Android Tennis

I’m sorry, I want to get into the Rafael Nadal v. Fernando Verdasco match, but I can’t. It’s like watching two androids battle it out in some tennis video game. The players are facsimiles of themselves. And there’s no personalities. There’s no drama to the match.

A reporter the other day in the press room was talking about the great “theater” of playing on Arthur Ashe Stadium, but what the theater is missing is compelling actors. For tennis to be mesmerizing, it needs players who are vocal at times, who play with different styles, who come up to the net, who flatten out their shot, hit with variety, and at it’s best, engage the ancillary people in a match, the ball boys, the linesman, the umpire, the fans, and at it’s most captivating, each other.

I’m sorry, I might be in the minority, but I liked it when Connors and McEnroe obviously disliked each other. When McEnroe and Becker would get angry over losing to Brad Gilbert. When Rafter and Agassi obviously disliked Sampras.

Granted, these last two nights of quarters have been dullards. Both Soderling and Verdasco have come up well short of creating close, pressure-filled matches. But Verdasco v. Nadal is just a bad matchup. I know they played a great Australian Open semis, and I know Nadal has opened up his game (although he still looks like he’s partially blind and wielding a frying pan when he volleys), but this is not watchable tennis. Maybe they should think twice about putting consequential matches on at night in the second week of the Open, when the weather is likely to be in the 50’s at night. Who plays tennis outside when the temperature’s in the 50’s unless you don’t have enough money to buy an indoor court? I know last night, I took the #7 subway back to the city, and after only two sets of the Federer-Soderling match, there were a lot of people on that subway. One guy said he had seats in the upper bowl and it got too cold and windy to watch the match. So if you think the players are annoyed by the cold and the wind, think of how the fans feel.

Oh, but where are you Patrick Rafter, Johnny Mac, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, and even Tim “buck-toothed” Henman? Tennis needs your gumption, your gritty styles and your diversity. I’ve seen enough of this Spanish Armada baseline topspin Marlon Brando tennis. I’ve seen enough of Stanislav Wawrinka, Sam Querrey and Mikhail Youzhny, (I won’t mention Gael Monfils that charlatan of a top player) who together have as much personality as Ilie Nastase had in his pinky. Even Federer-Djokovic has lost its edge. Novak lost his snarkiness and backed down–or maybe his mother has–from the declaration that the Serb would one day dominate the Great Swiss.

Great tennis, yes, there’s been some of that at this year’s Open. But the only match where there was some real personality all tournament long thus far was the Grandstand battle between Ryan Harrison and Serge Stakhovsky. I want one player to the say to the other, “My son acts more like a grownup than you do and he’s only six-years-old,” or something to that effect, which Connors mouthed to McEnroe at the net in one of their encounters. Or, I want two players to start mouthing off to each other about one being a cheapskate while the other walks like a penguin, the way Agassi and Sampras went after it in Indian Wells this spring. That was fun. That was You-Tubable.

Yes, I want to see the Federer-Nadal final, but on the men’s side, so far, there has yet to be a signature match (don’t talk to me about Verdasco and Ferrer, I’ve had enough of the Spaniards–the best two matches have actually been Kendrick-Monfils and Harrison-Stakhovsky, but those were both early-round matches), or any contrasting styles of play (with the exception of Harrison and the Ukranian) or any real theater with a capital T.

There’s a reason why McEnroe and Brad Gilbert both wrote top-selling books, Bill Scanlon wrote a book, and others were written about Connors and Borg, and now Stephen Tignor is writing one that culminates with the 1981 US Open final between McEnroe and Borg. There was more than tennis being played in those days, there were personalities who created drama and had differences in style and substance that created conflict. And conflict is the basis of drama and true theater. Now with the Soderlings and Verdasco’s and even Rafa and Murray and Djokovic to degrees, we get Android tennis. Hell, I’ll admit it, I even miss Andy Roddick. At least he has a model wife, who comes to most of his matches, but rarely shows any emotion (what’s up with that? She should think about becoming a pro tennis player. She’ll fit in perfect with today’s throng of players) and then there’s Andy, that boilerplate of emotions, who even won’t concede a point to Johnny Mac in a WTT match.

Maybe Roddick and Johnny Mac could play a one-set exbo before the Fed-Nadal final on Sunday. Or if Roddick has gone home to Austin already, Johnny Mac and Brad Gilbert will do. ”Gilbert, you don’t deserve to be on the same court with me,” McEnroe hissed during one match the two played in the 1980’s, according to Gilbert. ”You are the worst. The [expletive] worst!”

Oh, I’m having fun just writing this.



  • NAME · September 10, 2010 at 3:26 am

    I left after a few games because it was cold and windy and I wasn’t into it either. And they canceled Anna K v Martina H exo. Darn you Wawrinka for dragging it out.

    “although he still looks like he’s partially blind and wielding a frying pan when he volleys”

    It actually does look like he’s using a frying pan.

  • hermano · September 10, 2010 at 4:23 am

    what are you talking about? verdasco hit real flat ball! mr. writer, are you a real tennis player or a club 3.5 player coz your idea is not like coming from a tennis player. if you want people who dont like each other on the same professional sport then try to shift to boxing, mma, ufc and fighting sport. there you will see some people who dont like each other. this writer likes to see a fight and insult/provocation!

  • zoozoo · September 10, 2010 at 4:28 am

    I feel sorry for you and your narrow minded American view. You’re missing some great tennis from some wonderfully athletic and talented players if you’re so closed-minded as to view Rafa hitting volleys with a frying pan or to be bored with the amazing drama of the Verdasco/Ferrer match.

    You deserve to be subjected to endless games from Querry or Isner, or childish temper tantrums from Roddick. So provincial in your limited scope.

  • zen master · September 10, 2010 at 4:48 am

    why refer android to two spanish players which has overall game! they hit flat ball and the two players come to the net more often than agassi, roddick and connors. these are interesting players coming from there game itself and not about what is coming from there mouth. is the writer complaining about no more american players in the draw and its been a while now that no american players who could give the spanish player or european players troubled inside the tennis court? the writer is frustrated about no american players in the draw now, this two players are two of the most exciting players in the tour and he is calling them androids? is this writer a kind of floyd mayweather jr. type in boxing? a racist one? coz i find this comment racist just because two spanish players are playing in the quarter and not two american players who will give us disrespecting conduct towards a linesmen for the whole match. this is cheap tennis writing!

  • Dan Markowitz · September 10, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Thanks, zoozoo, I knew I could count on you to sober me up. Actually, I’m no fan of Querrey or Isner either. I can appreciate Verdasco and Ferrer, but I’m sorry, for me, it’s kind of like watching the Minnesota Twins play the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. I know Maurer and Pujols are great players, but they’re not the guys or they don’t play for the teams that I follow all year long. So my heart isn’t in it.

    My point about tennis is that we’ve lost most of the dashing players of my youth: Noah, Leconte, Becker, Vilas, these guys weren’t American, but I liked watching them play. Now you get a player with some personality, a Djokovic, for example, and they criticize him for making his imitations. There’s so much money in the game, that a player wouldn’t have the gall or the courage to act like Johnny Mac did in fear of losing endorsements.

    And the way the game is played nowadays, it’s a baseline battle for the most part. There isn’t the subtlety or nuance. I heard Chris Evert say last night, that the stadium exploded the other night when Federer hit a drop volley winner against Soderling, but this was a shot used all the time, as was the lob, the chip and charge, and others that have become marginalized by the pattern, power baseline game.

    Look, I can appreciate Youzhny and Wawrinka, and I didn’t see their five-set match, but at the US Open, in the quarters, I don’t think it’s provincial of me to want to see a home-grown American player make a big run at America’s only slam event.

  • NAME · September 10, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    “And the way the game is played nowadays, it’s a baseline battle for the most part. There isn’t the subtlety or nuance. ”

    You’re forgetting how boring “sublety or nuance” could be.

    Those tremendously exciting 30+ shot har-tru baselines ralies with the ball hit three feet inside the baseline and sideline. I challenge you to sit through an old Evert match without falling asleep.

    No matter what era of tennis it is, there have always been complaints that it is boring.

    Borg v. Vilas. You could go out for a drink, come back, and they’d still be looping topspin shots from the baseline. Pick any era. How about the Sampras era? Pete v. Goran. Perhaps the lowpoint of tennis.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    It was just a bad matchup last night for Verdasco. He had to be a bit deflated from the Ferrer marathon, and then he has to play the guy who is is kryptonite, a man who he is 0-10 against. TOugh task for Mr. Verdasco and you had to expect it would be a suspenseless mismatch. Agree with you Dan there is a lack of court personalities and charisma, like John McEnroe has been saying for many years now. Then when one does emerge (Djokovic) and shares his amazing humor and entertaining act which the world goes nuts over, unfortunately eventually then the media and other players turn on him and united to attack and destroy. Now Djokovic has almost become an android himself, compared to how he once was. I think there is so much media and coverage of tennis, that it inhibits and discourages the players from showing all of their true natures on the court, and they just play tennis nowadays. Rebellion and individuality are discouraged and stifled. And in a way it is total 100% tennis, very little antics or trickery. Android tennis like you call it. I think another factor is that the quality of play now is so amazing, so spectacular, so high speed, that the fans are kind of in awe of it. and their reaction is to be very very respectful of the talent they are watching and so they do not get as involved in watching a match as they used to do. It’s just awesome how good these players are now, even a guy like Istomin was like a marvel. While the personalities and charisma from the players has diminished, the skills and magic they can perform on a court has greatly increased. IMO.

  • Dan Markowitz · September 10, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I like your point, and I had never really thought about it, that as the tennis has become more spectacular in it’s pace and shot-making, the fans become less involved. I do think there is definitely something to that factor. With a McEnroe and Connors at the Open back in 1980 or so, the crowd got so revved up and the points to me (and not because I like two white guys playing. To call me a racist b/c I’m not a fan of the Verdasco-Nadal match-up is absurd. Firstly, because while their skin color is darker than most white people, they’re not black and secondly, am I anti-white because I don’t like to watch college J.J. Reddick play basketball or Adam Morrison because they’re not as exciting as Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul? Of course not. I wasn’t particularly interested in Youzhny v. Wawrinka either)were scintillating, played close to the net and always attacking. Who said Nadal approaches the net as much as Connors did in his prime? Absolutely false. Who said Verdasco hits a flat shot? He can flatten it out and doesn’t hit with as much top as Nadal, but he certainly hits with a lot of top. I think Ferrer hits with less top than both, and that’s one reason why I like Ferrer.

    I won’t back down from the fact that yes, I would like to see more American men advance deeper into the tournament. I usually go to see four tournaments a year, Delray Beach, Newport, New Haven and the U.S. Open, and in the former three, most of the players are American, and I identify with them more because I see them play more often. Also, I identify with the culture, obviously. But when I see a Grigor Dmitrov or Tomas Bellucci, I’m intrigued, I like their games.

    I’m sorry, for a quarterfinal in the US Open, I didn’t find the Nadal-Verdasco match up had much gravitas to it. The crowd seemed in awe of Nadal, as it should be, but after the first set, I thought the match got dull. Verdasco started complaining after every point to his box about the wind conditions or something, and I felt that he didn’t have the belief that he could beat Nadal.

    As for my level of play, I am about a 5.0, but I used to play at a pretty high level, #3 on my college team. I played Satellites and been on the court in my 20’s with players ranked #300 or so in the world, and with them trying to double-bagel me, I won games off these players. I’ve also watched thousands and thousands of matches and talked to players who are the best in the world. So I think I know my tennis pretty well on both sides of the court.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Dan is one of the most knowledgable and appreciative followers of the sport that I know. He is great company at a tennis event and every time we are at a tournament, people he knows and old friends of all ethnicities come out of the woodwork and gravitate to him. like everyone he definitely has his preferences and distastes and racial has nothing to do with it. Dan can be controversial sometimes with his opinions but, like Johnny Mac and Jimbo in the heat of battle, that’s part of who they are.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    Just out of curiosity, can anyone tell me what the android image photo in this story is from?

  • Dan Markowitz · September 10, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Thanks for the back up, Scoop. If I knew as much about tennis as Scoop and RIP, and Tom Michael, and for others out there, I’d be taking a step up.

    Is it from Star Wars? Whatever, I like it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 10, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Nope, or as BG would say, that’s a negative.

  • RIP · September 11, 2010 at 12:30 am

    It’s definitely from Metropolis – classic film.

    I hear what you’re saying about personality, but come on Verdasco wwas 0-10 lifetime vs. nadal walking out onto the court. Yes, the guy fought hard but he gets down 2 sets to none and to me (obviously I could be wrong) looked like he knew he was going down.

    To be fair, he did not quit and even after the match was feisty in saying if he had to bet on the final he would bet on Roger beating Rafa because, Verdasco says, Roger plays the conditions better.

    I tend to agree with Scoop in that these guys are so good, the level is so high that it sometimes almost does look like a video game that Nadal can be 6 feet off the court and still rip a running winner. I mean even that beautiful pirouette pick up off the half volley spectacular shot but you look around and some people expect it. It was a bit of a dead crowd here last night, IMO, partly because it was cold and windy.

    In Rafa and Roger we have two of the best players producing shots on the run I can ever remember. No ball seems to be out of his reach and he does it so well and so often people begin to take it for granted.

    I never get tired of watching the guy because of the pure passion and the fact he fight so hard for every single point – think about the last time you saw this guy take a point off or not give 100 percent on a point and then let me know when that was?

    The times when his matches aren’t exciting, for me, is usually on clay when he’s just beating someone down to the point of capitulation like vs. Verdasco in the Monte Carlo match earlier this year.

    I was a huge McEnroe fan growing up too – one of my all time favorites – but you can’t use McEnroe as a measuring stick for performance or behavior because he’s a once in a generation freak. A force of nature freak.

    No one – before or since – has that sort of finesse and feel around the net. Think about all the serve and volleyers before him and none of them (Newcombe, Stolle, Stan Smith, Ashe, etc.) played those touch angle shots with the regularity of McEnroe.

    Do agree with you that I kind of liked the edgy, acrid “let’s take this outside” kind of raw intensity McEnroe and Connors exuded where it was beyond tennis it was personal. The closes i’ve seen to that is Serena – not that she has a vendetta against other players (possible exception: Justine) but almost in her face she has that defiant look like she will refuse to lose just on principle.

    Was on an interview with Connors a few weeks ago and someone asked him to compare the friendly rivalry of today’s players with his rivalry with McEnroe and Connors basically said “If you’re friendly then it’s not a rivalry. I was never going to pat McEnroe on the back and say nice match and he would never think of doing that with me either…”

    It’s a different time but you can say that about a lot of sports- see Ali vs. Frazier or in baseball when guys used to sharpen their spikes and actually try to speak the second basemen on double plays.

    Do agree with the prior post re: some of the old matches. I mean I have a few friends who are HUGE Evert fans (I was too) but watch some of those old tapes and the ball looks like it’s going in slow motion and rallies are so similar. People like to claim there was a lot more variety in the older days and while there was certainly more net play back then some of the older matches did not have the variety people suggest if you go back and watch them.

    The level Nadal is at right now is just astounding what he does wtih the ball at ballistic speeds just the fact that the guy wasn’t shanking shots at those speeds, in that high wind taking huge cuts is pretty mind blowing when you see it up close.

    Lastly, in Redhead’s defense – while I seldom agree with a lot of his tennis views have known the guy probably 16 or 17 years now and he is definitely not racist at all. If someone’s posting that then they never met him because if you had you’d know that’s just ludicrous.

  • NAME · September 11, 2010 at 12:40 am

    I’m sorry you even felt the need to respond to the idiotic racist charge.

    “Now Djokovic has almost become an android himself,”

    Djokovic circa 2007 was among the most enjoyable personalities on the tour and he seemed to enjoy himself immensely. Now he still has an very good sense of humor but, I agree, certain factors have sucked some of the joy out of it for him and tennis fans are poorer for it.

    On Kids day I was in Armstrong (with kids, duh) and Djoker was playing a practice set with Murray. Murray never cracked a smile. Djokovic was having fun. When it was over, Murray signed the obligatory autographs and Djokovic picked up his bag and began to leave while the kids were screaming for him. He continues to leave but then he turns around and smiles and comes back. It was funny. He was also funny singing over on Ashe during the kids festivities. I don’t see most of the other players getting involved with the fans like Djokovic does.

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2010 at 1:23 am

    It would be so nice to see Djokovic get back to the way he was 2-3 years ago. He might have to be that way tomorrow, it may be his only chance to win. I believe he has to be fiery and cocky, he just can’t show Federer too much respect or act as a well mannered guest on Federer’s court like he did the previous years. He has to bring out the machisimo, like he did in Melbourne. And his box has to be like Wawrinka’s with Lundgren and that rocker looking psycho. .. Good to read that anecdote about Djokovic with the kids and his singing performance thanks for that Name. Name is a great photographer of tennis, check out his site

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 11, 2010 at 1:28 am

    We have a winner. Fritz Lang’s Metropolis is the correct answer. The poster is on the wall in my office and it’s the only thing I could think of to post an android type image for Dan’s essay. Great movie, especially the version with the Giorgio Moroder soundtrack added. Moroder did Scarface soundtrack and adds all kinds of cool pop music to the soundtrack of Metropolis which is a silent film and can be a little dull and slow. Moroder is a master.

  • RIP · September 11, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Good anecdote Name.

    Djoker actually does seem to genuinely like people. I’ve ripped him in the past (primarily for the gamesmanship and quitting on matches) but I have to say the guy is very personable. Covered him in Indian Wells this year and when Ljubicic beat him he handled himself so much better than a few other top 10 players who lost in that tournament. Answered every question directly, no alibis from Djoker. I think part of the reason he’s toned it down is just so he doesn’t have to deal with the questions and the “can you do some impressions…” requests – just basically makes their lives easier if they give the bland, generic, “gotta take it 1 match at a time…” response.

    Me and Redhead were in the Davydenko interview after Davydenko lost to gasquet and Davydenko has a very sharp understated sense of humor. He’s a guy some might portray as an android, but in reality he is not that way at all, IMO.

  • NAME · September 11, 2010 at 3:18 am

    “Davydenko has a very sharp understated sense of humor. ”

    He definitely does. I ran into him under some covering near court 9 (which is used for practice most days) with a few other fans during a rain in Miami (The Lipton as I still sometimes call it.) Anyway, his English wasn’t very good but he actually cracked a joke about practicing in the light rain, which he had been doing. He has a very dry sense of humor. I imagine I might come off as an Android if I had to converse in Russian.

    I agree he was way too James Blakeish against Fed last year. I think last year he thought he had to atone for the non-event the year before with Roddick. That was a completely phony “controversy.”

    On today’s matches. I thought the Men’s doubles finals was very good. Really cold and windy again for the women’s finals between Venus and Kim. I mean the semis.

  • NAME · September 11, 2010 at 3:19 am

    “I agree he was way”

    He = Djokovic

    Sorry. I’m not illiterate. Just tired.

  • NAME · September 11, 2010 at 3:22 am

    And thanks for the compliment Scoop. I’ll get photos up from this year after it’s done. Including that Verdasco match point reaction shot Dan asked about.

  • robert · September 11, 2010 at 4:46 am

    Androids? In which universe?

    One is a top tenner, the other is among the all time greats at the ripe old age of 24. Their shotmaking is astounding. Both can construct points cleverly and can rip the cover off of the ball. The latter is constantly working on his game, adding and improving, becoming closer to the most complete of players, the other is trying to bring his mental strength up to par with his game and his physical strength.

    One is a master of self control, the other is a bit of a headcase, more emotional. It’s exciting to watch how the former tames and masters the latter.

    If you need yelling and open hatred among players (“personality”???), then you are uncapable of enjoying all these nuances. Or the game itself.

    As a plus, these two are exciting macho jocks, proud manly men, easy on the eyes.

    Your epistle, sir, is laughable.

  • zoozoo · September 11, 2010 at 4:47 am

    NAME – “I don’t see most of the other players getting involved with the fans like Djokovic does.”

    I don’t mean to take a thing away from Djokovic because he’s one of my favorites and he is indeed very good with fans but there are plenty of other players who get involved with fans. Wasn’t it Scoop on this very blog who talked about Rafa actually going up into the stands after a practice so that he could give autographs and have pictures taken? Nadal is excellent as well and if I wasn’t so lazy I could google and find dozens of accounts of him going out of his way to interact with them and give back.

    You talk about the players not having personality like Connors and McEnroe. Thank goodness those antics wouldn’t be accepted by the fans and the media anymore. That’s a good thing. And plenty of players these days have good personalities. Djokovic is certainly a character. Monfils has more personality than is good for him. Gulbis is unique for sure and Tsonga certainly lights up a room or a tennis court.

    Very few of the guys in the days you so longingly lament had big personalities. Hello…. Ivan Lendl anyone? Or Stefan Edberg? Bjorn Borg? One of the reasons Rafael Nadal made such a big splash when he arrived on the scene was because he finally brought some personality and excitement to go with his tennis and his pirate clothes. His fist pumps and vamos’s and flying leaps and scissor kicks are and were wondrous. That boy isn’t dull by any means.

    You’re stuck back in the good old days that usually weren’t that good. I’ll bet you walked four miles to school every day. Uphill. Barefoot. In the snow.

  • NAME · September 11, 2010 at 6:04 am

    I said “MOST” of the players. I couldn’t agree more about Rafa. He always goes the extra mile with the fans. My favorite was last year after a practice session with Monaco pre-USO, one the goons, I mean CSC yellow shirts announced to a ton of kids lining up waiting for the end of practice that there would be no autographs and they would be shutting Armstrong immediately after practice was done.

    So practice ends and I stick around to see how this will play out. The security person is still telling all the kids to leave. Rafa ignores the person goes over and does the autographs. He obviously views it as his responsibility as one of the faces of the game.

    “You talk about the players not having personality like Connors and McEnroe. Thank goodness those antics wouldn’t be accepted by the fans and the media anymore

    I realize you’re talking to the author of the article but I’m with you. JMac was one of my favs to watch but I (like 90% of the NY crowd) didn’t like him. I thought he was one of the biggest jerks to ever play the game (ditto the younger Connors). I don’t find abusing linespeople and refs amusing. Or creating such a distraction to your opponent that it constitutes cheating. But I agree with the author that they had some great rivalries. I like both Fed and Nadal but Jmac and Lendl, to take a pair, was more interesting. Because like many players of that era they didn’t like each other.

    “Gulbis is unique for sure and Tsonga certainly lights up a room or a tennis court.”

    Nothing unique about Gulbis this year. He went out with a whimper. I agree Tsonga is fun and so is Monfils (unless he’s playing a French guy in which case he seems to really tone it down).

    I agree with you: Edberg and Borg were devoid of personality. But Lendl always cracked me up. And he still has one of the great locker room lines. Before he ever won a Major he got a big fat endorsement deal. Supposedly Nastase gets wind of it and confronts Lendl in the locker room saying to the effect “you got that big endorsement, you never won anything. Lendl replies “I can beat you.”

    Scoop ever hear this tale ? I like to think it happened. I know it’s hearsay but it was told to me many years ago and it rings true from both those characters. If you speak to Lendl ask him if he remembers it.

    In any case, don’t group Lendl with Borg and Edberg. Lendl was (and I assume is) a funny guy. His English was poor at the beginning of his career so he was initially shy.

    Another Lendl story. USO, I think it was 1st round ? I tell me buddy, you have to come to see this new kid he has a sick forehand. So we go to see Lendl v. Vince Van Patten. It was actually Van Patten we knew because he was also a TV star (I forget the show, someone help me out ?) Lendl, as Lendl would do, nailed him in the head when Van P came to the net. That shot you don’t see much anymore. It made for interesting tennis.

  • zen master · September 11, 2010 at 8:31 am

    i still dont beleived that this writer named dan markowitz is knowledgable to the tennis game like scoop malinowski! though scoop came to his defense and i really enjoy scoop tennis news writing and opinion, i will have to vent on commenting more about this dan markowitz antics of writing which tackles more on starting radical views on tennis players ability than the real aspects of a certain ability possessed by professional tennis players regardless of their color, creed, religion and nationalities. dan markowitz tried to explained and elaborate that he is not a racist, well , how we really know it? he just refered to two spanish professional tennis players as android. to define android in world english dictionaty, android means that robot resembling human being, or resembling human being. dan markowitz has just characterized two of the best spanish players as android, meaning not human being or just resembling a human being. to me this is really an insult to two of the greatest tennis players in the world. i mean rafael nadal, winner of 8 grandslam and 16 masters and counting is referred as androids while american players like connors and roddick as authentic human being coz they show more personality and attitude? it is like saying that americans are more humans than the a resembling human being which are the spanish players. i still cant get what the point of this writer! even in his opinion about connors coming to the net more often than nadal and verdasco? nadal and verdasco not hitting real flat balls? i mean i just shrug my head in disbelief! even in the big grandslam stage of tennis in america, there lies a writer who writes racist opinion on certain group of tennis players like the spanish players. the writer even brag in his comments that he is a 5.0 rated player in america and played satellites with number 300 players in the world a long time ago, when was these? the 70’s?. this is typical feel good effect and i dont believed his bragging! i mean for all what he referred to nadal and verdasco as androids, i dont beleived what this writer is telling the whole world that he is a good player once long time ago and now he rated himself as 5.0 level in america in which in league tennis in america people rated themselves above there normal tennis ability. go to japan, france or south korea, 3.5 players there could beat a self rated 5.0 player in america!
    on the other hand a tennis writer on this website exemplifies the true attributes of a world class sports/tennis writer in the person of scoop malinowski! scoop malinowski way of writing constantly attracts tennis fans of differnt cultures and background like his interest on interviewing bopanna and quereshi, an indian and pakistani players. he also gave us an interesting inside view on whats going on with hitting practices with elites players and junior players like his interview with gomez, a junior player! scoop malinowski should be writing in the more prestigious magazine or must be at the booth with john mcenroe with cbs or espn. this writer scoop malinowski always deliver good and balance view for the whole tennis fans of different background in which a certain writer named dan markowitz delivered us news like name calling for nadal and verdasco as “androids”.
    how about throwing his own stone to him and calling dan markowitz as an android writer due to his subhuman or less human opinion on nadal and verdasco. lets see who’s android here!
    but kudos to this writer named scoop malinoski! i guess scoop malinowski will kick the ass of dan markowitz if they play tennis in america. i hope dan will not refer scoop as android once scoops beat dan markowitz ass. i do believed that scoop is a down to earth kind of tennis player who would not bragg about his accomplishment as a tennis player.
    to scoop, can you beat this perfect american human being dan markowitz if ever you play in america for all the half human non american being of the whole world! like all the androids! scoop, beat him in the tennis courts for all the androids in the world to shut the mouth of this writer dan markowitz. beat this american racist 6-0, 6-0! i just hate racist comments on web sites especially tennis websites like this!

  • Dan Markowitz · September 11, 2010 at 9:10 am

    Zen master, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I’ve been writing about tennis long enough to know that styles–writing and playing–are particular to different people’s way of viewing the game.

    I liked McEnroe and Connors’, the way they competed and even the childish and churlish way they acted on the court. I come from a drama background in that I studied fiction writing in college, and I’ve always liked characters.

    I respect Nadal’s and Verdasco’s games. They’re amazing in many ways, particularly for their great athletic fitness and their competitive zeal, but their tennis match up leaves me a little cold. Of course, it comes from the fact that when I played competitively, I played an entirely different game and grew up on watching primarily players like Mac, Connors, Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe and Rod Laver, who charged the net and hit flatter lower balls. I don’t lie about my tennis exploits. I did play the Satellite tour for a short time and wrote about it in Sports Illustrated. I did play college tennis. I agree with you, the USTA ranking system of 5.0 or 4.0 is not very accurate. I have never thought of myself as a very good player, but I’ve played the game against top players and more importantly, I’ve taught tennis for 30 years and hung out and talked with Bollettieri, Van Der Meer, Gilad Bloom, Vince Spadea, so I think I know of what I think, speak and write when it comes to tennis.

    I like Scoop’s writing, too, but we’re different writers and that goes in writing as it does in tennis. So deal with your anger management issues, and maybe you calling me a racist is just as outlandish as me calling Nadal and Verdasco androids.

  • tom michael · September 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    To all who do not know Dan. Dan is a buffoon at worst, but he is no racist.

  • RIP · September 11, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    Re: the Lendl anecdote vs. Vince – it’s one of the reason I like watching Serena – she takes the intensity to the legal limits of the game. Was at Serena vs. Safin at the Open a few years back. Safina comes to net, Serena, room to pass on either side, tried to take her head off. Drilled the ball right between the eyes. Safina ducked the shot, ball buzzed over her head. Next time she came to net, Serena hit her in the chest. The message was clear: come to net against me and you will get drilled. She does that often in doubles too.
    Some would say that’s intimidation, I look at it as perfectly legal play (no different then a pitcher in baseball brushing back a hitter crowding home plate) and she’s setting her up for the next point, making her think twice about approaching (not suggesting Safina is a net player anyway).
    Nadal can intimidate through sheer effort and the ability to pour all of himself into every single point. You see guys on the other side of the net not only physically drained but emotionally spent realizing “this guy is never, ever going to give up on a point – how can I stop him?”
    Zen Master, I respect your passion for your points but why not discuss/debate him on the merit of your argument rather than making character assumptions that I can tell you are not true. If you live in NY-area hope we can all get together – Dan, scoop, Tommyboy and anyone else – and play doubles sometime. If you met Dan you would realize he’s not what you say.
    Would love to see you and Dan on the doubles court as you both sound very intense so if you’re around and interest in playing some time let’s do it.

  • NAME · September 12, 2010 at 1:34 am

    “dan markowitz tried to explained and elaborate that he is not a racist, well , how we really know it? ”

    I charge you’re an android. Now prove you’re not. There always has to be one jack-off on every online board, doesn’t there ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · September 12, 2010 at 2:25 am

    Alright settle down fellas, it’s only tennis talk, no harm can be done. Don’t ever forget we all love this sport, Aisam Ul Haq Qureshi said cricket is like religion in his country, tennis is like religion too in some ways. We all have in common a love and respect for this sport.

  • zen master · September 14, 2010 at 6:39 am

    ok. folks! nadal who’s being called an android in this article by the writer won the 2010 u.s. open and 9th grandslam overall!
    to name and dan, sorry guys but the “android” last night entertained the new york crowd with overall skill and exciting ball exchanges with novak. john mcenroe a legend in the sport was all praised to the player that was referred as android in this article. after the match nadal gave a very good word to the losing opponent, like saying in spanish accent, “congratulation to novak for being a kind loser tonight and setting a good example to the kids”. hence, to dan and name, being an american tennis writer, set a good example on your writing, views and opinion when you write about tennis topic coz the internet is a window to the world and people of all race, creed , religion and nationalities who involved and interest themselves in tennis might happened to open your website and read your views and opinion in your article and will fell slighted due to your choice of words like “android”.
    as american tennis writer, set a good example! dont write only to provoke people, fans, player and even your own co-writers itself, with out of sych views and opinion regarding tennis, just to start a drama! even to the point of using deregatory words such as android to tennis great nadal!
    however, another tennis american writer in this website named scoop malinowski who i noticed to be very good in what he does is the exact opposite! scoop is really a class act, he knew that there will be no jack-off ( this is the word used by maybe a friend of dan, “name” ) that there will be no reaction coming from readers in this website if two spanish players are credited for what is due to them and not by calling them deregatory word as “android”. in fact the other one was declared as the winner of the 2010 u.s. open champion.
    as long as there are american tennis writers like scoop malinoski, american tennis views and opinions will be welcome and embraced to the whole tennis fans across the globe! tennis writing approach should be global and not domesticated on american views of name calling attitude, arrogancy, insults and drama.
    so to dan and name, there is always time to change and improved, just like in tennis and nadal, we can always evolutionised our craft!
    once again the “android” player referred in this article won the u.s. open and i dont need to explained anymore if im also an android or a jack-off. my proof is the “android” player won and that is already enough! thank you and goodbye folks!

  • Name · September 15, 2010 at 2:04 am

    I don’t know why you’re addressing me. I didn’t call Nadal an “Android” though I can appreciate why some might find that an apt description.

    I responded only to your absolutely moronic, ill-advised use of the extremely charged word racist, presumably because you’re too dim to comprehend the author’s post.

    I suggest you improve your reading comprehension before you post again. In addition, save the outrageous charges for face-to-face meetings instead of hiding behind the veil of internet anonymity.

  • Name · September 20, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Zen Master, remind you of anyone you know ?

    “It would be or ought to be dangerous if we ever get to the point where the charge of racism becomes so overused and hackneyed as to be meaningless. Such a term ought to retain its potency as a weapon of shame and disapproval. ”



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