this article says it all really
Djokovic Taps Out Again, Sets Up Federer v. Nadal Monte Carlo Final
by Sean Randall
When the going gets tough, sometimes the tough and the not so tough quit. And thatís just what the not so tough Novak Djokovic did today, just as he has done before, hitting the eject button when things turned against him in a big match.
Today in the Monte Carlo semifinals, Djokovic retired with a breathing illness to Roger Federer after getting broken to go down 6-3, 3-2. The retirement follows a mysterious pattern of in-match withdrawals by the Serb, who pulled a similar act against Nadal at the French Open, Nadal at Wimbledon and even against Davydenko this year in Davis Cup.
And I feel confident in speaking for many tennis fans in saying that we are tired of this act.
You play to win. You donít play to quit. If Novakís looking to make fans and gain their respect, this isnít how to do it.
In Novakís defense, I understand heís had a breathing problem, one that was serious enough to require surgery. So itís there. Thatís a fact. Itís been an issue. But Novak, what I cannot understand is if itís that serious how come you donít ever retire when you are winning? And why is it only against the top guys and at moments when you feel like the match is no longer within grasp that decide to wave the white flag?
I think itís safe to say the guy has a game of a No. 1 player, but much like Richard Gasquet, his fate is going to be determined by what goes on between his ears. And right now heís not right up there.
Sure thereís a physical component, but itís seems to be more mental with Novak because he feels it more in the tougher times. And his ego maybe does get the best of him.
Part of being a great tennis player is being a great fighter. And Novak really hasnít shown much of that fighting spirit up to this point in his career. Even today, if this guy needed to draw some inspiration to continue and possibly come back Ė it wasnít like he was playing bad either! Ė all he needed to do was to look across at the net at Federer who could have easily mailed it in when in the second round Ruben Ramirez-Hidalgo had him by the throat up 5-1 in the third set. To his credit Federer didnít quit and now look how nicely itís paid off. Federer didnít get to No. 1, didnít win 12 Slams, by being a great frontrunner. Thereís more to it.
Novak is going to need to learn that. And last I checked - and Iím no tennis historian - but I donít recall too man guys with a history of retirements ever reaching the No. 1 ranking. Marcelo Rios had a lot of injuries, so did Gustavo Kuerten. Andy Roddick had issues early in his career, but heís overcome them. And has Roger Federer ever retired from a match? I canít remember.
So Novak, you canít retire your way to No. 1. Itís not going to happen that way. Few doubt your game, but whatís going on between your ears is another matter. You have a lot of money now, hire a psychologist or two and a good trainer and get it worked out in your head. And stop sapping your strength by bouncing the ball a thousand times (I get dizzy also just watching that!), re-adjusting your hat and doing imitations. Save your energy for actual play.
(Imitating Novak would be easy. Just bend over in exhaustion, take a few deep breaths, fall to your knees a few times, look distressed and then signal to the chair umpire. Thatís Novak. You donít even need to do the ball bounce routine.)
As for the match, Federer continued his high level he had set from his Nalbandian win. He looked that good, that impressive. (Did Fed really yell at Novakís parents telling them to ďShut upĒ as the announced hinted? If so that was great!). But will it be enough tomorrow against Nadal? Will he continue on this revenge tour? Probably not. I have to stick with Nadal in that one.
I think it will help Federer in getting such a quick match today after a few three setters this week, but this is Nadalís surface, Nadalís time of year. Heís built for clay supremacy. And of course Nadalís got Fedís number, especially on clay.
Federer, though, I think is playing at a level now where if Nadal is off his game the Swiss can take it. And heíll be playing without a lot of pressure. But Rogerís going to have to play impeccably and aggressively. Attacking when itís right and even using that new drop shot of his.
I guess the one bright side of Novakís retirement is that we do get the Federer-Nadal matchup. And we are assured no oneís going to hit the eject button during tomorrowís final.
Last edited by tennis2tennis; 04-27-2008 at 09:02 AM.