Tuesday, September 6, 2016

US Open Week 2: Don't Panic! (Open Thread)


241 comments:

  1. what does it mean when the #1 player in the world makes it to the SF of a slam by playing 2 complete matches (with 3 withdrawals/retirements)? In a perfect world I'd say it's a protest. That the players are sending a message. But of course that isn't the case because these players are too self-absorbed to want to make a statement. When was the last time this happened, if ever? What a shitty tournament this has been. Djokovic is almost guaranteed a spot in the final. How many retirements have there been in this US Open? 10? Crazy stuff.

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    1. Obviously, these sickly athletes need more TUE's.

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    2. There've been 8 retirements on the men's side this year - Tsonga (QF), Thiem (R16), Youzhny (R3), Kyrgios (R3), Lacko (R1), Bagnis (R1), Dolgopolov (R1), Kohlschreiber (R1), and Coric (R1).

      Plus Vesely had a walkover in round two.

      On the women's side, there was just Hercog (R1) and Brengle (R1), though Sevastova could have retired in the quarters after hurting her ankle.

      I was curious how these compared to the last four slams --

      2016 Wimbledon
      Women's Retirements (3): Bencic (R2), Gasparyan (R1), Tatishvilli (R1)
      Men's Retirements (3): Nishikori (R16), Gasquet (R16), Kukushkin (w/o, R2)

      2016 French Open
      Women's Retirements (2): Allertova (R1), Azarenka (R1)
      Men's Retirements (4): Nadal (w/o, R3), Tsonga (R3), Lajovic (R2), Klizan (R1)

      2016 Australian Open
      Women's Retirements (4): Kulichkova (R3), Rybarikova (R2), Duque (R1), Wolfe (R1)
      Men's Retirements (5): Karlovic (R1), Querrey (R1), Anderson (R1), Tursonov (R1), Schwartzman (R1)

      2015 US Open
      Women's Retirements (3): Bouchard (w/o, R16), Erakovic (R1), Diatchenko (R1)
      Men's Retirements (14): Goffin (R3), Sock (R2), Vesely (R2), Istomin (R2), Stepanek (R1), Andujar (R1), Dolgopolov (R1), Monfils (R1), Mayer (R1), Lu (R1), Gulbis (R1), Kokkinakis (R1), Nedovyesov (R1), Baghdatis (R1)

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    3. Wimbledon 2013 sticks out in my mind, that first week especially. It coincided with the introduction of the bio passports.

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    4. @Northwestcircus

      That was an absolute joke. So many big names... Including Sharapova.

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    5. It has been crazy. Djoker could get to the finals playing only three complete matches (well if Monfils somehow retires tomorrow during the match it will only be 2).

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  2. Absolute fucking joke the Novak Djokovic is in the semis having only played two matches and will face an also ran in the semis as well. The other half of the draw stands NO chance to beat this guy by the time they have got to the final they will be exhausted and + 3 matches on Novak.

    Something absolutely stinks in tennis right now.

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  3. I mean it is bad enough the soft draw he got but to have all these walk overs as well. And did anyone see the quotes from Novak?
    He shows a total lack of class http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/37293322

    "This was the scenario that I needed and I wished for," said Djokovic, who has faced his own health issues.

    "I got a lot of days off and recovered my body," he said. "Right now I'm feeling very close to the peak. That's the position where I want to be."

    His matches are being played first as well, so he also gets one extra day off before the final too.

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    1. I think he had a tough draw at the onset but its crazy when you consider he is the one who came into the tournament with supposed wrist/elbow injuries, yet it is his competitors withdrawing. Maybe it is outrages good fortune, but I also feel that if his injuries were genuine, I mean so bad he really did have to serve at 100mph like he was the first round, he wouldn't risk playing and a few extra days off wouldn't help either because presumably he is still practicing rather than resting.

      Agree his quotes show a real lack of class in that he's basically saying he wished ill on his opponents. I think he may actually believe that god wants him to win lol.

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    2. LOL. Well isn't he the son of God? Or is that his son Stefan?

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    3. It's very telling that he doesn't seem to consider in the least that winning a Slam so easily (i.e. having played 3 matches less than his opposition) would diminish the worth of such accomplishment. Any truly self-respecting athlete would be disappointed about having it so easy. But for this guy, it's all about the glory in the end, increase that Slam count and get closer to having his name in history books. Someone with this mentality, who even publicly voices his appreciation for such a cakewalk draw, is obviously someone who won't mind to win knowing he's a cheater and a fraud either.

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    4. It is really shocking that he would say that: That a professional athlete would welcome walkovers and retirements so that he could be fitter for the final.

      This draw was a joke from the start and it played out pretty much as I suspected it would:

      Top half: 1 slam winner and 1 top 10 player in the quarters.
      Bottom half: 3 slam winners and 3 top 10 players in the quarters.

      Seems fair to me.

      Whoever makes the final in the bottom half will be toast.

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    5. It's hard to know where he's at right now because we haven't really seen him play. If it's true he's back close to peak then, without meaning to point out the obvious, but... here is a player blessed up until now with an injury free career, who then suddenly develops a multitude of issues right after clinching his elusive French Open. The issues linger long enough to provide an excuse for tanking Wimbledon and the Olympics with all their doping control complications and now, wait for it... they conveniently go away just in time for a tilt at the US Open. I mean maybe he got as lucky with his injuries and personal issues as he has with his draw. I don't swallow it though.

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    6. I'm as suspicious about Novak as the next THASP contributor - but come on, what exactly is he supposed to do if his opponents are falling left, right and centre? He's hardly going to retire himself in self-flagelation, is he?

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  4. If Djokovic wins this US Open, there should be an asterisk beside his name. Actually make that 2 asterisks, one for all the walkovers and another for him being a cheating druggie.

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  5. Is anyone else looking at Caroline Wozinaki (who's been useless/injured all year) in disbelief/confusion at how she can reach the SF of the USO all of a sudden.

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    1. Wozniacki is a legend in terms of bottling it. She'll find a way to lose, even if the other three are snipered down.

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    2. Wozniacki is one of the few players I would bet serious money is not doping. If she is, she has the worst doctors/pharmicists possible.

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  6. In other news,

    "German prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation against WBA super middleweight champion Felix Sturm because of doping.
    Cologne prosecutor Daniel Vollmert says Sturm is suspected of violating Germany's new anti-doping law and could face up to three years in prison if convicted."

    This could be interesting, especially if the case is straight forward. A conviction would send a strong message, but it will be interesting to see how anti-doping testing, proceedure and analysis stands up to legal scrutiny. I believe this is the first case of its kind since the German law came into effect.

    http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/17485722/wba-champion-felix-sturm-criminal-probe-doping

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  7. Nishikori currently more than holding his own vs. Murray. At 30-30, 2-1 in the third, I've seen Murray twice clutch his ankle...

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  8. Murray is always grasping at body parts. This is nothing new.

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    1. And lo, once again he comes back to dominate. Nishikori trying but it's futile. Lendl's prodigy rides again.

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    2. That last point when Kei broke to go up 6-5 in the 5th set was worth the price of admission (just to see how pissed off murray got). Now let's see if he can hold for the match.

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    3. Just hand Djokovic the trophy now.

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    4. Kei faces either Wawrinka or Del Potro. I don't hold out much hope.

      But as for tonight, he did well. Hell, even if he too dopes, at least it's a change to the same old routine.

      Murray constantly ranting, and especially him smashing the net post right in front of Kei at 6-5 in the 5th... Glad he lost.

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  9. LOL, Murray lost. I'm glad because it should put an end to the Lendl = tennis Messiah myth. Murray is undoubtedly a talented player, but at the end of the day, he will always be a big headcase who can lose the plot at any given moment. No coach will ever be able to change that.

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    1. If Murray wanted to win this US Open he needed to tank the Cincinnati Masters. Even though he managed to win, I would say Nishikori looked pretty weary and ragged out there at the end. What was it, 8/9 breaks a piece? Very scrappy from both payers and I can't see Kei going any further. Maybe Monfils can do something against the Djoker but no one in the bottom of the draw stopping him at this point.

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    2. The way to stop dopers in their tracks... Malfunctioning speakers!!

      Who would have guessed?

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    3. Cilic won the Cincinnati masters.

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  10. Serena 1-1 Halep. Yet another one of Serena's 'comebacks' on the cards?

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    1. Halep played much better than I expected her to, but I never thought she was going to win. As I said before, Serena can only beat herself. She really needs to play like utter crap in order to lose a match.

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  11. As has been said above, Djokovic isn't really injured. That's been his subtlety-leaked-to-the-media excuse since he was dumped out of Wimbledon. Now that his opponents re not even bothering to play him, he sees it as an opportunity to play up the injury angle (hence the 'it's been good, now I get to rest my injury' nonsense).

    Make sure you stretch you arm muscles and get the odd run-down, and his wide eyed fans will lap it up. He certainly isn't playing like he is in any way injured. Remember the FO final, runs Murray off his legs and as soon as the last point is over, pretends to hardly be able to walk! ''Twas rather sickening that little act.

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  12. Serena says she has nothing top lose tomorrow night. Wow. So that's her secret. And just like Djokovic she apparently has an injury (shoulder) and came into the tournament without much practice. And voilà! She's in the semis of another slam with nothing to lose.

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    1. Such total and utter bullshit! I guess we're supposed to believe that if Serena was fully healthy, she would double-bagel all of her opponents instead of losing 5 games per match.

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    2. If you really want to be sickened, try reading the sycophantic articles on Serena in the Guardian. This gem argues the case for Serena being the greatest sportsperson... ever. No words.

      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/07/serena-williams-greatest-sportsperson-ever

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    3. Well if the moronic media is going to put women and men together in the greatest ever category then it's time women played five sets in slams and didn't have an extreme heat rule and oh yeah no more on court coaching for the women. Come on, seriously? Let's stop comparing men and women. If they want to argue she's the greatest female athlete ever then let's see what they have to say. But considering that she hasn't even beaten Staffi Graf's slam record yet, nor does she have a calendar year grand slam or a golden slam, nor has she won as many titles as Graf (Graf won 107, Serena has 71) I think it's a little premature to be declaring her the greatest anything.

      But I really do love this paragraph:

      "And then throw in her unbelievable comebacks from injury, the worst being when she was forced out of the sport for a year, 2010-2011, having suffered from a pulmonary embolism that left her “on her deathbed”. Because of her inactivity on the court, her ranking dropped to 175; a year later she was back at No 1. It’s hard to contest that she doesn’t deserves to be mentioned alongside the absolute best there has ever been."

      You can't make this stuff up. LOL.

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    4. @Lopi

      Yes, that paragraph made me extremely nauseous. Let's already shoot the 'deathbed' scene for the future Hollywood movie of Serena's incredible life story, shall we?

      Let's also make sure that in said movie, we choose an evil looking, sinister man to play the 'panic room' 6am anti doping official...

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    5. Stop crying and enjoy the best athlete of all time for transcending generations and being the punisher.
      Hail to Serena, the mighty queen Williams...

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    6. Deluded fan that you are, you will be still singing that song when she is 45. And that's why she and so many like her keep doping. The fans will accept anything - except the ugly truth.

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    7. First, I don't sing and second, did you accept that ugly truth about Federer yet? Anyone would agree that if Henin, Kim were still playing at this time, they will be winning the vast majority of their matches. How about Federer on the men side??? Federer is much more suspicious than Serena. Even a 70 year-old Navratilova can kiss ass in this generation of ballerina female tennis players. All they do is stay skinny, scream and show their underwear. That's not a mentality for a competitive sport, that's a mentality for a joke.

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    8. I know so many people who simply refuse to watch Womens Tennis because of the likes of Serena and Sharapova. i seriously don't know how anyone can watch Serena hit 16 plus aces over the net and call it a Tennis Match.

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    9. So women tennis is so enjoyable without Serena. Serena only plays may be 5% of the matches. Why wouldn't those who don't like watching her watch the remaining of tournaments??? Simply because they are more bothered by her winning than anything else. it is for the same reason the white audience appreciates college basketball more than the NBA while the NCAA is basically a kids league but it does allow whites to see their own people play a significant part of the sports. In your opinion, who makes the game interesting? I wouldn't even watch the women tennis even if they paid me to watch it if it wasn't for Serena. I could only watch few white players; henin, Kim, Sharapova, the italian old woman, etc.

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  13. US Open match being investigated due to suspicious betting patterns. Needless to say, it was between two no-marks:

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/sep/07/us-open-match-investigated-suspicious-betting-patterns-vitalia-diatchenko-timea-bacsinszky

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  14. Kei Nishikori is definitely pumped full of roids. Always was a feeble twig now is the iron man athlete. Gimmie' a break.

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    1. well, you know the old saying: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

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    2. Nishikori proudly (ab)uses Djokovic's egg pod machine, so from there it's only a short step to taking the literally banned stuff. Even if not, he uses the egg pod and has been a different player since he started, in 2014.

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    3. Even if players try and attempt to play clean they know the deck is stacked against them unless they dope. I think we're seeing a whole bunch of other players (men and women) saying "Screw it. They're doping and not getting caught so I'll do it too."

      They see the successes and riches players like Nadal, Serena, Djokovic, etc. have by bending the rules so their feeling is "Hey I deserve that too."

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  16. At 35, Serena is losing credibility very fast, and this started years ago! She has two factors on her, big time: one is doping and the other is/has been that she may have been born male. But again, her being 35 and still making these "results" and being top 20 when from the start she was never a complete player in the Graf-Federer category, come on! This goes for her "sister" Venus as well. About her, wasn't she ill and suffering from an autoimmune disease??? The more they continue on the tour, the more they're basically outing themselves! But the sad thing is how many real female and talented and FIT/healthy players are continuing to be robbed of titles, prize money and making history. This has gone on for more than 10 years with these "sisters" - enough is enough. Its mostly been the american media and their PR fawning over and holding up these fraud sisters and their strange father. The rest of the world and tennis fans worldwide have either disliked them or have been indifferent towards them.

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    1. Steffi Graf more complete than Serena??? Serena has no weakness and is better in almost all aspects. Go watch Graf's videos and see how she resembles Djokovic and Fed in the sense that she never tires and never gives the impression that she Is emotionally affected. Anyways, Seles being taken out of the equation is the reason why Graf won 22 slams.

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    2. Seles had healed just fine in six weeks, she beat herself and couldn't handle Graf mentally after her comeback. To compare Serena the snarling gorilla to Steffi the dancing ballerina is ridiculous.

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    3. Sorry Mystery, not wishing to be confrontational but that is rubbish.

      Someone has a nutter run up to them, burying a knife in their shoulder in front of the world, and is 'fine' after a few weeks? Do you really think that didn't have some kind of massive mental effect on her, regardless how quickly she physically healed?

      Seles, for my money, was en route to usurping Graf. The most impressive tennis I have ever seen from a woman came from Seles during her peak.

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    4. Unfortunately, one can only play like a dancing ballerina when she is built like an undercover skeleton. I also recognized that Graf does have a ferocious nose that is parallel to the ground regardless of the position she is in, something, Serena can never achieve. Finally, if you ever meet animals in real life, observe them, then observe them again, you will bee surprised by few revelations.

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    5. No need to get personal about Graf's physical traits. And yes, I am a bit of a connoisseur for the great and endangered animals of this world, they are magnificent in their beastliness. This trait doesn't always translate to humans kindly however.

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  17. Everyone always talk about hw Federer won a major as a junior to justify him winning 17 slams. My question is how about Monfils who came a slam short of winning the grand slam as a junior???

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  18. Debating which player is doped and who isn't is surely superfluous. They are elite sportsmen. They are therefore likely now to be doping. The playing field has been raised but it is not level. Doping affects athletes differently, depending on what they take and how it affects their body type - and in tennis - their playing style. All are seeking an edge. Some are gaining it. For now. And some - as we are now discussing - have become monsters in their pursuit of glory.

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  19. Murray showed a weak mental performance against Nishikori. He is like the modern day version of Marat Safin - cruising along winning a match nicely then he just totally implodes over the silliest of things.

    Dopervic is laughing all the way to another slam victory.

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    1. To be fair, he could have won this with his eyes shut. He's had a joke of a draw. My guess is that he laid off the juice for a while for the Olympics, and has offered up injury and personal problems as excuses. He now feels close o peak form, enough said about the rest of the season and the AO 2017.

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    2. The only small consolation, if this does indeed pan out to be the case, is that his sudden and catastrophic loss of form between the French & US Opens will always be conspicuous and awkward for him to explain away. And it provides excellent ammunition to be used against him in making the case that he is a doper to others.

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    3. I don't know about that. No one (pundits, media) seems to ask the big questions of Nadal who has had many sudden drops in form over the years only to come back fitter and strongest than ever. They just go on and on about how unlucky he has been with injuries.

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    4. But Nadal does get asked awkward questions on a fairly regular basis and even former sports Ministers are calling him out. Just hasn't broken through to the wider public consciousness yet, but I do enjoy watching him squirm and get irritated by having to answer them. The casebook against Djokovic is getting thicker all the time, should he go on to win this, it will only increase the speculation. I think he probably would have tanked the tournament had it not been for the withdrawals. Now the prize is too close for even a clever doper to resist. He's like Gollum and hopefully it will bring about his downfall eventually.

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    5. I still laugh just thinking about that time when Nadal cramped up during his presser at the US Open and ended up under the table.

      https://youtu.be/ABY0BR8d_z0

      I think he just didn't want to answer the tough questions. LoL.

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    6. Djokovic is greedy. He will take anything he can get. Remember in 2011 when he first started doping, he won the AO followed by every single masters he played. He didn't even throw a mat hc to Nadal on clay, to throw off suspicions, he was that greedy.

      The only match I can think of him throwing (as opposed to late-season tanking in meaningless tournaments) was this year's Madrid final to Murray. Shortly after Murray all but called him out for doping. To beat Murray then and there was courting too many suspicions, even for Djokovic list for titles. But we all know he more than made up for this at Roland Garros.

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    7. @Lopi

      Same here. I piss myself laughing at the sheer surreal nature of it.

      A good tactic to avoid certain questions though! :-)

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    8. Murray lost because he was knackered, which is what you would expect after the number of matches he has played. He was missing shots he can usually make with his eyes closed. I find the loss and the one against the doper Cillic at Cinicinatti very reassuring.

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  20. Is the Stanimal not another one with a well-timed Olympic injury that has handily cleared up in time for the US Open? I'm sure I recall him rushing back to Geneva for an emergency consultation with his doctor after Toronto. He was one of those players who claimed to revel in the honour of representing his country at the Olympics, opening ceremony flag carrier and all, but that was before he transitioned from perennial career outsider to ever-present Grandslam contender in his late twenties.

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    2. Have to be suspicious of Stan. His late career multiple slam wins were unthinkable for a player of his previous status. I guess we didn't mind so much as long as he was beating Nadal and Djokovic I'm the finals, but definitely suspicious. Who knows I guess it is technically conceivable he will pull another one out of his hat in the final to stop Dopervic winning another one...

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  21. After Warwinka's match against Del Potro, a graphic came up that showed how he's improved at Slams in recent years, and I just shook my head. He's another one who enjoying late career success almost out of nowhere.

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    1. And that is the nub of it with Wawrinka, Ferrer etc. Longevity is plausible to my mind, given advances in sports nutrition and training techniques etc etc. It's a sudden marked and sustained improvement later on in a career that's the obvious anomaly. Another signal is journeyman players continuing to improve and get better as their thirties ware on, e.g. Karlovic, Mahout and, dare I say it, Lorenzi.

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  22. Just listening to the Eurosport commentators talking about how Serena is 'almost' defying the aging the process and how she's won 9 slams at 30+. Not to mention, her opponent Pliskova who is 24 years of age was just 7 when Serena won her first slam. It's just completely ludicrous at this point.

    It makes you wonder how long Novak will last, he very rarely gets injured and is showing no signs of slowing down. Whether you believe these guys are doping or not they have reached such a high physical level that no young player can even break through anymore and the sport has become pretty stagnant IMO. Surely something has to be done about the court surfaces otherwise Novak could dominate well into his 30's, it's just a matter of time till he breaks Roger's record.

    I also wonder if one day people will look back at this era of tennis in the same way people now look back at the 80's track and field athletes like Flojo, Koch etc who were most certainly dopers, even if they were never caught.

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  23. Serena just lost the first set to Pliskova because a) Pliskova knows how to serve which is something Serena isn't used to because 99% of the WTA have weak ass serves and b) Pliskova is making Serena move whereas normally Serena just saunters around court bullying her opponent with her serve and her screaming. Tonight she hasn't been able to do that yet. Let's see how the 2nd set plays out. I don't know if Pliskova is doping but I'm liking what I'm seeing.

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    1. I've seen this one too many times Lopi.

      Serena stages remarkable comeback and further cements her legend and claim to the best human being that ever lived.

      Eurosport is all I have, but Jesus H. Christ, their adulation of Serena is eye-gougingly sickening.

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    2. I know Serena has done that too many times to count but I'm hoping against hope that maybe this time is different.

      Pliskova just had her first challenging service game and she managed to wiggle her way out of it. The espn comms sound downright depressed commentating this match.

      And now she's broken Serena. If she can just keep holding then Serena is gonesville. :D

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    3. I think I spoke too soon. :(

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    4. It's sad, isn't it? Serena is playing like total crap and yet, you can't shake the feeling that she's somehow going to win this match anyway.

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    5. Sadly, you are right Shadow. But at the very least I hope this set goes to a tiebreak and then I'll give Pliskova the edge.

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    6. Comms making all manner of excuses for Serena: possible leg injury, all the miles she ran in the QF, you name it.

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    7. LOL Serena double faulted on match point. SHE'S OUTA THERE!!!!!

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    8. Thank god Serena lost. Does that mean she loses the #1 ranking or does Kerber still have to win one more match for that to happen?

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    9. Serena will be #2 on Monday.

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    10. Had to turn off the TV after they wouldn't shut up about her injuries. #Excuses

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    12. Pliskova played a hell of a match and she was clearly frustrating Serena - especially on her serve. Serena only had one break point tonight. Pliskova got minimal to no credit for her efforts tonight by a lot of the commentators and media tonight. Shameful.

      @Shadow:
      Serena had to at least get to the finals to keep #1. If she had played Kerber in the final the winner would have been #1. But that became moot when Serena lost.

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  24. Despite being roided up to her (massive) shoulders, she really has tended to choke at her home slam lately hasn't she? This is a win for tennis and humanity.

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  25. How does Kerber whose best result at 27 years old was a single quarter and a single semi all of a sudden becomes a force to be reckoned with in Tennis. this year, She's been to all finals of all majors and Olympics except the French Open.

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    1. Cause she's doped up to her eyeballs is why.

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    2. How is an injury prone 35-year-old who barely plays still winning slams and dominating an entire tour 20 years in?

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    4. Serena has never been injury prone. She usually claims to be injured when she wants to skip small tournaments and the less you play the fresher you are. Federer is the one who should be on his way out because he played too many tournaments and is barely ever injured.

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    6. I don't. To beat the dopers you have to be one. Easiest to accept that's what it takes to be a professional athlete now.

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    7. well either way, I prefer a new doper winning the USO to one who has 22 slam titles to her name. Like I said, sometimes if you can't beat 'em you have to join 'em. Then you can beat 'em.

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    8. It's fairly obvious that Kerber is on something and has been for a while now. Even when her ranking was hovering around 10th place, her stamina was too good to be true. I can only speak for myself, but I suspect that a slight change to her doping program took her over the top. In fact, I have the sneaking suspicion that her regimen is very similar to Djokovic's. Surely, I can't be the only one to have noticed how lean she has become over the last 12 - 18 months - and she seems to become leaner and leaner every time I see her.

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  26. Serena saying in her presser that she has a left knee injury.

    Translation: I'll be taking the rest of the season off. LOL.

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    1. And like someone else we know, she never loses when she is not "injured".

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    2. LOL! In the 2 decades we've had to endure the Williams sisters, they've never given credit to their opponents for beating them. It's always an injury or an illness, blah, blah, blah.

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    3. Really weird how there was no sign of this alleged "injury" throughout the tournament until today and yet, the comms clearly must have been tipped off about it before the match started.

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    4. It's like clockwork. She ALWAYS does this when she loses. All of a sudden this mystery injury comes along yet it only flares up when she loses. Funny that. She didn't even mention the shoulder "injury" in her presser if I'm not mistaken. It was all "Ow, my knee hurts now."

      LZ Granderson of ESPN said he saw Serena practice today and there was no sign that she was struggling with any knee injury.

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    5. And Pete Bodo blames Serena's loss on the schedule saying it's time to have an alternating day schedule at the USO. Wait, but would her injury have healed in a day? How many more excuses can they come up with?

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    6. Wow, but what else can you expect from Bozo. Even Serena didn't blame having to play back-to-back. She had alternating days between her other matches.

      She blew through her first four matches in a cakewalk and this is her first tournament since losing in Rio. She had three weeks rest before the U.S. Open started. She played seven matches from August 9th (her loss to Svitolina in Rio) to September 8th (loss to Pliskova in semis). How can she possibly be tired/injured?

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    7. Serena says its not fatigue, says if she can't turn around in 24 hours and play she shouldn't be on tour - she stressed its the knee injury.
      Whats strange is fatigue would be a logical reason especially for an older player, but she rather blame an another injury, injuries she seems to recover from relevantly quickly.

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    10. The schedule is obviously poor and the reason why she has lost back to back US open semis. She, the obvious doper always seems tired while the robotic Federer who played twice the number of tournaments Serena has played and playing best of 5 the majority of the time despite having the same age is the 3rd fittest player on the tour. he is 35 and I believe he would outlast the new version of Nadal

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  27. So Serena becomes the oldest #1 in WTA history, then remains there for 186 weeks (over 3 and a half years)! Good grief!

    At least this farce #1 ranking is over for now.

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    1. The commentators (Cliff Drysdale and Pam Shriver) can't stop talking about Serena, even showing her leaving the grounds. They are so butt hurt that their girl got dethroned.

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  28. I don't really think much of Pliskova's style of play but it was still refreshing to see a women's player just get on with the tennis without all the usual histrionics. Meanwhile Serena was trying desperately to get in the head of opponent by grunting obnoxiously, shouting directly down the court and taking an age to get out of her seat at each change of ends whilst Pliskova was waiting to serve. No class whatsoever, just like her 'rival' Sharapova.

    Good thing Pliskova had ice in her veins!

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    1. Pliskova has been a marked under-performer until this year. She has also apparently put on quite a lot of extra muscle. Like many a player nowadays she has made dramatic improvements mid career - she is 24. Still, it's nice to see an obviously clean player rise to the top. Wait - perhaps she has done what many other of her fellow competitors might do to maximise their potential. That's one way of beating Serena "Panic Room" Williams. Level the physical playing field.

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  29. I am enjoying the comparisons in the media this morning between Kerber and Djokovic, both as to their game and their late bloom.

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    1. But Djokovic really wasn't a late bloomer. I wouldn't say 23 is late. ember is 28. That's late.

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    2. ember? I love autocorrect. That should have read Kerber.

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    3. I am just saying that I have seen that comparison made in a couple of news stories. I suppose they are referring to Novak's significant improvement after a more up and down start.

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  30. Monfils is getting obliterated out there.

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    1. No sooner did I type that than Monfils wins 4 games in a row. LOL. Never in doubt. But I have no doubt about the final outcome of this match. I think Djokovic sometimes lets his opponent in for a few games just so that he isn't as suspicious looking.

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    2. Make that 5 games in a row.

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    3. One of the most bizarre matches I have ever seen. Monfils barely trying in the first two sets then comes to life in the third. Meanwhile Djokovic has had BOTH shoulders worked on by the trainers and can't even get a first serve in.

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    4. But he still wins the match in 4 sets. Even though he couldn't serve. And Monfils couldn't return. Both players acting like they were totally exhausted. What a strange match.

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    5. They were both bending over in the fourth and took bathroom breaks, MTOs, etc. The masochist in me was kind of hoping it would have gone five just to see what would have happened.

      I will be very curious to see how Sunday's final turns out and if Djoker magically regains his serve.

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  31. Djokovic fails to take advantage of three break points in the third set when Monfils is serving for the set and gets so frustrated he tears his shirt and rips it off his body. Roid Rage?

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  32. A US Open women's singles match is being investigated by the TIU reports of irregular betting patterns.

    http://nypost.com/2016/09/07/us-open-contest-sets-off-match-fixing-alarms/

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  33. While the Monfils/Djokovic match was on, I had to browse my TV Guide to make sure that I actually tuned into the right program. For a second, I thought I was watching the WWE. Everything seemed so scripted and fake.

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    1. Couldn't bring myself to watch but going by the score line it looked like the crippled guy (physically and mentally all summer) in the end managed a fairly routine win, baring a third set blip, in 2 1/2 hrs against the guy who has playing decent stuff this tournament. Did Monfils just crumble? Or was Djokovic playing lights out stuff in between the pay acting?

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    2. The comms, LZ Granderson in particular, accused Monfils of tanking the match. He was disgusted. Said Monfils could have been the first black man to win the USO since the great Arthur Ashe and this is what he does? I have to agree.

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    3. "Couldn't bring myself to watch but going by the score line it looked like the crippled guy (physically and mentally all summer) in the end managed a fairly routine win, baring a third set blip, in 2 1/2 hrs against the guy who has playing decent stuff this tournament. Did Monfils just crumble? Or was Djokovic playing lights out stuff in between the pay acting?"

      Djokovic did nothing special. In the first 2 sets, Monfils might as well not have been on court. He couldn't be bothered to chase down balls, made tons of inexplicable errors and was sweating profusely. The whole thing was strange. It got so bad that the crowd started to boo him after he went down a break early in the third set. After that, he suddenly found some energy and won 6 of the next 7 games. Coincidentally, Djokovic seemed to develop issues in the neck/shoulder area during this stretch of games and had to take a couple of medical timeouts. Once Djokovic got the break in the fourth, Monfils went back to not giving a shit and the match was over quickly after that.

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    4. In his presser Monfils claims he was trying to get into Djokovic's head and play "original tennis". Well, "original" is one way to describe it.

      JMac was ripping on him all match. The Eurosport commentators called the first two sets a "farce" and Ivo Karlovic's coach said on twitter it was the two worst sets he's seen in a men's Slam semi.

      After Monfils went down 2-0 in the first set it definitely looked like he gave up after a while until the third where Djokovic's serve inexplicably became a shambles for the rest of the match.

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    5. I just don't get it, Monfils was looking as good as he ever has during this tournament. How does he suddenly go awol like that? And is Djokovic injured or not? I mean he's in the final of a slam for pete's sake, how does that even happen with all his supposed issues? Jeez makes you wonder if the sponsors were hoping for (arranging!) a Murray/Djok final but weren't anticipating Murray's meltdown over the speaker noise!

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    6. I was feeling that there is some kind of silent protest going on with Djoker's opponents @ this tournament. 3 of the 5 withdrew or retired with injury. And while Monfils completed the match, he checked out most of it! Don't know if it's that the opponents just don't think they have a shot at winning so why bother or if it's something else. The commentators were saying there is a $10000 fine for not trying, prob to avoid match fixing. So, don't know why Monfils would wanna incur that kinda fine upon himself.

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    7. well considering that Monfils won $875,000 for making it to that farce semifinal, I doubt $10,000 would deter anything. Drop in the bucket.

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  34. ESPN commentators talking about players getting tired during the Nishikori / Wawrinka match.....
    I thought fatigue during tennis matches was a thing of the distant past

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    1. You'd think, according to Serena Williams it is. "OK, I'm not going to repeat myself. I wasn't tired from yesterday's match - If I can't turn around after 24 hours and play again then I shouldn't be on tour."

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    2. It is lighter on women because of the best of 3 sets and they tend to win most of their matches in two sets and less than 90 minutes.

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  35. And I see Stan's managing his injured back just fine. You know the that caused him to dramatically pull out of the Olympics the week before it started??? What a farcical summer of tennis this is turning out to be. I mean it was predictable that it would be but I think this is surpassing expectations.

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  36. Stan Wawrinka and Nishikori never perform well at Masters tournaments but always show up for the majors. Strange. Is it because the majors are Itf tournaments and have weaker testing?

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  37. Wawrinka has to be on something. Easily the most built guy out of the four in the SFs, and by rights, the one who should suffer most in the high humidity and heat.

    Yet before the roof closed and the aircon was activated, he looked by far the most comfortable with the stifling conditions. Just how can that be? He will, for my money, snipe the final and usurp Djokovic once more.

    And as for the first semi, I'm really starting to wonder what is going on with Djuicer's opponents. This is so abnormal, even the usual head-buryers are talking about the successive oddities with his matches. At first it seemed like Monfils literally couldn't be bothered; then started feeding Novak junk which wasn't a bad tactic at all. Then Gael either died in the heat or went back to not caring. He is without doubt the biggest wasted talent I have seen in tennis.

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    1. "Wawrinka has to be on something. Easily the most built guy out of the four in the SFs, and by rights, the one who should suffer most in the high humidity and heat.

      Yet before the roof closed and the aircon was activated, he looked by far the most comfortable with the stifling conditions. Just how can that be? He will, for my money, snipe the final and usurp Djokovic once more."

      Agreed. Nishikori had a much easier path to the semifinals and more time to recover after his quarterfinal match and yet, he was still running on fumes by the start of the third set whereas Wawrinka got better and better as the match progressed. Stanimal is definitely living up to his name in this tournament!

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  38. "He will, for my money, snipe the final and usurp Djokovic once more."

    I hope you're right. If it's true that Stan is doping then may the lesser of two evil dopers win.

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    1. I dont care if he is juiced or no, can't blame him with Lance Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Fed doing it for years. Just win Stanimal, save tennis!!!

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    2. I don't know if there is "a lesser of two evils" in this scenario. There is no question that Stan has become one of the most suspicious players on tour now. Both players tanked Wimbledon. Both effectively dodged the Olympics citing injuries, and here they are now competing in the US Open final. It's brazen behaviour and if they are indeed dopers, they are both equally shameless.

      In fact, this final has the potential to be as ridiculous as the 2012 Aussie Open final. Maybe we won't see the same superhuman feats of stamina, but just the sheer antics leading up to it will ensure it's a talking point for years to come.

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    3. Agree with Northwestcircus.

      I really don't see how, if both finalists are doped up the eyeballs, how one can be considered better than the other. Is it popularity? Is it because one has doped less than the other? Is it because one plays more 'stylish' tennis?

      I'm genuinely interested to know why - if people here consider doping is rife - why Stan winning is in anyway a good thing. For what it's worth, I'd probably prefer SW to win - purely because I like his tenns more than Djokovic's. Will I be pleased? not exactly.

      On another note, I find it comical that the entire tennis world is jumping on the bones of Monfils for acting the arse last night. Sure, it was embarassing, but it's a pity bastard McEnroe et al couldn't be more scathing about Sharapova, or Cilic, or Troicki. Monfils is currently getting more ire from the tennis head-buriers than those three dopers did combined.

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    4. They are all likely dopers - Monfils included. But it doesn't make them equal. It is more an arms race than a level playing-field.

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    5. Richard, what in the world could possibly make Monfils a likely doper? Do you pay attention to the form when he plays or you just assume everyone is a doper. In my opinion, the french players (Tsonga, Monfils, and Gasquet) have never doped. We can't know that for sure but they are the least likely among top 10 to have ever doped.

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    7. I am basing my "lesser of two evils" comment on three things:

      1) Djokovic has 12 slam titles and has been thumbing his nose to the useless anti-doping brigade since 2011 (although I admit he did it because he couldn't beat the beast from Mallorca, whose regime was behind compare).
      2) Wawrinka's game is much more pleasing to the eye. He has a killer one handed BH and for that I appreciate his game more.
      3) Djokovic is likely juiced to the eyeballs and beyond; far more than any other player on tour and has reaped the rewards for years with a substandard competition, raking in over $100 million in prize money.

      So I stand by my comment. I hope Stan does to Djokovic what he did to him at the RG final.

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    8. Far be it for me to want to agree with a troll, I do think that constantly accusing everyone of being doped up makes this site lose credibility, and subsequently harder to convince other fans or interested parties that there is a problem in the sport.

      I do believe that use of doping is widespread, but consider this - we know from cycling that doping does not turn a turd into a champion. But cycling is a team sport, where groups will be on drugs to go faster than the other groups. Regardless, dopers can still lose. Dopers can still perform badly, But when you think of dopers over the years, the one thing that their pharmaceutical intake nearly always allows them - consistency.

      Always able to last the pace, always able to carry on. Always there or thereabouts. Monfils is the complete antithesis of consistency. He is dazzling one minute and utterly embarassing the next. He can collapse at any time. His junior days showed how good he was by winning 3 out of 4 slams, so it's not as if him playing well should be a shock.

      I'm concerned that some users here have stopped applying logic as to who may or may not be on complex amd systematic doping regimes, and also about who are the worst offenders. It appears to have just become 'dopewatch' - the moment someone puts in a single good performance - "he dopes. She dopes. Never been this far before? Doper."

      Like trollboy, I also believe that the French players have less chance of being to the chemcially assisted levels of others - the current crop have generally always been blown away by Murray, Djuicer, Nadal and Federer. A doped Tsonga would be Stan-tier in my opinion; slammwins would be likely for Monfils and Gasquet (cocaine notwithstanding). My belief anyway.

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    9. well you can see how hard it must be for players who have never doped to never win a slam or rarely win other tournaments because they are playing against likely dopers. Imagine how tough that would be? Wouldn't you be tempted to squeal or join them? It really sucks to be a clean player these days. But in 20 years they will still be alive. I don't know if you'll be able to say that about the dopers.

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    10. My view is that both Stan and Djokovic are very likely to be dopers. But it's impossible to tell who dopes more than the other. In fact at this point in time Stan may well be more doped than Djokovic. But a Djokovic win would be more sensational given all his problems in the run up and that could maybe provoke a bit more doping chatter amongst the press and other insiders. I think Stan winning would be put down to the luck of facing an out of sorts Djokovic and that would be the end of the story. Basically I'll cling to anything that might one day expose this chemical circus, so I want a Djokovic win here to add another significant dubious moment that everyone can point to. These guys are sailing too close to the wind now. Only a matter of time.

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    11. "But a Djokovic win would be more sensational given all his problems in the run up and that could maybe provoke a bit more doping chatter amongst the press and other insiders."

      Unlikely. It will be more of "He's the greatest of all time" B.S.

      But that will be my glass half full should Djokovic win, and I will hope you are right @Northwestcircus. Unfortunately I think it is only here that people will question his win.

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    12. Wow, I agree with Eric Ed. To me, the French trio of Tsonga, Monfils and Gasquet is the least likely to have doped (as far as top 10-ish players are concerned).

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  39. My view on Wawrinka is based on circumstantial evidence. His transformation began when he started working with Magnus Norman in 2013.

    Norman was also the coach of Robin Soderling for 26 months beginning November 2008. Before he hired Norman, Soderling’s best Slam result from 2002-2008 was 3R. But beginning from 2009, he began to go deep in slams and during the 2009-2019 seasons Soderling posted some really excellent results, which included beating Nadal & Federer at Roland Garros in consecutive years and reaching both of those finals. He also reached the QF in 4 other slams he played.

    During that time Swedish publication SVD reported that Soderling had tested positive for PEDs:

    http://www.svd.se/federer-kraver-tuffare-tag-mot-dopning

    "SvD kunde i tisdags avslöja att världstian Robin Söderling fått en dopningvarning sedan han missat ett test under Öppna franska"

    "SvD could on Tuesday reveal that world no. 10 Robin Soderling received a doping warning after he failed a test during the French Open"

    (SVD was also the same publication that published a black list of Tennis players that were suspected of match fixing)

    Strangely enough, the English speaking press didn’t pick up on it.

    Norman took Soderling who had average results and turned him into a Slam contender though he failed to win any majors. I would have said that this was an isolated incident but now we are seeing the same thing happen with Wawrinka, who he since hiring him has posted the best results of his career and has become a multiple slam winner all beginning at the tender age of 29.

    The SVD article noted that Soderling had tested positive in 2009, on 1 December 2010 Norman and Soderling split ways and in the 2011, Soderling disappeared from Tour never to be seen again.

    Now it is possible that perhaps Norman is some super coach, and perhaps something just “clicked” for Wawrinka, but in today’s climate where doping is rife in every sport and Tennis’ governing bodies have proven themselves mostly incompetent when it comes to drug testing, I chose not to be naïve.

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    1. Good post. Soderling and Wawrinka do have similar career trajectories. Both capable journeymen really, until they suddenly start making slam finals (winning then in Stan's case) in form that defies their previous capabilities.

      I kind of hope Stan wins the final tomorrow, as Dopervic has won enough already. But then if Stan did win, he'd suddenly have 3 out of the 4 slams to his name. Which would be a farce.

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    2. "I kind of hope Stan wins the final tomorrow, as Dopervic has won enough already. But then if Stan did win, he'd suddenly have 3 out of the 4 slams to his name. Which would be a farce."

      That's the dilemma.

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    3. I never heard anything about Soderling failing a doping test. I find it hard to believe that a Swedish outlet posted that and no one in the English press caught on. Seems strange to me. Not that I didn't suspect Soderling but hey, he did what no one else was ever able to do: beat Nadal at Roland Garros so for that I was grateful.

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    4. Considering the ruckus the AFLD made at Roland Garros in 2009 with off-day drug testing, I believe that Nadal would have lost any player who put up a decent resistance.

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    5. Who knows, but maybe once Novak gets to 18 slams, probably at the 2018 Aussie Open, he will quit the dope for health reasons. Sooner the better I say, then we can all move on.

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    6. If Djokovic wins the calendar slam at 30 years old, maybe then people will start to scratch their heads.

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  40. What exactly are you all hoping for to happen? When Lance Armstrong went down, a few others went with, and for the rest of the field a shadow of suspicion has taken away the former attractiveness of this special sport. Whoever wins whatever in cycling is looked at as a doper, and only some hardcore fans who couldn't care less keep watching and cheering.

    You all want this to happen to tennis? If the big four all went down as sophisticated long term dopers (which they most likely are according to most commenters here), then what? Will you cheer again for those winning slams afterwards? The Soderlings, Tsongas, Ferrers, Wawrinkas, Monfils, Del Potros, who might take the place of the big 4?

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    1. I'd be satisfied with Serena and either or both Nadal and Djoker going down. I don't believe the tennis field is as doped as the LA peloton was, nor do I believe dope has the same impact on performance in tennis because you actually need some skill too. Just one big existential moment to jolt the ITF, ATP etc into action and return a degree of trust back into the sport would do me just fine.

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    2. Also the achievements of those three are so towering compared to the others you list that the perception may well be they were the only dopers in the field and that's how the discrepancy between them and the rest of the field is so huge. That's how it could be spun to the wider public for the sake of the sport. And in fact even though everyone in the peloton was doping, there's no doubt Armstrong was scapegoated in an attempt to absolve the sport. Besides no one really gives a shit about cycling in comparison to tennis which is a far more popular and widely watched and unique for being broadly popular with men and women. It would survive.

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    4. If Nadal and Williams went down they'd probably try to take others with them. Let the world know that they aren't the only ones doing it. I don't think those two will ever be caught. Because I'm pretty sure the powers that be know what's going on and they protect the big names. Sharapova's mistake was opening her big mouth. Otherwise we probably never would have heard a thing. Mum's the word.

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    5. @Northwestcircus - got to point out that Armstrong was not made a scapegoat - he masterminded a very complex doping regime within Team Postal and was the central figure behind team-mates drig taking; in addition to corrupting even those at the top to conceal a failed test. He was a deserved Pariah.

      A better example would be Ben Johnson - he was obviously made a scapegoat as the face of drug cheating, when it is clear from the record books, and in some cases the regressive distances/times since, that the overwhelming majority of the T&F athletes at 1988 olympics were on chemicals.

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    6. And still are. Just better concealed.

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  41. For those who think this site loses credibility when doping is alleged to be widespread on the tour, where is the credible argument for maintaining any player must be clean, when we know doping is throughout all elite sport, it is now virtually undetectable and top athletes would be conceding advantage if they don't dope? Oh yeah - some still believe in outdated principles of sportsmanship, never mind that it means losing contests they might otherwise win. Why would any pro player concede that advantage only to the handful of players discussed by name on this site. I happen to know that a top international coach has told his charges they won't make it if they don't dope. If that is now the prevalent attitude on the tour it is difficult to see how a clean player can be expected to successfully compete. Doping is pretty much here to stay. Most comment here is naive, in that it is based on a perception of appearances, without the knowledge of what lies behind appearances, and is coloured by personal preferences.

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    1. If the whole tour doped the gulf between Djokovic and everyone else for 9 tenths of the season wouldn't be so huge. If everyone doped it would be a great leveller and the titles would be spread around more evenly like in previous eras. Instead each season one player, or maybe two at the most on the men's tour win almost EVERYTHING and its been like that for at least the last ten seasons. There's never been such domination in the Open era. Grand slams, Masters, World Tour Finals all gobbled up by three GOATs, each coming one after the other, racking up stats that have surpassed all that have come before, yet at a time when the great leaps in sports science, nutrition and training have all long since been made and performances across the field should therefore be converging. Domination on this scale, in this era, just wouldn't happen if everyone was doping.

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    2. As above. If the entire ATP tour were doping, Djokovic would not have had, at times, a sustained lead in excess of 5000 points advantage over his rivals, would he? If the entire tour were doping, slam last fours wouldn't be so predictable for so long. I'm fully aware certain drugs don't affect all people the same (EPO for example), and other substances can have a great spread of effectiveness across individuals.

      Nevertheless, certain players behaviours are far from consistent with being systematic dopers.

      Richard, your argument on "why would X stand back and watch as others dope without doping themselves" is understandable, but still a complete supposition. When I suggest certain players are doping, I always quantify that with observed red flags or strange occurences. I never simply say "he dopes because they all do. He dopes because he's played two five setters for the first time ever. She dopes because she hit one fast serve."

      Analogies may exist with cycling, but as a team sport it lent itself to the type of endemic doping masterminded by Festina and Team Postal far more easily than tennis - peer pressure for domestiques and super-domestiques to dope along with their star team-mates. A lot of cyclists just went along with it.

      Tennis, as an individual sport, does not have that dynamic. Plus, guys within the top 50 say make a very comfortable living, and can earn hundreds of thousands by just lasting a few slam/M1000 rounds - ergo, not driven to dope themselves into oblivion because they don't have the belief in their ability, or not the motivation to do it - exactly the category where I believe Monfils falls into. He's happy to become Bahrami mkII because he clearly doesn't have the dedication to become immortal like Djuicevic does.

      Doping in tennis is widespread. But, in my opinion, not universal; nor equal amongst cheaters.

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    3. I don't claim doping is universal i.e. without exception - I can't maintain that - but if it is "widespread", as you say, then it almost becomes beside the point to speculate about individual players. The safest thing to assume is that most probably now dope - to have any chance of competing. The difference between "universal" and "widespread" becomes largely academic and loses its relevance. The point is that doping now runs through all elite sports in all countries - the experts tell us this - and for the most part the dopers can't be caught. I agree also that the effects of doping won't be equal - particularly when the margins between top sportsmen are so small - and so the results will not be observed to be equal where doping is present. But there is no doubt that the average level of the elite has leapt dramatically in the last decade, even if some individuals have found a way to dominate.

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    4. Richard, how would a coach know that everyone in an individual sports is doping? Only by assumption. Keep in mind that tennis is not a team sports. There are people who feel if someone is better than them, they must be cheating and this makes them feel better but the reality is we are not born equal. Also, since you are so sure that everyone is probably doping, how come you never mentioned Federer in your list of likely dopers?

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    5. Perhaps you should read my post again. Clearly, you haven't grasped it - especially the first sentence. Why am I not surprised.

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    6. Perhaps the reason why I haven't grasped it is because throughout your postings, there is only one person you think doesn't dope among the top players and he happens to be the record holder in 90% of men tennis categories. Personally, I don't see much difference between 98% and 100%.

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  42. Watching Kerber win the women's final was like seeing a female Nadal in action, as she ran down ball after ball. She was helped by Pliskova showing why she has rarely performed on the bigger stage, squandering a lead in the final set and bottling the last game with a stream of errors - ultimately a rather brainless basher beaten by yet another tireless running backboard.

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    1. But aren't you just a little bit happy that it wasn't Serena?

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    2. @Lopi

      Sort of, but as pointed out her successor doesn't inspire confidence. So many women seem to lose their nerve when they get their turn on the big stage, as Pliskova did. The standard in women's tennis right now is absolutely piss poor. There were some good points in tonight's final; but too much aimless rallying and comical shot selection (in addition to Kerber's Nadal impersonation) to be called a good match.

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    3. Who would have predicted a year ago today that Kerber would win two Slams and get to #1 in the world?

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  43. Question: Would speeding up surfaces lessen the impact of doping in tennis, particularly with regard suspected use of endurance-enhancements?

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    1. Yes. No need for Epo with a serve like Sampras and courts set up to suit his game.

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    2. Yep, I walked into that one... i guess I was wondering if the courts could be made faster to a point before Krajicek clones could dominate once more.

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    3. Good question about surfaces especially since they seem to be slower nowadays. Unless its an outdoor event like Wimbledon where the sun bakes the grass making the surface more like a hard court, I don't think tournament organizers would risk tweaking the accepted format and pissing the ITF off. I remember though John McEnroe claiming in his Autobiography that nation hosts in the Davis Cup use to build clay courts specifically to hinder him.
      Thankfully though they got rid of Carpet tile and their frayed edges some players used to delay matches.

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    4. Wimbledon is still pretty damn slow even though traditionally it's supposed to be one of the fastest surfaces, even faster than hard court. All the surfaces have been slowed down to avoid serve and volley tennis, which was supposedly boring for the fans. Now we get 5 hour baseline slugfests in its place. I'd be happy with something in between.

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  44. Just a reminder that tonight's final is between a 29 and 31 year old, supposedly the age when players are at the peak of their powers these days.

    Contrast that with the USO final 2002, where Agassi and Sampras - 32 and 30 respectively - were considered to be pensioners duking it out at the twilight of their careers.

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    1. A 29 year old who going gluten free a few years ago turned him into superman vs. a 31 year old who up until a few years ago had achieved nothing of note in singles. I will say that Djokovic has been extremely fortunate with his draw. If he wins he would have played only 4 full matches, that's equivalent to a 250.

      And for what it's worth, I have no problem in seeing older players in grand slam finals, it's how some of them get there that sometimes beggars belief.

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    2. It also has something to do with the fact that the next generation is full of underachievers. Djokovic has had little competition in the past couple of years. What has the group of 25-28 year olds accomplished? Players like Dimitrov, Raonic, Nishikori, Dolgopolov, Gulbis, Young, Lacko? Raonic and Nishikori have at least made slam finals but the rest of them? Nada. The average top 10 age right now is 28.5 (it will rise to 28.8 tomorrow when the rankings change). That's pretty old. I'm not surprised that the older players are winning more right now, But I have hope for the future as some of the young guys such as Zverev, Thiem, Pouille, Vesely, Coric and Fritz are showing potential (I know, they could all be doping but I'm trying to be optimistic).

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    3. Shame one of the two most obvious dopers in the ATP will be US Open Champion. I actually believe "Stan the Man" is on more than Djokovic, at least Dopervic won a slam at 20. Wawrinka hadn't gone beyond a slam QF before the 2013 USO and now be could be one Wimbledon away from a career slam in his late 20s/early30s. I can't believe how easily people lap that up, the excuse has been he has "more confidence" and "improved his fitness", yeah that suddenly happened so late in his career.

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  45. Sadly they've killed tennis. The sport like golf is in decline in the developed world. There are a number of reasons including that we're doing through a prolonged recession and tennis is an expensive sport to play. But the bigger reasons in my opinion are:

    1. No new youngsters break through - when the last time you saw a Becker or Chang in mid 80s or Sampras in early 90s break through? Nowadays you need to be strong as an ox (presumably means expensive designer drugs) to compete in the top 10. If everyone can afford EPO, HGH and testosterone then that atleast creates a level playing field. But if only the top guys can afford the designer drugs then the youngsters won't break through and win a slam.

    2. The slower court changes as someone said above and better racquet technology mean that the game is a dull baseline slugfest. There is much less room for variety. It was nice to see Nishikori do well as he brings a reasonably fresh perspective to the game. But all the other top guys now are baseline champs - think Djokovic, Murray, Wavrinka, Nadal etc. In the 80, you had contrasting styles of Lendl/Connors vs McEnroe/Becker/Edberg. In the 90s, you had Stich/Sampras vs Agassi/Rafter. In the 2000s, you had Federer vs Nadal. But the 2010s don't look so promising in terms of variety of player styles.

    Tennis has become boring. In business strategy, we have a term for dominant businesses that become so big and monopolist that no one can hope to compete against them (eg Microsoft, Google). In tennis, the same is true for Djokovic and Murray. My best guess is you need to be mega rich to afford the designer drugs. You don't get mega rich without winning the slams. You can't win the slams if someone else is on designer drugs. So you get a situation where a single guy monopolises the slams.

    The tennis authorities are powerless. They need Djokovic - he's popular with the sponsors and the advertisers. If he was slient banned, the tour would lose money on attendance and advertising. So they go along with the charade and not wanting to upset the apple cart.

    Just to be fair, I'm not anti Djokovic. Likelihood is Murray, Nadal, Federer, McEnroe, Becker, Connors as well as the top ATP 250 are on something. Its just the top guy can afford the best stuff.

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    1. As a followup to my previous post, a third point which is worth considering. If the younger guys have little or no hope of winning slams and breaking through into the top 10, then the risk might outweigh the rewards. Its very hard becoming a top tennis player. Parents have to make amazing financial sacrifices. The young players themselves give up university and normal schooling. If this trend carries on where the young players have little or no hope of getting the big rewards, then they might be put off from going into tennis. Why not try NFL, NBA or football although doping is likely rife in these other sports too.

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    2. Doping is under control in the NBA. If you manage to get caught, they don't hide it so players are more careful

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  47. 5-2 in the first set. Djokovic looks fit as ever. What happened to all those injuries that he needed medical time-outs for? The left shoulder? The right shoulder? Then there's that wrist injury. He seems like a man possessed. I know Wawrinka has been known to come back so we'll see how this plays out. Both times Stan beat Djokovic at slams he lost the first set.

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  48. Prize money given to the champion of this year's US Open is $3.5 million. If you had won the US Open Series you would have won a bonus of $1 million. So altogether $4.5 million, ridiculous.

    Meanwhile the ITF spends $4 million on it's anti-doping program.

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  49. Maybe Stan can withdraw part way through the match and Djokovic can win the finals just like he has made his way through the tournament.

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