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LIFETIME MUG
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Surprised to see a friend of mine who's the biggest Rafatard on the planet edging Djokovic for the final. How can you possibly argue with that?

Djokovic @ 2.10
 

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Surprised to see a friend of mine who's the biggest Rafatard on the planet edging Djokovic for the final. How can you possibly argue with that?

Djokovic @ 2.10
That means nothing, with all due respect. Nadal has dominated this tournament and while his competition hasn't been as fierce as Novak's, Murray was eaten alive yesterday and he is no slouch. I am slightly concerned with Djokovic and how tired he looked out there at times vs Gulbis too. I was favouring Novak for quite some time before and during the tournament but I have to give the slight edge to Rafa now. I am not betting the farm on this one but I'll take Nadal -125 money line.
 

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Is there any news on Djokovic' health?

My concern is whether Nadal can handle Djokovic' power.

I'm considering putting some money on Djokovic. I feel he has the edge over Nadal, and has for awhile now.
 

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How about Nadal's health.
If I look at his average first-serve speed, he was hampered by it in the second and third round (when he averaged around 165 km/h), but not in his other matches (where he averaged around 175 km/h). That is, I take it you're referring to his back problem. Do you feel he was still bother by it in the quarter-final and semi-final?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
No, and that was my point, as neither player will be affected by it. Maybe the conditions are favouring Rafa but then again rain is forecast for tomorrow and that might favour Novak. Either way, those who want to back Rafa will back Rafa and those who want to back Novak will back Novak. Judging by last year's final and looking at current form Novak looks closer to winning than ever before, would you disagree with that.

I'm not saying he will, I'm saying he can.
 

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No, and that was my point, as neither player will be affected by it. Maybe the conditions are favouring Rafa but then again rain is forecast for tomorrow and that might favour Novak. Either way, those who want to back Rafa will back Rafa and those who want to back Novak will back Novak. Judging by last year's final and looking at current form Novak looks closer to winning than ever before, would you disagree with that.

I'm not saying he will, I'm saying he can.
OK, I understand. And yes, I agree with you that Novak looks closer to winning than ever before. I'm sure he believes he can win. It will probably be the one who has more confidence who will win.

Hope it will be a classic and I hope Nadal will win (but I often bet against the person I root for, to have some form of emotional compensation when they lose).
 

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[email protected] have waited for this bet for a while, lil bit worried by jokers bug in the semis but he should be ok after two days this is it for joker his holy grail he should be pumped and primed for this one, have already swapped 5k for a voucher so will load up if he looks good
 

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That means nothing, with all due respect. Nadal has dominated this tournament and while his competition hasn't been as fierce as Novak's, Murray was eaten alive yesterday and he is no slouch. I am slightly concerned with Djokovic and how tired he looked out there at times vs Gulbis too. I was favouring Novak for quite some time before and during the tournament but I have to give the slight edge to Rafa now. I am not betting the farm on this one but I'll take Nadal -125 money line.
Murray was running on fumes against Rafa. I wouldn't read too much into that scoreline.

Djokovic has easily been tested more the last 2 weeks without being drained out. Seems like an ideal preparation for him coming into the final.
 

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Doubts about his fitness but tweets from journalists at the court seem to indicate that he looked fine in the morning practice.

Strange
 

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Djokovic had an absolutely excellent draw for himself leading up to this. Chardy beat Fed in Rome and that's a rough second round draw especially against a Parisian at Roland Garros in the second round but it was utter domination. Cilic is a guy Nole could easily see in the quarters. Instead, he beat him with good margin in a 3rd round test. Tsonga, again a Frenchman in Paris, attempting to defend SF points here and having the confidence of taking Nole to 5 long sets here 2 years ago was treated like a qualifier. Novak only allowed him 2 breadsticks and a total of 6 games. Raonic then in the quarters who is an awkward warmup leading towards Rafa but once again the best player in the world swept him aside and continued on his mission. Gulbis is finally emerging as one of the best in the game and his ceiling is probably right on par with where Soderling was when he had to give up the game. Both with long, awkward but effective forehands but the backhand and serve are what get it done. Gulbis probably has a slightly better serve than Robin so after beating #17 and Berdych you know that's a stern test. But just as he has historically Djokovic showed that he's the best in the game at beating the big guys with the big guns. You would think that a guy like Djokovic would have trouble against huge hitters but his game is so absolutely amazing that he slices and dices them with ease. You know how good a guy is when he beats a guy who is just on the outside of the top 10 and probably a top 5 player very soon in 4 relatively none suspenseful sets. A lot of guys might have succumbed to this Gulbis who should now be considered the head of the pack when you talk about guys under 25 who will win a slam (No way Nishikori has the fitness to contend for a title over a 2 week period and a 5 set format with the WTA level fitness he has and Raonic is nothing but a slightly more refined Isner. Of course many think it's Dmitrov who will be in the next wave but aside from Roger getting on another powerhouse run or two there's no guy, atleast till 2020, that I see who can win slams with any consistency owning a one handed backhand. In fact I think within 15 years it will be a rarity to see anyone on the tour at all who doesn't use two hands on that wing). The way Ernie is playing and the form that he's in right now could have spelled trouble for a lot of the top 5 (and it did for Roger and Bird), but not Djokovic at the moment. There's not much that's coming in his way.

It just goes to tell you what kind of year Fed is having thus far this year. He's won 2 of his 3 meetings against Nole (I know Nole was slightly injured at the principality but that happens). There isn't much that's going to give Novak resistance for the remainder of this campaign and the next two full years except an injury. He looks primed to go on a Fed type run from 05-08 and that's not even taking into account that at the age of 27 he's got 6 slams plus 6 finalist showings. I know Rafa beat him less than a year ago to take down #13 at Flushing Meadows, he's still almost a 50/50 favorite at Roland Garros for atleast one more full season and he already has 13 of them but I definitely see Novak having more of a chance at 17 than Nadal does. That may sound clinically insane since Nadal is only a year older than the Serb but when you think about the fact that Nole's body seems like a machine designed to play tennis and no serious back or knee problems has to give you the feeling that Novak is going to be atleast a semifinalist at every slam the next 2 and a half year. Djokovic has won 12 of the last 18 meetings with the Spaniard including 4 in a row, an even 4-4 record against Nadal on clay during this time frame (who on earth can claim they've played Rafa to a draw over any 8 match stretch on clay? Novak is 12-4 in finals against Nadal during that stretch.

So then the plethora of ? marks begin to spiral.

- Q: Will Nadal, who is going for his unprecedented and probably incomparable 9th Roland Garros trophy, feel more pressure than Nole who is going for the career slam, his first in 18 months and #7 over his career which will break a tie with coach Boris Becker and ironically enough, coach of rival Roger Federer moving him to #8 on the all time list.
A: Nadal definitely feels the heat more today. It's strange to say that when referring to a man who has won 66 of 67 matches at this venue and has won the title here 8 of the last 9 years but that's exactly what's going to happen. Rafa is a different breed than Djokovic. The Serb had to suffer early on in his career in more ways than one to win but Nadal, who came onto the scene with guns blazing feels unique pressure now when stepping between the nets on the dirt when Novak is on the other side. Think about how strange it must feel for him. He has absolutely owned the surface and hasn't been touched by anyone often times humiliating the man who has the most slams ever during a time period where Roger was as dominant as, well, Rafa is on clay. Nadal routinely strAight set beatdown the seemingly helpless Swiss and in addition to that dominated the rest of the world whenever anyone came in his way. This is Nadal's pride, his honor, his territory, everything is supposed to spell only one winner. When Novak and Nadal first met on clay was here on this court 8 years ago. Djokovic didn't even finish the match 4 and 4 before yelling uncle and heading for the showers. Nadal then won the NEXT SEVEN meetings the two had on clay and not only did he win some would say he hammered Djokovic in every meeting. Nadal won a dazzling 21 of 24 sets during that 8 match winning streak against Djokovic so, although by this point Nole was already considered third favorite to win the trophy at every slam after Rafa and Roger, one would have to be crazy to think that Djokovic had an even decent chance to ever compete on the clay against Nadal and was just another name on a ruthless list of victims for Nadal. But something happened, ironically enough in Spain in Madrid in 2009. Djokovic didn't win, but bloodied up Nadal so good in a match some consider the greatest 3 setter ever that not only helped Roger Federer make easy work of Nadal in the final, give Djokovic some belief but most of all planted just the smallest seed of doubt into Nadal's head about the ability of the 22 year old Serbian on Nadal's playground. If it didn't, Nadal definitely felt that Djokovic was the only man that most likely stood between Nadal and the trophy in any clay court tournament the Spaniard entered in. Think about how much of an edge Djokovic must have right now. He owns a 15-8 record against Nadal in their last 20 meetings (No one is even close to having a winning record against Nadal after 10 matches in a row), he's taken an AMS 1000 title from the claws of Rafa each of the last 4 years (6 in those 4 seasons) and 4 wins in a row dating back to the fall of 2013. Nadal felt the pressure last year which is why he was forced to being a break down in the decider after having a 2-1 lead. Some will say Novak was the bigger choker that day considering the big lead he blew but I think this Djokovic has gotten a lot better than the 2013 version (especially on this court) and Nadal now is definitely significantly inferior in form as opposed to 2013 (everyone is saying Nadal is in blistering form but beating down on Ginepri, Theim, Mayer and Lajovic en route to a QF is probably one of the easiest draws at a grand slam ever. Nadal did avenge a loss on clay to a guy who Rafa has turned into his whipping boy when he beat Ferrer but the win in the semis doesn't do anything for me. Murray could have just as easily gotten dumped in the 3rd round than appear in the final 4. The one thing that will help Nadal is that on every surface other than clay you can call Murray a B version of Djokovic but on clay there's no comparison between the two. Djokovic is much, MUCH more daunting than Muzza at this stage. Not sure why everyone is making such a big deal about Nadals "run" to the finals. Federer, Djokovic, a healthy Delpo, and maybe even the Birdman or Gulbis could have reached this stage against that lineup. There's a reason Nadal hasn't been as good as years past on clay and it sounds just foolish to say a man who's made the finals at 3 slams in a row and 4 of his last 5 however I do see Nadal going towards a relatively huge slump to finish out this season. Whenever he's played this type of load leading up to the end of Wimbledon Nadal usually hasn't done nearly as much during the second 6 months of the a season as he has in the first.

Bottom line is that unfortunately clay doesn't produce quite the same enthralling tennis as the other surfaces (just my opinion as it's more of a question as to how you move than how perfect you hit the ball), but this probably is the most highly anticipated slam final since Murray took on Federer at Wimbledon two years ago. Could there possibly be more on the line? For Nadal it's # 9 here and #14 overall bringing him into striking distance of the only jewel that he's left Roger with, victory # 35 in a row at Roland Garros, potentially his last time entering a slam final as a favorite and a rather huge mental lift against the best player in the world. For Novak it's #7 overall, the career slam, a tie for #8 on the all time list, ending a relatively large 18 month dry spell at this venue and of course being only the second man to win against Nadal here. For both of them: A mouth watering title a club these two and Federer hold exclusive membership to (5+ career grand slams) and the world #1 rank which is also a thing of quite heavy intrigue. One guy may not let the ranking go for a long, LONG time if he's given the rights to it and the other may not ever see it again if today doesn't go how he wants it to (I know Nadal has nothing to defend at Wimbledon while Nole has a ton to defend there but with a win today Novak will actually gain more points than he would lose if he skips Wimbledon. With a win today he'll be at 13,850 and Nadal will drop to 11,700 meaning that even if Nole skipped Wimbledon and Rafa won it the Spaniard still wouldn't get back to #1). With the heavy pressure of defending 4,000 points over a 3 tournament period starting in August many know Nadal will drop to #2 inevitably soon enough anyways.

So lights, camera, action folks as you don't get ones this good many often. It seems really likely but the Slam gods are a fickle group and you never know when a duo will meet for the final time. May the best man win.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Maybe Vajda is trying to raise his odds so that everybody can have a better cut?
 
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