Monday, 24 October 2011

ATP Slapstick: Janko Tipsarevic and Gael Monfils on the verge of qualifying for London


So here’s an experiment. Try standing in front of a mirror with your hands behind your back, staring eye-to-eye at your reflection, and saying ‘Gael Monfils, number one seed’ out loud 10 times without pause (keep looking at the mirror).

If you make it past ‘four’ without the trace of a snicker (and without the aid of some sort of biochemical suppressant), I put it to you that your synapses are wired the wrong way and that you should probably be kept away from young children.

That’s where I was (or rather wasn’t) with Stockholm all week. Any tournament with Gael, or for that matter Janko, as its top seed needs to go away and do some thinking. Unless you’re in the business of slapstick.

But credit where it’s due.

Both Janko and Gael and, incidentally, Dolgopolov were *and are* in contention for London. They knew it – tennis mathletes certainly knew it.

Normally, that kind of demand is Gael’s cue to slide into a bunch of line judges or to go jump through a window – anything but win the requisite number of matches.

But he didn’t implode, not by that or any other means – and neither did Janko. Both men, instead, somewhat untrue to form, went on to win events in which they were (however laughably) deemed by the numbers to be the top seeds. In other words, they lived up to their billing. And that deserves recognition.

That, incidentally, is Janko’s second title in three weeks – also his second overall. With an appetite like that he might actually wind up qualifying for London (straight face and keep staring at the mirror). This must be why those hoity-toitys at the top of the rankings want to shorten the season.

Dolgo, on the other hand, has just gone out to Dudi Sela in St Petersburg this morning for the loss of only four games. Just last week he lost his opener to Jeremy Chardy, also in straight sets. That deserves recognition too – if only because it’s recognisably stupid.

With all due respect to those other two, only a nincompoop loses that meekly when there’s so much at stake.

Either he doesn’t get it, or he just can’t help himself. Or both. He’s “not wired properly up there” either.

(pics: Getty)
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