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Racket Abuse

02-roof

I think they covet the paycheque more than this...

I think they covet the paycheque more than this…

It was the second double double header of tennis.  The morning crowds were not as thick and testy as Tuesday: Monfils had dropped out of the tournament due to his lingering rib injury.  But at the year end event, they replace injured players.  So David Goffin (not next in line, Berdych would have been, but I guess he declined) played Djokovic.  The doubles match prior was a rather slim straight set effort.

 

I was seated next to some Germans, some very large German youth.  They had snuff.  Snuff!

goffin-arrives

The rock stars arrive. First David Goffin.

Then Novak.

Then Novak.  They reprimand the players for poor behaviour and shh the crowd but amp us up with strobes and rock music and Dylan Thomas (yes, it’s true, it’s the UK, they “violence” it up a notch too), then act shocked at the racket.

At just over an hour I’d like to write that the match was a clinic.  But it wasn’t; Novak made several double faults and shot wide of the mark on numerous occasions.  However, as is often the case on the ATP, lesser players cower on the court with him.  Goffin simply couldn’t rise to the occasion.  An hour seven; we could have been watching first round women’s tennis at a Grand Slam.

Novak wins. Surprise.

Novak wins. Surprise.

I might add that for his hour and seven minutes, David Goffin took home a paycheque of $179,000 USD.  Ouch.

 

There was still plenty of time between the day and evening matches; on a whim I took the clipper to Greenwich, wandered around for a spell, had a light nosh at a wonderful bakery called Paul Rhodes, then a spot of rain set in so I bussed back to the 02.  I can think of someone else who would have just taken a nap.

Who is this mutt and why does he keep interrupting this blog?

Who is this mutt and why does he keep interrupting this blog?

The Emirates Air Line. Geddit? North Greenwich to Canning Town. Fractionally quicker than the tube.

The Emirates Air Line. Geddit? Fractionally quicker than the tube to Canning Town.

The evening doubles session, Dodig/Melo vs. Murray/Soares was actually enormously watchable and would have gone to a third set if doubles had a third set but instead they go to a 10 point tiebreaker.  Game, set, tiebreaker, Murray/Soares.

Murray and Soares finish the year as the number one doubles team

Murray and Soares finish the year as the number one doubles team

Milos took some practice time on the main court before the doubles.

Milos practicing with coach Carlos Moya

Milos practicing with coach Carlos Moya

The grey head on the left is someone called John McEnroe

The grey head on the left is someone called John McEnroe

On Tuesday the 20,000 people or so loved Raonic.  He could do no wrong.  On Thursday night it was all about Thiem.  It’s true what they say: the British really do root for the underdog.  Thiem is a great player and will win a grand slam or two; his serve this year has become refined and a weapon.  But he’s still nervy and uneven and in two longish unpredictable sets Milos sailed into the semi finals.

Milos heads for the semi-finals

Milos heads for the semi-finals

The Cutty Sark in Greenwich at dusk

The Cutty Sark in Greenwich at dusk

 

It’s New York Baby

Up, Up and Away

Happily the Fishes Leap

La Grande Bouffe

Bright Lights Big City

A Change is Gonna Come

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