Djokovic Still Darling; Paire Rips Rubin After Loss at Australian Open; X-Notes
by Staff | January 18th, 2016, 9:17 am
  • 210 Comments

On a scorcher in Melbourne that caused three player retirements, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic looked cool and collected in turning back South Korea’s Chung Hyeon 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 to start his campaign on Day One of the 2016 Australian Open.

“Having to play somebody for the first time, especially somebody that is as young as him, he’s only 19, it can be tricky,” said the defending champion Djokovic. “Obviously getting out on the court and playing against a player that has nothing to lose. He moves very well, as well. He can play equally well from defence to offence. And he’s one of the players that people are talking about as a potential top player in the future.”

Hyeon swung freely in the first set, breaking Djokovic to bring the match back on serve in the seventh game, but the Serb then won six games on the trot to take control of the match.

“It was pretty warm,” Djokovic said. “But, again, it was warm for both of us. For these kind of conditions, you have to prepare yourself, expect the warm days like this and accept them, as well.”

The bit of zen heat strategy could have benefited No. 22 seed Ivo Karlovic and American Sam Querrey, two of the higher-profile players retiring from matches on Monday in Melbourne.

No. 3 Roger Federer was another player looking rather fresh in the midst of soaring temperatures, defeating Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2, 6-1, 6-2 to move into the second round.

“I’m really pleased how I was able to play,” said the 34-year-old who is coming off a battle with the flu bug. “Definitely gives me a bit of a lift in confidence, because this year I haven’t been able to play properly yet. I had some decent matches in Brisbane, but it was all under sort of a cloud knowing that I wasn’t 100 percent. But this was a match where I was able to focus on my game, on tactics, all that stuff.”

Other Top 10 winners on Monday were No. 6 Tomas Berdych battling back India’s Yuki Bhambri 7-5, 6-1, 6-2; No. 7 Kei Nishikori out-gunning German Philipp Kohlschreiber from the baseline 6-4, 6-3, 6-3; and No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga defeating Marcos Baghdatis 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in a battle of former finalists.

Lower seeds into the second round were No. 12 Marin Cilic, No. 14 Gilles Simon, No. 15 David Goffin, No. 19 Dominic Thiem, No. 24 Roberto Bautista Agut who needed five sets to beat Slovak Martin Klizan, No. 26 Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez, No. 27 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 28 Andreas Seppi, and No. 29 Nick Kyrgios.

“There were a lot of nerves, a lot of excitement,” said Kyrgios, who came into Melbourne with only the hit-and-giggle Hopman Cup under his belt. “I haven’t played a real, real match. I played Hopman Cup. Felt confident. Just going out there with the pressure, playing in front of the home crowd. I came out there pretty good.”

Things got dicey on the sportsmanship front when American wildcard Noah Rubin, who had won the USTA’s wildcard challenge tournament to earn the Melbourne spot, upset No. 17 seed Benoit Paire 7-6(4), 7-6(6), 7-6(5).

The Frenchman, who was truly upset, immediately went to the media interview room after the match to alert the press regarding his No. 328-ranked opponent’s skill level.

“I played against a not-good player, but I was very bad today so that’s it, I lost,” Paire said. “I didn’t know him, and after this match, I said, yes, he’s not a good player.”

Other unseeded players making noise were Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic who was at two sets all with Querrey when the American retired, and Spain’s Albert Ramos who had an easy time with the star-tabbed Croat Borna Coric 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

Tuesday matches to block out on your schedule in Melbourne include (5) Rafael Nadal vs. Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco in an all-Spanish showdown, Lleyton Hewitt in his farewell tournament vs. Aussie compatriot James “Daffy” Duckworth, (2) Andy Murray vs. German riser Alexander Zverev, (4) Stan Wawrinka vs. showman Dmitri Tursunov, an upset alert with Gilles Muller vs. (20) Fabio Fognini, (25) Jack Sock vs. American compatriot and former world No. 1 junior Taylor Fritz, and the always-entertaining Ernests Gulbis vs. (30) Jeremy Chardy.

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS

Tomic “The Tank Engine” is Back! – Fans and journalists are still trying to figure out Bernard “The Tank Engine” Tomic’s withdrawal in the quarterfinals at Sydney after trailing Teymuraz Gabashvili 6-3, 3-0. In the post-match conference Tomic seemingly gave every excuse he could think of, from not sleeping well during the week to an upset stomach to not wanting to play two matches in a day due to rain delays to wanting to get on to his “good draw in Melbourne.” Tomic told journalists afterwards he could not remember the conversation with the chair umpire, but FOX Sports quoted him as saying, “I’m looking for Melbourne, I’m not looking for this. I have to make final to make (rankings) points. I have to make final. I have to win (the tournament) to go to (No.) 16th.” Former Aussie player and current commentator Rennae Stubbs afterwards on social media wrote, “No offense Bernie but you’re not winning the Australian Open. You might want to concentrate on winning Sydney instead. #idontunderstand.” Tomic “giggled” through his post-match interview, saying that he saw his Australian Open favorable draw on his phone as he was warming up for the match with Gabashvili, prompting tennis writer Matt Cronin to write on social media, “Tomic was saying how much he loves Sydney, loves playing here and then he retires cause he just saw his draw at AO? Then don’t look at draw!” Tomic will begin his Australian Open campaign on Tuesday in Melbourne.

Misc.
The BBC later this week will announce “secret files exposing evidence of widespread suspected match fixing at the top level of world tennis, including at Wimbledon.” Apparently the anti-corruption authorities dropped the ball in 2007-08 during the time responsibility was passed from the ATP to the then-new Tennis Integrity Unit. Mark Phillips, an investigator in 2007, told the BBC, “There was a core of about 10 players who we believed were the most common perpetrators that were at the root of the problem. The evidence was really strong.”…Here is a super-sad transparent spin attempt by the WTA to show that their players love playing IPTL and other exhibitions, and that it is a super-positive thing despite nine of their Top 10 players pulling out of event with injuries or illnesses over the last two weeks…Someone tell Victoria Azarenka those too-tight ’80s-style runners shorts aren’t working…Maria Sharapova is now on board with sponsor NetJets…With H&M clothing and Tomas Berdych parting ways, the clothing manufacturer has reportedly given up on tennis…Former world No. 1 junior (2012) Taylor Townsend is finding the pro tour a bit more demanding. The fitness-challenged No. 310-ranked “next Serena” lost first round at an ITF event in Florida last week after winning the first set 6-0. She is entering her fourth full year as a pro…In the Brisbane semis, Victoria Azarenka had the luxury of two super coaches advising her, while American qualifier Sam Crawford had no coach. Nice and fair there, WTA on-court coaching rule…Joining the 0-2 Club to start out the year prior to the Aussie Open were former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic and CoCo Vandeweghe, who looks like she is trying to play her way into shape after the off-season…Bernard “The Tank Engine” Tomic reportedly ripped into some local club players and the club manager at the Gold Coast RACV Royal Pines resort this week in Australia when his practice was interrupted and he refused to pay a court fee. He later apologized. “I’ve been so focused on preparing for all my matches, I know there’s no excuse for my behavior,” Tomic told News Corp Australia. “My practice was interrupted and I got a bit frustrated.” Now you know how your Aussie tennis fans feel…Thailand’s former tennis star Paradorn Srichaphan, who reached No. 9 in the world, spent time as a Buddhist monk and married a Miss Universe winner, was trying to earn his pro golf card at the Asian Tour Q School events. But we didn’t make the cut…How funny is media sites going crazy over the “sportsmanship” of Jack Sock yelling across the net that Lleyton Hewitt should video-challenge a close call at the Hopman Cup? It’s an exhibition, idiots. Get back to us when that happens at a tour event…The Aussie media is getting fired-up that while the men’s tour is having a hard time getting its hands around illegal betting, UK bookmaker William Hill’s advertising is all over the Aussie open site.

 


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210 Comments for Djokovic Still Darling; Paire Rips Rubin After Loss at Australian Open; X-Notes

Giles Says:

“Still Darling”. What the hell is that supposed to mean? Is that American lingo?


Humble Rafa Says:

My friend, Davy the Great, is featured prominently in the match fixing report.


skeezer Says:

“I played against a not-good player, but I was very bad today so that’s it, I lost,”
Ok. Let me get this straight. You said you lost against a not so good player. AND you played very bad. Yep,….. you bad.


lakie Says:

skeezer at 12:28 pm

That’s hilarious!!!


RZ Says:

@Giles – here is an on-court quote from Djokovic (just saw this on an Si.com article) which explains the “Darling” headline

“I undoubtedly had the the best season and the best year of my life in 2015. Ever since I became a father everything has been going uphill on the tennis court. So…darling, I guess we’ll have to make more babies, what can I say,” he said, laughing. “Yeah I’m going to probably get criticized for what I said now.”


Giles Says:

@RZ. Lol. Thanks very much.


Dave Says:

I watched the first 2 sets of the match. Chung is going to be a very good player. Out of all the young players, he might end up being the best. It actually wouldn’t surprise me a bit. Even though he is talked about less than the others. He has the work ethic and discipline to go all the way to the top. Nole played well for a first match from what I saw. I love how he is hitting the off pace cross court forehands. That shot is getting better and better and being used more and more to shorten points and switch things up. Great start.


Chrisford1 Says:

RZ – Thanks. I wondered why “darling” – then an hour ago I saw what he said that you quoted in a post 1st round interview he had with Jim Courier.
He and his wife seem a great couple. Like him, she is bright with many interests. Good natured pair. They are running some pretty funny Jacob’s Creek spots with the two of them recounting Novak’s blunderings on his 1st serious date with her when he was 18, she 19.


jane Says:

dave, i agree: love that cross-court forehand.

b.t.w., what happened to zverev? is it true he began the match with a nosebleed or something?


Daniel Says:

Nice play by Murray so far!


Dave Says:

Ya, he had a nose bleed. Coric and Zverev are not taking over for the new era anytime soon. They have a LONG way to go. Chung looks way better than both of them so far. Kyrgios, Chung and Theim seem furthest along out of the young guys. The single handed backhand is an issue for Theim at times. He needs to be more consistent with it. It’s a bit to all or nothing at times. Sometimes he needs to take power off of it or just continue to develop with more experience.


mat4 Says:

@Dave:

Chung has also a lot of work to do. Djokovic and Murray, at his age, were two classes above.


jane Says:

zverev is bad tonight, from what i’ve seen; so many shanks and wild shots.

dave not sure i agree that thiem trumps coric. coric was just in a final last week. also he has wins over both rafa and murray. same with kyrgios, with wins over 3 of the big 4.

has thiem beat any of them?

personally i think coric and kyrgios are the furthest along, then thiem.

after that maybe chung and then zverev last, but that’d be based just on their last two matches as i haven’t seen enough of either to know.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

It’s rather Murray playing very well, jane.


Dave Says:

Chung pushed Nole pretty hard. Coric lost pretty badly to an non ranked player. Theim has won 3 titles so far. Coric zero I think. Kyrgios is the furthest along out of them all. By far the best results in majors. Chung hasn’t done much yet, because he is just finally breaking in. I still expect better things from him than everyone but Kyrgios. Just what I see. Chung just hasn’t been talked about to much yet. No hype like the other players. Theim is 21 now, so Coric will probably be doing better at 21 than Theim. But as of right now, Theim is better to me. I like Coric more. It’s just what I see at this point.


jane Says:

commentators were saying zverev has weapons but no strong instinct of how to play, shot selection, etc, whereas coric is a smarter more instinctual player, but maybe with not as big of weapons.

might have to switch over to rafa vs hotsauce now.


Dave Says:

Not to downplay Coric’s wins against Murray and Rafa, but Murray was completely off his game. Don’t know if I have ever seen him play that bad. Nadal had the appendix problem I think and definitely wasn’t 100 percent. Coric definitely has that menetally tough game though. He just isn’t very precise with his shots at times. Well see what happens during the season. I am sure things will change at some point.


jane Says:

mat4, yes murray is playing well, serving well for sure, playing cleanly with few errors, though not having to go for big winners tonight. zverev is hitting quite a few errors and has no return game. perhaps if he cleaned up the errors it would be a slightly more competitive match? but he obviously needs further development. he’s outclassed in this match, by far.

have switch over to rafa/nando


mat4 Says:

Marion Bartoli is comenting on Eurosport. She’s good, refreshing, and I understand everything she says.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

Yes, now I’ve seen more of the match. Zverev looks like a frightened rabbit. He plays with a kind of despair.


Dave Says:

Your right about the return game of Zverev. It’s really not good at all. He has a lot of fire power, but is not that consistent. The frightened rabbit is a good way to put it.


jane Says:

“Chung pushed Nole pretty hard. Coric lost pretty badly to an non ranked player.”

dave, yep, true. chung played pretty well. novak hit 40 winners for that win. coric’s loss might be because he reached the final of the tournament just before? did he go through quallies as well? agree he still has work to do though. also agree kyrgios is the furthest along of them all. yes, that’s also true about thiem having titles, but i am not aware of what kind of competition he beat along the way. maybe he and coric are together on a rung below nick the kid?


scineram Says:

After three and a half sets of holding a meltdown from Müller brings Fabio back in the match. I wonder if we get another tiebreak. Gilles is kind of a specialist of these long gruelling slam matches, and Fabio looks ridiculously overweight, think Nalby, so fitness might become an issue. At least the play is quick, points are mostly short.


jane Says:

dave, “He has a lot of fire power, but is not that consistent” yep, saw flashes of that power tonight. but he needs “controlled aggression” and some kind of strategy.

mat4, “He plays with a kind of despair” – maybe because he’s getting his butt kicked, haha. ;)


Wog Boy Says:

Coric retired in Sydney, maybe carries some sort of injury?


Dave Says:

Ya, Coric and Theim are pretty close. Coric is further ahead for his age than Theim. I will give him that. Zverev is sure fighting in this 3rd set. Good for him. I hope Chung does well this year. He has all the tools to be a great player. Top 20 by the end of the year would be pretty awesome for him. Even top 30. We will see what happens.


tennismonger Says:

Ernests Gulbis is just insanely talented.

He might beat Chardy in spite of himself…


jane Says:

nando vs rafa is a good match so far. nice points.


tennismonger Says:

> Fabio looks ridiculously overweight, think Nalby, so fitness might become an issue.
——————————————–
So will T-X take to calling him “Fat Fbio?”

Or is it just those baggy shirts he favors?


jane Says:

yeah, looking at scores/stats, zverev must’ve raised his game, but andy did too (by the look of the stats now up to nearly 30 winners) right along with him.

btw does anyone know if aces are counted as winners at the AO?


Dan Martin Says:

I have my picks for today’s matches up and a thought on match fixing at http://tennisabides.com


mat4 Says:

Chung has a good backhand, he hits it very flat and it’s an excellent shot. His fh is a bit peculiar, but he can hit it flat with good effect.

From the second onward Nole relaxed and played better. Chung continued playing within himself, and managed to avoid a bagel in the second set.

In the third, Novak didn’t want to press, after the initial break he was happy to rapidly win his own service games, very effectively btw. He served very well in the second and third set.

Chung lacks variety in his game.

It’s the first time I watch Zverev, and I guess it’s too soon to have a good opinion about his future.

The only one that impressed me was Kokkinakis.


Dave Says:

Gulbis and Chardy 7 to 7 in the 5th set.


jane Says:

wog boy, was that the tournament right after the one in which he reached the final? if so then you could be right: maybe it’s an injury.


jane Says:

mat4, i haven’t seen enough of triple k, but based on his match vs novak at the french, he seems super talented, you’re right. also seemed like a “big match” player. but is he injury prone i wonder?

chardy had love-40 but ernie got back to deuce then ad.

am kind of assuming dasco will get broken now.


mat4 Says:

I chose initially Muller in the racket bracket, then changed to Fabio. I should have known better…

4k is big, just like Zverev. It could be too much.


Wog Boy Says:

Yes jane, right after Chennai, and I Was wrong, he didn’t retire but lost in strights against Muller, I mixed up some matches, too many matches in the last two three weeks.


Wog Boy Says:

mat4,
4k is tall but he slimed down a lot, I’ve senn him few times in the last week or so and he was last night in the Nik the Kid’s box, looks very lean and fit.


Wog Boy Says:

^^ and I think that 4K has much brighter future than Zverev.


jane Says:

he’s injured though right, 4k? (oops thought he was 3k, ha ha)

good tiebreak in rafa’s match. nando’s forehand can be such a good weapon when it’s on.

meanwhile, gulbis seems to be playing with fire. fought off another match point. at deuce right now.


Dave Says:

Nadal does not look good. Looks like 2015 Nadal all over again. Double faults and errors. Down a set now that just took over an hour. Let’s see what happens.


Wog Boy Says:

Yes jane, shoulder operation.


jane Says:

“Murray’s next opponent Sam Groth: ‘I hope Kim goes into labour overnight!’ ”

lol…


jane Says:

i thought rafa looked good for half of the first set. but verdasco is playing well too. 24 winners in first set to rafa’s 8. he’s serving not too badly either, and taking advantage on rafa’s second serve.

thanks wog boy – jeez surgery already!?


jane Says:

what? did nadal make sacrifices to the net cord god before this match? he’s had at least 3 lucky clips/bounces.


Wog Boy Says:

Gulbis Shardy 11:11 in the fifth set.


jane Says:

that match was pushing 5 hours.

nadal gave nando the stare, eek! ;)

https://twitter.com/AustralianOpen/status/689304273822203904


Wog Boy Says:

Not really good time for five hours match, it is little bit warmish outthere. Not as bad as yesterday, but still warm.


Okiegal Says:

Rafa looks skinny…..


mat4 Says:

@Okie:

Time for spectacles, Okie!


Okiegal Says:

Jane @11:30…..Good thinking! lol

WHAT A POINT and a big VAMOS…..whew…..a set finally….I’m as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs!!


Okiegal Says:

@mat4……I guess you think he looks the same> I wear specs….could be that my smart TV is not so smart…..He just looks slimmer to me……Can’t you agree with me on anything?? lol


Okiegal Says:

Isner through to the next round.


jane Says:

my husband just said “nadal looks so muscular” okie. seriously, not 5 minutes ago. might be your t.v.?

hotsauce has cooled off. rafa’s in the driver’s seat all the way now.


Okiegal Says:

Rafa doesn’t need specs he has won three challenges!


Okiegal Says:

Jane it could be my TV….I’ll admit…but I know a lot of slim looking guys that have muscles….lucky on another net clipper….


Okiegal Says:

Jane I hope Hot Sauce stays cooled off….tennis is so fickle….it ain’t over till it’s over I’ve learned….


Okiegal Says:

Another netter again…the tennis gods are working for Rafa….maybe??


Okiegal Says:

Another netter again…the tennis gods are working for Rafa….maybe??


Okiegal Says:

Uh oh….the cameras caught him coaching,,,,those guys don’t miss a thing!


jane Says:

true okie… i thought rafa looked slimmer at the beginning of last season.

wow, he’s had nice luck with the net clips tonight.


Okiegal Says:

Uncle Tony….I will clarify….but I am sure I didn’t need to. lol


Okiegal Says:

I have noticed when Okie works the chat room everyone leaves….i’m getting a complex!! :)


MMT Says:

“Okiegal Says:
Uh oh….the cameras caught him coaching,,,,those guys don’t miss a thing!”

It’s kind of hard to miss something that 1) he’s admitted to and 2) he does any time Rafa’s within ear shot.


Okiegal Says:

Jane and Wog…maybe it’s y’all’s (OKLA lingo for you all) TV and not mine???


Okiegal Says:

@MMT…my thoughts exactly!! This Rafa fan does not approve…but Tea Pot isn’t the only one!


Okiegal Says:

MMT……I appreciate the fact that he admits it…..


Wog Boy Says:

“MMT……I appreciate the fact that he admiTs it…

Fair enough Okie, but it doesn’t make it any more leagl..


Wog Boy Says:

^ * legal


Sarah Says:

Good morning to everybody !

@ Okie, butterflies in your stomach? :)


Okiegal Says:

I know, Wog…..tennis is not legit anyway…we are finding out…


Sarah Says:

Regarding coaching, I think almost everybody does it during matches….


Okiegal Says:

@Sarah…..yes m’aam….look like its going five…dang it!!


Sarah Says:

Okie, I know the feeling and undrstand how you should feel now….well, a bit of adrenalin is not that bad. I think, Rafa will win today, in the end..


sienna Says:

I think coaching is way less serious then selling matches tot give parents new restaurant or even tennis events.


Dave Says:

Does Verdasco hold or get broken here? If it was the old Rafa, he gets broken. I think it’s about 50/50 at this point. I’m leaning towards Rafa braking him.


Dave Says:

Yep. There is the break.


Okiegal Says:

@Sarah 1:50 Thank-you…that is what I said, but Rafa is the only one who gets called out! Uncle T isn’t sneaky with his….he just does it, apparently very loud!


Sarah Says:

Well Dave, you were right :)


Okiegal Says:

Boom Baby…back on serve!


Okiegal Says:

7 aces for Rafa….WOW!


Sarah Says:

Robredo gets also a difficult match today..I did not expect that..Anderson out today…


Dave Says:

I left after 2 to 1 in the Second set. How did the second and 3rd sets play out? Was rafa on fire? Or did Verdasco drop his level? Judging from over 70 unforced errors, I would say he dropped his level.


Okiegal Says:

@Sarah….we will see how it plays….I feel better since he got back on serve..


Sarah Says:

Okie, I guess You do need a drink now ;)


Okiegal Says:

No shot comes easy for Rafa anymore, so it seems.
OMG…a tiebreaker…I just love a good TBr…but not when Rafa is involved!


jane Says:

i watched only the first 3 sets. i’d say hotsauce went off the boil in sets 2 and especially set 3, dave. i don’t think rafa was on “fire” really, but he was definitely the more consistent guy on court. also rafa began to protect his second serve more effectively and got more accurate on his forehands too.

fernando has 75 errors!! he can probably hear the drums…


Okiegal Says:

@Sarah…..I will have to weather the storm…I don’t partake of spirits!! lol


Okiegal Says:

It is going five…I just feel it in my bones… eeek!


Dave Says:

Wow. This is intense. What an epic match for a first round match. Verdasco is so unpredictable. Let’s get some predictions. Rafa will still pull it out in 5? What does everyone think?


Okiegal Says:

eeeeeek!!!!! My bones were right.


Dave Says:

They both have winning records in 5 set matches. I still gotta go with Rafa, based on experience. I would feel bad for Fernando though. 2009 was heart breaking and could have gone either way. Let’s see what happens. I’m still going with Rafa.


Sarah Says:

Okie, I am sorry for this…but you have to see the good part: you will watch Rafa 1 set more… wish him good luck…

Unfortunately I have to go offline now :(…
Okie, pls stay positive and calm :)


Okiegal Says:

Dave, as iffy as Rafa is playing….I won’t be one bit surprised if he loses. He just has lost a step and that is all there is to it! He doesn’t put a shot away like he used to!


sienna Says:

team Nadal trying to cut down muscles and mass to regain some speed…

It takes him in 5 setter.

Before I loose sleep or reschedule workrelated appointments I need proof hot sauce is not selling 5 setters….

Tennis is doomed by this balkan meets italian maffioso…..thanks a lot. Better dope up then sell the matches like the spanish armada.


Okiegal Says:

Rafa is slow on his feet too…


Dave Says:

Okie, I still see Fernando choking, even if he gets the lead. I agree. Rafa has lost speed for sure. But Verdasco is still losing. It won’t even be close. Verdasco will be fortunate to win 2 or 3 games. Will see.


Okiegal Says:

Thank you Sarah…..I do appreciate the niceties you are sending my way……Rafa broke him…..a sigh of relief for a moment. Back it up please!


Okiegal Says:

Dave you are talking to a pessimist…..I hope you are right…..His play just shakes me to the core these days. What a great get by Nando!


Dave Says:

Yep. He’s choking. The question is, will Verdasco reach the century mark for unforced errors?


Okiegal Says:

WOW….two hot aces!!


jane Says:

dave, he’s got 86 errors now; only needs 14 more and he hits 100!
i wonder what the record is for most errors in a 5 setter?


Okiegal Says:

Dave, I have no idea where you are from, but you are a very polite person! Always enjoy your post…


Okiegal Says:

His fh is lacking atm…


Okiegal Says:

Is Nando eating another one of those apples like he had in 2009?? lol


Dave Says:

A miss hit for the break? I am from Canada, but have lived in Mexico for over 5 years. My wife is from Mexico. Thank you for the nice compliment. I appreciate that.


Okiegal Says:

@Jane…what is weird he can win with all of those errors…..Here we go……omg


Okiegal Says:

Dave, u r welcome!


Dave Says:

Now I have no idea what is going to happen. Verdasco is completely unpredicable. He is either as good as Nole for a few points or as bad as the 500 ranked player. He is impossible to read at this point. I have no idea what is going on now.


Okiegal Says:

Wow, what a service game from Nando…


Dave Says:

This is crazy. I’m still picking Nadal.


Okiegal Says:

I will have to hand it to Hot Sauce….he is just rolling….I think he is gonna win it at this point….


tennisfansince76 Says:

Verdasco is employing the grip it and rip it strategy tonight


jane Says:

hmmm…upset alert? or too soon to tell. rafa can still break back.


Dave Says:

The winner of the 7th game wins the match. That’s my call.


Okiegal Says:

Dave…..it’s over!! I am done and dusted with tennis….I knew this was a bad match-up. Verdasco is knocking the cover off of the ball!!


Dave Says:

We will have to wait and see. Rafa doesn’t give up until the last point. Rafa is still not out of it.


tennisfansince76 Says:

A little bit reminiscent of the fognini match at the US open. Rafa hasn’t lost yet though. He will fight.


jane Says:

do or die for rafa here. he has to hold to make nando try to serve it out. he might crack at that point.


Okiegal Says:

How is Verdasco having the strength for those power shots into the fifth…he is amazing tonight….Rafa is gone. He will be so nervous serving now ..it won’t be pretty!


Daniel Says:

Wow, just woke up, turn my TV and see Verdasco leading fifth set over Nadal?!?!?! He became Nadal’s Fognini nightmare lately as well. 7 years due for a payback victory after that thriller 2009 semis.

Not over still, he could choke big time serving for it.


Wog Boy Says:

jane,
If you are reading this you will be happy to hear that there is few Canadian Club bars on the ground of AO, I am just queuing infront of one of them to try Canadian beer, never tasted it before, hope it is good!?


Okiegal Says:

Nando acts like he is on his last legs….but he isn’t…..


danica Says:

Okie,
I knew it too. There is still time, but I was writing about DAsco’s off season and all the work and effort he put in.

And now, MP.

Oh my!!! 6:2!! Cannot believe this. Not good.


jane Says:

wow, i knew verdasco could be dangerous, and even thought he might get a set, but i did not expect a win. so surprising to me.

commies to rafa fans. : /


Daniel Says:

Match Point on Nadal serve, can he do it?!

This will be a huge upset and definitely validating the “end of Nadal”.

And he does it! Congrats Verdasco. Major win a fifth set, wow!


All out Says:

Going by grand slam matches I think rafa has definitely improved. Last grand slam match he played he blew a 2 sets to 0 lead.. Today he blew a 2 sets to 1 lead ;) ;).. He definitely needs new tactics against players who go for broke every time he plays.. And that second serve needs to improve.. A LOT.


Gypsy Gal Says:

No complaints Nando deserves this and Rafa doesnt,been the better player,hope he can back this up,but the frustrating thing is he will probably lose next round,Rafa is definetly a step slower and not the player he was,im ready to except whatever happens in his career now,hope he just plays and enjoys his tennis now….


Dave Says:

If you would have told me that Nadal would be up 2 to 0 in the 5 set and lose the next 6 games in a row to lose the match, I would think that would be impossible. I’m shocked actually.


Okiegal Says:

If Rafa had eked out this match he wouldn’t have gone far…he just isn’t the player he used to be and that’s all there is to it….I am sorry to say, but it is the truth!!


Daniel Says:

As for Nadal, if he doesn’t reach Roland Garros finals, will be 8 Slams without a final. He is not contesting for Slams anymore. Last 2 Hard Court Slams and he lost third round and now first round (think first time for his career ever). And Wimbledon he is long gone, his serve, specially second serve is getting worst by the day and he ain’t getting any younger. Now the jury are upon him, next Slam he plays he will be 30 old, let’s see if he will join a few selective group who won Slams after 30. My two cents, only if Novak injury in RG, otherwise he will be stuck in 14 because his game and good enough for grass and HC anymore (2 years without a title on the surface). And each passing defeat, his confidence is further shattered.

Major upsetting some placing him close to Fed on the odds, who at least is getting to Slam finals.


sienna Says:

Nadal losing 5setter? Nadal losing first round slam?

well the # are dropping.


jane Says:

wog boy, some canadian beer is good! which brand? :)

verdasco practiced with novak a couple days ago, not that it means anything necessarily. but i suppose he could’ve asked novak for tips. although nando was playing more in the foggy style. finished with 91 errors.


Dave Says:

I felt the same way Okie. Even if Rafa won today, he wasn’t going to the final this year. It just wasn’t happening. Before the Nole defeat, I really thought he was coming back to close to full strength. I wonder if that defeat messed up his confidence further. This one today definitely did.


Okiegal Says:

Well, I guess Nando got sweet revenge! Good exciting match……but I dreaded this first match, I knew it would tough…..I wasn’t surprised.


jane Says:

^ should’ve put a wink on my 3:09 post re: tips. was just kidding.


Daniel Says:

Damm, did not know he won last 6 games, a moral bagel! See, it’a all with the serve for Nadal, he can’t protect his serve anymore, he still breaks but can’t hold as he used to.

Also looking at stats Verdaco won 25 of 27 net points, that is amazing net stats for anybody.

Also 90 winners to91 Unforced Erros, jezz, That is 18 winners and 18 euros per set,almost 2 of each per game, hot and cold


danica Says:

Dave, it is shocking. Truly. From 2:0 to 2:6! Whatever happened?!

Gotta send congrats Fernando’s way. He was breaking Rafa even in sets he lost.

Rafa fans, I’m sorry. But Rafa will need to sit with his team and think all this over. The strategies are not working. Something is not working. He is still a force, still top 5 in the world, no one can take his records and titles from him, but things need to change.
Commies to Rafans.


Wog Boy Says:

Commiserations to Rafa fans, I didn’t see it coming, this is going to hurt, very much so. I can’t see uncle Toni staying with Rafa anymore, but the problem it might too late now anyway.

I was also surprised that here, more people cheered for Verdasko to win and after match point on the big screen, on the premises of AO where rock band are playing (between RLA and Hisense Arena) it was huge roar of relief and cheer for Verdasco. I guess they were Roger and Nole fans, no?;)


jane Says:

danica, did you read somewhere that verdasco put in extra work over the break? he definitely had lots of highs/lows and ups/downs in this match. at times he looked amazing and then at other times more like his old self. but it seems people are just hanging with rafa long enough to produce these sorts of high risk wins.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Delighted for our Brit gal Konta taking out Venus wow what a win ;))….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Pulling for Murray now,but also would love for Nando to go deep actually too….


Wog Boy Says:

jane,
I don’t know what it is, doesn’t taste as beer, but it very refreshing and it is calle “CC&Dry on Tap”… Really refreshing, how many of these I can have before I fall down, I am yet to go to watch Troicki:)
Today is my patriotic day, I watched Jelena she won, Then moved on Ana she won too, Bojana lost and Viktor should be desert before I go back to hotel and then pub…it was hard day, I desrve to have few drinks, no?


Wog Boy Says:

Hasn’t Nole trashed Verdasco in Doha?


danica Says:

Jane,

The other day, they were talking on Tennis Channel about Verdasco really giving it all in the off season and practicing more vigorously than before.

This certainly was an unlucky draw for Rafa.


Okiegal Says:

Congrats to Verdasco fans if there any out there.

@GG…..agree with everything you said. Rafa just gets too shaky during crucial moments anymore. You can’t depend on him getting out of trouble, I don’t know if a new coach would do any good or not…Rafa isn’t getting any younger.


Travis Bickle Says:

Paging the nicest fan on this site, Giles…
Hello… we need your balanced opinion…

I’ve missed the match…
I see the score, 6-2 in the fifth…
What happened?
Did Rafael Nadal Parera choke after leading 2 sets to 1?

Who you gonna cheer for for the next 2 weeks? Or you’ll just cheer against, as usual…

Do tell, Giles?

PS
I see you are posting on tennis.com under “Golden Wolf” moniker. Good stuff…


Okiegal Says:

Wog Boy…..Novak thrashes everyone everywhere….It is nice to be a fan of the #1 in the world. You have the right to stick your chest out and get all cocky and stuff!! LOL


Okiegal Says:

This Rafa fan is going to cheer for Andy. Andy needs to tell Kim she’d better keep her legs crossed! LOL


jane Says:

wog boy, not sure about that brand, but yes you deserve a drink. ;)

thanks danica, i didnt hear that. verdasco has power + experience, and in that sense is not an easy first rounder indeed. that said, i truly thought rafa would win in 3 tight sets (or maybe 4). i did not expect a match like 2009, and definitely not an upset. still very surprised.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Okie thanks im just quickly stopping by,i want Rafa to just go out now and enjoy playing tennis which he says he does anyway,i have no expectations anymore….

And about Nando i am quite a fan,i felt for him 2009,but i think he made up for it today,i hope he goes deep now,i will be pretty pissed off if he loses next round now….

Not too dissapointed anyway,had a funny feeling about this match to start with….


Wog Boy Says:

Okie,
I was actually cheering Rafa…not Verdasco, but to be honest when I think about “best” Rafa fan on how he might be feeling right now, watch out somebody is jumping of the building somewhere whispering his last words “Vamos Rafa, I feel ok.


Okiegal Says:

@Wog…..you being the lover of beer, do they have Budweiser there? That is the popular one over here. Sounds like you are having a great time. I wish you had a FB account and we could see selfies of you and your pals. Have fun….I’d am terribly jealous…..but would have been madder than a wet hen had I been there and Rafa losing…oh, life goes on. You will see Novak wins his next slam……


Gypsy Gal Says:

Okie we did see a selfie of Wogboy at W last year that he posted on a link,he looks like a really nice happy chap too ;)….


Okiegal Says:

Wog you post got ahead of mine….I am slower than a snail typing……..


jane Says:

wog boy canadian club is a whiskey. be careful that you aren’t drinking whiskey like beer! haha


Okiegal Says:

I saw that GG….was glad he posted it. I saw yours too on the bracket challenge.

Well GG the pressure is off of me, you and Rafa. Maybe we can relax and enjoy some tennis for a change…..I am not sure if having and following a favorite player is worth what it puts me through. I am thinking about throwing in the towel! I am very frustrated atm…..sigh….


Wog Boy Says:

Okie,

There is only Heineken since they are sponsors, Canadina Club moved recently on the premises of AO, and they are heavily advertised in Australia in the last couple of years.
jane,
Thanks very much, I realize it is little bit stronger, ohh well, I liked it anyway.


Okiegal Says:

@Danica 3:15….Yes, you are spot on!!!


danica Says:

Okie,
Am glad you are not too bummed by this loss. Seems like you still have smile on your face and find strength for humor. ;)

GG,
You know, I have a funny feeling regarding Andy. I just feel he might make it this year.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Okie my late father was a massive football fan Leeds United was his favorite team,he always used to say it was too stressful,and much better and more enjoyable when you dont give an eff who wins….


Okiegal Says:

I hope Halep wins, but she is behind in the first set, but she just now breaks back….on serve. Good for her. She is a player I have grown to like.


Gypsy Gal Says:

Danica hi,it would be fantastic,and im a Brit anyway ;))….


Okiegal Says:

@GG 3:52…….I think I am gonna start treating sports like your father…..not giving a tinker’s damn! LOL

@Danica….Thanks for caring. Oh, yes I will never lose my sense of humor. I got that from my precious Mother and I refuse to be downtrodden and sad. Life goes on. As I told GG, I can relax now and enjoy tennis. I am gonna watch Rusty. I always liked to watch him play.


Michael Says:

As I said, the match was a very tricky one and ended on a disastrous note for Rafa with Verdasco fancying his chances and hitting winners with ferocity finding the lines. Especially, I would say that Rafa wilted completely in the fifth set. It might be a mix of Rafa’s dipping stamina levels or Verdasco’s endurance complemented with brilliant play et al. But they hastened to take Rafa down in an anti climax fashion.

And now it is another first round loss for Rafa after his exit at Wimbledon to Darcia and that is certainly not a very good feeling exiting so early from the tournament. But things have to be taken in their stride and Rafa has to valiantly hope that things would change for the better as the year and the schedule of events are long.


Okiegal Says:

C’mon Rusty!!!


Okiegal Says:

The number one thing is on my bucket list is to watch Rafa live. If I get to do that I better see his first match…….well, you all know the reason why…. :(


Gypsy Gal Says:

Michael all wasnt lost in 2013 when Rafa lost to Darcis as he still bounced back and won the USO and he also won the FO in the same year,but please lets not go down the road of rehashing every single defeat,theres enough people that will be around soon enough to rub our noses in it i dare say….


AndyMira Says:

This is clearly the saddest day of my life..after much anticipation the last couple of weeks..never thought rafa bowed out at the 1st hurdle..to be honest..after Doha..we should see this coming..but like rafa,we rafa fan also stubborn for not realised that we clinging to a very thin olive branch..so if we get hurt,it is our own doing..i just wish this hurt is not so sting..


Okiegal Says:

Thanks, Jane for caring about my feelings regarding Rafa’s loss…I’m at my wit’s end…..
That’s all I have to say…..


J-Kath Says:

Oh, Okie and Gypsy and other Rafa fans….I said Verdasco could get very hot – thinking about how he nearly stopped Andy getting his Wimbledon trophy….
but honestly did not think he would take Rafa….I got up at 6.30am UK time to check on Andy and waited up until I thought Rafa would progress….so now I’m shocked to find he lost. Hugs and sympathy.

@Danica…keep holding on to your “funny feeling”…
I like it but I’m also aware Andy’s first serve needs attention.


Okiegal Says:

@AndyMira……Woe is me! What to do? I don’t want to give up on him, but he needs to do something! Maybe some fresh eyes for his game. Uncle to needs to make this easy for him and bow out.


Michael Says:

Alison @ 4.11 am,

When a player of the caliber of Rafa loses so early, it is really a shocker. But, as you rightly exclaimed, he is a shock absorber and has the capability to bounce back in a splendid fashion. I hope your confidence is done full justice by Rafa this time round too as it is always a pleasure to watch him when he is at his best.


Okiegal Says:

J-Kath you are a jewel and I thank you. Pulling for Andy now and OMG I hope Kim does not have the baby early. Isn’t the due date in early Feb?

Hope this finds you bearing up…I know what you are going through….Big hugs back! Hope Andy makes a better showing than Rafa!


Okiegal Says:

Halep is in big trouble!


Okiegal Says:

Match points for Zhang.


Okiegal Says:

Well, she beat the #2 player in the world. I will bet Killer Cahill is sick to his stomach!


Okiegal Says:

He and Uncle Tony can hurl together! lol


Gypsy Gal Says:

And Halep goes out,i picked her to go deep too,what a win for her opponent tears of joy from Zhang and her team….


Gypsy Gal Says:

J-Kath thanks for the sweet words,fully behind Andy now,would like to see Nando having a good run now,as i do love the Spaniards,and im so proud of Konta,what a win against Venus….


Okiegal Says:

Jane, does Sock and Duckworth look alike or is it my eyes or TV again? LOL


Sarah Says:

Okie, I did think that this AO is not meant for Halep, but I did not expect she will loose in Round 1. I tghought she will make it until the Quarters…

Well, I guess Cahill is not very pleased :D….

That’s life…

I am surprised that Dudi Sela made it, I have piked him. Verdasco will beat him in the second :)


Sarah Says:

Sorry GG, my lest comment was actually for you, not for Okie…I am confused :))


J-Kath Says:

GG + Okie

The baby is supposed to arrive early Feb. Evidently Kim is not contacting Andy direct but via his team….rather than him blanch when he sees her name….if she does come early and Andy’s deep in the draw, might she tell the team not to tell him????….given the time it would take him to get home?????


Gypsy Gal Says:

Michael@4.21am i have no expectations anymore,happy to let everything unfold,and let the chips fall wherever they may,if he retires tomorrow he can still sleep happily with all hes achieved in the sport,nice post and thankyou anyway….


AndyMira Says:

Hi Okiegal @ 4.2oam..we never comunicate before,i mean i said hi to you once but you’re not respond..emm by the way..i don’t want to give up on him either coz i think he still can give a lot..i still believe he can even win FO but clearly he needs to do something drastic and fast,because he waste a lot of time already..this drought is already reach 1 year and father time fast approaching,he can’t afford to waste anymore time..but as we all know ,stubborness and him are twin..so..yeah..


Michael Says:

Alison @ 5.35 am,

What an irony that players who Rafa would beat hands down even when he remains blinded are giving him all the frights today. We can only blame the wheel of time for this.

Rafa’s level has definitely come down and he is not the same dynamic and unique player anymore. He sweats profusely and gets tired too early. Especially in marathon five setters, he is now more vulnerable than when he was in his younger days when he was indefatigable warrior gifted with that “never say die” attitude and valiantly fought till the last. His Opponents then amazed with his stupendous tenacity perceived that he is almost immortal and incredible and gave up all chances to win against him. This awe and wow factor helped Rafa win many close matches. But today the dynamics have changed and players have begun to fancy their chances against him.


Gypsy Gal Says:

AndyMira why dont we just sit back and enjoy watching him play,and see what happens,hes an all time great already,nothing will ever change that….


Gypsy Gal Says:

Exactly Michael i hate birthdays in sport,another reminder your getting older and slower,and your best years are behind you….


AndyMira Says:

To GG @ 5.55am..but that’s it GG..he so great..so amazing..it’s hurt to watch him keep humiliating himself like this..he can do better..you and i and all his fan know that..it’s just need new incentive..try new method 1st,then if he is still losing then we all agree that his time is over..but never surrender like this..give someone a chance to improve him..i don’t want to lose him so soon..no..


Wog Boy Says:

Troicki for the change of losing GS after being two sets up, just won one after being two sets down, but if I could get closer to him, I would give him one behind the ears since he stuffed my “social” commitments in Melborurne tonight bu staying to watch him until almost midnight,..


Sarah Says:

lol WB, this was a funny comment :).
Congrats for Troicki and enjoy now the midnight and other drinks :)


Wog Boy Says:

I really feel sorry for the Belgium girl, Azarenka absolutely destroyed her, double bagel, very impressive from Azarenka.


Wog Boy Says:

I’ll do my best Sarah.


Sarah Says:

Drink one for me too, pls, Halep did bring me a lot of joy today ….


Daniel Says:

Verdasco in a way always “exposed” how Nadal will do if he were tight handed. Of course Nadal had the upper hand and some beatdowns on Verdasco but several contests were tigh.

The bright side for Nadal is that he at least won the last Slam final he played, contrary to Fed who lost lst three to Djoko. At least here he is not losing finals to Djoko anymore😜


Chrisford1 Says:

Daniel, better to be Fed and lose a good battle in the Finals against another all-time Great than go out like Rafa has in matches in the last couple years.
I’ll give Hot Sauce this – he was one of the very, very few not intimidated by Nadal. Joining Davydenko and you-know-who.
Verdasco is perfect against Nadal on clay, BTW.
Blue clay.


Daniel Says:

Agree CF1, that’s why I put the smile.

People can say what they want but a career is measured by all phases. Fed proved himself, won a Slam agter thirty and is still contesting Slam finals (3 of the last 6). His misfortune is that Novak is just better than him and everybody know.

How Nadal playes the end of his career will affect his legacy, even with his stelar clay resume and 14 Slams. If he keeps this year and 2-3 next like 2015 when he can’t reach even Slams semis it will count.

Same for Djoko in the future. How you “fall” is all part of the equation.


Okiegal Says:

@AndyMira I am so sorry I missed your comment to me and didn’t acknowledge it…..so a big HELLO to you! I do try to return a comment back….I think that is the proper thing to do, but sometimes I miss the mark.

Well, I am saddened by Rafa’s first round loss, but it is what it is. I can now relax and enjoy the rest of the tournament! The pressure is off..


Okiegal Says:

Thanks to someone above who explained the darling deal….think it was RZ. I had wondered why “darling” was included in the thread. That was cute of Novak…..


AndyMira Says:

To Okiegal@ 1:35pm..big HELLO to you too okie..glad to be able to communicate with you at last..with this loss,in a way it cemented that rafa is slowly gone from us..whether we like it or not..it’s different matter..but..man..it’s hard to accept..by the way like you said..enjoy the rest of the tournament k?


Sarah Says:

@ Hi WB, Are you watching Noles match now? I can see he’s doing well so far, unfortunately I see only the scores…


AndyMira Says:

It’s looks like novak will eat quentin Halys for dinner tonight..what else is new eh?


Wog Boy Says:

Sarah,
Yes, I am here, can’t you see me:) This Frenchie reminds me on Cilic.


Sarah Says:

Well Quentin has to see the positive of this: he plays on Rod Laver Arena.


Sarah Says:

WB, are you that guy with Fed’s face on his shirt? :)…joke


Wog Boy Says:

Actually I do have a face on my T-shirt,but it is Nole’s one..


Sarah Says:

Well done :)…If you speak to Nole, please tell him, Sarah sends him hugs and kisses ;)


Sarah Says:

and tell him also, I hope to see him once in Kopaonik :)


Giles Says:

So joker knows who Sarah is? 😳

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