Fat Nalbandian Falls, Dokic Wins, Federer v Safin Upcoming at Australian Open
by Staff | January 21st, 2009, 9:03 am

Two old foes and former No. 1s will do battle in a blockbuster meeting on Thursday at the Australian Open when Roger Federer meets Marat Safin. Both players advanced into the third round on Tuesday in Melbourne when the Swiss rolled over Russian Evgeny Korolev, and Safin eased past Spaniard Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez, both in straight sets. ADHEREL

“I’m happy to be playing Marat; we have fought some battles,” Federer said of the upcoming meeting. “We had the epic in 2005.”

Safin captured the Aussie Open title in 2005, beating Federer 9-7 in the fifth set in the semifinals en route.“I have nothing to lose,” Safin said of the upcoming encounter. “I’m going to go for it. Whatever comes, comes. He knows how to play against me; I know how to play against him.”

World No. 3 Novak Djokovic cruised in straight sets past Frenchman Jeremy Chardy on Tuesday, and will next face American-Bosnian Amer Delic of Florida, who upset No. 28 seed Paul-Henri Mathieu 9-7 in the fifth set.

Other seeded winners Tuesday were (7) Andy Roddick (d. Xavier Malisse from a set down), (8) Juan Martin Del Potro (d. Florian Mayer), (11) David Ferrer (d. Dominik Hrbaty), (15) Stan Wawrinka (d. Brydan Klein), (19) Marin Cilic (d. Janko Tipsarevic in four), (20) Tomas Berdych (d. Brian Dabul), (21) Tommy Robredo (d. Viktor Troicki, bagel in the third), and (23) Mardy Fish (d. Simone Bolelli).

Taiwan’s Yen-Hsun Lu was the upset-maker of the day, ushering No. 10 seed David “Fat Dave” Nalbandian out of the tournament 6-2 in the fifth set. Nalbandian had been on a number of punters’ hot lists after winning the Sydney title last week, but came up short against the free-swinging Lu.

“For me, I’m No. 61 in the world and I have no pressure,” said Lu, who last year upset Andy Murray in the first round at the Olympics. “I just go on the court and play my game and it’s not about who is better. But I think I served more consistent than him today. And in the fourth set and final set, I played more aggressive than him.”

In other upsets, No. 16 seed Robin Soderling was defeated in four sets by crowd favorite Marcos Baghdatis, and Frenchman Fabrice “The Magician” Santoro sliced and diced-up German No. 32 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber in five sets.

Aussie teen Bernard Tomic ended the night session early in the morning in Melbourne, winning the first set but eventually succumbing to Gilles Muller.

Highlights Wednesday in Melbourne are big-serving Aussie Chris “Penthouse” Guccione vs. new French Top 10 resident (6) Gilles Simon, former Top 10er Ivan Ljubicic vs. (5) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Guillermo Canas vs. (13) Fernando “Gonzo” Gonzalez, and (25) “Dr.“ Ivo Karlovic vs. Mario “Baby Goran” Ancic in a Croatian serve-off.

Emotional Dokic Upsets Chaky at Australian Open

Jelena Dokic was busting with Australian pride on Tuesday in Melbourne, where the embattled former Top 5er posted an upset over No. 17 seed Anna Chakvetadze in three sets to reach the third round at the Australian Open for the first time in 10 years.

“I came back to Australia three years ago. I didn’t expect [the crowd] to be on my side and to understand what happened seven years ago,” said Dokic, who fought through the emotional win with the crowd‘s backing. “Each year it’s gotten better and better…I will regret leaving [Australia] for the rest of my life. It will always be the mistake that I made. But tonight was an amazing experience. It’s been the best that I’ve ever had. I don’t expect everybody to understand, of course. But, look, I’m trying my best. I’m fighting and playing for this country. I’m proud to play for this country again.”

Dokic’s upending of Chakvetadze was the lone seeded upset on the day, with Top 10 advancing seeds including (1) Jelena Jankovic (d. Kirsten Flipkens), (3) Dinara Safina (d. Ekaterina Makarova from a set down, 6-0 in the third), (5) Ana Ivanovic (d. Alberta Brianti), (7) Vera Zvonareva (d. Edina Gallovits 6-0, 6-0), and (10) Nadia Petrova (d. Sania Mirza).

Ivanovic put in another shaky performance in overcoming Brianti.

“There is still some areas I have to work on and improve,” Ivanovic said. “As you progress through the tournament you come up against tougher opponents, so you automatically raise your level. I think I still have to work a little bit on my serve.”

Other seeded players into the third round were (11) Caroline Wozniacki (d. Virginia Ruano Pascual), (15) Alize Cornet (d. Andrea Petkovic 1-and-0), (16) Marion Bartoli (d. Tsvetana Pironkova), (19) Daniela Hantuchova (d. Mathilde Johansson in three), (25) Kaia Kanepi (d. Patricia Mayr), (26) Ai Sugiyama (d. Nathalie Dechy from a set down), and (29) Alisa Kleybanova (d. Stephanie Cohen Aloro in three).

Highlights of Wednesday play include the Williams sisters and former No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo in action, China’s Shuai Peng vs. embattled doper teen Sesil Karatantcheva, and China’s (22) Jie Zheng vs. Hungary’s Melinda “The Fifth Element” Czink.


After his loss to Lu, it’s hard to see David Nalbandian ever returning to Grand Slam final…

Novak Djokovic has won nine straight matches in Melbourne…

Bernard Tomic is ranked 768 and he’s just 16. Would he have beaten Lleyton when he was 16?…

Amer Delic leads all players with 51 total aces. Delic won both his matches in five sets and now the Illini has reached his first Slam third round…

Marat Safin will again meet “The Federer” as he call him on Friday. The Federer leads Marat 7-2 but did lose to him here in a memorable 2005 encounter…

Yen-Hsun Lu not only beat David Nalbandian today, but also Andy Murray at the Olympics. His nickname is “Randy”…

Marat Safin says 2008 will be his last year, but do you believe him? He also says his post-tennis future is a “secret” but it will be in sports…

Didn’t Fabrice Santoro retire?…

Among the Top 8 men’s seeds only Roddick has dropped a set…

All five Croatians that began the tournament are still alive, though two player each other Thursday (Karlovic v. Ancic)…

X-Factor: Five of the seven times Andy Roddick has beaten Xavier Malisse he has gone on to win the tournament title…

Weather: Chance of showers and higher temos on Thuersday….

Bernard Tomic likes to stand flat-footed during points. Strange, but works sometimes. Roger Rasheed calls it a “con”…

Andy Murray is the only man playing Thursday that’s undefeated in 2009…

Great Draw Alert: Dudi Sela v. Victor Hanescu for a spot in the third round…

Watch Out Alert: Tommy Robredo and Tomas Berdych are playing well…

Ivan Ljubicic has vacated his spot from the ATP tour board. Roger Federer said he’s interested, but just not right now…

You Might Like:
Marat Safin: If Federer And Nadal Are Still Winning It Means There’s Something Wrong With The Other Players
Safin Ends Season, Will Skip Davis Cup Final Against U.S.
Nalbandian Foils Federer to Cap Incredible Week in Madrid
Justine Henin, Marat Safin Lead 2016 Hall Of Fame Nominees; Yevgeny Kafelnikov Not To Be Found
Nadal Wins, Federer v Wawrinka in All-Swiss Thursday at Monte Carlo

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

58 Comments for Fat Nalbandian Falls, Dokic Wins, Federer v Safin Upcoming at Australian Open

jane Says:

Yes, I noticed this point last night: “Watch Out Alert: Tommy Robredo and Tomas Berdych are playing well…”

Didn’t Berdych reach the quarters here last year? Robredo was certainly playing well at the USO too. Both of these guys could be darkhorses.

Interesting stat: “X-Factor: Five of the seven times Andy Roddick has beaten Xavier Malisse he has gone on to win the tournament title…”

jane Says:

Guess Djoko will have his work cut out against Delic if he’s serving that well. Novak will have to play like he did against Chardy: serve well and wait for his chances.

Sarah Says:

DIDN’T fabrice santoro retire?????
not that i mind- i love to watch him play!

joe Says:

yeah santoro retired – then he said he would play a few tournaments in 2009 – now ehe’s playing all the time.

john Says:

Oh no! Not Again Nalbandian! I thought he came to Melbourne with the right motivation. Look what happens. But I wont take anything away from Lu who was fantastic.

On the other hand, it was good to see Del Potro keeping up his good form. He could do no wrong as of now.

So what do you think about Canas against Gonzaloez?


I like tennis bullies Says:

I’ll never understand the hype surrounding fat dave, he’s never won a slam, hasn’t sniffed a final in years and yet the media insists he’s a true slam contender. go figure

andrea Says:

safin and fed should be good. but if fed gets berdych that will be another challenge. mind you, last year berdych fizzled out on some easy points to win sets against roger. let’s see if he can hold it together….

All Sports Fans Says:

Its about time Safin matures up a bit and beats Federer by playing his game. Federer is great at making opponents uncomfortable by playing to their weakness cos he can pretty much play any kind of game. Safin needs to take him early and dictate.

MMT Says:

There’s an interesting sub-text to the match between Roddick and Santoro coming up. Last year in the 1st round at the US Open, Santoro was getting his arse handed to him left right and center by Roddick. Roddick’s penultimate serve is clocked at 140mph, which Santoro barely evades eating by ducking at the last moment.

On the next point, as the crowd cheers the sheer power of the previous serve, Santoro gives one of those Gallic shrugs, condescendingly applauds the previous serve, puts his hands on his hips, sticks out his lower lip and motions for Roddick to serve – making it clear he has no intention of trying to return the next one.

Roddick proceeds to spin in a first serve ace and Santoro approaches to shake hands as Roddick seems to apologize, saying he didn’t mean to hit it at him.

I found it fascinating that a grown man would take offense at ALMOST being hit by the ball, particularly a doubles enthusiast like Santoro. Later, Santoro said Roddick hit it at him “100% for sure”, and that he was, “disappointed”.

Well excuse me all over the place.

The fact is he he took two hops towards the center line as Roddick was in his motion, which Roddick couldn’t possibly have seen, and as such, very unlikely that he was attempting to hit Santoro with the serve, if he had, it would have missed him to the right and not 3 feet off of the T.

My point – what difference does it make. Assuming he hit it at him – it’s a fair play, and it’s Santoro’s responsibility to return it or get out of the way.

Word is, he hadn’t played any matches leading up to the US Open, and my guess he was just ashamed of getting crushed like he did. I just can’t stand that kind of cowardice and self-pity from a professional athlete.

Personally I hope this time, he actually drills him.

jane Says:

MMT, I am with you! “Personally I hope this time, he actually drills him.”

I thought Santoro acted like a real baby in that match, perhaps because he was getting blown away and it wasn’t one of his late-night-NYC “magic” shows. Instead it was like “terrible twos 101.”

Besides which, shouldn’t he be retired?

Von Says:


BTW, did you see my post to you on the thread in which you mentioned Roddick’s clothes? In that post I mentioned that it appears Nalby lost some pounds, well I was wrong. Last evening, Dave was sitting and his shirt rolled up over his tummy by accident, OH My God, what a sight to behold, his tummy is huge!!!! Anyway, he realized what was happening and covered it up quickly. The commentators dubbed him “telly tubby”.

Tennis King Says:

MMT is totally to the point about that so-called magician Santoro ! Go Rod… blast him out of the court again like you did in US Open last year !

Tennis King Says:

Hi Von and Jane, so your guys made it, mine too ! But the Safin v. Fed match is gonna be close I guess!

Tennis King Says:

BTW, don’t take me as a new comer on this site, I post here regularly since 4 months; you know my name too, but I can’t mention it here coz I have problems getting my posts shown coz of spitting venom at few guys here! But I guess dearest Von’d know me !

Tennis King Says:

Dearest Von, can you guess who am I ? My name starts with ‘g’ but is not Giner or Grendel. I’m an Indian and a Fed fan with Rod being my 2nd most favourite .
I think this is enough hints for you and may be Jane too! Please reply !

Von Says:

Tennis King:

Hi, Yes, our guys made it, and I’m glad yours made it too. Who’s your guy? I agree with you that the Safin v. Fed, match could be a close one. Safin is playing with that “come what may” attitude and that’s when he’s dangerous. He says he just wants to have fun. I love Safin, always have, and I hope this year, which he states is his last, he’ll achieve his heart’s desires, whatever they may be. I’d love to take a peek into that rogue’s wicked mind. Ha ha. Her’s hopin g all of our guys achieve significant results in the AO.

Kroll Says:


“Here hopin g all of our guys….”
“Our guys” Von? Thats not weird at all…!

Tennis King
“My name starts with ‘g’…”

I must say this took a lot of effort to not make a nasty crack at, but i ll let it pass…

BTW, I read this quote of Jankovic’s
“It was a tough match for me. (Kirsten Flipkens) had nothing to lose so she could go out there and really swing freely.”

I dont get the “she had nothing to lose” comment, its the worst kind of excuse that I see a lot of top ranked players making when they struggle against lower ranked ones and Jankovic is probably the one who uses this the most. Apart from being the least deserving number 1 since god knows when, she’s so full of it, I can barely stand it.

Kroll Says:

I forgot to add, I hope Jankovic gets whacked in her next match so we can all enjoy her latest embarrassing excuse, and scoff more at her no. 1 ranking…

Von Says:


Are you making fun of me with that dry sense of humor of yours?

“Our guys” Von? Thats not weird at all…!”

Please elaborate on what you mean — I’m a little daft you know.

I saw on the other thread you mentioned the TV coverage here in the US — believe me it used to be a lot worse. Even though the Tennis Channel is bashed a lot about their programming, they do try, and have made some huge progress with respect to coverage of the GS and the MS tournaments, and some of the smaller tournaments. It’s a good channel to have and the cost is very small.

I remember the days when only the GS QFs, SFs and finals were aired with the minimum amount of time allotted to the matches. So, all in all, we’ve come a long way baby.

MMT Says:

Hi Von: I missed your post, but I just went back and read it – yes, dark colors make no sense in the Australian summer, especialy black, but I guess it created the illusion it was (possbily) intended to produce – fitness.

I really feel sorr for him ever since Djokovic imitated him by simply distending his stomach. Even a professional athlete is sensitive about these things…but then again it was pretty darn funny.

mem Says:

i am so happy for jelena dokic. she has had to deal with a tough reality, but thankfully, she is on the road to recovery and is back in the game that she loves. she held her nerves today and walked away a winner. good for her! wishing her continued success!

Giner Says:

Interesting matches for today (day 4):

Chris Guccione vs Gilles Simon (I pick Simon)
Ljubicic vs Tsonga (I pick Tsonga)
Canas vs Gonzalez (Gonzo)
Karlovic vs Ancic (flip a coin)
Gulbis vs Andreed (Gulbis)
Schnyder vs Razzano (Schnyder)

Not bad for round 2.

Giner Says:

“Fat Nalbandian Falls”

I think calling him fat was uncalled for. The guy has a bigger belly than most players, but he’s still not classed as overweight, and certainly not obese. I’ll bet he is less overweight than many of us here on this forum.

“World No. 3 Novak Djokovic cruised in straight sets past Frenchman Jeremy Chardy on Tuesday, and will next face American-Bosnian Amer Delic of Florida, who upset No. 28 seed Paul-Henri Mathieu 9-7 in the fifth set.”

American chauvinism rears its head again. Novak beat him on WEDNESDAY. Technically it was Tuesday for you guys who are a day behind, but since they were in Australia at the time, it was Wednesday when it happened. Since things happening at the AO are in Australia, how about using local time? The way you write as though it’s happening over there and the assumption that the world is revolving around your perspective is simply not accurate. Whenever our media references your events (such as Obama’s swear in) we use local time.

Pardon me, pet peeve of mine.

And his name is Jerome I believe, not Jeremy.

“Aussie teen Bernard Tomic ended the night session early in the morning in Melbourne, winning the first set but eventually succumbing to Gilles Muller.”

See? That wasn’t so hard was it?

“Bernard Tomic is ranked 768 and he’s just 16. Would he have beaten Lleyton when he was 16?…”

I don’t think so. Lleyton won his first title at 16. There’s still a chance Tomic can top that, but I don’t think he’s there yet. Tomic received a wildcard into the draw, Lleyton qualified for his entry, and did so every year beginning at age 15. Tomic may not have made it into the draw if he had to qualify. He barely beat Starace, and won significantly fewer points than his opponent.

“Marat Safin says 2008 will be his last year, but do you believe him? He also says his post-tennis future is a “secret” but it will be in sports…”

I don’t believe him, and when he does retire he will probably play Poker. It’s too late for him to pick up any pro sports.

“Andy Murray is the only man playing Thursday that’s undefeated in 2009…”

Fernando Gonzalez is playing that day too and is also technically undefeated. He lost at Kooyong which is an exo, so it doesn’t count as an official result. His first tour match was AO 1st rd.

Sorry about going off at you staff for the chauvinism thing (it might have been a one off aberration but we will see), but I’m finding increasingly more bones to pick with you lately. Normally I find you most amusing, but your research lately hasn’t been the best and your opinions uninformed.

Giner Says:

I like tennis bullies Says:

“I’ll never understand the hype surrounding fat dave, he’s never won a slam, hasn’t sniffed a final in years and yet the media insists he’s a true slam contender. go figure”

On his day, he can beat anyone: Nadal, Federer, Djoko, Murray, you name it, he’s beaten it. He just needs to put it together for 7 matches. He’s talented, just an underachiever. He’s made the semis at all 4 majors but got unlucky. He should have beat Baggy at AO and Roddick at USO. If you can make it to the last 4 of 128 then you are in the discussion for actually winning, since you’re only two matches away. He contends for slams as long as he’s on. He also won the Masters Cup once, beating Federer in a thrilling final.

Daniel Says:


“Andy Murray is the only man playing Thursday that’s undefeated in 2009…”

“Fernando Gonzalez is playing that day too and is also technically undefeated. He lost at Kooyong which is an exo, so it doesn’t count as an official result. His first tour match was AO 1st rd.”

Del Potro too is undefeated this season, he only played in Aukland, which he won.

Well, another Fed x Safin match at AO! They are the two players I like the most and if I recall right the only time I cheered against Fed in a match was AO 2005. I won’t do that again, that’s for sure!!!

Ryan Says:

I think fed has the toughest draw out there.He played seppi , he played korolev is again an up and coming player. He’s facing safin , berdych , even cilic or del potro…..then prolly novak.how the hell can this be an easy draw. I just dont get it.These players are young , talented and have the ability to take anyone out.

Whereas novak has to only think about roddick.Even then roddick is not a challenge for him as we saw in the US open 2008. He taught roddick a lesson on how to play. No one else is a challenge for him……delic and baghdatis…baghdatis is a joke at this stage.

Nadal has to only think about Simon in the quarters. Gasquet cant handle nadal’s power.So he cant do it.

Murray has a an easy draw till he faces maybe tsonga or gulbis in the quarters.

I think fed has the most challenging draw out there compared to the other 3.

Daniel Says:

Regarding Nalbandian, people is just too bad with the guy, that kind of tummy is hard to take out once you get it, and he get his a long time ago! :)
If we look closely, Fed always had a litte belly himself (he doesn’t have the usual hard abs like most tennis players) which no one mention beacuse he has a general slim figure. Poor Nalby is more compact and it shows the most, but the guy is not fat, he just concentrate it in that spot. It makes me curious, I wonder how he does to “maintain” his belly?! When I used to play 5 times a week and this guys plays more, way more you simply don’t have any fat in our body. He is a true miracle!!! :)

Daniel Says:

Ryan you are right! That thought occured to me when I was looking at the draws now that the firts matchs are over. It will be great if he could win facing all this guys!

Von Says:

“Whenever our media references your events (such as Obama’s swear in) we use local time.”

“Our/We” is that patriotism I hear/see? Well, I’ll be damned, you patriotic? I never would have guessed, after that last sermon where you shredded and blasted me to smithereens for defending “My country”. Isn’t this what you’re doing, defending your country’s right to be respected?

“And his name is Jerome I believe, not Jeremy.”

and the winner is … “Jeremy”.
Player Profile

Jeremy Chardy (FRA)
Birthdate: 12-Feb-87
Birthplace: Pau, France
Residence: Boeil-Bezing, France

“Have more than thou showest, speak less than thou knowest, lend less than thou owest”.

Ryan Says:

I think that even Simon wont be able to hang with nadal over a 5 set match. So that means the main guy in his draw is just andy murray.So its fair to say that nadal’s and djok’s draws are the easiest of the top 4.

Von Says:


When the media makes references to any athlete’s body it comes under the Amendment which gives freedom to the press, but it is pathetic when a colleague/fellow player uses it to gain popularity and/or attention — that’s pretty low, and I’m sure that makes David feel more self-conscious when he’s in the locker room. Last evening he accidentally pulled up his shirt and quickly covered up his tummy with a towel. Of course some of the commentators called him “telly tubby”.

You’re right Fed has a slight paunch, and because of his deportment, it’s obvious. I believe his shirts could be a bit bigger also, it’s the reverse of Roddick’s shirt.

Belly fat is very difficult to shed, hence all the targeted weight loss formulas, because there are definitive studies that it’s caused by a concentration of the hormone cortisol which multiplies if one is stressed, et al, and remains in the middle section. Nalby has to be fit to be able to play 5 sets.

Von Says:

“So its fair to say that nadal’s and djok’s draws are the easiest of the top 4.”

I thought so too from the inception.

Alex Says:

I wish Safin go on and win this tournament, left us with some more sweet memories before he retired!… We can dream can’t we?

Andrew Miller Says:

I repeat, I would like Roddick to win a Grand Slam this year. It does not matter if it comes in a singles slam final, doubles, mixed – or even Canadian (which does not really exist in the competitions at the four slams, but hey – I think Nalbandian would be good at Canadian doubles also).

Seriously, that’s what I’d like. Andy Roddick, the hardest worker on tour, winning another grand slam. I think that has been his goal for several years.

Ryan Says:

Andy winning a slam seems unlikely, even though he deserves one. First of all he has to beat djok. If that happens then he has to beat fed.Even if he somehow does that or if fed gets kicked out by someone else and andy beats him then he has to go through either murray or nadal. Roddick is definitely gonna get whipped.Sorry Von and any other roddick fans out there…..quarters at the most.

Ryan Says:

I think del potro is overrated and cilic is underrated. I feel that cilic is better than del potro.

Anyone can choose some easy 4 tournys and win it.People get to see wat ur made of when u face the topcats like fed or nadal or djok. Last time when del played fed, fed exposed the holes in del’s baseline game whereas cilic was just making mistakes and giving fed free points.Cilic has a huge game.The way he thrashed gonzalez in AO 08 and pushed djok in UO 08 was fantastic.

BTW I dont know why Berdych is not up there with people like djokovic.

This guy has a fantastic game quite similar to safin. I think the biggest underacheiver is not safin or nalbandian or gasquet for that matter.Its this guy.He has a huge game but no results to show. Nalby has atleast reached the semis of all 4 slams. But berdych hasnt reached one.I wonder why. Whenever he has some kind of form he runs into fed or nadal early in the slams. I hate to see this guy lose to people who he shouldnt be losing to for example james blake.

Ryan Says:

If cilic faces del potro in AO 09 it will be a good way to really compare their games.I think cilic will win it.

jane Says:

Ryan, this is an interesting comment, which in a way I agree with: “I think del potro is overrated and cilic is underrated. I feel that cilic is better than del potro.”

The problem is this: so far, Del Potro has been more consistent, and he can play on both hardcourts and clay. Del Porto has won more titles. However, Cilic, given his style, should be a factor on grass and hardcourts, and he has more variety and power than Del Potro imo.

But at the end of the day, consistency counts for a lot. I don’t know if you saw Cilic play Tipsarivec last night, but he seemed to be making a lot of unforced errors.

He’s a little more like Gulbis that way. Both Cilic and Gulbis, imo, have more exciting games than JMDP, but so far JMDP is the hungrier, more focused, more consistent, mature player. We’ll see how the others develop.

jane Says:

I also agree with this Ryan: “ast time when del played fed, fed exposed the holes in del’s baseline game”, which is why I don’t feel like JMDP should be much of a threat if Roger is to face him here. When they played at the end of last year (was it Madrid? Paris? anyhow…), it showed that JMDP didn’t have enough variety, and his shots from the baseline were quite predictable.

“BTW I dont know why Berdych is not up there with people like djokovic.”

I think it’s a mental issue with Berdych. He has awful brain cramps, like when he was playing Fed here last year and blew at least 2 set points by making poor shot selections at the big moments. He cruises through the early rounds and hammers opponents he doesn’t fear or whatever, but when he gets further along, maybe he over or underthinks, or panics, or…? But I don’t think it’s his strokes. He’s got great power, fluidity, natural talent. He’s kinda cute too.

Ezorra Says:

I’m not Roddick fan but I admire his game very much. He is one of my favorite in this tournament. Based on his performance these days, I believe that he can beat Djokovic in the quarter. Regarding his chances against Federer, I would say it’s 60-40 (advantage to Mr. Federer).

Ezorra Says:

“He is one of my favorite in this tournament…”

I mean he is able to do extraordinary stuffs but I don’t think he can win the tournament. But hey… I’m not prophet so of course what I have predicted is not necessary to be true…

Giner Says:

Looking out for No.1

Wednesday 21 January 2009
By Alix Ramsay

It has been five months now, but somehow it still does not seem right: “World No.2 Roger Federer”. “Roger Federer, the second seed”. Nope, it just doesn’t sound right.

It clearly does not sit well with Mr F, either, as he seems unusually grumpy this week. When someone dared to home in on a throw-away line the Swiss used to compare himself to Marat Safin – Federer pointed out that they were both former world No.1s – the room temperature dropped dramatically.

“Still seems a bit strange when you said “former champion like me”,” the intrepid journalist offered.

“Former No.1, I said,” Federer replied coldly.

Ignoring the warning signs and risking life, limb and notebook, our inquisitor went on. “Former No.1,” he said, correcting his earlier error. “Does that seem a little bit strange?”

Federer, still smarting from the perceived slight, would not let it go. “For both of us,” he explained carefully as an alpine chill descended on the room. “I didn’t say former champion. I said former Grand Slam champion and former No.1.”

“I misspoke,” our journalist friend said, apologetically.

“Exactly,” said Federer, putting everyone in their place.

So, best not to mention rankings to Mr Federer, then. Or Grand Slam titles. Or favourites for the title here. Finance, politics and religion would seem to be much safer options should the Swiss drop by for a chat over a cup of tea.

Federer’s mood did seem a little strange given the ease with which he had just disposed of Evgeny Korolev. It took just 87 minutes for the Swiss to advance to the third round, and he barely broke into a glow, much less a sweat, as he brushed the Russian aside 6-2 6-3 6-1. Federer, though, has bigger fish to fry than Korolev, and he is desperate to regain his position at the top of the rankings ladder.

“I was a very proud man for a long time and still today about the record,” Federer said with a slightly wistful air as he looked back on his 237 weeks as the world No.1. “Today Rafa deserves it because he’s hung in there for a long time. He could have lost his No. 2 position for a long time against Djokovic, so he deserves it. It’s fine.”

Just as Rafael Nadal has changed his look now that is the king of the hill – he has gone for the more grown-up look with proper shorts and shirts with sleeves – so Federer abandoned his ponytail when he took over the top spot. Trimming his locks with every major title won, the Swiss was in serious danger of going bald as he mopped up the silverware around the globe.

This year he has come to Melbourne with a very serious short-back-and-sides (he still wears the sponsored headband, but that is probably more to do with nice marketing men at Nike than it is to do with tonsorial necessity). Federer obviously means business here.

After the disappointment of last year when a bout of glandular fever wrecked his winter training and left him running out of puff in the semifinals against Djokovic, Federer wants to set the record straight. Djokovic and Nadal ran away with all that he held dear last year until he was able to restore a little order by winning the US Open. This year, he wants to set the pace at the start of the season and let the youngsters eat his dust for a while.

“I love playing here,” he said. “I’m always very successful. I’ve reached semifinals or better the last few times, so it has always been very good for me here and I’m still coming off winning the US Open last year, so I hope I can carry that form over to the next Grand Slam.

“I feel like I’m fit enough, motivated enough, experienced enough that I can win many more slams. The question is how many this year.”

Marat Safin will be the next to experience the full force of Federer’s ire when the two meet on Friday. Federer knows the Russian of old, but that will count for nothing as the Swiss plots his route to the final – and to start his quest to claim the top spot in the rankings that he clearly holds so dear.

Ezorra Says:


Is Nadal going to change his outfit everytime he enter the court? Please Nadal, stop “feredering” yourself. Being fashionable is so not you! Leave it to Federer. You may lose your Fan for this!

Ezorra Says:

I mean “Federering”…

jane Says:

Verdasco is killing Clement. I think Hotsauce is going to make a splash this year if he keeps it up.

I agree Ezorra – what’s with Nadal’s revolving outfits? ~ :-o

Giner Says:

““Our/We” is that patriotism I hear/see?”

No. I thought this was as clear as could be. When I say ‘our’, I mean opposite of ‘your’. I do not mean that I speak for everyone when I use such a word. I’m not sure what better word I could have substituted for ‘our’. Same for ‘we’. This is from our (Aust’s) perspective, and it’s common everyday use. I’m not media but I say ‘we’ because I include myself generally when I write about things happening outside. I will continue to use we/our because I see no conflict in it, or allusions to patriotism. Or at least no more so than using the word ‘your’ would imply that I am a patriot of the US where I don’t live. If you take the word ‘our’ or ‘we’ and equate it to patriotism, then you would also need to include a lot of other perspective words such as ‘here’ or ‘there’.

If you genuinely were misled by my choice of words and found me hypocritical, I apologise. That was not my intention.

“Well, I’ll be damned, you patriotic? I never would have guessed, after that last sermon where you shredded and blasted me to smithereens for defending “My country”. Isn’t this what you’re doing, defending your country’s right to be respected?”

To answer your question, it is not patriotism on my behalf. I only object to other people that think that their perspective is the only perspective. I don’t equate this to patriotism at all. I used the word ‘chauvinism’ but I’m not sure that is the correct word. As I’ve said before, it’s not just about time zones either, but seasons too. I called it ‘northern hemisphere chauvinism’ when movie trailers say “Summer” assuming that Summer is universal (it still says Summer when we see the trailers here in Aust). This isn’t personal to your country but the entire northern hemisphere.

I’d also like to remind you that I wasn’t blasting you to shreds for defending your country. I was merely defending the person that YOU were blasting to shreds for not supporting his/her country.

And I don’t consider myself a ‘patriot’. I like it where I live, but not enough to call myself a patriot. There are better places, there are worse places. I don’t get behind our athletes and famous people just because they are one of ours (I use this word again to mean opposite of ‘your’). I am mostly indifferent.

My dad was very patriotic and biased. I liked to have nothing in common with him (other than a pair of balls) so my indifference might have been influenced by him.

To be really honest with you, I like your countries famous people and sportsmen far more than mine. Andy roddick was a guy I followed closely from 01-04. Always loved Agassi, and even loved Sampras when I was a kid too. No bias from me here, sorry.

“Isn’t this what you’re doing, defending your country’s right to be respected?”

No because it isn’t actually specific to my country. It would include every other country where Tuesday for you is actually Wednesday. I would like it if media respected countries outside of their own including but not limited to my own. I believe that all countries should be respected (to some extent). This is more about correctness than patriotism. Saying a match happened on a Tuesday when it was a Wednesday where it occurred is simply incorrect, but not uncommon.

I do not recall ever calling myself a patriot or pretending to be (I don’t consider myself unpatriotic either — I am neutral). Some of our players I would like to see do well but don’t care a great deal either way.

“and the winner is … “Jeremy”.”

You win. It’s the pronunciation that got me. The commentators called him Jerome, but they could be wrong.

Ryan Says:

“I think that even Simon wont be able to hang with nadal over a 5 set match. So that means the main guy in his draw is just andy murray.So its fair to say that nadal’s and djok’s draws are the easiest of the top 4.”

I just saw Simone play Guccione, and I am very impressed by what he can do. His offensive lobs were very accurate and caught the guy flat footed several times. He doesn’t have a stand out shot but his game is all-round. Backhand is not the best in the game but I don’t see too many weaknesses either.

“Anyone can choose some easy 4 tournys and win it.”

Sure, but 4 in a row is less easy to do. I’m not sure if he even rested between those 4. He showed that he was no fluke by making it to either 4th rd or Qrters at the USO, losing to Murray. He only lost to players he should have lost to, and continued his good form earlier this year.

“BTW I dont know why Berdych is not up there with people like djokovic.”

His talents were recognised but the results haven’t matched his potential. He’s an underachiever that even Wertheim is giving up on.

“This guy has a fantastic game quite similar to safin. I think the biggest underacheiver is not safin or nalbandian or gasquet for that matter.Its this guy.He has a huge game but no results to show.”

Agreed and that’s why he’s not up there with Djokovic.

Ezorra Says:

“I’m not Roddick fan but I admire his game very much.”

Ezorra, are you and zola the same person?

Roddick has such a good serve that it’s a waste that he doesn’t take advantage of it by coming in behind it. When he tries the S&V it doesn’t look natural to me.

Latest news in Melb: Nadal and Almagro were just presented Davis Cup replicas for their contribution in Spain’s 2008 DC campaign. They were actually credited for the win! I wasn’t expecting that, other than an acknowledgment from their teammates after beating Argentina who may have killed their chances at winning DC for a few more years. The stars were aligned for them that year, and they couldn’t do it.

Ezorra Says:

Giner says;

“Ezorra, are you and zola the same person?”

No, I’m not. My English is not as good as her… In fact, I do have ‘adam’s apple’ if you know what i mean… However we’re both Nadal fan…

Giner Says:

Prickly Djokovic on defensive

Linda Pearce
January 22, 2009

ANDY Murray the tournament favourite? Come back and see Roger Federer when the Scot has won a grand slam title. Defending champion Novak Djokovic overtaken by Murray in the elite men’s pecking order? Not according to Djokovic, who did not point to the scoreboard so much as the ATP rankings ladder.

Asked yesterday whether he sensed that Murray — ranked fourth, 2460 points behind the Serb, who in turn is just 50 points adrift of second-placed Federer — had leapfrogged him as the No. 3 contender in the past 12 months, a clearly annoyed Djokovic replied pointedly: “Why Andy?”

REPORTER: Because he’s the one being talked about as the third challenger.

DJOKOVIC, clearly annoyed: “What’s his ranking and my ranking?”

REPORTER: I’m not going on the ranking system.

DJOKOVIC, still clearly annoyed: “The thing is that you cannot put somebody … I mean, all the respect to Andy, I like him as a person and as a player. He’s done a lot in the last couple (of) months, and he’s a very talented player and we can expect him to win some grand slams in the future. But you cannot put him as the favourites next to Roger and Rafa (Nadal) and myself here at Australian Open.”

Murray is just one week older than his friend and former junior contemporary, the pair having joined forces in doubles for the Scot’s senior Australian Open debut in 2006. It was Murray who made the first impression in open ranks, then Djokovic who surged ahead, and there is much now riding on how many of last year’s points the Serb can defend at Melbourne Park. Head-to-head, the Serb has won four of six, but Murray the past two.

After a middling start, Djokovic played himself into some encouraging form against unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy yesterday, a 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 winner, and thus the loser of just 19 games in total from his two rounds. The third seed lost serve only when trying to close out the match, but immediately broke back, and now plays Bosnian-born American Amer Delic, after Delic recovered from a two-set deficit to eliminate 28th seed Paul-Henri Mathieu 9-7 in the fifth.

A first-round loser in Brisbane to start the season, and beaten in the Sydney semi-finals by Jarkko Nieminen, Djokovic said he was unable to compare his form this year with last year’s run to his debut grand slam title.

“It’s pretty difficult because I’m in two different situations,” he said. “Right now, physically I feel better. Game-wise, you know, it’s different. But it’s still couple of first matches of the tournament. So I have a little bit slower start at start of the season because I made that change with the racquet and a couple more things on my mind, so I couldn’t really think about game that much. Now things are changing.”

Giner Says:

Will the real Djokovic step up?

Novak Djokovic is back at the scene of his greatest triumph but much has changed in the time since his win in last year’s Australian Open final.

Richard Hinds
January 22, 2009

Titleholder Novak Djokovic is feeling the pressure.

THE impersonations with which Novak Djokovic entertained the crowd here last year are now a bit old hat. With Maria Sharapova absent through injury, Djokovic’s routine is more cutting room floor than cutting edge.

Still, there is an impression the Serbian will be desperate to produce on centre court before the fortnight is out. One he has struggled to perfect since his engaging run to the 2008 title. His Novak Djokovic.

The ebullient, sometimes breathtaking, sometimes prickly, always entertaining Djokovic. The in-your-face Djokovic. The Djokovic who, this time last year, gatecrashed the cosy tete-a-tete between the game’s Big Two and demanded the tennis world set a table for three — a triumph that prompted his mother Dijana to declare: “The king is dead, long live the king.”

Such fearless disregard for the status quo was refreshing given the deference other possible challengers had shown to then King Federer and Prince Nadal. However, in the decent but not exceptional season that followed, Djokovic had to live with the consequences of his impertinence — chiefly the apparent eagerness of Federer and Nadal to put him in his place. (Federer is 2-0 against Djokovic since the Australian Open, Nadal 4-2.)

Which, despite an occasional step up and down the rankings, has left Djokovic still treading water at No. 3. Not with a bullet, but with a gun at his head.

Asked who is the game’s third amigo, many will now point in the direction of Andy Murray’s locker. Particularly since the Scot spent the early part of this month slaying Federer and Nadal back-to-back in the Middle East while Djokovic lost a first-round match in Brisbane to someone called an Ernests Gulbis. The pretender is dead, long live the pretender?

It is not a proposition that thrills Djokovic who positively bristled when it was suggested many now considered Murray to be the game’s third man. “What is his ranking and my ranking?” he responded testily, before adding “you cannot put him as the favourites next to Roger and Rafa and myself here at the Australian Open”.

Perhaps Djokovic’s terse response was because he and Murray are not said to be as close as they were as juniors. Perhaps it was because he is now the one whose place in the pecking order is threatened. Whatever the source of Djokovic’s agitation, in his opener here against qualifier Andrea Stoppini, a performance Djokovic admitted “wasn’t really convenient”, his grip on the Australian Open trophy seemed as firm as an undertaker’s handshake.

But yesterday, against the Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, his Djokovic imitation was far less pale. Most pertinently, he seemed to know which end of his new racquet to hold on to, not something to be taken for granted if reports of the problems caused by a lucrative post-season change of equipment were to be believed.

That Djokovic had been almost as tetchy in response to questions about his new racquet as he was about Murray heightened the belief that he was struggling to adjust. That seemed to have escaped the attention of Seven’s on-court interviewer Chris Dittmar, who raised the thorny issue after yesterday’s match. “This is the 235th time I’ve been asked that question in the past week,” said Djokovic, who seemed tempted to test his new racquet’s string tension on his interrogator’s head.

The Serb’s irritation was this time warranted.

With a clutch of exquisite drop shots, he had just proven he had sacrificed little, if any, of his touch in return for his seven-figure cheque.

After a fairly shoddy first set, some of the other trademark Djokovic shots also reappeared.

There were a few crunching winners from behind the baseline and some well-timed net rushing.

Even the way he had slight trouble finishing the match, dropping serve while leading 5-2 in the final set, was typical of a man who, as closers go, seems the type who struggles to get from the first bunch of flowers to the bedroom scene.

What remains to be seen is whether Djokovic can recapture both his best form and the affection of the fans, whose opinion of his engaging but brusque manner seems divided since a rocky win over Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in last year’s final.

That might take a lot more good tennis. Maybe even the odd impersonation. Just don’t ask him to do his Andy Murray.

jane Says:

Intriguing articles you’re posting Giner – the grumpy Federer one and now the prickly Djokovic one. These players seem to need to lighten up. On the other hand, reporters sure spin things. I saw that on-court interview after Djokovic’s match and when the reporter asked the 235th racquet question Novak answered in good humour, or so it seemed. As for the Murray question, he does seem defensive. Maybe he feels like the forgotten man? But these types of comments will only egg on Murray to win!

Ryan Says:

To be honest I like Djok’s and hewitt’s in your face attitude…..those cocky head nods were pretty cool. It is refreshing to see after all, most of the tennis players bend down in front of federer and nadal.But djok likes to hold his head high. People in general hated it and he doesnt get much crowd support. But I think he was just being a man…..thats all.However his parents should stay out of his rivalries.He is planning to show everyone what he is about during these 2 weeks.
He plays extremely well when he is pissed off.
And he is pissed now coz first of all last year fed’s mono robbed half of his credit for winning AO 08. Secondly everyone is putting him on fire for changing his racquet as if he doesnt know wat he is doing. And now murray is being touted as the third man…..djok is pissed and ready to kick some butt like he did last year.

jane Says:

Some next round matches:

Nadal vs. Haas
Gasquet vs. Gonzalez
Monfils vs. Almagro
Ancic vs. Simon
Stepanek vs. Verdasco

Sela vs. Tsonga or Ljubicic
Melzer vs. Murray or Granolliers

Didn’t Murray and Melzer have a five-setter at the USO? I think so.

Then there’s the likelihood that Blake could meet Gulbis (if Gulbis beats Andreev and Blake his opponent.

So just on this half of the draw, lots of exciting matches to look forward to. And late nights for us on the northern side of the globe!

Kroll Says:

“This isn’t personal to your country but the entire northern hemisphere.”

I understand you being peeved, but I m surprised that you don’t understand.
(I am all for cheesy dramatic quotes, FYI)

Its simple power dynamics, and has always been so. Historically there has been a tendency for the most powerful nations to assume that the center of the world lies where they do, a notion that is assimilated among the people in surprisingly short order, and the americans are certainly no different. Chauvanism is in fact the precise term that applies, after all it is a tacit acknowledgement of your dominance. In fact this is a very human tendency, religion for example is an entirely human-centric view of the universe. While some of us might be progressive enough to expect or hope for a more anarchist (in the sense of a power-decentralised) viewpoint, it is a ridiculously small minority.

I honestly don’t think Fed needs to or can lighten up. After all with his dominance a thing of the past, he just has records to break. And that should get progressively harder, in fact the idea of winning two more slams and breaking Pete’s record should seem like tall order, even to him. So I can understand him being testy.

The Djoker,however, has no buisness being peeved about Murray’s rise. After all Andy made the USO final and has whupped everyone during the past few months. And considering they started out at the same stage, it seems rather immature.

Tejuz Says:

I am greatly impressed by this young woman whose playing Venus at the moment.. Carla Suarez..beautiful single handed backhand(something we dont see often in women’s tennis).. nice forehand..

Tejuz Says:

wow.. she won… and she is only 20.. great effort.

Leftykick Says:


I agree, she looks like a special talent.
Great Heninesq backhand.

I think she won this match by taking the game to Venus. I was very impressed how she handled Venus’s serve. Think she will go far in this tournament.

jane Says:


You have a point: Federer has reason to be more cantankerous. I just think those records might come easier if he’s a little more relaxed on and off court.

I agree about Novak; he’s too grumpy lately. He’s been making some questionable decisions and maybe on some level he knows it. Not that this is an excuse just a possible explanation for his moodiness. I hope he gets back to his more jovial self soon.

jane Says:

Q. Have you been intrigued that Roger and Novak are a bit irritated that you’re getting a bit more attention and people are suggesting you might even win this thing?

ANDY MURRAY: I mean, quite big contradictions. You know, they don’t ‑‑ you know, they say there’s a lot of pressure on them, but then people aren’t saying they’re the favorites, but they want to be the favorites. Therefore, by saying they’re the favorites, they’re putting more pressure back on themselves.

I don’t really understand the whole thing. I mean, I think I played well enough in the last six or seven months to be in that sort of group. Whether I’m the favorite or not, I don’t know.

Like I said at the start of the tournament, Federer, Nadal have got the most experience, you know, and probably merit being favorites. But there’s a reason why people think I have a chance to win here, because I played very well the last few months and won against them.

Top story: Andy Murray Withdraws From Cologne Due To Pelvic Injury