Brad Gilbert's opinion on the Australian Open [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Brad Gilbert's opinion on the Australian Open

mangoes
01-11-2006, 10:15 PM
Federer, injuries headline Australian Open

By Brad Gilbert
Special to ESPN.com


Everything begins and ends in the same thought: Roger Federer.


He is such a dominant No. 1 right now, similar to the days when women like Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf or Monica Seles dominated. Every time Federer plays it's like he's a three-touchdown favorite.

We haven't seen the likes of this on the men's side in a long, long time. Pete Sampras was an incredible No. 1, but he would still lose every so often in the small tournaments. Federer is on a tremendous run (winning six of the last 10 Grand Slam events), and he's pacing himself tremendously well by not overplaying. He's really peaking for each of the majors. So he obviously goes into the Australian Open as the huge favorite to win.


Now, with all of the injuries, there's a cloud of uncertainty for the rest of the men's field. It's a crushing blow to the men's side that Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal are out of the tournament, because I expected both to be able to challenge Federer. Nadal brings such excitement and personality to the court -- plus, he's my favorite player to watch. Defending champion Marat Safin, who beat Federer in the semifinals last year, withdrew Tuesday because of tendinitis in his right knee. Federer doesn't need any help to begin with, and with Agassi and Nadal out, it really lessens the men's field.

The absence of Agassi and Nadal is a huge benefit for Andy Roddick, because he will now be the No. 2 seed and on the opposite side of the bracket from Federer. His game is well-suited for Australia and we could be looking at a Roddick-Federer final.


Roddick has the monster weapon (his serve) and when the courts are hot, his game plays quite a bit faster. (Federer always says he likes the court slower.) When the surface is faster, it makes Roddick's serve that much harder to break. The fans wanted to see Roddick and Federer become a rivalry, but considering Federer has won 10 of 11 matches against Roddick, it's pretty lopsided.

If Roddick can win in a big match over Federer, it will turn his career around. That's what he needs more than anything to jump-start his career. And if he can get one against Federer at a Grand Slam, that will take his game to another level. Of the four majors, the best chance Roddick has against Federer is in Australia. (If Roddick is the No. 2 seed, the only time he can play Federer is in finals.)

Like Agassi, Roddick really prospers in 100-degree weather. He relishes it and for a lot of these players early in the year, coming from Europe, the hot weather doesn't agree with them as much. That could be another big advantage for Roddick.


Lleyton Hewitt will be scrappy and will probably be around as the tournament goes on. Tomas Berdych is one to watch and David Nalbandian can play well Down Under. The two young Frenchmen, Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils, could make some noise and perhaps Andrew Murray as well. All of these young guys are worth watching, but I'll be shocked if, on the final weekend, you don't see Federer for the title.


Brad Gilbert, Top 5 player and former coach of Andre Agassi, is providing ESPN.com with analysis throughout the Australian Open. For more, log onto bradgilberttennis.com



http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/aus06/columns/story?id=2286712

rexman
01-11-2006, 10:20 PM
Blah Blah Blah Roddick in final blah blah blah

Jimnik
01-11-2006, 10:24 PM
Oh why did Andy have to sack him? I really liked him.
Interesting that he thinks Andy's chances against Fed are better here than at Wimbledon. I'd love to see a Federer v Roddick Aus Open final. No, I don't think Andy would be the fav but I do think it would be an interesting contest.

mangoes
01-11-2006, 10:31 PM
The thing is, I think Andy will have a lot more to worry about than just possibly playing Roger in the Final. I think he has lost his intimidation factor with a lot of players who now think they can easily take him on.......and a lot can......... I would be willing to put money on Hewitt making it to the Semifinals, but I find it hard to put money on Andy reaching the semifinals.

Jimnik
01-11-2006, 10:40 PM
I don't think it's a question of intimidating his opponents. I think he needs to try to return better, like he did in 2003.

Andy said once that he considers his return game more important than his serve, and I agree with him. Even back in 2001, he was often breaking his opponents 2 or 3 times per set but last year it was more like once per set (or sometimes not at all). He was being taken to too many tie-breakers, even against low ranked players - like Muller at the US Open.

Hopefully, on the slower rebound ace courts, he'll be able to find his rhythm on the return again.

R.Federer
01-11-2006, 10:55 PM
So is leyton #3 then? is it definite that leyton will be in Roge's half?
Maybe Australia will do for leyton (being last year's finalist) what wimbledon did for andi, and seed leyton 2.... I don't expect it, but I guess it could happen

mangoes
01-11-2006, 11:00 PM
I don't think it's a question of intimidating his opponents. I think he needs to try to return better, like he did in 2003.

Andy said once that he considers his return game more important than his serve, and I agree with him. Even back in 2001, he was often breaking his opponents 2 or 3 times per set but last year it was more like once per set (or sometimes not at all). He was being taken to too many tie-breakers, even against low ranked players - like Muller at the US Open.

Hopefully, on the slower rebound ace courts, he'll be able to find his rhythm on the return again.


Well, maybe I should clarify and say the factors that caused his opponents to be intimidated by him.

Lisbeth
01-11-2006, 11:05 PM
He thought Agassi could have challenged Federer?! Interesting ;)

World Beater
01-11-2006, 11:33 PM
He thought Agassi could have challenged Federer?! Interesting ;)

he thinks agassi is g^d.

if gilbert werent married, he'd be gay for andre.

Corswandt
01-11-2006, 11:38 PM
he thinks agassi is g^d.

if gilbert werent married, he'd be gay for andre.

:lol:

Lisbeth
01-11-2006, 11:40 PM
he thinks agassi is g^d.

if gilbert werent married, he'd be gay for andre.

:lol:

he must have been devastated when they broke up :sad:

Baseline
01-11-2006, 11:44 PM
So is leyton #3 then? is it definite that leyton will be in Roge's half?
Maybe Australia will do for leyton (being last year's finalist) what wimbledon did for andi, and seed leyton 2.... I don't expect it, but I guess it could happen

In 2005 Safin was #4 seed and in 2nd quarter, lost to Fed in SF - Hewitt was #3 seed and in 3rd quarter and played Safin in the final. 3 & 4 were in same quarters in 2004, but in 2003 it was the more traditional way with #3 in half with #1 and #4 in half with #2.

What I'm wondering is when the decision over which configuration to use is made ? I haven't seen anything on it in advance. Changing the layout of the draw can potentially influence the outcomes, at least for some of the players.

Lisbeth
01-11-2006, 11:46 PM
I think it's just a random draw, so #1 and #2 are always on opposite sides, but then either #3 or #4 can be drawn to meet #1. It's not a decision anyone makes.

Baseline
01-11-2006, 11:57 PM
I think it's just a random draw, so #1 and #2 are always on opposite sides, but then either #3 or #4 can be drawn to meet #1. It's not a decision anyone makes.

That would be fairer IMO - didn't know they drew for that, at the draw ceremony then? I don't think other tournaments draw for it though, just automatically put #3 on #1 side, etc... Thanks for the info!

Winston's Human
01-12-2006, 04:38 AM
In 2005 Safin was #4 seed and in 2nd quarter, lost to Fed in SF - Hewitt was #3 seed and in 3rd quarter and played Safin in the final. 3 & 4 were in same quarters in 2004, but in 2003 it was the more traditional way with #3 in half with #1 and #4 in half with #2.

What I'm wondering is when the decision over which configuration to use is made ? I haven't seen anything on it in advance. Changing the layout of the draw can potentially influence the outcomes, at least for some of the players.

Not only is it random with no traditional configuration. Over the past decade (or forty slams), each configuration has occurred twenty times.

Interestingly, all four slams are split 6-4 in configurations over the past decade. 1-3/2-4 has occured six times at the French Open and at Wimbledon. 1-4/2-3 has occurred six times at the Australian Open and the US Open.

Baseline
01-12-2006, 04:52 AM
Not only is it random with no traditional configuration. Over the past decade (or forty slams), each configuration has occurred twenty times.

Interestingly, all four slams are split 6-4 in configurations over the past decade. 1-3/2-4 has occured six times at the French Open and at Wimbledon. 1-4/2-3 has occurred six times at the Australian Open and the US Open.

It does seem to run in mini-stretches though (maybe like probability stats do?) e.g. USO has been 1/3 & 2/4 for the last few years and Oz Open 1/4 & 2/3 for the last two. Those kind of runs were probably what made me think one way was "traditional." Very interesting breakdown - so things do even out over the longer run, but 6-4 isn't even yet.

So how do they draw for that? Is it drawn first off? Do they choose the # or by the player name? Just curious about the mechanics. #1 and 2 are always fixed though, aren't they?

Thanks for the info!

nkhera1
01-12-2006, 04:55 AM
1 and 2 are automatically on opposite sides, but after that it all picked from a machine that Andy Roddick has nothing to do with.

Winston's Human
01-12-2006, 05:01 AM
It does seem to run in mini-stretches though (maybe like probability stats do?) e.g. USO has been 1/3 & 2/4 for the last few years and Oz Open 1/4 & 2/3 for the last two. Those kind of runs were probably what made me think one way was "traditional." Very interesting breakdown - so things do even out over the longer run, but 6-4 isn't even yet.

So how do they draw for that? Is it drawn first off? Do they choose the # or by the player name? Just curious about the mechanics. #1 and 2 are always fixed though, aren't they?

Thanks for the info!

That I do not know.

Baseline
01-12-2006, 05:02 AM
1 and 2 are automatically on opposite sides, but after that it all picked from a machine that Andy Roddick has nothing to do with.

lol - just to be clear, Andy Roddick had nothing to do with my answer. I don't think draws are fixed BTW. I just thought the fixed spots for the highest seeds extended to #4, not just to #2. Putting certain numbers in certain slots does protect the higher ranked players early on, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing - fans want to see the top players playing, so tournaments need that to pull in more people. Without some profit aspect the game might be even less available to fans than it is now.

nkhera1
01-12-2006, 05:04 AM
lol - just to be clear, Andy Roddick had nothing to do with my answer. I don't think draws are fixed BTW. I just thought the fixed spots for the highest seeds extended to #4, not just to #2. Putting certain numbers in certain slots does protect the higher ranked players early on, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing - fans want to see the top players playing, so tournaments need that to pull in more people. Without some profit aspect the game might be even less available to fans than it is now.

I wasn't referring to you, I'm referring to others who feel that Roddick has been cheating and they know who they are, but other than the 1 and 2 seed every other seed can be placed pretty much everywhere.

Deboogle!.
01-12-2006, 05:11 AM
lol - just to be clear, Andy Roddick had nothing to do with my answer. I don't think draws are fixed BTW. I just thought the fixed spots for the highest seeds extended to #4, not just to #2. Putting certain numbers in certain slots does protect the higher ranked players early on, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing - fans want to see the top players playing, so tournaments need that to pull in more people. Without some profit aspect the game might be even less available to fans than it is now.Spots 1 and 2 are absolutely fixed at the top and bottom of the draw. 3 and 4 aren't fixed except that they must be drawn into the 2nd and 3rd quarters of the draw so they will be in opposite halves but there is a 50/50 chance of that happening. Seeds 1-4 draw seeds 5-8 in the quarters, and so on. So it's fixed, but only to a certain excent.

Winston's Human
01-12-2006, 12:25 PM
It does seem to run in mini-stretches though (maybe like probability stats do?) e.g. USO has been 1/3 & 2/4 for the last few years and Oz Open 1/4 & 2/3 for the last two. Those kind of runs were probably what made me think one way was "traditional." Very interesting breakdown - so things do even out over the longer run, but 6-4 isn't even yet.

So how do they draw for that? Is it drawn first off? Do they choose the # or by the player name? Just curious about the mechanics. #1 and 2 are always fixed though, aren't they?

Thanks for the info!

I looked back another ten years to see if there was a trend. The answer is no.

In the past twenty years (or eighty slams), the 1-4/2-3 configuration has occurred forty-one times and the 1-3/2-4 configuration has occurred thirty-nine times.

Wimbledon leans toward the 1-3/2-4 configuration while the US Open leans toward the 1-4/2-3 configuration.

Gigan
01-12-2006, 08:12 PM
He thought Agassi could have challenged Federer?! Interesting ;)
he made a mistake:
David Nalbandian will beat federer soon ;)

Fumus
01-12-2006, 08:25 PM
I think Roddick's best shot a beating Federer is at Wimbledon. Doesn't the Aussie play into Federer's hand more?

Merton
01-13-2006, 12:17 AM
In terms of surface, the A.O. appears the best for Andy, but considering the home/crowd support/proximity/comfort factors, the U.S. Open is by far his best.

Merton
01-13-2006, 12:20 AM
I think Roddick's best shot a beating Federer is at Wimbledon. Doesn't the Aussie play into Federer's hand more?

His best chances are in a North American hard court. His worst would be on clay but i would be extremely surprised if they ever met there, unless it is for Davis Cup. (Switzerland would pick clay for sure against the U.S.)

PamV
01-13-2006, 12:24 AM
Oh why did Andy have to sack him? I really liked him.
Interesting that he thinks Andy's chances against Fed are better here than at Wimbledon. I'd love to see a Federer v Roddick Aus Open final. No, I don't think Andy would be the fav but I do think it would be an interesting contest.

It appears he's saying Roddick's chances are best in Australia because he will be seeded #2. That gives him a better chance at least getting to the final.

PamV
01-13-2006, 12:26 AM
In terms of surface, the A.O. appears the best for Andy, but considering the home/crowd support/proximity/comfort factors, the U.S. Open is by far his best.

Isn't grass Roddick's best surface? He's won Queen's twice in a row and made it to the Wimbledon final twice in a row. It seems the fast surface makes Roddick's serve more of a weapon than anywhere else.

wipeout
01-13-2006, 12:47 AM
Although Gilbert is obviously writing for the American market, guys like Hewitt, Ljubicic and Nalbandian are worth more than just a brief mention (or not mention at all). Not to mention guys like Blake, Ancic, Gasquet and Gonzo being dangerous to everyone. :)

But this is no way to talk about last year's finalist and the guy in the tournament with the 2nd best career record right now: "Lleyton Hewitt will be scrappy and will probably be around as the tournament goes on."

heya
01-13-2006, 01:29 AM
No one can disagree that Gilbert is slightly insecure. He acknowledged that he had problems communicating with his father. It partially explains why he wants to be accepted as everyone's overbearing daddy. Agassi and Roddick came to him like cookie chomping children.

Haute
01-13-2006, 02:31 AM
Blah Blah Blah Roddick in final blah blah blah

:lol: That sums it up perfectly! :yeah:

nkhera1
01-13-2006, 03:36 AM
I think Roddick's best shot a beating Federer is at Wimbledon. Doesn't the Aussie play into Federer's hand more?

Federer's best surface is also grass, I think Roddick's best chance is on hard courts like the U.S. Open where he will have great crowd support.