Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nole Model 2012

Today I want to share with you my thoughts about Nole's form in 2012. In the begging of 2011 (during the streak) he was so hungry and focused at every match and his level was pretty consistent throughout every match and every tournament. You could see the desire and fire in his eyes and it was AMAZING. This year, unfortunately he seems to have lost some of that fire, desire and hunger and it makes me very sad. I know it's unreasonable to expect Nole to show that unbelievable level consistently again this year cause it took super-human effort last year and it's too difficult, maybe even impossible, to repeat...But I still wish too see it in every match (and not just for a few games or even a full set) and gets a bit disappointed when I don't. I love Nole no matter what but after he spoiled us, his fans, last year, it's hard to get used to "Nole model 2012". He also seems lees happy since he got the no. 1 spot and maybe the pressure is getting to him. Federer loved being no. 1 and dealt with it with (almost) no problems, it fitted him like a globe.  Rafa on the other hand couldn't handle it and crumbled under the pressure and now I'm afraid Nole is going in the same path. I just want to see him smiling and happy like before, that's my no. 1 priority and the results are of minor importance. I guess all I can do is hope fot the best and see what happens...And in the mean time I can listen to do these two great songs that make me think of Nole (I dedicate them to him):

Nole, you leave me breathless everytime I watch you, on and off the court!

Nole, you're simply irresistiblete!

And check out this great video a Nole fan made:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Ranking the tennis commentators & journalists

Hello everyone, 

Today I'd like to share with you my views about the different tennis commentators and journalists I come across often as a rabid tennis fan and grade them. You might not know who half these people are because we come from different countries and thus watch tennis on different channels on TV but I still hope you find it interesting and know at least some of these guys so it's not lost on you :)


As an Israeli, I can watch all the slams (except Wimbledon) live only on Eurosport and so I can only really judge its commentators and not other commentators like those on ESPN's (although I have heard a couple of their broadcasts that I downloaded from YouTube - USO 2011 semis and finals). So, if you're not European and don't have the channel you probably have no idea who these people are and have no reason to believe me and take my word about them…But you Europeans who listen to them too will probably agree with me regarding most of them. OK, moving to the Masters 1000 events and other small tournaments (ATP 250 & 500); I watch their broadcasts on the net via livestreams cause I'm not willing to pay the Israeli sport channel money for its unprofessional and biased broadcasts (they HATE Nole and LOVE Federer) and I could tell you stories about some commentators there and stuff they said about our Nole but I won't, you're better off for not knowing and getting upset, trust me on this. Anyway, I watch via livestream and I usually find links to broadcasts of TTC's commentators so I have an opinion about each one of them too. I know many have that channel so you might know them too.  The women's tournaments I can watch on Eurosport and Eurosport 2 btw. Finally, the journalists I read on a regular basis are those on the ESPN and Eurosport websites.

List of commentators


Simon reed - From what I can remember, I never had any problem with his commentary but I also don't really remember anything interesting he said so... C+

Anabel croft - A bit annoying, it seems she has no original thoughts and only repeats things she heard others say. C

Joe Durie - I thinks she's pretty OK, she knows what she's talking about listening to her could be boring or even tedious at times. B-

David Mercer - I like listening to him. First off, there's a nice tune to his voice so that a big plus. Secondly, he doesn't talk too much like his (usual) partner in crime Durie. And finally, he says smarts things most of the time. The only con is that he too can he boring at times. B 

Mats Wilander He is really annoying sometimes with his un-objective predictions and love for Federer and the fact he keeps changing his mind according to what's going on is ridiculous...But he's not boring to listen too, that's for sure so that's why I don't mind listening to him and sometimes I even enjoy it, he makes me laugh and I enjoy gloating when he's wrong with his predictions. B-

Chris bradnam -  I hate listening to him, especially when Nole is playing Federer cause he's so Federated and I can't stand hearing him salivating over every Federer winner and sighing after every missed shot. He's so biased and he's definitely the worst tennis commentator on Eursport, and one of the worst all together. F

Frew McMillan - He's OK and pretty objective (although you sense he loves Federer too) but I still find him a bit annoying for some reason at times... Maybe it's because he let's Bradnam who usually seats alongside him say whatever he wants and thus approve his bias, or maybe it's is stuck-up attitude, or maybe it all comes to the fact that I just know he loves Fed and thus automatically annoys me. But he's the best in Eurosport and I respect his opinions cause the guy knows tennis and know his job and doesn't yammers too much so...B+

TTC (Tennis TV channel)

Sam Gore - He's TTC Chris Bradnam, enough said.  F

Nick Lester and Doug Adler - I heared they're biased towards Federer too but not as bad as Gore but I didn't hear them comment on Federer's matches (or forgot about it) so can't say if I agree. On other matches they were OK but a bit annoying and I sensed they're anti-Nole so I'll grade them based on that. C-
Jason goodall and Robbie Koeing - I love them. Really Nice accents, especially Koeing's (love his tune of voice), very knowledgeable and talk business but not much technical stuff and also amuse you with stories and etc. Great to listen to!!! A++
List of journalists/bloggers


Simon reed - He already appeared on the commentators list and I gave him C- but he's also got  a blog and as a blogger he's awful, so biased towards Federer and Murray and I can't forget that horrible blog, where he predicted they would swipe all the slams this year...Well, he was wrong as Nole won AO. Take that Reed! F

Mats Wilander - As a blogger he's pretty OK and I like to read his blogs.  


Steve Tignor - I love reading his stuff because he has a heart and he's a gifted writer who really moves you and I don't care if he's an expert or not. A+

Peter Bodo - He's Mr. Know It All and he always tries to provoke someone, be it Fed fans, Rafa fans or Nole fans. He's really annoying! But he's not biased or at least doesn't show and he deserves credit for that. C

I would love to hear your thoughts about these commentators & bloggers or other ones you listen to or read. Looking forward to your comments... :)

Emperor Federer and the naked truth

Hello everyone, today I would like to discuss a subject that's very close to my heart. I hate the hypocrisy of the media and many of the tennis fans when it comes to their subjective opinion, that they share freely with anyone who's willing to listen (and also those who don't), about the character of their favorite player and the characters of the other players. As a die-hard-Nole fan I could be accused of doing the same thing and one can even say writing this blog is a hypocritical act on my part. Maybe it's true and in that case I hate myself I guess :)...Whatever...Anyway, as such I of course greatly resent most of the criticism bestowed upon Nole.  

Many people in the tennis world, like Roy Emerson for example, think Nole is too arrogant on court with his chest thumping, animal roars, fist pumps, etc - "I would like to see him show a bit more humility like Nadal and Federer"...When I first read it six months ago I was furriest as hell but now I think it's just really amusing...How ridicules is it to ask a player to mimic other players instead of being himself on court? It's ludicrous beyond words and I giggle whenever I'm reminded of that silly statement.

First off, Nadal is not exactly the row-model for humility on the court as you can see for yourself from these photos:

And here you can see hundreds more photos that show exactly how "humble" Nadal is on court.

So I really don't understand why he mentioned him in the same breath with Federer "the Swiss iceberg"... I guess he's just a hypocrite who dislikes Nole for whatever reason cause that's the only thing that makes sense.

Secondly (forgetting Rafa and addressing only the comparison to Federer), maybe Emerson just misses the "good old days" when he was still playing, when all the players were "gentlemen" a.k.a emotionless robots like Fed, but I still don't get why being a robot and not showing any emotion whatsoever is better than showing "too much" emotion (passion, desire and fire)? If you ask me watching a player like Federer, as talented as he is, quite boring cause he's too reserved... I love to see raw emotions from players and that's exactly why I love Nole so much (besides his amazing talent and fighting spirit of cousre), he wears his heart on his sleeve and shares with the fans in the crowd and us at home, everything he's feeling with his body-langue and his gestures and watching the fist pump or hearing that animal roar just stirs something in me and fires me up :) It's not arrogance IMO, it's passion but Nole explains it better than me so I'll leave it to him: "Tennis players, we’re always playing in center courts that feel like arenas. And when we get on the court and the crowd cheers your name or salutes you—it’s like you’re a gladiator in the arena. And everyone is cheering—and you’re fighting, you’re screaming, during your strokes—it feels like you’re animal, fighting for your life." Bravo Nole Djokovic! Bravo! :)

Thirdly, is this really better???

Fourthly, is he really trying to imply that Nole's so-called arrogance on court is worse than  Federer's proven vanity, tetchiness, sore-loser behaviour, hypocrisy, mind-games and lack of respect for all his peers off the court?! Let's review some of RF's crimes against
humility during the last few years that were documented very nicely in this wonderful colum
titled Emperor Federer and the naked truth and the interpretations of the writer, Nigel Graber, are spot on!


The worst crime IMO that RF has ever committed in my opinion was voicing these truly off-Key remarks after he and his Swiss DC team lost at home to USO in February: "I played well enough in doubles, but Stanislas not so much...He didn't have his best match in singles. It's a shame, because of that defeat, we weren't able to put the US under pressure." 

No matter that RF lost his singles in four sets, while Stan played five very tight sets against a higher-ranked opponent. 

Throwing Stan under the buss like that was a awful thing to do IMO; as anyone who's ever played this game knows, one of the worst breaches of etiquette is to blame your partner....But RF has to blame anything and everyone but himself (and on the way show hypocrisy and lack of respect for his rivals), he just can't help himself, it's inherent in his nature... he was born this way!


But let's wind back to 2007 when Roger's tetchiness first crept in. When Federer went down to Guillermo Canas twice in quick succession, he insisted the Argentinian's drug ban should not have been lifted. Would he have been so quick to offer his opinion if he'd won? He described a loss to Djokovic in Montreal as 'insignificant' and fired a ball angrily into the crowd against Murray in Cincinnati.

Since then, Federer's crimes against humility have been almost too numerous to mention. Ha ha ha...Well said, Nigel! :) :) :)

Roger's never been above a little bit of hypocrisy. Let's scoot forward to last year. With Murray struggling with an injury at the World Tour Finals in London, Federer told the Scot that champions play and win even when they're injured. He even claimed not to have been fully fit when he won his five WTF titles.

“I’ve been unlucky towards the end of the season – I’ve had a back issue; I’ve had a quad issue,” he said. “I guess I’m tough in taking hits as well with my body. I know how to handle them. My body, even if it’s injured, can still play really well, whereas maybe other players, if they are injured, it doesn’t work any more. Many matches in my career I’ve played hurt as well but was able to somehow find a way to at least compete or sometimes even to win.”
Just the year before, though, it seems that those back and quad issues were very much impediments to his performance after he got dumped out of Wimbledon by Tomas Berdych.

Federer said: "I've been feeling bad for the last two, three matches. I am struggling with a little bit of a back and a leg issue."

He claimed to have picked them up playing Lleyton Hewitt in Halle, Germany: "That never quite really went away. It came back a little bit after the first-round match and then went away again and just kept creeping back sometimes during the matches. When you're hurting, it's a combination of many things. You just don't feel as comfortable. You can't concentrate."

In a sentiment that would become familiar to seasoned Federer watchers (the 'the match is always on my racket' of later years), he added, "I had my chances. I was just not playing well enough. When he had to, he was able to come up with some good stuff. But I definitely gave away this match."

Berdych was unimpressed. He countered, "You can say that he was unlucky or you can say maybe the opponent was a little better. I don't know if he is just looking for excuses. I think every time when he played, he was 100 per cent ready."


There was further hypocrisy on show as Federer upped the ante before those 2011 WTF finals. With Murray fresh off three outstanding ATP victories, including a 6-0 final-set thrashing of Nadal in Japan, the Swiss said, “I’m not taking anything away from what Andy did, but was Asia the strongest this year? I'm not sure. Novak wasn't there, I wasn't there and Rafa lost early."
Federer, of course, had conveniently overlooked the fact that the highest-ranked opponent in his own autumn triumphs in Paris and Basel had been eighth-ranked Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.

Sore-loser behaviour

Fast-forward three months to a US Open semi-final defeat against Djokovic, a five-set epic lasting almost four hours. The Serb saved a match point with a brutal forehand, a shot that Federer dismissed as 'lucky' in his post-match press conference: "To lose against someone like that, it's very disappointing, because you feel like he was mentally out of it already. Just gets the lucky shot at the end, and off you go."
Djokovic once mused that he'd like to share a beer with some of his rivals once they've retired to talk about "what we all went through". Federer was never likely to accept that invitation from the Serb, and after his comments on Djokovic's work ethic and playing style, it will probably never be extended.

"Confidence? I mean, please. Some players grow up and play like that," said the Swiss. "I remember junior matches, being down 5-2 in the third, and they all just start slapping shots. I never played that way. I believe hard work's going to pay off, because early on maybe I didn't always work at my hardest."

The statement, if undeniably offensive, sounds plausibly honest in an kind of way. Then you examine the stats and see that Djokovic won 83% of his first-serve points against Federer's 67. He fired 48 winners and 35 unforced errors, while Federer's numbers were 49 and 59 respectively. Novak converted six break-point chances against Federer's three.

Mind games

Now, let's wind back to the start of Wimbledon 2011. In his pre-tournament interview Federer was asked - How would you describe the strength of the top four seeds compared to any year that you've been here? and here's what he answered regarding Nole: "I think Djokovic has always been great, but nothing extraordinary yet." (for full disclosure he was talking about his achievements in Wimbledon specifically) - Well, what else could you expect from Federer? That's how he wins against most players, by planting seeds of doubt in his opponents minds and hoping for full bloom...Well, that time the joke was on him as he failed to even make it to semis against Nole (lost to Tsonga in the QF after leading 2-0 in sets) and Nole went on to win the title...He who laughs last, laughs best :) The sad thing tough, is that next year he will make the same statement all over again, cause how on earth can Nole's 1 Wimbledon title compete with his 6 titles?! It can't!

And to finish with the examples let's fast-forward to Federer's interview last week before the IW final against John Isner and listen to what Federer had to say about the upcoming final (Oops, he decided to talk instead about his DC loss to Isner the month before):

"Without taking anything away from John in Switzerland, the conditions were extremely tough for both of the players.  It was altitude, it was a clay that was virtually unplayable.  Every second bounce had a bad bounce in it.
At the end when he was up, whatever 5‑2 in the fourth with a break in hand, what's the point of pushing the ball in?
He went for it and hit a couple of return winners.  He had an amazing fourth set, but it was difficult conditions for us to play.
So tomorrow hopefully will be a bit more normal and I can answer your questions, because the only match I can look back to is the tough match at Davis Cup on indoor clay, which normally doesn't happen. I know how difficult it's going to be tomorrow.  John is playing great tennis at the moment, and I'm sure for a long period of time.  It's great and exciting for American tennis, and I'm happy it's happening in the finals, this rematch for me.  So I look forward to that a lot."
This is Federer's calling card, he dismisses his rival past success over him and then throws him a false, fake, compliment...It's a true Federer CLASSIC! He does it to play with his opponent's mind and remind him and everyone else on the way, that he's the GOAT and whenever he losses, it's never because the other guy was simply better but due to bad conditions the affect only him and not his opponent (poor Fed) or/and him being unwell, unlucky, unfocused (thinking about the final against Rafa for example - his excuse to losing to Nole in the USO 2010 semis), or the other guy had a "lucky" shot...You name it, he gave it! His bag of excuses is always full...

As you can see, RF has a bunch of excuses he loves to use over and over again, but unfortunately, some of us tennis fans and maybe some of the journalists too, don't love hearing them over and over again...It can be infuriating at worst; boring and a waste of everyone's time (including Federer's) at best. So to save everybody some time I suggest that RF (or someone on his behalf seeing how busy he his) writes a (very long) book of excuses and then after a loss he can claim in the interview: "The reasons I lost are listed in Section 2, Clause 3 and Section 1, Clause 5, so just copy them from there and let's call it a day." - How great would that be? :)

Global poll

In the summer of 2011, a global poll of 50,000 people found Roger Federer to be the world’s second-most-respected person, sandwiched between Nelson Mandela and Bill Gates. The public's exposure to tennis is limited and often second-hand, and the press have ensured that Federer is still dining out in his 2007 dinner suit, so this is hardly surprising.

It's time for the media to admit the naked truth: that Federer's claim to be the greatest of all time seems increasingly hollow. More damning is the public image spun on the loom of the press of a gentleman ambassador. Today, this looks an even dafter ensemble than the gold-lamé manbag and Sergeant Pepper warm-up suit that he once paraded with such smug self-belief on this great sport's most-hallowed patch. 

Is that how you want Nole to behave Mr. Emerson? Is hypocrisy really better than fist-pumping in your eyes? Do you actually prefer witnessing a sore-loser behaviour over chest-thumping? Playing mind-games is more appropriate than roaring in your opinion? If the answer to any of these questions YES than God bless your poor soul. 

P.S. Even if Emerson only meant Nole should be more like Federer on the court I still wouldn't agree cause it would be so boring if all players acted the same and because I love Nole's passionate gestures so much :) I also wouldn't be willing to take the chance of Nole consequently becoming more like Federer off the court.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The life of a die-hard Nole fan

Today I'd like to talk a little bit about this phenomenon called being a die-hard and share my own personal experience as a die-hard Nole fan. In my third post (published two days ago) I told you how I it all started but for those of you who haven't read it or forgot I will repeat it...I first noticed No1e in the 2008 AO SF against Fed; I was so curious as to who's this talented and handsome young hero who managed to beat the invincible Fed in a slam in straight sets and I was also grateful to him since I hated seeing Fed win all the time (except against Rafa on clay). Anyway, I started following him after that and fell in love with both his game and his personality and the rest is history...

Well today I do want to talk about this "history". Since the end of 2002 and up until the beginning of 2008 I was just another casual tennis fan who watched only some slam matches and I even missed quite a few slams all together. I didn't even watch the 2007 USO final a.k.a Nole's first slam final and I still regret it. 
Anyway, in 2008 it started to change because of Nole who I took a liking to since that amazing AO SF win over king Fed. I started following tennis more closely and began to watch some masters 1000 events on ESPN. I didn't watch that much tough, only the latter stages (QF and onwards) but I got up at the middle of the night sometimes to watch him play (in Montreal for example), just like I got up for his USO and AO matches.
I was pretty hooked by the end of 2010 and I also followed Nole's results in the other small tournaments (ATP 250 and 500), that weren't broadcast on TV, via sports news websites. But then, I learned I could also watch these tournaments via live-streams and so the cycle has been complicated and I started watching everything, never missing a Nole match if I could help it. I was officially a Noleholic, and since then things have only gone from bad to worse, I'm now a raging Noleholic and I need a fix every day.
Let me elaborate on the last year and a half...In the beginning of last year, just days before AO started, I joined a local tennis forum for the first time in my life and I left days before the final cause I couldn't stand the Rafa fans there who trashed Nole non-stop. Then I joined another local forum where 80-90% of his members are Fed fans and I'm still there although it's not easy at times cause I feel misunderstood...But maybe I'm the problem cause I love Nole too much, you can even say I worship him, and I write about him all the time so it annoys many people who simply don't get it. Oh, and I also, for full disclosure,  write whatever I want without giving a second thought to the repucations...Since I frequently feel a strong need to give them my (not so positive) take on Federer's actions, you can probably imagine how bad it gets sometimes. I've had so many arguments, too many to count but yet I can stop...Why? I don't think I'm a hater, I think I just like to throw the truth in people's faces and I can't ignore some of the things he does, I really can't...It's stronger than me, maybe it's part of being a fanatic Nole fan or maybe it's only me, but I can't stand a player who never shows REAL respect for Nole (FAKE compliments don't count with me). Anyway, shortly after I joined that forum, I also started posting regularly on the Novak Djokovic official web-page and in September I also joined the official Novak Djokovic forum and I'm very active over there.
What kind of fan am I, you ask? Well, I'll tell you...I'm one of those really pessimistic fans who always write before and during matches (at the first sight of trouble), "He will lose, I just know it", "I have a really bad feeling about this match", etc. I drive most of my fellow Nole fans on the forum crazy with my posts because they're optimistic fans. I try to worry less and be like them but can't. I'm also afraid to jinx him so you'll never see me writing "He's going to win" even if he's serving the match with a double break cushion. I drive myself crazy too sometimes but I can't help myself, I can't censor my thoughts or my posts like I told you before, I write what I really feel 90% of the time if not 100% and I worry 100% of the time... Yes, the life of a die-hard pessimistic fan aren't easy, to say the least :)

P.S. So now you know pretty much the full story, you know the WHAT but what you may not understand and I also don't really fully understand myself, is the WHY. Why am I acting and feeling like this...Any ideas? :)