Tron came out, when, in 1980? It was one of the earliest all CG films (almost all, because they interweaved it with live action).
Now, the movie isn't particularly good, even if it has an interesting concept, predating the Matrix-like cyberworld by quite a few years (most people like to point to the bleaker Blade Runner which not only looks a lot better, but has a more interesting story and better acting, as the inspiration for the cyberpunk SF movement, usually attributed to William Gibson's Neuromancer).
What is fascinating is this trailer of its day, which is typical of trailers. If you see the original Star Wars trailer, you get a similar voiceover, and not of a guy saying "In a world...".
As the years have passed, trailers are edited better (if much like every other trailer), and the voiceover has often disappeared in favor of quick cuts.
A new Tron is expected to come out nearly 30 years after the original including Jeff Bridges who is still acting (how old is this guy?).
The American electorate has been criticized for not always being that bright. For example, recently, pundits have accused Obama as being light on substance. Sure, he's got rhetoric, the grand speeches, but what more does he have after that.
This is what the spin doctors rely on.
You are frickin' lazy.
Do you know why the major networks only ever cover 3-4 candidates during the primaries? Because even if 10 candidates are running, they know that you won't spend 5 minutes figuring out who is who. You want the media to winnow out the less important candidates, and they want to oblige you, because they know you're not patient enough to do your own research.
Now, sometimes there is a groundswell of support for a candidate, like Ron Paul, who otherwise doesn't register a blip on the collective conscience. The web savvy, which probably number less than a percent of the public, think that Ron Paul produced an honest difference from all the George Bush wannabes. And he did. But the media is still the way this information is disseminated. Even Fox, the Republican apologist attack dog channel, wouldn't touch Paul, because his libertarian leanings, despite being praised by Reagan, was not neocon, and Fox is neocon.
It's amusing, indeed, how the modern Republican party bears the imprint of Bush, and that's Bush, Sr., more than Ronald Reagan, yet, hail Reagan as the conservative who could do no wrong.
But I digress.
The point is that Obama has recently been accused of lacking substance, and the echo chamber of America may or may not let this meme persist and have an impact on voting. Note that when people say this, they don't mention whether McCain is a man with big ideas, whether he has substance or not. After all, it's always been about attacking your opponent, and the Republicans are better at it, meaning more ruthless, more willing to send any kind of innuendo. The Democrats aren't ready to stoop so low to paint McCain in a negative light.
Perhaps they could simply mention that all those Republican faithful rejected McCain back in 2000, preferring Bush by a whopping majority. Maybe they can trot out the Bush campaign book on how to defeat McCain. Heck, it can be done by innuendo. Bush said this about McCain. The idea is to rattle the opinion of the Bush faithful, that they shouldn't trust McCain.
There is, alas, a sense that elections are like sporting events, something one wins. Not wins by lofty means showing the capability to lead, but by casting doubt about the opponent. This has, as recent history shows, always been more effective.
When Kerry ran against Bush, there were a few factors in Bush's favor. One, the label of flip-flopper seemed to stick to Kerry, and it made some voters nervous. Second, and perhaps more importantly, there was a huge grassroots campaign built around gay marriage. Conservatives who were traditionally not voting were convinced if they failed to vote, that gay marriage would become the norm. Such folks, who claim they treasure Jesus and love, found themselves scared that the world would collapse if they failed to take action on something that was, for the most part, illegal in the states that brought it up.
In essence, they were voting to say the law is correct. And while they were at it, they voted for Bush.
Ultimately, we get this kind of mess because the average citizen finds it too time-consuming to find out what these candidates stand for. They let TV programs let them decide, and repeat innuendos which they've never verified.
Recently, McCain made a gaffe on the timeline of the surge. He claimed that the surge produced something called the Anbar Awakening (also called the Sunni Awakening), when the order was reversed. This kind of gaffe shows McCain's confusion about what's going on in Iraq.
That could be seen as serious, maybe on par with Ford saying there was no Communist influence over Poland during a debate with Jimmy Carter in 1976.
But, here's the issue. The average American knows almost nothing about Iraq. Here's the few things they know. Troops are there. People are being killed. There's something about a surge. They have no idea what is going on there. Why is there fighting? They presume that it's just a bunch of terrorists (even though Bush has claimed they have freedom now). Maybe they know about Abu Gharib, the prisoners at Guantanmo, or some such.
Their knowledge of Iraq is often paltry. Keeping up with what's going on is unimportant because it's complex and hard to follow. What's Sunni? What's Shiite? Doesn't make sense.
So if McCain got the timeline wrong, no one will care, because they don't follow the timeline either! Now, maybe if you can impress on the public that this is like a military leader not knowing who their friends and enemies are, not knowing where the troops are located, then it would seem like something people could follow!
If, on the other hand, Americans were devoting a decent chunk of time trying to keep up, then maybe such gaffes would be considered disastrous. But they are more likely to care about who wins American Idol than the progress of some war they don't have to worry about on a day-to-day basis. If it happens over there, then it's out of sight, and out of mind.
Many a political science major laments how little Americans care about politics. It's actually lead to a fair bit of stability. How often do you see Americans really protest about anything? The more they care about sports and trivia, the less they question the government's action, the more the government does what it does.
In my only trip to India, I ate dinner at some ritzy restaurant in Mumbai with my friend and her friend. Her friend was a "worldly" sort, even in India, having traveled throughout the subcontinent (many folks, I'm sure, don't wander particular far from where they grew up). She once read a book written by someone foreign, New Zealand or Australia, or some place, and remarked at the insights that person had had, much like de Tocqueville who described American optimism from his French eyes.
She remarked that the question "What is India?" has no easy answer because it is so large and so diverse that there is no single answer to that. The answer is complicated by many factors including a country that is more like Europe, with each state typically having its own language and script and politics. There's religion with Muslims, Hindus, Christians living with one another. There's those that liked the British.
India has a huge diaspora, with Indians living throughout the world, in Africa, in Singapore and Malaysia, and increasing in the US and England. This view of the West contests with local conservative traditions that emphasize family values far more than red state United States.
In conversations I've had with Indians, I'm almost dumbstruck by the basic comment of "It's not like that in India any more". Well, that's not exactly it. For example, it's fairly common for Americans to get divorced. Indeed, I can just go through our relatively small company and probably count at least half a dozen (if not more) folks that either have parents that are divorced or are themselves divorced (and possibly remarried). It might be 10%, but that's a lot (and it may be higher).
My friend from Mumbai felt that divorce was pretty common, and that it was no longer the stigma that it once was. There are several things I wanted to point out, which I don't have answers to.
First, she hangs around a certain crowd, perhaps Western educated, perhaps single in their 30s as she is, and this crowd may not be representative of the entire population of India. As her friend pointed out, India is large and diverse, and while certain things may be true of one group, it may not be true in general. Now, I'm no expert in India, and I should defer, perhaps, but I doubt she's completely explored the situation either. Certainly, her experiences, like mine, would be completely anecdotal. She wouldn't have numbers to back her claims (and neither do I).
Second, there's a tendency I see among Indians I do ask to tell you that certain things widely accepted in the West but possibly not widely accepted in India do exist. For example, I looked around this company, and I didn't spot one women wearing trousers or Western style clothing. I'm sure they exist, but the point is, if I see a dozen women and all wear a traditional style of clothing at work, then it suggests to me that Western clothing is not common.
I think people think of that one rare exception, and being an exception, it sticks out that much more, or they think of those people that studied in the West, and use that as their baseline of comparison. I think if they were to merely count, they would find the numbers are really paltry.
So why do they answer this way? It might be more subversive. Perhaps I'm making a comment implying India is somehow inferior for not adopting certain Western practices, and the person listening to this, trying to please, says, no, no, it's not that way, and says something to please the other person, whether it's entirely true or not. As long as there's one or two people that satisfy it, they feel comfortable saying it as if it were the complete truth.
Now, again, I could be quite mistaken about my views. My answers are not made through deep research. They are anecdotal in nature. But I feel, say, somewhat more confident making pronouncements about Americans because they seem more homogeneous (and that's probably wrong too).
So I wonder if there's a strong traditional behavior where Indians say things you want to here, because to be blunt, to disagree with you might be perceived as offensive (among people of equal station, I can see debate and dispute occurring, so this view is not completely true, and Indians do love a good debate).
I was going to my usual Starbucks when I was asked if I had seen the latest Batman movie. Who hadn't, right? It's been in theaters since Thursday evening (really Friday morning), and it was Monday morning? The movie drew in huge numbers.
But I hadn't seen it.
It was instructive to tell what happened next. Another customer comes in, and he says he wants to see it too, but he still has to work in watching Hancock and Hellboy. Now, I have to tell you that Starbucks has transcended the latte sipping, book reading, art loving, hippie generation crowd, and crossed over into mainstream America. Red-state, pickup truck, Bush voting, pro-military America. Heck, the American dream is to have a little wealth. What better way than to have expensive coffee? This is the 21st century version of hanging out at the barber's to talk.
And then I came to work, with folks trying to repair the elevator, holding large copper tubes, and while they didn't mention the movie by name, you knew it was Batman. One claimed the weekend take was 155 million dollars.
So how does this action movie generate so much buzz? First, the critics have loved it. This attracts a certain group of people that actually listen to critics and find their opinions valuable. A lot of so-called liberal elite, the kind that likes shopping at farmer's markets, Whole Foods, believes in recycling, and most importantly, uses the Internet to make informed decisions. These folks often look at what critics say and watch it. Thus, Pan's Labyrinth, which should have been an obscure Spanish/Mexican fantasy film, was a bit of a crossover hit (and lead del Toro to a gig with Hellboy 2).
But, it also appeals to the less discriminating folks merely because it's a superhero action movie in a summer filled with them. And all things considered, Hellboy 2 has a pedigree by virtue of its director, del Toro, and Dark Knight is directed by former indie director, Christopher Nolan, who's previous film of note was the brainy thriller, Memento. Who knew he had the directorial chops to create the gothic look of Batman?
Only Hancock, the Will Smith action vehicle, has tanked with the critics, and even then, it will draw a crowd because it's Will Smith, and because it's action. Will Smith has essentially taken the Denzel Washington role. African American lead actors realize their core audience are African American males who finally get to see a powerful African American male play lead, and there's enough crossover appeal that whitie and brownie will both watch in numbers. I recall, a while back, in this godawful movie Romeo Must Die which starred Hong Kong action hero, Jet Li, that the local African American radio station had a talk about the movie, and didn't even mention Jet Li. Instead, the remaining African Americans were mentioned: Aaliyah, DMZ, Delroy Lindo, and so forth.
The Dark Knight crosses through all that much like a Shakespearean play, that appeals to high-brow and low-brow alike, mixing action with good acting.
Oh yeah, you know what?
It doesn't hurt a film when one of the leads has died, and he's been lauded for this role. Too bad, because Ledger was starting to become an actor of note, branching away from pretty boy roles to take roles that were more interesting, and casting a bit against type. With stints in Brothers Grimm and Brokeback Mountain, few doubted he had the acting acumen to pull off this character.
Tabloids had detailed his death, first thought of as a Kurt Cobain suicide or River Phoenix drug overdose, when the result was some odd combination of everything, that an actor like Ledger would suffer from anxiety, and needs meds to control that. This kept it interesting for the Hollywood tabloid readers who followed this with morbid curiosity.
This produced a kind of perfect storm of fans watching the film, from arty type, to action type, to women that were curious about Ledger's role especially in a (kind of) posthumous role.
Nolan rolled the dice, and it came up jokers (to mix metaphors and gambling terminology as bad as Homer Simpson).
Now that Wimbledon 2008 is a little over a week old and various pros have pronounced the Wimbledon men's final as the best ever, enough time has passed to ask whether it was the best or not.
That depends on how you define "best". Were there great strokes hit in the match? Yes. Was it tension filled? Yes. Were both players pushed to the limit? Yes.
This match went the distance, five sets, 9-7 in the fifth, with the match ending as the light was fading.
Still, there was something that was a little vaguely dissatisfying, and most of that had to do with Federer's own play. Nadal is so good off the ground that Federer only had one effective shot which was his inside out forehand, which he hit for numerous winners. Otherwise, if he got into an angle rally, Nadal was better there and Federer would struggle to even keep up.
It's not like the classic serve-and-volleyer against a baseliner where the serve-and-volleyer kept pressuring the baseliner to hit passing shot after passing shot. That scenario assumes that the serve and volleyer can make it to net, and that the passer has an opportunity to pass. It's somewhat equal.
Federer couldn't even completely rely on coming to net and hoping Nadal would hit a bad pass, though Federer did come to net, and Nadal did whiff occasionally. Federer went to the strategy that worked best for him. Prevent Nadal from hitting his angles, and hope to open the court and hit winners.
That's a tough strategy to keep up, especially when you aren't pressuring your opponent on his serve. Federer came up with big serves, but Nadal held serve by his superior groundstrokes. It was a strategy that relied on Federer being on his game throughout.
And, he was somewhat close. The first two sets had Federer with numerous break chances. It would be one thing if Nadal hit great winners to save his serve, which he did occasionally, but more often, Federer would whiff a second serve return. He didn't seem to be able to hit solid returns, perhaps credit to Nadal's improving serve that didn't produce aces, but didn't give Federer chances to hit winners back either.
Indeed, the match flowed based on Federer's mood. If he was on form as he was early in the second set, he was winning games easily, and putting pressure on Nadal. If he was off, as in most of the first set, late in the second, and early in the third set, he was getting in 0-30 holes and having to do a Sampras (i.e., hit aces) to get out of messes. Sampras didn't seem to mind that aces require the least interaction with his opponent. If he could serve all aces to win a tournament, so what? So what if he was so good at the one part of the game he could control.
Federer is a good server, but he's not Sampras. He relies on his groundstrokes and occasionally a volley to win points. He returns pretty well. He is mentally strong, except when it comes to Nadal, where he goes for his shots, and if they land in, he looks great, and if it clips the net or goes wide, it looks like he's a beginner. Would he need such an extreme strategy if he were playing anyone besides Nadal?
Sampras had the luxury that he could keep up in a rally with Agassi, at least, for a few points at a time. You never felt that Agassi could dominate him like Lendl would often dominate McEnroe from the backcourt, like Nadal dominates Federer if the rally heads a certain direction. Federer plays strokes to prevent Nadal from whaling away on his shots, not because he thinks he can outhit Nadal. The best way for him to outhit Nadal is if he doesn't touch the ball at all.
And at times, his timing is so on, that even Nadal can't compete, but this is only if the star align. Sometimes, as in the French Open, where the balls bounce higher and where it's harder to hit winners, Federer can get overwhelmed. Federer once had a dominant set, but then Nadal got back into his game, and then Fed can't keep up.
I wonder if the Seles-Graf match might not have been better. Both were a little more evenly matched. If Graf struggled it was because she couldn't easily attack with her sliced backhand. She defended reasonably well off that side and ran around it quite well to attack with her forehand, a strategy that Federer often takes too.
If you measure greatness by the drama, then yes, this was up there. Federer was trying to pull one out of the magic hat, avoid a break of his own serve, and take his chances in the tiebreak. The first tiebreak went well with a good lead. The second was lucky when Nadal showed hints of nerves and let Federer back into the tiebreak. The fifth set would have gone to a tiebreak too, except Wimbledon doesn't have tiebreaks in the fifth.
Federer claimed that the light was an issue for him, but his inability to break was an even bigger issue. Nadal could at least say that Federer hits a bigger serve, which he does.
Some of the shots that the players came up with were amazing, something that you couldn't quite say about the Williams sisters. As much as they bludgeon the ball, they don't come up with crazy angles, or creative ideas. They blast the ball up the middle and wait for one or the other to hit into the net.
In the end, it's up there, more for drama, then a completely even battle between two players hitting greater and greater shots, but more the ups-and-downs of one player trying to hit risky great shots versus one who hits a safe great shot (Nadal).
This means, it could have been better, but certainly no more dramatic than it turned out to be.
Wimbledon is played in the summer in London. It's more proper name is the All England Lawn Tennis Championships and Wimbledon is merely an area of London where it's played. Summer in London usually means rain, and therefore Wimbledon is often associated with rain. This year, it was remarkably rain-free, but quite windy.
David wanted to get out of the apartment. It was probably too late to reserve a racquetball court, and the game's intense, so he asked me if I wanted to play tennis, something he doesn't enjoy nearly as much as racquetball. He said he heard thunder, but I thought the storm front was moving away, so I agreed to play.
As I was driving, I noticed it was still drizzling, and pondered whether the courts, which were further north were somehow spared the rain. As I got closer, I had still received no call letting me know it was raining and we should call this off. I figured if it was drizzling a little, it would be fine to play. Hard courts, for the most part, aren't that slippery. I've only ever played on one court that was so slippery that I couldn't deal with it, and even then I just slipped and slid as it rained.
So David was nowhere near his car. He had made his way to the courts and was practicing his serve. The weather was warm enough, so we weren't likely to catch a cold or anything. It wasn't the kind of miserable cold of fall, but the mild warm of summer.
So we decided to play, despite the rain, as it came down heavier. We were both a bit lucky. David had recently shed his glasses, and was wearing contacts. I brought out a cap, that shaded me from the rain, so my glasses wouldn't get drenched and we started to hit around.
Of course, I thought we were crazy to be out hitting in the rain, but if David didn't mind, then I didn't mind.
Then, the oddest thing happened. Two girls rushed onto the courts that were next to our courts and situated a little lower. Somehow, they got it into their heads that they wanted to play tennis in the rain too. Odd thoughts of wet t-shirt contests ran through my head.
We decided to play a set. I was putting my new serve into action. The water had a deadening effect on the water, but it was nice to see the water spray off as I spun a serve. I won the set, 6-1, my thought was to finish the set quickly so we could get out. The girls apparently decided to hang around.
We left for a drink at a nearby McDonald's, some women were mopping the floor down. It would be amusing for pro tennis players to play in the rain, but I suspect, as children or teens, they must have done it a few times.
So Wimbledon, US Open, you can have your rain delays. As long as it's not a torrential downpour, I don't mind a few drops if I can get a few shots in.
Two or three years ago, only a few years after Pete Sampras had pretty much retired and had been anointed as one of the best ever tennis players, or nearly so, the tennis cognoscenti were ready to anoint the new "best ever". That man was Roger Federer. People marveled at the seemingly effortless way he won his matches. Here was someone that seemed just as facile hitting groundstrokes as he was hitting volleys. People note how he seems to float to shots.
To back up their claims, Federer proceeded to win five Wimbledons in a row. He also won three Australian Opens, and four US Opens. Prominently missing on his resume was any French Open wins. Mostly that's because Rafael Nadal has proven to be the king of clay. Nadal won 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, the last three in the finals over Roger Federer. In 2005, Nadal also beat Federer, but that time in the semifinals en route to his first French Open title. In 2004, Federer lost in the third round to Gustavo Kuerten, himself a former French Open winner.
Nadal has turned out to be a thorn in Federer's side. Like Sampras and Agassi, Nadal and Federer are each other's top rivals, and coincidentally, both clothed by Nike, a company that made shoes for a long time, and wasn't on the clothing radar the last time there was a five time Wimbledon champ (1980, for those who are curious).
Nadal's muscular style has often put off aesthete's who don't particular care for his bullish style. On clay, he stands ten, twelve feet behind the baseline, and muscles up heavy topspin shots one after the other like some ball machine put in overdrive. Attack him, and he can place winners past you on the line. Federer experienced this first hand when his own game was like a malfunctioning robot. On the few times his hard shots made its way on the court and put pressure on Rafa, Rafa would, in his contortions, muster another pass, with Roger unable to even put a racquet on it.
Roger brushed aside notions that he was on a decline. He could get back to grass, to his favorite surface. However, it was quickly becoming Rafa's second favorite surface. Normally clay courters find hard courts more to their liking. If the speed is a bit quick, it's compensated by high bounces, which clay courters like. Wilander and Lendl both found playing on hard courts better for their games than grass, though Lendl, to his credit, made the Wimbledon semis five times and then the finals twice.
As if to show that he wasn't fading with age, Roger won Halle the week after the French without dropping his serve. But Nadal also won Queen's, another grass court event, and his first, beating a tougher field including Andy Roddick, and Novak Djokovic.
Roger then came into Wimbledon and lost serve only twice, while not dropping a set. Rafa, however, also played well, dropping only one set to Latvian, Ernests Gulbis in the second round. He mowed down his opponents, and struggled a little against surprise semifinalist, 32 year old German, Rainer Schuettler, who had last been at a Grand Slam final in 2003. While no one expected him to pressure Nadal, he almost won a set, until Rafa broke back and took the second set to a tiebreak which he comfortably won.
As the finals approached, Rafa looked the better player, despite Roger's generally good play. Roger doesn't generally overpower his opponents. He gets to balls you don't think he can get to, and places it well. Rafa seems to hit winners, even when his opponents are scant feet away from the ball. To be sure, Rafa was a machine at the French, but he was more vulnerable to making more errors. Still, despite lacking a huge serve, everyone seemed to find it challenging to break Rafa.
Roger opened this year's Wimbledon falling back a break to Nadal. Despite numerous opportunities to break back in the first set, Nadal held and won the first set 6-4. It was clear, however, that Roger was in more of his element at Wimbledon. He was making more shots, his slice shots were more effective, he was hitting more winners. Still, Roger, for all his talent, tosses a lot of errors, including mishits on his backhand, and slaps into the net. Some of that is Rafa's skill in forcing you to hit one, two, three more shots than you wanted.
In the second set, Roger started serving better, and broke Nadal for a 4-2 lead, but much like Hamburg, where Roger took big leads, Nadal kept playing his usual relentless style. Unlike Sampras who seemed to ace at will, Roger would ace occasionally, but often be forced to hit groundstrokes. Rafa broke Roger, then broke him again, and took the second set.
Roger would now have to dig deep to win Wimbledon, down two sets to love. In the second set, he still had numerous chances to break back, but was unable to do so.
In the third set, a critical game. Serving at 3-all, Roger fell to 0-40. If Rafa wins any of these break points, the match is over in straight sets. Miraculously, he saves all three and wins the game. He had just come off a game where he nearly broke Rafa, when Rafa challenged a call that he thought was out in a rally, and stopped the rally. It was out by a little, and that brought it to deuce and he eventually won the game.
At 4-all, Roger had game points, but eventually, Rafa brought it back to deuce before the rains fell. After coming back, Roger served two aces to take it to 5-4. This proceeded into tiebreak where Roger took a minibreak and two good serves of his own to have a good lead heading into the fourth. The rain delay appears to be good for Roger's serves and groundstrokes.
In the fourth set, neither player loses serve. They go into another tiebreak, and Rafa gets up 5-2, and again, Roger looks like he's out of it. However, a bad point by Rafa followed by a double fault and Roger closes in. On a championship point, Rafa approaches net, and Roger passes him. He eventually wins a tight, tight fourth set, to push it into a fifth set.
This ought to deflate someone like Nadal, but he's shown, over the years, that he can stay in matches, and his play doesn't flag. Federer is showing some signs that he can get down on himself. They both hold serve, though Roger struggles a bit more with his, and seems to have few opportunities to bother Rafa. He doesn't seem to be able to hit winners off Rafa's serve, and if they get into a rally, then Rafa has a decent chance of winning them.
With Roger serving up, he only needs a break to win it all, but Nadal refuses to buckle, and Roger continues to make mistakes. Finally, at 7-all, Roger falls back on his serve, and despite a game try, Rafa breaks, forcing Roger to do something that he's done only once the entire match, which is break Rafa.
Rafa gets up championship point, and Roger his an amazing backhand return, but Rafa refuses to get deterred and eventually Roger hits one in the net, and Rafa is the new Wimbledon champ.
I had said, prior to the match, that if Roger lost, it would be devastating to him. I'm not so sure now. Sure, this hurt, but I think Roger has to feel that if he had a few points swing his way, he's be a straight set winner. He had to fight like the dickens to tie the match up, and as the match wore longer, it did seem Roger had few answers for Rafa's play. Rafa wasn't exactly acing Roger, but Roger seemed unable to attack Rafa's serve.
Also, while Rafa made errors, Roger made a lot more inexplicable errors. He shanked backhands, he took swinging volleys long, he slapped shots in the net, he dumped second serves into the net. Credit Roger for never playing bad for two long and for nearly pulling off what would have been an amazing final. Really, the only thing that would have made this final better is for Roger to have won, and I say that not so much as a Federer fan, but as someone who finds coming back from the precipice real excitement.
There were a couple of fantastic shots being made out there.
Now, they head into the hardcourt season, and the hardcourts have always meant more trouble for Nadal. While he's made progress on grass, there are more players that can create problems for him on hard courts, including James Blake, Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic, and of course, Roger Federer. Even Marat Safin is capable of creating issues for Rafa.
Still, with his progress so definably upwards, could anyone doubt that maybe Rafa could get better on hard courts? Federer could improve, but really, it seems that he just has to keep his errors down. It's as if Federer knows he can hit great shots but with some reasonable chance at missing any shot. He used his inside out forehand to great effect throughout, that it seemed silly that he would sometimes hit behind Nadal whose two-handed backhand was often deadly.
Not sure what Roger plans to do now. He has a strategy that works sometimes with Rafa, mainly hitting neutral shots down the middle until he gets an opening, but he lacks the consistent bullying that Rafa can force his opponent into, much more than Agassi. Where Agassi would often hit winners, he lacked Rafa's ability to hit hard penetrating shots that leave opponents barely getting to the ball, and struggling to get it back, as he sends another body blow to the other corner.
Djokovic might have some more tools. Unlike Federer, Djokovic doesn't miss nearly as much, but he also lacks some of the surprising shots that Federer can make out of nowhere. Djokovic probably needs a more punishing backhand, one that can pressure opponents more than it does now.
So Rafa ends with the French-Wimbledon double, a feat few thought was possible, and more thought Roger would do it than Rafa. It's been 28 years since it was last done by Bjorn Borg when he did it for his third time in 1980 (and had he beaten McEnroe in 1981 at Wimbledon, he would have done it a fourth time).
Roger, who had so confidently said nothing was wrong with his game, might be right, but nothing is wrong with Rafa's game either, and that itself might be a problem for Roger, even at his best.
Ever since my tennis bug bit me again last year, and I got back into tennis, I've started into tennis in all sorts of ways. Recently, I talked to a co-op named Anthony. His dad decided to buy a new tennis racquet for him, the Nadal Babolat racquet. Rather than buy this online, he bought it in Rockville, at a placed called Tennis Topia. I had never heard of the place, even though I had been in the general vicinity a few times.
Tennis Topia is located on the back side of REI, which does face Rockville Pike. I recently broke a string, something I haven't done in a long, long time partly because I'm using Luxilons and these things are amazing when it comes to durability. I recently tried a hybrid, using synthetics on the mains, and Luxilons on the crosses. Some pros (like Federer) do that so they can feel and durability.
I would have gotten it strung at the person I like to get it done with, who works in College Park at 3-Stripe. He strings tons of racquets, and is quick. If he's there, he does it right away. Being a guy maybe a few years out of college, he's a one-man show, like most stringers I've seen.
The stringer at Tennis Topia is an Asian woman, and her style is quite different. Tennis Topia does enough business that several high school student types work there, and this woman utilizes them like surgeons utilize their assistants or chefs utilize their line chefs. In particular, they do some prep work (cutting the strings off old racquets, getting strings out of the package, and if only half are used, putting the strings back in the package, making accurate notes of what strings are being used).
She wants things orderly and prompt. The high school students seem a bit nervous, as she tells them what she wants done. I had asked her about whether she'd string my racquet in two pieces. I knew that racquets could be strung this way, with one string for the mains and one string for the crosses. You can also string as one-piece. Some racquets (mine in particular) apparently require two pieces otherwise you can damage the racquet. I found this out talking to Tom, the stringer at 3-Stripe.
Fortunately, Asian Lady also knew this. I talked to a guy who suggested I try the Ace Luxilon, which is apparently a softer string. The woman suggested that I use something else in the crosses (I think). She put in Gamma TNT 17's. We'll see how long they last (reviews suggest, not that long!). Anyway, we'll see how they feel. If the break too rapidly, I may simply go with the Ace all the way through.
Anyway, I have to thank her for stringing the racquet as I waited. I was told I'd have to wait til Monday to get the racquet strung, in which case, I would have headed down to College Park and had it strung there instead on Sunday.
Did I mention she has a sweet Babolat stringer? It looks like something out of Wall-E (mostly, it looks a little like Eve).
I have to imagine the students that work there will get some lesson about precision and keeping orderly. They may not find it a pleasant experience (fortunately, she's not a particularly rude person), I think they'll learn something about keeping orderly, and that seems like a good lesson to learn.