New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch. [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

New challengers at the top of men's tennis? not from this batch.

uNIVERSE mAN
03-23-2005, 05:08 PM
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.

Sjengster
03-23-2005, 05:19 PM
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.

CooCooCachoo
03-23-2005, 05:23 PM
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? :cuckoo:

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 :sad:

uNIVERSE mAN
03-23-2005, 05:29 PM
You are comparing Monfils to Verdasco or López? :cuckoo:



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?

Rogiman
03-23-2005, 05:30 PM
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! :worship:

CooCooCachoo
03-23-2005, 05:30 PM
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?

:lol: You just called three Junior slams crappy :lol:

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.

Sjengster
03-23-2005, 05:34 PM
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! :worship:

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.

alfonsojose
03-23-2005, 05:36 PM
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! :worship:
i agree, Rogiman. Sjengster :hug: Sometimes your paragraphs made me feel guilty :o of :drool: too much here ;)

Sjengster
03-23-2005, 05:38 PM
i agree, Rogiman. Sjengster :hug: Sometimes your paragraphs made me feel guilty :o of :drool: 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. ;)

adeegee
03-23-2005, 05:59 PM
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.

jmp
03-23-2005, 06:36 PM
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.

Angle Queen
03-23-2005, 06:48 PM
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 :rolleyes: ).

Nice topic, uNIVERSE mAN. :yeah:

NATAS81
03-23-2005, 07:13 PM
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.

foul_dwimmerlaik
03-23-2005, 07:33 PM
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...

Rex
03-23-2005, 07:35 PM
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.

CooCooCachoo
03-23-2005, 07:45 PM
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...

You can't blame a guy for not playing when injured ;) Florian has had injury problems after (and most probably during and before) the Australian Open, and has had big problems getting back into shape. He's very talented, so I hope he can once again do well during the clay season, because there is where he has points to defend.

Cervantes
03-23-2005, 08:01 PM
Nadal will become a dominant force on clay and therefore could easily get into the top 5 of the world (see Coria, Ferrero, Kuerten among others). I don't see Berdych reaching top 10 as of yet and I haven't seen Monfils actually play for a whole match, so I don't know about him. But like Sjengster said only time will tell.

foul_dwimmerlaik
03-23-2005, 08:08 PM
You can't blame a guy for not playing when injured ;) Florian has had injury problems after (and most probably during and before) the Australian Open, and has had big problems getting back into shape. He's very talented, so I hope he can once again do well during the clay season, because there is where he has points to defend.
Oh. I didn't know he was injured. Thanks for clarifying this and hope to see more of him in the future.

uNIVERSE mAN
03-23-2005, 08:16 PM
CooCoo, I didn't really mean crappy junior tournaments, I used the wrong word, I should have said insignificant, but I think if we used juniors as any kind of barometer we'd have Michael Chang as an all-time great, with all the early signs he showed. There's way too much development that takes shape in the real game, juniors doesn't mean much in the men's game.

There are the elements of strength, experience and potential that are huge factors.

Sjengster
08-22-2005, 08:28 PM
*bump*

This won't be a regular thing, I promise, but it's interesting to see how quickly opinions can be proved wrong... including my own. Mind you, look how Pim-Pim has fared since this thread was made.

vincayou
08-22-2005, 10:41 PM
Yes that's quite scary. Consider it was less than 6 months ago, I'm pretty sure that the thread about the 2 groups of young players will be pretty amusing to read in 3 or 4 years. :)

Merton
08-22-2005, 10:46 PM
It is interesting that Gasquet was totally out of view at the time, yet he is a solid top-20 6 months later.

The Pro
08-25-2005, 01:06 PM
Hind-sight isn't a gift, it's a curse :sad: