Djokovic, Wawrinka Avoid Ailments to Reach Rome Tennis Disaster Series Final
by Sean Randall | May 10th, 2008, 10:53 am
  • 149 Comments

Disaster Series it sure has been. The last three singles matches in Rome have all ended abruptly in retirement. Last night in the final quarterfinal match Nicolas Almagro went no mas against Novak Djokovic retiring down 6-1, 1-0 with a banged up wrist.

Today, more of the same. Andy Roddick pulled the plug just three games in against Stan Wawrinka. Roddick cited back spasms and pain. A short while later it was Radek Stepanek-Hingis-Vaidisova’s turn to eject, withdrawing down 7-0 to Djokovic because of illness.

And that’s your singles semifinal session fans and ticket holders, two matches and a 10-0 scoreline for both winners. Is there a refund? Probably not. But wait, at least there some senior tennis and doubles on the docket. Thomas Muster v. Henri Leconte? That should make up for it. That should keep the Rome ticket holders happy.

And these retirements might again fire-up all the injury talk of the pro circuit. But it’s probably just bad luck, bad timing. Injuries do and will happen. There’s nothing you can do about it. Let’s just hope we don’t get another one tomorrow.

And before you ask, no, these retirements are not in the same conversation as Djokovic’s pull from Monte Carlo. For Almagro and Roddick, both were physical injuries. That happens and by playing on you can make the injury that much worse. Stepanek I will give a pass to only because he doesn’t retire like this very often. It’s not trend. He doesn’t make a habit of getting overheated in semifinal matches. But if he keeps retiring in big matches with illness then I’m sure he will incur some Djokovic-like wrath.

As for the final, to steal a line from poster Jane, it’s “Unpredictability Restored” in men’s tennis.

Djokovic is not much of a surprise but Stan Wawrinka?

Djokovic should win tomorrow over the Other Swiss, and if he does he will put even more heat on Nadal for that No. 2 spot. And if Nadal does not play or play well in Hamburg because of those blisters, Djokovic could very well be the No. 2 seed at the French Open.

Taking it a step further, if Novak wins tomorrow, wins in Hamburg and runs the table at the French – and I think he’s more than capable of doing it! – we would be probably (and I really haven’t looked at all the numbers/permutations) be looking at a new World No. 1 a month from now.

Of course I’m getting way, way ahead of myself, as we’ve seen this week and most of this year anything can happen in tennis. Stan Wawrinka in the Top 10? That’s pretty amazing. A Swiss not named Federer winning a clay Masters Series? Even more.


Also Check Out:
ATP d Hamburg in Landmark Jury Trial
Maria Sharapova Slams Victoria Azarenka Over Retirements
Novak Djokovic’s Physio: He Should Be Ready For Rome And The French Open
Novak Djokovic: Wawrinka is a Big Challenge [Video]
Nadal Ousted, Federer v Djokovic Friday in Miami

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149 Comments for Djokovic, Wawrinka Avoid Ailments to Reach Rome Tennis Disaster Series Final

zola Says:

Sean,
nice post. I hope Wawrinka wins tomorrow. He has truely deserved a title, battling quietly through all the odds, just playing his tennis.

***And these retirements might again fire-up all the injury talk of the pro circuit. But it’s probably just bad luck, bad timing. Injuries do and will happen. There’s nothing you can do about it. Let’s just hope we don’t get another one tomorrow.
****

this is wishful thinking and you know it. When was in the ATP history that a tournament had so many injuries? IF Rafa had retired with that horrible blister, it would have been at least four retirements. To cheat the fans like this, those who have paid for the tickest, those who have paid for the master series TV, woke up 4, 6 am to watch “two ” semi finals and get none, is just ridiculus!

I would say just wait and watch. It is not going to get better from here, because the players do not get any rest. Tomorrow it is HAmburg, then in two weeks RG, Queens/Halle/other grass prep tournyes and Wimbledon, ….

from now on tennis will be decided on “smart retirements”. Whoever can retire earlier without incurring serious injuries, will preserve his body for more important matches when the contenders are all out due to “serious” injuries.

ATP brought this disaster upon tennis and someone should go out and give some answers. Why is it the players who always need to answer to the media? I want ET to answer some serious questions too. Tennis can lose popularity if these maniacs continue slaying the players for big dollars.

btw, I hope Andy and Radek are well for hAMBURG AND THE REST OF SEASON.


Daniel Says:

Yes Sean, you are getting way ahead of yourself.

Djokovic can be number 2 going into RG if he wins tomorrow and make semis in Hamubrgo, as long as Nadal doesn’t go to the final.

Even if he wins Hamburgo and RG he will be 6050 pts. For him to became n.1, Fed who will be 6825 pts next monday will have to lose second round in Hamburgo and before quarter-finals in RG, or loose 800 pts in Hamubrog and RG where he is deffending 1200 pts (win in Hamburgo – 500 and runner-up RG, 700) he has to defend.

It’s like wining in lottery! But the remote possibility exists, and after Hamburgo, and how well Fed and Nadal played, we will know it!


Sean Randall Says:

You are right, Zola, retirements, withdrawals, etc., do cheat the fans who paid for tickets or for online TV and alike. And it does hurt the sport in the end.

But honestly there’s really nothing that can be done. There’s no simple answer.

Played at the higher levels tennis is such an incredibly violent sport on the body. If you hit a two-handed backhand think of the all muscles, ligaments, etc., that are used in a simple rally. You put strain on both wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles even hands and fingers.

When guys do retire when there are feeling ill like Stepanek did today I think there’s some wiggle room where maybe the trainer/doctor/supervisor could remind the player that the fans paid to see him play and to give it go for the sport, provided of course that by soldiering on he’s not putting himself in further danger. Of course I don’t know if those conversations do take place but I think they should. The doctor should say, “Hey, you are fine. Quit complaining and get back out there.” when he can.

But overall with the physical side there’s not much you can do.

It’s not surface related because we see it on clay, hard courts and on grass.

Would having more time between matches/tournaments help? Maybe, maybe not. For some players more rest would mean less time actually training which could result in a greater chance for injury when they do play again.

Maybe the tour should advise the players of training and strengthening methods that will reduce injury. My guess is is that the players train differently, but is one method easier on the body than another? Does one reduce the chance for injury while another increase it?

It’s a tough thing as fans, but unfortunately it’s just part of sports, all sports for that matter.


jane Says:

“ATP brought this disaster upon tennis and someone should go out and give some answers. Why is it the players who always need to answer to the media?”

You make a great point here Zola. The ATP, which is a business, profits off the players – their bread-and-butter – but do they think of the players’ well-beings?

These players need a longer off-season and/or they’re going to have to simply PLAY LESS. This means the smaller tournaments could start to fold. Alternately, it could mean strange rankings shifts as lower ranked players accumulate points at smaller tournaments? I dunno.

Clearly, Rafa and Ferrer were both burnt out this tournament, even if they didn’t retire. Gonza had to withdraw with an injury. Also Almagro, who played sick last week, and today Roddick and Step. Whether you give these guys a pass and don’t give Djoko one, like Sean, I don’t care. I give them all a pass.

The players have to perform for the ATP, the Press, and the Fans, but none would have a sport to profit from, write about, or enjoy if it weren’t for THE PLAYERS. Yes, they make muncho moneyo. But still. It will suck if retirements become the future.

So this does need to be sorted out.

It could be, as Sean says, that what happened in Rome is simply bad-timing. But I don’t think so. Certainly, if someone were to research the number of retirements in the past couple of years, not of individual players or of winning or losing retirement %, but of the sheer quantity, we’d find that they’ve increased exponentially wouldn’t we? At least it seems so. And I’ve been watching tennis a long time.

So why is that?


jane Says:

If it’s a question of training methods, again, that’s something the ATP should take responsibility for and should research.


Sean Randall Says:

Jane, as I wrote I don’t think playing less is ultimately the answer.

Obviously there’s the argument that you can’t get injured if you are not playing! However, when you do take time off for rest I would argue that the longer you are off the more you will feel the strain when you do return.

Of course the guys at the top play more tennis so naturally they have more chances for injury. Then again, Federer’s never retired in a match (yes, he’s had some injuries) whereas I’ve heard del Potro retires more than anyone? That’s got nothing to do with the amount of tennis each played (Federer plays far more than del Potro) but it comes down to body type, training methods, etc.

So it’s a fine very line, and unfortunately everyone’s body reacts differently to rest and strain.

My thinking is the ATP or someone else should research what training methods reduce the likelihood of injuries. Take that plan, that regimen and tell the players, “Hey, if you guys follow this outline maybe it will cut down on the chances you suffer an on-court injury. Think about it, see if you can work parts of it into you routine.”

Daniel, thanks for the numbers. So by winning Rome and by reaching the Hamburg SF Djoko could become No. 2? That’s very possible!


Sean Randall Says:

And i should add that it really comes down to the players knowing and understanding what their body can and cannot do. When to push on the pedal and when to ease up.


Nuno Says:

Stan is injured, some of the matches this week showed it.

Djoko is famous for retiring with injuries.

WOULD BE POSSIBLE FOR BOTH RETIRE TOMORROW AT THE SAME TIME?

;)


zola Says:

Sean,

It can be an accident or bad training, etc. but I don’t remember Roddick retiring. If he didn’t know how to train, he would have had injuries like that before!

As for RAfa and Ferrer, I am sure they would have benefited from the one-week rest that is taken from them this year.

What about spacing out the master series and giving reducing the length of the season?

Sean,
you are a sports critic and your opinion does matter. If at times like this, you just shrug the injuries off as “normal” or blame the players for it, you will give ATP a free pass to slay the tournaments and the players further.

If it was one injury, your conclusions could have been right. But massive injuries like this should have other reasons. So, please look and see how they could have been prevented and are these going to happen more often or less? Does ATP has any responsibility? I wish someone called ET for an interview!


zola Says:

Sean,
there should be a reasnable “in between” solution. Reasonable number of tournaments, with perhaps a week in between, so that the players can rest their body. Is three master series in 4 weeks reasonable?

Blake and Roddick are both experienced players and they have both called for a season that ends in October and they have signed the petition to re-consider ETv’s contract.


Sean Randall Says:

Nuno, now that would be something wouldn’t it? I would actually like to see that. That’d be a first.

Zola, you are really after the ATP and Mr. Disney!

Okay, so we space out the Masters clay events, but what happens to the 24 or so guys who lose in the first round? They are now stuck with 10 days of rest after playing just one match.

For some players their bodies are like engines, they more they run, the more they play the better they perform and less chances for injury. Of course there are others who need the rest to heal.

So it really goes both ways. Resting won’t hurt the body, but if you rest too much you can increase the chances for injury when you do return.

I’m not sure a longer off-season will reduce the injury percentages for that same reason.


Dan Martin Says:

The short term ranking puzzle aside, but mid November when the season ends it looks quite possible that Novak will end the year #1. He has banked a lot of points so far in the year. Obviously, there are a lot more events to be played, but win or lose tomorrow this week helps Novak a lot vs. Federer and especially Nadal in the year long battle for ranking points.


Dragan Says:

Just to add one – Djokovic warned yesterday about the clay court and the shape of it, and everybody turned against him, but he may be right afterall – could that be the case here? Clay is easier on the body if you compare to hard surface, joints, being able to skid on it a bit – but it has its problems (e.g. you often have longer points because of the slow surface, less points ending as straight winners).
Also I agree with you, we should give players a break, it’s hard enough playing day in day out, they get sick as we all do + the strain on the body – and if you risk losing a month or two of pro playing, well it’s understandable.


zola Says:

Sean
**Okay, so we space out the Masters clay events, but what happens to the 24 or so guys who lose in the first round? They are now stuck with 10 days of rest after playing just one match.**

OK, if you have two master series in two weks , these guys will have two matches in two weeks and will be out again till next week. Should we sacrifice the health of the 8 who play the QF for those who go out at the first round?

We can’t babysit the players. It is their reponsilility to stay fit during the off time. No one schedules matches for Fed or Rafa during the off season, they are both practicing in Dubai and Mallorca.Same with other players. That’s why they are professional.

when there is a week between master series, a player has an option to train or not to train. When there is no rest, the player has “no options”.

***Zola, you are really after the ATP and Mr. Disney!***

You bet! I want a CEO from PIXAR this time!


zola Says:

Sean

**I’m not sure a longer off-season will reduce the injury percentages for that same reason.***

the players are the ones who have to go through all this in reality and they wish for a shorter season ending in October.but that’s a long shot. I want just some rest between clay master series events. that’s all.


zero Says:

Sean,
“For some players their bodies are like engines, they more they run, the more they play the better they perform and less chances for injury. Of course there are others who need the rest to heal.

So it really goes both ways. Resting won’t hurt the body, but if you rest too much you can increase the chances for injury when you do return.”

I really don’t agree with you. Resting 10 days never hurts player. And their bodies are never similar to engine. We must consider the winner in scheduling the calendar. It’s better supporting the winner than caring the losers. If you lose more early, of course you have more rest. Obviously, if you win the more matches you have more pressures on your body and even more matches to play. ATP’s right to make some back-to-back tournaments but putting 3 Master Series in 1 month is really ridiculous. Neither playing 2 Master Series in one month like IW-Miami nor playing 3 Master Series in the same period like this is good for player.

I must stress that I hate ATP for the calendar. I hate seeing those rubbish semi-finals. And I hate seeing players continuing retire. As a tennis fan, I want to see players play happily and contribute good matches for spectators.


Debra Gardner Says:

I think that tennis is being treated like a team sport. In a team sport, when there is someone out with an injury, there is always someone to fill in. the fans get their money’s worth because the game is played. they may not get to see the person they really want to seebecause of that person’s retirement, but at least they get to see the game. In tennis, it’s an indevidual who gets and injury or who starts to feel sick. Unless, the fans would like to have the sick one throw up all over the court, or the injured one literally carried off the court, then these things are going to happen. Also, I think that in an effort to draw more fans, the ATP feels it has to put on a show that includes a tennis match. Those extraneous things have to be paid for. At one end, the players are expected to perform, so as to draw in the avertisement dollars, and at the other end, the fans pay higher ticket prices and thus have higher expectations. As a totally-blind person, I don’t need extra things going on to look at and keep me interested. I would just want the tennis to be good and the person calling the game to give me the details I need. It’s the same when I go to music concerts. I need the music to be good. If it’s not, the extra stuff-light shows etc.-aren’t going to make up for it. I would also go for a longer off-season. Heavens, I would just go back to grass all round. If golfers can have greens all over the world, why can’t tennis?


jane Says:

Sean -

“but it comes down to body type, training methods, etc.

So it’s a fine very line, and unfortunately everyone’s body reacts differently to rest and strain.”

I agree with you here. There is an element of individuality and body type / immune system that we have to consider when it comes to injuries and retirements. That’s why it bugs me that you crap on Novak but give others a pass; it’s a double standard. Novak has a weaker immune system, has admitted, even on Leno I think, that when he travels, he tends to get sick. Haven’t you heard of people getting sick when they fly? I have.

As Debra Gardner smartly points out, tennis is an INDIVIDUAL sport; thus, the players should be treated & judged accordingly.

Also – training methods might be one approach to alleviate the increase in retirements due to injuries, but the wear-and-tear these players face is MORE than in the past.

When McEnroe and co. played, they often skipped the Australian; they traveled less AND had less media events/requirements. Look at how much media and off-court stuff some of the players now-a-days commit to. To me, anyhow, it seems like more. So add that into the mix, and the pressure that comes with it, which could lead to more stress. (Case in point; don’t you get the sense that Murray will be BURIED under the weight of the British press if they don’t shut the hell up??!!) Not only do players today travel more, play more, and perform more, but they are judged REALLY HARSHLY by fans and press.

We need to get behind them and look for answers.

I agree with zero 100% on this point: “As a tennis fan, I want to see players play happily and contribute good matches for spectators.”

I don’t want to see players playing sick or injured and “sticking it out”. I want to see them at the top of their health and their games – don’t we all?


jane Says:

Zola,

Novak has gone on the record today, criticizing the schedule openly, much like Rafa has.

I’ve also heard there is a petition to the ATP circulating.

So, hopefully, something will be done, if not this year, then in the future.

We can complain about the TV coverage and get something done about, but it’s also time to get behind our players, whether you’re a fan of one or many.


jane Says:

Here’s the link to the BBC article:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/7394171.stm


jane Says:

One more point – Roddick is quoted in that same BBC Sport article, saying that he has been saying for YEARS that the players need a longer off-season to recover.


jane Says:

“The ATP said it marked the first time in the history of the Masters Series that both semifinals ended with retirements. Tour officials could not say if it had ever happened in another tournament.”


Sean Randall Says:

Jane, your wish of seeing the best players at the “top of their health and their games” is closer to a pipe dream.

A lot of guys play with minor injuries. Fed’s never retired in a match before, but I’m sure he’s played through pain. Nadal played through pain the other day. As did his opponent Ferrero who said he wasn’t 100% due to an adductor issue. Fed played through mono in Australia.

And lots of other guys do play through injuries, they just don’t make light of it. Some do it more than others. And that was the case in the 90s, the 80s, the 70s and so on. And it’s true in other sports, too.

You must not be much of an NFL fan because by the end of the season everyone is banged up. Very few players are actually or ever 100%. Tom Brady played in the Super Bowl with a bad ankle. In the AFC championship game Philip Rivers played with a torn ACL in his knee. Rivers had no business playing that game but he did so because that’s his job to quarterback his team and give them and their fans the very best chance of winning.

Hell, didn’t Tiger Woods play the Masters with a bad knee which required surgery the very next day? And Kobe Bryant I believe has a finger which needs surgery once the season ends.

And at least here in American effort in sports does count for a lot. You may not be at your best but the fact you got up off the mat and gave it go makes us root for you that much more.

Pete Sampras won a lot of fans the day he beat Corretja in that memorable US Open match. Pete could have easily retired in that last set and no one would have questioned him. He probably felt like crap (he looked like crap) but he’s a tennis player. That’s what he does. And in the end he was better for sticking it out, and he won the match.

Regarding Novak, I am fully aware of his issues, but I still gotta ask why it only affects him when he’s in trouble against a top player? Now I’m not saying he’s not feeling discomfort, but I’m guessing some of that is psychosomatic.

Regarding Murray, yes, if he isn’t already getting slammed he will be. Look the British press did to Henman and he was an overachiever in my mind. Murray’s an underachiever, and if he doesn’t get his game straightened out I feel sorry for what they will do to him.

True the game has changed a lot since the 80s, but the players need to be responsible with their schedule, training, etc.

Added rest built into the schedule/off season will help but it’s not going to stop the problem of injuries and retirements. It starts with the players on an individual level, then the tour to properly educate them and then even the trainers/doctors to tell the players that hey, your injury or illness really isn’t that bad, continue on, we’ll get some treatment afterward.

In some ways the tours need to make it tougher to retire during the match, if that makes sense.


Sean Randall Says:

And I agree the clay schedule is atrocious and unfair.

Why does America and the American players get a month to play two hard court Masters events in Miami and IW which really don’t lead to anything or are really part of any major circuit in the calendar while the Europeans have to play three within that same time frame in a very important French Open lead-up swing?

Tour solution: Get rid of a clay Masters.
Real solution: Get rid of IW or Miami and expand the clay season.

The Tour took the path of least resistance (or so it thought) and is planning to get rid of Hamburg.


Sean Randall Says:

Dan,

Talking 2008 points only I could definitely see Novak being No. 1 going into the US Open but I question his fitness level the last month of the year. I think it will be a really tight three-man race and based on what happened last year and the fact he’s likely going to play more this year, Novak may very well fizzle out again.

But I do think he’ll have the best summer of the three which will set himself up for a year-end No. 1 charge.


Dr. Death Says:

“There’s something happening here.
What it is ain’t exactly clear.”

We are not even into the body crunching part of the tennis season with the U S Open series still months away and the stars are already falling like flies.

The last thing I would want is to let the clowns who are the current Tennis Masters decide when a player can retire. The time has come to review everything especially the schedule, conditioning training availability for all players, etc. Perhaps even looking at what golf, basketball and other long season sports do for their athletes ought to be taken into consideration.


jane Says:

Sean -

Well, then, here’s to pipe dreams, or the closest we can get to them. I don’t see the glory in suffering.

I hate NFL, and most team sports actually, but especially “football”. Bunch of whacked out dudes banging into one another, peppered with the occasional amazing run/throw? I know that will offend, but it’s a bore to me. Funnily enough, I don’t mind soccer, which is the *real* football. I hate, hate, hate wrestling and boxing. So there you go, just a bunch of arm-chair opinion, admittedly so.

But give me a smart and well-played tennis match over any other sport any day… and players who aren’t played to death.

How can players be “responsible” with their scheduling, though, when they have points to defend? When they want to move up in the rankings. This is where you’re kind of putting the onus on the players when it should be put on the ATP.

Of course, players must be responsible with their training, and if they’re not and they get injured, well, then too bad for them. Isn’t it obvious a player should be fit? I think we can honestly say that MOST of them are.


jane Says:

Dr Death,

“Everybody look what’s going down…” Yeah… exactly.

I agree: to let someone else judge when a player can retire? That’s dangerous territory. Maybe we should just throw the players to the lions? LOL.

Doctors, Sean, are often wrong. But not Dr. Death ;-)


Von Says:

jane:

“How can players be “responsible” with their scheduling, though, when they have points to defend? When they want to move up in the rankings.”

I think the whole ranking system should be revamped. The ranking system is what pushes these players — every year grinding to defend the previous year’s points — it’s absolutely ridiculous, and probably boring to them. It places these players into a vicious cycle and robs them of a chice to play in a different tournament. Variety being the spice of life is not the norm here. Some thought should be given to eliminating defending some of the ranking points, e.g., the points earned in the smaller tournaments.

The way the tournaments are set up, especially the smaller tournaments, they’re played along the same format as the MS. It’s ridiculous, when one considers the points and prize money that’s there for the taking. Some more incentive should be given to playing the smaller tournaments; if this isn’t done and it becomes mandatory for players to play 19 tournaments in a year, then the smaller tournaments will suffer. Some will argue that the smaller tournaments have less talented and lower ranked players, but considering what’s been happening in the top 100 and the quality of the players’ game, this argument no longer holds true. Just look at who’s beating the higher ranked players. A lot of the top 50 players were once GS winners, ex-No.1s and MS winners. These players are dangerous and can beat a higher ranked player in the twinling of an eye, as has been evidenced in the present MS – Rome tournament.

Additionally, the amount of points earned and the dollar amount paid to the players for rounds one (1) through the QFs is a mere pittance, considering, the points and prize money awarded to the finalist and winner. Most of the hard work is done through the QFs, especially in the GS, but the points and money awarded is just one-quarter of the whole purse; it’s unfair. A more equitable form of reimbursement should be figured out at a fixed amount per match played, similarly to the TMC form of reimbursement. ATP is virtually robbing these players for their hard-fought battles. A more equitable form of reimbursement should prevail.

On a side note, it’s been the consensus of opinion that Federer has never retired; he did once, in his home tournament in Basel, a few years ago, where he suffered an injury to his groin muscle and pulled out from the tournament.


TD (Tam) Says:

Sour grapes from Federer again in his post match presser:

“But this wasn’t really a clay court match. I think I would be a bit more worried if I were to lose against a guy who would just be playing real clay court tennis.”

So what do you good readers make of that?


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

What you paint is a glorios picture of machoistic pride — maybe a little too much. Have I got too much chutzpah for pointing this out? Maybe, maybe not, but is it fair to employ American Football v. Tennis as an argument for true grit? I think there’s a huge difference in the format of these two sports. Tennis is an individual sport and one which is solely on the players’ shoulders. Football or any other team sport does not place that same burden on its players to go out there and fight to the bitter end. There are always backup players available in crunch time and this relieves a huge burden on the players. Just think if you had a very capable assistant to do your job in the event you got sick or injured, wouldn’t that remove a phenomenal burden from your mind/shoulders? The feeling of: ‘Oh I don’t have to worry about that project, if I’m sick Dan can pitch in and take over for a few days, and everything will run smoothly, because he’s capable’? (Dan i just named you to the position of Sean’s capable assistant.) Well, unfortunately, the tennis players DON’T have that choice and it can be very difficult for them to carry this added psychological burden, especially if they have to retire.

For instance, I overheard Roddick, when he twisted his back today, say to Doug Spreen, and this is not verbatim, ‘it’s the same thing that was hurting yesterday’. He was macho enough to come out today, and what happened, he injured himself even further. Sometimes, I feel that this true grit mentality is what causes a simple injury to become compounded and can have long-lasting effects. I’d say a player should be able to retire if, and when, he deems it’s detrimental to his body, rather to keep on playing. Forget the critics, there will always be many of those, but one has to do what’s best for numero uno.

It would probably be halpful for the ATP to employ a team of psychologists to help them understand the human psyche and the mind/brain connection to the physical. Considering the brain is the master organ in the body, one which is least considered when dealing with injuries, but the one that plays the most important part, some psychological minds should be employed to help ATP figure out the effects injuries have on these players.

Another point that should be considered in retirements, can one honestly say that a player who’s reached the semis would just go ahead and throw in the towel for a minor injury or ailment. I don’t think so. What one considers a minor aliment, another might not; it’s an individual thing not a carte blanche rule that should be applied. Discretion is the better part of valor in these circumstances and this can only be done on an individual basis. I’m sorry for bending your ear, but brevity was not a choice here.


Maja Says:

Von:”I think the whole ranking system should be revamped. The ranking system is what pushes these players — every year grinding to defend the previous year’s points — it’s absolutely ridiculous, and probably boring to them. It places these players into a vicious cycle and robs them of a chice to play in a different tournament. Variety being the spice of life is not the norm here. Some thought should be given to eliminating defending some of the ranking points, e.g., the points earned in the smaller tournaments.”

A totally agree on this!!!
But you know – it’s all about politic and bussines – they have to keep a popularity of some tennis places so the point system is made that way that it pushes high ranked players to always play on the tournaments with bigger renomee – that’s all about money.


Von Says:

TD:

“But this wasn’t really a clay court match. I think I would be a bit more worried if I were to lose against a guy who would just be playing real clay court tennis.”

“So what do you good readers make of that?”

You’re stoking the fire, here girl, and if I get started and end up being slaughtered, I’ll blame you. :)

So sorry your week was spoilt by our guy having to retire — did an opportunity present itself to speak to him? I saw an American couple, with 2 children in one of the front boxes, clapping like crazy for Andy in his match v. Robredo, was that you? I was amazed at the response from the Italian fans for Andy. He’s loved in Italy. Enjoy the upcoming final. :)


Von Says:

Maja:

“It’s all about politic and bussines – they have to keep a popularity of some tennis places so the point system is made that way that it pushes high ranked players to always play on the tournaments with bigger renomee – that’s all about money.”

So true, Maja. To steal a line from Dr. Death: “Show me the money!” The money is what’s killing these players and ATP is just hogging it all — paying out pittance and receiving huge returns of profits. It’s ridiculous how much these players have to put out initially in the first rounds leading up to the QF, but the remuneration and points awarded is a mere pittance for their efforts. Pitiful pittance/compensation; that’s the way the cookie crumbles, but unfortunately oligopoly rules and is the name of the game. The players need an additional organization to fight for their rights – a players’ rights committee, similarly to a union for blue collared workers, and they can threaten to strike, just like baseball. Now that’s a prescription for attention and some changes. I’d pick Djoko and Roddick to head the strike committee. :) Give me a picket and a step stool (5’5″ here) and I’ll be standing next to them, shouting at the top of my lungs with gusto. :)


fed is afraid Says:

rog always has sour grapes when he loses, i am used to it by now.


Kash Says:

Von:

Fed never retired mid-match. The basel tournament you mention, he withdrew. I hope you realise the difference between a retirement and a withdrawal?

I agree with Sean’s take. A-rod and stepanek get a pass. Djokovic does not. Reason: Djokovic is a repeat offender. His withdrawals are on every tennis-fan’s lips. You cant say the same for a-rod and the worm.

All clay-court supporters might make use of what happened today to trash the ATP, but a-rod did not play for weeks till now, and the worm has not gone deep in any of the clay tournaments but rome. This is no reason to blame the atp management. These 2 injuries have nothing to do with scheduling. The ATP has to get its scheduling right, but what happened today is just a freak coincidence. Nadal and alamagro, that is due to scheduling. A-rod and worm – 1st offence. choker – is a moron. He needs to develop some balls or take his drama to the WTA. He can play WTA doubles with henin and retire in a big match when their opponent is 1 game from victory.


Kash Says:

Fed haters – fed has sour grapes after losing
Choker haters – he needs to grow some balls
Nadal haters – same as choker but on hard-courts
A-rod haters – he is a boorish american sissy

Those equines have been clubbed to merciless death, brought to life and the cruel process repeated a zillion + 1 times. Can we have something new, please?


jane Says:

Von,

Great pipes girl: I agree on both your rankings & pittance points, and have said similar stuff about discretion / individuality and taking into account circumstances.

Unfortunately, it’s doubtful that we’ll convince the ATP or those fans with less discretion to change their minds, come hell or high water.

Maybe the players need to take it into their own hands and do a little protesting; how about all of the top ten boycotting a MS event? That’d get things moving, I suspect.


jane Says:

Here’s another shocker from the Times Online:

” The full extent of the malaise is illustrated by the fact that in six clay-court events this spring, the total of pull-outs is an alarming 23.”


TD (Tam) Says:

Von Says: “You’re stoking the fire, here girl, and if I get started and end up being slaughtered, I’ll blame you.”
————-

lol okay Von I will take the fall. ;)

I am sorry that both Roddick and Stepanek had to retire but I think their situations are a little different from Djokovic’s retirement in Monte Carlo. I will enjoy the final anyway, barring any more retirements or injuries, I was happy to see Blake and Roddick perform so well on their worst surface.

I think the ATP needs an advocate for the players because nobody is looking out for them it’s all about the money.

fed is afraid Says: “rog always has sour grapes when he loses, i am used to it by now.”
——————-

So am I but it is infuriating how Federer always gets a free pass from the media while other players are crucified. >:(


Von Says:

Kash:

How are doing? Missed you for a while. Concession to your points about Fed’s Basel tournament.

“All clay-court supporters might make use of what happened today to trash the ATP, but a-rod did not play for weeks till now, and the worm has not gone deep in any of the clay tournaments but rome. ”

I’m not quibbling about the ATP clay court season — just about the points/money award system employed by ATP, and the judgemental comments about the unfortunate retirements, which are at the players’ discretion. Who knows what happens in another’s body; only they know the full extent of their problem. It’s a grey area, and we do have to give them the benefit of the doubt, whichever way we look at the problem. I’ve been vociferous in the past about retirements, but in retrospect have changed my thinking.

You’re correct on A-Rod not playing for a week — he missed MC, but he played in DC the weekend just prior to MC. Additionally, being a full-blooded American young man who loves to party, and one who puts friends above ranking points, he took time out to join Mardy Fish’s bachelor party celebration after DC. A-Rod does know how to schedule his tournament participation to avoid burn out, even though he’s been slaughtered for his adeptness regarding same — being called a sissy, and he whole nine yards, for not playing in too many clay court tournaments. You know the score so I won’t burden you with the details. Today, was an unfortunate retirement from him, one I would wish had not happened — I would have liked for him to win the whole darn tournament to shut up his critics. Alas, that was not to be — a very disappointed fan here.

___________
jane:

“Unfortunately, it’s doubtful that we’ll convince the ATP or those fans with less discretion to change their minds, come hell or high water.”

Unfortunately — but just keep on hoping, and who knows some good will emanate from the ATP and the judgmental critics. ‘Hope’ — it’s the creed by which we all should live. Once that goes, we’re in serious trouble. :) I don’t mind the critics as much as I dislike the name calling. Grow up guys — no need to show the juvenile side — we’re all adults, who hopefully, have left those selective names behind in our adolesence.


zola Says:

Von,
sorry for Roddick. I thought he could even go to the final. The way he was playing, he had a great chance. Pity he had to retire. No blame on him or Stepanek ( although Stepanek took some heat from the press).

It is interesting about Fed’s Basel retirement. Do you have a link? Kamakshi Tandon had a repot on retirements saying that Fed and Blake have never retired. so it will be interesting to see.

Jane,
I am glad Djoko has stepped up to voice his concern. I know Blake and Roddick have been vocal this year along with Rafa. There is a petition signed by 17 of the top 20 players asking ATP not to automatically recruit ET after his term ends in 9 months. The three that did not sign could not be reached.

I absolutely agree that fans should support the players at this stage. This shambles of a calendar is just hurting the playes and resulting in the destruction of the tournaments. Look at Rome. It has produced epic matches at 05, 06 and 07 and became a disaster at 08.

there is a petition for fans to sign:

http://www.petitiononline.com/tennis08/


Von Says:

TD:

“I think the ATP needs an advocate for the players because nobody is looking out for them it’s all about the money.”

How about us joining with A-Rod and some others in a picketing for justice against ATP — a union/picket type demonstration. I’m utterly dumbfounded that the players do not have a players’ rights committe to arbitrate on their behalf. Absolutely undemocratic from so many points of view. For the time being, until some bright spark decides to act on their behalf, they’ll just have to tow the line with ATP. There are many ways to skin a cat — the players will have to find their own individual means by which to do so. Until then … let’s just enjoy the matches in which they play. Enjoy your vacation and keep on trucking and supporting our guy. I’m always here to lend a helping finger (posting). :)


zola Says:

Maja dear,
I am a Rafa fan, so I am a bit scared ( very scared) that Djoko can overtake his No 2 spot before RG. That’s why I will root for Wawrinka tomorrow, but nothing against Djoko.
The way he played in this tournamnent, has been great and I am sure he has a great chance to go deep in RG as well. If he was a coupla thousand points behid Rafa, I would have been indifferent!

btw, Jane,
Stan the man! broke into top 10, what about that? Man, I am starting to like too many players! I have been disappointed by Murray, Monfils and Cilic, but Ancic and Wawrinka are doing well.


Von Says:

Zola:

“Do you have a link? Kamakshi Tandon had a repot on retirements saying that Fed and Blake have never retired.”

Sorry, I don’t have a link, and not being a pack rat, I don’t save such stuff, but just commit them to memory. I’m running short on brain cells though — an age-related problem. :)

Thanks for your expression of kindness towards A-Rod. I’m one very disappointed fan today. He’s not playing Hamburg and I’m very concerned about his back problem. This had happened before the ’07 TMC and flared up again before his matches with Fed and Ferrer. His back was frozen and his critics had a field day with their immature nonsense.

As I stated previously, we can complain from here to ying yang about ATP, it’s not going to help — we’re fighting with an oligopoly/monopoly type organization here, whose main function is to extract as much money by exploiting skilled labor. A proverbial sweat shop that keeps on churning out edicts and/or commandments. I don’t know the answer, and I daresay the players have one, but what I do know is that the players should have some entity to which they can take their complaints, and receive some kind of affirmative action. That’s whole different can of worms though, and a proverbial Pandora’s box will definitely be opened. However, it might be worth the upkeep by the players — the same as paying union dues by blue collared workers, to have such an adovocate organization.

Hope Rafa is well next week — he needs to go far in Hamburg. Don’t worry, sometimes the darkest hour is just before dawn, and then, hello, it’s sunrise and all is bright and beautiful. Keep hoping and smiling. here’s a smile for you from Rafa. :) :)


bobby Says:

The ATP is playing with players health.It is obvious that ATP wants mony only.It will be good if they understand that they exists because of the players and it is their duty to look after the welfare of the players.It is time to kick out the ATP boss and find a new one.


zero Says:

I heard that Wawrinka had some issues with his back. Hope he’ll be well to day. I’d like to see he play a great match with Djoker. And I hope Stan win this


Rod Says:

if nadal made the final, djokovic would have retired by now with an std


jinyongfan Says:

Yes, Rod, agree with you 100%. Case closed.


Freaky Frites Says:

Gosh, I love all the controversy. I think we can all agree that the schedule is ridiculous for one important reason – it exhausts the fans!

But hey, the final might not be a total drag. The Djoko/Wawrinka head to head is 3/2 with one of Stan’s two wins coming on clay (Djokovic retired from that one, but let’s not go into that.)

There’s no way Novak is going to get far in Hamburg next week – he’s going to fizzle out by the quarters, for sure. This time of year is just one big revolving door.

So how ’bout that Elena Dementieva, huh?


Maja Says:

It’s silly to say that one player deserved the title if the battle is not over yet. I wouldn’t say Wawrinka deserved the title – we will find out who deserved it TODAY, because today is the final.


Maja Says:

This I wrote is the comment about what zola said on the beginning that Wawrinka deserved it.


Kash Says:

Hi Von:

I am doing good, just a little tied up with making some career changes. I do read most of the posts on this site and other tennis sites, so I have been following your posts (most of them anyway!) :)

Also, you are not in the clay-court supporting group. You do make great points about scheduling and the points system, though i do think it is upto the player to space himself. It is part of the deal, and that was one of the reasons fed was so dominating the last few years. He understands his fitness/body issues and spaces himself very well. He has had his share of injuries, like the basel tournament you mention in 2005. Fed played one tournament after the US open that year.(I think it was thailand) and skipped madrid, basel and paris but played the MC (not completely fit. agassi, nadal and a-rod had pulled out, but fed showed up not entirely fit)

He takes a mid-year break after wimbledon and doesn’t really get into the US open grind. Plays only the 2 mandatory master’s and pretty much plays only DC and 1more tournament before madrid/basel/paris and mc! It will be interesting to see how he goes about this year, as he has been losing a lot and has not played a lot many matches this year.

Anyhow in my mind, the atp scheduling is the wrong goose to chase regarding the injuries. The more relevant problems, which I am quite surprised no one has mentioned in 50-odd posts before me, are:

1) The insane strings and racquet technology. Sean has been quite vocal about these in the past. With the kind of spin and power players generate these days, it was just a matter of time the players’ bodies gave up on them for playing at such insane power and speed dominated game.

2) Market more players to the fans. I mean, except the fed, nadal, choker and a-rod, I donot see any vocal fans for the other guys. We are the most fanatic of tennis fans and what we write about the non-top 5 players is trivial compared to the reams and reams we dole out on the top dogs. Imagine the casual fan. If the atp/wta has a pool of 25-30 popular players, it will leave the ball in the players’ court as to how to space themselves.

To me the players’ injuries are more related to the above 2 reasons than the atp scheduling. I love it that there is tennis every week. However I donot expect fed/nad/choker to play every week. They should be wise enough to space themselves. The solution to no.1 should not be playing more as much as it should be about WINNING more.


Debra Gardner Says:

Because of the short tennis off-season, you really can’t compare it to team sports. If some of these guys choose to play it with an injury, they know they are going to have a good long time to recover and not be penalized for it. As an American,I know that we tend to route for the person who can “tough” it out, stay in their to help the team win. But tennis isn’t a team. The older I get and the more aches and pains I have, I am simply not impressed by playing when there’s something seriously wrong. Sure, players will do it because at this level, you’re generally highly competitive, but it doesn’t make me think more of them because they did, or less of them because they didn’t. Jane, I don’t really like football either, though I do like ice hockey and goodness knows there’s enough banging against one another to satisfy anyone.


Sean Randall Says:

Von, to respond to a few of your comments.

“I think there’s a huge difference in the format of these two sports. Tennis is an individual sport and one which is solely on the players’ shoulders. Football or any other team sport does not place that same burden on its players to go out there and fight to the bitter end.”
Are you sure? In team sports there’s far more pressure to play and uphold your responsibility to the team, to the fans and to the organization and sport. In tennis or golf, it’s just you. Much easier to quit when only you will have to face the consequences.

“There are always backup players available in crunch time and this relieves a huge burden on the players. Just think if you had a very capable assistant to do your job in the event you got sick or injured, wouldn’t that remove a phenomenal burden from your mind/shoulders?”
Are you sure? Yes, there are backup players in team sports which makes it even that more impressive that guys like Philip Rivers, who again played with a torn ACL in the AFC playoffs, go out there and fight.

“I’d say a player should be able to retire if, and when, he deems it’s detrimental to his body, rather to keep on playing. Forget the critics, there will always be many of those, but one has to do what’s best for numero uno.”
Here I would agree, however was Novak in a situation in MC where if he kept playing it would have been “detrimental to his body”? What about Stepanek yesterday? Based on what I saw and the information available – neither player was rushed to the hospital – I would argue no.

And remember, players are not just playing for numero uno but also for the fans who paid a hefty price for a ticket and those watching at home. And ultimately it’s those same fans who pay the players. I think Federer really understands that.

“Another point that should be considered in retirements, can one honestly say that a player who’s reached the semis would just go ahead and throw in the towel for a minor injury or ailment. I don’t think so”.
Think again. Novak did it. Stepanek did it, too. Look at Federer who had mono – a far more serious illness than just feeling sick like Stepanek – and he made it through his Australian Open semifinal. True, the player probably thinks it’s the end of world if he continues but reality of it is – and here’s where the trainer/doctor should step in – it’s a minor illness at the end of the day. Again, a case of getting it straight between the ears.

And lastly, and this goes to everyone who’s pointing the finger for the injury problem at the ATP, who at the ATP is holding a gun to Rafa’s head forcing him to play in Barcelona? Who at the ATP forced him to play Monte Carlo? Or Dubai? Who’s doing it?? Is it really ET?

No. It’s Rafa himself. It’s greed. Rafa plays Barcelona to pick up a paycheck. He plays Dubai to pick up an even bigger paycheck.

Andy Roddick gets it. He picks his spots. He passed on Monte Carlo and on Barcelona because he listens to what his body tells him better than a lot of other guys. And the result being is that he tends to skip a lot of the non-mandatory U.S. events like Delray Beach (where he spent some time growing up) or Houston (which is played in the very state where he now lives). Of course the irony is he still got injured.

As far as I understand the rules – and I could be wrong here – players have to the play the four slams and seven of the nine Masters. By my count that’s 11 tournaments required during any season. Events beyond those 11 is up the player.

Sure, the ATP can do a better job of managing the schedule, but it really comes down to each player individually determining their optimal schedule, and let’s face it for some guys the money comes before their health.


zola Says:

Sean,
Do you know the ATP rules?

The three clay master series are mandatory. No one is putting a gun to Rafa’s head, but he wants to accumulate points on his favorite surface. what is wrong with that?

Why do you point the finger to Rafa and not to the unhumanly schedule?

look at the program. it was IW, then Miami, then Davis cup. After two days of break, MonteCarlo, Barcelona , Hamburg and Rome. I give you that Rafa could frfiet his points in Barcelona.

But I don’t agree that it is greed. He could have had more money and more points defending his Rome title.

I don’t understand your logic. You are clearly giving the ATP the license to slay the players. The schedule is just not right. with two master in the first three months of the year and then three master series in a month. A calendar that has been force on the players by CBS And college basketball , and you as a tennis critique actually defending it and blaming the players of greed? unbelievable!


jane Says:

Congrats to Djokovic & Wawrinka for a competitive final – Great job breaking into the top 10 Stan and awesome work Novak, for yet another tournament win, and your first M.S. on clay ! Whoo-hoo!


Sean Randall Says:

Zola, nothing is wrong with wanting to accumulate points, prize money, etc. But you also have to take into account the limit of your body. For some guys playing all four events is not much of a problem, for others (Rafa?) it is.

Zola, I will admit I’m no scholar of the rules, but can you tell me what the penalty was for Roddick and Blake when they decided not to play Monte Carlo? What wrath did ET lay on them for skipping?

And it’s really hard to blame all this on college basketball? C’mon now!


Maja Says:

How sweet it was when Djokovic was speaking Italian – such a smart and charming guy. And the way he hug Gabriela Sabatini hehehehe


jane Says:

Sean,

You’re right that there’s an element of greed and over-scheduling that should be put on the player; I think Kash raises this point as well.

But what about rankings; if they didn’t play as much as they did, they’d lose points. So the desire for glory figures in too, and of course that’s the nature of sport, so.

The ATP could still rethink the calendar and give these guys a little more of an off season. I agree with Roddick about that.


jane Says:

Maja,

Djoko knows 4 languages and said he has been “working on” his Italian because he loves it. I’m really happy he won.


Sean Randall Says:

And, Zola, here’s this from Roddick yesterday:

Q. You can say it could be a coincidence, but there were six players that couldn’t finish their matches in Barcelona and three here, plus Nadal’s feet. That’s an awful lot of matches that didn’t get finished in two tournaments. Is the locker room concerned about this? Do they talk but injuries? Are players concerned?
ANDY RODDICK: Like I said before, I think it’s been a concern for a long time about maybe the lack of an off season. You know, I don’t know if blisters are like that’s from just playing a lot of the matches, I think. I think he practiced twice the day before and he came out with blisters, so…But this isn’t new. You know, this isn’t news that it’s a packed schedule. You know, this isn’t you know, I don’t think we’re reinventing the wheel by saying, you know, there’s a lot of injuries. What causes it? I don’t know. I mean, I’ve been pretty fortunate in my career not to have any really long term injuries, but I’ve also been pretty responsible with how I select my schedule.

Rafa had said he first got the blisters Sunday so why did he go through TWO practice sessions the day before his Ferrero match?


Shital Green Says:

Congratulations to Djoko the people’s champion. That was an emphatic victory. Djoko played one of most beautiful tennis ever, good or bad schedule. That should shut up his critics for now. I remember people here making all baseless assumptions about him, saying he has a lot more points to defend on clay this year and he is weak and all the stuff, undermining his talent. If we do the math, so far, he has gained more points on clay this year than last year. I am dead certain he will continue this feat and be a real contender for French Open this year and in the future. I can also tell Fed fans, Djoko will be French Open winner before Fed will ever be.
His victory speech in Italian was simply sweet, with due acknowledgment of Wawrankia’s great run to the final.
Congratulations once again to Djoko the new CHAMP. Time to celebrate !


jane Says:

If Novak makes it to the quarters next week, after winning the title here, I’d hardly call that “fizzling out” – the quarters in a Masters isn’t so bad is it?

I’ll be interested to see if Stan can stay in the top 10; he’s got a great backhand and good focus, guess time will tell.


jane Says:

Shital Green,

It won’t shut up his critics, but who cares!? ;-) We’re happy for Djoko and recognize his talent and appeal. And we go back a ways hey?

Cheers!


Kash Says:

Sean:

You are spot on except for the fact that rafa is greedy for the points. (maybe paycheck too) It is the players’ greed for either points/money coupled with the insane racket/string technology. Players should be better aware of their fitness and space themselves.

ATP can eliminate the back to back masters (aren’t all 9 MS mandatory for the players? when did they make it 7 out of 9? that is good move actually) and avoid the 1week delay they had with IW/miami. but there is no need for any major schedule change. Rafa sees this may-july period as the most productive part of the season. He rakes in 80% of his points from mc-wimby. That is his decision, really. If he skipped barcelona like most of the top players, there might have been no blister fiasco at rome. To blame the ATP scheduling for this doesn’t make much sense. Rafa should invest his energy in doing well at the post-wimby season instead.

The ranking points as of tomorrow will be

1. fed ( 6825points) defending 500points at hamburg

2. nadal ( 5430) defending 350 points at hamburg

3 djokovic(5250) defending 125 points at hamburg

If chokovic beats nadal in the hamburg semifinal, we will have a new no.2. If I am not mistaken, fed will be no.1 atleast till queens/halle even if he does not win a match till then. Considering that he has had a pathetic 6month run thus far, it is incredible that he can still be no.1 with such a cushiony lead. The scenario of joker getting to no.1 before nadal is becoming more and more real. However the summer season has joker defending more points than nadal, so it will be musical chairs after wimby, most likely.

That said, hamburg, halle and wimbledon will give us a true indication if fed is on his way back from he no.1 position. He has won each of those atleast 4 times.


Maja Says:

This is going to be very exciting year for tennis and tennis fans :D


jane Says:

Kash,

“Rafa should invest his energy in doing well at the post-wimby season instead.”

I agree; Rafa, like many other clay-courters, can do well on hardcourts, so he could pick up points there, providing he’s fit and ready. Typically, he’s been a little worn out during that stint because of his extra-ordinary feats on clay. He has proven he can play on grass too.

It’s very difficult to predict how the rest of this year will go. There are close races with the top 3, but many players who can challenge them on any given day.


Daniel Says:

Kash says:
“Considering that he has had a pathetic 6month run thus far, it is incredible that he can still be no.1″

That’s the thing with Fed, even with a “pathetic run”, for his standards, he is number 3 in the ATP race, which means he had the third best run in the year.

Moving subject, congrats to Djoko, seems like he is not that fragile. But, in the past, after he won a title he didin’t played great in the next tournament. I am looking forward to see how he is going to behave in Hamburgo.

If he really wants to be n. 1, now is the time, he will have to win the semi against Nadal, to overtake the n. 2 and prove he can beat Nadal in clay too, putting him in an excellent position going to RG.


Sean Randall Says:

Kash, well said. Points do play a role as well.

It’s really up to players themselves to determine what’s best for them with their goals. The way I see it each player has a finite amount of energy or fuel for the year and it’s up to them to figure how best to parcel it out throughout the season. Some guys like Davydenko can play week-to-week and put up good numbers, whereas a guy like Nadal has had issues with frailty and therefore needs to be more mindful of his schedule.

Federer is aware of this opting out of Davis Cup for the most part. And Roger plays very few of the smaller events.

So Rafa needs to decide, do I want to use up all my fuel by August again? Maybe Rafa playing Davis Cup is not a good idea. Of course he wants to play but maybe his style of play, training regimen, etc, just doesn’t make it a good decision. And maybe if he skips Dubai/Indian Wells he’d be fresher for the US Open?

Novak was gassed at the end of last year, and I thought I heard him talk about reducing his schedule this year. But where has he? After today has he played more matches this year than he did at this point last year? Again, proper scheduling. Sure, the points are there in Hamburg, but maybe if he passes on the Hamburg now he can save himself for a better year-end run at No. 1. Sounds insane but who knows, doing well in Hamburg could come back to haunt him five months from now.

As for the masters events, as far as I know, there’s no penalty for missing two, so to avoid a fine players must play 7 of 9.


jane Says:

Sean,

Novak didn’t defend his title at Estoril this year and he didn’t play either Adelaide or Rotterdam.

He’s definitely cut down his schedule; I realize you have a hate-on for the guy but a two minute check on the ATP website could’ve told you this before you spread the hate.


jane Says:

One other thing, although there’s been much talk of Novak fizzling out at the end of last year, people seem to forget that he WON in Vienna and got to the semis in Madrid. It was only at Paris and the Masters Cup in which his fatigue set in.

And he did schedule this year to be lighter already. He’s nothing if not a smart guy and quick learner, and that’s why he’s the only player to ever win “most improved” two years in a row.


Shital Green Says:

Yes, Jane, we go way..y back, and we are sticking to our guns. We have have not had to face much disappointment with our guy. Djoko has kept his words: He not only talks the talk, but also walks the walk. Unmistakably Djoko, with 476 Race Points, is the leader. He is the No. 1 for this year so far and intends to keep it that way. And I firmly believe him.

About scheduling, it does not only affect the top 5 or top 10, but the entire ranking players, top 32 and top 64 plus qualifiers included. This year, including Rome, Igor Andreev (26th rank) participated in 13 and Calleri (61st rank)in 11 tournaments, where as Fed and Djoko in 7 and Nadal in 9, respectively. No doubt, players should look at their body type and style of play as well as all other contingencies, especially their likelihood of getting injured, when they decide how many and which ones they should participate in. Unquestionably, a more relax schedule will benefit some players more than others. Either way, it looks like the argument about tight vs. flexible schedule is not easy to resolve. But I agree with Roddick that players need life outside the court and, for that, there has to be certain length of off season for tennis, too, like many other sports have.


Shital Green Says:

Sean,
Just for the record, Djoko played 9 tournaments last year by the end of Rome, i.e. 2 less than last year as we speak. He cut Umag, played Marseille, and cut Adelaide and Estoril, both of which he won last year. Maybe, we should be a bit more discreet about facts before making a case, for or against, Sean. Just a thought !


fed is afraid Says:

djoker will definitly get the french, roger won’t. roger’s door has slammed shut there, he has the game to win there, he just doesn’t have the mental toughness and focus to beat rafa in 3 sets.


craig Says:

Excellent match today. I see Fed’s assassin couldn’t do him in. Was that Wawa texting Fed right after the game apologizing for not getting revenge?
Oh and that Italian language speech was a wonderful touch.

After beating Nalbandian:
“Roger asked me to win it for him,” said Wawrinka
And I was very happy to help out Roger, it was nice to take revenge.”


anel Says:

So what You have to say naw about Novak,he is going to win or loose,it will deppend only on him self not ever from YOU gays that hate him.To Sean:I hope You lern the lesson,and leave Novak alone please.To gays who hate Nole:you say many bad things about SRB NOVAK,but You do not know the most inportant thing about serbian people:more You hate them and lay about them they more rise.They are proud people and they are not loosers.


TD (Tam) Says:

Maja Says: “This is going to be very exciting year for tennis and tennis fans.”
————–

Maja, I could not agree more in fact I think this year has already been very exciting for tennis fans. Expect the unexpected!

congrats to Novak on his first clay title win. I did not see the final but I heard Stan had to take a medical timeout? These injuries are so crazy I guess Rafael had a good point about the crazy clay schedule.

I have a feeling that Federer will not be in the French Open final again this year but Rafael will be there, waiting for whomever. (Novak??)


fed is afraid Says:

i predit fed will lose early at french, he will soon fall to 4 in the world. it’s over, friend.


jane Says:

TD,

“Expect the unexpected!”

Well put, and aren’t we lucky to not know what’s going to happen next? Injuries/illnesses aside, tennis is definitely exciting this year.


Daniel Says:

Jane, I agree with you. Novak cut down some tourneys and most important, start to win his matches quickly! That is the biggest improvement that he made in his game, no more of those eternal loopsided matches. He is more foccus now and conscious of what he can do.

But again, he will have to beat Rafa or Fed on clay to be a contender for the French. Just because he win these title, which no one thougth he could do it at least untill Roger was out, we forgot that the only one who stoped Fed in RG in the last 3 years is Nadal, and Fed stoped Nadal 81 wining streak.

I still don’t see anyone else beating these two on a best of 5. Maybe a Nalbandian (the other one), or Djoko, if he shows it next week!


bob22 Says:

Congratulation to Nole on his play. It is sad that Andy and Nadal were forced to pull out. Also most of us were looking to see a rematch between Federer and Nole. We will probably need to wait until Rolland Garros. To Nole haters: “I hope you got what you deserve, there is more to come!”


aola Says:

Jane, Maja, and all Djoko fans,

Congratulations on your guy’s win. He played a good match. I was hoping for Stan to step it up in the second set, but Djoko played much better. Enjoy his victory.


Zola Says:

Sorry, that “aola” is me! typo numero 1000!

Sean,
***Maybe Rafa playing Davis Cup is not a good idea.***
should I remind you of the comments when Rafa did not play last year or the first round?

You can’t make the ATP calendar a russian roulette and then say it is up to you to play or not. You are mistaking the players with robots. Rome is a perfect example of the disater awaiting tennis.If you are happy with that, I have nothing to say!


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

Points well taken. I don’t know if you had read my previous posts on the other threads when all the uproar began about the clay court season? My one salient point concerned a player prioritizing his schedule. Yes, the clay court scheduling was bad, but I felt it was up to the players to prioritize what’s best for themselves. My point being, that if a player deems it impossible to meet the demands of the schedule, then he should do what’s best for his body, and that is, skip the unimportant tournaments and concentrate on those he feels he can handle. Work around the schedule is the best way. If he’s sick, stay in bed. If he developed an injury prior to the tournament, pull out, and don’t play. However, my comments did spark some heated arguments, where I was skewered and ATP was blamed and not the player.

Roddick has been called names by his critics as being a ‘sissy’, and some other lovely names, for not playing the clay court season, as aggressively as the clay courters have been doing or have done in the past, but he is smart about his schedule. He has survived the onslaughts of the critics and has remained in the top 10 for over 5 years. However, his critics were very vocal this year about him not playing MC and more on clay. This is where a player has to choose. Roddick played Davis Cup the weekend prior to MC and then celebrated with his teamamates Mardy Fish’s bachelor plarty. I view this as prioritizing his personal needs v. tennis and making money, and also saving his body. The school parable here is: If Jack doesn’t play (have fun), then Jack will be a dull boy. Some fun and R&R is good for the body and soul, in between tournaments. A player does not have to playe every tournament. Roddick knows how to say “NO” to a tournament, regardless of the size of the purse and the points. I feel that it is up to each player to guard himself against injury and burnout. However, those ranking points do play heavily on their minds which pushes them to go out on the court and compete. Experience is the best teacher, and maybe it will take injuries and burnout to get the over zealous players’ attention.

There are those players who want it all, this happens with the young — all in the shortest time possible. They look at the greats and want to be like them in 3 years even though the greats took 10 years to accumulate those results. To me going after every tournament for points is insane, and at the same time places stress on the players’s body and mind. It is better to obtain a little at a time and last for 10-12 years, than get it all at once in 5 years and then burn out — never to be the same.

My comments about injuries concerned the fact that I put myself in their place and at times I’ve had the flu and strep throat and found that if I took another step I would collapse. Someone looking at me, would say you’re fine, but at that time I would be anything but fine. Hence, retirements concern the health of the player at that time, and what he’s feeling, and a weak minded player’s feelings can be over emphasized. I believe Stepanek’s body temperature was too high and he could have probably suffered from sun stroke, had he continued playing. In his case, it would have been unwise for the ATP doctor to tell him he’s fit to play. If the doctor did so and Stepanek played and collapsed, then I’m sure a huge lawsuit would follow, and the ATP doctor would be held responsible. The ATP doctor has a certain responsibility per the Hippocratic oath, “First, do no harm”. Sending a player back on court with a supposed medical issue can have very bad consequences for ATP and the doctor. It’s in these cases that I feel that a players’ rights committee would be helpful in arbitration. I’ve never commented on Djokovic’s retirement.


Von Says:

ONGRATS, to jane, Shital, Maja, and all Djokovic fans. Well done — your guy DID IT!! Enjoy!!


Maja Says:

Thank you very much aola (or is ti zola but typing mistake in nickname? :D).

Von thanks to you too :D It’s a great feeling for me when he wins and I appreciate very much your congratulating. :)


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

An addendum to my previous post: When I mentioned that the player needs to do what’s best for numero uno, I was speaking about Roddick’s case with his injury, which was worsened by playing in the semis. Maybe this was bad for him, but who knows, only Roddick.

I’m also concerned about the fans not getting their money’s worth and have posted about this on the other threads — unfortunately there’s really no solution to this problem.


Maja Says:

“I’m also concerned about the fans not getting their money’s worth and have posted about this on the other threads — unfortunately there’s really no solution to this problem.”

I really consider that as a stolen money – how come they can’t give them their money back?


Von Says:

Maja:

There are fine prints about purchasing sports tickets, etc., whereby a fan does so at his/her own risk — non-refundable. It’s similar to if you don’t show up at at rock concert and/or another sports tournament — you’ve lost that money. Retirements in Tennis is somewhat different, and do not come under the umbrella of ‘an act of God’ — but you still lose your money. Yesterday was a double whammy, one that has not often occurred often — an unusual situation. Thus, ATP has found itself in unchartered waters and since it’s not ATP’s fault, and it was not really an act of God — in the ‘acts of God’ scenario (rain, storm, hail, etc), then it’s at the discretion of the governing body to make some form of equitable restitution. However, it is costly to ATP when these retirements occur, and in fairness to ATP, a fan should not expect a refund from them for the ticket purchase, as it’s a situation of unaccountability, and the probable cause factor comes into effect. In some cases in baseball, they’ll make up the ‘acts of God’ situation by combining the event with an upcoming event, and make it a double-header, and the tickets can be exchanged. The tennis situation is very different since there isn’t a make up match, and well, the end-user (fans) will ultimately lose out. An unfortunate situation but it’s one of at a ‘do so at your own risk’. :)


andrea Says:

sigh.

roger, get back to your ways. rome was yours to win.

i can’t even stand watching mr. serbia, who made it to the final based on other players retirements. show him how it’s done!


zola Says:

About the ticket money,

I vaguely remember that in some cases ( rain delay), or perhaps cancellation ? , if a certain portion of the match is not played the ticketholders might be entitled to some kind of refund. I have to look at it.


jane Says:

Re: fans’ money – I thought I read / heard that they were giving fans in Roma half their ticket price back after the retirements? if so, that’d be nice, and fair gesture on their part.

Thanks for the congrats Zola & Von; you’re both kind posters. It was nice to see Novak rally from a set down like that. He got better and better as the match wore on, and the opposite happened to Stan. But Wawrinka should obviously feel good about his showing in Rome – even though I was really hoping for a Roddick vs. Djoko final after the Qs were played out.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens at Roland Garros; I hope all these injuries/illnesses are better –Rafa and Roddick esp. –so we see some good matches from our favorites.


Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“Rafa had said he first got the blisters Sunday so why did he go through TWO practice sessions the day before his Ferrero match?”

I think Rafa’s problem began with his decision to play doubles in Monte Carlo. It’s great to so for the personal satisfaction and fan appreciation, which can become a heady drug to a young player’s senses. However, I personally believe that the additional wear and tear on his body is what started the blister problem. Two different sets of matches in the same tournament is absolutely insane, especially since he found the clay scheduling gruelling. Considering how intense Nadal plays, I’m surprised he was able to win in Barcelona.

As I pointed out in previous threads, it’s not the ATP that’s 100 percent to be blamed, the players who overdo it are also to be blamed. The players need to work out a schedule that’s psyche friendly. As a Chritian, I believe that my body is my temple, hence, I have the God given responsibility to exercise care and discretion as to how I nourish and rest it. If I abuse it for personal glory and satisfaction, then I have to suffer the consequences. Can I blame another for the breakdown of my body? Absolutely not, so too, the players have a responsibility to their own bodies, and that is to know that the “all things in moderation” rule applies. Forget the ranking points — if it’s in one’s destiny to be the No. 1 or best ever, that will come, minus the brouhahha, and destruction of one’s body. To some this might seem to be too philosophical, but it’s a tried and true prescription for longevity. Sense and sensibility should be the norm.

Tiger Woods remarked that he’d never again set his goals to win all of the Masters events again, in one year. He’s lost the last one and has been sidelined by injury. Mankind can scheme in his heart all that he desires, but our creator or who or whatever we believe it, has the final say. all things in moderation!!


fed is afraid Says:

roger’s winning ways are done. djoker is the real thing, and will soon be winning everything in site.
and i don’t even like him, but i know what i see.


Von Says:

Zola:

“I vaguely remember that in some cases ( rain delay), or perhaps cancellation ? , if a certain portion of the match is not played the ticketholders might be entitled to some kind of refund.”

As I stated previously rain delays and weather elements come under the umbrella of ‘an act of God” hence ATP should or would need to exercise discretion in some form of equitable restitution. If they are going to do so for the two retirements on Saturday — kudos to them, and it’s jolly good of them and should be commended.

____________
jane:

“It was nice to see Novak rally from a set down like that. He got better and better as the match wore on, and the opposite happened to Stan.”

I’ll probably raise the ire of some posters, and I have also been guilty in the past of condemning Novak for his injury time-outs, but sad to say, Wawrinka had a medical time-out in nearly every match he played in Rome. This is not good, and can become the norm for him — only time will tell.

Novak should do well in Hamburg since he’s had 2 retirements from Almagro and Stepanek — about one hour total time on court. That being the case, he should have quite a bit of unused energy going into Hamburg, and by the look of his draw, he should make it to the semis — if he does, I know you’ll be happy. :) My guy is not playing in Hamburg — I’m disappointed, but I would rather see him play fully recovered than push himself and compound his injury even further. Rest a-Rod and come back recharged!!


Von Says:

fed is afraid:

“roger’s winning ways are done. djoker is the real thing, and will soon be winning everything in site. and i don’t even like him, but i know what i see.”

Aren’t you being a little too harsh on Federer — I don’t think his winning days are over. He’s not one of my faves, but even so, let’s be realistic — he’s definitely in a slump but by no stretch of the imagination is he done. There is definitely something wrong, and only he has the answers — but done, he’s NOT.


craig Says:

How much money did Novak get?


Von Says:

Kash:

So you’re making some career changes, eh? Are you going into the jungle, the mighty jungle? Whatever choice you make, good luck and remember that money is not everything. You have to do what feels right in your head and your heart. :)

You stated the following: “1) The insane strings and racquet technology. Sean has been quite vocal about these in the past. With the kind of spin and power players generate these days, it was just a matter of time the players’ bodies gave up on them for playing at such insane power and speed dominated game.”

Oh wow, you’ve hit the nail on the head. This is why so many are suffering from wrist injuries, for both the men and women. As I stated previously, all things in moderation. These players in their quest to ‘stand up and be counted’, is placing so much physical stress on their bodies that it’s just a matter of time where we’ll see multiple cases of wrist/arm injuries, as was evidenced in Rome with Almagro. Another one that’s coming is Davydenko, who has recently changed his strings — he’s too small for that power. After the injury is manifested, then only surgery or resting the body part will help the probelm = several months off from the tour. Murray, Safin and Sharapova, all casualties of the string enhancement. They take time off the heal, and then go back to using the same strings. However, I’m amazed that none of these players are correlating their injuries, and the root cause, to the strings. They cite inflammation/tendinitis/bursitis — all of these refer back to the strings. The strings irritate their body parts, causing inflammation, and then they persist in playing, which then manifests itself into an ‘itis’ condition. When will they wise up?

Catch ya later. :)


sensationalsafin Says:

The strings? Really? I never thought the strings had anything to do with it. But I don’t get it. How can the strings irritate the body? Wouldn’t it be more the racquet’s fault?


Von Says:

sensationalsafin:

The strings are part of the racquet. When the racquets are strung inappropriately, wouldn’t that cause injury? I suppose it’s the racquet’s fault — but the strings are a part of the racquet and has a bearing as to how hard a ball is struck. A racquet minus the strings would’nt cause injury to a body part, would it?


Sean Randall Says:

sensationalsafin, Strings like luxillon allow players to hit the ball harder while maintaining control. Ordinarily hitting a ball with such force and wrist/arm/shoulder action would send a ball long, but with these newer strings you can actually keep that same shot in play more than with lesser strings. End result is you hit the ball harder more often meaning more strain on the body.


Glenn Says:

Congratulations to Wawrinka for making it in the top 10 (for next week’s rankings)!!! He definitely has the game – what he needs is consistency and more experience in the higher rounds. I will confess that what impresses me most about him is his calm and peaceful demeanor in his games. It is a real treat to not have to deal with all the idiotic childish trantrums that many top players often display during games.

Also, congratulations to Djokovic. Not just for his win (he really did play well in the last two sets), but this is the first time I feel he has not made an ass of himself with childish tantrums during a match. Maybe he’s finally growing up. I’ll be watching.

The sportsmanship between Stan and Novak during the match was also an absolutely great thing to see.


Glenn Says:

Oh, Congrats to Wawrinka not only for making it to the top 10 in the rankings, but also for making it in the top 10 of the ATP race. Hope he goes further.


Von Says:

Sean:

“End result is you hit the ball harder more often meaning more strain on the body.”

In addition to strain on the body, let’s not forget the vibration of those strings so many times per minute, resulting in vibration up the the arm throughout the brachial plexus area. Inflammation occurs with the irritation/vibration and a possibility of nerve damage. As a whole, the short term positive benefits are not so beneficial, as compared to the long term negative side effects which are very painful and can curtail a player’s career.


Shital Green Says:

Glenn,
Quote: “the first time I feel he has not made an ass of himself with childish tantrums during a match. Maybe he’s finally growing up. I’ll be watching.”

In that phrase “childish tantrums,” there is certain kind of ageism, i.e. dehumanization of children as if only the behaviors sanctioned by adult and old are proper to human species. Then, there is also anhropocentric speciesism in the “ass of himself,” suggesting animals do not have ontological agencies, and even if the do, they are subservient to human species. This is an outdated humanism of last century, and I am at unease to see its rudiments are still found in archaeological sites like your neural stagnancy. Then, in the phrase “I will be watching,” you have theocentric position as if the rest of the world is awaiting to abide by and confirm to your godly will.
In summary, under the pretext of “congratulations to Djokovic,” you are only showing your intolerance to difference.

Precisely because Djoko reminds me of an animal, I appreciate the animal within me and all other animals in nature. Unlike Descartes, I say, “I am animal, therefore I am.”


Glenn Says:

Dear Shital Green,

Despite your pedantic post, it seems you are not aware of some basic elements of sociological propriety. When adults cannot control their emotions, and throw around their racquets and cannot let go of (sometimes) bad calls from umpires, shout out expletives, etc. then they are not acting like adults, but like children. I’ve got two kids, so I’ve seen childish tantrums enough to know what they are and it is pathetic to see it from grown adults. And for PUBLIC figures to be so childish is indeed assinine.

I don’t care much for your Darwinian analogies (much less for atheistic Darwinism), but you are entitled to your point of view.

“I will be watching” is a reference to the fact, as several know here, that I am not a fan of Djokovic, and that I recently told another poster here that I will be waiting to see how Djokovic develops to see if I will be a fan of his in the future once again. So, unlike you who accuse me of “neural stagnancy,” my statement did not stem from a God-complex. Could it be that the intolerance is merely a reflection of your own personality? That’s called “transference,” BTW – the tendency to impose on everyone else your own personality traits; your world view of others is mirrored by how you yourself are. Something for you to think about.

Well, to get back on topic:

I have been a tennis fan for only a little over a year (before, I thought it was the most boring sport – I am normally a hockey fan). Can someone please explain to me why Wawrinka is not ranked in the top 10 in the Hamburg draw?

Thanks in advance.


Von Says:

Glenn:

The draws are based on the players position in the ranking when they are initially entered — several weeks ago. For example, at the cutoff date of entry, if Wawrinka was No. 24 in the ranking, even though he subsequently rose up to No. 10, the previous ranking would apply and it would be reflected in the draw. Hope this helps.


Glenn Says:

Thanks, Von. So someone can work REALLY hard in a tournament and get into the top ten, but he/she doesn’t even get a break for the next tournament (i.e., by getting a “bye”). WHEW!!! My respect for the toughness of tennis and for what tennis players have to go through is growing!


Glenn Says:

Von,

I see you are a Christian, and I wanted your comment on the following:

One of the things that bugs me about Djokovic is that he makes it obvious he is a Christian (he has made the sign of the cross several times on court), and then he goes ahead and displays so many UN-Christian traits like impatience and pride. It’s the hypocrisy I see that makes me dislike Djokovic. But, as stated, I am waiting to see if he matures.


Glenn Says:

I just read some stuff on Wawrinka’s matches, and I gotta hand it to him for toughing it out despite having some back problems, even taking a set off Djokovic.


Dr. Death Says:

It appears as if I missed a lot of action while sitting on a plane!

Our exciting season continues. I do wish we had more comments (here or elsewhere) from the trainers. Gil Reyes, my all time favorite, has never written the book. (Agassi was so well trained he even drank his water properly.)

The blister issue fascinates me. Shoes, socks are the usual cause. I have played 3+ hours in Asian summer heat regularly without a blister. I just wonder what Reyes or other trainers would recommend – change sneakers, socks?

These other ailments are all recommendations for yoga and pilates. I wonder how many of the pros do that sort of thing.


Von Says:

Glenn:

I don’t want to turn this into a religious conversation, so I’ll just quickly say that we are first and foremost human beings with foibles and frailties. Our reliigous belief, Christianity, does not place a halo around our heads, and make us a cut above others, or perfect. It does give us a code of conduct by which to live, however, it’s a daily, moment by moment way of life and there are times that we do fall miserably. The sign of the cross is an outward sign of inward grace, and professes our belief in what it represents, but it does not mean that we are incapable of wrongdoing. People are of the opinion that once we say we are Christians we are supposed to be perfect in every way, but this is very untrue. We have our weaknesses, but we do know the difference between right and wrong and strive to do better overall. Pride is the most difficult of all emottions to control. It comes with humility, but can only be acquired from years of self-control and thinking. Cut Djokovic some slack, because none of is perfect, and he’s a young adult just out of his teens. I hope this helps.


Gcista Says:

Well, I’m a big Roger fan – being South African and his mom being South African and all… Technically and physically, I really believe he is (still) the best. He’s just low on confidence right now and WILL bounce back this week. The match against Radek was just terrible (for Roger’s standards) and of course the backhand let him down. Even so, I mean he made it to the the last 8. And still no 1 and top 3 in ATP race. His illness beginning of the year has taken its toll.

I feel that Novak has really improved, but I don’t think he’s no 1 material yet. He has not shown that he can mantain the good form week in week out (the throat and dizziness tend to get in the way:) ) But seriously, I don’t think he has the consistency yet. In a year or two, I think he will be able to do so as he matures as a player and professional.

I also think Rafa made the wrong decision by playing the doubles as well, having complained that the clay season was too packed (and he did well and won). But the wear and tear on the body has to come with consequences, and him and his team should have foreseen that. Especially given the way he plays – long rallies, chasing every ball…


Glenn Says:

Von:

I hear you, and appreciate what you say. This needn’t turn to a “religious conversation.” I guess my point is that PUBLIC figures should always be held more accountable. Being a public figure acquires many perks, but ultimately public figures also acquire greater responsibility in their actions than others.

Sports figures have the status of public figures (as anyone here will agree, I’m sure) that have this greater burden. If he’s gonna PUBLICLY display his Christianity, he’d better be ready to be a good example of it.

Just to be clear, I’m not Christian. I’m a rationalist who appreciates consistency (i.e., not hypocrisy), genuineness, and honesty.


Maja Says:

This is a fresh interview with Djokovic on this site after he won… http://www.tennis-x.com/story/2008-05-11/h.php

But I still don’t understand how nobody on this site didn’t make a blog entry about that final day in Rome yet…? Very strange.


Nancy Says:

Let’s get to the real problem…Where is the LIVE coverage? My family and I are avid tennis fans and love to watch tennis any chance we get. I live in New York, home of the US Open, and there is only 1 cable station that shows SOME of the tournaments. Unfortunately my cable company does not offer that station. I have searched the internet for LIVE coverage but all I can see is the scores changing! Does anyone know where I can find LIVE coverage on the internet?


jane Says:

Dr. Death – re: blisters – Djoko retired at Wimbie last year with them, where he also had a lot of problems with his shoes (much slippage, if you recall) so your point makes sense.


jane Says:

Von, I am not saying anything about my personal beliefs (trying to keep religion and politics out of my tennis!) but I will say that one of the central tenants of Christianity is forgiveness and grace, and that Jesus was an exemplar of NOT being judgemental of others, befriending those many would not.

In terms of rationalism, post-humanism, etc. both Shital Green and Glenn make some sound points. I think Novak’s emotion is re-freshing and wouldn’t want all players to behave alike. Some express themselves more outwardly (Roddick, Novak) and it doesn’t hurt their games at all. Others, like Murray and Safin, can implode, and that’s a shame. Some players have a calmer demeanor, and that’s fine. BUT it shouldn”t be the standard by which everyone is judged. Think of the boy / girl thing in schools. For decades, the behaviour of girls was lauded as THE behaviour to emulate, but now sociologists are beginning to understand that this is not really fair due to various biological and sociological factors. This, in my view, doesn’t mean boys should have to act like girls or should be forced to go to another school. It’s good to mix. It’s good to celebrate difference.

Players are people; people are different. It’s important to be tolerant of that as Shital points out. I think that was his main point.

But all of this within reason, too, as Glenn says. Players shouldn’t say or do things if it’s going to *really* harm someone else or themselves. There has to be consideration and sportsmanship. That said, besides rationalism and reason, there is heart – and showing emotion, to me, is great. Especially in sports!

And if a player slips up from time-to-time. In my view, we should forgive them – and appreciate their tennis. Eh Von? The game is why we’re all here.


jane Says:

Yay Murray – now string a few more together like that.

[okay, I'm a lapsed Catholic. ;-) so my biblical knowledge is pretty strong... ]


Maja Says:

I love Murray – he has such an attractive style of playing – and he looks like a well trained gamer when he’s on the good run, it’s very enjoyable to watch him – he looks so young and ready :)


jane Says:

Maja,

I totally agree; I want to see Murray realize his potential and win a Masters Series or Grand Slam. He’s got such an arsenal of shots, and when he learns when & how to put them all together, and plays just that bit more offensively, then look out! He’ll be up there with Rafa, Djoko, Roddick, and Roger, I suspect.


Maja Says:

I agree jane, even last year I have been thinking about (and that’s my personal impression, I can’t be sure in that) how Murray has a similar style of play to DJokovic. But now that DJokovic is trying to save energy in matches, Murray’s game seems even more energetic than Djokovic’s but my vision is that it’s the same style. Murray really has a big talent but he seems to need something to go more up than he does currently with that talent – I’m not sure what it is… maybe a coatch which can suit him? A heard something that’s it’s hard to work with Murray because Murray has some bad temper…


Von Says:

jane:

“And if a player slips up from time-to-time. In my view, we should forgive them – and appreciate their tennis. Eh Von? The game is why we’re all here.”

What are you saying? Please elaborate.


jane Says:

Von,

Tone is so tough to distinguish in writing isn’t it? I was referring to your own kind words, i.e., that “there are times that we do fall miserably’ and this as well “Cut Djokovic some slack, because none of is perfect, and he’s a young adult just out of his teens. I hope this helps.”

You seem like a forgiving person, even though you have strong views, you’re able to step back and think about them, weighing them from all sorts of angles – whether those dovetail with your Christian beliefs, your legal career, or your personal preferences. When I said “eh Von?” it was meant as a reference to your words in the conversation, and that your own tolerance, dovetails interestingly, with Shital’s post-modern view of tolerance. But I was trying to be the peace-weaver, as usual, by agreeing with Glenn that tolerance has to be tempered with some amount of reason too.

Sorry if my comment was abrupt. :-)


jane Says:

Maja,

Both Djoko and Murray have excellent returning and defensive skills; Murray, however, is often a slow-starter in matches and needs to alleviate that issue. He could learn how to switch from defense to offense more quickly, so that he doesn’t lag behind in matches. Djoko has learned quickly to shorten matches and points, although he did start slow against Stan yesterday.

You’re right about this – I do think Murray might have a stubborn and or perfectionist streak, so he needs to work with the right coach and he needs to learn how to temper that, or channel it so it doesn’t hurt him in matches.

So much potential there, though.


Glenn Says:

OK, I’m not the biggest Djokovic fan, but I CAN’T believe that interviewer was still harping on about the imitation thing. Obviously, it resulted in some bad feelings from some quarters, as Djokovic admitted. Surely, this is REALLY old new by now. Give the guy a break!

Nancy, ESPN has a lot of archived sports coverage, including tennis. But I think you have to subscribe, IIRC. Also, check out Tennischannel.com, which was the host channel for Rome, and is also doing full coverage of Hamburg. They might have some archive material. Hope that helps. I’m always looking for old Hingis material myself!

Jane and Von, you two are very interesting (a lapsed Catholic and a Christian). I am very attracted to Christianity (particularly Catholicism). Just to keep my comment on track– I am more and more inclined to appreciate or not appreciate a sports figure NOT JUST for their skill, but also for their — let’s call it —humanity, AKA sportsmanship. It can’t be just about accepting the weakness of the human person, but more about living up to a standard that I believe should be applied to all individuals – especially public figures, e.g. sport stars. (Yeah, even athiests have standards! hahaha!)

Am I being judgmental? To be honest, I believe everyone judges. What diffentiates our judgment as a mere human quality from our judgment as a human failing is whether our judgment is biased. As long as one does not permit prejudice to cloud one’s judgment, I think judgment is acceptable (aside from it being normative in the first place).

Now, REASONS for a person’s actions are unfathomable, and one should only judge a person’s rationale for their actions with great caution. But I believe the actions themselves – ESPECIALLY by a PUBLIC person – can be gauged by a standard to an acceptably great extent.

So emotions are good, but I believe there is an acceptable level of emotional outburst in ANY situation (and not just sports). I believe there is a point when an emotional outburst, especially by a public figure, can be rationally judged by any other human being as simply UNacceptable (and assinine). I can think right now of John MacEnroe which some sports commentators have dubbed as “the man you love to hate.” He had a great game, but I think few if any appreciated his assinite behavior on the court.

Jane, at this point, I would like to echo Von’s question (though I admit I don’t know what Von’s own question was getting at). Are you saying that our judgment of sports figures should rely SOLELY on their skill, and not just as much on their sportsmanship?

I hope I haven’t strayed too far from the content allowable for this board.


Glenn Says:

Jane, BTW, I do notice you are an avid peacemaker. Good job!!!


I like tennis bullies not tennis sissies Says:

ATP needs to get the memo out to everybody that the Dojker refuses to do any more player impersonations. On the topic of religion he is a roman catholic isnt he?


jane Says:

Glenn,

Thanks for furthering the conversation.

Hmmm…no I do think sportsmanship is important, but who defines it and who sets the perimeters? For instance, I personally didn’t approve of Federer directly addressing Djokovic’s box in MC, nor did I approve of Novak getting on the wrong side of the fans at the AO, or Roddick insulting the umpire there. However, I can understand and forgive these human foibles, and in fact think that they can make sports – especially tennis since it’s one-on-one – even more interesting.

Emotional outbursts are curbed by the umps, who can and do give warnings if the players use abusive language &/or throw their racquets, potentially endagering themselves or others (or in Youz’s case, purposely hurting himself).

But some of these are good – it’s only human that the players react emotionally. I like it. It adds to the drama. And I know you’ll hate this, but I thought Johnny Mac was a hoot, and laughed at his outbursts – within reason. Sometimes umps let them go on too long.

So I guess I judge on ability and talent first and I avoid making to many calls otherwise, unless it crosses a line that’s been set. For instance, bounce the ball, adjust your hair or socks, as much or as long as you want, providing you stay within the time limit. That sort of thing.

I’d hate it if there was no drama and if all the players acted like Stan. I love the mix. I try to appreciate it all.


Dr. Death Says:

On what string will all the chaplains be hosting the Ethical Tennis Website? Renaissance men, Neumanists, Humanists, Jesuits, post de Chardin paleontologists, etc.

Hope one of these groups can cure or prevent blisters.


Von Says:

jane:

Your comment wasn’t abrupt, I just couldn’t get it — it needed a few extra words. It seemed to me as if you wanted me to think about forgiveness. Anyway, I’m glad you cleared it up. :) I do that all day.

Forgiving person – that’s me. Why clutter up one’s few brain cells with unforgiveness — a very potent, destructive emotion.

___________
Glenn:

Go for the Catholicism, after you’ve matured as one — you’ll then graduate to Christianity. I’m both, and enjoy both worlds. There’s good in each, and the Catholics have revamped their thinking, especially after they let me into their boarding school. Every rule of ‘don’t', had to be re-written to ‘do’. :) They dedicated a segment of each day praying for graduation day to dawn, so that I could graduate and leave their sancturay — peace was restored, finally.

____________

Dr. Death:

Choose any one of the above and I’ll dedicate a string to you. Or how about just a plain old string quartet, comprising of jane, the lapsed Catholic, Von, the Catholic/Christian, Glenn, the converted Catholic, and then there’s you, whatever religion and vibes you choose. :) How about it guys, are you ready for that new string? :)

____________

Tennis bullies, etc.

Yes, Novak is a Catholic, and I’d hazard a guess of the Eastern Catholic Rites of Byzantine, etc. Church. They always make the sign of the cross, same as Baghdatis.


Maja Says:

Jane, how do you mean that “Novak (was) getting on the wrong side of the fans at the AO”?


jane Says:

Maja,

I didn’t like it when he looked up and nodded at the crowd when he made a good shot – almost like “boo me for that” or taunting them to not like him or his game. It seemed like he had a rough time with the crowd during his matches against both Federer & Tsonga. I felt badly for him, but wished for him to just focus on his game – which he did after he settled into both matches.

On the contrary, I also think his comments after the Federer match were misinterpreted (and that he’s often misunderstood). People see him as arrogant, but I think he’s just repeating what others have said (i.e., what he’s read in the press) and then he’s misinterpreted as arrogant. Djokovic is fully aware of what people think, say and write about him. I think he wants to be liked (as Zola has said before) and is trying, all the time, to improve and better himself. This is one of the many things I admire about him.

But in the heat of the moment, sometimes he becomes…defensive maybe?…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless it works to his detriment and turns people against him. Because it clearly matters to him I think. Others, like say Jimmy Connors, don’t care if people hate them.

The crowd at the AO cheered openly for Federer, and then they cheered for Tsonga, so Djoko felt like they were “against” him. Of course Djoko’s going to feel a little resentment then, and it was so different for him at the US Open or Canada, where the crowds loved him.

OK I think I’ve gone on long enough!


Von Says:

Glenn:

“I believe there is a point when an emotional outburst, especially by a public figure, can be rationally judged by any other human being as simply UNacceptable (and assinine).”

This is purely facetiousness on my part, but you’ve got to stop beating up and that poor donkey — he now has welts, bruises and a hump. Gentle does it. :)


Mia Says:

Novak is not Catholic he is Orthodox Christian.I just have to correct you…


Kash Says:

Von:

Thanks for your wise words regarding money/life. Unfortunately my problem is the other way round. I am too obsessed with head/heart thing that I never really cared for money. I am a person of extremes, so I need to be careful that I donot get to the extreme you mentioned and find a more happy balance. I will be posting now and then for sure!

Sean and Von:

Thanks for elaborating on the impact of those luxilon strings. It is great to see the amazing shots all these top players pull-off, but I can only imagine the amount of strain their bodies have to deal with. I hope these injuries dont make their post-career life miserable, physically! (I dont see any complaints from retired players that they would trade those millions for a pain-free life!)


Von Says:

Kash:

You’re welcome on the head/heart thing!! Do I call you Dr. Kash now? Or has that not happened as yet? Keep on trucking, it’ll soon be here. :) If it has happened, then Whoo-hoo, he did it!!! :) What was your theme for your thesis? Tennis? It wouldn’t surprise me if you somehow meandered a few sentences in that direction.

“(I dont see any complaints from retired players that they would trade those millions for a pain-free life!)”

Fortunately, the present crop of retired players were not into the string thing, big time. The next crop will be the ones to study, and then the retrospective thoughts will be interesting with the couldas, wouldas, shouldas. Keep on posting and be careful living in the jungle. :) It’s a tough world in and outside of the jungle. :)


Von Says:

Mia:

“Novak is not Catholic he is Orthodox Christian.I just have to correct you…”

Thanks for the enlightenment. Interesting tough, since I’m acquainted with both forms of worship — I thought only Catholics made the sign of the cross — I didn’t know the Orthodox Christians did that also. Well, it just goes to show that with each day comes a new learning experience. Thanks. :)


Dr. Death Says:

SEAN said “Strings like luxillon allow players to hit the ball harder while maintaining control. Ordinarily hitting a ball with such force and wrist/arm/shoulder action would send a ball long, but with these newer strings you can actually keep that same shot in play more than with lesser strings. End result is you hit the ball harder more often meaning more strain on the body.”

I have used this for about two years. The temperature really affects how the strings feel. When it is cold, it is like hitting the ball with a piece of wood and the arm does feel it.

Any alternative in the string department because I do like the overall results?


Glenn Says:

Von:

“Beating up that old donkey?” Is that a local expression? Where are you from? I normally hear “beating up a dead horse.”

Or maybe that was your way of saying that I haven’t killed the ass yet? hahaha! But don’t worry, I don’t intend to kill it. It is sufficiently beaten up, I believe.

BTW, we’re talking about public figures in general, and not Djokovic, right?

I initially thought Novak was an Orthodox Christian (not a Catholic Christian), because of where he was from (Serbia) and because of the way he made his sign of the cross (right to left). But then you mentioned that he was Eastern Catholic (who also cross themselves right to left), so I thought you had a little more inside info on the matter (as you quite smartly made the distinction between Roman Catholics and Eastern Catholics. Good job!)

As we’re talking about equipment — has anyone heard about the use of larger, or heavier balls this year? I read about it last year somewhere. I guess the powers that be are concerned that the serve is becoming too important – i.e., too many “cheap points” and not enough play. I might have read somewhere that Hamburg will be using heavier balls. I might be mistaken. Any comments, cofirmations or corrections?


Glenn Says:

I know this is not a place to talk about religion in general, but I wanted to ask about something related to both religion and tennis (I guess this thread has already had a little of both).

I notice that a good number of players, after a win, look up in the sky and point upwards shaking their finger. It took me a while to personally conclude that these people are thanking a higher power. However, I heard a sports commentator once state, as a player was doing it, that it was the player’s way of proudly claiming he is number one.

What are people’s impression here of that action by a player. What does it mean?

BTW, I bring this up because I just saw the tail end of Olivier Rochus’ match and he performed that expression right after he won the match.


Von Says:

Glenn:

“Or maybe that was your way of saying that I haven’t killed the ass yet? hahaha! But don’t worry, I don’t intend to kill it. It is sufficiently beaten up, I believe.”

I was referring to the “ass/assinine” expression. A donkey is an ass. It’s now been beaten close to death — you were a huge contributor. :)

It’s tough to say what most of the guys mean by pointing of the finger. I believe when they look upwards, they are thanking a greater power, but when they stick out the one finger, it’s sort of a thumbs up sign. When I see Federer and Serena Willimas do it, I feel they are reminding us of the No.1 status, even though Serena is no longer No. 1. Each one has their own reasons and/or meaning.

I read of the heavier balls a year or more ago being used at the US Open. However, this is just from memory and I could be wrong.

I remembered this evening to mention a very salient point to you about Wawrinka and your question about his seeding in Hamburg. You’ll be happy to know now that he’s in the top 10, he won’t face any of the top 10 players until Round of 16 hereinafter, which means that he’s guaranteed to advance to the Round of 16, unless he plays badly and gets knocked out before. This should make you happy. :)


Glenn Says:

Von,

THANK YOU! Your comment about Wawrinka has indeed made my night. I also noticed after reading the order of play on the Hamburg website that Wawrinka has two days off, which will be good, since he has strongly implied in his post-Finals match interview in Rome that the schedule is tiring him out.

We want our top ten to be in their best form so their fans can have the benefit of some really good matches.

Thanks for your other input, as well.

See you in the “No.2 Ranking” thread, as that seems to be the new hotspot!


Mia Says:

Von,

You`re welcome. It`s just that they make this sign a bit different. orthodox go first right and than left and catholics first left and than right.
I don`t know if I am right but I figure Sampras since he is of Greek origin should be orthodox as well as Agassi since he is of Armenian. if I`m talking nonsense,just forget it.:-)


bob22 Says:

To Von:
From where you got this information?
>Yes, Novak is a Catholic, and I’d hazard a guess of the Eastern Catholic Rites of Byzantine, etc. Church.

You are wrong! Novak is actualy Ortodox Christian.


Von Says:

Bob22:

I believe I stated I think, but Mia, in her post of May 12th, @ 6:57 pm, stated he was Orthodox Christian, and I conceded to her post correcting me. I don’t profess to be an expert of the religious beliefs of the players. I hope this is satisfactory to you. :)


tomas d Says:

[...] Federer Interview – Rome, May 9 See Also… Tennis T-Shirts Watch Rome Online Live Tennis Scoreshttp://www.tennis-x.com/xblog/2008-05-10/452.phpFlorida Panthers Team Report USA [...]


Cornelia Says:

jane Says:
Zola,
Novak has gone on the record today, criticizing the schedule openly, much like Rafa has.

I’ve also heard there is a petition to the ATP circulating.

So, hopefully, something will be done, if not this year, then in the future.

We can complain about the TV coverage and get something done about, but it’s also time to get behind our players, whether you’re a fan of one or many.

Posted May 10th, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Jane, there is indeed a petition. And everyone here who wants to get behind the players and support them, you can do so here, signing the petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/tennis08/petition.html

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