Paris Masters Commentary

A great few days of tennis, which brings me to this question: how can I argue that once again, men’s tennis isn’t worth a shit when we get this kind of higher-end competition on tour?

Well, we’re still looking for a heartbeat outside the Top 3 (or even the Top 1 at this point) and my last post, referencing the mayhem of the Paris Masters’ draw, had a lot to do with Nadal’s continuous mysterious form.

The long and short of that is that his bulky excuse for style renders him injured more often than not (especially off the clay). He fucks-up the initial draw when he commits to playing and then predictably pulls-out. He takes the place of another player and he probably prevented what would have been a Federer v Djokovic final as I suspect a draw minus Nadal from the beginning would’ve had these two in different halves.

Nadalism will be my most complicated novella to write because he’s such a basket-case, as are his fans.

Speaking of fans, watching today’s second SF (I missed the Khachanov win), I tooled around Twitter throughout the match and saw all manners of fanaticism at its best or worst.

This is just too typical of the fanboy routine.

In the second guy’s case, he’s guilty of other off-target remarks, but I didn’t really want to track those down.

Novakfan 1

Federer is the favorite.

He is overdue for a win over Djokovic and playing at peak level.

Novakfan 2

I hate this match. For the second time.

No one at Mcshow Blog is arguing against the fact that Novak is the clear #1 in the world (ironically, the only people making the argument that Novak is NOT the #1 in the world are Novak fans: Lol.).

Not just on points. He’s at the height of his time, though a little past that peak most likely (which again makes the end of 2016-2017 such a costly slip for the Serb).

But no way Federer should beat this Novak. As I argued in my comments with my Polish pal Wlady, Federer is about the only guy who can beat Novak right now, but it takes an absolute brilliant run from the Maestro and bit of a drop from Novak — we almost saw that today, but watching Federer lose his grip in the first TB and in the second TB was pretty much par for the course. Let’s not forget that Federer did play really well (granted, Novak seemed less than top form because of flu or whatever), staving-off around 12 BPs, so this was just a good competitive match, in the end.

Nolefam, like the cartoon character above (Novakfan 2) complain because this was too close for their comfort.

Fedfan will argue their guy is too passive and too old.

Both fanMobs, in their defense, are right. Novak should beat Federer more handily and Federer is a bit too passive, too old.

Would you say that Novak is in the same era as Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin or Andy Roddick? Federer is the same age as Hewitt, a year younger than Safin, and a year older than Roddick.

😀 That’s almost funny.

People don’t get that Federer’s tennis at this point is really beyond the pale.

Which brings us back to my unyielding insight and thesis: men’s tennis is no longer worth a shit.

Federer will compete grandly in London in about week. He should face Novak in the decider of that competition. Could he win London? Sure. Will he? Probably not. Novak simply has too much poise and a style that makes the offensive giants struggle to maintain that upper-hand. A Thiem, Tsitsipas or Federer is the type to really challenge Novak, but too many unanswerable questions arise from Novak’s side of the net.

Finally I heard someone repeat what I Tweeted-out before the U.S. Open final.

Justin Gimelstob of Tennis Channel said today, to his credit, prior to the match that if Novak continues to show this kind of rhythm on serve, he’s almost unbeatable. He followed that up with a nod to the Djoker’s notorious ROS. Novak’s serve since his ROF (return of form) has been unreal. Go watch that WB SF v Nadal with this in-mind. If he can continue to serve like that, really really tough to stay with the Serb.

But again, great match. Great to see Federer still competing at this level.


What I wanted to write about a few days ago was the Thiem v Coric match. This was a grand showdown of style and character. The best man won.


20180902 Juan Martin Del Potro v Borna Coric  - Day 7

Dominic Thiem

Tennis: BNP Paribas Open-Thiem v Benneteau

Coric is playing some of the most impressive tennis this season. His wins over Federer alone are impressive, one of which was in a final on grass. He has the make-up of a guy who will compete at an even higher level very soon, winning some bigger and bigger tournaments.

Thiem acknowledged this in his post match interview, pointing-out how strong Borna’s game is, the way a match like this can go either way.

Borna might not have this kind of modesty, though I may be wrong on this. His seems a much tougher, less congenial approach to the match and toward his opponent.

Here we see the style of tennis and the “content of character” fill the same pint glass. I prefer, of course, the Thiem brew to the one Coric is serving.

Thiem coming from a set down and then 1-3 in the third to beat the Croat was a very important win for the Austrian. Very happy to see this from the one-hander facing-off against this next great two-hander.

This hopefully becomes a nice rivalry to help define an era that seems will never quite materialize.

To the point, however, the two-hander is an inferior style of tennis. This comes down to a philosophical contention. Is tennis a game of style? Does style matter in the appreciation of the sport? I don’t think this is even a question, though some knuckleheads will likely make fools of themselves in this particular exchange.

I would argue that Novak makes the shot palatable. Why? Because of style. Novak’s style is a distinctive genius, another timeless form that practically transcends the game. Like Roger’s, Pete’s, et al. 😉

For the most part, the two-hander is becoming a mark on the sport. Sorry if that bothers you. Some truths can be hard to accept, but I’m confident you can learn to live with this reality. 🙂

This debate reared its beauty-and-the-beast head during this Thiem v Coric Paris Masters R16 match. Coric is a mockery of tennis style. Is he athletic and delirious with diabolical competitive spirit? Absolutely. But to the tennis style council, his overall tennis tread is stiff, uncouth and lacks the class of a more sophisticated game like that of Dominic Thiem.

This argument will likely turn to wins and losses and the two-hander has the advantage, these goofy-swing advocates will argue, of consistency and safety and other counter-intuitive characteristics.

The Thiem v Coric match was the lastest test of my hypothesis and we were pleased with the result.

If you have and/or appreciate the one-hander, stand tall and proud. The battle will continue and the war (definitively being won, btw) will continue to be transcribed by yours truly.


11 thoughts on “Paris Masters Commentary

  1. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    You need to add an epilogue re Djoker’s loss to Karen. Yes, I know, Djoker had flu (also yesterday vs. Maestro). It was not enough against Karen’s raw power. Maybe the second Delpo-like lethal forehand on tour. No inclination for entertainment, like Nick, Karen will be a force, maybe someone to replace Delpo soon (I don’t see Zverev to remain growing or at least stable. Bad body proportions, Too much of upper, to less of lower body. Karen is suited better.
    Whoever gave Karen this forehand, will earn big things in some years but must start to collect money to be able to give him a new wrist and elbow in some years, I fear.
    Of course tennis without OHB cannot have so much stale and is not so natural. So let’s differentiate between “soft” and “raw” hard hitting. Someone with Karen’s muscles cannot hit single backhand so hard as Thiem does (and Fed did, I fear it’s over now).
    The only thing old Federer can improve at this age is maybe serving (only static shot in tennis) to avoid everything enforcing running. If running, it must be short distance for a volley, not “all along the watchpower” (Jimmi H.). I had it in mind since about a year, after Fed startet to fade with his “new topspin backhand instead of slice”. I see, Fed ist just going this way. He can use another gear to run over long distance twice in a match. He is now looking stiff (age) and some of hist trademark shots don’t work anymore. He must be now untouchable on serve – 100% of first serve in. 100% of first serve point won. I’m sure, he will try.
    Es modest as Thiem is (maybe physically and mentally exhausted too), he is never going for big coups. One step at a time. First final at RG, first Indoors title, first QF in Vienna, first QF in Paris Masters + first SF in harc court Masters was enough. Let’s add London qualifying with own hands for first time. Last two years he was hanging on Murray, Milos and someone else.
    In his own terms – a perfect year for him. Going this way, he does not make upsets but delivers lots of tennis beauty and improves his game every year.
    Coric not so modest and not so kind. Jack Sock also no smile to Thiem on the net. Well, it’s good, it let’s notice better, Thiem is different.
    As for OHB, I think, only Thiem and Tsitsipas will progress to the very top<. Shapo is first still very young, does not make much progress in his skills, will be soon tired because of no more upsets coming so easy as the first did.


    1. I agree with much of this, Wlady. I will post another soon on the Khachanov title, etc.

      Plus I want to take some more shots at the fanboys. The Djoker fanclub is going nuts right now!



      1. PRF - Władysław Janowski

        Thiem has the worst fanboys/girls ever (on his FB page, Instagram and Twitter). Austria is not a tennis country. Crowds don’t understand tennis. They come to support “our boy” against “strange boy”. This is total discomfort for Thiem – best tennis crowds are (iN this order): Spain, France, US International, Italy (tourists), Germany/Holland/Sweden – extremely fair but a bit too cold.
        Every time Dominic loses a match, whole Austria tell him to fire Bresnik. Every time he has a big win, whole Austria believes to have supported him so good, he could win. I call FedFans “Hatefans” because they really hate Rafa and Novak and love everyone beating Rafa or Novak before Fed must meet them. But they at least know, why are they just FedFans.


  2. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    Look at your first photo (Coric) – it’s perfectly showing, how UNNATURAL is the 2-hander. I’m inclined to think, Novak’s 2-hander is maybe the most elegant on tour, but still mot one-hander. Sorry., Novak, go to Bresnik – he knows, how to switch from 2- to 1-hander. It’s never too late to learn good things, ha,haha …
    BTW – it’s very strange for me, how many people think, Thiem belongs to Rafa school and nobody notices, he is maybe the best of Fed-followers. Should Fed start 10 years later, he would play like Thiem. Or double-handed (and I would have never watched his matches).


    1. That’s the point of the pictures. The two-hander is a sad stroke of the ball. Two handers should be ashamed of themselves. It’s embarrassing.

      One of the elements of the golden era that has probably ruined the sport (damaged it at least) is to win at all costs. This is why Novak and Rafa, in my opinion, are very very unusual. Federer’s massive success created this style (the sport didn’t help) of playing a kind of tennis that pushes this unaesthetic, really ugly approach to the sport. Novak is more elegant, but the tw0-hander likely has seen its peak here with Rafole.

      It’s the end of times for the two-hander.


      1. PRF - Władysław Janowski

        Matt, I’m almost 70 now. I took my first tennis lessons 20 years ago. My instructor was 20 years old. He tried to teach me 2-hander (he was it himself). Somehow my body has protested and I ended with being teached a one-hander with a coach, who was a bit older than me. I’m happy to have played one-hander all my tennis life so far (and counting). But I have not a single partner (age interval between 20 and 60) playing one-hander. Well, many are playing “self-made” tennis, which is mostly a kind of ping-pong played on court. I have a tennis friend, using the double-strung Blackburn racket. The whole racket is actually sweet spot. You can forget the frame. The is no frame. I think, all 2-handers should obligatorily use such rackets, hahaha … 2-hander, two string layers, no frame 😉


      2. Hahahah.

        Your style is pure, my friend. I was jogging the other day and ran by some tennis courts where a 50-something guy was hitting against the wall. He had a nice one-hander. I told him “nice one-hander!” and he smiled and said thanks. He knows what we know.

        Your tennis story is quite typical in that EVERYONE plays a two-hander.

        I’m going to say this now, Wlady, and actually make this argument on this blog:
        The two-hander is unethical. A bit strong? I’ll make it work.

        This will be a major component of HRFRT — and how Thiemtsipas saved this God-forsaken sport.

        The elements of character in both Dom and Stefanos stand-out to me. They seem especially thoughtful, philosophical.

        So much more sophistication, history and elegance than the Coric/Chung/Khach/Medvedev/Edmund/DeMinaur blasphemy.



  3. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    Today Austrian sports press have big titles “Austrian tennis represented by a Trio in London” (Thiem, Marach and Peya). Thomas Muster answers: “Not the “Austrian tennis”, these are all individual achievements. Good one 🙂


  4. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    And that’s the new aesthetics of tennis for tomorrow. As much as I like this guy, he will first break some nice careers and than break himself. Poor Karen. Poor tennis.
    And here’s something for your Nadalism thread – Rafa just declared to pull out from London. And for your ATP is not worth a shit thread – you don’t find it on offficial websites and you don’t find (and they not ask questions of small people), when the damn group drawing on London takes place. Some believe, it’s today evening (whatever means evening for Brits).


  5. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    Two-hander is unethical? This is not too strong – just the opposite. Better you play “one-leger”. Just like I believe, guys with 190+ should play with shorter rackets so we have a handicap like Mike Thyson not challenging Oscar de la Hoya. And two-handers should be allowed to run on one leg only.This is not funny, so no “hahaha” this time 😉


  6. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    London draw is out. Thiem landed with Fed, Anderson and Nishikori. Djoker has skyscrappers all the way. I hope, 2 one-handers advance from Thiem’s group and then there are still 2 in the final 🙂 I know, Thiem would probably have to play Djoker in SF, but … if Thiem is on fire, everything is possible 🙂 Ort he must beat the old good Fed in RR to play the second placed from another group. But this would be a highscrapper. Maybe better to play SF vs. Djoker and lose after good match?


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