Masked Djokovic Struggles In Basel; Federer, Murray, Roddick Wednesday
by Sean Randall | November 1st, 2011, 9:53 pm

Benjamin Soland (Blick)In his first tournament match since his US Open title, Novak Djokovic survived a three-set scare to oust Xavier Malisse 6-2, 4-6, 7-5 in the first round of the Swiss Indoors.

Djokovic avoided his 4th loss of the season keeping him even with John McEnroe’s three defeats in 1984.

“Overall, it wasn’t a great match for me,” Djokovic said. “I played many, many better matches this year than this one, but under the circumstances, for me the most important thing now is that I feel good on the court physically.”

The Serb made another grand entrance wearing a mask when he walked on the court, a tradition he says he started five years ago.

“Every year for the last five years it’s a tradition at Halloween, which usually is during Paris-Bercy, that I go out with some crazy mask,” said Djokovic. “This year it happened one week earlier, so I hope that people don’t mind. It was just tradition and a little bit of fun.”

I wonder if Malisse thought it was fun that Novak was so concerned about playing the Belgian that he came out in a mask? Just wondering.

In other action, James Blake got through when countryman Mardy Fish retired in the first game with a hamstring pull. Those injuries usually take weeks, not days, to heal leaving Fish’s London hopes in some doubt.

And Kei Nishikori continued his strong late-season run beating Tomas Berdych in three sets.

Tomorrow, Andy Murray meets Robin Haase and Andy Roddick faces Tommy Haas. Swiss favorite Roger Federer returns against Jarkko Nieminen. All three should be decent matches.

In Valencia, with Fish injured Nicolas Almagro blew a chance to close in on a London qualification. Almagro lost to Juan Monaco in three sets. David Ferrer, a winner over Fernando Verdasco, Gael Monfils and JW Tsonga were also winners.

Tomorrow, Marin Cilic clashes with Milos Raonic in a good one. Cilic who just collected the St. Petersburg title Sunday has won 11 of his last 13 matches. Juan Martin Del Potro will try to keep his slim London hopes alive against the unpredictable Dmitry Tursunov.

Tennis Channel has live TV coverage from Basel all day with Tipsarevic, Murray, Federer then Roddick.


CENTER COURT start 14:00
[6] J Tipsarevic (SRB) vs F Mayer (GER)
Not Before 16:00
R Haase (NED) vs [2] [WC] A Murray (GBR)
Not Before 18:00
J Nieminen (FIN) vs [3] R Federer (SUI)
Not Before 20:00
[7] A Roddick (USA) vs T Haas (GER)


AGORA start 1:00 pm
M Cilic (CRO) vs M Raonic (CAN)
[1] D Ferrer (ESP) vs [Q] V Pospisil (CAN)
[6] J del Potro (ARG) vs D Tursunov (RUS)
P Andujar (ESP) vs [3] G Monfils (FRA)
A Bogomolov Jr. (USA) vs [8] F Lopez (ESP)

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26 Comments for Masked Djokovic Struggles In Basel; Federer, Murray, Roddick Wednesday

Kimmi Says:

it will be cool if you can put the djoko mask picture on the front page.

jane Says:

I checked: he’s worn a mask for at least four years in a row now around Halloween, but I am not sure about five years. Of course there have been many other costumes at other non-Halloween events. But that’s Nole for you.




(eye patch – but I think this was during WTF?)

And now this year.

Ben Pronin Says:

Poor display by Novak and an absolutely awful serving day. But winning when he’s playing bad is more important than winning when playing good, mark of a true champion. Federer didn’t look too great, either, though. Looks like Murray might actually pull it off.

Dory Says:

Is Nishikori rising slow to the top 20? This year’s he’s improved a lot.

Eric Says:

Ben, Murray’s draw seems pretty rough to be. Haase, Wawrinka, Tipsarevic, Federer — and that’s just to get to the finals. Any one of those guys could win without much surprise.

More importantly: either my memory has totally failed me or the site I used to use has vanished. What’s the best source for tennis streams these days?

Katarina Says:

In my opinion,it’s good that he wasn’t concerned.If he were,he would propably lose the match!And it is some sort of tradition,everybody knows that,even you!But still,you pop the ironic question.Not ok!

margot Says:

Andy’s draw is tough, even if he wins his first 3 matches they could all be long 3 setters, AND he’s playing doubles. I’ve read this surface is now very close to WTF, perhaps his eyes are on other fries?

Kimmi Says:

ha ha ha just saw the mask photo. thanks sean

Kimmi Says:

jane: yes i remember the eyepatch. he did it as a joke after he couldn’t see during his match with rafa.

jane Says:

I think Tipsy is out now re: having a chance to qualify. Also Milos lost to Cilic (not surprising) and Vasek is losing to Ferrer (even less surprising) so no all Canadian final Tennis Vagabond. : / Although I am sure you were being facetious. :)

jane Says:

Andy M has withdrawn from Basel; he is citing a pulled muscle. This might be a blessing in disguise as he has played a lot lately. Eyes on the big prize, right margot?

Humble Rafa Says:

The caption below the picture of Andy Murray aka Lady Forehand on yahoo tennis, says he looks dejected. Don’t the clowns at yahoo know that Murray face always looks dejected!

alison hodge Says:

i agree with jane ,if muzza isnt fit then the sensible thing would be to pull out now,why risk further damage,sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture,looks like its a shoe for nole v roger to the final,hope roger can take the title,as he has not won one since the begining of the year.

Humble Rafa Says:

hope roger can take the title

Hope is wonderful thing. Just saying.

Nole is in bad shape, physically and tennis-wise. That gives Roger an excellent opportunity…….to choke.

In my humble opinion ofcourse.

Brando Says:

@Jane, Alison: I think it is the best thing for andy to do. His recent form has been particularly good, BUT as murray has himself said that his main goal is the WTF title, and so it should be. If he were to win that then that would be a REAL STATEMENT as to his form, game, future prospects in 2012 season etc. It is the biggest title outside the slams.

On the other side of the coin, for me at least, IF he doesn’t win in London, then really nothing much has changed with Andy. A top 3 player of his calibre winning a 3 hard court tourny’s in a row- 250, 500 and a masters title he was defending- beasting players he should beat anyway, IS TO BE EXPECTED as opposed to it signalling something major.

Andy beating rafa in the final, moreso, the way he did it THAT was something, but the rest was to be expected.

Kimberly Says:

the way I see it the last 3 spots will go to Fish Berdych and Tsonga absent a very surprising result by someone. Maybe Delpo with an outside shot.

Kimberly Says:

Another reminder to vote for Rafa as fan favorite on the ATP site! I know Kimmi and Dari heeded my advice :)

margot Says:

jane, hope Andy is now actually fit enough to make WTF. Apparently he went on court and explained/apologised to the fans. Gr8 guy!

El Flaco Says:

Murray withdrew from Basel with a buttocks strain

Kimmi Says:

what with federer and double faults!!!

Humble Rafa Says:

Murray withdrew from Basel with a buttocks strain

Thanks for the detailed explanation. Without that, we would be speculating!

How does a guy who doesn’t pick his butt get a butt strain?

carlo Says:

He woke up with it apparently.

Doesn’t sound too serious, hopefully.

tennis coach Says:

I must laugh on Humble Rafa’s pokes!

jane Says:

margot, hope so too. He has time, esp, if he skips Paris, like Rafa is doing.

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