Fabulous Four Go Missing In Action [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

Fabulous Four Go Missing In Action

aneevar
04-16-2006, 07:47 AM
Interesting article.



Vol:29 Iss:15 URL: http://www.tssonnet.com/tss2915/stories/20060415006902500.htm
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TENNIS

Fabulous four go missing in action

Whatever, it's bizarre. Of the four men to precede ROGER FEDERER as the best player in the world, only one sits in the top 10. They're losing to players they'd blush to lose a set to, writes ROHIT BRIJNATH.




Blame it on injury. Put it down to a virus. Explain it as a repercussion of marriage and babies. Fault it on slowly leaching self-belief. Shrug it off as coincidence.

Whatever, it's bizarre. Of the four men to precede Roger Federer as the best player in the world, only one sits in the top 10. They're losing to players they'd blush to lose a set to. Between them they haven't won a tournament this year. And at 24, 25, 23 and 26 it's not quite that they're reaching for their dentures in the morning.

Marat Safin isn't even the hottest Russian any more. Nor Andy Roddick the highest ranked American. Nor Juan Carlos Ferrero the Spanish flavour that counts.

Only Lleyton Hewitt leads his nation's rankings and some of it is because a tennis country that once produced Grand Slam champions from a slot machine has fallen on hard times. Tennis needs someone to pound a few holes into the big Swiss cheese, but nope, everyone's leaving that heavy lifting to Rafael Nadal. For God's sakes, said a fellow called Pete who knows a little about these things, serve big, attack, don't let Roger own the baseline. Do something, dudes.

Do something? Hell, as of now some of these major talents (and all four are Grand Slam winners) have turned to such comparative mush they'd buy an entire continent a drink if they could get the ball back five times a row. As individual slumps go maybe they're not unusual, but collectively it's perplexing.

Ferrero, world No.1 in September 2003, the year he won the French, is now No.15, though it's a fair distance from No. 98 he got to in early 2005, a year in which he got further at Wimbledon than at Roland Garros. Huh? The Mosquito was all buzzing brilliance, now he merely gets swatted around, a lightweight hero who's just not the same player since chicken pox came calling in 2004 and he hurt his wrist. Say Safin and you shrug, you sigh, you throw up your hands, which is a fair impersonation of him on court. When he won the Australian Open last year (the last Slam won by any of the four), we giddily proclaimed him as the new Safin, the sober, steady, steely Safin, whereupon he did not win a tournament for the rest of the year.

Sure his knee has been prodded by surgeons more times than Henin-Hardenne has failed to apologise for quitting the Australian Open final, and a big man on a bum leg can only go so far, and he didn't play since August last year till after the Aussie Open this year.

But there's still a suggestion that the maverick Moscowite's real injury is far south of his legs. In the mood, he, No. 1 in November 2000, is the only man on hard court with Federer's measure. Now only if he can find it. If you're feeling uncharitable and, alas, it's not that hard for some when it comes to Lleyton Hewitt, you'd say the 2001 world No.1, former champion at the US Open and Wimbledon, was only filling the vacuum from the time Pete started to wane and Roger got ready.

Forget it, the kid, still only 25, can play, an under-sized, rugged warrior, who'd leave the Energiser bunny wetting its pants, and owns a heart bigger than his racket-head. Hewitt got hitched to an actress last year, had a baby girl, had his foot surgically repaired, his ribs broken, and the chip on his shoulder that provokes seemed to get blunted.

For long everyone said big lungs are only temporary compensation for a small game, and when Hewitt fell to fellows called Phillip Kohlschreiber this year, and Andreas Seppi, guys he ate for breakfast once without needing to even burp, something was up. Hewitt's train runs on the fuel of consistency, but he was missing lines, making friends too often with net, and if you're not going to smack winners then you can't afford to marry error. It's why he's No.12.

But of all four players, Hewitt, because he probably grins mirthlessly in his dreams while prying away a doll from a pack of terriers, is best equipped to return to the top five. He's got to two finals this year and has still got some snarl left in his stomach, enough you think to scratch, scuffle, claw his way into some sort of future contention.

Could Andy Roddick? We don't know, no one knows. He's still up there at a No. 4, but it's a ranking that belies a freefall that has its roots in a first-round US Open loss to Giles Muller. When the affable American, No. 1 in November 2003, said grimly last month, "I'm not the captain of team fun right now", it's serious.

Roddick was never the win-on-points, jab-away boxer, he was the go-in, one-two-you're-down pugilist, a left hook of a serve followed by a right cross of a forehand.

Then people started getting up from the canvas. Then Roger did a Muhammad Ali on him. Then he got confused. Stay back or go forward? Big shot or rally? Inside the baseline or play from the linesman's lap?

It didn't help you can buy a big forehand over the counter these days. Or that returning radars are more sophisticated. Or that as obvious flaws go his backhand is up there with Maria Sharapova's manners (go up a break, she'll take a toilet break). Only 23, a likeable kid has not reached a final in five tournaments this year, blown his top in a match and changed his coach. Maybe, though, Roddick's onto something when he says: "I tinkered and I'm getting back to untinkering."

For all the minor malfunctions of technique, the miscalculations in strategy, the ultimate betrayal arrives in the mind. Questions, questions, questions where once only answers flowed. On top of their games, everything is instinctive, talent released without thought, or as Hewitt put it recently: "I've just got to go out there and play on auto pilot like you do when you're in the top two or three in the world."

Now the natural has become difficult, doubt impeding the journey from idea to execution, a universe of certainty invaded by second guessing. The great player in control thrives on tension, eats it, wears it, he beckons the big point for it defines him.

Hewitt articulated it finely when he said: "At the moment it feels like I've got to work it a little bit more and push through some of the tougher times, where when you're playing your best tennis you go out there and it's a matter of you know what's going to happen on the big points and you expect to win those, and that's probably the biggest change."

Be a hero, write them off, look silly. Safin and Hewitt are arguably great players, Roddick and Ferrero very good ones.

They are not foreigners to brilliance and, hopefully, for a game crying for a rivalry, have only temporarily strayed from a familiar road to victory.

mojo37_12
04-16-2006, 07:54 AM
That was an interesting read. :yeah: I agree on most points. Tennis right now, like in most sports, just isn't fun when only one person dominates.

Action Jackson
04-16-2006, 07:56 AM
Roddick is still the number 1 American in the rankings.

Allez
04-16-2006, 08:24 AM
Marat may be ranked very low, but none of the other Russians can beat him. I think it's only a matter of time before he gets back to the top 10. I'm a little worried about this knee. If there wasn't any actual surgery done on it what the hell kept him out for so long. What were the doctors doing to him ?

JCF is finished. I just can't see him becoming as good as he once was.

Andy - The jury's out on him. If he fails on grass then he's in trouble.

Lleyton - Not really worried about him. A bit of a slump at the mo, but he should be back. No question.

Castafiore
04-16-2006, 08:40 AM
Hewitt, because he probably grins mirthlessly in his dreams while prying away a doll from a pack of terriers
I love this quote! I do hope that Hewitt gets his snarl back, his chip on his shoulders because I miss it: it was very odd to see him so subdued in the USO last year.
COME ON, Lleyton!

Thanks you for posting this article!

mer
04-16-2006, 09:18 AM
I'm a little worried about this knee. If there wasn't any actual surgery done on it what the hell kept him out for so long. What were the doctors doing to him ?



from Marat's itw's

Q. So there was an alternate method, then, for you?

MARAT SAFIN: Yes, that's what they told me. Try to do physiotherapy and take it easy, six months off, and just give it at least a chance to come back. If it's surgery, it's like flip a coin. Give yourself a chance, recovery this way, and see how it's gonna happen. Then supposedly it's -- well, it's feeling okay, and they, of course, told me it's gonna be pain until the end of my life. So it's just -- it got chronic, all these things...
. Have you talked to any doctors that have suggested they can fix it?

MARAT SAFIN: No, they all said the same. Of course, there is a lot of geniuses that they think they know better than others. They say just to open me, let me have the surgery. But is just another 50 doctors that say don't do it because something might go wrong, the operation, you are done. You have no even option to come back. Like this, if it will take me a little bit longer, seven months instead of maybe four months, but 50/50 chances, at least you have an opportunity to play. That's why I choose this, the slower rehabilitation just to make sure that I'll be playing for another few years.

NATAS81
04-16-2006, 09:20 AM
Everything is 50/50 with this guy.

Not really news-worthy. :lol:

propi
04-16-2006, 10:34 AM
Oh please... look the competition that Marat, Andy and Juanqui have to become number 1 national tennis player and compare it with Lleyton's :rolleyes:

madmanfool
04-16-2006, 10:55 AM
I don't get this guy. First he says Roddick isn't the top American and then he writes he's the number 4 on the ranking(which is correct btw). What, he thinks Agassi is number two???

mangoes
04-16-2006, 01:53 PM
Safin - will return to top 5 if his injury is healed......

Hewitt - If he can bring some balance to his life, he'll return to the top 6.

Andy - Wimbledon will say a lot. As of right now, I simply don't know if he is coming or going.

Ferrero - He sang his swan song already.....

Jairus
04-17-2006, 06:37 PM
This guy had way to many weird metaphors (or similies) that were just utterly forced. Took away from the article.

LoveFifteen
04-17-2006, 07:44 PM
Roddick is still the number 1 American in the rankings.

Please don't remind us. :bigcry:

robinhood
04-17-2006, 08:13 PM
I don't get this guy. First he says Roddick isn't the top American and then he writes he's the number 4 on the ranking(which is correct btw). What, he thinks Agassi is number two???

I think he may be saying that Roddick, the highest ranked American, is not the "hottest American" at the moment.

16681
04-18-2006, 04:22 AM
I think he may be saying that Roddick, the highest ranked American, is not the "hottest American" at the moment.
That makes more sense, but that wasn't what was written.
Maybe a proofreader was needed :lol:

Deboogle!.
04-18-2006, 04:29 AM
I think he may be saying that Roddick, the highest ranked American, is not the "hottest American" at the moment.Maybe, but maybe he missed the Davis Cup tie last weekend. :) And, that's not what he said. He said "not the highest ranked" - so if that's not what he meant, he did a very poor job of making that clear.

What was the point of this article, exactly? It was sort of a jumbled mess of ideas without saying much, except stating the obvious that Marat, Lleyton, JCF, and Andy are all struggling - for very disparate and various reasons I'd suggest. Like if that was his point, he's trying to compete with Brad for the captain obvious title:shrug:

Haute
04-18-2006, 04:56 AM
I'm irritated by the way he wrote on JC getting chicken pox and "hurting his wrist" to make it sound like they were no biggies, but then failing to mention at the same time that JC broke a rib. JC's real problem has been with his confidence, but that doesn't mean his injuries in '04 should be trivialized.

ys
04-18-2006, 04:59 AM
But there's still a suggestion that the maverick Moscowite's real injury is far south of his legs.

Does Mr. ROHIT BRIJNATH know where the south is? :lol:

nobama
04-18-2006, 05:04 AM
Roddick is still the number 1 American in the rankings.I'm guessing he meant Roddick isn't the hottest American even though he's still the #1 in terms of ranking.