Are the top seeds staging a walk-out at the Shanghai Masters? Fourth-seeded Andy Roddick retired yesterday with a mysterious knee injury during his second round match against Stan Wawrinka. The 3rd and 7th seeds followed today, as Juan Martin del Potro retired with a wrist injury against Jurgen Melzer, and Ivan Ljubicic defeated Fernando Verdasco in straight sets. (And a moment of silence for Marat.)
Of course, the underlying theme this week has been the length of the ATP’s season and the toll it (supposedly?) takes on the top players. Roddick expressed his displeasure before his match – providing fodder for walk-out conspiracy theorists everywhere:
I don’t think it’s coincidental that you see, you know, Murray and Roger a little bit hurt now or Rafa missing four months in the middle of the year, maybe some odd results from Del Potro and myself last week. You know, I don’t think that’s all of one big coincidence, and I think — you know, I just hope that the short-sightedness doesn’t affect the length of careers, you know. I think in tennis you definitely want your stars around as long as possible.
Rafael Nadal chimed-in, too:
Is impossible to play 1st of January and finish 5th of December. No one sport can do it, and you can play — well, you play shorter career. Is impossible to be here playing like what I did last five years, playing a lot of matches and being all the time 100% without problems. For last five years, if you see I am No. 1 or No. 2 on matches played on court, and I was okay, I have a few problems in this five years, but not a lot, but sooner or later, finally is impossible, I think. No, I think everybody is working hard to try to change that. . .But I don’t know the solution, but that’s must — my opinion, that’s must be changed and soon.
As I type, Nadal, Tsonga Djokovic et al. have yet to complete their matches. Let’s hope a few top seeds still remain after today!
James Martin of tennis.com thinks the stars should stop bellyaching about the length of the season.
On the miraculous Abu Dhabi cure:
What’s been especially disappointing this week, in the middle of the Shanghai bitch fest, is that the players seem more clueless than ever. Take Nadal. While he said “it’s impossible to play 1st of January and finish 5th of December,” he has also announced that he’ll be competing in the Abu Dhabi exhibition at the beginning of next year before the Australian Open. (Roger Federer is also scheduled to compete there.) It’s not required that Rafa sign up for this event, though one can only guess that the folks at Abu Dhabi are offering up sizeable appearance fees that will probably go a long way in making a tired mind and body feel rejuvenated.
On the gruelling 25 week season:
Click here to read the whole piece – there’s lots more fuel for the fire.
I still maintain that the season is too long – not for the players but for the fans. We can only stay up past our bedtimes and watch crappy live streaming for so long before it starts messing with our minds. . .