The Dubai draw has been released. It’s a fairly tough test for DelPo, as he faces Baghdatis in R1. DelPo has a 1-2 record against Baggy and his last victory over the Cypriot came in 2007.[tweet https://twitter.com/nidssserz/status/305714844806569984 align=’center’]
At the beginning of the year, I proposed a theory that DelPo did not match up well against tennis players who are fathers (as his recent record against Fed, Hewitt, Llodra and Simon proves). Baggy is the recent father of daughter Zahara, with former tennis player Karolina Sprem. DelPo has his work cut out for him. Baggy was in fine form during his match against Dimitrov in Rotterdam and DelPo will need mental stamina to hang with Baggy during the rallies.
Baghdatis and Devvarman are tricky match-ups for DelPo. He will have to come out strong in R1.
DelPo’s potential route to the final: Baghdatis – Devvarman/Kunitsyn – Brands/Youzhny – Djokovic
Dubai is known for its strong draw, year after year. Players outside the top 4 will face a serious battle against history (although Ferru and Muzz are not present this week):[tweet https://twitter.com/TereBuscalia/status/306048717474127872 align=’center’] [tweet https://twitter.com/TereBuscalia/status/306048491245940738 align=’center’]
Stakhovsky Strikes Again:
The man from Ukraine has been vocal about slow surfaces. Last week, he took issue with the surface speed at Rotterdam and then took a shot at DelPo by saying his run to the final last year was evidence of how slow the courts were.
This week, he took to his Twitter to express his dismay at the general state of current tennis, where an entertaining player like Michael Llodra would lose to DelPo at Marseille. Apparently, no indoor HC surface can be considered suitable enough if a player like Llodra loses to DelPo.
I got sucked into a conversation/argument with Stakhs and many others chimed in with their opinion.
The part that annoys me about the surface speed argument is that it inevitably devolves into a “my player is better than yours” contest. The artistes who think themselves high-browed connoisseurs of the sport sniff their noses at anyone who raises even a minor objection. Anyone who roots against a Llodra is condescendingly deemed a fraud or a teeny-bopper.
Stakhs criticized DelPo’s game by pretty much saying DelPo was a mindless ball-basher:[tweet https://twitter.com/Stako_tennis/status/305672127615488000 align=’center’]
Yet Llodra lost because DelPo played the big points better. It’s well and fine to find a certain player’s style more entertaining, but Stakhs (in his public capacity as a member of the ATP Council, a role he takes very seriously, perhaps a bit too seriously) should pick his battles and he should perhaps win a few notable matches before he takes apart a top player’s game. Stakhs is a guy who’s more famous for his Twitter than his tennis. He makes himself out to be some sort of an indoor HC guru, when his overall career stats don’t exactly support such a fanciful notion.
Stakhs is making a hash of his own argument, given the fact that the recent champions at Rotterdam and Marseille are all strong players on indoor HCs. Yes, it’d be nice to see a return to the fast surfaces, but let’s not be so gauche as to use that as an excuse whenever The Magnificent Llodra (or anyone else with a beautiful volley) loses. Seriously, have a little dignity. If I wanted, I could start a whole yarn about how DelPo lost to Gillou because the court was too damn slow. But it’d be tough for me to attempt that without wild speculation and a small degree of pettiness. That would be sour grapes, and sour grapes make whine.
Stakhs then went on to say he could beat DelPo in Marseilles “with pleasure,” although he wouldn’t beat DelPo on the “sandpaper” courts at Rotterdam. This part is hilarious because Stakhs is a career 5-3 at Marseille (he’s never made it past R1). He hasn’t fared any better at Rotterdam, where he is a career 1-5 and 2 of his losses came via retirement. I don’t know if Stakhs is implying the courts were so slow that he couldn’t bear to finish out the match — this would actually reflect more poorly on him than it does the courts. In fact, he’d only won one match at Rotterdam even before they slowed down the court surface in 2012. Which begs the question, where exactly is he coming from?
This is the same guy who once said he could double-bagel Serena Williams if he played against her (this was part of his argument against equal prize money for the women).
Mostly, I don’t understand why people would choose to express their support of quicker surfaces by aligning themselves with Stakhs, of all people. I’d understand if they picked a player whose stats backed up his arguments, but it hasn’t exactly panned out for Stakhs, has it?
In any case, today’s rant is brought to you by…
The Open13 trophy aka “Get your name on it (nay, make it past the first round) first before you start mouthing off!”
Tsonga defeated Berdy to win the 2013 Marseilles final. Stakhs gave his approval of the winner by staying silent on the result.
A Little Oscar Entertainment:
Bernie Tomic (who lost after holding 5 MPs against Tsonga at Marseille) did a karaoke video for the tournament. It is seriously bizarre. I would warn you not to watch this video at work, because your co-workers will judge you: