Kooyong Chaos – doesn’t that sound like the latest trendy cocktail? (Make it a double, barkeep!) But alas, it’s the best way to describe the final days of this week’s AAMI Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament in Melbourne.
In what Australia’s The Age newspaper calls a “cotton wool approach” to Australian Open preparation, both Juan Martin del Potro and Robin Soderling pulled out of the tournament on Thursday. Both injuries are thought/hoped to be precautionary.
Soderling retired in a relegation match vs. Ivan Ljubicic, citing a flare up of elbow tendinitis. He will “hopefully” be able to go the distance at the Australian Open.
Del Potro withdrew with a wrist injury – likely similar to the tendinitis that forced him to pull out of October’s Shanghai Masters. He was slated to meet Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Kooyong semis. Tsonga, who is recovering from his own wrist problem, will meet Fernando Verdasco in Saturday’s final.
Verdasco beat Novak Djokovic, 6-1, 6-2, on Thursday in windy conditions. The win counts as a minor upset, considering the scoreline and the fact that Nole has been the victor in their last 5 matches. Verdasco is feeling good, having spent the off-season with Gil Reyes and Darren Cahill in Las Vegas – the same preparation he had last year. From this puzzling remark, it’s hard to say how Djokovic is feeling right now:
‘I got two matches (at Kooyong) and, I mean, it’s fine for me anyway. I played a lot of matches last year – almost a hundred matches – so I, to be honest, I’m a bit fed up with the matches. I needed some time to practice and try to figure things out.” (via The Age)
Nole better get pumped up quick – he’ll need to win seven best-of five matches if he’s going to take home the Australian Open trophy in a couple weeks.
Whatever everyone’s reasons for tapping out or losing, let’s just hope these guys are healthy* and raring to go come Monday!
Click here for the AAMI Kooyong Classic website.
*I’d like to take a moment to mourn the withdrawal of David Nalbandian from the Australian Open. His tour comeback was halted due to an abdominal injury he sustained on Tuesday while warming up for a match in Auckland. Gosh, these warm up events are lethal, aren’t they?