Unknown Czech Delivers Shocker to Federer at Athens Olympics

Posted on August 18, 2004

World No. 1 Roger Federer was knocked out of the Olympics Tuesday by No. 74-ranked Czech Tomas Berdych 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in a first-time meeting on the blue Athens hardcourts.

The Swiss looked as shaky as he did in the first round facing Russian Nikolay Davydekno, against Berdych dropping his serve in the last games of the last two sets after winning the first set.

"I'm disappointed because the Olympics mean so much to me," Federer said. "But it wasn't to be."

World No. 2 Andy Roddick also had a battle against a former No. 2, saving three match points before beating unseeded Tommy Haas 4-6, 6-3, 9-7.

"I'm just happy to be alive," said Roddick, who needed six match points in the final game before he could close shop. "Playing the Olympics puts that little bit of extra pressure on you because you're playing for your country."

Former No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero is having problems of his own. Bad problems, like 4-wins-in-your-last-10-matches bad. Earlier this year he said the problem was confidence, a lack of it. In Tuesday's loss at the Athens Olympics, Ferrero said confidence was not a problem, but the result was still the "L."

The Spaniard, who roughly eight months ago almost finished the year No. 1, is in danger of tumbling out of the Top 10 after he sees his runner-up points come off his ranking in a couple weeks at the US Open.

On Tuesday Ferrero was serving for the match at 6-4, 5-4, when a tight double fault started a downward slide, resulting in a 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 loss to unseeded American Mardy Fish.

Fish pointed to an American flag in the stands as he left the court, giving props to his scant crowd support.

"There were a lot of Spanish people out there cheering for him," Fish said. "So whoever was cheering for me, I was pointing at them."

The Fish also pointed to the support of his American teammates in being able to pull through against the former No. 1.

"The Olympic factor had a lot to do with it," Fish said. "There was definitely something extra there. I kept saying to myself, 'This is the Olympics, this is the Olympics, I can't go out in two straight sets.' I've had other big wins, but this is the Olympics, so it's the biggest one."

Ferrero denied the choke, blaming the little things in life.

"I don't know what was happening with the two double faults I served," Ferreor said. "I was feeling good, I was serving good, I had confidence -- it wasn't nerves. Maybe there are small things that I was doing well last year, and last year I would have won the match."

Other seeded winners were (3)Carlos Moya (d. Olivier "The Roach" Rochus), (8)Sebastien "The Skateboard Kid" Grosjean (d. (WC)Arthurs), (10)Nicolas Massu (d. Spadea), (14)Nicolas Kiefer (d. (Inv)Baghdatis in three), (15)Tommy "The R." Robredo (d. Fabrice "The Original Wizard" Santoro in three), and (16)Fernando "The Flayin' Chilean" Gonzalez (d. Korea's (WC)H.-T. Lee).

One other upset fell on the uninspired (9)Marat Safin (l. to Feliciano "F-Lo" Lopez), who will no longer have to pretend how important he feels the Olympics are to appease his sponsors after originally trashing tennis at the international competition.

Winners in all-unseeded match-ups were Russians Igor Andreev (d. Calleri who retired with an ab strain) and Mikhail Youzhny (d. Novak), American Taylor Dent (d. Dominik "The Dominator" Hrbary), Croats Ivan Ljubicic (d. Joachim "The Jackhammer" Johansson) and "Dr." Ivo Karlovic (d. Clement in three), and Max "The Beast" Mirnyi (d. Nieminen).

Two upsets were provided in the men's doubles by Chileans Fernando Gonzalez/Nicolas Massu (d. (6)Etlis/Rodriguez), and Germans Nicolas Kiefer/Rainer Schuettler (d. (2)Arthurs/Woodbridge).

On Wednesday for the men in Athens are (16)The Flayin' Chilean vs. (2)Roddick, (3)Moya vs. "Dr." Ivo Karlovic, (8)The Skateboard Kid vs. F-Lo, Fish vs. The Beast, Berdych vs. (15)Robredo, Ljubicic vs. Dent, and (14)Kiefer vs. Youzhny.

Highlights on the doubles tip today are (1)Bryans vs. the Chileans Fernando Gonzalez/Nicolas Massu, Indians (5)Mahesh Bhupathi/Leander Paes vs. Zimbabwe's (4)Wayne Black/Kevin Ullyett, Aussie open champs (3)Michael Llodra/Fabrice Santoro of France vs. unseeded Croat serving machines Baby Goran/Ivan Ljubicic, and Israel's finest (8)Jonathan Erlich/Andy Ram vs. Germans Nicolas Kiefer/Rainer Schuettler.