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More from Mac 06/17/2010 - 6:00 PM

Cover.HardcourtConfidential Today, Pat McEnroe, U.S. Davis Cup captain, ESPN color commentator, and author of Hardcourt Confidential (with an assist from yours truly) is going to share some of his thoughts and experiences in that Inner Sanctum, the ATP locker room. This passage is preceded by a lengthy one on Jimmy Connors (if you remember, Connors' storied run in 1991 began with a remarkable comeback win over Patrick), which is why the material below begins with him. 

-- Pete


Jimmy was adept at mind games. He was so keen to keep himself distant from the pack that he would often avoid the locker room altogether, changing and killing time conspicuously apart from his peers. Top players often have what you might call a “locker room strategy,” from aggressively dominating the inner sanctum of the athlete to avoiding it altogether. One of my brother John’s big beefs was that tennis is the only sport where you share the locker room with not just the guy you’re going to engage in intense, one- on- onecombat, but also with someone to whom you might have a deep,genuine aversion. I guess golf is the same way— but then it’s a stretch to call golf a sport.

John disliked Ivan Lendl, and you could feel the tension when they had to inhabit the same locker room. Granted, John liked to strut around, scowling, his body language demanding that you give him wide berth. That could be intimidating. But he didn’t engage guys in the same way as Lendl, who actually talked trash and needled people— sometimes mercilessly. When John Fitzgerald (who was actually a friend of Lendl’s) came into the Australian Open locker room shortly after having his first child, a daughter, Lendl said in his mechanical, clipped Eastern European accent: “Congratulations, John. Maybe next time you vill be man enough to make a son.”

In conclusive proof that there is a God, Lendl ended up having five children of his own— all lovely daughters.

I watched as Brad Gilbert and Ivan Lendl almost came to blows in the locker room in Tokyo one year. Now a lot of guys found Brad’s endless prattling (usually about sports) irritating. But even more glowered at the way Ivan Lendl was constantly razzing and putting others down.

Somehow, the two of them got started on a game of one- upmanship. Brad suggested that he would clean Ivan’s clock in a game of one-on-one basketball. Not to be outdone, Lendl said he could skate rings around Brad in a hockey rink.

“Oh, yeah,” Brad shot back, sticking out that Sgt. Rock jaw of his, “You want a piece of me in a batting cage?”

I could hardly believe my ears, these guys were taking it to another level, like a couple of kids in the schoolyard, until some other players intervened to talk both guys off the ledge before it came to fisticuffs. It was idiotic; clearly, it had nothing to do with either guys’s skill at bowling or beer pong. They just had their backs up and neither was going to back down.

102161069 Wimbledon has two locker rooms, a spacious, well- appointed one for seeded players, and a more bare bones one for everyone else.Yet, Andy Roddick, a three-time finalist at the event, insists on hanging out in the B locker room, so he can be with buddies like Sam Querrey, the Bryan Brothers, Mardy Fish, and James Blake. He just feels more comfortable in there.

Of course, you can’t have individual locker rooms for all 128 players at a major. But at those events, as well as smaller ones, the locker room during the early stages of an event is like a cross between a crowded train station at rush hour and a class reunion. The camaraderie level is high. When whoever won the last tournament walks in, almost everyone slaps him on the back or drops by in front of his locker to say “Well done.”

Friends who haven’t seen each other in weeks say hi and catch up when they meet. At the 2009 US Open, Roger Federer watched the scoreboard as Marsel Ilhan, the first Turkish player (although he’s originally from Uzbekistan) to compete at an Open-era major, won his first- round match. Later, Federer went up to Ilhan in the locker room to congratulate the young player and introduce himself. The journeyman couldn’t believe it.

Carl, the locker room attendant at the US Open, doles out the assignments at the start of the tournament. Over time, he knows which guys like to be near each other, and he generally groups them by nations. It works out well, although the tone in the temple of Ben- Gay changes dramatically later in the event. When it’s down to the finals, the atmosphere in the locker room is almost oppressive.

You’ve got one guy huddled with his team in one corner, his opponent and friends in the other. The tones are hushed. You can almost cut the tension with a knife. It wouldn’t be such a bad idea for tournaments to give the finalists different spaces on that last, critical day. Roger Federer is probably the most relaxed guy I’ve ever seen in the locker room; he’s nothing less than a prince— it’s like he owns the place, but in a good way, like the proud proprietor of a Swiss fondue restaurant.

Rafael Nadal, as nice a kid and good a sportsman as he is, gets into the mind games a bit, wittingly or not. He makes his opponents wait on him, not just between points (for which he gets criticized) but in the locker room and on the sidelines as well. When the tournament officials call Nadal’s match, he goes to take another piss, making his opponent stand there, waiting. When the umpire calls them out to the center of the court for the coin toss, Rafa will often stay in his chair, fiddling with towels or his bottles while the other guy walks right out— and has to wait.

I can understand how Toni Nadal, Rafa’s coach and uncle, tried to drill it into the young, impressionable eighteen- year old of a few years ago that it was important for him to take his time, not feel rushed or obligated to do anything until he was comfortable and well- organized. But you have to grow out of that.

Rafa’s foot- dragging was behind that bad- blood incident at Wimbledon between Rafa and the Swedish player Robin Soderling. Ticked off by the way Rafa had the habit of making an opponent wait, Soderling did some conspicuous stalling of his own, and he even mimicked Rafa’s compulsive habit of plucking at the back of his shorts. It wasn’t a smart thing for Soderling to do, and it didn’t make his life any easier— Rafa is genuinely liked and respected by everyone. Soderling ultimately was cast as a boorish gamesman, but many players felt that his was a point worth making, if not exactly in the way Robin chose.


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Posted by @work 06/18/2010 at 09:38 AM

Wow! Surprised about Stosur's lost (have to go back and read the match calls as I was paying more attention to WC) but really happy Vika seems to be doing well (I hope I didn't just jinx her)

OT: Still in mourning over Celtics, so close and yet so far. Proudly wearing green today, nontheless :)
And how great is it that Serbia beat Germany? ;-)

Posted by robbyfan 06/18/2010 at 09:39 AM

I am making a pitcher of Nishikoris for the 1st roundmatch. Who wants some?

Ruth-Still saving me a seat on the RAndy-Safina bus????

Posted by James 06/18/2010 at 09:39 AM

Schuettler didn't win a set against Nadal in Wimby 08, it was straights with one 7-5. Gulbis was the one who took a set against him in that tournament besides Fed.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami, Stuttgart and Rome Doubles Champion) 06/18/2010 at 09:40 AM

I like Nadal's chance at taking the Wimbledon title not sure about Roger's chances. I haven't seen the draw but I am sure a couple of dark horses are going to come through. Hewitt to get through to the fourth round.

Posted by Bobby 06/18/2010 at 09:42 AM

Hi, Guys. Hope you're all well. Anyone watching Azarenka vs Bartoli? Does it seem like Azarenka's taking the ball earlier than she used to?

Posted by Jai 06/18/2010 at 09:42 AM

"Jai @ 7:41 -- IIRC, Schuettler took a set off Rafa in the semis at W'08"

CPM: no, that was a straight-sets win, though Schuettler was up a break in the 2nd set.

Posted by Jacko 06/18/2010 at 09:44 AM

Extremely early aggression Bobby...

Vika hit 16 winners in the first 6 games.....thats how she's playing today...and she's served 7 aces (unheard of for her)

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 09:44 AM

Sad for Germany!
Hola there , Angel. My R1 match is Ginepri- Soderling and Sharapova-Kat Bondarenko

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami, Stuttgart and Rome Doubles Champion) 06/18/2010 at 09:44 AM

Bobby fr some reason I can't be bothered watching tht match, could have something to do with Vuvu's shrieking.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 09:46 AM

I'm watching it a bit, Bobby - haven't seen it all and am watching the football at the same time, so it's all a bit confused, LOL. Only noticed the ace count which seems like it's good for Vika at 7.

Hi, everyone. :)

Posted by Bobby 06/18/2010 at 09:47 AM

Jacko, you're right -- Azarenka has a high first serve % usually but not this many aces. And I saw that winner/UFE count and was mighty impressed. Bartoli's numbers were pretty cleean too.

Angel of the Surf, Vika is Vuvu now, eh? Funny!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami, Stuttgart and Rome Doubles Champion) 06/18/2010 at 09:48 AM

Glad that Germany lost it gives Australia more of a chance. Also happy that France lost to Mexico yesterday. One of my work colleagues came into work today in such a foul mood it was extremely funny.

Posted by Bobby 06/18/2010 at 09:48 AM

jewell, hi there! Hope you had a good time at the tournament. Yeah, Vika seems to be on at this tournament.

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 09:49 AM

Azarenka seems to be cruising through.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 09:49 AM

Jai,

Thanks for the correction -- I recall it being a surprisingly close match, and that somehow got translated into Schuettler taking a set.

But anyway: does anyone know the story w/Gulbis? I thought he was injured, and possibly questionable for Wimbledon?

Taking a closer look at draws, I think Fed might have the cup-cakiest quarter. Deliciano/Melzer in R16, then Davydenko in the QFs? Fedofiles can't be frazzling too much on that. Running softest to hardest, I'd go Federer<

And poor Nole. La Monf/Hewitt in R16, then Roddick/Cilic in the Quarters? Yikes.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami, Stuttgart and Rome Doubles Champion) 06/18/2010 at 09:51 AM

Bobby Vika's nick came about as Simon Reed commented that Vika sounded like the Vuvu so a poster yesterday called her that. The Italian player Fredico Marchetti is so good looking.

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 09:53 AM

Murray's draw is good too. Querrey is a headache though.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami, Stuttgart and Rome Doubles Champion) 06/18/2010 at 09:54 AM

CPM I don't think Feliciano will get to the fourth round but Melzer might. I am hoping that Nico can do a little bit of damage if his injury is not too bad.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 09:56 AM

I hope Vika can play well at Wimbledon too.

Posted by Bobby 06/18/2010 at 09:57 AM

Angel of the Surf, that reminds me... I thought Wimbledon's announcement about vuvuzelas was odd. I mean, who'd bring a vuvuzela??? Yep, Fredico Marchetti's cute. Plus he's an athlete. :)

Posted by wilson75 06/18/2010 at 10:01 AM

CPM: Re: Cupcake draws. It depends on who is looking at it. SI says Federer has a tough draw. IMO, I think Rafa's is a little tougher.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 10:01 AM

rg.nadal,

If Bodo's prediction of a non-Roddick American man going far is going to hold up, Querrey's got to be the one to do it.
--------
Angel,

Yeah, I mean ... I thought Lopez acquitted himself well in his Queens win over Rafa, but -- I don't disagree. I don't see him losing prior to the Melzer match-up, though, given who he's facing. And if Melzer can keep his head together, I think he could make it to Fed and maybe even take a set off him.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 10:02 AM

wilson75,

Really? I'll head over there and check it out -- I just don't see anyone prior to the semis giving Roger trouble, and only then if Roddick makes it (which I think he will).

Posted by Bobby 06/18/2010 at 10:03 AM

I was just tweeting that the chair umpire gave Azarenka a warning. For audible obscenity, I think.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 10:04 AM

wilson75,

The AP article says: "The defending champion and top-seeded Federer was drawn in the same top half with Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and former champion Lleyton Hewitt." It doesn't point out that he'd only face one of them.

Posted by Puffin 06/18/2010 at 10:05 AM

imo, Muzz has the easiest draw; Fed and Nadal's are middling, though Roger's is fine up to R4 and then tough to the end, while Rafa has it the other way round; Djoko's is definitely the hardest.

Posted by Joe (Rafa's fifth RG crown in 10) 06/18/2010 at 10:05 AM

GOOOO USA!!!!!!

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 10:08 AM

CPM: Yeah. But somehow do not see him beating BOTH Murray and Rafa (presuming they are around)

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 10:09 AM

Oh, jeez, I didn't spot Berdych hanging out in Fed's quarter. He's a far more credible & dangerous potential QF match-up.

Posted by Pspace 06/18/2010 at 10:11 AM

Hail...Rafa has a nightmare first few rounds. Ok...if he wins this Wimbledon uber-props to him. As an aside, at least it will be interesting to watch the first week ;-).


And, so I can predict the winner. A certain Swiss dude...for the seventh time.

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 10:11 AM

15-40 for Victoria as Marion nets BH
Victoria wins the match as she hit smash winner set up by coming to net on good return

Victoria Azarenka defeated Marion Bartoli 6-3,7-5

Posted by Jai 06/18/2010 at 10:11 AM

"SI says Federer has a tough draw."

Just saw that, and it's ridiculous. Typical example of media trying to manufacture an eye-catching headline, knowing that Fed is the favourite for the tournament and they can stir up interest by suggesting that he has a difficult path. Their justification for the "tough draw" is that he's "drawn in the same top half with Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and former champion Lleyton Hewitt". Completely neglecting to point out that he will only have to face one of those players (at most). They are all in the same quarter.

Besides, they seem to have forgotten that the tournament will be played BEFORE the semi-final stage as well. Looking at Fed's draw, I'd be astonished if he were even taken to a 7-5 set in his first four matches.

Posted by Pspace 06/18/2010 at 10:13 AM

Muzz doesn't get cupcakes any more. He is a cupcake!

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami, Stuttgart and Rome Doubles Champion) 06/18/2010 at 10:15 AM

Slovenia has just scored against USA.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 10:17 AM

So lessee ...
Fed's route (starting at R16): Melzer/Lopez > Berdych/Davydenko > Djokovic/Roddick > Nadal/Murray

Djokovic's route: Hewitt/Monfils > Roddick/Cilic > Fed/Berdych > Nadal/Murray

Murray's: Querrey/Ferrero > Verdasco/Tsonga > Nadal/Soderling > Fed/Roddick

Nadal's: Youzhny/Isner > Ferrer/Soderling > Murray/???? > Fed/Roddick

I think Nadal got the potential toughest 1st three rounds w/Nishikori, Blake & Gulbis -- I say potential because all of them have some serious question marks hanging over them atm. But Djokovic has by far the toughest route out of quarter, imo.

Posted by Colette 06/18/2010 at 10:17 AM

Help, MA, is TC's coverage not live?! Could Vuvurenka move up in contenders if she doesn't get/aggravate injury and can keep it together under the headband (maybe that's what it's for!)

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami, Stuttgart and Rome Doubles Champion) 06/18/2010 at 10:18 AM

Ok guys I will TTYAT, my eyes are hanging out of my head. Another long week at work.

Posted by Puffin 06/18/2010 at 10:19 AM

Jai: True, but Roger has to possibly get past Berdych in the QF first to even get to play one of AndyR, Novak or Lleyton! The latter part of Rog's draw is by no means easypeasy.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 10:19 AM

It was a good goal too.

Posted by wilson75 06/18/2010 at 10:19 AM

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/tennis/06/18/wimbledon.federer.draw.ap/index.html?eref=sihp

CPM: Here's the SI article. I'm with Puffin, Murray has the easiest draw. Looking at the draw again Djokovic may have it the worst as he has face Olly Rochus in the first round, with Hewitt and Roddick later in the tournament.

Posted by Jai 06/18/2010 at 10:20 AM

"Roger's is fine up to R4 and then tough to the end, while Rafa has it the other way round."

Huh? At what point after R4 does Rafa's draw get okay? Soderling, Murray, Federer?

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 06/18/2010 at 10:20 AM

Wow! Rafa has a minefield of a draw! Let's see how it plays out.

Someone already said it, Falla draws Federer yet again, lol!

Soderling has a tough first match against Ginepri. Le Sod might get through just to find his boogy man waiting for him in the second round, hehe!

Posted by Pspace 06/18/2010 at 10:23 AM

Ok...predictions forrealz:

Q1. Federer vs Berdych -- TMF gets a MC (mighty cupcake) to the QF. And, after his draws at Oz and RG, I'd say he's earned it. Who know how Bird will do. I might lay a small bet on Schuettler making the QF, which would make it TMC (_the_ mighty cupcake).

Q2. Hewitt vs Roddick -- Rematch of last year's 4th round. Roddick won that one in 5, aided by a somewhat lucky volley in the 5th set. I think Rusty takes it this time around.

Q3. Verdasco vs Muzz -- Nando can actually play. Was a bit unlucky last year to draw Ivo, and his paramecium brain kicked in at (in)appropriate moments in the TB. Jo is a potential 4th round match, but he's been hurt. I don't think Muzz is going to make it this far, but I'd say about a 30% shot between him, JCF, and Querrey.

Q4. Zod vs Rafa -- Rematch! Rafa vs Gulbis should be super fun if it comes to pass. Ernie was the only one not named Federer to take a set of Rafa in Wimby '08. Perhaps the new and improved Ernie can get three.

SF1. Fed vs Hewitt
SF2. Verdasco vs Zod

F. Fed vs Zod

It should be a good match...or not ;-).

Posted by Jai 06/18/2010 at 10:23 AM

"Djokovic has by far the toughest route out of quarter, imo"

CPM: I'd agree. In fact, his first match is against Olivier Rochus, who beat him a cuple of months ago. And if Hewitt plays at his Halle level, I think he'll take Djokovic out.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 10:24 AM

I think Murray's cupcake draw is pretty much already consensus, wilson -- though Pspace is right that ain't no draw easy when you're a cupcake :) Honestly, I don't think he or Djokovic will make it out of their quarters. No shame in that for Nole if he goes out to ARod, only a little if he goes out to Hewitt, but lots & lots if he doesn't make it that far.

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami, Stuttgart and Rome Doubles Champion) 06/18/2010 at 10:24 AM

Jewell I can't wait for tomorrow when Australia plays Ghana, I can't see us progressing to the next round. Is England playing later today? I have a big sports watching day tomorrow. My football team plays late tomorrow afternoon, then the women's final at Eastbourne. I will support Makarova then Australia takes on Ghana.

Posted by rg.nadal 06/18/2010 at 10:25 AM

gtg now. Ciao. Happy weekend! Happy Wimbledon frazzling!

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 10:26 AM

Not to repeat myself, but anyone know about Gulbis' health status? I thought people were talking about him possibly having to withdraw, but never heard what was up with that.

Posted by Jai 06/18/2010 at 10:27 AM

Let's just agree to agree that Alejandro Falla has the toughest draaw this year!

Posted by Alexis 06/18/2010 at 10:27 AM

I think Murray has the easiest quarter, Fed and Nadal are in the middle, and Djoker has the toughest. But who really cares what it looks like on paper - the draws never play out as written, so why fret about it??

Posted by Angel of the Surf (Flavia and Gisela Miami, Stuttgart and Rome Doubles Champion) 06/18/2010 at 10:28 AM

I seriously have to take a day off work to watch the tennis. I am going to miss a lot of the matches.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 10:29 AM

Wasn't there a guy in either '08 or '09 who drew Fed as his 1st round in two majors? Man, that's just got to suck something fierce.

Posted by Puffin 06/18/2010 at 10:29 AM

"At what point after R4 does Rafa's draw get okay? Soderling, Murray, Federer?"

Rafa just beat Soderling in the FO Final - yes, it will be on grass, but Rafa has to be feeling rather more confident than Soderling, if they should meet! And, as for Muzz, all the pressure will be on him - playing at "home", and Rafa has beaten him before at Wimby. Then the potential final with Fed - well, that's a toughie for both players' fans! ;)

Posted by Alexis 06/18/2010 at 10:30 AM

Yeah, Jai... what is up with Fed and Falla meeting each other yet again? Such a coincidence!

Posted by Fangorina 06/18/2010 at 10:30 AM

Every AP GS draw article is titled: "Tough Draw for __________ (No 1 seed)" I remember this distinctly from the dinosaur period of Sampras and Agassi when the internets were also in the dinosaur period. I concur that Roger has a pretty easy draw, Rafa's potential match-ups are more dangerous, and the AP title should be "Tough Draw for Nole".

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 10:31 AM

Colette,
The way Victoria is playing now looks like the way she started during the AO swing but her injuries during the clay season really slowed her down. Also, she may have to play her BFF Caroline along the way but she has a golden chance to do well.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 10:32 AM

Yes, England play this evening, Angel. :)

Posted by Joe (Rafa's fifth RG crown in 10) 06/18/2010 at 10:32 AM

Yesterday Celtics, now USA losing, hope Rafa with that toughest draw can go ahead, he will

Posted by Pspace 06/18/2010 at 10:33 AM

Why is Novak even in the conversation of who has the tough draws? He sucks on grass. Made a couple of SFs due to momentum from RG...now he doesn't have that. Q2 is Roddick's quarter, imv.

Posted by wilson75 06/18/2010 at 10:34 AM

CPM: Murray may have a cupcake draw but playing at Wimbledon makes a draw as tough as Djokovic because of the pressure from the Brit press. I'm sure they have him playing the SF against Rafa already. Apparently before a ball was struck in the Roddick-Murray match last year the media was talking about Federer-Murray final. The media over there don't really have respect for any player ranked lower than Murray and they read too much into h2h.

Posted by robbyfan 06/18/2010 at 10:36 AM

With all this talk of cupcake draws-where on earth is Tim?????

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/18/2010 at 10:36 AM

Thought Fed got the easiest quarter, then Rafa, then Muzz, then Nole. In terms of the collective halves, they look pretty balanced. The big loser? Roddick. Not only does he land (again) in Fed's half, but also in the toughest quarter. Don't know if it would have made a difference but I thought he deserved a third or fourth seed here.

If the current score holds, the US would be looking at going home today if it weren't for old Butterfingers himself, Robert Green. His is a gift that continues to give.

Posted by Alexis 06/18/2010 at 10:36 AM

Pspace wrote: "Why is Novak even in the conversation of who has the tough draws?"

It's just easier to call quarters by the highest seed of that quarter. It's alot easier than saying 'the bottom quarter of the top half'. But Djokovic's quarter is the toughest whether he comes out of it or not. Murray's is the easiest. Fed and Nadal are about even, I think.

Posted by Pspace 06/18/2010 at 10:38 AM

""Huh? At what point after R4 does Rafa's draw get okay? Soderling, Murray, Federer?""

Ummm...since no one else has answered. I believe it gets easy @ Federer ;-).

Posted by observer (Go Roger, Maria, France and the US) 06/18/2010 at 10:38 AM

Sigh, of course Maria is put in Serena's 1/8th of the draw... that's life as a low-ranked seed, I guess.

Alison Riske / Wickmayer 1st round rematch and Bernard Tomic / Mardy Fish seem like good first round matches to me...

Can we enter the suicide pool now? It sounds like fun.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 10:38 AM

Didn't Nole get to Queens final and Halle final too? I don't think it is all that sucky.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 10:39 AM

There's some rumour that David James is starting, Flunky, but that doesn't exactly fill me with joyfulness and hope. :)

Posted by chegu 06/18/2010 at 10:40 AM

Morning guyz, nole has tough draw and murray easier among the others, imo.
Lets see how it works out in reality rather than in the paper:-)

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 06/18/2010 at 10:43 AM

Isner has a tricky first round opponent in Mahut, who's already played and come through a couple of tough matches in the qualifying stage.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 10:46 AM

Oh, Slovenia get a second goal, just as the US were starting to look sparky after a couple of really good opportunities.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 10:47 AM

jewell,

He played a great Queens final in '08, sure, but has anyone seen any signs of Novak's '08 form since then? Anywhere? And was that the year he retired against Nadal in the semis? Because that was, IIRC, his best result ever at Wimbledon. It's by far his weakest major.

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 10:49 AM

Sorry, 2007 he retired in the semis vs. nadal.

Posted by wilson75 06/18/2010 at 10:50 AM

Typical letdown from the US. Kinda like players who come up against Roger in tournament, they play the match of their life and then lose in the next round or reach the final and play crap.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 10:50 AM

Oh, I agree with that, CPM - I just don't think that necessarily means "sucks". :) If that makes sense. I'm quibbling really. :)

Think 2007 was the year he retired in the SF, in 2008 he lost to Safin.

Posted by Jai 06/18/2010 at 10:56 AM

"Yeah, Jai... what is up with Fed and Falla meeting each other yet again?"

Alexis: just checked their H2H and it turns out that three of their four meetings have been in the 1st or 2nd rounds of Slams. Including RG last month. This will be the fourth. When you're a hardworking player of moderate talent, looking to make an honest living by playing tennis, it must REALLY suck to keep seeing Fed as your 1st or 2nd opponent at a Slam!

Posted by Cupcake lurker- On a new chapter 06/18/2010 at 10:57 AM

Wimby is almost here yayyyyyyy.

This is the 1st time ever than I'm not sure if Federer will be there on final Sunday.

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/18/2010 at 11:02 AM

Unintentional Comedy Hour with the US commies during halftime. Lalas so flustered it sounded like he was getting choked up. Bob Ley reminds us what a sleeping little giant Slovenia is on the pitch. Keep talking, guys.

Posted by Jai 06/18/2010 at 11:02 AM

"Every AP GS draw article is titled: Tough Draw for __________ (No 1 seed)"

Fangorina: yes, that just makes the news item seem more interesting, especially at a time like this when everything is in the shadow of the World Cup. I've worked at the copy desk of a newspaper where copy-heads went out of their way to manufacture headlines like this, even when it made no sense at all.

Wondering if any of the British papers/wires have a headline saying "Murray gets tough draw"! It probably will happen.

Posted by Papo (Got Nadal?) 06/18/2010 at 11:02 AM

The US has no fewer than fourteen men's players in the draw, tied with Spain. Of course, Spain had way more seeded and direct entry players. France has twelve players in the men's draw. The hosts have only two, Murray and wildcard Baker.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 11:05 AM

The US get one back! Still time to make something happen for them in the match.

Posted by arbiter 06/18/2010 at 11:06 AM

How is it a "tough draw" for Federer, when Djokovic can play Hewitt, Roddick and then Federer, while Federer can only play one of the three? That is a blatant misinformation, on tennis.com. The title should be "tough draw (as always) for Djokovic"!

Posted by jita65 06/18/2010 at 11:09 AM

Hi CPM,
I thought Novak was in pretty good form Oct-Nov 09, especially in Paris SF against Nadal. Didn't he defeat Fed in Basel and also Davydenko in WTF 09, which neither Sod, Nadal, Roger or Delpo could manage? But grass is not his best surface, more so now when he may not be over his serve troubles.

Posted by eclipse22 (rafagirl FORZA ITALIA!!!) 06/18/2010 at 11:09 AM

humm about nadal's draw, but hey we like a challenge, yes? we like to fight till the end,no? more important we are in reconquering our trophies/titles mode,yes!!! and in a very flashy VAMOS way!!!

more seriously, soooo happy france has only one toe left in the tourney, good for them, hopefully that melonhead they've been carrying since 1998 is completely deflated for good, maybe they'll learn some humility and learn how to play as a team that has chemistry,not a team suffering from multiple egos syndrome
someone said they are a football nation, this is so not true, in any shape or form, they don't have it in their blood,their league is one of the most boring, international stars don't play there unless in their late years,their teams never make it out of champions league 1st round save LYON multiple crashes in the quarters...
but i'm really peeved at how french media was gloating after spain defeat, and how they were rooting for the swiss, grrr,still the worst critics of the french team is the french media who hate domenech,they should have kicked him out when they had the chance!

oh well frazzle time later for ENGLAND now there's a team that deserves to win their 2nd WC but won't thanks to crappy goalkeepers!

Posted by CPM 06/18/2010 at 11:15 AM

jita,

Sorry if I wasn't clear -- I was talking specifically about grass. And his USO '07-Queens '08 overall form was, I think, his best, and it still didn't translate to great results at SW19. I'm not sure why it's his worst surface, but there's no denying that it is, and I doubt many people would pick him as the favorite to emerge from "his" quarter.

Posted by Colette 06/18/2010 at 11:17 AM

Bit frazzled that Gumby (Cilic) could pose problems for RAndy.

Posted by ActionFlunky 06/18/2010 at 11:21 AM

"Bit frazzled that Gumby (Cilic) could pose problems for RAndy."

Yep. One of the main reasons I thought that quarter is the worst (most competitive). Cilic, I believe, will turn into a pretty decent grasser. To me he's probably the most dangerous non-top eight guy in the field.

Posted by Heather 06/18/2010 at 11:22 AM

Colette, they played at the AO and Andy was playing with a nerve problem in his serving arm and barely lost in 5 sets...

I think Andy will be fine, as long as he can be in the moment and not flashback to last year. Winning the first match is always key, once he gets that under his belt, I'm feeling a WIN! :) Sorry to sound like such a fan-girl, my gosh... :)

Posted by Colette 06/18/2010 at 11:24 AM

Heather, no need to apologize! Thanks for the encouraging words.

Posted by Colette 06/18/2010 at 11:27 AM

JK, If you're still around. So much for your excitement about TC. Today, anyway, looks like Stosur/Macarena and Vuvurenka/Bartoli are going to be on continuous loop all day long. Katrin and Corinna's voices are starting to sound like vuvus in my head.

Posted by robbyfan 06/18/2010 at 11:32 AM

Can someone please provide the link to the SP? Mine won't work. Thanks.

Posted by jita65 06/18/2010 at 11:34 AM

Ok CPM, my mistake. Yes, agree that he can be hardly the favourite in that quarter with Roddick and Hewitt around.

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 11:39 AM

2-all b/w USA and Slovenia as Bradley scored in the 81st minute

Posted by robbyfan 06/18/2010 at 11:40 AM

WOWSER! Go USA

Posted by Colette 06/18/2010 at 11:41 AM

SCOOOORE

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 11:42 AM

USA got jobbed on that possession on scoring a goal.

Posted by Colette 06/18/2010 at 11:43 AM

What's WITH these refs.

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 11:46 AM

Howard is frustrated with the defense as Slovenia got a decent shot on goal.

Posted by robbyfan 06/18/2010 at 11:47 AM

Am I reading the draw correctly the Murrays are playing Nestor/Zim in the 1st round?

Posted by Master Ace 06/18/2010 at 11:48 AM

Extra time tied at 2-all

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 06/18/2010 at 11:48 AM

Agree the referee's decision was wrong, but thought it was because he saw a foul in the box, not for offside?

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