FanDuel - WFBC

January 28, 2007

Federer Beats Gonzalez, Wins Aussie Open: Take a look at these numbers: 3 Grand Slams in a row, 36 matches in a row, and the first player to win a Grand Slam without losing a set since 1980. Oh yeah, he's 25 and only 4 Grand Slam titles behind Sampras's 14. Greatest. Player. Ever.

posted by antwan to tennis at 07:16 AM - 30 comments

became the first man in the Open era to twice win three straight majors and has won six of the last seven Grand Slam titles - his only loss was in the French Open final to Rafael Nadal. Yeah, greatest ever, he's getting there. Definitely. I'd love to see him win the French Open, as well as win a *real* (calendar) Grand Slam just so we can be done with this whole debate. But Roland Garros is such a crapshoot. The surface conditions can vary widely almost day to day, and the players take such a physical pounding grinding through long rallies. I don't much care for Federer as a personality, but he's probably the best player I have ever seen (compared with his contemporaries), so I would like him to make this greatest evar thing official, to give everyone else something to shoot for.

posted by psmealey at 10:06 AM on January 28

I'd love to see him win the French Open That tournament has the Spaniards name written all over it, "NADAL"! Well, at least Gonzalez didnít get the spanking Rogerís other opponents got! Tiger Woods, being the best ever in Golf, has no opponents to rival his #1 spot, but even he loses a tournament every now and then. Federer is just amazing, what heīs doing is just unbelievable, and the comparison is just to put it into some sort of comprehensible perspective, if thatīs possible!

posted by zippinglou at 10:49 AM on January 28

I think the amazing thing about Federer is this: even when he's not playing his best tennis, barring Nadal on clay, he still can't be beat. I'm still watching the finals, but he definitely didn't play his best tennis today. I mean, Gonzales made no mistakes in the first set really, and Federer won in the tie-break. Who has ever been able to do that? How do you beat this guy on any surface other than clay. "I was missing too many forehands, I didn't know what to do exactly with his slice," Federer said. "Maybe the wind, maybe his court coverage and everything put me under pressure, and I wasn't feeling that great right from the start." If he can't be beat on a bad day, maybe he just can't be beat. I've watched him start like crap so many time but never so bad he's out of the match, then he raises his game to another level and wipes his open off of the court.

posted by hellamarine at 01:11 PM on January 28

Oh yeah, he's 25 and only 4 Grand Slam titles behind Sampras's 14 How old was Pete when he got his 14th? 29? 30? The sky's definitely the limit for this guy.

posted by psmealey at 04:50 PM on January 28

Tiger Woods, being the best ever in Golf, has no opponents to rival his #1 spot, but even he loses a tournament every now and then. Federer is just amazing, what he's doing is just unbelievable, and the comparison is just to put it into some sort of comprehensible perspective, if that's possible! I'm not sure you can really compare Federer to Woods (and I get the impression that wasn't your intention zippinglou -- but I've seen such a line of reasoning elsewhere, including in this Guardian article linked to in the Roddick thread) because of the different nature of the two sports. My impression (not backed by any data or research) is that in golf, it is more difficult for a single player to win time in and time out (consecutive tournaments) than it is in tennis. On the other hand, a golfer typically has a longer sustained peak and longer overall career than a tennis player and thus can rack up more tournament victories and major wins. I think it's more instructive to look at the players compared to their peers, both past and present. Federer is great because he is absolutely destroying his present competition and he is doing it in such a way that is historically unprecedented. Woods also is dominating the field in a manner that is historically singificant. But trying to compare one to the other across two totally different sports without looking in the context of how high one or the other sits above his peers is apples to oranges.

posted by holden at 05:23 PM on January 28

Many things differentiate golf from tennis, but one of the key things is how costly errors are (or are not). In golf, everything counts; in tennis, there are many dead points. It's late and I've had a glass of wine, so I may be making a logical blunder here, but I think it's possible to win a tennis match even if you don't win as many points in that match as your opponent (you win all your service games to 30, they win all of theirs to love and then they win the tie breaks by a point) - in golf, you can't hit more shots than someone but then claim the title anyway on the basis that you played certain key holes better than they did. Also, Federer lines up each week not against the whole field, but against a maximum of seven guys. Woods lines up against 150. Also, I think the games are different in terms of what is required to win. If I went out and played my best golf against Woods on a day when he was playing his worst golf, I'd stuff him. If went out and played my best tennis (or someone half decent at tennis did) against Federer's worst tennis, I'd still be lucky to get a point off him. My point being (I think) that golf is more of a leveller than tennis - that it's harder to establish dominance in golf than it is to establish it in tennis. Numerically, in terms of majors won in a certain period of time, Woods record is not as impressive as Federer's, but in real terms, I think what he [Woods] has done is more impressive... so far. Having said all that, perhaps Federer's most impressive feat in his career to date is that he made me, a majors-only tennis fan, get up at 8AM this morning to watch the final despite a freezing house and a hangover from hell. More impressive still? I really enjoyed it.

posted by JJ at 06:21 PM on January 28

(you win all your service games to 30, they win all of theirs to love and then they win the tie breaks by a point) Think you meant to say, "...and then you win the tie breaks by a point," since you would have fewer points than your opponent but would still have won the match.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:39 PM on January 28

Think you meant to say, "...and then you win the tie breaks by a point," since you would have fewer points than your opponent but would still have won the match. Um, you're both wrong, tie breaks have to be won by 2 points. If I went out and played my best golf against Woods on a day when he was playing his worst golf, I'd stuff him. As far as you being able to beat Tiger on his worst day, I don't believe it. Are you a tour player? Unless you are, it doesn't matter if your playing your best and Tiger his worst, you are not beating him. The sad thing is, even if you were a tour player (a lower ranking one, anyway), you still might not be able to beat Tiger on his worst day. He's that good. As far as comparing Federer to Woods, true, they play different sports and it's hard to compare the two accordingly, but I feel that Federer is the more dominant of the two. Both are favored to win every tourney they enter. However, it's a shock when Federer loses (which isn't very often}, and, to me, that's the difference. At his worst, Federer can still compete with everyone in his sport (except for Nadal on clay), and if Tiger is playing his worst, he can't. One last thing, you have three days to overcome a bad golf day, but you don't have that luxury in tennis. A bad day in tennis sends packing your bags. This alone makes what Federer has done all the more unbelievable.

posted by hellamarine at 11:34 PM on January 28

I agree with JJ's analysis. But for proof you'd best follow the money: take a look at the betting boards before major tennis and golf tournaments. There are always shorter odds for the favourite in tennis. Has Tiger ever been odds on before the first round tees off? But I bet Federer has been. With golf, the fields are much more open.

posted by owlhouse at 11:36 PM on January 28

Think you meant to say, "...and then you win the tie breaks by a point," since you would have fewer points than your opponent but would still have won the match. Um, you're both wrong, tie breaks have to be won by 2 points. Damn Chablis. Of course I'd beat him on my best day compared to his worst. He's shot over 80 (twice in his professional life I think) and I've shot less than that. There is another difference - I can measure myself against Tiger. I can go to St Andrews and play the course he played. I can go to Wimbledon and hammer a tennis ball about, but I'm unlikely to be able persuade Nadal to be standing on the other side of the net so I can compare myself to Federer. owlhouse - good point - hadn't thought to even look at odds.

posted by JJ at 03:00 AM on January 29

Not disputing your excellent point, JJ, but it seems to me that another big difference between golf and tennis, one that gives tennis the edge in difficulty, is that there days in tennis on which you just cannot be off your game. In the 2005 Masters, Tiger Woods and Chris DiMarco ended up in a playoff. Tiger had a bad day on Thursday when he shot a 2-over 74. DiMarco's bad day was Saturday when he shot the same. Obviously, you can't be really terrible on any day, but you can have any combination of a reasonably bad day with three great days and win a tournament. In tennis, you can't make up for your bad day later. If Federer is going to shoot a metaphorical 74, he'd better do it early and be lucky. It's harder to make up for your bad day in tennis because your tourament might be over before you get the chance, and the likelihood of prevailing on an off day in the final two matches of a major, when you're likely to be facing top-10 or top-5 competition, is pretty small.

posted by BullpenPro at 05:29 AM on January 29

That's true - it's a bit like facing the tennis equivalent of golf's halfway cut seven times (in each round) instead of just once, but again, that gets me thinking about the fact that in tennis you're only ever playing one guy at a time. In golf, the best 60 or 70 players play on the weekend. In tennis, it is very unusual that the the best 16 players progress through the round of 32 (let's say Murray plays Federer and takes him to five sets but loses - in another game Ancic beats Gonzalez, despite playing really badly (he just plays less badly than Gonzalez) - Murray played better than Ancic or Gonzalez, but he doesn't get to go through). To start arguing against myself a bit, a factor that makes tennis tough to dominate at is the level of fitness required (not just in terms of having more stamina, but also in terms of remaining free of injury). I think Tiger is proving that physical fitness really can help your golf, but by and large, most golfers can play hurt (or play fat) to some extent without losing too much of their edge. In tennis, the slightest niggle can cause big problems, and you're also umpteen times more likely to pick up those niggles in the course of playing tennis than you are strolling around a golf course. They're both stunning athletes, and I think they're both establishing periods of dominance the like of which have never been seen in their respective sports. Nicklaus was great (and remains the greatest until Tiger beats all of his numbers), but even when he was playing well, there were still three or four guys out there with him who were capable of beating him. When Woods is playing well, he stands alone - whether that's because fields are weaker these days or Woods is just better than anyone ever has been could be debated all night, and I for one refuse to get into it until someone is buying me a drink to discuss it over. Samprass was great, as was Borg, but they too showed their greatness in flashes and had great rivals (who arguably spurred them on to even greater things). Much and all as the press would like to talk Nadal up as Federer's great rival, he really isn't once they get off the clay. In short (was I ever?) - they're both very good, I'd play Woods a flat match at a course of my chosing for my monthly paycheck verses his, but I wouldn't fancy my chances against Federer. Then again, I wouldn't really fancy my chances against anyone when it comes to tennis [self link].

posted by JJ at 06:14 AM on January 29

Of course I'd beat him on my best day compared to his worst. He's shot over 80 (twice in his professional life I think) and I've shot less than that. Okay, so you are a decent golfer, but have you ever played a course set up like the pros have to play? Those greens are unbelievably fast and the pin placements are a little difficult to say the least. I don't know you, but I'm pretty sure that Tiger's worst day would probably get your best. Of course this debate is moot because we'll never really know, will we? As far as rivalries go, look at this: http://www.pgatour.com/r/stats/2006/109.html I mean you have to get all the way down to number 94 before you find some making less than a million. Maybe some of these guys would play a little harder if they actually had to win to make a paycheck. I realize that Tiger doesn't have this problem, but the difference is that he's not just playing against himself and the field, he's playing against Jack. He wants those records so bad that he keeps his drive to win, while, it seems to me anyway, the rest of the tour is happy getting a fat payday even if you're ranked as low as 93. Of course that's my opinion, and I'm not wrong. :) p.s. sorry about the link, couldn't get it to work.

posted by hellamarine at 09:04 AM on January 29

hellamarine, I'm being unfair and not disclosing that I used to be a pro. It's a whole other game, I agree, but I was good enough at it (briefly) that his worst verses my best wouldn't have been a contest. Sadly, I never got to play in a field he was in so I can't back that up really, but I've shot in the 60s and he's shot in the 80s, so if those two things happened on the same day... you get the picture. My only point really is that Federer would beat a similar standard tennis player (i.e. someone good enough to have a shot at being a pro for a while, but who then got injured, or just wasn't good enough, or hid behind being injured to avoid having to admit he wasn't good enough [/lifestory]) everysingletime I reckon. Part of it also has to do with the fact that what Federer does directly affects his opponent, whereas what Tiger does doesn't prevent anyone else from playing their own game (on anything other than a psychological level). That list is frightening - what's the cut-off point for keeping your card? From that list, it looks like you could make three-quarters of a million dollars and still have to go back to school. I agree with you that the money is making losers of a lot of decent players these days. I also think it's part of the reason Europe keep winning the Ryder Cup. Generally speaking, I think most of the European guys have struggled a bit more to get to where they are.

posted by JJ at 09:19 AM on January 29

Okay JJ, that's what I was trying to get out of you. I figured you were either a pro, good enough to be a pro, or talking out of your arse. I really was hoping you weren't talking out of your arse, btw. Okay, I'll give in to you on the JJ vs. Tiger - best vs. worst arguement, then. I myself used to be an above average tennis player, and I know on my best day and his worst, Federer would pound me. I wouldn't stand a chance against Tiger whether he was playing his best or not. I think you're right, guys making around 3/4 a milllion dollars have to be a little worried about losing their card, I would think. I can't remember exactly where the line is, but it's somewhere right around there. I also agree with you on your opinion of the Europen wins Ryder Cup. Sorry I pressed you so much. I was just trying to figure you out. ;)

posted by hellamarine at 09:52 AM on January 29

Tennis vs. Golf. There's no definitive answer. Tougher for Tiger Arguments 1. Federer can play a bad first set, and the second set still starts 0-0. If Tiger Woods has a bad first round, he starts the second round trailing the leaders. 2. Federer always knows where he stands with respect to the guy he's playing and can take steps to make sure that guy doesn't beat him. Tiger Woods can shoot a great round, but he's still just playing the course like everybody else. He can't do anything to make Phil Mickelson hit driver off the tee on 18 instead of playing it safe. Federer can, at least in theory, keep hitting to his opponent's backhand until it breaks down. Tougher for Federer Arguments 1. The flip side of # 2 above. Federer's opponents can directly impact his play. Both golf and tennis boil down to executing one's shots. However, in tenns, a player's opponent can cause you to rush your shots or hit shots with which you aren't comfortable. Tennis keeps track of "unforced errors" to differentiate them from instances in which a player's opponent has forced the error. In golf, all bad shots are unforced errors. 2. If Tiger Woods has a bad round, he has quite a bit of time before he has to tee it up again. He can have a sit-down with his swing coach, Hank Haney, and go back to the practice tee and try and address any problems. Unless there's a rain delay, Federer has a couple of minutes before the next set starts, and he can't talk to anyone about how to fix the problem.

posted by oberyn at 10:00 AM on January 29

"1. Federer can play a bad first set, and the second set still starts 0-0. If Tiger Woods has a bad first round, he starts the second round trailing the leaders." Federer starts the second set 0-1/0-0. He's love-all in games, but a set down.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 10:34 AM on January 29

Don't let the fact that I used to be a pro blind anyone to the fact that I also like to talk out of my arse. I think both sports would be improved if you were allowed to tackle your opponent.

posted by JJ at 10:58 AM on January 29

"Federer starts the second set 0-1/0-0. He's love-all in games, but a set down." Perhaps a better way to look at it would be, it doesn't matter if Federer loses that first set 6-7(20-18) or 0-6. Either way, he still starts the second set 0-1/0-0. If Tiger shoots in the 80s in the first round, he can kiss that green jacket goodbye. There were folks saying he had no chance after shooting a high first round in 2005. If Tiger Woods plays an abysmal first round, he has a much bigger hole out of which he has to dig himself. If Federer's getting smoked in the first set he can start taking cuts, mixing things up, to try and get himself back in rhythm for the remaining sets without handicapping himself further.

posted by oberyn at 02:49 PM on January 29

Heh, this is kinda funny...Federer is like Tiger Woods, only he doesn't wear slacks, and there's another guy hitting the ball back at him, and in tennis you start from zero at the start of a new set, only not really, and physical conditioning has a bigger effect in tennis than in golf, and Tiger's got a car endorsement, and...

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:53 PM on January 29

...and Tiger's not Swiss!

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:24 AM on January 30

Tiger may have a car endorsement, but Fed's got a cow endorsement:

posted by JJ at 05:03 AM on January 30

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IRPLqH4zo0

posted by zippinglou at 05:06 AM on January 30

I think both sports would be improved if you were allowed to tackle your opponent. posted by JJ at 10:58 AM CST on January 29 Wish granted: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=74c5245c9a

posted by zippinglou at 05:13 AM on January 30

To: The Black Hand And you're not funny. Geez, I've searched these forums and, to be frank, I hope you don't spend a lot of time watching sports, because, if you do, your retention leaves a lot to be desired.

posted by oberyn at 08:56 AM on January 30

And yet he made you smile not so long ago. Lighten up.

posted by yerfatma at 08:58 AM on January 30

zippinglou, is that real? If so, I imagine it made a few insurance people's hearts skip a beat when they saw their boy launch himself at someone. Still, nice turn of speed, even if he was only chasing a white guy carrying a golf bag.

posted by JJ at 09:08 AM on January 30

Is it Tiger tackling someone in an ad (video is blocked here at work)? If so, it was on PTI last week. Apparently they were supposed to cut for the stunt double to do the tackling, but Tiger decided he was going to handle the chores. The guy got dinged up too.

posted by yerfatma at 10:52 AM on January 30

I like the expression "handle the chores" and intend to use it the next time I get in a bit of a ruck. So never hopefully.

posted by JJ at 11:21 AM on January 30

Yeah, the guy got a cut on his forehead, even though he and Tiger had "sort of" preplanned the whole thing. Apparently, though, it caught the rest of the crew by surprise. You can see the bloody area on the guy's forehead near the end of the video.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 12:54 PM on January 30

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