Whoa…Paire and Karlovic almost threw down at Citi Open


Benoit Paire and Dr. Ivo Karlovic had a marathon battle. The good doctor prevailed on a chilly DC night on the far out court 76 67 76. The fun began in the second set breaker where Paire saved a handful of match points and finally eked the set out after Ivo double faulted at eleven all. Paire roared a a few ferocious comeons and fist pumps. He really really wanted this one.

The third set was a dandy, they battled again all the way to a tiebreak.

Paire’s backers were extremely loud and passionate for their man in the third set. A young kid about ten, even jokingly said with some annoyance “Shuuut upp.” The main loudmouth was exaggeratedly backing Paire. We’ll get to why later in a few sentences.

Anyway, Ivo got a lead and closed it out 7-2. And when he won, he made a big dance move with both arms, sort of whooping it up and rubbing it in on Paire before the handshake. Words were exchanged and Paire pointed back at Ivo. Ivo walked back over to Paire’s side and more words were said with angry faces. One fan shouted, “Sore loser,” to Paire. Most of the fans were for Ivo, except for that loud Paire block.

But the tensions continued as they walked off. Ivo had more words for Paire. I ran out to see what happened after they got out of the court and walked back to the locker area. Paire stopped and took photos with fans and Ivo walked by him, still looking angry. Then Ivo suddenly halted himself and did an about face and stopped for photos as Paire walked by him. The other reporter watching later said, Ivo appeared to be seething mad still at that point, and that he stopped only to cross paths again with Paire who this time walked by him and completely ignored his opponent.

Later on myself and two other media members followed Karlovic and his coach into the gym area and got the scoop. According to the Karlovic side, Paire was mocking Ivo in French for most of the match, saying things to his group like, This isn’t tennis, I should never lose to this guy, he sucks. And on and on. But to the surprise of Paire, Ivo understands French as he lived in France for some time and after the match he told Paire he should show respect to his opponent and not insult an opponent publicly as he did. Paire responded that Ivo should not tell him to do anything.

Basically, it was sour grapes by Paire, similar to James Blake who griped the same ‘This isn’t tennis’ after he lost to Ivo in Delray a few years back.

So there you have the inside scoop on the Karlovic-Paire feud.

In other action, Lleyton Hewitt had some hiccups but was able to straight set Marinko Matosevic 6463, remember Marinko beat him in Delray in February.

The amazing Victor Estrella outlasted Tobias Kamke 76 in the third. I did a Biofile with Victor after his pre-match hit. Estrella, as you may know, is the oldest man to enter the ATP top hundred for the first time. He turns 34 on Saturday. He’s playing the best tennis of his career now. Estrella may well be the ultimate Rocky Balboa example in pro tennis. I suggested a possible book about his life and Estrella was not uninterested. We’re going to keep in touch about it.

I also did a Biofile with my man Dudi Sela after his three set win over Samuel “Drago” Groth. Dudi told me his original plan was to bring the chair on the court DURING the match with Ivo but because the match was so close and tight he couldn’t do it while serving. He also showed me a funny video of Djokovic playing Delpo in Shanghai. More on that later. By the way, Dudi also said ESPN made him stand on the chair for the prematch Isner interview with Brad Gilbert in Atlanta, but he didn’t really like the idea. And the You Tube of the chair video has over a million four hundred thousand hits so far.

Sam Querrey, here with his parents, beat Mike Russell.

Benjamin Becker continued his strong year with a win over Blaz Kavcic who is back after a foot surgery.

Milos Raonic wore lime green socks while playing practice sets with F Lopez.

Jack Sock won in straight sets vs. Michael Berrer and then headed straight to the practice courts to work on his backhand cross courts. While Sock was working OT, Stefan Kozlov and Jared Donaldson were hitting with Taylor Dent and another coach, before they played a set, young guns vs. the older guys. Dent was still poppin’ that serve and charging the net. Tom Gullikson was on court with them and at point told Kozlov he should have gone to the net with Donaldson, not stay back as he did. Sock was watching the match up with amusement. Petr Korda was hitting with his son on the court on the other side of Sock.

Sloane Stephens got bageled in the third set by Christina McHale after winning the second. Sloane just seems out of it. She either needs a new coach who can motivate her…or perhaps that whole war of words with Serena damaged her mentally. She really has not been the same since the Serena controversy, has she?

I’ve been here two days and still have not laid eyes on Nishikori or Berdych yet.

I gave Facing Hewitt copies to Taylor Dent and Ivan Ljubicic, and also Justin Gimelstob who asked me about it and how it’s going. Gimelstob did a post match live interview with Hewitt at the Tennis Channel outdoor studio. Paul Annacone and Brett Haber called the match.

Donald Young was watching some of the Taylor Townsend (with Vania King) doubles match with his mom.

Big John Isner was hitting with Robby Ginepri in the early afternoon.

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  • Scoop Malinowski · July 30, 2014 at 12:50 am

    Forgot to add, that I spoke with Sergi Bruguera and asked if he ever hit with Rafa and he said he never did. Also, Llodra was looking good playing games with Benneteau, Mike can still serve and volley very effectively. It’s beautiful to watch. Also, I was able to meet our reader JG we watched some of Querrey-Russell and Estrella. Great to meet you JG.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 30, 2014 at 12:50 am

    USD 1,654,295.00 (ATP)
    USD 250,000.00 (WTA)
    28 JULY – 3 AUGUST 2014

    RESULTS – JULY 29, 2014
    Singles – Second Round
    [7] K Anderson (RSA) d E Donskoy (RUS) 63 64
    [9] I Karlovic (CRO) d B Paire (FRA) 76(5) 67(11) 76(2)
    M Jaziri (TUN) d [11] R Stepanek (CZE) 26 76(3) 61
    T Smyczek (USA) d [12] J Chardy (FRA) 76(5) 36 64
    [14] L Hewitt (AUS) d M Matosevic (AUS) 64 63
    [15] D Istomin (UZB) d B Tomic (AUS) 64 76(6)
    L Lacko (SVK) d [16] Y Lu (TPE) 61 64
    First Round
    B Becker (GER) d B Kavcic (SLO) 63 76(7)
    V Estrella Burgos (DOM) d T Kamke (GER) 62 46 76(4)
    S Querrey (USA) d M Russell (USA) 64 63
    D Sela (ISR) d [LL] S Groth (AUS) 76(3) 36 64
    S Johnson (USA) d [WC] J Duckworth (AUS) 63 76(4)
    J Sock (USA) d M Berrer (GER) 76(2) 64

    Doubles – First Round
    J Cabal (COL) / D Marrero (ESP) d [3] D Nestor (CAN) / N Zimonjic (SRB) 62 62
    [Q] J Erlich (ISR) / R Ram (USA) d J Murray (GBR) / J Peers (AUS) 63 64

    Singles – First Round
    K Mladenovic (FRA) d [1] L Safarova (CZE) 26 63 63
    [2] E Makarova (RUS) d M Rybarikova (SVK) 61 61
    C Mchale (USA) d [4] S Stephens (USA) 64 46 60
    [5] A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d V Razzano (FRA) 62 62
    M Erakovic (NZL) d K Pliskova (CZE) 46 62 64
    B Jovanovski (SRB) d [Q] O Rogowska (AUS) 67(5) 75 75
    L Davis (USA) d S Peng (CHN) 16 64 62

    Doubles – First Round
    [3] V King (USA) / T Townsend (USA) d L Litvak (USA) / A Mueller (USA) 67(5) 64 10-3
    J Rae (GBR) / A Smith (GBR) d F Abanda (CAN) / S Rogers (USA) 62 64
    H Kuwata (JPN) / K Nara (JPN) d N Slater (GBR) / E Webley-Smith (GBR) 62 61
    I Falconi (USA) / K Wong (USA) d [WC] R Ellison (USA) / S Ellison (USA) 64 61

    STADIUM COURT start 1:30 pm
    WTA – [WC] S Rogers (USA) vs M Erakovic (NZL)

    Not Before 4:00 pm
    ATP – [4] K Nishikori (JPN) vs S Querrey (USA)

    Not Before 6:00 pm
    ATP – J Sock (USA) vs [2] M Raonic (CAN)

    Not Before 8:00 pm
    ATP – [1] [WC] T Berdych (CZE) vs [Q] R Ginepri (USA)
    ATP – [1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs [WC] J Donaldson (USA) / S Kozlov (USA)

    GRANDSTAND 1 start 2:00 pm
    WTA – Z Diyas (KAZ) vs K Nara (JPN)

    Not Before 4:00 pm
    ATP – V Estrella Burgos (DOM) vs [8] F Lopez (ESP)

    Not Before 6:00 pm
    ATP – [5] J Isner (USA) vs S Johnson (USA)
    ATP – D Sela (ISR) vs [6] R Gasquet (FRA)
    ATP – E Butorac (USA) / R Klaasen (RSA) vs [WC] S Johnson (USA) / S Querrey (USA)

    GRANDSTAND 2 start 4:00 pm
    WTA – K Mladenovic (FRA) vs [Q] T Townsend (USA)

    Not Before 5:30 pm
    WTA – B Jovanovski (SRB) vs [8] S Cirstea (ROU)
    ATP – [Q] R Ram (USA) vs [13] V Pospisil (CAN)
    ATP – T Huey (PHI) / D Inglot (GBR) vs [2] A Peya (AUT) / B Soares (BRA)

    COURT 1 start 4:00 pm
    ATP – D Young (USA) vs [17] J Benneteau (FRA)
    ATP – [10] S Giraldo (COL) vs B Becker (GER)
    WTA – [1] C Black (ZIM) / S Mirza (IND) vs J Rae (GBR) / A Smith (GBR)
    ATP – R Bopanna (IND) / A Qureshi (PAK) vs [4] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA)

    COURT 2 start 4:00 pm
    WTA – I Falconi (USA) / K Wong (USA) vs [2] S Aoyama (JPN) / G Dabrowski (CAN)

    Not Before 5:30 pm
    WTA – L Dekmeijere (LAT) / N Melichar (USA) vs A Cornet (FRA) / K Flipkens (BEL)
    ATP – S Groth (AUS) / L Paes (IND) vs J Chardy (FRA) / R Lindstedt (SWE)
    ATP – J Benneteau (FRA) / M Llodra (FRA) vs J Rojer (NED) / H Tecau (ROU)

  • JR · July 30, 2014 at 4:10 am

    I am french and I am not surprised by what you’re saying about Paire… He’s got plenty of talent but he’s a complete asshole…He’s extremely cocky and doesn’t show any respect for anything (Wimbledon comments…) or anyone. He won’t do anything big if he doesn’t change a bit.

  • jg · July 30, 2014 at 5:59 am

    Thanks scoop, off to play at 6 30, you are welcome to come at this early hour! See u later in the week, sorry I missed the ivo incident, someone told me last night sloane Stephens terminated Annucimb and hired Sharapiva’s former coach, true?

  • Dan Markowitz · July 30, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Scoop, glad you ran into JG. What’s with the sore Achilles? How’d you do in your latest New Jersey tournament?

    Paire seems to be a guy a lot of other players take exception with. Last year in Miami he got into it with his own countryman, Llodra. I watched some of the Hewitt-Matosevic match and Lleyton is moving real well. Gimel asked him about his legendary workouts in the Bahamas where he lives.

    There were not many fans in the big stadium. What’s with the attendance? Is it crowded there? Maybe a lot of people were on the grounds to watch Stephens-McHale. Geez, Stephens career seems to be going in the dumps while Sock is ascending. That can’t be a positive for the relationship.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 30, 2014 at 8:47 am

    JR welcome to the site. Agree, Paire is a super talent, I’m a big fan of his game since seeing him threaten F Lopez at US Open about five years ago on court 4, he’s a very flashy player and a striking figure on the court. Like other super talents (Rios, young Fed) he has struggled with maintaining his cool and mental toughness at times. Hope he can put it all together someday as he is a joy to watch. Thanks for your comments JR.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 30, 2014 at 8:49 am

    Thanks jg, late night last night, up to almost 2 so 6 was impossible ) Let’s shoot for the weekend. Yes it’s true Annacone is out and Sloane has hired Hogstedt who was here at the event this week. Annacone is here too working in the Tennis Channel booth.

  • S · July 30, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Woke up to this and now I’m even more pissed that Ivo’s match wasn’t on a show court. I have SO much respect for Ivo as a player and now ZERO for Paire. smh.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 30, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Dan my ankle Achilles still hurts but feels better today. I won the tourney final on a bad foot on Saturday but the match made it worse. What did Hewitt say about his legendary Bahamas workouts? Dan the crowds here are very very good actually, the outer courts bleachers are filled but the main stadium is usually not. Looks like the fans prefer the outer court matchups. Very good crowds here so far for both days. Great tennis too, there were actually a combined FOURTEEN tiebreaks yesterday in all the matches. Lots of good quality matches.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 30, 2014 at 9:29 am

    S, yes Karlovic is a class act and he’s an amazing player who has had an excellent career and has been a model sportsman all the way. Paire is also a very nice person believe it or not (I interviewed him a couple times, did a Biofile in Miami), he is a good guy (Lequipe journo also confirmed this to me) he just gets very frustrated and loses it sometimes in the heat of the battle. Paire brings to mind the quote by Van Gogh: “I gave my heart and soul to my work and lost my mind in the process.” Welcome to the site S.

  • Coach Skelly · July 30, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Dan!Jump in car and get to DC!Free room and board!Check out todays Schedule!!!!Might motivate you!!

  • Dan Markowitz · July 30, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Great day of matches today in DC. How will Steve JO do against Isner. Or Sock again v Raonic or Sela and Gasquet, DY v Benneteau, Kei v Querrey. And Ginepri.
    What a day to be at the tourney.

    What happened with Groth yesterday against I believe it was Sela? The TC ticker says the match ended 5-4 in the third set with Groth losing.

  • Hartt · July 30, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Wonder if Annacone is pleased that he’s no longer coaching Sloane Stephens. If the player does not have motivation himself/herself, how much can a coach really do to provide that motivation?
    The top players often talk about their deep love for the game, something that gets them through all the practices and tough times. Does Stephens have that deep love of tennis? In the “Elle” article about her, Stephens said when she started to play tennis at 9 years old, it was more something to do.
    So, despite all her talent, perhaps she never developed the obsession with tennis that someone like Bouchard expresses. When Bouchard was introduced to the game as a 5-year-old, she was annoyed when the kids were expected to play games other than tennis. At the AO this year she said: “I love tennis. It’s my life. So thinking about tennis all the time is kind of what I do.” You don’t see that sort of commitment from Stephens.

  • Andrew Miller · July 30, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Annacone plays with house money. Im sure players are calling him. Stephens is bitter on being a tennis player. Talented for sure . She is baghdatis of the wta cursed by talent. Agassi had this issue until he realized tennis was his job.
    Def. Good matches. And ivo is a real player. It is tennis . If you cant beat him it is usually because you arent as good as he is.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 30, 2014 at 11:02 am

    I watched some of Sloane play McHale. It does not look like she really enjoys being out there on the court, she shows no joy and passion for playing. She looks very inhibited, just going through the motions. It’s like she’s playing without any heart and soul. The talent is there for sure though. When it was over she just walked to the net and shook hands, matter of factly picked up her bags and walked off the court. No sign of frustration or disappointment. Nothing. A part or two or three of the puzzle is missing.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 30, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Coach Skelly, thanks a heap for the offer. I’m trying to find a way to get down there. I own a yoga studio and this time of year, a couple of my teachers are already taking vacation so its hard for me to find time to take off other than a day or two. But D.C. looks awesome and the chance to hang with you, Scoop, JG maybe Andrew is awesome incentive.

    What’s the real scoop with Spadea? Is he thinking singles or doubles comeback or maybe just go out and play a few futures in the fall to see what he can do. He seems pretty set up with his agent work in LA.

  • Jack · July 30, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    How fitting. I have always called Karlovic, “Ivo 7/6, 6/7, 7/6 Karlovic”.

  • Andrew Miller · July 31, 2014 at 1:20 am

    Dy beat benneateau.
    Lisicki in california hit a 131 mph serve. Wow. Still lost to ivanovic.
    Stevejo beat isner. Dans prediction on sock and stevejo coming through becoming reality today.

    Finally: nadal going to miss montreal cincy probably us open? Really? Sorry he wasnt hurt vs kyrgios. I usually give benefit of doubt but this is weird because it is becomong routine of him to miss half a year then return. Weird.

  • Russeljones · July 31, 2014 at 3:03 am

    Once again, a great read. Thank you!

  • English33 · August 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Benoit Paire isn’t fit to tie Dr Ivo’s shoelaces. Paire is just another boring journeyman boring us…

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    English33. I’d have to agree with you right now Paire is hovering around journeyman status. But this guy has the talent and body, if not the head, to be a star, a big star. Paire is very flashy and dynamic on the court. I love to see his game, he stands out from most mechanical players. Karlovic is definitely on a much higher level and is playing really well this year. Dr. Ivo just took out Tomic on Toronto. He’s had a lot of big wins in his career. Paire has not.

  • English33 · August 11, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    I think you summed it up very well there Scoop. I do agree that the potential is there, but he doesn’t come across as likeable a lot of the time. Yeh Karlovic having a great time in his old age! Shame he has always struggled in the slams, so surprised he never had a deep run at Wimbledon

  • Scoop Malinowski · August 11, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    English33, Paire actually is likeable if you meet him one on one. I did a Biofile with him in Miami, he didn’t really want to do it, was in a hurry after a morning warm up, but he then was really nice and gave some nice answers. Very likeable. But in the heat of battle he can be a lil crazy. I told the reporter from LEquipe about interviewing Paire to compare his experiences and he said also Paire is a very very nice person, very cooperative and good with the media…but of course a bit crazy on court. Goran was somewhat like that too.



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