Wimbledon 2006 Question(s)

What’s the deal with Andy Murray. He sure whipped Roddick yesterday. Straight sets. I saw the match. He was hitting all these returns that landed just shy of the lines and handling Roddicks returns easily. He was even able to block back a lot of Roddicks’ big serves well enough that Roddick couldn’t put them away.

Roddick’s game didn’t seem to be significantly off, but I haven’t heard diddly about this Murray guy prior to yesterday. He’s from Scotland and he looks kinda like Napoleon Dynamite. But to be honest, Roddick was pushed pretty hard in a previous match. Went to four sets, all of them hard fought. Is Roddick losing it, or is this Murray guy the real deal?

A bit of both, though moreso the former. Roddick’s been an embarassment for a while now; possibly a whole year. He didn’t win a single match at the French Open. I’m thinking that his sponsor must be seriously pissed. His style of relying on powerful serves seems to be going the way of the dinosaurs.

I’m bummed that I missed the Andy Match; I really wanted to see that. Andy Murray is definitely the real deal, in the sense that all top 50 men’s players are the real deal. He’s only dropped a single set so far this Wimbledon, and that’s including his doubles match. It’s not like the women’s tour, where once you get past single digit rankings nobody has a snowball’s chance in hell. (Well, except that with Federer on the loose, only two players seem to have a snowball’s chance in hell on the men’s tour, but I digress.)

I was really impressed with (the unseeded) Myrni the other day; I’m a sucker for net play. It was a downer that he advanced at the expense of my fellow Connecticutian James Blake, though. The ultimate irony is that his singles match tomorrow is against his doubles partner. Ha! They won today; I wonder how much trash talking they aimed at each other after that match? hehheh.

I was seriously bummed when Hingis got eliminated. Sharapova is cruising along nicely, though she hasn’t faced anyone of note. I was really hoping to see a Sharapova-Hingis match. Oh well, maybe at the US Open.

While it was a downer that Agassi ran into the buzzsaw known as Nadal, at least it still leaves open the Federer-Nadal contest I’m dying to see. Federer should win – and I’m rooting for him in a big way – but Nadal is looking pretty sharp on grass. If he could pull out a win against Federer, we’ll truly have a superstar rivalry on the men’s tour.

Also, Baghdatis is still alive, so that’s good.

Murray looks like he’s exhausted just walking out onto the court! His lethargic manner belies a good, and improving, game. Another big plus for this guy is that he hates the intrusive British press. One to watch, no doubt.

A Feder-Nadal final is a mouth-watering prospect, indeed. I can imagine Nadal taking some shots from the courtside crowd. Maybe even leaping into the Royal Box to retrieve a Federer forehand smash!

He won his first ATP Tour title at San Jose in February, beating Roddick in the semis and Leyton Hewitt in the final.

He actually made a decent run at Wimbledon last year, when he took the reins from Tim Henman as “Britain’s Hope to Win Wimbledon.” (A Scotsman with a chance to win Wimbledon? The Monty Python guys must be stunned.) He’s only 19, and while it may be true that Roddick is a done deal, Murray has real promise as a player. He was successful in juniors, too.

Roddick has had that problem lately, and he’s had it with lesser players than Murray. He still has a big serve, but he’s been around for several years and people know how to read it. The book on him is out, so to speak, and everybody knows his weaknesses. To make matters worse, he actually seems to have lost a little velocity on it. He still has one of the hardest serves on tour, but it may not be the hardest at this point.

Roddick’s loss at the French didn’t mean anything; the surface doesn’t suit his game and his results there have always been bad. He’s been in decline for at least a year, and hasn’t even made a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Wimbledon last year - which is why this may be the coup de grace for him. Federer got inside his head, and now he just doesn’t know what to do. I was never a big Roddick fan, but I feel bad for him. He needs to get another coach, retool his game and take some time to remember why he enjoys tennis.

I watched Nadal beat Federer in the French. It was a very hard-played, close match. I imagine if they meet up at Wimbledon, it’ll be more of the same. But as I understand it, Nadal has some kind of hex on Federer – beat him in 5 of 6 matches. So I would tend to suspect advantage Nadal here. It’s true that Federer has superlative baseline skills, but you hae to be able to rally with Federer to beat him ion any surface, and Nadal has proven he can do rally with Federer.

That was the thing that made me think Murray was good – Roddick’s game didn’t seem to be off in any obvious way. His servers were clocking in at 120-140 mph. He seemed to be hitting strong baseline shots. But Murray was handling his serves and beating him on the rallies, so much so that I figured there had to be something going on.

I do remember the commentators saying Roddick has changed coaches a cople of times recently, a strong indicator he’s unhappy with his game. His game didn’t look all that weak on TV, but I’m no expert, and I was watching it on TV.

Right. The problem is not that Roddick has forgotten how to serve, it’s that he’s missing that top gear on both his serve and his forehand, and most importantly, something isn’t happening upstairs. His confidence must be shot at this point. Murray is good, but for Roddick to lose in straight sets like that? He’s got major problems, including an inability to change tactics.

He fired Brad Gilbert at the end of 2004, which I think everybody agrees was a huge mistake. Allegedly, Gilbert wanted Roddick to start coming to net more and to improve his backhand. Roddick and his brother, John, disagreed. He got a new coach, and that partnership lasted about a year. John Roddick is now Andy’s coach, and things are just getting worse.

I’m sorry to have missed it too, but I had to choose between the Andy Match and the Brazil/France World Cup game (not enough time to set up a video recording, unfortunately). Considering that Wimbledon tournaments are held every year while World Cup action appears every four years, I’m not sorry to have seen France upset Brazil instead of Murray defeating Roddick.

Grass is a different animal; Nadal is best on clay, and still very good on hardcourt. His 5 wins over Federer have come on clay and hardcourt. However, as I said, Nadal’s been looking quite sharp on grass this tourney. It would be a dream matchup, but no way would Nadal be favored.

I was happy to see Sharapova win today. It was a tough match; the Italian she was playing actually scored 2 (±1) points more than Maria over the course of the match, but Maria managed to score the important points in the third.

And Myrni was eliminated by his doubles partner. Oh well. Another serve & volley-er bites the dust, which is no great surprise in this day and age.

Anyone know when the masters are? Watching Bahrami play is the only think I enjoy about Wimbledon.

I’ll bet the bookies had Federer a huge favorite in his first few matches with Nadal this year, and at least a favorite in the others. I bet the bookies are tired of losing money this way. But apparently, not all that tried. Current odds on Federer taking the trophy home are 1/4, current odds on Nada are 10/1. We’ll see if it stays that way if the match goes down to Nadal/Federer.

Yeah, I watched that match. Sharapova won, but it was a really ugly win. Neither player seemed to have the ability to seal the deal once she had her opponent at a disadvantage. A lot of game points and set points got wiggled out of. If Sharapova plays like that against Mauresmo or Clijsters or Hardin, she’ll get her butt thoroughly kicked.

Ah, serve and volley is boring and fascist. Give me a great rally any day.

If favourites lose, then the bookies make money, rather than losing it, so they’ll be sitting pretty at the moment, and praying for another Federer loss, or more likely an injury/illness. By the way, Jonas Bjorkman is a serve and volleyer too, like his doubles partner, and now comes up against yet another of that resurgent breed, the evil-looking Radek Stepanek. For the winner, the chance to become a bookmaker’s hero by dismissing Federer in the semis, provided that the Swiss can overcome yet another serve and volleyer (more of a server than a volleyer, in truth, given that he’s not always that comfortable at the net), Mario Ancic. And it was Ancic who was the last player to beat Federer at Wimbledon, on his Grand Slam debut in 2002. Can’t see that happening again, however much the bookies might be praying…

Just caught the rewind on the Murray-Baghdatis match. Wow, that was an old-fashioned trip to the woodshed. Baghdatis looked his normal quality self, while Murray appeared to flat out give up.

At one point, a lone English-accented woman’s voice could be heard crystal clearly after a particularly bad give-up by Andy: “Andy, you can play better!” The announcers immediately agreed.

That was an embarassment. I wonder how Roddick feels now?

I’m actually a little torn on Wednesday’s matchup between Baghdatis and Hewitt. I like them both, but I think I’m rooting for Marcos. (He wins the “hot girlfriend” tiebreaker by a mile, although she didn’t appear to be in attendance during the round of 16 match…)

Oh yeah, also, bookies don’t care who wins, unless they are gamblers, and gambling bookies go out of business quickly.

If too much action comes in on a single side, they simply adjust the odds to generate enough action on the other side to even the balance sheet. Bookies make the same money no matter who wins; that’s their prime directive. Suckers gamble; bookies rake the vigorish.

What’s with Sharapova?

She was just crushing Dementieva unitl about the middle of the second set, when she appeared to utterly lose it. She managed to cobble her game back together well enough to win the second set, but jeebus, it was scary the way she went from unstoppable bulldozer to sputtering golf cart in the space of a single game.

Li Na lost to Clijsters, but she showed some mad skillz out there on the courts. Wouldn’t be surprised to see her moving way up in the rankings.

Sharapova can be very spotty, especially when she’s ahead. Like Davenport, when she’s on a roll she seems to let off the accelerator a bit. Then, once down, she has trouble recovering. In a recent match in Miami, she was up a set and 5-1 in the second set against Golovin and suddenly imploded. She couldn’t hit a ball inside the court to save her life. Golovin came back to win the second set and was making a good show in the third when she rolled her ankle and had to retire.

As far as Andy Roddick goes, I agree that he needs to get a new coach and perhaps a sports psychologist. Maybe he and Marat Safin can share the tab as Safin is another player who just has no confidence in his game. Too bad because he’s the best looking guy on tour, IMO. :slight_smile:

Mauresmo is looking good but I don’t think she’ll be able to beat Henin-Hardenne, who is looking incredibly sharp. Mauresmo is another player who can defeat herself with her confidence. Hardenne is a fighter.

As far as the men go, I’d love, love, love to see Nadal defeat Federer. Federer needs some competition on grass. He’s already surpassed Borg’s consecutive matches won on grass record. Time for a serious contender and I think his name is Rafa Nadal.

Agreed about Roddick. I’m also 100% behind you with the shallow reasoning behind wanting to see Safin do well, because like Baghdatis, Safin’ girlfriend’s are smokin hot.

I wonder how much being upstaged by his little sister is messing with his confidence, though.

Dementieva is also a real fighter. She rarely just goes away.

Safin was like that before Dinara was getting any attention. He’s also had some injury problems, but the man is one of the biggest head cases in the history of tennis.

Nadal, if he beats Niemenen tomorrow, might get a serious test from Baghdatis. Neither one has had any success on grass before, but there they are, late in the second week at Wimbledon.

I agree but I would also like to see Federer beat Nadal on clay once in a while. It’d be nice to see a rivalry exist on every surface.