In a match that was supposed to be all about Rafa’s knees, it was Ferrer who ended up limping off the court at 3-4. Sorry Rafa fans, after two months of thirst, the 7 games that Rafa and Ferrer played probably did nothing to quench your desperation.
Rafa was understandably rusty, but it’s hard to tell at this stage how much of that rust was from his 2 months off the tour, and how much was from any lingering physical and mental effects of his knee injury.
That was quick: REUTERS/Shaun Best
I keep thinking back to what Federer said about his back problems earlier on in the year: that it wasn’t so much the physical recovery that was bothering him, but the mental block he developed over it, i.e. changing his service motion without realising and unconsciously trying to protect his back when retrieving balls. It took him some extreme physical conditioning to break the mental hold the injury had over his game.
Nadal could face a similar problem, it’ll be interesting to see whether his movement is at all affected by his knee injury, or even the thought of his knee injury. But then again, Rafa is much more used to dealing with injury issues than Federer, and his knee problems certainly aren’t anything new. He’s just too good a player not to bounce back from this.
In other injury alerts: Tommy Haas had to retire from his match against Gonzo because of some pretty nasty blisters. Of course Tennis Gods, Tommy Haas is playing great tennis once again and you just can’t handle it, can you? You just had to take him down with yet another injury. Of course.
Leave him alone.
The big upset of the day was Ferrero defeating Monfils, 63 76(7), which I missed completely. Given Ferrero’s form of late, and Monfils’ recent injury, I wasn’t all that surprised.
It’s just heartwarming to see someone like Ferrero hang around, still motivated and trying to win. To be frank, he’s “been there, done that”. It would’ve been perfectly understandable for him to walk away from the game now and ride off into the sunset – he has little left to prove.
But the fact is that he’s not headed for the sunset – he’s holding on, he’s doing more than just holding on in fact – he’s beating some of the young guys. And he’s showing people that he didn’t end up in the top echelon of the game a few years ago by a fluke.
Much respect. Kudos.
Unfortunately, Ferrero faces Andy Murray next round. Unless Murray is really off, the Mossie’s going to get smacked.
Oh yeah, and Jo-Willy scraped past Schuettler, barely – 46 63 64. But he looked so joyous about it all that I don’t even have the energy to get negative.
Don’t ever change, Jojo.
Roddick had a fairly routine win over Andreev 61 76(3).
Given that he’s played some tennis since Wimbledon already, he seems to be in fine form for the Rogers Cup.
My tennistic preferences tend to fall into three categories: 1) players I love, 2) players I respect, and 3) players I dislike. Federer, of course, falls in the love category, as do the Williamses. Nadal is less than love but more than respect. And you should know the ones I dislike.
Once upon a time, Roddick used to fall in the dislike category, and his behaviour at the Australian Open last year certainly reinforced every stereotyped view I’ve had of him over the years. But respect has to be earned, and Roddick has certainly earned mine with his work ethics and maturity this year.
I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this sudden surge of respect for Roddick. While I remain disinterested in his style of tennis, he did take me, as well as many other tennis fans, on a journey with him this year. As the man said himself:
“During my career I’ve been portrayed as every type of person—good, bad, ugly, rude, nice—and this is the first time it’s been presented in the light of a hardworking, everyday Joe type of tennis player trying to make good,” Roddick said. “All the while the meat and potatoes of who I am have probably stayed the same.
“Maybe people have realized that it’s not easy and it does take work.”
God knows we love “hardworking, everyday Joes”. Yes, you can sign his name under the “less than love but more than respect” category.
Coming full circle
Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from Wimbledon, can we stop the world for a day to mourn?
I guess not. Tennis goes on, so how about a post for two much neglected tournaments this week – Eastbourne and s’Hertogenbosch.
What’s going on in Eastbourne?
Novak Djokovic has found himself a rival. Marion Bartoli celebrated her 20th career retirement yesterday (third this year) against Virginie Razzano by refusing to shake Razzano’s hand at the net.
Sorry to any Frenchies reading this, I love many French players, Bartoli isn’t one of them. In fact, I kinda loathes her so much it energizes me. Sorry. I work in extremes of love and hate in tennis. Just watching her service motion makes me want to scratch my eyes out.
One thing I will say about Marion though – she gives the best presscons. Actually, she might even beat JJ as the top whiner on the WTA tour. Sheesh, JJ has competition these days …
Bartoli, who lost to Venus Williams in the 2007 Wimbledon final, refused to shake hands with Razzano before leaving the Centre Court.
Razzano had earlier accused Bartoli of underhand tactics, saying in French newspaper L’Equipe: “You get the impression that on court it’s okay by her to use any means to win: calling on the trainer, crying, limping.”
Bartoli told reporters on Friday: “To say what she said yesterday in the French newspaper, that is not really brilliant. I guess that is just the way she is.”
Razzano, who beat top seed Elena Dementieva in the second round, warmed to the theme again in her own post-match news conference, saying of Bartoli: “She tries to do things to make your concentration drop. She can try anything to win. When you play Marion you need to prepare for everything.”
Watch the cattiness unfold.
God I love the WTA.
In other news, Wozniacki def Wozniak 36 64 64. I want to commentate that match with Fred Stolle. What fun!
Mentioning C.Woz, she’s in her fourth final of the year – fabulous result of course. But also slightly Kuznetsova-like with the hit rate once she’s in the final. Here’s to hoping she lives up to her rankings and brings home the trophy.
On the men’s side of things, Frank Dancevic grooved his way to the final with a 64 64 victory of the Magician. The Canucks must be uber excited with the performances of both him and Wozniak this week. Does anyone know when was the last time a Canadian won a slam? A title? If ever?
Taking a look at how Dancevic plays, you wonder why he’s managed to underachieve so spectacularly at the age of 24.
s’Hertogenbosch…needs a name change.
What is it about Tamarine Tanasugarn that she disappears for the majority of the year only to resurface during the grass season? It was deja vu for Dinara Safina as she lost to Tamarine 75 75 in their Ordina semifinal (she lost to the same person at the same tournament last year). She due to face the Belgian No 1 – Yanina Wickmayer – in the finals. How far we’ve come.
On the men’s side of things, why does Raemon Sluiter sound like a more exotic version of Rainer Schuettler? Well the exotic one is in the final, and last year’s Wimbledon semifinalist lost to Benny Becker. Must be the qualifiers’ week.
We complain about the grass season being far too short, but you know what? Grass court tournaments, other than the Big W, are so mindnumbingly boring. Won’t be sorry to say “good riddance” once Wimblydondon is over.