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That Tuesday Feeling 09/08/2009 - 8:05 PM

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by Pete Bodo

Long before Andy Murray and Marin Cilic took the court to haggle over a berth in the US Open quarterfinals, I had an inkling that it would be a different, downbeat kind of day. It's often like that on the Tuesday after Labor Day - the festive atmosphere of the three-day weekend and its accompanying, devil-may-care tumult is gone. The electricity is reduced to a low, steady hm. Was it just yesterday that Melanie Oudin sparked and sizzled in Arthur Ashe stadium, driving the fans, and a nationwide television audience, in a frenzy?

But Labor Day is always followed by laborious Tuesday; the day when most everyone digs out the tie and loafers and schlepps back to work; the day when even a new backpack and pencil box can't get a kid fired up for another school year; the day when the happy brigades celebrating the final, hedonistic fling of summer go flip-flopping back to reality, and the deflating reminder that there's business to be addressed.

That Tuesday feeling washed over me as Asad Raza and I made our way into the USTABJKNTC under flat gray skies, and in the grip of energy-sapping humidity. The facility was quiet; fans drifted in by the bunch, spread out, went to get a Philly cheese steak or Pastrami sandwich at concessions where the lines were suddenly unexpectedly short. Oh, there were plenty of people present, or on their way. But everyone knew it was Tuesday, the "off day" when the tournament seems to pause to take a deep breath before embarking on the high-stakes, serious if not coruscating drive to the final weekend.

On the way, we talked about Murray, and Asad volunteered that he wasn't sure Murray was Grand-Slam capable; perhaps he's just a Masters Series gunslinger. I thought the assessment unduly harsh. As I sat down in Arthur Ashe stadium I wondered where I'd get my second week motivation; what if Murray wins a so-so four-setter, will I still find something to write about? Most of the lesser lights and intriguing journeymen and women were gone, their summer dreams drifting away like the last wisps of smoke at Monday's barbecue.

The match started languidly, Cilic and Murray probing each other, waiting, like us, for something to happen. Murray is put together a little differently from most of his peers, the operative adjective being "little." He's gangly, yet his legs are relatively short and thick, his back long. This keep his center of gravity low, for a man of 6-3, while allowing him to get plenty of torsional ooomph! into his shots, particularly his backhand. No matter what you dress him in, Murray never looks fresh out of the package; his genus is  jocko homo. When the other guy hits a nice winner, he still can't resist greeting it with an audible "Yup," rather than a snarl and murderous intentions.

Cilic, by contrast, cut a pristine, almost prissy, figure, in a smart, predominantly white shirt, and crisp and neatly pressed shorts. He's a little like his countryman Goran Ivanisevic. He's got a small head and dark hair, and he's lean, long and sinewy. He's not as expressive (who is?) as was Ivanisevic, and he lacks the flaky bits that so endeared Goran to the multitides. The up-side in this equation is that his game is tighter, crisper and altogether more disciplined than Goran's every was. But I'll bet there are time when Cilic wished he could cozy up to that service notch and blaze a swerving rocket, a la, Goran, even if the price was shanking a few more backhands into the cheap seats. Goran's failures always made his triumphs look more remarkable.

The "something" we were waiting for happened in the sixth game, with Cilic serving. He fell behind 30-40, an unpleasant position to navigate when you're playing the best hard-court performer after Roger Federer. But Murray flubbed a service return. He won the next point, but then drove a cross-court forehand well wide, and Cilic ultimately held. That second break point was telling; it was a desultory effort from a guy who specializes in jerking his opponents around the court and teasing out errors born of an opponent's eagerness to get a point over and done.

Things went quiet again, until the 10th game of the sets, with Cilic serving at 4-5. He fell behind 15-40, but wiped away the first set point with an ace, and he got a gift from Murray on the second - an ugly backhand that Murray drilled into the bottom of the net after a brief rally. This second escape was critical, for in the next game Murray double-faulted for 0-40, won the next point, but smacked a forehand off the let-cord during an otherwise inocuous rally to give up the break. Cilic held to win the set and that, in effect, was the end of the road for Murray. Cilic broke him in the first game of the second set and soon ran away with it.

"The two set points (10th game), that was the turning point for sure," Cilic said later. "It was a big relief for me. After that, I was not thinking so much of myself." It was a nice way to put it, given that until today Cilic spent a fair amount of time brooding over his inability to hurdle the fourth round in five Grand Slam events.

If you're looking for a key other than form of the day, the best I have to offer is that Cilic took the bait that Murray likes to offer. He played from inside the baseline, and maintained a forcing, aggressive mentality for the entire match. Murray, as usual, hung back, presumably eager to counter-punch. But Murray's strategy was ineffective because of his general sluggishness.

There will be great weeping and gnashing of teeth among my British friends this afternoon, for, with all due credit to Cilic, Murray played an atrocious match. The stats, in this case, do tell the story: Murray hit an anemic 13 winners and made a whopping 29 unforced errors. He tagged one forehand winner - in the entire match. There was much speculation about a wrist injury, and that's neither here nor there. But note that Murray Cilic posted a 58 per cent success-rate on second serves, to accompany his gaudy 79 per cent on first serves. If you ask me, though, Murray was in the grip of that Tuesday feeling, which, like mold, is all pervasive and potentially lethal.

"I started well," Murray explained later. "But when I lost the first set and went behind, instead of sticking to my game plan (which included taking advantage of second-serve returning opportunities, and engaging Cilic in long rallies), I started making silly mistakes, hitting silly shots. I let the match get away from me. Sometimes it happens. So many times this year, I found ways to get back into a match, today I just didn't have it in me to do it. I just played bad tennis, whereas guys had to play great tennis to beat me in the last three Slams. I felt a little flat."

One pleasant side effect of Cilic's breakthrough (He called the fourth-round his "blockade") is that it reflects nicely on Bob Brett, one of the finest - and least well-known - coaches in the game. Reflecting on his close relationship with Ivanisevic, Cilic said: "In 2002-3, he (Goran) was staying in Zagreb and practicing all the time with me when he was there.  He connected me with his ex-coach, Bob Brett, which I am here with.  He was a great help, otherwise I wouldn't be able to get in a connection with Bob."

Chris Clarey followed up, asking, What makes Bob a great coach, do you think?

90442454 Cilic answered: "I mean, he coached great players (Andres Gomez, Boris Becker, and Ivanisevic among them).  He has a lot of experience, and he brought me this knowledge that helps me to understand much easier some things. If I would be with somebody else who is not that experienced on Grand Slams level and top level, it would take me maybe a year or two more to get some things out of it. So I think I'm learning quickly. And as my results show on the Grand Slams, it works pretty good.  He knows a lot about tennis - and other things, too, so... "

I've written quite a bit in the past about Brett, with whom I'm friendly. Among all the coaches out there, he's the hardest to find after a match because he shuns the limelight. But a couple of guys had tracked him down to the Player's Garden after the match, and I joined them. Bob was in a Tuesday kind of way himself; he seemed a little world-weary, probably because he knew he couldn't put into simple words and ideas what he was thinking. More than any other coach, Brett knows that success isn't entirely about first-serve percentages, improved fitness, or attacking the cross-court ball. No coach is more attuned to the emotional and mental fluctuations that a player needs to recognize, address, and master on his way to completion.

"This is New York," he was saying, knowning how insufficient that sounded."Everybody has to play well in New York. Look, you just keep chipping away, doing the little things, trying to improve. They (players) all go through ups and downs, and you try to manage that - teach them to be patient."

Brett was thinking of Cilic's youth; at 20, Cilic is just five days older than the youngest guy in the Top 20 - the man he plays next, Juan Martin Del Potro. "It's so important that they have that time to develop, because as soon as there's pressure, pressure to do everything yesterday, it's easy to lose them. It's a struggle, to keep that balance in their development. it was just a great performance today, but in two days he has to go out and play again, seeing what he can do against another guy who's at the same level and age."

I wondered if Brett felt, coming into the tournament, that Cilic was capable of making a big statement, perhaps even winning the title. He said, "I've been coming to this tournament for 30 years, and you never know. I had that experience, that guy who was down two-sets-to-love and two match points - and he ended up winning the event (Becker). You just don't know. All I know is that Marin is playing well, and that's really what it's all about. He's getting better with every match - coming back from two sets down (against Jesse Levine) helped him, and today he was able to put some things together today that weren't there before this match."

Those things, I suspect, had to do with Cilic making all the parts in his big frame function in smooth, co-ordinated fashion.

Brett said that physical maturity was as important a component as mental maturity, especially for a player as big and rangy as Cilic. "It's easier to put together a guy who's 5-10. A guy who's 6-6, that's tough. There are so many pieces of the game. It's not as easy as it may look for some of these big athletes. It takes more time, and time brings pressures. But Marin is always working hard - he suffers. He suffers with the work he puts in, and he suffers with the results. Sure I know everybody suffers. But the important thing to me is that Marin is better than he was a year ago. So he's not suffering needlessly."  

Brett doesn't like to tip his hand when it comes to the nuts and bolts of coaching; you won't find a more tight-lipped man in any locker room. One reporter tried to dig something out of him, asking what they had "focused' on when it came to Murray's game.

"We focused on the court, and on being in shape," Brett said with a sly grin. "And to make sure the coach didn't make a mistake."

With that, he begged off, saying he had to run. He's microphone shy, but I'll probably catch up with him for one of our off-the-record visits before this week is out.

Brett knows that more mistakes will be made. Cilic is, after all, only 20. But the coach specializes in works-in-progress, even the ones that never were completed to his satisfaction, like Ivanisevic. In Cilic, Brett has better clay with which to work, at least in terms of a willing pupil. Brett never did get over his inability to get Ivanisevic over the maturity hump before they parted ways (well before Ivanisevic won that magical Wimbledon title), and it says something about both men that it did not prevent them from enjoying a long and fruitful friendship. Now he's got a less complicated Croatian; perhaps with him, he can achieve some kind of closure.

Murray may have fallen prey to that Tuesday feeling, but perhaps the day Cilic is thinking about is Sunday. Not  necessarily this one, but there are lots of Sundays in a career.

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Posted by Skw 09/08/2009 at 08:31 PM

Good article

Posted by Matt Zemek 09/08/2009 at 08:40 PM

On the Murray side, it's alarming that he'd say "I didn't have it in me," even if he might think that merely means he failed in his comeback attempt; saying "I didn't have it in me" suggests that he lacked the energy, the stuff, to compete at a high level, win or lose.

As for Cilic, he is only 20, but he had knocked on this 4th round door for quite some time. He's young but not "new," much as a 20-year-old Sharapova/Capriati/Hingis/Seles/Becker/Chang/Arantxa wasn't new. I really felt he'd hit something of a ceiling, so this performance today, which involved clutch serving all the way through, could really liberate him. It would be nice if it did.

Thanks, Pete, for the piercing inside angle on this match!

Posted by tina (ajde, Marine!) 09/08/2009 at 08:45 PM


In certain neighborhoods of the Hamptons, this day is known as "Tina's Tuesday" - for locals to celebrate the mass departure of seasonal folks and enjoy the empty beaches again.

Marin has given me even more reason to celebrate my "personal holiday" - even if I'm not in certain neighborhoods of the Hamptons at the moment.

Very excited about Marin's ability to rise to the occasion fearlessly today, hope he continues.

Posted by Shannon 09/08/2009 at 09:06 PM

Great post. I'm so happy Marin beat Andy, he played an excellent match.

Posted by vetmama 09/08/2009 at 09:10 PM

" If you ask me, though, Murray was in the grip of that Tuesday feeling, which, like mold, is all pervasive and potentially lethal."

Excellent, Pete.
I love discovering the little golden nuggets in your posts.:)

Posted by Ryota 09/08/2009 at 09:15 PM

Del Potro is looking like a contender now that Murray is gone. Cilic has underperformed this year so it is refreshing to see him step up in the US Open.

Murray has been overhyped in every slam this year. The Masters isn't a gauge of a player's readiness to win slams anymore now that they've adopted a best-of-3 format. Murray can win all the Masters he wants but until he gets his head wrapped around the best-of-5 format, he'll have trouble winning a slam.

Posted by Corrie 09/08/2009 at 09:17 PM

Yes, Bob Brett is a great coach.

Thrilled for Cilic. He's finally making good on all his potential.

Now, finally, will the so called pundits stop picking over-hyped Murray for every Grand Slam?

Posted by toonie 09/08/2009 at 09:22 PM

Great Post Pete!! I didn't think Cilic looked "prissy" at all though.

Posted by nora 09/08/2009 at 10:19 PM

I think Cilic will be very happy if he achieves even close to what Ivanisevic achieved. You might say, flake is a mistake. He was a great player (unlucky to be) in the era of Sampras: Sampras said as much himself. I think Goran won six tournaments one year. That's not too flaky.

Posted by Jenn 09/08/2009 at 10:20 PM

I did not know until today that Cilic was coached by Brett. Very interesting, given the history and great success of players he has coached. Cilic has a bright future, it seems.

I agree with Matt - disappointing to hear Murray admit that he just didn't have it in him to hang with Cilic in the 2nd and 3rd sets. Surprising in a 4th round of the US Open. If he doesn't have it in him on that occasion, when will he? Sort of reflects what Asad Raza suspects, I suppose. I am not ready to say that Murray is not GS material, but this loss will not be treated kindly back home, I'm sure...

Posted by Ray T. 09/08/2009 at 10:22 PM

Nice post Pete, but you only mentioned Murray's poor stats to excuse his loss when Cilic actually made way MORE errors (41 vs 29), but won the match on his own merit by hitting way MORE winners (35 vs 13). These are the real stats that "tell the story" and Murray's unforced errors did not cost him to lose whatsoever. Cilic went full speed ahead and was fully rewarded for it.

Also glad you referred to him as "prissy", as it confirms my beliefs that Cilic has indeed the intelligence and all the makings of another Federer...thanks, lol !

Posted by CL 09/08/2009 at 11:06 PM

What's the French for 'mouse'?

Posted by Ade 09/08/2009 at 11:07 PM

Poor guy just had a bad day. Can't win em all. I kind of agree on what Pat Mac said, in that he can't continue to play defensively forever, and hope his opponent makes a mistake. Cilic wouldn't have it.

Kudos to Cilic, and what a nice guy he is too.

Posted by Sher 09/09/2009 at 12:32 AM

Have you guys realized that Tignor called it back in January:

"Prediction No. 1: Andy Murray will not win a Grand Slam in 2009"

Posted by Sher 09/09/2009 at 12:36 AM

Personally, I think this is a very "learning" loss for Murray. He's always come back from such loses a better player and hopefully he will now. A single loss does not a slam failure make. He'll have many more chances.

Posted by Andrew 09/09/2009 at 12:40 AM

Pete, interesting take - seeing Cilic's victory in terms of his long term potential (under the tutelage of Bob Brett for the moment), while Steve Tignor talked more about the match itself.

I haven't gotten onto the Cilic bandwagon yet. I saw him play last year in Toronto, and thought that he didn't do anything special: he seems cut from the same cloth as Del Potro - both players are bigger versions of Novak Djokovic. Maybe it's time for "big boy" tennis in the ATP, just as "big babe" tennis rules in the WTA.

None of these three players brings flair or excitement to their game - quickness, efficiency, power, solid technique, but no elan (Djokovic has retreated into himself in the last 15 months).It isn't winning ugly, but it sure ain't winning interestingly - at least for me.

Posted by Terry 09/09/2009 at 12:50 AM

How long will it take before Murray makes a change though? Federer, Verdasco, Gonzalez, Roddick, Cilic.... all of them went for it and none of them gave Murray what he was looking for. Time to wake up for Murray. And soon. Does he really want to rock up at Wimbledon next year slamless and deal with THAT?

Posted by ms. tangerine popsicle (tangi) 09/09/2009 at 12:59 AM

*today I just didn't have it in me to do it.* What does that mean ... that he was physically spent? That he didn't have the motivation? The Times of London contends that Murray has developed a habit of peaking before the slams. Others have suggested that he's trained too much.

No doubt Murray is disappointed (and perhaps even a bit concerned?) that he wasn't able to equal his '08 feat of making it to a slam final, much less take it a step further as he'd hoped.

The commentators have been telling us for a year that Murray is ready to win a slam. Today's the first time I've heard some doubt creep into their comments. Just before the Tsonga match we were told he had a good chance to win the whole thing this year. Now he's gone, too.

I was impressed by Cilic's performance today and charmed by his on-court interview. It'll be interesting to see if he's able to follow up this big win with a good showing against Delpo.

Posted by Sher 09/09/2009 at 01:00 AM

The only time I've seen Cilic live he lost to Wawrinka playing passive tennis. I haven't completely recovered from that first impression. Granted time has passed.

Posted by Sher 09/09/2009 at 01:01 AM

[None of these three players brings flair or excitement to their game - quickness, efficiency, power, solid technique, but no elan (Djokovic has retreated into himself in the last 15 months).It isn't winning ugly, but it sure ain't winning interestingly - at least for me.]

word, Andrew...this also exemplifies tsonga.

Posted by ms. tangerine popsicle (tangi) 09/09/2009 at 01:21 AM


If you can't think of something/someone to write about, how 'bout that Rog? LOL I'll happily read another post about my BFed. :)

Posted by linex 09/09/2009 at 01:25 AM

A very nice post Pete. I loved the poetics in your last sentence.

I very much enjoyed Cilic performance today he was perfect from the baseline and not making the errors most players tend to make when facing Murray who has lost very few hard court matches in the last years.

Nevertheless, as a southamerican, and an argentine resident, I wish Delpo can win on Wednesday. If I compare their performances today I guess Cilic was better. But wednesday is a new day and I am sure the best of these 2 fine players and competitors on that particular day will win.

Posted by Sher 09/09/2009 at 01:33 AM

By the way, what do you guys think about the security (LACK of) at the tournaments?

Granted, it's a good thing these guys are so lovable that even the freaks just want to give them things and hug them, but in the past two months, we've had two crazy fans run up to Roger and Rafa and get close enough that if they weren't harmless things would look a lot different.

Both Roger and Rafa laughed it off, and I'm happy they were able to be relaxed about it. But it is a little odd and a little worrying, still.

Posted by Alice 09/09/2009 at 01:38 AM

Sher, I didn't see the incident with Nadal, what happened?

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 09/09/2009 at 01:46 AM

"When the other guy hits a nice winner, he still can't resist greeting it with an audible "Yup," rather than a snarl and murderous intentions."

This is nice to hear after reading yesterday's constant bashing of Murray's morose, moaning, ungracious on-court personality. :)

*back to read rest of the post*

Posted by Sher 09/09/2009 at 01:50 AM

Alice, see interview:

Q. What did you think when the man came out of the stands and came up to you?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, for me it wasn't the problem. The guy was really nice (laughter.)

Q. Did he say anything?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. He was a great fan. He said, I love you, and he kiss me. (laughter.)

Q. Was he speaking Spanish?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, in English, but I understand that. (laughter.)


Posted by Alice 09/09/2009 at 01:57 AM

Thanks Sher.
Okay that's just disturbing. How many incidents is everyone going to laugh off and say "lucky it wasn't a nutcase"? Good of Roger and Rafa to be so cool about it, but one day it won't be harmless and you can't say the tournaments didn't have warning time to get things tight.

Posted by Tim (2009 Year of Red Rogie ) 09/09/2009 at 01:58 AM

acutually Murray is the one who deserves my wrath today what a hapless performance .. no wonder Fed always plays down his Slam chances, the guy has underperformed over and over in these settings, how can he be considered a favorite?

i might have to google him and see how the Brits are treating him tonight..

Posted by jewell - Make tea, not war. 09/09/2009 at 02:09 AM

Nice post, Pete, I enjoyed the Bob Brett stuff very much. :)

Fantastic win for Cilic - I hope it lifts him for the future, I like watching him play, boring ugly tennis or not. Sometimes I think I actively hate so-called "beautiful" tennis and the categorisations imposed on players...there's usually something to appreciate in every player, and the negativity that brands some players as "dull" is just so depressing to read day in, day out. /end rant

Hee...with some of these comments, I am not sure Murray needs the British press. I'm detecting a certain amount of glee that he is out? I wonder why?

He's 22. He's still got time. And he'll have to lose heartbreakingly in a Wimbledon SF to an American at least twice more before he gets the full Henman treatment. ;-)

The funny thing is, between tournaments, I always think I don't trust Murray to win in a Slam yet. And then when the thing starts I always think "Maybe, this time..."

If you look at form previous to the USO, you'd probably have Federer as favourite, then Murray, del Potro, Djokovic in the next tier - picking Murray as a potential winner was hardly insane. *shrug* But agree with the general point that MS are not a reliable guide to Slam performance.

As for an early loss and "not having it in me" - sometimes, players just can't do it on the day - they have nothing, for whatever reason. It doesn't mean they're not struggling to make things happen or desperately trying to lift themselves - sometimes, you just get outplayed and you can't do anything about it, for whatever reason. I've seen it happen to Federer, Djokovic, even Rafa...don't think it's necessarily worrying.

Posted by Beckham (Gulbis, Le Sigh!!!) 09/09/2009 at 02:12 AM

I feel bad for Muzz and his fans, especially Pspace...I know everyone is going to diagnose him to death on this performance...maybe just maybe he isn't ready to win a slam and when he's ready he'll take the world by storm, frankly, I think all this doom and gloom is a wee bit to early. It's a step by step process, first he's mastered the masters, up next the GS, no?!

Posted by Jeu de Paume 09/09/2009 at 02:17 AM

"at 20, Cilic is just five days older than the youngest guy in the Top 20 - the man he plays next, Juan Martin Del Potro"

Cilic is the youngest guy in the Top 20 (dob:9/28/88) just five days after Juan Martin Del Potro (dob: 9/23/88)

Leif Shiras made the same mistake during the Tennis Channel's broadcast and it sounds like you're just repeating without checking as usual, Pete.

Congratulations to Cilic on a well deserved win !


Posted by Ryota 09/09/2009 at 02:31 AM

Safin was 20 when he clobbered Sampras. Hewitt was also 20 when he clobbered the same guy. Could Cilic win his bracket and go on and clobber the guy who just passed Sampras? Now that would be something indeed!

I just don't see Del Potro doing any clobbering against Federer. The reverse, though, is a distinct possibility should Del Potro win his bracket.

Posted by Pspace (Lestat Time!) 09/09/2009 at 02:42 AM

If you ask me, though, Murray was in the grip of that Tuesday feeling, which, like mold, is all pervasive and potentially lethal.

I guess Tuesday is as good an explanation as any other for that match. Just so unbelievably bad. 0 breaks of serve. Losing a set 6-2 when the other guy had 25% or so first serves. Atrocious is putting it politely.

Posted by Ro'ee 09/09/2009 at 02:48 AM

Pete, you had to know Cilic was gonna be a party spoiler when he came in wearing white after Labor Day!!!
also, if JMDP plays too conservatively, where does that put Murray, who's rapidly (d)evolving into a junkballer?

Posted by tina 09/09/2009 at 03:51 AM

I think from now on, I'm going to use Marin's expression "I have a blockade in my head".

Posted by Rebound Ace 09/09/2009 at 04:01 AM

Cmon Pete, you dont need to make Cilic look better by making Andy look bad. Or your friend Brett look shinier in the reflected glory of an upset win.

Posted by JohnC 09/09/2009 at 04:21 AM

Murray's failure was exactly that, unfortunately. I wouldn't be writing any big tickets for Cilic on that basis, and I'd be deeply surprised if DelPo doesn't dispose of him fairly handily. Certainly, Federer or Nadal would eat him for breakfast on all but their worst days.

He's only 20, and will probably have another 10 years. But it's hard to see him bagging more than a single slam, if that. However, he likely to be a persistent danger to other top players having a bad day for many years to come.

Posted by Thomas 09/09/2009 at 05:10 AM

Glad to see the passive and uncharismatic Murray lose in a Slam again. He need some media training as well:

80(!!) "you knows" during his short interview!!

Posted by Fred 09/09/2009 at 05:43 AM

Murray went down with the same score as Robredo against Fed:
7-5 6-2 6-2..gutsy play by Marin, shanky stuff by Murray

Posted by rg.nadal 09/09/2009 at 07:37 AM

There goes my title pick- Murray. Saw the first two sets. I thought I would wake up in the morning to see a headline like "Murray rises like a phoenix to thwart Cilic". Kudos to Cilic, nevertheless. He played solid tennis.

Posted by princepro110 09/09/2009 at 07:54 AM

Nice to hear about the guy behind the player. Watching the last four sets of the Cilic/Levine match on Court 11 Thrs......I saw an American up 2-0 set and 98% crowd behind him get trashed the final three sets with hardly a response. The lefty Levine gave him problems with Cilic not making his down the line shots to Levines backhand.......once he exposed the backhand Levine was toast. It was more of a case of Levine not having an answer............THE RESULT OF CILIC & GOOD COACHING AND LEVINE WITH LITTLE OR NO DECENT COACHING!

Posted by Todd and in Charge 09/09/2009 at 09:49 AM

Great post. I always feel bad when someone upsets a favorite, because the framing is almost entirely focused on what the favorite did wrong, and how badly the favorite was playing that day.

It's also frequently the case -- though never considered -- that when the favorite wins, his or her opponent also may not have been playing at their highest level on that day. This possibility almost never enters the media discussion of the favorite's win.

Clearly Andy had a bad day. As Gilbert said, however, as the match was ending, Cilic also had an amazing day.

Posted by Pete 09/09/2009 at 09:55 AM

Absolutely right, Todd, glad to see you drop by! Someone above noted that both Cilic and DelPotro have (I'm paraphrasing) seamless, smooth, efficient games and yesterday Cilic showed that when you combine that kind of solidity with Big Power and the ability to play inside the court (which I thought was key), the combination can be devastating.

Posted by Nam1 09/09/2009 at 10:17 AM

Nice post, Pete.

I have to admit I felt bad for Muzz tho' he is not my fav player.
I thought his body language every time he losy apoint was so bad that it gave Cilic hope, not sure why Andy seemed so down, it was as if he had no energy at all...

Posted by Andrew 09/09/2009 at 11:21 AM

I think there's a lot to the question of how we frame results - "X lost, or Y won."

When X is a big name, there's a tendency to write the report as X lost - X is known by the readers, and therefore must have played woefully by his or her lofty standards. Sometimes, of course, Y is an up and coming player - think Oudin, or Nadal in the 2004-2006 period - and this kind of report may undersell Y's part in it.

Second, we tend to say "Y won" when Y hit lots of winners and point ending shots, but not when Y played a lot of shots in rallies that made X hit lots of shots that X finds difficult, or frustrating to execute. This, of course, is Murray's signature game plan - so matches like IW SF 2009 tend to get written as "Federer lost" because we see the mistakes and UFEs Federer made (plus we possibly have higher expectations of Federer) while we tend to lose track of Murray's skill in putting Federer in awkward positions over and again.

Posted by TennisRone 1000 09/09/2009 at 12:04 PM

Good post Pete....thanks for the insight and the piece about Cilic's Coach. It's good to see that a player is patient with their coach and ackowledges his/her value.

Good luck to WickMayer today and Mellie Mel!

Posted by Johnboy 09/09/2009 at 12:05 PM

Loved Pete's analogies to the end of summer. Great, man.

Was is great to have Nadal back, or what? Best smile in tennis, best scowl in tennis.

Bodo rocks.

Posted by Or 09/09/2009 at 12:39 PM

Pity you can't be at two matches at the same time. I was busy keeping my seat warm for Tsonga-Gonzo, and given up on Murray, as I saw him playing twice already in this open.

I was surprised at the result, unlike Asad Raza.

I would be surprised if Cilic can take out Del Potro, and while I still think Rafa (amazing match yesterday for two sets, people were groaning and awwwing all around me) would get to the final, my money is on Del Potro now, though Gonzo also played well.

Murray needs to realize, first and foremost, that just because X tactic is affective against Roger, who plays his best against attacking players, it doesn't mean it is as affective against the rest of the tour.

Posted by Tennis This 09/09/2009 at 02:27 PM

Poor Murray, I'm sure the tabloids in GB are going to have a field day with him. First it was Wimby and now it's the Open. When I was watching the match, it never really felt like he was in the match. His intensity was low and his strokes were halfhearted. I was hoping he would show up in the Semis but I guess it's going to be a couple of new faces, which is good for men's tennis.

Posted by marieJ vamos healty rafa ! 09/09/2009 at 03:01 PM

hello ! just droping by, because well murray loss was even more surprising than roddick's, no ?

bad bad tuesday feeling for murray ? he felt flat ? he had reasons too, for that, imo.
maybe he played a bit too much during the summer, in a period much closer to the USO than he did last summer... for the record he lost in the first round of the olympics, and came fresher than many of the olympiquers who ran out of gas like djoko and rafa.

fed, djoko nadal, and delpotro did not play that much in the toronco-cincy MS combo... almost everyone of them went out at the quarter's stage in one of them, and del po pull out, which was the wise decision, but murray was too sure of himself of his fitnness to hang on on cincy, and finally got routed in the semis by fed...
even if your fitness is almost on top, the mental aspect of a loss took it's toll on him, and going into th USO with a bad loss to your biggest rival doesn't help to get you in the best shape of mind... suddenly a little doubt can creep into your mind. possible ?
he'll be back, but he has to improve drasticcaly his position on court, against cilic he got pushed back and never found a way back, tactically end mentally.

i'll come back later ! and i don't post too often but i do lurk ;)

Posted by alizanabet 09/11/2009 at 01:29 AM

Hello Pete Bodo..............

I am very excited to be a part of this Forum and look forward to bringing Value to it and very happy to realized your comment about the tennis world you believe me that i like very much tennis.

Stretch Marks

Posted by alizanabet 09/11/2009 at 01:29 AM

Hello Pete Bodo..............

I am very excited to be a part of this Forum and look forward to bringing Value to it and very happy to realized your comment about the tennis world you believe me that i like very much tennis.

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Wild Women of the U.S. Open
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Roddick's Imperfect World
"It's Kind of a Dance"
Nadal's Kneeds
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