RG: Two cool articles

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Two articles I liked and thought I’d pass along before going to bed to dream about MaRafaoke.

The Fly in the Ointment by Steve Tignor – this is dated today, but I swear I’ve read it before…or at least bits of it before. Some kind of odd deja vu?

In tennis, where, despite the differences in surfaces, there is only one belt, Nadal is the fly in the ointment, the guy who makes the Goat seem a little more mythic than real again. Nadal’s title isn’t as exalted, but it can’t be argued with: He’s the best at beating the best.

Can Tignor join in on the karaoke? (Will I learn to spell that without having to triple check before this fleeting obsession stops?)

Nadal Knows Only One Way: His Own by Greg Couch. I have mixed feelings about this one.

He’s going to have to. It is that all-out style that got Nadal where he is as a player, but also where he is with his injuries.

I’m never 100% comfortable with that assumption. Yes, it’s more likely that all-out play will lead to injury, but some people are just more prone to injury than others – whether by genetics, build or lack of proper conditioning/stretching/yadda. Are we absolutely sure that it’s Rafa’s playing style that’s got him in trouble?

Federer is seen as the greatest player of all time, but Nadal’s best has been better.

Well, that I like. :)

Nadal is like the kid moving into adulthood, discovering that his body cannot just keep doing the same things it has always done. Think of a baseball pitcher who throws 100 mph and does nothing else. When he gets older, and that 100 drops down to 92, 93, he has to learn how to pitch. But to be what he’s always been, Nadal feels he needs to be that 100 mph pitcher.

This, I tend to agree with. I think he’s started to realize that he can not fire off the 100mph pitch and still win, though. Or, that continuing to insist on going for the 100mph pitch for months on end will definitely lead to bad things…very bad things. We’ve seen that this year…willing to stop play during a Grand Slam match, willing to skip his home tournament…these are all steps that most frustrate him and yet are probably necessary for him to be able to continue winning and kicking ass.

8 Responses

  1. ang says:

    the last quote I think is essential and for a good example I look to how Andy Roddick has changed his game as he got older or to continue the baseball analogy look at the great power pitchers you need to develop a certain amount of finesse.

  2. Nana says:

    I checked into Tignor’s page this morning and got the same deja vu. Must be dated wrong, heh?

    I’m with you Miri that I’m getting quite tired of people saying that Rafa’s playing style leads to his injuries and that he should change it. And people are harping on his injuries as if he’s unique. But who on the tour doesn’t have lingering injuries barring Federer?

    Rafa’s constantly improving and evolving so he’s not relying on sheer power and speed, but has added variety and skill to his game. I hope the press does the same. I mean, Couch has some insights but in essence, he’s still repeating pretty much the same things.

  3. miri says:

    Erm, I see that I forgot to update the title of this post from my “I’ll just stick something up there until I can think of something better bit” I put in as I’m coding up the post. Oh well. Wait, wasn’t I supposed to be asleep by now?

  4. rubik says:


    I would guess your sense of déjà vu on the article posted by Tignor tonight on Tennis.com probably comes from exactly that, your having déjà vu very similar wording in some of Tignor’s previous articles on Tennis.com, ESPN Sports, Tennis magazine or elsewhere.

    For example, the last sentence of Tignor’s article on Federer entitled “Who is the greatest of all time?” posted on May 19, 2010 on ESPN Sports read as follows:

    “Nadal, for now, has a more peculiar title, one unique to tennis. Call him the Fly (In the ointment). He’s the best at beating the best.”

    It seems Tignor is really fond of this wording.

  5. sharon says:

    I agree Miri. I’m so tired of these articles claiming Rafa is just some muscular behemoth out there on the court while Federer is the epitome of artistic beauty. So often they don’t give Rafa his due for all his talents and his marvelous movement and shot making ability.

  6. Wooffie says:

    The H2H debate runs continuously and sure I’m biased, but I always feel around the patch that its value as a statistic is devalued because it doesn’t favour Federer. Just suppose the majority of the matches had been played on hardcourts and it favoured Feds, would it be a “weighted” statistic then? The pair have not met regularly in finals of hardcourt tournaments because other than the USO, neither of them regularly get there. Much is made of Rafa’s failure to make hardcourt finals in order to face Feds, but I think this statistic is scewed with the bias of the USO. They both fail to meet in Masters 1000 finals oh hardcourts because one or the other of them doesn’t make it, not just Rafa. And what I have never had answered is … of the meetings on hardcourt/grass (Federer’s premier surfaces) when they have faced off, why doesn’t Feds have an overwhelming stat of say, 7-2 or 8-1 over Rafa rather than the 5-4 it is which includes 2 Slam victories for Rafa.

    Makes my blood boil how this fantastic player and man gets summarily dismissed so easily.

  7. fay says:

    i so agree Woofie, this h-h crap about Rafa beating Fed on the clay is so biased towards Federer. Rafa won Toronto,Montreal, Indian wells x 2 but where was Roger? its not just the slams. Its always the tennis experts as they like to call themselves, (I have two in my family), one of them coaches and adores Federers game, that dismiss Nadal like he just grinds his way through, when realistically, you don’t get to have achieved what Rafa has just being a grinder or a muscular counterpuncher as they like to call him.. since Rafa burst on to the scene of the game, tennis has been in a better place, players are fitter and more athletic alround because of Nadal, 100’s have tried to replicate his forehand with poorer results or so I have read, he has brought so much to the game and deserves more respect. There are few players if any out there who could have achieved what Rafa has.