Novak Djokovic: Is the Joke on us?
by Sean Randall | January 27th, 2009, 1:34 pm
  • 187 Comments

By now you heard the news, Novak Djokovic has gone and done it again, retiring during yet another crucial match. Yesterday, with the Melbourne air temperature hovering in the low 90s, Djokovic quit in the fourth set against Andy Roddick in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open.

Djokvoic is of course the defending champion at the tournament, but the honor of that title defense wasn’t enough to prevent the Serb from tapping out due to heat, cramping and who knows what other maladies while down 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 2-1,

If this act sounds all too familiar it’s because it is. But when does it end? Is this his legacy?

Given the circumstances and conditions, I can understand Novak’s distress today, but he’s still got to finish the match. Maybe Roddick injures himself, or the shading from the roof covers the court and his regains some energy. Who knows? You are the defending champ so act like it. And unless you undergo a violent injury (like Zheng) or are about to fall over (like Azarenka) at the very least play out the match. But once again Novak couldn’t, and rather than push himself to the limit, he took the easy way out. (Hell, even Marion Bartoli finished!)

Baffling…

For the record, that’s already four retirements in Grand Slam events, seven in total for Djokovic. That’s far too many for some aged 30 let alone a 21-year-old who thinks he belongs in the No. 1 conversation. The joke now on the Joker is that at the U.S. Open this year he’ll shoot for the “Retirement Slam”, that is successfully bailing from a match at all four majors. A player with the skillset and talent of Djokovic, that’s not the kind of Slam mark one wants. But since he’s so young my guess is someday he’ll get it. And after this latest performance I’m rooting for it.

About a year ago I thoroughly ripped into Novak after he meekly retired to Roger Federer in Monte Carlo. I questioned his fitness, his health and above all his guts. But I thought he turned the corner at the US Open when he fired back at Roddick after the American made light of all his injuries. Coincidence or not, he closed the year without another retirement.

Yet now, not only does he retire again but he does it against the very guy who called him out it in the last Slam. Hollywood could not conjure up such a script. Does Novak have any pride? What must Roddick think? Federer? Rafael Nadal? Well, we already know what they think because Novak’s retired against them all now. And I’m sure each one privately snickered at Novak’s most recent R-E-T.

Now if you want to make the case that Novak should not have been playing so soon after his 2:30am fourth round finish, I’m fine with that. Similar to the US Open when Novak played the last quarterfinal match yet was scheduled first for the first semifinal, Djokovic got the shaft again and was denied the extra few hours of rest and rhythm that would come with a night match. So there is some bad luck there as I agree with him that they should have scheduled him later.

You could also argue that because of the heat the roof should have been closed but it wasn’t. Nor was play ever suspended on any outer courts due to the high temperatures. So it clearly wasn’t dangerously hot otherwise the juniors would have been sent off. That said though, Novak’s lack of rest and recovery combined with the heat played a role in his retirement, and I’m guessing (and hoping) had he been scheduled for the night match things may have turned out differently for the Serb. But in the end those were the cards he was dealt and instead of finishing his hand the Joker simply folded. Again.

If you are a Novak fan and supporter how do you defend this latest result? Even this one has to make you question your guy’s will to win and his ability to consistently play with the big boys like Federer, Nadal and even Murray who seem to be far more fitter.

So where does Novak Djokovic go from here? Well, it’s not on a rocket ship to the No. 1 ranking that’s for certain. Not in this climate. With an outrageous number of talented players in the game right now, if Novak ever wants to get a sniff of the No. 1 ranking he’s really going to have put the hard work in, get himself 100% fit and toughen up both physically and mentally. Only then will he be able to begin repairing his image as a guy who cannot take the heat. Literally.


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187 Comments for Novak Djokovic: Is the Joke on us?

Minh Tri Cao Says:

I could not believe Novak did that today. With the Joker, the chance of being no.2 is at the end. I only watched the first set of this match, so I don’t know what Roddick could do against Federer next 2 days. Now I’m waiting for Nadal vs Simon and hopefully, Nadal vs Tsonga – these are two toughest French at the moment.


Genie Says:

Bravo. I wouldn’t change a thing about that article.


Oleg Says:

I give Novak a pass on that one. A few reasons:
- playing so soon after his 2:30am fourth round finish
- he’s not the only player that has been affected by the heat this tournament
- heat stroke is a dangerous condition, better to stop than play on: “What makes heatstroke severe and potentially life-threatening is that the body’s normal mechanisms for dealing with heat stress, such as sweating and temperature control, are lost.”

That said Roddick played well given the circumstances and is certainly very fit physically. Does anyone give A-Rod a chance against Federer at this point?


Kimmi Says:

Oleg, A-rod has a chance against Federer, if he can serve big Concistently and wait for his opportunity when Mr fed goes walk about.

But Novak, you cannot be serious. By the way, has Novak defended a title before, any title ?


Michael Says:

The court was like microwave oven. It is strange that Roddick was not affected. Maybe he is resistant on microwave rays. More strange, same thing happened to Azarenka against Williams.


Charlzz Says:

I wonder if there’s some physical ailment with Novak that makes him more susceptible to heat than other players despite training. We know there are people more susceptible to obesity, for example. Admittedly, some of his retirements are due to other issues (his back, for one). Just a thought.


jane Says:

Good article Sean – nuanced – you consider all the angles. Thanks.

As I posted on the previous thread, I am most baffled by this Slam retirement. I thought the Wimbledon 07 foot blisters/French 06 breathing problems (which he’s had surgery for) were less troubling/legit health concerns. This one, I thought he could’ve/should’ve finished. I want to see him make up for it a.s.a.p. Come on Novak!

Over and out on this topic….

I am with Oleg 100% on this: Roddick played great! And he deserves credit and not to be overshadowed.

Oleg – I am uncertain about Roddick’s chances if Fed has found close-to-his-top-form. But if Fed were to slump and play like he did against Berdych, Roddick has to be in with a chance imo.


Ra Says:

Charlzz,

I don’t know if “despite training” is really relevant here. When he takes a page out of Federer’s book and goes to practice in the likes of Dubai for that very reason, I’ll wonder about a condition “despite training”. No offense intended.


that_matt Says:

Djokovic? Who is that? Oh yeah that guy who did that thing back when. Oh yeah.

Fed VS. Nadal hardcourt Major on the line! Please please let it be so.


Michael Says:

I think that you’re being too hard on the Joker. It was hot out there and he was asked to exert himself at the same rate as the other professional tennis players that day. How dare someone ask a tennis player to finish a tennis match when it’s hot? Playing in hot weather, having fans who respect him and having to deal with scheduling issues isn’t what tennis is about anyway. Oh wait…


Olive Says:

Nadal is going to take it all now. R-dick won’t get past Fed.

Djokovic showed in his presser that he is maturing.


MMT Says:

Olive said: “Djokovic showed in his presser that he is maturing.”

If Djokovic doesn’t watch out, he’s going to find himself a mature tour veteran who suddenly has fewer chances to win slams in the future than he’s had in the past. I’m sorry, but I think it’s a lame excuse. Pat Rafter retired from the 1999 US Open with a shoulder injury that cost him a surgery, 50 places in the rankings and probably precipitated the end of his career.

Andy Murray retired from a match in 2007 and proceeded to miss the next 3 months of the season. Rafa Nadal retired from the Paris Masters last year and then missed the Davis Cup final. Roddick retired from the Rome Masters and proceeded to miss the French Open.

Novak Djokovic doesn’t retire due to injury, just when he’s lost the will to fight for a victory, which by my count is 7 times in his career including 4 times in slams. With all due respect to Michael, he’s not being being treated unfairly – he’s earned it.


Djokovics image når nye dybder « Tennisbloggen.net Says:

[...] 27/01/2009 · Ingen kommentarer Mange hakker på Novak Djokovic etter at han trakk seg i fjerde sett mot Roddick i dag, for det har blitt en Djokovic-spesialitet å avslutte kamper på den måten. Les for eksempel Tennis-X sin artikkel. [...]


Jill Says:

Why does everyone take pity on Djokovic for the scheduling? He’s hardly the first player who’s had a shorter turnaround after finishing late. No male player got two night sessions in a row, and it’s not like Djokovic’s previous matches were THAT exhausting. He was off the court against Baghdatis in under 3 hours. And since this all transpired against Roddick, what about him? In 2003 he played 2 5-setters in a row – including one that went oh, wait, 21-19 in the fifth set and way into the wee hours of the morning. He had a busted wrist and could barely move, but he finished his semifinal match against Schuettler.

And really, I’m not sure how admitting he retired because he was cramping and his body hurt shows he’s maturing. It’s like Henin a few years back – absolutely no excuse not to continue considering how he was suffering. Completely inexcusable on all accounts in my opinion and completely classless and immature to deprive Roddick of his legitimate win. Instead of people talking about Roddick’s great victory – his first over a top 5 player since the 2003 US Open final – all everyone’s talking about is Novak. It’s almost like he’s twisted enough to want the attention on him, and retiring allowed that to happen. Roddick’s victory will forever have a star next to it and because it was a retirement, it’s not like he *really* lost anyway. I had very little respect for Djokovic before, but I completely lost what little I had.


Giner Says:

Here’s an interesting article based on a Djokovic interview after the Baghdatis match but before the Roddick match. The end parts are particularly amusing to read in retrospect. Looking back now, it really questions his credibility. It’s sad, because I don’t mean to bash Novak. I like the guy, his game is beautiful, and I think he’s a refreshing character who’s never boring in the press room. But here’s the article.

Novak Djokovic drawing strength from run

Leo Schlink

January 27, 2009 12:00am

DEFENDING champion Novak Djokovic yesterday brushed aside the effects of a graveyard finish and foot soreness before today’s Australian Open quarter-final clash with Andy Roddick.

Djokovic completed a 6-1 7-6 (7-1) 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 victory against 2006 Melbourne Park finalist Marcos Baghdatis at 2.26am yesterday and is suffering blisters after surviving 14 sets in four matches.

But the Serbian world No. 3 said he expected no lingering issues from the Baghdatis match.

“You have this unique excitement when you play the night matches,” Djokovic said.

“It’s really fun. You know, you make the history by going into the two, three, four in the morning.

“But then, on the other hand, I don’t think that this really benefits a lot of people that we played that late.

“Hopefully in the future we can make some compromise.”

Baghdatis’s 2008 Open clash with Lleyton Hewitt finished at 4.34am, the latest in grand slam history.

The Cypriot and Djokovic whiled away plenty of time as Jelena Dokic and Alisa Kleybanova slugged out a marathon three-setter.

“We had quite a lot fun before the match,” Djokovic said.

“In the locker-room we were cheering that the match finishes a bit earlier, but it didn’t — it’s all in the good way.”

Djokovic holds a 2-1 advantage over 2003 US Open winner Roddick.

And his self-belief is growing.

“I feel more confident the more wins I have under my belt,” Djokovic said. “It’s logical. I did have a slow start on the tournaments before the Australian Open, but this was my priority.

“I’m really happy that things are going well with the (new Head) racquet as well. I’m feeling much better on the court mentally and physically and game-wise.”

Djokovic is certain gruelling matches against Baghdatis, Amer Delic, Jeremy Chardy and Andrea Stoppini would assist his cause.

“I don’t think it’s going to hurt me a lot physically that I had long matches,” he said. “Actually, I will try to use it in my favour. Physically, I feel good.

“I had very good preparational period of a couple of weeks during the off-season, and good matches in Sydney.

“So I feel physically very fit to play best-of-five (sets) every two days.

“I think I’m going to have enough time to recover and wait for the great encounter against Roddick.”

Djokovic dismissed fears leg and foot soreness would be a factor.

“I had trouble with blisters this couple of the matches here in the Australian Open because it’s a big heat and I’ve changed a little the shoes,” he said.

“That’s what usually happens in the start of the season when you don’t play matches for a long time, for a month or two. But it’s nothing serious.”


Giner Says:

By the way, Melbourne is currently experiencing the biggest heat wave it’s ever had in 100 years. We have an entire week where temps are high 30′s to low 40s centigrade (4 days in a row of 40+ C).

In Farenheit, 40 degrees C is equal to 104 F.

That is outside temperature. Courtside, the temp will be even hotter than that. I don’t think it’s fair to make players play in these kind of conditions, but they can’t exactly postpone the matches because that’s how hot it’s going to be for the entire week.

This is very much a survival of the fittest, and Novak is going to have to hope that next year the weather gods smile on him, because let’s face it, this is a typical Melbourne January.

Murray and Dementieva spent their off season practicing in Florida because the hot conditions matched that of Melbourne. I’m not sure how hot Florida is, because if my geography is correct, it should be Winter there when it’s Summer here. But this is an idea he should consider, for the longevity of his career.


MMT Says:

Giner: Florida is as close to the equator as it gets in the US, so it’s pretty much hot all the time, including in the tennis off-season. But I doubt it’s ever as hot in Florida as it’s been in Melbourne the last couple of days.

That said, I think they should all just suck it up and finish their matches.


Dave B Says:

First of all I don’t think Roddick played that well. He really blew the tiebreak in the first set and played sloppily. He’ll really need to pull himself together to beat Fed. I don’t think he will.
Second I don’t understand why there is not a per se rule. The temperature goes above 40 degrees Centigrade and the roof comes on.
Third Another per se rule. Install a time and penalize players who take more than the allotted time to serve. The umpire would have discetion to relax the rule but let the timer determine the intial call.


Giner Says:

“About a year ago I thoroughly ripped into Novak after he meekly retired to Roger Federer in Monte Carlo. I questioned his fitness, his health and above all his guts. But I thought he turned the corner at the US Open when he fired back at Roddick after the American made light of all his injuries. Coincidence or not, he closed the year without another retirement.”

He also retired in a Davis Cup match last year.

“Yet now, not only does he retire again but he does it against the very guy who called him out it in the last Slam. Hollywood could not conjure up such a script. Does Novak have any pride? What must Roddick think? Federer? Rafael Nadal? Well, we already know what they think because Novak’s retired against them all now. And I’m sure each one privately snickered at Novak’s most recent R-E-T.”

Here’s the thing: These guys know his weakness. He can’t handle tough conditions, so the next time he meets Fed, Fed could ask the schedulers for a day match and hope for the hottest conditions possible, and just outlast him. He’d be at a disadvantage if he doesn’t address this soon.

He handled it for a set, in which he played brilliant tennis. Then you could see as early as the second set that he was getting tired and pulling the trigger much earlier to finish the point and conserve energy. He’d be a great indoor specialist.

“Now if you want to make the case that Novak should not have been playing so soon after his 2:30am fourth round finish, I’m fine with that. Similar to the US Open when Novak played the last quarterfinal match yet was scheduled first for the first semifinal, Djokovic got the shaft again and was denied the extra few hours of rest and rhythm that would come with a night match. So there is some bad luck there as I agree with him that they should have scheduled him later.”

Not really. Last year Baghdatis and Hewitt didn’t leave the court until 5AM, and the winner would await a well rested Djokovic who finished them off. What goes around comes around. He was just getting a taste of what he gave Hewitt. Except he only stayed up till 2:30am against Baggy, not 5AM. And Baggy was already at a disadvantage because his previous match before Djokovic (I think it was against Fish) also had him begin on court at 11:30pm.

I don’t think it was the late finish that hurt him, it was the heat. He had a day off so he could have slept in. He would have recovered by then.

“You could also argue that because of the heat the roof should have been closed but it wasn’t. Nor was play ever suspended on any outer courts due to the high temperatures. So it clearly wasn’t dangerously hot otherwise the juniors would have been sent off.”

Actually, according to the commentators it wasn’t that hot. It was meant to be 38C, but it was only 28C which is relatively mild compared to 38.

Tennis is an outdoor sport, and is meant to be played that way. It wasn’t hot enough to suspend play that day. Being able to handle difficult conditions is part of the game, and advantageous. Those who can do it should be recognised for it, as long as it isn’t dangerous to be playing in those conditions.

“So where does Novak Djokovic go from here? Well, it’s not on a rocket ship to the No. 1 ranking that’s for certain. Not in this climate. With an outrageous number of talented players in the game right now, if Novak ever wants to get a sniff of the No. 1 ranking he’s really going to have put the hard work in, get himself 100% fit and toughen up both physically and mentally. Only then will he be able to begin repairing his image as a guy who cannot take the heat. Literally.”

Mentally he’s ok, it’s just physical. He needs to be able to push himself and endure it a bit longer.


KarthikaM Says:

I’m no fan of Djokovic, but this is unfair. Granted, his inability to compete in the match while Roddick was virtually unaffected (kudos to him on that, he seems in top form this season) might have something to do with conditioning and fitness levels but it was 140 degrees Fahrenheit on that court! Plus, as you mention he did play against Baghdatis until over 2 am just a couple days before the match. And he has had respiratory issues for which he had a surgery done recently.

I’m not saying he should be given a free pass for this, it’s all part of the game, and players are supposed to deal with what they get, but criticizing him for retiring when he could barely move on the court is downright unfair. Since he started the 4th set, he probably had the intention of finishing it, else he would not have started it.

His has not been the only retirement in this championship. The Australian Open management should realize that this is the first major tournament after a long hiatus, and the sweltering heat doesn’t help. They should at least try and make the conditions reasonable for players. In my opinion 140 degrees is way too high, and they should have closed the roof. How high will they let it go before they do that? Why do they have a roof if it is not going to prevent extreme conditions?


Kroll Says:

MMT

That comment about the other players retiring only under the worst of conditions is very apt. The Djoker in his press conference(less than an hour later?) claimed that he felt fine and was ready to play then!!! WTF! Last year during the Chennai Open, Rafa had to play essentially back-to-back semi-finals and finals and was ridiculously tired playing Youhzny there(and that place is Hot). He eventually got bushwhacked 6-1 6-1 or something but never even complained about it. So, I don’t think Djoko is a wuss, just the sorest loser on the tour.

Fed had this to say, and it is SO apt :

“He’s not a guy who’s never given up before … it’s disappointing,” said Federer, who will face Roddick in the semifinals. “I’ve only done it once in my career … Andy totally deserved to win that match.”

“I’m almost in favor of saying, you know what, if you’re not fit enough, just get out of here,” Federer added. “If Novak were up two sets to love I don’t think he would have retired 4-0 down in the fourth. Thanks to Andy that he retired in the end. Andy pushed him to the limits. Hats off to Andy.”


Giner Says:

Michael Says:

“The court was like microwave oven. It is strange that Roddick was not affected. Maybe he is resistant on microwave rays. More strange, same thing happened to Azarenka against Williams.”

Azarenka wasn’t suffering from heat stress. Her match was on a different day which was not as hot. She felt sick and dizzy when she got up, and she vomited in the morning. She somehow managed to take the first set off Serena before feeling too ill to continue.

Bartoli is the one who couldn’t handle the heat, but she completed her match. She was up 3-1 against Zvonereva and then never won another game, losing 6-3 6-0.

“And really, I’m not sure how admitting he retired because he was cramping and his body hurt shows he’s maturing. It’s like Henin a few years back – absolutely no excuse not to continue considering how he was suffering. Completely inexcusable on all accounts in my opinion and completely classless and immature to deprive Roddick of his legitimate win. Instead of people talking about Roddick’s great victory – his first over a top 5 player since the 2003 US Open final – all everyone’s talking about is Novak. It’s almost like he’s twisted enough to want the attention on him, and retiring allowed that to happen. Roddick’s victory will forever have a star next to it and because it was a retirement, it’s not like he *really* lost anyway. I had very little respect for Djokovic before, but I completely lost what little I had.”

At some point, I think common sense should prevail. Everyone watching would know that Roddick was going to win the match regardless, so you can’t say there’s an asterisk because Novak retired. The win is already legit. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t have match point, we all know he would have got there. If the score was say 7-6 3-3 RET, with Djokovic in the lead, then I would agree with you. Had he continued playing he would have lost, but since he retired when he was leading, Roddick did not get credit for winning.

Roddick was up by two sets to one and a break in the fourth. You can’t seriously argue that Roddick’s win was not legitimate because of this retirement.


Paul Says:

“Retirement slam” — brilliant! Love it!


zumado Says:

this quitting stuff with djokovic is gettin old and roddick was right last year in flushing that this guy is soft.


Anonymous Says:

Can people stop with the heat stuff. I’m *IN* Melbourne. The real heatwave doesn’t start til today (Wed). They kept messing up the forecasts. It was hot, but definitely endurable.


Giner Says:

“Second I don’t understand why there is not a per se rule. The temperature goes above 40 degrees Centigrade and the roof comes on.”

They do have that rule but the threshhold is set higher than yesterday’s temperature.

Shutting the roof takes away the advantage that a fit player has earnt by being able to withstand the conditions better than the other player. Ask yourself why tennis should be played outdoors at all if difficult conditions means you eliminate them. Where do you draw the line?

“Third Another per se rule. Install a time and penalize players who take more than the allotted time to serve. The umpire would have discetion to relax the rule but let the timer determine the intial call.”

I think this could lead to abuse. Let’s say a player sometimes goes over the limit, but normally takes about 10-15 secs. I presume the clock will give a warning buzz so the player knows time is running out, and then a few seconds later, the penalty buzz. A player could then always wait for the warning buzz before serving, maximising the time he takes between points without getting any code violations. This would overall slow the game down even further.

“I’m no fan of Djokovic, but this is unfair. Granted, his inability to compete in the match while Roddick was virtually unaffected (kudos to him on that, he seems in top form this season) might have something to do with conditioning and fitness levels but it was 140 degrees Fahrenheit on that court! Plus, as you mention he did play against Baghdatis until over 2 am just a couple days before the match. And he has had respiratory issues for which he had a surgery done recently.”

No excuse. His breathing problems were not Andy’s fault, and the 140 degrees was the same for both players. Why should the game by tailored to Djokovic’s advantage? And he is not the only one who had a 2:30 finish. His opponent had a similarly late finish the previous round, and last year he took out a guy that finished his match at 5AM (went to bed 8AM). You have to make do with the hand you’re dealt.

“I’m not saying he should be given a free pass for this, it’s all part of the game, and players are supposed to deal with what they get, but criticizing him for retiring when he could barely move on the court is downright unfair. Since he started the 4th set, he probably had the intention of finishing it, else he would not have started it.”

That would be fair if this was his first time. But by someone else’s count, this is his 7th retirement, and one must be noticing a pattern here. Roger Federer in 600+ matches has never retired from a match.

“His has not been the only retirement in this championship. The Australian Open management should realize that this is the first major tournament after a long hiatus, and the sweltering heat doesn’t help. They should at least try and make the conditions reasonable for players. In my opinion 140 degrees is way too high, and they should have closed the roof. How high will they let it go before they do that? Why do they have a roof if it is not going to prevent extreme conditions?”

The roof is there for to prevent rain delays. Even Wimbledon sees the merit of this. Tennis is an outdoor sport. Closing it isn’t fair to the player who is fitter. Why should anyone even bother with fitness training if they can just play indoors whenever it gets hot?

What are you going to do if there are extreme conditions at Flushing Meadows where there is no roof? Sweat it out? Cancel matches? How high would Flushing let the temp be before they closed their roof? Oh wait, they can’t. So what should they have done?


Giner Says:

Anonymous Says:

“Can people stop with the heat stuff. I’m *IN* Melbourne. The real heatwave doesn’t start til today (Wed). They kept messing up the forecasts. It was hot, but definitely endurable.”

The air temp was actually fairly mild when those two played. Today and the next few days will be even hotter, so if he couldn’t handle the heat against Roddick he would have no chance in his next matches.

Roddick spent his off season working on his fitness and shedding 7kg (15 lbs or so) with Stefanki. It paid off. He’s as fit as he was at 21.

The thing is, Novak can’t just keep expecting the weather to behave for hin for the rest of his career, because it won’t. He is bound to run into conditions like this, and it’s important he learns to deal with it instead of retire and expect a get-out-of-criticism-free card. If he doesn’t, it’s going to happen again and he will retire again. Should he continue to be excused for this?


zumado Says:

I thought is was “hardcore” that Roddick went to the head of the tournament and demanded to play Djoko in the heat of the day. Now thats a man, baby! Real man tennis and hopefully he gets Roger in the heat too. Payback is coming Roger…


Oleg Says:

Just a small note, during the ESPN coverage of the Roddick-Djokovic match they indicated that the on court temperature was 52 degrees Celsius (125 Farenheit).

If that was indeed the temperature on-court I would not call that “fairly mild”.


Von Says:

Regardless of whether Djokovic retired or he’s supposedly, in some people’s opinion, the better player, which is subjective, I think Roddick played one heck of a match. I don’t understand why it’s stated that Roddick didn’t play a good first set, he did. Novak got lucky with the net cord quite a few times, but Roddick was defintely serving at a higher percentage. What more do some of you want from Roddick to prove he’s a good player? A lot of garbage has been written about the players he beat, why not take a look at the Top 4 and who they beat!

The first set went down to a tie-breaker, sudden death, and from then on, the other sets showed Roddick was clearly the better player. However, this win had to have a stigma attached to it, and some are happy about that, or else it would have been too difficult ot accept that Andy beat a healthy Djokovic, isn’t it?. That’s a no, no, and an impossibility in some p;eople’s books. Denial is a big pill to swallow. It’s Ok to like your player, but credit should be given where it’s due, and right now credit is due to Roddick, but sadly it’ been overshadowed, by all of the semantics being thrown about. Some reality checks are needed, and it’s mainly due to some people’s picks being blown out to sea, and that’s not supposed to happen — it’s written in stone. There’s always another time, because hope springs eternal.

At the USO, had it been a day match, Roddick would have won. Also, Roddick mentioned it was difficult playing against a player who’s supposedly ill, and when he realized Djokovic wasn’t ill at their QF match, it was too late. PMc men tioned last evening that many failed to remember how rodick was struggling with his back issues leading up to the USO. It’s obvious Djoko cannot handle the heat and plays better at night.

FYI: Azarenka did not retire due to the heat, the kid had “food poisoning”. She was throwing up the whole day and prior to the match.


Von Says:

What’s the big deal about recovery time? Roddick had to play a night match and then play Seppi during the day, with approx. 36 hours recovery time.

____________

Zumado: Fed’s the lucky one, because he played his QF match at night and all of his subsequent matches will be played at night — SF and finals.


jane Says:

Hey Von – people were wondering where you were! Congrats on Andy’s win.

You’re right; he deserved it! I also mentioned on another thread (the tasty rematch one) that the first set was very tight. And you’re right too that Djoko couldn’t handle the heat, but he should’ve finished the match nonetheless.

Anyhow, hope your guy continues onward and upward.


andrea Says:

complaining about scheduling is like complaining about the heat.

it is what it is.

there is a reason why players have called him out on his on court shenanigans – trainer calls; walking around like he’s wounded when he can still play; retirements. it’s the norm now, not the exception, and hopefully he starts to get himself into shape to be a contender; otherwise, all his ego about being mentioned in the same breath as nadal and federer falls very flat.


Vamos Says:

Many frustrated people here. Nothing new. Does anyone here know how many times Novak didn’t retire when he wasn’t feeling well. Of course not, there’s no statistics for that. Wimbledon 07 – in how many matches he -didn’t retire- before he retired against Nadal? Stepanek US open 07? Anyone seen him against Wawrinka when he retired while leading in a tie-break? Anyone? Or against Davydenko while leading 2-1?
This was the first time I was concerned for him because the only reason he stayed on the court was because of all the criticism. And what would you all say if he passed out? Now you’ll probably say lol he didn’t look that bad all. Have you ever seen a man die in front of you on the basketball court? Not talking about pro level, not talking about extreme conditions. You make your conclusions based on visible symptoms.
Yes he made a mistake. He should have retired in the second set. And yes he showed maturity in the interview. He is aware that this is show business. And that this tennis audience is that same kind of blood thirsty audience that goes booooo when they don’t see a brutal knock out. Yes he was weak because he listened to the critics. Remember the ball bounce? And how he was doing that intentionally and how he was a disgrace for the sport. A cheater. And then he tried to please everyone. And what he got in return? Even more rocks thrown at him.


that_matt Says:

What is it about Gilles Simon’s game that causes Rafa problems? I’m not familiar with Simon’s style. Thanks.


JE Says:

Question. Are we being had? Does this come down to the language in endorsement contracts? Are rets
treated differently in remuneration formulas for top players? This could explain the “phantom” retirements of Justine etc.(‘Better to retire than risk being hurt’) It may literally be in their best interest to retire than to take the outright loss. Unsporting yes- but is it good business? Does anyone have any information on how IMG and Octagon structure contract terms? There’s a dark side to tennis folks. This is another form of tanking. Djokovic has to stop this
because the next suspicion is gambling influence and no one will be smiling.


jane Says:

that_matt,

Simon has been called elsewhere as well as here a “poor-man’s Murray”. Although that handle is rather vague and backhanded, there is a similarity in their styles. Both are dogged defenders; both are very fast, surprisingly fast, around the court; & both can play well at net and from the back. Gilles doesn’t have Murray’s variety nor maybe his natural touch, but he is determined. He said, in being asked about this match, “I just have to run for 5 hours” and he will. Simon often starts slow (dropping the first set – see Murray vs. Fed) but he never lets up. In that regard he’s similar to Nadal. He’s a workhorse. I suspect he’s hungry too, and likes to slay giants. That’s “bout all I can tell ya…


that_matt Says:

jane, thanks!

Now I really want to see the match. Too bad I’ll be asleep. :(


LobBob Says:

I agree with everything you say about Djoko except one thing. It was NOT 90F on court! They showed the thermometer on TV and early in the match it was 40C which is 104F. Later BG said that it was 130F on the court. At the end of the 3rd set the thermometer read 62C which is 143F on the court as the temperature continued to rise in the afternoon. I watched the re-run just to confirm what I saw on TV. So all these versions of the actual heat being about 90F and 100F is totally inaccurate. This is a dangerous issue for many people – so I’d like to know WHY didn’t the mgmt. close the roof and cool it down a bit. What’s the roof for anyway? That’s just plain irresponsible – maybe even STUPID!


bobbynorwich Says:

Super article, fair but justly scathing. I love the “Retirement Slam” expression — think that one will stick to him. Besides Djoker, other good nicknames are Dfaker and No-way Nole. Why haven’t his PR people translated how many Euros he loses from this bad reputation?


Von Says:

jane:

“Hey Von – people were wondering where you were!

People??? You’re kidding, right? Probably relieved not to see me around.

“Congrats on Andy’s win.” — thanks, sory bout your guy, but these things happen.


jane Says:

No kidding Von – A few threads back your absence was duly noted and missed by a few of us. Ask Giner – I think (?) he was one of the people who commented. Anyhow, hope all is well at your end…


Von Says:

I kept an eye on the the court-side clock, and to me that clock seemed to be baked. It was registering some erratic temperatures in a matter of minutes — 20 degree changes, which I found to be somewhat unrealistic. If the temperature was indeed 140F degrees on court, I don’t think anyone would have been able to remain on the court. What about the little ball boys/girls, linespeople and umpire, weren’t they all affected by the heat?

I live in Florida and there are times that we experience periods of heatwaves for a few days at a time in the summer. Additionally, there are periods of continued hot, hot days, which can be stiffling due to the humidity, but somehow people manage to live with the extremes in temperature. Supposedly, it’s a matter of growing accustomed to changes. I’d take a heatwave day as opposed to an Antartica/Arctic below zero day.
____________
JE:

Retirements are “asterisk” losses. It’s sort of a loss but not really viewed as a being “beaten” fair and square loss, and thus presents itself as a question mark. I think the whole “stats” system should be revamped, but it definitely gives the media, especially the commentators something to repeatedly talk about. The stats that are most ridiculous are those of a No. 1 or No. 2 player, beating a qualifier, and the commentators harp over and over on the fact that the top ranked player didn’t even lose serve, and won in straight sets, and played absolutely superb. Well they definitely should, that’s the reason they are No. 1 or 2 and No. 850 or playing qualifiers.


Von Says:

jane;

Thanks for the good thoughts, and to those who noticed my absence, thanks also. All’s well, on my end, and even though I’m enjoying the AO, I can’t wait to catch up on some much-needed sleep.


bobbynorwich Says:

Excerpt of Djokovic interview, 1 hour past retiring from the Roddick match:

“QUESTION: How do you feel right now? Did you get any treatment?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I feel better. I feel better now. I want to get on the court again.”

Huh? As defending champion, he retires from a Grand Slam but is okay to play again in an hour? He’s not even trying to fake that he’s faking. Classless act.


jane Says:

Yay Dementieva! You go girl.


nada Says:

I really can’t stand even watching the Joke. He sounds like he’s upchucking on every serve. He is quick to chastise anyone who makes fun of him even inadvertently, yet is constantly mimicking other players.

He has no class, is rude on court and the Aussie Open is well rid of him.


Annet Says:

Djokovic and other players are not cactus, or camels…we protect computers and machinery with cooling systems. even tho our bodies are more complex,we need to do more to prevent heat stroke…it is not as the coaches think..we do not carry water tanks in our bodies..time to learn the physiol of the body…….Novak did the right thing by heeding body signals….Yesterday the NFL settled a case in which one of the players died of heatstroke, and agreed to have in place prevention heat stroke measures for players


David Says:

Djokovic will be back better than ever. One of the greatest players ever.


SamoZA Srbe Says:

Srpski teniser Novak Đoković rekao je da na meču pružio svoj maksimum i dodao da je od organizatora turnira zatražio da igra u večernjem terminu, ali da mu oni nisu izašli u susret.

Đoković je zbog ispcrpljenosti predao meč četvrtfinala Otvorenog prvenstva Australije Endiju Rodiku, pri zaostatku od 2:1 u setovima (7:6, 4:6, 2:6) i 2:1 u gemovima. “Prilikom duže razmene udaraca nisam se dobro osećao. Nisam mogao da serviram kao u prva dva seta, što je on dobro koristio. Ovo je nesrećan način da se završi učešće na Australijan openu ove godine. Pružio sam maksimum na današnjem meču, ali nekada, jednostavno ne možete da se izborite sa sopstvenim telom”, rekao je Đoković. “Glavni razlog moje odluke da odustanem bio je opšti umor i iscrpljenost organizma”, izjavio je treći reket sveta. Zaista sam dao sve od sebe, ali ponekad izgubite bitku protiv sopstvenog tela”, dodao je Đoković.Temperatura vazduha u Melburnu u vreme kada je igran meč iznosila je oko 36 stepeni Celzijusovih i srpski teniser je već na početku trećeg seta zatražio medicinsku pomoć.”Nisam osećao bolove u nekom određenom delu tela. Ceo organizam mi je bukvalno bio izmožden”, rekao je Đoković.Srpski teniser je istakao da nikada u karijeri nije predao meč bez jakog razloga.”Istina je da sam u karijeri odustajao, ali je to uvek bilo sa razlogom. Kad god sam odustajao, to je bilo jer sam osećao da ne mogu da nastavim meč”, rekao je Đoković i dodao da “apsolutno nema govora o tome da je odustao iz bilo kog drugog razloga”.”Nema govora o tome da nisam zeleo da pružim maksimum. Srce i um su to želeli, ali je telo jednostavno ovoga puta bilo jače”, istakao je Đoković i poručio da će svakako ubuduće učiti iz svojih grešaka.Na pitanje novinara da li je oklevao da preda meč zbog mogućih kritika koje su se desile prošle sezone, Đoković je rekao da o tome nije ni razmišljao. “Nisam o tome razmišljao. Ovo je deo sporta. Nekoliko puta sam predavao mečeve, ali sa razlogom. Ne vidim zašto bi neko razmišljao na takav način. Povučem se samo kada osetim da ne mogu da nastavim meč – to je jedini razlog”, dodao je. Treći teniser sveta rekao je da je od organizatora turnira tražio da igra meč u večernjem terminu, ali da mu oni nisu izašli u susret. Đoković je meč osmine finala protiv Markosa Bagdatisa završio u ponedeljak dva sata posle ponoći po lokalnom vremenu. “Završio sam taj meč oko dva ili tri sata ujutro, a zaspao sam oko pet sati. Nisam imao vremena da se oporavim. Danas su uslovi za igru bili ekstremni, ali, znam da je takva situacija i to moram da prihvatim. Tražio sam od organizatora da igram meč u večernjem terminu, ali oni to nisu prihvatili”, rekao je. Srpski teniser je dodao da shvata da je večernji termin atraktivan za navijače i televizijske prenose, ali da bi organizatori, ponekada, morali da misle na igrače. Đoković je posle meča sa Bagdatisom izjavio da bi organizatori trebalo da promene termine večernjih mečeva. “Ne želim da se vraćam na to. Završio sam turnir, želim da okrenem novi list i okrenem se budućnosti. Mislim da mnogim ljudima ne odgovaraju kasni mečevi. Kada završite meč u tri sata ujutro, logično je da sutradan igrate u večernjem terminu. Ali, to se nije desilo”, rekao je on. Đoković je rekao da je razočaran zbog ovakvog poraza. “Mnogi su očekivali dobre igre jer sam u Melburnu branio titulu. Razočaran sam što sam odbranu prve Gren Slem titule završio na ovakav način. Ali, moram da budem pozitivan, ostala je još cela sezona”, dodao je. Srpski teniser smatra da su okolnosti bile protiv njega, ali da je pokazao dobre igre na Australijan openu. “Okolnosti su bile protiv mene. Da sam imao više vremena za odmor… Na prošloj konferenciji za novinare rekao sam da imam dovoljno samopouzdanja, da verujem da mogu da se oporavim. Očigledno, nisam imao dovoljno vremena”, zaključio je Đoković. Đoković je rekao da mu je žao navijača koji su od njega očekivali više i dodao da će izvući pouke iz svojih grešaka. Teniser SAD Endi Rodik rekao je da mu je žao što Đokovih nije imao šansu da odbrani titulu. “To su razočaravajuće situacije. Žao mi je zbog Novaka. Mnogo je radio kako bi prošle godine osvojio ovaj trofej i šteta što nije imao pravu šansu da odbrani titulu. Veoma ga poštujem. To sam mu u rekao”. Rodik je dodao da je želeo da iskoristi slabiju igru trećeg svetskog tenisera. “Znao sam da mu telo pati, ali… Iskreno, u takvim situacijama samo želiš da što pre zadaš poslednji udarac. Ne želiš da nastaviš meč pitajući se da li će protivnik uspeti da se vrati ili ne. Srećan sam što sam u gemu pred prekid napravio brejk… To mi umiruje savest”, rekao je Rodik.


Chrys Says:

This guy and Jelena Jankovic are 2 of the most fragile, wimpy players I’ve seen in a while. They love the drama, the spotlight, and they continuously take advantage of any opportunity to
moan and groan in public. Please! If they can’t handle losing to the point of having to resort to sore throats and heat exhaustions to avoid it, then maybe they should become soap stars…the perfect gig for drama queens!


gordon Says:

This guy and Jelena Jankovic are 2 of the most fragile, wimpy players I’ve seen in a while…

What do they have in common, hey they are Serbs! Why do we love so much Jelena Dokic – because she turn her back to her homeland and took Brit citizenship!
As long as Joker is Serb we will shit on his every move and do everything to discredit him.


Hypnos Says:

If Djokovic were really mature, he’d create some personal space away from his family and hook up with a real coach and trainer. He could learn from Roddick and Verdasco.

I fear, however, that he will not do so until it is already too late. He wouldn’t be the first to break away when he’s 30, instead of 20 …


Ezorra Says:

Despite everything that happened yesterday, based on both current’s performance, I still believe that healthy Roddick will win over healthy Djokovic. I don’t think Djokovic has performed in AO09 as he did in AO08.


funches Says:

Sean,

That’s the worst thing you’ve ever written. Did you have a bet down on the match and lose some money?

Heat stroke is a very serious condition, and Djokovic had breathing problems earlier in his career that scared the hell out of him. What idiotic purpose would it have served him to play the final four games of the match when he barely would have won a point. This wasn’t a final, where he owed it to his competitor to finish. Roddick was quite happy that he stopped playing.

Stay on the court in the hope that your opponent gets injured? That’s pathetic.


Kate Says:

I am still a fan of Nole! Could anyone really doubt his condition? Did you see his face? I have suffered extremely hot and brutal conditions in my line of work. When you can’t function due to the heat, it is really painful. I think it shows Djokovic’s strength that he continues to be a ranked tennis player, despite his difficulties in overcoming injuries.

What do we know anyway? When is last time one of you critics really did something hard core??


Sean Randall Says:

Heat stroke is a dangerous condition, but home come Roddick had no issues? It comes down to fitness, and Novak isn’t fit. Yes, it’s tough to play, but as we already saw today even Dementieva made it through under much hotter conditions.

Keep in mind, Novak was spent about one hour into the match. That’s ONE HOUR and he was done. He needs start a serious training regimen and toughen up if he wants to be No. 1.

And I should add my guy, Gael Monfils, needs to also get on that same training program.

Also, Azarenka was ill before the match.

Giner, Novak’s got a lot of issues mentally. He needs to tell himself to keep going when his body says no. Right now mentally whenever he feels his body can’t go the distance, he pulls out. Sure, better to be safe than sorry, but good luck getting to No. 1 with that attitude.

He really needs to learn to trust his body in tough times. Clearly right now he doesn’t.

Bottom line, Novak couldn’t take the heat. Roddick could. Novak should be ashamed for only being fit enough for about one hour of play.


ron Says:

Amen , Kate.

I was disappointed in how things turned out, but what is with all the unbridled hate flowing here?

The total lack of maturity with most of the responses makes me wonder what the average age is here…14, maybe 15 years old? Sheesh!


Captiva Says:

What do they have in common, hey they are Serbs!
As long as Joker is Serb we will shit on his every move and do everything to discredit him.
—————–
Awww Gordon your guys baldy Ljubicic, Ancic and Cilic lost, don’t be so upset. Plus you shouldn’t be so racist.
LOL


Willie Says:

This is just classic Djokovic – always full of shit when he’s losing! What if the scoreline was in his favour, would he still have retired? I don’t think so. He just talk big about himself but can not back it up on the court.


Megator Says:

First of all yesterday Brad Gilbert said before the match that Roddick was lobbying to keep the roof open. The very last moment that Novak retired the temp clock was 142 degrees.

Today Kuzzy was winning and they decided to close the roof to help Serena along. When they closed it, the temp was 136. One announcer then said, Djokovic will probably complain about the roof closing for the Serena match. Shriver and Carillo chime in…”it was much hotter today.” Different day, different standard for the Americans, eh?


Sar Says:

Does anyone have stats on Gael Monfils’ retirement record?


kim Says:

why would the Australia open give a fig about the americans?


Sean Randall Says:

Sar, it’s a lot. Up there with Novak for sure.

Funches, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Sorry, no money down. Just disappointed that a player who claims he should be up there with the Rafa and Roger come into his first title defense un-fit.

Gilbert just said it is 15 degrees hotter today than yesterday in Melbourne.


jane Says:

Kate, you make a convincing point in that it’s easy for me or anyone else for that matter to be critical when we’re writing from comfy chairs behind our computers. That’s the nature of these blogs unless we get some pros on here! :-)

Tonight Gilbert, Cahill and Drysdale have all opined that Tsonga has an increased chance against Verdasco now that the roof is closed. They were favoring Verdasco in the heat. Most definitely, different players have different strengths and weaknesses based on conditions etc. Nalbandian is best when he plays indoors, it seems anyhow.

This Tsonga versus Verdasco match is tough to call, especially if Verdasco can serve like he did against Murray.


jane Says:

I think Verdasco might have a shot here, but he can’t let Tsonga dictate and get momentum. If Tsonga gets momentum, look out! Verdasco might be able to outlast Jo-Will if it goes long.

I should add to the above that players need to work with/around those strengths and weakness too though. Be prepared. Train accordingly and so on.


Matt Says:

For all of you complaining about him quitting, have you ever played a sport in excruciating heat? Well, I have played football in Arizona during in July, and any of you that have visited Arizona in the summer can attest to the sweltering heat. I used to get the absolute worst cramps, you honestly can not imagine. To the point every single muscle I moved made me keel and fall over. No amount of water, bananas or gatorade can help you once you hit ‘the point of no return’. Your body is not meant to work at 110% effort in that kind of heat. Ya, Roddick could hang, but it effects everyone differently. Give him a break, he’s one of the best athletes in tennis today. PS: This is coming from a non Novak fan.


Susan Says:

It is what it is. Not only do I think that the Serbian is out of shape…..that’s a given. But his real deficit is his mental toughness. It’s missing and he is making a fool of himself thinking he’s convincing tennis fans that’s it’s something else. Time to grow a couple Novak!!!


Tejuz Says:

No matter what.. there were still matches played on the outside courts during this “extreme heat” … and this match dint even go to a 5th set. it was more like a 3 set match(since the 4th set had just started) with only one tie-break. Plus the centre court has a lot more shade than the outside courts.

Djoker is surely unfit to be No 1 or 2 yet… he needs to improve his fitness, like how Murray has.

And regarding his retirement.. he should atleast gone thru his motions and lost 6-1 even if he couldnt carry on for much long. He definitely dint look like Azerenka who could barely stand on her feet before she retired. Do u think he’ll ever win a 5 setter.. with 12-10 in the 5th… ??? I seriously doubt it.


jane Says:

France vs. Spain tonight in both men’s semis – duh, just occurred to me.

Too bad to see Kuz choke again serving for the match and a place in the semis. But it’s nice it’s not ALL Russian ladies in the semis.


Mike Says:

why do u guys talk bs about Novak. It was 140 degrees outside and nobody did anything about that but when Serena is losing 1-0 than they can close the roof. Like Megator said: “Different standard for Americans”. The other players should ret. and let Roddick and Serena win because they can’t win without someone’s help.


Tejuz Says:

i was there at the AU Open the last 4 years from 2005 to 2008. Once the roof of the centre court was closed because if very extreme heat and once because of rain. The Centre court and the Vodafone Arena are more cooler compared to the outside courts. Outside courts just do not have any shade at all… and i felt it was more tougher for the players on Margaret Court Arena or Court 1 or Court 2 during hot days. So its nothing new to have extreme hot days at Au Open.


Tejuz Says:

well… 140 degrees outside.. what about the players who are playing on the outside courts, they dont even have an option. But were then any retirements there??/


Tejuz Says:

How abt having an indoor Grand slam.. and make them best of 3 sets… Djokers gonna win it for sure… and ‘Hail the new KING’


Tejuz Says:

but the new ‘KING’ is still No 3 for the last 18 months…


megator Says:

Australians give a fig because of RATINGS, ever hear of that? You think they want Russians to win? No one will watch unless they have a Williams, Roddick, Fed or Nadal. Sorry Kim.


megator Says:

Monfils Simon retired reason unknown…in his head
Azarenka Serena retired
Jie Zheng Kuz retired
Medical time outs:
Serena Azarenka foot
Serena Dulko foot
Gasquet Gonzales toes
Delic Djokovic toe
Flipkens JJ back
Ai Sugiyama JJ heat


megator Says:

As if Djokovic is the only one. Looks like Roddick and Stepanek were behind and Stepanek had heat problems that day

Roddick, Stepanek withdraw from semifinals at Rome Masters
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/tennis/2008-05-09-2027689331_x.htm


jane Says:

Verdasco is playing great! I guess I am the only watching the match?


Steph Says:

I live in Melbourne, I went to the tournament last week and it was far hotter a few days in the first week than yesterday when Novak played. It was hot Tuesday like 33C. It was cooler than the weather people say. I dont know where ESPN got such a high reading of 62C!! I was outside and it was not close to such a reading.

Today is very hot. 42C!!

I dont know the conversions. Sorry.


Tejuz Says:

he he .. Djoker is the defending champion here and its a Grand Slam.. and welll he hasnt done it this once..he mas done it infinite number of times already.

Agree with Steph, yesterday wasnt really as hot as it was made out to be… its more hotter today.


shaky Says:

“It was 140 degrees outside and nobody did anything about that but when Serena is losing 1-0 than they can close the roof.”

this story is being SEVERELY under-reported considering 140 degrees is a world record temperature. I, for one, am astounded at the negligence of the media.

“what about the players who are playing on the outside courts, they dont even have an option. But were then any retirements there??/”

The outer courts are significantly farther from the sun.


Vince, The Shamwow Guy Says:

Wow. Kuzy chokes again. Serena shows strength.


Polo Says:

I cannot believe how there are so many insensitive and non-sensical people there are who attack Djokovic for quitting. Would you rather that he continue, collapse and die? If he did, I am sure all of you would say he was stupid to continue. He had retired from previous matches, do you think he did that just for the sake of retiring? Come on, have some sense. Have you ever even given him a benefit of the doubt that he is physically frail to explain why he had to retire in some of his matches? Have you forgotten that even before he became highly ranked that he had trouble breathing and even had surgery to correct that? He is only 22 and already number 3 in the world with one grand slam title. He is ambitious and proud. For somebody who has accomplished so much in so little time, such negative comments from you nay-sayers are utterly unfair and absurd.


Tejuz Says:

Verdasco – Tsonga match seems to be tightly contested. Tsonga wasting around 6 break point opportunities. But Verdaso took the 1st set without having even a single break point oppurtunity.


Tejuz Says:

Wow.. Tsonga is up a break in the 2nd… this could go the distance.


Ezorra Says:

Come on Megator. Don’t drag Americans / Russians / Australians / Fed / Nadal / Mars in your discussion. They’ve got nothing to do with the failure of your favorite to defend his title here. Be reasonable dude!


Tejuz Says:

well.. under-reporting by media and negligence… comon… the reporters were all there at the center court yesterday.. and obviously they dint feel that extreme heat so as to report it. Its not the heat, but Djoker’s fitness and lack of class that caused him to retire.

and what do u mean by ‘outer courts are further from the sun’ …???? do u mean, the sun is adjusted to be right above the centre court??? thats pure nonsense..


shaky Says:

“He had retired from previous matches, do you think he did that just for the sake of retiring? Come on, have some sense.”

Do you honestly think he was at risk of dying? Come on, have some sense.

The contention of the blog post is that he has a pattern of retiring when he knows he’s on the ropes, especially against the top players.

Not a single other person retired from heat in this tournament and it never cracked 100 degrees during his match.

If he was really struggling so, then Roddick would have put him away quickly. So at the most he had to serve twice more. That he couldn’t do that is more than questionable: it’s tennis, not boxing.


shaky Says:

“and what do u mean by ‘outer courts are further from the sun’ …???? do u mean, the sun is adjusted to be right above the centre court??? thats pure nonsense..”

I was trying to be as obviously sarcastic as possible. I’m sorry, I will do better. :)

Do people really think it was 140F? Can human beings even walk around for 15 minutes at that temp? Tennis players are human beings right?


Mary Says:

Polo: You cannot give Djokovic the benefit of the doubt b/c he has retired so many times.
If he was in danger of dying, it is his own fault. He needs to train better.
It’s not a newsflash that it will be hot during the AO just like it will rain at Wimbledon.


Tejuz Says:

:-) he he.. okay .. but that was funny though.


jane Says:

The report I read said 104 degrees so that poster probably transposed the numbers is all.

This Verdasco Tsonga match is great!


jane Says:

This is true Mary “It’s not a newsflash that it will be hot during the AO just like it will rain at Wimbledon.”

Thankfully they have roofs at both venues now and can use em!


shaky Says:

I think 104 (35C?) is the cutoff for when they would announce an extreme heat warning, which they didn’t do. I could have sworn during the telecast Pat said it was in the high 80s, but I’d have to go back and look.

I can’t even remember the last time I heard of a top player retiring due to heat fatigue, let alone when it wasn’t that hot. :(

(The obvious weirder retirement was Henin’s, but this is pretty bad.)


Ezorra Says:

Verdasco is awesome!


Hypnos Says:

I think one can at once empathize with Djokovic’s pain and criticize him for not being as fit as the other top players. Even if he trains as hard as the others (which I doubt), if he can’t tolerate the heat or muggy conditions (as in New York) that is a lack of athletic talent.

If you’re fit, you play; if you play, you’re fit.


bobbynorwich Says:

Let’s remember that Andy had the same heat conditions as Novak. His fans are doing Novak no favor by excusing his poor conditioning and inability to handle less than favorable physical or environmental situations. Tennis is an outdoor sport and true champions are prepared to play well in all conditions — heat, wind, noise, sun, sores, aches, etc.

Nole is a great athlete but he must buckle down, stop whining, and play until the end of matches in all circumstances. The rest of the world is weary of his many excuses for retiring — sore throats, blisters, cramps, bruises, pains etc. etc.

In 300 matches over 10 years, 27 yr-old Federer has retired from only 1 match, yet has hung in to lose many when not feeling well. Nole, only 21, has retired from 7 matches — all when losing badly, including 3 Grand Slams. That’s why the internet is going viral joking that Djokovic wants to win the “Retirement Slam,” being the first person to retire from each of 4 Grand Slams.

If Novak wants to be a true champion, he must play every match until he pukes his guts out … that’s what all the other professionals do.

One hour after retiring in his post-match interview at the 2009 Aussie Open, Nole said, “I’m ready to go back out on the court.” Huh? He looks like a sore loser who can’t accept a loss, and appears to give up when knows it’s a loss. As a result, he’s losing much more …. the millions of fans who correctly see this as bad sportsmanship.

There is much to admire in Novak’s game. But ignoring this glaring problem, which is ruining his career, does him no favor. If you really care about him, tell him what all his handlers apparently can not do — that he should never, ever retire from another tournament unless taken out on a stretcher. Only then will he win back some of his many departed fans and regain the support he had early in his career.

It does no good to delude him with sentiments like “you’re the greatest,” “you’ve been wronged,” and “we love you no matter what.” In this case, tough love is the best love.


Vince, The Shamwow Guy Says:

Wow! Verdasco through to the semifinal.

Ana, are you sure you want to dump Hot Sauce?


Lenny Says:

on Djokovic, that nobody can pass judgement unless they were in his place, that it really was too hot out there, etc., etc., are completely missing the point.

It usually irritates me no end when people talk about an injury time-out being suspect, or a retirement being poor sportsmanship or weak or unprofessional. I am the first to say stop being judge and jury, you don’t know what they’re going through. I am the first to defend a player when the cynics cry “faker” or “wuss”. EVERY player that is, EXCEPT for Djokovic. The bottomline is not that he retired THIS time, or the facts surrounding THIS withdrawal – it is the ridiculous frequency with which THIS player does it. And it’s happened enough times to arouse even MY suspicions.

And Sean, LOL @ ‘Retirement Slam’! C’mon Novak. Yes, You Can!


Lenny Says:

Correction: That 1st para should’ve read:

All those out here who think people are being too hard on Djokovic, that nobody can pass judgement unless they were in his place, that it really was too hot out there, etc., etc., are completely missing the point.


Milo Says:

Let’s go Simon. Win or lose, it’s finally nice to see someone play basher “roid” Nadal with intelligence.


Wade Says:

Milo come on this is Nadal where talking about the man didn’t knock that homo federer of his crown by not being any good! Simon is but good and done and best of all now that verdasco is in the semi it be a good bye for Nadal which is a good rest up for final haha

Final prediction – Nadal v Federer
Winner – Nadal in 4


Milo Says:

I like tactical, rhythm, timing tennis. Nadal plays the god awful yuck Euro strong grip muscle ball overspin style, made popular by another senseless “roid” whammer, Thomas Muster. Take the roid out of Nadal, and he is merely average. Physicality is his only dominant tactic.

Funny how guys like Simon and Murray work their ass off in the off-season and only get leaner, while Rafa Bull and Verdasco gain 14 lbs. of pure muscle.

Major roid suspicions:

Nadal — always suspect ones from “mucho macho machismo” cultures. Half the kids on the beach in Spain are using. Who wouldn’t want to look like a Greek God.
Verdasco — visiting Andre’s trainer (see below)
Agassi — major muscle gains. Reyes is the ex-UNLV weight coach (we all know what college weight coaches are supposed to supply. A few trips across the Mexican border for the roids and all your athletes seem to make miracle gains)
Mary Pierce — always beware the ones who had a dominant dad. They’ll do anything to fulfill his dreams. Also classic roid injuries that won’t heal since their real joints weren’t designed to take the strain.
Capriati — came back from crack and was solidly mediocre…then suddenly she was stronger and quicker and never gave up. Major suspicions. Classic non-healing injuries as well.
Muster — always suspect players without much in way of timing and tactics (this is why Sampras and Fed are most certainly clean…they are talent/timing players, who wouldn’t gain much from roids or EPO)

I could go on. In an anerobic sprinter sport where fast-twitch muscle fiber is everything for running and headspeed, the urge to roid offers some great payoffs to grinder style players.


Milo Says:

Beside, Capriati could never have beaten “My Hingie” without some extra juice.

Hingis — her major claim to fame is she was never outsmarted in any match on the WTA tour. Often bludgeoned by blunt force trauma, but not outsmarted. And that’s something. The greatest midspeed thinker ever.


Milo Says:

Hmmmm, I see Rafa’s dad in the crowd and I’ve seen his mom — I don’t see any “freak-a-zoid” DNA genetics there? Hmmmmmmm??? Maybe Rafa’s dad is the mailman? Believe me, when you see Lebron James’ mom and dad, you can see how HE happened.


Ryan Says:

Nadal is a steroid junkie


Milo Says:

Agreed. Now if only he would get exposed so I’d be happy. Well, actually I want his women and millions $$$$ and then I’d be happy. Bitter and jealous, that’s me. Don’t wait for the ITF and ATP to expose him. They make WAY too much money pimping us “Rafa Bull” the 8th wonder of the world.

Funny how the commentators are consumed with telling us about a players “improved fitness.” Or how a losing player will have to hit the gym. I thought the key to tennis improvement revolved around getting better shots?

Now every player has access to the latest in training. Are we to believe that Rafa simply does more situps and pushups than Murray and Fed? Maybe Spanish genetics are simply superior. If we sent Verdasco and Rafa to Iraq, we’d have that little “dust-up” won in a week :) They are Supermen and we are here to watch.


Von Says:

Gosh the Simon/Nadal match was a far cry from Tsonga/Verdasco, which was action packed.

My apologies to Nadal fans but so far I’ve not seen any spectacular matches played by Nadal.


Esquilax Says:

I agree with Polo.

I wrote yesterday that my Mother and baby Sister where at Rod Laver like they have been for the last 5 years for A-Rod/Djoker. They said it was unbearable and unlike years past there was absolutely NO breeze.

Such heat might/will effect people differently.

Kudos to A-Rod; he’s clearly put in the extra work to drop the weight and is in great shape (finally).

(The very worst example of retirement is unfortunately at our Slam; Henin vs Mauresmo).


moimoi Says:

this von person has no clue about tennis, surely this von must be another dumb fat braindead american! nadal and spain rules even though im not spanish! god i hate those americans, very hateable people! spanish are now all court players and the aussies, americans, british better get used to it just like how china is emerging as the worlds biggest superpower! things change so get used to it whether u like it or not!


moimoi Says:

this von person has no clue about tennis, surely this von must be another dumb fat braindead american! nadal and spain rules even though im not spanish! god i hate those americans, very hateable people! spanish are now all court players and the aussies, americans, british better get used to it just like how china is emerging as the worlds biggest superpower! things change so get used to it whether u like it or not!


bobbynorwich Says:

I didn’t realize that the professional tennis associations don’t test for steroids. They must test for other drugs — as Hingis got caught on cocaine. If the ATP doesn’t test for steroids, it should.


MMT Says:

moimoi: a real gem, you are. I usually don’t respond to this kind of nonsense, but it seems you’re new here, so here goes…and dare I say, I think I speak for the rest of us in this regard.

I find it mildly ironic that you insult one of our fellow commenters as not knowing tennis, and yet you yourself have made almost no sensible comments about tennis at all. She’s probably forgotten more about the game than you’ll ever know, but that’s not saying much, given your monolithic expressions from lunatic fringe.

I also find it fascinating that out of 100+ comments on this thread, many of them from Americans, Aussies and Brits, only yours stoops to the level of prejudiced insults to just about everyone here. Yet you castigate those from three countries as hateable – if you had a decent vocabulary, I think the word you’d be looking for is “detestable”, which is just about how a reasonable person might describe your rhetoric.

Welcome to the league of intelligent discourse on tennis, are you up to the task, or are you just out to spew your mindless drivel?


MMT Says:

bobbynorwich – the ATP does test for steroids, and more than one player has been banned for using it them – Korda, Canas and Coria come to mind.

Interestingly, and ironically, one of the argument Hingis used to defend herself was that cocaine wouldn’t have helped her play better, which may not have been the best strategic approach to her defense. As it turns out, she just quit and didn’t bother defending herself anyway.


Kevin CK Says:

Sean:

You know I know that Djok will not complete the match after the injury timeout. You could not predict it correctly for other players, but it is obviously for Djok. I do not doubt Djok’s reason. When I could not complete a marathon, I give myself a reason and deeply believe it.


LobBob Says:

I watch tennis to see a good match – not who plays the best in desert conditions – it became too difficult to watch and I’m not masochistic. I don’t believe in name-calling when a person is suffering and vulnerable to a heat stroke. If they had played with roof closed – like the remaining QF matches Djoko might have won – it’s pure favoritism to close the roof for some but not the others – NOT A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD! And it was disrespectful for the previous AO champion.

Djoko needs to grow up a bit and be more responsible to himself, his fans, and the other players – but that doesn’t mean he’s a wimp – he did everything he could on court to hang in there to the point of endangering himself. Roddick might not suffer as much from the heat but he hasn’t won a grand slam in years – I don’t care anything about a marathon – I just want to watch a good skillful tennis match.


Anil Says:

I am not surprised at what Joker did. He has a pattern of using time-outs as a way to sneak out and break the rhythms of his opponents. Not only that, he can try other things also. Last year in Australian semis, when Federer was suffering from Mono and visibly slow, two things came out. First, the joker even then started tossing balls for 28+ [Yes, 28!] times before serving. Almost anyone other than Federer would lost lost composure. Joker was lucky to have won that match. Second, Federer like a true champ did not just walk away but played to the end of match.

Yesterday, what he did to Roddick is plane insulting. No one wants to win like that and he made a point to just do that to Roddick, and take away Roddick’s victory celebration and pleasure by giving up just like that. I will assert to say that Roddick would have won any ways.

I whole heartedly agree with Federer that if you were not fit, you should get out of the court. In 5 sets it is all about fitness, and if you are not fit, go away.


Kevin CK Says:

Don’t miss the match of Fed vs Rod if you want to watch good tennis. Both of them are true professional player.


Bojan Says:

I suppose you can just attack him.
I give him credit because he’s doing what he considers right thing to do. I prefer he retired than watching him being washed away from the court because he can’t move and he misses every possible shot. He tried. He played the whole 3rd set facing the problems. He tried to play the 4th set. He couldn’t do it. He was weak, and at one moment he was red in the face, the next one he was pale. Did you see that man carrying the bags for Novak? I suppose you’re going to say he carried that bag because Novak is spoiled and he needs someone else to carry the bags for him? I guess he should have fainted that you could understand him.

I hope you’ll recover asap Novak. You are world’s top and you belong there!


bob22 Says:

Djokovic is being crucified because he could not handle the heat. That’s fine… But what happened on Serena’s match? She was saved by roof closure! Why a player who is also defending champion is not entitled to the same as someone else? In a match where American was loosing against Russian, there were quick to stop the match and close the roof!!! Now they claimed that it was a hotter day. Prove it! This is prime example of a double standards! On other side NOBODY in a press is attacking Serena for coming unprepared. Why? Did they run out of guts or they got what they want? Russian is out. Djokovic on other side did not loose to Andy, he lost a game agains organizers who did everything in their power to prevent him to defend the title!
Read following article from Svetlana Kuznetsova interview:

Q. Did the closing of the roof greatly affect your chances of winning?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: It’s gave her more chances, I guess (smiling). I mean, I don’t know.

Yeah, definitely it was a big change. I was very comfortable playing outside.

Q. What were the conditions? You obviously prepared, did you, for the conditions today?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, yeah, I guess it’s two different games. One you play inside; one you play outside. She has big serve. She was using it very good when the roof was closed. I guess it was in her favor very much.

But, still, I tried to do my best and I had my chances even like that. I was 5‑3 up.

Q. Some people that were in the tunnel when you came off court suggested that you were a little bit angry to have been brought off court. Is that correct?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, yeah, definitely angry. Why should I not be? Game going my way. I’m fine playing with the roof. I think the guys yesterday, it was the same weather. Everybody was playing with the roof. Why today they had to close it? I didn’t get it.

Yeah, that was why I was angry.

Q. Who are you angry at?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I don’t know (laughter).

Q. Did you ask the referee?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: What I have to ask them? It’s the tournament, what I have to say. I’m just a player. I play. That’s it. It’s not in my hands, you know.

Q. Is it difficult for you and the other players to understand how the rule on heat works here?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: I didn’t get the rule at all. Closing the roof middle of the match, I don’t get it.

Q. Was it especially surprising for you that you started with an open roof and then during the match they closed it?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Yeah. I mean, how you do that? I don’t know. You just playing outdoor tennis, and one set you play indoor tennis. It’s very good.

Serena was tough. She’s playing great. I give her credit. But I don’t get this rule. This is it.

Q. In your heart of hearts, do you think if the roof stayed open you would have won the game?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: You know, there is one saying that they say. It’s not very good one. I mean, you can say what happen if, if, if? The match is over. She won. This is it.

But it could have been different way.

Q. Did you feel okay out there? You didn’t feel any physical discomfort or danger?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: What, in the heat?

Q. Yes.

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: No. I was completely fine. It was not easy to play because it’s heat. But we are in Australia. It’s normal, no, to play with the heat.

Q. When you were looking at Serena down the other end, did you detect she was having trouble in the heat?

SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: Well, you can compare her serve with the roof closed and with the roof open. This is it. This makes all difference.

Yeah, I saw it’s tough for her. It was the same, not very easy for me, you know. But I managed to move pretty well. I was fine. I was playing well. This is it…


jane Says:

bob22,

You make a valid point here “NOBODY in a press is attacking Serena for coming unprepared.” This is true. I think the difference is that Serena didn’t retire so she is not being attacked. She would’ve just lost.

I would’ve preferred to see Djokovic finish the match, even if he couldn’t make much effort. And no, I do NOT want to see anyone injured or hurt or in danger. I am for retirement when it’s absolutely necessary. But even if a player can’t give his/her best, he can still finish the match and just learn from it. On the day, he wasn’t his best. That’s all. Do better next time.

However, you are very correct and make an excellent point imo by pointing out that Serena has come “unprepared” fitness-wise to slams both now and in the past; the women’s field is not that strong, however, and she is able to play herself into fitness. She knows this. It might backfire this time against Dementieva but we’ll see. Serena has a lot of power naturally. As per Roddick she can benchpress semitrucks! LOL.

Seriously, Djokovic might have done better if the roof were closed but Roddick was playing exceptionally well too. Also, Djokovic did seem to lack the best preparation he might’ve had coming into this slam. Don’t you think?

As you know, I really, really like Djoko and I wish the best for him; he has a great game. That is precisely why I want to see him stronger!! In the future, if he really wants to remain a contender for the top, he should probably dedicate himself to playing better in tough conditions, perhaps by training somewhere hot in the off-season, etc.

I know he can do it. But what’s done here is done. I won’t say more on this but I wanted to respond to your point about Serena as it rung true on some level.


shaky Says:

“In a match where American was loosing against Russian, there were quick to stop the match and close the roof!!! Now they claimed that it was a hotter day. Prove it!”

Weather.com for downtown Melbourne hit 103F at 3pm yesterday, and only 81F on Monday. That’s nearly 20 degrees. (Even if you think the court was hotter, it was 20 degrees hotter on Tuesday.)

This is prime example of a double standards! On other side NOBODY in a press is attacking Serena for coming unprepared. Why?”

1) it actually WAS much hotter
2) There IS a double standard but it’s not the one you’re thinking of: she’s a woman.

It’s not a good way to get your questions answered if you come at a female suggesting she looks “heavier” than her peers. Plenty of people on this blog and elsewhere have suggested Serena needs to drop a few pounds. But speaking as a male, I don’t blame the media for being delicate.

“Djokovic on other side did not loose to Andy, he lost a game agains organizers who did everything in their power to prevent him to defend the title!”

But the fact that they did this to an Aussie last year should be fair evidence that they’re being even-handed generally.

They did this same thing to Hewitt last year and forced him to play Djokovic on short rest after a long match til 5 in the morning. He was a former champion that should have been accomodated, if possible.

No one but Novak held himself back yesterday. He’s still an amazing tennis player and possibly the best talent in the world. People want to see him actually compete. The excuses do not help.


bob22 Says:

Hi Jane, I agree with you that Novak could and should come with better physically prepared. But that lack on his part, does not justify all level of attacks he is receiving.
I was always for sportsmanship and fair play, unfortunately that is vanishing from a sport. We do not embrace people that have different nationality of heritage. Novak is perfect example. He is young and talented who can have brave future but not everyone wants to see that. During his match against Rodick, commentators were praying for Novak to retire. As soon as he did it they attacked him with all that nonsense coming from Brad Gilbert, Mary Carrilo and Bud Collins. Tennis did not win that evening.
Every his move and comment he made in a past they used against him. My main question is why? Is it because he is arrogant? If answer is yes, does that mean he is the only one with this attitude? I don’t think so. Just look how Novak congratulate and embrace others and compare that attitude with for examples like Federer or Tsonga.
When Federer was asked on a press conference after loosing a match to Novak, what does he think who will win the AUS Open 2008, he answered: “I don’t care”? How this attitude does promote Tennis sport?
So going back to my main question, if it is not an attitude what it is WHY western media is against him?
Do you remember or know, what happened to Monika Seles in Hamburg? She was a main threat to Stefi Graf’s bright future. Why NOBODY was responsible for that criminal act? Just to mention she, at a time was coming from the same country as Novak.
Also what treatment Dokic now receives, since she dropped Serbian citizenship and how it is different from before when she played under Serbian flag?
Isn’t she the one who took the presidency over Novak’s request to play later in a day? Why? She is non ranked player and Novak is defending champion.
Again my point is this war against Novak is not going to end. If Novak quits Serbia and takes for example American citizen, all his problems with press and sick attacks from people like Sean will disappear.


shaky Says:

You argue that if Djokovic became a US citizen he would get better treatment. But the Seles example does not prove this point.

But Seles was going through the process of being a US citizen at the time she was stabbed… I think this should serve as a counter example to your point: western interests would have been to promote Seles and punish her attacker.

“Do you remember or know, what happened to Monika Seles in Hamburg? She was a main threat to Stefi Graf’s bright future. Why NOBODY was responsible for that criminal act?”

Maybe this is a western thing — but most of the EU (and the US) do not put the insane in prison, we put them in mental institutions. (You can’t punish people who are not “culpable” in terms of understanding what they did was wrong.) Sadly, he just got mandatory treatment… he probably should have been institutionalized.


shaky Says:

“So going back to my main question, if it is not an attitude what it is WHY western media is against him?”

I think for SOME people it IS his attitude, but people forgive athletes for that. Look at some of the athletes that have been revered just in tennis: Serena and Venus are tremendously arrogant (though not as bad as Hingis); Hewitt has been surly, inflammatory, and even racist; McEnroe was the most standoffish tennis player ever, and people still respected his game.

I don’t care that Novak’s arrogant, so is everyone at the top. I watch athletes to watch athletic feats, to watch them struggle and compete. (If they’re nice people that’s great, but it’s unusual and not necessary.)

But Djokovic retiring here is not subjective. Very few people are saying his attitude is the issue *by itself*. The problem is that here and numerous times previously his attitude manifests in this actual quitting.

Very few people are judging him based on his arrogance. (And nobody is judging him based on his religious beliefs, his nationality, his relationship with the other players, none of that.)

I am judging him in this instance as a poor *competitor*. Athletes are supposed to compete and behave as sportsmen. Based on yesterday, frankly, he stinks at it.


Bojan Says:

Well, I suppose that everyone has its own perception of the situation. I don’t see the point why Novak should have finished that match. He lost the third set 6-2, he was making awful errors, wasn’t able to run to the balls, wasn’t able to do anything. Now what, you’re going to say you didn’t notice a great fall in Novak’s comparing to the first and most of the second set?

I understand you are frustrated because you think that he took away from Andy a fair victory. All credits to Andy, he played a good match, but it wasn’t a fair match to me, I saw one and a half player on that court form 3rd set.

And to Federer, he said he thinks that if you’re not ready you shouldn’t go out the court. Can I ask him this: Then, why did you play last year’s Australian open?


Noel Says:

There seems to be a lot of confusion w.r.t why the roof wasn’t closed even when the temperature reached very high levels. While there have been wildly conflicting reports here and elsewhere about the actual temperatures reched yesterday and today and the suitability of such conditions for playing tennis,I personally think that these conditons couldn’t have been much worse than those encountered by the players in the late 1980s and the 1990s. There was no EHP at the oz open in those days and I vividly remember a match involving Lendl when the mercury reached 40 degree centigrade and above and it was by no means an exception. A lot of years saw extremely hot conditions down under in a lot of matches. I don’t know which reports to trust for reliability and therefore I am in no position to comment on whether the conditions were too exteme for the players. However,given that Rod looked in pretty good shape at the end of the match,it would be fair to say that he was better equipped to handle the conditions. That does not mean we should ‘demand’-as opposed to hope for- similar physical fitness from others also. Nole is a very good athlete although he does have to work hard to handle certain extreme situations. I get the feeling it is not about Nole’s fitness-or the apparent lack of it-that people are angry with. It is more to do with the growing-and probably justifiable- perception that he does not want to give credit to his opponent when he is losing and uses his ‘injuries’/'sickness’etc as an excuse. While only he knows if all his retirements/injury timeouts etc are legitimate,-I think most of them are-the perceptons to the contrary (i.e. unsportsmanlike attitude or gamesmanship) will keep growing with each such incident. Even his fellow players on the tour aren’t too convinced and that is surely not a good situation.
It could well be that he can’t handle extreme heat. It is easy for us to criticise from our air-conditioned rooms and as Matt said, most of us don’t even remotely appreciate how tough it is out there. Whatever the case,Rod deserves all the credit for his win and Nole’s reirement shouldn’t be held against Rod. It just proves that Rod is an outstanding athlete apart from being a very good player.

For those who are still wondering,the extreme heat policy at the oz open is as follows:

The Australian Open Extreme Heat Policy (EHP) will be applied at the Referee’s discretion and may be altered at any time.

At the Referee’s discretion, when the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature only (WBGT) is equal to or above the pre determined threshold, the Referee may suspend the commencement of any further matches on outside courts.

Any matches currently in progress will continue until the end of the current set. At the completion of the set, play will be suspended.

Where play in any match commences outdoors (or with a roof open) and the WBGT temperature is equal to or exceeds the pre determined threshold, the match will continue until the completion of the set. At the end of the set a decision may be made by the Referee to close the roof for the remainder of the match and the following matches, when the EHP is still in effect.

A roof will only be closed because of extreme heat if a decision has been made by the Referee to suspend the completion or commencement of matches on the outdoor courts.

Supplement for women’s singles and junior singles only; to allow a 10 minute break between the second and third sets when a WBGT reading of 28 has been recorded prior to the calling of the match by Tournament Control. Readings are continually made throughout the day.

The 10 minute break will not apply between the second and third sets, if play had previously been suspended after the first set due to the EHP.

A lot of clarifications were issued today. For those interested in further details,please visit the following link.

http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/interviews/2009-01-28/200901281233133741609.html

Just google search “Wet Bulb Globe Temperature” and follow a few of the resulting links to know its components and other technicalities if anyone among you is interested.

I think the concerned players should have a say in whether the roof should remain open or closed even if the threshold suggests otherwise. Ditto for suspending play on ‘non-roof’ courts. Once a match starts,any such decision should be taken ONLY if BOTH players agree even if it ‘risks’ deterioration in the level/quality of play. Alternatively,before the start of the match,the two players/teams could agree on what to do in case the threshold is reached. I wonder how much of the roof decision is influenced by the watching spectatators’ heat stress also. I’d imagine that the organizers would keep them in mind as well at least to a little extent. It’d complicate matters if spectators’ interests were also kept in mind while taking such decisions because it is the players who should be the main priority because they are exerting themselves in the heat.

I didn’t know that there could be situations wherein the roof could remain closed even for night matches even when there was no rain. I never imagined that it would be so hot even after sunset and that the the roof could ‘help’ the players/spectators even in the night.

While commercial considerations make night schedules a necessary/inevitable option and can provide terrific matches,it can become unfair in many situations. Given that these are supposedly “outdoor” and “day” tournaments and involve a test of athletic/physical capabilities as well,the roof and night schedules inject a bit of subjective/selective element to the proceedings. For instance,I always thought that Sampras and Agassi had an unfair advantage because they played so many USO matches in the night while most of the other players weathered the elements in the day. It can make a big difference ultimately in a seven match,best of five event if one can conserve energy by avoiding some day sessions esp on hot days. Sampras was a big beneficiary in the 2002 USO in particular. He might not have been upto the task physically had he not played those night sessions that year. He used to struggle in very hot and humid conditions even in his prime although,to his immense credit,he used to overcome most such situations through sheer will power…….I can’t recall if Verdasco has played any night session here whereas Rafa has already had three. Similarly Fed has played more in the night here compared to Rod although Rod himself benefits a lot from those electric night sessions at the USO. A bit unfair imo but who said life was fair.


shaky Says:

“And to Federer, he said he thinks that if you’re not ready you shouldn’t go out the court. Can I ask him this: Then, why did you play last year’s Australian open?”

I don’t like Roger personally (I do have a lot of respect for his game), but his comment was in reference to people retiring and then after the fact saying they didn’t have it in them. Don’t go out there if you’re going to give up halfway, maybe is a better way of reading that.

Why did he play last year? First, dignity demanded he go out there and fight to the end. He was the defending champion, he was pursuing a record, etc. — at least one of those applies to Novak as well here, but I’m saying Federer’s comment was in reference to when you’re going to retire (and not give the guy enough credit).

Second, he had a legitimate shot to win it all. Novak kicked his butt in the semis, but going into that match, despite the fact that people didn’t think he looked exactly right (we didn’t know at the time he was recovering from Mono), people still had Federer as a favorite.

Again, I don’t like Roger’s attitude, but you can’t say Federer rolled over for Novak last year even when he was behind. (You MIGHT say he did in last year’s french open final, but the response might be that Nadal was in another world that day — sort of like Federer yesterday if you want to believe Del Potro actually was still trying in the third set… close call there.)

Federer’s comments were probably too much, but if anyone has invited this kind of criticism from past comments about Federer… it’s probably Novak.


shaky Says:

Thanks a lot for the clarification on the rules post, didn’t know they released that info.

“Once a match starts,any such decision should be taken ONLY if BOTH players agree even if it ‘risks’ deterioration in the level/quality of play. Alternatively,before the start of the match,the two players/teams could agree on what to do in case the threshold is reached.”

If I’m leading, I don’t want to give up momentum. If I’m losing, I want a break to regroup. — Someone is always ahead, someone is always behind, if this were the rule I would pretty much never expect a heat break.

I like the latter option for them to reach consensus better. But again, if I’m the fitter player and I know it, I’m going to say I want a very high heat threshhold or none at all. But, at gunpoint, if you have to pick one of these two it HAS to be the latter, since nobody knows with certainty what position they’ll be in 2 hours down the road in a close match.

“A bit unfair imo but who said life was fair.”

I think this comment is really key: play the hand you’re dealt, sometimes good (last year he gets an advantage on hewitt), sometimes bad (this year he gets a disadvantage against roddick).

Looking at the temperatures, obviously I can’t complain that they closed the roof for the womens’ match the next day. I just wish Novak had played it out another 10 minutes so that none of this silly conspiracy talk would have happened.


jane Says:

Hi Noel,

“I can’t recall if Verdasco has played any night session here whereas Rafa has already had three.”

He played Tsonga last night, so he’s had at least one. The Murray match was a late afternoon start I think – or was it evening too? Can’t remember. Anyhow, I think they try to mix it up.

You raise an interesting point about the viability or “fairness” of night matches, but I gotta say, I find them very fun to watch – the crowd are so into it, they do have an electric atmosphere. There can be a disadvantage to playing at night though too – as we have seen many times at the AO and USO for different players. And that is, lack of recovery time if a player has to turn around and play day next. But as you say, echoing Von’s oft-repeated phrase, who said life was fair!?


aleks Says:

i would just like to say, that i find it really unfair to the player on the opposite side of the net if you just retire after losing big time. that just gives a statement, that he wasn´t better than you, but just lucky that i couldn´t play my best.

and that s what Djoko is doing. when he is losing, he goes an retires and believes that he is still better than the other guy, just had a bad day.

well guess what you re not better and you never will be, because if you think like he does, you will never ever ever be as good as Fed, Nad, Murr, who always give their all. Even if not for themselves, for the guy standing on the other side, to show some respect.


Guga76 Says:

The author asks us djoko fans how we would defend this one.

Could it simply be that: He used to retire too much, but turned a corner over the last year. That he came to the 09 Australian open and made it to the QF out of sheer pride of title defense, all the while, not having physically conditioned himself enough to handle the short recovery period along with the extreme heat. That he made the huge mistake of acting on instinct, rather than etiquette? That we’re holding history against him a little too harshly.

Agassi was a diva when he was young too, but he got over it. Here’s hoping that as Novak continues to learn, people will at least give him a chance to be recognized for it.


mari0 Says:

I simply don’t buy any excuse, no one can discard the fact that Andy was there too and he did endure the conditions, he was prepared. You really can’t argue that the external factors didn’t help him because every player has to deal with them at some point of their careers, it’s up to each of them how they face difficulties. Just admit that he wasn’t up to the challenge, it’s meant for the player to be technically, mentally and physically prepared, he wasn’t.


Noel Says:

shaky,

“If I’m leading, I don’t want to give up momentum. If I’m losing, I want a break to regroup. — Someone is always ahead, someone is always behind, if this were the rule I would pretty much never expect a heat break.”

What I am trying to say is that both players should agree that the conditions are WAY too tough to continue and there could be situations where the same threshold point(which,if you noticed,is decided by the referee)could be unbearable for both players and even for the player having the lead. Having a lead could mean being a point up in the first game of the match right up to being on match point and obviously,the significance of such leads differs depending on the stage of the match and the closeness of the match. I can envisage several situations when both players can agree to stop or continue or to have the roof once the threshold is reached. I agree that the in many situations the leading player will like to continue and the trailing player will almost always like to stop. That is why I’d like the trailing player not to get an advantage automatically once the threshold is reached. This is exactly what happened in Serena’s case. Kuznetsova had done very well in the heat and the roof should have been closed only if she agreed too to the idea. As it happened,the current policy led to an automatic closure of the roof the moment the threshold was reached. I have no problem with that because these ARE the current rules and rules HAVE to be followed. However,clearly these rules gave Serena the ‘unfair’ advantage people are talking about and I don’t see why trailing and/or unfit players should get that advantage. Hence the proposed change FWIW.

“I like the latter option for them to reach consensus better. But again, if I’m the fitter player and I know it, I’m going to say I want a very high heat threshhold or none at all. But, at gunpoint, if you have to pick one of these two it HAS to be the latter, since nobody knows with certainty what position they’ll be in 2 hours down the road in a close match.”

As I said,the threshold is decided by the referee and there is no question of a high or low threshold you are talking about. The ‘pre-match’ agreement will be about what to do once this threshold is reached. At the moment,it is a very narrow range and the referee takes a call about the threshold point from within that range. In any case,I don’t see why the fitter player shouldn’t have an advantage. After all,he has worked hard on his fitness. You are perefctly entitled to your opinion and free to chose neither. Nobody is forcing you to do so on gunpoint. :-)

BTW, you appear to be new to this blog. Welcome aboard! I am hardly a regular here myself and, therefore,I am not too sure I am correct in my presumption. You could well be an old member coming back. Whatever be the case,stick around. You have a style very similar to two Australian members on this blog although one of them has not posted for a long time. I actually got the feeling that he started posting again with a new username.

BTW,


shaky Says:

I’m new. I haven’t been able to watch tennis since the US Open really, but ESPN360 is really great for students without TVs.

Definitely not an Australian. Apparently Australians can stand 140 degree heat with ease and do not belong to the same species as me. (Being intentionally sarcastic, don’t mean to make anyone mad — I know very well it wasn’t 140 in any meaningful sense.)

I really like that this blog has what appears to be a lot of internationals. Even if it means I have to shrug off a lot of conspiracy talk if I want to read here, having that other perspective is nice.


shaky Says:

“i find it really unfair to the player on the opposite side of the net if you just retire after losing big time. that just gives a statement, that he wasn´t better than you, but just lucky that i couldn´t play my best.”

See I agree with this except that this was a thrashing past the first set — Novak may have slowed down in set 2, but he was putting up plenty of a fight. Going into the next match against Novak, Andy’s going to have plenty confidence based on this win: he knows nobody has a fitness advantage over him now, he knows when he’s serving like that he’s as unbreakable as anyone, and that he still has a “puncher’s chance” to win any match (since nobody but Novak is batting 1.000 against him in tiebreaks).

If this had been a close match but Novak was only “likely” to lose at that stage, then the retirement is a *total* mind game and is really unsportsmanlike.

Basically, I don’t think Novak owes Andy anything here, since Andy knows he can keep up with him now (especially if he can stretch the match out, and as long as he doesn’t implode with back-to-back doubles like at Flushing).

I do think Novak let down his fans and the game by retiring when he did. There’s a reason nobody does that: it’s really bad form. And I hate to judge him on his past acts but this isn’t a court of law and I can’t help it: he’s got this consistent pattern of probably-phony behavior (especially on big stages) when he’s losing and I don’t know if he’ll ever be able to shake that rep now. Imagine if he does this again at a grand slam… :(

(Caveat here is maybe Andy won’t have any great confidence next tourney if Roger kicks him around like a Del Potro ragdoll next round. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, for the sake of the viewing public.)

(I’m sorry to monopolize this space by the way, I promise this isn’t normal and I’ll stop. This is just an issue I like and I happen to have time today.)


Noel Says:

Hi Jane,
Well, Verdasco played with the roof closed in the afternoon. I’d imagine it’d still have been much more tough as opposed to the night session match between Rafa and Simon. The Murray match was in the afternoon. They do try to mix it up but night sessions are almost exclusively meant only for the so called top draws during the first week or so.

I enjoy night matches myself and they definitely bring the tennis skills to the fore much more as compared to day sessions which can get very hot at the USO and esp at the oz open. The nicer conditions allow players to play well for a longer period. Differences in fitness/endurance aren’t exposed as much. I agree that there could be disadvantages as well but such situations have been rare. Rod alluded to such situations faced by him also at the USO in his presser yesterday. He said he could understand if Nole hadn’t been able to recover fully after the Baggy match. Having said that,I think Rod will always prefer to play those night sessions at the USO because of the electric atmosphere. It can almost be like a davis cup match sometimes and it transforms him. I find the difference between Rod during the day session and Rod during the night sessions too obvious to ignore. However,I do think he’d have liked to play Nole in a day session last year at the USO and the night session helped Nole much much more under the circumstances.

BTW, I replied to your new year greetings on the relevant thread. I wonder if you saw that post.


Giner Says:

Mike Says:

“why do u guys talk bs about Novak. It was 140 degrees outside and nobody did anything about that but when Serena is losing 1-0 than they can close the roof.”

For the last time, 140F was the temperature of the COURT (the ground), not the air. If it was really 140F, hundreds of spectators would faint from heat exhaustion, same with ball kids and line judges. It isn’t safe. No ordinary person can take that kind of heat. (Players are not ordinary people.)

Novak was only feeling the 140F through the sole of his shoes. The air temperature was under 100F.

Tejuz Says:

“i was there at the AU Open the last 4 years from 2005 to 2008. Once the roof of the centre court was closed because if very extreme heat and once because of rain. The Centre court and the Vodafone Arena are more cooler compared to the outside courts. Outside courts just do not have any shade at all… and i felt it was more tougher for the players on Margaret Court Arena or Court 1 or Court 2 during hot days. So its nothing new to have extreme hot days at Au Open.”

The roof is there more for fan’s comfort than players’ comfort. The roof is partially open to give some shade to people watching from the stands.

megator Says:

“Australians give a fig because of RATINGS, ever hear of that? You think they want Russians to win? No one will watch unless they have a Williams, Roddick, Fed or Nadal. Sorry Kim.”

Australians don’t care about ratings, only the tournament organisers do. What do YOU care if a billion people see the match, what’s in it for you? I said this in another thread, but Williams is not a ratings drawcard in Australia. Sorry megator.

If it really was ratings, why didn’t the tournament save Venus when she was beaten by an unheralded Spanish girl?

megator Says:

“As if Djokovic is the only one.”

The players you named didn’t retire from heat problems. Heat stress is NOT an injury. Zheng and Monfils injured their risk. Azarenka was sick before the match began.

“Looks like Roddick and Stepanek were behind and Stepanek had heat problems that day”

Yet they didn’t retire..

“this story is being SEVERELY under-reported considering 140 degrees is a world record temperature. I, for one, am astounded at the negligence of the media.”

140 degrees is the ground temperature, not air temperature. The air temperature is the same all around. The ground absorbs heat. The misconception people are getting is that they think the weather was 140F. It has never been anywhere close to that in Australia since it was colonised by Europeans over 200 years ago. People need to understand the numbers they’re reading. The temperature around the players was the same as the temperature around me at home.

Polo Says:

“I cannot believe how there are so many insensitive and non-sensical people there are who attack Djokovic for quitting. Would you rather that he continue, collapse and die? If he did, I am sure all of you would say he was stupid to continue.”

Australian summers are hot, and he knows that. Winters are not cold either (it never snows here). Tennis is a summer sport, and it’s played outdoors in the heat. Any player who can’t take the conditions required should stay home and not come. It’s no different from Wimbledon and US Open rain delays testing the fitness of players when they have to play back to back matches.

“In 300 matches over 10 years, 27 yr-old Federer has retired from only 1 match, yet has hung in to lose many when not feeling well.”

Federer has only withdrawn from 1 match before it began (and this was only very recently!). He’s never actually retired mid-match. And he’s played way more than 300 matches. It’s closer to 600.

“You argue that if Djokovic became a US citizen he would get better treatment. But the Seles example does not prove this point.”

The US does not run this tournament, and I do not believe it is corrupt. Aussies run it, and to them, if you’re not an Aussie, you’re fair game. They aren’t going to pick favourites based on country. It doesn’t matter whether you’re American or Russian or Polish. It’s equal opportunity, and the organisers are not pro any country other than their own. Dokic got all the night matches, and Hewitt would have been scheduled for night matches. He was scheduled for a night match against Gonzo, but he requested a day match because he knew that he would be able to withstand the heat much better than Gonzo would. Gonzo did get tired and need treatment for cramping, while Hewitt looked fit enough to go for 2 more sets, but Gonzo was still strong enough to win the fifth set.

aleks Says:

“i would just like to say, that i find it really unfair to the player on the opposite side of the net if you just retire after losing big time. that just gives a statement, that he wasn´t better than you, but just lucky that i couldn´t play my best. ”

This isn’t true. We can demonstrate this by taking it to extremes.

Suppose you were up 6-0 6-0 5-0 and your opponent retired. No one can say that your win wasn’t legit and that the only reason you won is because your opponent retired, otherwise he would have beaten you.

On the other hand, if the score was 7-6 6-7 4-4 RET, then this is an even match, and one can make the case that your win was not entirely legit because you could have lost that match.

Somewhere in between is a line you must draw, and this time, Andy’s win was toward the legit side.

Novak’s preparation was not the best, and he made some bad decisions, such as changing racquets just before a title defense. He paid the price, and this kind of mistake is not acceptable for a No.3 bordering No.2 player.


ojo Says:

At the end of the 3rd set the thermometer read 62C which is 143F on the court as the temperature continued to rise in the afternoon.

Lob bob you are right. I have it on tape.

He sounds like he’s upchucking on every serve.

Nada, then you must not like listening to Nadal who does a sort of upchuck himself.

he needs to improve his fitness, like how Murray has.
Tejus, Murray the favorite to win it all, lost to number 14

If Novak wants to be a true champion, he must play every match until he pukes his guts out … that’s what all the other professionals do.

Bobby norwich
that would also pertain to Azarenka right? If she was puking all night why didn’t she just not play?

Agassi was a diva when he was young too, but he got over it.

hope so guga

it is the ridiculous frequency with which THIS player does it.

Lenny you feel the same about Monfils, I take it?

And to Federer, he said he thinks that if you’re not ready you shouldn’t go out the court. Can I ask him this: Then, why did you play last year’s Australian open?

good one bojan…he lost and then complained about mono for a year.


jane Says:

Noel,

You’re right! It was night here for the Verdasco vs. Tsonga, and it also felt like I was viewing a night match because the roof was closed, but it was afternoon. Thanks for clarifying.

I think I saw your reply (?); I hope there wasn’t something I overlooked or to which I should’ve replied. (I am so out of it these days between tennis, work, and, well, life. sheesh!)


jane Says:

Giner,

“Yet they didn’t retire..” – Are you sure about this? I thought Stepanek did retire against Djokovic and I think Roddick did too – which was a shame because he was doing so well on clay at that event, and then he had to pull out of the French, etc. But Roddick retired because of his back/shoulder. I can’t remember what was up with Step: flu/fever or dizzy? Something like that.


Von Says:

MMT:

Thanks for the rebuttal on my behalf.

This is a prime example and one of the reasons it’s becoming so very difficult for me to post. There’s selective tolerance for some, but outright lambasting for others. If a poster cannot comment on his/her perception with respect to the differences and quality of play by the diverse players’ style and match excitement, without being attacked and labeled as a ‘racist’ or whatever name the offended one deems appropos, then what’s the use of posting? It’s a shame really because it’s stagnating the blog. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion and considering “freedom of speech” comes under the umbrella of ‘entitlement to expressionism’, then I suppose our Amendments are devoid of effectiveness and should be rewritten.


Noel Says:

Von,
With due respect,I think such posts are best ignored although I must say I enjoyed reading MMT’s response. That was a totally lunatic post. The post and the poster don’t carry any iota of credibility. I can’t recall him/her posting here before. Appears to be an extremely obsessive fanboy/girl.


Von Says:

Noel:

Thanks for your input. To my recollection, I’ve not seen a poster with that name posting previously, but I’m positive it’s one of those who’ve been posting under several a/k/as and/or aliases. They re-incarnate themselves every few weeks and in some cases, every few days.


Papa Says:

“Different standard for Americans”- I like that.

And, what would you write if he (Novak) past out Mr. Randall.

For Gordon, you Croatian idiot. Jelena Dokic was born in Croatia (she is a Serbian) but she had to run from you guys.
And Gordon, you Croatian idiot, she is not British – she is Australian.

Go Nadal, kick that arrogant Federer (still the best player) no-smile face.
Well, if you wont to slap someone he has a face for it.


jane Says:

Don’t know how accurate this is, but since air vs. surface temperature came up a number of times here, I thought I’d post it:

“The air temperature during the match was 40 degrees Celsius, 104 Fahrenheit. However, the on-court surface temperature was an oven like 61 degrees Celsius, 142 Fahrenheit.”

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/116869-select-sports-tempting-legal-suicide


jane Says:

Sorry just googling around – found this, from Jon Wertheim’s mailbag:
—————————–

With regard to the Slams, it has been argued that players are least fit coming into the Australian Open, because they are not as match-tough after the ‘offseason’. Bearing that in mind, why does the year start with possibly the most grueling Slam (in terms of playing conditions)?
– Stephen Males, Devonshire, Bermuda

• A lot of you wrote in with a similar point. I think the discussion of moving dates and rejiggering the tournament calendar can get tiresome in a hurry. But it’s time to take a serious look at Australia. Quite apart from the event coming so early in the season (and conflicting with the Super Bowl) it’s just too damn hot. It’s dangerous for the players; it’s dangerous for the fans. Too many matches this year have been less about the tennis than about players’ ability to deal with extreme elements. This has gone beyond fitness tests, hydration and conditioning. We’re talking an ability to withstand 140-degree on court temperatures in a best-of-five match. Unless global warning reverses itself, unlikely in epoch, it ain’t getting any cooler in the years to come.

Aside: some of you guys object to Hawkeye on the grounds that it’s not available on all the courts and applied inconsistently. What about this retractable roof business? You play al fresco tennis in conditions resembling a Turkish bath. Then the “heat policy” kicks in and it’s suddenly an indoor match being played in air conditioning!
————————————-

I know Federer prior to the AO this year had talked about moving this slam forward. It’s been talked about a lot. I wonder if it would ever happen or if it would make any difference. The other thing bandied about is that Australia would lose it’s slam altogether correct? I think I’ve hear that before. And then the fact that it used to be played at the end of the season is an interesting one as well. Anyhow…


Shade Says:

It’s very easy to judge somebody from the comfy sofa at room temperature or perfect 68F. If you never experience the heat wave and 130F or 61C (the temperature at the court at the moment) please just shut up. It’s no joke.
So what if he quit the match, who are you to judge him, Sean?His coach? I think persons health is most important thing then what people think. And as I can recall, who ever was at that stadium that day, gave him a big applause, and they are the only one who could tell how hard and hot it was.
Andy was not effected as much as Novak, but I can tell you it was not fun for him too. He was much stronger. And he won.
So for you Sean and for the rest of the people that just love to criticize other’s people, just go out and run for 2 hours on 100F and let me know……Maybe you will taste it.
Adio, and please make sure the room temp is just right when you watch your next match. We don’t want anybody to get sick. It would be a end of the world……
Ciao


Oz Guy Says:

for god sakes it wasn’t that hot tuesday when Novak played!!!!

please see:
http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDV60901/IDV60901.94868.shtml

the high for tuesday was 35.6C which is 95 fahrenheit. it never reached 104!!! where was that reported???

it was only about 28C when novak started the match. that’s 82F!

you can also how much warmer it was yesterday and today!!

i am from melbourne also.


Alexandar Says:

Dear all

I’m wandering: What would be if Novak collapsed and die at the court?
Maybe all of you who blame him for his illnesses in the past will blame some other persons.
Maybe you’ll ask people from AO why they did not close the roof. If I can remember, they’re close the roof when Serena asked. But, of course, when Serena played probably was much wormer.
I don’t want to tell that this Novak’s retirements are normal thing, hi obviously have to work on his mental and physical strength. I just want to tell that he’s still no. 3 and we all hope that he’ll be no.1 in the future cause he’s fine young men, very good person and he’s (will) deserve it.
Anyhow, imagine that you’re no.3 in the world in any category. Even if you’re no. 3 criminal person in the world – it will be significant achievement.

Regards.


Alexandar Says:

One more thing I forgot.
Novak reach 3rd place in the world with his victories, not with retirements.

Oz Guy, people have different perception about different things, including temperature of the air.


Alexander Says:

All those guys he folded against won, right? I think we should give him a break then.
He obviously has problems with hard labour in extreme circumstances. I have been watching him ever since he started, and he always had problems such as heavy breathing and so on…
Maybe he is the one who’s having it the hard way, not we, and as his fan, I don’t mind. He made me proud so many times, that I can hardly resent anything he does.


steve Says:

I am fully behind djokovic decision because if he wasnt feeling well and was concious about his health then of course you are gonna retire. I agree with Alexander that he is No3 for a long time thanks to his victories. Federer played only 1 match this tournament at day sessions and he was 2 sets down and barely made it to quarters hmm hint hint.. He will come stronger out of this situation and wish him all the best


Jelena Says:

All you great atlets,why don’t you go to Australia and play tennis? Dear Sean do you think you can play day after day in all that heat? I don’t think you can,so shut up and let the players do what they want. Novak is great player and he will be No 1 some day!


jane Says:

Based on Oz Guy’s link, the temp between 5-6 pm on the 27th was between 35-36 degrees, hitting the highest temp at 6 pm which was probably right around when Novak was struggling (they began around 3:30 I think, and Novak was fine set 1, okay set 2, but by set 3 and 4, when it was hottest, he was struggling). No it wasn’t quite 40 degrees air temp based on that link, but we’re talking about 4 degrees difference – was it 36 or 40? That seems like a quibble. It was not exactly cool Oz Guy. And surely hotter on the court by 5-6 pm.


Borisa marjanovic Says:

Maybe you suppose send NATO to bomb Serbia because what Novak did.Why you don`t questioning how Serena got roof closed in the middle of the match and why roof still stay open against Azarenka.In both matches she was going down,but that is more than sport. If you arrogant Americans think that all of us are stupid you are wrong.Just ask your self why only american athletes can not be controled for anti-doping control.


Borisa marjanovic Says:

Just one more think,i was watching that match on ESPN2 and clearly was termometar which was showing temperature on the court was at start of the match 52C and in the fourth set 62C.You can see that on ESPN.com


pera Says:

Mr.Sean Randall
You are not mister,you are man which absolutely
hate Djokovic.Your opinion about this match is for reject,specialy about the most fair tenis player in the world Mr Djokovic.I know why you hate Djokovic and your text show how you are a small man.You said ,that she must play like Azarenka ,but you do not say that Williams will not be in final that Azarenka is not stop play.She was so better from Williams that her place in final of Australia open is unjustice .Write about this gratuity .You are not for sports commentator becouse in word SPORT is many of things which you do not know.Sport is human and this is not gladiator fighting ,so for you is not impotant who is better player,already why can be the most durable.So I have suggestion for you that you change rules in tenis and also change your profession..better anprofessional writting.
In past was so many desisting from match in much better situation,without reason,and nobody said anythig like you.What you will say if Federer or some other player do same …nothing.
It is clear that your feeling are in question in this case and nothing more. You are not a sportsman,you are lost in space.
So,that I am on Djokovic place I will not play on US open..becouse if you do not want to see third player on world this is your problem.You look in Rodik who know only play good servis ,but play is for joke us.


Guga76 Says:

164 comments about Novak’s retirement. Whether you hate him or love him, Novak is something interesting for tennis.

I love what Alexandar has to say on Jan 29.


bob22 Says:

I checked recording of match and it is correct, thermometer on court did exceed the maximum of 60C. Was this a temperature of court surface? In order to measure court surface temperature sensor should not be implanted behind a scale because then it will measure the air heat, instead thermometer can be a laser/infrared surface scanner or collect sensor is engraved into the surface. Does anyone have information what thermometer was deployed on a court? I don’t think so…
Also does anyone know what was the temperature reading on a thermometer before they closed the roof? It is interesting on a second day they never show the court thermometer. Am I right? I watched Serena’s match again and could not find that it was shown at any time. Am I wrong?

Don’t understand me wrong Andy played excellent match on that day and he deserved to win. My issue is with organizers that did not do their job (intentionally or not) in order to give all player equal chance. I have a lot of issues when something is secret and regulated behind the closed door…
Also I do not like how most of the people where commenting on Djokovic and his behavior. But this is for a discussion. I want facts, not what were commentators saying because they are far from being objective.


mari0 Says:

In my case, sorry but I can’t go and play tennis at Australia with (or with no) heat, because that’s not my job. I don’t do that for a living, and I’m guessing that almost no one else here does. But I do what I’m expected to do at work even in adverse conditions.


radeta Says:

Djokovic will be nuber one,and many commentator afraid of this fact.So Djokovic,you only play your game and noise about you is sign that you are on right way.


bob22 Says:

Ok Mario here is the exercise for you:
- run a 50 m sprint then walk 25m (without stoping) and repeat this 15 x. That will be comparable with 3 games. Don’t forget to drink a small amount of wather during this break.

Now you will need to repeat previous cycle 10 times with a break of 3 minutes in between. Hey you just finish four first set.

Now run this big cycle two more times, to simulate 3 sets in total and let us know how do you feel!

But don’t forget to rune this exercise 3 days in a raw, with last day exposed to 30C sunlight.

Let us know, if you have a camera save the execise on a youtube so we can enjoy in it ;)


Petar Says:

Novak has every right to feel agrieved,he played a new match 18 hours after the last one who went long into the night.Joke is this “expert” who wrights this kind of c**p.How well Rodick plays we have seen today-he is a joke.Federrer blow him off the court and back to USA to cry in front of bunch of people who don’t know anything about tennis.Novak beated Rodick on his US Open last year and he will do it again,if of course Rodick made it till then.So long,and don’t be so jealous to a litlle country like Serbia!!!


jasmin Says:

Novak is great men,and many of you doesn*t know that he is asthmatic…Think about that when you wont to leave a comment next time!


mari0 Says:

Thanks for the exercise Bob, but you would have to wait for me for (at least) ten years so that I can get the same physical condition he SHOULD have. Then I’ll follow your advice and I would be able to tell you how I did. As I said before, I’m no tennis player so I haven’t spent half of my lifetime training.


zona Says:

I think Novak would win the match if only the turnament body or whoever is responsible to make calls made a move to close the stadium roof and make this microwave terain decent place to compete. How about Serena??? She almost dropped her guard against Kuznetsova, and when the turnament director sensed she is close to be out, bingo roof is moving giving Serena 20 min of desperate break. Djokovic was a defending champion and his request to move this match in night hours should hsve been respected. I bet you if Fed or Nadal asked for something like that they would have been accomodated. And if someone thinks 60 degrees celsius is a joke, try to stand 1 hour under such extreme temp. and then I would ask you a question. What, the guy should drop dead just because you think mister hyperman deserved to win. Comon, Djokovic throw him appart in a first set despite his only real weapon in tennis, great serve. Other than that, Roddick is for 10-20 position.


shaky Says:

Zona-
—”I want facts, not what were commentators saying because they are far from being objective.”—

Ok here’s some facts for comparison. Here’s air temp from weather.com for Melbourne for 3pm and 6pm sunday to wednesday:

January 25: 85F, 81F
January 26: 81F, 81F (Novak’s/Roddick’s day)
January 27: 93F, 97F (Serena’s/Tsonga’s day)
January 28: 100F, 101F

(go to weather.com, type in melbourne, pick australia, go to “yesterday,” then pick the date you want and click “hourly”)

Obviously the air at court level is probably 10-15 degrees hotter. You might think it adds 20 degrees, fine, but look at the change from day to day:

It was up to *16 degrees hotter* for Serena and Tsonga than it was for Andy and Novak.

The big heat wave did not hit until tuesday night. That is a big difference.

—”And if someone thinks 60 degrees celsius is a joke, try to stand 1 hour under such extreme temp.”—

The consensus hottest temperature ever recorded anywhere on the globe is 136F in Libya in 1922. It was not anywhere near that in Melbourne, on the court or otherwise. People do not function at 60C/140F.

If you left a piece of metal on the court for 3 hours it might have read 90C, but that has no impact on the players. 60C is not a relevant number, and Novak was not in danger of “dropping dead.”

Also, playing to a tiebreaker is not “throwing apart” someone. He won the set and outplayed him in baseline rallies, I think both of those most people expected. (Last time I checked you serve in half the games you play in a match.)

(At this point I’m against having the roof closed EVER except for rain, precisely because a) there’s all this conspiracy talk and b) that’s how the old guys did it and it’s not a coincidence that nobody was ever in danger of heat stroke — it’s safe, all these comments are very melodramatic. Drop dead? Really? You can’t really think that.)


shaky Says:

You can ignore my post, Oz Guy’s link is waaaaay more detailed and easy to use. (Really sorry, I didn’t see it before)

The most important thing is realizing it wasn’t that hot when Novak played.

Here it is again:
http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDV60901/IDV60901.94868.shtml


Dimwit Says:

It’s too bad everyone does not have the grit and determination of the Americans…the world’s chosen people. It would be great to see more athletes die of heat stress so Hollywod can make movies about their struggle to overcome diversity and pain. Or we can all recognize that this is just sport and entertaiment and not some titanic struggle.

For some of us who have trained for endurance sports such as Ironman we know how easily heat can kill even the best conditioned athlete.

BTW, all you Roddick fans who couldn’t wait for him to beat Novak so that you could express your joy…tell us again about how great his conditioning was against Federer!!!


jane Says:

shaky,

I checked Oz Guy’s link and responded on Jan 29th 10:55 am. Looked to be about 35-36 degrees C when Novak retired. That’s pretty hot to me.


shaky Says:

Jane,

That can’t be right though, unless I’m using the site wrong, I see January 26, 3pm: 23.8C, which is in the mid-80s.

http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/dwo/IDCJDW3050.latest.shtml

Do you agree or am I looking at the wrong number? 24C looks more in line with the weather.com number and with Oz’s post.

Regardless, I thought the original point was that the 140F number was completely out of line with reality. (ie Novak’s supporters were saying it was an ungodly temp, pointing to the 140 number as evidence, which I think at this point everyone should agree isn’t relevant.)

My point, and I think Oz’s too, was that saying the guy was on the verge of death doesn’t jive with mid-80s temps. I’ll concede that it’s probably a bit hotter in a stadium, and probably hotter at 6pm. But even at 95F, I can’t bring myself to believe that’s extreme conditions (let alone for the AO).


jane Says:

Shaky,

The match was on Tuesday January 27th, it got underway about 3:45. As I said in the above post, Novak was fine for the first set, and I’d say most of the 2nd. It wasn’t until the 3rd that he was really feeling it, which would’ve been between about 5-6 pm, at which point it was between 35-36 degrees air temp (not court temp), basically the highest temperature for that day. It was Tuesday late-afternoon/evening when the heat wave started to kick in. Yes, it was hotter Wednesday but still. I think Novak could’ve been better conditioned, no doubt. But I also think, if the roof is there, use it. They made Dementieva sweat it out in her match Wed. and then closed it half way through the Serena Sveta match. They should’ve closed it first thing on Wednesday, if not Tuesday, imo. But I know there are all sorts of protocol to follow, related to bulbs, and humidity, etc…. etc…


jane Says:

Shaky,

I’m copying below an excerpt from the AO website itself:

————————————————-

“Andy Roddick has made the semifinals of Australian Open 2009 after ill opponent Novak Djokovic was forced to retire in the fourth set of their quarterfinal clash on Tuesday afternoon at a warm Rod Laver Arena

With temperatures hovering in the mid-30s, Roddick was leading 6-7(3) 6-4 6-2 2-1 when Djokovic, the men’s singles champion in 2008, retired after two hours and 29 minutes.

Djokovic was clearly not himself from the beginning of the third set, and laboured for the final 11 games of the match battling cramps and heat stress before taking the decision to withdraw.”


Sampras Fan Says:

The Roddick-Novak match began about 315pm local time. Ended about 545pm. If he can’t handle temps in the upper 80s, mid 90s, then he should get off the tour.


jane Says:

Maybe I got the timing wrong; I had thought it started later than 3:15. But the air temp was definitely in the mid 90s. Seems very hot to me, considering it would’ve been hotter on the court, but I do agree that he should’ve been in better condition. If that means practicing- in Florida or somewhere else with high temps -in the off-season then he should do so. Mind you, if he really does have asthma, as one poster suggested above, then this may just be an impediment he’ll have to deal with in other ways? I dunno.


Giner Says:

“I know Federer prior to the AO this year had talked about moving this slam forward. It’s been talked about a lot. I wonder if it would ever happen or if it would make any difference. The other thing bandied about is that Australia would lose it’s slam altogether correct? I think I’ve hear that before. And then the fact that it used to be played at the end of the season is an interesting one as well. Anyhow…”

Australia has just renewed its contract with the AO till 2035 or so.

And it can’t be pushed back due to many factors, a large one being competition with other major sports. It would require a chain of reshuffling which just isn’t realistic. And ball kids will be in school. I’m not sure how they do this at the other Slams, but in Australia school kids have a one month holiday during January and I don’t know where they will get the kids if the AO happened in Feb.

“BTW, all you Roddick fans who couldn’t wait for him to beat Novak so that you could express your joy…tell us again about how great his conditioning was against Federer!!!”

The roof was closed dude.

“I checked Oz Guy’s link and responded on Jan 29th 10:55 am. Looked to be about 35-36 degrees C when Novak retired. That’s pretty hot to me.”

The last few days reached 43-44C. That’s about 110F.


shaky Says:

Yeah I misread the date, January 27 at 3pm it was 27.3C (same site), still only 82F.

I agree it was probably 10-15 degees hotter on the court, but mid-90s… I’m not trying to come across as an arrogant American here, but there is no objective way someone can make an argument that he was at serious risk there.

I didn’t think the Serena match should have been covered at first (mainly because it would look to be playing favorites), but if you look at the same page, the line right below it reads:

January 28 at 3pm it registers 42.5C.

That’s 109F. If we add the same 10-15 on top of that for surface temp on the court, we’re getting above 120. That’s a REALLY big difference, right? That’s when the heat wave hit.

I’d have liked him to get more rest, and that’s the better argument: the scheduling was poor and it probably did make a difference, it probably exacerbated his poor conditioning.

But the “crazy heat” and “on the verge of death” argument doesn’t hold any water. I hope Novak himself doesn’t buy into it.


jane Says:

Sorry to repeat, but it wasn’t as hot during the first set as it was during the 3rd, which was two hours later, which was when he started seriously drooping, so you should be looking at the 5:00 pm or 5:30 pm temp. Anyhow…I just think it’s a combination of factors (including, as I’ve mentioned, conditioning) and in order to take the position of judge, jury and executioner it’s best to consider all of them, probably.


shaky Says:

“Sorry to repeat, but it wasn’t as hot during the first set as it was during the 3rd, which was two hours later, which was when he started seriously drooping, so you should be looking at the 5:00 pm or 5:30 pm temp.”

That’s probably right, I just really liked that chart since it showed each day right on top of the other for comparison’s sake. I’m sure it was a few degrees hotter by 5. In an absolute sense then, it’s hard to know exactly how hot it was for Novak’s match.

On the flip side, it’s pretty clear that it was upwards of 25 degrees hotter for serena’s match, yes? That’s the only sure conclusion we can draw from the numbers, which I thought was stark.

“Anyhow…I just think it’s a combination of factors (including, as I’ve mentioned, conditioning) and in order to take the position of judge, jury and executioner it’s best to consider all of them, probably.”

Yeah I agree, all this stuff factors in to varying degrees (pun!). The point that he was in danger of dying though (not your argument, I know) is just not there, and that’s just as ridiculous as the position that he’s a “coward” or “gutless” or whatever else.

I just don’t like the a) deflection to blame on the tournament for not using the roof all the time (I don’t feel it should ever use the roof), b) deflection to some sort of imaginary western conspiracy to favor Serena (especially since every Aussie on this board has said the crowds don’t even like her).

And hopefully he does some real advocating for transparency in the roofing decisions, he’s on the damn player committee and I feel like now some of his own credibility is on the line.

I also really hope he doesn’t do this again, so we can forget about this. If this happens again, it’s going to make us wonder about all his previous RET’s (especially this one) that much more. :(


jane Says:

shaky,

That’s all cool (pun!) with me. Good that we could have a civil discussion on the matter. I totally hope we see some changes for the better. To me Novak has done good at learning from past mishaps/habits – like bouncing less, leaving the family behind so he can focus, etc. Maybe this is another thing he can gain from so we can enjoy his fantastic tennis abilities.


bob22 Says:

There was only one person who did not attack Novak – Nadal.
I had some question related to measurement on court temperature, but as expected they were not being answered.
All these references to Melbourne temperature are irrelevant. The temperature measured on Melbourne Airport or any other location can’t be considered.
The only measurement we were able to se is a court thermometer. That is a fact.
Second, Roddick did insist to play daily match under open court. That is fact too.
Third. Djokovic asked to play nightly match.
Fourth. Arena’s roof was closed after Serena’s request.
Australian tennis legend Rod Laver, after whom centre court is named, said yesterday the roof should have been shut during the entire anticipated heat wave.

”Just the mechanics say we’re going to have this sort of heat for the next three days, why not just close it right now and leave it closed?” he asked.

Most of you were newer thought on Olympic Sportsmanship that started with re-invention of Olympic Games in 1896. Unfortunately as result of money that penetrates in sport this Olympic spirit is being destroyed. But anyway it want hurt you to read couple paragraphs that I copied from Olympic pamphlet:
Good sportsmanship is when teammates, opponents, coaches, and officials treat each other with respect.
The will to win, thus demonstrating one’s “fighting spirit” (a term which is preferable to “aggression”
Which also suggests reprehensible acts), is an attitude in keeping with sportsmanship.
But according to the same sportsmanship, the expected result of any competition is that “the best man wins”. Being the best should therefore be the aim, not winning by luck, or even worse, by violence or cheating.

Each spectator and each group of spectators have the right to root for one
team or the other, and encourage their hero or team. They may not, according
to the rules of sportsmanship, pressurise or intimidate to exacerbate the
away team’s handicap.
Hurling abuse in order to try to distract the player
who is about to attempt to convert a try is shameful (in football, the same
applies with penalties).


Gordon Says:

Nadal:
Today I want to explain to you the extreme heat we had. It was great to play with the roof closed. I know some people are against that but I can tell you that to play out there today with that heat would have been almost criminal. I went to practice at 4.30 pm and believe me when Here is what Rafa said about conditions in AO:
I say my feet were literally burning. IT was very, very hot. I was only warming up, oh well, just to be out there was warm, but you know what I mean. I was hitting and my feet were really hurting because of the heat. I could not imagine going out there today and play.

I understand the roof makes a different game but the health of the players is also important.

By the way during the Roddick-Djokovic match the temperature on the court was 62 C OR 145 F.


Nadal Survives 5 MPs to Turn Away Nalbandian at Indian Wells Says:

[...] much-anticipated rematch in Australia, Novak did just what the Roddick called him out on, and he retired due from the heat against the American. Hopefully, this time both are fully rested and ready for battle. Novak’s the better player [...]

Top story: It's A Boy! Novak Djokovic Is Now A Father!
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