Do not read below if you have the Matches Taped and haven't watched them as yet from todays matches. 08/28/08
Of the completed matches today, I'm amazed that there were three matches where one of the contestants retired. People this is the Big Show. This is the Grand Daddy of American Tennis. This is the US Open. What you have to accomplish in order to make it to this stage is no easy task and to play 2 sets and then retire, is an insult to the sport. If you're not conditioned well enough to make a serious attempt at winning this event, then you shouldn't deny the chances of someone that just lost out from getting in. You took a spot from a pretty good qualifier who just may have had a bad day and run into another qualifier who was just a little stronger that day than you were. So you live with that but when you see that three Players threw in the towel in the 2nd Round of this Tourney, those are three spots that could have gone to some very promising young talent that has to wait yet another year before they get another opportunity.
So I'm watching James Blake and I'm beginning to wonder when he's going to either get serious about his Coaching Staff or hang his racquet up? Yeah I'm blasting on good ole James because I know he can do better but at this point, all that James has shown me in the past couple of years is being nothing more than a Draw Filler. James is far to one dimensional. Everyone knows Jame's Game and everyone knows James allows his confidence to fail him when he gets into the 5th Set because he's convinced himself that the 5th Set is a curse for him. Granted he currently has a dismal 5 Set Record.
One of the best Tennis Quotes came from Boris Becker in 1990. Boris said and btw, the actual words may have been slightly different, "The 5th Set is no longer about Tennis, it's about who wants it more" If you enter into a match that you feel you should win easily and you find yourself in a dog fight. One of two things is going to happen at this point.
1. You are either going to buckle down figure out how you got into this situation and make the immediate adjustments hopefully in time because the last thing you need is for an opponent who thought coming in that he was going to get blasted off the court in straights, now thinking he has a real chance of beating you. Talk about super charging someone up. Once your opponent smells blood or in this case, a chink in the armor, they will begin to bring it to you full on.
2. Allow your mental ball & chain to completely dismantle your confidence and you find yourself beginning to either play outside of your capabilities or mentally tanking the rest of the match.
There's nothing wrong with a real contest as long as you get the 'W'. Even if you're the #1 Seed and your opponent is #50 or lower, the W is what really matters so find the way to win the match and get it over with and then go back to your Coach and discuss what went wrong but at least seal that deal so you can move on. If you eventually lose a match that you should never have lost, that will do more harm than good which is what is happening to Blake. He's losing to Players he shouldn't be losing to. James has the game to be the #1 American right now but his head is his nemesis. James is an example of not getting beat by better players but rather allowing players to stick around long enough for him to beat himself.
Ana Ivanovic lost today to the new household name Julie Coin (FRA). This wasn't necessarily Ana beating herself because Julie played as well as anyone could expect someone to play a big match. I'd say if she could sustain that level of play throughout the Tournament, she could find herself in the Finals of this Event very easily. To beat the #1 Player in that manner places her in the Contender's list for the Title. it will be interesting to see what she does in her next match. She'll be playing against her Country Woman Amelie Mauresmo. That will either make her nervous or motivated. If she's motivated, then say goodbye to Mauresmo.