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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 #6: Panic on Wimbledon's Centre Court

No need to look at her stats: the 52% of the first serve points she won, her conversion of just 2 of 8 opportunities to break Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, the way she rolled in second serves at a snail's speed of 82 miles per hour.  No, just look at Sabine Lisicki's face.  That's when you'll understand what caused her 6-1, 6-4 defeat on Centre Court in the women's singles final last Saturday.  

This dazed, deer-in-the-headlights look happened as Bartoli served for the first set.  Lisicki had broken her right out of the gate, but then lost the next six games.

Reporters seized upon her Tennis Hate.

Q: You were quite emotional in the second set.

LISICKI: I wonder why.

Q: In the 5th game of the second set, you seemed to put your racquet to your face.  There was a lot of pressure on you.  You got very emotional.  Can you tell us what was running through your mind at that point?

LISICKI: Not pressure.  For me, there was no pressure.  it was just, I was a bit sad that I couldn't perform the way I can.

That's the essence of Tennis Hate.  You take out the champion -- the indomitable Serena Williams -- and the runner-up, Aggie Radwanska, from last year.  Then, when it counts, you leave your forehand in your hotel room before your final against 15th seed Marion Bartoli.  

Don't get sad, Sabine.  Get mad, and get even.

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