Another U.S. Open Quiz!

Has one member, whose name is Nick.

What do Mohamed Lahyani, Nick Kyrgios and Roger Federer have in common?

They looked like garbage today in Day 4 play in and around Flushing Meadows.


We’ll start with Federer (to be fair, we’re not questioning his character). I clarified how the end of his R1 match was near fatal, having a chance at a BP to go to 5-0 and serve-out the match. He ended-up winning the third 6-4.

Keep in mind, this kind of “almost” dominant Federer has been, oddly enough, a striking characteristic his entire career. As dominant as Federer has been, he can be described as a bit of a choke artist or a stage frightened schoolboy, as well.

Today he found some more sink holes out there on Arthur Ashe. I tuned-in in the first set, serving at 4-2 I believe, playing that nutcase Paire. Federer proceeded to look like an absolute septuagenarian. He’s off, that’s for sure. Injured? Maybe, but like I said last year — the trouble with saying someone has a bad back, yet can play a professional sport like men’s tennis doesn’t pass basic biology or common sense.

If you’ve ever had a bad back, how in the hell do you play 60% or 80% in a tournament match? We’re not talking about bumping around a court with your pal, wife/hubby or kid, sorta taking it easy with the bad back.

A bad back will render you a stiff, or a bed-ridden corpse. One who is still able to fly (okay run) around a court in a men’s professional tennis match with a bad back seems like a half-truth.

I have argued that the ping pong does represent some kind of physically limited, or stiff-backed Federer. But the other side of that coin is playing at this level with a bad back is bullshit.

In the third set of his match today against Kyrgios’ kin, Paire, the Frenchman acting like a complete imbecile out there, I returned after a short errand to see Federer up 4-1 on Paire’s serve. I believe he had a BP or two here. Finishing this chump off at 6-1 would be quite the reprieve of his R1 third set disaster. Punishing this nut case Paire at 6-1 in the third, Federer playing really just okay, would be a nice touch. Nope. He doesn’t secure the break and ends-up winning the set 6-4.

He hasn’t dropped a set, so it’s not like Federer is out there for three hours a match, barely getting by, but this inability to really shut the door seems a bit sloppy and a bit telling.

This reality of Federer’s tennis is partly what made 2017 so remarkable. He was much better at the business-end of games, matches and even tournaments. Doing what he did to Nadal, at the AO, then at IW and Miami and again in Shanghai (three of those were finals) puts the exclamation point on my analysis.

Tuesday and today in NYC seem more like the brilliant but (almost) fatally flawed Federer. Obviously it’s not fatal, but one watching a guy with that kind of weaponry simply shit the bed at those points in the match, a stronger finish seemingly reinforcing the win in a more dominant fashion, boggles the imagination.

The other side to this, a more optimistic side, is that he’s winning playing really flawed and uninspiring tennis. Maybe. This is the Sampras and Djokovic tournament approach; play well enough to get into those deeper encounters and then raise the level to destroy the more dangerous opposition.

Federer will need to raise his level, I’m afraid, in his R3 match. Yep — the organizers got their first maybe match of the tournament in the 3R of the U.S. Open as Federer is set to face Kyrgios.

Kyrgios and Lahyani

I almost titled this post Fuck Kyrgios. Sound a little harsh? He tried to tank today’s match if you haven’t seen or heard. 

As people have pointed-out, that is way over-the-line for a chair to get involved like that with a player, essentially coaching him back into the match. Nick was down a set and behind 0-3 in the second, in the process of tanking the match. Herbert should be furious.

Here’s the flip-side. Kyrgios might very well beat Federer in their 3R match. If you know Nick, that’s his game. He tanks most matches, makes an absolute shit of the place under normal, mundane match circumstances.

Be that as it may, put him on court with a Federer, Nadal or Djokovic and he’s a world-beater.

Go look at his H2Hs with those three (he’s 0-5 v Murray, which probably says everything you need to know about Murray — that’s irony and sarcasm, folks). He loves to be the underdog.

His game is demonic, nasty and lethal. But his mental stability is infantile.

This is probably what Federer needs at this point. If Kyrgios shows-up, and he probably will, Federer will probably need 4 or 5 sets, unless Nick’s psyche implodes (or Roger’s body gives-out) before that.

Bad look today from that flamboyant chair (he loves him some limelight).

Terrible look from Kyrgios, though pretty typical. Kick him off the court and fine him, or ban him until he gets professionally cleared and/or the right medications to continue in a more normal capacity.

Lastly, Federer’s play was very ambivalent. Still not sure what to make of his form or his health. 3R might clear-up some of this uncertainty.


The way some of these brackets are going, let’s see what we have.

Nadal has the big hitting Russian Khachanov next. May be the toughest opponent (potentially) he’ll see in days. I hyped their Toronto match a bit. This kid is finding some consistency and he can hit the tennis ball. Let’s hope for at least a decent match.

The other half of that quarter has Thiem, Shapovalov and Anderson (along with the American Fritz, coached by Annacone). Nice to see Anderson spank Chardy. Thiem had a five-setter with Johnson, who isn’t cream cheese. Nice to see Kevin and Dominic finding, hopefully, a little rhythm. Shapo v Anderson could be a gem, the Canadian with all kinds of fight, which he’ll need against the S. African’s tall composure and offensive tennis.

That next quarter, as we previewed earlier, is a monster. These matches are tomorrow:
DelPo v Verdasco
Coric v Medvedev
Isner v Lajovic
Wawrinka v Raonic

My dark horse has this to get to the SF and play Nadal: Raonic/Isner/Del Potro. Of course, most people have Del Potro. Tomorrow will tell me a lot about Stan. If he takes care of that experienced huge serve, and decent HC game, we’re on our way. If Stan isn’t quite the Man this year, Raonic ends the Swiss’ run.

But given that Stan’s biggest weakness is his ROS, a Raonic/Isner/DelPo line-up looks pretty tall, indeed. Tomorrow’s match will tell us a lot. We like Stan.

Verdasco of course beat Murray. This is a tough quarter, my friends. I still don’t like Del Potro’s BH at all and think he’s just too far removed from 2009, but I would love to be wrong. Some big-time firepower in that draw there.

The power of coaching. Kyrgios needs a daddy. He’s a mess. He needs professional help, and probably a nice little ban from the sport. And he needs a coach. Instead, we get him taking a shit on the court today, some baby-sitter cleaning-it-up and telling him he’s a good boy . . . and he’ll probably beat Federer in the next round. Just a disaster.

Kyrgios needs Lendl to slap him around (after the psychotherapy and sport ban). Zverev looks like he’s benefiting already from this old-school genius.

There is no doubt of his genius. Murray would have ZERO majors without Lendl.

Keep your eye on Sascha.  He’s looking pretty business-like marching through his first two matches. His draw looks good. We could see the coming-out party here if this “confidence” is for real.

Yes, we have our eyes on the 2014 champ, too. He’s moving along nicely, up 2, 0 and 3-0 in the third against the the Pole Hurkacz.

Djokovic looks like he’s rounding into massive form, late business-end of the tournament form.

Like I said in my “What the 2018 U.S. Open Means,” Djokovic has the most on-the-line here. He needs this major more than any of the Big 3. And that’s all you really need to know.

20 thoughts on “Another U.S. Open Quiz!

  1. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    Matt, you should maybe allow for some players not feeling really parts of this circus, because this is not sport turning show when some funny players participate but show turning sport, if some serious people play.
    I don’t know about everyone. But I know about Thiem and Kyrgios. Very different characters but have something in common (could be new quiz question for you – what have Thiem and Kyrgios in common ;)) Thiem does not really feel part of the circus. Hi passion is tennis as such. He is happy after a good practice. He is happy after a good performance (won or lost). He is to kind to do what Nick does, but it’s quite the same. Thiem avoids to the limits everything not being tennis there and it’s more and more. Kids Day. Music Day. Media Day (in fact every day is a media day), Winner’s Walk, Loser’s Walk (not yet implemented – not fitting America, the country of pioneer), Lahyani Day, Williams Day. …
    Nick does the same but differently. He behaves like idiot, but this is is his way to show, the real idiots are those playing Mickey Mouse in every place, pressers a.s.o. I like the way Nick answers idiotic questions (there are no others). Again – Thiem would do the same but is too kind.
    Then on court, Nick is free. If he is bored with the game, he shows it. He would give up or retire but this is not allowed giving boredom as a reason, so he must do it differently. If he has fun (mostly playing top guys), he can show his talent – for tennis and for having fun.And then we have a big show. If the tennis world could accept McEnroe, why not Nick? So many matches are really boring, even sometimes among Big4. A match of Nick against top guy is never boring. Will have a lot of brilliant tennis and a lot of fun. Nick first scares Federer and makes the show perfect, but at the end he loses, because the win is not his goal.
    If you want to see serious tennis, watch Thiem (if fit and healthy) against anyone. The best against another serious guy like Stevie 🙂


    1. Your defense of Nick is a joke. Nick is a stain on the sport. You compare him to Thiem? We’re not talking about FH and BH here, WJ. We’re talking about a player who regularly tanks matches. Other than cheating, there is no worse activity you can engage in a sport.

      He can play very good tennis. But we are not talking about that at all. He was giving-up, no longer competing in his 2R match.

      The chair was even so disturbed that he probably did something that gets him suspended. Mo jeopardized his career maybe by trying to help this miserable piece of shit.

      Am I harsh on Nick? I have lauded his tennis endlessly on this blog several times. He can beat Federer and Novak here in NYC. Will he? Probably not because he can’t keep his head on straight.

      If he has psychological issues, he should get help and the leadership of this god forsaken tour or tournament should step-in and say that for him to continue to compete and have a chance to play for millions of dollars, in front of all of these adoring fans, against players who prepare professionally and passionately for their matches, he needs to get right, he needs to grow-up.

      Johny Mac defended Mo yesterday on TV. And he likes Nick.

      But ask John how he’d feel if he was Herbert, or if he was watching the match, having spent hundreds/thousands of dollars to fly to NYC, get a hotel and attend the USO.

      Kyrgios’ act is fraudulant; he disrespects the entire sport.


      1. PRF - Władysław Janowski

        Well, I was first not aware of the reason of your irony (or something) on ML. My “defense” was based on what I know about Nick,. Maybe he is crazy or whatever. Did you ever think about how and why so talented player can play against himself, risking penalty or suspension (he was once), while he could just have some millions more with ease, when always simply playing his best? Would he not be now Top5 or more? Why the hell he seems not to be interested in so much? Your suggestion about tanking is the same bullshit like FedFans’ suggestions (no – their more than certainty) that Nadal is cheating by taking who-knows-what and undergoing mysterious and suspicious medical routines at famous “Spanish doctors”.
        Both cannot be so simple. If FedFans state every day, Nadal is cheating, stealing Federer titles a.s.o.. they need to prove it but first to prove, Federer is clean. I would be able to prove using common sense that Federer is not clean, that his bathroom injury was silent ban, but this is still not hard proves. So I better take it easy. But at the same time everyone should take easy suspicions about Nadal. And you should leave your suspicions about Nick tanking or you can prove it. Or you at least say, your common sense tells you, he is. In my common sense I don’t see any logic in thinking, Nick is tanking.
        I think, he is trying to show, how corrupt is ATP itself, how big money circus is the tour and how the roles in this circus are false.
        I didn’t know, that BigMac was defending ML and indirectly or directly NK, but I’m finding myself in not-that-bad company 🙂 .
        But if you (as blog owner) allow yourself to turn suspicions into accusations, you should allow the same your readers.
        How can I compare Nick with Dominic? It’s simple. From different reasons and with different characters they both don’t like theatrical ceremonies and celebrations and media things and red carper things while still playing it’s sport. It is not. Thiem just told in a recent interview for the Austrian press (the question was about assigning courts and match times), we should not have illusion, it’s a show. So many things are done for show’s sake (show involving big money, much bigger than players’ prizes), not for sport.
        But of course you can use Murphy’s Laws’ logic and say “If the match looks like fixed, it IS fixed”. Nice rules for joking. But tennis circus is not only about joking. It’s about big money, big glory (=more money) and for some actors it’s still pure and clean sport. For me Thiem and Kyrgios are doing the same, but with different methods, both very genuine, but coming from different cultures and family environments.


      2. “And you should leave your suspicions about Nick tanking or you can prove it. Or you at least say, your common sense tells you, he is. In my common sense I don’t see any logic in thinking, Nick is tanking.”



  2. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    And here’s another quiz for you. What do Fritz and Thiem have in common?
    They will play a match today, which is not a big surprise. But they will also have a common practice at 10.00 on Grandstand. Must guys avoid things like this, thinking, they have some secrets, better not to show to the opponent. Apparently Thiem and Fritz have the common idea, they will be able to deliver better tennis show, when hitting together before for half an hour or so. It’s just like rehearsal in theater. You don’t do it with doublers. It’s for a a new ATP rule candidate. Every pair obliged to hit for half an hour on the match court. To get used to the court and to the opponent. To be able to deliver better show. And with an umpire looking for both take it seriously and not waste time with hiding their best shots.


    1. That’s class. Fritz has turned his game into a potential future threat. Annacone has helped a lot.

      Thiem and Fritz — what the sport can be proud of.


      1. PRF - Władysław Janowski

        Yeah – Thiem and Johnson – it’s class too. Starting with Thiem’s reaction to Johnson’s trauma and giving him some heartfelt support, just shortly after certain Troicki has done just the opposite. Johnson’s behaviors can be seen exaggerated, but they are genuine. and it’s showed up every time they meet each other or play together (doubles in Rome, where both took it very serious, which maybe helped them to lose their first round in singles. It’s a kind of wins I value more, than crowns.


  3. dlima1987

    Nice post Matt, as usual.

    I see Federer Kyrgios going 2 ways: either Federer routines Kyrgios or gets beaten in a tie break marathon.

    Like Stan a lot as well. Looks fresh and hitting top form, but still need to see him survive a classic to be sure.


    1. Thanks.

      Nick will be very very difficult, for sure. But can he keep his composure is the real question.

      You think the NYC crowd (and Fed fans) will say anything to incite the poor bastard? Ha ah.


      1. PRF - Władysław Janowski

        Maybe Nick’s Herbert match was not tanked but arranged by ATP, so Fed avoids Nick and can reach at least second week, beating Herbert (maybe still not very easy, but for sure quite easy to arrange with Herbert – Federer is rich enough, ATP is rich enough. Herbert is not rich and will be not. Maybe Lahyani didn’t know about the arrangement (such arrangement cannot have to many privy people).


  4. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    Yeah – LOL is the last argument and I can only say – laughing is healthy. Laugh out loud so much you will. Even if I was not joking 😉
    Did you watch Thiem-Fritz? In an hour it’s available to watch and you can find the link on the post on my blog concerning this match.
    Now watching Nadal-Khachanov? Looks like Nadal is going to survive (as always). Khachanov will not be able to hold nerves in the 4. or 5. set


  5. PRF - Władysław Janowski

    Do you mean I’m in hypnotic trance? You make me look into Urban Dictionary, which helps learn to spik English tongues 😉


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