Jankovic Loses, Federer Escapes at Australian Open
by Staff | January 25th, 2009, 9:57 am
  • 130 Comments

Choking Jankovic Out, Dokic in at Australian Open

The world No. 1 with a cloud over her head, Jelena Jankovic entered the 2009 Australian Open without a career Slam title to her credit, and on Sunday she exited the same way. The Serb will have to wait until May and the French Open for a shot at another Slam after getting steamrolled 6-1, 6-4 by chunky French double-hander Marion Bartoli.


“I tried to not think about it for the whole match,” the No. 16-seeded Bartoli said of facing the world No. 1. “This is my first time playing in Rod Laver Arena. I think I just played amazingly today and I’m so glad to put on a good performance.”

Now Janokovic will likely not have to put up with another four months of questioning regarding the validity of her No. 1 ranking as, with her exit, the door is open for Serena Williams or Russia’s Dinara Safina or Elena Dementieva to take the No. 1 ranking.

Jankovic came into Melbourne with a new level of fitness due to some strenuous off-season work, but showed her mental fragility on the big stage Sunday, playing tentatively. Bartoli took huge cuts at the ball, playing aggressively and racing out to a 5-0 lead in the first set. Jankovic constantly looked to her players’ box for support, tightening up in the face of the Frenchwoman’s onslaught.

In the second set a seemingly shaken-up Jankovic lost two points early in the set when she stopped play during a point thinking the ball was out, only to have the Hawkeye video replay show catching the line. Bartoli broke at 4-4 in the second set and aside from a shaky double fault on match point, followed by closing out the match with a forehand winner.

“I had a slow start. I let my opponent completely come on top of me and play her game,” Jankovic told reporters. “I had some chances in the first set as well, but I just didn’t take it. I gave her a lot of confidence throughout the match…I let her hit all the shots that she wanted to. I let her play her game…So a bad day for me. You know, good day for her. And all the credit. She was the better one today.”

Russian Dinara Safina was another player plagued by the choke on Sunday in Melbourne, with the No. 3 seed blowing a huge lead against No. 15 seed Alize Cornet of France. She trounced the teen in the first set before falling off the shelf, dropping the second and going down 2-5 in the third before fighting off two match points to win 6-2, 2-6, 7-5.

“Maybe she was just not ready to win this match, because she had it all in the hands,” Safina said. “From 1-0 to go down 5-1, it should have never happened to me, being No. 3 in the world. I played really like a junior today. I think it’s just lucky that I went through. But really it’s sad that I can do these kind of mistakes.”

Safina will next play unseeded Aussie Jelena Dokic, who ousted No. 29 seed Alisa “Young Lindsay” Kleybanova in a nervous, error-ridden match for both players.

“This is unbelievable to be in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam,” said Dokic on court after the match. “I was going to have the week off but I guess those plans are scratched now.”

Both players combined for 96 unforced errors and 13 breaks of serve during the 7-5, 5-7, 8-6 encounter.

Russian No. 7 seed Vera Zvonareva also moved into the quarters Sunday, defeating fellow Russian and No. 10 seed Nadia Petrova 7-5, 6-4.

Federer Wins From 0-2 Sets Down, Roddick Rolls at Australian Open

You can learn a lot from going 1-7 against a player. Tomas Berdych, on the one-win end of eight previous meetings with Roger Federer, on Sunday in Melbourne seemed to anticipate every Federer move, be it a groundstroke or serve out wide to the forehand, leaping out to a two sets to love lead against the world No. 2 Swiss. But in the third set Federer raised his game to record a stunning comeback to gain the quarterfinals with a 4-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 victory over the Czech at the Australian Open.

“He put me under a lot of pressure, but thank God I was able to react,” Federer told reporters. “He doesn’t give you that many chances, so I was happy. I hung in there. I don’t play five setters every day so it’s a very nice feeling.”

Up two sets to love and three games from the match, Berdych says he still never felt close to winning.

“I wouldn’t say I was so close. I won two sets and then I was 3-all,” said the confidence-challenged Czech, who beat the Swiss at the 2004 Athens Olympics, but was satisfied with pushing Federer. “Still, I mean, even if you have a match point you’re closer, but not close enough to beat him…I’m pretty happy with it. I won two sets with him. I give him a little more pressure.”

Also into the quarters Sunday were No. 8 seed Juan Martin del Potro, whose experience carried him through from a set down against fellow big man and No. 19 seed Marin Cilic, and the fitness-improved No. 7 seed Andy Roddick, who trounced No. 21 Tommy Robredo 7-5, 6-1, 6-3.

“I don’t know that I’ve had a bad day against him,” said Roddick on losing only one set to Robredo in 10 meetings. “I feel like I always come off the court having played pretty well. I’m sure the match-up is favorable. I can get my feet under me a little bit and go after some shots. I’ve just played well against him most of the times we’ve played.”

In the final match of the day extending into the early morning, No. 3 seed Novak Djokovic led unseeded former runner-up Marcos Baghdatis 6-1, 7-6(1), 6-7(5), as play continued into the fourth set at 9:45 a.m. EST. Were Djokovic to win he would face Roddick in the quarterfinals. The Serb and the American are not the best of friends, and last faced off at the 2008 US Open, where Djokovic triumphed then publicly ridiculed Roddick for insinuating that he dramatically played-up his various injuries.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS

Roger Federer has four career comebacks now from 0-2 sets…

After winning his first six five-set matches, Tomas Berdych has lost four of his last five…

Serena Williams and Sveta Kuznetsova are the only remaining Slam champs in the women’s field…

Roger Federer was broken 5 times on a hardcourt Sunday…

Tomas Berdych is 0-11 career vs Top 10 players in Grand Slams…

Roger Federer has reached his 19th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal…

Andy Murray is 8-0 on the year, Fernando Verdasco 7-1…

Rafael Nadal has reached 12 straight Grand Slam fourth rounds…

Fernando Verdasco’s 12 games lost is the fewest of any player to reach the men’s fourth round…

All top 8 men’s seeds have never advanced to the quarterfinals at a Slam in the Open Era…

Rafael Nadal has won seven straight sets over Fernando Gonzalez since losing to the Chilean at the 2007 Australian Open…

Fernando Gonzalez has three career wins over No. 1s. He has also reached the quarterfinals or better at all four Slams…

Andy Murray has won 11 of 12 career sets against Fernando Verdasco…

The last British man to reach the Australian QFs was John Llyod in 1985…

James Blake is 1-10 vs. Top 10 players in Grand Slams. Blake beat No. 2 Nadal at the 2005 US Open if you were wondering…

Gilles Simon has the same number of titles (5) as Gael Monfils, Fernando Verdasco and JW Tsonga combined…

Damir Dokic, who hasn’t spoken to his daughter in years, is back in the media now that his daughter has put herself back on the tennis map, telling Aussie newspapers that he wants to coach her again and is en route to Melbourne. Yikes!

Andy Murray says he is fighting off the flu, and spent much of Friday in bed…

Marion Bartoli goes out of her way to try and watch every Roger Federer match, saying she is a “huge fan.” “Sometimes I get really upset if he’s losing but last night he won, so I was fine,” Bartoli said of Federer. “I have an autographed picture of him. The other day we had an IMG player party — we both have the same [management] company — and unfortunately he left five minutes before I got there!”…Bartoli says she is also enjoying improving her blackjack play in the hotel casino with her father…Bartoli says her friends on tour include Daniela Hantuchova, Dominika Cibulkova, Agnieszka Radwanska, Caroline Wozniacki, and Shahar Peer…Bartoli blogging on another of her favorites, Pete Sampras: “Before Roger [Federer], my favorite was Pete Sampras. I actually have a signed shirt from Pete! When I was 15, I was playing at the Orange Bowl, and his coach Paul Annacone was there to see some juniors. I was playing with the same strings as Pete, and the guy from the stringing company introduced me to Paul and said I was a huge fan of Pete, and Paul told me that if I won the tournament I’d get a signed shirt. I ended up winning that tournament and six months later at Roland Garros I got it! It was a GREAT DAY. I’ve had it in my bedroom for about 10 years now. I actually got to meet Pete when I won the US Open juniors too, which was the same year he played Lleyton Hewitt in the final. I went to get my trophy on Arthur Ashe and I met him and his wife right before the final…it was amazing!”…

Mary Joe Fernandez and Mary Carillo (Carillo the strength) are clearly the best team doing women’s matches for ESPN, keep everyone else out of the booth…

No wonder on-court coaching has taken hold on the WTA Tour (thank God the ITF doesn’t allow it at the Slams) — can the top players try and win one point without afterwards looking at their coaches box for support? Geez, just play the game, have a little confidence in yourself…

The Williams sisters have won seven majors in doubles, and are into the fourth round at the Aussie Open…

THE WHYS — Why are ESPN’s Bud Collins and Patrick McEnroe having a conversation about Tomas Berdych where Patrick is pronouncing it “Burr-ditch” and Bud is pronouncing it “Beer-dick”?…Why are all the top women chokers?…Why is Rafael Nadal dressing like he should be carrying the baton in front of the gay pride parade (or doing commercials for Fruit Stripe Gum)?…Why are the Serb women all of a sudden playing without confidence?…Why are there three Chinese women in the Top 50, yet no men close to that mark?…


Also Check Out:
Tennis-X Funk/Trunk: Murray, Rafa, Kim-tastic
Jankovic Passes on Mixed Doubles Coupling with Murray at US Open
Serena Beats Ass, Bows to Queen at Wimbledon, Complains
Serena Williams, Nadal on Deck: Tennis-X Predictions
Jankovic Remembers Former No. 1 Days, Beating Safina for Cincinnati Title

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130 Comments for Jankovic Loses, Federer Escapes at Australian Open

jane Says:

“Andy Murray says he is fighting off the flu, and spent much of Friday in bed…”

Oh-oh. That doesn’t bode well for his matches going forward, now, does it? Hmmmmm…


Anonymous Says:

the snark i normally like, but a gay dig? not cool. makes you sound like an out-of-touch douche.


Gordo Says:

Staff -

Great article. Informative and chock full o’interesting tidbits.

It is a strange phenomenon how the seeding and ranking system for the men seems to be frighteningly on, for if Nadal, Murray, Simon and Blake win then the top 8 seeds will be the last remaining 8. Even stranger is all of the above’s 4 opponents ( Gonzalez [13], Verdasco [14], Monfils [12] and Tsonga [5]) have gone through without an upset. Wow!

Meanwhile the women’s top seeds struggle as always. I wonder if it has anything to do with the 5 sets that the men play. Had Federer’s match last night been a best of 3 he would have been in Switzerland by now but it is so tough to beat him, Nadal or the Djoker in a 5 setter. Just maybe the extra 2 sets help the cream to rise to the top.

This is the one element – endurance, both physically and mentally – that we have yet to learn about Andy Murray. The next week should prove very revealing.

One thing is certain – Roger Federer can sure get down and scrap when he has to, and his mental toughness in a non-clay slam seems to get him through unless external forces are at work (mono – Aussie Open 2008), (darkness – Wimbledon 2008).

But what about that Jelena Dokic? Even if she gets killed against the steamrolling Safina it is so good to see a comeback. Good on ya girl!!!


Gordo Says:

And you know that “Be careful what you wish for… you might get it?” saying?

I always thought Nadal looked out of place in the muscle shirts and pirate pants and I was hoping he would conform to more conventional apparel.

Now that he has I truly do miss the old look.


Debra Gardner Says:

Oh, andy, no flu please! I want you right out there playing the others! Besides, the Flu is catching. Imagine if there’s a rash of it all of a sudden. All these guys who’ve played long exhausting matches etc. No, no, no, we don’t want that! On the otherhand, the fact that more of these players don’t get sick, living and working together in relatively close quarters must say something about their fitness or imune systems!


Polo Says:

The article was good except for the part that praised Mary Carillo. I always run to the remote control to put it on mute whenever she starts to talk. She likes to coin nicknames or phrases and is so self-congratulatory once she utters them. She thinks she is so witty. Then she repeats the same term or phrase over and over and over again until the whole world goes berserk from annoyance. And she is a John McEnroe kiss-a**.


Watch Your Smart Mouth Says:

Dear Staff,

Instead of being instantly offended I went and looked at photos of Nadal from the Australian Open. To Justify the comment, I was expecting some Richard Simmons Sequins, a hat of some kind and maybe some fringe. Instead I saw regular clothes on a tennis player that happen to use some bright contrast. Big Deal.

Your snarky connection to gay pride exists only in the homophobic authors imagination.

Your comment is way out of line and whoever authored should identify themselves. It’s not funny, I’m not laughing and you need to question yourself as to why you thought it appropriate to publish it. This is 2009 and there are a growing number of homosexual americans that arent like the sterotypes you see on TV and dont find stupid jokes like this acceptable anymore.


andrea Says:

roger’s play during the first two sets of the berdych/fed match was a dog’s breakfast. credit to tomas for being such a slugger.

i find it uncanny that his two missed volleys (not to mention the dumped smash….painful) were almost identical to the missed volleys he had on set points (?) against Roger last year at the AO.

always dangerous but the mental meltdowns on key points keep him from being the elite.

have not watched djokovic/baghdatis yet – should be a good one.

bad news about andy murray.


jane Says:

Just read this about the men’s draw at OZ this year: “…all top eight seeded players advancing to the fourth round for the first time since 1970. “


Kroll Says:

Safina said. “From 1-0 to go down 5-1, it should have never happened to me, being No. 3 in the world”

A comment from Serenaland?

“Why is Rafael Nadal dressing like he should be carrying the baton in front of the gay pride parade (or doing commercials for Fruit Stripe Gum)?”

See, the gag about the fruit stripe gum is mildly funny but the gay pride parade? Lame..


jane Says:

Hey Kroll – to be fair, Safina also said that maybe Cornet wasn’t “ready” to win the match as Cornet had it all in “[her] hands.” Safina seemed well aware that it was an escape. The way I interpreted it was that Safina was more disappointed in her own performance than anything, but it didn’t come across like arrogance to me.

But I agree 100% with you and “watch your smart mouth” about the gay pride comment – unnecessary and not funny.


jane Says:

Great shot-making in Djokovic vs. Baghdatis. I just watched the replay. Djoko’s first serve can be better but his second serve is effective and his forehand was firing. Baggy looked pretty great too.


TD (Tam) Says:

“Andy Murray says he is fighting off the flu, and spent much of Friday in bed…”

Will flu be the new mono this year?

Congrats to everybody whose favourites won today. :)

Go Andy Gooooo!


Kroll Says:

Jane
I admit I was being harsh and in context she was being self-deprecatory but the comment itself is so ridiculous, y,know, “…never have happened to me being No. 3…” but its probably the fact that she’s not a native english speaker.


Giner Says:

” Q. What do you think about Hawk‑Eye?

ROGER FEDERER: What do I think about it? It’s horrible. I don’t like it, no.

Q. Why?

ROGER FEDERER: Because Tomas doesn’t like it since today. Finally one guy understood. Look, it’s there to be used. I don’t care. But if I get a good or bad challenge, you know, I’d rather challenge too much and not have them left.

But I don’t think you win or lose a match because of them. If it’s 9‑All in the fifth set, you know, you got to use it and there’s a terrible call because the linesperson was sleeping and the umpire was drinking coffee, of course then it’s good you have it.

But, God, you have four eyes looking at every line. You could really mess up. Yeah, the ball Tomas was questioning was out. But still, a system like this is in place it shouldn’t happen, right? That could be the crucial moment for Tomas. It wasn’t because it was clearly out. Still, it’s not so much fun for him, I guess.”

Federer here is saying Hawkeye is bad because it wasn’t available that one time when Tomas needed it, and therefore it shouldn’t be used. I would like to say, big deal? Tomas couldn’t check his ball because it wasn’t available? If Hawkeye wasn’t there in the first place, he wouldn’t have been able to check it either, so what difference does it make?

It still helps because it’s there when you need it, 99% of the time, which is better than not having it at all. If you know the call is bad and a linesman blinked, at least you won’t get robbed, or even if the call was good but you weren’t sure, you can see and be assured that the call was good.

Other than this bit, I thought his interview was good. He gave Berdych more credit than he deserved. He was quite generous.


Giner Says:

“All top 8 men’s seeds have never advanced to the quarterfinals at a Slam in the Open Era…”

This was ambiguously written. It took me a while to decipher what you meant by it.

There has never been an incident in open era when all of the top 8 seeds advanced to the quarter finals in a Slam.

That’s how I would have worded it.

“Why are there three Chinese women in the Top 50, yet no men close to that mark?…”

Maybe in China they just view it as more of a women’s sport, and men are into other sports that women are not into. The Russian girls say they were inspired by Anna Kournikova and the glamour of it, while the men didn’t have that.

“Why are all the top women chokers?”

The Williams sisters aren’t chokers, and I don’t think Sharapova is either. It’s not easy to close out a match. Andre in his mid thirties revealed that even with all his experience, closing out a match is not easy even for him.

“Why is Rafael Nadal dressing like he should be carrying the baton in front of the gay pride parade (or doing commercials for Fruit Stripe Gum)?”

I don’t see it that way. There’s nothing gay or remarkable about his new look.


Giner Says:

“Meanwhile the women’s top seeds struggle as always. I wonder if it has anything to do with the 5 sets that the men play. Had Federer’s match last night been a best of 3 he would have been in Switzerland by now but it is so tough to beat him, Nadal or the Djoker in a 5 setter. Just maybe the extra 2 sets help the cream to rise to the top.”

This wasn’t how it used to be 10 years ago. The women’s draw didn’t really begin until the QFs. There were no upsets for top players, and the first four rounds were just a formality. This is because there was a lot of depth within the top 10, but not much outside of it. For the men however, upsets were expected.

Right now the men’s game has taken the position the women’s used to be, and the women have swapped. It’s been a good Open for men this year (Nalbandian notwithstanding), with the top 8 still being alive in the second week. That means we’ll get some great matches from here on out.

“This is the one element – endurance, both physically and mentally – that we have yet to learn about Andy Murray. The next week should prove very revealing.”

He did a lot of work in the off season, bulking up and getting fitter. I have no doubt that he’ll be ready for anything you throw at him.

“But what about that Jelena Dokic? Even if she gets killed against the steamrolling Safina it is so good to see a comeback. Good on ya girl!!!”

I don’t think Safina is steamrolling at the moment. It wouldn’t surprise me if Dokic beats her, and she has gotten through a lot of seeded opponents so far. Last year was still a terrible year for her, but a big change this year.

“i find it uncanny that his two missed volleys (not to mention the dumped smash….painful) were almost identical to the missed volleys he had on set points (?) against Roger last year at the AO.”

It was three easy put away volleys that he missed, and one smash that didn’t even reach the net. This is a classic example of tightening up. A choke, in less generous terms.

Kroll Says:

“Safina said. “From 1-0 to go down 5-1, it should have never happened to me, being No. 3 in the world”

A comment from Serenaland? ”

I read her entire interview, and it is very Serena like. I’m not happy with her. The least she could have done is acknowledge her opponent. She didn’t even refer to her by name. Safina just called her “the girl”. This is how Marat sounds too. I don’t blame her entirely because she was raised in a different culture and the etiquette may be different, but she’s still lost a fan.

Here’s some more of her quotes:

Q. What was going through your mind? What tactics were you thinking?

DINARA SAFINA: Tactics? Not really. Just what I’m doing on the court, you know, having the whole ‑‑ you know, it was all about me first set, playing solid. Nothing special, just my game. It’s 5‑Love for me. Okay, I had set point on her serve. She hit a lucky shot, 5‑1. Losing so fast my serve, 5‑2, and then I break her again, 6‑2 for me. 1‑Love, 15‑40 on her serve.

From 1‑Love to go down 5‑1, it should have never happened to me, being No. 3 in the world. I played really like a junior today. I think it’s just lucky that I went through.

But really it’s sad that I can do these kind of mistakes.

Q. Can you pick yourself up for the next match?

DINARA SAFINA: I have to. There is no other way, you know. Because really it’s sad what I did today.

Q. But the positive for you is that you’re managing to fight through these matches, and maybe your level will come in the next three?

DINARA SAFINA: I mean, the game is there. It’s just that I’m soft on myself. I mean, winning 6‑2 and then having 1‑Love, 15‑40 on her serve, being dominant, and then like somebody switch me off and I started to just play.

Of course, because she was complaining about everything, I don’t know what, her shoulder, this. I just started to look at her, what she’s doing, instead of focusing myself and continuing being aggressive.

I just don’t know. I’m so stupid looking at her instead of myself.

Q. If things fall right, you could leave here as the world No. 1. You don’t sound like you think you’re ready for that.

DINARA SAFINA: Well, you know, it’s tough because still I’m sad about this match, you know. Of course, I have a chance to play quarters and I have a chance to play better. I’m just a little bit disappointing about this match, you know. Playing against this girl and allowing myself to do these kind of mistakes.

Q. In some way you must be pleased you were able to come back from two breaks down in the third set.

DINARA SAFINA: Of course, you know. But how many times I need to ‑‑ how many chances I need to have? I’m also lucky that I won first round. The girl, I didn’t even have to stay in the court because she was playing with herself. Se was shooting ten balls in the fence, one in the court.

I was lucky to go through second round, because the girl, she could not win the match. Okay, third round at least I played something. Today again the girl has I think ‑‑ I just don’t know how many more times I need to prove that either I play or I ready to go home.

The game is there. I just don’t know what’s going on through my mind.

—-
I didn’t even bother going through the rest. It’s all the same.

Even if it were true, it’s still a pretty rude response. She acted as though she lost and that if she played a little bit better no opponent would not have stood a chance.


jane Says:

Okay Kroll and Giner, you’re convinced me that Safina was crude or rude in some comments. I don’t know if it’s arrogance but it’s certainly intense self-centered-ness!

This comment did make me wince: “Playing against this girl and allowing myself to do these kind of mistakes.”

USE HER NAME SAFINA!

It almost sounds like “this girl” is a nobody against whom Safina feels she should’ve been playing better. It’s not very kind. A good winner and/or loser should ALWAYS give some credit to the opponent.

I think there is a bit of a language barrier, but that doesn’t excuse not giving at least some credit to **Alize Cornet**


Kroll Says:

Giner
I think Safina’s poor level of play should help Dokic for sure (Considering that her shotmaking though stellar is still error-prone) and I like her chances at winning that match. Unless of course she’s too tired or has injured her ankle (Excuse me but how is it not broken?). With Dokic’s insane crowd support and Safina’s antics, it should be an eventful match, to say the least.


Kroll Says:

Jane
“..but it’s certainly intense self-centered-ness!”

In other words, Serenaland :)


andrea Says:

roddick vs djokovic will be n interesting match up – haven’t played each other since that US Open match when the crowd booed novak.

andy’s actually playing pretty good tennis.


oyster bay Says:

“Djokovic triumphed then publicly ridiculed Roddick for insinuating that he dramatically played-up his various injuries.”

So what? Roddick publicly stated that Novak had diseases.

Safina is arrogant and rude. I hope Dokic cleans her clock.
Vera will take care of Bartoli too.


sar Says:

Maybe this is why Murray has the flu.

“I don’t know how fit Murray is. I’ll take him on any day in a five-setter,”
Federer said.

“He’s younger so he’s probably not so experienced. In the end it becomes
very mental, and I know that this is where my biggest strength always comes
into play. That’s why I’m always going to favour myself in a fifth set.”


jane Says:

Federer says “That’s why I’m always going to favour myself in a fifth set.””

Except, perhaps, against a certain Spaniard?


Ra Says:

Hello Jane, Von, Giner, Kroll, and all who may still frequent this board. It’s so nice to read all your commentary.

I just want to express that I found Safina to be gracious, charismatic, and realistic in her post-match on court interview immediately following her victory. She said that Alize (although, no, I don’t recall Safina using her name) deserved to win with her two match points, and she thanked god that she somehow came through. Also, she referred to the previous grand slam matches in which she lost focus and allowed match points before going on to win. In my understanding, it was those sorts of lapses that she was saying a world number 3 should not be committing on a regular basis. I was actually surprisingly impressed by her in that interview, so I was pretty shocked to see the critical response she elicited from some of you.

My point is that, having now read the transcript on the AO site, it occurs to me that the official interview reads a lot differently when prefaced by her on court comments than it does as a stand alone response to the match.


mem Says:

sar, i was kind of thinking the same thing. in all due respect, i think maybe, all of this being the “favorite” has caused andy to develop a type of flu called “fear.” after all, it is getting closer to him having to really live up to the hype. when you’re at the top, the heat of expectations can get pretty intense!


Kroll Says:

Speaking of Andy, where in the world is Von, especially when Andy isnt doing too badly….
Has she decided that defending him from all the riffraff on this board somehow jinxes him? Ok, that doesn’t make any sense but seriously…


Brian Says:

As for the pronunciation of Tomáš Berdych, Bud Collins is closer to the original, as he often is. In Czech it’s [ˈtomaːʃ ˈbɛrdɪx]; a good English approximation is TOH-mahsh BEAR-dikh, and “Beer-dick” works as well. It does bother me to hear his name pronounced with “ditch” at the end.

Czech names in tennis are regularly butchered (along with, well, pretty much all non-English names and even some English ones). Way back when Navratilova pronounced Lucie Šafářová the Czech way (“SHAH-fahrrzhh-o-vah”) as opposed to the Anglicized “sah-far-OH-vuh”, I don’t think anyone knew she was talking about the same person.


Mary Says:

RE: Hawkeye.
Last night Giner pointed out something interesting– when shadows hit certain places hawkeye does not work– why doesn’t the ump make an announcement at that time? the linespeople have to have in the back of their minds that hawkeye is there to make the final call. It’s human nature.

Von may have started a novena to St. Jude for Roddick. Im starting to hope Blake will be the big spoiler on the other side of the draw.


Voicemale1 Says:

Federer says “That’s why I’m always going to favour myself in a fifth set.””

This is pretty unusual, given Federer’s 5-set record is barely over .500: 14-12. I’m guessing Murray’s gotten under Federer’s skin and he’s using every opportunity to gently chide Andy.


Giner Says:

I was looking forward to the Simon-Monfils match but these guys are boring me to sleep. They are playing very casually, and just moonball rallying to each other. Neither player is hitting the ball very hard. They look as though they’re just having a practice hit.. or matchfixing.

Very disappointed so far. During one of the long rallies with 45 strokes, they were hitting so softly the crowd was groaning in boredom.

After falling in love with Simon’s game, I was hoping for a more explosive match, especially against a guy that hits as hard as Monfils.


Giner Says:

“It almost sounds like “this girl” is a nobody against whom Safina feels she should’ve been playing better. It’s not very kind. A good winner and/or loser should ALWAYS give some credit to the opponent.”

The way she assesses the match and how poorly she played yet still won, implies that her opponent sucked so much that she didn’t have to play well to win it. Or that if she played well, she would have been capable of winning the calendar Grand Slam.

Even Serena sounds more polite than this, though the message is the same.


Giner Says:

“I just want to express that I found Safina to be gracious, charismatic, and realistic in her post-match on court interview immediately following her victory. She said that Alize (although, no, I don’t recall Safina using her name) deserved to win with her two match points, and she thanked god that she somehow came through. Also, she referred to the previous grand slam matches in which she lost focus and allowed match points before going on to win. In my understanding, it was those sorts of lapses that she was saying a world number 3 should not be committing on a regular basis. I was actually surprisingly impressed by her in that interview, so I was pretty shocked to see the critical response she elicited from some of you.

My point is that, having now read the transcript on the AO site, it occurs to me that the official interview reads a lot differently when prefaced by her on court comments than it does as a stand alone response to the match.”

Ra, when you’re speaking in front of a packed Rod Laver Arena (about 17,000 spectators) you tend to speak a little less controversially than you do when you’re in a small room with the press and no one else watching.

Djokovic is an exception, and I give all credit to him for being himself at all times. Most players moderate themselves when there’s a chance you could be booed by the crowd.


Giner Says:

According to the official hawkeye website, hawkeye is accurate to within 3.6mm. Now that in itself is quite accurate, far more accurate than the human eye can judge, however, sometimes you have seen a call where the ball touches the line by 1mm, or is out by 1mm, and when Hawkeye makes a call like this, there’s every chance that Hawkeye’s call was wrong.

Oops..

That brings up further debate. When the replay shows that it is that close, it could be wrong yet we still use it anyway. Should we be trusting their judgment when it is within the error margin? My answer is yes anyway, because we’re no better served in trusting a linesman’s call when it is that close. A linesman only has a split second to make a decision and if he or she blinks, they’ll miss it.


Colin Says:

I’ve never watched a Gay Pride march, so I don’t know how the men usually dress. However I have seen pictures and newsreel clips of such events as the Gay Mardi Gras in Sydney, and there are the most flamboyant and outrageous – not to say tacky – costumes on display. So it is silly to pretend that the public self-image of gays is not, quite often, somewhat comical, and would embarass the hell out of me if I were gay.
Everyday non-flamboyant gays, I associate with neatness and careful grooming – rather like the new Nadal.
Either way, I think we’re overreacting to the joke about Rafa.


jane Says:

HI Ra,

Nice to hear from you! My initial repsonse was to defend Safina, because I took her reaction to be mainly self-critical and thus not arrogant at all. I guess after reading what Giner posted of the interview, I could see how her comments could come across as rude, and I do think she might’ve given more credit to her opponent. But I think, in truth, she was just really, really mad at herself and her performance, so she was focused on that.


Kroll Says:

Colin

“Either way, I think we’re overreacting to the joke about Rafa.”

Joke? Good thing there is at least someone who spotted it. While Rafa’s new look is silly as is the purpose behind it (To look “mature”), the idea that it might be “gay” in some sense is non-sensical. So, the comment was stupid and when was calling a spade, a spade, “overreacting”?


jane Says:

I missed the Monfils/Simon match but just checked the scores and Simon is declared “winner” even though it’s not over; does anyone know what happened? I am assuming Gael retired for some reason? The foot or…?


Colin Says:

Apparently it was a wrist that did for Monfils this time. The poor guy could hire himself out to medical students as a reference book for injuries.
Kroll, now you are overreacting! The overreaction I mentioned came from those who called the remark homophobic. To identify a look as suggesting a particular section of society is not to attack that section. You are the one who said Rafa’s new look (and the motive for it) is silly. Not everyone would agree. It seems that we have a situation like that of Jews. They are the first to make jokes about stereotypical Jewishness (e.g. Jackie Mason), but others aren’t supposed to.


Kroll Says:

“To identify a look as suggesting a particular section of society is not to attack that section”

Actually, its not a suggestion, its a subversive taunt, as are most “suggestions” in this class. I remember I was in a party a week ago and I overheard a group of people discussing their music tastes – One of them said that he was a fan of bluegrass when someone interjected “Thats so gay man”. The guy was apparently a death/thrash fan but was he merely making a harmless association? It might not be homophobic but it certainly is condescending. And it was singularly half-witted, not unlike here.


RG Says:

Great shotmaking in the Azarenka vs Serena match.


jane Says:

RG – Yes. Azarenka was the better player in the first set but Serena seems to be scrapping now in the second. Still not serving her best though.


jane Says:

First Monfils out with a retirement and now Zheng Jie. Too bad to have these happening this late along in the tournament.


jane Says:

Wow!! Now Azarenko has just retired and she was up a set on Serena! I don’t know what was wrong with her as I am watching streaming with no commentary. But it looked like it might’ve been a virus as she was very dizzy. But that’s 3 retirements practically in a row. Crazy.


fernando Says:

Ok people, I said it yesterday and and say this once again: This Slam is insane!

You cannot expect the players to smack the ball at 100 degrees!!

Have you ever played drunk?

That’s how it feels under the intense heat.

So please, give the players a break and move this Slam to February gor God sake!

Azarenka almost faint there!


fernando Says:

There is no way Gonzo pull this match out after surviving 4 1/2 hours of play unless he wins 2 3 and 1 and receive the gold medal for Superhuman of the tournament.

He can bring back the ozone layer too.


Kimmi Says:

I see Murray the way he is moving Verdasco. Verdasco cannot hit a winner, Andy defence is magnificent. Smart play.


jane Says:

Kimmi – what amazes me about Murray is how well he constructs points.


sar Says:

Cahill said Monfils retirement is suspect. He retires once in 27 matches.


Kimmi Says:

Yes Jane – he knows the court so well, when he hits the ball, he knows exactly where it will come back, so he is always there with plenty of time to spare. he is so good to watch, the fact that he seem lazy on the courts makes it even more amazing.


fernando Says:

Murray is the perfect player for this conditions. He slices a lot, outsmarting his opponents with tricky pacements and spins and making them move when he hardly has to move at all. He doesn’t need to be intense which is perfect. He’s economy personified.


jane Says:

Good points both of you: anticipation, control, economy. Murray looks at ease. It’s so true!


fernando Says:

Jane, can we offer him to take control of the Treasure Department. At least we know he won’t spend!


MMT Says:

I know this is old news, but I think Safina is being very hard on herself, and not denigrating her opponent at all. I think she was annoyed by Cornet seeking medical attention for fantom injuries, and then going out and playing her socks off, so there may have been some resentment there, but I think the was just being very hard on herself.

That’s completely different that what Serena does, which is to just completely denigrate her opponent when she’s angry about losing to her. I have no respect for the way she conducts herself in those post match press conferences.

You know, I’ve never really watched much of this Gilles Simon – he’s one hell of a player. I know it’s terrible to say it, but I’m not sad to see Monfils go because I find him to be a bit of a clown on court, and I don’t like his antics. I have more respect for players that have respect for their opponents and also finish their matches without wussing out.

I think it’s more than mildly ironic that Nadal and Murray are dominating everyone they play, and they’re in the same half of the draw, and Federer and Djokovic are “struggling” and they’re in the same half of the draw.

Finally, I completely disagree – Mary Carillo gives zero useful analysis of any kind in her commentary – she’s all about entertainment, and frankly I find her to be absolutely self-absorbed and self-serving.


fernando Says:

MMT

I completely agree with you on regards with Monfils. I’m not a fan or disgusted with any player in particular, but for some reason I’ve always found Monfils kind of annoying. It has to do with his antics, surely. In fact, it remainds me like a happier version of the old Hewitt. But it’s annoying nonetheless. At least, wait to win something that matters to start screaming, hitting your chest and jumping like a cangaroo in the face of your opponent.
I’m sure Sean Randall and many other people will say otherwise. But I’ve never been fond of circus.


Sean Randall Says:

Rafa looks unstoppable against Gonzo who can’t win by playing in the shadows. Murray should get through Verdasco with little trouble. Though I hope we get some drama there.

Pity about the early retirements (especially my man Monfils!), but good for me. Both these men’s matches should be over by 2am!


MMT Says:

Randall – Verdasco is up a break in the second, and held his serve. Murray is serving at 0-3, but if he loses this, I’m sure he’ll throw away the set.


Don Says:

Does anyone know why Nadal is allowed to wear yellow sweat bands? It seems that it is an obvious advantage. Thanks.


Sean Randall Says:

Monfils retirement was very disappointing. That’s a match and a situation in which you cannot retire. Maybe it is a serious injury but if it isn’t – ESPN’s Cahill said Monfils questioned if the injury was in his head – he really needs to toughen up.


Sean Randall Says:

Don, what’s wrong with yellow sweat bands? I’m sure if there was a hindrance or if hid the ball (like a yellow shirt) it would be disallowed. If you don’t like the color-combo (I don’t) that’s another thing.


MMT Says:

I just heard Brad Gilbert sa he counseled Murray not to spend so much mental energy on getting upset and talking to himself – that’s rich. Anyone who’s read John McEnroe’s autobiography will know what I’m talking about.


Sean Randall Says:

MMT, I doubt Verdasco like Berdych has the belief to win in this situation.


Don Says:

Sean, well I think it would be a potential visual obstacle that the tournament would not allow. I am trying to recall ever seeing a pro player wear yellow sweat bands before and I don’t think so. Maybe I am only noticing it now because the color-combo is so hideous.


jane Says:

Well Verdasco is playing well but Murray just got one break back.

MMT: I read Mac’s bio /You Cannot Be Serious/ but it was years ago. Do tell.


Sean Randall Says:

I’ve always thought a yellow shirt may cause some issues but that’s not the case from all the pros wearing yellow. Same would go for wristbands I presume.


jane Says:

Murray is slumping after a good start, and Verdasco is taking full advantage: he fully deserves that second set.

Meanwhile, Rafa is steam-rolling. Rafa has a very good shot at this title, imo – maybe the best shot. Of the top guys he has been the most consistently dominant in all of his matches. Not one slump so far in sight for Rafa. It’s just plough right on through.


MMT Says:

Sean – I think you’re right – Verdasco immediately gave one of the breaks back which is a tell-tale sign you’re not ready to close, and I still think Murray tanked the last game of the 2nd set once he went down 5-1.

Side-bar – I really think they should require the returner challenging a first served called good to do so immediately so as not to interrrupt the rhythm of the server as much as possible.


MMT Says:

Jane, you make a great point – amazing that the #1 seed and world’s #1 is so under the radar but playing so well. Gonzalez is a disgrace, by the way. I know Rafa is playing well, but he’s playing like an idiot.


Kroll Says:

Ok the Rafa-Gonzo match is all but gone. Gonzo had a sniff of a chance breaking Rafa but thats gone now. But it is disappointing that he has to play earlier than the final. Its probably fitting that he has to beat Murray and possibly Djoko to win the AO, and I can see that happening.


Kroll Says:

I meant “But it is disappointing that he has to play Murray earlier than the final.” Echoing MMT here of course.


RTS Says:

Why Jelena Dokic, who is Serbian is not playing under Serbian flag?


jane Says:

Murray bounced back, but if he’s smart he’ll work hard to get this done in 4; but he’ll have to break back as Verdasco just broke him.


jane Says:

I don’t know, as I am useless at predictions, but I am inclined to pick Nadal for the title after tonight. Still a couple of rounds to go however. Murray, meanwhile, best relax and focus here or he’ll be going 5 sets and then it is anyone’s match.


Sean Randall Says:

Carillo speculating Murray’s sick. Here we go again. Looks like we may go five sets here. So much for getting to bed by 2am!


jane Says:

Murray has had the flu this week – no speculation needed; it was mentioned before the Melzer match.


Esquilax Says:

This has been raised before, I’m sure, but equal prize money for the women is a crock. The match quality has been terrible; it’s more a matter of who doesn’t loose first than go out and play winning tennis!


jane Says:

Murray needs to focus here; Verdasco isn’t going anywhere.


MMT Says:

Esquilax – at the end of the day it’s a business, and if women are a good draw, then they’ll get the equal prize money – sometimes the men’s matches are crap as well.


Kimmi Says:

Vedasco is a changed man. All that talent is now coming to use. He is more consistent. davis cup did some magic. Good for him….


MMT Says:

Jane:

McEnroe said that playing Gilbert was one of the most painful experiences of his career because he would give a running commentary of his thoughts throughout the match, like:

“Why did you hit it short to his forehand crosscourt?”

or

“How can you not anticipate the short approach!”

So, it’s a bit rich for him to criticize Murray for wasting energy getting all worked up.


MMT Says:

30 all 2-3 Verdasco – if he loses this point the match is over


MMT Says:

They’re saying Verdasco spent the winter working with Agassi’s strength coach.


Kroll Says:

My My! Murray got broken! If Verdasco beats the favourite, what does that make him?


Kimmi Says:

verdasco breaks. now – does he have the belief.


jane Says:

MMT – Right, I remember something along those lines.

Wow – looks like Murray is going down. Too bad. But thems the breaks. He’ll still have a great year, and R16 is much better than R1 last year. Verdasco’s lefty serve is a toughie.


Kimmi Says:

I am smelling an upset. Wow ! verdasco really impresses me.


MMT Says:

Murray’s problem is that Verdasco’s serve has picked up a lot in this set.


Kroll Says:

Not just in this set, he had a 1st serve percentage of 93% in the last set which is insane…


MMT Says:

It’s on Verdasco’s racquet now.


jane Says:

And against Stepanek – did anyone even see that match? Verdasco served up not one but two bagels.


MMT Says:

That’s true – it’s just that he seemed to serve himself out of trouble at 2-3 break point on.


MMT Says:

I don’t like the look on Verdasco’s face at 40-0, not too confident.


Kroll Says:

Verdasco wins!wow!


Vince "The Shamwow Guy" Says:

Wow. Verdasco pulls it off.


Kimmi Says:

WOW ! verdasco. Must be the beutiful Anna effect. Good for him. Andy murray 2009 AO dream is over. like what Federer said “A Slam is a different animal “


Blah Says:

… Somewhere Federer is smiling.

If Simon somehow beats Nadal I can see him winning it now.


MMT Says:

Good for Verdasco – I’m now going to have to ponder my new pick.


jane Says:

Conrgrats to Verdasco! What a lovely win from him; he just was the better player tonight.


MMT Says:

Simon beat Nadal? You’re really getting a little ahead of yourself, no?


jane Says:

MMT I was trying to figure out if that was a vague pronoun reference and that Blah meant Federer by “him” but I don’t know.

Tsonga still has to play Blake.

Blah I’d imagine Djokovic, Roddick, Nadal, etc are also smiling.


Vince "The Shamwow Guy" Says:

Go Verdasco. Wow everytime you win.


Blah Says:

Would it be that surprising for Simon to beat him? He’s done it before and his game can match up with Nadal’s. It’s still a big if but certainly wouldn’t be a shocker if it happened.


MMT Says:

This is going to be a great set of quarterfinals. I’m going to take a nap and then watch Blake Tsonga with my coffee in the morning before work.

Cheers guys!


Blah Says:

Jane- I am sure they are, but it seems Federer is the one most frustrated with this new attention given to Murray.

And I think Simon has a chance to get to the finals. His game isn’t flashy but he has no problem with stamina and is pretty consistent, plus he has beaten the big three before.


MMT Says:

You’re right, Jane – and yes, Blah, I think Roger would be happy to see Nadal out of the tournament too.


Australian Tennis Player Says:

Its all set upperfectly for Nadal to win (now that Murray is out) and to be honest he could wear whatever he wants, because nobody would care as he confirms himself as amongst the top top players of all time.

I really thought Murray would be in with a chance, and am suprosed he lost.

I still don’t think Novak looks right. He played well today in parts, but he also looked vulnerable at times. At the same time, Roddick has looked good, but I don’t have the confidence in him to back him for the win. Put it this way, I think as things stand this could the best chance Roddick will have to beat one of the top 4 in a slam.


sam Says:

Verdasco just won the match…… so much for Murray hype.


Blah Says:

I guess at this point I am the only one who thinks Simon could beat Nadal =| Guess I’ll find out soon whether I am just crazy or if I am crazy and lucky at the same time.

It seems like Blake/Tsonga are being left out as possible contenders though.


Kimmi Says:

Australian tennis player – Roddick looked good but he was never tested. Tomorrow will be a big test for him, lets see if he can do it.

Nadal also had it easy, simon will be a bid test. verdasco impressed me, I would not count him out. he is now a changed man. He could beat anybody…..


steve Says:

I am rooting for a Roger/Rafa showdown in the finals. My hope is that both men will end their careers having lost only to each other in Grand Slam finals. Then it will truly be the greatest rivalry ever.

Hrbaty’s assessment of Murray as a player who relies mostly on tricks appears to be correct for the time being. But he will be back, no doubt about it.

I hope Tsonga creams Blake. For last year’s finalist, not too many people seem to be talking up Tsonga’s chances to go at least to the semis, but he came through in the Ljubicic match; played smart in the third-set tiebreak, cooling his jets and applying his incredible touch at just the right moments.


Blah Says:

I haven’t seen Tsonga in this tournament yet but from the first set of this match he’s in great form. Moving well, Going to the net, putting power on his shots without forcing it. He was in control pretty much the whole first set. How much of that has to do with Blake I am not sure of, but Verdasco would have no breather if Tsonga gets through.


Milo Says:

Wow, Verdasco goes to work out with Gil (AA trainer), and all of a sudden he has Nadal’s fifth gear. What is the secret?

Signed,
Mark McGwire


Giner Says:

What a huge win for Verdasco! Local programming didn’t bother showing the Verdasco-Murray match because I think everyone was assuming Murray would get through it unscathed and it therefore would be less climactic than the Tsonga-Blake match. I would have loved to see the match in its entirety.

And what a let off for Nadal! This means we don’t have all 8 of the top 8 in the QFs.

This time, Fed and Djokovic were vindicated in saying that Murray was not favourite at the same level as the top 3. For me, Murray will not be favourite again to win a Slam until the US Open.

Nadal is the only top 4 player to have not dropped a set so far. I’m liking his chances to take the title now. Federer was not sharp against Berdych, and if he plays a better opponent who doesn’t choke (such as Djokovic or Nadal), they could eliminate him.

Congrats to Verdasco for staging the biggest upset of the Open. He is such an underrated player. I wonder what Staff will say about Spaniards on hardcourt now. Or rather, how slow Melbourne’s court must be.


Giner Says:

Just looked at the draw.. Murray is the only top 8 player to not have made it to the QFs. We could have seen history made here at Melbourne!


Giner Says:

Monday wasn’t a good day for injuries. We had no less than three matches end in a retirement. Monfils, Zheng, and then Azarenka. Azarenka looked like she was going to beat Serena then felt sick in the stomache. I wonder if the reaction would have been more hostile if it was Justine Henin doing that.

“Cahill said Monfils retirement is suspect. He retires once in 27 matches.”

Then we should expect around 3 retirements a year from him.

“I know this is old news, but I think Safina is being very hard on herself, and not denigrating her opponent at all. I think she was annoyed by Cornet seeking medical attention for fantom injuries, and then going out and playing her socks off, so there may have been some resentment there, but I think the was just being very hard on herself.

That’s completely different that what Serena does, which is to just completely denigrate her opponent when she’s angry about losing to her. I have no respect for the way she conducts herself in those post match press conferences.”

I don’t agree. Safina said that ‘the girl’ was not going to win the match, she was playing against herself and hitting one ball in the court for every 10 into the fence. Well ‘the girl’ had 2 match points on serve, and went for a forehand down the line that narrowly missed on match point. How can you say that your opponent had no chance at winning the match when you were 1 cm away from elimination?

The way this came out is, “I played crap and I’m lucky but I still won. I don’t need to play good to win against a player like her, but if I do play good, I can beat anyone.”

Sean Randall Says:

“Murray should get through Verdasco with little trouble. MMT, I doubt Verdasco like Berdych has the belief to win in this situation.”

Whoopsie!

Verdasco doesn’t record wins against big opponents, but also he’s not one to find himself in a winning position against them and then choke. When he loses to them, he’s not really in position to win and then have it snatched away. I think Davis Cup showed that he has the belief to win.

RTS Says:

“Why Jelena Dokic, who is Serbian is not playing under Serbian flag?”

She needed aussie support and development to get her career back on track and the only way she was going to get that was by apologising for her past and returning to represent Australia. I can guarantee you that if she was still flying the Serbian flag, the aussie spectators would be booing all her winnings and raucously cheering her errors and her opponent’s winners. She would have a mental meltdown and bow out early again. As it is, Australians have a lot of nationalistic pride and are behind her all the way. Ironic that the player they once hated so much is their best and only hope at the title, the last aussie standing. She’s not even a home grown aussie either.

Esquilax Says:

“This has been raised before, I’m sure, but equal prize money for the women is a crock. The match quality has been terrible; it’s more a matter of who doesn’t loose first than go out and play winning tennis!”

I was an opponent to equal pay not because of chauvinism or sexism, but because women already get paid more per hour than men. By playing best of three instead of best of five, their pay per unit time is going to be higher than what the men get. And I don’t know anyone who actually believes that their tennis is more entertaining than men’s tennis. Elena Dementieva is credited for having some of the biggest groundstrokes in the women’s game, but I saw her match against Stosur and the ‘big’ strokes from both players looked like moonballs compared to men.

The other defense for equal pay is that it’s not fair to expect women to play 5 sets. Their bodies are not built the same. Well true, I don’t think I could survive the boredom of seeing most of them play 5 sets. They don’t have as much stamina as men, but somehow many of the top women players find the stamina to also enter doubles and mixed doubles.. You never see a man do this because it jeopardizes their chances at winning the singles title. They will have virtually no chance at winning in singles. Not so for the women, who routinely make finals in 2 or even all 3 draws.

jane Says:

“And against Stepanek – did anyone even see that match? Verdasco served up not one but two bagels.”

Step played mind games with him in Sydney, Verdasco bit and lost. Step’s in your face act against all his opponents I see as gamesmanship, but Verdasco was a set apiece against him and played into Step’s hands. This time he learnt his lesson and wanted revenge. He got it in the best fashion possible.

Kimmi Says:

“WOW ! verdasco. Must be the beutiful Anna effect.”

I heard they’ve split up already, so I doubt that’s it.

“Good for him. Andy murray 2009 AO dream is over. like what Federer said “A Slam is a different animal “”

Easy for them to say that NOW.. I’ll bet that deep inside they are relieved that Verdasco took him out. I sure would be. And so would Nadal.

Blah Says:

“Would it be that surprising for Simon to beat him? He’s done it before and his game can match up with Nadal’s. It’s still a big if but certainly wouldn’t be a shocker if it happened.”

It can happen, but if he plays as tentatively against Nadal as he did against Monfils it won’t.


Brian Says:

Dokic’s nationality issue is complicated. She was born a Yugoslav in Osijek in what is now Croatia. Her father’s a Serb, her mother’s a Croat. She then immigrated to Australia with her family. Her tennis developed there with the support of Tennis Australia. Then she switched to Yugoslavia (at which point consisted only of Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia and the others having broken away). Yugoslavia then was renamed Serbia and Montenegro, so for a while Dokic was referred to as a Serbian tennis player. If you began following Dokic from this period (when she hit her peak of no. 4 in the world), then it might be confusing that she now plays for Australia. Dokic parted with her family, left for a Croatian boyfriend, and switched back to Australia, blaming her father for the previous decision to switch to Yugoslavia.

I don’t know if she self-identifies as a Serb (which, as an ethnic term, is different from being a Serbian national). For years the WTA had her birthplace as Belgrade, Serbia, but Dokic pointed out in an interview that she was actually born in Osijek. I’ve heard people say that Damir, who lives in Belgrade, is behind the birthplace confusion, as he wants his daughter to be known as a Serb.

Many people have complex enough personal histories that they don’t fit neatly under a single nationality. Why is Canadian-born American Mary Pierce playing (played?) for France? Why are a number of players who previously represented Russia switching to Kazakhstan? What of the players from the former Eastern Bloc who became naturalised Americans? The answer is never simple, and many factors are at work. The cynical answer that the players play under the flags of the highest bidder is almost always too simplistic.


MMT Says:

I don’t think you can compare players who’s countries have broken up or chased them out due to things like war and ethnic strife to players who switch allegiance for self-serving reasons. I think it’s obvious that Dokic’s father switched from Australian back to Serb because he thought he would have his way with that tennis federation, but that can’t be blamed on Dokic. For me she gets a clean slate because most of her problems were down to her father.

Djokovic, in 2006, flirted with becoming a British citizen, so personally I think his ultra-Serbianism is a bit self-serving, but I give him the benefit of the doubt, as reports indicated it was his meddling mother who approached the LTA looking for a deal for the whole family. Lady MacBeth would be proud.

Rusedski disgraced the tennis world in 1997 by cloaking himself in the Union Jack during his run to the Wimbledon quarterfinal. He grows up Canadian, and then switches to British because the LTA threw some money and support his way – what a disgrace.

Mary Pierce is more similar to the Dokic situation than Rusedski. Her American father, Jim Pierce, was a nut-job of the first order. She was raised in the US, but her mother is French and she has always carried French citizenship, but the tipping point for her was when her father became intolerable and it was the French tennis federation who came to rescue, instead of the USTA. Because they failed to support her, almost out of spite towards her father, and because her father was American and she became estranged from him and closer to her mother, the French support led her to be more loyal to France.

By far the worst of the lot was Rusedski, and he was such an arse that it’s hard to have anything but contempt for him and his decision to pretend to be British – including faking an accent. What a jerk.


Giner Says:

“Many people have complex enough personal histories that they don’t fit neatly under a single nationality. Why is Canadian-born American Mary Pierce playing (played?) for France? Why are a number of players who previously represented Russia switching to Kazakhstan? What of the players from the former Eastern Bloc who became naturalised Americans? The answer is never simple, and many factors are at work. The cynical answer that the players play under the flags of the highest bidder is almost always too simplistic.”

I’m aware of the complexities of nationality Brian. What I’m saying is that Australian nationalists who support her simply because she has AUS at the end of her name now are very shallow. She spent some time learning her craft with Tennis Australia, but you can tell from her accent that she didn’t grow up here in her earlier years.

Last year Anastasia Rodionova become an Oz citizen and now represents Australia, but imagine if she took a real aussie’s place on the Olympic team and won a gold medal, giving her victory speech in a thick Russian accent with broken English. That’s how hollow it would feel to boast about an Australian winning the Aussie Open in Dokic. Sure she’s an Australian, but that’s only because three letters at the end of her name says so. Her blood and history are unchanged regardless of those letters.

It doesn’t change the fact that Australians were very hostile to her for a period of 5 years. I personally have never cared. It’s her decision who she wants to play for, and if she wants to come back, that’s her business alone.


Brian Says:

MMT: True, there are cases like Rusedski’s, which I had forgot about. I have no problem with Dokic representing Australia or Pierce representing France, especially given their family situations. But yes, there are some players who switch loyalties entirely for self-serving reasons, and they tend to negatively colour the public perception on the issue. I can think of plenty more such examples from team sports, especially football but also basketball and handball.

On the other hand, it was amusing to hear Rusedski use British swearwords like ‘wanker’ in that accent of his.


MMT Says:

Brian – I hope you can appreciate how ironic it is to use the example of a wanker like Rusedski using THE WORD wanker with a phony accent, to make himself look like less of a wanker, all the while looking like more of one.


Brian Says:

Giner: Point taken, and I agree that it’s strange to see the Australian crowd embracing Dokic like they have done, when I remember them booing Dokic when she was introduced as representing Yugoslavia. In my post, I was merely responding to the question of why a Serbian player was representing Australia. The public find it hard to grasp the subtleties and respond only to the three letters at the end of the names of the players, and I agree that’s very shallow of them.


Brian Says:

MMT: Too true.


Polo Says:

Esquilax says,

“This has been raised before, I’m sure, but equal prize money for the women is a crock. The match quality has been terrible; it’s more a matter of who doesn’t loose first than go out and play winning tennis!”

I do agree with you on this. I wonder what would happen if they split the majors into a separate event for men and another separate event for women. Do it on different dates. Let us see how many people will buy tickets to watch the women play. I doubt if there will be as much. Even the sponsors will be less. Then we will know if they really deserve equal pay. As it is, I believe they are just riding on the men’s coattail. The women’s games are way below the men in terms of both quantity and quality.


Ra Says:

Giner,

“Ra, when you’re speaking in front of a packed Rod Laver Arena (about 17,000 spectators) you tend to speak a little less controversially than you do when you’re in a small room with the press and no one else watching.”

While I can appreciate what you are saying (it’s not my VERY first day), I find Rod Laver Arena vs the press room to be a double edged sword kind of situation (and one that is not necessarily relevant to this particular case).

And, though it’s still old news, I find the criticism of Safina’s use of the phrase “this girl” to be increasingly tiresome. Is “this girl” or “the girl” somehow offensive when compared to impersonal pronouns such as “he” or “she”? The reason I ask this can be determined by scrutinizing a wide sample of interview transcripts. After doing so, please tell me if it’s more or less common for the interviewed player to actually use the name of the opponent he/she had just faced. In light of that, why single out Safina? I was a fan of Cornet’s before I even began to appreciate Safina’s game, and I still don’t find Safina’s words to be disrespectful.

In any case, I’m pretty done with this because I realize things are open to interpretation and there is supporting evidence for each perspective; I just don’t like to see anyone’s character attacked when there is no clear empirical evidence (not to mention the ambiguity that comes with speaking a second language while recovering from a roller-coaster ride in 40/100 degree heat).


Giner Says:

“The girl” is certainly less commonly used than “she”, so it’s peculiar why she used that word in the first place. If she used ‘she’ I would not have suspected anything. But because she used “the/this girl” more than once, to me it sounded like it was no accident — she either didn’t know or had forgotten her opponent’s name (unlikely) or that was all the credit Safina was willing to give.

As I’ve said before, I chalked it down to English not being her first language, since Marat speaks like that as well sometimes.

That’s how I’m interpreting it. It’s a weird choice of words. Players normally use the person’s first name, or just ‘she’, even when English is not their first language, ‘the girl’ is uncommon. Combine her choice of words with some unflattering things said about Cornet (even you have to admit that not once did she give any credit to Cornet’s play — it was all about herself as though she had no opponent today) and I have to wonder if it wasn’t personal. But I will be paying attention to future interviews she does to find out.


Ra Says:

Well, she did give what could be interpreted as credit by saying “she deserved the win”, but I do hear you. It seems to me, though, that Safina is of the school of thought such that she feels the only thing she’s got control of out there is her own game, and therefore that’s where she should put 100 percent of her focus. She’s obviously got a lot of confidence in her best tennis (which I fully think she deserves to have since her best game is enough to give anyone presently at the top of women’s tennis a serious challenge at least). Perhaps she’s right to focus solely on herself until she has the consistency she’s looking for. At that point her focus may shift to individual strategies against particular players. That is all speculation, of course, but I do feel there exists an appropriate place and, under certain conditions, a need for impersonal-ism in the realm of competitive sport.


Danica Says:

RTS Says:

“Why Jelena Dokic, who is Serbian is not playing under Serbian flag?”

Does RTS mean what I think it means? :))

I don’t see why would Dokic play for Serbia. She was born in Osijek, Croatia, and then, because of war, escaped with her family to Australia. She was young enough not to miss anything of old home and addopt Australia as her new home. After the split with her father, she went on to live in Zagreb, Croatia. Personally, I don’t see any links with Serbia. Her mother and brother now live in Belgrade (in my neighborhood in fact) and father made a mansion on a resort mountain north of Belgrade (Fruska Gora). She only moved to Serbia because of that father. Serbia was unstable and could offer her nothing. It really was a mistake uprooting the kids once more for some selfish reasons.

There is a lot of players from former Yugoslavia who are now representing other countries: Amer Delic (do you think he should play for Bosnia?), Marina Erakovic, Bernard Tomic, Andrea Petkovic, one could even add Daniel Nestor(ovic)… just to name a few. Truth is, they would probably never had the opportunity to make it big (relatively speaking) had they not moved.

I, a Serb, root for Jelena no matter who she is representing. I simply don’t care. I am happy that she made such a great comeback and that she , once again, delights us with beautiful tennis. I am happy that a young person found strength to come out of a total limbo she was in. And I just hope her father will not go to Melbourne and spoil this amazing moment for her.


Polo Says:

Federer just beat del Potro 6-3 6-0 6-0 and the ESPN commentators continued to show their incompetence by flaying del Potro for being so highly ranked and getting double bageled. How about Hewitt at the US Open final. That was 6-0 7-6 6-0 for his first US open title?


Bud Collins Says:

[...] Jankovic Loses, Federer Escapes at Australian Open (tennis-x.com) – January 25, 2009THE WHYS — Why are ESPN’s Bud Collins and Patrick McEnroe having a conversation about Tomas Berdych where Patrick is pronouncing it “Burr-ditch” and Bud is pronouncing it “Beer-dick”?…Why are all the… [...]


Von Says:

Krol:

“Speaking of Andy, where in the world is Von, especially when Andy isnt doing too badly….
Has she decided that defending him from all the riffraff on this board somehow jinxes him? Ok, that doesn’t make any sense but seriously…”

Just saw your comment — I’ve decided it’s useless defending Andy and/or any of my views, period. I’m thinking less is better.
___________________
Mary:

A nine-day (9) Novena to St. Jude for hopeless causes should do the trick. LOL.

Top story: Isner Upset (Literally) In Washington; Serena Returns With A Roar In Stanford, Azarenka-Venus Tonight
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