It’s official – the Grouchy Season has started.
Here’s Nadal complaining about the long season to reporters in Shanghai on Tuesday:
“It’s impossible to play 1st of January and finish 5th of December. It’s impossible to be here playing like what I did the last five years, playing a lot of matches and being all the time 100 percent without problems.”
Andy Roddick seconds that emotion:
“It’s ridiculous to think that you have a professional sport that doesn’t have a legitimate off season to rest, get healthy, and then train. I just feel sooner or later that common sense has to prevail.”
But Andy Roddick is not sure who in the ATP should step up and make the necessary changes:
“I certainly don’t see any other sporting leagues or federations following our lead as far as not being individually represented (i.e. through an autonomous players’ union.) I don’t know that it’s up to the players to be making business decisions about the schedule. At a certain point, I wish our input would be: ‘It’s got to be someone’s job to figure that out, right?’”
(Quotes via AP)
We already discussed the scheduling topic at GTT last week, after Roddick brought it up in Beijing. If GTT readers ruled the tennis world, most of us would push the Australian Open to Februray (sorry Aussies!) and add a couple more weeks between Wimbledon and the French. Feel free to chime in here or here.
But until the powers that be decide to end the season after the US Open, there’s this week’s Shanghai Masters to be played. The tournament features 8 of the top 10 players in the world (who are those missing two, again?) and the most famous man in China, Marat “Tsar” Safin. I love this photo – check out the best Marat sign ever: “Marat Just Be Yourself!”
Safin beat fellow wild-card Gong Mao Xin in the first round and faces the winner of the Marin Cilic vs. Tomas Berdych match next.
Rafael Nadal is at the top of the draw, and will face James Blake in the second round (a rematch of last week’s three-setter in Beijing.) Fernando Verdasco is in his quarter and Juan Martin Del Potro and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are possible semifinal opponents.
Defending champion (and this weekend’s Beijing titlist), Novak Djokovic, anchors the draw. He could face Tommy Haas in the third round and Simon, Cilic or Safin are possible in the quarters. Roddick or Davydenko could await in the semis.
(Interesting tidbit I picked up from people who actually understand the points system: If Nole wins this week – admittedly a tough task – and Rafa loses before the quarterfinals, Novak’s ranking will go to No. 2. But the ranking would still be a toss up at the World Tour Finals.)
I’m thinking this is Del Potro’s to lose. What do you think?
Time for some audio-visuals!
Here’s Andy Roddick, not saying but probably thinking: “Same sh*t, different day”:
I feel like James Blake is playing his own mini season right now. He has a new coach, played Rafa tough in Beijing and just scored a confidence-building first round win over Ivo Karlovic in Shanghai. He’ll get a second chance at Nadal in the second round this week. Compared to Roddick he’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.:
And the ATP’s preview: