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 Tokyo Tom (tt) 08/14/2009 at 04:52 PM

I have so missed the outraged Kimmie supporters scolding a naughty Mr. Bodo -- if only we could have the required spirited defense of Justine by some Scandy miss my TW deja vu would be complete. Thank you Mr. Bodo, and of course Kimmie, for a walk down memory lane.

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 04:52 PM

check this out. Not only can he win a set, apparently he can also break. Will wonders ever cease?

Posted by Grant 08/14/2009 at 04:52 PM

"and silly grant, its not a debate, its a vote! :)))"

Speaking of votes, that reminds me, at some point I'm going to have to have my 'pick Grant's new fave' event. It's probably best to wait until the season is over, when even chest hair conversations will seem like a godsend, but don't let me forget, people.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 04:52 PM

Ok something funny is going on here

Did Joes treatment have some stange things in it?

He has suddenly woken up

or has Roger gone walkabout

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 04:53 PM

Have no fear, Pspace; he's winning this.

Posted by roadrunnerz 08/14/2009 at 04:53 PM

Ok, let's hold this time, eh?

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 04:53 PM

Ok, dude, serve it out now, so I can go for some rest and refreshments.

Posted by Master Ace 08/14/2009 at 04:54 PM

30-40 for Flavia as Daniela FH sails long
Flavia breaks as Daniela makes BH error

Flavia to serve 6-3,2-all

Posted by Tfactor 08/14/2009 at 04:54 PM

So it's not just the WTA #1 who can't close out the match on the first try? :)

Too little too late for Tsonga though.

2 hrs until Roddick/Djokovic. I hope those two don't disappoint or get injured (please)

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 04:54 PM

Broke Fed with a cracked racquet and a bum arm. Must be Superman.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 04:55 PM

And Jo plays another solid game, holding at 15 with some great serves and winner FHs. I think the treatment for his arm worked a little too late, or maybe it was all in his brain.
Fed is up 5-4, and will serve for the match again next. I think he was too relaxed the first time, but he should be more focused now. I hope.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 04:55 PM

That was just a complete WTF break from nowhere totally uncalled for...meh

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 04:55 PM

Oh man. 0-15.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 04:55 PM

Oh man. 0-15.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 04:55 PM

down love-15 again...le sigh..and can't buy a first serve...

Posted by FortuneCookie 08/14/2009 at 04:55 PM

Oh Fed,don't you let him make it 5 all...

Posted by sukhi 08/14/2009 at 04:56 PM

WTF are u doing?

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 04:56 PM

This is typical of Tsonga matches I've seen where he takes the first set and takes a rest in the second. Just my opinion.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 04:56 PM

and here we go again...love-30 this is so unfreakingbelievably ridiculous...even for the Fed...seriously WTF?!!!!

Posted by roadrunnerz 08/14/2009 at 04:56 PM

Oh, Fed. WHAT are you doing??

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 04:56 PM

Desperately poor stuff, another easy forehand missed wide.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 04:57 PM

Very good time for me to have cloud cover so no tv. Freaking dish has gone out

Posted by CherryNYC 08/14/2009 at 04:57 PM

Fed needs to calm down. 15-30. Jeez.

Posted by Master Ace 08/14/2009 at 04:57 PM

Flavia holds at love as Daniela nets FH. Daniela to serve 3-6,2-3

Cincinnati is playing James Brown "I feel good" and Larri Passos is on the court talking to Daniela

Posted by CherryNYC 08/14/2009 at 04:57 PM

Fed gets lucky 30-30.

Posted by yello fuzzy 08/14/2009 at 04:57 PM

break point!!!!!!

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

Come on the damn scoreboard is so freaking slow. Come on Roger, win the damn match - oh for goodness sakes

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

BP Tsonga...can this be happening?!

Posted by Cathy in SD 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

killing me softly watch the scoreboard

Posted by CherryNYC 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

What was that? BP for Jo. Come on, I want to go home.

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

ACK

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

Excellent. 5-5.

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

Oh WTF break point again - what the hell is going on here

Posted by Master Ace 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

What happened to Roger's 5-1 lead? Has Jo-W picked up his play?

Posted by Pspace (Lestat Time!) 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

Well, well, well. Whaddaya know. This is why you shouldn't walkabout!

Alleeez Jo!

Posted by evie 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

Disaster. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I would not have believed it. He thought the match was over at 5-1.

Posted by Or 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

Oh, Roger.

Now THAT reminds me of earlier in the year.

Come on.

Posted by Arun 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

dayum.

Posted by yello fuzzy 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

holy '5 all in the third' Batman!!!!

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

Whatttt...

Posted by greenhopper 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

To borrow a phrase,

unfreakingbelieveable!

Shoot for a TB man. Shoot for a TB.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 04:58 PM

ladies and gentlemen 5all he was 5-1 up?! My goodness he's completely left the building...ridiculous errors...Pspace you were saying?!

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 04:59 PM

And Fed is messing with me. as he starts the game missing a volley, and then a very easy sitter FH with the court open. But he comes back to get to 30 all, with a very good 2nd serve. But he misses the slice, and it's BP. What?
And a BH shank. I cant believe it. 5-5, when he was up 5-1. Dude, i thought the fact that you had Rafa fans cheering for you meant something

Posted by roadrunnerz 08/14/2009 at 04:59 PM

Yikes. Not sure I can watch this anymore...unfreakingbelievable.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 04:59 PM

Allez Joe you came back from a double back well done

Roger for goodness sake get your brain back intact asap

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 04:59 PM

are you freaking kidding me - he gets broken again - what the hell is he doing - I need a stream - oh God I need a stream

Posted by CherryNYC 08/14/2009 at 04:59 PM

Shanks a BH for the break. OMG. When was the last time somebody came from 2 breaks down against Fed.

Posted by Tfactor 08/14/2009 at 04:59 PM

Both Flavia and Tsonga break to get back on serve.
Well, well, I didn't expect this from Tsonga. Second wind? meds kicked in? It's something surely

Or did I jinxed myself boasting about my correct picks??

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 04:59 PM

Joes won 17 of the last 22 points

Posted by Or 08/14/2009 at 04:59 PM

Yeah, Mirka. That's the time to let someone else look over the twins and come to court.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 04:59 PM

Well, I hope he is getting all the crappiness out of the system early before the USO...

Posted by jb (Go Smiley Fed!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

masterace, yes, jowilli has upped his level, playing freely, like he was in the first set.

fed has misplaced his first serve again, lost a bit of focus and here we go, on serve.

sigh. that's why its never over till its over...

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

this is desperately poor stuff, it's not like Jo worked for it...he completely gifted him 2 breaks...with unfreakingbelievable bad play...yep, so not good...

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

Is he tanking the match - I am shi**ing bricks here - come on Roger

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

And

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

And jo

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

And

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

o

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

o now a

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

o now

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

o

Posted by evie 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

The commies are so desperately pulling for Tsonga. I get it, but at this stage, it's annoying.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

Jo

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

Jo now

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:00 PM

Jo now a

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 05:01 PM

Yeah Second Wind Joe

Posted by Whitney 08/14/2009 at 05:01 PM

Cahill "what just happened here?"

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:01 PM

from 5-1 up to 6-5 down...he clearly deserves to lose this match...ridiculous!!!

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 05:01 PM

Well, now he's in a big mess. Let's see if he can wriggle out of it.

Posted by Or 08/14/2009 at 05:01 PM

Now Roger really must hold - and for a TB. Unbelievable.

Posted by Pspace (Lestat Time!) 08/14/2009 at 05:02 PM

Fed looks like he doesn't know what hit him. Mwhahahaha. Tsonga time baby. Will Fed get broken for the third time in a row? He doesn't deserve to win this one.

Posted by thebigapple 08/14/2009 at 05:02 PM

Fed. Damn. Show some interest, man.

Posted by Mr. X 08/14/2009 at 05:02 PM

And now Jo is bringing the deep shots from both sides, that Fed can answer. And he closes the game with an ace to go up 6-5. That arm looked pretty well in those last few games, Jo.
I just cant believe it. I thought cheering for Fed was easy. Come on, the guy has 15 Slams! Maybe it's that he doesnt like HCs anymore.

Posted by Master Ace 08/14/2009 at 05:02 PM

0-30 for Flavia as Daniela nets FH
15-30 Flavia nets FH
30-30 Daniela BH DTL winner getting to Flavia drop shot
30-40 Daniela FH wide
Is Roger going to choke the match away in Montreal?
Flavia breaks as Daniela nets FH

Flavia to serve 6-3,4-2

On to Jo-W and Roger...

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 05:02 PM

"He doesn't deserve to win this one."

I have to agree.

Posted by Pspace (Lestat Time!) 08/14/2009 at 05:02 PM

Beckham, lol. I thought you'd given up frazzlin'?

Posted by carnap 08/14/2009 at 05:02 PM

Beckham: Want some brandy?

Posted by roadrunnerz 08/14/2009 at 05:02 PM

Love you Fed but I'm not convinced you deserve to win this match at this point. That's what happens when you count your chickens during the match...

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:03 PM

ummmm I don't know what the hell happened to my computer...sorry folks, it's just that I'm completely speechless

dude has lost 5 straight games, he served for the match twice...this is just unfreakingbelievable...

Posted by Cayman Karen (as defined by Ruth and Master Ace) and Bring on the FedTwins - 2 many names 08/14/2009 at 05:03 PM

If this is not a tank, then I dont know what it is - someone wins 6 straight games from Roger Federer and his name is not Nadal and this is not clay - you better wake up and hold serve here

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 05:03 PM

Thanks Roger i was going for a bike ride

You have just stuff up my shchedule

Posted by CherryNYC 08/14/2009 at 05:03 PM

I don't think I can watch. Just lose and get it out of your system for Cincy/USO. No problem.

Posted by roadrunnerz 08/14/2009 at 05:04 PM

I'LL have some brandy if Beckham doesn't want it...

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:04 PM

here we go love-15, I say he gets broken, I am soooooo stunnned...he doesn't deserve this match...

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:04 PM

ladies and gents love-30

Posted by roadrunnerz 08/14/2009 at 05:04 PM

Wow. Just wow.

Posted by Cathy in SD 08/14/2009 at 05:04 PM

just silly - but I tell my kids no name calling so I'll just leave it at silly.

Posted by VC 08/14/2009 at 05:04 PM

Murray will go to bed dreaming of bagels and breadsticks tonight. 0-30 now.

Posted by Tfactor 08/14/2009 at 05:04 PM

OMG, Fed snap out of it!!

It's unbelievable!!! An impersonator took over Fed while we weren't watching.

Posted by Aussiemarg Madame President finally comes out of rehab and rejoices in Vamos Forever 08/14/2009 at 05:04 PM

Ahhh shaeds of Rogers match with Simon last year if my memory serves me correct.

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

oh dear

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

This is worse, but reminds me of last year's Simon match where he was pissed at himself because he "had the match under control." He was one game from a blowout, and now he's two points from losing.

Make that one point.

Posted by Cathy in SD 08/14/2009 at 05:05 PM

maybe he didn't want to lose to lestat tomorrow ?

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

3 MP.

Unbelievable. Oh, Rogi. Ouch.

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

heart in mouth. BH passer no less.
Allez? please?

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

3 MP's,uh oh...

Posted by yello fuzzy 08/14/2009 at 05:05 PM

wow!!!! match points!!!!!

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis?! Pffftttt!!!) 08/14/2009 at 05:05 PM

ladies and gents 3 mps...he's going to be broken again...he completely left the building...

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

Holy Hail.. match point. Cahill and Co. saying they are completely shocked.

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

Well, if he can't hang in rallies with Tsonga, there was no way he was going to do it against Murray. One MP saved.

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