Djokovic Lays an Egg in Miami
by Sean Randall | March 28th, 2008
  • 135 Comments

I admit, I saw nothing of the match, and I honestly didn’t give it much of a look thinking Novak Djokovic would not lose to a qualifier named Kevin Anderson that he had never seen before today. He wouldn’t lose after tearing up Indian Wells putting himself within striking distance of No. 1 ranking? He wouldn’t lose in the second round of a major tournament in which he is defending a crap-load of points and is defending champion? Would he? Oh yes he would. It’s March Madness after all.

This afternoon Djoko lost to the big-serving South African 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-4 in the second round of the Miami Sony Ericsson Open.

Djokovic was my choice to win not the just the match but win the entire event, and I based that on his performance at the Australian Open and at Indian Wells. Say what you want about his injuries, illnesses and motivation at the lower tier events, the guy really does step it up at the bigger events. That is until now.

Djokovic dropped the first set to the big-serving, 6-foot-7 Anderson. Recovered to win the second and then seemingly gained control of the match going up a break in the third serving at 2-0. But that’s when the Serb hit the skids. After incurring a time warning Novak won the point after but then lost 13 straight points and six of the next eight games.

Said Novak about the time warning, “Well, it’s, you know, I didn’t focus myself in that moment. Obviously, the time violation and a lot of different things affected on my service game loss. But, you know, that’s okay. It’s all part of the game.”

Anderson made some noise last month when he reached the finals in Las Vegas. The former Illinois standout also reportedly won a practice set off of Roger Federer yesterday.

“I really don’t know even what to say right now. I really tried to give myself the best shot walking in today. I kept telling myself I can do this. I’ve just got to believe in myself, play my game,” said Anderson. “But even still, just knowing what he’s done and what a great player he is, and to have actually beaten him, I mean, it’s a tremendous experience for me.”

Novak of course had just won the Indian Wells title on Sunday, but he did have a full three, if not four days of rest before today’s meeting.

Djokovic added, “Well, I tried to recover, but obviously I was a little bit tired from the start. But it was okay, you know. I could play, but the thing is that I didn’t know the way he’s playing. It was our first meeting, and I never saw him playing before. He surprised me with the way he was serving. I wasn’t moving on my returns good enough, and obviously that resulted in easy service games. He was winning too easy in the first set his service games, and I wasn’t aggressive enough. Then when I needed to use my chances in the third set, I made some unforced errors which were really crucial.”

The loss really does damage to Novak’s hopes to get to No. 1 by Wimbledon or even pass Nadal for No. 2. He’ll do it eventually, but the timeline just got extended.

Moving on, I’ll be looking forward to seeing my man Gael Monfils and Federer tomorrow night. Rumor is it will be on FSN, but that’s anyone’s guess the way that network works. Let’s keep the madness going.


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135 Comments for Djokovic Lays an Egg in Miami

Zola Says:

Sean,
This is about Anderson:
http://www.tennis.com/features/general/features.aspx?id=121880

I think Djoko was tired and just hit a good player.

Anderson just turned pro. In 2007!


jane Says:

Poor Novak – but this’ll be good in a way. It will pull him back down to earth, give him some perspective. He’s so young to be going on such a tear. Of course I am sad for him too, but I think it’s not such a big blip – or egg – however you want to look at it, in the larger scheme of things. He doesn’t need to get to number 1 or even number 2 this year – just maintain. He’s still one of my faves, win or lose. :-)

Have faith Shital Green!

Gasquet just laid an egg too, b.t.w. – upset by Tursonov.


andrea Says:

not too surprising. his lack of consistency and tendency to fade in back to back tournaments is well documented.

plus, he’s been getting so hyped lately that i’m not entirely disappointed to see him blown out in the second round.

and before i get lambasted, i will admit that i’m not a fan of novak and his family. they’re a little cocky and there is something to be said for humility.


andrea Says:

also, is this a good time to reiterate sean’s ability to call the winners in any given tournament? :)

sorry…..


Zola Says:

Must see matches tomorrow:

Fed-Monfils

Murray- Ancic

who is Gabriela Navratilova btw?


jane Says:

Zola,

“Anderson just turned pro. In 2007!”

Yes, and he’s already got to the finals and Vegas and a win over a top ten player! He’s no complete “rookie” though; he’s a former Illinois NCAA doubles champ. So we’ll have to keep our eyes on this dude.


Karena Says:

Yes, he was in the college circuit, is really tall…and guess who he practiced with the day before? ;)


joe Says:

Novak is no doubt a great player, but I will repeat what Andrea said, he has faded in back to back tournaments before. The exact same situation happened last summer , he won in the canada masters and lost first round in the cincy masters. The difference this time is that he has 500 ranking points to defend, so at the end of next week he will be about 2000+ points behind federer (assuming he doesnt have an early loss) and maybe about 1000 behind nadal (again, assuming he doesnt lose very early).
This goes to show that just one bad tournament can set him back quiet a bit, whereas last week it was looking like he would be overtaking nadal very quickly.
Looking forward to federer-monfils tomorrow.

and “djokovic lays an egg in miami”, rediculous expression………………….


jane Says:

Karena, yes, I read he took a set off Roger! I wonder if Roger was giving him tips – hey maybe it was a conspiracy? LOL.


Zola Says:

Jane,
No kidding. and he is efinitely no rookie.

Karena,
yes, I read he practiced with Fed the day before. I bet he got some good tips!


jane Says:

May I kindly point a discrepancy in the claims here. Djoko has faded in back-to-back tournaments before – this is true – but only on a couple of occasions (in 2007/08) as fall as I can tell. For instance, look at this run:

Rotterdam O7 – semis
Dubai 07 – quarters
IW 07 – finals
Miami 07 – champion
M.Carlo 07 – R16
Estoril – champ
Rome – quarters
Hamburg – quarters
RG – semis
Queens – R16
Wimbie – semis

That’s ELEVEN tournaments in a row in 2007 (on 3 different surfaces) wherein he got to *at least* the quarters in all but two of them.

The ONLY real fizzles in 07 are Canada then Cincy, which joe mentioned, and then Paris and the Masters Cup at the end of last year, when he was pooped out. In 08, he fell early only at Marseille thus far, but was sick. He even had to pull out of Rotterdam when he won l.y. because he had the flu.

People, be fair! How does a player go from 80th in the world to 16th, and then 16th to 3rd, all in two years time, not to mention being the first ATP player ever to win “most improved player” in back-to-back years if he is not pretty consistent. If you don’t like him that’s cool, but ook at the results please.


jane Says:

“look” not “ook” – got on a rant there, sorry.


jane Says:

Speaking of eggs – I see Nalby lost the first set to Malisse 1-6. But knowing Dave he may come back and win the next one 6-0.

The horror, the horror.


Shital Green Says:

Nalby became the third sad victim after Djoko and Gasquet stumbled. More coming tomorrow for sure!


jane Says:

Shital Green,

You’re right – probably more topsy-turvy results to come. Don’t you think Federer is sitting back and smiling right about now? There are still a lot of tough customers though – Rafa Roddick Murray Tsonga…we;ll see what evolves next.

Did I read somewhere that there was more of a break between these two tournaments last year, like a full week or something? Maybe I dreamt it.


Bo Says:

Nobody mentioned that Novak had a bunch of early rd exits in few weak touneys in Europe, right after winning AO? Motivation is a bitch


Bo Says:

sorry, losing in davis cup and 2nd rd of Marseille


jane Says:

Bo – he had the flu apparently.


Kash Says:

Finally a chair umpire had the guts to warn a top player for the insanity that gets passed off as ritual.

A roc’s egg from chokovic who I had just bumped to no.1 in the hardcourt rankings. He is still susceptible to a big server who has a huge serving day. Who is listening to “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight”? nadal or federer?
Who is going to cash in on this opportunity to pull away in the rankings?


Von Says:

Kash:

“Who is listening to “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight”?” **** Hush my darling, don’t cry my darling, the lion still sleeps tonight …****

I didn’t know you were a doo-wop fan? But then, what do I really know about you? Except at times you like to indulge in eating ‘vinegar’ potato chips, which makes you so surly and …? :) It seems that I’m dating myself about that doo wop stuff, but actually, I’m not that old to remember those days, but my mom and dad were great fans of doo wop, and now I record all of their shows from PBS. TJ Lubinsky has done a good job keeping the doo wop memory alive. If it weren’t for DVDs I could have easily worn out the grooves of a record. :) I’m still in awe of Jay Black’s ability to carry those notes in ‘Cara Mia, Why? I have to come down to earth now and back to tennis.

I’ll say both Fed and Rafa will slit the spoils, and Fed could pull away in the ranking points for the time being. I suppose that’s keep you happy for the time being. Try eating the ‘honey’ potato chips.


Von Says:

Correction: Last para should read, “I’ll say both Fed and Rafa will split the spoils.” sorry.


jane Says:

Kash,

“Finally a chair umpire had the guts to warn a top player for the insanity that gets passed off as ritual.”

Djoko was warned during his semifinal match against Fed at the AO at 5-3 & deuce in the 2nd set; he was also warned in the quarter final at IW against Wawrinka on a break point of his serve. So these warnings are nothing new, and Djokovic has said he doesn’t object to him, only wishes the umpire could maybe give him a heads up if he’s taking long,say, in a change-over before he gets the official warning.

In those two previous instances Djoko pulled himself together, won the point, game and match, but today I think he was a bit spent, he was up against a great and unknown opponent and he lost fair-and-sqaure.

As he said “But, you know, that’s okay. It’s all part of the game.”


Tejuz Says:

This clearly showz how difficult it is to do what Fed and Nadal have acheived over the last few years. Winning or reaching finals in back to back Masters and Grandslams. Nadal has done it thrice on Clay.. Fed has done it infinite times on all kind of surfaces.

Especially Fed reaching 16 consecutive finals in 2005.

Hope its a Fed vs Nadal finals..


Von Says:

Tejuz:

Howdy, where have you been? Hibernating or in stasis? Glad to see you back. Are you being shocked, or have the shocks been too much for you? Mind you, you’ll only be shocked twice — once is not enough. :)


Von Says:

Kash:

FYI. I posted same on another thread for jane and TD.

“Djokovic, leading 2-0 but facing break point, was dribbling before a serve when umpire Norm Chryst warned him for taking too much time. Djokovic whacked a forehand winner to end that point, then screamed in the umpire’s direction and shook both fists. The crowd hooted at the Serbian.

Two points later, when Djokovic hit a first serve into the net, several fans cheers [sic]. He glared toward the stands, then lost the point and the game when he blew an easy volley.”

Sounds like an exact repeat of the AO final. When is the boy going to learn that he can’t bully people into submission, let alone adulation (actually, he can only bully them into the exact opposite reaction)? I’m beginning to think that when he says he’s an emotional person and shows his emotions on court, that translates as “I’m an angry person and I have anger management issues.” I guess he can at least be glad that Kevin Anderson’s mom isn’t named Dijana….”

Here’s the link.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/tennis/03/28/bc.ten.keybiscayne1.ap/index.html?eref=T1


Kash Says:

Von:

I am sorry but I am too weak with the whole “music” thing! I remember that song from Lion king, with absolute disregard from where the song originated from. I know thats really embarrassing :D

Thanks for all that info, next time I wont make such a fool of myself in a conversation about that song.

And I will say let us stick to the Fed and Rafa will slit the spoils. This is no more tennis, it is a macabre war out there. Seriously though, I cant believe neither of those two have won a title yet, this year. Good luck to the andy’s till they get beaten by the FED ;) (Does he have to beat both or only one of them) A-rod missed out on a golden chance last week. He could have taken Fed out in the quarters if Fed played the way he did against fish. I guess it is only fair andy beats fed in a classic like the safin-fed aus 05 match. I still refuse to give Fish much credit for the SF match, seeing as he got routed by clement, of all people. He still played real good tennis through out the tournament and I did hope he beat djokovic in the final. My hope realised 1 match later. I need to make my hopes stronger and more dark magic.

Last but not the least, in accordance with all the craziness going on in tennis, I propose a-rod as french open champ and davydenko for wimbledon. gaudio makes a come-back to sweep olympics, usopen and the masters cup. I think I need some more sleep!

Jane:

I forgot the AO warning. Good to see the chair umpires cracking the whip. Next time they should have some soap solution to rinse the player’s mouths when they utter cuss words in Spanish or russian or mandarin or all the trillion + 1 languages in this world.

Tejuz:

Fed made those consecutive finals in 06, i believe.


Kash Says:

Yea Von, Djokovic needs to ease out a little. People loved it and condoned all his arrogance because he was chasing fed and nadal. Now that he is in the same league, if he goes about venting them on the umpires, linesmen and the crowd, he will be shooting himself in the feet, and all other parts of his anatomy except his arms.

I am guessing his PR agent is going to have some classes for him and his family over the summer. The family is sending the wrong messages to people that you need to be disrespectful of the person at the top to get to the top. That, as Fed would say, is a real pity!


Von Says:

Kash:

“Thanks for all that info, next time I wont make such a fool of myself in a conversation about that song.”
****The next time you talk about that song, you’ll look like a whiz kid with the newly acquired info on Doo Wop. :)

“Good luck to the andy’s till they get beaten by the FED.”
*** Be nice, I want A-Rod to win and move up in the rankings. I can’t believe the turn of events from July ’07, when he was No. 3, and now he’s at No. 6. Had A-Rod not lost last week to Haas, he most probably could have won the whole thing. What a shame. Damn Tommy Haas. The guy just irks me. I was positive that he would have retired against Murray.

Re: “I propose a-rod as french open champ and davydenko for wimbledon. gaudio makes a come-back to sweep olympics, usopen and the masters cup. I think I need some more sleep!”

I can handle A-Rod winning the FO. :) We’re both crazy, but stranger things have happened. I’ll definitely throw a party if A-Rod pulls that win off. You know, something’s gotta give, and A-Rod absolutely deserves some wins against Fed. I can dream can’t I. I also need some sleep, I just pulled an all-nighter on research and case prep, and am so saturated with facts now, that I can’t shut down. There must be a better way to make a living. When you find one, let me know.

Since I’m only a few hours from South Beach, I should just drive out there and watch the matches. Look for me among the spectators. :) I’ll be the woman in the dark glasses, nodding off.


Zola Says:

I think Djoko has to be careful. He turned 19000 people in AO against himself. Here in Miami he was the defending champion, yet again managed to make the whole center court boo him, the defending champion! that’s not too good. He needs to be careful and needs to know that people will not tolerate “anything” coming out of him just because he is No 3 in the world. Unfortunately he is learning “PR” the hard way.


Von Says:

Zola:

Guess what, the Tennis channel is picking up 24 hours of delayed coverage on Miami. I’m so happy. At least i’ll be able to see some additional matches. Do you have a ladder so that i can climb up to the roof top and shout it out. :)


jane Says:

Von, thanks for the article link. (Hope I didn’t wake you)

I like Djokovic’s fire – call me crazy but it’s true. I liked Johnny Mac in his day too.

If Djoko roars at the umpire (which he never has) or crowd, and they turn on him, well he’ll have to deal with it. So far he has not been bothered when he’s done this in big matches; in fact he’s actually won them!

This time it made him lose his focus, and it was too deep into the match to recover; in his words, “I wasn’t able to focus myself in that moment”.

Sometimes that happens; when Roddick got angry at the umpire against Khol at the AO late in the 5th I think it hurt him, but other times Roddick’s fire has helped him (have you seen that video on Youtube where he gets mad over a call but then hits a serve that gets stuck in the clay?! Funny)

Djokovic has a certain bravado on or off the court that people are already reacting too so I think when stuff like this happens they jump all over him. If it doesn’t make him lose matches, if he can stay focused, then it doesn’t matter to me. But if it’s going to hurt him (like when Safin mentally implodes) then he’s going to have to do something about it.


jane Says:

Kash,

“Next time they should have some soap solution to rinse the player’s mouths” — haha — that’s be something to see. :-)


jane Says:

Tejuz,

“This clearly showz how difficult it is to do what Fed and Nadal have acheived over the last few years. Winning or reaching finals in back to back Masters and Grandslams. Nadal has done it thrice on Clay”

You’re right; it does. It’s quite a feat these two have pulled off, being 1 & 2 for so long. Borg still thinks Rafa will be first to dethrone Roger and get to number 1; I read it somewhere yesterday.


jane Says:

For those who are interested, here’s the article with Borg tipping Rafa to get to no.1 next [smiling Zola? :-) ]

http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/28032008/3/borg-sees-nadal-replacing-federer-world-number.html


Von Says:

Jane:

“Von, thanks for the article link. (Hope I didn’t wake you)”

You’re welcome. No you didn’t wake me — I suppose I’m excited about seeing some tennis that I can’t fall asleep now. All of those statutes are whirling around in my head, but I’m well prepared for Monday now, so I’m free to watch my tennis without feeling guilty and that gnawing feeling.

I didn’t post that article as a negative thing, I just did so to give you some info since you had mentioned some of it to TD yesterday, and when I came across it, I thought you probably would have liked to see it. To be truthful, I didn’t read all of it. Djoko knows how far he can go without his actions becoming detrimental to his game. He’s just a feisty little guy, that’s all.


Zola Says:

Jane,
yes, I saw that article.
“HUGE SMILE”

I love that Borg made such a suggestion. But still it is very difficult. MonteCarlo, Barcelona, Rome and Hamburg are back to back. Then RG and Wimbledon.
I think Rafa has to skip a couple of those clay tournaments to ease the pressure on his body. Nevertheles, it is always encouraging when a legend like Borg makes such comments.

Von,
Here’s the ladder: :)
|_|
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|_|
| |

I am glad you get to see the matches on the tennis channel. I like to see the matches live! If you decide to watch them on pc, I guess you can go to channelsurfing.net. I also heard that starsports and CCTV ( on sopcast.com) will show the matches.

Tejuz
nice comment on Fed and Rafa’s consistency. That’s what came to my mind too. Especially what Federer has pulled off is extraordinary. Novak or others might one day be No 1, but doing what Fed did, is a very high standard.

I don’t blame Djoko for losing in the first round and don’t think he laid an egg. It is just human to be tired, or excited, or exhausted. What Fed and Rafa have done is quite extraordinary.

I also have to add that the way Djoko has progressed, in a couple of years we might see back to back wins from him as well. We have to wait and see.


Zola Says:

I did it!
I can make smily faces!

Jane,
this is me after reading that article:
:)


Kash Says:

Von:

I didn’t realise Andy dropped from 03-06 over his strong part of the season. That only means he can make up a lot of ground at the end of this season. I feel Andy is the best bet after you-know-who ;) to beat djokovic on a hard-court. The other day, I was thinking that with all the courts slowing down and the racquets and balls being modified to suit a more rally oriented game, we have players like nadal and djokovic who have awesome ground game but their returns are nothing to crow about ( like say fed, hewitt, safin and nalbandian) That fed-generation along with the slow-down of courts obliterated the big serving giants and reduced them to the calibre of ljubicic, karlovic and actually I cant think of any-other big servers. Actually, a lot of safin’s problems might easily because of the increased pressure on him to get more of his game together. I mean in the 90s, safin would have had to make sure he was serving well and even with a small percent of his groun game he would have been a force to reckon with. The same reason is why a-rod has had a tough time with his game which would have easily netted him multiple uso and wimbledon titles in the 90s.

So the atp needs to make sure some courts stay quick to make things interesting like in dubai, where a-rod was just monstrous. Or as in shanghai, where fed was able to SnV. As of now they have got the right ratio of fast-courts to slow courts mix. Though I feel wimbledon needs a little quickening up (not as much as the 90s but it should have a court speed atleast a little more than USopen) As of now, ausopen and fo are in favor of djokovic/nadal’s sub-par-return game. USopen is the fair surface and wimby needs a little quickness to keep the big servers interested before else players might soon forget to serve big!

Bottomline: a-rod is not beating fed at miami :) I wouldnt have had a problem with him doing that if fed won the IW, but with the present uncertainty fed needs a shot in the arm (maybe even literally if the post-miami check-up gets nasty!) before the battle for the red/green (will there be any this time around? or will it be chaotic like the year thus far has been?)

Jane:

I absolutely detest j-mac the player. I am a huge fan of his as a commentator. This dichotomy is so prominent that I would give up a lot of things to just listen to him on-air, while I refuse, even to this day to watch any of the matches he plays or has played. (I guess I could throw him a bone because of the commentary and watch his matches on the senior tour). I am just that kind of person who refuses to watch any matches of the player if he behaves like a jackass in the most-obvious manner. I never liked agassi till about 2000, when he was a different person. I am a huge fan of sampras because of similar criteria. Never liked hewitt till he sobered a few years back. I like both Fed and nadal.I mean the occasional rant is fine like fed at wimby 07 or rafa in the IW semifinal, but that is exception more than the norm. Djokovic is too loud more often than not, but I like his game, so in the next year or so I guess I will know whether his voice gets louder at a faster rate than his game. he is only 20, so i guess time will make him a more tolerable person.
I would really like gasquet to get his act. He seems more of a fed/sampras kind of guy. Or has he exhibited on-court obnoxiousness or fire or whichever you want to spin that. I will also add that Djokovic is a zillion times more tolerable than j-mac. Players these days are more behaved and I am glad it is so even if people think it is boring. I for one, think it is the “game” that should have the personality. Human personality is a function of the person under view as well as the person who is viewing. I mean some of the shots that fed/sampras hit, there is absolutely no need for any kind of chest-thumping. Von dont read this: One of the reasons I dont like a-rod is also because he has the habit of going off like crazy on the umpire which always happens only when he is losing. He is still funny, but definitely not fair! I would rather, he be just funny!

Bottomline: Nadal gets the balance of emotion/stoicism right, according to me. I guess, from your posts and mine thus far, that is where we meet! You prefer the emotion, I prefer the stoicism


Von Says:

Zola:

Thanks for the ladder. I get to see both FSN and Tennis channel.

Jane,
this is me after reading that article:
:)

You didn’t make the smiley faces. Here’s how it goes. First you type the sentence and then end it with a period. Then you hit the space bar once, then type :) and then hit the space bar one more time. Like this. :)


Von Says:

Zola: It’s like you did it above, but a space before the :), and then a space after. Try it out. Good luck. One hour and 8 minutes more to go for ATP tennis.


Kash Says:

I am actually not too happy for nadal with the borg comments! I remember he tipped federer to win the french! Guess borg got burnt by the federer bet and is placing all his money on nadal now.

I will safely advice my friends to bet on djokovic getting to no.1 before nadal does and nadal not winning the french this year! To be honest, my jinxing ability is far scarier than borg’s. An example would be that I just happened to consider the possibility of fed making the GGS this year and he is yet to reach a final in a tournament this year :D To be fair, I am sure no one made money on fed’s poor form thus far.

Maybe someone experienced with betting can let us know how much money one could have made if they bet at the end of 07 on federer not reaching a final in the 1st 3 months of 2008.

That same person will hopefully be kind enough to inform Von about an easier way to make a living ;)


Kash Says:

“I remember he tipped federer to win the french! ”

Last year that is!


jane Says:

Kash –

“Bottomline: Nadal gets the balance of emotion/stoicism right, according to me.”

Yes, Rafa’s got a nice balance going on doesn’t he? I like him a lot too.

“I guess, from your posts and mine thus far, that is where we meet! You prefer the emotion, I prefer the stoicism”

Perhaps. But I do like all sorts of players. I think for me it’s a mixture of liking their games AND liking their personalities. For instance, I like Blake’s personality better, most times, than his game. But I like Nalby’s game better than his personality.

Anyhow. Meeting of the minds/preferences is cool with me Kash.


jane Says:

“Maybe someone experienced with betting can let us know how much money one could have made if they bet at the end of 07 on federer not reaching a final in the 1st 3 months of 2008.”

Lots.

But I’d say hold onto your cash in 2008.

Tsonga just lost the first set to Melzer – maybe Roddick, assuming he gets through (which he will) won’t even have to play him Von!


jane Says:

Von,

“I didn’t post that article as a negative thing, I just did so to give you some info since you had mentioned some of it to TD yesterday, and when I came across it, I thought you probably would have liked to see it.”

I know – just can’t help “defending” the Djoker! :-)


Von Says:

Kash:

“Von don’t read this: One of the reasons I dont like a-rod is also because he has the habit of going off like crazy on the umpire which always happens only when he is losing.”

I did read that statement and believe it or not I agree with you. It’s one part of Andy’s personality I don’t really like. However, I think he has stopped that, after the bad press from his San Jose tournament. Hopefully, he can keep it up.

“Bottomline: a-rod is not beating fed at miami. I wouldnt have had a problem with him doing that if fed won the IW, but with the present uncertainty fed needs a shot in the arm (maybe even literally if the post-miami check-up gets nasty!) before the battle for the red/green (will there be any this time around? or will it be chaotic like the year thus far has been?)”

So you’re saying A-Rod should be the proverbial ‘sacrificial’ lamb so that Fed could win a title? I don’t know if I can be that charitable, and say I don’t mind. Avarice has raised its ugly head, but The Lord will decide.

“Maybe someone experienced with betting can let us know how much money one could have made if they bet at the end of 07 on federer not reaching a final in the 1st 3 months of 2008.

That same person will hopefully be kind enough to inform Von about an easier way to make a living.”

I’m going to hold onto my few dollars and let someone else do the betting for me. At the same time they can show me an easier way to make a living. :) So who’s your choice to win the Fed/Monfils match? I’ll have to go with Fed. I know that you’ll be happy to hear that. :)


Zola Says:

Von,
thanks for the tip. and I am glad you liked the ladder. I need to fix one of the legs though!. :)
( I made another one, lets’s see if it works!)

Kash
***To be honest, my jinxing ability is far scarier than borg’s. ***

I am sorry, but no one jinx’s like Sean! His predictions might have costed Federer the GGS and Djoko the Miami!


Zola Says:

Verdasco and Roredo are in trouble in Miami.Tsonga lost the first set, but he is going head to head with Melzer, who I think had complaints about his back. I hope he can win this match. ( Kash I might be competeing with your jinxing abilities here!)


jane Says:

Zola,
Robredo’s year has been abysmal thus far; I can’t believe he’s still in the top 20. The clay might help him though.


Von Says:

jane:

“Tsonga just lost the first set to Melzer – maybe Roddick, assuming he gets through (which he will) won’t even have to play him Von!”

Well, it seems as though Melzer is giving Tsonga a good workout. He is a good serve and volley guy, and a drop shot expert. Soft hands at the net. Btw, Andy is 6-0 against Melzer. I just hope Andy gets far in this tournament – he has semi-final points to defend. Where are you watching the match?


Von Says:

Well guys, 10 more minutes to FSN TV broadcast, and then I’ll have to leave you. Hope you can manage without me. The match after Tsonga/Melzer, is Roddick’s. My stomach is already churning.


Von Says:

Zola:

“I made another one, lets’s see if it works!) It worked, congratulations.!


jane Says:

Von,

I’ll probably follow Andy on the scoreboard. There is no coverage here until next week’s matches. Maybe I’ll try to find it online.

I see Karlovic and Khol are now out too, not to mention Robredo, Gasquet, Nalby and Djoko.

But Tsonga is up a break in the third so he’ll likely survive, and Tipsy knocked out Verdasco.


grendle Says:

Malisse beating Nalbandian is not really a surprise, in this sense. Nalbandian, as everyone keeps saying, is utterly unpredictable. That used to be true of Malisse, too. But then he started losing all the time. So you shrugged your shoulders resignedly as you registered yet another dismal negation of an exceptional talent. But you always knew that Malisse being Malisse, at some point he would surprise you. You would be surprised if he never surprised you again. Malisse can beat anyone, if he’s firing. About a couple of years ago, ‘fraid I can’t remember where or even when really, he pushed an in form Federer really hard. You had the feeling it was just confidence saved Fed. Confidence, as Roddick and Federer both said just recently, is well, not quite everything, but you know, and can only be gained by wins under pressure, rather than hours on the practice court. Be interesting to see where Malisse goes from here. Nowhere, probably. But, on the other hand, maybe everywhere. Behold: Nalbandian, Mark2.

Kash says:” I absolutely detest j-mac the player. I am a huge fan of his as a commentator”. Yes, that’s always been my position, although with qualifications. It’s not particularly a moral position I’m taking. It’s just something about people getting into a major aggressive rant which I find disturbing – frankly, I think it awakes anxieties of my own, but I won’t take it further than that, could be embarrassing. But it is a telling thing that I never mind players who engage in major rants with themselves – one thinks of Safin, Haas, Kiefer, on the contrary I am laughing furiously, but always with sympathy and affection. Extreme aggression on the court I also dislike, even if it’s not accompanied by rant – so it’s easy to guess which players I have steered away from. That of course is entirely my problem. Obviously aggression of some kind is essential. One other thing about McEnroe. I was always conscious that he had unique skills. Really unique, that is. Has there ever been anyone quite like him at his very best? It seemed appalling folly not to just enjoy the skills objectively, leaving aside the other stuff. Apparently not possible. And there is a certain resonance with this today, isn’t there, with a certain player. Is there not? Fortunately, I like him. It would be tough, wouldn’t it, to have to miss out twice?


grendle Says:

A weird poll from Eurosport. Out of about 12,000, 25% think Federer will win the French, 34% think Nadal will win – and 34% think Djokovic will win!
Do they know summat we don’t?


jane Says:

grendle, maybe lots of Serbs in that poll?

Don’t know why but I think this year Federer has a better shot at the French than in previous ones. Maybe because this is the year when all predictions have seemingly gone out the window. So to pick Rafa to win it, well, seems to go against grain.

Seeds continue to fall today – the only one who’s prevailed on the men’s side thus far is Tsonga. I’d like to see how he and Roger match up; they’ve never played.


Shital Green Says:

Tejuz,
We missed you here. Where have you been all this time? Grendel and I talked about you a couple of days ago. He especially recalled your “knowledgeable presence” and “insightful comments” in those old days. I hope your reappearance will bring back some of those.
Good to see you back.

To reflect on Djoko’s loss, he was simply overpowered by Anderson. I don’t think it had much to do with exhaustion from the last tournament. Djoko could not handle a combination of big serves and consistent baseline play that Anderson’s style brings. Like Djoko said, he was just unscrupulous about trying to go for too much and committing too many unforced errors. Had he been thoughtful to slow down a bit and played more conservatively in the 1st set, he would not have been dictated and swept by Anderson’s style. He will certainly learn something out of it.

jane,
Did you say you would completely disappear for a long (after when?)? How can you do that to us and yourself? Is there some big achievable goal in sight to take you completely away from us? Do you have to be gone, gone? That is not fair.

Sean,
If not Monfils, Soderling or Hewitt will do it.


jane Says:

Shital Green,

Thanks for even noticing my “aside”; I won’t completely disappear. But I teach at a college and have been on a non-teach term so have been posting rather obsessively (as many have likely noticed, she sheepishly grants); in the process I have been avoiding prep work, to which I need to get. So for purely personal reasons, maybe I’ll just force myself to “post less” during clay season until RG. Pathetic that I have to force myself, I know.

Maybe my lack of aggression is why I like the aggressive ones – who knows?


Von Says:

Jane:

I am utterly disgusted, after pulling that all-nighter, getting my case prepared, would you believe it, I fell asleep 5 minutes before Roddick’s match. Just woke up to see him lose the first set. Can this be a bad dream? Am I still sleeping/dreaming? Someone, please say it’s a nightmare. I can’t go through this again. I’ll crawl back to the TV and see what’s happening.


jane Says:

It was a tight first set – but Roddick’s first serve % hasn’t been at its usual high rate and he hasn’t been able to convert break point chances; that is until just now in the 2nd set. This break should give him some momentum.

So, he’ll have to play 3, so did Tsonga, and so will Hewitt have to if he wants to conintue here. (If he eeks out the 2nd set, that is; otherwise, another one bites the dust.)


jane Says:

This notion of confidence is an interesting one to think about, especially in a tournament where there has been so many upsets, Hewitt being the latest victim.

But I am interested in an egg Djokovic may’ve been guilty of laying prior to this tournament – it’s a similar notion as confidence, but not quite the same. BELIEF.

grendle brought up the idea of confidence today, via Federer and Roddick, and he points out that it “can only be gained by wins under pressure, rather than hours on the practice court.” And this makes sense.

But belief is different; it involves accepting something as “real” or “true” in some cases before it has happened. And Djokovic, with his incredible (!) self-belief has shown all the players that they can do it! They can beat the number one (or two or three) player in the world if they believe they can. Funny that it kind of came around and bit him on the you-know-where; Anderson cited belief as a motivator in his post-match interview yesterday.

Of course this isn’t always true; belief won’t do it on its own. But. I just watched /Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium/ last night with my 7-year-old son and it passes along a similar message – “Believe” – in this case in magical toys, but hey.

Is this corny or is there something to this? Maybe Anderson will win the whole thing? Maybe there is a Santa Claus and his name is Djokovic. Maybe he’s the Easter Bunny and he really did lay and egg. Maybe.


grendle Says:

But you can’t choose to believe something, can you? Imagine all the things you might want to believe. Put them in one column. And then, instead, consider the (related) things you actually do believe. Stick ‘em in another. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just calmly extract items from either column and do some judicious swapping.

So, perhaps belief (in tennis ability) arises from confidence. In other words, you don’t have to inject it, and in any case, you can’t. But no doubt you can try do the sort of things which will lead to self-belief. For instance, win matches.

Er, wait a minute, seems to be something a bit circular going on here…..


jane Says:

Sure. For example, I can choose to believe that Djokovic is going to be the next number 1 male tennis player. I can still have doubts (lack of confidence after a bad loss, for instance) but I choose to have faith and believe nonetheless.

Or take religious convictions: people may have doubts (a la the doubting Thomas) but they believe anyhow.

I don’t think confidence and belief are mutually exclusive but must they be mutually dependent? Hmmm…

When I went back to school after having spent 13 years in one career, I definitely lacked confidence, but not belief. I knew that if I stuck to it I could do it. I believed in myself even though I wasn’t always confident in my abilities. Ultimately that belief brought success which brought confidence.

I am merely suggesting that with all the surprise winners and upsets (in which case confidence may not apply) it may have something to do with belief. Players going onto the court saying to themselves “I can win this; why not?” even if they’ve had a losing record or have self-doubts. Can’t belief overcome lack of confidence?

But okay grendle; I agree with what I think you’re hinting at near the end of your post. It is a little of the ole “which came first, the chicken or the egg” argument.

I think it was Woody Allen who said “I guess I just need the eggs.” Me too.


jane Says:

Belief = win = confidence and so on.

Djokovic believed long before he won – like when he was losing against Nadal at RG in 06? and retired yet said he was “in control” or when he said “Fed’s going down” at the AO in 06 – was that confidence or belief (maybe delusion!)? I’d say belief.. Clearly he believed in himself and his abilities and finally he began winning. Now of course he’s brimming with confidence (seemingly – we never know for sure about confidence do we? It’s a tricky thing and arrogance can sometimes be insecurity right?).


Von Says:

jane:

I made it through that match. Watching Roddick serve, and listening to the commentators, gave me the impression that there’s something problematic with the court. Due to the heat the ball is sticking to the surface and is not moving freely through it. Could this have been Djoko’s problem, as well as Karlovic, Isner, Tsonga, et al., All huge servers, and playing in the daytime heat? I’m just wondering. If this is really so, then it would be logical to assume that the winner of the tournament won’t be a huge server, but maybe someone with Rafa’s style of play.

Tonight’s match is the piece de resistance, the Federer v. Monfils match. Serving shouldn’t be a problem at night, it’s only during the day with the hot sun. I’m looking forward to it as I have not seen Monfils play for over 9 months. If he’s in form, it should be a rather action packed match.

So you’re a college teacher, huh? Do your students bribe you with apples? What’s the criteria for being the teacher’s pet?

“Maybe my lack of aggression is why I like the aggressive ones – who knows?” *** Or maybe, you’re just a procrastintor like I am and work better by the light of your burning bridges.

You stated about Djoko: Maybe he’s the Easter Bunny and he really did lay an{d} egg.” Or maybe, he’s the goose that laid the golden egg. :)


zola Says:

Von,
congratulations for Roddick’s win. I am watching Murray-Ancic and Ancic is ahead in the first set.I like them both. I like the way Ancic plays. Like his shots. Andy is not as effective . He is just broken for the second time…Ah…and Ancic is very handsome in red!


Von Says:

Zola:

Thanks for the congrats on Roddick’s win. I’ve never seen such bad serving from Andy. He said the court was sort of sticky and slow. I don’t think I can handle the tension.

When my kids played competitive soccer, I used to get so nervous, that after a year of my nervousness, they asked me to sit at the back of the spectators so that I won’t make them nervous if they looked up and saw me.

“Ah…and Ancic is very handsome in red!”

Watch it girl, you can’t have a roving eye. Your heart belongs to RAfa, and ONLY RAfa. :) But yes, Ancic is a handsome young man. I like his hair.


grendle Says:

Oh, no, I don’t think you can choose to believe that Djokovic is going to be next #1. You just do. Or not of course. Or again, you may desperately want Djoko to be next#1, and browbeat yourself into a state of belief – which is not so difficult in this case, since there are excellent grounds for supposing it may be so. I believe Djoko will one day be #1, but whether it will be before or after Nadal, I just couldn’t say. Since I don’t care much, I have no investment in pumping myself up into a state of “belief” – don’t misunderstand me, I certainly do this sort of thing, just not in this instance.

As for religious convictions, they very rarely spring from belief. A person tends (i.e. usually -not always of course) to have Christian, Hindu,Muslim etc “beliefs” according to the pure accident of geography. Most of them have never actually thought about their “beliefs”. Those that have are prompted generally by desire, fear, anguish,or sometimes just a pleasant feeling that this is right for them. They are not usually motivated by a search for knowledge. If this is belief, then my belief (not knowledge) that the sun will rise tomorrow constitutes such a different order of thought that it is confusing to use the same word to cover both mental activities.. Meanwhile, imagine trying to believe something which is highly desireable to you, but which you know is not true. It cannot be done, if you are honest about it.

If you really believe you are going to succeed in a difficult task (such as embarking upon a new career in a school – God help you, by the way!) despite doubts and fears, and you are not just trying to hypnotise yourself, then no doubt you have adequate grounds to do so. For instant, you are confident (that word again) of possessing sufficient inner strength, and of perhaps having the right experience, to overcome your difficulties. That is a rational belief.

I wouldn’t equate belief (in tennis ability) with winning. The two tend to go together, to put it no stronger. So where does Djoko’s self-belief stem from? It must be good experiences of some sort, musn’t it, including plenty of winning, no doubt, as a junior and so on. But is this “belief” in the same sense that I believe Tony Blair to be an opportunistic and clever scoundrel? Note that I may be quite wrong. I may have misinterpreted the facts, for instance, so that my belief, although rational, is nevertheless mistaken. How can Djokovic be mistaken about his self-belief? (Obviously there are delusional feelings, but their possessors tend to be mental patients, not aspirant world number ones.)It is a feeling, really, isn’t it, and can you be mistaken about a feeling? You might misinterpret it (for example imagine lust to be love or something), but very basic feelings like confidence, terror, rage, bliss , can you really be wrong about experiencing these things? Hard to see how. But a belief can always be wrong

Of course, all this must be incredibly tedious to most people (but there is the scroll button)- and are we, at the end of the day, just playing with words, until the next match comes up? Because I suspect we’re not really so far apart on this one. Hope I have not been too much of a “behmoth”. Words interest me though, and it’s not as if they are irrelevant to tennis, since tennis is a human activity.


jane Says:

grendle,

I believe I like your words.

Poor Murray though – not enough of…something…apparently.


jane Says:

But what about people who convert, who find God, or Waco, or something – don’t they choose to believe? Maybe they see the light? Maybe they’re delusional.

Djokovic is confident and has loads of self-belief; I don’t know which came first.

Anyhow, I have to cut the power soon for an hour – it’s earth hour here in Canada; is it earth hour elsewhere?


jane Says:

Von,

Kids in college offer cash not apples; but since I teach film and literature, not many students have to bribe me. haha.


zola Says:

Von,
of course Rafa is My No 1. But I like supermario too. Actually his concentration reminds me of Rafa. I like Andy Murray too, but today Ancic played better.
Btw, his service motion is excatly like Ljubicic’s.

grendel/jane

I just want to jump in this discussion very briefly. I don’t think belief in tennis has a ny relegious meaning or can be compared with that. I guess you are talking about confidence. What confidence does to the players, is to reduce anxiety. That’s how it helps them.When they are sure about a shot, they don’t think about it that much and their mind does not need to make decisions while playing. So they can act faster. That’s my theory on confidence!


Tejuz Says:

Grendel, SG, Von, Jane, Zola.. glad to be back here and reading your posts. Yeah.. i was on hibernation.. had been on a long vacation actually. So i have missed watching the indian wells tournament.

But yeah.. it seems like none of the Top 3 are able to defend their own titles this year. Fed failing at Au Open and Dubai, Nadal at Indian wells and Djoker now at Miami. Going by this, guess Fed will be happy to take the French Open and in turn losing the other 2 slams. Who knowz Tsoga might win Wimbledon.

The Murray-Ancic match was great, lot of good rallies… but the last set, especially the last tie-break.. everytime a player was up, he was making errors and giving away the initiative. Ancic finally won with Murray making an UFE on his own serve.

Fed had a great match against Monfils.. but faltered a bit in the second set shanking quite a few forehands. but he seems to moving smoothly like before and covering the court well.


jane Says:

grendle,

maybe chaos theory is the answer – I came across this opinion piece this morning and thought it spoke to our discussion on confidence and belief since, speaking for me at least, what I was looking for was some kind of explanation for the madness of this tennis season thus far:

————————

Have Roger Federer’s difficulties thrown the tour into chaos?

Early in the 20th Century, Henri Poincare discovered that a small perturbation – a small change in a system – can lead to chaos which is characterized by random behavior. A few people on this site wondered if Roger Federer’s difficulties have caused a ripple effect on the ATP tour leading to unpredictable events. I wondered if players are feeling additional pressure because now they are expected to excel whereas before they had a built in excuse: if they didn’t win a tournament, who could blame them because Federer always won.

————————–

If a small change caused this chaos, was it Fed’s illness, Djoko’s AO win &/or rise up the rankings, Rafa’s near win at Wimbledon last year, Canas’s upsets? Anyhow, something has changed. And even if Federer is back to his winning ways soon, I hope order isn’t restored and the chaos continues. As Tejuz says, Fed winning the French and someone else winning the other two slans would be a good continuation of the butterfly effect.


Tam (TD) Says:

Murray layed yet another rotten egg of his own! What’s going on with Britain’s great white hope?


Von Says:

TD:

“Murray layed yet another rotten egg of his own! What’s going on with Britain’s great white hope?”

He went to Brodway. The Americans’ film/theatre great white hope. ‘Give my regards to Broadway,…”


jane Says:

TD,
It seems to me, and I could very well be wrong here, but it’s like Murray either starts too slow/defensively or slumps in the middle. He needs to come out consistently stronger and finish his matches more quickly.


Von Says:

jane:

“Von, Kids in college offer cash not apples; but since I teach film and literature, not many students have to bribe me. haha.”

If they’re smart, they’d find a DVD/CD on tennis, and walla, guess what, the grade goes from D/F to A/C. :)

About literature, just love that subject, and maybe you’d find the following interesting or amusing. Considering this thread is on its last leg, and I hope no one is reading, as it’s dinner time, I’ll write this amusing part of my college days. Here goes:

I thanked my Lit Prof at the end of my course for his hard work, etc, and I mentioned that I had learnt so much from him. He looked at me with a somewhat wicked grin, (and those gorgeous baby blues of his, always made my young heart do a little skip/flutter), and told me he couldn’t teach me a thing, which puzzled and hurt me, very much, since I had not seen my grade. My crest fallen face betrayed my thinking, and i walked away in somewhat of a huff puff. Needless to say, I was angry, and I felt used, because he was writing a book, and asked for my help in editing, etc., and I vowed in my mind at that moment, that he’ll have to wait until doomsday for my completion of the editing job. Anyway, two days later, I put my feelings aside, finished the editing, just as I received my Lit grade in the mail, followed by a phone call from my Lit Prof who thanked me for my help on his book, and very casually, asked, “Well, did you understand my answer to your thank you.” I’ll let you figure out the rest. :)


jane Says:

“A+”

I love giving those rare measures.

Thanks for sharing your story…


Tejuz Says:

BTW.. an artcle on ‘Djoker’s ball bouncing’ and how it affected his loss this week

http://www.globesports.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080330.wspttebbutt30/GSStory/GlobeSportsOther/home


jane Says:

Thanks for the link Tejuz. I personally believe Djoko when he says the bouncing is a habit and not gamesmanship. But I suppose, judging by the intense reactions of some (even the crowd!) he’ll have to work on cutting it down more, which he has done to a degree, but in tense moments he seems to revert back to bouncing more (don’t we all revert to bad habits when we’re stressed?). But that’s also the problem. He gets warnings at tense moments precisely when he’s bouncing the ball to focus himself – and then he loses focus! Ironic.

I’m not trying to prompt a discussion about this, as it’s been done to death and people’s views are quite fixed on the bouncing (hate it/ don’t care about it/aren’t bothered by it, etc), but I thought I’d respond to the article you so kindly posted.


Zola Says:

I don’t think Djoko’s ball bouncing is gamemanship either. I think he does that to concentrate. But it can be annoying to some opponents, if they can’t estimate when the ball is going to be tossed.

However, the game is more physical now, with lots of rallies from the baseline and maybe some players need more than 20 -25 seconds to catch their breath or even to concentrate.maybe the rules need to be re-considered.


Zola Says:

Thanks for the link Tejuz! sorry not to mention it in my previous post!

To me the ball bouncing is perhaps a habit, but what I did not like, was Djoko’s reaction to the warning by the umpire. Why would he scream in the direction of the umpire after his point? That’s silly and that’s what perhaps turned the crowd against him. He should be very very careful. This is the second time in three months this has happened and so far he has managed to annoy spectators in two continents. That’s lots of PR damage!


jane Says:

Yes, you’re right Zola.

But on the one hand I think crowds are quick to jump on Djokovic in particular because (a) they are perhaps Federer fans and are already biased against him or (b) because Djokovic has said a lot in the press that can rub people the wrong way. All players get mad at umpires: we’ve seen recent examples from Roddick (here) and Rafa (at IW) and even Federer (at Wimbledon last year – even though it was Hawkeye he was really mad at!)

On the other hand, I’ve said before that imo it’s good that Djokovic expresses his emotions/anger on the court (it sets him apart from other players) and I like that he is not phoney; he just says what’s on his mind. He seems honest to me. He’s very much like McEnroe in his heyday – people tended to love or hate him and his antics. Or the young Agassi, who rebelled, for instance, in his appearance. To me, these types of players add a renegade spirit to a sport that could, perhaps, been seen as a little “stuffy”. That’s why I like Rafa, with his long hair and pants and his attitude on the court. And then the transformation of him off the court is quite striking.

Anyhow, I am blathering on and on. Sorry! ;-)


jane Says:

“However, the game is more physical now, with lots of rallies from the baseline and maybe some players need more than 20 -25 seconds to catch their breath or even to concentrate.maybe the rules need to be re-considered.”

This is a very sound idea Zola – a little longer, say, 30 seconds, wouldn’t bother me one bit. It might bother some of the quicker players though?


jane Says:

Sorry one more point about CROWDS; I think *they* should have to observe some rules! This Miami crowd is a bad one; they also yelled out last night when Gonza was about to serve, I believe he lost that point, and there was also more booing.

Booing is just so rude. We’re supposed to be FANS. It’s *the players* who are sweating it out, making world-class shots, and entertaining the crowd; the crowd should watch, enjoy , AND, frankly, “put a lid on it!” In an individual sport like tennis it’s perhaps more easy for players to lose focus, so the spectators, who supposedly love this sport, should know and respect that.

Cheer the players on – fine. But don’t yell out when they’re about to serve (I hate that!), or boo them when they express their frustrations. Sheesh! If people in the crowd want to do that, they should watch it on TV – then they can yell and boo all they want. But in the stands they should show respect for the players and appreciate the privilege of watching top-notch athletes in action.

There. That’s my rant for the day.


Zola Says:

Jane,
I read about that incident on Gonzo’s serve and read that the umpire suspended the match until security threw out that person. I think that was great reaction.

I have never seen Rafa or Federer screaming and pumping their hands towards the umpire after a point. They might have had exchanges during changeovers. I think Djoko’s reaction was rather extreme . It is also a good observation that the crows gets irritated more with him than other players, maybe because he builds it up with his words or behavior before hand.

This happened in Australia. we can say 19000 people there are crazy and then I don’t know how many thousands in Miami are out of their mind. This probably leaves only Djoko and his family and fans as the only sane people.

About the crowd, don’t forget the Serbian fans in IW who cheered and made noise during both finals to the extent that Ana had to apologize and Djoko had to give a point to Fish when someone yelled while Fish was serving. I think it (the crowd reaction toward Djoko) is a collective effect and I still think Djoko needs to be careful.

He seems to like the attention and gets energy from the crowd. So he needs to keep that source of energy on his side not against. I think he is trying hard and I hope he can do that. There is lots of pressure on him and this is a hard year where he needs to defend lots of points. he can’t afford more mis-haps like this.


Zola Says:

Jane
**This is a very sound idea Zola – a little longer, say, 30 seconds, wouldn’t bother me one bit. It might bother some of the quicker players though? ***

Actually some players try to rush the opponent and don’t give any time and I do’t see how that is not an offense. there should be a middle ground.


jane Says:

“This happened in Australia. we can say 19000 people there are crazy…”

I’m not saying people are crazy; but they’re no more polite or classy than Djoko when they BOO him like they’re in a gladiator arena or something.

Actually, in Australia the crowd were on Djoko’s side until his match against Federer – and even then, it wasn’t until Djokovic started winning and pumped his chest (after he won the second set) that they turned against him. They didn’t like when he said in the on-court interview that the crowd was against him, but it was true! He was being honest.

As far as the Serbian contingent goes, well that’s not the player’s fault – Gonza’s and Baggy’s fans can be just as rowdy if not more at times.

I suspect Djoko will just end up being the “bad boy” of tennis, for a while anyhow, and to me it’s good to have a player like him too shake things up. It’s good when someone bucks tradition. It brings about change, and it certainly has this season.


Zola Says:

I don’t know Jane.
I rather see change towards pleasant and better rather than rude and worse. Why yelling at the umpire should be commended as “change”?

Anyway, I think these are just personal taste. Djoko might want to be the next McEnroe or Connors of the game. But he has sure to pay the price. Some people don’t even care what others think about them, but Djoko does and that’s why he gets distracted when he is booed. If he wanted to be the bad boy, he would not have done those imitations. He needs and seeks attention and he is dreaded by rejection. That’s why he reacts so unappropriately.
I still think it will benefit him more, if he can get the energy of the crowd towards himself not against. But I guess we shall wait and see.

Anyway, Tsonga is down a set and Soderling just broke Fed back and they are 3-3! well, now Fed is trying to break again. Quite a windy day.


Zola Says:

Soderling out by heat exhaustion. Fed through.
Tsonga is in trouble.
Lindsay is already out by Safina.


jane Says:

oh no – i meant change in that different players are winning and stuff. i’m not saying all players should yell at umps! :-) but i don’t want them to repress their emotions either.

“If he wanted to be the bad boy, he would not have done those imitations. He needs and seeks attention and he is dreaded by rejection. That’s why he reacts so unappropriately.”

Perhaps – but without knowing him personally it’s difficult to say what he’s like; he seems really gregarious and dramatic, like an actor.

i agree with you that it’s lots to do with personal taste.

Well Fed gets lucky again – he was beating Soderling anyhow, but a walkover last week and a retirement this week. And to top it off, he doesn’t have to face Tsonga, whom he had never played before. I am a bit sad Tsonga’s out as I was interested to see how he and Federer would match up gamewise. Guess I’ll have to wait for another tourney for that!

At this point, I hope Roddick or Rafa wins it!


sensationalsafin Says:

I hope Federer wins it.


andrea Says:

i too was interested to see federer and tsonga – too bad. i do hope federer wins the whole dame thing though. it’s getting a bit out of hand, everyone predicting his demise…sheesh.


Zola Says:

I didn’t see Tsonga’s match, but straight sets, says all. Niether him or Fed are in their prime conditions, so perhaps a meeting will happen later. At least Roddick is there . Hopefully he will give Fed a match.

btw, Roddick just got engaged!

I want Rafa to get at least to the semis. If he plays the final it will be excellent and if he wins, it will be out of this world! But he has to play out each and every match.


jane Says:

andrea,

“t’s getting a bit out of hand, everyone predicting his demise…sheesh.”

I agree andrea; I mean how stupid can the press be? Much as I am not Fed’s number one fan, obviously the guy is still one of the best players in the WORLD. Newspapers just need to make a buck I guess. But it is silly nonetheless.


jane Says:

“btw, Roddick just got engaged!”

That seems fast: thought he just started dating that swimsuit model! Maybe he thought that the fiancee thing was working for Mardy so why not give it a shot!? Hehe.

Well this news should crush a lot of young girl’s hopes. LOL.


Zola Says:

Andrea,
Fed got sick, he is written off. Djoko became the next No 1!

Rafa lost in semis in AO to Tsonga, lost in IW semi final, was written off , Djoko became the next No 2!

Now Djoko is lost in Miami after winning another MS, he is written off and laid an egg!

So, just don’t take any of these seriously. Enjoy watching and following the game!


Zola Says:

Jane
**Maybe he thought that the fiancee thing was working for Mardy so why not give it a shot!? Hehe.***

that must be the reason! quite funny!


sensationalsafin Says:

Hmm, very interesting. I agree with Zola. Federer, Nadal, and now Djokovic, easily the 3 best players in the world, are being written off like nothing they’ve accomplished matters. Federer has 12 grand slams. 12 GRAND SLAMS!!! There’s no f*cking way in hell someone can undermine 12 GRAND SLAMS! He’s number 2 on the all time list before his 27th birthday. And Nadal has 3 slams and 2 finals before his 22nd birthday. And Djokovic has a final and a slam and he’s only 20.

2 years ago everyone was calling Federer the GOAT. And now it seems like he’s on the decline, and hell he might be after all the great years he’s had, and he’s NOT the GOAT now? No matter what, once he surpasses Sampras’s slam record the debate will be over. No one ever said the GOAT had to be perfect, he just had to be better than any other player. And Federer was, and chances are, at the ripe age of 26, he still is. These articles about Djokovic laying an egg, Federer losing his grip, and Nadal never becoming number 1 are just ridiculous.


Zola Says:

sensationalsafin,

I was looking at the pro schedule for some reason. They did not have all these master series before 1990. Right now players have to compete week in , week out in summer, winter, rain, sun, whatever, ….they have to play at least 13 tournaments and with their 5 best , 18 , at least. I wonder how many tournaments Rod Laver or even Borg played per year.

That’s why to me, the notion of GOAT is ridiculus. Every person should be cherished for his own accomplishments, compared to his own time.

In addition, Sampras, never even got close to winning the French Open. Fed has been No 2 on clay as well as being No 1 on hard . To me that’s GOAT enough!

Some people say the field is weaker right no. I would say NO! just watch some of the older clips on youtube. See how much slower the games were. The players hit the ball harder and work harder for more hours these days. The racquets are of course different. It is a completely different ear. That’s why to me GOAT is meaningless.


Zola Says:

ear=Era!


sensationalsafin Says:

Honestly, I’ve never cared much for the GOAT debate. And it’s not because of how many tournaments must be played or whatever, it’s because of the way the game is played. Technique-wise, the game now is SO different from the 80s. And as great as Laver, Borg, McEnroe, and the rest were, I don’t like watching them play because the games are slow and they weren’t able to hit the ball the way they hit it now. To me, Federer is the best player ever. Not just because of what he’s accomplished but because of the way he plays. He’s an all around player who is capable of doing anything he wants with the ball in terms of pace and spin. The way his whole game flows when he’s playing his best is, to me, what makes him the best. That’s why I get so mad when he loses to someone like Canas or Gonzalez. These guys suck compared to Federer. He has so much more game.


jane Says:

“These articles about Djokovic laying an egg, Federer losing his grip, and Nadal never becoming number 1 are just ridiculous.”

Indeed – well said Zola and sensationalsafin.

“That’s why to me GOAT is meaningless.”

I’m with you Zola. Greatness must be considered and appreciated in its own time.


jane Says:

sensationalsafin,

Your guy – not fed, the other one – might not be doing great on the court lately but he still gives the best press answers. This stuff is so honest and priceless:

——————————-

Soliloquy of the week: Marat Safin, on what motivates him to continue playing even though his game continues to lag:
“I had so many injuries. So it’s not because I was scratching my things on the sofa and I didn’t want to play tennis. Because I’ve been sick for a couple of years of my tennis career, so it took me quite a while to get back. Unfortunately my knee thing just took a little bit more. [I've] been struggling for three years already from the knee. So it’s not like I was partying my ass off on South Beach, because I’m trying. It takes a lot of courage, you know, to try and still go on the court when you’re ranked 85 in the world.
“… I had to change my tennis game completely because I couldn’t play and I couldn’t run for many balls before. So it’s kind of difficult. You start to break back and start to play the tennis that I used to play when I was healthy. So it’s already for three years. I’m trying and I’m struggling, but it’s my decision that I make. I want to do that, otherwise I have no reason. Bank account is pretty full. So trust me, I could do better things than that.”

———————————–


Zola Says:

Jane,
Those comments from Safin made me sad. I myself, have accused him of not willing to try. I think I have to remain silent now and just wish him all the best. I hope he gets well . It does need lots of courgae to come back to the game as 85 when you were No 1 and so much was expected of you.

I blame these hard courts for most of the injuries. They should have more grass and clay that are easier on the body. But I think hard courts are easier to maintain, so ATP just goes for that! and the money!

Sensationalsafin,
I can’t watch those old games either. Even Sampras looks too slow to me and I watched him play. The game is much fatser and more exciting to watch right now. I know you don’t see Rafa as a shot maker, but I just love the excitement. His match with Federer in Dubai 2006 and their match in Shanghai 2006 were sensational, among many othes.


sensationalsafin Says:

Sampras matches aren’t that bad. They are slower than nowadays but he and his contemporaries hit plenty of amazing shots that would be considered amazing today, too. As for Nadal. He’s not a shot maker. And he’s far from being my favorite player. But when he plays his best, I love watching him play. He hits the most amazing shots. As much as I hated it I’ll never forget the winner he hit off his backhand side when he fell on his ass last year at Wimbledon. I was pissed he won the point but I was definetly more amazing at what I had witnessed. The kid knows how to play tennis despite all the criticism. You just can’t take away from his brilliance.

Ahh Safin. What can I say? Atleast he’s trying. But I’ve really lost hope. It just sucks, though. He just needs one blazing tournament. Just one where he crushes the whole field. At this point it doesn’t even matter what they’re ranked. He just needs to go through one tournament in which he struts his stuff and shows everyone who the most talented one is. But I just don’t see it happening.


jane Says:

But all credit to Safin for the will to keep trying; I hope he has that dream run too. He can do it, we all know. But a win, and then another, and then a little momentum, would make a world of difference.

Honestly I think the whole of the tennis world wants to see him up there again. Why else does the ATP site run his picture every time he loses? Because they want to see him pull through. Why else does ESPN write up his remarks? Because they want to see him come back. He could really light things up, like a late Connors or Agassi run.

Come on Safin~!


Von Says:

So it’s already for three years. I’m trying and I’m struggling, but it’s my decision that I make. I want to do that, otherwise I have no reason. Bank account is pretty full. So trust me, I could do better things than that.”

I’m glad that Safin stated the obvious, and that his decline is not due to any goofing off, but his knees. I love this guy. He’s up there at the top in my books, but it angers me when his fans vacillate so much about him. One day they like him, next day, he’s XYZ. Come on guys, not every day is Christmas, and every athlete goes through a bad stretch. It’s those times that we know if we’re really loyal fans or just fair weather ones. Through thick and thin …. Don’t kick a guy when he’s down.


Von Says:

jane:

A footnote to my Fed/Roddick post and the QF matchup. It seems that Fed is now 100 percent well. If he weren’t, he would be wilted from the Miami heat, and would have been worse off than Blake and Soderling. In fact, with the heat, plus the mono, it would have been he who would have had to retire instead of Soderling. That being the case, I suppose he’ll be rearing to go and in top notch form for the QF. Well, more power to him.


zola Says:

did you guys see what Youzhny did in his match with Almagro? That guy is a nutcase.


Von Says:

Zola:

I like Youzhny, but from that clip he needs some anger management courses. What a shame. When was this, today? Who won the match?


zola Says:

Von,
it happened today, at 40-40 when Almagro was serving for the match. Almagro was obviously rattled by all the incident. He lost the game he was winning. it went to tie-break and Youzhny won. The crowd did not like it at all.


Von Says:

Zola:

What a horrible situation for Almagro. I don’t know what goes on in these guys’ heads, but I’m just wondering though, how could Youzhny be happy with this win. Is winning at all cost, even our conscience, worth the price? This is one crazy, sad and mixed up world if this is how some people view life.


Zola Says:

Von,
I was very surpried. I know Youzhny is very passionate and wants to win, but this is extreme. I hope he is allright mentally. I don’t think this is his character. Never seen anything like that from him.
of course Almagro paid a huge price. I don’t know where ATP is. That umpire shouldn’t have stopped the match for a self-inflicted wound. They should have finisged the game or the match. Youzhny needs to be fined. I would also take blood samples and test for drugs. That behavior was not normal.

on ATP page, it says Youzhny outperformed Almagro! that is not true at all. no hint of the incident of course. maybe they write about it tomorrow!


JL Says:

It’s hard to win Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back. Just look at Ivanovic. People need to realize that no one is perfect and Roger is a living proof who hasn’t won everything this year.


Von Says:

Zola:

From the little I saw on the you-tube clip, with the blood pouring down his forehead, he needed medical attention. I doubt whether the Ump could fine him for a self-inflicted injury, but Youzhny certainly lost it. Could be the heat of the moment, a loss staring him in the face, or a reaction to some sort of medication. He’s usually a very self-contained player, and he could be feeling pretty rotten from the whole thing right now. Maybe some lab tests or an investigation would provide more answers. Theirs is not an easy life.


Zola Says:

Von,
no , not an easy life. I don’t follow Youzhny unless he is playing against the big names, so I have not seen a lot of him. But on tennis.com ( where I got the clip from too), several posters said that Youzhny gets very angry when losing , of course not to this extent. This was too much. It was not nice and I think it will be good if ATP does an investigation or give him a fine or something like that. What is strange, is that I am reading al these news and there is no mention of this incident. as if it has never happened.

I guess even then he was not happy with what he did too, but it was a tad bit late.


Von Says:

Zola:

“What is strange, is that I am reading al these news and there is no mention of this incident. as if it has never happened.”

Well, depends on who’s reporting the story, it’ll be selective portions reported. By tomorrow, the whole story should come out and we’ll have a bigger picture.

I have seen him at times get angry, but just curling his fingers and then holding his head, or maybe toss a racquet, but nothing more. These guys need to take some chill pills.


Skorocel Says:

jane said: “…a little longer, say, 30 seconds, wouldn’t bother me one bit.”

Are you crazy? Do you want to see Djoker or Rafa taking 1 minute to serve? I’m sorry, but I’m not one of those…


Von Says:

Skorocel:

“Are you crazy? Do you want to see Djoker or Rafa taking 1 minute to serve? I’m sorry, but I’m not one of those.”

Not one of those crazy people? I thought you were. :) Be careful about calling jane crazy, she could sue you, for defamation of character, and I’ll represent her, then you’ll be in some real trouble. You’ll have more to be concerned about than the one (1) minute serving time. :) I’m still laughing at your indignation. :)


jane Says:

Poor Youzhny – I’ve felt like banging my head against the wall a few times in my life. No, I’m not on drugs and sane too, relatively speaking ;-). But sheesh. It’s just a game /point in the end.

I don’t think this is worthy of investigation; the guy was probably hot and tired and frustrated and took it out on himself. It’s silly and really rather stupid.

I do think, however, it must’ve been distracting to Almagro – who played a great match and, I suspect, will be a force to be reckoned with during clay season. But I don’t think Youz did it for that reason.

I also think it’s not written up because a lot of fans don’t follow Youz – at least not to the degree of other players. Can you imagine if Djoko, Rafa or Roddick did this? !!! It’d be on the front page of every sports section from here to eternity!

Again, poor Youz. Calm down dude. You’re great.


jane Says:

Like I said Skorocel, I think I am sane, relatively speaking. What can I say? I could watch Rafa or Djoko all day. ;-)


Zola Says:

Jane,
It affected the outcome of the match in Youzhny’s favor. it was at 40-40 , 4-5, to Almagro ( I think Almagro was serving) and Almagro was cruising. He lost that game and the next one and the tie-break. He was totally disturbed by watching Youzh act like a minac and blood all over hi face.

I have read that Youzhny has had a history of anger on court, of course non like this. But if Davydenko can get fined $2000 for lack of efforts and not serving properly! Youzh should have been fined for disrupting a match like that.

Rafa and Fed will never do something like that. Staying calm is one of their major weapons to stay at top positions.


Zola Says:

Skorocel,
what about 1 minute for Rafa and 15 seconds for the rest of the field? :)


jane Says:

zola,

Youz was serving at 4-5 (with an Ad [it was game point for Youz]. He lost point, took him to deuce, and then he melted down); at the end of it he won the game and the match was tied 5-5. Can’t see how Almagro was cruising, since the set was tied.

I also don’t think Almagro lost the next game unless he broke Youz again right afterwards to even it at 6-6. Otherwise Youz would’ve served out the match but we know it went to a t.b.

I dont agree he should’ve been fined; think of how many times safin has melted down, thrown his racquet, etc. Youz is just lucky he somehow managed to re-focus. It was dumb on his part, and he should get control – I agree with that. But to fine a guy for banging himself on the head? What would the charge be? Reckless-self-endangerment? LOL.

Maybe we need Von’s legal expertise. :-)


jane Says:

A warning may’ve been in order, but the guy was bleeding. The umpire might’ve just told him to watch his temper and leave it at that. But judging by the video you posted, Youz was well aware of how dumb he’d been and even looked embarrassed.


Zola Says:

Jane,
Youzh had several episode before that and got warning. He thew a ball to the stands, …it was just building up.

A melt down and even bashing the racquet in the ground is different to a self inflicting injury like that. He needs profesional help. It was obvious he lost it at that moment. I can’t see how one can get fined for poor serving and one can get away with something like that.


jane Says:

Oh I didn’t realize he’d already been warned; well then, yes, that’s different. Maybe he should’ve been fined or warned again.

That fine against Davydenko was dumb.


sensationalsafin Says:

This cannot be compared to anything. Like, Safin’s broken 100s of racquets. Even Federer used to lose it when he was younger. But making yourself bleed from the head like that? That’s just embarassing to anyone and everyone involved with Youzhny. What was he thinking??


jane Says:

Thinking? I doubt he was thinking, more like emoting, in a rather masochistic way.

And it may’ve cost him the match today. But I am happy to see Tipsarevic working his way through the draw. Maybe it’ll be a Tipsy vs. Ancic quarter final which would certainly be a fresh change from Davy v/ Youz.

Maybe, too, this’ll be Berdych’s tournament to finally get further? He should get to the semis, I’d think, but he seems to have a problem whenever he faces top 10-ers, brain cramps and stuff. We’ll see.

Rafa and Blake have both been playing pretty well here, so that should be another good match up.

And it’s looking like Roddick v/ Roger XVII?


Von Says:

Davy just beat Ancic. Good for Davy, but sorry for Baby Goran. Mario’s getting further in each tournament he plays. Perhaps the mono is not a huge problem anymore.


jane Says:

I’d like to see Ancic do something special at one of these tournaments; he’s a fun one to watch. But steady eddie comes through again! Davy is nothing if not consistent.


Zola Says:

Ah…I was so sad to see Mario go, but both players were great. I just caught the last set and they were both exhausted. Still, great result for supermario. He is very composed. The commentator said he lost because he was not aggressive enough and it was Davydenko who came to the net more often.

Tomorrow, another Rafa-Blake. I hope Rafa can play aggressive and take his chances. Today he was not able to serve for the set. He needs to concentrate more againts Blake.

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