Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Creative Differences.

"Todd is a fantastic person," said Djokovic. "He has so much experience and was willing to share everything with me. There are no hard feelings but we just decided it was not working. It was probably a question of understanding what kind of person I am."

"At the ATP Finals in London my shoulder was tired and the body automatically started to make adjustments because of that," Djokovic explained. "Then we tried a slightly different action and it all got very complicated. So now I am just going back to my original action."

-- Fox News

I’m sure Todd is a very nice person too. But that’s a very telling comment on understanding the kind of person Djoko is.

So what was it? Tactical disputes? Personality issues? A culture clash? Too many cooks? Creative Differences even?

The culture clash theory is the one that’s been most widely pored over, with suggestions of Todd’s somewhat milder temperament being at odds with Djoko’s “outwardly cocky and self-confident” personality.

That’s hardly news, is it? Even less impressed with the reductive image of the “emotional European” – especially as Marion Vajda (who I’m rather a fan of) strikes me as one of the most composed coaches on tour.

It is, however, of some relief to know that that horrendous javelin-throwing service action wasn’t simply a figment of my imagination – can’t say I’m sorry to see it go.


The most obvious questions on the appointment of the relatively unknown Leon Smith as Davis Cup Captain revolve on the extraordinary lengths the LTA seem to have gone in order to placate Andy Murray.

Andy and Greg, you’ll remember, are not the best of friends.

"When Roger Draper came into the LTA it was all about a world-class leadership team, world-class people and this is it; four years down the track we are putting someone in charge of the men's game and the Davis Cup who has none of these qualities," he [Mark Petchey] told Sky Sports.

"So are we saying the strategy before was wrong and now we're on the right one, or are we actually saying we don't have a clue and are sticking somebody in the job who we think might persuade Andy Murray to play Davis Cup?

"Andy will make his own decision and I know Andy, he was happy to go with the majority view of what the players wanted in terms of a Davis Cup captain - and the majority of those players wanted Greg Rusedski."

-- Sky Sports

Were the presence of Andy Murray not absolutely essential to Team GB’s future success, you could almost argue that this reeks of a mild strain of nepotism.

Why should national strategy be predicated on the say-so of any one player (however celebrated)?

Why should he be able naysay the appointment of someone the rest of the players have approved and seem to respect?

Not that that’s remotely close to what I think is happening here.

Call me naive, but haven’t people always had to knuckle down alongside those they wouldn’t normally share a drink with, not just in tennis but in almost all professional walks of life?

However much he may dislike Rusedksi, Murray’s objections to Davis Cup seem to me to have rather more to do with with wanting to focus on winning Slams.

What if despite these attempts at appeasement (if that’s what they are), he still doesn’t turn up to play?

"Leon's my friend, but I need to still do what's right for me," said Murray.

"If I want to play, I'm playing for the team, it's not that I'm playing because Leon's the captain.

"I hope that was not the reason why he became captain. I don't think that's the way to make a decision on something as big as this.”

-- BBC Tennis



There’s an elephant in the room.

The media have been astonishingly muted about it, but let that not deceive us.

With what we know of Rafa’s form (and knee), the usual tally of clay court titles remains an uncertainty. And that spells trouble.

It’s not that an early loss at any of the upcoming events would be entirely catastrophic – for all we know it might be exactly what he needs – more that it would alter the landscape in a way that might not be reversible.

Still not completely sure what I mean by that, so I’ll say no more.

Never has the clay season been more or less about Rafa.

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