Concrete Elbow by Steve Tignor - Nole's Best Impersonation Yet
Home       About Steve Tignor       Contact        RSS        Follow on Twitter Categories       Archive
Nole's Best Impersonation Yet 09/05/2008 - 12:30 PM

NdWere you starting to worry about Novak Djokovic? Were you starting to wonder what had happened to the unshakable, unaccountable confidence that had led to his meteoric rise up the rankings in 2007 and a title at the first major of 2008?

Maybe worry is too strong a word. Even through some of his more puzzling performances this summer, I knew the guy was the real thing, that he was no second-tier flash in the pan, no David Nalbandian. But he seemed unsure of himself, now that he had become the hunted rather than the hunter. Djokovic had loudly proclaimed himself to be a future No. 1 player, but, despite his success, it hadn’t quite happened. He was beaten to the brass ring by Rafael Nadal and had spent the last few months in a netherworld at No. 3. Djokovic was no longer climbing and improving, but at the same time he hadn’t gained that king of the hill aura that comes with being No. 1 and champion of the French Open and Wimbledon.

Hence the final in Cincinnati, where Djokovic, struggling with his forehand against Andy Murray, seemed to play both to win and lose at the same time. Hence the Olympic semifinals, where he made the most embarrassing error imaginable (or unimaginable)—chunking a sitter overhead 5 feet wide—when he was down match point to Nadal, ending his chances for a gold medal for the next four years. Hence the rising frustration when he couldn't blow out lower-ranked players, the tendency to throw caution to the wind at crucial moments, the injury issues that seemed designed to alleviate the mental burdens of competition. I had once written that Djokovic was, above all else, “good at winning,” that his biggest advantage was that, when it mattered, he simply didn’t miss. I wasn’t sure anymore: When it mattered most these days, he no longer tightened up his game. His risked everything.

After last night, I’d say Djokovic owes Andy Roddick a big thank you. It took Roddick’s joking words about the Serb’s seeming hypochondria—Roddick said he might be suffering from SARS, who knows—to bring back his old one-track competitive drive and help him channel his anger at something outside of himself. I was struck by how Djokovic walked on court and how he carried himself in the early stages of the match: Rather than staring upward in disbelief and distraction, the way he has so often lately, he kept his head down and his expressions in check. He even looked patient. Djokovic was on his rival’s home court—I’ve rarely seen Ashe more overtly partisan—which made him, despite his higher ranking, the hunter again.

Judging from his level of play last night, the role suits him. This was the Djokovic who is committed at all times to changing the direction of the ball. Like his fellow Serb, Jelena Jankovic, he specializes in the down-the-line ground stroke; like her, it functions the way the crosscourt does for most other players, as a way of opening up the court. Most great players advance the sport in some way, and the change of direction and ability to pull the trigger on the down the line at any time is one of Djokovic’s contributions—this is something Andre Agassi could do, but Djokovic does it with more abandon and firepower. He can end a point from anywhere, and over the high part of the net. You may have heard your teaching pro tell you to hit the ball crosscourt nine times out 10. If so, and if it’s working for you, I wouldn’t recommend watching Novak Djokovic. You might think your pro is lying so you have to keep coming back for lessons, and that the real way to play tennis is simply to hit the ball in any direction you want, regardless of how high the net is.

For the most part, Djokovic didn’t have to do much more than return Roddick’s serve—the fact that he adjusted and blocked the ball back with his forehand slice made me think right away that he was serious about winning this one—and keep the ball deep and down the middle. He didn’t think Roddick could hurt him, and he was right for the first two sets. Once a rally began, Djokovic inevitably found himself inside the baseline, while Roddick was forced to move the same distance behind his. Djokovic’s patience was also on display in his serving. He made the effort to mix up his spins and placement more than I’d seen him do recently. His kick in particular gave Roddick fits; he made awkward leaps at the ball as he struggled to get his two-handed backhand up and into position for it. It’s been said that you’re only as good as your second serve. This is true in part because if you have a good second serve, you’ve made yourself into a complete player—it’s pretty much the last shot anyone practices, besides perhaps the return of serve. The bite Djokovic gets on his is deceptive. Because of it, his second serve is one of the few in the game that you could call a weapon in its own right.

The crowd, which included Jimmy Connors decked out in an unfortunate beige day suite—still, with Jimbo, it’s the effort we love—helped keep Roddick’s spirits up to start the third set. He got back in the match basically because he stopped missing; it’s amazing how consistent the guy can be. Roddick built on his momentum in the fourth, to the point where he began firing his forehand flat and into the corners like it was 2003 all over again. He broke Djokovic with a shocking, Connors-like backhand down-the-line winner. It looked like USA Network would get one last five-setter before it packed up its cameras after 25 years at Flushing Meadows.

But the night crowd and atmosphere can only do so much when you're facing a focused and more talented player. Roddick uncharacterisically double-faulted twice—was he finally too juiced up by his favorite court?—and Djokovic grabbed the match back with some brilliant defense. It may be dangerous, but I love his sliding, open-stance, flick backhand, which he uses to respond to a big shot from his opponent, and which keeps him from having to float the ball back when he’s on the run. Djokovic, good at winning once again, hit a topspin lob winner to break and tightened up his game in the tiebreaker to end the match.

What did you think of the post-match drama? Djokovic admitted to being motivated by Roddick’s remarks, and by the crowd, who he said thought he was “faking everything.” USA went off the air for the final time in a sea of boos and negative feelings. This was 180 degrees from a year ago, when Djokovic had charmed New York with his impersonations. Somehow though, I enjoyed this more. Djokovic was overreacting to Roddick’s joke (and he said as much later), but at least he was honest about how he felt. After all the relentless hype about the glory of the Open at night that Ted Robinson has forced on us for all these years, it was very funny and fitting—and old-school New York City—to have it end on a dramatically ugly note.

For anyone who cares about the sport, though, this night was about Djokovic doing one more impersonation: of himself, of a guy who, whether you love or hate his quirky, cocky personality, can really, really play tennis. If Federer makes the textbook look elegant, Djokovic, with his uncluttered, blink-and-the-point's-over power from the ground and perfect balance at all times, makes it look sleek. It's an act worth repeating.


 
221
Comments
 
1 2 3      >>

Posted by Zeitgeist 09/05/2008 at 12:53 PM

firsssstttttt!!!

Posted by RoadRunner 09/05/2008 at 12:57 PM

Great post Steve, one of your best yet. Your insight is unmatched IMHO and I totally agree about the way things ended. Ted Robinson tried to force feed us a sap story but the thing we've always loved about the Open is that it reveals the true character of a player and stretches him to be more than just a great tennis player but to be a great champion. To overcome adversity and himself within the space of a tournament or even a match. Novak did that brilliantly last night and earned my respect for it.

Posted by Sher 09/05/2008 at 12:59 PM

[USA went off the air for the final time in a sea of boos and negative feelings. This was 180 degrees from a year ago, when Djokovic had charmed New York with his impersonations. Somehow though, I enjoyed this more. Djokovic was overreacting to Roddick’s joke (and he said as much later), but at least he was honest about how he felt. ]

I agree with this. Yesterday at least felt more honest.

Posted by tommy 09/05/2008 at 01:00 PM

I'm so glad USA Network is out of tennis. Everything there was US against the world. Roddick is the guy calling Novak a liar and faker to the media.
Novak told the media it's not nice to say that.
So good to get these biased clowns off my tv screen.
Good bye USA Network. Go back to showing Monk marathons

Posted by Troy 09/05/2008 at 01:01 PM

People grow up I mean come on, what Roddick said may have been a joke and although his perception is that he would have taken it like water off a ducks back but seriously this is coming from one of the guys with the worst attitudes on tour. He is still a great player to watch (Roddick) but quite sticking your foot in your mouth and at the same time provoking someone else to do the same thing. If the US was the SERBIAN OPEN and it was considered the biggest of the GRAND SLAMS outside of Wimbledon and Novak Jokovic was making the same remarks in front of a Pro Djokovic crowd and then attacking in the press conferences and making light of Roddicks injurys and disrespecting him wouldn't it be fair to say that it would be some conceivable to think that Roddick would not only address it in a Post Match Inteview after defeating him within his own country but also vent unapproved opinion of the situation. I thought Novak was just being simply honost and the US Open Fans were stepping over the line and showed some real childish behavior. It was sad that Novak couldn't get his opinion out there in the open and not be attacked all over again. It's ridiculous and i am sure some idiot here is going to attack me for seeing his side of it and make some lameass comment about me being unpatriotic but if that's the case then they are just as childish as Roddick was and they can bite me!

Posted by JS 09/05/2008 at 01:06 PM

good recap, Steve. I especially like the end: "sleek" is a spot-on word to describe Djoker's game.

Can't wait for the semis!

Posted by SwissMaestro 09/05/2008 at 01:08 PM

niiiiiiiiiice!

Posted by Syd 09/05/2008 at 01:10 PM

Steve, good read. Love your take on the Djoker. The only thing I don't agree with is your statement that Djokovic "over reacted" to Roddick's comments. With ten tons of adrenal still coursing through his body, and the crowd in ugly beast mode, I think his comments were fairly mild.

Posted by Sandnara 09/05/2008 at 01:10 PM

I am commenting for the first time although I am a frequent visitor to CC, Deuce Club and Concret Elbow. Mr. Tignor, Love your writing. I was at this game last night and your post captured the essence fabulously. Djokovic basically shut the crowd up with his play. The boos were 'sour grapes', myself included (shamefully).
BTW, why have you not written ab analysis re: the Nadal-Fish match. I know you'vthe brillian Williamses quarterfinal overshadowed it and it was a late (early?) match, but I was disappointed not to read your or Bodo's comments on it. It wasn't even really reporte on Tennis.com. I thought it was amazing how calmly he dissected and dismantled Fish (and his serve) and the partisan, sleep deprived New York crowd, despite losing his service game and eventually the set.

Posted by Jesse 09/05/2008 at 01:11 PM

I have to say I liked it. Djokovic annoyed me in his earlier years, but he seems to be a generally well-liked guy and his antics bring more attention to the sport. Look how much press his impersonations got last year, and his post-match interview is up on HotClicks today (a spot that rarely gives it up for tennis). I've often thought that the McEnroe Borg Connors era was so popular because you had rivalries with teeth in them; Connors really got worked up to play his opponents. Maybe Djokovic will bring that today? Or inspire it in his fellow competitors :)

I just hope he doesn't get fined by the ATP for his outburst. Are they pretty quick to punish displays like this, Steve?

Posted by svelterogue 09/05/2008 at 01:11 PM

bravo, steve! especially your coup de grace (as usual):

"For anyone who cares about the sport, though, this night was about Djokovic doing one more impersonation: of himself, of a guy who, whether you love or hate his quirky, cocky personality, can really, really play tennis. If Federer makes the textbook look elegant, Djokovic, with his uncluttered, blink-and-the-point's-over power from the ground and perfect balance at all times, makes it look sleek. It's an act worth repeating."

ajde nole! ajde tennis! ajde steve!

may the better player win in saturday's blockbuster semi between and #3. today, i really think that this time around, #3 will get #2.

Posted by tina 09/05/2008 at 01:22 PM

Thanks Steve. And sveltie, I agree with you. Novak keeps improving upon his results of last year, when the mood around here seemed to be one of nay-saying. With Djokovic, never say never, people.

Posted by Clyde 09/05/2008 at 01:23 PM

Being honest or sincere is not an excuse for bad behavior driven by self-entitlement. If you are complaining about the difficulty of being under pressure, take it up with your parents, who could use some time off the tour!

Posted by Edengrave 09/05/2008 at 01:29 PM

I am no fan of the Djoker. For some reason, I simply don't like him.

But saying "Djokovic was overreacting to Roddick’s joke" is untrue.
The fact that The Djoker said it himself doesn't make it true either.

It's not a joke, when a professional tennis player accuse another of faking injuries. The media let him get away with it, but no matter how you twist it, that's what Roddick did. He was disingenuous in the way he explained it afterward. I used to consider him a straight talking guy, but he's probably just smooth as a lawyer. PR smart fellow Roddick.

Naive, Stupid, PR blunder, call it what you will, but It's not overreacting, when you tell what you feel, especially when you do not insult or mock anyone. that most media follow the crowd like sheep, and "blame" the Djoker for turning the crowd against him, is funny. mob mentality indeed.

Posted by Euphemism 09/05/2008 at 01:31 PM

I'm a big Nole fan, and I was cringing through his on-court interview, silently willing him to please, for the love of God, stop talking. Afterwards, when he was clearly repentant in his presser, you could just tell that once he walked off the court to the chorus of boos it belatedly dawned on him what he had just done. I understand what he said was motivated by a combination of stress, exhaustion, adrenaline, and pique - but he cost himself a hell of a lot of goodwill with NY crowds, which will bite him in the ass. I predict he'll be booed early and often in his semi against Federer - it'll get to him - and he'll go out in straights. Which is a shame, because he seems like a genuinely decent, and complex, guy, and the very characteristics that are most likable about him - his honesty and his passion - are what turned the crowd against him.

Posted by triplethreat 09/05/2008 at 01:34 PM

Djokovic seems to want it both ways from the New York crowd. The USA bails out his sorry country and this is how he thanks us!! Too bad jocko! He showed his true colors last night against another two faced bully in Roddick..........I wish both could have lost!

Roddick was making a lot more out his game last year with Connors and may have taken something from him the way he was hitting his backhand late in the match. Pat McEnroe should stick to announcing with his brother.

Posted by Ewk 09/05/2008 at 01:35 PM

THE TRUTHS

1. Nole wasn't in good fitness shape in his match vs Robredo. 2. He does have a tendency to call the trainer alot. I remembered once he stalled a match at the US Open for 12 minutes because he couldn't breathe very well. I thought to myself then that he should have defaulted the game as sports is about fitness and if you're not fit or healthy, then this is an advantage for your competitor and you shouldn't get to call the trainer to take a break.
3. Roddick did mean what he said in his press conference.
4. Nole had every right to rebuke Roddick's comments on national TV as Roddick had about him. Too bad, he chose to say it to a partisan crowd. Perhaps he could have done it in his post match press conference...maybe an idea for next time, Nole.
5. At least, his personality is different from Fed's or Rafa's. Keeps the game interesting.

Posted by Rick 09/05/2008 at 01:44 PM

Like all humor, the line is thin and far too easy to cross, intentional or not.

I think Roddick is a good guy and I like his humor (and often enough it's at himself), but to say what he said to a filled stadium after Robredo nagged about it was crossing the line.

I can see how Novak would respond the way he did. First Robredo, then answering questions about it from the press, then Roddick playing it up for all to hear.

I'd get a little cranky too.

Posted by HK 09/05/2008 at 01:48 PM

Great post as usual Steve. It is interesting that you bring up the comparison to Agassi. I think Djokovic is comparable to Agassi personally as well in many ways that relate to tennis. He is very outgoing, charismatic, intelligent and irreverent to the point of appearing brash sometimes much like Agassi was when he burst onto the tennis scene twenty years ago. But, he reminds me of Agassi in a deeper sense as well. In one of your earlier posts you astutely pointed out that Djokovic plays almost as though he needs to prove his superiority in a match. And once he thinks he has established that he relaxes and loses his edge.

Agassi, I think, was similar in his younger days in the sense that he had to believe that he was the better player in order to play a good match and win. I remember a comment by Jim Courier in his interview after a Davis cup match with Marat Safin that he barely won in five sets, in the early 90s. He said that Agassi was cheering him on, telling him that he was much better than Safin. Courier smiled and said that that's not the way he looked at things, but that it helped or something to that effect. I felt at that stage that Courier had understood the concept of giving it his best and believing in himself when playing a match without trying to make judgements about whether he was the better or worse player in some greater sense. And I think this helped his success tremendously. Agassi on the other hand, I have always felt, was hamstrung a little by his need to believe he was the best. I think one of the big reasons for his lean years around 96-98 was that his loss in the US Open final in 1995 to Sampras was quite devastating for him mentally. It seems like he lost his belief that playing his best could win him matches against Sampras. He wasn't sure he was better. In fact, after his 2000 Australian Open win in the semis against Sampras, he thanked Gil Reyes openly for restoring his belief that his best was good enough. In any case, by this time he had already matured tremendously. He treated every match as an opportunity and concentrated on giving himself the best chance to win. He got beaten by Sampras a few times in the Fall of 1999 starting with the Wimbledon final, but this time he didn't go away. He had the mental maturity to continue to play stellar tennis for the rest of his career. I have always felt that if he had a more mature state of mind earlier in his career, he would have done even better than he has.

Djokovic, I feel, suffers from the same confusions that Agassi had in his younger days. He seems to not know how to straddle the line between confidence and arrogance. His game and athleticism equip him to be counted as one of the greats when he is done. His only handicap seems to be to get into a stable state of mind. I wonder if it will play a part in his career as it seemed to play in Agassi's. However, Djokovic, like Agassi, seems to be very smart and capable of dramatic personal evolution. The younger Agassi is nothing like the Agassi at the time of his retirement. I am willing to bet Djokovic will be the same.

Posted by cdntennisgrl 09/05/2008 at 01:50 PM

Triplethreat: as a Serb, I'll give you the mildest response to your "bail-out" comment: please don't bring politics into this forum, it's not an argument that can be resolved and often digresses into petty bickering. Please save that discussion for another forum.
Ewk: thanks for summarizing my thoughts
Steve: not to put you on the spot, but did you get the impression that your colleagues in the media took Andy's comments as a "joke"? Watching the clip of his presser, either he was dead serious about his accusations, or Andy himself has a great career ahead in acting, because that was quite the straight-faced line delivery

Posted by 09/05/2008 at 01:54 PM

"Djokovic had loudly proclaimed himself to be a future No. 1 player, but, despite his success, it hadn’t quite happened. He was beaten to the brass ring by Rafael Nadal and had spent the last few months in a netherworld at No. 3. "

Steve, I don't disagree with your seeing frustration and an ongoing mental adjustment on Djokovic's part, but it's an interesting world we live in if his having to hang out at #3 for 18 months warrants anxiety on his part.

" I had once written that Djokovic was, above all else, “good at winning,” that his biggest advantage was that, when it mattered, he simply didn’t miss."

I've had the same opinion of Federer for the past 4 1/2 years, or until this year, anyway. I think we might amend it to say that "when it mattered, they're good at not losing," since not missing is not the same as hitting winners, but wins matches just the same.

In Federer's case, his response to whatever's going on in his world is 100% the opposite of Djokovic's: instead of risking all it seems he's forgotten how to not miss at those crucial junctures. There are the infamous shanks, but more than that there are a ton o' balls that used to be 10 inches in. Now they're 2 inches out; a different response to mental pressure.

"The crowd, which included Jimmy Connors decked out in an unfortunate beige day suite"

Whoa! Steve, vying with the Fed for points with Anna Wintour! Kudos to you from this son of a clothing retailer for knowing a day suit when you see one. Quick! Name another sports journalist who could do the same...........

More than anything else, except perhaps those two doubles in the breaker (Oy), I think Roddick is hampered by his movement, or lack of same. He clearly can't go coast to coast like the top three, or Cilic in Djokovic's earlier match for that matter, and he doesn't jump on short-ish balls and take them on the rise to pressure his opponent as quickly or easily as the other guys, either, whether he comes in behind it or not. Roddick waits for groundstrokes to come to him. As a result his penetrating shots don't lead to openings as often, and he's forced to consider more winners from the baseline. Unfortunately his game isn't impenetrable from the backcourt, so staying back puts him under pressure, too. He's between a rock and a hard place when he plays up.

I love the guy, though. Not too many athletes of his stature wear their heart on their sleeve so openly, try so hard to be the best they can be, and unapologetically come back for more when they fall short.

Posted by 09/05/2008 at 01:57 PM

Sorry, not doubles in the breaker, but in the 5/4 game.

Posted by Kenneth 09/05/2008 at 02:02 PM

Pretty soon the fawning starts to sound just like that, but Steve, this piece is one of your best yet. Kudos to you. Djokovic is the real deal, to borrow a JMac phrase. It is only when he falls from his laser-like focus does he get in trouble. His third set loss was just that, although Roddick's service games did become more inspired, and of course he hit the best backhand of his career on bp.

But it seems none can be honest any longer. What do you want from both guys, peeps? Roddick just voiced the opinions that many (especially myself) have harbored. We all know Djokovic has had many a dubious 'injuries'(I mean, his nickname is Djoker, at least around these parts), and good on Roddick for taking him to task. Also good on Djokovic for giving his honest response. The guy is allowed to defend himself. If it makes for less mundane matches down the road, then we've all won. Who really cares, right? Djokovic got what he wanted, and Roddick was able to get in a few pot shots at Djoker's expense. Surely we can give him that after all his preparing and skipping of events only landed him a quarterfinal showing.

Posted by svelterogue 09/05/2008 at 02:04 PM

and it's great to come into this forum to read opinions from posters who understand what could possibly be boiling inside the 21 year old serbian against the veteran homeboy american who thinks he can joke his way through anything, even mocking other players' very real life threatening injuries.

Posted by Eric 09/05/2008 at 02:22 PM

I agree with Roadrunner--one of your best-ever posts, Steve: And I thought I liked Djokovic more last night than a year ago. He sure is a great player.

Posted by Or - **make it 5 Rogi** 09/05/2008 at 02:29 PM

"life threatening injuries"?

Not unless he really did have SARS.

Is he on the fast track to the nursing home? On Sunday, he'll come to play with Roger with a racquet in his right hand and a cane in his right, with the IV plugged in, just in case.

What, exactly, was life threatening about his injuries? And before you say Asthema, if it was life threatening, he wouldn't be playing a match tomrorow, or tennis at all.

I'm willing to cut Nole some slack, but Andy's the one who is joking his way through everything? I'd like to see people's reaction, had Roger came out after the AO 07, where he beat Nole handily in three set and said "He said I'm going down, guess not".

Posted by svelterogue 09/05/2008 at 02:41 PM

or

sars isn't the only life threatening disease out there, you know.

just in case you haven't heard, nole had surgery for his breathing problems. he had collapsed on court precisely for these problems.

bring on the sarcasm but make sure you have the facts to prove it.

and yes, andy does joke his way through everything.

Posted by Eric 09/05/2008 at 02:42 PM

svelte, i don't disagree with you, but i think to say roddick was mocking djokovic's "life threatening" injuries is taking it a wee bit far. Djokovic himself said he called the trainer during the Robredo match because of his hip, and that it really was more because of exhaustion and not as much his hip. while i am aware he has a respiratory condition (or, had. did the surgery not work?), i don't think calling a trainer to look at your hip just so you can get a break is beyond reproach. or a good ribbing.

Posted by svelterogue 09/05/2008 at 02:42 PM

and while we're at it, make sure to keep mentioning the cane and IV all throughout the semi on saturday. it will certainly raise your stature.

Posted by 1963USCtennis 09/05/2008 at 02:43 PM

"it was very funny and fitting—and old-school New York City—to have it end on a dramatically ugly note."


And also how fitting that it came with John- I was booed even though I was from NY and even though I had just beat Borg ('80) because I said so many stupid AND ARROGANT things to the crowd- Patrick McEnroe as the comentator... he's knowledgeable about tennis, even those ugly NY moments.

Posted by svelterogue 09/05/2008 at 02:44 PM

eric

i was thinking of his past injuries when i made that remark. but thank you for clarifying on that one, i see your point.

i do not, however, take kindly to or's jumping on my every word as though i'm claiming everything to be written on stone. it's very annoying.

Posted by Orag 09/05/2008 at 02:46 PM

Djokovic's reputation for calling the trainer and retiring from matches in a losing position has been criticized for a long time. It's not like Roddick was the first critic or the most vocal. I dislike what seems to be gamesmanship from Djok AND his family, so I was amused by Andy's barely-suppressed sarcasm.

It's naive for Djok to think that he answered his critics by winning one match against Roddick. Please. I would need to see him go through the season without questionable match withdrawals, or calling the trainer for a massage as a ploy to catch his breath. Until he reverses his track record, he is still suspect.

And until then, I really think he needs to quit pounding his chest and proclaiming he has heart.

Posted by svelterogue 09/05/2008 at 02:46 PM

eric

i don't fault nole for calling in the trainer. the problem i have with or's comment is that she has her roger template in place where, of course, the swiss cheese is above reproach when it comes to medical timeouts.

sure, roger hardly ever calls for the trainer but is this the measure to bring down other players?

nole isn't the only one getting flak for this. if the tv hadn't zoomed in on rafa's blisters on rome, many of the gamesmanship comments hurled in this forum would have stuck.

i'm miffed. very miffed by all this insinuated comparison to roger.

Posted by jopa 09/05/2008 at 02:49 PM

I agree with the last couple of posters. People were hard on Novak (go figure in NYC of all places). The media takes a little jab from Roddick and blows it into the main story at the US Open. Wow! The media really is trying to bring the masses to the game by any means available. WHAT A NEWSFLASH! Novak's reaction, his entire reaction, was honest and heartfelt. His post match interview was a little ill advised but, I take his honesty above all else.
Everybody just calm down, count to 10, take a timeout--whatever you have to do to get a better perspective. A lot about what's wrong with media hype is offset with many good insightful pieces. Let it go people!

Posted by svelterogue 09/05/2008 at 02:52 PM

ok jopa, i will let it go. thanks :)

Posted by jopa 09/05/2008 at 02:52 PM

apparently, i didn't agree with my previous posters. you guys are too fast. everybody, you're getting your blood pressure up over trivial occurances.

Posted by SwissMaestro 09/05/2008 at 02:53 PM

I still DO NOT like the Djokovics and Novak's attitude and cocky personality but I DO have the highest respect for his game: as sleek in the clutch as it gets...

Posted by McHoo 09/05/2008 at 02:57 PM

Hi all. Just coming out of the woodwork for a bit.

I think some posters need to step back and, as Andy says, have/get some perspective. I thought it was obvious that he was joking in his previous presser about all the ailments Nole was accumulating. It's a style of humor called deadpan. I highly doubt Andy was "accusing" Nole of anything (as one poster said upthread). For that, you should see Robredo, Tommy.

Also, I heart Nole, but there was no need to antagonize the crowd. I loved his honesty, but the court was not the venue to voice those statements. Sure, you don't have to be lovable all the time, but this is the -US- Open. Of course the audience is not going to like him criticizing them and the #1 American player live and on TV. It doesnt' matter if you think the audience was right or wrong to boo him, they are paying customers and have the right to voice their displeasure. I believe any crowd at any slam would have the same reaction under the same circumstances. Criticize a French player after beating him in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros? Somehow, I don't think the French crowd would cheer that. But thankfully it seems the two have patched things up. I really believe it was just miscommunication and the media spinning things. I'm sure both players are good people, so those of you hating on one or the other, CHILL.

Ok, post over =)

Posted by Vie 09/05/2008 at 03:05 PM

Steve,

I am curious if you saw Novak's display and interview at the end of the match LIVE?

Posted by mcakron 09/05/2008 at 03:07 PM

Kenneth -- I tend to agree. As a Fed fan, I have never resented the Djoker's "personality", even if I suspect my guy (and Rafa) hasn't cared for it. Conversely, I've always enjoyed Roddick's pressers. He's a bit of a wiseass, and often surly in defeat, but he usually offers up something funny, often in a self-deprecating sense.

All that said, I think Novak handled this poorly for two reasons. One he accused the crowd of having the same thought as Roddick. Sorry, but it sounded whiney, and even Barkkan (a guy I usually find worthless), corrected him on this. Secondly, and maybe less importantly, I think he should have made a joke about it -- said something to the effect that if "Andy thought I had sixteen injuries coming into this match, he himself must have seventeen."

Bottom line, Djokovic won the match but I think Roddick had the final word when he said, if you're gonna joke about other players, you better be able to take one yourself.

Posted by 09/05/2008 at 03:16 PM

"For anyone who cares about the sport, though, this night was about Djokovic doing one more impersonation: of himself, of a guy who, whether you love or hate his quirky, cocky personality, can really, really play tennis. If Federer makes the textbook look elegant, Djokovic, with his uncluttered, blink-and-the-point's-over power from the ground and perfect balance at all times, makes it look sleek. It's an act worth repeating."
i couldn't agree more. of course, it's worth nothing that this is also the perfect description for federer's game, who does this slightly better. it looks elegant because it is so uncluttered...and can anyone say fed forehand for blink-and-the-point's over?
loved watching agassi. his game was so tactically smart. combine that with sizzling flat groundstrokes and uber fitness and you got yourself a multiple slam package. surely nadal, who has the volleys (and top spin, with an underrated tactically smart game) to back up his own package, should be able to win 8 slams like agassi.

Posted by Orag 09/05/2008 at 03:20 PM

I agree with Roddick's sentiment that you better be able to take flak if you give flak. But Djokovic displays little ability to view himself objectively.

For example: he claimed he would be number one. Early in 2008, he and his family talked trash about how Novak wouldn't lose to Federer again. Then Novak's tennis status starts to gain momentum and his game faulters. Now he's claiming physical and mental fatigue, and complaining about all the pressure of expectation.

Really? After little more than one year?

I hope he and his family have new respect for the physical and mental endurance of Roger, who delivered beautifully for much longer.

Posted by Ndesque 09/05/2008 at 03:20 PM

That was a wonderful article, Steve. As someone said upthread, your insight is truly unique, and shows perspective on the situation.

As well, some of the posts are truly well thought-out, for which I would like to give respect to those posters, because it truly was nice for a change to read opinions which have been formed with a level-head.

"I think some posters need to step back and, as Andy says, have/get some perspective. I thought it was obvious that he was joking in his previous presser about all the ailments Nole was accumulating. It's a style of humor called deadpan. I highly doubt Andy was "accusing" Nole of anything..."

Hi Mchoo. Agree with the whole of your post, and must say the part quoted above is an angle to the happenings, which must be given equal thought. However, can you imagine Novak reading Tommy's presser, having had heard all those accusations tons of times before, just in different forms, from media or fans, and then reading Andy's presser? I for one, do not think that in the moment, Nole would've seen humour in the situation. When the whole world is calling him on something, can you realistically expect him to set Andy apart and realize that he's "the one's who's just joking?" Top that with the fact that Andy was his next opponent, he boiled over and spilled it all out, right on the spot.

I hear you when you say there's no need to take the haterade out on either of them though. Big miscommunication indeed.

Posted by Anne 09/05/2008 at 03:26 PM

Ok, gotta add my 2 cents: I'll chalk Djoko's comments up to those of a 21 year old who was frustrated and upset. People, young and old, say and do things in the heat of the moment that they otherwise wouldn't say or do. As for the things ARod says, well, let's just say he's not the "sharpest tack in the box". What I'm not getting, though, is how Djoko feels like he's been disrespected while he has no problem disrespectng others with his not-so-nice (I think he used those words last night about Andy) impersonations. I feel like Djoko's mocking of players was pretty mean spirited. Djoko sounds to me like a guy who can dish it out but can't take it.

Posted by Liz (for Federer who will be US Open 2008 champion!!) 09/05/2008 at 03:26 PM

Good essay!

The comparison of Nole to Agassi is a good catch--I might have to take back all I had said about old Djokovic. He might turn into a tennis player yet!

It took Agassi some time to grow out of his brattish ways and become the elder statesman of the game he became before he retired. I remember him in his neon and long hair days and cried with him when he retired.

I'm still going to pull for the Fed Express to beat Djokovic tomorrow!!!

Posted by randomlurker 09/05/2008 at 03:30 PM

Great post as usual, Steve.
I know you picked Djokovic to win it all, but will the fact that 20,000+ will be against him change anything at all?

Anonymous @ 3:16 p.m
I agree that Nadal could have a very Agassi like career (as far as slams are concerned). Roger is following the Sampras path (numberous Wimbledons, numberous US OPens, no French...yet). 8 is a very decent number for Nadal and he's already at 5. I think he's very capable of winning all the slams. And he's matched Agassi's Olympic gold (something Pete didn't have).

Posted by eddy 09/05/2008 at 03:44 PM

anonymous was me posting from a diff comp. agreed randomlurker. hard to believe he already has 5! if anything, being no. 1 seems to be making him work even harder.

Posted by ND 09/05/2008 at 03:46 PM

Steve, Why are you the only sports writer with a brain? All the other articles about the match have been such baloney. Heck, even Johnny Mac took the high road. There's been a lot of press about wanting a champion with "more" personality than Fedal. Well, now we've got him. Nothing he said holds a candle to what goes on in the NFL every week. All I can say is bravo Novak, for showing us who you really are. Both flaws and good qualities.

Posted by 09/05/2008 at 03:47 PM

svelte, i again agree with most of what you're saying. calling for a trainer is not in and of itself poor play. but i think the underlying reason why could be. if a player twists their ankle, or scrapes their knee (or, say, hits himself repeatedly in the head with his racket enough to open up a gash) - by all means, call the trainer and get it taped/ bandaged/ whatever and get back out there. But this increasingly popular practice of feigning injury and calling for a trainer just to get a general rubdown and catch ones breath is, while within the rules, nothing less than gamesmanship. by no means is djokovic the only player to use this practice, nor is he its biggest abuser. he's just the most recent to be called on it. as a side note, i DO find it a bit strange that djokovic sort of proved the criticism against him. roddick made light of his 16 injuries (basically saying djokovic is quick to call a trainer so he can get a rest, not because he is actually hurt), djokovic beats him and says, in effect: "see? i guess i'm not so injured after all." umm... exactly the point, novak.

Posted by Eric 09/05/2008 at 03:49 PM

headless post @ 3:47 was mine.

Posted by 09/05/2008 at 03:51 PM

>>And until then, I really think he needs to quit pounding his chest and proclaiming he has heart.

Yes, he really does look pretty ridiculous when he does that, esp. when he and Big Momma Dijana exchange chest thumps. As others have noted over at Pete's blog, it's like pinning a Warrior Badge on yourself, or bellowing: "Me Brave! Me Warrior!" And though Djoke loves impersonating others' tics, he'd be the easiest one of all to lampoon - like the pic Steve has here, with him putting on the pseudo-warrior face and pointing at his chest.

Posted by svelterogue 09/05/2008 at 03:52 PM

randomlurker

agree with you on rafa having an agassi trajectory in his career. i'm hoping for a rafa slam but won't mind if andy or nole hinders this.

Posted by Sher 09/05/2008 at 03:54 PM

Haha, Or your image of Djokovic playing with a racquet in one hand and a cane in the other is hilarious. Someone should draw it up for an enditorial cartoon if he wins the Open!

Posted by Troy (Congradulations Rafa on your 1st US OPEN!!!) 09/05/2008 at 03:58 PM

Each is unique in their own way. Thank goodness we have Fed and Nadal who are so superior in class above the rest of the field. Novak has been accused of having fun at others expense with the whole immitation and mock thing but look at Marat Safin and Agassi and Sampras they all did it in fun and that was the same thing Novak was doing. Roddick on the other hand drug it out too long and made too many passing shots before the match and it was rightly fitting he got his butt handed to him on a platter. He is very likeable and funny at the same time but needs to take a lesson on thinking before he speaks. As for the US Open winner that would be RAFA NADAL who (MARK IT DOWN) will BTW be considered the greatest ever when his career is over. He has a Davis Cup, Gold Medal, 12 Masters (just passed Sampras and w/11 and he is only 23 yrs old) and 5 no my bad..........6 Grand Slams he will surpass Federer with French Open Wimbledon future championships alone not counting a few Australian US Opens along the way. He is the real deal. Novak will end up with a few as well but the Fed Train will stop around 15-16 my guess. Nadal easily 20.

Posted by Jennifer 09/05/2008 at 03:58 PM

There is really a double standard on your post Steve and on the postings of many fans. So Roddick saying that Djoker is faking his injuries and suspiciously timing his injuriy time-outs shows that he's a jerk and arrogant but Djokovic responding bitterly to that statement and taking it on the crowd is a sign of honesty??? When others made the same statement about Djokovic (Federer and some others), I didn't see Djokovic react the same way now, did I? And from the fans, at most, I heard some rumblings about how Fed feels threatened in his position (but guess who the REAL threat to Fed was???) and at best, I heard and SAW evidence to support that claim: Djoker definitly has a gift to get injured at let's say opportune times. So really, if we have to condemn Roddick for stating what he thinks is true, we definitly have to condemn Djoker for that classless reaction. He could have made his feelings clear about Roddick but the crowd, the crowd did not deserve that reaction.

And for anyone who's been to the French Open and saw how the french crowd gets crazy when a frenchman is playing,saying that the american crowd was terribly rude is a joke!

Posted by From Spain 09/05/2008 at 04:23 PM

Hey, I love the djoker's impressions, but if you're cool enough to dish it out, you've got to be cool enough to take it. Roddick was right (and funny) making fun of how Novak seemed to have all kinds of physical problems (only when he was behind, never when he was winning) in the Robredo match. I think it's a shame that a player as talented as Djoko needs to resort to those kind of "McEnroe/Winning Ugly" tricks.

So decide Novak, either be a gentleman always (like Rafa or Fed) or open verbal fire, but expect the same treatment back.

Posted by svelterogue 09/05/2008 at 04:27 PM

hello eric/anon

that's interesting, your point about how nole did prove roddick right. i wish he wouldn't be accused of gamesmanship when his ailments are real. he'll learn over time and prolly realise, too, that the stunts he pulled against monfils long time ago were really silly. and that now he's reaping all the crap for all the drama before.

Posted by From Spain 09/05/2008 at 04:29 PM

Hey, I love the djoker's impressions, but if you're cool enough to dish it out, you've got to be cool enough to take it. Roddick was right (and funny) making fun of how Novak seemed to have all kinds of physical problems (only when he was behind, never when he was winning) in the Robredo match. I think it's a shame that a player as talented as Djoko needs to resort to those kind of "McEnroe/Winning Ugly" tricks.

So decide Novak, either be a gentleman always (like Rafa or Fed) or open verbal fire, but expect the same treatment back.

Posted by Orag 09/05/2008 at 04:29 PM

Another "classless reaction" from Djoker: another point for which he is widely criticized is the time he takes on his serve. When an umpire occasionally calls a warning or violation, Djokovic puffs out his chest and GLARES at the ump. As if the ump wasn't acting totally within the rules.

In contrast, Rafa is also widely criticized for this. Yet, when Rafa gets a warning or violation, he accepts it without blinking.

This is a very telling contrast, and shows their difference in character.

Posted by Spanish Spin 09/05/2008 at 04:31 PM

Hey, I love the djoker's impressions, but if you're cool enough to dish it out, you've got to be cool enough to take it. Roddick was right (and funny) making fun of how Novak seemed to have all kinds of physical problems (only when he was behind, never when he was winning) in the Robredo match. I think it's a shame that a player as talented as Djoko needs to resort to those kind of "McEnroe/Winning Ugly" tricks.

So decide Novak, either be a gentleman always (like Rafa or Fed) or open verbal fire, but expect the same treatment back.

Posted by Cotton Jack 09/05/2008 at 04:33 PM

1. All Djoker's chest-beating - and those paramilitary salutes he exchanges with his teenie bro -- I often think that he should be obliged to put his money where his mouth is: every tenth time he does it he should have to have a standup fistfight with an aggrieved Kosovan

2. If you read the transcript of A-Rod's presser you'll see that he was being pretty funny:

Q. When asked about his injuries today, mentioning the right ankle as opposed to the left ankle, the other day ‑‑

ANDY RODDICK: Isn't it both of them? And a back and a hip?

Q. And when he said there are too many to count.

ANDY RODDICK: And a cramp.

Q. Do you get the sense right now that he is...

ANDY RODDICK: Bird flu.

I mean, good timing!

Posted by steve 09/05/2008 at 04:37 PM

never said roddick was a "jerk and arrogant." i said he was joking and that djokovic overreacted, as he himself said later. but i admired djokovic for being honest on court about how he felt, and that in the end it help motivate him.

Posted by Orag 09/05/2008 at 04:37 PM

Djokovic seems to display a “classless reaction” whenever someone criticizes or reproaches him, so his reaction is even more pronounced when he perceives hostility or ridicule.

A study in contrast: both Rafa and Novak take way too long to serve. If an umpire warns Novak or gives a violation, Novak GLARES defiantly at the ump. If Rafa is warned or given a violation, he accepts it without a blink. Before dismissing Novak’s behavior as a product of his tender years, let’s remember that both Rafa and Novak are the same age.

I think Djokovic has become unbearable. Maybe others in the Ashe crowd feel the same way.

Posted by SwissMaestro 09/05/2008 at 04:38 PM

Steve-

It is worth mentioning though that thus far you predicted the 4 semifinalists right. I very much doubt however that your ultimate prediction will become true though.

Posted by steve 09/05/2008 at 04:41 PM

ah, sm, i predicted all eight singles semifinalists correctly! there is a first and last for everything.

alas, i picked dementieva to make the final, so my run is over.

sticking by a nadal-djokovic final, and strongly looking forward to both matches

Posted by svelterogue 09/05/2008 at 04:41 PM

swiss maestro

who did steve pick to win the USO? was it nole over rafa or rafa over nole?

Posted by vrelo srce 09/05/2008 at 04:43 PM

“Until he reverses his track record, he is still suspect.
And until then, I really think he needs to quit pounding his chest and proclaiming he has heart.”

This is crazy. He can celebrate as he likes. He is champion, not suspect.
And who are you?

Posted by Troy (Congradulations Rafa on your 1st US OPEN!!!) 09/05/2008 at 04:45 PM

Novak has done nothing to deserve the treatment the NY fans gave him. It's pretty pathetic and whomever was comparing US fans to French fans is pretty far fetched, who wants to be either. US Open fans sit up in the bleachers belching and getting sloshed ranting and raving trying to steal the show off the players. It is an electrifying atmosphere but at the same time, it's a pitiful display of drunk adults acting like children as they did last night. Rafa will take the US OPEN title MARK IT DOWN!!!

Posted by steve 09/05/2008 at 04:47 PM

rafa over nole.

of course, in tennis magazine, i picked nole over rafa, just to cover my bases.

Posted by Troy (Congradulations Rafa on your 1st US OPEN!!!) 09/05/2008 at 04:47 PM

Rafa has proven he is the best and there is no doubt he has this one bagged up for his 6th title. The mighty Fed will take him to 5 sets but he will cap off a manificant year with his 1st US Open title. Congrats Rafa, your the best!!

Posted by Eric 09/05/2008 at 04:48 PM

yep, exactly. you reap what you sow, the boy who cried wolf, and all that.

Posted by Troy (Congradulations Rafa on your 1st US OPEN!!!) 09/05/2008 at 04:50 PM

Have to disagree, Fed will have Novak's # especially with the rabid fans attacking him.

Posted by Delurker 09/05/2008 at 04:50 PM

Steve,
I usually agree with you, but today was NOT one of those times. While your column was well written and entertaining and your analysis of Djoko's game articulate, your assessment of the drama last night was surprisingly flippant. I found nothing funny nor ironic about the post-match interview and the ensuing reaction. First of all, Novak has to get over this need to be loved and has to get rid of the annoying heart-thumping. Is he saying that he's the only player with heart out there? How arrogant. When Johnny Mac was on the tour, he didn't care if the audience was against him - he wasn't there for their approval. I don't disagree that Novak has game, but his cocky attitude and his crazy parents make it very hard for me to like him. He has a few lessons to learn about showing respect to others. I simply don't get it when people say that he is so honest. What I do see is a pattern of gamesmanship - if Djokovic didn't have a history of calling for trainers, his opponents would not be raising their suspicion that he fakes his injuries. I suspect that while Novak projects this air of supreme confidence, he actually feels very insecure about being #3.

Posted by svelterogue 09/05/2008 at 04:54 PM

thanks, steve. i remember now. i LOVED your picks! but i'm thrilled to see jelena making her first final. ajde!!!

Posted by Troy (Congradulations Rafa on your 1st US OPEN!!!) 09/05/2008 at 04:55 PM

Delurker what are you saying here. So let me get this straight you are the expert here in declaring that Novak has been faking all along. So tell me where is your proof, you can speculate all day long but if your going to be so arrogant back it up with some proof and btw, he was being honost last night, how can you say he wasn't? Once again how would you know this? You seem to like to make false aquisations don't you? Your opinions are worthless!!!

Posted by vrelo srce 09/05/2008 at 04:57 PM

Triplethreat : “The USA bails out his sorry country and this is how he thanks us!!”
Oh, oh… do you really need to go there?
We are supposed to talk about tennis here.

Posted by 09/05/2008 at 05:03 PM

One last point...

I also suspect that Novak calls for trainers/limps around on court so that if he loses, he can explain his loss on his medical difficulties. If he wins, the win will look ever so heroic. At times, Novak reminds me of that other drama queen, Jankovic.

Posted by Delurker 09/05/2008 at 05:05 PM

Oops...the headless post was mine.

Posted by Djoko (Your a class act Props my man!!) 09/05/2008 at 05:07 PM

You people just need to back off!! I tell my sweet little grandchildren to trust their grandmothers words of wisdom. Judge not lest ye be judged!! What's your deal attacking Novak so much, you have so much hate within you and it's completely unecessary. He is a kind russian whom has nothing but the uttmost respect for US OPEN Fans and you just attack like the varmits you are! Be ashamed of yourselves and while your at it grow up!! You make me absolutely sick!!!

Posted by jessa 09/05/2008 at 05:10 PM

novak had every right to be mad with the comment andy made. yeah novak had his impressions of people and some would take that as making fun. but you dont joke about a person getting hurt or their injuries.

Posted by Delurker 09/05/2008 at 05:12 PM

Troy,
Those are my OPINIONS - I was responding to Steve's column. Feel free to disagree, but don't ask for proofs.

Posted by Cotton Jack 09/05/2008 at 05:17 PM

Btw, where's the surprise in the following three events:

1. All-American Boy with a tumescent serve makes some sarky wise-cracks

2. Self-conscious Balkan gets a bit over-emotional in the heat of the moment

3. Crowd of New Yorkers behave like perfect gentlemen.

Posted by dimeaxe 09/05/2008 at 05:37 PM

Hi everyone!

I just want to say that Novak since i guess Roland Gaross-Wimby has some serious private issues.His parents are in bad relations, and i heard here in Serbian community that they're divorcing.I think that it just culminated, and his emotions are really 'rattled'.That's the one of the reasons why he reacted in that way.Maybe that was too much, but Rodick comment about his'16 injuries' wasn't at right place.It' really pissed him off but he just apologized to everyone as you can see it in his press conf.
I really wanted to say that, to clear up some things.

Posted by dimeaxe 09/05/2008 at 05:39 PM

Hi everyone!

I just want to say that Novak since i guess Roland Gaross-Wimby has some serious private issues.His parents are in bad relations, and i heard here in Serbian community that they're divorcing.I think that it just culminated, and his emotions are really 'rattled'.That's the one of the reasons why he reacted in that way.Maybe that was too much, but Rodick comment about his'16 injuries' wasn't at right place.It' really pissed him off but he just apologized to everyone as you can see it in his press conf.
I really wanted to say that, to clear up some things.

Posted by Orag 09/05/2008 at 05:42 PM

Here's another piece on Djokovic that is an interesting read:

http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/tennis/usopen08/columns/story?columnist=garber_greg&id=3565969

Posted by ccpm 09/05/2008 at 05:45 PM

Since when is the same to to have fun imitating the movement on court of a person to actually joking about his moral caracther???Would you like someone to joke about your integrety as person?? I suppose not!!

That without taking in to account that the timing couldn''t be worst for such a joke. Personally I used to like Roddick a lot, I used to think that he was fun kinda of guy, but that wasn't joke and it was really dissappointing to see him make those remarks and then trying to excuse himself by comparing them to Djockovic imitations.

Posted by Cotton Jack 09/05/2008 at 05:54 PM

Orag - cheers, good article

Posted by Red Tennis 09/05/2008 at 05:58 PM

Roddick's comments were uncalled for and inoppropriate but Djoker was also out of line. I thought it was in bad taste the way he went off the court-He sounded like a sour loser eventhough he actully won.

Not being a huge Djoker fan it was still nice to see him playing some good tennis. It should be an interesting match with Fed, but my pick is Federer in 4 sets.

Posted by Hello 09/05/2008 at 06:11 PM

1. Nole wasn't in good fitness shape in his match vs Robredo. 2. He does have a tendency to call the trainer alot. I remembered once he stalled a match at the US Open for 12 minutes because he couldn't breathe very well. I thought to myself then that he should have defaulted the game as sports is about fitness and if you're not fit or healthy, then this is an advantage for your competitor and you shouldn't get to call the trainer to take a break.

You punk...Nole has a breathing problem that he had to get surgery for to help improve. So, would you tell Paolo Maldini to quit football when he was young? Him and Nole have the same problem and got surgery from the same doctor. It's much better than it was before but every once in a while when he plays on a hot day or a long match the problems come back. Even after a long rally at times. He's still young and hopefully it will improve as he gets older..like Maldini. Plus, your points are invalid due to the fact that everything you stated up there is all legal. As long as it's by the books then what do you have to complain about? Just like Robredo's nonsense. Nole has every right to call up a trainer. It's in the rule book.

Posted by Marko4C 09/05/2008 at 06:14 PM

Djokovic = Legend

Posted by Christopher 09/05/2008 at 06:20 PM

"...Jimmy Connors decked out in an unfortunate beige day suite—still, with Jimbo, it’s the effort we love"

Now THAT is a great line!

Posted by will 09/05/2008 at 06:20 PM

But honestly, doesn't everyone think that Djokovic exaggerates all his injuries anyway? Maybe Roddick shouldn't joke about it out in the open and just keep it among players, but I'm totally in agreement with him - if Djokovic can make fun of others, he should be able to take it too. He may be a great guy, but he is too sensitive and immature. But I do believe he'll learn from this.

Posted by altheza 09/05/2008 at 06:21 PM

Excellent piece of writing. However, in the end it feels like it was written by a fan who was merely trying to make an excuse for his favorite player's bad behavior.

In the end, it's not at all convincing.

Posted by 09/05/2008 at 06:22 PM

Well, I see Mama and Papa Djokovic and their proxies are out in full force, calling people "you punk" and other names, for daring to criticize their little boy's behavior. This weekend, I expect the boos to rain down on poor "by-the-book" Djoko, that king of class and integrity. The reactions that players get from the fans are the reactions that they deserve. If someone plays hard and fair, and treats his opponents and the game with respect (not just "by the rule book"), the fans will show him respect. They might root for the other guy, but they won't boo and hiss him off the court.

Posted by Heidi 09/05/2008 at 06:27 PM

[USA went off the air for the final time in a sea of boos and negative feelings. This was 180 degrees from a year ago, when Djokovic had charmed New York with his impersonations. Somehow though, I enjoyed this more. Djokovic was overreacting to Roddick’s joke (and he said as much later), but at least he was honest about how he felt. ]

Totally agree too.

To me, Andy's "jokes" weren't respectful at all. But yeah Novak overreacting. But he showed his true feelings at the moment. At least, he's always who he is.

And to me, in Robredo's match, Novak didn't exaggerate. I mean, he just took the medical time out and that's it. I mean why are we always blaming that on him. He's definitely not the only one. Ok sometimes, his faces'expressions are a bit too much but he's like that.

Posted by Mirian 09/05/2008 at 06:32 PM

Djokovic is a not only a jerk, but I am sure he fakes a good amount of his injuries. He can make fun of everybody else, but can't take it when he is been mocked? Give me a break! He may be a great tennis player, but what a petty person he is.

About Roddick, well, what can I say. He is the player with the worst attitude in the tour. He always looks so miserable. It's like if he doesn't have the ability to enjoy life. How sad!

Posted by Heidi 09/05/2008 at 06:32 PM

Oh I forgot.
Nice article Steeve.
I loved it. One of your best so far :)

Posted by fc_tennis 09/05/2008 at 06:39 PM

Anybody who watched Djokovic retire down 6-3, 3-2 to Federer in the Monte Carlo semis knows that Djokovic's use of injuries / injury time-outs is bush-league gamesmanship. In Djokovic's own words: "I've been waking up with a sore throat...and I just decided not to risk anything, I feel dizziness a little bit in the last three days." Pathetic. How often do you see Federer call a trainer? Or retire from a match down a set or a break?

Posted by Spanish Spin 09/05/2008 at 06:40 PM

"Nole has every right to call up a trainer. It's in the rule book."

Sure, and Johnnie MAC had the right to rant and rave but it's still poor sportsmanship and deters from the talent they have. Doesn't everyone agree that Gonzo should have conceded that he touched the ball in that semifinal match with Blake in the the Olympics? Come on, if you're the best by an unquestionable margin (e.g. Rafa or Fed) you don't need to resort to schoolyard tricks

Posted by ccpm 09/05/2008 at 06:41 PM

If Roddick have the right to say what he did in front of everybody, why Novak doesn't have right to reply in public?? It's not equal opportunity for both to get the mind outt??

You seen to be okay with Andy's remarks so definetily you have to expect the response, because you're not going to hit and think the other one has to take like a b***h???

You see my point??If Roddick can WHY ALL THE FUSE ABOUT NOVAK??

1 2 3      >>

We are no longer accepting comments for this entry.

<<  Prime-Time Players Tall Ball  >>




A Little Less Life and Death
Playing Ball: Good Luck to a Partner
Playing Ball: Losing Them All
Keeping Tabs: August 8
Quick-Change Artists
Hard Landing
Part of the Action
This blog has 1484 entries and 99623 comments.
More
More Video
Daily Spin