Australian Open: Mid-Tournament Assessment
by Ben Pronin | January 24th, 2010, 3:07 pm

I wasn’t sure when to make a mid-tournament assessment. I was considering making it before any fourth round matches were played but I’m glad I waited. ADHEREL

I want to say that things are really heating up but the 2010 Australian Open started on a pretty high note. With Roger Federer being tested in round one to Andy Roddick being pushed to five against Fernando Gonzalez, the first slam of the decade has been absolutely fantastic. There have been relatively few upsets up to this point (on the men’s side) so let’s look at what’s in store from now on.

The Men’s Side: This biggest upset of the tournament was and still is eight seed Robin Soderling blowing a two sets to love lead in the first round. What bothers me is that the mental stability was questioned for about five minutes until everyone forgot about him. Maybe I’m alone in believing he deserves to be in the top 10, but that was a terrible step in the wrong direction. Fortunately, he didn’t have too much to defend here.

The next big upset occurred last night when 14th seed Marin Cilic outlasted fourth seed and the reigning US Open Champion Juan Martin del Potro in an epic Clash of the Titans. Del Potro was looking out of sorts for the entire tournament but I’m glad he went out to a worthy opponent, and he went down swinging. There’s little shame in that considering all of his injuries from the wrist to his feet and that bird call that was bugging the crap out of everyone. Pam Shriver made a good point early in the match that it was more important for Cilic to win because it wouldn’t bode well for him in the future for Del Potro to have his number from an early time. These two already have the makings of a good rivalry and I fully agree with Shriver which is why I’m glad Cilic got the win.

Cilic next faces Roddick who was cruising through the draw until he ran into Larry Stefanki’s former pupil Gonzalez. I don’t think anyone expected this match to go to five or for Gonzalez to be in control of it for so long. Credit to him for a nice recovery after a punishing match against Evgeny Korolev but Roddick is just too consistent, too smart, and too determined. The Roddick and Cilic match should be an interesting one. Roddick should still be the fresher of the two but even at their most fresh, Roddick has the edge physically. Mentally, they’re pretty even. Roddick is determined to show everyone he deserves to stay in the conversation, Cilic is determined to show everyone he deserves to get into the conversation. Expect a great match.

Defending champion Rafael Nadal has played some iffy tennis but he’s really getting into a groove and despite a  string of the luckiest four points I’ve ever seen a player put together (I’m looking at you, Ivo Karlovic) Nadal looked great in his win over the giant Croat. He next faces Andy Murray, a dominant winner over John Isner. Daren Cahill and Brad Gilbert made a good point that Murray looked better in his win than Nadal because Isner was coming in playing better than Karlovic but Murray really stepped it up. Then they added that it means absolutely nothing heading into Tuesday’s quarterfinal. Everyone is expecting a blockbuster and, since this is tennis, you never really know what will happen. But I also hope for a great match and I’m curious to see what Murray is going to do against Nadal. He’s not like Soderling or Cilic who can blow Nadal off the court but he can still beat him, the question is how.

The top half of the draw is still in the round of 16 but there are some good matches brewing there. After a tough test from Igor Andreev, Roger Federer has cruised into the fourth round of a major for the… you get the point. He faces a semi-test in the form of Lleyton Hewitt. Hewitt troubled Federer at the US Open but I just can’t picture Hewitt doing anything to hurt Federer. But Hewitt has been playing particularly well and he lucked out with Marcos Baghdatis retiring in the previous round (such a shame for Baghy) but I don’t think that’ll matter against Federer. It’s hard not to worry about Federer these days but I’d say he’ll go through in no more than four sets.

It’s hard to say anything about Novak Djokovic because he hasn’t faced any top players but he has dropped a set. He made up for it by dismantling his opponent in the third round but my concern is that in the second and third sets he got broken when serving it out. How worrisome is that? Well, not as worrisome as his overall mentality, which I think is the biggest question mark. He faces another, let’s say, unseeded player in the fourth round and should have no trouble there. But he will most likely face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals. Tsonga has been playing some great tennis and should be able to subdue the mentally weak and often inconsistent Nicolas Almagro. I just don’t know where Djokovic is right now so I’m leaning towards Tsonga in that one.  But they both have to win their matches tonight before I really lean towards anyone.

The best match tonight should be between Fernando Verdasco and Nikolay Davydenko. Is it weird that two top 10 players are facing each other in the fourth round or can that happen legitimately? Either way, Davydenko is simply beasting it up. He has bageled all three of his opponents so far and, honestly, I think he gets another bagel tonight. Add to the fact that he’s 6-1 against Verdasco and it doesn’t look good for him to repeat his semifinal performance of last year. That would put Davydenko, the best player in the world, against Federer, the number one player in the world, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

The Women’s Side: Surprisingly, the women’s side has had some interesting matches, too. Perhaps what could go down as the most shocking result of the year, Kim Clijsters got absolutely rocked by Nadia Petrova. Peter Bodo wrote a blog where he criticized Clijsters for not giving Petrova enough credit. I’m all for giving your opponent credit when they deserve it, but considering just how terribly Clijsters played, I’m sure she was thinking more about her abysmal play than Petrova’s great play during the interview that’s something like an hour after the match. Cut the girl some slack. Besides that, I have to say that it looks like Serena Williams will defend her title, but I want Maria Kirilenko to win. She is by far the best looking girl on the WTA.

The Commentary: Besides the tennis, I have to assess to commentating after making such a big deal about it a few weeks ago. All I can watch is ESPN2 so the commentators I’ve been listening to are Chris Fowler, Brad Gilbert, Darren Cahill, Mary Carillo, Pam Shriver, Mary Joe Ferandez, Pat McEnroe, Dick Enberg, and Cliff Drysdale. They have a new woman in the studio but I don’t know her name and she clearly doesn’t know anything about the sport.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to this team for so many years now but I’m getting accustomed to their pointless conversations amongst each other. But I still have some complaints. Chris Fowler is getting too cocky in his role because he talks too much and acts like he knows a lot about the mechanics and the strategy and all that tennis related stuff, but he sounds dumb next to guys like Drysdale and McEnroe and just about everyone else. I still don’t like Carillo. She’s super negative too often and it sounds like she’s just there to insult and criticize everyone.

McEnroe is in love with Roddick and Federer and Cahill and Gilbert can’t get enough of Murray. Cahill’s comments are a little too colorful sometimes. He called a Karlovic slice “beautiful.” Really? Karlovic’s slice? That’s got to be the overstatement of the tournament. Shriver and Fernandez are actually pretty great. They never try to sound like they know more than they do and they’re usually pretty spot on with their statements. Especially compared to Carillo, they’re just wonderful.

I don’t know why but I’m growing to like Drysdale for the first time ever. He’s also cut down on the useless statements and he’s been pretty insightful. I enjoyed his conversation with Fowler about how during his playing days, the players hung out with each other a lot because they didn’t have entourages that were bigger than Vincent Chase’s.

My least favorite guy in tennis, Dick Enberg, continues to be awful. Why does he work for ESPN? Why do they let him commentate? I only have terrible things to say about him so I’ll stop there.

Some Final Thoughts: I’m loving Roddick’s arguments with the umpires. He’s argued three matches in a row now, twice on match points. If he makes the final, I hope he keeps arguing.

Speaking of Roddick, what ever happened to him serving above 150mph? He set the serve speed record at 155mph back in 2004 and I know he hit a 152mph serve at the US Open that same year. But since then no one, including Roddick, has been able to get that high. Even 140mph is rare. You’d think players like Isner and Karlovic could at least hit 150 at least once, but nothing. Anyone know why that might be because I would love to see a bullet serve.

Has anyone else noticed that if Nadal doesn’t make at least the finals and Djokovic fails to make it that far, Djokovic will overtake the number 2 spot? It’d be pretty awesome for Djokovic fans but I feel like the tennis Gods just don’t want Djokovic to be number 2.

The new decade has really started with a bang and what I’m amazed at the most is how, halfway through the tournament, and I still have no idea who’s going to win. It’s still just as wide open as when it started. A measly three years ago, the question was if anyone would be able to take a set off of Federer before he won the whole thing (no one did in 2007). How times change.

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86 Comments for Australian Open: Mid-Tournament Assessment

sar Says:

What was going on in the fourth set with Roddick, the chair umpire and the fans? I tuned into the fourth today and saw Roddick having words with the ump, then left and later saw security in the crowd.

Ben Pronin Says:

Someone was making noise and the umpire just kept repeating “Quiet please” so Roddick told him he should be more assertive because being polite wasn’t helping.

jane Says:

“I’m amazed at the most is how, halfway through the tournament, and I still have no idea who’s going to win. ”

How true.

“Roddick told him he should be more assertive because being polite wasn’t helping.”

LOL. What was Andy expecting? A “Shut the …. up!” I suppose security can (and should) get involved sometimes, like with that moronic “bird man” during the Delpo/Cilic match.

Andy Says:

“They have a new woman in the studio but I don’t know her name and she clearly doesn’t know anything about the sport.”

Chris McKendry played three years of NCAA tennis, so I think she knows more than you think.

jane Says:

Ben, what do the tennis gods have against Nole?? Has he angered them in some way about which I do not know? He certainly makes regular racquet sacrifices. He performs all of the necessary rituals. Please, do tell.

cha cha Says:

Isn’t Andy Roddick used to the obnoxious crowds at USO?

Ben Pronin Says:

I don’t know what he did I’m just saying it seems like every time he has a great opportunity to rank up, something goes against him. You know I’m a huge fan and all those missed chances killed me (particularly that loss to Neimenin).

ThyGodisTennis Says:

I surprised that Murray had to step it up against Isner.

Isner strategy for the whole match was poor and he may have the single worse drop shot I have ever seen. His forehand down the line was anywher but.

I say Nadal will win this one. Murray may have one but he got lucky on critical points. The first Isner blew and it was not because of Andy’s play. Bad overheads, missed drop shots, volleys put back directly to his oppenent. Nadal will not make those rookie errors.

jane Says:

I know what you mean Ben; I was just bugging you. Sometimes players do seem ill-fated and/or unlucky. But Novak’s best shot was definitely the one you mentioned (re: Nieminen). That had nothing to do with tennis gods, though, unless they were making him pay for the racquet switch. lol. More likely it was ill-preparedness. I just hope he can get through his match today and then give it his best shot against Tsonga. That will be a tough one if it happens. Fingers crossed. It would be nice to see him “rank up” since he did well at the end of last season; he could really build on that. Anyhow, we’ll see. If it happens; it happens. But it’s not the most important thing. More important is that he plays his best and believes in his chances.

huh Says:

“The best match tonight should be between Fernando Verdasco and Nikolay Davydenko. Is it weird that two top 10 players are facing each other in the fourth round or can that happen legitimately?”


I seriously fail to understand what’s so surprising or illegitimate here, especially considering the fact that the qtrs, i.e. the 5th Rnd, is expected to consist of mainly the top-8 players, and so if someone is outside the top-8, like Verdasco in this case being the 9th ranked guy), it is only logical to expect him to face a guy among the top-8 just before the Qtrs, i.e. 4th Rnd(again coz 4th Rnd is about top-16 and here the 6th seeded guy’d face someone generally out of the top-8 but within top-16 should everything go by form, Verdasco again satisfies the condition here). What’s so startling about it?

huh Says:

jane Says:
Ben, what do the tennis gods have against Nole?? Has he angered them in some way about which I do not know? He certainly makes regular racquet sacrifices. He performs all of the necessary rituals. Please, do tell.

Lol, Lol and Lol!

huh Says:

Tomorrow, Fed vs Hewitt and Davy vs Verdy would be my most awaited.

huh Says:

Sorry, I mean today.

Blackjag Says:

Glaboal Warming is causing Roddick’s serve to be slower…oh wait i just realized Global Warming is a hoax!! damn i really thought i had the answer!

MAtch of the tournament definately still is Gasquet vs Youzhny…Gasquet seems to have many hard fought battles these days and usually ends up losiing them unfortunately…but wow what matches he keeps giving us

just out my head i recall these
gasquet vs roddick (wimbledon)
gasquet vs hewitt (us open)
gasquet vs murray (wimby)
gasquet vs gonzalez (australian open)
gasquet vs youzhny (oz open)

madmax Says:

C’mon federer! 7.30pm Australian start time, which means 7 a.m. UK time tomorrow! Ugh! How can I wait that long?!

andrew miller Says:

Mr. Pronin – 100 percent agree with you re: Kirilenko.

There is a commenter on x-blog named Veno who also shares the opinion.

As far as I am concerned when looking at the WTA, Kirilenko and Fla Pennetta are the winners :) Kirilenko is a reason to learn Russian.

sar Says:

I just hope he can get through his match today and then give it his best shot against Tsonga
Jane, it’s not a done deal for Nole. Kubot is no slouch. He beat Roddick at the China Open and Karlovic at Serbia Open.

jane Says:

Hi sar – oh I know; see my post yesterday to Kimmi re: Kabot (copied below for you):


I agree Kubot could be tough for Djoko; yes Kimmi, this is the same one (quite handsome, if I might add : )) who beat Roddick in Bejing and he has done well here and there. Troicki had a tough time beating him in Doha; he won a set off Cilic in Paris; Wawrinka in Shanghai; Ljub in Bejing. He seems to do best on clay though. He is at his highest singles ranking ever, since he decided not to focus solely on doubles – his mainstay. Regardless, I am picking Novak and I expect Novak to come through. He should win, though it may’nt be, probably won’t be, as easy as his match with Istomin.


andrew miller Says:

Mr. Pronin – totally agree with you on Commentators.

1. Dick Enberg is the worst announcer in tennis. My hunch is that he owns a lot of stock. He adds zero value and usually takes away value from every match he works.

2. Carrillo: She is definitely worse than Shriver and Fernandez. Maybe because they were top 10 players and she was not? However, sometimes she adds some interesting bit of information. Sometimes. Rarely actually!

3. Drysdale: I think Pat McEnroe made Cliff Drysdale a better announcer by constantly disagreeing with Drysdale. It was different when Drysdale and Stolle worked matches way back when. But Pat McEnroe often sparred with Drysdale forcing Drysdale, my hunch here, to focus more on the match. Consequently, he became a lot better!

So…I am always on the “Fire Enberg now” train. Even if only Enberg were banned from tennis, the announcing would still improve immensely. My wish list would be:

1. Ban Enberg
2. Cap John McEnroe at two thousand words per match.
3. Turn off Carrillo’s mike 50 percent of each match.
4. “” Gilbert’s mike “”

My opinion!

huh Says:

I also think that Nole would be given may be some resistance or test by Kubot.

huh Says:

I’m a male.

huh Says:

Bye bye to all males and females here for now.

Fot Says:

I’m looking forward to Venus and Serena’s match and most of all Roger’s match. Go Federer. So many people who he hadn’t lost to or had a big winning streak against have been beating him lately but I hope his winning streak against Hewitt continues.

I hope Verdasco shows Davydenko that he’s ‘not scared’ of him by beating him! lol!

Djokovic is hard to understand how he’s playing right now because he really haven’t played anyone where we can guage his form yet. But like I always say – you can only play the people in your draw so it’s now Nole’s fault that he’s played tomato-can type players.

I don’t think Tsonga will have any problems with Almargo (although he could try to keep Tsonga out there a little longer)

jane Says:

Bye huh – good luck with your studies. Pop back in when something big happens.

jane Says:

From the AO site, I though this article quite a good little eccentric mid week assessment of things, and different from Ben’s as it focuses on a lot of off court stuff:

Liked the bits about Woz’s pompom malfunctions; Davy’s Facebook account; and Murray’s quip about Jame Bond the first.

sar Says:

Jane and everyone, sorry I don’t always read all threads.
Yes! I agree, Kubot is really good looking. Got a chance to see him and Marach play doubles. Hope Nole gets a little resistance from him but not too much. ;-)

Dan Martin Says:

I think Cilic will have a shot versus Roddick, but Roddick is the favorite. Murray needs to make sure he hits a lot of good returns to beat Nadal. I think if he really makes sure Rafa starts multiple points in his service games against solid returns then Rafa’s strategy of grinding and breaking a player down can potentially be turned around. Murray – Nadal looks close to a 50-50 match to me. Both are fit and playing well. As for Verdasco playing Davydenko in the round of 16. Mathematically two matches between top 10 players are going to happen in every slam so long as the top 10 seeds win their first 3 matches. Still, it is a shame that this match is so early in the event.

Veno Says:

“Besides that, I have to say that it looks like Serena Williams will defend her title, but I want Maria Kirilenko to win. She is by far the best looking girl on the WTA.”

Amen sir!!! Been preaching it for years!!! And it’s her birthday today….AS IS MINE!!!!How cool is that?

And Andrew Miller says: “Mr. Pronin – 100 percent agree with you re: Kirilenko.

There is a commenter on x-blog named Veno who also shares the opinion.

As far as I am concerned when looking at the WTA, Kirilenko and Fla Pennetta are the winners :) Kirilenko is a reason to learn Russian.”

Amen, Amen, oh my Lord, Amen, my friend :-D!!!

But don’t forget Argentinian cutie Gisela Andrew…She’s up there, at least in my account lol

Veno Says:

4th round Hot-Sauce against Kolya is indeed unfortunate, but so is a QF between Murray and Nadal…..

Von Says:

Jane: “LOL. What was Andy expecting? A “Shut the …. up!” I suppose security can (and should) get involved sometimes, like with that moronic “bird man” during the Delpo/Cilic match.”

Please tell me why you love to push the heat on anything Roddick does? Is it because you know it would engender several responses to you? It’s similar to the last time you asked what happened in his match Vs. Bellucci? If you’like to know exactly what happenend, why not google it, as you love to do for other stuff?? why ask for someone else to give you the in formation? Googling it would be more accurate, don’t you think?

It’s not like the other players don’t get into it with the umpires big time, but for some reason when Roddick does it, he’s always obnoxious. Need I remind you all of the the USO final?? I personally loved it. And, pray tell me all of you, have you never heard the ‘F’ word, or used it many times under your breath?? Then if yes, why is it that it’s such a big deal when Roddick uses a few ‘Fs’? The Spanish and European players use it as though it’s a second language, but God forbid an American should do it, it’s ‘verboten’. Grow up people and get real, puhleeze!!

Personally, jane, I prefer to see a player blow up and show he’s human when he’s given a bad call et al, just like Fed did at the USO, than for someone like Djokovic to get on the court and do his histrionics each time a ball or shot doesn’t go his way. His attitude on court stinks big time, and that’s what you should really address instead of nit-picking other players’ behaviour. Your boy’s matches are not the least bit entertaining, and I wonder if he does it on purpose to throw off the other player’s focus — gamesmanship perhaps?? Think about your own player’s attitude and maybe you’d stop looking to start stuff with respect to Roddick. sheesh

Kimmi Says:

This venus schiavoni match has 4 breaks against the server so far, could they make this match more interesting..

Veno Says:

Dan: I do think Cilic-Roddick is going to be close!

Am impressed with both and Cilic is going to be very confident finally having beaten DelPo in a major tournament.

Murray-Nadal is so hard to predict, because with Murray you never know.
Going on form and previous matches I’d give Murray a slight edge, but Rafa is Rafa and he will be confident knowing he has beaten Murray most of the times.

I do think Murray will have to step it up….and bigtime….because he can’t afford another ’09 Wimby-Semi, where his passiveness was well punished by Andy Roddick who deservedly took the match….Got to favour the brave n’est ce pas?

Upto that semi Murray, bar the Wawrinka match, looked in great form….

Mouthwatering prospects nonetheless….I hope Rafa beats him, cause I’ll favour the brave over the coward

Von Says:

huh: Thanks for your good wishes with respect to Roddick’s win. My stomach still needs to quiet down. LOL

Von Says:

Veno; A happy, happy birthday to you!! May all your wishes come true for you today, especially Fed and Kirilenko!!

Veno Says:

Thanks Vonnie!!!!

Appreciate it!

Veno Says:

Venus is all over the place…she needs to get it together…fast…

C’mon Venus!!!!

Veno Says:

LOL, Ma-Kiri has a busy day on her birthday…Playing the third match on MCA in women’s doubles and then the 5th match on MCA for the mixed doubles…She’ll be glad about the little time she spent on court yesterday(unfortunate for Safina though)

Veno Says:

Schiavone making Venus pay well for a mediocre level….Gotta respect it when an underdog pounds on an opponent playing below par….

Von Says:

Ben: “I’m loving Roddick’s arguments with the umpires. He’s argued three matches in a row now, twice on match points. If he makes the final, I hope he keeps arguing.”

tah, dah, way to go, Ben!! I hope Roddick stays around and utters some more expletives and then the ‘canonized or self-proclaimed saints’ on this blog site, who’ve never heard an ‘F’ or said one, can ‘can go marching home’. yahoo!!!!

Kimmi Says:

What is wrong with venus, she is not enjoying herself here…yack!

Ben Pronin Says:

I watched the replay of Roddick-Gonzo today and the bird call was still sounding during their match, too. I don’t blame anyone for getting pissed about that, I was annoyed listening to it from my small staticy TV.

Von, the problem with the cursing is that apparently kids watch his matches. But I doubt a lot of kids are up between 12am-8am. I think Roddick also hasn’t been right every time but I’ll side with him no matter what, he has a way with words.

Veno Says:

puhleese, getting tired of that over-used and bogus argument that kids are watching, role model bla bla and hoopla…

Be serious, kids today are much more exposed to real violence and swearing and bad behaviour through internet and tv-shows, movies etc than an occasional swear word in the heat of the moment….

Of course players know that the on-court cameras catch everything, but it’s not that it happens on a regular basis that players scream and yell expletives all the time…..

So I think we should drop the whole discussion. Tennis players are very self aware and handle themselves great and professional imo especially under all the media scrutiny and so forth…

We tend to forget they’re human beings with emotions and can’t always be the marketable products our consumptive society needs them and wants them to be…

Von Says:

Ben: During this AO, DelPotro had some similar experiences with the Ump, and I don’t blame him one bit. And last night, he was livid. He even kicked the garbage can at one point. To me, there was nothing wrong with what he did, and I think it helped him to ease his frustrations in the match, as it was a very tense situation for him at that moment.

Whether they’re right or wrong, aren’t the guys human? I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, i think roddick has a depth perception problem and has probelems seeing at long-distance. hence, his not so accurate calls. You know what, c’st la vie, and mazeltov also. OY

With respect to children watching the matches, I agree that the players shouldn’t utter expletives. However, in today’s society an ‘F’ or anything else is picked up at school or in their own homes, except if their parents are from ‘the canonized saints’ group. I never used expletives at home, but my kids heard it from their friends. At age four (4) my son heard it from a guy on the elevator. He then repeated it, and my husband said to him, ‘you mean you forgot it’, trying to turn the word around. My son said, “No, I mean ‘F’ it’ just like the man said”. It’s par for the course and they’ll hear it whether we keep them cloistered, bubbled, or not.

been there Says:

…”the problem with the cursing is that apparently kids watch his matches. But I doubt a lot of kids are up between 12am-8am.”

Ben, perhaps you want to say that a tennis player’s histrionics & curses are no big deal – which is fine…but saying ‘But I doubt a lot of kids are up between 12am-8am.’ depends on which time zone you are located.

Tennis matches happen to be transmitted all over the world in all continents, and the world is made up of different time zones. So 12am-8am in one place might as well be mid-day or whatever other time in another country, where kids are watching.

Von Says:

Oh well, we should just put Roddick in chains, and have him kneel on nails for being such a bad person/influence who’s infecting the future generations of the world with his expletives. Anyway, moving on …….

Ben Pronin Says:

Been there, good point, but I agree with what Veno said about kids being a lot more exposed to much worse things than a few swear words from a tennis player.

Von, Roddick had some good karma against Gonzo on that set point in the 4th set. Pat McEnroe and Gilbert did a good job of explaining the problem:

Both Roddick and Gonzo let a ball fly by them that was called out. The challenge showed that the ball was in and they subsequently lost the point instead of having it replayed. Both said that the umpire is wrong to assume they couldn’t reach the ball and I’m 100000% sure Gonzo could have hit Roddick’s shot just as Roddick could have hit Belluci’s? shot. The problem was that they gave up on the point before the call was made because they stopped split seconds before the ball landed. Even if they thought the ball would go out, they should have at least played it and then waited for the call. Their argument is right but goes against the rules of tennis. It’s like “now that I know it was in I definitely would’ve played it no problem.” But that’s not how tennis works.

Veno Says:

Hey Ben: See below: This is from MMT after the incident on matchpoint between Roddick and Bellucci: It sums it up perfectly, cause this IS the rule in such a case:

“If a player is in a position to play the ball, and he chooses not to IN ANTICIPATION of an out call, he has sealed his fate.

Because the out call has not yet been made, and he was in a position to play it, and he CHOSE not to, the call had no impact on his ability to play the ball. As such, the umpire is COMPELLED to rule a let will NOT be played. In this case, the umpire ruled that Roddick lifted his racquet to play the ball, then did not play the ball and let it go (this is what Roddick told the courtside interviewer following the match.)

In fact, the replays show that Roddick wasn’t in a position to play it anyway, so the whole discussion, as it turns out, is moot, but Roddick’s “apology” for his outburst was only in regards to this interpretation, and not the interpretation that the umpire gave him, which would ALSO exclude the playing of a let.”

So when a player is in doubt he should ALWAYS play on, even putting the racket against the ball is enough….

It is however up to the umpire(at his discretion) to determine whether the player has stopped play before or after the call is made.

Von Says:

Ben: You know what they say, when in doubt, play the ball. That’s exactly what should have been done and then there wouldn’t be a problem. You know what Ben, I think in those situations it’s difficult for the players to be thinking about the rules one hundred percent of the time, and sometimes they react by rote. They’re human, and I think they could be cut some slack. The mind wanders and can cause us to be faulty….

Veno Says:

Venus is restoring the pecking order…1 set all and you feel the elder Williams will run away with it now….

Which is double good because I can get a set of Davy-Hot Sauce in :-D

Veno Says:

There’s nothing wrong Vonnie in reacting by rote in the heat of the moment. Accepting a decision and admitting you were wrong after is even better!

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not saying there was anything wrong with Roddick’s or even Gonzo’s reaction. Don’t forget Safin is my all time favorite player. I love players with personality (except Gonzo) and Roddick is arguably the greatest personality in tennis today. He even pokes fun at his own tantrums. I think that says a lot about a person. Who cares why he’s flipping out, at least he’s creative.

Veno Says:

Lolz, on the OZ Open website they predict Sam Stosur to beat Serena in three….How about a positive attitude eh?

Veno Says:

Roddick isn’t aguably the greatest personality in tennis, imo he is the greatest personality in tennis….

been there Says:

Ben, yeah, I was just pointing out the time-zone thing in relation to what you said.Personally, I don’t care one way or the depends on who is having the histrionics. If am their fan, oh yes, am gonna be on their side; if I don’t care too much about the player then I’ll be a bit critical. And that is normal human nature – I see it all the time on these blogs. We do have double standards if it’s our faves playing – at least most fans.

The rest of your post@8:18..totally true. I found it really funny ‘coz this time, Roddick was to get the point, so he was all quiet with Gonzo mad as hell…yet in his match against Bellucci, it was the opposite. LOL. Shows that it’s all about getting the point!…not rules, etc..whatever favours the player get the point, they’ll have it. A few rare players, e.g. Djoko may ‘offer’ to re-play or admit they’re wrong…but those are few and far between.

But they should all learn to play the point if it’s one of those ‘not too sure if it’s out’. I’m just watching Venus-Panneta and Venus is going for all the too-near-the-line balls…only stops after her racket is on the ball – no confusion this way. Fed & Rafa also do it…the rest should learn.

Von Says:

Hey Ben:

“Don’t forget Safin is my all time favorite player.”

He’s always been up there as one of my all-time faves, because he’s got chutzpah and oozes personality galore.

“I love players with personality (except Gonzo) and Roddick is arguably the greatest personality in tennis today. He even pokes fun at his own tantrums. I think that says a lot about a person.”

I guess by now, it’s very obvious why I love Roddick and players with personality …. they’re never boring. wouldn’t it be super boring for the sport of tennis if we had players who behaved ala Davydenko?? LOL, I’d be snoozing big time, and wouldn’t want to watch period.

I love the fact that Roddick has the guts and chutzpah to admit when he’s wrong and move on. Maybe, he’s ‘fercockt’ in his thinking (I know you know this one Ben as you’re Jewish) but what the hell, I still love the guy and always will.

I don’t think Gonzo has personality per se, I just think he’s extremely emotional. He’s not ala Tommy Haas, who’s very funny also when he’s muttering and uttering his expletives.

Kimmi Says:

veno..Go sam. i am behind the Az website.

Ben Pronin Says:

This match between Schiavone and Venus is why I hate women’s tennis.

been there Says:

8:38pm, it’s venus-schiavone..not Panetta. Don’t know why Panetta is on my mind when she was bundled out like ages ago!

Von Says:

Veno: “There’s nothing wrong Vonnie in reacting by rote in the heat of the moment.”

LOL, I do things by ‘rote’ all of the time, especially when I’m driving. I get to an exit, still wondering how I got there. LOOL. Much more the players, who only want to get the point finished and winning it. Anyway, moving on …..

Ben Pronin Says:

Davydenko has been showing quite a lot of personality in his interviews these past few weeks but I doubt we’ll see that translate to the tennis courts.

Veno Says:

Pannetta lost in the second round to Yanina Wickmayer, but just won her second round mixed-doubles match with Melo…..

Veno Says:

Well, with Kolya I’m still wondering when he’s going to get fatigue problems…He’s 28 years old and his playing style(although he’s fit and light) and the amount of tournaments he plays are going to get to him….When will that moment come….

Veno Says:

The women’s game still is dismal, even with Henis and Clijsters coming back. In all honesty, Henin is the only player who plays tennis as it should be played.

I think the WTA can be super happy that the Williams sisters have stayed strong and motivated for so long, because without them….sheesh it would be even much worse!

Veno Says:

I also like Suarez Navarro. She’s got a lot of potential and plays a beautiful game. However, will she improve enough to be able to get the number of the big-hitting power baseliners who dominate the women’s game

Von Says:

Davydenko is due for a let-down anytime now. He’s had some very easy competition and has not had to work for the Ws. Additionally, his wife appears to me to be one who likes her guy to win a lot, and I’m sure she picks up all of the slack in their relationship, which gives him the opportunity to concentrate ONLY on his tennis matches. More importantly, she’s a psychologist and knows what to say to him to keep him positive. If we were to look back at how much he’s evolved with respect to confidence, et al., it would be after they got married = she’s keeping his mind-set calm, reassured and happy. Need I say more?

Von Says:

For me, the WTA, is practically non-existent when I want to watch a tennis match. I’d rather watch an old recorded men’s match than an in-the moment WTA match. Also, I’m a woman and am not watching for eye candy, which means, the WTA doesn’t do it for me with respect to tennis.

been there Says:

Go Venus!!

I quite enjoyed the match. Though it ended much faster than I’d imagined after the first set. Venus raised her game, found her forehand, and as it goes…Game-set-match..Venus, game over :))

Poor Schiavone…must be very disheartening after thinking she had a chance after that first set. Pity…better luck next time I suppose. She plays a good game.

sar Says:

And it’s her birthday today….AS IS MINE!!!!How cool is that?
Veno, glad to see I’m not the only one around here that likes players with the same B’day or astrological sign. Ha! By the way, happy b’day to you.

Kimmi Says:

The other women match seem to be more competative. Li and Wozniacki, they are on serve right now 5-4 Li. As I finish to write Li take the first set 6-4

jane Says:

Veno, Happy Birthday! I hope you feel as young and happy as you sound. : )

Von, I meant that as a joke! I thought it was funny how Ben said Roddick thought the umpire was being “too polite”. And the post from the previous match, I only asked about it because I missed it! I have no problem with players arguing with umpires. The main time it’s a drawback is when the player him/herself loses focus and sometimes loses the match. That’s always a drag to see, for the sake of the player especially.

Like last night, Gonza would’ve been better off to have hit that screamer into the corner (or try to, I really don’t think he could’ve got it back), rather than quit playing based on the lines person’s call.

jane Says:

Veno: “with Kolya I’m still wondering when he’s going to get fatigue problems” – yes, or another injury, like last year, where he missed a lot of the season.

Kimmi Says:

Verdasco is on a good gear so far…

Andrew Miller Says:

Veno – happy birthday to you and Maria!

Goat Galz Says:

Again Von is destroying this blogsite. First she henpecks Kimmi, gets rid of Varad, Zola and others, then she takes a mental health break, comes back and goes after Jane, the best contributor to this site. What is it with you Von always talking about “pushing heat?” Do you have a fire fixation? The resident surgeons of the State Mental Hospital would like to offer you a complimentary lobotomy so that your problem may be rectified ASAP.

Von Says:

jane: Fair enough, but I thought you of all people know enough about this blog-site, much more than I do, as you’ve been posting for a much longer time, than I have been doing, that anything of that nature evolves into a hate-spitting scenario. The Bellucci match question you posed, engendered a chronology of Roddick’s past blunders/sins from a few posters, who IMO, ‘hate’ the guy and could not wait for an opening to vent. OY VEY to the poor souls.

With respect to the point in question, Gonzo/Roddick reacted as most players would, by rote, as it’s the human thing to do in such situations, hence, I don’t fault either one of them. And, it’s why they’re human beings with foibles and frailties, not robots, n’est ce pas?. Do I hear a yes? That kinda stuff doesn’t phase me in the least bit because I’m very prone to being emotional myself, and I can relate to them.

On the focus aspect, I agree with you that it’s detrimental to the player to become so very angry, but if it’s a personality flaw, what can they do about it — absolutely very little. Anyway, moving on ……

Veno Says:

Thank you all for the happy birthdays!(sar, Jane, andrew miller et all)

I appreciate it!!!

Time to get to bed for me….work tomorrow…Davy-Verdasco gonna be a good match going from the start anyway…

Everybody enjoy!!!!

jane Says:

Von, yes, I understand your concern, and believe me I did not mean to open the door to anything the other day. I like Roddick! You know that. I admire his wit and his confidence. And I like players who show their emotions as well as those who stand up for themselves. Lord knows I’ve uttered more than a few expletives, most recently about forgetting to buy margarine.

Von Says:

Jane: I just wanted to remind you about how some become so very self-righteous whenever they see anything from Roddick and begin their lectures.

I utter some expletives myself, under my breath. I do so at work when I drop a heavy law book. One of the guys heard me one day (he says when I say it, it sounds sophisticated, LOL), and since then he always asks me if I dropped any books. LOL. anyway, as I said, moving on ….. and good-luck to your guy today. My nervous stomach is still not up to par from Roddick’s match last night.

sar Says:

Jane, Nole up next. Thankfully Li Na got rid of Woz in two so we can watch it earlier.

huh Says:

Goat Galz is a bloody sh*t!

huh Says:

Happy Birthday Veno!

jane Says:

Sorry I didn’t see your posts sar or Von as I moved to the other thread. sar I posted to you there; it was a good match in the last set. Kubot upped his game.

Von, thanks. Novak’s had a lot of luck with his draw, but if Tsonga comes through, which he should, it’ll be tough. I know what you mean about stomach knots though. It’s fun watching but very nerve wracking when it’s a fave player, especially like the 5 setter Roddick had to negotiate through last night. But he was very patient indeed, and you know what they say – good things come to those who wait. In that case, Roddick just waited for the right moment to pounce! He hung in there and it worked.

Anyhow, must go get some shut eye: work week starts tomorrow.

Nina Says:

@ Von… you say you adore Roddick because you like players with big personality and then you bash Novak? It’s confusing to say the least. I like Nole for the same reason you like Roddick and I don’t think his behaviour on court stinks. He’s shown great sportmanship in all his matches, even applauding opponents which is something you don’t see anyone else do. Yeah he gets angry on court and he’s a drama queen, but he cannot change that anymore than Roddick can change his outbursts with the empires, as you realized. Oh and Novak’s matches are the most entertaining ever… saying he’s not entertaininig is almost blasphemy.

huh Says:

zou ba Li Na!

madmax Says:

translate please huh? sounds heavenly!

RZ Says:

A lot of the commentators – espectially Dick Enberg (the worst offender), Patrick McEnroe, and Mary Carillo – seem to think that their job is to talk nonstop while play is going on. Why can’t they shut up and only speak when they have something insightful to say?

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