Tried to post this a few days ago, but had some PC problems.
I rarely get the time to post, but this whole situation with the berdych match was so interesting to me...from the first point, until the very last point of the match & beyond. I wanted to wait a few days to see what would be in the press, on a tv replay or from any other source. There were many things "odd" over the course of the match...especially what was overheard (picked up by the microphones.) I have a subscription to TennisTv, and during this particular match, I did something I do not normally do. Because of the early morning hour, I plugged in a headset so as to not wake anyone
. God, did this add to all the drama...only I did not know from minute to minute how "bad" things were going to get. Some of what Saf utterred in Russian & English were, ah...typical. Some I thought was not. All I kept thinking (especially after seeing the entire after-match ceremony & hearing Marat off-mic,) was that if this would aired on regular tv, you would not have heard any of this due to commentators, and / or censoring. I'll skip to aspect which I know Marat was able to hear, and I believe fueled his fire on the "injury time-out." Please anyone, let me know if you heard all of this. Keep in mind that Lars Graff is one of the ITF's most repected chair umps. He in my opinionn is very fair, and yes, over the years has been a little forgiving of Marat's behaviour (he did however give M a "ball abuse" warning, and a few other comments.) I can't remember his name, but keep also in mind that the particualr ATP trainer who came out, has been with the tour for ages, and also has seen alot. Okay, straight to the point. Apparently, the trainer, Graf AND the tourney referee ALL had questions in their minds from the very first medical assessment, as to what was "real." There were a number of "exchanges" or comments made between Graf & the tourney ref. In all, you could clearly tell that there was an issue, and they had their doubts. At one point, Lars had turned to Safin & quietly and qucikly said..."it's okay. we are looking." Just a nod from Safin. At the completeion of the second set, Lars asked for his "walkie" and got the tourney ref. This is when my mouth dropped. He was speaking low, and I know if you had been sitting where Marat was, you could hear both sides of the conversation....Lars had his head turned towards Marat...presumably to not let TB hear...don't think it was for Marat to hear on purpose. Basically, Lars gave Ump his opinion, and Ump agreed. For lack of direct quote, basically in this final radio exchange, the two men seemed to agree on the same thing from each of their viewing perspective. Lars "whispered" that after watching the play over the course of the first two sets he was amazed by the lack of any mobility issues with TB. He detailed his observations & conclusion, and the response he got over his "walkie" was the same. The tourney Ref, said he came to the same conclusion as he watched play via monitor. He said a few words which I could not make out at first, but when Lars replied, it was to verify that both would continue to watch "carefully" for any other "signals" of abuse.
Just my opinion but, in all my years, I had never witnessed anything even close to this...I wondered if anyone had even realised that this was coming over the feed...I wondered if I would've even noticed any of this had I not had headphones on. As the match was nearing it's close, I had thought it interesting Marat's facial expressions...the smirks or grins if you will. They were "different." The slight smile with the direct staredowns made me wonder.......until everything was all over. I then could better imagine what the facial expressions were about. I think he wasn't just assuming the entire match that TB was "faking." I think what really amped it up was that he knew it was all being questioned by the officials too, and thus it was most likely frustrating for all...plus the fact that Safin himself made his all too regular silly mistakes, and the periods of "oh I give up," that usually lead to his poor meltdowns. I had really felt bad, and once again thought, if only he had employed a coach this season...someone who might have signalled him to be calmer & focus..just play his game. well, that's all I have. To me, this and much more over the course of the match explained a lot. (had to admit...I did laugh when Marat yelled across the court.."hey thomas, your leg doesn't hurt anymore, eh? you running around so well!"