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post #1 of 668 (permalink) Old 06-05-2008, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

Wimbledon 2008 is almost here. People are anxious to see how it will play out this year. Roger Federer will likely go in with just one small title (Esotril) to his name in 7 months. There is a new challenger on the horizon who has sworn never to lose to Fed again on any surface. He will try to announce his arrival again at Wimbledon for he truly has become a legitimate all surface threat.

Fed has had a 5 year stranglehold on Wimbledon as he has won 5 titles in a row. This year he will get a chance to see if he can break Borg`s record by getting 6 in a row. Lot of history is at stake. Will there be a new Wimbledon champion in 2008? Does Djokovic have the goods to dethrone the mighty Fed at Wimbledon and signal the end of his domination of the sport?

Are there any other contenders? How about Roddick and Nadal? I personally believe that Fed is more vulnerable this year than at any time in the past. I feel that the pressure on him is simply immense this year and it will take its toll on him at Wimby. This means that one of the others may end up with the prestigious Wimby crown. I believe that Djokovic or Nadal may end up the stealing the spotlight from Fed at Wimby in 2008?

Thoughts? Do you believe that Fed is vulnerable this year at Wimby? If so, who has the best chance to take home the Wimby crown? Many believe that Wimby is Fed`s last stand. If he fails here, he is likely to fail again at the U.S. Open. It could signal the end of his domination of the sport.

check out this article i found on espn.com:

Djokovic carries his aspirations on his sleeve
By Bonnie D. Ford
ESPN.com
(Archive)
Updated: June 5, 2008, 12:06 PM ET
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Peter Parks/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic has no trepidation standing toe-to-toe with the world's top two players -- as he proved earlier this year against Roger Federer at the Australian Open.


PARIS -- Novak Djokovic has his dream scenario at last -- the chance to play both men ranked ahead of him in a Grand Slam and tangibly reshuffle a deck that has remained undisturbed for almost three years now.


Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer in back-to-back matches last year in Montreal, but that was with hard court under his sneakers and far less at stake. He can take over the No. 2 spot if he upsets Nadal in Friday's semifinal, where Djokovic is a decided underdog, although we suspect he's unlikely to curl into the fetal position in the manner of Nadal's previous two opponents.

It's appropriate to say "at last" in this context because Djokovic has been hungering for this opportunity since he was a kid and turned out to be one of those rare youngsters whose childhood dreams are rooted in unerring instinct.

Whatever happens at Roland Garros on Friday and over the weekend, we know that Djokovic can compete with Federer and Nadal on the court. Most recently, Djokovic tested Nadal severely in the Hamburg semifinals, boring deep into his service games in a match where the Spaniard's ranking also was on the line. Nadal called the three-set win one of the best of his career.

It may be nearly as interesting to watch these three players divide the more subjective turf outside the neat white rectangles of their workplace. If Federer represents elegance and sustained excellence, and Nadal represents boundless energy and innocent charm, is there room for Djokovic in the hearts and minds of the fans who populate Planet Tennis?

"This is an interesting year for him, a transition year, and those are fun to watch as an outsider," two-time French Open winner Jim Courier said in early May. "As an outsider who's been on the inside and gone through it, I'm always interested to see the psychology of the transition. He's one of the brighter tennis players I've met for his age."

Nadal arrived at Roland Garros as an endearing 18-going-on-19-year-old who didn't know what he didn't know, and never lost again. Federer bloomed a bit later, but once established as a champion, set such a high standard that he could be regally gracious about his would-be opponents and complimentary about himself without seeming insufferable.

Djokovic is different. He is The Ambitious One, the one who wears his aspirations like a sponsor's patch on his sleeve. He's the guy who moved his cot into the room where Federer and Nadal were amiably crashed out on bunk beds and started talking, keeping them from sleeping.

The 21-year-old Serb has a youthful magnetism comparable to Nadal's, combined with the worldly, multi-lingual cachet of Federer. The similarities end there. Djokovic has a different kind of backstory, coming from a disadvantaged nation whose infrastructure was so perilous that his parents sent him to Germany to train and looked into having him compete for two other countries, Italy and Great Britain.

His family is more visible than the Federer or Nadal clans have been (although Nadal's uncle Toni is, of course, his longtime coach). The fierce support of Djokovic's mother and father, their matching shirts and crisp comments about their oldest son's talent and intentions have drawn predictable push-back from Federer and Nadal partisans who were content to see the sport's world order stay put.

From here, the we've-got-your-back approach seems natural given the obstacle course this family navigated, and it also offers insight into why Djokovic has come so far in the last two seasons. He had to have attitude if he wanted to break through the concrete ceiling the other two men presented. For him, saying was believing before seeing was believing.

The sporting world generally values edge, but Nadal and Federer have occasionally expressed displeasure with Djokovic's version of it, especially before he'd joined the ranks of Slam winners. Federer has on occasion allowed a certain tone to seep into his voice when asked about Djokovic, while Nadal made it known he wasn't crazy about Djokovic's exaggerated pants-tugging imitation of him on live television at the U.S. Open.

Djokovic backed up his brashness by capturing the Australian Open title this season. Some would attach an asterisk because Federer, whom Djokovic beat in the semifinals, was sapped by mononucleosis that hadn't yet been diagnosed. But the point is that virus or no virus, it took a player immune to intimidation to get the job done, and that quality helped Djokovic as much as his precise serving or his agility.

The real footnote to that win was Djokovic's obvious discomfort -- echoed in his father's angry face -- when the crowd announced early and often that it was behind his opponent.


Jo-Wilfried Tsonga played a mystically perfect match against Nadal and streaked into the final like a comet that at least temporarily blots out other constellations.



It was the first time Djokovic had ever been a favorite in that kind of match. He didn't handle it entirely gracefully. "He took the crowd on, which is not the smart play if you're trying to endear yourself to them," Courier said.


Asked Tuesday whether he had learned anything from that experience, Djokovic said no. But he also admitted he's not the kind of player who feeds off hostility.

"It's really important if you can get the crowd behind you to support you," he said. "You know, you get motivated, you get a lot of positive energy, and you kind of play easier, you know.

[+] EnlargeRomeo Gacad/AFP/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic has had a strong supporting cast through the years.
"If you have a crowd against you, it's a totally different situation. Then you're fighting against the crowd and your opponent. This can put you in a really tricky position. That's why sometimes maybe during the match, you know, if I see the crowd is against me I react crazy, but, you know, it's all part of the sport."

Last year at this time, Djokovic was a darling of the tennis world after sweeping to the French Open semis with countrywomen Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic -- new blood for a sport that, while not exactly anemic, still can use regular transfusions of personality.

Then Djokovic learned, like all young stars, the difference between a honeymoon and a committed relationship where fans are concerned. His withdrawals from big matches have drawn heavy criticism -- unjustified, he insisted recently, in the case of his semifinal match against Federer in Monte Carlo, since he was later found to have had strep throat.

It would be a shame if people cast Djokovic as the guy in the black hat simply because they think the screenplay of the sport demands it. A rivalry shouldn't necessarily lead to tribal strife. "He doesn't seem to me like he would be a good bad guy," Courier said. "He's far too likeable, he likes the spotlight, he likes joking around."

Benito Perez, Djokovic's media and marketing liaison, has booked Djokovic on Jay Leno and on the Italian show that is a "Tonight" equivalent with confidence that he'd be a natural talk-show guest. He's had Djokovic do photo shoots for GQ and Men's Vogue because the tall, slender Djokovic is a natural clothes horse. Perez has high hopes of broadening Djokovic's appeal in the coming months and years. But ultimately, Perez said, Djokovic's image will rest on his ability to get results and nothing else. It's mostly his own fault for setting the bar so high so soon.

Friday presents an interesting dilemma for Perez, who also handles Nadal's public relations. He'll prowl around the interior of the stadium watching the semifinal on television rather than from either player's box.

Afterwards, by his own set of rules, Perez will dine with the loser. "That's always what I do," he said. "The loser needs more support. Everyone wants to be with the winner."

That makes sense. And the fact that there are three men vying for the public's affection as well as prize money, points and stature should only make fans feel in demand, and grateful.



Bonnie D. Ford covers tennis and Olympic sports for ESPN.com. She can be reached at bonniedford@aol.com.

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post #2 of 668 (permalink) Old 06-05-2008, 08:55 PM
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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

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Originally Posted by Clay Death View Post
Wimbledon 2008 is almost here. People are anxious to see how it will play out this year. Roger Federer will likely go in with just one small title (Esotril) to his name in 7 months. There is a new challenger on the horizon who has sworn never to lose to Fed again on any surface. He will try to announce his arrival again at Wimbledon for he truly has become a legitimate all surface threat.
He already lost in Monte Carlo, after making that statement.
And Kevin Anderson could be in the MD, that is a problem for the Faker
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post #3 of 668 (permalink) Old 06-05-2008, 08:58 PM
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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

I think Federer has a fat chance to go with 2 titles in Wimbledon and no, one of them wont be RG

He's playing better than at the start of the season and if he keeps this form he can only lose the 6th title there

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That will be the last victory of Rafa for quite some time.. With his joke mentality and pathetic game, I hope the disgusting player loses every single match next season. He's disgraceful. He should just retire. He's a joke.
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post #4 of 668 (permalink) Old 06-05-2008, 08:58 PM
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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

Already?

I still have clay in my socks.
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post #5 of 668 (permalink) Old 06-05-2008, 09:00 PM
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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

Fed is still the biggest fav to win Wimbledon, no doubt. Novak and Roddick come second ex aequo in my opinion. Roddick's game is perfect for grass and I don't think he has any fear. His win over Fed in Miami only boosted his confidence. Faker is still quite unexperienced on this surface, but definitely he is a contender, as he can mix his defensive and offensive skills very well and adapt it to the conditions. He also has winning mentality and won't shit his pants at 4-4 in 5th set. Nadal comes 4th imo and there are always guys like Soderling and Ancic who have a lot to prove and could be dark horses.
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post #6 of 668 (permalink) Old 06-05-2008, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

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I think Federer has a fat chance to go with 2 titles in Wimbledon and no, one of them wont be RG

He's playing better than at the start of the season and if he keeps this form he can only lose the 6th title there

check original post. i added an interesting article that i found on espn.com.

this Djokovic is not going to go away. he wants Fed`s head. he could get it at Wimby and then again at the U.S. Open. I think his best possible chance is on hard courts.

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post #7 of 668 (permalink) Old 06-05-2008, 09:02 PM
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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

C.Berlocq should clinch it.
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post #8 of 668 (permalink) Old 06-05-2008, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

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Already?

I still have clay in my socks.
too funny. people are smelling grass already also. i am so fired up.

i believe that we will be treated to a hard fought Nadal vs Djokovic semifinal tomorrow. Fed is pretty much going to destroy Monfils.

and in the final, Nadal will demolish Fed
in straight sets this time. its in the bag. trust me on this.

lets get on with Wimbledon and the warm-up events. I think Fed will skip the warm-up again this year. It worked for him last year so he might try it again.

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post #9 of 668 (permalink) Old 06-05-2008, 09:06 PM
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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

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check original post. i added an interesting article that i found on espn.com.

this Djokovic is not going to go away. he wants Fed`s head. he could get it at Wimby and then again at the U.S. Open. I think his best possible chance is on hard courts.
The Faker will draw Ancic in the first round.
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post #10 of 668 (permalink) Old 06-05-2008, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

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Fed is still the biggest fav to win Wimbledon, no doubt. Novak and Roddick come second ex aequo in my opinion. Roddick's game is perfect for grass and I don't think he has any fear. His win over Fed in Miami only boosted his confidence. Faker is still quite unexperienced on this surface, but definitely he is a contender, as he can mix his defensive and offensive skills very well and adapt it to the conditions. He also has winning mentality and won't shit his pants at 4-4 in 5th set. Nadal comes 4th imo and there are always guys like Soderling and Ancic who have a lot to prove and could be dark horses.

i agree. Roddick and Ancic could go deep. I am not so sure about Soderling.

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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

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i agree. Roddick and Ancic could go deep. I am not so sure about Soderling.
Soderling with a good draw could reach quarters with serve alone. Unfortunately he is a loser.
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post #12 of 668 (permalink) Old 06-05-2008, 09:14 PM
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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

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I think Fed will skip the warm-up again this year. It worked for him last year so he might try it again.
Roger has a 3 years contract with Halle. He recently mentioned again the reasons why he cancelled the tournament the last year and that he is looking forward to play there this time again.

CD, why don't you just open a thread for the US Open too? I mean, we are only 3 months away from it and I'm sure there is a lot to discuss already
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post #13 of 668 (permalink) Old 06-05-2008, 09:22 PM
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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

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i agree. Roddick and Ancic could go deep. I am not so sure about Soderling.
The problem with Andy is that he has arrived in London today -- and has just begun serving in the past few days.

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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

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The problem with Andy is that he has arrived in London today -- and has just begun serving in the past few days.

how is his progress going? Is he expected to defend his title at Queens? we are just 4 days away/removed from Queens now.

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Re: Wimbledon 2008 : Anticipation & Speculation

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how is his progress going? Is he expected to defend his title at Queens? we are just 4 days away/removed from Queens now.
Djokovic, Nadal, Nalbandian, Gasquet, Mahut, Verdasco, and he are all gonna be there. He's been training off court -- weights and cardio. He's been hitting and just started serving. Look at his thread on T4Y. I've got all his updates there.

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