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 greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 03:42 PM

What a waste of an opportunity! le sigh.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 03:42 PM

Thanks for that, Mr. X. I guess Murray has a knack of making his opponents look ugly and error-prone. It has happened often enough with my guy... :-(

Posted by sokol 08/14/2009 at 03:42 PM

commies for Kim's fans

Posted by mina hearts Rafa 08/14/2009 at 03:42 PM

ah yes my favorite number one moves on... commies having a Dinaflovefest now. let's see how long this lasts. 2 minutes? ha. already i sense a 'yet she's got no slam' spiel...

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 03:43 PM

Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would like to thank my friendly Chemist who supples me with Valium

Also to my parents,who made me the person that I am today

Oh and yes God,well everyone thanks him,dont they.

Safina gets through in straights sets.Tennis Gods be praised.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:43 PM

Our 2nd FH shank!! tense tense TB!!!

Posted by mick1303 08/14/2009 at 03:43 PM

Still it was a perfect comeback. Beating #1 in her first tournament after layoff would've been ridiculous

Posted by sokol 08/14/2009 at 03:44 PM

"let's see how long this lasts. 2 minutes? ha. already i sense a 'yet she's got no slam' spiel..."

:-))

Posted by yello fuzzy 08/14/2009 at 03:44 PM

brilliant tennis...

Posted by Jake 08/14/2009 at 03:44 PM

what a beutiful net point!

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 03:44 PM

hilarious point Jo.
Who do you think you are? Rafa?
Finish off a goddamn point!

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:44 PM

OMG...what a point by both players...hellloooooooo standing O!!!

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 03:44 PM

Well, you only won one point. So relax, dude.

Posted by Sunni Breeze' 08/14/2009 at 03:44 PM

What a point!

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 03:44 PM

Outstanding deffense from Fed to win that point and go up 2-1, avoiding the mini-break. But then he missed a 2nd serve return and a FH, and Tsonga is up 3-2. And look at that point! Fed dominating at the net, and Tsonga fighting hard for it, running all over the court, but in the end Fed won it. They change sides at 3-3.

Posted by CherryNYC 08/14/2009 at 03:45 PM

tremendous net point, which Fed wins. 3-3 Crowd going nuts. I'm still scared.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 03:45 PM

Aww crazy point from Tsonga/Fed. Fed started smiling even before the point was over.

Posted by sokol 08/14/2009 at 03:45 PM

Allez, Tsonga!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 03:45 PM

Mina I am going to Mass later,yes its the 15th of August.I have been praying to Mother Mary for Safina,now will start for Rafa.

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:45 PM

that was very fun, loved seeing fed laughing during the point, but less happy about giving away the minibreak.... sigh.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 03:45 PM

Tsonga gets the minibreak... grr..

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:45 PM

Jo gets the minibreak...the Fed can't buy a 1st serve in the TB....le sigh...

Posted by vetmama - RF FTW!!! (please?) 08/14/2009 at 03:45 PM

Hey, fuzzy.
Long time, no read.

Have you soften up about Fed these days?
Or just getting soft?
:-)

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 08/14/2009 at 03:46 PM

Wow, Tsonga is taking it to the mighty Fed.

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 03:46 PM

LOL mr x you really want lestat to lose ..i also beliave that fed can win if he plays murray
but given that i didnt wacht the match i still have doubts on fed plus he needs to have a good 1st serve % hes just servin at 41 % tonight

Posted by yello fuzzy 08/14/2009 at 03:46 PM

Dinara is figuring it out...she was destined to choke that match away

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 03:46 PM

3 set points for Tsonga.

Posted by Pspace (Lestat Time!) 08/14/2009 at 03:46 PM

Oof. What a point! Crazy Eyez Fed makes a brief appearance. Dude seems to be having fun.

Tsonga gets the mini-break! 4-3. Holds serve for three set points. Alleeeeez!

Posted by CherryNYC 08/14/2009 at 03:46 PM

Oh, Jo up 5-3. Fed with 2 serves. damn.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:46 PM

3 SPs for Jo...

Posted by Jake 08/14/2009 at 03:47 PM

Oh, my, Roger missing DTL BH he used to take for granted!

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:47 PM

Dude can't buy a 1st serve...no where to be seen...

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 03:47 PM

Congrats Aussie Kim,you have really come back on tour so strong.Bad luck today.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 03:47 PM

Tsonga misses a short forehand. Still 2 setpoints to go. Not looking great for Fed.

Posted by vetmama 08/14/2009 at 03:47 PM

Ugh, I can't watch...

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:47 PM

mhm. fed can't seem to buy a first serve here...

Posted by sokol 08/14/2009 at 03:47 PM

so far my WTA picks (and my favorites) for today went through- Lena and Dina. I don't really care about the others, but come on, JJ and Flav

an all-Russian final in Cinci, anyone? :-))) I know many of you hate the idea :-)

Posted by Jake 08/14/2009 at 03:47 PM

2 MPs saved! Hang in there!

Posted by mina hearts Rafa 08/14/2009 at 03:48 PM

AM, we better... he's gonna need it. :)

i'm just seeing higlights of Lena/woz match. gasp shock horror. Lena beat Scandinavia's pride and world number 8! ah Lena. good on you.

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 03:48 PM

Jo, please please PLEASE man!

Posted by mina hearts Rafa 08/14/2009 at 03:48 PM

AM, we better... he's gonna need it. :)

i'm just seeing higlights of Lena/woz match. gasp shock horror. Lena beat Scandinavia's pride and world number 8! ah Lena. good on you.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:48 PM

Jo to serve...

Posted by Sunni Breeze' 08/14/2009 at 03:48 PM

one set to go Tsonga!Yay!\O/

Posted by yello fuzzy 08/14/2009 at 03:48 PM

vetmama
howdy...the Fed twins broke this heart of stone...he is daddylicious now

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 03:49 PM

Damn stream gave up on me at just the wrong moment... Tsonga takes the set.

Posted by Jake 08/14/2009 at 03:49 PM

How did Fed miss that point?!!!!

Posted by Samantha Elin, supporter of all things Scandinavian 08/14/2009 at 03:49 PM

Great run for Kimmie C. Upset in the making???

Posted by Jake 08/14/2009 at 03:49 PM

Well, Rog, your work is cut out for you!

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 03:49 PM

Allez Tsonga how did you get that ball back into play?

Awesome

Joe takes the 1st set.

Posted by sokol 08/14/2009 at 03:49 PM

wow, Tsonga takes the first set. Allez!

Posted by Pspace (Lestat Time!) 08/14/2009 at 03:49 PM

Yes, he can. Alleeeeeeez. Tsonga with the first set in hand. 7-6. Fed to serve to start the second.

Posted by Tfactor 08/14/2009 at 03:49 PM

Tsonga takes the first set on the tiebreak.
Let's see Fed react now and win the second please

Posted by Jake 08/14/2009 at 03:49 PM

I'm outta here - work calls.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 03:49 PM

Wow... Tsonga takes a fall getting to that point.. Fed hits the net. Intriguing turn of events here in Montreal as Tsonga takes the first set.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 03:49 PM

"That's mean."
Yes, it is. No more Mr. Nice Guy. I want Muzz to lose, so that my guy doesnt lose his ranking.

Tsonga plays 3 very good points, to go up 6-3 in the TB. And then he misses an easy FH. That may come back to haunt him, as Fed wins the next point witht the serve. Jo to serve at 6-5 in the TB. WTF was that, Fed? Tsonga wins the TB and the 1st set, after falling when he hit a volley, and leaving Fed the chance for an easy FH, that he hit into the net.

Posted by vetmama 08/14/2009 at 03:49 PM

Good lord, Tsonga is such a jock!

He deserves the set just for that point.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:50 PM

And Jo takes it, shoulda coulda woulda 2 BPs...when last did the Fed come back from a set down in a 3 setter?! Memory fails me but it's been a minute, no?!

Posted by CherryNYC 08/14/2009 at 03:50 PM

Shoot! Jo takes it 7-5 in the TB. Fed had a chance that last point.
Fed's not playing terribly, and I predict Jo can't keep this up.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 03:50 PM

First set Tsonga - that tie-break had all kinds of awesome rallies. Man, I swear Roger brings out the best in his opponents. Dude, find your first serve and try to prove me wrong.

Posted by Jenni 08/14/2009 at 03:50 PM

"i'm just seeing higlights of Lena/woz match."

That's seven seconds of your life you'll never get back.

Allez JW!

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 03:50 PM

I'd like to take this moment to announce that I officially hate best-of-3 set matches.

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 03:51 PM

AM lol i think that you suffers more that the own safina
and fed lose the set :((((
cmon dude fight

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:51 PM

On another FH into the net...nice!!!

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 03:51 PM

What the hell happened on set point? Did he make the lunge volley? Did Fed net it?

LOVE the animated look on Eric's face.

Also love that Jo didn't celebrate.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 03:51 PM

Mr X Good point we need Andy to lose in s/final i forgot about that.

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:51 PM

i dunno cherry - i think tsonga can keep this up. he's not playing outside of 'normal' range...

key will be if fed finds his serve or not.

Posted by Andrew 08/14/2009 at 03:52 PM

Pity. Tsonga takes the TB, but he's possibly a bit lucky Federer doesn't like to hit through an opponent at the net. Still, amazing reach and presence of mind. May have banged his hand a bit.

Posted by Black Matt 08/14/2009 at 03:52 PM

Hmm, I confess I am surprised. At 4-all I thought for sure he'd break.

To all Federer fans who are stressed out: the man just broke the slam record, re-claimed Wimbledon, and completed the grand slam. You guys are like someone who just went on a fabulous vacation and got to eat at 5-star restaurants day after day, and then come home and complain about having to eat a burger :)

Kidding, kidding. But seriously, the man just had TWINS! I speak from experience when I say that he is not SUPPOSED to win Montreal. Frankly, if he does, I'm convinced there's some kind of blood-pact with the devil going on. Because that flies in the face of God and Nature.

On a related note, I finally won a match yesterday post-twins! I was so happy.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:53 PM

Yep he lost the serve in the TB and had to play points as opposed to ending it...Tsonga is playing very well and can definitely keep it up, the Fed is not playing badly he just played loosely on the big points i.e. BP...

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 03:53 PM

I hate best of 3 sets
+1

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 03:53 PM

lionheart Have you watched any of her matches? you would know what I mean,also i have seen her play live,Sydney Medibank this year when she again went into headcase mode,pfft.

Posted by roadrunnerz 08/14/2009 at 03:53 PM

Come on, Fed. Break him straight away. :)

Posted by mina hearts Rafa 08/14/2009 at 03:53 PM

"Yes, it is. No more Mr. Nice Guy. I want Muzz to lose, so that my guy doesnt lose his ranking."

true. but i'm afraid of the consequences of that... *frazzles*

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 03:53 PM

The part i saw of that 1st set was pretty entertaining, IMO. Some good stuff from both guys. Fed's weird errors with a BP at 4-4 and in the last point of the TB cost him the set in the end. Great play by Jo, who seems to be close to his best, for once.
Hey, Fed, you win everthing in sight and everywhere and now that i finally cheer for you, you are gonna lose? Do you hate me or something?:)

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 03:54 PM

Alex Corretja, Miles, scouting this match.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 03:54 PM

All 30 of Murray's coaching watching from the player's restaurant. I kid - I heart team Murray.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 03:55 PM

Nice post, Black Matt. Congrats on your match. :-)

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 03:55 PM

Tsonga may have hurt his wrist there after that dive in the 1st set

down love 30,maybe he has gone off the boil

needs to hold serve.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 03:55 PM

"All 30 of Murray's coaching watching from the player's restaurant."

LOL!

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:56 PM

Black Matt: I concur, I'm totally cool with him sucking but the Fed won't be cool with it, he needs to do really well in a MS on HC before the USO, he's been majorly sucking all year...lol

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 03:56 PM

"Tsonga may have hurt his wrist there after that dive in the 1st set"

Aussiemarg, you may be right. DF for 15-40.

Posted by CherryNYC 08/14/2009 at 03:56 PM

Jo DFs for 15-40.

Thank you Black Matt.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 03:57 PM

Hey congrats Black Matt - you could teach Fed a thing or two. ;)

I don't freak out as much as I used to with Fed's matches.. don't know why. Maybe it is the 15 titles or maybe it was the outright rooting against Fed during the Wimbledon final.

Posted by roadrunnerz 08/14/2009 at 03:57 PM

And he listened to me...love it. :0

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 03:57 PM

There you go.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 03:58 PM

Tsonga totally donates the break with an awful overhead. I fully expect Fed to return the favour at some stage, nice guy that he is...

Posted by lionheart 08/14/2009 at 03:58 PM


jenni lol was the macth so bad ..by the score it seems that lena just crush the hott woz
sorry i forgot to say commies to my fellow woz fans ..and san elin the biggets caros fan
i tought she was in a really good position to make it to the finals


Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 03:58 PM

And suddenly, Tsonga's evil twin, the one that misses easy shots, appears, as he misses a volley, a FH, makes a DF and then hits an OH into the net to get broken. Fed to serve, up 2-0.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 03:58 PM

speaking of dives, I don't think I've ever actually seen the Fed dive, he may lunge for balls but he will never actually hit the deck trying to get a ball...dude is just lazy like that...lolz

Posted by Tfactor 08/14/2009 at 03:58 PM

Fed breaks right away and I have a feeling the momentum of the match has completely changed

Posted by JohnC 08/14/2009 at 03:58 PM

Ok, I've resumed breathing

Posted by rafadoc 08/14/2009 at 03:58 PM

OMG. I turn on the frickin' scoreboard and Jo is in a TB, with set point-and-someone comes to the door. Grrrrr.

He won the TB? Yeah Greenhopper!

...boo-as I type he gets broken. Allez Jo!

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 03:58 PM

Black Matt, congrats on your post twins win. If Roger gets past Tsonga, I think he goes out in the semi. If he wins the tournie, I am with you, he made a deal with the devil.

Posted by Black Matt 08/14/2009 at 04:00 PM

Beckham - but remember, the new Fed just wants the hard court season to be over. Clay is his new garden of earthly delights :)

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 04:00 PM

Another hold largely based on Tsonga errors, but I'm not complaining.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 04:00 PM

Does anyone else find Chris Fowler's voice very calming and does anyone else think that he gets very stroppy with his co-commentators?

Posted by Carrie 08/14/2009 at 04:00 PM

*Pity. Tsonga takes the TB*

Not for fanz of the Zonger. :)

I am happy that this is an entertaining match after the predictions of an easy stroll for Feds. It think Jo when he is on is too good of a player
For his opponents to administer a beat down- even if said opponent is SaitnFedGreatestEverFatherSaviorofThe World. Not saying that Jo will win- still think Feds will as he is wasting no time, but I am glad that eve for a bit Jo for - even if ….he is playing the father of newborn twins. ;)

But- looks like Fed is in cruise control now. But it was fun and not a pity at all for this Zonger fan that he was able to take a set.. Now the Fed stroll will likely start- but it was fun while it lasted to see Jo competitive.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 04:01 PM

If he wins the tourney then dude is just beyond unfreakingbelievable, I was shooting for a SF and then a loss, before I saw the draw, though now if the Fed loses once again to Muzzah, he'll have another "asterix"...le sigh...whatevs, I just wanted to keep his SF streak in all MS this year intact...

Posted by Grant 08/14/2009 at 04:01 PM

"seriously, the man just had TWINS! I speak from experience when I say that he is not SUPPOSED to win Montreal."

Yeah, I figured that this tournament was to see what it's like to play in a new situation, get used to it etc., not to win.

Also, since Murray is going to win Montreal anyway, might as well lose now instead of giving Muzz another H2H confidence boost going into the USO.

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 04:01 PM

Ouch - trainer for Tsonga.

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