Tennis: The Big Four



Federer is a gentleman and an artist

Rafa is a gentleman and a warrior

Novak is a warrior and a joker

Andy is a warrior but lacks a bit of humour

– still, how many of us would have humour after Dunblane?

About Bernard Whimpress

Freelance historian (mainly sport) who has just written his 40th book. Will accept writing commissions with reasonable pay. Among his most recent books are George Giffen: A Biography, The Towns: 100 Years of Glory 1919-2018, Joe Darling: Cricketer, Farmer, Politician and Family Man (with Graeme Ryan) and The MCC Official Ashes Treasures (5th edition).


  1. Barry Nicholls says

    Less is more here.
    Well done BW. I was shocked to learn of Murray and Dunblane, it would explain much I imagine.

  2. Nicely put Bernard.
    “Stan is a worrier and an artist.
    Thomas is wittier and a bash artist.”
    (Bash artist is a great Aussie term we don’t hear enough of these days. Maybe Glen Maxwell can help resurrect it.)

  3. I was not a Nadal fan early. Thought he was a one trick pony (the French). Thought he was mechanical. I also thought he lacked personality and character. I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Nadal is a champion, His shot-making is brilliant – requires agility, coordination, strength, timing and audacious decision-making (and all under pressure). Roger is a champion. I like how Nadal and Federer respect the game.

    (Had completely forgotten about Dunblane).

  4. bernard whimpress says

    Thanks Barry, Peter, John

    A lot of the women are sluggers. I wanted to see a Li Na-Radwanska final. Radwanska is a clever player who I hope can win a slam.

  5. Pithy. Wonderful.

  6. bernard whimpress says

    Thanks Adam

    After yesterday’s exchange it seemed a good idea to widen the circle.

  7. Well done Stan. Brilliant opening set.

    Well done Rafa. You knew what it meant to Stan to fight it out.

  8. P.S. A generous reading of Rafa’s performance.

  9. Looking forward to the commentary of this match.

  10. It was a Hawks-Dockers sort of final. Memorable for the desperation of both sides rather than the spectacle.
    I always barrack for the underdog where I don’t have an affiliation, so Stan was a good result for me. But like you John I have warmed a lot to Rafa in recent years.
    He reminds me of Woosha in one way. Severe white line fever sufferer on the ground – ruthlessly competitive. But a real toff away from the contest. Lovely contrast.
    Rafa was flawless against Roger, and his wicked gets and spin had me thinking “the human body shouldn’t be able to do that.” When he had his chronic knee problems I read some articles saying that his career would always be cut short because of the extreme strain his playing style puts on his joints.
    There is a beautiful brutality to his game. But it is sort of “don’t try this at home” warning to young players who might try to emulate him. 90% will break down before they get to the races.
    I remember the great racehorse Mahogany – he had to be nursed beyond 3YO – because he couldn’t stand up to a conventional prep or a long campaign. He was breathtaking at his best, but you never knew when he was going to ‘feel it’ and drop out in the straight.
    Rafa had one of those nights, but that is part of the price for the deal with the devil he signed to achieve his undoubted greatness.
    Well played Stan. The race is not always to the quick.

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