Thoughts on USO Men’s Semi-finals

Since the first SF was mid-day, most of us in PST were still working, so I tried to stream the match on my computer and was pretty successful. As I tuned-in, Djokovic was already up 3-0 in the first and Gael was just beginning to taint the match with gale-force turds of tennis dishonor.

To the point, his behavior was obnoxious and completely unprofessional. Imagine if you had saved money to head to NYC for some big-boy tennis (perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime event), take the time to travel, perhaps use vacation days from work, pay most certainly an arm and a leg for NYC accommodations, and this guy takes a giant shit on this big SF match that you’ve put a lot on the line to watch and enjoy, to create memories for a lifetime. In other words, it’s almost fraud.

Get the fuck out of here with that bullshit amateur schwag. Then again, isn’t that Gael, the “entertainer”? That’s what the call on the stream was talking about partly, the fact that this guy looked like he was giving-up, flaunting his unprofessionalism, which was anything but entertaining.

And to say he saved face by playing a decent third set is another pile of bullshit. Too late. You’re already down 0-2 to world #1. Actually, that’s almost worse. You mean this how you could’ve played?  He should’ve retired, taken his sorry ass out of there. Oh, that would have been too unprofessional, to quit or fake an injury? A) he had already ruined the match and B) guys have been quitting all tourney with “injuries” (see Djokovic’s draw among other cases).

Play in the first set how you played in the third. And even though he hadn’t faced much of a draw, he was playing well. He hadn’t lost a set all tourney and he’s been playing well for the most part all spring (or during the parts where he’s wanted to play well, I guess).

It’s Gael Monfils, folks. He’s been a pretender on tour for a long time. That’s not an insult. It’s a fact. So has Gasquet, or Simon or Tsonga, Ferrer, Kohlschreiber, Verdasco, et al. These are good players, but they are not major contenders although we want to think better of Tsonga, perhaps. But I digress.

Monfils was a mess. Anyone criticizing him had a right as a tennis fan, a paying patron, or even a legend of the sport calling the match. You heard John McEnroe came down pretty hard on him, and you might have heard Monfils’ response to a reporter pointing-out this criticism in the presser. Look it up. Monfils’ response seemed very humble and genuine, perhaps resurrecting the ethos he’d lost on the court earlier.

But he didn’t. Saying this display of indifference, of mockery, was a tennis strategy is making matters worse. You thought that was a good strategy? You think you got into Novak’s head? The fact that the Serb had a little trouble closing-out that set is beside the point. Novak should have destroyed him worse than he did. The stream of DF and odd ball, mediocre tennis that surrounded this charade was terrible from both men. But Novak gets a pass because he didn’t act like an asshole, and he finally did get around to smothering the Frenchman for good in the fourth. Put us all out of our misery.

He employed that strategy because Nole is too good and he had nothing left to turn to? Get the fuck out of here. I think I’ve responded to that all ready. If you felt some sort of sympathy for Monfils yesterday, please leave a comment and/or become a regular reader of my blog. Please. I think I can help.

Perfect segue to Wawrinka’s classy win over Nishikori. I would pay a lot of money to see Stan encounter that kind of bush-league bullshit “strategy”from his opponent. He would probably slap Monfils at the changeover. Stan would hit that shit right off the court. Novak didn’t quite carry the heavy stick that I know Stan would have wielded at the sorry ass Frenchman’s meltdown.

Do you recall the 2014 AO final between Stan and Rafa? Rafa, in typical fashion, took some MTOs that angered the crap out of Stan. This all followed the news that Stan allegedly came out first in the introductions and took Nadal’s chair (where he would have had better access to his box). Stan proceeded to pound out his first major against the Spaniard.

Stan had a little of this for Nishikori last night. Kei was becoming bothered with his legs, fatigue, etc., and Stan wasn’t having it. Booming aces, giant GS and waving to the crowd while glaring over at Nishikori ensued. You have to love Stanimal.

Indeed, he was the much stronger player yesterday. He looked stronger as the match wore on and the Japanese man faded big-time. If there is no rain in the forecast and they leave the roof open, the court will be hot and humid. Players better be ready for that.

The Final

As for a winner tomorrow, tough to say, of course. I love Stan’s form although what worries me a bit worried me even earlier in the tournament. He is often hitting from about 10-12 ft. behind the BL. He’s practically brushing the back wall and the ballboys and girls. Seriously. I just think that’s less than advantageous.

I know it gives him more time against a big serve and he’s strong enough to overcome that depth, most of the time. I just think the ever-so-smart tennis of Novak will take advantage of that.

I will not buy that Stan is worn-out. He looks solid. Novak’s conditioning seems more the question, whether he’s seen enough big boy tennis this fortnight, or whether he’s battling an ailment of some kind.

As I alluded to in a couple of posts back, this is really in the hands of the tennis gods. On paper and according to the eye-test, this seems like a major that Stan has earned with such quality matches, superb fitness and preparation along with that heavy FH, booming, kicking serve and from the greatest BH in the game (sorry Djokovic and Nishikori fans).

But Novak is tough and ruthless. Fair to say Stan has to peak, has to raise his level to win.

Imagine the irony if Novak is not 100% (wrap your brain around that one, the guy that just floated threw his draw on the wings of opponent “injury” and retirement).

I’m just hoping for a solid five setter. Me thinks that might help the quality and character of this 2016 USO.

What say you?