Wednesday 25 January 2012

Hard To Understand

During and after today's Australian Open quarterfinal match between David Ferrer and Novak Djokovic, all hell broke loose on twitter. "Lack of class", "faker", "bad sportsman", "his usual self" - you name it, it's been said about Djokovic. So what actually happened?

Credit: AP Photo

Up a set and a break (!), as Djokovic slid into one of his famous splits (illustration photo above), he grimaced in pain at what seemed to be a pulled hamstring. He got broken back, and for the next couple of games, his movement looked restricted, a fact that Ferrer properly exploited to move him from side to side. As the match progressed, he started to move better, though his overall game (the first serve percentage, particularly) stayed quite mediocre for most of the second set - he served for the set at 6-5, only to be broken straight away.

He never called a trainer for whatever was bothering him. He did not stop or stall the match at any point. Despite whatever pain he was or wasn't feeling, he kept going, eventually winning the match in three sets, 6-4, 7-6(4), 6-1. David Ferrer isn't an easy opponent on the best of days, and he'll make it even tougher for you if you're not at your best, especially in a best-of-five match. When asked about it in the post-match press conference, Djokovic explained:

Q.  You clutched your hamstring and seemed to be in real pain for a moment.  Was it a pulled hamstring?  What was the problem? 
NOVAK DJOKOVIC:  Well, luckily for me it wasn't something that stayed there for long time.  It was just a, you know, sudden pain.  
But, look, you could expect before coming to this match that it's going to be very physical.  David makes you run, makes you play an extra shot, makes you earn your points.  [...]
Having said all that, what is he to blame for? Is it now considered bad sportsmanship to pull a muscle on court? Is anyone who grimaces in pain a faker? Does not calling a trainer constitute lack of class? I sincerely don't know what the Djokovic critics wanted him to do. He's maligned when he retires from a match with an injury, laughed at when he keeps on playing through the injury and loses, and now blamed for "being his usual self" when he... doesn't say anything about an injury, plays and wins.

Well, I just find it hard to understand.

Photos: Reuters Pictures

P.S. So it seems as if Kim Clijsters won two matches after twisting an ankle, and is into the semifinals of the Australian Open 2012. I'm guessing she's a classless faker, too?
(The answer is no.)

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