Monday, 16 January 2012

Oz: The Artful Dodger



Q.  Was there any time in the match when his body language showed you something that you focused on?

BERNARD TOMIC:  Um, yeah, in the third set.  He thought  I had a feeling he knew I was going to go away.  I eased off, as well, I think on purpose.  I eased off and seemed I didn't care, and I think that's what drawed him a little bit tonight.  He thought he was going to win that third set, and when the right time came, I broke him. 

You know, after that the third set, you know, he started getting a little bit tight and not hitting his shots.

Q.  So you set him up a little bit?

BERNARD TOMIC:  In that third set, yeah.  I knew if I lifted my game early, he would have lifted as well and he wouldn't have let go.  I pretended a little bit in the first few games in that third set to not be there as mentally, but in a way to still be there.  

Ya know, I’m not quite so sure he’s pulled off the confidence trick he thinks he has. 

It doesn’t surprise me to learn that he tried to pull it off (it happens on tour all the time), and not to say that it didn’t influence things, but Dasco, honey, you did this to yourself, all by yourself.

To be fair to Fer, he did mention he was affected by the heat – his undoing was at least as much a function of that as anything else. But, ultimately, the whole rope-a-dope thing (as a form of mental fakeout ) seems to me to be selling Bernard quite short.  If he’s rope-a-doping anyone (and he is) it’s because of his style of play, not because he’s pretending to be on the ropes.

His pre-match smack talk re Dasco’s BH (“can’t really hurt me”) may have been derided as childish – it also happened to be spot on. And, from what I saw of the highlights, going deep to that wing seemed to work a treat.

Reminder: Dolgo/Bernie (R3)…..if ‘kooks’ are your thing.

(Pic: Getty)

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