Rafael Nadal

A Word on 2017 Fedal

Fedal-2017

 

Australian Open 2017

Federer’s Draw:
Melzer
Rubin
Berdych (10 seed)
Nishikori (5)
M.Zverev (def. 1)
Wawrinka (4)
Nadal (9)

French Open 2017

Nadal’s Draw:
Paire
Haase
N.Basilashvili
Bautista Agut (17)
Carreno Busta (20)
Thiem (6)
Wawrinka (3)

Wimbledon 2017

Federer’s Draw:
Dogolpolov
Lajovic
M.Zverev
Dimitrov (13)
Raonic (6)
Berdych (11)
Cilic (7)

U.S. Open 2017*

Nadal’s Draw:
Lajovic
Daniel
Mayer
Dolgopolov
Rublev
Del Potro (24)
Anderson (28)

*Since this draw is so unbelievable, for clarification, Nadal could’ve faced:
Gasquet (26) R32, Berdych (15) R16, Dimitrov (7) QF, Federer (3) SF and a host of other players in the final. But that’s tennis; you can only play the survivors of your draw.

With Nadal’s 2017 U.S. Open title, 2017 Fedal at the majors is complete. What started-out as a shocking development down-under in Melbourne, that continued through the sunshine-double, that became La Decima, Federer’s 8th, and Nadal’s consolidation of his rise to #1, by winning his third U.S. Open: these two legends have undoubtedly added considerable weight to their already mammoth legacies.

They’ve cemented further their own association, the use of the obvious portmanteau, Fedal. Has this amazing year of legendary tennis benefited one over the other? How can it when they split the four majors of 2017? I would probably lean Federer because of the victory over Nadal in the finals of 2017 AO, IW and MI and because this year adds more meaning to Fedal. Prior to 2017, most might see the association as reference to that ironic comparison of Federer having the most majors, Nadal second, but the Spaniard ahead in that lopsided H2H.

Now, after all of this, 2017 adds quite the embellishment to this complicated duo; there’s even more to the story.

But the year really belongs to both, and right now, we might actually lean Nadal on the way the year is shaping-up because of a very simple reason. The significance of the No. 1 ranking is for real, and exists almost separately from the consideration of majors and other accomplishments in the sport (the mark carries a lot of clout).

Federer has spoken several times of the importance of this achievement, speaking specifically here of the year-end No. 1 and his desire to accomplish that feat in 2017. I have written about this mark in several posts, in several contexts. Pistol Pete leads that race with 6 year-end No.1s. Federer and Connors are next at 5, followed by Lendl/McEnroe/Djokovic at 4, and Nadal alone at 3.

Think of the race for the 2017 year-end No.1 we have before us. Both Nadal and Federer can make waves on that legacy front, obviously. Nadal is adding to his overall weeks at No.1, as well.

This is exceptional work from both players, which is just mind-boggling when you consider where we were a year ago. I watched a few sets of the 2016 U.S. Open final yesterday, as a matter of fact.

Wow. It was weird watching Djokovic play. I almost forgot about that guy (kidding aside, it was odd, a blast from the past). He still had glimpses of the Novak Slammer on that September early evening, that diabolical baseline witchcraft still going strong (comparing his ROS position to Nadal’s. . .the courts were faster in 2016 and Novak is still returning from atop the BL; not 18 feet back).

Djokovic you can see is really starting to breakdown in that match and still he was a witch with the stick. Stan found that dominant animal spirit, as we recall, and proved way too much for Novak that day, but that was still Novak’s tour, the Djoker still holding-on to that No. 1 ranking.

Then Murray makes his run in the latter part of the year (post-USO) while Djokovic gets-up off the mat and tries to hold-off the challenge. However, Murray is able to finally wrestle the top of the tour for good from the Serb at the WTF.

We moved to the off-season with anticipation of those two re-kindling their fight the following season.

And lo and behold: 2017 Fedal.

What a nutty ride.

Still so much to discuss and still so much tennis to play.

Beautiful stuff, no?

Quick Nadal v Del Potro Preview

US-Open-2017-851366

This is the default final as Nadal v Federer would have been, of course; we don’t want anyone to forget the dirty undergarments that was the 2017 U.S. Open draw. Anderson v Carreno Busta? Please don’t see this as unprovoked criticism, but we have to go out on a limb and say that Anderson, for the integrity of the tournament (sport), needs to win that match. That sounds harsh. Sorry.

I firmly believe in sports generally getting the narrative right. Sometimes a certain story or development can strike us as pretty unjust, or wrong, but in the long-run, the true champion usually prevails, even if we need a longer story-line.

Last year’s U.S. Open is a good example. I still thought somehow Novak would find a way, even though the collapse had already begun. His draw and his form had so much to be desired; and Stan was playing into his once-a-year major-winning form. The right story prevailed there, as most would agree. Sometimes we’re not sure how justice will prevail, how the deserved will find his well-earned bounty. In that final in 2016, Wawrinka’s victory looked and smelled right (I value the olfactory world).

Djokovic’s draw was a joke, and he was on fumes. Stan had to play well to even get there and upon reaching the final he partied like it was Jan 2014 or June 2015.

I see some similarity with this second SF match today. Am I talking about destiny? Maybe a little. But the facts speak for themselves, too, and complicate this discussion, as well.

When Nadal begins to exchange balls with Del Potro, he should be seeing a level of tennis he hasn’t seen yet. His draw has been a joke. That’s not his fault. But he hasn’t played anyone.

On that note alone, Nadal has to somehow find the ability to beat one of the top players in the world, whose self belief can be as big as his Argentinian heart, or FH. Nadal hasn’t been there. Taro Daniel, or Leo Mayer or even the Dog won’t move the needle. Nor will a 19 year-old Nadal fanboy.

Nadal will try to attack the BH, obviously. That will be even easier for him (compared to the right-handed Thiem or Federer) because his lefty FH can zero-in on that BH even more so, adding the Nadal spin and bounce for good measure.

That means Nadal has to have the leverage in these points, he has to dictate. He won’t reach the Delpo BH from 15 feet behind the BL. He has to be able to stand and exchange with a level that he has yet to see in NYC.

Del Potro has been playing at a higher level; he’s had to. Just in the last two matches, he played and beat the 6 and 3 seeds. He’s there already. His nerves and body and mind are engaged. Nadal has to engage that level, which he has not done in weeks.

The other point that the CCO (Chief Content Officer) of this blog advocates is that the hard courts crown a true HC champion. You know, if you’ve invested in this blog, that Nadal’s tennis is hit or miss on HC. If Del Potro is still playing at that level that we saw in the QF or in the last half of this R16 match, Nadal won’t be able to stay with the 2009 U.S. Open champ.

Nadal prefers the soft-hearted foe whom he can bully, or at least outlast. Emotion and momentum play huge rolls in the Spaniard’s tennis; he likes to finally get on top and pummel his victim. Guys like Novak, Stan and Juan (among a few others) don’t succumb so easily to the Spaniard’s bully tactics.

If Del Potro is playing with the same energy he had in the last two matches, he wins this.

The complication, of course, concerns the speed of the court and Juan’s fatigue. The court is still rewarding the big, flatter ball and I hope for the gentle giant’s cause that he can represent himself tonight.

He deserves this just as the sport does.

PS
A Nadal win, which wouldn’t really surprise me, works because of his tremendous year and his incredible fight: no one can deny the guy’s desire to win tennis matches, especially one of this magnitude.

Good luck to all four men and may justice prevail. Ha.

PPS
A key to the Del Potro game here tonight is his ROS.
He shook Federer a few times with that shot.

U.S. Open: Chaos or the New Norm?

No one is safe. Death-toll of the seeds mounts with each passing round. And those who survive fear for their lives. . .

There’s a bit of chaos imagepartly, again, because of the draw. Let’s not dismiss that part of the equation.

But the losses yesterday add to the bad music and offensive color schemes. I was left to check scores through the early part of the day and made it home to catch some of Federer’s clown show. Wow.

A lot of head-shaking. It started with Dog taking-out Berdych (I really don’t want to say Berd shit, but the guy is a giant patsy. Nothing new here with this guy, but damn. Up a set and then shit the bed). You’d think the Ukrainian might’ve even been a little shook from the Winston-Salem match-fixing investigation that involves him. Nope. Good-bye, Tomas.

But to hear about (frankly, I don’t want to see it) Dimitrov going down in straights just added to the pile of debris that is that bracket. Granted, I did say this in my last post about Dimitrov, whom I thought might have a little something to offer the NYC tennis gods: “As for Nadal’s potential QF with Dimitrov, obviously there is a lot of tennis to play. And Dimitrov actually has some potential difficulty in his next match vs. the 19 year-old Russian Rublev, and then a potential R16 match with Monfils.”

So, it’s not like I’m shocked, not to mention the Bulgarian’s career of this kind of collapse. But I thought he might show a little more promise and class, take care of business and give us Nadal/Dimitrov 2.0.

Nadal now has Mayer, the big veteran Argentine, and then probably Troicki, since the Dog most likely rolls-over, suspiciously.

At the same time, who knows. Nadal had a little difficulty with Daniel last night, a match I watched in full. Nadal is pummeling the ball, the FH starting to come around a bit, but one can see he’s still not exactly comfortable. The positives are out-weighing the negatives at this point, but I was surprised the Japanese kid (who lives in Spain) was able to track so much of Nadal’s balls, stay in points you’d expect him to forfeit.

Nadal needed a definitive push in the third to really put that match away. The fourth even had a bit of pressure, but the Japanese player just ran out of gas, almost succumbing to cramps (he played a five setter the day before). Nadal has to be feeling good about the draw and about his health. He seems the healthiest of the obvious threats.

But that’s the theme here in NYC this first week. Nothing is obvious.

The Federer scoreline was bizarre. Up 6-1 and 4-2. . .probably 35 minutes of tennis played and then crazy happened. By the time I got home and found my couch, surprised the match was still going, thinking Federer would retire at some point given the massive turn-around from Youzny, the talk of the match is the Russian’s injury/cramping. I remember hearing “Youzny is at about 67%; Federer, we think, at about 80%.” Lol.

The match was weird. Federer, despite Mikhail’s failing body, could not really grab control of the match. Errors everywhere. I tweeted something about Federer needing an intervention as these UE are taking a toll on his life the likes of what heroin does to many a drug addict.

In the interview, Federer was at ease, talked about how these five setters are fun. Lol.

I see Federer had 68 UE in the match, 12 aces, first serve about 62%, BP at 50% (8/16), but I couldn’t locate the avg. mph on his first serve. The back must not be totally shot, but when one has a bad back, that seems to be enough; even a slight twinge would be enough to sink any sort of professional tennis effort, no?

Like with all of these matches and players, let’s see how they look in the next round.

Federer and Nadal should advance, but no one should be shocked if that future rendezvous is cancelled. From Federer’s end, a nice straight-set win would help and he’s had much success against the classy Lopez, but one should probably expect a pretty tough day at the office for the five-time champ. Pretty odd to see Federer so errant and so clumsy coming to net. Has to be the back, but he just seems off – which is exactly like he looked in Montreal. We said “hungover” about that form. He’s a bit of a mess at this point.

Nadal should probably be advised to establish better court position, especially on ROS. When he drifts so far back, he gives his opponent (even a tired Japanese player from the Challenger circuit) too much.

_________________________________________________________

But as tennis fans, there’s still some decent bit of ball striking and we’ve got some interesting matches on today’s schedule.

Indeed, this chaos that I advanced above might be more a peek at the new tour, one of legends-in-demise and rising stars. Instead of chaos, perhaps this is more a matter of revised expectations.

Today’s schedule:

Kyle Edmund v Denis Shapovalov. The oldest of the two is 22. These boys like to compete and bring earnest tennis to the contest. This is in Arthur Ashe, so the boys have the big stage. Should be good.

My expectations have lowered for sure, but wins from Pouille and Cilic today would ensure their meeting in the 4R. Cilic has the grinding Schwartzman this morning; Cilic is staying alive here as a potential favorite of this tournament. But I sense Pouille starting to find some form, too.

Yes, the irony. I am rooting for Cilic – to give the draw some firepower.

The night match on AA is Zverev the Elder (the only one left from that family of course) v Isner. That could be good, certainly stylistically.

Beyond those few matches, can Coric continue his run, beating another tall bloke in Anderson? And I presume that Querrey will advance though we probably shouldn’t presume a thing.

On a side note, nice to see Thiem still plugging along (American Fritz secured a set from the Austrian yesterday, a good look, but can we start to Beliem in Thiem?).

And we’re not overlooking Goffin, who toughed-out a five-setter yesterday and gets another five-set survivor in our friend Gael Monfils! Ha.

Enjoy!

About a Week Out

I start work, another fall semester, next Monday, but this is only a casual coincidence (or is it?) that the year’s final major about which we are fairly interested also takes-off and hopefulphotoly soars, lifting our imaginations (academic and tennis, to speak of at least two) to ever terrific heights, of which we will be transformed along with those around us (hopefully), inspired, buoying our everyday lives, marching, we can hope, against “the unmistakable tokens of death” (Woolf).

No question that’s what this or any sport or entertainment provides us with – an escape and a metaphoric antidote that, at least momentarily, can move us toward better outcome (and even greater, more specific victory if a tennis result, for instance, carries that much personal or patriotic weight).

One can see the struggle here as I want the blog where I engage in the tennis discourse to coincide and correspond with my real job. Indeed, the two do relate, no doubt. But I want more.

Admittedly, the excitement of a new semester is anxious and intoxicating – the possibilities of working well with others, pushing each other to read and write with more purpose and insight than before, developing perspectives and arguments, growing individually and, we hope, culturally.

There is a lot of hope, even in this post, evidenced by a simple scan of the language above.

I am not only going to hope, however. The work here and there will only become more focused and purposeful. What exactly is the focus, the purpose? To see things more clearly in order to advance more precisely on those meanings and the incredible journeys that reside in the significance of this work.

A lot is at stake next week!

I know you are with me on one account: The United States Open Tennis Championships.

There are several thoughts we all have about the possibilities of this two-week explosion of major championship tennis.

Nadal’s No. 1 seed really prefaces his challenge to end-the-year as No. 1. These sorts of milestones and discussions are great for the historical (and more advanced and accurate) view of the sport.

As one can see from the linked article, Nadal could really add to this phenomenon, we might call it, of losing and regaining the year-end No. 1 ranking.

Look at the second table that provides a list of year-end ATP No. 1, which translates to dominance of the tour, naturally, as the season ends and preparations are made for the next campaign.

I have referenced Pete’s numbers there a few times, even recently. Look at that run, of consecutive year-end No. 1. As I clarified, this streak of dominance really wore-out the American, pushed him to play in ways he would not have had he not been chasing that highest level.

71241675Nadal will now go head-to-head against Roger and Andy through to the WTF for this year’s year-end No. 1 (currently, 1-3 goes Nadal – Muray – Federer). If you listen to the players, most put a lot of value into this distinction. That ranking, as it’s reflected in tournament seedings and especially what it signifies at the end of a year, carries a lot of meaning for players, not to mention what it means to fans and historians alike.

Murray has a few thousand points to defend here at the end of the year. Nadal and Federer have virtually none to defend (Nadal, I believe, has a couple hundred vs. Federer’s zero).

NYC will be an interesting and glorious first stage for this race to year-end No. 1. Hopefully the men are healthy and on form. Will be interesting to see where Federer lands in the draw. You would think he’ll be in Murray’s half, but we’ll have to wait on that and other insights for the 2017 USO draw.

This week some of the men are making last minute claims on entry into the NYC draw, or something along those lines.

Did you catch the play and commentary of Dolgopolov’s R1 Winston-Salem match with world No. 144 Thiago Monteiro of Brazil? Looks like the Ukranian, who lost to Kyrgios last week in Cincinnati R32, threw the match against Monteiro.

What I find interesting relates to the role of the blog in the reporting of the story. Granted, I may not have stumbled across a better mainstream news article that provides detail of this horrifying story, but the blog I did see absolutely dwarfs the few newsy, mainstreamy articles I found.

Trust pops-up as a big-time concern here, not just with players on tour (athletes in all professional sports) and with the sport’s supposed integrity police (the TIU: literally, the Tennis Integrity Unit), but what about those reporting on these issues?

I’d like to think that’s part of what drives the relevance of (and interest in) Mcshow Blog: we’re honest, passionate, analytical, and insightful. We have in mind to (as reader RJ put it recently) “keep it real.” No doubt.

Hence part of that anxiety of next week: back to work when all I really want to do is cover tennis! And true there’s some anxiety, too, in that upcoming announcement of the draw, along with the championship caliber Bo5 that will ensue.

I needed to tie the two back together; you know, about a week out. 😉

Cheers.

Cincy QF: Nadal Routined By Motivated Kyrgios

How did someone not see this coming. Should have been probably 1 and 3, but Nadal’s fight made this a little bit more interesting in the second set.

The first set was simply abusive and shows how this surface can pretty much negate so much of Nadal’s weapons. Shortened points because of a faster surface against a player skysports-nick-kyrgios-rafael-nadal-cincinnati_4077220with a big serve who can hit from both sides: How in the world does someone like Darren Cahill say this would be an easy Nadal win? Is that why Halep has struggled so much in the big matches? Such certainty when you have NK playing on this stage is absurdly short-sighted.

Brad Gilbert, the loose cannon of the broadcast, once again comes through saying this would be a pick-em, but one could see that BG liked Nick in this one. On serve alone you have to like NK. But the tank-factor I suppose keeps a match like this in question.

Let’s not forget too that Nadal was dealing with the attack on his homeland, a terrible way to go into such a match. Thoughts and prayers for Barcelona, Spain and the entire world against these hate clans (white supremacy and IS to name a few – of course there are so many other people and factors involved in this culture of hate and inequality).

Nadal had to be affected.

But I’m not sure his game in present form would match-up with a motivated Nick Kyrgios, on this surface.

What does motivate Nick Kyrgios? There is ample evidence to suggest that he likes playing the big boys. He’s had success against Federer, Nadal and Djokovic. He’s actually 0-5 against Murray. But getting-up for the real deals of this championship era doesn’t seem to be too much to ask of Nick.

He took the racket out of Djokovic’s hands earlier in the year in both Acapulco and Indian Wells.

In March, he played Federer in perhaps the match of the year, seriously. Some of the genius of that match’s tennis took a backstage to the discussion of crowd behavior, including Mirka Federer’s. This is all beside the point, pun intended. That match was simply a brilliant battle of two men at the tops of their games. The scoreline gives us some indication, but you might want to go back and watch the HFE for yourself: 76(9) 67(9) 76(5). 😉

Nadal, all distractions aside, seems to be succumbing a bit to the short-ball, including that tendency to dump balls into the net. He’s so far back, trying to find enough room to stay in a point, but these matches aren’t in the league of those longer, balloon ball, top-spin rallies. Big serves, flatter ground strokes, S & V, and shortened points are in the order of play.

Kyrgios’ BH is the talk of Cincy at this point. For all aspiring tennis players, the simplicity of the stroke is what to look for here. Very minimal take-away and often not much of a follow through, but this kind of flat block gave Nadal fits. The FH was really Nick’s weak link, which Nadal should have exploited. Nick has that tendency to hit the FH CC with a snappy top-spin. It works, obviously, but there’s more moving parts and it stays up, a shot players can track and return. The DTL FH, inside-out, is better. Flatten your FH, Nick, and take control of the tour!

Again, his game is utterly mental when we consider the potential, his age, what a sincere focus on maturity and honing the weaponry would mean to his chances and results, what it would mean to the tour, which is clearly in a transition.

Remember, too: he’s not even 100%, has been receiving medical in recent matches and even retired at the Citi Open a few weeks ago.

The mystery remains: what motivates this crazy talented Nick Kyrgios? Like I said, given the evidence we do have, getting himself into these bigger matches, against bigger talents on bigger stages could be a way to avoid a deep psychological explanation. Just play, Nick.

Hopefully the success of guys like Thiem and Zverev on bigger tour stages will propel Kyrgios; even the success of younger players like Shapovalov, Khachonov and Tiafoe should add some fuel to this hopefully burning desire of the Aussie to get his act together.

At the very least, there will be more opportunities for these runs. The big boys are older and more vulnerable and that’s a fact.

With Dimitrov taking the first set from Johnny Isner in the first SF, we might get to see a Kyrgios v Dimitrov. Recognize the effect this kind of match (and run from both) could have on the events that begin in a little over a week in NYC. 🙂

Dimitrov’s all-court athleticism vs Kyrgios’ demonic genius could be quite the final.

Get it done, boys.

How Big of a Deal is ATP No. 1?

Matt’s Mailbag kicks off today!

Two questions from loyal readers:

The first question is the title of this post: How big of a deal is No. 1 in our glorious sport? I’ll undermine my typical long-and-windy by clarifying for everyone that No. 1 is very important.

skysports-rafael-nadal-wimbledon_3995871This means Nadal’s achievement is massive, incredible that he’s doing it at this age, in and amongst these other giants of the sport playing pretty decent tennis the last few years, including this year. I’m talking about Fedjokurrinka. Nadal has claimed the top spot playing with those gents still giving the old sport the old go, as well. 🙂

But you should know this from either following this sport for longer than ten years, or hearing perhaps words of clarification from the likes of Federer (even recently) and Sampras (more so after retirement due to his professionalism, so more recent). Two of our most recent giant No.1s of the sport have made crystal clear how important No.1 is: extremely.

Proof? Federer holds the record at consecutive weeks at number one (the metric) with 302 consecutive weeks. Sampras is No. 2 at 286. Lendl is third, Connors fourth, Djokivic fifth and so on.

Federer recently talked of how important this achievement means to him personally, with regards to his 2017 goals. This is a massive indicator of one’s consistency (the true mark of greatness) and success. He has age to add to that accomplishment, of course.

Pete, if you know his story, pretty much ran himself and his career into the ground chasing the consecutive year-end No. 1 record (a variation on this very significant theme in men’s tennis); he finished year-end No. 1 six consecutive years. Yeah, your knee-jerk, some of you out there, might try some kind of week-era point of contention. But that’s a point of dip-shitention. Dominant was Pete Sampras’ tennis.

No. 1 is a big deal. Congrats to Nadal for getting there.

This legacy criterion has been a major foundational weakness for Djokovic, which I highlighted through-out my series of arguments surrounding Djokollapse. Early in the reading we pointed-out how his 2016 collapse, the effect that had on his ranking, his end-of-year ranking, his WTF results, etc., not to mention his USO result, was practically murderous for the guy’s legacy (the irony of that coming on the heels of his Novak Slam).

Much more can be hashed-out here.

The other question pulled from this week’s Mailbag is about the nature of discourse here at Mcshow Blog. Believe it or not, someone suggested that I might have been a little too curt in a recent exchange in the comments.

Ha ha. That’s silly. I argued earlier that we need to mix-it-up a bit more over here; but even if you saw said exchange, you would note that this was far from rude. In fact, given the reader/comment in question, he’s in a slump, has been on vacation and needs a little wake-up call anyways.

We’ll write more about Cincy tennis a bit later, as the boys roll into QF. Dimitrov did hold-off Delpo who appeared to be mounting a come-back in the second set, but lost his early break there and succumbed in straights. I mentioned yesterday actually that Delpo, despite beating Berdych, did not look that impressive. Dimitrov looked awful at the start of the second set, but gathered himself.

Dimitrov into the SF, perhaps a rematch with Nadal (backing-up their AO SF)?

Khachanov looked strong in his R16 first set TB 7-0 advantage, but then got sent packing 36 36 by the Japanese 28 year-old Sugita.

Stay tuned for more.

Cincy 2017 Downgraded to ATP World Tour 500 Event?

Of course not. But the draw is missing: Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka, Cilic and Nishikori, at least.

So, let’s see some of these young lads take-up the slack.

We’ve already begun this discussion, previewed the younger field briefly, ahead of schedule. We’re ahead of schedule at Mcshow Blog.

The biggest hiccup in all of this is the loss of Federer, not just his loss to Zverev, but the suddenly very real possibility that he is feeling a bit the wear-and-tear of this 2017 affair.

Wrote this last week: “Let’s start with Roger. I watched most of his first match v Polansky. He looked sloppy, bad at times and still breadsticked the local cuisine 2 and 1. He won one of his service games in less than a minute, literally :58 seconds it took to win a game. Looking at the scoreline, however, did not give one any indication that he may struggle a bit vs. Ferrer in his second match.

He looked old against Ferrer, who’s about equal in age to the Maestro. David hammered Federer’s second serve, kept the 2-seed off-balance, used his relentless defense to attack a seemingly tired Federer. As I said on Twitter, Federer looked hungover; he was sluggish and even grumpy, at one point smashing a ball deep into the stands upon missing a fairly routine overhead smash.”

The final the same kind of slop. I wrote he’d found some comfort between then (^) and the final, but he really hadn’t. Part of this is the difficulty of his draw (or lack-there-of). I wrote in my preview that Nadal clearly had a more difficult draw (Shapovalov aside). Federer played his draw on one leg. What gave away his trouble throughout was his visible frustration throughout. He looked irritated, tired, hungover (I tweeted this during Ferrer match). In reality, he was bit of a mess.

I imagined a rise in the SF because of a bump in efficiency; he looked more in control. Most of us were a bit deceived as well by his is 2017 form in general, which has been odd, to say the least. His dominance. Other than those 2 losses prior to Sunday (themselves bizarre against Donskoy and Haas), has Roger broken a sweat in 2017 other than some mild perspiration in Melbourne?

In other words, I was a little surprised by Zverev’s dominance. The second serve and FH were too much, especially for an ailing Federer. Zverev’s second serve averaged around 115mph and he had one DF. Good luck with that.

But the injured Federer didn’t give us much of a look in the final at a chance exchange with the strong 20 year-old. A healthy Federer maybe turns this final into a classic? How bad is the injury? When exactly did it surface? Again, I say he looked less than 100% all week (if he was disengaged, not wanting really to press – why play?). We’re left with a few questions.

Some are surmising he should have sat Montreal and come-back for Cincy. I say, if he’s injured — it’s probably not devastating — now he can rest for NYC with some good HC reps under his racket. If he’s hurt, he’s out. Pretty simple and an elderly injury will stand-up to this tour like the final went yesterday. Even worse for an injury, Bo5 September hard courts is tax season.

Good for Zverev, picking-up his second Masters title. I am more interested in the youth development at this point. We need deeper and deeper fields with more danger, more parity.

That Federer and Nadal were advertised as fighting for No. 1 going into Cincy is almost absurd.

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I’m pleased that Tommy Paul beat Donald Young today. Isner next with a chance to play Sascha. In fact, Sascha plays hopefully Tiafoe, who’s up a set now.

Here’s a highlight of the Paul v Young match. DY comes to play usually. This is a physical match. Paul commits errors but has enough serve and athletic tennis in him to beat some decent competition. Good news.

Indeed, how will my American brethren do here.

Maybe that’s really how to grow this blog, become a fan blog. Seems to be the trend, folks. Sure, I have a nice loyal little readership that spans the globe (best part of my audience). But I want to build threw the roof.

And those corny fanblogs do that. Part of that politicized global culture, I suppose. People are going crazy. I suppose my blog should be crazzier to tap into this madness. Sad.

Oh yeah, back to the tennis. Nadal has a tough draw with Gasquet and probably his buddy Gilles Muller next. Then more HC athletes will await the Spaniard’s slightly over-valued chase for #1.

More on #1 later, when I feel crazy enough to write a crazy post about that crazy #1 ranking.