Fed on the forehand volley (above).
When my young son often queries me about the tennis rankings system, usually his fascination rests with the fact that the best player is often not the number one player. Like at present, in both the men’s and women’s game. Djokovic is clearly the best player, and Nadal is number one, and with the ladies, how Caroline Wozniacki is the women’s #1. I’ve asked the same questions myself since I was a boy. But in recent times, the amount of times that a false number one has occupied the top spot for many weeks as helped validate that the women’s game is a joke. Safina, who at least made a few major finals to go along with her major meltdown, Jankovic, who held the top spot for an embarrassing 25 weeks, perhaps the worst fundamental tennis player in years, and now Wozniacki, who got spanked today by Hantuchova 6-1, 6-3 in about 70 minutes. She’ll also retain the ranking and go into the grass court season as #1. And what has she done to deserve that?
Okay, she has 4 clay court titles this year, and 6 overall. We laughed a little when she said after the loss, “clay is not my favorite surface.” But really, here’s why we dislike Mary Joe Fernandez so much, and can’t stand that she captains our Fed Cup. She talks about Wozniacki, talks about her ranking, see’s her ticket punched in round 3, and says sutff like, ‘the computer’s going to give her credit for going out there and playing every week.” It’s a dumb computer. And for Fernandez to back it up when she has a job in tennis, smacks to us of more riding with the establishment. Patrick McEnroe also probably loves the computer.
When Jankovic was #1, in that year, she had about a 55-28 record, which means she would about make the round of 16, with a bye, of most of her tournaments, and then lose. Federer lost 4,6, and 7 matches from 2005 to 2007. It’s obvious why, too. Jankovic is a hack. She can’t play and has no guts, besides. Worst serves, volleys, forehands, transitions, and touch in the game. With Wozniacki, it’s not quite as bad, because she has some better fundamentals, but she has even less guts. These girls are petrified to come in and hit a volley, and you know what? Maybe Hantuchova is also, but she goes for it and can rip huge forehands. What can Wozniacki do?
The 2 played on the American putrid super slow Spring hardcore season, and Hantuchova was off. Wozniacki blew her out in the first set, and then Hantuchova loosened up, and the 2nd set went to a tie-breaker, and Wozniacki won because she was running really well and more on her game. When it didn’t matter. As the computer rewarded her for playing every week, Wozniacki played three meaningless green clay events and won them. Green clay is very different than red clay. There are no majors on green clay. Here she is, exhausted today, having wasted her chance at a major by playing meaningless stops.
Do you see the men playing on green clay on the men’s tour? They do not waste their time. I’d like to know the last green clay event played on the regular men’s tour. But the men are playing some interesting tennis right now, at one of the best week ones in recent memory. You see Federer? Who has allowed 2 break points in 3 best of 5 set matches, with 2 of the opponents being very good players. How about this stat? In the last two rounds, Federer has made all nine of nine serve and volley points. In the Texeira match, that was 7 out of a total 84 points. That’s a substantial percentage of the points on clay in the modern game.
Roger must love these balls. And he’s all set to meet his buddy Stan. Roger has played about of a 3rd of the time in rounds 2 and 3 as Wawrinka needed today to take out Tsonga. Roger’s last two clinics leave him fit and fresh to serve out wide to Stan a few times and then knock the volley off. Rafa, who plays tomorrow, can’t be too in love with the balls for a change. Sixteen break points for Pablo Andujar and nearly being pinned alive by Isner’s serve. Some 7 plus hours of court time in 2 matches. That doesn’t mean Antonio Veic looks great, the journeyman Croat, who takes on Nadal. But he is hotter than ever, the world’s #227, and did just take out Davydenko. But we’re gonna guess he’s the type of underdog who makes a lot of sense on the money line. We’ll give it to you in a bit. And we’re not trying to disrespect Nadal. We’ve seen guys give him a tussle early and thought the demise was imminent, and he’s gone on to win some of those majors. But it would be crazy if Roger could blast these quick balls all over the place in a semi-final matchup with Rafa, keep the points short, and win this thing while taking out Nadal on the way. It is pretty much the only knock the putrid baseliners cling to.
We won’t say he’s not gonna do it. And that it won’t be great for the game. And then what will the Roger haters say? That he didn’t beat Djokovic, if say, Andy Murray breaks through on clay and beats the Djoker, who is due to lose, even if he survives Del Potro, who I must say, has a wicked serve for clay. Djokovic has gotten used to putting every ball in play and fighting for every point. He’s just standing around hoping a lot of the time here, and either way, that’s the kind of thing you wanna see, even if it gonna air around 7 or 8 AM tomorrow.
Here are those odds we promised:
Nadal: – 10000
Veic: + 2500
That’s the same line they gave Isner. By the way, we also think Murray is extremely over-favored:
Murray: – 5000
Berrer: + 1500
And we’ll be pulling for Mardy Fish in a tough matchup versus Frenchman Simon, and Soderling, who we also wouldn’t mind seeing in a matchup with our good friend Rafa. Like I said, we’ve seen him do it before and win big, but we think Rafa is playing worse right now than the year the great man won his first title at Roland Garros.