Wimbledon QF Preview and A Rant

Quarter Finals

1. Murray (3 set R16) v Querrey (5 set R16)

My numerology is fantastic! Everyone who played a three-set R16 match raise your hand. You are going to win your QF match and advance to the SF! Congratulations! This is a conspiracy and we’ve let this one go a little too far. You are all part of a grand chain of events beyond your control. If your R16 match went 5 sets, sorry. Better luck next time!

Actually my Rant is below, but I’m really feeling it right now. Sorry. Thought that pattern nonetheless is pretty funny and does probably work to determine the SF match-ups. Ha ha.

Murray should advance here and wear-and-tear will be a part of that. Plus, Murray has more leverage across the board, starting with he’s a better tennis player. But the intangibles are speaking-up, as well. He’s the defending champ at his home major. Lendl is in the house. Murray looks untroubled so far and we know he’s been getting good reps. That RG SF wasn’t all for nought. What’s not to like about Murray?

Of course, Querrey isn’t just an empty pint. Querrey made the QF last year after beating Novak (the supposed beginning of Djokollapse) and lost to Raonic. He can play grass and his big serve makes him relevant (as it does Muller and Raonic and even Berdych). Andy’s ROS will partly neutralize the American’s big weapon, but stranger things have happened. And what’s the status on injuries? I have heard Andy is injured. Novak looked injured today, yet the talking heads around SW19, who have better access than we do, don’t seem to be talking much about any of this. This could be Andy in 3 or 4, but if gets into the land of TB, the contest could get tight, go either way; and Murray, we know, is still chasing that lion. But you have to favor Murray here.

2. Cilic (3) v Muller (5)

These two played a tight SF at Queen’s Club that Marin won 63 57 64. Muller may be rested and feeling really confident from that win over Nadal, so we could be in for another tight match. I have been big on Cilic and I think he over-powers the lefty; at the cilic-wimbledon-2017-wednesdaysame time, the big serve can neutralize a dangerous opponent, too. Can Muller tap into a big day on serve and keep things going for another round? Probably better to surmise that Gilles is pretty taxed, and Marin will continue to march towards another final-four showdown (remember, he was up 2-0 sets on Roger in last year’s WB QF. He had MP at Queen’s two weeks ago in the final. This is a guy with major championship range and he’s probably pretty motivated). Jonas Bjorkman doesn’t hurt either. We like Cilic here but an energized and stoic Muller would be gift for us fans, again (that Nadal match is still ringing in our ears).

3. Fededer (3) v Raonic (5)

Federer is rolling, and Raonic has had a less than good year on tour; but we better understand that Milos will not be an easy match for Federer. Of course, last year’s SF plays into that. But even more so: his run here at these Championships. A win like that in the R16, against a young hot-shot who’s been playing better and more (consistently), has to bring Raonic out of his slump a bit. And the serve is just enormous. We think back to the role a big serve can play on these lawns, even the slower manifestations of the grass. The Zverev match is a big win for the Canadian.

But, the taxman did collect, Raonic needing five big sets (though he breadsticked Sascha in the fifth) to compile the victory. That was a tough battle, so some fatigue would be expected and Federer has been pretty light on his feet, flowing, seems ready for this revenge match.

A reader asked about my commentary last year where I called Roger out a bit for failing to close-out Raonic. I have not re-read my post on that SF, but like most matches, there are a few big moments in the exchange that will determine the big shifts in score and momentum (clutch). I remember that being the case with that match, that Federer, whether it was injury, the Ljubičić-project still in its infancy, who knows, but Federer couldn’t handle the big Raonic at that point. Raonic had a better year in 2016, had McEnroe in his box during the fortnight, etc. He was a better player then.

And Federer has that clear re-interpretation of tennis at the business-end. 2017 Federer, understatement of the era, has been remarkably more efficient, lethal. Before, all of that lethality would dull in those critical breaths of huge games and points. He’s closing now; the BH being a good tangible example of this new approach; but the intangibles seem as palpable, as well. Federer’s variety, sorcery, and talent are now polished with that more efficient gamesmanship, match management, etc. You know what I mean.

Federer should win this (on the 5 v 3 numerology) but also on the arch of their careers (ironically); Federer is looking to continue an historical year, playing well. Raonic seems to be struggling just a bit and might have expended a bit too much getting to the QF.

Lastly, on this match; that serve and ROS equation. If Federer can serve well here, then the Canadian has to have a mammoth day on serve. Federer’s ROS is much better and will, most likely, get a look at some BP – of course, he has to cash-in, unlike Nadal yesterday. But if Federer is serving like he did against Grigor, how does Raonic pressure Federer?

4. Djokovic (3) v Berdych (5)

I will write this analysis tomorrow, but as you can see, based-on my sophisticated numerology, I can predict that Novak will win in 3 sets (follow the pattern there?).

I wrote that sentence yesterday, so another prediction fulfilled! I know, I’m being pretty silly, but the match (I watched bit toward the end) looked off. Novak had a MTO and seemed to be wincing through out his service games. That did not look good. I saw highlights of the first set and Novak looked solid, running Mannarino side-to-side at will; Novak looked to be hitting the ball well. 

But he looked off closing-out the match, unhappy, uncomfortable. After the match, Gilbert and Goodall didn’t say much about the injury. Is he injured? Was that an inappropriate MTO? I’m referring to my back-in-forth with Wilfried in last night’s comments. Novak looked legitimately uncomfortable in that right shoulder/elbow/etc.

As for Berdych, he can play grass and he’s a big boy with a big game. He does struggle playing these top guys; he is 2-25 against Novak overall. But, he’s also 1-1 at WB against the Serb, the win coming in the 2010 QF.

We’ll see. I still don’t know the status of Novak. I’ve been anticipating his return for a few months now. He didn’t really prove too much at Eastbourne, his draw here has been a joke (again, Mannarino looked completely over-matched out there. Looked like a bad ticket to watch Wimbledon), and now he looks to be battling injury with another match tomorrow against a big hitter?

You got me on this one.

Berdych has been playing well this year; I keep going back to the QF at Miami where he played 2017 Federer to a stand-still. He’s under the direction of Ivanišević. But he just played 5 v Thiem and he’s 2-25 against the Djoker. I’m not calling upset though this would not surprise me; would validate this mystery form and health that the shitty draws perpetuate. Instead, I’m calling BS on the Serb – if he’s healthy, and he probably is, he routines the big, tired Czech underachiever (you hear that, Tomás? Prove me wrong, big guy).

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Is there any pressure on Djokovic? You bet there is. He has to prove to someone, anyone (himself, his coaches, Pepe, his fans) that he is in major championship winning form. This isn’t Novak, #1 in the world, with a seasoned box including Wimbledon great Boris Becker on staff. This is Novak, clawing his way out from under the Djokollapse, who’s hired Agassi and Mario Ancic, a decent player back in the early to mid aughts, but left the game to go to law school and become a banker.

Brad Gilbert, referring to Djokovic’s R16 match today getting postponed (and finally moved to July 11), suggested that both Djokovic and Agassi must have been pacing back Agassi_Wimbledon-2017-player-Novak-Djokovic-988952and forth like Agassi used to do during his playing years, anticipating the start of his match (Gilbert coached the American for a time). These two have to be somewhat nervous since there’s a lot on the line – more so than for any other player (an argument I have been making all year, which I started in 2016). This is more important for him than it is for Fedal, Andy, Cilic, Mannarino, yo mama, etc.

Don’t be fooled.

And Agassi is not messing around. He’s doing this coaching gig pro bono. He’s going after people even somewhat critical of Novak, including John McEnroe; according to reports, McEnroe likened Djokovic’s fall to that of Tiger Woods’. Hmmm. We might have to consider the context here like was necessary with his comment about Serena’s relevance on the ATP. Agassi told Johnny Mac to shut-up.

So, from the nervous pacing to the mafia-like public relations, the Novak camp has to know that tomorrow had better be a smooth three-setter.

If you recall, I joked about the upset alert in my last post regarding Djokarino. Instead we got Muller Time (another t-shirt). I don’t think Novak has much difficulty tomorrow, but then again I don’t have much on which to base my confidence in Novak.

I will fill-out the QF preview tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

PS
Djokerfan is suggesting that there’s a conspiracy in putting Djokarino on Court 1 today, knowing full well that they would never get that match in, so moving the match to 7/11 is part of, again, some conspiracy to undermine Nole. Djokerfan is wrong again. The conspiracy, rather, is that this unrepentant mass needed something about which to hiss and piss; it’s not a meaningful tournament unless the Djokergirls and boys are crying. Alas, we have a complaint! Couldn’t cry about the draw. But they got something to piss on, after all. Only the Djokes on them. 😀

PPS
Good luck, Novak. Just play good tennis.
Berdych is waiting and playing like it’s 2010 😉

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The Rant

Folks, you and I read and watch a lot of tennis. The fact that you’re reading this right now makes me very happy, by the way – might even add a little motivation in the morning to get out of bed 😀

I grew-up listening to many of our great tennis narrators add so much layer and depth to matches, tournaments, championships, and their players. I’m getting side-tracked here; this is not a recollection of some of the sport’s great voices – that would be a fun post to write for sure.

This is about some of the garbage out there that I want to say a few quick words about. Indeed, some of the less qualified “voices” in our super-charged social media environment decorate this glorious tennis landscape like wads of senselessness that I guess at least provide some of us fuel for discourse. But you know of what I speak.

Let me paraphrase the sentiment that I have been torpedoing for awhile here lately. It’s pretty much the Djokerfan. Separate this discussion from the discussion about tennis and their hero. He’s an all-timer, one of the very best ever and watching him struggle to get out of this collapse is a little disturbing; I can go into that more later, but let’s just say that the world isn’t quite right when a 30 year-old Novak Djokovic is struggling. As I’ve been saying, get your shit together, bud. Shit or get off the pot. What is this? Seems very personal, emotional.

Of course, Andy last year and now Fedal have moved to fill the void; so it’s not like we’re abstinent from genius competitive professional men’s tennis. In other words, the sport we love is better when people are healthy and playing their best. All players.

Do you hear that, Djokerfans? Your pissing and moaning about the conspiracy against your player is a bad look, a really bad look. You believe Novak has been singled-out because he’s a threat to Fedal, the sport in general, whatever.  You believe others (a vague “they”) perpetrate an historical crime (perpetuated) against Djokovic. If that’s the case, and it is, then the spirit of your complaint implies you would prefer to see bad fortune brought upon others. If you believe there is ill-will toward your player, then you naturally (we all assume this if you’re too dumb to realize this) invite ill-will on your opponents.

You recall my exposé on CindyBlack3 (look her up on Twitter) and that fog horn of fanatical garbage. She blocked me finally when I asked her how her argument that Novak is the greatest HC player of all time jives with Roger’s and Pete’s 5 USO majors, or Lendl’s eight straight USO finals. That’s the land of hard courts, folks, where the men separate themselves from the pretenders. Federer has as many of those titles as Novak, Nadal and Andy have combined. Get your saber metrics toilet paper out of the building. She and her cohorts have all kinds of statistics that argue the corruption of draws designed to undermine Novak, historically.

The Djoker conspiracy around 2017 Wimbledon has finally landed, as of yesterday (tough to bring too much attention to the draw in which their player has played a bunch of top-50 players). I touched-on this extra-terrestrial encounter yesterday, as the alien ship landed only because there was nothing acutely, of note, for them to sink their teeth into until that Muller v Nadal match.

Because Djokarino played today, the scheduling of a Djokovic match is now under protest; the calendar was altered, moved to today because the court it was scheduled to play on yesterday, Court 1, happened to be occupied by one of the great matches of recent memory.

One popular strain of the conspiratorial virus reads along these lines: “They” (whoever the fuck that is) want a Federer-Murray final. They’ll go on to say crap like Federer’s scheduling has never been subject to so much “bad luck.”

The Fan will look past the pure manner of scheduling and the coincidence that Nadal and Muller would play a ~5 hour classic. Are Muller and Nadal in on the conspiracy, too?

Or is it that you want to play on Centre Court? Part of this complaint might be that because the Nadal/Muller went so long, Agassi and Djoker were upset that the last R16 match wasn’t moved to Centre Court on the fly. They were upset, apparently. But can’t you all see how/why that seems a little more complicated than you’d all like it to be? A lot of pieces, quickly, and confusedly, have to move. Sorry to break it to you, but the entire planet doesn’t just revolve around Djokovic. But isn’t that ironic, because you think the tennis planet revolves around Federer (and Nadal?). Actually, clarify that for me; is Nadal part of the bad guys? Is it Djokovic v Federer or Djokovic v Fedal? I haven’t heard if Nadal was upset that he was on Court 1 for the R16. Perhaps we should look into that…

If you’re bummed that Djokovic wasn’t originally scheduled for Centre Court, what’s your point? That your player is being de-valued, you’re insecure that he’s not “liked” or as popular as other players? That sounds ridiculous. But is it possible that there is some truth to that? Would such a sentiment be totally unfounded?

If you can’t possibly see the rationale for Murray playing on Centre Court and/or Roger Federer playing on Centre Court (from a fan’s point-of-view, the role of marketing, the pulse of business enterprise, the growth of the tournament and the sport, not to mention the quality of the match – your draw stinks, Novak), I can only encourage you to keep reading my blog, because I believe that will help.

What about your draw?

If you think the tournament really wanted Federer v Murray, why wouldn’t they just switch Federer’s draw with Djokovic’s? Your QF opponent has a 2-25 record against you. You played a guy today in the R16 that looked way out of his league and the guy he beat in R3 is best known for tanking matches. You get the most favorable draw in the tournament, yet you think we’re all coming for you?

Did you see the move that I made in that last sentence? I changed the pronoun from “they’re” to “we’re.”

Your irrationality does see it as the world is after you. And people like me will come after you because your hysteria taints an ordinarily decent event (Is the sport totally void of corruption? No. But we can certainly utilize our crap-detectors to determine what and when something is really worth some kind of investigative discussion).

The only thing, of course, that will cure this disease is for Novak to start winning; then again, we know humanity well enough to gauge that even that won’t curb the conspiracy enthusiasm. 😉

Carry-on.