Google Down the Line!: A-Rod makes Aussie Open semis when Nole retires...AGAIN

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A-Rod makes Aussie Open semis when Nole retires...AGAIN

Andy Roddick is getting his year off to a flying start in Oz.

The former US Open champ, who made the final in Doha earlier this month, continued his solid run of form advancing to the Aussie Open semifinals when defending champ Novak Djokovic retired from their match while A-Rod was leading 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-2, 2-1. It's his fourth semifinal appearance Down Under and first since 2007.

The American baller believes his much-improved fitness allowed him to be aggressive with his positioning on-court:

Yeah, I noticed [the positioning] a lot on the first ball. When they hit a return, I'm able to stabilize on that one, or at least get there a second quicker and at least neutralize that one. I'm not getting hurt on that ball as much, which helps. When I get going, I'm able to kind of move a little bit, and that's nice also.
And did he realize Nole was struggling with the conditions?
I didn't. I was kind of just playing my side of the court and I didn't notice until the umpire said that they had someone coming out to see him.

In his post-match presser, Nole discussed his reasons for retiring in the big match:
Well, the main reason is cramping and soreness in the whole body. I think the people could see that I was struggling with movement. I couldn't serve the way I served in the first two sets. That third set I just started dropping 20, 30 kilometers per hour first serve. Obviously wasn't ‑‑ it was much easier for him to return. He saw that longer rallies are not comfortable for me at that point, so he was using it wisely. Really unfortunate way to end up my Australian Open 2009 here in this way. Really tried my best, but sometimes you can't fight against your own body.
Nole also revealed he made a request for a night match after finishing his fourth rounder against Marcos Baghdatis at 2:30am on Monday but was denied due to Jelena Dokic's quarterfinal being broadcast in primetime:
It's on the tournament organizers to decide whether they going put me or her or whoever plays on prime time. I don't blame them putting an Australian on at 7:30. It's obviously it attracts most people and attention. You got to think about people, about the public, about everybody. That's what it's all about. You can't think only about the players, which is normal. But sometimes you got hear what the players have to say. Things like this happen for ‑‑ not for a reason.
And is he prepared for any criticism for notching another career retirement under his belt?
I wasn't thinking about that. This is all part of the sport. I did have some retirements, but I always retired with a reason. I don't see why should anybody, you know, take it or mean it that way. Whenever I retired, I retired because I felt I cannot go on. I mean, I don't ‑‑ that's the only reason.
Sure you always had a "reason" but was the reason always worthy of a mid-match retirement? That's questionable, especially when you respond "Yeah, I feel better. I feel better now. I want to get on the court again" when asked how you were feeling in presser.

And, correct me if I'm wrong but isn't this Nole's seventh retirement from a match since 2005? Regardless I find it truly disappointing and annoying that he couldn't finish out this match being down 1-2 in what would likely be the final set because of cramping and soreness. That's crap.

Even a wobbly Victoria Azarenka tried to push through obvious dizziness and illness to complete her match against Serena Williams before being forced to retire. A pretty pathetic attempt by Nole here but apparently more par for the course.

He also continued his country's Serbian Slide following Ana Ivanovic's + Jelena Jankovic's early round exits. *clap*

Big kudos, however, to A-Rod for coming through this section of the draw and making me look like I might know a little something of what I blog about. He's looking fit and confident but he'll have a stern, if near impossible, task of defeating a now-zoning Roger Federer (more on his crushing win over Juan Martin del Potro later) for a spot in the Aussie Open final.

(images via Getty)


  1. WHY AREN'T THEY KISSING!? Damn Nole and his illness.

    And yes, I admit that I'm beginning to find Andy attractive. I'm getting an MRI tomorrow, don't worry.

  2. His fourth retirement in a major. I'm sure heat will be a factor for other players too, but he just seems suspect. I don't trust him or like him.

  3. It's just some weird psyhchology Nole has going on there.He's a weiner?He doesn't like to get crashed?
    Yeah, I think he really doesn't like being totally whiped out of the court, to come out as a loser being totally outplayed, so he pulls some weird psyhchology on himself, and proabably convince himself he has to retire...reason is stupid, as his previous reasons are.
    I bet, if he got off with a break in a third set, he wouldn't pull out.
    This way of dealing with loss will turn against him, for sure.

    PS.I'm so sad for Dokic.I certanly hope Dinara doesn't win this thing!I would hate to see her win.I won't even watch the finals if she gets trough.
    I totally totally feel annoyed by this bulky girl.

  4. Dinara--bulky? Geez, that seems least she is going in the right direction. Flaky as all get out, yes... but I find it more endearing than annoying.

    Djoker just can't help showing his true colors. He's a weenie through and through.

  5. Stop taking shit on Novak, he doesn't deserve it! He was defending champion at AO, and believe it or not, he actually wanted to defend the title...and believe it or not, he was really unable to finish. It happens!!! It so boring to start this story all over again!!!!

  6. anon 11:35 - so you don't find it at all curious or unusual that he's had SO many retirements already in his short (yes short) career?

    if they're all legitimate, then maybe he has a serious physical issue that they need to get to the bottom of.

    but, IMO, he wasn't crawling off the court or even wobbling like Vika against Serena. he even said in his presser:

    "Yeah, I feel better. I feel better now. I want to get on the court again."

    WTF? Doesn't sound so serious to me.

  7. @Denise:Yes, I don't prefer or to say like Dinara, at all.The way she got trough past Cornet is just not deserved, little Cornet chocked big time, and couldn't serve it out.Dinara showed then, she's far from true champion, one that deserves to win this crown.
    Jelena played to say with her one foot, after 15 sets, in 5 matches, and still alleged "champion" Dinara couldn't beat her easily, ...three sets, in which one game decided, and Dinara is third in the world, healthy, and hardly beat Jelena, who didn't play tennis for 4 years, and is 187th in the world.
    Just not my idea of true champion, I'm waiting for her to be crushed.She has potenital to get pass by easy draw Zvonareva, but I hope Elena or Serena will show her what it means to play some real tennis.Elena or Serena are not little Alize, who she got pass bye, luckily, and drained Jelena.
    That's my opinion.

  8. I haven't find anything on him saying he wanted to play after the match... But this is what I have found, from the presser, and I think his statements give you the clue of what I think about his retirement.

    NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Well, look, I mean, it's easy for you to say. If you come into my body, then I'll be more than happy to hear what you think about playing.

    But, look, I mean, I'm a professional tennis player for a couple of years now. There is absolutely no question about whether I have motivation and will and desire to continue the match and defend my title. There is absolutely no doubt that I have it to me.

    My mind wanted me to continue on. I could have stopped even before in the end of the second set, because I felt really bad. I continued on playing thinking that something could help me out, maybe a treatment and things like that. But just kept coming back.

  9. ANON:Yeah, he sure can find an explanation.
    That's the point.He convinces himself in his mind he's HAS TO RETIRE,that's just his mentality, and sorry to say, he is now well known for chocking while he is going to get crashed but should instead step up and show more.
    He eases his pain of losing that way.
    It's going to get to him.
    He has to stop it.He was fine.
    He felt sun, and heat same as Roddick, but he was feeling those 2:1 in sets too, and that was tougher to deal with.


    One has to be part of the French beauties club to kiss. duh! ^_^

  11. anon 12:05 - looks towards the middle section of the interview:

    Q. Are you saying that you think because there is an Australian playing tonight that the network that is broadcasting wanted her to be playing in prime time as opposed to you?

    NOVAK DJOKOVIC: It's on the tournament organizers to decide whether they going put me or her or whoever plays on prime time. I don't blame them putting an Australian on at 7:30. It's obviously it attracts most people and attention. You got to think about people, about the public, about everybody. That's what it's all about. You can't think only about the players, which is normal.

    But sometimes you got hear what the players have to say. Things like this happen for ‑‑ not for a reason.

    Q. How do you feel right now? Did you get any treatment?

    NOVAK DJOKOVIC: Yeah, I feel better. I feel better now. I want to get on the court again.

  12. coughingcat/sarah: exactly only frenchies know how to kiss post-match so one HAS to be a frenchie.

    richard showed gonzo the way, maybe gilles will show rafa the way later today though i could do a good job with rafa too. at least i'd try (fine i already have - it was great.)

    *hides princess diaries from rafanatics*

  13. Sucks the Nole/Roddick match ended the way it did. I'm bummed more than anything else that it wasn't the huge slug-fest you know it could have been! Drats :(

    Tessa: Totally disagree with you on Dinara. She's the most fit she's been in her life and she looks fantastic, IMO. If that's what you call bulky, I'd take that "bulky" body any day! And what's this about hardly beating her so she doesn't deserve to win? What does that even mean? So if you play a final set and come from behind to win the match you shouldn't advance in the tourney because you didn't really win? Because she "couldn't beat her easily" she doesn't deserve to win? I don't understand that logic. I'm pulling for Dinara big time. And she doesn't need Serena or Elena to "show her what it means to play some real tennis." That's a bunch of crap. Just sayin'.

  14. To be honest, I watched the match and no, there was no "struggling" of movements like he said. What I saw was UE after UE that was caused by his lack of spirit and his body language saying "Aw shite I don't think I can win.. so I wanna stop now now now now now now now now MOMMY!!!". It makes an evil circle for him and there goes the shit.

    Fine. Maybe that's more a rant than anything else. But really? I myself have problems with heat. But you are a freaking athlete!!! People PAY to see your matches!! Grow a fucking pair and get on with the train!! You SHOULD have prepared for the heat. You SHOULD have arrived in Melbourne more than ONE day before the fucking tournament. What other crap excuse are you gonna give us now??

    I'm sorry, I've just really lost it with him.

    anon 11.35: what, are you Nole? Do you share the same brain? Who knows wtf he really can or cannot do, what he wants or does not want but Nole himself? Fact is he has retired in 3 different grand slams, not counting other tournaments. He's weak in the mind. It happens? Sure it happens. But if it happens this often, he needs to step back and look at his fitness, his training regime, his whole career, and maybe life to find out if this is really what he wants. And you know what is boring? To see another retirement from him YET AGAIN.

    It does not matter at this point if he really did have trouble continuing or not. He's cried wolf one too many times.

    Sorry for the hemorrhage Rich. Delete it if you want.

  15. I know you'll all hate me, but I believe Nole. I just don't see why he would lose a match voluntarily. I'm pretty sure he would've wanted to defend his title more than anything.

    I guess it's because I always like to see the good in people. At least people I like. And - I'm very sorry to tell you this - I like Nole. I just can't wrap my mind around the possibility that he'd be unfair. I can't. He just doesn't strike me as the asshole. He's applauding his opponent's points when they're too good, he seems really sweet in interviews.

    I do think though he should investigate what's apparently wrong with his body. He should be fitter at his young age.

    But to sum up: None of us can really read his mind. Everyone can believe what they want to - and so do I.

    Okay, you can bash me now. LOL
    *hides under Rafa-shaped couch*

  16. I'm not a fan of Nole but I find his retirements really sad because he refuses to give himself the opportunity to play in, and allow the fans to witness, a classic. Imagine last year's record-breaking Wimbledon, if instead of fighting back Roger had retired? He went on to lose but by many accounts it was the best final ever, even for those who witnessed the Borg-Mcenroe final. Imagine if Gasquet had retired against Roddick in 2007? That match was incredible and it gave us the opportunity to catch a rare glimpse at Gasquet's unfulfilled yet infinite potential. Sadly Djokovic won't allow himself to join the club of classics. And as we've seen, it's a great club even if you lose the match.

  17. Roddick will get killed by Federer, don't worry.

    Then Rafa will kill Fed.

  18. I'm sure heat will be a factor for other players too,

    Pamela, you mean like Monfils, Azerenka, Jie Zheng? LOL

  19. Nole as Chuck Norris:
    "Nole never lose a match.He retires."

  20. Well Montfils retires 1 in every 27 matches according to Cahill. He calls it suspect.

  21. Johanne, I totally agree with you on Dinara, and I want her to win, too.
    Tessa: if Dinara doesn't deserve to win the tournament because she didn't deserve to win against Cornet, then we could say the same about Serena, who was losing against Vika when she retired. Should she withdraw from the tournament, then? Even though I can't stand Serena, if she wins the championship, then she deserves it, because she made it to the finals.
    End of rant.

  22. VMW - Jie had a wrist injury, a legitimate one, not some phantom weird thing like Monfils. That was just odd. Azarenka is the exact opposite of Djokovic. She stayed on court until she could barely stand, she fought.

    I guess what I'm saying is that aside from the idiocy that they display for not closing the roof - conditioning matters.

  23. anon 1:23 - HA! Good point about Serena. I guess she should just throw in the towel now.

    *obviously being sarcastic here* ;)

  24. Johanne: Of course! And Roddick, and Gilly, and Kuzy... ;)

  25. Exactly! Throw him to lions!

    What a sick culture this is.
    Applauding a girl for remaining on court even though she was wobbly and close to collapse and who knows what other potential health hazard. This is supposedly a good thing?
    The title in a tournament is so important as to jeopardize health?

    It's just a sport, for crying out loud, and it was 130+ F on that court.

    But I guess, people want entertainment - (panem et) circenses - and they have to be "honoured".

  26. I'm not a Nole fan and when I heard the news the first thing I thought about was him faking. But then I watched the match and I don't think he faked. He could barely move at the end of the match. Maybe he didn't prepare himself enough for the heat, I don't know but I think it was just bad luck.
    It's really too bad fot the tournament. Fed is already in the final, I think there's a 1% chance that Andy will beat him. But I'n looking forward to an old-fashion Federer-Nadal final.

  27. I like Nole and I like his game when he's in full flight. But something is off - that's the point.

    When I watch any sport, I watch to see these professional athletes (read: not club ballers) who've trained so hard for these moments to give it their all. No one is saying they should put their lives in danger but they should push themselves because that's what they've trained their whole lives to do. It's like anything you're passionate about, you give your all. In their case, it's pushing themselves, their bodies, their minds to the limit. That's sports - for better or worse - and that's why we watch.

    Who wants to watch an ordinary Joe hitting a ball across the net for 5 sets? No, you want to watch the best athletes compete at their highest level and see who wins. It's primal but that's sports.

    With Nole, there's this uneasy sense that either something is really physically wrong or it's mental. But to say in the post-match presser that's he's feeling better and he wants to go back onto the court doesn't leave me, as a fan, with a good feeling about his effort in the match.

    From his own words.

  28. I am a Nole fan and watched the match live. I think Nole looked ill, and I noticed that he wasn't sweating in the first set which to me was a sign that he was dehydrated. As Sabine said, he probably didn't prepare well enough.

  29. Show him some respect. I don't understand why you say he would fake it, why do you think he doesn't WANT to defend his title? BS. He was struggling all through that 3rd set and yet he tried but he couldn't finish. He's probably afraid of something happening like at Umag when he physically collapsed on court and he had to retire when was winning against Wawrinka in the final. You also should remember that he had to have an operation on his nasal passages when he was 18 - before that he was completely unable to breathe through his nose.

  30. I think Nole has a different attitude towards retirement than guys like Rafa and Roger and other old school competitiors - to him it's enough just to have "a reason." No one's doubting he has a reason to retire - we just think he should ignore it.
    To me, this episode was similar to the Henin retirement against Mauresmo in the Aussie Open final. I think once this type of player sees that they can't win the match in their current physical condition, they think that that's reason enough to throw in the towel. Why not just finish out the match and allow for the fair and square victory? It was midway through the fourth set - 10 minutes of letting Andy serving it out and he's off the court - without the dishonor and quitter label. He's defending champion for goodness sakes. And talk about respect - respect the fans and your opponent and take the loss like a man.
    This was a mental failure on Novak's part. That's the really worrying thing. . .

  31. Federer should also show some respect. His comments about Djokovic were just plain arrogant.

  32. "Federer should also show some respect. His comments about Djokovic were just plain arrogant."


    I also think we should give the benefit of the doubt to Nole and all other players for retiring while being down in a match (even in the case of Justine vs Amelie 3 years ago). It is rather unfair when we jump to easy conclusions about the players' health and it's downright inhuman to demand that they play through pain for the sake of the fans. Weren't we all just complaining about the myriad of injuries, many of which are sustained during matches? We want the players to push themselves, but can't accept the aftereffects.

    I say let the players make the call to retire or not without any stigmas. After all it's their health, their career and as fans we should be prepared for the reality of them occasionally retiring from injury/pain in a match, instead of the players being expected to perform in a dogfight setting for the sake of fulfilling our contradictory and unrealistic expectations.

  33. Anon 4:59:
    How is it arrogant to give credit to Andy for pushing Nole to the limit?


  34. As a fan of Nole, I agree that there is something odd with his retirements. Maybe he didn't prepare enough this year; he HAS played some super long mathes back to back (Wimbledon 2007, where he had a good reason to retire).

    I do think it's a mental weakness that he has, not physical. Someone mentioned Justin Henin retiring against Mauresmo, and I think Novak has the same mentality.

    When you're mentally telling yourself you can't do something, then your physicality will start to go down as well.

  35. You guys are amazing. Mental failure, mental failure.
    Has this 'push the body' philosophy washed your brains to such a degree to not admit that body has its limitations and there is such a thing as dangerous conditions?
    It looks like some people wouldn't be satisfied with anything less than death on court.
    Everything else is "mental". I wonder how many of you tried to even go out in such a heat (130 and more) let alone run or play.

    There is something to be said about pushing the limits, but also there is something to be said about the value of life over the sport statistics and trivia.

  36. while everyone here is bashing nole for retiring, can i just say, [and im not exactly a roddick fan, though i do appreciate the improvement in his game and fitness]

    :) i'm glad nole retired :) coz i'm sick of his arrogance. [and in a way, a-rod is vindicated after nole's comments after their us open 2008 match]

  37. "Anon 4:59:
    How is it arrogant to give credit to Andy for pushing Nole to the limit?


    No it's not that - all credit to Roddick for putting up with ridiculous heat etc.

    One of the things that was arrogant about Federer in his post match interview was this:
    "I would have been ready to play in the heat as well. I like playing in the heat."

    Oh and also his comment that Djokovic's match was "fun to watch" was, let us say, rather smug.

    Everyone talks of Federer being a gentleman: I can't see any trace of that whatsoever.

  38. Compare Fed's comments to Rafa's re: Novak retirement...
    What do you think of Djokovic's retirement?
    RN: I don't know well what happened. I didn't see all the match and haven't been able to speak to him so I prefer not to comment. It is tough though to see a player retire and it is obvious it was very hot today. Too bad but I am sure he had good reasons.

    Class from the number 1, petty comments from the Swiss.

    Also notice Fed's comments the day before Murray match with Verdasco. "I can take Murray on in a 5 setter anytime." WTF. How old is Fed?
    He is a petty, petty man.

    I hope Nadal kicks his narcissistic rear end.


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