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Meltdown of the Week


Finding Roger Federer Meltdown footage on YouTube is like finding a seat on the Number 4 Lexington Avenue subway at 9:30 in the morning. [Non-New Yorkers, take note: it's rare.] The Greatest of All Time usually deals with blown shots by dragging his middle finger across his forehead and tucking his hair behind his ear. Not this time. This was a semi-final match with Novak Djokovic at the 2009 Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, Florida. Djokovic just broke Fed in the third and deciding set and was up 15-0 when the Greatest of All Time took his eyes off a routine approach shot that could have evened the score. Federer went through lots of racquets when he was playing the junior circuit; wonder if he felt a little wave of nostalgia upon banging this one hard into the court.

On the Sideline

Proof of Tennis Hate #7: Del Potro's Burka

Some players try to stifle Tennis Hate by sitting underneath their towels during changeovers.  Juan Martin del Potro couldn't wait that long.  


As he walked to his seat after losing a third set tiebreaker to Novak Djokovic in their memorable Wimbledon semi-final, he pulled his shirt over his head, creating a Tennis Hate burka.

Del Po also tried to dispel the noise in his head by talking.  He chatted up spectators.  He scolded the ball, and showed it how it should have rolled over to Djokovic's side after hitting the net cord.  He even talked to Nole, after a sprint toward the ball sent him to his opponent's half of the court.

The crowd loved it, and reporters pointed that out to a dejected del Po after the grueling, 4-hour, 43 minute match.

Q: What do you think they liked in you that gave them so much joy, they wanted to support you so much?

DEL POTRO: Yeah, I think they saw my effort, my big effort.  [...] Of course, I would like to say thank you to the crowd.  They help me a lot to survive in the fourth set and keep trying.  I think I will be happy in a few days.

Q: Do you realize that you won the hearts of many people because you, yourself, play with an open heart on the court?

DEL POTRO: Yeah, but first i would like to win.

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