Saturday, January 30, 2010

FEDERER BEATS HEWITT - Monday 25th January 2010

Every now and then I keep the stats on tennis matches.

I did that last night for the Federer - Hewitt match at the Australian Open - which Federer won by the length of the straight. (Strange they call it an open tournament when it is closed to all but the top 128 tennis players in the world, including the grunters and shouters. I'd ban them. They're a blight on the game.)

While I'm on the subject I read somewhere the income from that tournament is around $120m. It's a big business - one you wouldn't want grunters and shouters to place in jeopardy.

Anyway, back to the stats.

I take a page and divide it in half - on this occasion, one half for Federer, the other for Hewitt.

Then I give each player two columns

Column 1: for points they win.

Column 2: for points they lose.

For a point to be credited to the win column it has to be a decisive winner that the other player couldn't get within a bull's roar of - or definitely has no chance in hell of returning. It's the point that, if you were playing yourself you'd be happy to acknowledge by simply saying 'Yes". Service aces fit into this column along with every other decisively won shot.

For a point to be credited to the losing column it's simply a shot that's hit into the net or out of court.

The first law of tennis is - hit the ball over the net.

The second law of tennis is - hit the ball in.

The third law of tennis - hit the ball hard. No use sending lolly pops and donkey drops over the net.

The fourth law of tennis: - hit the ball to where your opponent isn't. It seems crazy to keep hitting the ball back and forth. That's called practice, or warm-up. It means sometimes hitting the ball wide, sometimes long and sometimes short. Surprisingly not a lot of top players are good at the very short game.

The fifth law of tennis is to out position your opponent, race into the net and volley his poorly returned shot for a winner.

It seems strange that many of today's players have forgotten laws 4 and 5. They appear to be waiting for their opponent to make a mistake (laws 1 ands 2) before they do. It's a risky play. It's like waiting for a government to lose and election, rather than getting in there and making the play yourself.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, here's why Hewitt lost the game.

Decisively won shots: 18 - That's an average of 6 per set

Decisively won shots: 46 - that's an average of 15 winners per set.

Shots definitely lost: 51

Shots definitely lost: 53

This was a game that Federer won, decisively. It was not a game that Hewitt lost.

The moral of the story is that Hewitt has to become more aggressive in playing shots that conform to laws 3 and 4. He can't just keep sending the ball back.

You'd think that after 20 years weilding a racket, 12 on the international circuit he'd have worked out how to do that.

Of course when it comes to tennis I'm a choker. In winnings Hewitt is about $30m in front of me.

On the track
Went walking and running with the boys. 20 minutes running felt OK. Achilles is getting better

Had one almighty altercation with a lycra clad bike rider who I don't think rang his bell, or if he did it was a long way away, or it's a soft bell, or I'm deaf.

It really annoys me when a bike rider roars past you and the first thing you know about it is they are 20 yards in front of you. It can scare shit out of you.

I shouted after him to uses his F***ing bell. He stopped and asked me it I wanted to 'have a go'.

Christine said that I was guilty of running rage.

Anyway, from what I've seen on the TV, anger is an integral part of sport these days. I declined the offer to 'have a go.' Why would a 30 year-old want to bash up a 64 year-old?

In the meantime stay tuned, highly tuned and if you're riding a bike and coming up behind pedestrians, ring youtr f***ink bell - and ring it loud.

John Miller

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