Australian Open: What did Wawranka’s win over Rafa say about Federer

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

For starters, his win got Roger to agree to play in Davis Cup starting tomorrow. We’ll have to wait until Roger and Rafa retire to argue about who is the better and who is the best ever. I’m of the mind, for now, that Rafa is the best on clay ever. And that clay is just a side-show surface compared to hard court. I guess that the immediate argument is that grass – Roger’s won Wimbledon 7 times – is an off of the circus grounds affair given that its season lasts only one month. Grass and hard court have more in common than either do with clay. BTW, I prefer clay to them all, having played on this surface regularly for the better part of thirteen years.

At the Australian Open. Stan won because he served well and returned serve well. Federer played well, perhaps his best since winning Wimbledon in 2012. It’s all about match-ups. Did Roger tire Rafa? How much did this match contribute to Nadal’s diminished play in the Championship? Would Berydich have fared better if he and Nadal had traded sides of the draw as he and Stan split sets, one break each, with Stan winning both tie-breakers. Could Stan have defeated Nadal in the Semis and Berydich over Roger in the Semis. Would Nadal have defeated Stan and then Roger in the Championship?

Whatever the parlor game, Stan won three difficult matches in convincing manner over Djokovic, Berydich and Nadal. Nadal seems to have played his Final versus Roger so was unable to elevate his game or his health for the Championship. It appears that last weekend was one version of Davis Cup; tomorrow begins another.

Most Aces
Wawrinka 81 #1 (11+ per match)
Federer 53 #9 (9+ per match)
Nadal not in top 20

1st Serve Points Won
Wawrinka 82% #6
Federer 79% #14
Nadal not in top 20

First Serve % In
Nadal #9 71%
Neither Federer nor Wawrinka in Top 20

1st Serve Receiving Points Won
Wawrinka 146 #1
Nadal 135 #2 (18 per match)
Federer 124 #4 (20+ per match, played 6 matches)

2nd Serve Return Points
Nadal 136 #2 (19+ per match)
Federer 119 #7 (19+ per match, fewer matches))
Wawrinka 109 #9 (15+ per match)

2nd Serve Points Won
Nadal #9 and Federer #10 at 59%
Wawrinka not in Top 20

Break Points Won
Nadal 27 #2
Federer 23 #7 (6 matches)
Wawrinka 23 #7

I Like To Watch.

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

Fed defeated Tsonga in five sets in the Australian Open Quarterfinals. He did not play his best nor did he rise easily above the pressure of the moment. 4 for 19 on break points is not a champion’s ratio. He prevailed in this match with movement and the benefit of two successful tie-breakers- the lottery of tennis. I feel that the speed of this tournament’s surface (the fastest of the four majors) will benefit the best serve; back -up plan is to have the best return of serve, where Murray and Roger excel. We’ll see.

Aside from marveling at his humor in English during the post-match, on-court interview (English is his third language, which may be true for most American football players as well), I noted with relish his remark that he enjoys watching tennis on television. Truly?! Roger Federer watches ESPN or similar with a clicker in one hand?! What does he watch during the commercials? Housewives of Oberhausen? Ludwig Springer Show?

He was serious and giddy even. Partially still enjoying his match victory and mainly because Roger Federer likes tennis; playing and watching and analyzing playing and watching. He’s not trying to win; he’s tries to play tennis as he is capable, which is blessedly spectacular. How else could he still be motivated at 31 with infant daughters and so many achievements that further accomplishment can barely be measured. Sort of like another home run by Babe Ruth or another amazing idea by Apple. “Been a bunch, right?!”

That’s the secret of persistent achievement; an infinite looping of the pleasure of well selected effort. This is where he separates himself from Tiger Woods, most tennis professionals and most professionals (moi aussi). The anxiety of failure rushes us to conclusion which probably frustrates the potential of our capabilities.

What I’m really doing is talking myself into setting the alarm for 3:30 to watch his semi-final match with Andy Murray. Andy is on a roll; played well at the US Open (he won the trophy); and knows that his waxing complements Roger’s waning. Still, I favor the movement of Federer presuming their serves are about equal.

I’ll like watching this match.

I saw the Federer shot in person.

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Just bragging.

Roger & Tiger both win on a Sunday; 2nd verse, same as 1st

Monday, July 13th, 2009

One month between posts! And a lot has happened but not much has changed. Hunter Mahan shoots 62 in final round, Tiger bests him by one shot coming down the stretch. Andy Roddick plays the match of his career, losing only one service game (75 played in total with 30 in 5th set alone) and loses match to Roger after that sole miscue.

Each day as I read the thinner and thinner printed newspapers, I need only scan the headlines for strong signals of increasing disruption and uncertainty: ethnic riots in China; political riots in Iran; coup in Honduras; Iraq and Afgan-land returning to the time before the billions and the thousands (dollars and deaths). Closer to home, I think that we’re not being completely honest with ourselves about the condition of the economy and the course of action necessary for its recovery.

I continue to speak with customer executives about the present and probable impact of Internet technologies. I sat at lunch yesterday where three people in a row were using their iPhones. Notable was that each represented an different age demographic. Despite what I believe to be the silent stampede of smart phones (iPhone & Pre & Blackberry & Android-based phones), the majority of execs that I with whom I meet are not sure if they should permit their employees access to Instant Messaging capability and certainly uncomfortable with widespread employee access to the Internet.

I want to believe that these execs are terribly short-sighted in not trusting their employees in an ‘everybody knows – your employees are your brand’ economy. On the other hand, if they are correct and their employees lack the education and/or discipline to use IM & the Internet productively, how will we recover the economy and transform it from Consumption to Value-Add, presuming that a return to Production is a ways off unless matters really get bad (like becoming lower cost than India)?!

Back to Tiger and Federer: I read this summer, mainly inspired by Malcolm Gladwell’s new book Outliers, that one has to be gifted plus heavily invested to be a top class performer of any sort. So, I’ll never be as good as a Tiger or a Roger or a Bill Gates if only because they have that 10,000 hour head-start on me during which they perfected their crafts. However, I can practice like a Tiger or a Roger meaning that I can make every learning moment useful.

The way forward or the change necessary will have to be, imo, centered on a collective commitment to excellence at levels and in ways that we are not recently familiar. It might take us to the final hole or the 30th game in the 5th set and we are capable if we become committed to our mutual achievement.

Roger & Tiger both win on Sunday

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

At last for Fed. Always gracious in victory, ever candid in rare defeat. Of last 4 majors, he’s won 2 (US Open and French), losing the other two in the 5th set (Wimbledon and Australian). Sounds good?! Nadal has won 3 of the last 5 (Australian, Wimbledon and French ’08). Terrific players and better examples of sportsmanship. I admire Roger especially for his capability to look at himself from the outside to in. Even when he says how great he played, it seems sincere, thoughtful and true.

Tiger rallied from 4 strokes back to win Jack Nicklaus’s tournament, The Memorial, on the final day. He played three incredible (for other golfers) shots on the final 9 holes to win nearly before other competitors finished their rounds. As he walked off the 18th hole with a 2 stroke lead, Jack Nicklaus congratulated him. We saw their brief conversation on camera but not on interview or with a reporter. JN shook Tiger’s hand, congratulated him on the round and obvious victory and said, “now go out there and win the Open”, meaning the US Open (golf not tennis) at Bethpage in two weeks. Reflexively, Tiger replied, “Yes sir, I’ll try” showing his respect for the man whose legend and achievements that he pursues. Could you imagine an athlete from another sport such as basketball or baseball or football having such poise and a sense of how their own opportunities were created?!

The demeanor of these two superlative athletes and their commitment to improvement motivates me to improve upon whatever I’m trying to achieve.

Cardinals vs Steelers or Federer vs Nadal: who’s really super?

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

We all awoke at 3:30 EST to watch the finals of the Australian Open. Entertaining and agonizing from the first game until the last. Deflated all day when reliving the tears of Roger; pleased when recalling the grit and achievement of Raphael. I think that we all know that the torch has indeed been passed to a new champion.
Such an exhibition of talent and generous competitiveness! I recommend that Roger find a coach to change his thinking about how to play with Nadal, mainly because I want to see many more matches between them of this caliber.

I’ve seen my share of Super Bowls, namely all of them! First one was shown on both NBC and CBS. No one thought that the AFL was for real. Then Joe Namath and the Jets showed them; followed by the Chiefs knocking-out the Vikings. My highlights:
biggest disappointment: Jets defeating my Colts. Why didn’t Moral throw that flea flicker to Orr?!
most fun: all of the 49er victories
most lopsided: da Bears over New England. Much worse than the score.
most startling: my flower power ‘I’ll go for you’ date in Hawaii in 1977 who fell in love with the game when she won the 4th quarter and final score pools, c.$250 in cash. She may still be rooting for the Raiders.
most unusual location for me: in Guam watching the game on Monday morning with Carmen Cruz who cheered on every play never having seen a game before.
best play: the pass by Garo Yepremian nearly costing Miami the game and its perfect season. He was the place-kicker btw.
most memorable moment: I worked as an usher at #4, Chiefs & Vikings. After taking tickets in the first half, I was stationed behind Viking bench to keep the fans off the field
(135 lbs in an ill-fitting uniform!)
I still recall the crash of the tackles, the bleeding ear of the fullback, Bill Brown, and the smelling salts provided to Joe Kapp as he wobbled around the bench after a car-wreck of a tackle. Today’s running backs are the size of those tackles. Ugh. The pain! At any rate, I’m for Warner.