Rafael Nadal admitted to being tired this week, and it seems his fantastic season finally caught up with him on Thursday vs. sharp shooter Jurgen Melzer. The Spaniard lost in three sets 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. It’s not like Jurgen didn’t have to work for it:
“You don’t play like this everyday,” Melzer said of his hot streak. “I hit the ball so well today – I could hit winners off of any shot.”
“All the good work is done for me for the year,” Rafa admitted. Well almost. . .
Rafa mentioned on Facebook that he’s visiting India for his personal foundation. The Times reporter, Neil Harman, reported via Twitter that Nadal was already en route to Bangalore on Friday morning. In India, Nadal’s foundation supports The Vicente Ferrer Foundation, a non-governmental development organization “committed to the process of transforming one of the poorest and needy areas of India, Anantapur, and some of the poorest and most marginalised communities on earth, the dalits or untouchables, tribal groups and the so-called backward castes.”
Gotta love tennis. The sport has about a three week off-season and many of the top stars spend their off-time supporting charity work. Hey, ATP, give the players a longer off-season and we may all enjoy world peace as a result. You never know.
While we’re on the topic of world affairs, Novak Djokovic was asked about the group of Serbians who brought an Italy-Serbia soccer match to a halt on Tuesday in Genoa when they started throwing flares and fireworks onto the pitch. The riots that followed injured 16 people, including two policeman, and led to the arrests of 17 people – all but one of the detainees were Serbian. Nasty stuff – click here.
Q. You know that there has been a very bad incident provoked by soccer, Serbian fans in a game. What do you think about that? Is there a risk one of those guys could make trouble in the Davis Cup final?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, you know, first of all there is a different crowd coming to tennis and football. Second of all, it’s really not nice to see definitely. Especially for the people coming from Serbia, we really didn’t like the picture that we saw that day.
As an athlete, I definitely felt bad for the players because I know they wanted to play badly that game, and it was an important game. But it wasn’t in their hands, it wasn’t in their power.
In the end, I definitely don’t support violence, and neither do anybody, I’m sure, in sport. So we don’t want to see that.
But Novak definitely supports beating his opponents into the ground. His reaction after destroying Richard Gasquet, 6-1, 6-1 on Thursday:
Q. Richard Gasquet said he was exhausted by the two matches of yesterday. Maybe it was a little bit easier for you today?
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: I mean, I don’t know how he felt, and I didn’t care.
It wasn’t all serious talk, however:
Q. In China you have many young girlfriends, including my girlfriend.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Sorry, man, I didn’t mean to insult you (laughter). I don’t want to step on the wrong foot.
There’s an interesting story developing on a lawsuit filed against Ted Forstmann, the owner of super agency IMG. Via Tennis.com:
IMG manages a number of tennis players, including Roger Federer. Among the allegations is that Forstmann raised a bet on a Federer match to $40,000 from $10,000 after receiving inside information from Federer. According to TMZ, the match was the 2006 French Open final, which Federer lost to Rafael Nadal.
Roger Federer had a better day at the office today than Mr. Forstmann, beating Andreas Seppi 6-3, 6-4. It wasn’t a stroll in the park, however. Roger was broken in the second set and seemed to struggle a bit physically – if you count sweating as struggling.
Speaking of problems, Roger explains the difficulties he has when visiting Shanghai (via the ATP):
“[Fans are] very creative here in this country giving gifts,” Federer said Thursday. “Obviously many think of my twin girls. Many think of Switzerland, maybe give me a cow or something like that. Others create great books about me and my career, places where they’ve been, pictures they’ve taken with me, souvenirs that I’ve signed for them, they’ve taken pictures of it. It’s very nice.
“It’s very different, to be honest. Not everywhere do I get such nice and creative gifts. I always need to pack in the extra suitcase to take all the gifts back. That’s the only small problem, but it’s a good problem to have, so I’m happy about it.”
Roger will try to find a solution to Robin Soderling in his quarterfinal on Friday.
Tomas Berdych, who’s had stomach problems this week, was upset on Thursday by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
It was all good for Andy Murray, beating Jeremy Chardy of France and nabbing the fourth spot in the ATP World Tour Finals in the process. He’s playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Friday.
Friday’s quarterfinal lineup:
Andy Murray vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Novak Djokovic vs. Guillermo Garcia Lopez
Jurgen Melzer vs. Juan Monaco
Roger Federer vs. Robin Soderling