I have to hand it to Novak Djokovic, he just keeps on surprising me. Djokovic proved today that he doesn’t discriminate where and when he retires. He’s retired in Grand Slams, in Davis Cup, in Tennis Masters and today he did what I would consider to be unthinkable, he retired from a match at his very own event, his family-owned Serbian Open in Belgrade.
Djokovic found himself down a set 6-4 to upstart Filip Krajinovic when the World No. 2 thought it better to quit because of allergies (and illness) then to keep playing and give his 18-year-old countryman a proper win.
I know he’s suffered from breathing issues for quite some time but now they seem to getting worse and becoming more persistent. Djokovic has been complaining of allergies since the start of Indian Wells – recall Monte Carlo when the Serb was listless in a loss to Verdasco – so he’s been having this problem for over two months.
And let’s also not forget, he’s done very well during this “allergy” time of year in the past. Last year won Belgrade and reached the finals in Monte Carlo and Rome. In 2008 he won Rome and reached the semifinal at Monte Carlo. And he’s won Miami and Indian Wells before also.
But this year, things have deteriorated. His allergies or the pressure or or his serve or something, perhaps psychosomatic, is kicking him down. Whatever it is he either needs to get off the tour and address it, or stop harping about it and play on. Otherwise every match and every loss henceforth there will be speculation of these allergies playing a part.
We know Novak has a pretty sizable, and at times, loud, team around him. So why doesn’t he put them to actual work or expand it by hiring a doctor? (And maybe toss in a trip to the pharmacy for some meds every now and then.)
As for his retirements, by my count it’s the 8th time Djokovic’s retired from an ATP level match in his career. But I have to give the Joker some credit as this is his first retirement since the Australian Open last year. Not bad for a guy with his stigma and one who plays a lot of tournaments.
Through translation Djokovic is unclear on his Madrid participation – draw will be released tomorrow. If he doesn’t play or do well he’ll leave the door open for Rafael Nadal to take his No. 2 ranking and the No. 2 French Open seeding.
I hope he doesn’t. Djokovic has bigger things to worry about right now than tennis. Novak should take a few months off the circuit and use every available resource he has to get this breathing/asthma/allergy issue under control because what’s he’s doing right now isn’t working. He has the money to allow him to fly around the world to talk with the best specialists in the field. What’s stopping him? Then again maybe it really is between the ears. Who the heck knows.
Big ups to Americans Sam Querrey and John Isner who scored themselves very impressive singles victories over Igor Andreev and Richard Gasquet, respectively. While Querrey now faces Krajinovic, Isner gets Stan Wawrinka. I think Sam should win, but John could be in for a long afternoon.
Roger Federer, who has never retired from a tennis match, is in the Estoril semifinals against claycourter Albert Montanes. The Spaniard Montanes is a decent player on the dirt but it’s a match Federer should still win.
“I got off to a bad start in the first game, falling to 0-30 then he played a great passing shot,” said Federer after his 7-6, 6-2 win over Arnaud Clement. “I missed a couple of chances at 3-3.
“I didn’t play beautiful tennis. I had to play safe, which isn’t something I’m used to doing. I have always struggled against him and today you could see that.”
In the other semifinal it’s Federico Gil v. Guillermo Garcia Lopez.
The Munich semifinals shape up with Phil Petzchner v. Mikhail Youhzny and Marin Cilic v. Marcos Baghdatis. Today Baghdatis, who doesn’t do that well on the clay, had a great win over Phil Kohlschreiber. Cilic beat Almagro in three sets.
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