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 carnap 08/14/2009 at 08:02 PM

Linex: Unfortunate comparison since I've heard some wags refer to Roddick as Dominick the Donkey. I'm not one of them!!!

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 08:02 PM

Oh clam up, Chris.

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 08:02 PM

babe , jb
i live in mexico and we do have espn 2 but i think its kind of a different one they are showin right now baseball and on espn they are showin golf since forever..soo im going to sbing ptffff.. and this guys call their channel the tennis home channel just ridiculous
anyway tahnks for askin g

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 08/14/2009 at 08:03 PM

Is it hot in Montreal or is Nole just that out of condition?

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 08:03 PM

Andy holds at love to get to 1-1. His serve appeared in the first 3 points of the game, and at 40-0, Nole just went for a wild FH and missed it by a lot.

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 08:03 PM

Djoka is so wimpy--so much talent--no heart.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 08:04 PM

I think Andy's confidence and execution levels on so many different shots have improved immensely. Federer needs to take a cue from him and improve similarly. I'm starting to come around to Andrew and co.'s suggestions for getting a coach.

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 08:05 PM

Oh, 2 bad lionheart. The Djoka is gettin it handed to him. Though it remains on serve in the second.

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

All the players are sweating, sblily...even Fed.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:05 PM

'evening folks.

I'm so impressed with Arod tonight. Never seen him play better. feeling bad for nole.

miss my computer so much. all thumbs on this thing.

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 08/14/2009 at 08:05 PM

We get it, commies. Nole's life sucks. All sharp objects should be kept away from him. Pffft.

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 08:05 PM

haha, thanks sblily- at least I admitted that I could be wrong =)

Come on Andy, please don't let Nole hang in here for too long...I don't know if my heart can take another 3 set dramafest!!!

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 08:06 PM

i think its hot sblilly - andy has been dripping since the first game, first set. fans are all still in tshirts, even though the sun isn't there. that's usually an indicator that its not cooled down yet.

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

OK, so Fed was sweating for another reason : )

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 08/14/2009 at 08:06 PM

Agree Carnap, I just have my ideal matchup that I want with the elite player and it always gets spoiled. Wouldn't it have been nice to see a Roger, Rafa battle and a JJ and Serena battle. Why should we have to wait for the slams. A lot of spoilers out there.

Posted by seaweed 08/14/2009 at 08:06 PM

hello, twibe. i might be jumping the gun a bit here, but you guys know where i could (possibly) stream Elf v Rafa?

Posted by Arun 08/14/2009 at 08:06 PM

why are kubot/marach evil, gh?

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

I am back

Andy won the 1st set,great to see

Keep it up.

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 08:06 PM

annie - where's your computer? and what are you on?

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

Thx carnap. This is the first tennis I've watched all week, and I couldn't gauge by the amount that Roddick was sweating becaue, well... :)

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

I think Andy let go a good opportunity in the first points of that last game, as it started 0-15, and Nole couldnt find his 1st serve. But Andy netted a makeable passing shot in the second point, and mishit a 2nd serve return. That gave Nole a 30-15 lead, and some confidence, as he served better in the next 2 points, and won them easily, closing with a FH winner. Nole up 2-1 in the 2nd set, Andy to serve.

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

tanhks guys for the updates :) youre doing a great job keep on:)

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

Why does Fed need a coach? He is doing fine w/o one. What happened today is just a sign of all that has occurred recently. He needs a little more time to adjust.

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

Robbie says the humidity is at 60% tonight.

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

Careful, RAndy.

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

OK guys, thanks!!, I was a little "confused" with the time
Then now I need the link please, thanks in advance!

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

This is what I was afraid of...Roddick's bound to have a few lulls in play, and Djoko is playing well...this isn't over yet.

Posted by sokol 08/14/2009 at 08:08 PM

what? Tsonga beat Federer? how? when I lift work he was 1-4... and I thought that he should retire...

off to read match calls to see how it happened...

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 08:09 PM

I think the match with Rafa will be tape delayed.
MA, do you know which match TC will be featuring tonight on their tape delayed show - idiots. Why cant we get a choice of whether we wish to watch men's or women's tennis.

Posted by mcakron 08/14/2009 at 08:09 PM

Yeah, Andy blew that BP first game second set. Worried it might come back to haunt him.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 08:09 PM

Gee Lars Graf is a Grump,no personality at all.

Posted by sokol 08/14/2009 at 08:09 PM

lift= left

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 08:09 PM

Arun, cos they took out a lot of seeds at this year's AO.

JJ gets broken for the 1st time in the 2nd set, but gets it back and is serving for it at 6-0 5-3. Ajde already!

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 08:10 PM

Nole just screamed at himself for hitting a FH long.

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 08:10 PM

finally this guys decided to show the match ya era hora arghh
again thakx alot for updates:)

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 08:11 PM

Great forehand

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 08/14/2009 at 08:11 PM

More of that, please, Nole. :)

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 08:11 PM

Douggie wants Andy to keep his shoulder turn in on his serve

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:11 PM

hi jb! my computer got corrupted and is at the geek squad for a few days so i'm using my
son's mac and it's so different! keyboard's different and can't figure out how to go from
site to site but desperately wanted to check in with the twibe while watching this match.

I also got on to tennistv and the stream is very slow but i'll be able to see rafa/elf at least.

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

Djokovic goes for too much on a forehand at 15-30 and misses long. Good patient play from Roddick. He is contesting the baseline rallies on an even keel with Djokovic. Even Federer in his current form would be hard-pressed to do that on this surface. Winner from Djokovic for deuce.

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 08:11 PM

Noooo...Come on Roddick, dig deep!!!

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 08:11 PM

Oh arghh. This is frazzling. Careful Andy.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 08:12 PM

Ahh theres the Nole of old,took the ball with a dlw.

Posted by sokol 08/14/2009 at 08:12 PM

when I came at work they showed Caro-Lena
I couldn't beleive they chose to show that match instead of Dina-Kim...
Did they show Dina's match later?

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 08:12 PM

RAndy--why venture to the net?

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 08:12 PM

so far 2 good fh by the djoker dtl and a bh error by randy cus djkojer great defense
and he hold

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 08:12 PM

Umm deep down in the back of my mind when I thought "I want a match" I didn't mean it!!

Nole breaks Andy.

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

Crap.

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 08:12 PM

OH NO!!!!!!!!!!! Roddick has GOT to be firing on his first serve or he has no hope.

Come on, break back!!

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

Djoko breaks.
Jelena wins it 6-0, 6-3

Posted by sokol 08/14/2009 at 08:13 PM

Come on, Novak!
Ajde!

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 08:13 PM

Sick passing shot by Nole.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 08:13 PM

Beautiful shot Novak,taking the ball early now.

Posted by Arun 08/14/2009 at 08:13 PM

ahh, ok.. looks like they defeated N/Z. :D and Fyrstowski.

crap - Roddick gets broken.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 08:13 PM

Well played by Djokovic to break, Andy made him earn that. Great CC BH pass there.

Is it me or is the level of play in HC tournaments invariably much better in the night-session matches?

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 08:13 PM

Cahill can always hear the broken strings. And Andy has another broken string.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:14 PM

Good for nole. gets the break to go up 3-1. boy, both these guys have suffered some tough close losses recently. hate to see either guy lose.

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

There's the problem of this match for Nole again. He starts the game well, with 2 winners, and then at 15-30 he is domiating the rally but sends a FH long out of nowhere. And follows netting another FH. That might have been more difficult as Roddick's slice was good.
But then, he turns back into his best mode and hits to consecutive FH winners to get himself a BP. And breaks when Andy's volley went long. Nole is up 3-1 in the 2nd set.
Andy didnt serve well at all in that last game. Apart from the fact that Nole is returning quite well, his serve is far from its best level.
And Nole starts the next game with a brilliant short CC passing shot!

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

I'm actually cheering for JJ that way we can get a big marquee matchup which I love. JJ seems to be getting her act together. She should beat a player like Bammer so I'm looking at the Vika match to see where she's at, her first top ten win. Very impressive and she beat her in two sets. She seems to be doing very well. Poor Ana.

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

another good fh god a have forgot how good djokos fh is he really neeed to use it more

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 08:15 PM

Tsonga watching from the player's restaurant.

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

I don't see either guy going away at any stage. This should be a very close match.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 08:16 PM

Yes Roddick broke a string

Gee different to the Gut strings I used to play with,once broken thats it,New strings sometimes you can play one or two shots.

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 08/14/2009 at 08:16 PM

*wades into shallow end of the pool* Nole looks lovely in that shade of red.

Tsonga tsighting! :)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:16 PM

OMG, JoWilly won today? did i hear that right? when i checked fed was up in the 3rd.

Posted by rafadoc 08/14/2009 at 08:17 PM

Hi Annie on a mac! I predict you may end up liking the dang thing. :)

GLAD ESPN figured out they should play the other quarterfinal. It will be tape delayed but, hey, at least they recognize the fact that people want to see the Rafa v. Juan match too.

Nole tells Andy to use a challenge. Way to go Nole! That is cool.

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 08:17 PM

BG really is an idiot.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 08:17 PM

Aww Nole told Andy to challenge that game point - and Andy did. And won it.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 08:17 PM

God there are some dead ***** in the crowd at times,like sit down you idoit.

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 08/14/2009 at 08:17 PM

JJ wins 6-0,6-3, no surprise but congrats to her.

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 08:17 PM

Aaaw, that's sweet of Nole...I think their fued has been blown way out of proportion. He gets lots of points in my book for that.

WHAT A POINT!!!!!

Come on Andy!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 08:17 PM

Oh my god, a beautiful volley from Andy.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:17 PM

Wow. Nole tells Andy to use a challenge and it's good!!! Flove him.

what a point!!!!

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 08:18 PM

Sit down, you. Great challenge from Roddick. WHAT A POINT! It's tremendous from both guys and back to deuce.

Posted by seaweed 08/14/2009 at 08:18 PM

BG really is an idiot.

yes. does he ever shut up?

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 08:18 PM

Nole might regret that actually. Deuce.

Posted by rafadoc 08/14/2009 at 08:18 PM

Annie: Yep. Jo Willy won after looking like he was going to lose the 3rd set 6-1. It went to a TB. Hope he beats Muzz tomorrow. :)

Posted by TennisTarkheena 08/14/2009 at 08:18 PM

incredible sportsmanship from Nole there. He continues to grow on me :) Awesome play by Roddick!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 08:18 PM

Andy the Drop Shot??? lol!

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 08:18 PM

Agree -- very big of Nole! What a guy.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 08/14/2009 at 08:19 PM

Djoker will regret that little move, never seen Andy hit his groundies soo well and have such good touch ...

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 08/14/2009 at 08:19 PM

Oy.

Nole, Nole, Nole. :(

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 08:19 PM

whoohoo! some great play by RAndy here!

annie - condolences on the computer, and the mac!

wow. wow. wow. YEAH ANDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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

"Aww Nole told Andy to challenge that game point - and Andy did. And won it."

Very, very nice of Djokovic. This is a superb match both in quality and sportsmanship. Roddick breaks serve with outstanding play.

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 08:19 PM

i think we had a match
great defense by randy and really good fh by djoko ...awe point by randy i think this guys are playin really well esp djko but tha as a really good net play by randy.now randy turns into federer great fh slice and is duece.missed bh and randy breaks djokos serve

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 08:20 PM

Wow man. Nole's sportsmanship cost him the game. I said BG was an idiot because he couldn't even seem to acknowledge what a great gesture that was from Nole.

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 08:20 PM

Wow--I thought that might happen.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 08:20 PM

Umm yeah.. thanks Nole.

Yeah I think that whole "no love lost" thing is so overblown. All they have to go on is what happened at the US Open right? I doubt these guys are still holding on to that.

Posted by mcakron 08/14/2009 at 08:20 PM

And Montreal keeps getting stranger ...

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 08:20 PM

That's the way to do it. Way to go, Nole. Pfft.

SB is playing tricks on me.
http://i29.tinypic.com/muij42.jpg

Posted by lottis 08/14/2009 at 08:20 PM

I had hoped that Nole would be allowed some sort of luck and hold serve after being kind enough to tell Andy to challenge. Instead Andy plays 2 great points and then Nole hit’s a ball in the net on bp.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 08:20 PM

Good job Andy to get back on serve

I still cant believe the way you volley now and read the play at the net

Well done Larry.

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

Great sportsmanship by Nole in that last point. He has been given the game, but he adviced Roddick to challenge, and the ball proved to be in. He can be a great guy, whe he wants to.
However, that may cost him in this case, as Roddick plays a brilliant point, closing at the net, to get to deuce.
And now gets a BP with a great FH slice. Nole thought it was gonna be a DS, but it went deep, and wrong-footed him. And now Andy breaks right back as Nole nets a BH. Even though that sign of sportsmanship may have been bad for him in the end, i think Nole deserves huge props for it. I'm not sure every player would have done that.
Andy to serve, down 3-2.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:20 PM

rafadoc: huh? when is espn showing rafa/elf? late tonight? and did jo willy win? sorry
for all the questions, i'm trying to get caught up. (no, don't like the mac keyboard)

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 08/14/2009 at 08:21 PM

In keeping with tonight's theme, I half expect the commies to spend the next 10 minutes blathering about how that gesture from Nole as further proof that Nole has lost his will to live.

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

WOW!!!!!! Roddick breaks back, thanks to some good play AND Nole's sportsmanship. He better take advantage and stay focussed this set. FIRST SERVES!!!

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 08:21 PM

Annie, are you not watching on TV? I thought you were on the east coast of US? Congrats on getting your computer working, in any case!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:21 PM

Nole is a real mensch. flove him.

Posted by rafadoc 08/14/2009 at 08:22 PM

Meh. I don't think it is ever wrong to be a good sport. Karma and all that.

Fun match to watch.

AM: Andy is a different guy out there this year.

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 08:22 PM

& stranger & stranger.

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