Friday, April 03, 2009

Train Wreck (Updated)

I can't imagine that he did, but if Andy Roddick saw that mess of a semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, he'd be on suicide watch by now.

That was simply the worst men's tennis match I've ever seen. An early frontrunner for the Gonad, to be sure, with tennis about as uninspiring as the crappiest the WTA headcases have ever produced.

The highlight? Raja smashed a racquet. The crowd booed.

What a joke.

UPDATE: Found this compilation of Raja's errors in the match. There are some repeats in the mix, but if you didn't see the match, you get a complete picture.


charags said...

"What a joke." ... pretty much agree with you there !!

Do you have any stats on the matches King Fed lost despite having an upper hand?

Pamela said...

And he didn't shake the umpire's hand. That was just weird and surreal to me. Horrible match. Andy is probably kicking himself, but at the same time - I feel badly for Federer.

It's like he became unglued mentally and physically during this match. 40+ errors?

Oh well, I'll be cheering for Andy M for the whole shebang.

tangerine said...

Amazing accident you couldn't turn away from. Roger smashing his racket was stunning, I can't remember the last time he did that, maybe when he was 19. That's how disgusted he was with his playing and his opponent and the match in general. Probably the first and last time you'll ever hear a crowd boo Roger. It was surreal.

Beth said...

I just came home from work and my husband told me about how horrible this match was and the raquet incident. Sounds like a total meltdown. I guess Mirka looked a bit shocked as well. What a shock. That video clip will be showed 'round the world. I only got to see the last half of the 3rd set.

Craig Hickman said...

It really was a train wreck.

Raja lost his serve about 5 times in a row or something. The actual stat doesn't really matter.

It was just ugly.

A said...

This is all so juicy! I wish I wasn't stuck at work without access to a tv ... can someone say a little more about what happened?

Beth said...

The clip is already on Youtube. It's actually kind of sad. He is under so much scrutiny....

tangerine said...

Rafa called his loss an "amazing disaster". He didn't realize he'd be speaking for Roger today as well.

A said...

post a link! post a link!

MMT said...

Djokovic had 20 winners to 30 unforced errors, and Federer had 22 winners to 47 unforced errors - 30 on the forehand alone. And he was broken 6 times in the match, which is almost half his service games. No idea why he didn't shake the referee's hand, but he broke his racquet and the crowd did boo him, but immediately cheered the first point he won afterwards.

That was painful match to sit through.

MMT said...

Helen W said...

The whole tournament on the men's side seems to be weird. I haven't watched all the matches, but the only exciting one I've seen is Stan Wawrinka's play against Rafa -- even if he lost in the end, his play was inspiring.

Veruca Salt said...

Will Rog have to give back his sportsmanship award after that display?

tangerine-The last time Roger smashed his racket was in 2005--in Miami.

Helen W said...

From The Florida Sun Sentinel:

When asked when he last broke a racquet:
"'It must've been here against Rafa,' a teary-eyed disconsolate Federer said was the last time he broke a racket in anger, referring to the 2005 Sony final when he trailed Nadal two sets to none before coming back to win. 'There's so much wind today and once you start feeling bad it's tough to regroup. One end you had the sun in your eye, it was really tough on the ball toss. .. But it's the same for both players. Once one guy gets the upper hand, the other guy is a bit uncertain.'"

He also threw a water bottle and refused to shake the umpire's hand.

Then there's this shocker:

"Other than Federer tossing his racket in disgust he shocked the media even more when he thanked 'God,' for the end of the hard court season. This coming from the player who has won 38 tournaments on hard courts, including eight of Slams on the concrete, as well as two here in 2005-06.

"'It's the end of the hard court season,'' he said. "I don't care anymore. I'm moving over to clay, a new chapter.'"

sG said...

Wow. Two game implosions from the top two players in two consecutive days. Damn. I mean, I wanted Djoko to win (the lesser of two non-fave players) but that was...

I couldn't believe he smashed the racquet! I was stunned and gave a loud gasp, much to the annoyance of my Fed-lovin' mama. When was the last time he did that on the pro tour? Maybe he needs a rest? His lack of patience is his enemy now. Instead of gritting his teeth and slowing play down he's pushing and rushing.

Commiseration to any Fed fans: I may not have wanted him to win but no fan should see their fave go out like that.

sG said...

I think the matches on the men side were solid for the most part. Even the quarterfinal Nadal lost, I have to admit as a Rafa fan, was overall exciting in spite of streaky play from both players.

That the #1 and #2 seeds were knocked out in the tournament's latter stages is a bit weird (at least for the men currently) but sometimes that's the way the cookie crumbles.

Helen W said...

sG I agree that a lot of the matches on the men's side have been close, but I get these bad vibes. For example, I've felt all through the tournament that Rafa was out of sorts -- uncharacteristically cranky and unable to clear his mind and concentrate the way we are so used to seeing him do. Then this melt-down by Roger -- the last time he broke a racquet was in 2005 (at the same tournament, against Rafa). But when has he ever refused to shake the umpire's hand?

And it isn't as if the winners (DelPo and Djoko) played lights-out tennis to win -- while they certainly played better than their opponents, they had lots of streaky lapses too.

Somehow this whole tournament just hasn't been satisfying to me. Unlike IW, where there did not seem to be a lot of these undercurrents.

tangerine said...

LOL, did you guys see at the end of the video when Roger tossed two empty water bottles behind him?

sG said...

No, but I read about the water bottles over on another board.

HelenW, I understand about bad vibes. I get them too at times. Yours have obviously been proven right this tournament!

Hmm. I guess I expected Rafa's crankiness because he'd played a lot of hard court tennis recently; he's not a fan, lol. He was just this out of sorts last year too. Less impatient about it, though, and the weariness hung from him like clothing -- unlike now. I think he feels it's too early in the season to be this side of tired. Last night he didn't have the control required for the basic functions of his game. Whenever I see that it usually means some exhaustion has crept into a player's game. Just my take!

Tennisfan said...

Man.. Glad didn't see the match. I am going to petition NASA to help bring back Roger's mind from Mars. And have CIA issue an international warrant to rescue his brain from some alien man-nappers.

Darn.. Whom am I going to root for now? WTH,, JMPD all the way...

tangerine said...

"'It's the end of the hard court season,'' he said. "I don't care anymore. I'm moving over to clay, a new chapter.'"

A new chapter of what exactly? Misery? He won't win one title playing like this.

He's really lost it hasn't he?

Beth said...

In the press conf he also said he didn't lose it. Those exact words. He said it was a natural frustration or something to that effect. I can really understand that. Heaven knows I have wanted to smash many things in frustration in my life :-). But why not just tell it like it is. He lost it. Plain and simple. He's a human being, we've all been there and we can all relate to high levels of frustration. As a side note, I think I've said this before: I think it completely sucks that these players have to sit in front of the press right after a lousy loss. That really has to be rough.

Helen W said...

Beth do they have to do the pressers right after the match? I thought they had the option of showering & changing first, but I could be wrong. Anyone know for sure?

They do have to hang around at the winning cermonies, which must be hard.

Karen said...

I think Roger,s meltdown is due to hormones. For the last 7 years. I have been following Roger and these emotional meltdowns have occurred since Mirka got pregnant. He has also gained weight. Good on him though for getting his frustrations out

oddman said...

Well now. What is it I'm supposed to say about Roger Federer after a loss?

Am happy for Nole. Things have been very hard for him lately, and he's been picking his way through the minefield of media very carefully and with a wary eye. I do think he's learned some harsh lessons in the past year, probably needed them to be harsh, but nevertheless, he's conducting himself a bit better, imho.

Despite being a Rafa fan, it's rather nice to look forward to a final without him or Fed.

edma1022 said...

Huwhaaaaat!! Unhinged?? Roger Federer??

MY Roger??

The 4x Laureaus guy? The idol of millions? The GOAT-in-waiting? He of the most aesthetically pleasing game of tennis in history? He of the slams semis streak? The wikipedia God?

Horrors! This can't be! This is absolutely unacceptable! HOW DARE HIM!

Gosh, he's starting a dangerous precedent!

Guys, it's all our fault! The tournament officials heard your raging debate in that "Hangover" thread .....

He simply cannot play well without that damn RF logo near his feet !!!!

(just kidding)

Hello, Craig. Sorry for the diatribe. I think I'll stay on again - after a long spell (work permitting). I'm beginning to like it here. Let me know if you guys still have a place on that "other" side of the fence.

Volandri, where are you? (oops, I forgot, is he still serving time?)

Helen W said...

edma1022, I'm not sure if you are just joking, but Volandri's doping ban was lifted. You can read about it in Sports Illustrated.

vw said...

tangerine, the water throwing thing is on the video? I didn't see it.

Oddman, glad he won too. Seems like Murray is the golden boy now.

Helen W said...

vw there's a similar video of the whole thing on, and it shows him tossing 2 water bottles over his shoulder, and the ball kids scurrying to pick them up. I hope they can sell them on e-Bay :)

Also, I read somewhere that this is not the first time that Roger has refused to shake the umpire's hand after losing a match -- it also happened when he lost to Andy M earlier this year (at least I think that was the match quoted).

Craig Hickman said...

The new video is here now.

oddman said...

Oh, man, thanks for the vid, Craig - just brightened my day! I'm giggling my ass off here - funny to see Fed get so mad.

Pamela said...

Craig, have you seen this quote?:

The other semi-final will be between Djokovic, who was taken to the doctor feeling unwell after beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Wednesday, and Roger Federer, who admitted that his loss to Nadal in the Wimbledon final had been a long-term hurt to him that may have affected his form. However this seemed nothing to the emotional damage from which Roddick appeared to be suffering during his 17th loss in 19 matches to the holder of 13 Grand Slam titles. After a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 defeat, Roddick had a fit of rage in the tunnel leading out of the stadium, emptied the contents of his bag on the floor and smashed what looked like every single racket one after the other upon the concrete.

He definitely realized the opportunity that he let slip if this article is true.

HoiHa said...

Pamela I am not sure I would believe what the Guardian writes - though I certainly hope that Roddick is angry after that loss. But I have never heard of Federer saying his loss at Wimby so hurt that it may have affected his tennis form. But who knows - maybe it's all true.

Beth said...

Helen W, to answer your question, I believe they do get to shower but it seems to me that the time frame from match end to press conf is very brief. Many players have still looked quite flustered and upset at their press conf which tells me that they have not had much time to digest their loss. I just find it interesting that they don't at least get to sleep on it. They would be able to bring to the table a much less emotional (or irritable!) perspective and probably be able to analyze what happened in their game much better after a night's sleep and some decompression time.

Craig Hickman said...

I wrote before that when you lose a Wimbledon final to a rival (but really to anyone) it can kill you.

Andy Roddick, as the quote Pamela shows, has still not recovered from losing the 2004 Wimbledon final. He's had other fits of rage off the court many times in the past. After he lost the USO quarterfinal to Johansson the Younger, he did the same thing in the locker room.

That fit of rage was also after Wimbledon 2004. In fact, all of the ones I can remember have come after that traumatic milestone in his career.

People on this blog laughed at me when I said that Raja's loss last year was going to do him in and that his USO victory proved me wrong. I saw his USO victory as pure luck, not just Raja-style luck and it wasn't all that impressive to me. I still figured he'd be toast at big events going forward.

So far, no one is laughing.

Wimbledon is the crown of crowns. You make the final, you are desperate to win.

The fact that there have been only a few players who had never won Wimbledon previously and then lost Wimbledon finals but come back to win more big titles is a testament to their guts and mental strength and will. Rafa and she who shall not be named are the only two I can think of in the last decade.

Raja is a Leo. He's a special case. When Leos fall, they crack into pieces, much like Humpty Dumpty. I don't see him ever winning another Slam unless he can do that thing that Pete Sampras, also a Leo, did and muster up a lot of unseen stuff from the bowl of his soul.

I just don't see it.

As for Andy, he'll have to hope for a Goran Ivanisevic type of Wimbledon win. Years down the road, he gets a wild card or comes in on a terrible patch of form, the favorites all lose early, and he steals the title from a player who is slightly more of a headcase than he is. It's the last remaining big goal of his career. He's accomplished the other three -- USO title, world No. 1, Davis Cup title -- so Wimbledon will literally be his crowning glory if he can achieve it.

In the meantime, he's still destroyed by Roger Federer, even one struggling as much as he is.

You can't make this stuff up.

As for the Guardian. Yes, it's a rag, but it tends to get its sports reporting right.

Beth said...

I, too, think the Wimbledon loss cut very deep for Federer. Only he knows how much it affected him.

Helen W said...

Craig I for one thought your predictions about the impact of losing Wimbledon were prescient. Wimbledon carries more emotional import -- by far -- than any other event in the tennis world.

The loss for Roger last year must have been unimaginably gut wrenching on so many levels. He went in with the prospect of breaking Borg's record winning streak -- a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will not come again. He lost to the man who had, less than a month earlier, handed him the most humiliating defeat of a World No 1 at a slam in the history of the open era. He lost where he felt most secure. He lost after Rafa choked away a couple of sets, letting him back into the match, and then pulling himself together mentally and gutting out the win.

He has admitted that he has never looked at any pictures of Rafa holding the trophy.

Who knows how much self-awareness Federer has as to the emotional impact of such events on himself. My guess is that it is all but unfathonable to someone who has not been in anything like a comparable situation. He really has not been the same player since.

And I agree with Craig -- he may have won the last USO, but he certainly was not the impressive player he has been in past USOs while doing it -- and he had a lot of help with the draw & scheduling.

Graf_sampras said...

Excuse me everyone -- but WHO have been Suggesting, insinuating that Roger Federer has won majors DUE TO

CUPCAKE DRAWS, help in SCHEDULING. and things like THAT?

people need to give roger credit -- and should refrain from even SUGGESTING that he only wins those majors and finals SOLELY by these cupcake draws and scheduling...they should tell the real story:

it has at least 50 percent part of Roger's TALENT!!!!

the help due to cupcake draws and commodeous scheduling that deplets players that are THREATS to him are only 50% -- no more than THAT.


please be truthful -- people!!!

i am INCENSED at this....hharumph!!


Graf_sampras said...

and for the record --

I HAVE NEVER suggestion at any point that roger's cupcake draws, and nice scheduling that were rather detrimental to his rivals , were anything MORE than 50% of the events!

i have NEVER suggested it was anywhere NEAR 75% percent of events....

ONLY up to 50% , ok?

the REST if abotu Roger's TALENT!!!



get it?

Graf_sampras said...

Craighickman - do you really see it that way?

that Rogie is more likely to not add a major "unless he does a sampras"? or something like that?

I mean - from MY standpoint -- roger is at least 4 FULL YEARS younger than sampras was before the old guy actually managed to bring back the ghost. lol. and at that - for his age and all the very depressing results and his injuries - it's a surprise he even lasted that long just to get "one more".

but with roger -- he is in what is comparably the 27th year of his life and still really at the peak of physical powers (witness how he STILL will routine the usual folks he used to routine..regardless of the battle by roddick lately)

except that he gets fended off by nadal, murray or djokovic who really don't belong to roger's age-crowd.

STILL it's not as if Roger is some hobbling old man already.

so - to ME -- that is a PLUS for roger in terms of his chances to "find his way" and add more majors.

i could see at least a couple more for him , i think, before he retires or really decidedly "can't do it anymore" while in the tour.

roger has been far more "methodical" and systematic in dealing with his career, health, fitness, preparations, scehdules, than sampras was who often did HIS career more like a "reaction" -- season by season ..surface by surface and whatever "the gods" rained on him at a given moment..more like doing things "on the fly" in comparison with roger's very well-planned and therefore, generally, more "successful" career.

AND let us not forget -- he may have lost more often recently -- but there are NOT that many players YET that can deal with his tennis that well -- apart from a very few.

so I think his majors career isn't quite over yet....

but of course , only time tells.

Graf_sampras said...

everyone == please don't suggest that Roger Federer ONLY got his 13 majors so far due to things like:

DRAWN against eventual USO 2004 SEMIFINALIST that gave him some of his TOUGHEST battles (opponent was UP in the 3rd set after winning set 2 before getting tired) -- ANDRE AGASSI aged 34?

or DRAWN against EVENTUAL FINALIST USO 2005 ...ANDRE AGASSI with Sciatica, wife, 2 kids?...and no hair?

or DRAWN against "still wanna try playing" after 3 KNEE surgeries and wheelchaired MARK PHILIPPOUSSIES in wimbledon?

or DRAW against NEWBIE on grass RAFA nadal who had to LEARN how to play tennis in front of everyone?

or DRAWN against NEWBIE BAGHDATIS who likes to go swimming and lying on those big ROUND LIFESAVE TUBES in the sparkling mediterranean seas...

or DRAWN against NEWBIES Djokovic and Murray


please don't insinuate such things. ok?

ROGER FEDERER got to where he was -- 13 majors through his TALENT!!!!

get it?

please have some RESPECK!!

"i don't know how i win so much..........maybe it's just my TALENT". roger federer........

Helen W said...

Here is a stunning piece of journalism by Barry Flatman of The Times OnLine:

From Andy Roddick, right after Federer's humiliating loss at the FO last year:

"DON’T feel too sorry for Roger because none of us do. He’s spent far too long getting right into our heads, now let’s see if he’s going to be subjected to a little anguish and self-belief problems.” The words were those of Andy Roddick, somebody who has suffered more than most at the hands of Roger Federer."

... Flatman goes on:
"So what has gone wrong with Federer and where did the demise begin? After all, once majestic and largely unbeatable players do not become ordinary overnight. It is probably overly simplistic to say but when the game is being played at the very highest level, so much of it is actually played in the brain. Managing to collect just four games in that French Open final was a crushing blow to his morale but was minimal to what was to follow a month later as Nadal added the Wimbledon title in that cataclysmic final."

Sounds like there are more than a few knowledgeable journalists who see it you rway, Craig.

Graf_sampras said...

let us at least GIVE the benefit of the doubt to Roger Federer..

harsh as I tend to be on Roger - i personally prefer to make a "habit" of just keeping an open view inspite of what MY own assessments would otherwise be...mainly because we really can't see the future as it actually will be ...just have the chance to gather as many "indicators" as we can to make our judgements.

I would put it this way:

as a long-time fan of Pete Sampras -- i was naturally aware that he was already incurring more and more little "knocks" to his body, his mind, his commitment, his endurance as the years wore the little "stones" that keep dropping until the weight is too overwhelming and something "gives"...i was naturally aware that there were little things here and there that I DIDN'T like from what i saw , and most long-time, close-observing sampras fans generally will agree, starting around just Notice them when you watch a player for so long...

SO when he couldn't even buy a set or a match from ANYONE after that last wimbledon 2000 - and everyone openly "told" him to go away ...i TOO was thinking that perhaps it was too much grind already and the weight was accelerating in its demands and toll .

but there was ALWAYS a little corner in my mind that said:

"no.....he is made of something stronger than what this is, which can't be worse than anything any other "top player" could wish for...we'll see".

back in an old message board which is now defunct -- one of the VERY LAST posts i read was from a fellow poster that DIDN'T even like pete all that much - and he said - during the USO --

when everyone was dismissive of sampras:

"he's going to win the USO -- just watch".....

and only other remark i ever read that said the SAME thing was Pete Sampras himself saying to the press as they rolled their eyes openly in near-derision just before the USO and just AFTER ANOTHER humiliating loss (to Paul-Henri Mathieu) just days before the USO) ...

"I"M GOING to WIN the USO".......

and he did.

and later said, to this day:

"It REALLY felt good to shut everyone up..especially because everyone was blaming my WIFE for the last 2 you wasn't her fault at was just ME , it was no one's fault but mine. I was unable to play as well as I should...and it felt good to show this"..

Roger TOO has that chance and perhaps even many more.

Graf_sampras said...

I wish Roger Federer the best -- and if he CAN , win more Majors and titles...

but i also WISh for him that he will have ADDED to his character a true appreciation of the privilege of having been the GREAT champion and tennis player that he IS - but with the healthy dose of modesty

in the MIDST of the PRIDE at his accomplishments.

Graf_sampras said...

and I say that because - while as Craighickman says that they are "LEO's" with certain characteristics

MY mother was a LEO but whose greatest lesson to me in my growing up moments of "pride" --

was something she lived BY:

"Before you are ANYTHING...before you are an artist , a musician, a speaker, before you are are first OF ALL a HUMAN BEING...and you are NOT one until you look at others with the same respect you wish for yourself, no matter their station in life, but especially if they have a lower station in life than you might achieve".

HoiHa said...

Craig I agreee with you wholeheartedly that the loss at Wiimby was HUGE in terms of getting into Raja's head and impacting his form - what I was disputing with the Guardian was that Raja had ever publicly admitted as such. Indeed part of Roger's problem is his extraordinary level of denial which, if he does not get past, will mean his days at the top of the game are becoming ever more numbered.

Graf_sampras said...

an excerpt from his recent interview:

Q. Obviously for years you were hunted, No. 1. Do you enjoy the hunting being on the opposite side of that? Does that entail a change of mind or attitude in any way?

“Umm, not a whole a lot. You know, I mean, I had more of an issue with myself, you know, getting myself back in shape for the last year. That’s been my problem, not really Rafa or Andy or Djokovic, or you name it. Those comes naturally if I play well that I can beat these guys.”

Graf_sampras said...

so obviously , roger , declaring time and again just before a tournament that he was in the best shape of his playing.........

after losses continues to go back to :

it was not about THEM....i was just in LESS shape than normal".....

so : \

wimbledon 2008 was because he was not in the best of shape ...

he was not in the best of shape in FO 2008...

nor in AO 2009.........

you can add the rest.......