Tennis Prose



Players use “lies, excuses, fabrications to protect their ego”

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Once in a while, in the sea of political correctness in tennis player interviews, you stumble upon a nugget of gold quote.

I found this particular nugget of gold on You Tube, from former ATP pro Wally Masur.

The three-time ATP singles title winner (Newport, Hong Kong and Adelaide) made this interesting statement about tennis players using falsehoods to bolster their egos and images.

“Tennis players, and I guess this goes for a lot of sportsmen…they cocoon themselves with excuses, lies, fabrications to protect their ego…”

Masur was talking about Lleyton Hewitt’s 2005 Australian Open run and he was noting how Hewitt was atypical to certain players and never used fake injuries to discredit an opponent or as an excuse for a disappointing performance. Masur also credited how Hewitt was a tournament director’s dream as he always gave a 100% effort in every match he ever played.

So if you ever find yourself wondering about injuries and their authenticity, just think of this quote by Wally Masur.

And of course, don’t forget the classic from John McEnroe: “It’s been scientifically proven that everything hurts a little more when you’re losing.”

Facing Hewitt, with a new cover image, is available at amazon for $9.99.

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  • Hartt · October 8, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Once again, Nick being a hot head got the better of him and he pretty well threw away that match. A line judge got a call wrong, called Nick’s ball out when it was barely in. Nick kept going on about it, would not let it go, and his frustration was a key to him losing the match. Mo was actually patient with him, but ultimately did give him a point penalty. Rafa played terrific tennis, kept his focus, ignoring Nick’s drama. But I think this match is a perfect example of why Nick will not reach his potential, despite his great talent.

  • scoopmalinowski · October 8, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Sounds like Nick was looking for a reason to tank the match.

  • Hartt · October 8, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    I am not sure he exactly tanked the match, at least not in the obvious way he did against Mischa Zverev last year in Shanghai. He actually tried in the last game. But he did go away mentally.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 8, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    He didn’t go away mentally the last time he played and beat Nadal. I suspect Nick knew Rafa was coming at him with a vengeance and wasn’t up for the fight. Or he would rather see Rafa finish the year as no. 1 than Federer and decided to subconsciously throw Rafa a bone. Because 62 61 is just an embarrassing tank-looking scoreline.

  • Hartt · October 8, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    The match was closer than the score would indicate. The line call he was so upset about was on a BP for him. The point was replayed and Rafa ended up holding rather than being broken in the first game of the match. In the first set Nick could not get past his misfortune, could not move on. And Rafa made some terrific shots, made it difficult for Nick to get a foothold.

  • catherine · October 9, 2017 at 3:13 am

    Hartt – I didn’t see the match live but think you’re on the whole right. Reminds me of McEnroe when he was young – he’d throw a hissy over some perceived grievance, brood on it and lose the match. Later he started using his behaviour as a weapon to put off opponents.

    Scoop-Don’t honestly imagine Nick would be thinking about who’d he prefer as No 1, let alone allowing that idea influence the result. You do tend to see a tank around every corner but true tanks aren’t that common in well publicised events. They’re usually pretty blatant – in this case I would probably agree with Hartt that Nadal in just too good and didn’t allow Nick back into the match.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 9, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Catherine; Agassi admitted in his book he tanked to Chang at US Open because he would rather lose to Chang than lose to Becker in the next round. Now if you think that was the ONE AND ONLY high profile tank in tennis history, you’re free to believe that !!

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 9, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Hyeon Chung beat ATP 13 Batista Agut today 63 64 in Shanghai. One and a half years ago in Dubai Agut beat Chung 60 61. Nice revenge win by Chung, now ranked 60.

  • Joe Blow · October 9, 2017 at 9:44 am

    Agassi has been a phony douche his whole career. From the wig at 18, from tanking to Gomez because his phony hair was falling apart during the match. To showing up lesser players( catching their serve and then smiling to NB, to tell him this guy has nothing).
    The whole he went back to the challengers story, he needed matches, there were 2 challengers practically in his backyard yard, Vegas and Cal. He was 141 because of injuries, not on a 10 match losing streak.

    Great player no doubt, turned into a great person with his schools and stuff, but don’t forget he acted like a brat most of his career. Don’t think he had many friends or fans in the locker room.

  • catherine · October 9, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Don’t know if I believe everything Andre says actually.Especially if he said it in his book. But even if he did tank then I’d still say it’s a pretty uncommon thing at the GS level.
    A tank to me is an ‘intentional loss’ at the time, not something thought up later to maybe justify losing. And what an insult to Chang BTW.

    As a player yourself you’ll know the difference between a true tank and matches where a player more or less gives up because, for any number of reasons, they know they can’t win. We see those all the time.

    Great result for Chung – I’ve followed his progress for a while.

  • catherine · October 9, 2017 at 9:56 am

    That last was for Scoop – I could go on about Agassi, don’t think he’s the plaster saint he’s portrayed these days and neither do I think his book deserves the classic status it’s been given.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 9, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Agree Joe, Agassi was a punk in his early ATP years and I experienced that punk face to face and nearly nose to nose in the old US Open locker room, regarding Agassi not liking that the media was allowed in the locker room, though we were allowed. Though that rule was changed about four years ago. But he has totally changed and by the end of his career he was very very well liked in the locker room. And I was told when he came in after the final loss to Benjamin Becker, the players there gave him a standing O and many were crying. As much as young Mike Tyson was a punk idiot, so was Agassi but they both managed to change their attitudes and images and that is a tremendous credit to both.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 9, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Catherine, I kind of believe Agassi was telling the truth that day about tanking to Chang to avoid Becker, who we know he despised back then. Why else would he say it in his book? No reason to fabricate that kind of fake news. Again, I didn’t see Nick lose to Rafa yesterday but I did see the trophy photos and Nick was smiling as if he won. A little too happy after such a beatdown loss. But we will never know and all we can do is speculate and discuss and theorize, which some of us around here kind of enjoy to do 🙂

  • Hartt · October 9, 2017 at 11:47 am

    Nick said he was pleased with the way he had played that week, making it to the final, and he acknowledged what an all-time great Rafa is. But having won over Rafa a couple times, including his recent win in Cincy, I think Nick went into that final thinking he had a real shot. He let his emotions take over after losing the first game because of the incorrect line call but I can’t imagine he was OK with losing the match – a big match over a top player in front of a crowd is the very kind of match he does get up for.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 9, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Hartt; It’s extremely difficult to beat Rafa. It’s even more extremely difficult to beat Rafa twice in a row. That’s why Djokovic beating Rafa seven times in a row in finals ranks as one of the greatest accomplishments in tennis history – and maybe just maybe the greatest most incredible accomplishment ever. Not even Federer has come close to matching that accomplishment.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 9, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    F Lopez ends four match losing streak to Dr Ivo today. 76 76. Ivo at 38 yrs of age has fallen out of the top 50. F Lo is 36 and still ranked 34. Kozlov practiced today with Felix in Fairfield Challenger. Kozlov beat Felix in doubles last week.

  • Hartt · October 10, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Shapo lost to Troicki in 3 sets, including a bagel in the third. Denis is usually the Energizer bunny and I have never seen him look so tired in a match. He kept trying in the third but had nothing left, and gifted Troicki a couple games with DFs on BP.

    The heat in Shanghai must be brutal. Three players have retired – Sock, Mischa and Kyrgios. It is evening now and Pouille just lost the first set TB to Fognini. Pouille is drenched with sweat.

  • catherine · October 10, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Did Kyrgios retire because of the heat ? I read that he baled out after the first set because he had complaints about the officiating.
    Whatever – have to admit life’s never boring when Nick’s around.
    The heat was pretty bad in Beijing – or was it Wuhan ? One match had to be suspended for a while.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 10, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Hartt, the heat is Shanghai is brutal. I was there last August and it was like 90s every day. Sweltering in that city. Shapovalov has to be careful now because he is a big target, nobody wants to lose to a kid. After all the Shapo hoopla this summer I expect a lot of players will try to put the whippersnapper into his proper place. Tough loss for Sock to the revived Dolgopolov.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 10, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Catherine; Sounds like Nick maybe tanked again, just in a different disguise. Hey, it’s been a long year, it’s hot as heck in Shanghai, he just finaled in Beijing, lost a close first set to one of the ultimate grinders Steve Johnson – not exactly a big surprise. It’s been a long year.

  • Hartt · October 10, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Nick posted that he has a stomach bug and has not been able to eat, but with him who knows?

    I think the heat and humidity did get to Shapo. It was close in the first 2 sets and he won the first set TB. But he had no energy at all in the third set, he kept trying but just could not do anything. Denis will always give his best, so I think it was the heat and humidity.

    The heat and humidity were so bad that when Edmund fell on his back during his match with Cilic, he was not hurt, but there was a big puddle of sweat where he landed. And Cilic was totally drenched in sweat, he looked even worse than Edmund. Impressive that these guys could even play.

  • scoopmalinowski · October 10, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Nick still managed thirteen aces in the set despite the supposed illness. Like you say Hartt, one never really knows with Nick.

  • catherine · October 10, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Wozniaki bt Bouchard 1 & 1 in Hong Kong – you really wonder what Genie gets out of playing tournaments these days – can’t do her self-esteem much good, on or off the court. You wonder, does she have the essential talent or not ? Can she be coached ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 10, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    Bouchard is turning into the new Kournikova minus the doubles prowess.

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