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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  • catherine · October 4, 2017 at 11:49 am

    This is similar to the way actors behave – you go to a play and it’s terrible and so is everyone in it and you ‘go round’ afterwards and everything is ‘darling you were wonderful’ although everyone knows the truth but it’s impossible to admit. All performers have to believe they’re great, except maybe to themselves in the dead of night or a long time afterwards, or they wouldn’t be able to perform at all.
    Same with tennis players which explains the bizarre excuses we hear in press conferences and elsewhere.
    Performing in public is not a natural act and brittle egos need to be protected.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 4, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Well said Catherine. There are always reasons and excuses why a player loses a match. When those reasons and excuses are hard to accept, it’s human nature to create illusions and false reasons. I remember Gil Clancy commentating on a TV boxing match and the one fighter was dead tired in like the fourth round after saying before the fight he was in the best shape of his life. Clancy said the fighter needed a reason, an excuse to blame or even create – just so long as he didn’t have to self admit that he just wasn’t good enough.

  • Duke Carnoustie · October 4, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Scoop I believe this is the case with Raonic. He is faking injuries as an excuse to fail. The tennis press won’t write it because they are afraid.

  • catherine · October 4, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Duke the tennis reporters won’t write a lot of things because they, and their organisations, don’t want to be sued. Also, don’t want to lose access to players.

    One of the reasons tennis reporting is so bland.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 4, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Duke we have the same opinion. I’m really glad that I was able to stumble upon this quote by Masur, actually it was on video. It’s very rare that a former player makes such a blunt revelation. Usually the players keep that stuff in the locker room and they protect each other like a fraternity. Big respect for Masur for dropping such a blunt force bombshell.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 4, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    I had a rivalry with a certain player. Took me five years to figure out how to beat him. Finally did. Then I beat him twice in a row straight sets. First time I ever beat him two in a row. Third match a week or two later, I ate a turkey sandwich for lunch at 12:30 and thought I’d be ready for the match at four. But strangely I was still feeling full and bloated at 330. I was hoping it would go away in the last 30 minutes but it didn’t. I felt full and didn’t want to move. Only moved when forced, in other words I was like a punch bag, just let him dictate and I only played defense. I told him and others that the reason for the 64 64 loss was that I was full from lunch. No one believe me, I know that for sure. So it came down to the next match a week later. I ate only a Greek yogurt for lunch. My belly was ready for war. Guess what? I won 75 64. He played tough and he had an edge for winning the previous match but I was able to prove that at full strength and not a full belly I would win and I did. But then there are times when you can’t accept a bad loss and I have created excuses. Let me think about this…

  • MattK · October 4, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    How exactly is a quote from a more than three year old book news? It is mildly quotable if the aim was to stick to the tennis-prose namesake but other than that it’s a poor attempt at clickbait.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 4, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Mattk, no the quote is not from the book, it was on a video segment on Hewitt done by Australian TV after Hewitt’s run to the final in 2005. I simply used the opportunity to promote Facing Hewitt :)

  • catherine · October 5, 2017 at 4:18 am

    Pliskova in free fall – out to Cirstea in Beijing (inspired by Simona ?).
    Garcia also advances.
    Are these tournaments meaningless as a pointer to what’s coming in WTA ?

  • catherine · October 5, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Silly question – the answer is yes, obviously.

  • Joe Blow · October 5, 2017 at 2:02 pm

    I don’t get it? Did you use the Turkey sandwich as an excuse for losing?

    Beating Santoro in 2008 was not how people defined Feds play, you make it sound like it was Feds best win that year.

    Did Fed also paint that blotch on his face during that time, for the Mono excuse?

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 5, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    I ate the turkey sandwich but should have only eaten half. Too full and it didn’t digest in time. I was full and bloated. Plus I heard later that turkey and the ingredients or preservatives in it makes you tired. It made me feel lethargic and not wanting to run aggressively like a wild cat. Not proactive. I was more reactive, waiting to be dictated to and basically defending with no offense, trying only to run when forced. Weird feeling, you just can’t play well against a tough player on a full stomach. I remember that spot on Fed’s upper right cheek, whatever it was. It was during clay season. Never heard an explanation for what it was.

  • catherine · October 6, 2017 at 3:33 am

    According to STERN mag Boris Becker is down to flogging his W’don trophies to raise necessary cash. We can only hope new Boris’ new position with the DTB (unpaid) doesn’t extend to giving financial advice :)

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2017 at 7:49 am

    I suddenly wonder if Djokovic ever tanked any matches for gambling purposes to help his former coach? Most likely not but you wonder.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Kozlov vs Darian King today for a spot in Stockton SF. King told me a couple of years ago he was 4-0 vs Kozlov. Tough match for Kozlov to solve his bogeyman. How about Schwartzman crushing Steve Johnson. Diego is 29 in the world right now, could go to top ten. Harrison crunched by Cilic 60 62. Nadal bested Isner 64 76. Rublev vs Zverev on right now.

  • dan markowitz · October 6, 2017 at 8:13 am


    Does Masur’s quote surprise you? Athletes, particularly tennis players. are notorious for making up stories or story lines in their minds, to believe their good enough to compete at the highest level. I remember once being with Spadea during 2005 when he was injured and we were hanging out at the Evert Academy and Bobby Reynolds, Jesse Levine and some other Challenger players were hitting on one of the courts. I said, “Vince, let’s go out and watch them hit, say hello.” And Vince was like, “No way. I’m not hanging with those guys.” Vince didn’t even want to acknowledge their presence. He was at a down time in his season, injured, missing events in Europe and in his mind, if he hung out with Challenger players, he was admitting to himself that he was a Challenger player or maybe just the fear of seeing Challenger players was enough to make him keep his distance because Vince didn’t like hanging with any players, but especially players below him. That’s one way a pro player keeps his guard up and like Masur says, feeds his ego so when he walks on the court, there’s no doubt in his mind he’s going to win.

    I remember the following year I think, when Vince played Federer in the 3rd round of the Open, 2006 when Fed was most dominant, Vince actually, it wasn’t false bravado as far as I could tell and I was hanging out with him before the match, believed he was going to win. And in the first few games, he went out and blasted Fed around the court like he was the alpha male. Then of course he lost 3, 3 and 0.

  • Chazz · October 6, 2017 at 8:24 am

    I don’t know why I’m bothered by Harrison getting destroyed by Cilic, but I am. We know he’s not in Cilic’s class, but c’mon, at least put up a fight Harry. A qualifier could do better than that.

    Also of note, Sock and Isner are into the doubles final in Beijing and it looks like Kyrgios was motivated enough to beat everyone in his path en route to the semis in singles.

  • catherine · October 6, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Scoop- I doubt Djokovic would ever have tanked to help Boris out of his hole, which now amounts to millions, in pounds sterling and euros.
    The question – where did all that money go ? I can only think of stupid investments and such. Not very German. (yes, yes stereotype – but I can see Mrs Merkel’s pursed lips – silly boy)

  • Hartt · October 6, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Sascha won over Rublev quite easily, but to give Rublev credit, he went down fighting. So it will be Sascha vs Kyrgios and Rafa vs. Dimitrov.

  • JG · October 6, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Sock has to be the best doubles player out there, he can win with any partner, if he were to concentrate on doubles and pick a somewhat steady partner, he would be favored in every tournament, even Nadal and Federer were concerned about playing doubles against him in the laver cup. Would like to see Sock and Paes partner for one tournament just to give Paes one last shot

  • catherine · October 6, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Beijing women: Halep v Ostapenko and Kvitova v Garcia

    Garcia will be so tired after 3 set epic over Svitolina that I can predict Simona and Petra in the final.

  • catherine · October 6, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Looks like Simona will probably take over as No 1. Is she the first Romanian to be No 1 ? Don’t think V Ruzici ever made that.

  • catherine · October 6, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    After nearly 3 1/2 hours on court and a match as close as could be, that ‘handshake’ from Svitolina was one of the most ungracious I’ve seen. What’s the matter with these girls ?

    Shame that there were around 10 people in the stands, as usual. Really,the WTA should give China a miss.

  • Chazz · October 6, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Catherine, the handshake is sometimes the best part about WTA matches. I always tune in when I can to see Sharapova’s handshake with her opponent.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Dan: Good story about Vince big timing Reynolds and Levine. I just hit with an older Korean woman while my match Harry Cicma was late in traffic and she was so grateful I hit with her, she said none of the other high level players will hit with her, she was so appreciative of my “generosity” but she was very steady and hit almost every ball back sustaining rallies though of course I wasn’t hitting hard she had the steadiness down pat. Some players will hit with anyone, Bollettieri said that about Rios in my book, he said Rios would hit with anyone chippers choppers dinkers bunters whatever. Federer just hit with the Swiss junior I mentioned during the US Open Jakub Paul who lost to the eventual champion in two close sets.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Catherine; I agree but what if Boris had some inside information about Djokovic and could use that to damage his image? Most likely not, most likely all top players have their coaches sign non disclosure contract provisions.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Ruzici didn’t come close to no. 1 so this would be a historic achievement for Halep and I bet her sponsors are contracted to pay her a huge bonus. Rios got $2.5 million each from Nike and Yonex when he became no. 1 in 1998 vs Agassi in Miami and that was twenty years ago. By the way Rios is getting $100,000 for an exhibition in Chile against Agassi next April, the 20th anniversary of the Miami Open final when Rios beat Agassi to become world no. 1. I would assume Cahill will also get a hefty bonus too. Peter Lundgren and Cahill were scheduled to get a million dollar bonuses from Federer and Hewitt respectively when they became no. 1 but both were dismissed shortly before Fed and Hewitt became no. 1.

  • Joe Blow · October 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    There has to be some sort of “buyout” in those situations. If it was so easy, nobody would ever get a bonus. Plus, there’s probably a no speaking to the press thingy attached to the buyout.
    Gotta feel bad for some coaches, take a lot of the blame, yet, can’t really speak out, because they still want the next job, and don’t want a bad rep

  • catherine · October 6, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Scoop – if Simona takes No 1 I think Pavel should get a bonus too – she’s stepped up since he’s come on board.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Coaching is a very tough business, they rarely get credit, other than a few biggies like Gilbert, Lendl, Conchita, Cahill. Remember Rios fired his coach Larry Stefanki right after he got to no. 1. Tough biz. Kozlov lost again to King 64 64, that’s 1-5. Kant solve the King Puzzle. King looked like he had a lil more firepower and was able to get to net and made some nice volleys. Kozlov was down 46 15 but battled back to 45 then King served it out at 15. Sandgren lost to Norrie again.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    For sure I would guess Pavel and Cahill should split the bonus ) Now that Halep will get to no 1 it looks like, wonder how she will respond? Domination? Or Kerberization?

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 6, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Joe Blow, I don’t think so. The coach has NO leverage. He has to take what he’s given. If he doesn’t like the numbers he can walk. Agassi and Bollettieri seemed to be like this. Hewitt had the good record vs Andre, then be got to no 1 and dismissed Cahill who was quickly hired by Agassi. Surely Cahill shared the secrets of Hewitt’s flaws to Andre and Andre had a much better record vs Hewitt after he got Cahill. Gilbert seemed to learn the secrets to beating Hewitt later, he said in Facing Hewitt you had to slow ball Hewitt down the middle of the court and force him to create pace, for Hewitt was far more dangerous on the run in the corners and he could counter punch power better than he could generate it with his strokes.

  • Joe Blow · October 6, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    You should write “ Facing Players that Burned you on a Bonus”

  • catherine · October 7, 2017 at 2:35 am

    If Simona makes No 1 I think she will stay up there – maybe floating between 1,2,3 – no Kerberization – different character – steadier progress and total support in Romania. That has to help.

  • catherine · October 7, 2017 at 4:15 am

    Easy for Simona – 6/2 6/4 – she’s moved up to another level.

  • catherine · October 7, 2017 at 5:38 am

    And that somewhat shop-worn No 1 trophy is awarded to Simona :)
    Let’s hope she can hang on to it longer than Pliskova/Muguruza. And get a Slam or two.

  • Hartt · October 7, 2017 at 6:41 am

    This season every time you turn around there is a new WTA No. 1. At least if Simona hangs on to be year end No. 1 she will have all those weeks in the off season to enjoy it.

  • catherine · October 7, 2017 at 7:30 am

    There have been 5 so far – but Muguruza has been there twice I think.
    Simona deserves to be No 1 although I have to admit I still wish she used a bit more variety in her game – but I suppose in the end you have to accept people as they are – if her style works no reason she should change.
    And it’s encouraging to see a woman player who’s 5’6″ and just medium build being successful.

  • catherine · October 7, 2017 at 9:04 am

    PS – Simona seems a lot more relaxed with Pavel in her box than she has sometimes with Cahill there. Don’t know for sure, but maybe not so much occ either.

  • catherine · October 7, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Garcia bt Kvitova in SS – 1 hr 30 mins which was lightning compared to her marathon yesterday. She’ll still be tired so it’ll be Simona in 2.

  • Hartt · October 7, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Someone posted that the last time there were 5 WTA No. 1 players in a season was 2008. It’s nice that Simona got No. 1 when she was at a tourney, so there could be a celebration.

  • Hartt · October 7, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Kyrgios just won over Sascha in SS. He was serving like a madman. If he can do that again tomorrow he stands a real chance against Rafa.

  • catherine · October 7, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Spotted lovely hug between Garcia and Kvitova at the end of their match – they’re not all meanies :)

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 7, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    Another coach burned was Nick by Rios after Rios won the $1m Grand Slam Cup match. Nick told me in my Rios book Marcelo Rios: The Man We Barely Knew, that Rios tried to use the excuse that since the Grand Slam Cup was not a part of the ATP Tour he didn’t have to pay him. Nick obviously did not stand for that nonsense. Highly recommend reading my Rios book :)

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 7, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Nick has Rafa’s #. What a brawl of a war that will be because Rafa is desperate for revenge and to put kooky Kyrgios in his place. Nick has been getting awfully uppity lately with his wins over Rafa and Djokovic and the near wins vs Fed. Rafa is going to try to sledgehammer Nick to rethinking his uppity aspirations.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 7, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Still waiting for the warm hug between Garcia and Kiki :)

  • catherine · October 8, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Future No 1 beats current No 1 in SS. Caroline’s attitude – completely fearless. Great tournament for her.

    Simona should run off and have a chat with Garbine, Karlina and Angelique: the perils of No 1 :)

  • catherine · October 8, 2017 at 7:19 am

    And gracious manners are back on court – nice exchange at the net between Caroline & Simona :)

  • catherine · October 8, 2017 at 9:37 am

    Well that was over quickly – something wrong with Nick ?

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 8, 2017 at 9:38 am

    Rafa wrecks Nick 61 62 in Beijing Final. Goffin red hot wins in Japan. Bradley Klahn into the finals in Monterey Challenger. Darian King into finals in Stockton Challenger vs Norrie. Tsitsipas qualifies into main draw of Shanghai. Donaldson beats Cuevas in Shanghai in three sets.

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