Just when I thought Novak Djokovic had turned the corner, he goes back to his usual ways. Moments after capturing the second biggest title of his career (behind the Australian Open), Djokovic, the same guy who I thought was over the injury routine after the US Open, calls for the trainer during the post-match, on-court ceremonies.
Before you get on me for hating on Novak, he really did injure himself. I can’t make that up.
First, credit to Djokovic for hammering on Nikolay Davydenko like a rusty nail 6-1, 7-5 to become the first player since who knows when to drop a bagel set and still end up with Masters Cup title (and maybe the first guy to win the year-end event w/o defeating a former Slam champion along the way).
Djokovic has now closed to within 10 points of No. 2 Roger Federer and he could still overtake by the end of the year if he would only follow the lead of everyone else on the tour by playing more tournaments (more on that below).
Since I live in the U.S. and I try to keep normal sleeping times I was unable to see any of the final – excellent job by organizers in securing a U.S. cable channel, Fox Sports Net, that would show the final tape delayed at 2am Monday morning. Whose brilliant idea was that? Why not just have FSN televise it at 4am or even 5am? Hell, why bother showing it at all?
But let’s back to the main topic: Djokovic calling for the trainer because he hurt himself AFTER he won the title. How very Novak of him. Here’s what he said:
Q. I saw that the trainer came in after the match. Did you hurt yourself a little bit while celebrating your victory?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes, I hurt myself. I made a pretty big cut on my hand when I was celebrating with my team (smiling). I was bleeding during the ceremony. I didn’t know what to do, you know. I called the trainer a couple of times. I wanted to retire (laughter).
No, no. This is just a slight cut. But you don’t feel the pain in the moments of happiness.
Well, credit to Novak for not withdrawing from the ceremony, but next time he needs to be more careful when he goes up into the stands especially after beating a Russian with alleged ties to gambling and the mafia as some in the tennis world want us to believe.
So Novak starts the year on a high note and finishes on a high note, and with Rafael Nadal ailing and Federer focusing on the Slams in his elder years, Novak can really make a run at No. 1 next year. Will he get it? I don’t think so, but with this win he’s firmly back in the conversation.
As for the tour season, with the injuries to Nadal, Federer and even Andy Roddick top players and fans are again talking about the length of the calendar. Well, someone forget to tell about 90% of the tour that there’s this problem because just about all of them are still playing.
Just check out the Challenger Circuit on the ATP site.
Did you know that Fabrice Santoro (guess he’s not retiring) just won a title over Victor Hanescu in the Ukraine where Dmitry Tursunov was the top seed (guess that explains why he didn’t want to be a Shanghai alternate!)? Guillermo Canas, Igor Kunitsyn, Stefan Koubek were also at the event.
Vince Spadea was the top seed at last week’s Champaign Challenger which was won by Las Vegas-titlist Kevin Anderson.
In Columbia, Nicolas Lapentti and Nicolas Massu both surfaced for the $35,000 Medellin Challenger. Leonardo Mayer beat Sergio Roitman in that final. Both Lapentti and Massu lost second round collecting a total of $1200! That’s right, they each got a whopping $600. See, they really play for the love of the game.
And at the Jersey Challenger in England, Andreas Beck was upset by Andrian Mannarino in the final. Chris Guiccione was the top seed in that field which also featured Dominik Hrbaty, Simon Greul and George “I Beat Pete” Bastl.
And the tour rolls on this week.
In Finland seven of the top eight seeds are ranked in the Top 100 including three in the Top 50 with Turusnov, Jarrko Nieminen and Kunitsyn.
In Knoxville, top-seeded Spadea is joined by Frank Dancevic, Wayne Odesnik, Bobby Reynolds and Ramon Delgado.
So if you thought the season was over, think again. And if you are of the belief that the season is too long, maybe it’s too short…
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