Deuce #1: Djokovic grinds out a win vs. Dodig
Wouldn't it be interesting if Novak Djokovic won the last two events of the year, then retired and moved to Hollywood to start a career in motion pictures? Why not? The man does have a nice smile, after all. One things for certain: after securing today's $1.6 million bonus for good attendance at the masters events, Djokovic can afford to take a few years off. He was at $10.7 in prize money million heading into this week, so the bonus will put him well over 12. Add to that his cachet of lucrative endorsements and the considerable credibility that has been added to the Djokovic brand and I'd say the man is fast approaching Warren Buffett status.
So here's the question that I have: with shoulder and back problems nagging him, and lots more money on the table (plus the prestige that would come with winning these next two events), is Djokovic in the midst of a Faustian dilemma? In other words, will he -- or should he? -- keep putting his body at risk to further, more serious injury, all in the quest to prove that nobody in the history of tennis has ever had a better year than he did in 2011?
Peter Bodo doesn't think so, and neither do I. I'd like to see him hang it up pronto, because I'd rather see Djokovic continue to play at this level in 2012, then to see him win one or two more titles and risk his health in 2011.
As much as fans of Djokovic, and fans of high quality out-of-this-world tennis, want to see him pour every ounce of his heart and soul onto the hardcourts of Paris and London this month, I'm not sure any of us will want to see what might happen to Djokovic if he does do that, and what he will play (or not play?) like in 2012 as a result.
But I digress. Djokovic was solid today in a 6-3, 6-4 win over Ivan Dodig today, and is scheduled to play Viktor Troicki in round three. A nice casual loss to his good buddy might be the best case scenario for all of us.
Deuce #2: More London Scenarios
Gael Monfils was already eliminated from the London chase when Mardy Fish defeated Florian Mayer in straight sets earlier Wednesday. But, just for good measure, he was trampled by a serving and volleying Feliciano Lopez, 6-3, 6-4. Not the best year from Monfils, but he overcame an injury scare in February, a coaching change later in the season, and still managed to finish just outside the top 10. And, of course, he was entertaining the whole way through.
Ad In: More London Scenarios
Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mardy Fish are all one win away from clinching their berths in London. Berdych will face Janko Tipsarevic early tomorrow, and Tipsarevic will have to win to stay alive in the race (he needs a title to qualify). Fish will face the winner of the Monaco-Simon match, which is in the first set right now. Simon must also win the title to qualify.
Ad Out: Almagro Out
With his loss to Andreas Seppi today, Spaniard Nicolas Almagro was eliminated from London contention as well.
Deuce #3: Murray Notches Sweet 16
Andy Murray continued his torrid play with a 6-2, 6-4 win over wildcard Jeremy Chardy today. That's 16 consecutive wins and a lot of "can he win a Slam?" talk. He'll face Andy Roddick tomorrow.