We’re getting into the juicy red center of the tournament. I’m still chewing on Roger Federer’s quarterfinal loss to Tomas Berdych. You know, bitter pills, sour grapes, crap pies and all that. . .I was actually comforted by commentary from Mary Carillo and John McEnroe Wednesday on NBC (geeze, has it come to that?) – Mary scoffed at those who seek to “stick a fork” in Fed. John McEnroe reminded us, matter-of-factly, that Roger has already won a major in 2010, and took the French Open title for the first time just last year. Does that sound like a guy who’s on his way to Legends Mixed Doubles with Martina Hingis? “Hell, no!” say his peers.
RAFAEL NADAL: Roger did amazing the last seven years here, so someday must happen this. Happen today. Well, sorry for him, and wish him the best of luck for the rest of the season.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Look, I mean, Federer is the best player that ever played this game. And still to be able to play this way after he has won so many Grand Slams is just great. I mean, you have to give him credit for everything he has done. So it’s normal for him to lose. I mean, you guys, you know, you think he shouldn’t lose at all? I mean, you have to congratulate to Berdych for playing that well.
In his own frustrated, testy way, Roger returned the compliment in his post match presser:
Q. I wonder if you think this might be his (Andy Murray’s) year, given some of the really threatening players haven’t been doing so well this year.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, true, Rafa played terribly lately; Soderling is not a threat either. He’s got an easy ride to this victory, that’s for sure. Djokovic can’t play tennis anymore it seems like.
Got to make your own work, please. Respect the players. Obviously Andy is a fantastic player and he’s got all the chances to win here. We all know that.
Roger wasn’t so generous when speaking about his most recent opponent and vanquisher, Tomas Berdych:
ROGER FEDERER: I was just not playing well enough. And when he had to, he was able to come up with some good stuff, you know. But I definitely gave away this match, I feel.
Berdych wasn’t too pleased with Roger’s comments – at least I think that’s the gist:
Q. He also said he was unlucky and that he definitely gave the match away. What are your thoughts about that?
TOMAS BERDYCH: I don’t know in which point he was saying that he was unlucky, if any specific moment or something.
Q. He was saying generally or on big points.
TOMAS BERDYCH: Okay. I mean, yeah, maybe you can take it for both ways. You can say that he was unlucky or you can say that maybe the opponent was a little bit better and he just won the big points against him. In his position, then he lost the match.
You know, I think, yeah, he’s a great player. I mean, but still, I mean, when I just read some newspapers in the morning, I was not surprised, but, you know, to heard something from him to the way that he’s fine, nothing is bothering him. When we played the last match, I lost. But last time in Wimbledon, I won pretty easily. You know, stuff like that.
You know, I saw him quite first time from him the reactions like that. So whatever. I’m in different position. I’m just enjoying the win today, and this is just everything behind me.
Do you think Roger was being a sore loser? Sorry, let me clarify, given his stiff back and sore leg – was he being a bitchy loser? I say yes – of course Roger should have taken the high road, kept his mouth shut and had Tony Godsick plant a few injury rumors in the press while he’s on his vacation next week. But in the end, a lapse in press conference etiquette warrants nothing more than an eyeroll and a disappointed “tsk tsk-ing” sound – to err is human, to career slam is divine.
Q. Will this make you hungrier to make you come back and show you can lift this title again?
ROGER FEDERER: Sure. God, I can’t wait for Paris and Wimbledon to come around next year again, that’s for sure. So, uhm, because they’ve been frustrating tournaments for me, even though it wasn’t too bad.
Novak Djokovic took out Andy-Roddick-slayer Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in his quarterfinal match. (Lu’s verdict: “Today’s too easy for him.”) Nole is pumped up! As he should be. He’s beaten his semifinal opponent, Berdych, both times they’ve played – in straights.
Q. The last time you reached this stage at Wimbledon, you were far from fit. Are you a hundred percent now? Are you looking forward to making up for that?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yes. It was a much different situation back then. I was less experienced, but yet I wasn’t fit as I am today. I had to play three matches in three days, very exhausting matches. When I got to the semifinal stage, I wasn’t ready for that.
But this time I’m ready mentally and physically. Just barely waiting to get on the court.
It’s fun seeing Nole strut his stuff, but I really am feeling for Andy Roddick right now. He’s 4-2 vs. Novak Djokovic and 6-2 against Tomas Berdych. And he’s 2-19 vs. Federer, with 3 of those 19 losses coming in the Wimbledon finals. Oh, the Tennis Gods can be so cruel!
Sweet in defeat is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who had some kind words for Andy Murray after losing to him in four sets:
Q. Everyone in England will get excited about Murray maybe winning Wimbledon. How do you rate his chances?
JO‑WILFRIED TSONGA: Yeah, I hope is gonna be him. I told him, you know, at the net, Make me a pleasure; go all the way, you know.
Yeah, I hope he will win because it’s a good player. It’s never easy to play, you know, in front of his crowd. He’s really strong, and I hope he will win.
Forget the hopes of a nation, Andy, let’s focus on pleasuring Jo-Dubs. That should be all the motivation you need.
It’s not going to be easy, though. Rafael Nadal will be Murray’s next opponent. Rafa weathered a quick start by Robin Soderling on Wednesday before taking the victory in four sets. I thought he looked a little testy during the match, but Nadal is nothing if not durable. And despite his recent press conference platitudes, I think the Swede still makes him edgy on the court. I’m not sure if he’ll calm down before the semifinal. Rafa enjoys a 7-3 head-to-head advantage over Murray but Andy was up two sets and a break before Rafa retired from their last match at this year’s Australian Open. It should be a very dramatic semifinal!
Roger wasn’t even able to lay sole claim on the upset-of-the-day title. He has to share the dubious honor with defending doubles champs Venus and Serena Williams, who won’t be winning their fifth Wimbledon doubles title after losing 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 to Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva in Wednesday’s quarterfinal. Serena could get some sweet revenge on Saturday, if both she and Vera make it to the singles final. The Bryan Brothers are also out, losing to Norman and Moodie in four.
Ah well, at least John Isner is having fun: