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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 04:08 PM Thread Starter
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New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

Last year there was a fuss over Berdych, Nadal, J.Johansson being major threats at the top. I think this is much ado about nothing. None of these players is top 5 material. Berdych is a solid future top 20 player, similar to people like Hrbaty. Nadal is a Thomas Muster clone, incredible intensity but essentially a clay court specialist. And J.Jo is a '94 Flipper. Animal swings off both sides and a rocket serve, we all know how unsuccessful Gonzalez has been with that technique recently, not the best strategy for winning tournaments.

And far off in the future, D. Young is way too small, and Monfils is similar to people like Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez, big guys with big forehands, nothing special to be set apart.
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 04:19 PM
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

Well, give it some time - two years ago I vividly remember all the articles about how the New Balls would never live up to their potential, how they were completely failing to deliver at the Slams, and I just thought to myself: For heaven's sake, GIVE THEM TIME. And lo and behold, six months later Ferrero, Federer and Roddick had all won their debut Slams, at the events that they most wanted to win. Journalists were writing them off at the ages of 21/22, Nadal and Berdych are still teenagers and Aussie Pim has only just made his tour breakthrough.

I did find Wertheim's prediction that Nadal would finish this year in the Top 5 patently absurd - has he seen who's in the current Top 5? - but a few weeks ago I doubted whether he would finish anywhere near the Top 20 given his injury problems and reduced effectiveness on hardcourts, and lo and behold he wins two straight clay tournaments and is suddenly back in the Top 30. No doubt he needs better hardcourt results to ever be a top player, and that serve needs major improvement, but I think he has both the ground game and the belief to make it to the top.

Berdych is suffering from second-year syndrome at the moment, after his emergence in the summer of last year and a Top 50 ranking based on three good tournaments (an Olympic QF, a US Open 4th round and a debut title in Palermo). I've still barely seen him play, but it looks to me as though he has an accurate serve, heavy groundstrokes and strong returns, which undoubtedly would have been the key to beating Federer last year no matter how badly the latter was playing in that match.

Aussie Pim is no use on clay and seemingly never will be, if his performance in the DC against Mathieu is any indication, but there's a recent historical precedent for players who are hopeless on slower surfaces making it to the top. He shouldn't be judged entirely on that match with Agassi at the AO, yes he is a power player but he was suffering from an injury going into that match which is why he adopted that Gonzalez-like tactic of trying to slam every ball for an instant winner. I certainly hope he isn't the man who proves a consistent threat to Federer, just because his game is so one-dimensional, but two titles already this year suggests that he is going to produce something big at the events that count.

The Wit and Wisdom of the Tennis Journalist, Indian Wells 2004

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I remember this one time when I went on a vacation on the Maldives. That was in the year 2001, I think. I went to this spa. I went to walk around with my girlfriend. I walk in, and we want to book a spa. This guy goes, "AHH, I remember you. You beat Sampras. I saw you on TV." That was like, really, how can you remember me? This guy has probably never been off his island and still knows me. I was a little bit shocked. Then I went to play tennis with him because he was actually the tennis teacher. It was nice.

Q. Were you naked at the time in the spa?

ROGER FEDERER: No. It was at the front desk. I didn't walk in naked.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 04:23 PM
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uNIVERSE mAN
Last year there was a fuss over Berdych, Nadal, J.Johansson being major threats at the top. I think this is much ado about nothing. None of these players is top 5 material. Berdych is a solid future top 20 player, similar to people like Hrbaty. Nadal is a Thomas Muster clone, incredible intensity but essentially a clay court specialist. And J.Jo is a '94 Flipper. Animal swings off both sides and a rocket serve, we all know how unsuccessful Gonzalez has been with that technique recently, not the best strategy for winning tournaments.

And far off in the future, D. Young is way too small, and Monfils is similar to people like Verdasco, Feliciano Lopez, big guys with big forehands, nothing special to be set apart.
You are comparing Monfils to Verdasco or López?

I could see one of these guys in the Top 5, probably Nadal. Muster made it to the Top 5 too And better than that.

Berdych will have trouble even staying in the Top 20, in my opinion

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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

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Originally Posted by CooCooCachoo
You are comparing Monfils to Verdasco or López?
heh, yeah a bit off on that one. but i really don't see what the big deal about that guy is, what's different about him than any other player? just because he wins some crappy juniors tournaments?
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 04:30 PM
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sjengster
Well, give it some time - two years ago I vividly remember all the articles about how the New Balls would never live up to their potential, how they were completely failing to deliver at the Slams, and I just thought to myself: For heaven's sake, GIVE THEM TIME. And lo and behold, six months later Ferrero, Federer and Roddick had all won their debut Slams, at the events that they most wanted to win. Journalists were writing them off at the ages of 21/22, Nadal and Berdych are still teenagers and Aussie Pim has only just made his tour breakthrough.

I did find Wertheim's prediction that Nadal would finish this year in the Top 5 patently absurd - has he seen who's in the current Top 5? - but a few weeks ago I doubted whether he would finish anywhere near the Top 20 given his injury problems and reduced effectiveness on hardcourts, and lo and behold he wins two straight clay tournaments and is suddenly back in the Top 30. No doubt he needs better hardcourt results to ever be a top player, and that serve needs major improvement, but I think he has both the ground game and the belief to make it to the top.

Berdych is suffering from second-year syndrome at the moment, after his emergence in the summer of last year and a Top 50 ranking based on three good tournaments (an Olympic QF, a US Open 4th round and a debut title in Palermo). I've still barely seen him play, but it looks to me as though he has an accurate serve, heavy groundstrokes and strong returns, which undoubtedly would have been the key to beating Federer last year no matter how badly the latter was playing in that match.

Aussie Pim is no use on clay and seemingly never will be, if his performance in the DC against Mathieu is any indication, but there's a recent historical precedent for players who are hopeless on slower surfaces making it to the top. He shouldn't be judged entirely on that match with Agassi at the AO, yes he is a power player but he was suffering from an injury going into that match which is why he adopted that Gonzalez-like tactic of trying to slam every ball for an instant winner. I certainly hope he isn't the man who proves a consistent threat to Federer, just because his game is so one-dimensional, but two titles already this year suggests that he is going to produce something big at the events that count.
Once I get through the lack-of-patience barrier and read your ever-lasting posts I always feel like these are the best pieces one could get his hand on in the entire board!
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 04:30 PM
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by uNIVERSE mAN
heh, yeah a bit off on that one. but i really don't see what the big deal about that guy is, what's different about him than any other player? just because he wins some crappy juniors tournaments?
You just called three Junior slams crappy

And the boy can hit.. And hard too. I don't like watching him, cause it's all baseline power in my opinion, but his game is nowhere near López or Verdasco's games.

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 04:34 PM
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogiman
Once I get through the lack-of-patience barrier and read your ever-lasting posts I always feel like these are the best pieces one could get his hand on in the entire board!
Trouble is, I've never yet read anyone on here who can convey a lot of information and opinions in a few snappy sentences. BTW, have a look at tangy's Nasdaq thread for some interesting articles about the tournament; the piece on rivalries at the top of tennis is good for a laugh, if nothing else.

The Wit and Wisdom of the Tennis Journalist, Indian Wells 2004

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I remember this one time when I went on a vacation on the Maldives. That was in the year 2001, I think. I went to this spa. I went to walk around with my girlfriend. I walk in, and we want to book a spa. This guy goes, "AHH, I remember you. You beat Sampras. I saw you on TV." That was like, really, how can you remember me? This guy has probably never been off his island and still knows me. I was a little bit shocked. Then I went to play tennis with him because he was actually the tennis teacher. It was nice.

Q. Were you naked at the time in the spa?

ROGER FEDERER: No. It was at the front desk. I didn't walk in naked.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 04:36 PM
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogiman
Once I get through the lack-of-patience barrier and read your ever-lasting posts I always feel like these are the best pieces one could get his hand on in the entire board!
i agree, Rogiman. Sjengster Sometimes your paragraphs made me feel guilty of too much here

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 04:38 PM
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

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Originally Posted by alfonsojose
i agree, Rogiman. Sjengster Sometimes your paragraphs made me feel guilty of too much here
Maybe alfie, but the last time I openly criticised the anatomically-minded threads on here you dredged up my post in the "What's Lleyton got in his pants?" thread from the beginning of '03, so I'll have to be wary of being too judgmental.

The Wit and Wisdom of the Tennis Journalist, Indian Wells 2004

ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I remember this one time when I went on a vacation on the Maldives. That was in the year 2001, I think. I went to this spa. I went to walk around with my girlfriend. I walk in, and we want to book a spa. This guy goes, "AHH, I remember you. You beat Sampras. I saw you on TV." That was like, really, how can you remember me? This guy has probably never been off his island and still knows me. I was a little bit shocked. Then I went to play tennis with him because he was actually the tennis teacher. It was nice.

Q. Were you naked at the time in the spa?

ROGER FEDERER: No. It was at the front desk. I didn't walk in naked.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 04:59 PM
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

I highly doubt Berdych will reach top 5.

But I can almost guarantee Nadal, Johansson and Monfils will reach the top 10 at some point in their careers. Johansson already has, or he's come very close i'm not sure. Mark my words though, Rafa will be number 1. And you say he can only play on clay, he beat Federer 6-3 6-3 this time last year on hard when he was 17. He reached the Australian Open 4th round and was extremely close to knocking out Hewitt. He also reached the 3rd round at Wimbledon. Admittedly clay is his best surface but the kid is 18, he has plenty of time to develop his game on other surfaces. Monfils will also be a top top player in my opinion.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 05:36 PM
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

Good thread, uNIVERSE mAN.

Thanks for your input MTFers.

I need to see more of these players to get a good feel for where they are in the big picture. The little I've seen of Rafael makes me think he'll definitely make it to the top. I think JJ has a great game. The only thing I think he's lacking is experience and the ability to close the deal. I want to see more of Berdych. I haven't seen any complete matches of Young and Monfils. I think they are still a bit young, yet.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 05:48 PM
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

Yikes! I had a nice reply working...when my browser upchucked. I hate IE.

But to the question...don't know how much I really have to add that Sjengster has already (beautifully) said.

I had/have high hopes for Nadal...because I like his personality. He's still young enough that...if he's willing...he can develop a style of play that will succeed even on hard court. While he probably won't contend for a permanent place in the Top 5...I think he has what it takes to stay in a Masters seeded draw.

Berdyich...I haven't seen too much of...and JJ...needs to grow into his body. His height might actually be to his disadvantage...but he shows enough signs of being able to pull it together enough to have a nice little career. He just needs to get away from the Hewitt camp IMO (although it'll be hard to say 'no' to the in-laws ).

Nice topic, uNIVERSE mAN.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 06:13 PM
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

Gonna have to see more of these players.

Monfils had a huge following and great expectations. Here's hoping he'll show something at the FO.

Young is obviously the best US prospect.

Nadal could develop an all-court game with his speed. Or easily become another Hewitt. Pumped up little guy who gets balls back, but not mature enough of an all-around game to deal with the top-spinners Fed, Roddick, etc.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 06:33 PM
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

Sjengster already said it all in his(?) post, but as to my personal perspective:

I think that of all mentioned Nadal is the surest prospect simply because he seems to be the strongest mentally. Berdych is massively overhyped due to of his win over Fed. I remember seeing one of his matches at the last year's USO and I wasn't impressed at all.

I wish Monfils all the success simply because I'd like to see a black boy at the top of men's game (and no, I'm not black myself). It's purely sentimental. I liked Florian Mayer last year (i think it was match against Agassi, I don't remember where); I was hoping to see more of his game this year, but he kind of disappeared, so I don't know...

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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 03-23-2005, 06:35 PM
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Re: New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

i think its all about giving these guys some time to get better- becasue when they do get good there gonna be REALLY good- thats the thing. Future top tens even............................who really knows for sure.

Nieminen- The lucky lefty of tennis.
Sampras- The hairy champion of tennis.
Ferrero- The mosquito of tennis.
Srichaphan- The Thai- ger of tennis.
Safin - The of tennis.
Bagdatis- The quotesman of tennis "my coach will watch, i will sleep with my girlfriend"
Kiefer- The naive guy, "yeh, me and seb are good friends"
Santoro- The double handed wizard of tennis.
Lopez- IS my hair right? IS my lipstick right?
Moya- The tatoo and muscles of tennis (although nadal kicks his ass in that department).
Tipsarevic- The tatoo of tennis, competing with moya.
Djokovic- Stole Jiri's surname

Sorry if I left out your favourite, just PM me to let me know-- thanks.
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