The U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston keep getting weirder. The pesky presence of HGH smuggling Wayne Odesnik, mass player withdrawals and retirements and now this, the case of Tanky Schwank.
According to the AP, 7th seeded Argentine Eduardo Schwank played so erratically during his 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-1 loss to countryman Juan Ignacio Chela that he was fined $1,000. Schwank’s drop shots and lobs earned him the ire of the crowd, who heckled him after he foot-faulted on match point.
Sounds like fun to me, but Chela wasn’t amused:
“It’s hard to keep concentration when two points are very well played and two points are poorly played,” Chela said through an interpreter. “He kept doing those drop shots so it was really hard to focus. I tried to stay on course and play my best tennis.”
Schwank told reporters that his back was bothering him during the match and that he resorted to the public courts stuff to keep the points short and make his opponent do all the work. Hey, isn’t that called strategy?
“Well I don’t like to retire, that’s why I just played until the end,” Schwank said. “For me it was the same, retiring or not. At the end it’s the same. I’d rather stay on the court and lose on court.“
Hey, isn’t that called old school tennis toughness? Chela doesn’t think so:
“I think if you have any sort of pain, where you don’t feel well and aren’t able to give 100 percent on the court, it’s better to just retire,” Chela said.
I wasn’t at the match, obviously, so I can’t judge how tanky Schwank(y) actually was. But I wholeheartedly disagree with Chela’s “just throw in the towel when you’re feeling bad” philosophy. You know what all those sun-puckered old Aussies say: If you’re healthy enough to walk on the court then you’re healthy enough to finish the match (barring gushing blood and/or exposed bone, of course.) Maybe Schwank shouldn’t have walked out on court to begin with, but is it really fair to fine someone for simply playing (really, really) ugly? Of course the way this tournament is going, it will probably come out that over $3,000,000 in online wagers were placed on Schwank to lose 1-6 in the third on a foot-fault call. Nothing surprises me anymore in tennis.
For now, I think Chela’s just mad he had to run for all those dinky shots. I have a few opponents I’d like fined $1000, myself.
All quotes via ESPN