JC has now lost six matches in a row. . .a first for him and this worries me. Ever since the US Open, it seems like he's been on a downward spiral (save for the TMS Madrid win) and I am worried that his less-than-stellar end to 2003 will affect his playing (or his mental game) going into 2004.
The Houston masters was just a nightmare. His record was the worst of the bunch; he didn't win one match and he looked like he just didn't give a shit about it all. The Davis Cup loss against an injured player just added another thorn in his side.
In contrast, his top seed peers will be going into 2004 feeling pretty good about themselves: Roddick is No. 1 and king of the hardcourts; Federer played Houston like a flute and walked away with the pot of gold as well as gaining new fans; veteran Agassi beat the young guns to make it to the semifinal with Federer and was the only player of the lot to give Federer any kind of serious competition all week (the first match, not the final). Everybody moved up in the rankings except for JC, who moved down. Yikes.
And defending his Roland Garros title will be difficult; the Argentines will be a serious threat to him next year.
On top of all this, JC just looks flat-out miserable, tired, and unhappy to me. I actually thought he was ill in Houston, that's how out of it he looked. The tennis off-season just isn't long enough for players to relax and recover from their injuries and I know he has complained of this before.
I hope JC will be able to recover and shake off this bad run and get back on track in 2004. He doesn't strike me as being a headcase but I still don't like seeing him so down like this.