Wimbly Day 6 (by PJ): The Drama of Rafa

This is going to be a quick recap of Wimbly Saturday, ahead of Wimbly Frazzle Monday.

Rafa Nadal was stretched to five sets – again – on Centre Court against the 33rd seed Philipp Petzschner.  Petzy put up a great fight to lead Rafa two sets to one, but it was a lead that he could not ultimately sustained, as he was broken twice in the next set, and once again in the fifth to give Rafa the victory.

There was some inspired play by Petzy, but Rafa wasn’t known for giving up, quite the contrary. Of course, two other main incidents on the court revolved around the medical time-outs Rafa took, and alleged on-court coaching.

I don’t really know what to make of Rafa’s MTOs. Many claimed it was gamesmanship – in an effort to throw Petzy off his rhythm, and it was something that Petzy agreed with.

I thought he was moving great. I only could say if I would be injured like this once I would be happy. No, but I don’t know. Maybe he had something. Maybe it was just a clever part to take a timeout there.

Petzy went on to say that ultimately he couldn’t keep up and Rafa deserved the win. However, the debate was still centered around on the fact that Petzy may have won otherwise. “May have” are the keywords. We just wouldn’t know for sure.

My own take is that, I’m not so sure what to believe. It was a bit iffy that Rafa continued to move unimpeded after his MTO. However, after seeing him retire against Mandy in AO this year (which hurt me and made me sad face), I’m more inclined to believe him than not, actually. Rafa himself claimed that he was bothered and worried by the knee, hence he called for a trainer. The argument is still whether was Rafa’s injury serious enough to warrant a MTO. Then again, Rafa has always had trouble with those knees. Call me naïve, but I’m not so quick to decide that it was a move purely for gamesmanship.

On the coaching issue – Rafa was visibly angry when he received the warning, and had this to say in his press-con afterwards.

Sometimes, yes. Not today, in my opinion. But, yes, sometimes in the past Toni talk maybe too much. And when it happened, and the referee or the umpire give me an advice, and if it is continuing, later a warning.

But not today, in my opinion. Yeah, no.

So does that mean, yes, on occasion, he DOES receive coaching from Toni? I’m sure we remember that Rome 2006 final where Feddy called Toni out on coaching. For this incident though, I’m not so sure. Even Petzy was inclined to believe that there was no coaching involved.

… I think there was no coaching involved. That’s what I think.

Having said that, I think there may be coaching in the Haase match. Rafa was looking up towards Toni and was very obviously saying something – a lot of things, in fact. Of course, I could be wrong again, but that certainly looked suspicious. My opinion? Rafa is the world #1. He should NOT, in any circumstances or in any time, be receiving coaching from his coach, minor or not. I like Rafa. If he isn’t playing against Feddy, I’ll root for him 80% of the time. But I have to admit this trait of his isn’t something that is endearing to anyone at all. Certainly hoping for the rest of his matches to be coaching-free. It does not bode well at all, that the world #1 receives coaching in a Grand Slam match, nope nope.

So Rafa survived, again, and hailed by all as the Matador, the Fighter, the Hero. Sure, I agree that it takes a lot of guts and strength to come out of two consecutive five-setters. But what irritated me was that Federer, in contrast, gets criticism, questions about his form and suggestions that he was outta the whole thing, with the first round battle and that dropped set in the second. Hypocrisy at its best, y’all! I supposed I should be used to these double-standards, which has been the case since forever and a day. I don’t care what anyone says about different expectations for Feddy and Rafa. Give credit where credit is due. Roger dug deep to come out with those wins. Recognise that, plzkthx.

Rafa plays Paul-Henri Mathieu next, and I will be VERY surprised if he was stretched again. PHM doesn’t have nearly enough – skills or mental strength wise – to beat Rafa at Wimbly. But it all remains to be seen.

Mandy Pandy, still gunning for that elusive GS title, first for Great Britain in 150,00 years, stayed on track, outing Gilles Simon comfortably, not that I didn’t expect him too. Simon has been fading since a rather stellar late year season in 2008. Mandy’s form has been solid lately (frazzle frazzle) and he is looking rather good to go further.

Bobby Sod also beat Thomaz Belluci easily enough, keeping the hopes for a Rafa/Soddy QF. Now this is one match that I will not miss, folks. And Bobby Sod, please not to be as uninspired as you were in that RG final. This is Wimbly, and I think he has a very good chance here. Soddy, that is.

Other players still alive in Rafa’s half: David Ferrer, Samurai Sam, Jo-Willy, Julien Benneteau.

Less than 4 hours to the frazzles, folks. I unfortunately am forced to go for a movie that I promised two weeks ago, and won’t be home till midnight-ish. It wouldn’t be the worst if I missed the match on the account of Feddykins winning comfortably in straights. In fact, I pretty much hope that is the case.

Frazzle on my behalf!

– PJ

P.S. Quotes from Wimbledon player interviews!


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About PJ

I'm a tennis nut. Loves watching and freaking out over tennis, and as of late, writing about tennis. As a player though, I'm terrible. My other interests includes reading (pretty much will give any genre a go), checking out films, crafting (making cards, scrapbooking etc), eating/food (specifically searching for the perfect chendol outside Malaysia). I'm also trying to find my own perfect corner in this world!

17 responses to “Wimbly Day 6 (by PJ): The Drama of Rafa”

  1. breadstix says :

    In that case I hope you miss the match, PJ, because then it would mean that Feddy’s safely through! 😛

    And with Rafa… well, it’s murky waters. With regard to the MTO, I don’t know. There’re always issues with Rafa and his knees but a good question would be whether he would call a MTO if he wasn’t trailing Petzy, but, say, in the middle of a second or third set when they’re both on serve. Like you, I’m inclined to believe that it wasn’t a move purely for gamesmanship, but can’t say more than that. :/

    ‘Give credit where credit is due.’
    *yupnod* I guess there’s biased fans where ever you look, and a lot of the time both criticism and credit should be given to the players for getting in/out of a five setter. Either the opponent was playing well or they were playing like crap, and it’s not the same things that applies to the same players all the time. I wish some would recognise that. 😦

    • PJ says :

      I missed it; and Feddy IS safely through, and you gave me a heart attack on Twitter. 😦

      Murky waters they are, I agree. And your question was exactly the thing I have in mind. But like I said, I’m shaded by the memory of his live retirement so I sometimes see it from his angle of fear and worry.

      Dunno, breadstix. Seems like Rafa gets 90% credit and 10% criticism for carving out wins out of tough matches, and Fedders vice versa. Not Rafa’s fault of course, but rather some of his genius fans and choice commentators/writers. Well, WE give Feddy his credit, and lots more besides. Like hearts and the like.

      • breadstix says :

        YEEHAW. Hahaha! Sorry, the temptation was too great, :”)

        Lots more indeedly! Credit, love, hearts, kidneys, sleep, mental stability etc. etc.

  2. Ribbons says :

    Your posts rock. May Roger successfully do pretty things with those machine guns and mandelbrot (or whatever the other Melzer-bomb was going to be).

    • PJ says :

      Thank you! He threw out Melzer’s machine guns and microwave ovens. It now looks like Berdych’s bombastic bulldozers are next or possibly Brands’ big basins.

  3. Dippy says :

    May i add, as No1 Rafa needs to set good examples on court. Whispers among players must have gone to umpire’s ears which is why now he be scrutnize for MTO, coaching and time violation. I might be wrong but players have more respect for King Fed than Rafa, he is all fair play and tries to hold high level of gamesmanship.

    Thanks again for lovely post PJ

    • PJ says :

      True that. I genuinely like Rafa as a player and a person, but yeah, sometimes some of the things he does on court (namely the time wasting between points) kinda irks me. Ah well, we all roll on from this, I guess.

      Thanks for the kind words!

  4. elisha says :

    The double standards shouldn’t be an issue to me, but I’ll always feel a small amount of resent for Rafa because of them. I understand Rafa is known to be the grinder, always-going-for-every-single-point, kind of athlete, but just because Roger doesn’t outwardly show his efforts doesn’t mean he doesn’t work just as hard because we all know Roger had to dig deep during the first two rounds. Don’t get me wrong, I love Rafa and agree that I’ll always root for him the times he’s not playing against The Mighty One, but yeah… As for the MTOs…. I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I just can’t seem to picture Rafa as doing it for pure gamesmanship. As for the whole coaching fiasco, I thought they changed the rules and said coaching is allowed during matches. I’m pretty sure I remember Caroline Wozniacki getting coached during her matches this year and the comms saying how the rules were changed this year… Does that only apply to WTA then?

    • PJ says :

      I agreed with all that you have said, elisha! Good point on the double-standards. Through no fault of Rafa’s though but still…Fed and Rafa has a different sort of outlook to dealing with potential defeat. And that led people to think Rafa wanted it more and Feddy got lucky? Eh, boo.

      As far as I know, coaching is not allowed for ATP in any matches, and not allowed for WTA only in GS matches. Someone correct me if I’m wrong!

  5. girl_from_mi says :

    Superficial Comment #1: That trainer, Novatney? I want to put my hands in the places that he has put his.

    Superficial Comment #2: Rafa, fussing and finger pointing at the Chair Umpire was hot. Pissed Off Rafa is as nice to watch as Pissed Off Roger.

    I should probably have something more meaningful to say about the MTO and the coaching discussion, but… Nope, nothing.

    • PJ says :

      Wonderful superficial comments. 😀

      It’s an age old discussion, that thing. We’re all gonna move on and continue with Wimbly anyway!

  6. TennisAce says :

    Nice post PJ. I am with everyone else, I do not know what to think of the MTO. In Australia one wonders whether he did not see any way out of the match with Murray, hence the retirement. A similar thing happened in Miami against Roddick. He could not figure out stuff so he started pounding his knees and cursing and Toni from the stands shouting at him. It is instructive that immediately after the MTO, he was still going after balls and basically hitting winners from extreme positions on the court.

    Apart from calling an MTO for the knees, you all forgot that he called one for his forearm as well. He received absolutely no treatment of that particular injury except for the trainer feeling his biceps and assuring him that they were still hard as a rock.

    For someone whose whole persona is built around his warrior capabilities, Nadal is to my mind extremely fragile. As soon as his knees start hurting him, he immediately starts using it as an excuse for any loss, or setting it up as the reason for a loss.

    Take your beating like a man and move on.

    As to the coaching, I guess Federer was not so delusional in that Rome final after all.

    • Mia says :

      As nice as Rafa is, am not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt here. It has happened more times than can be excused away as being legit MTOs. At the AO, I did think it was because he couldn’t see a way to win against an on-fire MAndy and Rafa was already playing out of his skin. Against Petzschner, the MTO was similar to what Djokovic pulls in that it was not a localized “ailment”. You put it succinctly — for a warrior, he sure is so fragile.

  7. pban says :

    Don’t forget Hamburg 2008 that was one of the most blatant forms of gamesmanship ever….why are the MTOs always before the opponent’s serve?? I know a lot of you guys like Rafa, I don’t care much for him and sorry guys I just don’t buy the nice guy epitome of humility and modesty crap he puts on display

  8. pban says :

    Don’t forget Hamburg 2008 that was one of the most blatant forms of gamesmanship ever….why are the MTOs always before the opponent’s serve?? I know a lot of you guys like Rafa, I don’t care much for him and sorry guys I just don’t buy the nice guy, epitome of humility and modesty crap he puts on display.

  9. pban says :

    eek double post …. I have no desire to subject anyone to my opinions twice over sorry

  10. Tru says :

    The MTO could have waited until it was on his serve. His situation wasn’t grave. ATP/IT should address this before the next Masters.

    IMO a fair solution would be to require the MTO be on your serve or else, forfeit a game.

    I was at the match on Friday, the atmosphere was quite friendly. People were trading their tennis war stories and hoping to witness another 5 set battle or possible upset.

    After the MTO my little section of CC got quite partisan. Twas very tense, and the tone of the cheering shifted.

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