Incompetent Kader and Demented Dave
I think I need therapy. As a long-time Davd Nalbandian fan you’d think I’d be used to him blowing matches he has no right to lose but it doesn’t get any easier.
That disgusting officiating played such a significant part in his marathon 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 8-10 defeat John Isner makes it all the more difficult to swallow.
They say a good referee should be invisible but Kader Nouni was anything but with two horrific calls in the space of a minute at 8-8 and deuce in the fifth set.
The first was his decision to overrule a John Isner serve that was correctly called out by lines judge.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, he then refused to allow Nalbandian to refer his incompetence to Hawkeye, claiming that the player had taken too long to come to a decision.
From the initial call, twenty seconds passed until Nalbandian’s decision to challenge, but in the noise and confusion neither player was sure what had just happened and it was Isner who attempted to refer the call to Hawkeye first.
Following his conversation with Nouni to clarify what the call was and who had made it, Nalbandian inspected the mark and took eight seconds to challenge. Eight seconds.
Not an outrageous length of time by any means but after nearly five hours on court, surely within a reasonable timeframe.
By making himself the centre of attention, Nouni showed incompetence of the highest order and dealt a devastating blow to the Argentinean with the match on a knife-edge.
Nalbandian afterwards had the good grace to credit Isner rather than Nouni for the loss but he had already shown that he was entirely capable of grasping defeat from the jaws of victory all on his own.
He blew a break lead early in the second set, failed to capitalise on an early chance for a minibreak in the fourth set tiebreak but most importantly of all, squandered two glorious chances on virtual match points in that fateful 8-8 game.
What happened thereafter was entirely predictable, with the weight of the missed chances, scoreboard pressure and Isner’s huge returns taking their toll on Nalbandian as he was broken to lose a match he really had no right to lose.
John Isner: The Good the Bad and the Ugly
While last night’s match match showed us the best and worst of David Nalbandian, it also showed us both sides of John Isner.
Against similarly one-dimensional players, there’s nothing too out of the ordinary about the lanky yank’s game but against an artist like Nalbandian his limitations are harshly exposed.
It’s Stoke City against Barcelona, a Damien Hirst bovine carcass next to a Caravaggio, a Twilight novel against The Old Man and the Sea.
His tennis is ugly and there’s no getting away from it.
Unlike fellow giant Ivo Karlovic, Isner doesn’t even possess the saving aesthetic grace of a net game and when he beats a player like Nalbandian in such fashion it’s an awful result for the sport.
However, you can’t help but admire him for making the best of what he has got and his courage last night was phenomenal.
He played an almost-flawless tiebreak to stay in the match and once again, as his physical condition got worse, his serve just got better and better.
He also deserves credit for respecting the cramp rule rather than passing it off as a muscular “injury” and seeking medical treatment – as is practically the norm nowadays.
John Isner: Great guy, grotesque game.
Mardy the Moody Mug
Mardy Fish getting a bee in his bonnet about opponents supposedly abusing medical time out rules is hardly anything new.
In the midst of one such tantrum against Paul-Henri Mathieu he remarked that he lost an Olympic gold medal because someone ( Nicolas Massu) “took a twenty fuckin’ minute bathroom break then called the trainer again.”
He also went on to say, “It’s bullshit. They do it all the time.”
Now just who “they” are in Mardy’s mind is anyone’s guess but he certainly seems to have a chip on his shoulder when it comes to time out rules.
In his straight set defeat to Alejandro Falla, Fish objected to the Colombian receiving treatment for what he perceived as cramp and he wasn’t shy about letting the umpire know about it.
The problem for Fish is that when his anger levels rise, his level of play drops proportionately.
He’s never been able to use his boorish outbursts as motivation and as a veteran on tour you’d think he would have learned his lesson by now.
Think of his other most recent tantrums – against Grigor Dimitrov at the Hopman Cup and at the US Open last year against Jo Wilfried Tsonga. When he loses his temper, he loses the match. And makes himself look like a classless idiot in the process.
Such immaturity in a guy his age is inexcusable and it’s about time he grew up.
Breaking with Baggy
I didn’t see the match but this is spectacular. Completely batshit insane, but spectacular nonetheless.