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 Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:29 PM

Roddick seems frustrated he can't return Nole's serve better. He just bashed those returns.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 08/14/2009 at 07:30 PM

Karen, this is why I didn't want to see Bammer win, we could be watching a repeat of the great final that JJ and Serena gave us at the opening last year. 90% of her points came from Serena's errors, she hit 9 winners.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:30 PM

Bagel time

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:30 PM

I'm so sick of this Howie Mandel ad.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 07:30 PM

Nole is serving well so far, and he holds again at 30 to go up 3-2. There were 3 unreturned serves in that last game, and a good lob that just hit the line. It looked to me like it could have been a little lucky, but anyway.

Posted by Tfactor 08/14/2009 at 07:30 PM

And 6-0 it is for Jelena in the first set.

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 07:31 PM

"Hey, how about some lurve for Jo ?!?!?! Too much to ask, atm :-). He just took down the monster!!! Yaba daba dooo!!! First set was awesome all the way. And, he never lost a point on his serve in either TB. Clutch baby."

Amen, Pspace. Love the Fed but he can't win em all & if he has to lose let it be to Tsonga--IMO. Take it all the way Jo-Willy!

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 07:31 PM

Team EVIL is either playing like crap or the Bryans are too hot for anyone today. 6-0, winning 2/3rd of the points.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 08/14/2009 at 07:31 PM

When JJ was at her best she rarely made errors very sound on both side. Bammer needs a big assist to beat a top player because she doesn't have a serve or a weapon.

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:32 PM

Who is Bammer?

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 07:32 PM

i was about to go on that train babe, but then i forgot i need to root for RAndy FTW!

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:32 PM

Yes, Jo-Willy for the tournament win, please! Though his current level doesn't look steady enough to me. I'd love to be proven wrong though.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:33 PM

Samantha: Bammer's H2H vs Serena is 2-0. Was it luck or talent?

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:33 PM

Murray FTW

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 07:34 PM

Hey Whitney and Kristy!!

Both guys look pretty sharp so far, looks like it's going to be a good match...which means more frazzle, haha.

I'm not a huge fan of the "tablecloth shirt" as gaul called it (I think). I like it in white better than black though. But it's definitely not the worst I've seen (though I wish he didn't have a navy hat on with a black shirt...Brooklyn should get him to change that!!!)

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 07:34 PM

Andy holds at to get to 3-3. After a long return and a long FH from Nole to start the game, he had a clear advantage, and made good use of it, with a FH winner and a great swing volley, in spite of making a DF

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 07:34 PM

BEAUTIFUL shot by Andy!!!!!!!!!

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:35 PM

Wow, he gets the overhead back into the open court. Andy is playing very well.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 08/14/2009 at 07:36 PM

Karen, Bammer didn't take Serena out, Serena with44 UE took herself out. I watched that match, Bammer hit a total of 9 winners and got the ball back while Serena exploded on the court. Here is Bammer's record, lost first round in the AO, second round in FO and first round of Wimbldon.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:37 PM

So it was luck?

Posted by Sunshine Breeze' 08/14/2009 at 07:37 PM

Carnap,it was luck=P hehe

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:37 PM

linz, I agree about the shirt -- not too bad. mckacron's line was good about Tony Soprano.

This is going to be awesome! They're both playing lights out.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:37 PM

Bammer on the board at long last

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 07:38 PM

"I wish he didn't have a navy hat on with a black shirt."

Oh is it black? Even worse.. I thought it was two different colors of blue.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:38 PM

WOO HOO Roddick

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:39 PM

Yess!!!!! Andy breaks.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 07:39 PM

Roddick breaks with a nice running FH winner.

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 07:39 PM

holy crap that was a GREAT shot to break. nole no chance on that one. nole's going to kick himself for that..

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 07:39 PM

WOW!!!! Roddick hits an AWESOME shot to break first!!!!

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 07:39 PM

Was that Andy - who hit that winning forehand on break point. OMG

Posted by mcakron 08/14/2009 at 07:39 PM

Heckuva pass by Roddick for the break. Now let's consolidate.

Posted by lottis 08/14/2009 at 07:39 PM

That was a nice way to get the break by Andy. If he wins the first set, I’ll cheer for him but I do rather what Nole to win.

Posted by Pspace (Lestat Time!) 08/14/2009 at 07:40 PM

The Chronicles of Riddick continue.

Jeez, sweet passer!

Posted by crazyone 08/14/2009 at 07:40 PM

what a ridiculously good passing shot from A-Rod!

and it seems like Ferd totally made an appearance today. Congrats to Jowili.

Excusez moi?

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 07:40 PM

And Roddick breaks to go up 4-3, after a brilliant FH passing. He sure has gotten faster in this season. That was Lestat-like.
Nole didnt get any cheap points with his serve in that game, as he had done in all the previous ones, and he was just too irregular. Played a couple of good points, but also hit an OH to the side where Roddick was waiting and got passed, and made 2 UFEs: a FH and a BH slice that went long.

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 07:40 PM

cincy link?

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 07:41 PM

Know what--don't bother I've had my fill of those rotten matches.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 08/14/2009 at 07:41 PM

I'm well aware of that fact Carnap, but I also know what Bammer's record is in the majors and I have seen her play many times. And for that reason I said JJ would take her out in two easy sets. Clearly when you give a player 44UE, you're providing a HUGE assist in the match.

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 08/14/2009 at 07:42 PM

Pffft. I get home just in time to see Nole broken. Come ON Nole!

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 07:42 PM

I was SURE that Roddick's shirt was black until you guys started questioning it...I mean, I've been wrong before =)

COME ON ANDY, CONSOLIDATE THE BREAK!!!!!!!!

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 07:43 PM

uhoh..... BP Djokovic.....

*holds breath*

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 07:43 PM

Can someone please tell BG to Shut the F^ Up! Must he always talk?

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:43 PM

Oh nooo. Andy missed that dropper. break point.

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 07:43 PM

You keep dropping these short and feed his forehands, Nole. You can go home soon.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 07:44 PM

Don't know if its the marriage or new coach or both, but Andy has calmed the hail down in the past year.

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:44 PM

No linz, the shirt IS black -- the hat is blue. The color doesn't bother me but I wish he didn't always wear a hat.

Yay!! Andy leads 5 - 3.

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 07:45 PM

Yeo--Roddick believes more.

Posted by Jake 08/14/2009 at 07:45 PM

Roger out, RAndy all the way!

Yay - I'm glued to my teletube, amazing the point RAndy won to break the Djoker to go up 4-3 (and now 5-3!)

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 08/14/2009 at 07:45 PM

Hey linz - Definitely looks navy to me.

Poor BG - He is clearly still traumatized from all those times Muzz used to berate him during matches.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 07:46 PM

Yes. Gilbert always talks. Unless he's courtside - where he still talks, but not as much. Put Cahill back in the booth!

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 07:46 PM

Andy holds after saving a BP,closing the game with an ace, and goes up 5-3. I think Nole should have done more in that game, as Andy didnt really hurt him much with his serve, except in 2 crucial points: the BP and the last one. But Nole didnt get a distinct advantage from the points that were neutral rallies, as he should in my opinion.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:46 PM

Babe: It's not just that he can't STFU, it's all drivel.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 07:47 PM

"Poor BG - He is clearly still traumatized from all those times Muzz used to berate him during matches."

sblily - that used to be my favorite part of Muzz's matches.

Posted by Ruth 08/14/2009 at 07:47 PM

Thank you, Mr. Rick, for your 6:57. I was just chuckling at how the Slams were OK as the only important things for Fed to one or two of the same posters who blasted Serena because, in their view, she felt that way. Well, I guess she has only 11 Slam titles. LOL

I am also glad that Roger said that he came to WIN the tourney, not to just get a few matches under his belt, as some are claiming that he did.

I think that Roger is serious about achieving his third and last goal for the year, ending 2009 as the #1 player. And tanking a quarterfinal MS match does not make sense in that scenario -- especially when you've brought your wife and very young daughters all the way to Canada for the tourney (which some KAD hilariously dubbed a "two-bit" tourney).

"He didn't look injured to me." Got another smile from this line from the presser. Dr. Federer strikes again!!! :) Reminds me of some comments Roger made after a match with Rafa in which Rafa was clearly injured.

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 07:47 PM

Amen--Whitney. My ears are burning. No wonder he keeps getting fired--can't keep it zipped for any length of time.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 07:48 PM

And now he's down a break, Nole goes back to playing solid serve games and getting several easy points with his serve, with some aces included. It might be too late, though. Roddick is up 5-4 and will serve for the 1st set next.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:48 PM

Imagine the horror of Gilbert and Gimelslob doing commentary in the same booth. Somebody pass me a gun; I'd want to "do an Elvis" on my TV.

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 07:49 PM

wow. andy owes that netcord a GE!

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 07:49 PM

Hey sblily!!! Well, he usually has a very basic black and white kit for the summer, so navy would be a departure....

And Whitney, I totally agree- as cheesy as it sounds, he seems to have really found his "center".

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 07:49 PM

I think Roger lost his concentration & just couldn't get it back. In his mind he was already in the locker room--he forgot the dangerous bull-dozer across the net. It happens!

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 07:50 PM

Holy mother of god WTF ? happen to federer i left tw and he was 5-1 up in the 3 yes 5-1 up!!!!!!! and lost the match is that seriuos or im dreamin woowwww just completly shock

arggh and for my luck espn latinamrica is still showin golf !!!!! WTF like 5 hour sof golf when a great match is on arghhhh

what a afternnon
at least flavia won still waht a ¡n afternoon

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:50 PM

Come on Andy. Don't let up!

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 07:51 PM

"Imagine the horror of Gilbert and Gimelslob doing commentary in the same booth. Somebody pass me a gun; I'd want to "do an Elvis" on my TV."


carnap please, I just had dinner.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 07:51 PM

Some players play their whole lives unfortunately just to say that they beat a Williams. Sounds obnoxious but it is so true. Novak is huffing and puffing out there. He is sucking air big time

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 07:51 PM

Oh man, I held my breath that point...

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 07:51 PM

Wow--good on ya, RAndy.

Posted by Ruth 08/14/2009 at 07:53 PM

I'd root for Nole if he were playing anyone but RAndy today. Sorry, Nole. :(

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 07:53 PM

well that was quick, nice efficient set there.

Posted by lollipop 08/14/2009 at 07:53 PM

well-- not surprised. this is gonna be a straight set drubbing im afraid.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:54 PM

Wow, I wake up from my nap to find Roddick takes the first set. C'mon Andy!

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 07:54 PM

Andy holds at 30 and wins the 1st set, 6-4. I felt that Nole was unlucky in that game, as the netcord screwed him out of the 1st point, that he had completely dominated. Still, he got to 30 all, playing 2 good rallies, but when he had the chances to get a BP, he sent a FH way long. And then missed the next return and the set was over.
I dont feel Andy has been superior in this set. He hasnt even won more easy points with his serve, if i'm not wrong, but Nole has made some ill-timed errors and wrong decissions in important points that cost him the set. Still much tennis to play in my opinion.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:54 PM

Looks like Bammer shut off the Propofil IV

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 08/14/2009 at 07:54 PM

Agree Karen, what you see in this match against JJ is what you typically see from Bammer.

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 07:54 PM

Roddick takes the first set! Don't let up....

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 07:54 PM

"Babe: It's not just that he can't STFU, it's all drivel."

Plus he can't pronounce anything.

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:54 PM

Wow, are Nadal and Del Potro up after this? That would be neat.

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 07:55 PM

does anybody has a stream for randy .djoko match ? please
espn guys suckin big time arghhhh

Posted by mcakron 08/14/2009 at 07:55 PM

Mr X -- yeah, but part of being superior is not making UFEs.

Posted by Sunshine Breeze' 08/14/2009 at 07:55 PM

Cayman Karen,I agree with your comment about players and the Williams,its like to beat them is the pinnacle of their careers.If I were them(Williams),id take it as a compliment;)

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 07:56 PM

shhh, Brad, DON'T JINX IT!!! I will NEVER forgive JMac (I think that's who it was..) giving Roddick the TB against Djoker in the 4th set of the USOpen, and Roddick quickly threw in two DFs and lost the match. *shudders*

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 07:56 PM

It's on the duece, lionheart. Can't u get it where u are?

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 07:56 PM

wow - did any just make that backhand return winner?!

you don't get espn2 lionheart? that's where we have it...

and kristy - yep! rafa and the elf up next! though we've got a lot of tennis to go here.

Posted by Joe (Rafa's fifth RG crown in 10) 08/14/2009 at 07:56 PM

My question is, is Rafa going to play live at 12:30 am or playing right after Nole but they are going to show it in SPN2 at that time?

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:57 PM

Samantha: It is a compliment...big one, too.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 07:57 PM

Yeah it's annoying that Jelbair won't even try to pronounce names correctly. Although I will admit that I laughed when Cahill made him say Ferrer. Because he says it "Ferrerrerrerr" No shame in my game.

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 07:58 PM

linz--Roddick lost that match b/4 they stepped on the court. Roddick's mouthing off prior did not help. It empowered Djoka--though everything Roddick said was true & funny as hell. But that was not the time to say it.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 07:58 PM

Joe: It's ESPN; it will be taped.

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:58 PM

thanks jb!

Wow, Andy just did the craziest volley!

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 07:58 PM

WOW, great point from Andy. He's dialed in. An early break here would be nice...COME ON!!!

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 07:59 PM

Ugh Cahill can we NOT mention Rod/Kohlscriber AO? I've burned that match from my brain.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 07:59 PM

Joe,
Rafa plays right after this match.

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 07:59 PM

By the way, I agree we have a lot of tennis to play. Nole is so talented -- he can find a groove.

Posted by linex 08/14/2009 at 07:59 PM

In my view it is ilogical to make a parallelism between Serena´s and Roger´s performance since the latter lost on the quarterfinal stage to a top 8 player in three sets. While Serena lost to a much lowered ranked opponent at an earlier stage than Roger and in straight sets ...

Surprised that Espn Latin America is not showing Andy Nole live, instead they are showing the PGA Golf tournament ...

Anyway here I am with tennis Tv. The commentator says Andy is like seabiscuit the horse since he is a great frontrunner.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 07:59 PM

Andy playing some beautiful tennis here. Djokovic hangs in to save the breakpoint. Good match.

Posted by toonie 08/14/2009 at 08:00 PM

I think roddick's shirt has some green in it!

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 08:00 PM

Yea Whitney that was funny. I must admit, BG's problems are not as irritating as when PMac says COASTA..what is so tough about the name Costa?

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 08:00 PM

oh - sorry... rafa / elf will play right after, but espn2 wont show it until after midnite. wankers.

i'll stream it.

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 08/14/2009 at 08:01 PM

linz - Navy. :) http://tinyurl.com/nokwyv

Nole is killing me. He looks so...I don't know, jaded.

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 08:01 PM

it does have green trip around the collar toonie. i think its sharp... when its not dripping wet. :)

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 08:01 PM

Nole holds to start the second set, saving a BP when Andy's FH went long. I think that was a very important game for Nole, as he couldnt get a first serve in, but still managed to hold. I feared he was gonna get broken to start the set. To his credit, he played some good FHs in that game. Brilliant point won by RAndy to ge to deuce with some nice touch at the net

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