Nadal Knocked Out In Shanghai; Murray, Roddick Advance; Djokovic Secures No. 1
by Sean Randall | October 13th, 2011, 12:42 pm

Rafael Nadal is out! The World No. 2 lost today to Florian Mayer 7-6(5), 6-3 in the third round at the Shanghai Masters. Nadal, who hasn’t won a title since the French Open, was critical of his service returns.

“He played really well,” said Nadal. “I didn’t. I felt that I was not playing bad from the baseline. But my return, when he was serving the first serve, was terrible tonight. I only won four points in whole match [on his] first serve. So I cannot expect win a match when the opponent is playing well, is serving well, is doing very good serve and volleys, returning, and only winning four points with returning the first serve. [I] congratulate him.

“For me today is [a] disappointing day. I think I was doing everything right, practising with good motivation, practicing well in general. I had a good result [at the] US Open. I had a good result last week. Today is a tough lose, that’s the truth. [It] was not my day. I am out of the tournament. I am going to work hard for the next tournament.”

Sounds like all the losses are really starting to pile up on Rafa and losing to Mayer is not a “good” loss. The defeat also assures the Novak Djokovic will finish the year No. 1. So congrats to Novak.

Mayer, who called the win the biggest of his career, moves on the play Feliciano Lopez tomorrow in the quarterfinals. The other Spanish lefty dismissed Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-4.

Andy Roddick is quietly having his best showing in a long time. Roddick rocked Nicolas Almagro and with Nadal out the former No. 1 has a good chance at doing some real damage this week. Of course tomorrow he’ll have to beat David Ferrer in the quarterfinals, but that’s a winable match.

In the bottom half, Andy Murray needed three sets to oust Stan Wawrinka. Murray now meets 23-year-old Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden who upset Gilles Simon. And with Nadal headed back to Europe and a soft draw ahead, a Murray Asian hat-trick is looking very, very likely for the defending Shanghai champ.

“I got myself pumped up right at the beginning of the third set,” said Murray who has won 12 straight matches and 22 of his last 23. “I think it was important. Stan was playing very well. I was trying to control the ball, especially [in the] middle of the second set, I was really struggling. I started dictating a lot of the points with my forehand and trying to get the first strike in ’cause the court is playing very fast. That worked well.”

Alexandr Dolgopolov and Kei Nishkori will clash in the other quarterfinal.

With all the upsets and withdrawals, Murray and Ferrer are the only Top 14 players left in the Shanghai draw.

Tennis Channel again has late night coverage live at 2am ET starting with the marquee quarterfinal between Roddick and Ferrer.


STADIUM start 2:00 pm
[3] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [10] A Roddick (USA)
[12] A Dolgopolov (UKR) vs K Nishikori (JPN)

Not Before 6:00 PM
[15] F Mayer (GER) vs F Lopez (ESP)

Not Before 8:00 PM
[Q] M Ebden (AUS) vs [2] A Murray (GBR)

You Might Like:
Murray Secures Semifinal; Nadal, Djokovic Look to Join
Davydenko Secures Shanghai SF; Federer Must Beat Murray Friday
Blake Bids for Nadal Upset in Shanghai
Roger Federer Confirms Shanghai Participation
Andy’s Out

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67 Comments for Nadal Knocked Out In Shanghai; Murray, Roddick Advance; Djokovic Secures No. 1

jane Says:

Glad to know Nole will get to carry number one through next year, but that’s too bad for Rafa. Maybe he needs a rest. He’s played the most matches this year of any player.

Brando Says:

@ jane: I agree. I think he’s just playing too much. Post this match he said he shall continue to work hard- but rafa atm in time the best thing would be to take a complete break from things. Look at roger: post Davis cup 6 weeks off. Likewise with nole.

Kimmi Says:

seriously guys, lets give credit to this mayer guy. he played a perfect match today and that is what most players have to do in order to beat rafa. before the match I actually thought this could be tricky for rafa because mayer has been playing very well recently.

I am very surprised why he is ranked 23. he is definitely a top 10 player imo. he is 28, a very late bloomer. hope he reach top 10 sometime coz i think he belongs there.

alison hodge Says:

@kimmi yeah i could not agree more,too much is made about the big favourites loosing,especially when its rafa or roger,dissapointed as i am for rafa,why not give credit to mayer for such an amazing win.

mrmilbury Says:

In my opinion it is happening the same was happen to Roger last years: simply the other players has begun to look at Rafa not like an invincible one but like a player who is simply human.
It’s a super-human aura that has started to shatter slowly, like the Roger’s one.

Michael Says:

Don’t make such a drama out of Rafa’s loss. The man is human believe it or not. He has played the most matches this year and exhausted both mentally and physically. Most players would kill to have the year he has had. So, if you r a Rafa fan don’t panic. He will be back in 2012! Vamos Rafa!!!

tennisfan Says:

Nadal needs to find the answer to Nole. Its all mental now for him. Till the time he does that, hard for him to win another GS.
Here is a nice read on his mental aspects of his game:

alison hodge Says:

@micheal i agree rafa still remains at the pinacle of mens tennis,but as a fan i have got used to him been written off,so whats new,after his injury in 2009,many said he would never win a grand slam ever again and his career was all but over,i must admit even i had my doubts,but thats rafa whos loves to proove people wrong,and came back after that injury and has won 4 grand slams since,and is still ranked world no 2.

Kimmi Says:

So many upset in Shanghai so far. names like Nishikori, Ebden, Dolgopolov, Mayer, Lopez are in masters 1000 qtr final. Muzza and Ferrer still waving the top 10 flag.

Who is Matthew Ebden? never heard of him before. he is an aussie qualifier ranked 124. good for him.

Dan Martin Says:

Dolgopolov put it on Tomic in the 2nd and 3rd sets. This is an interesting stretch in the tour as points are there to be had, but yeah some odd results. Can Roddick make a push to qualify again for the YEC? I think he has to beat Ferrer & then reach the final to do it as Paris will be tougher for picking up points.

Stella Says:

Why isn’t this article about Mayer winning rather than Nadal losing. This was a great win for this young and and he deserves to be written about,

Michael Says:

Nadal gave many short balls to Mayer and he paid the price. Mayer ofcourse played well and he deserved the win. But Nadal made his life easy with his lacklustrue display. Now with his exit, Shanghai is losing another seeded player. I was really anticipating a Nadal-Murray final to make it exciting and now it seems that will not happen.

skeezerweezer Says:


Time to give up Polo as a sport, its obviously hurting your game. You ride a horse, and don’t have to run to hit the ball.

Nietzsche Says:

Goodness, that stadium isn’t even a quarter full… what is the deal?

Nietzsche Says:

Roddick bullying the ball girls… class act that one.

Kimmi Says:

Nice watching Nishikori and dolgo this early.

tough loss for roddick. ferrer always a tough costumer for roddick

alison hodge Says:

kimmi yeah two very talented young players.

Kimmi Says:

dolgo is so up and down, nishikori on the other, calm and collected. looking to finish this in straights sets.

Kimmi Says:

dolgo breaks right back, ah.hope nishikori can finish this in straights.

Kimmi Says:

4-1 to 4-3. still one break for nishikori..but dolgo is closing in.

Kimmi Says:

good. nishikori stops the bleeding. one more game now. first time masters 1000 qtr finalist, soon to be a semi finalist.

Kimmi Says:

yay! go nishikori. he did it. looking so happy! good luck in the semi.

Wog boy Says:

Nishikori more than deserved this win, I was worried for that Japanese lady , spectator, she deserved too to have her man winning.

Wog boy Says:

I don’t know which way to go in the next one. Two underdogs found themselves in QF. Welll…….go Mayer, keep it up.

Wog boy Says:

Well…well…well, Mayer is falling apart ;-(

alison hodge Says:

looks like this title is muzzas for the taking,hopefully an asian swing hat trick,go muzza go get that title.

senthil Says:

Nadal played so many matches !!! Come on !!

Check How many matches Roger played in 2004,2005 and 2006 !! mindblowing !! Never complaint about balls,conditions,length of tour

Stella Says:

Mayer will rememebr this tournament for quite a while I’m sure.Taking out Nadal at his peak is no small feat!!!

Humble Rafa Says:

Mr. Mayer

You can’t lose to Deliciano. I think you are mesmerized by his looks. Please don’t.

Humble Rafa Says:

go muzza go get that title.

October-November is usually a good time for fans of Mr. Lady Forehand. Big guys are resting, hurt or whatever. Mr. LF racks up titles, and basks in glory until the next choke job at grandslam.

racquet Says:

It was great last October in Shanghai when the “Lady Forehand” crushed Federer 6-3 6-2. Maybe Roger was just “resting”.

> snicker <

jane Says:

Hate to miss all these matches. I read that Ferrer hit twice as many winners as Roddick and as many aces. Still, any loss that happens in a third set tiebreak is tough. Go Andy M: if he defends his title he is assured number 3. And though I like Dolgo, happy to hear Nishikori is doing well: good for him! And F-Lo, didn’t see him coming through, but this is a nice result for him as well.

jane Says:

Oh and congrats to Ferrer as that officially qualifies him for London, spot #5.

Kimmi Says:

you would think after beating rafa, mayer will beat lopez. I mean, rafa is difficult than lopez, no?

OK, maybe mayer is still on the high “my biggest win of my career”. But what an opportunity for lopez. he must thank mayer for taking out rafa.

grendel Says:

@Nietzsche 2.34 – apparently the stadium is an hours drive from Shanghai itself. Who dreamt up such a massive white elephant? Oh, some conglomeration of party scribes. At least they didn’t put the bloody thing in the Gobi desert. You can imagine the thinking. “Plenty of room in Gobi desert.” (nervous interjection): “Yes, but it’s a bit far from Shanghai, don’t you think?” “People can make the Long March to support the players who are dying to uphold the honour of the motherland.” (timid response)”actually, this is tennis, and generally, nobody dies and besides there are no Chinese male players who are good enough – ” Pointed look over the pince-nez glasses:”Who are you to contradict me? Let me see, have you paid your dues?” (hurried grope in the pockets)”heh heh, you need give me more than that. OK. So not Gobi desert, maybe bit nearer….”

Something along those lines.

grendel Says:

jane – apparently, Ferrer qualified after beating Ferrero. And before Ferrer beat him, even Roddick was in with a chance, if vansihingly thin.

Kimmi, yeah – so often the come down after a great victory. You know, Agassi singled out Mayer for great things many years ago. It seems that when this looked on the cards, Mayer went into a sort of hibernation. He is, evidently, an intensely private man, and he couldn’t cope with the prospect of massive publicity. he claims he is now ready to face the limelight but a)I wonder if he’s right and b)maybe it is too late anyway.

Murray said in his immediate postmatch interview that he had been extremely nervous. Petchey pointed out that Sampras used to say he iften got nervous, that all players get nervous and they are lying if they claim otherwise, but that is to miss the point. Murray was indicating that his level of nervousness was excessive on this particular occasion. One tends to wonder why. Ebden proved a solid opponent – pushed him harder than the scoreline suggests both at the beginning and at the end.

margot Says:

grendel: I think Andy always gets nervous before playing someone for the first time, so prepare for him to be very nervous against Nishikori. I don’t think he’s settled to the court conditions either. As you have pointed out his game is so fine tuned, or rather he is, that all sorts of stuff can upset that tuning. Hence “gripe” about the balls, I suppose.
Incidentally, Nadal is “griping” about the level of taxation at British events and may play Switzerland instead of queens next year.
I also think he doesn’t like being the favourite too much.

margot Says:

PS that last sentence was meant to refer to Andy, but I guess holds for Rafa too ;)

racquet Says:

I hope it was just nerves, I thought it looked like he was starting to feel all the tennis from the last 2 weeks. Call me crazy but I have a feeling that tomorrow is going to be tougher than expected. 1) Nishikori has shown he’s a very canny player; and 2) Brad Gilbert will be whispering in Ken’s ear about what he needs to do against Murray. We’ll see.

Eric Says:

“2. Andy RODDICK
Blowing up at a Chinese journalist? “Why don’t you retire!” Nice middle school comeback. Beginning of the end.”

Beginning of the end? Wasn’t that like 2 years ago? This is more like the the end of the middle of the end.

grendel Says:

margot – there is nothing funnier than watching millionaires moaning about taxation. And then they want to be thought generous…Even so, how can you play Switzerland (Basle?) rather than Queens, since it is different time of year? Did you mean Halle?
Murray/Nishikori should be a treat…

jane Says:

I believe Rafa has officially announced that he is playing Halle instead of Queens – due to the taxation laws, as margot pointed out. Read that somewhere yesterday.

jane Says:

grendel, oh, well in any case, good for Ferrer to be the fifth man behind the four top ones to qualify. This is his third time to the WTF’s.

grendel Says:

Very interesting link, jane. For instance:

“talking about losing to Mayer, Nadal said that London risked losing the showcase end-of-season ATP World Tour Finals because of the high rate of British tax. The Spaniard said the 50 per cent tax on players’ appearance fees, winnings and a proportion of their worldwide endorsement earnings could see the glamour event featuring the top eight men being staged elsewhere unless the law is changed.

“It is really tough what is happening today in the UK with the tax,” he said.

Really, tough. Yes. These poor, downtrodden and exploited multi-millionaires – I think we need to go onto the streets. Wave appropriate flags. Demonstrate against the iniquitous treatment being meted out against them. What, will the sizes of their private swimming pools have to be curtailed? Will they have to dispense with a stewardess or two on their private jets? Will they have to cut down on the number of their yachts? Outrageous! Millionaires unite! You have nothing to lose but your jewellry!

meanwhile, one might point out to Mr.Nadal that at least the Masters Final at the O2 is fully attended, with a noisy, festival atmosphere. You want to jeopardise that so you can add a few more zeros to your bank account? Truly, those whom the gods wish to destroy, first they drive mad.

Tennislover Says:

margot: From what I could understand from the “gripe”, Nadal was not miffed about having to pay taxes on his prize money from events played in Britain. He was sore about having to pay taxes on his endorsements(on a proportionate basis) and appearance fees. To me,it does sound a bit unfair that you are taxed on your income from your global(non-British)endorsements even though you are not a British citizen. Britain has a very progressive tax regime -the US,in contrast, has a rather strange notion of progressivity – but taxing the income from sources which have no British connection whatsoever appears a tad unfair. Of course, Nadal’s decision to switch to Halle must have been made much easier given the hefty appearance fee that he reportedly has been promised.

Grendel: I agree that there is a touch of hypocrisy about these millionaires trying to project themselves as very generous(charities/foundations etc) and many of them then doing everything to save taxes including even moving to reside in tax heavens. It is also quite funny to see those players- Nadal being the ring leader for years- who complain the most about the long season playing non-mandatory events and exhibitions if the appearance fee is good enough. Nadal, Murray and others seem to give the impression that all they want is a reduction in mandatory events so that they they can play a greater number of the smaller but much more lucrative events. I like Murray a lot but I see a big contradiction in what he said during the USO/DC and what he did in the past two weeks and that included playing doubles as well! I don’t grudge them the hefty appearance fees they earn by entering non-mandatory events but they shouldn’t whine about the length of the season at the same time. Both of them could easily have dropped those smaller events- and even Shanghai- if they really wanted R&R after the USO/DC.

I also do hope that Nishikori doesn’t disappoint again against a top player. I won’t mind a Murray loss too much if Nishikori goes on to win the title. His fledgling career could do with a bit of a confidence boost.

jane Says:

“Both of them could easily have dropped those smaller events- and even Shanghai- if they really wanted R&R after the USO/DC.”

Tennislover, true, although both Murray and Nadal possibly had ranking goals: Nadal still with an outside chance of taking back number 1 and Murray, more realistically, with a shot of moving to year end number 3. Arguably Fed could’ve gone and played and cited the same reason, i.e, holding on to number 3 but he is at a different stage in his career than Murray, and Nadal too, given the age difference.

Little Wing Says:

Here’s the full response from Rafa regarding the whole taxation issue and the WTF from his presser:

Q. A question about next year’s schedule. Can you tell us about your reasons for not playing at Queen’s next year and how much of this has to do with the UK tax law, the amount of money you stand to lose from your endorsements?

RAFAEL NADAL: First thing, Queen’s is a fantastic tournament but is not the only one that week. I didn’t play in Germany for the last three years. I like to play in all the tournaments when they really want me. For last four years, I played on Queen’s. So we thought is the right moment to change. I am not changing because Halle is paying me more money than Queen’s. That’s not the reason.
But is true, the tax regime from UK is complicating a lot of things because to go and play Queen’s, the problem is not win, the problem is I can lose money because I go there, I play for one week, they take out money from my sponsors. That’s a lot.
I gonna play in Wimbledon. I gonna to play in the World Tour Finals. So there is a lot of weeks, a lot of tax. Is being more and more complicated to play in the UK in these moments.
But the true is Halle is a fantastic tournament, and they really want me there for long time. I finish my contract with Queen’s. So the reason you have to watch that is not only the tax problem. I played on Queen’s for the last four years with this tax regime, so is not only that, not only for that. I like to play in all the tournaments on the tour when they really want me. I went to Bangkok last year. Now I going to be on Halle. That’s fine. I gonna be in Wimbledon playing and I gonna be in the World Tour Finals playing, so London is not done for me. But for sure I love Queen’s.

Q. Back on the tax question in the UK. The World Tour Finals are in London for two more years. After that, do you think the top players will maybe think they will not want to do another deal for London because of the tax situation?

RAFAEL NADAL: What do you want to heard?

Q. I want to hear what you think.

RAFAEL NADAL: I believe, what I believe in my heart, there is a fantastic event. Full crowd every match. Fantastic stadium. But London is not the only city in the world.
Is true, is really tough what’s happening today in the UK with the tax. There is lot of things really positive. This thing is probably really negative. So if that change the chances to keep having the World Tour Finals in London, gonna be very, very high.

jane Says:

Little Wing, thanks for posting that (where did you find it?). It gives a much fuller impression of the tournament shift/choice on Rafa’s part. Firstly, it clarifies that Rafa was *asked* about the tax issue, not once, but twice; secondly, he says the main reason he is playing Halle is not due to the tax law, but because (a) his contract is up with Queens and (b) Halle really want him there.

Perhaps Halle will pay a good appearance fee; perhaps the tax issue is of concern; perhaps Rafa wants to play Fed on the grass pre-Wimbledon. After all, Fed has almost always played Halle.

However, Rafa doesn’t come across as nearly so negative about the taxation issue when the full context is there to see, and of course that is generally the case with most of these interviews and journalist/player relationships.

Leon Says:

Jane, the interviews are at the Shanghai tournament website.
Oh, those monies. As for me, I find those tables with prize money records not only misleading (with silly statistics over decades!) but somewhat immoral. The same goes about charities, so on. But again, do we intend discussing the legitimacy/morality of luxury? Or capitalism vs communism? Please. That’s something at least that tennis players’ monies have a transparent origin. The rest…no business of mine.
Morals aside, somewhere on the net I came across someone’s calculation, smth like: Nadal makes tens of millions a year from his endorsements, so that playing four-five weeks in UK and being taxed “proportionally” he can easily lose more money than all his prizes for winning all the UK events. If it is really so, even partly – no wonder he find that strange, softly speaking.
Anyway, I think that to consider such issues, as well as private life, not having enough data on the subject is hardly promising. Usually, this quickly gets converted into a simple rant.

Little Wing Says:


Here’s the link to the presser:

And yes, since it’s the 20th anniversary of the tourney Halle is offering him a substantially larger sum of money to appear and with his contract over in Queens, it’s not surprising he made the choice.

grendel Says:

jane says:”However, Rafa doesn’t come across as nearly so negative about the taxation issue when the full context is there to see, and of course that is generally the case with most of these interviews and journalist/player relationships.”

I disagree completely – although I certainly don’t think Nadal is likely to be any worse than the other multi-millionaires, it happens to be him who for some reason is in the limelight on this occasion. What you see in the interview – most of which can be seen on the Eurosport site b.t.w. – is a good deal of softpedalling, equivocation and so on. Nadal does a pretty good pr job as you would expect, and not primarily because he is a hypocrite, either. I think he is a genuinely decent human being, nothing special about him in any way aside from his tennis genius, who happens to be caught up in the grotesqueries of celebrity culture.

The switch from Queens to Halle? One thing – he admits that “the tax regime from UK is complicating a lot of things because to go and play Queen’s..”. From the Eurosport site:” However, a change to the tax regime could help London renew its contract for the ATP finals, added the Spaniard.

“So (if there is a tax) change, the chances of keeping the World Tour Finals in London are going to be very, very high,” he said.

Presumably an editor added the parenthesis [“if there is a tax”], which is missing from Little Wing’s post. But it obviously makes sense, and in my opinion is actually rather sinister. That said, (from the Eurosport site):”Wimbledon chief executive Ian Ritchie called on the government earlier this year to change the tax laws or risk Britain losing some of tennis’s marquee events.”

Also this, from the same site:” The rules are the reason triple Olympic champion sprinter Usain Bolt has stayed away from the London Diamond League meetings and there are also fears they could affect some of the country’s smaller golf tournaments.”

So this is definitely not an issue about Nadal as such, who is little more than a spokesman here – more like a Trade Union for the very rich in sport generally.

It all depends where you stand, really. The rich are as they are, a rum lot as Scott Fitzgerald once remarked to Ernest Hemingway. They are no more (and no less) inherently hypocritical than anyone else, but the circumstances of their life, which have thrown enormous amounts of loot their way, tend to engender truly absurd situations – such as their expecting to be applauded for their “generosity” and other nonsense of this sort.

Tennislover – I concur absolutely about Nishikori. I’ve long been admirer of his tennis – his career has been marred by endless injury it seems – and I would be happy to see him beat Murray, and certainly hope he stretches him. Generally, though, I wish Murray well, and I greatly hope he gets a Grand Slam.

jane Says:

But grendel, Nadal doesn’t come across as though he stood on some soapbox and said “I am boycotting Queens because of taxation laws.” That’s what I meant by “less negative” on the issue.

Rather, he was explicitly *asked* to comment on whether or not that was the reason he has chosen to play Halle next year, and he said, basically, that it’s not the main, or certainly not the only, reason. He also points out that he has played there since 2008, with the same tax laws, which is true. Now that his contract his up, he has decided to go elsewhere.

In his words: ” I finish my contract with Queen’s. So the reason you have to watch that is not only the tax problem. I played on Queen’s for the last four years with this tax regime, so is not only that, not only for that. I like to play in all the tournaments on the tour when they really want me. I went to Bangkok last year.”

No doubt Halle has been enticing him with appearance fees, and maybe he wants a change of scene, too? The field isn’t always as deep at Halle, other than Fed. And when skipped Halle this year, the touney organizers were very vocal about feeling left in the lurch. Maybe that is why they want Rafa, in case of pull outs. Murray, Nole, Roddick, Tsonga: they all play Queens, or have been typically. Maybe Rafa thinks his chances will be better at Halle? There could be various reasons he chose to go there, not only money, and after reading the context provided by Little Wing, that is the impression I was left with. When I first read that article, I read it more like Rafa taking a stand. But it now seems more like many reasons factored into his decision, not the least of which was his contract being up and having the chance to try something different.

As for millionaires complaining about taxes? What else is new? I am all for taxing the rich, frankly, especially when some people cannot even get their daily bread. So in that sense, I don’t care if Britain changes that tax law at all.

jane Says:

That said, it would be “sinister” indeed if Britain begin losing sporting events, like WTF for e.g., due to taxes. :/

grendel Says:

“As for millionaires complaining about taxes? What else is new?” Well, you might try reading P.G.Wodehouse on the subject. Of the various dyspeptic millionaires who strongly object to the tax regimes of the US or Britain, Bertie Wooster’s Uncle Tom is probably the funniest. He is firmly convinced that the government is engaged in a personal vendetta against him, and his outrage at being obliged to surrender money which he regards as rightfully his and, furthermore, to some nebulous grouping probably motivated by Communist sympathies, is conveyed in a manner to render him almost endearing he is so absurd.

The beauty of it all is that Wodehouse himself doesn’t seem to have any political sympathies or even opinions – he is simply struck by the inherent comedy of the situation, and his wonderful innocence draws the reader into this world. The rich as evil we know about. The rich as inherently funny comes somehow as a surprise.

jane Says:

I’ll look for it. I need something funny in my life right about now. Is there a particular title?

Wog boy Says:

Nadal is not telling the real reason.
Novak is playing Qeen’s and Federer is playing Halle.

Leon Says:

“Nadal is not telling the real reason.
Novak is playing Qeen’s and Federer is playing Halle.”

Oh, yes, indeed. You nailed it. How could we forget.
But what a discussion on the rich instead!

grendel Says:

Wodehouse is not to everyone’s taste. My sister, for instance, could make nothing of him. Best try a short story – and you’ll know pretty soon if you’re going to like it. For instance, “The Great Sermon Handicap” – the scene is set in the English countryside when villages were still villages and not the weekend preserve of rich townspeople. Each village had a functioning church, and in the story bets are laid as to which Vicar – on a given Sunday – gives the longest sermon. The Vicars are spoken of – by the punters – in equestrian terms, for example there is the fear of nobbling (slipping something into the soup of one vicar, attempts to infect another with a cold, and so on).

The situation is genuinely surreal because there is nothing intellectual about it, no theorising, no dark allegorising, simply a completely ridiculous situation presented as if it were entirely normal. The humour is always gentle, never in any sense satirical, and yet somehow utterly outlandish. The story comes in a collection called “The Inimitable Jeeves”. One of the characters in it, Bertie’s hopeless friend Bingo Little who is forever falling in love, is a keen tennis player. Once he gets a racket in his hand, a fanatical gleam suffuses his countenance, he snorts a bit, and when a friend, even a close one, attempts to speak to him, he glances vacantly at the speaker as if wondering who he is, waving his racket and pushing his way to the tennis court with the air of a man who will not be denied. This was the 1930’s, a troubled time everywhere except in the prelapsarian world of Wodehouse.

Humble Rafa Says:

I am chuckling at this headline from Yahoo Tennis.

“Humble Rafa sets himself for loss”

Do you think the guy writing the article, Patrick Mouratoglou is my fan?

Wog boy Says:

@Leon: It is saturday and I am doing Hunter Valley tour, one of the best wine region in Australia.That is my job. I know there is plenty of aussie wines in UK. Get a bottle of shardonnay and calm down, it is not the end of the world. I can give you tip which one to look for in the shops: Lindemans , Rosemount, McGuigan, De Bortoli….There are very good Boutique ones, but you can bay them only on the spot, they do no export them.
Cheers from downunder, go Novak , go Andy Shanghai is yours!!!!

Leon Says:

Cheers from overseas, Wb, and thanks for your advice. BTW, I am pretty calm, just like Roger whose fan I am. Have a nice weekend.
Oh, and yes, go Andy.

carlo Says:

If Djokovic and Murray are at Queens and Federer is at Halle, I’d say that reason is #1 for Nadal going to Halle.

Sure, taxes are a good reason too. But if he wants to warm-up for Wimbledon in peace, much nicer to go play Federer and an easier field.

And it will be important to get away after he loses RG to Djokovic. He and Federer can have a sit down and talk about the good old days. lol.

carlo Says:

Come on, Murray! No slipping up now.

I don’t care who wins between Lopez and Ferrer.

Wog boy Says:

@Leon: No worries, any time…. Even for RF fans…:-))
I am doing my best to have good weekend. Thanks

John M Says:

Classic Sean Randall hate-everything-Nadal article… beating up on Nadal every single opportunity he can get!

Lulu Iberica Says:

I’m all in favor of the rich paying their fair share of taxes, but with this tax scheme a player could experience a net monetary loss from playing in the UK. No one, no matter how rich, wants to actually lose money for providing labor. Rafa does strike me as rather pragmatic about his money and interested in keeping it, but I like that he resides in his home country and pays taxes there.

Top story: Nadal Needs Final Set Breaker To Sack Sock In Washington Debut, But Foot Is A Concern