Dubai: Fairly Important Test Ahead for DelPo

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.

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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):

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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:

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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…

2012 Marseille trophy

Photo: Open13

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:


About mariposaxprs

I play favorites with Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and the long line of mercurial talent that drives me to despair in front of the screen at odd hours during the week.
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8 Responses to Dubai: Fairly Important Test Ahead for DelPo

  1. says:

    I thought they were the same pick jeans he wore when he and Palermo did the town during the USO last year. Don’t tell me has another ghastly colored pair. He needs a fashion intervention on so many levels.
    He should sent a huge fruit basket to Bagy for losing the match; notice I didn’t say Delpo won it. Doesn’t he play an exho next week with Rafa at Madison Square Garden or did I dream it? For a moment I suspected another strategic early loss to save his energy for what I’m certain is an obscenely huge purse for the NYC match.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Yup, I think those are the very ones 🙂 They’re an unexpected color for him, but hey, he looks good in them! I’d prefer he ditch the cargo pants and the jeans with holes in them.

      R1 against Baggy was def a rollercoaster. It’s a bit concerning that DelPo and Rafa are playing the MSG exho and both of them are in questionable condition. I’m not sure yet what’s happening with Rafa, but he’s making his final decision on whether or not to play IW and Miami after Acapulco. Meanwhile, DelPo’s got left wrist problems again. I assume they’ll both show up anyway, but it’s worrisome.

      • says:

        The wrist issue is worrisome. ESPN’s report said it was the right one again and I nearly panicked but I think they misquoted. I’m sure he’s been in contact with Dr. Berger at the Mayo Clinic and it sounds like he advised Delpo to continue playing. If he struggles with today’s match against number 315 I can’t help but wonder if that’s the way to go.
        As for Rafa, IMO he’s not doing well and won’t be surprised if he skips the MSG. What’s he got to prove anyway? Injuries seem to be plaguing so many players, Mike Russell of the amazing physique had to retire against Querry at Delray Beach and I’m watching Kamke take a time out to get his ankle bandaged after an injury playing Berdie. Does anyone in their right mind continue to play when he has a snowball’s chance in hell of beating Berdie who’s playing very well?

        • mariposaxprs says:

          Yea, it’s starting to look a tour of the walking wounded. What’s most surprising is that many of the plyrs who won tournaments last week lost early this week. Jo and Kei are both out, and Stan (who was a finalist at BsAs) lost in R1 to Fognini. It really highlights the rarity of DelPo’s breakthrough run in 2008 of 4 titles in a row. I just don’t think that’s possible anymore…it feels more like plyrs alternate one good tournament run with a poor one.

          Rafa’s taking an unconventional approach with his comeback. I def do feel like he’s more focused on clay and he’s giving 2nd priority to HCs. Given the miles Rafa has in his legs, I guess it’s understandable he wants to control his circumstances, and if that means avoiding HCs, I suppose it’s one way to do things. I think it’s weird, but he hasn’t yet pulled out of IW. As for MSG, it will be curious to see who makes it there. I do think it’s not an exho DelPo/Rafa/Serena/Vika could just pull out of easily — well, maybe DelPo could pull out easily b/c he’s prob being paid the least to play among the four plyrs 😉 We’ll see!

  2. says:

    Typical 20-something narcissistic behavior; I know, I’ve got one! If only Delpo could be as playful. He saves all his naughtiness for the shower….

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Haha narcissistic behavior is a hallmark of 20-somethings, indeed 🙂

      I’m not sure if DelPo is suited to offbeat arthouse fare. I think his acting capabilities would limit him to starring in romantic holiday movies, haha. With a good director, *maybe* he could go far in a private investigator role. I can imagine him as a taller, lankier Humphrey Bogart in the “The Maltese Falcon.” Except DelPo would have to have a stutter, b/c I’m not sure he could deliver all his lines with the rapid-fire pace that such a role requires. That would be a movie!

      Last year’s Dubai Duty Free video was also a gem.

      • says:

        Actually, Juan’s already proven his acting ability in that series of hilarious promos for Pepsi Lay with Buonanote. Their dubbing is perfect. Then Djoko did that video interview where he said he’d cast him as the “scary villain” in a Bond movie. Now there’s an idea, he does have that death stare. He’s way to “tranquilo” for a rapid-fire detective role. Yes, the Dubai vid is too cute, Why not put one of those critter cams on him and one in the locker room?
        I’m watching his match with Bagy who’s slimmed down from last year, it could go either way. Those horrible grey shorts are soaked through already. Doesn’t his sponsor want him to look good in their clothes? As revealing as they may be, it’s not a good color. He doesn’t seem to be wearing those Nike undershorts anymore, the ones that look like a long-leg panty girdle. He looks like he’s put on a few pounds or maybe it’s the shorts. That cute butt is quite prominent. I’m waiting for the change of shirt.

        • mariposaxprs says:

          Ahh, I’d completely forgotten Djokovic cast DelPo as the “scary villain” for his Bond movie. Can we imagine DelPo with an eye-patch? He might be a bit too tranquilo to play a detective, but he also has that roar when he hits a winner (aka finds the missing link to solve the case)!

          That match against Baggy was ugly to watch and apparently DelPo’s facing some left wrist injury problems now =/ I think he looked nice in his red jeans though! (hasn’t gained weight, from what I can tell :))

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