Tsonga, Roddick Serve Up a Treat; Nadal, Federer Opt for Tricks in Paris

by Sean Randall | October 31st, 2008, 5:50 pm

What a strange day with the top three remaining seeds heading for the exits this afternoon in Paris, the last regular season stop on the ATP calendar. But at least it ended with a fabulous finish. ADHEREL

First it was David Nalbandian putting a stop to No. 4 Andy Murray’s recent Tennis Master Series hot streak, defeating the Scot 7-6, 6-3.

Then Nikolay Davydenko jumped on top of Rafael Nadal early and not soon thereafter earned the win when the World No. 1 retired with a bum right knee after the first set.

Nadal at least did better than rival No. 2 Roger Federer who didn’t even make it out of the locker room. Earlier in the day the Swiss withdrew from the event with a stiff back. Federer’s first career tournament walkover/retirement advanced James Blake into the semifinals where he’ll now play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

In the match of the tournament, Tsonga overcame some spirited play from Andy Roddick and a late final-set challenge circus to win in three very tough sets 5-7, 6-4, 7-6. Roddick was just 3/17 on break points, but credit to Tsonga for putting it together on the big stage yet again.

As I said at the start of the tournament we often do get strange results in the final weeks of the season, and no different this time around in Paris. We are left with no Federer, no Nadal and even no Djokovic in the semifinals of a big event for the first time since I don’t know when.

Back to Nadal and Fed though. If you are supporter of either guy I wouldn’t get that discouraged over Fed’s back injury or Rafa’s knee. Should these ailments flare up in any way in Shanghai then there may be cause for concern, but I have to say I was surprised that both guys even made the effort to play in Paris, so I don’t put a lot of stock in their withdrawals today.

As for tomorrow, hard to go against Nalbandian at this point in his test with 2006 Paris champ Davydenko. Nalbandian will secure entry into Shanghai with a title of course, though the prospect of playing in the Masters Cup apparently doesn’t interest the Argentine enigma a whole lot. Following his win today over Murray here’s a few bits of what he said:

Q. Now that Shanghai is becoming more possible for you, is it a motivator for you?

Q. What is the motivator for you now?
DAVID NALBANDIAN: Try to win the tournament and Davis Cup. That’s it.

“That’s it”?

Tsonga and Blake will be the main event with a confirmed berth into Shanghai at stake (sorry Gilles, you are out). Tsonga’s really stepped it up this week with impressive three-set wins over Radek Stepanek, Novak Djokovic and Roddick today, while Blake had two far less impressive wins over Simone Bolleli and Phil Kohlschreiber. With what’s on the line and the style of both players it should be at the very least an entertainment, up-and-down affair. I’ll take Tsonga.

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70 Comments for Tsonga, Roddick Serve Up a Treat; Nadal, Federer Opt for Tricks in Paris

Ed Says:

“but I have to say I was surprised that both guys even made the effort to play in Paris,”

Nadal & Federer had to play Paris to be eligible for the bonus pool. (The year-end top 4 players split $3M, but must play 8/9 AMS events, including both Madrid & Paris, & the Tennis Masters Cup.)

NachoF Says:

Strange day indeed… Im worried about Federer though :(

Von Says:

Nalbandian has repeatedly stated he is disinterested in Shanghai and if he wins will not go there. His main focus has been Davis Cup, which he badly wants to win. I hope his sacrifice is well worth it and Argentina wins the Davis Cup title.

They are not so greedy Says:

“Nadal & Federer had to play Paris to be eligible for the bonus pool.”

They played for more than just the money which they have plenty of. Federer did not have a masters series trophy this year and Nadal wanted to increase the gap at the top some more. Federer lost more than a million dollars in appearance fee by not going to Stockholm. He adheres to a very high level of professional ethics compared to many past and current players. Read this article at

NachoF Says:

Von Says:

“Nalbandian has repeatedly stated he is disinterested in Shanghai and if he wins will not go there”

It really is amazing how little he really cares about the game…

Kimmi Says:

Q. Now that Shanghai is becoming more possible for you, is it a motivator for you?

IMO, I think nalbandian is trying to play safe. His odds of qualifying to Shanghai are very difficult to achieve. The guy has to WIN the tornament to qualify and he hasn’t been playing like great the whole year. Until he qualifies and then pulls out then i would think he is disinterested.

Last year he did not want to go, I can understand coz he was only the alternate. The chances of someone pulling out are not that great so better for him to start vacation early.

I think if he wins Paris and qualify, we will see him in Shanghai.

anon Says:

video of the hawkeye circus from tsonga-roddick match:


blah Says:

that is absolutely inexcusable

Lenny Says:

I think it’s ludicrous for anybody to insinuate that Nadal and Federer just couldn’t be bothered to make the effort because there’s nothing at stake for them, or that they’re in it for the money – or – as one idiot put it in a tennis chat room about Federer that he’s withdrawn to give his good buddy Blake a chance!!! For the love of Peter Petrelli! These guys are sportsmen, champions and fierce competitors. They will make every effort to get out there and give it their best, unless they’re absolutely and utterly unable to. I think for anybody to even suggest otherwise is just plain stupid and petty.

anel Says:

If it was Novak Djokovic on Nadals place,there would be many of negative comments,but that was Nadal and it is OK.On the beginning of the much he was jumping and was OK.When he start loosing there was a PROBLEM??????????????????

Rafa's brother Says:

I don’t hate tennis !

Rafa's brother Says:

Rafa’s a great tennis player but he’s not completely honest in his statements.

Von Says:

Sean Randall:

You did it!! Your predictions were spot on! Absolutely scary. Maybe you should go out and buy some lottery tickets today.

Mary Says:

Rafa’s knee “injuries” are a yearly event– just around this time every year. “The playing on hard courts wears him out by now” is utter BS.
If you do buy his excuses, it does leave the issue of how did his life-long coach get away with teaching him such bad form.
Also, how does he come back from the brink of retirement every year to become the world’s number one.

I hope Fed is healed by his expos later this month.

Sean Randall: your prediction this time around makes up for the USO prediction.

NachoF Says:

I dont really mind Djokovic when he retires… I just hate it when he calls for medical assistance just because he is tired.

NachoF Says:

I dont mind Djokovic when he retires… I just hate it when he calls for medical assistance just because he is tired.

NachoF Says:

This thing is not posting my messages!!

Von Says:

Hello, good to see you posting again. Who made the statement: “The playing on hard courts wears him out by now”? I suppose Uncle Toni. I’d like for Nadal to speak for himself instead of his uncle.

Whatever happened to the doubles match Nadal was supposed to play in yesterday? I suppose that was forfeited due to his retirement in the singles.


gulu Says:

Go Tsonga go! Win your first masters title!

Daniel Says:

gulu, I am with you!

Athough Nalby would be a bigger treat to the top guys, Tsonga’s seems to really want to be in Shangai, not being “blase” as Nalbandian, who don’t care for Master Cup. What will motivate him tomorrow is losing the n. 1 of Argentine spot.

And I think is more fair if Tsonga qualifys, he is a Slam finalist after all and left his mark during the season when he wasn’t injured. What did Nalbandian did? A late show up in indoors for 3 – 4 tournaments.

Kimmi Says:

Tsonga played very well today, almost like the the deja vu he had during the Aussie open in the beginning of this year.

I actually thought he might be tired, due to the 3 tight sets he played against stepanek, Djoker and roddick. But the guy came smoking. Serving so big and poor blake did not know what hit him.

For some reason I thought Tsonga needs to win Blake to qualify today….Nooo!! he needs to win the whole thing!

Which Nalbandian will turn up tomorrow ? If the Nalbandian that played with Davydenko turns up then Tsonga has a chance. Oooh well ! Lets the best man on the day win.

redux Says:

Can anyone corroborate this?
The tennis year is comprised of four smaller seasons:

1. Australian Open to Miami Masters (January – mid April)
2. beginning of clay season until the end of grass season (mid April – mid July)
3. U.S. hardcourt season (mid August – mid September)
4. Indoor hardcourt/carpet season (October – end of November/Masters Cup/Davis Cup final)

redux Says:

Is this correct?

– There is roughly a month-long break (optional) between the Aussie Open and Indian Wells.
– There is a month-long break (optional) between Wimbledon and Canada Masters.
– There is a month-long break (optional) between the U.S. Open and Euro Indoor season.
– Add to that the month of December.

grendel Says:

Did anyone notice a rather odd incident in the Nalby match? Davydenko powers the ball to him, it looks out, but Nalbandian carries on regardless – my suspicion, based on no experience whatsoever so please correct me somebody if nec., is that when the ball is flying toward you at a 100 mph the natural instinct is to attempt to hit the damn thing, in a sort of reflex, rather than instantly stopping. Anyway, Nalby hits the bloody ball back, IT is called out, and an outraged Nalbandian calls for Hawkeye – but of course, he’s calling it for the previous shot. The umpire wouldn’t allow it, and it’s game to Davy.

Back to the chairs, and Nalby addresses the umpire pretty tersely. The umpire, showing commendable restraint, attempts to explain the situation to Nalbandian. Of course, Nalbie knows the score perfectly well – more in a minute – and he waves the explanation aside, and APPEARS to say – can’t lay my hand on my heart that he actually did – “Shut the fuck up”. And then stalks to his chair. His expression indicates that he understand perfectly well that he is in the wrong, and that he is thoroughly pissed 1) that he has been rumbled and 2) that all this is rather undignified for a superstar like him. Old David is unquestionably eccentric, in an appealingly old fashioned amateur type way too – but there is little doubt but that he holds one David Nalbandian in very high regard.

The thing is, this is not the first time. Something very similar happened in his match with Murray, and he got away with it; I had the feeling that Murray was not too pleased, but perhaps felt that this was not the time to make a scene. And a couple of years ago, I saw Nalbandian play exactly the same trick, this time against Safin – it was a big match, possibly US Open, can’t remember; and the match was very, very close, and this point counted, boy, did it count. I was rooting heavily for Safin on this occasion, and my feelings towards Nalbandian had little to do with the milk of human kindness.

There seem to be no doubt but that umpires are mixed up on this issue. Rulings are just not consistent. Why not? I find Nalbandian’s attitude intriguing; he’s absolutely prepared to commit a “professional foul”, to get away with what he can, in short, even though he’s not at all a typical professional. Nowt so queer as folk, as they say. I do like Nalbandian, though, he’s a real one off.

Tsonga is even more of a one off, however, and I hope he wins tomorrow – and there are not many players I would want to beat Nalbandian. But Tsonga is so utterly refreshing in every way, he’ll adorn Shanghai even more than Nalbandian, imo.

Von Says:


The US hardcourt season runs from mid-July to mid- September, which begins with the Indy tourney in Mid-July and culminates with the US Open, the first week of September. Here’s a link to the ATP calendar for this year.


Tennis Spectator Says:

Nalby always plays well during the indoor season. Should be a good match tomorrow. I am thinking Nalby pulls through.

The question is, will he show up the master’s cup.

Nalby has been a under achiever. He never maximised his talent. Sweet hitter of the ball.

jane Says:


“I actually thought he might be tired, due to the 3 tight sets he played against stepanek, Djoker and roddick. But the guy came smoking.”

I truly believe that Tsonga is a momentum player, who feeds off wins and crowds (many players are, but I think he *really* is), so perhaps he’s even more juiced up than usual knowing he’s taken out some big names, and he’s close to a title. It’s much like at the AO, where he took out Murray to begin and kept going from there.

hannah Says:

Rafa should of never came to Paris, I was surpirsed he did. He’s gonna have to sit Shanghai out now, and I’m glad. He over-played a bit this year.

Skorocel Says:

To grendel:

Well, that certainly wasn’t ten times sportsmanlike from Nalby! I mean, even though the guy can explode at times, this indeed surprised me a bit… Anyway, can you please describe the whole situation once again? I didn’t quite understand how that fateful rally went, you know…

TD (Tam) Says:

What an interesting story re Nalbandian’s behavior. Why does tennis-x never call him out on his ugly behavior?

Hi Von ~kiss~ Andy lost I am disheartened but Jo played very well and deserved to win. I hope Andy can come back strong at TMC. Good luck to Jo in the final.

redux Says:

Von, thanks for reminding me of that calendar.
I’ve been trying to figure out exactly when and how much players get off-time during the season, since it is so long.
Also, how to possibly design a better season schedule.

redux Says:

ps – This year’s compressed schedule has been throwing me off.

Von Says:


Thanks for the love; kiss, kiss, hug, hug, to you too. :)

Re: The Nalby tantrum, you’ve got to stop reading my mind like this. I was thinking the exact same thing, and this is not really directed at Nalby, but I thought God, if that was Roddick, there would be a whole thread dedicated to that incident, similarly to the one at the AO and/or San Jose, where all the anti-Roddick fans would be adding their sick two cents of drivel. It’s unbelievable that there’s such a disparity in thought and/or selective memory among the clan.

I’m sorry Andy lost because he played a very good and exciting match, but unfortnately there were some big screw-ups from the inept umpire and lines people. Andy’s annoyance was visible and the incident broke his momentum. some things are just not meant to be. Maybe better things are in store for him and us. :D

Von Says:


You’re welcome. Are you drafting up a proposed calendar/schedule for the ATP?

zola Says:

That was quite a day ( the QFs day).

I was able to watch a bit of Nalby-Murray match and Nalby was just great. It was a lesson for Murray and I am sure he will learn from it. Great match and great effort by both.

I had to go out and came back to see both Fed and NAdal have withdrawn. Rafa didn’t look good at all at this tournament and even MAdrid. I wish he didn’t even go to Paris. Now according to rn.com, his Shanghai participation is in danger too.

Of course this is like Christmas for the usual Federer and Nadal haters. They come out in full colors and throw the bombs. what a surprise! Well, They can say whatever they want. These are two classy players. I just hope they both get over the injuries very soon.

I also watched the Roddick-Tsonga match at one set all and 4-4 and exactly when that circus started. What was that? It was unbelievable. The Hawk-eye person would not give Roddick his challenge! The tournament director was hesitant too. Full marks to Layhani.
….I am waiting to see if that Hawk-eye official is going to be fined or not! That was outrageous! I thought Roddick played great under that tremendous pressure by the crowd and even the officials.

I am sure tomorrow Nalby has to play much better than his usual to defend his title. It is not just Tsonga that he has to defeat.But I still give him the edge.

zola Says:

I did not see the Nalby-Davy match. That behavior is really odd and disappointing. I don’t understand why the umpire doesn’t fine a player for that sort of behavior. I think they have the authority to do so.

Dr. Death Says:

Grendel – most interesting observation. No professional player ever hits a ball on the fly (without bouncing) unintentionally. The ball is in play — without discussion. If the player believes the ball is out, the player must challenge immediately, as you know. There is no going back!

If the ball bounces close to the base line, let us say, the pro hits the ball and let’s the lines person make the call.

For those of us who play without such judges, one may hit the ball AND call it out at the same time – LOUDLY, svp.

I would have loved to have seen this. Something else to watch for. Many thanks.


Von Wrote in part:

I’m sorry Andy lost because he played a very good and exciting match, but unfortnately there were some big screw-ups from the inept umpire and lines people. Andy’s annoyance was visible and the incident broke his momentum. some things are just not meant to be.

JJFAN replies:

You are searching for excuses. He lost. Tsonga would not go to Shanghai without that win, so let’s leave it alone.

anel Says:

I am not a usual Federer and Nadals hater I just remember what Sean and other Novak haters said when Novak had withdrawn from match with Federer.They said that Novak should pay to people who paid to look the match.Now no body said anything about these people who paid to watch two matches and did not get any.

Kimmi Says:

How many crucial breakpoints did Tsonga save today ? Even when playing one of the best returner out there. The serve was just brilliant. Roddick should not feel too bad about his chances.

Wow ! What a perfomance from Tsonga. Good luck in Shanghai.

grendel Says:

Skyrocel and Dr.Death:

Just to clarify: Davydenko powers the ball to the line – it may be in, it may be out. I’ll take your word for it, Dr.Death, that Nalbandian (as a pro) will have just had time to consider his options – so the conclusion one must draw is that he didn’t know whether the ball was in or out. Therefor, to be on the safe side, he carries on playing. Unfortunately for him, he hits it out. So then – with nothing to lose – he challenges on the PREVIOUS stroke of Davydenko (whose validity, remember, he was uncertain of). Much to Nalbandian’s disgust, the umpire – correctly – disallows his challenge. But my point was that a very similar situation had arisen in the Nalbie/Murray match just the other day – and this time, the umpire had, incorrectly, allowed the challenge to go ahead – and it so happened this favoured Nalbandian. Furthermore, an exactly similar situation had occured 2 or 3 years ago, this time involving Nalbandian and Safin.

But it’s not always just Nalbandian – you do occasionally see it happening with other players. It seems to be something of a grey area with some umpires. Hard to see why. There’sno doubt that Nalbandian plays it “tough” as you might say. That’s his character, and it doesn’t bother me: it’s the umpires who should sort this one out. Nalbandian is basically exploiting a perceived loophole.

Von Says:

Facts are not excuses. they are what they are — facts.

zola Says:

I understand what you are saying. I agree, if it was Djoko, perhaps the reactions would have been different, but people were symathetic to Djoko too when he lost his matches in last years master cup, because it was more normal to be tired at the end of the season.

Personally I think people know these are humans and not machines and can be injured. So, although they have paid for the tickets, they know the risk to it. What should a player do if he is injured?

But weather or not an injury is fake or legitimate, is another story and that is up to ATP to find it out.

There was an article suggesting all tennis players should have a fitness coach or a physio or court to attend to them in between the games and that way the injuries could be reduced. I think that is a sensible suggestion.

anel Says:

Thank You Zola for Your words but I am positive that Sean would say for Novak that there is some thing between his ears for his withdrawal if Novak did it as Nadal .Sean said for Nadal and Federer:I don”t put a lot of stock in their withdrawals today.No words about people who bought the tickets.
I know that Nadal was taking many medical times but Sean never said anything about it however for each Novaks medical time he had a comment.He has a right to hate Novak and I have right to fight for the same standards for all players.
Personally I think that there are ATP-rules and if players obey them that is OK.

Sean Randall Says:

anel, you have to take into account history. Novak’s had a history of retiring while Federer this is his first and Nadal also hasn’t done it much that I can remember. The situation matters as well. In this the final event of the year, not a lot to play for no need to overdue it.

As for the ticket holders, it stinks. At least they got a good final and Parisians should have been happy that Tsonga won, but true in the long run it’s not good for the sport, but seemingly little can be done.

zola Says:

I don’t think anybody hates Djoko. But we all get a bit too excited from time to time and don’t understand that our comments can hurt other fans(I have been guilty myself).

personally I think the risk to not to take or give a medical time out to a player is much more than the possibility of faking or tanking. What if the player is really injured and needs attention?

It is all the ambiguity in the ATP rules that makes things confusing. If they have doctors on the tournaments who do follow-ups with the players about the injury and then make it public, lots of the negativity associated with time-outs can be erased.

As for people who paid to watch, I have always said that it is ridiculus to ask a player to play with injury just to please people. We are over the Age of Gladiators. These are human beings and things happen to them. It happens in all sports and those who buy the tickets know the risk.

Roger is a sport Says:

Roger has withdrawn before a match for the first time ever in such a loooong career. He has never retired even once during the 760+ matches that he has played!!! Certainly,that must be some record. There must have been numerous occasions when he would have felt like not continuing but he continued for the sake of the watching fans and public. Nadal,Djokovic and many others can be accused fairly of trying to discredit their opponents’ good play by retiring during a match particularly if they fall behind in a big way. Roger Fededrer has never done it.

If nothing else,he has the least suspicious record in this matter and deserves to get the benefit of doubt at the very least. Nobody can say that he was terrified about losing to Blake. Besides,there is always a flurry of injuries as the season comes to the end and Paris seems to suffer the most.

zola Says:

Roger is a sport,
you don’t need to defend Roger by attacking other players. Just because Fed did not take an injury time out does not mean everybody else who did is guilty of something!

Fed’s strategy is different. He doesn’t even show up. He withdraws completely from the tournament ( Stockholm08, Halle07, Rome06, Paris 06…). No one has blamed him for not being responsive to the crowd.

I agree with you. I wish Rafa withdrew from Paris or even didn’t show up to play with Davydenko.

Fed’s style of play is very different to Nadal. Besides Rafa has played at least 20 more matches than Fed this season.. I don’t know how it is in Robotland, but on planet earth, players can get injured.

Again, it is up to ATP to follow up on injuries and withdrawls to make it public. Then now one would have been guiltier or hollier than the rest because they had more or less withdrawls or injury time outs.

Nadal is not a sport on court Says:

Nadal is a great player and a sweet talker off the court but he doesn’t always play the game in the right spirit. Some can say that it is his cometitive instinct but he is certainly not a sport when push comes to shove.

He will do everything to irritate his opponent right from the time they are about to enter the arena. He will keep his opponent waiting before the toss,warm-up and start of play with his irritating rituals. He will spend even more time between the points particularly when he is serving. He uses the injury time-outs and bathroom breaks very often to break the momentum and rhythm of his opponent. ATP can not easily find out who is faking it and who is not.

Nobody forced Nadal to go to Paris and he was clearly injured before the tournament began. Uncle Toni himself revealed it. Greed for a few points and some more money meant that the paying spectators got an unfair deal. Withdrawing before the start of a tournament is much more fair because the spectators know whose matches they are paying for. Federer withdrew from Hamburg after an epic Rome final in 2006 if my memory is alright. Halle 2007 or Stockholm 2008 are again examples of withdrawing before the tournament.

Nobody forced Nadal to play so many matches. He got the number one ranking as a reward apart from a lot of money. Why can’t he have a lighter schedule? Who forces him to play so many tournaments in a year? Does he really need to play Chennai,Rotterdam and Barcelona?

He was definitely in robotland for a major part of the season and his fans were over the moon marvelling at this special robotic ability. It is this robotic ability and playing style that gives him such a huge advantage over the rest of the field. Don’t blame the atp when the robot breaks down. Can’t have the cake and eat it too. He will have to pay the price of such stupendous success and high ambition. Finding excuses like injuries,tiredness and atp scheduling as per one’s own convenience only belittles Nadal’s stupendous achievements.

sensationalsafin Says:

I don’t want to attack Nadal because I feel like tennis fans every where are now being deprived of seeing how Nadal performs at the TMC. But he really shouldn’t have played in Paris or possibly even Madrid. It’s a shame but he’s finally doing something smart in not going to Shanghai. As ridiculous as it is when compared to Federer, Nadal really needs to rest but hell, even Federer withdrew this week. I agree with Blake in that it’s gotta say something about the schedule when the 2 top players pull out at the exact same time.

I don’t agree that Nadal isn’t a sport on court by retiring like this because he was clearly exhausted in the last few weeks. Even though he won the early rounds easily, all that proves is that everyone starts with something in the tank, but when you’re this tired it’s easy to quickly run out of gas. I think Nadal really, really needs to start readjusting his schedule, especially if he wants to stay number 1. He should definitely follow in Federer’s footsteps when it comes to scheduling. Federer’s going to be playing even less, apparently.

But I’m really glad Simon is in now!!

zola Says:


I agree with you on your last post. Rafa shouldn’t have gone to Paris in the first place. similaly, he should have withdrawn from Hamburg 07 and rome 08. but he seems to be very stubborn when comes to his schedule. I read that uncle Toni did not want him to go to Cincy, but he did. Toni also said in Madrid that Rafa should not play, but he did. I guess that’s just him.
In paris, he could not have gon on the court and just withdraw, but he did and even finished the first set injured.

I think that’s a different mentality, but hopefully he will learn from federer and be more wise with the part of his schedule he can. I understand that he has to play all the clay season, but has to sacrifice one or two tournaments in between and even pay the fine or tolerate hostile comments. But rest his body. he can’t go on like this. that’s for sure.

zola Says:

Nadal is not a sport on court,
You definitely have something against Rafa and I don’t think anything can change your mind right now. Just know that he is friends with the majority of the players. what you conceive as “atempts to irritate the opponents”, are not seen like that by the players. He has utmost respect for all his opponents. see how he celebrated his wins in FO, Wimbledon and even against Agassi in Wimbledon 06.

You want to think every injury is a fake and every thing a player does is to offend others, you are entitled to your opinion. I just hope rafa and Fed and the rest of the players can do something about this grueling schedule and can play many more years.

anel Says:

Sean I am glad that You answer on my post,usually You were ignoring me that is why I did not ask You to answer.Many times I was hurt by Your comments and others about Novak.On the beginning of this year when some comments were not only against Novak but against all Serbian people I was sad that no body stop comments like that.
You said that now is final event and there is no need to overdue.I think that You are not right on this, every player knows when is need for him not to overdue.When Novak had withdrawn it was his need not to overdue so he could play to the final event.
I hope You are going to attack Novak as you do others not just him,even if You do not like him.
Zola,I am sorry that I heard for Nadal,I really do not hate him,but I lake more Novak as You could see.Nadal is one of the best players and I hope he is going to be OK soon.

Von Says:

Curses will rain on my head and darts will be thrown at me, for saying that I disagree with those who feel the ATP is to be blamed for the long season and/or over-flowing schedule, that has resulted in injuries for some players. Neither do I agree with Blake, who has made his feelings public in this regard. I happen to like Blake, but he has a tendency to blame everyone and everything, even the commentators, when he is playing badly. And, badly, is a kind word for how Blake has been playing this year. What injury has sidelined Blake this year due to the schedule, none that I know of, and I doubt anyone has held a gun to his head to play in more tournaments than he wanted to play. He bailed out of DC without batting an eyelid, when he was most needed. Blake is speaking out for two (2) reasons inmo; (1) he’s just ticked off because he has been titleless during ’08, which he claims is from an over-packed schedule; and (2) he wants to ingratiate himself with the higher ranked players, by speaking out in their defense. And, what better place to start than with the ATP calendar. He’s been on the council, why didn’t he do or say something about the schedule — he’s only speaking out now? Sour grapes.

Per Blake the mandatory schedule is 4 Grand slams and 8 MS or 1000 series tournaments, which adds up to 11 tournaments for the year. Are players content to play just 11 tournaments? The answer is an emphatic NO. It wouldn’t be feasible for them to do so, the temptation to earn the big bucks is too strong. If we look at the amount of tournaments players play, the norm is 20 ranging to 30. How can ATP or the schedule be blamed for the players playing in tournaments over and above the mandatory ATP tournament requirement. The answer is simple — no one but the player himself. There are players who want to escalate up the rankings like yesterday, and they make a conscious effort to do so through the only medium available to them, which is upping their schedule and playing in as many tournaments as they possibly and physically can. It’s a matter of personal self-gratification for the players. Playing more to watch their ranking move up higher. That’s all well and good, however, that becomes a two-edged sword for them later. IF it were to just stop there — they did the hard work to take them where they want to be, are sitting pretty, and all’s rosy and well with the world — a great feeling indeed. The benefits and rewards are instantaneous, bonuses are collected, sponsors and endorsements abound and the season is over wkith a bang. Some are even more gratified because their hard work earned them a spot in the elite TMC year-end championship. And all’s well that ends well for the season.

And now, enters the new season. Shock attack, their previous year’s joy is now short-lived. There’s a new awareness, they have all of the prior season’s points to defend in order to remain status quo, or move up higher, and the grind begins all over again. The greedy don’t want to lose points or their new respectable position as the World’s No. ?, so they are now faced with a dilemma, which is, do I want to remain high up in the rankings, even getting higher, or do I want to fall lower. I’m sure the conscious decision made, they want to remain at their present position or move up higher, and it’s when that decision is made that the season grind begins, the previous year’s scenario is repeated, and what was fun for the prior season becomes a grind. And this MO/scenario is repeated season after season thereafter, with the players adding and/o deleting tournaments in the process, until one day the player comes to the realization, or his body alerts him to the fact, this can’t go on any longer, this vicious cycle has to end — I’m too tired — the spark has gone, where’s the joy. This is the position where many players presently find themselves — it’s very sweet to have a good run for one or two seasons, but to maintain that over a 10 year period is tantamount to self-destruction.

Players should live by the mentality of ‘all things in moderation”. When they play in more than the required amount of tournaments, they are doing so of their own free will because no one is holding a gun to their heads, and if they become injured, tired or acquires malady of some sort, or structural defects, no one is to be blamed but the player. For some it’s the love of money and for others it’s a combination of money and power. whatever is their underlying motive, it all boils down to choices. Life is lived consciously by choices. When we choose to be different or distance ourselves from the rest of our peers we are consciously choosing to do so, and no one is to be blamed if those choices do not pan out the way we expected. I’m positive if ATP were to say to the players you can only play in the GS and MS series – 11 tournaments for each season, there would be a revolt by the same players who complain about the schedule.

In summary, it would behoove the players to realistically and objectively sit down and assess their state of health, both physically and mentally, prior to each new season, and plan their calendar accordingly. It is in-humane to place an onslaught of stress on our bodies for approximately 6 months of the year and expect it to bounce back without consequences. This is one of the reasons why I am hesitant to jump on the bandwagons of the up and comers — it’s OK for them to accumulate points, have a good run for a year, but the question to be realistically asked: Can they repeat their performance over the next season or for that matter, remain consistent over the long haul? This is where we see their true mettle. Many have waltzed in and out of the top 10 due to this scenario, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”. I’m a wait and see individual.

The old adages: “Slow and steady won the race and all things in moderation” rings true. And then there’s Shakespeare’s pearl of wisdom from “As you Like it” – “Can one desire too much of a good thing?” these are some thoughts for the players to ponder.

zola Says:

you are very nice and kind and if I have ever said anything aginst Djoko that has hurt you, you have my apologies.

There will always be things that we like or dislike in a player and that’s what attracts us to them and that’s what makes the discussions colorful.

Thanks for your nice words on Rafa. All the best to all the players in Shanghai and I hope Djoko will be well-rested and can play his best.

to imagine Shanghai without Rafa is hard, but the fiels is so good and exciting. I am looking forward to see the matches.

Von Says:


I mentioned to you a while back that’s the way things go on these threads, and life’s not fair. For some posters, who are the most critical BTW of the other players, when it concerns their fave, it’s OK for their fave to do anything, but when it’s another player, they’ll crucify them. I defended Djoko when he retired in Monte Carlo and I was nearly blown to pieces. I have learnt a lesson from that — many can’t take what they dish out. It’s difficult not to feel hurt by the unfairness, but just remember it’s only some people’s opinions, which can be way off at times, and there are a lot of two-faced people in this world.

I am not anti-Nadal Says:

You definitely can not see anything negative in Nadal and you will never change your mind. It is clear you are a blind Nadal fanatic or fanboy. I do have something against Nadal which I have already stated. I have also called him a great player, a sweet talker although a lot of people think that is fake too. I talked about his stupendous success and achievements. I can see a lot of positives when he is playing a point. I like him more than I dislike him but can not ignore the negatives.

The other players can not do anything but tolerate those tactics. The atp has to stamp down on such tactics which some consider cheating. The more charitable call it gamesmanship. His fans will call it his ability to do anything in his power to win a match. The fanatics will make it a virtue and say his opponents love these tactics and do not complain about it.

How well-behaved he is off the court or after finishing a match does not matter much. He can show some respect by not keeping players waiting for the toss while he is jumping around the court and adjusting water bottles. The time he takes between points is the worst offense because he is a habitual offender. I have seen him reach for the towell after a first serve fault!!! The less said about the timing of the injury time-outs and bathroom breaks,the better.

When Nadal is from planet earth, he is assumed to be human and humans can have some demerits if you do not know already. Mcenroe was a great player but he had his demerits. So has Nadal although there is no point in pointing it out to people who just can not tolerate anything written against him even if it is true. I am sorry to have wasted your time as well as mine. You are free to continue adoring Nadal and perfectly entitled to think of him as the fairest player on planet earth. His fanatics should institute an award in his name for fair play and sportsmanship and give it to him every year. He won’t be getting it from any other quarter.

Von Says:

I wote the following after my 5:31 pm post, but for some reason It got gobbled up.

On another note: I’d like to remind some posters that this is a tennis forum where we come together to air our views and opinions and what we perceive to be strengths and weaknesses in the players, is it not? Then, going by that creed, why is it that when people state their views and/or opinions, those people are viewed as hating a player or having something against them, and they are ganged up on or verbally beaten into submission, until they shut up. When we pounce on others for their opinions, we discourage meaningul discussion and the topics become stagnated. Is that what we want? I’m not condoning name calling of a player, consistently belaboring a point and/or vicious accusations; that’s wrong. I’m talking about allowing others the freedom of speech to touch on points they feel should be addressed, without prejudice. Additionally, some posters are exceptionally inconsistent and/or vacillators, in their complaints, vis-a-vis, it’s OK for player A, or their fave to have an umpire tussle, but it’s blasphemous for player B to do the same. When player B does or says anything that’s perceived to be out-of-line, they are crucified for their behavior and their fans are spat on for defending them. Incongruence rules for some posters. Can’t we be fairer. It’s gotten so ridiculous that commenting on the ineptness of an umpire during a match, is ‘looking for excuses’. Everyone’s perception differs and what some might find to be normal another person views as abnormal, and as a result of that, we should be allowed to speak within reason and/or fear ofoffending another poster who can’t handle the truth.

Skorocel Says:

To grendel:

So as far as I understand, Davy hit a ball which (probably) landed on the line, but Nalby (even though thinking it was probably out) continued to play, and his subsequent shot landed out, right? If that was the case, then I can’t see any reason for him to be upset with the umpire – simply because if he wanted to challenge that Davy’s shot, he should’ve stopped the rally immediately.

anel Says:

VON, I remember when You defended Novak after Monte Carlo and thank You for that.I never said that Novak is an ideal player without mistakes but it hurts me when some people wright about him as he is a monster and even go farther to attack all people from his country.I think every body should be allowed to speak within reasons but without hatred.

Von Says:


You’re welcome. Don’t worry about the people who attack Djoko, I’m sure you see how much they attack Roddick just for an umpire argument when their own faves do worse; but as I’ve said before, who said life was fair. Djoko and Roddick are the two players who are the most disliked. I don’t really care that they are disliked by some, but I feel if others can criticize them, then it should work both ways, we should be able to criticize their faves. It doesn’t work that way though — it’s one-sided.

Sean Randall Says:

anel, if I upset you with my comments, then I’m sorry, but your guy does have a reputation and I will continue to attack when events warrant.

Von, as much as I hate to do it, I have to agree with you regarding the schedule. The players have only themselves to blame.

Von Says:

Sean Randall:

“Von, as much as I hate to do it, I have to agree with you ….”

You brought some laughter and smiles; you hate to agree with me period. Don’t you? Oh Sean, you begrudge me so little. I’m still laughing and can’t help it. :P

redux Says:

Von, you said earlier:

“I’m positive if the ATP were to say to the players ‘You can only play in the Grand Slams and Masters Series’… there would be a revolt by the same players who complain about the schedule.”

I agree that these players would not stand for such a structuring of the sport. The top players would dominate as usual and scoop up the larger sums of prize money at these key events. The rest of the field could not make the kind of good money they make by winning numerous lower-tier events such as Delray Beach, Acapulco, Vina del Mar, Newport, Casablanca, Milan, Indianapolis, Costa do Sauipe, etc.
It would probably work wonders for attracting broader viewership since the sport would be so much easier to follow – the succession of events and viewing access. ESPECIALLY in the U.S., since interested parties would know what’s what. Less confusion about worldwide tournaments and marquee-player participation.

To answer you previous question, Von, I don’t know if there’s really any point in me designing a new season calendar. It was initially for my own pleasure and for anyone else who might have been interested. Global weather/seasonal patterns affect when certain tournaments can be played. I’d have to take this factor into account while adequately distributing the events.

Von Says:


I feel that the players have options and could choose a user friendly calendar. They could play as few as 11 tournaments or as much as 30. It’s all up to them, so to complain about the schedule does not make any sense to me. The players are the captains of their own ships.

“It was initially for my own pleasure and for anyone else who might have been interested. Global weather/seasonal patterns affect when certain tournaments can be played.”

Yes, the isotherms shifting and the Arctic and Antarctic icebergs melting would cause an upheaval, especially flooding, for 40 days and 40 mights. Then Noah would have to return to earth and build an ark for the righteous to hide out. I’m positive I’ll be chosen for the ark, will you? :P :D

I’m just being facetious, but I understand what you mean. Even though the calendar seems to be problematic for some of the players, I think when we take into account the countries in which the events are played and the distance between each event, I think the ATP has done a pretty good job in strategically laying out a route that’s player friendly. For example, for the clay season, all of the events are close in proximity to the other, with the last MS leading up to the FO. The only problem I see, is that of a player being away from home for a couple of months at a time. However, most of these guys are young and do not have family obligations, which means time away from home should be inconsequential, and when all’s said and done, this is their job.

redux Says:

Von, you so silleh!

I often thought all Slams should be preceded by Masters Series tournaments which corresponded with the surface, two per Slam. The distribution is pretty uneven. I had previously thought that somehow Indian Wells, Miami, San Jose, and Delray Beach could serve as hardcourt preludes to the Australian Open (pushed forward into February) – a stint in the States followed by the trip to Melbourne. Or, ideally, IW and Miami are downgraded, and two tournaments in Australia become Masters Series events. You can imagine the complications which inevitably arise. Logistically, it wouldn’t work at present, I’m sure.

Ultimately, the calendar, as it is, is workable. Players just have to make wise scheduling decisions, as you’ve stated, based on their ambitions for the season and level of fitness. The choice is there, as is the variety.

grendel Says:


“So as far as I understand, Davy hit a ball which (probably) landed on the line, but Nalby (even though thinking it was probably out) continued to play, and his subsequent shot landed out, right? If that was the case, then I can’t see any reason for him to be upset with the umpire – simply because if he wanted to challenge that Davy’s shot, he should’ve stopped the rally immediately.”

Yes, for your first two lines, that’s about it. The reason Nalbie was upset with the umpire, I suppose,is because he was found out. Most of us are probably familiar in our own lives with how it goes: we try something on, having a sneaking suspicion that it’s wrong, but we get away with it a few times, and by virtue of this, somehow feel we are entitled to do it. It comes as an unpleasant shock when a sterner arbiter enforces the rules. Remember, Nalbandian had got away with precisely this behaviour in at least two matches (with Murray and Safin, which I happened to see), and possibly more.

So, I can see why Nalbandian was so miffed. But he’s by no means the only one who exploits this supposedly grey area. Umpires do need to be more consistent – one can only assume some feel intimidated by the higher ranked players.

Von Says:


“I had previously thought that somehow Indian Wells, Miami, San Jose, and Delray Beach could serve as hardcourt preludes to the Australian Open (pushed forward into February) – a stint in the States followed by the trip to Melbourne. Or, ideally, IW and Miami are downgraded, and two tournaments in Australia become Masters Series events. You can imagine the complications which inevitably arise. Logistically, it wouldn’t work at present, I’m sure.”

It would indeed be good for the Aussies to have a couple of MS tourneys leading up to the AO, viz., making Auckland and Sydney MS tourneys, which would push back the AO to late February early March, but then the whole calendar would have to be changed. I also think the higher ranked players would be more match-grooved, playing in the lead-up MS tourneys, when they play at the AO, after their 6 week sabbatical. Fed has always complained that the AO begins too early in the year. However, you’ve got to look at the whole picture, and it all hinges on “show me the money” according to my friend Dr. Death (hello DD are you reading, name dropped at 7:35 pm). Both IW and Miami coincide with the North American college spring break and televised sports with contractual obligations to sponsors and the networks ABC/NBC(?), which translated to bigggg money; hence it’s not gonna happen. Money rules and fools listen. Only an Act of God (hell freezing over) would make ATP downgrade IW and Miami from MS status. Sorry, but the calendar is carved in stone. “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. :D

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