pick. Yes, yes, I realize there’s more to it than that. There are a lot of really good reasons Federer will probably win the 2012 US Open, Continue reading

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Federer’s Diamond Standard(s)

Roger Federer’s recent return to #1 in the rankings – his 287th week as world #1 as of 7/16/2012, a new record in his impressive list of records – along with his record tying 7th Wimbledon title and record-extending 17th major title overall, has had the effect of further widening the gap between himself and the rest of the field of GOAT-worthy contenders. Since his loss to Djokovic in the 2011 US Open semi-finals, Federer has shown us that there simply isn’t any rational way to argue that he isn’t the greatest of all time. Continue reading

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Federer: Mind of a Champion

I’ll leave it to the psychologists to tell me whether this is the Looking Glass Self, the Generalized Other, or something else completely, but I do know this: What You Say About Others Says a Lot About You

“Your perceptions of others reveal so much about your own personality,” says Dustin Wood, assistant professor of psychology at Wake Forest and lead author of the study, about his findings.

There’s a point, so stick with me here. Continue reading

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Bull’s Eyes and One Hit Wonders

Like the rest of the tennis world, I, too am completely stunned by Nadal’s loss to Lukas Rosol. It’s arguably one of the biggest upsets in the entire history of tennis, not just men’s tennis.

I was watching Tennis Channel cover today’s highlights, and Martina Navratilova pointed out what pretty much everybody else is thinking; namely, that Rafa has got to be frustrated knowing that he lost to a player who was “in the zone”, and will most likely never play a match at that level, ever again. Lightning in a bottle. A one hit wonder. Martina said, “Rafa’s probably thinking, ‘Why Me?'”

Rafa, allow me to introduce you to Pete Sampras. Pete’s going to explain “Why me?” to you:

“The truth is that when you’re anywhere but at number one, you can hide. You can get to the second week of majors regularly, win one now and then, earn a lot of respect and money, and lead a great, stress-free life.

It wasn’t going to be good enough for me to just be in the mix; it would nag and wear at me. I realized that the game was not about getting somewhere, but staying somewhere. Some of us, we get there and we don’t want to let it go. We don’t want to see some other guy take it. And that’s ultimately what makes you a warrior – a fully formed, mature competitor.

You can’t really teach someone determination, although you can nurture it. It’s something that’s either in you or not, and you have to figure it out as an individual. And if you decide you need to be number one, you have to realize you can’t hide. You have to get fitted for the bulls-eye on your back, and get used to living with it.” Pete Sampras, “A Champions Mind“, pages 88-89

Which only serves to place a giant exclamation point behind what Sampras (and Federer) achieved by climbing to the top – and then staying there – for so, so long.

Get used to it, Rafa. Whether you like it or not, you have a big, fat bull’s eye on your back, and every journeyman tennis player with a swing and a prayer now believes that they, too, might have a chance.

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Never Give Up, by Fernando Verdasco

OK, so I’ve been dragging my feet on this, but I just *have* to comment on Fernando Verdasco’s recent victory over Rafa in Madrid.

Totally Appropriate Reaction!

Put yourself in Verdasco’s shoes for a second: You’re playing the greatest clay court player of all time. Period. He (Rafa) has a 13 match winning streak against you, and you’ve NEVER beaten him on clay. Rafa is serving for the match at 5-2 in the 3rd set.

Is there any reason what.so.ever that you should be hopeful? What sort of mental insanity would one have to possess in order to not only believe you could win, but to even think it could be a remote possibility? Continue reading

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The Greatest Tennis Player of All Time

Roger Federer is, as of this writing, the greatest (male) tennis player who’s ever played the game1. That may seem like a bold statement to some, but I can prove it. Not only that, I can provide you with an ordered list of the top 154 players who have ever played.2, 4

If you want to see the entire list, just click on this link. It’ll open up a Google Doc spreadsheet I created to settle this question once and for all. However, if you’d rather skip it for now, here, for your browsing convenience, are the top 10 players of all time: Continue reading

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Doubles With The Bryan Bros

Brought to you by Will, from FuzzyYellowBalls, and Tencap Tennis (follow them on Twitter if you’re cool)

Even as connected as I am to the upper echelon of the men’s game, it’s not every day that I get invited to a semi-private doubles lesson with the Bryan Brothers.  More like twice a week, but that’s beside the point.  The point, rather, is that I got invited to a semi-private lesson with the Bryan Brothers, and you did not.  This of course means that I now have a certain amount of “cool points” which are redeemable so long as the Bryan Brothers remain cool1.  And for those of you who know me, I think you’ll agree that I undoubtedly need the points.  And the lesson. Continue reading

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