Tag:Rafael
Posted on: June 17, 2009 12:49 am
 

Grunting - Part of the Game?

Less than a week away from the Championships at Wimbledon, the International Tennis Federation is contemplating a crackdown on grunting in the game of tennis.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp
-random16-2009jun16,0,4332121.story


This clearly does not refer to grunting as much as it does the screaming and shreiking exhibited mostly by the female competitors. If you have watched Sharapova or the Williams sisters play, then you surely know what I am talking about. The current rule says that the player may have to forfeit a point at the umpire's discretion. Under potential new rules, a player may have to forfeit sets or even matches at the decision of the officials.

So is this really necessary? I think it is. I have never understood why players feel the need to scream at the top of their lungs every time they hit a point. It is distracting to the audience, and I can imagine it is distracting to the players facing them. A number of players have come out and complained about it, but until now no such talk of a change has happened. Now I understand that a grunt here and there is a way of exerting energy into the ball and everything, but at this point I think it has become so much of a habit for those players that they might not be able to stop if they try, and that could pose huge problems for them in the future.

My big issue is the fact that tennis is one of the only sports where the crowd is required to sit in silence during the point while the players shreik their lungs out as they hit the ball. If it is really something that helps your performance then why don't we see baseball players or golfers doing the same thing when they swing? I think it just provides a mental lift to the player because they think it is helping them to hit the ball better, and is really unnecessary.

The problem with instituting a rule like this is the fine line that the officials are going to have to draw between grunting and screaming. Rafael Nadal poses an interesting case, as he is one of the players who make sound when they hit the ball. His is more of a moan then a scream, but would that count? And how would they be able to decide what level of penalty to hand down? Are the umpires going to have a decibel meter installed in their chair? Something like that sounds quite ridiculous to me.

These are all the tough decisions that the ITF will have to face when deciding whether to institute a rule like that. We will see in time if this move pays off, but like I said before they are really going to have to be careful and deliberate in their choices regarding the screaming in tennis. No matter what they decide, I still think that something needs to be done.


Posted on: June 2, 2009 12:22 am
Edited on: June 2, 2009 3:26 pm
 

Federer - Still Got It?

Today at the French Open was pretty interesting. It is evident that the players are feeling the round of 16 and are stepping up their game accordingly. The match that stood out to me was the Federer/Haas match today, which found the number 2 ranked player in the world down 2 sets to 0 and down 4-3 in the third set. I don't see why people think that Federer is a done deal. This guy has shown countless times that he has what it takes to be the best and today this proves it once more.

In the same type of scenario yesterday, Rafael Nadal folded under the pressure of trailing 2-1 and lost his match. Next day what does Federer do? He comes back to win the match in 5 sets after being 2 games away from losing the match. See, this is the stuff champions are made of. It's not about how you deal with the pressures of winning, its how you deal with the adversity of being almost down and out, and how you can come back from that. It's simply great stuff to watch, and if you are a tennis fan and aren't spending each day from 12-6 in front of ESPN2 at the very least, then you are certainly missing out.

Federer is the clear favorite to win on the men's side, but I'm going to be interested to see how he deals with Gael Monfils, who absolutely obliterated Roddick today in straight sets. Speaking of that match, can I tell you how annoyed I am at the favoritism of the American players by the ESPN announcing crew? Let's be honest about that match. Everything pointed to Monfils taking that match. I didn't think he'd take it straight, but I did think he would take it, as did a few of the announcers, and here we have Brad Gilbert giving the "match advantages." He gave Monfils checks for Backhand, Forehand, and he said 9 checks for speed, and gave Roddick the check for serve, and for intangibles. Let's look at the intangibles. Gael Monfils is French. They are playing on clay (Monfils is 2-0 vs. Roddick on clay). The entire crowd was chanting his name as he walked out for goodness sakes. But nope, Brad Gilbert "just has a feeling about this one" and once again proves himself wrong for picking with his nation over his brain. Yes, Roddick has been playing better, but for goodness sakes he is at the French Open and has watched Monfils play! I don't really get it.

On the women's side, Safina is absolutely crushing her way into the quarterfinals. She has played 5 matches and has only dropped 5 games. Not 5 sets, 5 games. She is just running away with this thing. I'm really excited for this weekend to see how the final matches end up.

If you're not watching this, you really are missing out. Check it out, I promise you won't be disappointed.


Posted on: June 1, 2009 2:15 am
 

LeBron lost this series? I don't think so.

After a day to think about what I had just seen, and a day of ESPN trying to paint the picture in our heads, I was trying to decide how the Cavaliers actually lost that series to the Magic. The thing about that series is that it was completely possible for the Magic to win 4-1 if LeBron didn't make that sick shot at the buzzer in Game 2. ESPN and a bunch of newspaper columnists seem to think that LeBron lost that series because he didn't take over the game enough throughout the series. Does that constitute "losing the series" for the team? I'm not so sure.

I'm going to say that the Cavaliers' defense lost that series for them. The Magic were averaging over 100 points per game, and in the playoffs if you're going to have success you can't have that. Defense wins championships, not individual efforts. And lets face it, the Magic are a darn good basketball team. Think about what you have to defend when you are playing the Magic. You can play straight up man and run the risk of Dwight Howard imposing his will against your big guys in the paint. Alright, so to combat this you double Howard in the post. What does he do? He kicks it out and they pass it around to the open man who drains the 3-pointer. The Magic have shown in the playoffs a terrific ability to shoot from beyond the arc, and cetainly in pressure situations. Turkoglu has shot about 15 percentage points BETTER on the road than at home from behind the line. All you can do is hope that they have a poor shooting night.

That's your best-case-scenario. The Cavaliers, however, didn't commit to playing defense whatsoever in Game 6. Too many plays I saw easy looks at the basket. Too many bad fouls in the paint. How can your best defending big guy come out of the came 1:30 in with two fouls? Now I have to say that 24 points is hardly LeBron's best offensive effort, especially against Howard's 40, but when the team comes out with a lack of effort on the defensive side of the ball you can't blame one player in-particular.

So in conclusion, LeBron James alone did not lose this series for the Cavaliers, the defense did. However, LeBron James did not win this series for the Cavaliers. That is the difference between LeBron and MJ.

Quick Hits:
- I want to salute the efforts of Robin Soderling in his match today at the French Open, taking down world number 1 Rafael Nadal on his "home court" at Roland Garros. What a fantastic exhibition of tennis and an absolutely overpowering game today. We always wondered what it would take to de-throne the once-undefeated Nadal on clay, and especially at the Open, and today we witnessed it. Even though his 31-match win streak at the French Open is finished, we all have to take a step back and think about what we have witnessed over the past four years. This kid comes in and wins not only 31 matches in a row, but his FIRST 31 matches at the French Open before actually losing one. And better yet, until today he had never dropped 2 sets in one of those matches. He still has not played a 5-set match at the French Open. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back at Wimbledon, but one thing is for sure: We are in the midst of two of the greatest tennis players to live in their prime: Nadal and Federer.

- Watch for the Red Wings to take the Stanley Cup Finals in 5 games. They are far and away the best team in the NHL this year, and their dominant play so far has backed them up.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com