Peter Bodo's TennisWorld - Montreal Crisis Center, Day 5
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Montreal Crisis Center, Day 5 08/14/2009 - 1:35 PM

89735298 Howdy, everyone. I'm a little late to the barn today, sorry 'bout that. Just had a big editorial meeting planning out our US Open coverage, for the magazine and website. I'll be doing the same-old, same-old, and also working on a few pieces for the magazine. Next week, I'm on vacation, but mostly lolly-gagging at the farm, so I'll  be on-line and keeping an eye on things. We'll have the usual Crisis Center posts (Rosangel pitching in a few of those days) but we'll go light on the red meat.

Week after (24th to 31st) is qualifying week at the US Open, and I'll be going out there pretty much daily, And once again let me remind you all that the US Open qualifying event is - by far - the best deal in tennis: admission is free, the concessions are mostly open, and the field always features surprisingly big names. You can sit courtside, basking in the sun, 15 feet from the players battling it out for a coveted spot in the main draw.  Get out there if you can.

I need to apologize for writing yesterday that Kim Clijsters is from the land of tulips and windmills; it was a silly error, not my first or last. Feel free to think of me as an ignorant xenophobe, but I'm pretty content with the stamps in my various current or expired passports, my European roots and all the cultural baggage that came with it, and my ability to get around in four or five languages. But that sounds self-justifying, doesn't it?

Anyway, you can also read more of my thoughts on Champagne Kim Clijsters over at ESPN today, where I go on a bit of a rant about the abuse of the verb "to retire," and the gerund derived from it. Now many of you know that one of my guilty pleasures is poking fun at Clijsters, which made it easier for me to connect a few dots that have been knocking around in my brain for some time now to get myself in a good mood to vent. But the reality is that I'm tired of the way the idea of retiring has been hijacked by some athletes (in the interest of fairness, Justine Henin is a culprit here, too - until proven otherwise in, oh, 10 years or so).

Let me make summarize: You retire when you get too old to work, or you get shoved out of your workplace because of your age. If you've ever seen a 72-year old geezer trying to fit a lady's foot into FM pumps at the shoe store, you'll know what I mean. Granted, the retirement age for a tennis player is far lower than for the average working stiff, but the idea that a 22 or 24 or 26 year old can "retire" is absurd. Maybe this is just semantics (you know, the way some people use "reticent" as a synonym for "reluctant"), but the reality is that "retire" is the wrong choice of word. After all, did you "retire" from that job collecting carts at the Price Chopper when you were in your senior year of college, or did you just get bored and quit?

Likewise, Clijsters got sick of tennis and she up and quit in the Spring of 2007. I'll hasten to add that there's no sin in that. It's her life, right? Or you can mute the idea and say she took a break, although she never said that herself (as far as I recall) - she preferred to declare that she was "retiring": done: finito, outta there, quit, shed of it, put it any way you want, but not that she "retired." People don't retire at age 24.

A player coming out of a proper retirement, to take one more shot at the golden ring, always plays on our heartstrings. And as much as some of us like Clijsters, I don't think we ought to get overly sentimental about her return to the game. Look at it this way: While Clijsters took her break, most of the other women of her generation on the WTA Tour kept doing the heavy lifting, and the punishments thereby incurred (see "S" for Sharapova). Clijsters is now returning at age 26, and while taking a long break from the game is always risky, it also has a variety of upsides (I'm sure Rafael Nadal fans have been making those cost-gain flow charts for weeks now), including the fact that she's got fewer miles on her clock than her main rivals.

Is it a mere coincidence that Clijsters is making her return exactly when it's obvious that Sharapova is beat up, the Williams sisters are increasingly erratic, Amelie Mauresmo is working her way out of the picture, and Henin is presently no factor in the game? Perhaps. But I suggest that there might have been some shrewd calculation involved here, too. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, either. All is fair in love, war and tennis. But let's not get carried away and pretend that Clijsters is like one of those old, punch-drunk tomato cans, climbing back into the ring one more time in some doomed, hopeless underdog's Quixotic quest. She did what she had to do - that is, quit - for reasons of her own, and she's coming  back for reasons of her own.

So that's my rant, Part II, and it plays into my long-time feeling that Clijsters is not exactly the happy-go-lucky girl next door, upon whom most everyone has bestowed that most anodyne of accolades "She's so. ..  nice." My feeling is that she always traded heavily on her niceness, and has expertly done so with this retirement narrative. She's a clever girl, that Kimmy, which is different from being merely nice, even if the two do intersect here and there. More power to her. The big question for me is whether she'll be more able than before to deliver the real goods - suck it up and respond to the call, doing what needs to be done to win the big titles.

The rest of it always was, and still is, a no-brainer for a player as young and blessed with talent as Clijsters.

-- Pete

As at 9:20pm ET, overflow going up.  Andrew

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Posted by Vie 08/14/2009 at 06:51 PM

Mr. X, and he did say that was strange, not normal.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 06:51 PM

"Ferrero, who is in great form, and also in that section."

I hope we get that match. Ferrero is the sort of player Federer might get a bit of rhythm against. Then again, I might be horribly mistaken.

Posted by Tfactor 08/14/2009 at 06:52 PM

Tim,
Your objectivity is unparalled!
Your comments on Fed's loss were quite amusing. You were rightfully sounding like your hero: Rafa :)

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 08/14/2009 at 06:52 PM

lol thats a good one, Im SURE Rafa would agree to SELL his French Open title, no doubt!

Posted by mcakron 08/14/2009 at 06:53 PM

VC -- yeah, I liked it too. Fed's got a good point about Tsongas. It's not exactly atypical of the guy to drift in stretches, then all the sudden catch fire and look like Pete Sampras.

Posted by Master Ace 08/14/2009 at 06:53 PM

Draw is too fast for me...

Posted by Azhdaja 08/14/2009 at 06:54 PM

Ozone 08/14/2009 @ 5:35 PM

I know its taboo, but I will say it. I think Federer "Tanked".

I could see this coming,
-----------------------------

well, if you seen it coming, then he tanked! YIOU are the best proof of him tanking it.

If he wanted to tank it, he could've found less stupid way to do it, then??!

freak!

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 06:54 PM

Azhdaha: Nurse Ratchett is calling you.

Posted by lollipop 08/14/2009 at 06:54 PM

great, 7 mts till i get to see nole get destroyed by roddick.
*sigh* just great.

Posted by Andrew 08/14/2009 at 06:54 PM

Azhdaja: put your money where your mouth is.

I'll take any bet with you that Federer does not retire before USO 2009 starts, and I'll donate my winnings to charity.

We'll both send a check to Pete, who will return your check if Federer does retire, and cash it otherwise. Deal? Otherwise, some silence from you would make more sense.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 08/14/2009 at 06:54 PM

Tafactor common sense and perspective are now my friends...get to know them, you might warm up to both! :)

Posted by Master Ace 08/14/2009 at 06:55 PM

Maria Sharapova vs Nadia Petrova is a first round matchup

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 08/14/2009 at 06:56 PM


Azdhaka = Plyush?

haha of course

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 06:56 PM

Mr X Ok someone else is on some type of drugs or medication then lol!

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 06:56 PM

"well, if you seen it coming, then he tanked! YIOU are the best proof of him tanking it.

If he wanted to tank it, he could've found less stupid way to do it, then??!

freak!"

As opposed to your entirely logical arguments based on nothing but fact and objectivity...

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 06:56 PM

MA: A gimme for Shrieky

Posted by Master Ace 08/14/2009 at 06:57 PM

Top 16 seeds for Toronto

Q1: Dinara/Jelena/Victoria/Dominika
Q2: Venus/Vera/Nadia/A Radwanska
Q3: Svetlana/Elena/Flavia/Amelie
Q4: Serena/Caroline/Ana/Marion

Posted by Mr Rick 08/14/2009 at 06:57 PM

Interesting how it's okay for Roger to balls up Masters events and just focus on his slam record, but if Serena wants to do the same, she's just a condescending, vain, ungrateful so-and-so....

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 06:57 PM

AM: Where's that holy water six pack of yours? Sprinkle it on Azdhaha at once before he/she bursts into flames.

Posted by Master Ace 08/14/2009 at 06:59 PM

Mr. Rick,
Agree 100% on your post If Roger gets a pass, Serena gets a pass. If Serena get criticized, Roger gets criticized. You can not have it both ways.

Posted by Tfactor 08/14/2009 at 06:59 PM

Tim
LOL
Tafactor common sense and perspective are now my friends"

Only now? Confession is good for the soul, no?

Posted by Pspace (Lestat Time!) 08/14/2009 at 06:59 PM

AM, hehe, I'm not sure who my fave is for tomorrow. I'd love to see Muzz continue his domination in the MS, but would also love to see Jo back in the conversation. If I really had to choose...life or death...it would be Jo to win his second MS.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 08/14/2009 at 06:59 PM

carnap: I don't think Aussiemarg would be so wasteful.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:00 PM

Mr. Rick: There's no double standard on that. As a Fed fan, I feel content just watching him play. He's reached the pinnacle; anything else is ice cream on top.

Posted by Master Ace 08/14/2009 at 07:00 PM

Andrew,
You can send that check to Master Ace Tennis association LOL.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:01 PM

Lynne: It's a mission of mercy.

Posted by Or 08/14/2009 at 07:02 PM

A Djoko-Roddick match would be so much fun to watch if Roger was in the semis. Sigh.

Posted by Grant 08/14/2009 at 07:02 PM

"Azdhaka = Plyush?

haha of course"

I don't think so. Piyush had a different writing style, and rarely bothered to interact with other posters. Azhdaja has been around for a while now, though not on the CC threads that often.

Posted by Andrew 08/14/2009 at 07:02 PM

Master Ace: I think Azhdaja has the talk, but I don't think he or she walks the walk. It's easy to be brave on the Internet - electrons are free.

Posted by Tfactor 08/14/2009 at 07:02 PM

The match should be starting soon.

CF & BG still in shock from Fed's loss

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 08/14/2009 at 07:03 PM

yup T, a Career Slam and 15 Slams tends to offer perspective, funny how that works!

if anyone thinks any of these kinds of matches mean a hill of beans for Fed these days is out to lunch, his career is complete if he never plays again...

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:03 PM

Andrew: Great title for a new play, "Electrons Are Free."

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 08/14/2009 at 07:04 PM

Grant, well their lunacy is similar, no?

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 07:05 PM

The blue in Andy's shirt and the blue of his hat are not the same. Shallow yes, distracting yes.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:05 PM

Azd: Try electrodes instead of electrons, next time.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:05 PM

"Mr. Rick,
Agree 100% on your post If Roger gets a pass, Serena gets a pass. If Serena get criticized, Roger gets criticized. You can not have it both ways."

Master Ace : Federer's losses have been of the puzzling kind, but part of the explanation is the best-of-3 set format, IMO.

Posted by Grant 08/14/2009 at 07:05 PM

Sure Tim, but there are lots of crazy people out there. And sometimes they find their way in here.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 07:06 PM

Pspace yes I would love to see Joe win the s/final,thats it though lol!

Hey I not going to waste My Holy Water from Lourdes,blessed by the Pope on such a thing

Go do your own dirty business ok.

Posted by mcakron 08/14/2009 at 07:06 PM

That was a helluva volley by Tsongas.

Mr. Rick and MA -- I get your point, but could be due to personality/attitude differences each project. If you read Fed's presser from today, he makes no bones that it was his intention to win Montreal. That's a little different than Serena snickering about Safina's wins.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:06 PM

Djoko's wearing power red.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 08/14/2009 at 07:06 PM

exactly best of 3 is for boys, best of 5 for real men :)

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 07:07 PM

I have to go to the shop,no not the Chemist shop

Back soon


Go Andy!!!!!

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 07:07 PM

Thanks for the presser, wilson75.

"It's obviously disappointing, but you know, that's what Jo does. He doesn't make a return for three hours, and then he puts in a few and then all of a sudden he gets back into the match.
I never should have allowed it, but it did happen so it's a pity."

Fed got that right. not sure which version will show up tomorrow.

the mighty collapse notwithstanding, Jo has now beaten "the fab 5" at least once. del potro is his poison with a 3-0 record over him.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:07 PM

AM: I'm dropping out of your fan club, now. Mummy should have taught you how to share holy water.

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 07:09 PM

mr rick - i don't think anyone's giving fed a pass. he 'should' have won this match.

on the other hand, noone's ready to hurl themselves off a cliff either. he lost in the quarters of his first tourney back. dudes got a lot going on right now, but until he stops consistently getting the later parts of non-slam tourneys, he's not in serena territory.

i also don't think fed for one minute doesn't want the masters titles. if nothing else, he wants the yr end ranking, and he aint gonna get that without some masters titles.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 08/14/2009 at 07:10 PM

Fed is very smart, amen to that comment, im ok with this, a hot big hitter whos frnakly far more likeable than Murray...

Posted by toonie 08/14/2009 at 07:10 PM

Randy is starting to grow on me and I find myself cheering for him unless 1. he's playing fed or 2. he starts abusing the linesmen/chair guy? (mind just went blank)

I don't like his shirt though, they always look like he's wearing his dad's clothes

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 07:11 PM

And here we go, as Nole and Roddick on my mute TV screen, due to the sheer stupidity of the commentator. Nole in red, and RAndy in dark blue or somethin' like that.
Nole will serve first

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:11 PM

"If you read Fed's presser from today, he makes no bones that it was his intention to win Montreal. That's a little different than Serena snickering about Safina's wins."

Yes, that too, but he also threw some hints about how it wasn't such a huge deal to lose. The fact that he has very few points to defend is also working in his favour right now.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:11 PM

I hate commercials, but I confess to tapping my feet during Roddick's promo.

Posted by Pspace (Lestat Time!) 08/14/2009 at 07:12 PM

'hopper, yeah, I enjoyed Fed's presser as well...gives a lot of credit to Jo. Color me surprised ;-).

Posted by Andrew 08/14/2009 at 07:12 PM

Azhdaja posts @ 6:54pm.

Andrew posts @ 6:54pm.

*crickets* ........... :-)

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:12 PM

Ha ha, toonie. Yeah, I don't know why Andy doesn't just do the simple t-shirt like Murray and Djoker. Those look more aerodynamic than the baggy sportshirt.

I can't believe Fed lost!?!?

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 07:12 PM

Program note to Rafa and Delpo fans - the Rafa match will be shown at 12:30 eastern tonight on ESPN2

Posted by Tfactor 08/14/2009 at 07:13 PM

We're under way both in Montreal and Cincy.

Sybille is serving 0-1

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:13 PM

Thanks, Karen!

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:14 PM

Andy seems calm. I like Nole's red shirt.

Oo. Deuce.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:14 PM

Come on, JJ. Let's see a return to your old form.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 07:15 PM

@carnap, you are most welcome.
I am having so much bad weather right now that my tv keeps going in and out. Quite annoying

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:16 PM

C'mon Andy!

Posted by Tfactor 08/14/2009 at 07:16 PM

Djoko holds and Jelena breaks for 2 love

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:16 PM

Hurricane season.

Posted by Master Ace 08/14/2009 at 07:16 PM

Read Roger's presser and he seems in good spirits and satisfied with his game. Just could not get a first serve in from 5-2 in the 3rd set. Off to Cincinnati, the Federers go.

Posted by toonie 08/14/2009 at 07:17 PM

I don't like the front of Nole's shirt looks kinda like he has a womens shirt on!?

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 07:17 PM

Nole holds to start the match, in a game that got to deuce. All kinds of points in that game, from aces to DFs, to points where Nole dominated with his FH, to others where it was Andy who did it, to a final point where Nole forced a FH error with some good use of the slice.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:17 PM

Does he have D cups, Toonie?

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:19 PM

Andy serving beautifully. 1-1, first set.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 07:19 PM

Brad just keeps admitting to on-court coaching.

Posted by toonie 08/14/2009 at 07:19 PM

carnap: You made me snort my drink out my nose!! And now my hubby and kids are giving me queer looks!!

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:19 PM

Roddck whipped that shirt off a table in a Scottish restaurant.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 07:20 PM

Andy holds at 30, winning 3 of the 4 points with unreturned serves. Nole better not bring the return game he had against Haas at Wimbledon. His FH seems to be working pretty well though. 1-1

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:20 PM

JJ up three love

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 08/14/2009 at 07:21 PM

Let don't put Fed on a pedestal, just like Serena he has made unkind remarks about his winning opponents. Remember the remarks about Canas and drugs after he loss to him twice. Nobody perfect Fed or Serena. Hot mess should take this in straights.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:21 PM

Great DTL forehand from Djoko, followed by a failed dropshot in the net. Ace. 3 already. Another one, then a forehand putaway for 2-1.

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 07:21 PM

Hey TW!!! Here to frazzle over Andy and get caught up on the Fed/Tsonga match today- I'm still in shock (as I can imagine many of you are!) but I am SO happy for JoJo!!!

Djoko looks like he came to play tonight, which doesn't surprise me at all. Is is too much to ask for Roddick to pull out another tough one?? I hope not!!!

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:22 PM

Arggh, Nole's serve looks really sharp and he's returning Roddick's well too.

I know, Whitney, I find it weird that BG keeps cheerily admitting to on-court coaching.
I guess it's just winked at.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 07:22 PM

Very solid game by Djoko to hold at 15 and go up 2-1. 2 FH winners and 2 aces. He did miss a BH slice attemp, which looked very bad. Maybe that shot still needs some more work.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:22 PM

At least Fed didn't threaten to "see" someone in the locker room during a match.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 07:22 PM

Oh yes, hurricane season. I think we are just having overcast conditions right now, but it does havoc with the dish. Makes watching tv quite miserable. Thank God for live streams

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:22 PM

I like Roddick's T-shirt, but I have atrocious taste...

Posted by Master Ace 08/14/2009 at 07:23 PM

Samantha Elin,
Agree with your post at 7:21 PM like I did Mr. Rick earlier about Roger and Serena getting criticized and praised.

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:23 PM

Hi linz, I'm here to frazzle too. Novak looks spooky-sharp.

Posted by Tfactor 08/14/2009 at 07:24 PM

Jelena to serve at 4 love.

Djoko serving and returning well so far.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:24 PM

Wow, great BH DTL winner from Djokovic. He definitely looks good. Roddick will need to serve at a high percentage.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:24 PM

JJ on a tear for this first set.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 07:24 PM

The thing is - Brad keeps admitting that he did it with everyone he's coached - and now he's not coaching anyone. Coincidence? I think not. hahaha

Posted by mcakron 08/14/2009 at 07:24 PM

"I don't like the front of Nole's shirt looks kinda like he has a womens shirt on!?"

Whereas Roddick's looks like something Tony Soprano might wear were he to hit the courts.

Posted by Master Ace 08/14/2009 at 07:24 PM

Samantha Elin,
I am about to watch Andy and Novak on my TV as Jelena ran off to another 4-0 lead but I do not think Sybille will rally to make it interesting. See TW at approx 9-10 PM

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:25 PM

IMHO Gilbert's an idjit. I'm glad Murray and the LTA dumped him.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:25 PM

Excellent rally for 15-15. Not the stop-start tennis of the first two QFs.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 07:26 PM

The JJ match is going the way we all knew it would. I wonder how many games Bammer will win this evening.

Posted by toonie 08/14/2009 at 07:26 PM

Don't mind the shirt just the size of it. Roddick has a very strange serving motion. Neat shoes though.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 07:26 PM

Hey Linz!

In the grand scheme of Roddick kits, this shirt isn't bad. Usually they are just white or black. At least this one's different looking.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:26 PM

Make that 5-0, MA

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:27 PM

Hey, Roddick's no slouch when it comes to back-court rallying either! Great pass for 2-2. Both guys have started confidently here.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:28 PM

I prefer an optical illusion shirt. From one direction, it has a picture of Fed...from the other, a picture of Rafa.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 07:28 PM

Andy holds at 15 to get to 2-2. Nole started the game with a very good BH winner, but netted a BH in the next point, that was a very long rally, and seemed to lose some energy, as he missed the next 2 returns. A BH passing from Roddick closed the game.

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 07:28 PM

holy crap - that was a beauty up the line there.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 07:29 PM

You take out Serena Williams and then you cannot even win a point on your second serve, and 3 points on your first serve. Bammer, you are disgrace to women's tennis.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:29 PM

Djokovic with a Federer-esque FH shank. 40-30.

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