Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Greatest of All Time Debate?

Who's the greatest of all time and how do we define the parameters of what is means to be the greatest....it's tough to compare different time periods since the conditions and technologies were different as well...

Does the best ever mean....most grand slam titles (to most people yes), most year end finishes at number 1, the most titles ever (grand slam and other tournies), the ablility to win on all surfaces, having winning records versus your peers/competitors, the highest winning percentage, do you have to have an Olympic gold as well as a Davis cup title....or is it a combination of all of these factors???

Here are the people I think deserve to be in the race of the best male tennis player ever...

Rod Laver ("The Rocket")

Ranked number 1, both as an amateur and as a professional
11 grand slam titles
2 grand slams in 1962 and 1969 - won all 4 majors those years - no one has ever done this!
200 singles titles (amateur and professional), but 52 listed by the ATP Tour
22 titles in a single season (1962) - the most ever
Career winning % (536 - 136 or 80%)
The games first complete tennis player

Bjorn Borg ("Ice Man")

Won 11 grand slam titles (6 French Opens and 5 Wimbledons) out of 16 total finals
Wins the French Open and Wimbledon in same year, back to back in 1978, 1979 and 1980
Member of the winning Swedish Davis Cup team in 1975
Youngest player to win a Davis Cup match at 15 years old (1972)
Former number 1 player
Never won the Australian Open or US Open
Winner of 3 year end championships
Career winning % (609 - 127 or 83%)
141 - 16 record in grand slams, which is the highest winning % in slams ever of 90%
93% winning record at Wimbledon (51 - 4)
64 career titles
One of the first players to use heavy topspin in his game
Performance versus peers - tied head to head with McEnroe and Ashe (both rivalries at 7 - 7); winning record versus Laver (5 - 2), Connors (15 - 8), Vilas (17 - 5), Nastase (10 - 5), and Lendl (6 - 2); losing record versus Newcombe (1 - 3)
Calmness and demeanor on the court was legendary
Retired in 1983 at the age of 26
Had an unsuccessful come back tour in the early 1990s failing to win a single match

Roger Federer ("The Maestro")

17 grand slam titles
Number 2 in the world at the age of 34
World number 1 for over 300 weeks (237 in a row)
Captured the career grand slam (not in one year)
Won titles on all surfaces (indoor, hard court, grass, clay)
One of the greatest grass, hard court and indoor players of all time
7 Wimbledon titles (2003 - 2007, 2009, and 2012) and 10 Wimbledon finals
5 US Open titles (2004 - 2008)
24 Masters 1000 titles (formerly Super 9)
Played in final of all Masters 1000 Series tournies
64 consecutive grand slam tournies through 2015 US Open
46 grand slam quarterfinals and 38 semis
27 overall grand slam finals
87 career titles
Won end of the year ATP world final 6 times
Member of Swiss 2014 Davis cup winning team
2008 Olympic gold medal in doubles with Stan
2012 Olympics silver medal in singles losing to Murray
Reached 1,000 career win in 2015
Losing record against fellow peer and competitor Nadal though (10 - 23 as of September 2015) - that's a dent in the armor and the one thing tarnishing his record
Career winning % (1,047 - 235 or 82%)
Most popular tennis player ever

Rafael Nadal ("Rafa")

14 grand slams (tied with Sampras)
Greatest clay court player ever
Winning record versus Federer
9 French Opens (most of any player and single grand slam title ever), 2 Wimbledons, 2 US Opens, 1 Australian Open
2014 - became first player to win grand slam title for 10 years in a row
Winning record versus Federer, Djokovic, and Murray
Won grand slams on all surfaces like Federer and Agassi
2008 Olympics gold medalist
27 Masters 1000 titles (formerly known as Super 9)
4 Davis cup wins - 2004, 2008, 2009 and 2011
67 career titles
Played in final of all Masters 1000 Series tournies
Possesses career golden slam (but not all 4 in one year)
Perhaps the greatest competitor and humblest tennis player in history
Career has been plagued with knee injuries
Currently ranked 8 in the world and 2015 was the first year in 11 years that Rafa didn't win a single major
Career winning % (750 - 155 or 83%)

Pete Sampras ("Pistol")

Winner of 14 grand slam titles (including 7 Wimbledons and 5 US Opens)
Dominated his peer and major competitor Andre Agassi unlike Roger with Nadal
Never won the French Open and was poor player on clay
Broke Roy Emerson's record of 12 grand slam singles titles
5 end of the year ATP World Tour Finals
Record for finishing the year ranked 1 (6 times from 1993 to 1998)
64 career titles
Career winning % (762 - 222 or 77%)
Lost only 4 grand slam finals (Hewitt, Safin, Agassi, Edberg)
Best server in tennis ever

Novak Djokovic ("Nole")

10 grand slam titles (will tie Borg with the next win)
Won 3 grand slam titles in a year twice (2011 and 2015)
Yet to win French Open - lost to Nadal and Wawrinka
Been the dominant number 1 and player to beat since 2011
Only 10 - 8 in grand slam finals versus Federer and Nadal's records
Has held the number 1 ranking for 165 weeks
24 Masters 10000 series titles (yet to win Cincinnati)
Played in final of all Masters 1000 Series tournies
2008 Olympics Bronze medal winner
Youngest player to reach semis of all grand slam tournies
Only player to win 5 Australian Opens (he owns that place)
55 career titles
Career winning % (667 - 145 or 82%)
The most athletic player ever, the best returner and the fast mover on the court
If Novak were to add in his opinion and read this, he'd say a lot remains to be determined and don't count your chickens yet....I def think he'll reach 14 grand slam wins and tie Pete...the rest is in his hands...

So based on all these facts, who would you vote for? Also, what about Emerson...he's not mentioned here, but he won 12 grand slam titles...

Let me know what do you guys think and if there are other items to consider...??

Signing Out,

Monday, September 21, 2015

The New Young Guns...Who's the Next Champion?

It's not doubt that Federer, Novak, and Rafa have been dominating the game for God knows how long...but who in the next generation of youngsters will emerge victorious to challenge the status quo....I'm not talking about Nishikori, Raonic or Dimitrov, but the teenie boppers....all of whom are insanely talented...

The following lists the players and their strengths/weaknesses from what I've seen and observed of them so far...

Borna Coric
Maturity for his age versus the others
Tall and physically strong
Fighter and never gives up
Has defeated Nadal, Murray, Robredo
Currently ranked 33
Coach is Thomas Johansson former Australian Open champion

Nick Kyrgios
Tall and huge serve and crushing forehand
Beaten Nadal (Wimbledon), Federer (clay), and Gasquet (Wimbledon)
Ranked 37 in the world
Punk and can easily go astray in the matches
Mentally all over the place...but entertaining
Should be known for his play, skill and talent not his mouth
Fiasco with Stan Wawrinka and what he said about Stan's gf


Thanasi Kokkinakis
Height of 6 ft 5 and can use this to his advantage
Huge win at French versus Tomic this year and saved match points
Elegant/stylish player
Ranked around 70 and made all the grand slams in 2015
Defeated players Juan Monaco and Julien Benneteau
Good coach in former player Jason Stolternberg
Needs to work on fitness as he cramped in the 2015 US Open
Funky hair do haha jk jk

Mischa Zverev
He's tall and his height will be a huge advantage
Once he grows more muscular and gets more physical, his serve will start to pop and be a huge weapon
Great backhand down the line - big strength
Temperamental and I've seen him crack his racquet a few times, but he's young
Needs to attack more given his size
Opportunity to be more aggressive in crunch times

Lucas Pouille
Has defeated Fabio Fognini and Ivo Karlovic
Made all 4 grand slam main draws in 2015
Tough five setter vs Monfils in the Australian Open after winning first two sets
Love his style and two handed backhand
Haven't seen as much of him versus the other players, but a huge potential...

Hyeon Chung
Played a great match vs Stan Wawrinka in the 2015 US Open...three breakers
From that match, he can hang with the big guys in rallies
Fast and can slide really well
Love the prescription sports glasses
Flashy forehand, but can improve serve
Strong physically and solid legs
Made US Open and Wimbledon main draws in 2015
Great for Asian tennis and popularity

Who will be the next Sampras, Federer, Nadal, Djokovic...I guess we'll have to wait and watch...

Let me know your thoughts peeps!


2009 Article: When Federer Won the French Open

Another old article I wrote guys...was a great day when Federer finally conquered the French...

Federer Finally Wins Elusive French Open Capturing Career Grand Slam
by Surya Krishnan

Sunday, June 7, 2009, a blazing red letter day when the history of the present composes that "other" history of monuments and records.  The Baryshnikov of tennis sinks to his knees, for the fourteenth time to be precise, but this time, the champion’s knees make contact with red clay, the legendary terre bateau of Roland Garros.  Roger Federer joins the elite team of Fred Perry, Don Budge, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, and Andre Agassi, who by the way is there in person to witness that spectacular moment that is both in and out of time.  Federer is now only the sixth player ever to complete tennis' career Grand Slam.  He has just defeated Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4 in Sunday's 2009 French Open Final.  Today's victory in Paris marks tennis history on several levels: it represents Federer's first victory at Roland Garros, after three heart-rending losses to Rafael Nadal in three consecutive finals since 2006.  It also heralds his tying of Pete Sampras' 14 Grand Slam titles record.  Federer, like Ivan Lendl, has now reached 19 Grand Slam finals during his career, not to mention his record of reaching 20 consecutive semifinals as well as 15 of the past 16 Grand Slam Finals.  Perhaps, the time has come to declare that Roger has undoubtedly earned the title, "Greatest Player Ever?"

This last title did not come easy.  It was by no means a foregone conclusion.  Roger came perilously close to defeat on more than one occasion over the fortnight, but continued to "problem solve" his way round after round as each opponent presented him a different scenario and a different challenge.  To wax poetic, the seven matches that won him the elusive French Open trophy comprised a fascinating continuum: from the intense and economic sonnet to the expansive passionate lyric, from the undulating grace of the ode to the ever changing ups and downs of the fraught epic.  In the second round, Federer was nearly down 2 sets to 1 to Jose Acasuso and saved a set point in the third set.  In the round of 16, Federer trailed Tommy Hass 2 sets to 1, 3-4 break point in the fourth set before ripping a lethal inside out forehand to get back to Deuce and finally win the game.  In the semifinals against Juan Martin Del Potro, Federer was on his heels and found himself once again with his back to the wall to a younger opponent who played aggressively and fearlessly almost pulling off an upset.  Federer survived all these tests using his greater experience and wits, raised his game to the necessary level, played percentage tennis, made all the adjustments opportunistically even when he was out of rhythm, demonstrating the thesis that a champion is after all what a champion does, time and again under pressure.  Federer stormed out of the gates of the locker room today with his typical blistering game, took charge of the situation right away and treated Soderling to an exemplary tennis clinic, as Soderling himself conceded during the presentation ceremony.  It was only appropriate that Federer had saved his very best form for the finals.

The great Andre Agassi was there to present the trophy to Federer, and one didn’t have to be an expert lip reader to decode Andre’s happy whisper to Roger,  "I'm so happy for you man."  Exactly ten years ago in 1999, Agassi achieved the career Grand Slam as well by defeating Andrei Medvedev in a noteworthy five set come back final.  In addition, Pete Sampras had also been sending Federer text messages this week, supporting and urging him on the win the title.  When was the last time that other great and contemporary champions of a game reached beyond the provincialism of their individual egos to salute, admire, and exhort a fellow champion?  Pete, Andre, and John McEnroe, who made it a point of calling him the greatest during the post match interview, have recognized the profound reality that Roger Federer is the most complete avatar of tennis so far.

Being a huge Feder fan and loyalist, I can't even begin to capture how ecstatic I am for the guy.  Not only is he an amazing player, but he is also a rigorous student of the game with a deep and abiding respect for the history of the game.  I'd like to point out that over the past year Federer was sadly being dismissed and criticized after his more than usual losses and this was extremely disappointing.  Commentators, writers, and fans, who were once hero-worshipping and deifying Federer sensed this and started to become Federer doubters.  Every new loss would turn into an issue of calamitous proportions.  There was even a lot of pop psychology going around with nudge-nudge wink-wink references to his growing diffidence and lessening confidence.  Federer is stubborn and needs to change, Federer needs a coach, Federer is no longer number 1, Federer has lost his game, Federer is in a funk, Federer will never win the French Open were all un-nerving statements I have heard.

Of course no one is God and immortal and invulnerable.  We saw him breaking into tears at this year's Australian Open and his loss to Nadal at the 2008 Wimbledon was gut wrenching.  His losses to Murray, and his uncharacteristic smashing of the raquet and remark in Miami earlier this year after losing to Djokovic, "thank God the hard court season is over": well, what were we to make of all these untoward and anomalous occurrences in Roger’s narrative of dominance?  The truth of the matter is that we all live during times of myth making: we need infallible heroes who will defy immaculately the laws of reality in the name of the miraculous and the supernatural.  We need to cling on to automatic winners who make winning seem so effortless: it is as though we become vicarious winners and surely we resent it when our heroes lose.  But that is OUR problem.  Today's win by Roger has exposed the poor judgment of these critics, their seeming omniscience in the face of Roger’s so-called fall from grace.  I surely wish that the entire bandwagon of writers who changed blithely from Federer gnostics to Federer atheists understand now that Roger’s fame is guaranteed duration in real time and not in the virtual time that they keep constructing and deconstructing capriciously.  Roger Federer is real and not a mystique or a random aura that comes and goes.  I hope his win will now put this last year into perspective and make everyone realize that despite their harsh comments, Federer is really the "Greatest Player Ever."  I am no poet or novelist, but I recall the poem, If by Rudyard Kipling where he comments that:

"If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,"

and this is precisely what Federer has accomplished.  He has bounced back ferociously from this so called slump in the face of adversity and has ensured his place in tennis history.  And may I add, it is the emergence from adversity that makes history even more historic?

Surya Krishnan

2009 Article: Del Potro Denies the King of Queens Federer his Sixth Consecutive U.S. Open

Hi guys, this is an old article I wrote after watching the 2009 US Open Men's Final live...thought you'd be interested...

Del Potro Denies the King of Queens Federer his Sixth Consecutive U.S. Open
by Surya Krishnan

Surya Krishnan, a die hard Roger Federer supporter, was a member of the Cornell Men's Varsity Tennis Team, was a USTA nationally ranked junior tennis player, and won the Massachusetts State Singles title in 1999.  He continues to follow the game as an avid fan, spectator, and student.

In a four hour intense epic five set battle, the 20 year old and 6' 6" Argentine Juan Martin del Potro denied the Swiss Roger Federer his sixth consecutive U.S. Open title and handed the King of Queens his first loss at the U.S. Open since 2003, when Federer lost to another Argentine David Nalbandian in the round of 16.  By defeating Federer 3-6, 7-6(5), 4-6, 7-6(4), 6-2, Del Potro captured his first Grand Slam Title, defeated Federer for the first time in seven tries, and joined his countryman, Guillermo Vilas as the only two Argentines to win the U.S. Open.  Del Potro also became the second player along with Novak Djokovic at the 2008 Australian Open, to win a Grand Slam title in the last 22, which have been dominated by Nadal and Federer.

Federer, who had won 40 consecutive matches at Flushing Meadows was attempting to win six Grand Slam titles at the same tournament, an accomplishment last achieved by Bill Tilden at the U.S Open from 1920-25.  Federer was halted from accomplishing the same thing at last year's Wimbledon where he was defeated by Rafael Nadal in a battle and historic five setter.  All good things, as the cliché goes, come to an end.  So, what does it all mean, to Roger Federer and to tennis fans not all of whom might be Federer fans, and to the game of tennis itself that Federer's U.S. Open reign has ended?  Before we look more deeply into these issues, let us review the finals set by set.

Federer started off the match hot, the way we would expect a 15 time Grand Slam champion to.  He hit a blistering forehand passing shot cross court to break Del Potro in the second game of the match.  Del Potro, in his first Grand Slam final, appeared nervous and overwhelmed by the occasion, and did not have an answer to Federer's game plan.  As the match went on though, Del Potro point by point found his groove and managed to slowly wear down Federer.  In fact, Federer was ahead 6-3, 3-1 and had two breakpoint chances in the 5th game with Del Potro serving, but Del Potro dug deep and somehow held his service game.  Federer was also serving for a two sets to love lead at 6-3, 5-4, when Del Potro finally got some traction and made steps that altered the course of the match.  A major turning point was at 5-4 Deuce, when Del Potro ripped a forehand winner down the line to give him break point, which Federer contested and Hawk eye confirmed to scratch the outer edge of the line.  At break point, Del Potro hit another blistering forehand passing shot down the line to level the set at 5-5.  Del Potro was rejuvenated now that he had broken Federer's momentum and avoided going down a two sets to love deficit.  He carried this energy with him to the tie breaker and leveled the match hitting a forehand winner to win the breaker 7-5.

In the third set, Del Potro continued on his newly found momentum and went up a break at 4-3.  However, the experienced Roger Federer quickly broke back to even the set at 4-4.  Federer saved a break point during the next game to go up 5-4.  During the changeover Del Potro sat with his hands on his heads knowing that he had let some key opportunities slip away and that he might not get any other.  His inexperience on the main stage emerged at 4-5 as he double faulted twice in a row to give the Swiss Federer a two sets to one lead.

Typically, we are used to seeing Federer take the lead in a tight match, and then run away towards a smooth victory.  This happened in the 2006 finals against Andy Roddick where he won the third set 7-5, and then steam rolled through the final set winning 6-1.  Today was no different as Federer held his opening service game and earned two break point chances on Del Potro's serve in the second game of the fourth set.  Del Potro did not yield and managed to claw his way out of that game to hold, hitting huge serves and deadly ground strokes.  Both players continued to hold throughout the set and Federer went up 5-4.  In the next game, Del Potro served down 15-30 and it seemed as if Federer would definitely capture his 16th title, but the young Argentine Del Potro hung tight and did not budge and leveled the set at 5-5.  Things continued to get tighter at 5-5.  Federer went up 40-0, but Del Potro came back to Deuce and even earned two break points before the Swiss held to take a 6-5 lead.  Del Potro held his next game at love taking the match into another tie breaker.  Del Potro captured the tie breaker 7-4 as Federer double faulted the first point away to give his opponent a mini break and witnessed his unforced errors creeping in.

In the fifth set, Del Potro jumped out to a 3-0 lead getting the early break.  Serving at 2-5, 15-40, the veteran Federer played classic tennis saving two Championship points and leaving the crowd to wonder what else he hand in store.  However on this day, the young 20 year old would not be denied and did not let go of his grip on Federer defeating him 6-2 in the final set.  Again losing 6-2 in the fifth set of a major final (the other time being in his loss to Nadal at this year's Australian Open), Federer seemed to slowly vanish away and become more defensive and reactive to Del Potro's crushing game.  The intensity and game plan that he stormed out of the gates with in the first two sets slowly ebbed as his opponent became more confident and kept swinging away, hitting aggressive and penetrative stokes from the baseline.

Federer's Achilles heel in the match was his unconverted break point chances and uncharacteristic low first serve percentage which was 51 percent.  In the past Federer's serve had always bailed him out of close services games when he was in trouble however today it let him down.  In addition, he also threw in 11 double faults.  Federer's break point conversion, which has haunted him in the Gran Slam finals against Nadal was 5 for 22 or 22 percent.  On top of this as the match progressed, Federer became more and more agitated with the Hawk eye and challenge system.  Federer, typically known for his cool temperament and calm demeanor, doesn't believe the challenge system should be allowed in the game, and got mad with the umpire complaining that Del Potro was taking too many seconds to challenge the calls when the players are allowed only a few.  In fact, Federer's exact quote at 6-3, 6-7(5), 5-4 to the umpire was "No no no, come on, I wasn't allowed to challenge after two seconds and the guy takes like 10 seconds.  How can you allow that stuff to happen?  Do you have any rules in there?  Stop showing me the hand, ok?  Don't tell me to be quiet, ok?  When I wanna talk I'll talk.  I don't give a s*** what he said, I'm just saying he waited too long ..."

Del Potro's victory proves that he can hang with the top dogs like Federer, Nadal, Murray, and Djokovic.  By winning the U.S. Open Series this summer and having on outstanding summer last year as well, Del Potro has proved that he is no is not a flash in the pan, not a fluke phenomenon. It is no surprise why all the commentators and analysts have raved about his game and marked him as the new comer to win many Grand Slams.  Del Potro had been demolished by Federer in the quarters of this year's Australian Open earning only a few games and had a tight five setter in the semifinals of Roland Garros losing 6-4 in the fifth set, but by defeating Roger, it shows how he has matured as a player this year and how he can perform not in just the smaller events, but the larger ones that count even more.  More impressive was that he was able to come back from down a set and a break to Cilic (who beat Murray in the previous round) in the quarters, blast through Nadal 6-2, 6-2, 6-2, and finally conquer the invincible Federer.  As Federer told him when they shook hands, "You deserve this."  In addition, by winning the U.S. Open title, Del Potro has also solidified his spot in the year end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, U.K.

Disappointed as he must be, Federer has still had a terrific turn around year and memorable summer.  He started off very slowly losing the Australian Open to Nadal and crying during the trophy ceremony.  His losses to Murray, and his uncharacteristic smashing of the racquet and remark in Miami earlier this year after losing to Djokovic, "thank God the hard court season is over" made everyone question him and wonder if he reign had ended.  But then came his marriage to Mirka Vavrinec, his victory over Nadal in Madrid 6-4, 6-4, his capture of the elusive French Open and along with it the career Grand Slam, the birth of his twin daughters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva in July, and finally, one more Wimbledon triumph for a sixth time and the breaking Pete Sampras' 14 Grand Slam record when he defeated Andy Roddick in a grueling and gut wrenching match 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 16-14.  All of these magnificent achievements re-coronate him as Numero Uno: not a bad year even by Federer's own exacting standards.  Could even Federer, short of perfection, ask for more?

- For comments or inquiries please contact Surya Krishnan at sakrishnan1381@gmail.com.

Why Andy Murray is not a Member of the Big 4 in Tennis...It's Really a Triumvirate

Hi all you tennis fans,

I hope you're doing well and enjoyed the grand slam season in 2015...

This is my first blog posting and I wanted to share some thoughts with you on Andy Murray and the Big 4...

I was watching Andy Murray's match against Kevin Anderson at the US Open a few weeks ago and it was really a disappointing loss for Andy. He had a great summer and finally got over the hump and beat back Novak (after losing the last 8), but I expected more from such a great...especially when you consider that people have given him membership into the Big 4 league with Roger, Novak and Rafa...

Well given the performance of Roger, Novak and Rafa over the past several years and their resilience, I really don't think Andy is a member of the league....sorry Andy

My reasons are as follows:

1. Andy only had 2 slams - the 2012 US Open and the 2013 Wimbledon. This puts him with people such as Stanimal, Safin, Hewitt, Kafelnikov, Rafter, etc.

2. Roger has 17 grand slam titles, Novak 10, and Rafa 14...these guys have surpassed Becker, Lendl, McEnroe, Connors, Edberg, and Agassi in grand slam titles...Andy is way behind these numbers...2 is better than most, but given his talent level and what the game expects of him, he's 2 - 6 in grand slam finals...ugh...

3. Andy has never been number 1 in the world while the others have

4. The other three guys have dominated the game in one respect/area or another...just look at the past eight years and the number of slams between Roger, Rafa and Novak...Roger has taken the game to new heights and broken every record, and he's been the dominant number 1 until the past few years. Rafa has 9 French Opens and is the best player on clay in the history of the game...Novak has been the best player in the game since 2011...he's had two years where he's won 3 out of the 4 slams (2011 and 2015)...when you consider these milestones, Andy is nowhere to be found and is in the doldrums...yes, I know this is harsh...

5. Andy has a losing record versus the other 3 players: 6 - 15 vs Rafa, 11 - 14 versus Federer, and 9 - 19 versus Novak

6. Attitude and Intangibles - when I see the other guys out there, I feel they have more fight, tenacity, the desire to win, they complain less, etc. whereas Andy is looking to bark at someone, yell at his box or whomever...ultimately, those other guys get it done and will themselves to the finish line...but with Murray, I feel he still has several humps to get over...he needs to start beating them more regularly, he needs to compete better, and frankly, just make more slam finals to solidify his place in tennis history...

These are preliminary thoughts guys. Feel free to share your comments.

Thanks again for reading this blog and please share it with other tennis fans :)

More to come...