Wednesday, October 31, 2007

French Fried

I arrived in the Netherlands just in time to see Fabrice Santoro do it again. For the second time in as many weeks, The Magician upended a Top 5 player. This time his victim was Novak Djokovic who didn't stand a chance as the Frenchman Santoroed him 6-3, 6-2.

Before a screaming home crowd, the Frenchman came armed on All Hallow's Eve with a full bag of tricks. Even with a heavy wrapping on his left leg from thigh to shin (a costume, perhaps?), the fabulous Fabrice sliced and diced and diced and sliced, bamboozling the Djoke who didn't know what hit him. One of the commentators called for Djoke to receive a warning similar to the one Nikolay Davydenko received in St. Petersburg for lack of effort, but no such intervention came.

We've seen Fabrice do this to many a higher-ranked opponent. Marat Safin can't stand playing the Frenchman. Andy Roddick had about enough of his tricks after the first set of his first-round match in Lyon last week. But the American managed to win the second before dropping serve early in the third and cussing his way out of the match.

Djoke had no such luck and performed no such theatrics. He simply looked like a deer in headlights from first point to last. Many of his fans suggested this was a tank in order to save himself for Shanghai. Perhaps. Perhaps not. From where I sit, he simply had no idea how to counter Fabrice's game, no will to fight it.

On the bright side, he can cash his $500K bonus check for playing both Madrid and Paris and can rest himself up for Shanghai.

For a spot in the quarterfinals, Santoro will face junkball broker Andy Murray who's trying to salvage an injury-plagued year by qualifying for Shanghai.


rabbit said...

"It's been a very long season and I'm really exhausted. I hope people will understand. You can't be at 100 percent all the time." - Djokovic after today's match.

What kind of a statement is that? Hope people will understand I came here only for the money?

tristann said...

"I wasn't moving well. Santoro took over the control. Basically was doing nothing special. Was just putting the ball in. I was having all the unforced errors and making free points for him. Unfortunately I couldn't give my hundred percent not even 30% of my possibilities."

I am speechless.. unfortunately the Djoker was not. Well, I'm sure he's endeared himself to the local crowd.

Craig Hickman said...

Don't stop, now rabbit and tristann. I'm sure you can find more gracious remarks to post from Djoke. All I can hope is that the tournament rethinks paying him that bonus check.

If he wants to use oral surgery as an excuse, then he ought to have withdrawn and given his spot over to someone who could actually play.

Karen said...

Rabbit and Tristann: I guess the media will give him a bye with those comments. They are not snarky, ungracious, crass and everything else that Serena has been called in the past. Hmm

Karen said...

But Craig, I am sure I read somewhere where he said that he had surgery on his foot. I must have misunderstood.

Craig Hickman said...

karen he injured his foot in Madrid but had his wisdom teeth pulled last week.

Or so The Serpent claims.

tristann said...

Thanks for clarifying Craig. I had figured that since his foot is so often in close proximity to his wisdom teeth that he was killing two birds with one stone.

Ok, Ok, I will stop now. I am not being nice, and I am usually a nice gal.

oddman said...

Oh, tristann, that's hilarious! Thanks for my first good laff of the day!

Why in blazes don't they fine The Joke for 'lack of effort' like they did to ? (name escapes me momemtarily) the other day?

What a farce.

Craig Hickman said...

It was Davydenko, oddman. I put it in the main entry.

oddman said...

Well, D'UH on me :)

tristann said...

All Djoko Djokes aside, I really do not think he tanked, he just did not play well. His fans claim he tanked when he lost to Moya in Cincy, that he was nervous at IW and at the USO finals, that he was green earlier in the year when he lost twice to Youzhny. He was injured in Wimby, he was tired in Madrid and now tanked or whatever in Paris. When will he ever just lose a match because the other guy was better?

He and his team have not done him any favors by encouraging all the hype. He must actually win at least one major to live up to the hype. Which one will it be? Bodo picked him to win Wimby and the USO this year, J-Mac has annointed him the next Federer, etc. so he is going to have to start delivering.

I am all for new guys moving up and challenging those at the top. I'm ready to have Blake, Ljubi, Robredo, etc. displaced by guys with more hunger. Even with such people as Murray, whose game I do not like, I am glad when they challenge the top guys. But Djokovic has been acclaimed way in excess of his achievements so far. He has done well this year, but he has yet to prove that he is the future #1.

Sorry for the long post.

Craig Hickman said...

Say it again, tristann, say it again.

Karen said...

Obviously people have not realised what it takes to be No. 1 You have to toil endlessly, day in and day out. You have to take your losses, try to learn from them and go back to the drawing board to come up with something better. It is hard work. Now after you get to No. 1 you have to try and hold on to it. That means trying to stay injury free, and you have every player from 2-100 and beyond who are gunning for you. When you lose, it makes headlines on message boards the world over and when you win you are disparaged becaused you are told that you are playing in a weak era and that none of the players are mentally tough. The Djoker is not a player that I like. I dont like his game (him and Murray), I cannot be bothered with all the facial expressions on court and the cussing etc. I think you should go out there and play your game and if you win you win, and if you lose you lose. In his match against Fabrice, the Djoker had no answers. Fabrice was just spinning him all over the court and I do mean spinning. He got the balls in the middle of the court and the Djoker had absolutely no idea what to do with it. To my mind if James Blake did not have that big serve to rely on at the USO this year he too would have went out to Fabrice. The man is like someone that I play with at my club. She serves really slow off pace balls that have a lot of spin on them. You approach the net to do a volley or to hit a backhand return and you keep whiffing the dang ball. It is extremely frustrating to play against players like that but that is the way it is. I bet you next time, the Djoker may just figure him out (then again he may not)