ICYMI, on a windy and cold night down in Miami, TOMMY HAAS defeated Novak Djokovic 6-2, 6-4 in the fourth round. That’s right. IT WAS A THUMPING.
I’m a bit lost in a sea of chills, excitement, and hyperbole right now, so before I start writing why don’t we look at some stats?
- Novak Djokovic is the No. 1 player in the world, and won Miami the past two years.
- Tommy Haas turns THIRTY-FIVE next week.
- Tommy Haas once played in a Masters Series final against Max Mirnyi. IN SINGLES. He won that match for his lone Masters shield, 2001 Stuttgart.
- Tommy Haas won the silver medal. FOUR OLYMPICS AGO.
- Tommy Haas was in his first tour final in 1997. That’s SIXTEEN YEARS AGO.
- Tommy Haas has played both Jim Courier and Milos Raonic in ATP finals. There is a 20 YEAR age gap between the two.
- Tommy Haas played his first Miami Masters in 1997. Djokovic was NINE YEARS OLD.
- THIS IS THE FARTHEST TOMMY HAAS HAS EVER GONE IN MIAMI.
Apologies, I can’t be held accountable for caps tonight. Back to paragraphs.
Let’s start with the obvious, so I can go back to gushing: Novak Djokovic did not play good tennis tonight. He was bothered by the wind, the cold, himself, and his opponent. He hit 30 unforced errors in two sets, which is very unusual for the economical Serb. This was not Novak Djokovic in his top form. He had a bad night. He’s human. It happens.
However, he was not alone on an island of ineptitude tonight, and I don’t mean this offensively, but this isn’t really about him. TOMMY HAAS won the match fair and square, and he did it in style. He played fast, focused, efficient, and BEAUTIFUL tennis. He mixed up his service placement, stepped into the court and obliterated short balls, and used a brilliant mixture of lobs, cross-court forehands, and powerful backhands. He returned like his life depended on it. There were games where he was zoning beyond belief, there were games where he weathered the Novak storm, and there were games where he was just the smarter and more experienced tennis player.
The first set was just a straight up ass-whooping, but I was even more impressed with how he handled himself in the second set when Djokovic woke up and broke back to level things. Like most others, I feared it was over for Haas then. As much as I love and respect and admire Tommy Haas, he’s not exactly known as a being a beacon of mental strength. So when Novak woke up, I figured it was over. (Sorry!)
But then he broke Novak Djokovic again late in the second set and got a chance to serve for the match. With the Miami crowd going wild and a lifetime of chokes to look back on and remember, Tommy Haas remained cool. He remained calm. He served it out with barely a hiccup, and pulled off the impossible. And then he didn’t even act like he’d done anything that special afterwards.
But he did do something special. Tonight he was a legend. Tonight he was TOMMY. HAAS.
I don’t know what else to say, so let’s just look at some press conference tweets, then let’s talk some more about it in the comments:
Haas:"I had the mentality tonight going out there believing in it. You've got to"
— Tennis Panorama News (@TennisNewsTPN) March 27, 2013
TH-"I'm just really happy and proud of that tonight against such a great player who has been dominating the sport the past couple of years."
— Tennis Panorama News (@TennisNewsTPN) March 27, 2013
P.S: Can I make this about me again for a second? THANKS. My friend Rachel reminded me tonight that Tommy Haas was my very first one-on-one interview way back in 2011 at Legg Mason when he was just beginning The Comeback, and had no clue how far it would take him. You can read my frantic recap of the interview when he LOOKED DIRECTLY IN MY EYES, and watch the video below. Back then his favorite tournament memory was in 1996!
Could he have dreamed at that point that less then two years later he would be ranked (approx.) No. 15 and have defeated Federer and Djokovic in a nine month period??? I mean COME. ON.
Does anyone else have more coherent thoughts than I do? Please share.
I’m gutted for Djokovic as a Nole fan, but thrilled for Haas as a tennis fan. I thought for sure that the match would go the way of pretty much every 3-set “favorite looks down and dusted but makes a predictable comeback” match at Miami so far, but Haas didn’t let that happen. That was the most amazing part of his victory; being the oldest and most experienced player in the draw had got to help him loads too.
That said, he had _better_ not lose to Simon tomorrow. Or else.
OMG, he REALLY better not lose to Simon!
And Djokovic will be fine. Bad days happen =)
Woohoo, go Haas. Hope he can win this tournament, what a feel-good story this is. Just when Miami was getting boring once again, it needed this to happen!
Murray must be a bit happy now though!
“I can’t be held accountable for caps tonight.”
Yes, you can be accountable:) LOL!!!
Fernando flashes: Fernando says:
1. Memo to Americans: Watch Haas; tactic wins tennis matches, not booming serves and forehands;
2 Credit to Haas, but Fernando cannot deny that Djoker was awful;
3. Loop moonballs to Djoker’s forehand-he no like;
4. Maestro’s sun is setting; Nadal’s is rising after a brief eclipse. Yet journalists are linking the demise of Maestro with Nadal. Outrageous.
5. Fasten your safety belts Vamos Brigade. Nadal will dominate the season now.
I am Fernando @vivafernando
Imagine if he wins the whole thing…You should make a rule then of always writing his name Font size 18…
I had a problem because I could not decide who to cheer for! I am a Novak fan all the way, but I love everything about Haas – his attitude, his game, THE FACT HE IS 34 and doesn’t not give a damn about it, everything…
I am really happy for Haas and he now assuredly MUST beat Simon, if not take the title, Ljubicic style!
This said, I think we can now safely conclude: Novak cannot play in the wind. He just can’t. It’s proven to be his undoing too many times…
It was very shocking news for Novak Djokovic. Really TOMMY HAAS has played a tremendous play. I like both of the players most.
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