You should sense that I am not exactly the warm-and-fuzzy type when it comes to communication, engaging in a meaningful conversation. Much of my commentary, points of discussion, or general input on the tennis world I hope can be described as having a bit of an edge. Of course, the occasional rant will often clarify this tone that I do want people to read: that I care a lot about these issues, to the point where certain events or one’s, imho, flawed point-of-view will get a caustic read-and-response. I think that makes for better discourse – we’re willing to engage, to heat-up the discussion because this is more interesting, healthier and generally leads to a better, richer understanding of the point/issue/argument/etc.
This following quote is from an article I found online, titled Why Fighting For Our Ideas Makes Them Better:
“After studying newlyweds for just a short period of time, psychology researcher Dr. John Gottman can predict whether the couple will be together in five years with over 90 percent accuracy. So how does he do it? He gets them to argue. Gottman watches the couples debate, and he analyzes how they fight. Surprisingly, the ability to engage in healthy, respectful disagreement is a huge predictor of long-term success.”
I am a firm believer in this approach to discussion and conversation. I hope I am curating this style of discourse here at Mcshow Blog.
Many readers do comment on the neutrality of my arguments and commentaries, that the bias of the fanblog is absent from my blog; this is very good to hear since this tells me that readers appreciate my call-it-like-I-see-it perspective and insight. Besides, I am not a fanboy, so at least I’m successful, then, on conveying a more mature and balanced point-of-view.
However, one probably notices that many of these fanblogs and snake-pits-of-bias generate a lot of reader involvement, comments, etc., that seem somehow inspired by the “lunacy” of some of this parochial, starry-eyed fanaticism. This even inspires some heated debate, lively discussion.
Do we have enough of that here? I believe we do. But perhaps we need more.
I’m not too worried about this; again, I think we engage, disagree at times, agree to disagree, work to complicate and clarify each other’s points and perspectives. The comment sections have often been better than the posts, if you ask me.
I hope you all feel comfortable championing a different perspective from my own on a particular issue.
Please engage. The more the merrier. In fact, the more different and diverse the character of the conversation the dandier. 🙂 Of course, I will work on providing the platform for such discussion and complication. Let’s mix-it-up.
FWIW, I am off to Los Angeles shortly for some International Champions League soccer exhibition between Real Madrid and Manchester City. It’s a bit more than a friendly; hopefully we see some passion and genius erupt in the Coliseum tonight.
The best part? I am taking my son and three of his nutty soccer teammates.
Long live sport and our passionate conversations about the game!
Cheers and thanks, as always, for reading.
10 thoughts on “Do We Argue Enough?”
I really do like forums (like this one!) where readers are free to post points about which they are passionate, reason about them incisively, and (possibly even) show some respect for contrary opinions.
I used to read from one site where arguments sank to a rancorous level, and where almost all the disagreement centered around a single theme, i.e. ‘I’m objective and you’re biased.’
Oh wait, there was also: ‘I don’t like Federer because his fans are too obsessed.’ Have you ever been to such a site?
In any event, I learn a lot when the learned people air their disagreements in a logical (and even passionate) way. I love how that goes on here, and I’d welcome more such discussions. Besides all that, of course I hope we’ll never sink to what some may call the ‘fangirl level.’
I do have a point I’d like to ask about, with a thought in mind that it may generate some discussion or disagreement. I stumbled across a site recently where it was claimed that peak Djokovic was better than peak Federer, and I’m not educated enough to assess that claim. I do have a few thoughts about it though:
First of all, both these guys have some very high peaks! But I think Roger was starting to show some wear as early as 2013, probably earlier, and I don’t think he was near his peak when he played Novak at Wimbledon ’15 and USO ’15, and both those finals were played in wetter, slower conditions that favored Novak’s game.
If you think it’s a worthy subject, I’d love to hear more about it. Or, any other subject!
Thanks as always,
Thanks, Incondite for all of your contributions, including this one! In the end, I guess all of these points about greatness, rivalries, etc., boil-down in large part to bias. Hence why a fanblog naturally achieves more heated debate because there is all of that player politics and favoritism.
This would be a good point to explore, especially as we see a little down-time leading to the USO and with Djokovic now out perhaps the timing is right to reflect on his career. . . lol.
In fact, if I have the energy tonight (PST), I will set-up this “forum.”
For starters, I have never bought such a claim: that Djokovic played the highest form ever. That’s so subjective and almost passive aggressive. Instead of arguing he’s the greatest of all time, which is really impossible to say given his numbers compared to others, the fan here makes a related, seemingly more reasonable claim that might help build a (weak) bridge to GOAT.
The highest form ever. . .
with that kind of racquet, on that surface and those balls? What about the competition? There are so many variables.
You rightfully brought-up Federer’s 2015 form. Remember, many of the people who argue Novak played the HFE (highest form ever) NEED to claim also that Federer played, in 2015, his greatest form. Those, as you can see, are twin claims. If Federer was rather an uninspired, unhealthy 35 year-old (and Nadal was in the absolute garbage dump in 2015), think of the NHFE claim. Works like a sieve, that argument.
I will explore more of this in this next post. Thanks for the feedback, Incondite!
Agree with you. Reasonable, respectful debate is fun. Though hogs call for different treatment. 😉
Really looking forward to your perspectives on Novak’s career and the NAHC stretch.
BTW how was the City vs Real match live? 🙂
Hey, at least the tennis debate is generally more respectful than political debate these days right!? I much prefer talking tennis than politics anyway. Even if I sometimes do get more heated about tennis…
Hey Matt! 1) Whatever you wanna do with your blog, I’m all for it. Wish I could give you ideas but I’m a novice when it comes to these kinda stuff.
2) Why we don’t argue enough is because you cover all sides so damn well. Most of the time I just find myself nodding vehemently to the observances you put forward. And if you miss the mark (which is not often at all), you don’t go all defensive and smart ass; like our favourite fangirl🙄 Fewer arguements is one consequence of having a very intelligent and balanced blog I suppose! Which is not a bad thing at all. Too much is made of arguments is “good for ya” and all that modern stuff. Arguments have to be necessary and intelligent and beneficial. Otherwise it is just too much talk…. People didn’t need to argue so much in the past and things got done😀 It’s just proof you cover well, Matt; and you attract readers who are looking for something less bias and more intelligently informative than most blogs. Your blog truly is different. Anyway, I will make sure I give you hell if I find something distinctly disagreeable😀Btw, you can be very condescending. But because I agree with your views, it doesn’t bother me. To me it just illustrates how extremely confident you are (like how ppl describe Roger’s smugness and extreme self confidence as arrogance/conceit) and you do think things through before you put them down and don’t allow your emotions to get too much in the way – that’s the mark of a great analyst!
3) Incondite, great idea on debate peak Djoker beat peak Federer or vice versa! Let me share my thoughts. First, ppl confuse things. I would argue that Roger is a smarter player these days and not necessarily “better” player. He has become a smarter player; doesn’t try to beat players at their game anymore, applying tactics/all court more consistently now, more patient and willing to rally and wait for right time, more stable mentally. As for the much talked about improved more powerful bh; I’m not sure. I think he had that all the time (from watching his old matches and even his recent matches prior to 2017) It was just that he seldom used it in the past as he wasn’t confident with it. But he may have added bit more zing to it now and take it bit earlier, I’m not sure, coz I’m no tennis expert, but it is certainly not completely “new” as ppl say. But the one area that he has “truly” improved and added to his game is the invaluable ROS. If I have to pick one facet of his improved game, I would pick the ROS; because that has been his weak link for a long time. You can always count on him to hold, having one of the best serve in the business but you can never trust him to break!
Let’s go back to 2014/15. Although he was playing really well, and all the fangirls saying it was his peak, he was still mentally weak; losing close matches, not converting bp, tight and not playing important points well, making “suicidal” decisions, still go awol, not consistent in his results, one day excellent, next day slump, with no apparent reason, etc. 2014/2015 was NOT peak Roger. He had played into great form and could beat most players but he was exposed as soon as he came against the best. Just look at 2014/15 Wimby finals. He was a mental midget, almost fragile (by his standards). Those finals were frustrating to watch; although 2014 was bit better (but so what if he fought “bravely” back in 4th set; only to lamely hand it back to Djoker in the 5th!)
But 2017 Roger can beat Peak Djoker, no doubt about it. As I said above, it was mental lack that lost the Wimby finals. Just a mentally stronger Roger would have been able to beat peak Djoker. What more with added 2017 weapons of stronger/more consistent bh, improved ROS, etc, 2017 Roger may even obliterate peak Djoker! As I said before, Djoker must be thanking his elbow that helped him dodge a bullet!
Sorry, long post, not a writer, can’t put it shorter, haha. I will end by saying, imho, that peak Roger was 2004-2007. That Roger would beat Djoker all day long. 2017 Roger will not beat 2004-2007 Roger. 2017 is the second peak of Roger. Maybe more impressive if you consider his age of course. But the true and highest peak is 2004-2007. As you say, Matt, ppl are too much into “presentism”. It’s very easy to be caught up with the present and forget how great past performances were. When I watch 2004-2007 Roger, I’m like, OMG. No way he is better now than then. He was out of this world; the athleticism, the quickness, the confidence, the forehand, the clutch, the brashness….. Anyway, my conclusion is peak Roger, whether it’s his first or second peak (2017; NOT 2014/2015) beats Peak Djoker. Bottom line why Roger got beat by Djoker in 2014/2015 without going into all the nitty gritty of faster/slower courts, Djoker’s ROS, etc, is….mental. It was all, if not mostly mental. He got scared and scarred by Djoker.
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Another factor why 2014/2015 was not peak Roger was he was just getting used to his new racket. His forehand with the new racket was wild and lacked pop. 2017 forehand is more lethal; although I would still argue it is not as lethal as in his hey days, 2004-2007. Roger himself said he thought he was a better player in 2014/2015; meaning : a smarter, more aware/conscious player; definitely not better in the sense that it is superior to his 2004-2007 version, I don’t thunk so! The fangirls jumped on that to justify Djoker peak beat Roger peak. Duh…. How stupid and shallow….like so many of the “Enlightening” stats that’s all over the net on how Djoker is the best🙄. For me, 2014/2015 Roger was painful to watch at times; the fragility….you really felt like his slam days were over. 2014/2015 period was about recovering from injury hit 2013, playing back to form, and getting to break into his bigger racket. The full circle happened only now, 2017.
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Yeah the suggestion that federer was playing at his best level in 2014-15 is hard to take seriously. It would be one thing if he was just losing to djokovic but look at the other guys he lost to in slams in 2014-15…. In Aus 2014 he was straight setted by nadal, in that year’s RG he lost to gulbis. And then in the US open straight setted by cilic. In 2015 Aus he lost to seppi. And in RG straight setted by stan. Sure stan was playing lights out tennis, and we know all about rafa. But gulbis, cilic in straights… seppi!! 2004-2007 federer would not have lost to those guys.
If someone wants to make the argument that djokovic at his peak played as well as anyone ever based on an analysis of his game (movement, power, accuracy of different strokes etc.) then I’d love to hear it. But if the argument goes… federer was at his peak in 2014-15, djokovic beat him, therefore djokovic’s peak was higher, that’s not very persuasive.
Fans of novak also talk about the ‘personal slam’: 4 grand slams in a row in 2015-16. I don’t want to knock a wonderful achievement by an all time great player, but you have to look at the opposition and in particular the absence of a fit rafa at RG. Take rafa out of the equation and federer would almost certainly have won back to back calendar slams in 2006-07.
I don’t even want to claim that roger’s best form (I agree that occurred between 2004-07) was the best by any player ever. I agree with matt about the difficulty of making objective judgements about this. I think pistol pete in wimbledon 1999 was almost unbeatable and mcEnroe in 1984 should not be forgotten. It’s easier to look at a whole career and say whose accomplishments are greater, whose legacy superior…. Another suggestion for matt is to tell us where he thinks Pete stands now that rafa has 15 slams and Pete no longer has the most wimbledons and with the year end no.1 record also under threat….
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Outstanding work here, folks. I’ll be back tomorrow to join in this discussion of peak Federer/Novak HFE, N.A. HC, etc. We have quite a couple of weeks coming-up culminating in the biggest tennis tournament of the year – sorry naysayers.
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