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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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In praise of Paul-Henri

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In praise of Paul-Henri, by: Stephen Tignor, TENNIS.com

Last year TENNIS Magazine did a cover story about the game's new young "Hot Shots." I wrote the entry on Richard Gasquet and dubbed him, with intentional hyperbole, "Baby Federer." This didn't mean I thought he was going to win 12 majors anytime soon; it meant that he had the same type of free-flowing game as Adult Federer, only he hadn't found a way to make it work consistently.


At Wimbledon last year, it looked like the Frenchman was beginning to find that way. Down two sets to Andy Roddick, he went into his every-shot-I-hit-will-be-a-jaw-dropping-winner mode and came back to reach his first Slam semi. My alternative nickname for Gasquet had been "The Microwave," for his ability to heat up on the spot, a la Vinnie Johnson of the 1980s Detroit Pistons.


A year later, Gasquet looks more like a Baby Malisse, or just a baby. He's 9-7 so far in 2008, and he sank to a new low in Davis Cup this weekend when he told his teammates that he didn't want to play Roddick in the do-or-die first rubber on Sunday. Instead, Paul-Henri Mathieu, still shell-shocked from his five-set loss to James Blake on Friday, was thrown back into the lion's den, where he could muster only token resistance.


Last month, I watched Gasquet go through the motions in a desultory straight-set loss to Blake in Indian Wells. He played passively, with no ideas or Plan B. Is Gasquet, who will never be as physical a player as Federer, that good after all? His most common look these days is raised-eyebrow bewilderment after a lost point.


Yes, he's still ranked No. 10 in the world. But that ranking has been watered down in the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic age. Last month they became the first trio to earn at least 5000 ranking points. With that kind of dominance at the top, you don't have to come up with that many wins to keep yourself in the top 10 -- the man one spot ahead of Gasquet is David Nalbandian, hardly a towering figure. Five years after turning pro, and three years after stunning Federer with his Microwave act in Monte Carlo, Gasquet has yet to put together a reliable plan that will make inroads against game's best players. It's jaw-dropping winners or bust.


If there was a positive to France's lost weekend, it came, perversely, in the performance of Mathieu. Watching him get close to finishing off Blake on Friday, I kept thinking: "How does he keep going, knowing that he's going to choke?" This is a man who has made an art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory -- he lost the deciding rubber of the 2002 Davis Cup final against Russia after being up two sets to none. Mathieu couldn't finish this one either. He got to the brink, with two match points, but played tentatively when it counted.


Despite that, Gasquet's non-performance gave me new respect for Mathieu. He tries, he chokes, he tries again, knowing that he's going to choke again. Mathieu doesn't have Gasquet's artistry or sporadic brilliance, but it takes a twisted kind of honor to keep putting yourself on the line, failing, and getting up to do it all over again.
Interesting article.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 09:36 AM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

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"How does he keep going, knowing that he's going to choke?" This is a man who has made an art of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory -- he lost the deciding rubber of the 2002 Davis Cup final against Russia after being up two sets to none. Mathieu couldn't finish this one either. He got to the brink, with two match points, but played tentatively when it counted.


Despite that, Gasquet's non-performance gave me new respect for Mathieu. He tries, he chokes, he tries again, knowing that he's going to choke again. Mathieu doesn't have Gasquet's artistry or sporadic brilliance, but it takes a twisted kind of honor to keep putting yourself on the line, failing, and getting up to do it all over again.


This is possibly the greatest tennis article ever written, holly shit did I laugh at that first highlited line, lmao, so true...

as for gasquet, what a pussy...

As for PHM, does he go to a sport Phsych.?

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 10:31 AM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

:retard: :retard: :retard: :retard:


However, the part about Gasquet is true.


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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 10:40 AM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

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"How does he keep going, knowing that he's going to choke?"


O M G. That is hilarious.


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 10:43 AM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

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Originally Posted by Matyaz View Post
:retard: :retard: :retard: :retard:


However, the part about Gasquet is true.
You seem to be a big fan of Mugthieu, Matyaz.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 10:52 AM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

Hilarious, one of the best articles I've read in a while.

wat.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 11:10 AM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

"Despite that, Gasquet's non-performance gave me new respect for Mathieu. He tries, he chokes, he tries again, knowing that he's going to choke again. Mathieu doesn't have Gasquet's artistry or sporadic brilliance, but it takes a twisted kind of honor to keep putting yourself on the line, failing, and getting up to do it all over again."

This is so true.. I would never put my money on Mathieu when he is playing other top 20 player. Because he chokes and he knows it is going to happen. Howver, he still fights, and never quits...

As for gasquet, I don't know the true reason why he didin't play DV but I hopoe it's not because he chose to. Because if that's the reason, he has not only let down a few people, but also shown that he will never be a "champion".

To sum up: very interesting and funny article.[/B]
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 11:10 AM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

bit harsh on PHM saying that he'll always choke when he gets into that kind of situation.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 11:12 AM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

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Originally Posted by arm View Post

This is so true.. I would never put my money on Mathieu when he is playing other top . Because he chokes and he, himseld, knows it is going to happen. Howver, he still fights, and never quits...
Like he did vs Nadal at this years Aus Open?
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 11:16 AM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

He didn't fight on Sunday that's for sure.

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 11:20 AM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

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Originally Posted by Jaap View Post
Like he did vs Nadal at this years Aus Open?
I didn't watch it.. But if you say that he didn't, I believe you.

That's just the idea I have. Still, I think he did what he could agaisnt Nadal in Miami (for example)..

EDIT: I just went to ATP website, he retired in AO right? why is that? just because he was losing?
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 11:21 AM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

PHM's choking abilities are hugely overrated.

I maintain the DC final wasn't that bad, Youzhny played very well in the final 3 sets. The other day, Blake played extremely well to save the match points and break.

Sure, he's had some losses in matches he should've won but so have many other players.
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 11:28 AM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

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Originally Posted by arm View Post
EDIT: I just went to ATP website, he retired in AO right? why is that? just because he was losing?
apparantly it was some sort of leg injury
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 11:36 AM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

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apparantly it was some sort of leg injury
I find it hard to imagine him retiring just because he was losing. I never saw him quit even when everybody, including himself, knew he was going to lose.

Still, that's the idea I have, which can be completly wrong..

Thanks for the info!
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 04-17-2008, 12:07 PM
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Re: In praise of Paul-Henri

It's a fucking shit article.

Gasquet-Federer was always a joke comparison anyway athletically and stylistically. Secondly Malisee is a shit comparison for many reasons. Not least for on-court demeanour. What's his point anyway? That Gasquet hasn't progressed like many would have thought? Wow, what an amazing revelation.

And the part about him refusing to play against Roddick because he has no balls is still speculation as well.

And Mathieu often chokes? Wow another amazing revelation. Should call this guy the Angel Gabriel or something. Yeah I know the last part is meant to be humourous but well.....it isn't really.
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