On court: Zverev comes back from 2 sets to 1, winning the decider fifth in a TB. In Brisbane. Among the rowdy Aussies. Big five-set win for the (still) young German.
Off court: There is nothing like the sucking sounds the low-oxygen fangirls and fanboys emit while wrestling their resentment in the wake of a rival’s success.
A latest example is quite the serendipitous parlay: a Tweet from a Djokovic fan that links a blog written by a Nadal fan.
Let’s stop here and clarify a few things. I try to be objective on this blog. I have been critical of Federer, acknowledging the odd scheduling in Melbourne (which Federer himself acknowledged), essentially followed closely as he was unable to break Djokovic in 2014-2016, verifying Djokovic’s unchallenged stewardship of the ATP.
I have always acknowledged the Swiss’ imperfection. My critique of the Nadal v Federer H2H is always prefaced by the numbers, that Nadal has found much success against Roger (a lot of that, of course, on clay). My intent there has been to always clarify the flaws of the argument that starts with the H2H: that Nadal is a greater tennis player/talent than Federer. The H2H inflates the bias both ways. As recent as 2012 or 2013, there were “authorities” saying Nadal is the greatest of all time. That’s based purely on that H2H, which means only one thing: very flawed argument. I have always critiqued this comparison. I wrote my series of H2H articles almost three years ago. How’s that holding-up?
I have celebrated Djokovic’s dominance. I pinpointed Dimitrov’s form in late 2016 and early 2017. I call-out Kyrgios, but root for his maturity for the sake of the sport.
Sampras and Agassi — important parts of my imagination and memory.
When did I pick sides? When I was boy and didn’t know any better, couldn’t stand Johnny Mac in his H2H with Borg. I preferred Borg.
I was young.
The imperfections of Federer (his fortitude and fallible BH) have always been part of this site’s discourse.
The fanaticism that I often write about begs to be trusted, taken seriously. Unfortunately, only the echo chambers of our world allow them to congregate, hold hands and sing their little anthems.
Remember “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”?
Fanboys and fangirls look like the Whos standing around their tree, bigger than life, seemingly superficial and unhealthy (until that story takes a sweet little turn there at the end — where this analogy ends, as well).
You can follow the link and read the blog. Again, the tweet is from a Djoker fangirl and the article is from a Nadal fangirl writing what she takes seriously as some kind of real journalism, mistakenly swiping too inaccurately and vehemently at a more plausible reality.
In the comments of that blog, a few readers, one especially, take her to task. And as one points-out, the Nadal fan is using Twitter as legitimate evidence, a trusted source. I use Twitter as evidence of people saying stupid shit. Big difference.
The gist, in case you’re not going to follow and read, is that the AO was completely fixed for Federer. This is Roofgate. She brings-up the scheduling, too, but the roof is the big issue — that Cilic wasn’t informed of the closure, but Federer was; that Cilic therefore ignorantly warmed-up on outside courts and strung his racquets specifically for outdoor tennis while Federer, well-informed, prepared for an indoor match.
There are other much more reliable accounts that say both players were notified.
As I said, by the third set, we’re all even. By the fifth set, almost no one saw Federer slowing-down the Cilic locomotive that had broken Federer twice and had chances on Federer’s first service game of that fifth set that would have blown the match up, Cilic probably waltzing to the win.
Anyone ever see Michael Jordan hit that jumper with 6.6 seconds on the clock that sealed the Bulls’ 1998 title, Jordan’s second three-peat? He pushed-off on Bryon Russell. It wasn’t called. MJ got a lot of calls to go his way, as do other greats. Tom Brady is going for his sixth title this weekend. Think the Refs give the golden boy a little extra protection among all of that violence? Sure.
You think Nadal has ever been given some favoritism? What about Djokovic or Sampras or (“pick any great in any walk of life”).
The roof along with the night matches sealed the victory? I would say Djokovic and/or Zverev losing to Chung had more to do with Fed’s easier route to the final. He had the makings of Raonic R16, Del Potro QF and Djokovic (or Zverev) SF at the Australian Open. That’s not a cupcake draw. Nadal had all kinds of succulent morsels to eat in his draw. Get the fuck out of here with that bullshit.
I saw some Djokovic fan tweets clarifying their protest:
Our buddy Ruan is in there! To be fair, I agree with a lot of his views, but his fanboy caroling is bad music. That thread points-out the fanboy claim that Federer is not GOAT because of something Laver said coupled with Federer’s H2H with Novak and Rafa.
The old H2H.
Sampras was pretty dominant, no?
His H2H with Safin is 3-4.
His H2H with Hewitt is 4-5.
His H2H with Brugera is 2-3.
His H2H with Stich is 4-5.
Sampras has several more majors than any of those players. Are these H2Hs something to concern the Sampras legacy?
Do Federer, Nadal and Djokovic live and play in a different tennis universe?
Federer has twenty grand slams. That’s eight more than Novak.
He has six World Tour Finals titles. That’s six more than Nadal.
The Patriots are playing for their 6th Super Bowl win this weekend.
They are 0-2 in Super Bowls v the New York Giants?
Is this H2H consequential?
These criticisms need to invent a stronger math.
I saw another tweet from a guy who works for BBC and co-runs a pretty reputable tennis podcast; name is David Law. He tweeted this query:
Great question, Dave!
Not a great question.
Certain things come with greatness. Nadal gets gobs of support, in some cases more than Federer (the Nadal fan blogger linked above actually makes this argument). Djokovic is loved; saying otherwise is funny.
Lastly, on the whole H2H marker, I have heard Nadal and Djokovic fans run this H2H to the tune of Federer dodging these two younger blokes. He was quite good in recent tennis matches against Nadal. In addition, Djokovic lost to Kyrgios in 2017 Indian Wells, preventing a Federer clash and of course lost to Chung in Melbourne, again, avoiding the Swiss septuagenarian (in tennis years).
None of that H2H bullshit works, nor do these hypocritical criticisms on the whole. Federer was down for several years, took his beatings, and here he is (though the longevity argument itself is an awfully imposing mathematics for those critics).
Novak fans should simply root-on their guy to health and fitness.
Nadal fans should prepare for another dominant clay season.
Everybody chill the fuck out and appreciate the tennis.
Kyrgios is taking care of his tie, setting-up perhaps a big Kyrgios v Zverev decider in that AUS v GER Davis Cup first round.
Indeed, have beer and watch a Davis Cup tie or two. Yeah, tie one on why don’t you.