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How many slams?

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TheMadHatter
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #165 on: September 22, 2012, 01:19 AM »
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Thanks for that TMH - I 'm mulling an Autumn project  to track all slam winners and their opponents!
Just been watching the final set of the USO final back and Petchey actually answers this himself! 51 first time champions in the open era, just 14 (now 15) beating previous Slam winners to do so.
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Aileen
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #166 on: September 22, 2012, 01:57 AM »
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Hi Aileen and all,

I wonder, to be honest, how much of Andy's reluctance to change his game was down to stubborness and how much of it was fear, to a point. What I mean is, looking at it from Andy's point of view, he was winning a lot of matches with his defensive game, and had been winning for some time. Maybe he was afraid to change, maybe he feared he wouldn't be able to play a more aggressive game. We'll never know what his thinking was back then. All we know now is that he is balancing his great defensive skills with a more aggressive game, and it is paying off. I'm sure there is something to the point that Lendl talking to Andy about making changes carries more weight than it would have done from Miles Maclagan, but I wonder if that is down to Andy having trust in Lendl. Andy isn't daft. He must know that if Lendl is asking him to do something, he knows it works, because he has been there and done it. With the best will in the world, and with all due respect, no one can say that about Miles Maclagan, not really.

I suppose we could look back and wonder what could have happened if Andy had approached Lendl earlier. The thing is, maybe Lendl wouldn't have wanted to come back to the game before now. I think Lendl's involvement with Andy has come at the perfect time. Andy is more mature now, in fact I think he has grown up right in front of us over the last year or so. I wonder if he realised as well that he needed to make changes? I suspect so, in which case he was going to be more open to change. Maybe this is the right time for Lendl too. Maybe he has the time and patience for Andy now. I think they work so well because they simply get each other. The overlap of their experiences in trying to win majors is fascinating.

I'm a bit of a believer in the idea that anything that doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I think that applies to Andy. Don't get me wrong, I wish he was already the multi-slam winner I am convinced he is destined to be, but I do think everything happens for a reason. Maybe Andy did need to go through the mill to get that first one. The point for me though, is that Andy has put himself on the line in majors again and again since he got to that first final in 2008. I think it is safe to say that every year since then he has been in a good position in at least one of the majors, and sometimes more than one. It takes strength of character and not a little courage to put yourself in a position again when you have gone through the pain of losing. That's why I always believed that one day the door would open to Andy, and now that door is wide open, and I can't see it closing again, not for a good long while.
You could be right about the fear factor, TJ.  Something did go out of Andy after his 2010 AO loss, and everyone knows how long it took him to come back from that defeat. Loss of confidence and self-belief are a good breeding ground for fear.  The concept of having a team round about him seemed to work well until then but I always felt that after that AO his team were little more than a protective shield.  Not, of course, that Andy sank without trace, but his fall to No.5 in the rankings at the end of that year was a little worrying.  Maclagan had got the boot after Wimbledon and Corretja appointed as coach in his place, but that didn't seem to make much difference.  After Corretja went Andy spent most of 2011 shilly-shallying around, ostensibly trying to finding a new coach, something which gave the members of MW plenty to speculate about and agonise over!  Lendl's name was one of the many that were put about, most of them non-starters.

I have a feeling that Lendl may have been sitting quietly on the side-lines taking in what was going on and seeing how Andy was managing to cope by going it alone before making a move.  Darren Cahill did become a coach of sorts, but that was because he's part of the Adidas Support Team, and the amount of time he could devote to Andy was pretty limited.  The story goes that it was Cahill who suggested that Andy contact Lendl - but had Cahill and Lendl been cooking something up between them first?  Fortunately Andy greatly admired Cahill, and, as there was no way Cahill could become his full-time coach, I guess he finally realised that he had to do something if he was to have any hope of achieving his ambition of winning his first Slam.  As Lendl had been down the same road as Andy he was the obvious choice, and, thankfully, despite the misgivings of some, that relationship has worked out very well so far, and I believe will continue to do so.

Like you I don't think Andy's struggles and failures did him any harm.  His sheer tenacity alone must have appealed to Lendl, as well as his determination to work hard in order to succeed.  Many of us get tested in different way, whilst others seem, superficially at least, to have it pretty easy, and I think it was Andy's lot that he should have to put himself through some very trying times before he could move forward and achieve his goals.  Much has been said about his lack of positive mental attitude, but I'm not convinced it was as far below the surface as so many have made out because, had that been the case, I don't think we would have seen the huge success Andy has had recently, and that after only a few months of having Lendl as his coach.  I still believe that Andy could have won Wimbledon had the weather not disrupted the proceedings.

 
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janetx
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #167 on: September 22, 2012, 02:36 AM »
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Just been watching the final set of the USO final back and Petchey actually answers this himself! 51 first time champions in the open era, just 14 (now 15) beating previous Slam winners to do so.

He's referring specifically to finals I guess, and there is added pressure there. But Nole had to beat Fed in the AO 2008 semi and Rafa had to beat Fed in the FO 2005 semi to win their first slams, so both beat a previous slam winner, just one round earlier.. In fact Nole's always had to beat either Fed or Rafa for his slam wins.  

BUT, I checked Fed's 2003 Wimbledon and he faced no slam winners in his draw at all. Roddick won his lone slam the following USO, so Fed's first slam win was definitely pretty good in terms of draw - all slamless opponents. Same with the AO 2006 win: Fed faced no slam winners at all in that slam - cruised right on through. In fact that whole year, often considered one of Fed's best, the only slam winners he faced were Rafa and Roddick, and only in the other 3 slam finals: Rafa at FO and Wimb, and Rod at USO. Throughout 2004-6 he mainly faced Hewitt, Roddick, Safin and Agassi in later rounds - excepting the FO, where Rafa was always the Man.

It's amazing, when looking at that in perspective, how Nole and Muzza have had to face a multiple slam champion in pretty much ALL of the slams they've played once they started reaching the later rounds as invariably one would have to face Fed and the other Rafa, usually in the semis, providing they all got there - and usually as we know, they did. Often, Nole and Andy have had to try to get through 2 slam winners to win one of their own, though not always. But always one slam winner at some point.

I guess it doesn't really matter insofar as a slam is a slam. But some slams are harder than others. Smile
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janetx
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #168 on: September 22, 2012, 04:44 AM »
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Thanks for posting Elena.

I don't think Andy will be a one-Slam wonder unless fate is very unkind to him.  Apart from his own ambitions, he doesn't like letting his supporters down - and realising just what huge support he has now is only going to fuel his desire and self-belief,

Agree: I definitely think Andy will win more slams.
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dave_ladder
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #169 on: September 22, 2012, 01:16 PM »
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He's referring specifically to finals I guess, and there is added pressure there. But Nole had to beat Fed in the AO 2008 semi and Rafa had to beat Fed in the FO 2005 semi to win their first slams, so both beat a previous slam winner, just one round earlier.. In fact Nole's always had to beat either Fed or Rafa for his slam wins. 

I guess the argument would be that winning a final is such a big mental challenge that it's tougher to do it against someone who's already been there before. You might be just as good a player (and could beat them in a semi-final) but the occasion gets to you and you can't get over the line in the final.

Not sure if that's the case really for most players - has Nadal ever shown a lack of belief? - however it probably is the case for Murray. I also think Djokovic was slightly fortunate in that the match he won against Federer was right in the middle of when Federer had mononucleosis (same thing Soderling has been out for so long with). Federer made the final of every slam between Wimbledon 2005 and the French Open in 2010 with the sole exception of that loss to Djokovic, so it's a huge outlier in his career during that period.
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Aileen
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #170 on: September 22, 2012, 03:24 PM »
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I also think Djokovic was slightly fortunate in that the match he won against Federer was right in the middle of when Federer had mononucleosis
Djokovic was also a bit lucky in that Tsonga beat Nadal in the semis.  Nadal had, after all, already won 3 Slams by then, although admittedly all of them at RG.  Mind you I remember the morning I woke up to the rather shocking news that Andy had gone out to Tsonga in R1 of that tournament despite fighting back and taking the 3rd 6-0, only to go down 7-6 in the 4th.
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teejay1
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #171 on: September 22, 2012, 04:03 PM »
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Hi Aileen and all,

I think that 2010 period was interesting in a way. I do wonder if there was stuff going on in the background, with coaching and things, that were distracting Andy. I certainly feel that was really his 'angry young man' phase too. After the AO, he seemed to want to be anywhere but on a tennis court for a while, and that came over in some of his results. Still, he pulled it together and sorted it out.

I always thought that period where Andy was without a coach wasn't a bad thing for him. I'm inclined to think that a lot of the players could do well to have a period without a coach as such, to think for themselves and be independent. I hate that thing in the women's game where they are allowed to get the coach on in tournaments outside of the slams. I don't see what it achieves. I honestly thought Andy was right to take his time in finding a permanent coach - he was under a lot of pressure to make a decision, and I was glad he ignored it all and did what was right for him. I'm sure Darren Cahill was sort of testing the water with Lendl beforehand, these things don't happen in a vacuum as such, but I think both Andy and Lendl deserve a lot of credit for being bold. To my mind Andy was brave in taking on a former player who had never coached, but more than that, it was an appointment that was bound to cause a stir. It was always going to be something everyone within tennis had something to say about. McEnroe, for example, was convinced at first it would never work lol. I think Lendl deserves a lot of credit for coming back in to the game at this point in his life, but also for seeing what Andy could be. I take a lot from Lendl's comments after the USO, where he suggested that Andy could still get better. That's exciting.

I think in a weird way I can see a little of myself in the struggles Andy has had. Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to win a slam any time soon, but life has been tough at times. I really do think there are people who have to keep picking themselves up from things and finding a way through, and Andy has definitely done that. That's why I've always felt he would win through at some point. He has repeatedly put himself in a position to win over and over again, in spite of all the knocks he has received. I agree with you, I tend to think the mental strength that is now so clear with Andy has been there all along. Look at all those times when Andy has had to fight in matches, even from early on, and he has done it. I'm thinking of that match with Gasquet at Wimbledon in 2008 for example, when Andy had to come back from 2 sets down to win. That takes mental strength. However, I get the feeling that what Lendl has done with Andy is to help him realise he is as good as the others in that elite group, and that has given him belief. It strikes me that Lendl didn't buy in to the idea that there was Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, and then a gap before Andy leads the rest. It seems to me that Lendl feels that Andy's place is within that elite group, and he has helped Andy to realise that, which has helped him to get out there and show it.
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janetx
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #172 on: September 22, 2012, 05:51 PM »
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Djokovic was also a bit lucky in that Tsonga beat Nadal in the semis.  Nadal had, after all, already won 3 Slams by then, although admittedly all of them at RG.  Mind you I remember the morning I woke up to the rather shocking news that Andy had gone out to Tsonga in R1 of that tournament despite fighting back and taking the 3rd 6-0, only to go down 7-6 in the 4th.

Yes, you're right Aileen. I think they all get a bit of luck. It's possible that on the slow hard court Nole could've beaten Rafa; he's always had a decent hard court record versus Rafa. Similarly, was it fortunate Berd took out Fed? Hard to say isn't it? Andy might've beaten him easily?After all, he'd just beaten him soundly at the Olympics and he has a good record versus Fed. I think Andy was maybe "luckier" that Nadal lost early at Wimbledon since Rafa seems to be a much tougher opponent/match up for him. But as I say, they all get these openings and we don't know just how much they help or possibly even hinder. Andy still, even without Rafa there, had a very brutal draw at Wimbledon this year. But he made it to the final anyhow. Shows his grass pedigree, methinks.

I just think it's been harder for Nole and Murray because they've come up against TWO multiple slam champions repeatedly, and that's - one could argue - what's held them back. Having to beat one of them is, in itself, difficult, but having to go through both has been almost unachievable (only Delpo and Nole have done it, both at the USO, probably Rafa's weakest slam).

But I do think that now that Fed's on decline and Rafa's knees have taken him out, both Andy and Nole will win more slams. Rafa is a bit of a mystery, though, because after his long hiatus in 2009, he came back in 2010 and won 3 slams. So I am not expecting him to go gently into that good night - I expect him to be back, and hungry! But I think Andy and Nole can win against him, have the games to do so. Thus I really think it'll be the 3 of them (mainly) completing for slams over the next couple years. Unless someone surprises us. Smile
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Aileen
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #173 on: September 22, 2012, 06:16 PM »
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Hi Aileen and all,

I think that 2010 period was interesting in a way. I do wonder if there was stuff going on in the background, with coaching and things, that were distracting Andy. I certainly feel that was really his 'angry young man' phase too. After the AO, he seemed to want to be anywhere but on a tennis court for a while, and that came over in some of his results. Still, he pulled it together and sorted it out.

I always thought that period where Andy was without a coach wasn't a bad thing for him. I'm inclined to think that a lot of the players could do well to have a period without a coach as such, to think for themselves and be independent. I hate that thing in the women's game where they are allowed to get the coach on in tournaments outside of the slams. I don't see what it achieves. I honestly thought Andy was right to take his time in finding a permanent coach - he was under a lot of pressure to make a decision, and I was glad he ignored it all and did what was right for him. I'm sure Darren Cahill was sort of testing the water with Lendl beforehand, these things don't happen in a vacuum as such, but I think both Andy and Lendl deserve a lot of credit for being bold. To my mind Andy was brave in taking on a former player who had never coached, but more than that, it was an appointment that was bound to cause a stir. It was always going to be something everyone within tennis had something to say about. McEnroe, for example, was convinced at first it would never work lol. I think Lendl deserves a lot of credit for coming back in to the game at this point in his life, but also for seeing what Andy could be. I take a lot from Lendl's comments after the USO, where he suggested that Andy could still get better. That's exciting.
I was a big fan of McEnroe, but he always has something to say about everything!  At least though he's been man enough to admit that his earlier reservations have proved to be incorrect.  Andy didn't seem to be bothered whether his new coach was inexperienced at the job - what he really preferred was a coach who had been a multiple Slam winner, i.e. somebody who had been there and therefore knew from his own experiences what it was all about.  Agassi's name was tossed around, merely because he'd been Andy's boyhood hero, although realistically he was a non-starter.  I agree though that it was big step in the dark for both Andy and Lendl, but it was a step that had to be taken because maintaining the status quo was unthinkable if Andy really did want to take the extra step required to win his maiden Slam.  God forbid he should have gone on to become yet another "nearly man"!  Now that we've seen examples of the Lendl effect so far, Andy can only get better.  He knows himself that, despite his great performances at the USO, there are a few things that still need some improving.  Resting on his laurels was never going to be option.

Quote
I think in a weird way I can see a little of myself in the struggles Andy has had. Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to win a slam any time soon, but life has been tough at times. I really do think there are people who have to keep picking themselves up from things and finding a way through, and Andy has definitely done that. That's why I've always felt he would win through at some point. He has repeatedly put himself in a position to win over and over again, in spite of all the knocks he has received.  I agree with you, I tend to think the mental strength that is now so clear with Andy has been there all along. Look at all those times when Andy has had to fight in matches, even from early on, and he has done it. I'm thinking of that match with Gasquet at Wimbledon in 2008 for example, when Andy had to come back from 2 sets down to win. That takes mental strength. However,I get the feeling that what Lendl has done with Andy is to help him realise he is as good as the others in that elite group, and that has given him belief. It strikes me that Lendl didn't buy in to the idea that there was Federer, Djokovic, Nadal, and then a gap before Andy leads the rest. It seems to me that Lendl feels that Andy's place is within that elite group, and he has helped Andy to realise that, which has helped him to get out there and show it.
I wouldn't argue too much with that.  Even although Andy had a winning H2H over Federer, this had never happened in a Slam, and that was the important thing.  Nadal was another story, but it was only last year that Djokovic really came to the fore.  Personally I got sick of hearing about the Big Three and Andy Murray!





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janetx
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #174 on: September 22, 2012, 06:28 PM »
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It's the "fantastic four" Aileen, and nothing less. I thought that way even before Andy won a slam.
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Aileen
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #175 on: September 22, 2012, 06:36 PM »
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Yes, you're right Aileen. I think they all get a bit of luck. It's possible that on the slow hard court Nole could've beaten Rafa; he's always had a decent hard court record versus Rafa. Similarly, was it fortunate Berd took out Fed? Hard to say isn't it? Andy might've beaten him easily?After all, he'd just beaten him soundly at the Olympics and he has a good record versus Fed. I think Andy was maybe "luckier" that Nadal lost early at Wimbledon since Rafa seems to be a much tougher opponent/match up for him. But as I say, they all get these openings and we don't know just how much they help or possibly even hinder. Andy still, even without Rafa there, had a very brutal draw at Wimbledon this year. But he made it to the final anyhow. Shows his grass pedigree, methinks.

I just think it's been harder for Nole and Murray because they've come up against TWO multiple slam champions repeatedly, and that's - one could argue - what's held them back. Having to beat one of them is, in itself, difficult, but having to go through both has been almost unachievable (only Delpo and Nole have done it, both at the USO, probably Rafa's weakest slam).

But I do think that now that Fed's on decline and Rafa's knees have taken him out, both Andy and Nole will win more slams. Rafa is a bit of a mystery, though, because after his long hiatus in 2009, he came back in 2010 and won 3 slams. So I am not expecting him to go gently into that good night - I expect him to be back, and hungry! But I think Andy and Nole can win against him, have the games to do so. Thus I really think it'll be the 3 of them (mainly) completing for slams over the next couple years. Unless someone surprises us. Smile
I'm glad somebody agrees with me that all the top players get a bit of luck, and I still maintain that there's an element of this in sport generally.  After all there's an element of luck in life, so why should sport be any different?

I admit Nadal does worry me a bit too.  Only the other day he was quoted as saying that he reckons he has another five years of good tennis in him - but whether his knees agree with his brain remains to be seen.

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teejay1
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #176 on: September 22, 2012, 06:43 PM »
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Personally I got sick of hearing about the Big Three and Andy Murray!

LOL. You should have heard me, screaming like a mad harpy at the TV every time I heard one of the comms say it. How wrong could they possibly be? I mean, I'm not technical in terms of my understanding of the game, I just know the players I like to watch, and who I personally rate, but the development Andy has shown, especially this year, has been obvious. It's so obvious it's practically got flashing neon lights!
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Alis
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #177 on: September 22, 2012, 08:16 PM »
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There are a lot of pundits out there who will say that Andy is the most naturally talented of the 'Fab Four' but it has been the mental aspect of the game that has held him back.  I don't know enough about the technicalities of the game to know whether or not Andy is the most talented - I only know he is the one I enjoy watching most.  It would follow though that, if he is the most natural player and he now has conquered his mental demons, then he should go from strength to strength and win several, if not many, more Majors.  I agree. though, that luck inevitably plays a part - Fed was certainly blessed by Lady Luck when they closed the roof at Wimby this year!
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blueberryhill
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #178 on: September 22, 2012, 08:36 PM »
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Am gonna disagree about "luck" again. How many players did Nole beat to get to the final? Same with Tsonga. Wasn't "luck" to win all those matches.
However, if anyone was ever lucky, twas Fed. He started out when Sampras and Agassi were declining,  b4 Rafa had got going and while Nole and Andy had only just started out.
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janetx
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Re: How many slams? « Reply #179 on: September 22, 2012, 08:39 PM »
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True BBH. Maybe "luck" is the wrong word. That's why I put "luck" in quotation marks at one point in my post, in the sense that you can beat only who's in front of you, AND you still have to get that far, no matter what. "Opening" is a better word perhaps. I think we all use "luck" perhaps due to idioms like "luck of the draw" etc.

Muzz and Nole have had less "openings" at the slams in their careers, and even Rafa always had to face Fed to win. Maybe it comes down to competition. Fed has had more "openings" than most, considering, as you say, he came at a time when the competition was weakening, arguably, and the new contenders weren't near to the level they are today. Plus those two titles where he didn't have to face a slam winner all the way through were quite a boon! Then there are weather, conditions, injury and all sundry of things that can affect outcome - call those luck or just life.

It's still amazing, no matter what, how consistent these top 4 have been; we are watching one fabulous era of tennis at the moment.
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