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

Overflow


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

LOL sblily

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 08/14/2009 at 08:23 PM

Novak is shattered from all the losses in the last year, his fight is caput, that Rafa match was the last straw he hasnt played decently since...

Posted by Flyer 08/14/2009 at 08:23 PM

Gotta give it up to Djokovic - a real gentlemanly gesture there - the old school type.

Props - boy growing into an interesting man.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 08:23 PM

While the sportsmanship from Nole deserves all the compliments it's getting, good that Andy was not robbed there thanks to Hawkeye. It would have left a bad taste. 3-3 now, and this set is up for grabs.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 08:23 PM

And now Andy holds at love to get to 3-3. Again, Nole could have done more in the first 2 points, playing with Andy's 2nd serve and returning well. He didnt, and at 30-0 Andy's big serve appeared and the game was over

Posted by mcakron 08/14/2009 at 08:23 PM

"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."

Kinda agree. Some guys who start out on the wrong foot can make peace afterward and move on. A lot of it can be media hype.

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 08:24 PM

easy hold by randy after good first serves .
now bh winner by novak folowed by a error cmon dude use that fh dtl tha was being effective

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

If it's one thing I love about Nole it's his handshakes at the net. Always generous and never gives opponents the cold shoulder.. always hugs or says something nice.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:24 PM

hey Kristy my fellow rocket fan. i'm on my son's mac and struggling a bit but it's better than nothing! i've got the match on tv and it's great. are they going to show rafa/elf too?'i'm in NY btw, where are you?

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 08:25 PM

Actually Novak always shows good sportsmanship,also gives his opponent the nod when he does a good shot.

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

Djokovic is letting Andy into his service game at a dangerous time, making a few errors. Ace now.

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 08:26 PM

Why is talking to himself after an ace?
In fact Nole has out-aced Roddick, but doesn't look like he's ready to win this match. oooh spectacular forehand flub.

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

Got to hand it to Nole for sportsmanship, there! Well done!

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 08:26 PM

Bad miss from the Djoker on that FH. If Andy breaks serve here, it will he hard to see Novak coming back.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 08:26 PM

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh why did you over play that shot,you had all the time in the world,mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 08:27 PM

*gracious* not generous. Ugh I've been out of school for summer - lost all my writing skills.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Winner of Wimbledon Suicide Pool) 08/14/2009 at 08:27 PM

Hiya all

WTH Roger lost, oh just great. I would like Nole to win this match. I need to go and check scores.

I also am a bit fuzzy head this morning due to much red wine last night.

Posted by rafadoc 08/14/2009 at 08:27 PM

AM: Yep. Nole also often applauds other players great shots. I really like that about him.

Can't wait for him and Rafa to play dubs...it is a sin that it won't be televised.

Nole throws in a double. Settle down Nole-you are still in this.

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 08:28 PM

ok novak please hold your serve here man .im insist use th fh dtl

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 08:28 PM

Thats the way Nole much better you opened up the court

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 08:28 PM

Great hold from Djokovic after a few nerves and unforced errors.

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 08/14/2009 at 08:29 PM

Whitney - Yes! re: Nole hugs. Flove them. He usually does the full-on, belly-to-belly little boy -type hug. It always makes me smile, esp. when the opponent was clearly only expecting a 'man hug' and is taken aback by Nole's, errr, enthusiasm.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 08:29 PM

I feel none of these guy's serves, specially Roddick's (only 2 aces so far), are working all that well in this match, which is allowing us to watch a very good and entertaining match.
Nole holds to go up 4-3, in spite of seemingly wanting to get broken at times, as he missed an easy FH with the court open when he had his first chance to win the game and made a DF in the second. However, he took the 3rd, with a solid rally dominating Roddick and moving him from side to side.

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

Hey Annie, solid RAndy love. I think he's gonna do it, but no counting chickens, certainly not after Fed-Tsonga.

I'm in NY too -- in Brooklyn. I'm new to watching and commenting at the same time -- I usually just read the comments! It's kinda hard doing both.

Apparently ESPN isn't showing Rafa-Elf live -- they won't show it till after midnight. Boo.

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

Nole, JJ started the Serbian Surge. You need to step up to the plate.

Posted by Flyer 08/14/2009 at 08:30 PM

Phew - I'm caught in a hard rocky unfamiliar place:

I'm now rooting for Roddick & Djokovic to win.

Ehhh - who said sports makes sense??

Rogi lost weirdly - and now I'm lost without a real horse in this race.

GO Andy

GO Nole

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:31 PM

Nole really should be inspired by roddick as an example of a great player who was always overshadowed by better players but has re-emerged and never gave up. horrible run on sentence there. sorry. but nole feels like he was 'born at the wrong time' according to the coms. He's GOT to get over that.

okay, so now i've got the tv schedule. Nadal/delpo on tape tomorrow at 12:30 tw time.

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

Finally some useful info from le clown.

Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 08:32 PM

I'm in Brooklyn too Kristy!!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:32 PM

espn coms trying to figure out "who" made the call to show the nadal/delpo match!

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

Andy looking steady on his service games, though it doesn't take long for things to change...

Posted by rafadoc 08/14/2009 at 08:32 PM

Kristy-you are right-Rafa v. Elf will be tape delayed BUT-this is progress. They were not even going to show that match and -I have no idea what happened-they thought better of it.

The commies keep joking that one of them made "the phone call" to get that done. I really would be interested to know more about it though.

Posted by Flyer 08/14/2009 at 08:32 PM

Hey Kristy - seems a few NYC area people on tonight.

Jersey here - within spittin' distance of the GW.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 08:32 PM

Ok Nole this is Crunch time

4 games all

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Winner of Wimbledon Suicide Pool) 08/14/2009 at 08:33 PM

Yay all my favs in Cincy have won, especially happy for Flavia and Dinara.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 08:33 PM

Andy holds at 15 without much problem. This time he hit better serves overall, and the game wasnt as spectacular as others. I'm sure he's pretty happy with the way this one went though:)
Nole to serve at 4-4.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 08:33 PM

Yeah Brad kept saying Fowler did it earlier in the match as well. To which Fowler changed the subject. Interesting.

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 08:34 PM

Annie Djokovic is a wimp. He's too busy crying in his milk.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 08:34 PM

Wowser transision game from Andy there and puts the volley away.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 08:34 PM

Nice point construction and hitting from the baseline by Roddick. He seems to love the rhythm that Nole gives him from the baseline.

Posted by rafadoc 08/14/2009 at 08:34 PM

Andy moving into the court and playing at the net? Gilbert admits he was skeptical Andy could add that to his game...admits he was wrong. That is something. :)

Posted by rafadoc 08/14/2009 at 08:35 PM

...which says something about having the right coach, no?

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 08:35 PM

Did what, Whitney?

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 08:36 PM

Hey Flyer and linz! linz, where in Brooklyn? I'm in Cobble Hill.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:36 PM

Kristy, you definitely miss some of the play when you post at the same time. something Master Ace never does! but i can't help myself. But when i stream rafa later i wont be posting 'cus i can't figure out how to do it on this laptop.

Posted by mcakron 08/14/2009 at 08:36 PM

Fun match to watch. I love tennis under the lights.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 08:36 PM

"I'm in Brooklyn too"
I was gonna make a joke with this statement concerning Mrs. Roddick, but i'll refrain from it:)

Pretty easy hold from Nole to go up 5-4, closing with a good FH CC winner, even though it slightly touched the net.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 08:36 PM

Babe - Brad was teasing FOwler about making a call to get Rafa/Delpo on ESPN tonight. He said Fowler had some pull. And Fowler said no and changed the subject. That was when the match first started.

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 08:37 PM

I cringe everytime Nole his a backhand. His follow-through has gotten weird, it's a miracle it even crosses the net.

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 08:37 PM

and nole is playin good by the standars he had been showinn recently
cmon man brek andy here i want i 3 set

Posted by Aube 08/14/2009 at 08:37 PM

Could anybody please explain to me how Serena Williams lost to Sybille Bammer?,with all due respect Serena,I love you very much but this is not someone you should loose twice to.I understood the first one in Hobart in 2005,you had some issues of fitness and not feeling very match tenacious but please yesterday,c'monnn!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Winner of Wimbledon Suicide Pool) 08/14/2009 at 08:37 PM

Kristy I have been doing this for a while now and I still can't get the hang of it, my only saving grace is that I can touch type.

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 08:38 PM

mr x - i just spit out some of my newly mixed martini! shame on you :)))))))))

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 08:38 PM

Huh? Roddick must hold serve to stay in the second set? I've missed something.

See, I knew it was too confusing to post comments and watch at the same time. How do y'all do it?

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 08:38 PM

"Fun match to watch. I love tennis under the lights."

Yeah, the quality of HC tennis always goes up at night. Maybe that's why indoors tennis is always fun to watch.

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

Mr. X: Heh!!

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

You have to post when players go to the towel. lol I'll admit I'm out of practice. I used to match call point by point and not miss a thing.

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

"Babe - Brad was teasing FOwler about making a call to get Rafa/Delpo on ESPN tonight. He said Fowler had some pull. And Fowler said no and changed the subject. That was when the match first started."

I C!

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 08:40 PM

oh jeez...Nole in a Speedo

Posted by rafadoc 08/14/2009 at 08:40 PM

OMG. Hee-they show Nole's strip tease-which I flove!!

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 08:40 PM

LOL, good one, Mr. X, though you better pray that Mr. Andy Roddick doesn't read this site (yeah, right.)..

5-5, crunch time coming up in this set. Andy looks the steadier player.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 08:40 PM

at least it wasn't baggy

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 08:40 PM

Ha ha, Mr X. I was thinking that every time I typed "Brooklyn." As a Roddick fanatic I of course think about Brooklyn D. a lot! (dumb as that sounds)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:40 PM

rafadoc: hee hee, we always post about the same stuff...like the way you think, girl :)

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

And Andy holds at 15, after an error-filled game. The only point that didnt end with an error was an unreturnable serve from Andy. 5-5, Nole to serve. Dont screw up here, man.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Winner of Wimbledon Suicide Pool) 08/14/2009 at 08:41 PM

Great move up to the net by Nole to put the volley away.

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

Nole--woooohoooo. Strut it when you're on the court pal.

Posted by rafadoc 08/14/2009 at 08:41 PM

^^ if you got it, flaunt it, I say. Of course, the commies joke Nole should bring that kind of confidence to the tennis court. Buzz kill.

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:41 PM

flyer: i love both these guys. le sigh.

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

Fowler is so mean 2 BG.

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 08:42 PM

again tha fh dtl
cmon novak wint his set

Posted by Babe 08/14/2009 at 08:42 PM

I wish we had Fowler at NBC Whitney--in place of that ass kissing dope, Ted Robinson.

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 08:43 PM

mhm. i'm listening to the commies on tennistv. works like a charm! :)

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 08:43 PM

C'mon Andy, take it to a TB where you'll be a favourite.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 08:43 PM

Ted "The Factoid Farmer" Robinson with the goo goo googley eyes.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 08:43 PM

Yeah Babe I do like Fowler's snarkiness re: Brad.

Example:
"You ever do any modeling like that Brad? Wait no, talk about a way to clear the room." (paraphrasing)

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:43 PM

Babe: that topic about fowler and BG came up at wimby and i believe pete said that they were actually sharing an apt. at wimby and are in fact friends.

Posted by rafadoc 08/14/2009 at 08:44 PM

Babe: Heehee. And I like that he is mean to Brad. He can take it. lol


Posted by linz 08/14/2009 at 08:44 PM

LOL Mr. X!!!

I'm in Bushwick Kristy.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 08:44 PM

VC,
That's why i actually refrained from making the joke. Meh, i could take him (if i had a baseball bat and he had another one-made of gum:)

Nole holds at 15 playing a very solid serve game, serving well, hitting winners from the ground, and closing some points at the net. Nole is 6-5 up. RAndy will serve next to force a TB, where he is very dangerous. Come on, Nole!

Posted by mcakron 08/14/2009 at 08:44 PM

Fowler's the best. Fast working his way toward GOAT status.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 08:45 PM

nice droppah!

Posted by rafadoc 08/14/2009 at 08:45 PM

I FLOVE Andy's service motion.

Nice net play by Nole (well, by a thread)

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

"Yeah Babe I do like Fowler's snarkiness re: Brad.

Example:
"You ever do any modeling like that Brad? Wait no, talk about a way to clear the room." (paraphrasing)"


Yes, I was howling at that. He treats BG like the dumb step-child.

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 08:45 PM

Nice one, babe.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 08:45 PM

Lovely touch on the half-volley from Djokovic. This might be where he pounces. Apology for the net-cord, nice to see. 0-30 now.

Posted by rafadoc 08/14/2009 at 08:45 PM

Ahem. Karma coming back to Nole :)

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

Oh men, it crawled over. I wouldn't mind a 3 setter.

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 08:46 PM

and novak gest a little lucky here

Posted by toonie 08/14/2009 at 08:46 PM

Watching TSN2 in Canada, no snarkiness between or amongst commies.
little to no talking during points,
lots of oohhss and ahhhs lucky nole

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

I used to couldn't stand Fowler. Can't remember why. But he makes fun of Brad and that makes me laugh. Even if they are friends - still funny.

Wonder how Jmac will do with the ESPN team at the USO. They all like to talk.. Jmac might have his work cut out for him trying to get a word in if he comments with Brad.

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

If Fowler was at NBC we might have seen some historic matches. Heck, we might have seen some matches period.

Posted by sblily (Meh > Wheeeeeeeee!!!/Vamos Maymo!) 08/14/2009 at 08:47 PM

*floves smiley Nole*

Posted by Flyer 08/14/2009 at 08:47 PM

Have no "feel" how this set will play out.

Come on Guys

Roddick - win your points

Djokovic - win yours!

Net cord - stop interferring you bad boy....

Posted by Tfactor 08/14/2009 at 08:47 PM

Fowler's the best. Fast working his way toward GOAT status"

I must be living in a paralell universe!

It's TB time

Posted by Kristy 08/14/2009 at 08:47 PM

Ahoy linz. Have you found any bars to watch tennis in?

Yay, tiebreak!

Posted by Annie (Vamos Heavenly Creature) 08/14/2009 at 08:48 PM

boy this crowd is getting some good tenny tonight. this is just the warm up match.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 08:48 PM

The famous Andy Roddick serve makes a timely appearance! But Nole was a touch unlucky on that volley hitting the tape and bouncing on his side. It would have given him set-point, instead it's game-point and Andy serves an ace.

TB time!

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

Well, karma tried to award Nole for his good sportsmanship, as he started the game with 2 lucky netcords to go up 0-30. But Andy doesnt give a damn about karma, as he gets to 30 all with 2 big serves. And karma didnt have anything more for Nole, as that last netcors stood on hi side of the court. At 40-30, Andy closes the game with an ace and we have a TB. I think Andy is the favourite now.

Posted by lionhert 08/14/2009 at 08:48 PM

whooohoo we have TB
and nole start with a df .. :(

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