Miami Mess: Berdych, Nishikori Withdraw Sending Nadal, Djokovic To 40th Meeting Sunday
by Staff | March 28th, 2014, 7:33 pm

In one of the strangest days in pro tennis history, both Friday semifinals went uncontested due to a pair of walkovers at the Sony Open in Miami – a first for the men’s tour in the Open Era.

A bizarre series of events began just before 3pm when oft-injured Kei Nishikori announced he was pulling out of his match with Novak Djokovic due to a left groin injury.

“Very sorry to say that I have to pull out today,” the 24-year-old wrote on Facebook. “Very disappointed and I am obviously very sorry for any fans that wanted to come out for this match.

“This tournament is very special to me and I look forward to coming back in the years to come. I will work with my medical team to be back healthy as soon as possible.”

Showing no signs of ill health, Nishikori had reached his first Miami semifinal after upset wins earlier this week over fan favorites David Ferrer and Roger Federer.

Nishikori says he will return to Japan for further treatment.

With Djokovic through to his fifth Miami final, it was now up to Nadal to keep pace. But like his rival Serb, he too wouldn’t need to hit a ball to advance.

A hour before start of his semifinal with Nadal, Tomas Berdych revealed his was suffering from gastroenteritis, and would be unable to take the court against Rafa.

“Last night was basically the same as every other night,” Berdych said. “I end up in the same place, restaurant, nearly had the same foods to eat and everything was fine.

“In the morning, 7:30, 8:00, I just woke up with a pain in my stomach, just went for toilet, and got really strong diarrhea. nd since then, it starts to go on and on. More time, diarrhea, and then also throwing up and stuff like that. So I lost so much of the liquid and all the possible energy I could have. Came here. Tried to do as much as I could, you know, see the doctors, receiving the IV, and basically not with good results that I can basically go and try.”

Berdych had lost to Nadal 16 straight times, a streak that would make many men sick.

So with sufficient rest, Nadal and Djokovic will meet for a 40th time on Sunday afternoon. Nadal leads 22-17 but Djokovic won here in a thrilling 2011 final.

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46 Comments for Miami Mess: Berdych, Nishikori Withdraw Sending Nadal, Djokovic To 40th Meeting Sunday

Skorocel Says:

“Berdych had lost to Nadal 16 straight times, a streak that would make many men sick.”

Gotta love these jabs ;-)

EIS Says:

Word is Nishikori and Berdych partied hard on South Beach. I feel sorry for the fans who paid hundreds and thousands for those seats, took off from work or travelled from near and far to see great tennis at the Sony Open and got ZILCH. It’s bad for the fans, the sponsors, the ATP and Miami. Shame.

Objective observer Says:

One had no balls, the other no guts.

xmike Says:

considering the number of walkovers that have existed in the last few years, me thinks atp should create a new rule to avoid situations like this; for example, at the beginning of the tournament, when a player retires without hitting a ball, a lucky looser from the qualifying takes its place, even if he is taking the place of a seeded player that drops out the LL goes directly to round two, earns the R2 money and faces a non seeded player (benjamin becker got to the fourth round in miami 2014 on account of that and everyone was ok with that)

why not have a similar rule later in case there are walkovers? if, for example, berdych spends the day sitting on the toilet, the player he beat in the last round (dolgopolov, in this case) would take his place; for example, if he then looses, he would get no extra points, if he wins he would get the points for winning that round but not the points for round before, where he lost; considering he would have to hang around and pay hotel and food bills, prize money from the round before could be halved to take both the loss and the expenses into account;

these are just suggestions, there could be hundreds of different permutations or rules to avoid these situations happening, where the players advance without playing, the fans don’t get to see any tennis and the organizers are left with an empty court and a slot to fill

and before i’m accused of being partial, yes, i am a federer fan, i’m well aware that he would have benefited in this particular situation, but whoever your favourite player might be, the rule would be the same for everyone, and, as a couch potato tennis fan, instead of having no tennis to watch tonight, we would all still have a couple of matches to keep ourselves entertained

and please don’t start saying that the math would become to hard, or whatever; most people can’t figure out the 52 week ranking system themselves or make the calculations without the help of a computer in any case (heck, that’s why we invented them in the first place…)

and before the trolls come out with there 14-year-old dumb insults and arguments, i’ve been watching tennis since the early eighties and would really like to read constructive options of other posters on this

lastly, i would also like the atp to get rid of net calls on serve (that rule is really my pet hate), like volleyball and table tennis did, but i’ll save that discussion for another post

Kimberly Says:

So I went to my wonderful spin class and then picked up tickets from a friend. Great seats, second row center, near the tunnel where the players enter and exit as well so Colin can get lots of autographs. We watched Hingis and Lisickibwin a very enjoyable match. While they were dining Colin’s ball (for a second time as he already has photos with them both) they announced Nishikori withdrawal. Said if we weren’t we should consider how disappointed nishikori must be.

The funny thing is we saw nishikori practicing when we arrived and noticed him finish and walk to the stadium.

So this is Miami, these peolple like to party. Nobody left. People drank. Shopped in the clothing tents which had great selections of Nike, adidas, eleven, Fila, Lacoste and much much more. Played the hard serve contest. Watched li na and nadal practice. We did not have nigh session tickets but we went to the ticket booth and tried to buy some. They were sold out and very expensive on stub hub. So we left. But when we left it was a packed house with people who were drinking pretty heavily waiting all day to watch tennis. I can only imagine how mad they were.

Polo Says:

Good suggestion, xmike. However, most players fly out as soon as they lose a match.

xmike Says:

hi polo, and thats for answering; possible lucky loosers hang around a day or in case a slot opens out, i’m guessing any player would do the same for a chance, however slim, of a semi final spot in a tournament this big

Colin Says:

xmike, if you’ve watched tennis as a couch potato for that long (I go back to the 1950s) you should realise your idea is a bad one, though you aren’t the only person who’s suggested it online.

Any tournament is about more than the points the players get. There’s a little matter of titles and trophies. Suppose Federer had been brought in as a “lucky looser” (why can nobody spell that word?); then suppose he’d gone on to win the tournament – unlikely but not impossible. How much would the title be worth this year? It would have a big asterisk against it forever more. No, the fans and the ATP must simply swallow their disappointment.

Polo Says:

Colin, because the correct spelling for somebody who lost a match is a loser. Loose means not tight.

Okiegal Says:

This is a crazy turn of events. This is exactly the reason I would not make tennis vacation plans way in advance. This something that would happen to me! Poor fans…..this would be a tough pill to swallow!!

salleh ahmed Says:

Come on. Even gulbis played with stomach problems. Berdych has nadaletitis and not gastroenteritis

Michael Says:

This is unprecedented with both the semi-finals being abandoned. It is a heavy loss to the Organizers and Sponsors who were anticipating some entertainment on court. Well, Nishikori’s groin injury is understandable but as regards Berdych, I get a feeling if he chickened out facing Rafa ? If that was really the case, then it is highly deplorable. I may be wrong if Berdych really had gastro problems, but suspicion naturally arises due to the belting Berdych has received from Rafa over the years. Rafa literally took the match for granted if Berdych was at the other end and that just goes to show as to how much Rafa has dominated this rivalry so far.

Michael Says:

The 40th meeting between Novak and Rafa is to take place in the Miami final and what a rivalry this has been ? Rafa initially had the edge against Novak and be built a mighty lead in H2H but thereafter Novak managed to turn this head on and was able to catch up with Rafa with a series of victories in major tournaments and on all surfaces. However, thereafter the trend has been quite mixed with Rafa and Novak sharing the honours now and then with one emerging dominant over another. But in the later part of their rivalry, it is Novak who is leading 11-5 on all surfaces in their H2H and that tells you something as to how Novak managed to upset Rafa’s applecart. If there is a player who knows how to play Rafa, it is Novak and he matches him stroke by stroke, power with power and precision with precision. Now coming to this final, I would say it is only 50:50 considering the kind of form Rafa is in at this tournament. However the key to victory would be dependent on the particular day’s performance. I would be rooting for both the players considering that Rafa is yet to win Miami and Novak is on the threshold of achieving the illustrious double twice. May the better player win.

Rafa better than roger Says:

Xmike roger fan,

Just bone headed suggestions made out of frustration that nishi should have withdrawn before the Roger match?

Reality. Roger lost Special K won. Then unfortunately all players get injured.

Say, roger had an injured back all of 2013? But stupid not to withdraw then. Culminating in his latest statement exulting Rafa taking care of injury before comng back???

Funny how objectivity ferrets out the truth.

Salleh Ahmed Says:

one of the biggest farce tournaments like wimbledon last year.

xmike Says:

hi colin, and thanks for answering

i take your point, but don’t think it’s that relevant; it wouldn’t be an exception that demeanors any particular trophy or tournament win, it would simply be another change in the game, like racquet materials, being able to lift your feet from the ground while serving or getting rid of the ridiculous net rule on serve; tennis rules have been changing along the years, but no matter in what way you end up with the trophy, there is never an asterisk, because they are the same for everyone

just to take a few examples:

1 – at the Masters, or YEC, or WTF or whatever they call it these days, a player can win the trophy having had one or two defeats in the round robin stage, without that affecting the prestige of his win

2 – when the tie break was introduced in the 80s, a player could win a match without breaking serve, like stich did against edberg in 91 at wimbledon, take the trophy and not be considered a lesser achievement for not winning with a two game margin or breaking the opponent’s serve in every set

3 – same thing with all the tournaments being played over 3 sets and not 5, like they were until 2006 or so

4 – in theory, a player can win a tournament without having to play a match; djokovic got 2 WO at Miami this year; imagine he had gotten 3, 4 or even 6? it could happen one day and he would still be the champion; would there be an asterisk? i don’t think so

5 – some tournaments have 4 rounds, some 7, but a win is still a win, no matter how many matches you play; until the 70s i think, the Australian Open only had 6 rounds instead of 7, but no one discards AO winners of those years as lesser Grand Slam winners

6 -in doubles, they now play games without advantages, and super tiebreaks instead of third sets, and in spite of that the Brian Bros are considered by many the best team ever

7 – for a while, about 5 or 10 years ago, can’t remember the exact year, atp experimented with mini round robin stages at the beginning of tournaments; some players went on to win those tournaments despite having lost a match; no asterisks were added

8 – and finally, imagine that benjamin becker, after loosing in the last round of qualifying, and then entering the draw as lucky loser (sorry about the spelling and thanks for pointing the mistake out to me, english is not my first language) went on to win the tournament; would he have the ignominy of an asterisk just because of that? still don’t think so

i guess there are a lot of arguments, pro and con, against the lucky loser being extended to the middle of the tournament, (in my opinion, the pros heavily outweigh the cons, but that’s just one me) but i think the main point is: if the rule is as the same for everyone, a trophy will have the same value, and no asterisk will be needed

just some food for thought; let me know what you think about all this

Rafa better than roger Says:

Just one messy day.

Like Roger getting pooped on by byrd. No, not Tomas, an actual bird pooped on Roger.

Margot Says:

So sorry for you and Colin, Kimberly, ans all the ticket holders. Absolute bummer. However, does make the proceedings more of a level playing field.
I’m sure they could make changes, but I always feel the tennis ruling body is a bit of a dinosaur and reluctant to change.
Perhaps, if a player has to withdraw, they could nominate someone to take their place, a bit like a sub in football? Andy could eg nominate Dani or Ivan..;)
I’m no Berdych fan, but I can’t remember him ever withdrawing from a tournament, so it seems unlikely that he’s faking. In fact, come to think of it, generally he’s very injury free, lucky so and so.

WTF Says:

Bizarre indeed.

Colin Says:

Salleh Ahmed, are you seriously suggesting that Berdych could fake gastroenteritis and fool the doctors, who would obviously be making various tests?

Gulbis may have played with a stomach problem, but a bowel problem is altogether different. Players have been known to throw up on court (Murray did it once), but if Berdych had tried to play, the possible scenario doesn’t bear thinking about! What the heck would the commentators say?

By the way, this might not be ordinary gastroenteritis. In the last couple of years the UK has suffered major outbreaks of norovirus, otherwise known as Winter Vomiting Bug. It’s incredibly contagious, and can be picked up from the air when victims cough and sneeze, or even from touching a doorknob a victim has touched. I got a dose of it in November 2012 at the opticians where I’d gone for my annual eye check. With people arriving in Miami from all over, members of the public could have brought the virus and a player could pick it up while signing autographs, for example. If you’re in normal health you recover in a couple of days, but when it’s happening it’s no fun, believe me.

Margot Says:

OMG it’s just the worst thing to be caught with the you-know-whats. Got ill on a train journey once, and that was pretty bad.
As Colin says, imagine it happening on a tennis court.
On second thoughts, no don’t…..

Giles Says:

Rafa please stay well away from Berdy!!

Hippy Chic Says:

Absolutely agree with Margot although theres no love lost for Berdych,hes not one for pulling out without a good reason,and Kei played two 3 setters that were quite tough,food poisoning aint very nice,and when you get it you feel like hell on earth,i just dont get why people are so quick to believe that players are lying all the time,whatever happened to perspective??

Hippy Chic Says:

Absolutely agree with Margot although theres no love lost for Berdych,hes not one for pulling out without a good reason,and Kei played two 3 setters that were quite tough,food poisoning aint very nice,and when you get it you feel like hell on earth,i just dont get why people are so quick to believe that players are lying all the time,whatever happened to perspective??

Hippy Chic Says:

^Oops sorry excuse the double post^.

Ben Pronin Says:

In situations like this, at the least the tournament would benefit from hosting an exo of some sort. They lose a ton of money when big sessions are canceled.

Gordon Says:

So let’s stick to point and avoid the trolls shall we?

There’s an accusation that both Berdych and Nishikori went partying and that’s why they pulled out. Really?

There’s an accusation that Berdych is a coward and is afraid to face Rafa because of the losing streak he has against him. Really?

And there’s natural disappointment from the camps of the Dog Man and Federer that the men who beat their guys can’t make it to the next round. That’s understandable, but Berdych and Nishikori did win their QF matches fair and square, and they are entitled to the bigger paycheque and to the extra points.

But the first two accusations only prove that there are some bitter bitching posters in here. Perhaps YOU would go out and get hammered if you made the semis of a Masters 1000 and then would withdraw with a fake injury. Perhaps YOU would be afraid of getting your ego bruised should Nadal beat you a 17th straight time, so you’d conjure up some stomach ailment.

But PLEASE do not besmirch Berdych and Nishikori for being unable to play. If they could they would. Period.

Honestly I do not know why some of you call yourself fans of this sport if you believe some of its elite players have such low scruples.

Okiegal Says:

Kei and Berdy are in the middle of a big deal. Bizarre indeed, but I don’t believe for one second that there is something sinister going on. Who wouldn’t want to play in the semis? They will get ridiculed and feel worse than they already do. I will take them at their word and move on. I understand a groin injury is very painful and being dehydrated from a virus makes you very weak.

Looking forward to the finals where two amazing players are gonna entertain us. May the best man win!!!

Anna Says:

i totally agree with you xmike. Something should be done in preventing this situation occurring again. I just cannot believe the luck Djokovic and Nadal have!! And as for Nikishori – well if he was in pain already during the match with Roger – then why continue???? This is so damm unfair, it really urks me!!! So – Djokovic and Nadal in the finals, without having to hit a ball!!!! All I can say is “every dog has its day” – your turns are coming!!!

A Tango Lad Says:

Professional players with sufficient drive to get them near or in the elite Top 10 do not throw away such opportunity to play the best and win tournaments no matter the odds.

What motivates those with such nasty suspicions I wonder? Hate, naivity or a combination of both I suspect. It really does expose your true colours.

A Tango Lad Says:

So Anna you are wishing injuries on Nadal and Djokovic as some sort of bizarre karma? Wow. Just. Wow.

Gordon Says:

Anna – why continue? The difference in prize money is $94,355 between SF and QF. If you think you can finish the match – and win – why not?

There have been pull outs and walkovers by the dozens over the years, but get 2 happening in the semis of a Masters 1000 and it turns this thread into a perfect storm of stupidity.

Look at DelPotro. How many times has he dropped out instead of taking care of the problem? Nadal is the best example of someone who was injured but did not rush his return until he was 100%, and his results attest to how good that plan was.

But injurys are a part of the game. We all have to live with it.

rafaeli Says:

xmike, why did this bright idea not occur to you when Darcis pulled out of Wimbledon after beating Nadal in the first round?

Anyway, Dolly says he was done anad just want to have a rest from tennis:

“The whole tournament here, my concentration was going up and down, up and down. . .Today I was again really tired and disconcentrated. I had my chances, but I gave away too many points. So it’s been a tournament like that. I knew it was going to be tough because I played too much tournaments straight. “

He elaborated: “I don’t have too much emotions now. I just want to get away from the ball and the court and the tournaments for some time. . . walking out for the match I wanted to sleep and I was completely somewhere out there.”

rafaeli Says:

That was an opportunity for Nole to entertain the crowd with gangnam style dancing and impersonations.

Hippy Chic Says:

So Rafa and Nole are lucky,because their would be opponents got injured?and thats there fault how?lol i really have heard it all now,purlease its their bad luck they got injured,not Rafa and Noles good luck,injuries are all part of the sport,so its unfortunate that it happened now,and i very much doubt that they would pull out without good reason,as a Masters title is on the line,granted Kei and Tomas dont have good records against Nole and Rafa,but thats unlikely to change if they dont at least give it a try,and life as they say is full of surprises,i think this is more about posters having anymosity for their favorites rivals rather than anything else.

Hippy Chic Says:

Good posts from ATL,Gordon and Rafaeli,bringing some common sense into procedings..

Jack Lewis Says:

@Hippy Chic
“So Rafa and Nole are lucky,because their would be opponents got injured?”

Are you claiming that going to the finals without having to play the semis is bad luck? Google the term luck if you are unfamiliar with the concept.

“and thats there fault how?lol”
lol indeed, luck by definition does not imply fault or purpose.

Hippy Chic Says:

Jack Lewis i think you misunderstood my post,it was sarcasm,Anna is trying to claim Nole and Rafa were lucky because they didnt have to play the semis not me,your post was what i was trying to say even if it did come out all wrong sorry..

Hippy Chic Says:

Although its bad luck for Kei and Thomas..

Colin Says:

Jack, I beg to differ. “Luck” does imply something preordained. How often do we hear someone who’s had a lot of misfortune say “That’s just my luck”.

Of course there is really no such thing as luck in that sense. If I walk down the street and a slate falls off a roof onto my head – to say that was “my luck” would imply that if I’d been someone else the slate would not have fallen, or would have missed me, which is nonsense. However there are a great number of folk who really do believe every damn trivial event is the work of fate, or the will of some god or other.

xmike Says:

hi rafaeli and thanks for commenting

regarding your question about wimbledon last year, if it had happened in a later round where all matches were canceled, i would probably had brought it up then; it’s nothing picky about one player or another, both darcis and stakhovsky withdrew from their next rounds after beating nadal and federer, so they would both have benefited, but there was still a ton of other matches to watch, so it didn’t kill the tournament for a couple of days like what happened in miami

imagine a situation where nadal or djokovic, for some bizarre coincidence, both also withdrawing from this years miami, leaving no one to play the semis and final, who would you hand the trophy to then?

Tennis Fan Says:

This tournament has turned into a joke. Rule should be that if a player cannot complete a tournament they lose their points for the level they didn’t play and they are replaced by other player in previous bracket that they played. Ridiculous that two players pulled out. Makes the whole tournament a joke IMO

boss Says:


well, that would be simple …both of them can’t withdraw at the same time from the final…so whoever withdraws first would relinquish the trophy to the other…in other words, let’s say novak has severe stomach problems and rafa happens to break his leg at the beach…if novak withdraws first, not knowing about rafa, the trophy would still be awarded to rafa, who would arrive in crutches/wheelchair to collect his trophy…interesting to think about a situation like that, right?

pigoonse Says:

In such a case, @boss, the fittest of the two injured/incapacitated, whichever one gets to the trophy first, wins, I should think.

didi Says:

I would love to know the stat on how many besides Nadal, Murray and Djoker play lights out to beat Roger than either withdraw or lose the next match.. my guess is very high!

Okiegal Says:

Two withdrawals in the semi finals of the same tournament……unheard of?? There’s a first time for everything!! Crazy tourney!!!

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