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Faces of Defeat 11/24/2010 - 10:09 AM

Defeat
by Hannah Wilks.TW Contributing Writer

The World Tour Finals brings its own unique challenges, not least the round-robin format in which each victory, while crucial, still requires ratification by other results. Pride comes before pitfalls and even a defeat still holds out the possibility of redemption.

More than any other tournament, the World Tour Finals rewards the ability to pick oneself up and carry on. Today I decide to watch how the pros handle it when things don't go their way.

The first thing I see when I come to the O2 is Lukas Dlouhy, sweating and pale, mumbling volubly at the camera after his flubbed volley into the net costs him and his partner Leander Paes the first set against Wimbledon champions Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzchner. Dlouhy is clearly a fan of the inaudible monologue; Paes, on the other hand, stays theatrically frozen after his errors, pantomiming his disbelief.

On the other side of the net, their opponents err on the side of seriousness. Jurgen Melzer yells, swipes angrily at the air, hefts his racquet as if to throw it down. Philipp Petzchner hangs his head, trailing meekly around after Melzer, waiting for the fist-bump that absolves his latest error. They’re so open and earnest in their desire to win that when Petzchner lands the winning volley and it’s Melzer’s turn to walk to him for a hug, it’s impossible not to feel pleased for them.

If there is one thing—apart from a first serve—that Andy Murray is lacking today, in his critical battle with Roger Federer, it’s visible passion. His performance is woeful from the beginning, and I’m waiting for the convulsive clutching at his face, the angry berating of himself and his camp, the furious snatched punch at his racquet strings—everything that fuels the meme of the player who’s too negative to win. It doesn’t come. He just sighs after each unforced error, shoulders rising and settling in a weary exhale, and then gets on with it, his racquets all in one piece even if his game is in tatters.

As things go from bad to worse, he’s perfectly calm and I want to scream. I want him to yell, I want the smashed racquet; I want blood, sweat and tears—or at least two out of the three. Anything to get the blood flowing, get the feet moving—even getting the ball over the net would be a start. His calm persists even after a 6-4, 6-2 defeat. In his press conference, he’s matter-of-fact and dignified; challenged on his degree of intensity, he turns the question back on the press: "If I went out there and I smashed the racquet or started shouting, I’d come in and everyone would say to me, you were in a bad mood today, mentally you weren’t strong enough. . .I just tried to stay calm, tried to find a way, and it didn’t happen today."

In other words, sometimes it simply isn’t your day. Can it really be as straightforward as that? Federer seems to think so. He goes out of his way to remind the press of the contrast between this match and the last they played against each other in Shanghai, admitting his surprise at the ease of his win. "Tennis is not rocket science," he reminds the room. Anyone can have a bad day, he says with the vague complacency of those good enough to make their own luck.

How quickly things change in tennis. Murray was all but in the knockout stages after Sunday’s masterful performance against Soderling. Now we’re throwing around words like thrashed, crushed, dominated, and muttering mathematical permutations darkly to each other.

Soderling was down and out, fatigued and overhyped after his win in Paris; now he’s in with an excellent chance of repeating last year’s semi-final feat. The Swede, incongruously cartoon-bright in his acid yellow shirt, faces David Ferrer, the perennially-patronized Spaniard in a match that’s far more of a contest than Murray v Federer. It seems we’re still asking each other who Robin Soderling is and what he can do. David Ferrer carries no such questions with him on to the court. The limits of his abilities are known, implicit in the vaguely surprised tone that introduces him as a former finalist at the year-end championships; and the lack of reaction when he’s hit off the court testifies to the same truism that his ultimate fate is less in his hands than that of his opponents.

Defeat2 The thing that draws the incoherent shout from Ferrer is the unforced error. The pounding power of Soderling, against which the Spaniard’s never-say-die attitude is no defense, does not frustrate. It motivates. At the worst moments, when Soderling batters his way to the net, leaving Ferrer stranded behind the baseline, the Spaniard simply raises his hands: What can I do? And at the best, when he finds the passing shot and guts out a marathon hold, the clenched fist says: Don’t feel sorry for me.

One can never tell from From Soderling’s body language that he’s playing beautifully. The Swede is wound as tightly as a clockwork soldier, and uncoils to swipe savagely at the ball. Ferrer has no answer for his pace and power, but the better Soderling plays, the angrier he seems; he stalks stiff-legged between points and addresses vituperative comments to his box.

When Ferrer’s indomitable defense momentarily puts the second set in doubt, Soderling gestures savagely as if to exclaim, You see!? I told you I couldn’t do it. And when Ferrer frays under the pressure of holding serve, handing Soderling a seemingly well-deserved victory, the Swede faces the crowd with the slightly guilty air of a child who’s been given something he hasn’t entirely earned.

Charged—slightly bafflingly—by Mark Petchey with defying the stereotype of the placid Scandinavian with his ‘Latin character’, he splutters, Really?! with the guilelessness of the dull. In his press conference, all dimples and diffident charm, he gives the lie to his dour reputation. Disarmingly modest, he defuses leading questions, casting himself in the familiar role of underdog against Federer’s pedigree. He’s already thinking about his next match, but I’m still occupied with the one that just finished.

I risk missing the last train to hang on for Ferrer’s press conference. If I was seeking illumination into his psyche, a better understanding of the process of picking oneself up after being outplayed, I’m sorely disappointed. He arrives texting on his Blackberry, answers questions in his soft voice, fingers curling contemplatively around his mouth. He did his best. Robin was better, he did his best, and he’ll do his utmost on Thursday, too.

"I fight everything. I fight, and with Andy too." He states it with the finality of an ultimate truth.


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Posted by zenggi 11/24/2010 at 10:24 AM

Gauloises/Hannah,
Thank you so much again for this wonderful chronicle.
I think you will see more Robin fans at TW since you obviously like him.
"Disarmingly modest" Yay!

Posted by CherryNYC 11/24/2010 at 10:29 AM

I doubt I'm first.

Anyway, morning everyone. That was wonderful Hannah. I hate to say it, but Muzz has a point.... Some days screaming and pulling your hair just doesn't seem right, so you stay cool, try to hang in there, and that doesn't work either. Not his day.
And count me among the few who find Sod quite charming....

Berdy -Andy looks like a scrap....

Posted by jb (chocolate FTW!!!) 11/24/2010 at 10:32 AM

Gauloises. You rock. I got nothing else at the moment, as I'm currently wiggin' about RAndy and freakin' Berdy finding his confidence (why NOW?!).

*trots back to the pit of despair and jumps in*

Posted by naughty T....urbane gentleman 11/24/2010 at 10:35 AM

Thanks G.. lovely again. To be fair to Andy, he had some stunning passages of play and the match was certainly more entertaining than the schlock I am watching right this now (berd v birdbrainedroddick). Just Fudd being too good on the day by a long long way... some of us were very entertained by that too.

Posted by jb (chocolate FTW!!!) 11/24/2010 at 10:42 AM

*crawls out of the pit of despair*

cherrynyc - too true about the not pulling his hair etc. flailing around doesn't necessarily work; it expends a lot of energy and cause you to lose focus.

Funny how some people equate flailing with effort though.

Er, not to say Gauly was, but often you see players lambasted because they didn't try, and you know they're thinking furiously, and attempting everything they can, but it doesn't work and they still just lose.

Posted by Master Ace 11/24/2010 at 10:43 AM

Gauloises,
Thanks once again.

Even if Nadal was to win today, he will not advance to the semifinals while a Djokovic win will advance him to the semifinals.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/24/2010 at 10:48 AM

Gauloises Again just wonderful reading!

Thanks soo much

Posted by CherryNYC 11/24/2010 at 10:50 AM

jb -- I agree with you about how people equate tantrums,screaming at the ump, etc. with mental strength and effort....I tend to equate it with being a jerk.....(Hello Roddick), but that's just me...

Posted by CherryNYC 11/24/2010 at 10:52 AM

"Even if Nadal was to win today, he will not advance to the semifinals while a Djokovic win will advance him to the semifinals"

Please, Master Ace, I haven't finished my coffee yet..... :)
Have I mentioned I hate the RR format? - yes, I believe I have.....

Rafa - Djoker better be good....

Posted by jb (chocolate FTW!!!) 11/24/2010 at 10:54 AM

most times I do too Cherrynyc. never like jmac's advising players to pull tantrums. idiotic imo.

i don't care if they yip at themselves etc, as long as they don't go after linesman etc. but i respect players who under pressure retain their focus and just go about their business. I think that's incredibly hard to stay focused and control nerves etc. goodness knows I couldn't do it! maybe that's why I admire it so, as its something i could never do myself.

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/24/2010 at 10:55 AM

A third type of "face of defeat" might be called "entitled indignation", as just seen with Roddick. I was surprised he made it to the WTF in the first place; but once there, he blew a good lead in his first match, and seemed to give up once he lost the first set to T-Berd. There's racquet-smashing that is a part of the will to fight, but then there's racquet-smashing that's simply about not getting one's way. Andy, stop your foot-stomping - you'll be going home soon enough.

Posted by creig bryan 11/24/2010 at 10:57 AM

"the meme of the player who’s too negative to win."

Hannah, that phrase among many others, in both of your WTF pieces, has brought me back to TW, at least for the headings. Your descriptions and keen insights are refreshing, and a stark reminder of what tennis tournament writing is supposed to convey: The drama On the court, During the match, bypassing the irrelevant politics of the individual contestants.
From coin toss to handshake, you manage to get to the core of The Tennis.

Thank you.

Keep Smiling

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/24/2010 at 10:58 AM

Well I felt for Andy on this occasion fans were flashing their camera's just as he was preparing for a shot.I can understand the frustration of any player when this happens quite frankly.

Posted by Arun 11/24/2010 at 11:01 AM

Interesting points jb, CherryNYC.

This is from Murray's presser:

Q. You just seemed very flat out there from the outset. Your body language, everything, just gave the impression you weren’t mentally quite tuned in.
ANDY MURRAY: I think it’s something where, you know, if I went out there and I smashed the racquet or started shouting, I’d come in and everyone would say to me, You were in a bad mood today, mentally you weren’t strong enough.

In the match against Soderling, I was very quiet, as well. I didn’t really show much emotion on the court. I tried to do the same thing today. It might look that way when you don’t win the match. But if I had won, not said anything, you know…

To me I didn’t feel flat on the court. Maybe it’s just very different to what you’re used to seeing from me. But, you know, that’s something that I’m trying to work on, to not let my emotions sort of control how I’m playing. I just tried to stay calm, tried to find a way, and it didn’t happen today. But I didn’t feel flat on the court at all.

Posted by Master Ace 11/24/2010 at 11:01 AM

CherryNYC,
You have plenty of time to drink coffee before the evening session singles match starts at 3 PM.

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/24/2010 at 11:02 AM

Gauloises :

You know all these player so well and understand them. Another wonderful read !

Posted by Master Ace 11/24/2010 at 11:04 AM

Arun,
Despite the Bryans losing to the Poles, do you know that if they defeat Dlouhy and Paes tomorrow, they still will advance to the SF?

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/24/2010 at 11:06 AM

oh, so the Bryans vlog must still be going - it's been very entertaining.

Posted by Arun 11/24/2010 at 11:06 AM

MA: I don't see them losing that "knockout" situation match.
Did you see how horribly Dlouhy choked away the important points yesterday?
btw, are we supposed to be 'On Topic' in this place or can we talk about today's matches?

Posted by wilson75 11/24/2010 at 11:08 AM

AM: It wasn't the fans flashing their cameras, it was the advertising boards in front of the linesmen that were flashing and Roddick asked the umpire to turn them off which they did.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/24/2010 at 11:09 AM

Arun Thanks for that pressor from Andy

Well to me he did look flat as a tack lol! that just goes to show my interpreation

I watched the match on replay,I got to thinking maybe he was so Up in his first match with Robin and playing in front of his home crowd to speak he wanted to play well.Considering his recent performances.

Roger just didnt let him into the game at all.He was always to me on the back foot in ways.Though they are just my thoughts.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/24/2010 at 11:11 AM

wilson75 Oh thanks for that I thought it was the fans camera's still they should not be flashing.I guess that why Mo stopped.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/24/2010 at 11:13 AM

I also dont like the Disco lighting they have on in this tournmaent either lol!

Anything flashy like advertising signs etc should not be on when players are playing full stop

Posted by CherryNYC 11/24/2010 at 11:14 AM

I believe Muzz when he says he didn't feel flat.... and when he says he's trying to not let his emotions control how he's playing.... that's interesting. I'm convinced that 99% of the game is figuring out how to cope with the nerves and the fear that comes with every match, while still being able to think about strategy and make your shots.......It's incredible to me that these guys don't just collapse from mental exhaustion...And that Fed seems to find real joy in what he's doing.... the man's an amazing psychological study on top of everything else.....

Posted by jodiecate 11/24/2010 at 11:16 AM

Hi Gauloises,

Of course you were pacing yourself!! Of course it's a marathon!!!
*blushes about lack of patience*

I was just worried that your computer had crashed and lost all your work, or you'd injured your arms and couldn't write, or fallen over and hit your head and forgotten who you were, or had been kidnapped by aliens...

So, um... glad it's all ok then :D
Didn't mean to be rude!!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/24/2010 at 11:19 AM

Jodicate Gee I thought I was the only Aussie up soo early.Its 3.20am.I will need to take a "power nap" before Rafa's match

Cant wait for the Aussie Summer of Tennis let me tell you lol!

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/24/2010 at 11:19 AM

Thanks Gauly! Enjoyed it very much. :)

Agree, jb, about effort being under-rated if it doesn't somehow "look" as if the player is trying.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/24/2010 at 11:23 AM

Jewell Please remember to pack your camera when going next to watch matches in London ok.

Posted by Master Ace 11/24/2010 at 11:24 AM

Tina,
Bryans Vblog is very entertaining. Their last one involves the girlfriend greeting where Bob obviously won.

Posted by Master Ace 11/24/2010 at 11:25 AM

Arun,
Yes, I saw where Dlouhy missed the important pts in STB especially after he and Paes led 8-4.

Posted by SRao 11/24/2010 at 11:25 AM

Thanks Hannah.

I'm so happy for this fresh-face OR fresh voice!
I throughly enjoyed your write ups.

Looking forward to your post,post Fed's win on Sunday!

Posted by Master Ace 11/24/2010 at 11:28 AM

Arun,
Who win later - Nestor/Zimonjic or Bhupathi/Mirnyi?

Posted by SRao 11/24/2010 at 11:28 AM

MA,
Hi!

Pls throw in all the permutation and combinations of who will and who will not make it to SF.

I know it's a lot of work,but you are so good at it.
Tks.

Posted by Arun 11/24/2010 at 11:30 AM

MA: A match-up of ending partnerships; though many dubs matches in this WTF are like that.
I guess Zestor, though I wish Bhupathi/Max can win.

Posted by wilson75 11/24/2010 at 11:31 AM

I just finished gauloises' piece good as usual. Mark Petchey is a baffling guy. I thought Mary Jo was bad but apparently, he is worse than her. After Roger's first match Petchey I asked him if he was going to miss this tournament when he retires? Roger told him in a cordial manner, that he's not the one retiring that Moya who's retiring.

Posted by Master Ace 11/24/2010 at 11:34 AM

SRao,
Federer should be in the semifinals on Saturday if he win only 5 games against Soderling tomorrow.

Assuming Federer win 5 games

Federer 29-23 for 56%(24-11 today)
Soderling 32-27 for 54%(20-22 today)
Murray (18-18 today)

Also, Ferrer has a slight chance to make the SF(he and Federer need to win tomorrow) but he will need to win the sets and game scenario with Soderling and Murray.

Roddick will be the first player officially eliminated if Djokovic win.

Bottom line is round robin calculations are confusing so I will leave it to the ATP guys led by Greg Sharko at the moment.

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/24/2010 at 11:34 AM

I haven't actually got a camera of my own but need to borrow one, and then I can never work out how to use it...I'm really bad at picture-taking.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/24/2010 at 11:35 AM

Jewell If I can manage to take photos anyone can ok

I even get peoples heads in these days.Major accomplishment for me lol!

Posted by Brick 11/24/2010 at 11:36 AM

GO FED

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/24/2010 at 11:37 AM

I tend to get some form of weird abstract art in any picture I take. Perhaps I should go mad clicking away and enter the results for the Turner Prize.

Posted by Kristy 11/24/2010 at 11:38 AM

Tina, I left you a message on the other thread -- thanks for your advice about buses. I'm going to try for an 8:30 one tomorrow -- that should work. I should have thought of alternatives but was too spaced out. Am mad at myself for not getting a res. on Amtrak -- their prices are actually the same as the bus and much better service. Woe betide you if you have to rely on Greyhound. ):

Posted by SRao 11/24/2010 at 11:39 AM

MA,

WOWWWWWWWW,Thank you so very much.
I'm just loving WTF,since Fed is really playing well.
What do you think about Fed winning WTF?

I did do some arithmetic...but like last year,hope it's not extreme situation.


Posted by Kristy 11/24/2010 at 11:40 AM

gauloises, smart, perceptive writing once again. I really liked "with the guilelessness of the dull." Neat little skewer!

Posted by d 11/24/2010 at 11:40 AM

Hannah, very funny. nicely done, thanks.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/24/2010 at 11:41 AM

Jewell Maybe I should enter as well.Just keep clicking ok at least one picture will turn out ok.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/24/2010 at 11:45 AM

Anyway off for a much needed "powere nap" fingers crossed Rafa will win in 2 sets and I dont have to revert to drinking again oh yes the drugs how could I forget them lol!

Posted by jodiecate 11/24/2010 at 11:45 AM

Hi Ausiemarg, i woke up & was really hungry... and while ur snacking, you know, you turn on the computer and see whats happening with tennis and all...

But the longer i stay up, the harder it's gonna be to get up for Rafa's match - but am not sleepy at all now! What to do????

Posted by Peg 11/24/2010 at 11:47 AM

Another winner, Hannah. Laughed out loud at the description of MelPet -- too true!

*waves hi to everyone; scuttles back to work and T-day prep*

Posted by SRao 11/24/2010 at 11:53 AM

WTF SF Qualifying scenarios at:

http://www.barclaysatpworldtourfinals.com/News/Tennis/2010/Tournament/London-Qualifying-Scenarios.aspx

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 11/24/2010 at 11:55 AM

*waves to Peg* Nice to see you, however briefly!

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/24/2010 at 12:04 PM

SRao, thanks for that link, but you know the ATP gets that from Master Ace. ;-)

Murray's comments about trying to control his emotions evoke an interesting parallel with the young Federer. Once the Swiss got his feelings and frustrations under control, well, we all know how that worked out.

Posted by Master Ace 11/24/2010 at 12:07 PM

SRao,
Thanks for the link.

Holds 2 Love,
LOL.

Posted by Tuulia 11/24/2010 at 12:08 PM

q+a with WTF players :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhUcgN2sWmk&feature=rec-LGOUT-exp_fresh+div-1r-3-HM

I just read Roddick's post-Rafa match presser, his pressers are worth the time, anyway, but all Rafa fans would surely enjoy that one:
http://tennisconnected.com/home/2010/11/23/wtf-andy-roddick-monday-press-conference/

(lol at "cute" and "water torture".)

Posted by SRao 11/24/2010 at 12:15 PM

Holds 2 Love,

I'm literally LOL.
Yes MA is the-unofficial-Greg Sharko,after all !

Posted by TMFunk 11/24/2010 at 12:15 PM

Thanks SRao. So, only way that Fed could potentially NOT qualify is if both he and Ferrer lose in straight sets. Well, unlikely, but not improbable. The guy did after all find a way to fall one week short of equaling Sampras' 286-week record at #1 and lose 4 matches after having matchpoints...I don't put anything past the Fed anymore.

Posted by Anna 11/24/2010 at 12:20 PM

Gauloises, what a write up. Excellent. Thank you

Posted by SRao 11/24/2010 at 12:21 PM

TMFunk,
Yes, nothing is gauranteed in Fed case anymore.
Fed can surprise us all,beyond imagination.Blowing away MP's is blasphemy.It scares me.

MA,
You are welcome.
I did use a calculator and went through each scenario.Hmmmmmm
Come to think of it,WTF SF scenarios are just not worth it.
All that matters-just get a straight forward WIN

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/24/2010 at 12:25 PM

Tuulia, thanks for posting Sky's player questions. This format always yields a few funny responses (the first kiss comes to mind, RAndy, Novak, MAndy...) but when I saw this on Sky the other day, one thing that really struck me was when the players were asked who would win. Some reacted as you'd expect: "ME! duh..." I thought it was telling that Ferrer picked Federer or Nadal. :-/

Posted by SRao 11/24/2010 at 12:26 PM

Tuulia,

Tks for all the links.

Posted by Mick1303 11/24/2010 at 12:30 PM

MA - another question about the formula - in the discussed scenario, when 3 players go 2-1 and two advance based on the sets/games ratio - how the places are determined? By the same ratio or by the result between the players who advanced?

Posted by Tuulia 11/24/2010 at 12:30 PM

I guess Ferru was just being realistic, poor dear.

Posted by CL 11/24/2010 at 12:36 PM

Kristy - if by any chance you are still reading...there is an Amtrak train that leaves Penn Station and stops in Rutland, Vermont. Not sure of schedule. But I think it is twice a day. It even runs on thanksgiving day - I know because I have friends who are on it then. You can probably check on line re availability. Good luck!

(If all transportation fails, go to a movie and a Chinese restaurant.)

Posted by Master Ace 11/24/2010 at 12:41 PM

Mick1303,
I believe that sets/games ratio will determine the spots but please look at the link, SRao posted for 2010 WTF.

Posted by CL 11/24/2010 at 12:42 PM

Hannah - this is, again, fabulous writing. This sort of consistency of excellence is quite, if you will pardon the expression, 'Federesque." :-)

So much for my abilities as a prognosticator - I thought Roddick would roll right over TByrd, who hasn't shown much other than borderline clinical depression since Wimby. But NO! Suddenly, Tomas awakes and actually remembers how to play tennis. Meanwhile, Andy reverts to pissy Andy and his game and everyone's mood suffer. Sheesh.

Don't think I will be proved as wrong re the Rafa vs. Novak 'Is it DEC yet?' Djokovic. A close match, but Rafa prevails.

Posted by zenggi 11/24/2010 at 12:44 PM

Thank you, Tuulia, for the links. The Q+A video is quite funny. :)

Here is a link for a video with Roger on the WTF website who at the end gives his opinion about the importance of the WTF. He is all for it, as are the fans. He talks also about the 2010 season and pressure.
http://tinyurl.com/22ony5a

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/24/2010 at 12:44 PM

and I will add praise to that already heaped upon Hannah for the perspective she is bringing to the tournament. This line: 'Today I decide to watch how the pros handle it when things don't go their way' could be the topic of a book (albeit maybe a low-selling one ;-)), or a sports psychology thesis. (eg, Murray trying to rein in his emotions) Her contrast of the singles and doubles matches had me wondering if the "team" dynamic of doubles doesn't encourage a more positive approach to handling disappointment. Or is that a factor at all in the chemistry and success of doubles teams, where you must contend not only with disappointment in your self, but your teammate as well. Isn't it really the lone player who can indulge in displays of negative behavior? For you historians of the game, did John McEnroe ever have extreme tantrums when playing doubles? The stakes were lower for him, to be sure, but is it also fundamentally a different psychology?

Posted by zenggi 11/24/2010 at 12:45 PM

MA,
Thanks for your answer posted on the other thread while I was sleeping. :)

Posted by CL 11/24/2010 at 12:51 PM

Kristy - oops...see you already know about Amtrak.

I thought that info regarding Fed and his inability to close out matches early in his career was interesting in a couple of ways. One, as it might apply to the still, relatively, young guns of today who keep getting so close and not quite consistently making it. And the other thing is that it shows this business of not taking match points is not completely new to Fed. That's the 'sorta' good news...the bad news is that is may mean he is entering his second tennis adolescence. Oh well, at least we will have racket throwing, more crying, cheap necklaces and dyed blond hair to look forward to...as well as back to.

Posted by Holds 2 Love 11/24/2010 at 12:55 PM

Kristy, good luck with your travel! I really hope you make it to Vermont. And if you do end up with Chinese food and a movie, you could do worse than renting Planes, Trains and Automobiles. (cue "Messaround")
*gobble, gobble!*

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/24/2010 at 12:56 PM

Todd martin at ATP prediction page is really getting on my nerve!! I hope he eats his word and Rafa beats Djoker in straight!! Clearly this guy is no fan of Rafa and huge fan of Roddick, Djoker and Fed. For the record, this dude predicted Roddick in 2 sets, Roddick beating Rafa in 3 sets, Djoker beating Berdie in 3 sets, Sod beating Ferru in 3 sets, Fed beating Muzz in 2 tough TBs, oh I can go on. The point is this guy should NOT be in prediction business and ATP would better learn not to pay him for this next year.

Posted by @work 11/24/2010 at 01:04 PM

Great report, Gauloises! :)

Not happy that the second day was skipped *pouts*
I was really looking forward to hear about Rafa v Roddick but still enjoyed this one very much!

I don't know what to expect today from Rafa, or Nole for that matter.
I usually start their hard court matches thinking Nole is going to prevail but then this is the tour finals and anything is possible, no?

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/24/2010 at 01:14 PM

Well, I can excuse Todd because he did work with Novak for a while and he is an American, so he is just doing his patriotic duty in supporting his fellows.

Myself, I have a nice, new bottle of brandy to sustain me through the match.

Posted by wilson75 11/24/2010 at 01:17 PM

According to Brad Gilbert, Roger Federer was the dominant player in last year's WTF. But correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Roger lose the first set in all 3 of his round-robin matches last year? Last time I checked that didn't signal a dominant performance.

“Roger dominated in the first few matches last year and you thought he was going to win it, then he went down to (Nikolay) Davydenko in the semis,” he said. “He’s playing great tennis, but last I checked, you don’t win the event on a Tuesday. People might be burying Murray, but it’s not over until you lose twice.”


Posted by CL 11/24/2010 at 01:23 PM

wilson - ah, sounds exactly like Brad. He it technically correct of course, (at least about not winning on Tues. and losing twice.),but somehow, coming from him, it sound's straight from the jackass's mouth.

BTW - a tidbit from RF.com. A Fed fan who was at the Fed/Muzz match said that after the match, Mirka and Luthi stayed for the presentation of the Edberg award to Rafa and clapped enthusiastically for him. As ever, class act, the Federers and team.

Posted by @work 11/24/2010 at 01:24 PM

Lynne,
Lucky you! I'm at work so no drinking... I will be biting my nails most likely :)

Posted by skip1515 11/24/2010 at 01:25 PM

"Anyone can have a bad day, he says with the vague complacency of those good enough to make their own luck."

Great word craft. Simply great.

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/24/2010 at 01:26 PM

Somebody above already posted the link for ATP's SF senario for group B and I see there are about 10 or something and the old man Fed is the winner in basically 7 or 8 of them and 2 of them as the runner up. It basically is saying that Fed will win the group in about 70% likelyhood (math talk) or 95% (reality) and advance to SF in about 95% (math talk) and 99.9% (reality). Good time for Fed KADs.

Meanwhile I am furiously working to prevent another Fedal SF. For that lame disaster to not happen, we need Rafa to win today against Djoker, preferably in straight sets. Oy. fat chance. C'mon Fedal final!

Posted by Lynne (Rafalite) 11/24/2010 at 01:31 PM

@work : Either way, I will probably end up on the floor with bitten nails !

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/24/2010 at 01:31 PM

BTW, it's not like the old man needs any more lucky edgy, but the schedule is on his side as well. He will play early tomorrow, then most likely early on Saturday SF, which will give him one full day rest before final on Sunday against an opponent who only had a half day rest and even less if he is from group A. The potential group A winner has to play Friday night, Saturday night, then Sunday day. yay...

Posted by CherryNYC 11/24/2010 at 01:34 PM

If I want a Fedal final, I root for Rafa to crush Djoker in straights, correct?

Posted by TMFunk 11/24/2010 at 01:34 PM

counting chicken before they hatch - not a good idea. One-Match-at-a-time :)

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/24/2010 at 01:37 PM

CherryNYC, yes. Whether you are Rafa KAD or Fed KAD, we need to root for Rafa to win, therefore rooting for him to win his group to avoid the lame Fedal SF. Group B winner, Fed, will meet group B runner up and in all likelyhood, that could be Rafa. So c'mon. Rafa win!

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/24/2010 at 01:37 PM

I meant Group B winner, Fed, will meet group A runner up

Posted by Tuulia 11/24/2010 at 01:43 PM

@work, you saw yesterday's ceremony with nice trophies and dimples? I posted a link in previous thread as requested.

Posted by CherryNYC 11/24/2010 at 01:49 PM

OK, thanks old man Fed...
I have no problem rooting for Rafa under any circumstances other than Fedal.... Go Magenta King!!!!

Of course, in the immortal words of Matt Z. (where is he?) One. Match. At. A. Time.

Posted by Mick1303 11/24/2010 at 01:49 PM

Why Federer-Nadal semi is lame? I liked the previous two just fine.

Posted by Ross (FOE, even Gael) 11/24/2010 at 01:51 PM

“For you historians of the game, did John McEnroe ever have extreme tantrums when playing doubles? The stakes were lower for him, to be sure, but is it also fundamentally a different psychology?”

Interesting question.

Also interesting that Roger was a blond. And I can personally attest that so was Jimmy C, at least for one day.

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/24/2010 at 01:58 PM

And if you're neither a Fed KAD nor a Nadal KAD (though I was recently called that) you can always be a FOOP, and support Djokovic to win the whole thing. ;-)

Kirsty, glad you were able to arrange something in the end. I find Amtrak prices so obscene that I end up looking for last-minute flights - or driving. But I happen to love road trips.

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/24/2010 at 01:59 PM

oops, I meant kristy, not kirsty

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/24/2010 at 02:06 PM

from yahoo sports:

At least Berdych seems pretty clear about what he needs to do, the Czech insisting that he will just be thinking about winning against Nadal on Friday, not games percentages.

“I’m still in kind of a chance to have it in my hands in the last match,” he told reporters as he looked ahead to a repeat of his Wimbledon final against Nadal on Friday.

“(The maths) I think that’s just the work of you guys, the media. You’re going to sit and be counting all the numbers, what’s going to happen if he wons five games, what happens if he won one set or something like that.

“We are tennis players. We want to win every match. We’re not going to be like Italian football players just waiting for a 0-0 and defending all the time.”

ouch. ouch. ouch. Italian football team, you are on notice by Berdie. Now stop murking around in the back and start trying to score!

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/24/2010 at 02:08 PM

Mick1303, well, given the choice, do you want Fedal Final at YEC (for the 1st time!) or another Fedal SF (done that, seen that)? I want Fedal final for a change if Fedal were to happen!

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/24/2010 at 02:08 PM

Okay back from my "power nap"

I have decided to take 1 valium before Rafa's match

It just takes the "edge off things" like I have discovered in the past.

Posted by tina (ajde, Novak: handsome and talented Balkans #1, world #3, Davis Cup hero, AO 2008 titleist, reigning USO finalist, cutest butt in tennis, rapper, the face of Belgrade t-shirts, Novak water and Restaurant - don't u wish your polyglot was hott like me) 11/24/2010 at 02:16 PM

A power nap followed by a valium? I'm impressed, AM. I'm enjoying this doubles match, wouldn't it be terrific if the WTF did free streams for the singles, too?

Posted by wilson75 11/24/2010 at 02:17 PM

CL: I agree that a player doesn't win on Tuesday but he's of the impression that Roger was in dominating form last year when that wasn't the case at all. In fact he was lucky to qualify for the SF. I just wish he would get his facts straight before spouting off and trying sound like he's a top analyst.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/24/2010 at 02:20 PM

Tina

I have missed a lot of the doubles action so far I am afraid

I hear you with the crappy streams with the singles

Though I am lucky Fox sports here have live coverage though I do pay for this service.

Posted by Ausiemarg,Madame President,Rafa London Is Calling! 11/24/2010 at 02:22 PM

I always find when I have to get a stream they always cut out on me

I end up getting the Pips Hmm.

Posted by @work 11/24/2010 at 02:40 PM

Tuulia,
You did?
I will check it out now!
Unfortunately once I leave work I'm internet-less... so I didn't get to see it yesterday and today's been hectic here at work.
Thanks a million! :)

Posted by Old man Fed/Puny Server Rafa fan 11/24/2010 at 02:53 PM

all quiet on the TW front... Before the rafa-djoker.

Posted by alex 11/24/2010 at 02:55 PM

"... his racquets all in one piece even if his game is in tatters ..."

Love it, Hannah, another great piece.

What went wrong for muzz?

Don't rule out the effects of muzz's 'home crowd' shouting more loudly for the foreigner than for him. Even the thickest skinned, most insular, crowd resistant stoic cannot have been impervious to that. Playing in an empty arena would surely have been more conducive to bringing out the best in muzz's game than having to endure such a betrayal before a racquet had even been lifted. If I were muzz, when I heard the decibel count lift higher than his for the entrance of federer, my heart would have sunk and I'd have thought, 'Why should I bother? If my home support don't seem to care, why should I?'

Shame on London! Shame on England! They don't deserve muzz, and if he ever wins Wimbie, it certainly won't be for them. Not if he has any sense, which he does.

Posted by Nam1 11/24/2010 at 02:56 PM

Where is everyone?

Totally anaesthesized before Rafa's match?

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